Day (Night) Story

Outside my window... winter wonderland. It is snowing, and we have a weather advisory. Thinking the highschoolers’ co-op will be cancelled tomorrow morning.
I am thinking…that I have tried three times to complete my weekly review this weekend- and it still hasn’t happened. So,now- I am procrastinating and writing this post!
I am thankful… for time around the table on Sundays. For the Piano Guys Playlist streaming through my bedroom via the Echo that was a Christmas Gift from my brother- and all the feels. This IS my music. For good talks with my loved ones, my darlings. For hot tea and chocolate. For oatmeal with raw honey. For GRACE (and my whole soul raised up in praise and an inner shout)
In the kitchen… Asian Beef made by Todd and it WAS amazing!
I am wearing… still my cozy church clothes- thick, creamy tan sweater, black knit top, black skirt with almost golden flowers. I think I was loathe to take this warm, pretty outfit off today. I also thought I would be heading out to a lesson that ended up cancelling because of weather-  This skirt is from long ago- that still fits- maybe even better than it used to- so there’s that. But my headband is round my neck, and my hair is down and going a wee bit crazy- kind of like my mind.
I am creating…the Mid-Year Report for colleges; updating the high school transcripts with semester grades; this blog post; tomorrow’s day plan
I am going…to run around tomorrow afternoon and evening- unless the snow cancels all. I am going to squeal with glee when Todd finally gets into our bed after working.
I am wondering…hmmm. I am wondering so much, I don’t know what to write here!
I am readingWingfeather Tales by Andrew Peterson, Different by Sally and Nathan Clarkson, Passion for the Impossible by Rockness, Charlotte Mason Home Education Volume 1 Part 3- I just finished Middlemarch by George Eliot, and I am pondering Becoming Mrs. Lewis (plus many others)
-with children, I am reading: My Father’s Dragon; The Horse and His Boy; The Hundred Acre Wood; Heidi; various picture books
I am hoping... to feel much better this week and to sleep better.
I am looking forward to…a special time with a cousin; annual birthday meal out with my birthday “twin” brother; one-on-one times
I am learning…about learning challenges and homeschooling with learning disabilities; I am learning about myself and how to be a more fully nurtured and invested person to pour out more richly.
Around the house… so many things. Where do I start? In March, I plan to begin trying to follow the Motivated Moms household checklist for maintenance tasks. And- all our chore routines need a hearty refresher!

 

I am pondering…Mystie Winckler’s Weekly Review Email that came out this weekend. And-
— she writes:

“It’s about knowing how to show up each morning and how to help the kids do the same. It’s about holding on through the storms – whether the storm is inside us or the storm is the child’s doing or our current situations are storming or it’s all three making a whirling tempest.

We can do it. We must do it.

Sometimes, homeschooling is a mind game –

with ourselves and with our kids.”

Later on, she says, “We are the atmosphere.”

And– I was ready to go deep in and deep under- until Todd pulled me up and out. With nary a blink of the eye. Christ is the atmosphere. It doesn’t mean I don’t have a responsibility. It doesn’t mean that I don’t need to show up with a positive force and focus. But…. he reminded me of a sermon we recently heard at church and one of the points was that the worship leader and that leader’s stainless life is NOT the focus- Christ is the focus.– and the same is true in our homeschool and should always be true.

Thank You, Lord for the gospel. And let me tell you, those storms she lists up there. Yeah. I’ve got all of those.

O! Let me wake up thinking about how to magnify Christ in my homeschool!

Note: there is a lot more to that email- and some wonderful “meat” to chew on. But, the prompt asked, “What am I pondering…” — and, well- there you have it.

One of my favorite things... dairy free whip cream on hot chocolate and coffee! O, I waited years for that stuff.

Something funny…I was at the Chik-Fil-A on Saturday with my Nathanael and Asher. The Chik-Fil-A in my town has a drive through situation that makes my heart race when I am in my big van- but I was enduring for the lemonade! The line wraps around the building through a parking lot complete with a stop sign. I was waiting at the stop sign and looked to the left. There– was a Yield Sign– and I read (in my head):

YIELD:

to the exciting

drivers (!)

and I thought: My! Chik-Fil-A is taking their positive vibe to a whole new level! Then, I read the sign again- and realized it said:

EXITING

drivers

EXITING NOT EXCITING

O! we laughed. And then, laughed again when we told Todd.

