Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, ROWnd #3

My Birthday ROW – Goals Update #7

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What’s YOUR Mission?

From my July 29 750 Words entry: Today, in honor of my birthday, I am going to give my focus to one of my ROW80 goals, one I have been pondering quite a bit, but haven’t yet written anything for…

What I am going to do, once I stop with the procrastination that is really a way of getting myself into the right place…is to draft my Mission Statement – my declaration of what I want to accomplish with my writing, and what I want my writing to accomplish, both for myself and for my (hopefully growing and largely loyal) readership.

And possibly even the rest of the world, who might someday bump into my words.

So, 111 words later, I am centering myself in the place where I can begin (no, this won’t likely be the full or final version, just a beginning – a tossing-down of ideas and impressions….)

But I am also watching the Olympics, so I’ll start after these floor exercises…


My Mission Statement:

  • I will write only from my inner sense of truth.

  • I will write the stories in my head, and those that I dream, letting them flow from me without forcing or contriving.

  • I will write, as much a possible, from a place of kindness, and, failing that, a place of compassion.

  • I will claim the stories of my lives, even when those stories are not pretty.

  • When the stories are ugly, and others have a place in that ugliness, I will present the story with perspective and without blame – because, when people do ugly things, I believe we do them out of wounded places within us.

  • I will revel in my writing.

  • Writing will be my avocation – not a chore or a duty, but a joy and bliss…

  • I will learn myself, and the inner reality of my soul.

  • I will learn others, and the outer world.

  • I will deepen and broaden in the process.

  • When I can, I will present a guidepost along the way, to point others toward a direction they may have been seeking.

  • When I can, I will offer a way to awaken, to see more deeply and clearly.

  • I will question assumptions, including my own, especially those that seem so often to go thoroughly unexamined.

  • I will free my creativity to play in whatever areas most delight it.

  • I will share the magic I find in the everyday, and offer it freely to anyone who wishes to partake of it.

  • I will support others who are seeking or moving in tune to their own deepest purpose.

  • I will focus on the positives – laughter, joy, healing, peace, wonder….and because this is a world of opposites and degrees and infinite shadings, when I must reveal the darker side of things, I will always seek, even there, the hint of light and love and the possibility of better moments ahead.

  • I will be generous with my words and my thoughts, giving much away without asking anything in return, except perhaps to know when my words have touched someone…

  • In my life, I will move toward joy and sweetness and peace, and I will joyfully share the journey.

  • I will stretch and reach and strive, and grow…and that will mean offering my words in more places, and interacting more fully…

I think that’s all I have for now. This one was intended to be more like a brainstorming session, anyway…a rough putting-down of ideas and impressions…

It feels right, or close to right, but I will give it a couple of days to rest, and then look it over and see if it feels the same way after some time apart…

Goals for ROW80 ROWnd 3, 2012

WIP Novels:

Trueborn Series

  • Trueborn:
  • Reread current rough drafts from 1998-9ish and 2000.
  • I have completed the loose-leaf draft, jotting notes and impressions as I read.
  • I have begun rereading the spiral-bound draft. There’s no room for jotting notes, here, so I will add notes in a separate notebook, as needed. As this draft is richer in details, I envision the next draft as being something of a combination of the two.
  • I am currently on page 42 of 341.

 

  • Triage existing research.
  • I have gone through the research I have, and have loosely categorized it.
  • Over the next days, I will devise a storage system for this research, and implement it.

     

  • Blood and Breath:
  • Create a flash fiction piece for each story arc point.
  • I have begun, in a small way, by creating the first of my flash fiction pieces.
  • There are many pieces left to write, but, now that the ice is effectively broken, things should proceed much more smoothly.

     

  • Chameleon’s Dish:
  • Go through each scene to edit, take notes, and list research questions.
  • I have begun the research list with Chapter One, Scene #1, which I reinputted and edited last week.
  • It’s a modest beginning, and still a beginning! =)

 

  • Complete basic research based upon library books and websites; looking for information to enhance later digging and prevent hugely obvious gaffes).
  • I completed The Colonial Cookbook.
  • I have read 115 of 252 pages in Shakespeare’s England.
  • When I have completed the book above, I will have attained the library book portion of this goal.

