Thursday, March 25, 2010

Leaving in a blue van

I'm leaving tomorrow to visit my Melinda. She lives in PA and I have not seen her since my oldest was a baby (he is now 5 1/2 now). Since then she has had 3 children whom I have never met. I am so very excited. As are the boys who are very excited even about the trip itself (thanks again mom and dad for the DVD players!).

She has no internet so I will be completely disconnected for a week but it truly will be a vacation. I am way too tempted to check my e-mail, website, stores, this will be a life before internet. She also lives on a farm that her husband has inherited through generations. They have animals, fresh air, completely organic food...

I'm already dreaming of long conversations catching up over coffee. Walks on the farm. The boys running in the mud, playing with the animals. Can it get any better than this?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Recording life

I have always loved pens and paper. My heart quickens when I near an office store and as soon as I walk through the automatic doors I race over to the pen aisle. I might need a new pen to add to my collection of pens scattered throughout the house.

My love affair with the pen is growing somewhat distant however as the click of keys and the computer font replaces my less than lovely penmanship.

Surprisingly enough even in this computer age I have still managed to make lists on actual paper. "To do" lists, meal lists, "don't forget" and grocery lists are strewn throughout the house on bits of scrap paper, post-it notes or legal pads. Then there are the journals and notebooks. The prayer journal, the personal journal, the soap list and ingredient notebook, and several journals that I have absentmindedly used the first page of and then tucked away somewhere to be forgotten for at least 2 years.

From now on things are going to be different. A passing comment made my by sister-in-law at our last book club meeting has completely changed my perspective and made me wonder why I haven't started this ages ago. My sister-in-law was saying that her and her husband have been lamenting that in this age of technology there is no written record of the events of our lives.
They have started carrying a journal with them and keeping this record.

I, for one, have tried to keep this record in the past. I even tried keeping one on the computer but I kept forgetting to add events and pretty soon I was so behind I never returned. That happens more often than not.
The new leaf I have turned is the realization that all of these things can be kept in ONE book. Before this I thought my deeper thoughts had to have their own book, my "to do" lists another book, my schedules another book and so on. Now I carry one journal around and keep it all in that one book.

It is so liberating. Each morning I write in the date and anything I want to write. I might start by writing a verse that really stood out to me when I was reading, or the fact that my kid is currently smearing jam all over his face, or that I have been struggling with patience. Then from there I can write my "to do" list for that day. The possibilities are endless and it's all kept in one book.

You really should try it. Just for a week. Then after the week is done you have a journal of that week that includes everything from the mundane to the significant and it got recorded, instead of forgotten.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Slightly Addicted

I am part of the SAFE Team on Etsy and in our forum today Aunt Nancy Soap mentioned this link. You can watch Molly the owl live as she cares for her little owlette. It started out with just a bit of curiousity and now I find myself checking on her every time I get on the computer. It is so amazing to be this close.

So if you would like to be addicted as well go here Live Owl Nest Box Cam

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Great Expectations

As I just begin this journey of discovering and deciding which course I am going to take in homeschooling I have found myself conflicted. There's the side that holds onto this image of the psychotic mom who has her 5 year old speaking 3 different languages fluently and boasts of how her precious one is so advanced and beyond his years. Then there's the other side that is so laid back the child is almost held back from advancing when he is ready and desirous to learn because we don't want to "push" him.

Thus far I have moved pretty much at my son's pace. He was ready to learn his letters and wanted to "do school" at a very young age so I just went with it. He is reading very well now but as people ask me where he is at I find myself instinctively making excuses so they know I am not a Nazi mom who is pushing him too hard.

Recently I've been beginning to think more about this instinct to explain myself. For my book club this past month we read the biography of John Calvin, who at a very young age accomplished so many things and was always an avid studier. My sister-in-law also told me about a book she's been reading about a family in the pioneer days. This book tells the story of a little 8 year old girl was given charge over the garden. She was responsible to till it, plant, work and harvest the vegetables for her family. If someone did that today most people would respond with a gasp and exclaim, "What about this girl's childhood!!" In history we find countless examples of children who accomplished some amazing feats and yet today our standards seem to fall very short of this. I'm not saying that there are allowances for the gifted and of course not every child is going to be a mozart or einstein but it is interesting that what we consider gifted today was considered commonplace not so long ago.

Our culture is a culture of leisure. I myself find that I work hard so that I can "play". If only I can get this done and then I can rest. Maybe I should be enjoying the work I've been given instead of wishing it away and working only for the off times. I think this attitude is pressed on our children as well. I have found myself on several different occasions thinking, "I shouldn't ask them to do such and such because they just need to play. They'll have plenty of time to work later." Now I"m wondering if that attitude is doing them any favors. Maybe I should teach them to take pleasure in the work they are given. Of course they can still have time to play but maybe I should be teaching them more about how to enjoy work instead of thinking of them as needing so much luxurious leisure.

This brings my thoughts back to school. I am now beginning to think there is nothing wrong with encouraging and even pushing (at times) to greater heights. Using the skills they have been given and capitalizing on them instead of holding them back because they seem too young. What arbitrary standard am I using anyway? Because I am homeschooling I am not bound to grades or levels. I can proceed at my child's pace not anyone else's. So why don't I? Why don't I keep pressing forward no matter what that means? If he is ready...let's go!!

No more making excuses. Yes, he reads and reads well and he loves math and we love school and we work and work hard sometimes but we find joy in all these things.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Winners Welcome

I recently joined the SAFE team on Etsy (Soap Artisans Friends of Etsy) and each month we are presented with a challenge. We have to make a soap or bath product on a specific theme and then it is voted on by you....the masses of people who love all natural bath products!

So, it is time for the unveiling of the St. Patricks Day competition! If you go to the SAFE blog you can leave a comment and be entered to win one of these very fine products.

So PLEASE go vote!! I am not going so far as to say that you have to vote for me but it would be nice....

Monday, March 1, 2010

Four Green Fields

I have a new soap of the month for March. I have done it in honor of St Patrick's Day. I'm still debating whether this soap will be a limited edition or not. Beer is very tricky to work with and initially I almost had a volcano on my hands. It all worked out in the end and this soap is lovely but it still leaves me wondering if I should relegate it exclusively to St. Patrick's Day.

Four Green Fields truly does make it seem like you are literally in a field. I like to think of myself as being in an Irish field although I have yet to actually place my toes in the soil there, but still I can dream. I tried to use scents that would compliment the beer so I chose sage and rosemary and colored it with parsley powder. My sister-in-law compared it to the freshly mowed grass. You'll have to smell it to decide for yourself what you think it reminds you of.

So lift your glass (or your soap for that matter) and give three cheers for St. Patrick's Day!