A peek into my day… this was not today– but still.

Norah and Mellie painted my toes. One foot purple (M)/the other pink (N). It made me laugh. They did it on a day I wasn’t feeling well. Nurtured by my wee, small girls. And Norah painted her own fingers and toes- blue and pink. Roses- forever my pleasure (thank you, my love). And,– me and tea with my darling.

Mary Oliver

I learned today- as a happenstance-

on social media, no less- 

from another

I consider kindred

that Mary Oliver (renowned poet) died 

yesterday.

This day of mine

-my own-

has been long and full of tumble

yet

I am fighting for this quiet pause

to

acknowledge this beautiful poet

-this soul-

whose prose (A Poetry Handbook) to this day

is in easy reach on my bedside table

and first and still

takes my breath,

distills me in a moment of held time,

makes my

heart to pound with hard, illuminated rhythm,

captivates intellect, soul, -my

self

“Poetry is a life cherishing force. And it requires a vision- a faith, to use an old-fashioned term. Yes, indeed. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry. Yes, indeed” (122).

whenever I read her pieces whether

prose or poetry:

a life- giving spark–

lilting hope

even

–the lyric pulse

in me–

quakes to life with a thrumming joyous hum:

and I want to respond to her charge-

so powerfully proffered to her generation and all the world:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild, and precious life?”

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver

 

 

What is it I plan to do?

And you?

O, me!

I want to respond to her charge.

Mary Oliver. Thank you.

 

As way leads on to way (Robert Frost)

Blog of my heart (and dear, welcomed reader), I am here. Committed more than ever to write. O, the quiet moments with hot drink beside and writing my way to peace.

I have a jumble of posts in mind and in drafts… and so much longing to … is it eke out? or unleash? or scribe? or scratch down? I don’t know. So much longing to gather myself to post.

So I begin with some poetry and the way connections can ignite learning. And the gentle way Morning Meeting leads us:

We recently had the wonderful experience of learning new vocabulary words in a vivid and personal way: alms and almoner. (and I thought I knew what these words meant… but it took an inquisitive question from a child to fully unveil meanings)  It all started like this:

We read this poem for October by Longfellow:

Autumn

Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain,
With banners, by great gales incessant fanned,
Brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand,
And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain!
Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne,
Upon thy bridge of gold; thy royal hand
Outstretched with benedictions o’er the land,
Blessing the farms through all thy vast domain!
Thy shield is the red harvest moon, suspended
So long beneath the heaven’s o’erhanging eaves;
Thy steps are by the farmer’s prayers attended;
Like flames upon an altar shine the sheaves;
And, following thee, in thy ovation splendid,
Thine almoner, the wind, scatters the golden leaves!

(And O! we were heralded by the rain! Incessant rain. Unending rain. So much rain, the color came late and felt so sparse.

And the greatest riches found in these delicious words- both the poem above and the poem below. Richness, Color, Life. Gentle, un-pressured reading of the beautiful words is life-giving.)

Then a little while later, through a happy circumstance, I happened upon this:

ALMS IN AUTUMN

Spindle-wood, spindle-wood, will you lend me, pray,
A little flaming lantern to guide me on my way?
The fairies all have vanished from the meadow and the glen,
And I would fain go seeking till I find them once again.
Lend me now a lantern that I may bear a light
To find the hidden pathway in the darkness of the night.

Ash-tree, ash-tree, throw me, if you please,
Throw me down a slender branch of russet-gold keys.
I fear the gates of Fairyland may all be shut so fast
That nothing but your magic keys will ever take me past.
I’ll tie them to my girdle, and as I go along
My heart will find a comfort in the tinkle of their song.

