Saturday, April 30, 2011

Divided Yet Visibly United

"For him [Pope John Paul II], holiness was an opportunity for union with other churches. He always said that there were many witnesses of faith: Protestants, such as Bonhoeffer, and Russian Orthodox who gave their lives for the Church. So while we are divided, we are also visibly united in holiness. This was a great idea that lit up his entire pontificate. " ~ Arz. Piero Marini, Master of Liturgical Ceremonies of John Paul II

See video here: The Saints of John Paul II

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chapter 7: Nine Dollars

"There is basic 2011 reality hidden in this Little House chapter: financial needs, raising college funds, job layoffs, and the realization that the more we have, the more we want. Contentment seems to be harder to obtain nowadays than a job. That’s pretty bad.

"In reading Laura’s books we are repeatedly yet calmly and joyfully reminded how to pull up our work boots and put our best foot forward. We are also reminded how to find contentment in the face of adversity. It kind of helps us to remember that people faced the same problems in the 19th century that we still face in the 21st century."


Read my sharing and pondering here and please let me know if you ever used pepper in your chicken's bran mash ;-) : Chapter 7: Nine Dollars

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An Invitation to Little House Read-Along

Did you grow up with Laura Ingalls Wilder? 

I did!

There's a read along @ Beyond Little House happening right now and I'm scheduled to share my thoughts and ponderings on chapter seven (7) of Little Town on the Prairie.

I'll let you know when it gets posted. In the meantime, if you'd like to follow the read-along of Little Town on the Prairie, go to the site to catch-up on chapters 1-6 posted here for your convenience:

Chapter One: Surprise
Chapter Two: Springtime on the Claim
Chapter Three: The Necessary Cat
Chapter Four: The Happy Days
Chapter Five: Working in Town
Chapter Six: The Month of Roses

Monday, April 25, 2011

Nothing Like Gladness

I wrote at the end of March my constant springtime re-awakening of anything written by Charlotte Mason and how a meat-and-bones skeleton of her teaching pedagogy glues very well onto my family's unschooling spine.

This week we left the harry of our life, that towering plunge of school books (the one I circused into our homeschool), and a million little "good" things that now seem so trivial since we aren't in the mist of them.

We are where the winds toss boats and there are diamonds on the lake. We are where family gathers in a circle and communal cooking is norm. Where kids get dirty with sidewalk chalk and mud baths and it's totally ok.

 We've walked every day to the lakeside, a cascade of cousins to join us.
And through a friend, Charlotte Mason whispers: ". . . Never be within doors when you can rightly be without. Besides, the gain of an hour or two in the open air, there is this to be considered: meals taken al fresco are usually joyous, and there is nothing like gladness for converting meat and drink into healthy blood and tissue. All the time, too, the children are storing up memories of a happy childhood." --19th-century English educator Charlotte Mason

Homemade fishing poles complete with Cheeto fishing bait are part of this.

 As is the engineering and construction of dams and ports and city walls.

And making crabby-patties and clay cakes because cooking meals is as important as constructing bridges.

"Into all our lives, in many simple, familiar, homely ways, God infuses this element of joy from the surprises of life, which unexpectedly brighten our days and fill our eyes with light." ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Small, simple, familiar, homely things such as bubble wands and wind which spin and string many miles of bubbled fun.

And cousins just being together.

"If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in nature and will realize that it is holy and sacred. We will see God reaching out to us in every wind that blows, every sunrise and sunset, every cloud in the sky, every flower that blooms, and every leaf that fades." ~ Oswald Chambers 
 "Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

It is good for all of us, not just our students, to "sit down quietly" at times so that the butterflies of happiness may alight upon us and we can go back into the world that does not often sit still yet keep a part of ourselves generated with faith and happiness and motivated by joy.

"I often think flowers are the angels' alphabet whereby they write on hills and fields mysterious and beautiful lessons for us to feel and learn." ~ Louisa May Alcott

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Favorite Parts from Yours, Mine, and Ours

Grocery bill for their family of 20 rings up to $126.63. Gone are the good ol' days, huh?


