Tag: family

Everything in its Season

*I wrote this in my Christian unschooling  group in response to a young mom with a 15 month old wondering if she would ever have time to do all the things she wanted to, to learn all the things she was interested in learning. It occurred to me that she is not alone. I remember being that young mom wondering if I would ever get a full nights sleep let alone  be able to do things I was interested in, things that weren’t just about my family. And how were all these super moms doing it all? 

This is just a season. Everything in its seasons. Pregnancy is a season. New baby is a season. Toddler is a season. There was a season of me stuck at home in a new town with hubby gone all day, pregnant and with a toddler. We had a season of 3 kids under 5- all in diapers at least part of the time. A season where one child was constantly in and out of the hospital. Several seasons where I was too sick to get out of bed. We have also had seasons of going all the time. Of passionately learning new things- I have learned a little of several languages (Not a natural language person so it is more osmosis for me- watching a lot of tv in that language and just exposing myself to it). Learning to cook for food allergies. Learning natural remedies and cheap healthy foods. Learning wild crafting and herbal-ism. Learning how to be a homemaker. Writing a book. Editing and publishing my own and my husband’s books. Marketing books and art. Learning to code html and php. Hosting and maintaining websites for myself and others. Blogging. Reading the Bible through multiple times and really studying it. Researching pretty much everything. Running several websites and Faecbook groups. Learning to fix things myself and then doing it. Working for an antique appraiser. Working as a caretaker for an elderly woman. Taking care of my own grandparents.

 

I have been married 17 years now. I have a nearly 16 yr old, a 14 yr old, and a 12 year old. There have been many many seasons. There are many seasons to come. I have no idea what will come next. Some of the seasons rotate around my children. Others around other friends or family members. Some mostly around myself.

The biggest trick is learning to focus on the here and now- to do the next thing and not worry about the other stuff, but also knowing this IS just a season so you can enjoy it fully. You can keep your goals in mind, you can have a list, the list will change. Your passions will change.

One of the wonderful things about unschooling is that passion for learning in YOU will encourage the passion for learning in your children so when you hit a season where you can you do- you study and research and learn. And when you hit a new season you do what you need to do for that one. And you build on all that stuff that you have learned and are able to learn and grow more and it benefits your kids as you do so.

Where I am from

Have seen this elsewhere and found it odd and sweet and sad, the results reminding me strangely of Emily Dickinson  and had to try it for myself.  Original is here.  More are here. I am not very good at following the rules as you will see if you read the original so lets call it “inspired by” instead of following the writing prompt exactly.

Where I’m From

I am from bakery flavored kitchens, from Duncan Hines cake mix and “from scratch” apple dumplings “just baked fresh ’cause I know you like them and I saw these apples and knew.”

I am from the glass porched house high on the hill, all brown and brick and brown again with a red, white, and blue swing set out back, wildflowers blooming amidst determined landscaping, solitary contentedness playing amidst the trees and down by the ponds.  From playing in the dirtpile and  petting catfish in the pond, from bullfrogs and spring peepers, fireflies and bats over the water.

I am from yellow, orange, and red hawkweed, bright indian paintbrush, and lavender-blue bluits in the grass where my aunt always mowed them down despite my protests, from  jewelweed, sweet peas, and Queen Annes lace leaning out over the road ways,  pink ladyslippers and Pennsylvania smartweed growing in the borders, from mossy shadows under the oaks, flowering dog woods, prickly chestnuts from our climbing tree, poison ivy in the woods beside the wild berries, and loaded fruit trees scenting the air with rotten fruit.

I am from Nowakowskis and Watts and Stewarts, from cigar smoking grandpaps, with hats on in the house, playing partial games of solitaire and grandmas with Polish arms talking about all the  family members and trying to get you to eat more so you don’t waste away.

I am from the complaining about everything and arguing over nothing.  From love of science and nature and school is important.  From do-it-yourself and make do with what you have or do without.  From a drawer full of breadbags instead of ziplocks and homegrown potatoes and home-canned pickles in the middle of winter.  From summers spent out on the pond in the paddleboat, pulling Barbies along on strings instead of playing with them properly.

From bread crust and meat fat both will put hair on your chest and you’re full of vinegar if you are acting up. From run up to the beer garden and  call your grandpap for dinner well before dinner is actually ready. From bigger is always better and here’s some change, go put it in your piggy bank.