 

Flash Fiction WIPs:

  • Look through all current pieces in my Writing Bullpen files.
  • I decided to work first with “A Splash of Red”, written during last round, which has been submitted and rejected once.

     

  • Complete/edit/rewrite where indicated.
  • I have made a few very minor changes; mostly, I like this story just as written.

     

  • Explore markets.
  • I have chosen my next market for “A Splash of Red”.
  • I will make my submission tonight (Sunday night) as a birthday gift to myself!

 

  • Go through old story notebooks for source material.
  • I have gathered the old story materials I have found into two central holding areas – one in my bedroom and the other in my office.
  • Over the coming weeks, I will organize and begin to choose projects I might like to play with in future rounds.

 

Essay WIPs:

  • Look through all current pieces in my Writing Bullpen file.
  • I chose to work first with an unschooling essay I wrote in June 2011, “Learning From Another Angle”.
  • I reread this piece, and will revise it for posting at The Unfettered Life.

 

 Administration Ad Infinitum….:

  • Standardized Test for Miah (due Sept.1).
  • The test has arrived.
  • Jeremiah completed his placement tests for reading, language, and math. It was interesting that he did well, with no formal lessons and very little preparation. He has always been a keen Homeschoolobserver and adept at making conenctions and extrapolations, though, so maybe it’s not really surprising that he’s picked up a lot more than I thought he had.
  • Eager to get the process underway, Jeremiah completed the reading test. I scanned through his answers, and he looks to have done very well (I suspect this will be his strongest area; he’s been a fluent and avid reader since he was 7, and often reads for personal research).
  • We have four weeks to complete the test, but it seems we will need far less time.

 

  • Relax, enjoy, learn, grow, laugh, and … BREATHE!
  • Done! New computer bought for Miah. Annalise inherited the old one.
  • We had some laughter and snuggles and conversation, and just being together, or alone, as we needed.

 

Reading:

  • Continue reading books – aim for 7 in July, 8 in August, and 9 in September, but these targets will be flexible – summer is prime traveling time for the kids and I and we have things planned and others we’re considering.
  • The Colonial Cookbook – Completed.
  • the five people you meet in heaven Completed.
  • The Digital Writer’s Guide to Blogging (ebook) – Completed.
  • Container Gardening page 192 of 256.
  • Shakespeare’s Englandpage 115 of 252.
  • I have completed 5 of 7 books for this month.

 

  • Read at least one book each month from my Kindle Cloud Reader, as a learning and experimenting process.
  • I completedThe Digital Writer’s Guide to Blogging.
  • I have attained this goal for this month.

 

  • Continue reading an average of three articles from my To Be Read files, weekly.
  • I have not read any of these this week.
  • I am considering changing this goal to simply going through these files as time, interest, and other projects permit.

 

Other Writing:

  • Play with flash fiction pieces as the mood strikes; aim for two submittable stories each month.
  • I created the first of the Blood and Breath story arc flash fiction pieces, as noted above.
  • I made a few slight changes to, and submitted, “A Splash of Red”.
  • I have submitted 1 of 2 stories for this month’s goal.

 

  • Play with essay ideas as desired; aim for three submittable essays each month.
  • I have edited and revised the 750 Words piece I wrote on July 25, and used as the introduction to my last update post.
  • I am allowing this to rest a bit, and have chosen a market for submission after a final edit.

 

 

 

  • Use 750 Words for whatever – flash pieces, essays, venting, ranting, reports, book reviews, etc.
  • I have used the site for flash fiction, essays, storybuilding, lists of upcoming projects, accounts of our days, and to start a rough draft of my Mission Statement.

     

  • Join in the August NaNo Challenge; write 50,000 words of rough draft of To Be or Not To Be(Jeniah’s life, continued after the conclusion of Blood and Breath, perhaps encompassing everything before the events chronicled in my Solemates stories….
  • This is a new goal.
  • In the next day or two, I will sign up for the challenge.
  • I have begun storybuilding in a very, very general sense. I like to begin very unformed, and let the story be mostly born as I go along….always the most delightful surprises, that way, and almost always better than what I might have planned!

