Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Focus frustration

I've experienced huge amounts of frustration with my own blog writing recently. Posting here is a delightful way to share what I'm thinking and learning about, and it is a great way for me to see and track my own growth over the years.

However, what I learn and think most about is barely showing up in my writing here - developmental attachment and our growth to our full human potential.  In pondering my frustration with myself, I've been watching what drives my writing and posts here.  It turns out, I spend huge amounts of time elsewhere writing about what I know and am learning via the Neufeld paradigm.  I think this means when I come here, I've essentually used up that part of my brain - I'm out of gas. The blog becomes a place to share all the other fun stuff in my day.

Knowing this hasn't given me any answers - I can't really stop writing there to write here, and I can't push myself to do more when I'm used up. It does have me thinking about my frustrations in a different light.  I'm still in the process of seeing how I spend my time and energy, and I'm sure I'll come up with a solution that delights me - at some point.

In the meantime, thanks so much for sharing in my adventures.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I'm Elmo and I Know It

In our early dating, one of the shared interests Bill and I discovered is our tendency to take songs and create our own words for them.  This has become a family past time, and youtube is full of inspiration.

My favorite right now is a take-off on "I'm sexy and I know it."  Check out Elmo!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Absurdist Quinoa

Quinoa field image from
My college years were spent at the University of Puget Sound earning a degree in French Language and Literature.  During my senior year, I became fixated on the existential theories of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus.  In particular, my 21 year old brain and life understanding was captured by the idea of "absurism."

Absurdism, as I remember it 20+ years later, focused on the idea that the outcomes of our actions might have very little to do with our intentions. As a sort of morbid example - I might, hoping to make the world a better place one life at a time, hand a snack bar to a homeless person. Unknown to me they are illiterate and deathly allergic to peanuts.  So my act of generosity and goodwill would kill the very person I was trying to help the moment they opened my gift.

Somewhere in my mid 20s, existentialism and absurdism lost its magnetic hold over me.  I do find it popping into my thoughts from time to time as I'm sure the universe is laughing at my impotent human attempts to control the world around me.

Yesterday I came across a clear example of absurdism in everyday life.  It turns out those of us enchanted by the wonderful properties and health benefits of quinoa have inadvertently been destroying the cultures that survived on it for so many years. The Guardian reports about it here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Theo and I are in love with a new potential pet - miniature pigs!

Pocket pigs weight about 30 pounds, get to be about 12-16 inches tall, and are extremely clean and intelligent.  They live 15-20 years

Here is possibly the cutest little piggie video ever.  Meet Hamlet!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Busy Cindy weekend coming!

Our Seattle Neufeld Community leadership team has been sooooo busy recently.  Honestly, sooooo busy.

One of the exciting outcomes is a list of sure to be incredible events with Cindy Leavitt, faculty member of the Neufeld Institute.  We also now have a beautiful new website and a fancy and deeply useful registration tool.

Cindy is coming Valentine's Day weekend.  Her presentations focus on our children's and our own hearts.  In a world where keeping hearts safe is so underappriciated, I think her talks will be both refreshing and inspiring.  
Wed, February 13, 6:30pm - Heart Matters-Winning, Safeguarding, and Strengthening Your Child’s Heart
Sat, February 16, 8:30am - Growing Together-Relationship as a Vehicle for Transformation

And because my fellow team members are so creative and brilliant, we're having a date night event! Music with both Paul Durham and Miss Rose & Her Rhythm Percolators while sipping drinks with friends and supporting our growing community - how fun is that?!
Sat, February 16, 8pm - Date Night Fundraiser

Join us!  Or if you live far away, humor me and click on the link to admire the glorious work that is blossoming here in Seattle!

Scheduling Disaster

Something I struggle with as a homeschooler, or maybe this is just a trick for parents in general these days, is managing our family's schedule.

When the kids were little our time was so simple.  Mealtimes, naps and bedtime defined the structure of the day, we had to go to the grocery story once a week and maybe we'd throw some playtime with friends (aka Mommy's social time) into the week.

Now with older kids who can and want to do more, plus my taking on classes and business work, it all seems very complex.  There is a whole stack of things we need and want to do. Homeschooling time, foundational classes and extra activities.  Field trips and adventures.  Time with friends.  Family game night. Date time for all the various combinations and permutations of the members of our family so we all get one on one connection time.  We still need to go the grocery store.  Time to cook and enjoy meals as a family.  Time to relax and get to know ourselves. Daddy work time, Mommy work time. Walks for the dog. CrossFit time for the mommy.

My iCal is a fantastic mosaic of colors and activities. I have separate calendars for Sara, Kids & Family, SNC work time, Bill's travel, birthdays.  I'm also subscribed to calendars for US holidays, the Seattle Sounders and the Seattle Public Schools. In hopes of keeping everyone where they need to be and all the balls in the air, I even make sure to put in appointments for meals and bedtimes.

Getting everything onto the calendar and making sure I'm not committing to being 2 or even 3 places at the same time seems like building a house of cards.  So many elements, I proceed slowly and delicately until I have a beautiful towering structure that is surprisingly solid and sound. For months or even entire quarters the structure functions beautifully and our household hums along peacefully.

And then, one day, some scheduling wind whips through my iCal and whole house comes fluttering down.

Yesterday that wind went by the name "Soccer Practice." In one small blow, something that happened on Tuesday and Thursdays for years moved to Monday and Wednesday.  Suddenly, nothing works anymore - work time, choir practice, childcare time, board meetings, bill paying time, personal Sara time are all up in the air.  I find myself now reluctanly staring at a game of 52 card pick-up. 

I'm sure my creative parts will kick in again soon, and a new and even better iCal structure will arise from the pile.  But for right now, I'm just going to mourn the loss of something that worked and the need to start over again.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Writing time!

This month I've signed my kids up for a writing class with BraveWriter. We'll be working on mini-reports.

Theo and I did a class with them last spring and I was beyond impressed.  A friend recommended the cirriculum to me a few years ago and I cherry picked the parts I thought Theo needed and was ready for: copy work, dictations and reverse dictations.  Once he got comfortable with those, we added in freewrites.  As freewrites became easy, I realized I didn't know what to do next.  The Kids Write Basic class was starting, so we tried it.

Funny, but the most important things I learned from the class weren't specific steps to take, but the posture I need to have to best coach my children in writing. Things like (in my Neufeld words) being warm, creating a huge invitation for their ideas, making lots of space for joy and frustration in the process and keeping in mind that writing is its own maturation process. 

Julie, the founder, has such an amazing eye for our goals of raising children (homeschooling or not).  Go check out her blog and sign up for her newsletter for regular breezes of delight and inspiration!

Yesterday, Theo decided to write his report on an antique foosball table he played on in Ecuador.  Rosie will be doing a report on animals in Ecudaor.  I'm looking forward to learning a variety of formats for helping children record and integrate the material they learn on at least some of our amazing adventures being homeschoolers affords us.

Maybe I'll be able to post their finished work here next month.