I am from choir practice led by black habited sisters with guitars and big voices and names based on saints, from missing mass is a sin even when you are sick, from First Communion and Hail Mary, full of grace and CCD taught by sisters from the nearby convent.  I am from tradition and  bitterness, from I  know the Bible because I read it through once a long time ago, from church and science  go together like oil and water and I can believe two opposite things at the same time as long as I keep them apart but science wins if I don’t.

I’m from the mountains and valleys of Western PA and two people who met on a boat to America from a little town in Poland and a mixed breed from the hills of West Virginia, kuschiki and handmade chocolates for holidays and kielbasa and potatoes for everyday.

From the homemade pies from the first handpicked fruits of the season, the women bustling about in the kitchen and the men in the other room smoking and chatting about gardens and hunting with the game on so they don’t miss anything. I am from railroad workers and coal miners, from excavators and teachers, from single women working at the drugstore and Schinley after leaving their abusive husbands in a time when that wasn’t done.

I am from the pond and the hill, from playing cards for pennies from the big jar kept for that purpose and huge family reunions where plenty of bootleg is served, from family walks and discussions of times past, from sad family stories discussed over partly remembered photos, from miserable pasts that are best forgotten by those who do remember.

I am from hard workers and gamblers, generosity and mental illness, from severe family loyalty and outrageous gossip. I am from frugality and our job as women is to keep the family together despite adversity.  From telling lies to keep the peace and keep it to yourself if you disagree.  I am from go on living, complaining about the normal things in order  to keep the  real complaints secret.

And I am from time together instead of spending money, from go take a walk when something is on your mind, from do your best no matter how hard, from take lots of pictures even if all the heads are cut off and the ones that aren’t are a blur,  and save absolutely everything because you never know when you might need it.

Randomly random because my head is still busy

  • I gave up and cut my hair.  I have been getting a lot of headaches lately and it hurts to have my heavy, thick hair up and it bugs me to have it down so chop-chop.  I did ask the kids if it would be all right (I kept it long because they loved it) but too much is enough.  And so, my new head:  It is frizzy here because my hair is naturally VERY wavy and I hadn’t used a straight iron (which surprisingly does not straighten it though it does smooth it.)  Yes I cut it myself using lots of time and mirrors and hair clips.   I hate having someone else do it because my hair is tricksie and they always mess it up.   This is my favorite cut, is flattering on most people and looks good with my favorite accessories–hats and hoop  earrings.  No straight on shot because I was having a hard time getting the camera set up.:)
  • Hubby says that now I have to dye it blue or purple so I can look like one of our favorite anime characters, and it is AWFULLY tempting:

  • The girls have been working hard at learning to draw and paint better and have been using my poor sad bunny as a model (no, I do not own an actual model, he is out of my head and the kids are using him as a spring board for their own paintings.  We have bunnies EVERYWHERE.  It is my humble opinion that these bunnies are BREEDING.

    Rachels bunny

  • Issac has been enjoying what snow we have been having (off and on, snow then rain then back again, driving us all insane–“Make up your MIND!”  The girls built giant snowmen down in the field and Issac worked on a speed bump.

  • Rachel has been spending every possible moment either playing chess with her new board or trying to convince someone to play with her.  Here she is with a friend (sporting a new haircut which I had just done a few moments before and which reminded me how much I LOVE this haircut.) They had a great game while their brothers who are the same age were upstairs cleaning up a bit of a mess.
  • The mess?  Oh my.  Do you KNOW how many teeny, tiny Styrofoam balls are in one of those squishy nylon pillows? Especially the squishy purple marshmallow bunny pillow?  I am STILL cleaning up those stupid little balls.  The boys found the balls that had come out of the peep which the girls KEPT instead of throwing away and dumped them in every, single corner of the mess (which the girls were supposed to have cleaned) of a room which is the girls.  You see the mound of laundry?  That was AFTER I took several loads downstairs.  The girls had left PILES of clothes and blankets on the floor which were then covered in very static-y little balls. The 2 7 year old boys had to clean as much as they could but the girls then had to deep clean their room (like they were supposed to).
  • I got a new camera which is wonderful and capable of taking lowlight photos without a flash which is why these photos exist –usually I wouldn’t have enough light to take these.  And it takes MUCH better photos of my art without a lot of lightboxes and fuss–this shot below is right off my drawing table no extra light or anything.
  • Oh, and then there are the elephants.  I am still working on the new website for my art so I posted it over at Elasah.com but I got a new palatte and watercolor journal and jumped in and did this weeks Inspire me Thursday which you can see here:

Me, Myself, and I

I don’t have a recent photo (I think the last photo I have is from exactly a year ago–my brother in laws wedding which Issac took looking up my nose) since I am ALWAYS behind the camera but I do have this which Rachel took when I gave her my digital camera to play with while waiting for Grandma after dinner last week.  This is her first attempt at using the camera as a video camera and she wanted to capture everything, including her brother sister making shadow puppets in the light, and for some reason, me cleaning up the table a bit before leaving.  Don’t turn the sound up, it is rather random though in the background my grandmother is telling the pizza worker people that the kids always point out that their ceiling looks exactly like a giant candy bar–and it does.

I am posting this in response to Randi’s request that everyone post pictures of themselves.  Not that she reads my blog but several others do and I read hers and occasionally even comment, though not nearly often enough.

And that is QUITE enough posts for today thank you very much–three is definitely my limit.

My domestic day

So I spent all day baking instead of painting I like I planned.  It was nice and cool and I needed to make bread, and if I am going to make bread and have the oven on anyway then I may as well go ahead and bake as much other as I can think of.  The kids and hubby got 10 dozen cookies, a cake, bread, and 2 loaves of quick bread, not to mention a crock pot of beans and some confetti rice* for dinner out of it so they are happy.

I got a self portrait doodle out of it so I am happy.  (As I mentioned to Jonatha–hubby suggested that I looked like a 1950’s housewife in one of those awful ads: “Use our wonderful baby soap, with full lye” or Eat our wonderful health food, now with more Lard.”–I think I look more like a gypsy or some weird bohemian chick, especially since my hair is done in multiple braids, not cornrows but close enough.)

In the meantime my large house painting is laid out and ready for me to start on, I have a small but full page  doodle in the works, the bills are paid, made plans with mom to drive down to the Trader Joes 45 min away on Wednesday, the laundry is sorted, the kids folded and put away the 4 baskets of laundry that have been  soaking up the stink in the basement, and Issac and I fixed the crack in the tub so now we can take showers again (the lack of a non-leaky tub is the very reason why my hair has spent the last week up in mini braids, well that an how easy to care for and cool they are,) AND I managed to stay home meaning I didn’t use gas.  It has been a productive day.

*We call it confetti rice though I believe it is different than what most people think of when you say confetti rice.  I am all about quick easy meals–cereal and fruit is perfectly acceptable in our household.  My confetti rice is quick and easy and everyone LOVES it, and and I love it because it is cheap:

1 can tuna with olive oil (you can use the broth version, I don’t but you can.  Plus, if you don’t do tuna you can leave it out or use real honest to goodness meat, or if you don’t buy meat because it is too expensive but want some protein in their you can throw in some TVP which I do occasionally though hubby won’t eat it if I do.):))

2 cups leftover rice (in this case it was aborio, but whatever you have)

2 cups mixed soup veggies, frozen (you can use whatever frozen or canned veggies you all like, my kids like the little soup ones and I HATE canned veggies unless they are green beans)

garlic and onion powder and salt to taste (I like lots of onion and garlic powder and a little bit of salt)

Fry all of it together until warm.  Do not, I repeat, do not cook this until the veggies all turn brown.  Ick.  The kids won’t eat it, and that is just gross.  No, you have to just get it warmed up so everything is bright and colorful–kids LIKE colorful food whiich is goo dbecause it is MUCH healthier when the veggies have their color.

Give the picky eater a small sample and insist she come to the table and eat the sample up before going back to her game.  Picky eater will finally taste it then ask for seconds.  Eat it up while still hot.  The end.

On Heartache, Marriage, and Freedom in Christ

Now I am blessed with a wonderful marriage with a great guy who hates being interrupted and never leaves the house.  (This has the wonderful benefit of meaning that though he may get caught up in a project he is hardly likely to leave me.:))  On the other hand I have several friends who are in various stages of dealing with divorce and lots of other stuff, none of whom chose divorce or the other stuff,  all had it thrust upon them.  Some made poor decisions that helped to get them where they are but all of them love the Lord and tried their best to glorify God where they ended up.  Most of them have unbelieving spouses who have chosen to do things their own way.   All have children.  My heart aches for each of them.

