Inspiration

The last couple of weeks have been challenging, in my own little world and in our shared big world. I’m not going to go into the details right now, but I feel called to share some of what inspires me at the moment.

#1 The three humans who are walking and running across multiple state lines to get to the Democratic National Convention at the end of the month. Seriously, these guys are an inspiration to me daily right now.  Here is screenshots of some of their FB posts.

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Wow.

ok, #2 John Lennon

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I think about him nearly daily lately. And his two songs, Love is Real and A Working Class Hero, run through my head frequently.

#3 Love.

I know this is broad, but just remembering that the definition of a miracle, according to A Course in Miracles, is chosing love over fear. That is a miracle. I’ve been thinking of this almost constantly, as I wade through the deep waters of parenting, and watch what is going on around the world and in our country. I saw this quote today by one of my favorite people/authors, Kyle Gray, and wanted to scream, I loved it so much.

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Yes.

I’m so grateful for the inspiration that surrounds me when I just open up my eyes and pay attention.

In the words of my favorite contemporary poet Mary Oliver,

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

Homeschool weeks 23-26

The last month has felt very much like summer.

We finished our last 6th grade block a few weeks ago. I. made this pinhole camera for his final project. (It’s a kit). It is pretty amazing how it works with no electronics. We haven’t developed any pictures from it yet. And, that, by the way, was a whole discussion. How film is developed. It is totally foreign to most of this generation of children.

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So, 6th grade is over. I probably won’t be posting weekly homeschool updates since we are mostly spending most of our time outside in our garden. (Aside from the hours I seem to spend in the kitchen.)

I’m starting to work on my planning for the fall. 7th grade and 1st grade and keeping a 4 year old preschooler busy. It really love planning. Weird, I know.

We have gone on several hikes in the last few weeks. My husband’s relatives were visiting from out of state and we went on a lovely forest hike on the coast. Then, when we went camping with some homeschool friends, we took a short hike to see one of the waterfalls. We found a perfect spot for splashing in the creek on that hike, the kids had so much fun. (And my camera battery was dead, so no pictures).

We are heading to fiddle camp for my oldest in two weeks. I’ll be camping there with my three kids for four nights. An adventure, for sure. My son is so excited. In the past few years, he was always lukewarm about going, so we never did it. (And I had a little baby at the time, which made the prospect less appealing). I’m excited for him to be immersed in music for a few days.

Our chickens are growing well and happy. They’ll be getting a new house soon, as we need to replace their coop. We are leaning towards building a pallet coop.

Polly our Polish. (This chicken, by the way, is the sweetest and smartest chicken I’ve ever met. She just can’t see very well, poor thing. I’m going to have to trim the feathers around her eyes, I think.)

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Goose and Star getting a drink.

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And our big girls. Rose, Ella, Artemis and Peaches.  (None are broody!! Yay! I am only glad because they seem to really ignore their physical needs when broody. Their combs get floppy, they lose weight, and they are more prone to fleas and lice. )

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And so, summer has begun!

 

Growing

This week has been full of ups and downs. I took the kids camping alone with some homeschooling friends. It was their first time really camping. Between being on-call for births for 9 years and then being pregnant and having a small baby/toddler, camping just never happened for our family. But, the kids loved it and we’ll be going again very soon. I’m taking them camping for four nights to fiddle camp in a few weeks, and then we’ll be taking a family camping trip in August sometime. (We need a pet sitter, though, so if you are local to me and know someone , let me know!)

The camping was good.

It was the recovery that was hard. Of course, we had the usual mess to put away, laundry to clean, and sleep to catch up on, but it was the meltdowns that were trying. I assumed that my oldest, I., would not have any issues once we got home since he seemed just fine during our trip. How wrong I was…

It may have been the break in his usual rhythm, or the lack of sleep, or something else. I don’t know. Within about an hour of being home, he totally lost it at his brother and then spent the rest of the evening angry at everything and lashing out at everyone.

I spent a good part of the night crying. I know my own thoughts are what cause me the most anguish. Thinking about how he’s 12, and we are still dealing with his lack of control of his words; worrying that it’ll never get better; feeling like I can’t take him anywhere since the meltdown just isn’t worth it; even wondering in what ways have I screwed up so that my 12 year old can’t handle life.

But. But, I have to lift my head out of the vat of those kinds of thoughts. It took a while, though.

When I went to say goodnight and talk about everything, he said something that triggered me all over again. I went to sleep devastated to have heard him say that he can’t change, that this is just how he is.

Thankfully, when I woke the next morning, my head was clearer and I realized something important. He said that because he doesn’t believe he can change, not because he doesn’t want to change. Such a simple shift in how I saw his statement, but it really helped me to have perspective.

Perspective to realize that my job is to hold the space for him, and never waiver from affirming to him that he can change and it will happen. When I told him later that morning that I know he can change, he sadly said, “You think so?”

I know I have to believe in him enough to not give up on him.

This is hard at times. I have three children whom I love desperately. When one is attacking another, even with words, it takes every bit of commitment and effort from me to not lose it at the offender. Because, he’s also still my baby. I can remember holding him when he was seconds old. The desire to protect the other children is so strong, though. And I must protect them. But not at the expense of the offending child. Because I know all too well that when he’s acting like that, it’s because he feels bad inside, and the meaner he is to his siblings, the worse about himself he feels. The last thing he needs is me to tell him (or convey to him without saying it directly) is that he is bad. That is throwing gasoline on a fire.

I don’t always succeed. I’m human. I have my moments, or days, even, when I miss the mark. But this is where self-compassion comes in. And forgiveness. Forgiveness for myself and towards him. That’s where I’m at today. Remembering that in the end, all there is is love and I can return to a place of love anytime. Letting go of thoughts of the past (what he’s done) or worries of the future (what if he never changes?) is the most loving thing I can do.

Be here now. That’s all.