Frank Beardsley: "It's giving life that counts. Until you're ready for it, all the rest is just a big fraud. All the crazy haircuts in the world won't keep it turning. Life isn't a love in, it's the dishes and the orthodontist and the shoe repairman and... ground round instead of roast beef. And I'll tell you something else: it isn't going to a bed with a man that proves you're in love with him; it's getting up in the morning and facing the drab, miserable, wonderful everyday world with him that counts."


When the judge asks Helen what they do to make it all work, she replies: "It takes a lot of love, a little discipline, and a husband who doesn't criticize."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chelsea's Creations

I tend to lean more towards the creative unschooler side when it comes to bedtimes, nighttime reading hours, and creative projects.
For years the inner muse visited me late at night and my early bird counterparts fretted at my late hours and later mornings.
I did some of my best writing during those hours.

My daughter was bored at midnight. She rose from bed and, without a scolding parent to prevent the muse from visiting her, she painted.
The detail in these Matuska nesting dolls would not have happened during daylight hours when...

...apples in bowls beg to be eaten, wind flaps leaves on sunny days, and beach-going plans cut flips in her mind like seagulls in the sky.

There are worse things one can be doing at midnight.
I prefer to encourage visits from the muse.

Nothing Says Lovin' Like... chickens!

They squawk, flap their wings, nod their heads, cluck with glee, and wiggle their tail feathers when they see me coming.

No one greets me quite the way my chickens do.

Love my chickens!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Picture-Perfect Easter

If your library or local bookstore has these titles, then embrace the moment with your child.
Hillside Education still offers these Mosaic titles freely at their site.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Delighting in Strawberry Season

 First fruits of spring...
We do bucket gardening for our strawberries. It isn't that we get a large harvest from one bucket's time to do two or three more buckets, but at least we get enough berries to treat ourselves to a lush dessert.
Strawberry Delight

Sponge Cake or Pound Cake Slices
2 small packets or 1 large packet of French vanilla pudding
1 large container cool whip

Layer cake slices at bottom of dessert bowl.
Place sliced strawberries on top of cake slices.
Mix pudding and spread on top of strawberries.
Spread cool whip on top of pudding.
Repeat layers.
Top with final layer of strawberries.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Empty or Too Full?

There is a lot discussed in homeschooling circles concerning the differences between stress and burnout. The two words are often intermingled in conversation and every February it creeps into our homes, our co-ops, and our online discussion forums.

My son's college-level Enterprise book (by William B. Gartner/ Marlene G. Bellamy) recognizes the differences between burnout and stress as follows:

"Signs of burnout are typically more mental than physical. Other feelings that indicate burnout include powerlessness, isolations, despair, cynicism, and apathy. You feel overwhelmed, sad, and empty. All your problems seem too big to overcome, and you are not motivated to take action to change the situation. You begin to pull away from family and friends.

"Burnout is not the same as stress, although it may be seen as the result of too much stress. Where stress creates feelings of too much pressure and too many demands, burnout leads to feelings of emptiness, of not caring, of pulling away and tuning out."

It seems obvious to me that the differences are quite clear:
Stress is a sense of having too much; burnout is a feeling of utter emptiness.
Springtime seems to release us of this habitual burden of discerning whether we are merely stressed or have been bubbled into fullblown burnout. I found this chart very helpful and thought during this spring it'd might be helpful for some of us to brush-up on issues of feeling insufficient and clearing the weeds left in our path from this past winter:



Characterized by overengagement
Emotions are overreactive
Produces urgency and hyperactivity
Loss of energy
Leads to anxiety disorders
Primary damage is physical
May kill you prematurely


Characterized by disengagement
Emotions are blunted
Produces helplessness and hopelessness
Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope
Leads to detachment and depression
Primary damage is emotional

(Enterprise by William B. Gartner & Marlene G. Bellamy/ pg. 483)

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