I spent some time today wandering around my jungle of a garden, full of weeds and chosen plants, thinking about the heartache and murmured prayers and what Christ can possibly be doing in all of these situations.  You see I know that God uses ALL things for the good of those who love Him. But sometimes it can be hard to believe.

I know that God is using this to show His power and truth and will use this to glorify His name, but it is so hard to stand by and watch these beautiful sisters in Christ struggle and hurt.

And yet, I am seeing each of these beautiful women bloom in ways they have never done before.  I am seeing them put down firm roots in Christ, drawing their strength and nourishment from Him alone.

I am seeing them grow taller and stronger in Him than I have ever seen them before.  Seeing this changes my prayer from , “Lord, make their path easy,” to “Lord, strengthen them to endure, give them wisdom and your perfect peace.”

Seeing them grow in such adversity, seeing them thrive even, is amazing.  Knowing the fruit that will be born from this horrible thing, from this brokenness, gives me hope.


I know that God is using this to show His power and truth and will use this to glorify His name.

Seeing so many fighting to survive the same thing at one time reminds me that we are in a battle, not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against evil personified.  It gives me hope knowing that they are not alone, that we are at war  and that we, as Christians, are in it together.

Seeing them draw strength out of Christ reminds me to stand strong on His promises, to remember our freedom in Christ.

No more are we bound by our environment.  No more are we trapped in our pasts.  No more need we be afraid of our future.  Christ has set us free and therefore we are free indeed.

All this thinking reminded me of the girl in the story of the red dancing shoes.  Her own sin bound her up and in the story she was never set free.  But we are free in Christ, and He is using ALL that happens to us and around us to grow us.  He has taken off those red shoes and given us our freedom to dance for His glory.  I think of each of these women, at whatever stage they are in, and imagine them dancing freely for His glory.  Free of struggle, free of hurt, free of worry.  God is in control and He has set us free.


Home Education Profiling: Normal Us

Today we continue to celebrate Home Education Week with Dana of Principled Discovery who asks:

Describe yourself, your family or one of your children. What is it like to be home educated in your family? What is “normal” for you?

I had this posted last night and it was up and got comments then I saved over it by mistake . My brain is silly. Now I am rewriting it to , hopefully, some semblance of what it was.

My husband and I both work from home, he as a computer programmer, myself as an artist and sometimes web designer. We are both constantly involved in projects of varying sorts and constantly learning. We are also both almost completely self taught.

We love having the kids with us 24/7 –though the grands occasionally borrow them and they like to spend lots of time outside talking to and helping our elderly neighbors. There are very few rules in our house–the only real rule being “love your neighbor, brother, sister, whoever which means no sitting on, biting, hitting, hurting, be kind, and loving , be respectful and use gentle voices and doing your chores and clean up after yourself as a way to show love for your family and by doing all this you are showing your love for God”–though we do have a no jumping on the furniture policy. We encourage the kids to research and discover and spend a lot of time having discussions, reading aloud, watching movies together, listening to stories and old musicals on record, playing games together, taking walks, and just being together. My husband often takes time out of his busy schedule to chat with the kids about the Bible, politics, and math concepts while I spend the majority of my time with them reading aloud and talking about many of the other things they are learning including history, God, and nature.

Our main goal is not that they have a perfect education but that we would train our children in the way God wants them to go. We specifically want them to love God with all their heart, all their soul and all their mind, to love their neighbor as themselves, to grow in wisdom and learn to love learning. Everything else is gravy.

This means that we give them freedom to explore and to play. We ask them questions and encourage them to ask questions. If they show interest we make sure the materials they need to explore that interest is on hand. If we notice a particular talent or something they seem to struggle with we make available items and books that will encourage them in that area. Our house is filled with books–on every surface, in every room. If the kids show an interest in something I make books that suit that interest available. They also watch old movies and Cyberchase, play video games, have several computers with plenty of games to play–most have some educational aspect but are not specifically educational, they play outside and do projects both out of their head and out of books, research things they are interested in. They are constantly learning because they are interested in what they are doing–the same way their parents are. The great thing is that it sticks because they are interested so there is less need for relearning.