Holly-bush, holly-bush, help me in my task,
A pocketful of berries is all the alms I ask :
A pocketful of berries to thread in golden strands
(I would not go a-visiting with nothing in my hands).
So fine will be the rosy chains, so gay, so glossy bright,
They’ll set the realms of Fairyland all dancing with delight.

ROSE FYLEMAN

 

My young son asked: what is an alm? And so we did a little research and discovered: alms are charity, money, or food given to the needy; gifts given to relieve the poor

and this led to the exploration of almoner: the official chaplain or church officer who distributes the gifts to the poor; also a prince can have an almoner.

And both these poems suddenly came vividly alive to us. And with that wild leap of connection that poetry offers: we are realizing- the wind is our almoner; the alms of autumn are for us:

The wind- scattering the golden leaves to us- the needy ones.

The Alms of Autumn: pocketful of russet berries (and so much more)

(O, how the beauty of Autumn is an alm for the needy heart- and o!the wind as almoner.)

And so– way leads on to way. The poetry way. The most gentle, rich, and textured way to learn poetry is simply to read it every day. I find nuanced meanings become clearer and clearer- writing themselves on mind and heart- until they become a treasure trove of mind and heart… (how we all spout out: O wind a- blowing all day long! O wind who sings so loud a song! on a blustery windy day- just because we spent slow time in those rhythmic words)

Blessings on your school year,

Rebecca

 

 

Live and Learn and Giving my Life to God

I wrote this a little bit ago- as I worked to process a lot of incoherent emotions and difficulty in myself while I tried to begin needed work for Nathanael. For me, senior year is difficult. One, we cast a wide net as far as college searching goes- and it is a very uncertain time for our family. Even though I am doing things differently with Nathanael- there is still a lot of uncertainty.  Two, it is a very difficult balance and dance with an almost young adult child and student. I think I wish there were clear answers and a defined path- but for us, so far, really there has not been. And there are a lot of hard decisions. All the time.  So, now- for the post I wrote:

It is not amiss to say that I have been having some post-traumatic stress responses as I face a senior year again so soon after Micah’s.

I have some resources/a link I want to share with dear readers and friends- so I am working to unearth some of the swirl of challenge in my soul to write this post.

I have passionately and vehemently proclaimed a motto of “Live and Learn” in response to my experience reaching graduation and homeschooling to college. My family knows it well. My students (children) have been recipients of said proclamation. I have made several adjustments to our home school based on what I have learned through my experience with my two oldest sons (one graduated and one now! a senior)- and I am working on implementing them immediately.

One area I have been struggling with is remorse and regret. While Micah is off to the college of his choice, a Honors Program participant, and a (large) Scholarship recipient, it is very clear to me (in retrospect) some areas where I should have done better in the application and record keeping process. And not only that, but also in our academic journey. I have made immediate changes for 2018-19 with my high school students- and potentially- my seventh grader. All of that said, I have been struggling manfully to move forward and do some things differently starting immediately with Nathanael’s college journey. I become entangled in my spun web of remorse and regret- and guilt.  Micah’s horizon is golden (thank You, Lord) but there is some financial stress and hardship that breaks my heart. The only thing I can do is continue forward into each day “living and learning” in the Lord.

My whole heart, soul, sweat, blood, and tears are wrapped up in last year. It is hard to move forward in the wake of it all. But, I must. And, I am. I have to leave that part behind and move on and move in and move forward. I have a brown-eyed blessing looking to me- for more than courses, credits, and transcripts. For Life. For the Lord. For God’s Love. For Stability and yes, for all. the. things (scholarship applications, essays, records, recommendation letters, college visits, college interviews and on, on).

With that said, I have to trust that I did the best I could with what I had- and in the areas that I didn’t (because there was an area I actively resisted- and O! I regret it!) , God’s grace is more than sufficient. And this is where I give the whole of my life to God… successes, failures, decisions, dreams. I give all into His Hand. I release it all and continue to move forward into each day with the best (Lord willing) that I have. I need to actively choose to trust His provision in the life of each of my children- individually- as I continue to do my (insufficient) best by them. But where I am insufficient- HE is sufficient- and this is where I am struggling to rest.

One of the areas that I am doing differently (and that might benefit someone out there) is in the area of home school record keeping and transcripts for high school. This was a little tricky for me with Micah because we are in a diploma program and I did not fully understand- but- now, I do. I took our diploma program credential as sufficient accreditation and proof of the integrity of our learning program- when, in reality, our studies went far, far beyond their basic requirements- and it would have been much, much better if I would have provided the full scope of my student’s learning through a Comprehensive Record File.

Note: I did provide the Official Transcript, School Profile, Counselor Letter, Recommenders, Essays, Writing Samples (where needed/requested), ACT and SAT scores and more.

Sometimes, I struggle to give the time needed to all the details, paperwork, and record keeping that makes up a well-documented home school (I wonder: is this really needed? Isn’t there someone else who could do this? Shouldn’t my student be doing this? How do I spend the time on this? I have also questioned how to figure out where my child should apply to college, what colleges, Christian or secular, commuter or residential… And the questioning can swirl on and on- effectively making me inert when I should be in active, directed motion)

– but I have learned that it is a wise and needed investment to dig in and work on this needed, detailed paperwork. I have also learned that it is a worthy life work and the end result- a comprehensive record is a worthy testimony and document of a journey well- lived. It is also a gift to my student- who will have documentation, work samples, and a reflection of these very special years to carry forward into their adult life. With Google Drive and other Cloud Applications, it is easy to upload such records for safe keeping and no clutter. Ready right at the fingertips whenever needed.

So, with those thoughts unearthed and uncovered, dear friends, I would like to recommend (with absolutely no affiliation or benefit to myself)

Lee Binz’s Comprehensive Record Solution and Total Transcript Solution.

I attended a Free Webinar called Super Scholarships for Humble Homeschoolers and was able to access a special for the Record Solution with the Total Transcript a free bonus.  These resources have everything I needed last year (for Micah) and didn’t have. Templates and examples right at the fingertips. I googled many things (last year) like Activities Resume, School Profile examples, Counselor Letters, and so on. And I do suggest research- but having all this right at hand is SO helpful.

I do not know if compiling a comprehensive record for Nathanael will open a greater pathway for financial provision for him- as Micah did get right to the full tuition interview at Messiah and alternate for another full scholarship- but at least I will have the confidence, peace, and security of knowing that I did all needed. Nathanael is also going to apply for a selective scholarship that Micah did not apply for- that will need all of these details- so I must trust this is the Lord’s timing. I learned a lot- and I am going forward in the living.

Lord, let me see Your goodness in the Land of the Living. Increase our trust in You. Forgive me.

Friends, I pray you are blessed in your journey- wherever that may be and how the Lord leads you.

For His excellent greatness (Psalm 150:2)

Rebecca

Hidden, quiet- but still real

cropped-img_20180709_1616300451.jpg

 

My words have been hidden in the quiet. Caught and streaked across smudged pages. Typed hurriedly into a notebook app. A haphazard collecting of a scattering of days.

The water flows under the bridge. On, on. This life streams forward, too.

I have words to share here: writing words, and educating words; family words, and beauty words; truth-seeking words, and gratitude.

Writing is a path for me to reach my own longed-for destination.

Mostly, I want to find myself cupping full each day. Cupping faces and rubbing backs. Reading words that fill heart and mind. And more, and more. And this is just stream of consciousness and my mind’s eye and a deep breath:

We have seen “beavers” (ground hogs) munching grass, and chipmunks scurry with pointed tail, we are the happy home of one delightful, young wild brown rabbit- whom we have watched grow from wee, little baby to bounding youth; there was the drive home with the twin, dappled fawns staggering on their baby legs across the dimpled road- while the twins in my car squealed with delight – and the wise teenager next to me offered insight; there were butterfly winged- girls stretching out on the paved path; there was the happy accomplishment of  better tended geraniums; there was the Chesapeake Bay awash in rain; there were days swimming and soaking up sun, and then coming home for tortilla pizza; there was the “309” with my Dad at the diner; and a carefully prepared flute song for a birthday gift; there were Irish fiddle tunes, and cello tunes; there were stories cuddled up in the black leather chair; there was perfect, hot, salted kettle popcorn made just for me; and Orange Ginger Mint tea.  There were days upon days of Algebra 1, and a blue ballet wrap skirt twirling with the grace of my girl, there was a concerted effort to “train” for soccer; there was an Indonesian chair and music streaming from a grand piano; there was Sandymount in the rain; there was my bedroom alight with white candles- and my recognition that it was just like I thought it would be; firefly catching, and sparklers; there were (several) white knuckled drives, and a flood…

Our grass is long, and our house is in disarray. There is tending here, repair there, and organization needed. And without taking this time- it is enough to sink me low.  In fact it does, and I am.

But there is that Maryland sky- stretching above, streaking hope and glory- on the most unlikely of days. Todd called me out the other day. And I didn’t go. Craving just those few minutes alone, along to get work done on the computer. It was satisfying to make that small headway. It was regretful to miss those glory moments. But in my mind’s eye, I was there.  How do I know what to choose, and what I need? I did need those moments alone.  And I still feel the peace from that headway made…

The light has started to change. The earth shifts. My whole self feels it. I sense the early darkness- on its way.

It is a time of great transition for me. But it is also a time of staying true. Returning to beginnings. Practicing faithfulness.

It is time to get ready for school.

Up next, something I wrote a week ago or so…

~Rebecca

 

 

 

 

Painted Toes and a Polka Dot Skirt

 

We are on our way to a Memorial Day picnic.

Maryland is in full bloom.

Her sky, an ocean in texture and mood,

today awash in puffs and sleeves of wisping cotton.

The landscape rolling away in breaking sunlight.

Everything green and golden.

My heart so light and free.

In fun and high spirits, I spontaneously paint toes. It feels so carefree, and I think I can probably count on one hand how many times in 18 years I have painted my own toes. Truth. I rarely feel carefree.

I paint to match my wee girls who chose colors during little girl club(whose toes are painted frequently- all things considered) earlier in the week… and whose wee feet tripping brightly through the hours of the days

have

leant their own lightness to my heart.

Somehow, painted toes always seem so carefree

to me. And, while I

so rarely

feel carefree-

–today,

toes and polka dots

for me.

There are many different ways to shine a candle in the darkness; celebrate beauty among workaday duties; rejoice in all things;

A smear of lipstick, the flowering beauty flooding my Instagram stream, chocolate cupcakes tucked away in a quiet room with my youngest son, a tale told of birds at a feeder during a work day – and I see the cardinal; I see the chickadee, a little girl running determinedly barefoot in the grass, an imperfect poetry party and picnic in the yard,

and painted toes for me.

I choose joy.

 

 

May 1st, 2018

Micah ranked up to Eagle Scout (8 p.m) and made a College Choice Decision (8 a.m.).

I scanned and emailed Honors College and Scholar Forms that were due today…

We discovered that two physical merit badges were missing…which led to an investigation of a possible need to take a trip to the (far away) Scout shop (we didn’t have to…)

I had an unfortunate issue relating to a job that caused the overturn of purse and backpack-

which then led

to me forgetting to put my wallet back in my purse (unknowingly)

while traversing to a piano lesson and then the store- where I proceeded to fill my cart with needed items for dinner and unknowingly- no wallet.

To which God provided miraculously through said purse (but not through my wallet) 

which was then located at home, safely placed, in the wrong purse.

To which, then, dinner was made – and a Scouting Uniform attended to-

and then the grand load up of kith and kin to attend Micah’s major milestone-

which involved traversing in two cars- for a reason which shall remain un-named-

forthwith- we all arrived in due time and crunched together in one small room-

Waiting the momentous event and enjoying cell phone pictures of a wee baby bunny and

a pool newly opened- from Pennsylvania family

to which we were the happy recipients of the next Troop 9 Eagle Scout and a long, hard journey completed-

which, hopefully, oldest son will always hold in his heart.

Because, he

chose Eagle.

It was an infamous, difficult, anxious, finally completed

day.

And this verse-

Isaiah 40:31 ESV; emphasis mine

31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like

EAGLES

they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.