 

Blogging/Connecting:

  • The Unfettered Life:
  • This goal has been revised, and now reads:
  •  Post updates, perhaps roughly categorized to make creating reports easier.
  • Begin using this blog in a way that really supports documenting, so that it does double duty as a personal tool for me in the way it once did.
  • I have plans, but have not yet posted. Blogs seem to be taking a backseat to novel WIPs, at the moment.
  • At some point, my focus will shift, and then I will likely be blogging extensively again.

 

  •  Shanjeniah:
  • This goal has been revised, and now reads:
  • Aim to post, as opportunities arise, non-ROW80 update material. This may take the form of adding to my pages; creating new ones; other challenges, blog hops, etc; writing samples of various types; musings on writing and life; guest posts; photo essays; or whatever else seems relevant at the time.
  • I have ideas, but haven’t enacted any of them yet.

 

  • Organizing/Tootling my Horn…
  • Choose a new notebook; input into Penzu.
  • I am on page 11 of 140 in my October/November 1999 notebook.

 

  • Continue reading marketing and ebook publishing sites and articles.
  • I completed The Digital Writer’s Guide to Blogging, as noted above.

 

  • Draft a loose Mission Statement to guide me through the rest of the ROWnd, and carry me forward into the next.
  • It seemed fitting to begin this on my birthday, and so I did. It’s not complete by any means; more of a brainstorming session.
  • I will return to this in the coming days.

 

  • Set aside time each week to winnow email. Read items being saved for later reading, sort or dispose as indicated.
  • I have kept my Inbox below 50 messages.
  • I have unsubscribed from two more sites I don’t currently read at – more keep cropping up, so I will continue doing this periodically.
  • I have filed or deleted most of the remaining unread emails from last week.
  • Be bold and daring in commenting, sharing, and submitting. Declare myself, learn, grow, and sometimes do things that make me uncomfortable. Open and blossom!
  • I’m not sure I was especially bold about it, but I did respond to several comments at shanjeniah.
  • For this week, I will focus first on the many comments awaiting responses over at my Tiny Buddha guest post. Those have been there a while; I was feeling overwhelm at the response…but now, it’s far past time to dive in, so here I come!

 

  • Celebrating Life!
  • Add some form of specific motion (t’ai chi, swimming, hiking, biking, skating, dancing, etc) to each week. Keep track of what, where, when, for how long, and how I felt during and after.
  • I have done a few hours of hometending, a few minutes of weeding in my raised bed, and a few minute each day of dancing. I’ve also been more focused on long stretches.
  • I have been a little achy (it’s rained some,here, lately), and my knees have twinged some, but not much.
  • I’m feeling a little burn in my quads, glutes, abs, and biceps, which I am taking as a good sign.

 

  • Fill us all up with joy, and continue cultivating family peace.
  • It continues to be a time of both closeness and friction between the children. Both are going through some major growth right now, and that tends to leave them feeling out-of-sorts and off-balance far more often than in more stable periods.
  • A year ago, I would have reacted much more quickly. Now, there is a little space, and I tend to think before I address things, and to simply be present more rather than trying to direct the children toward peaceful resolutions.
  • This approach is keeping the explosions more contained, and that helps them to pass more quickly and with less residual damage.
  • I am also being far gentler with myself, which is helping through the last days of July and my most hormonal days. =D
  • As for joy, there will be a birthday party for both children this weekend, and Jeremiah will soon have a new Lenovo laptop (early birthday gift), and Lise has inherited the old Acer, just as she is becoming able to read well enough to really navigate.

 

  • Spend time cleaning and beautifying my personal internal and external spaces each week.
  • I have spent a bit of time in my room, and a bit more than that tidying in my office.
  • I have continued to allow myself the space for the inner ponderings and wanderings that are so much a part of my life, right now.

 

  • Embrace and be present in all my moments.
  • I am finding this a bit easier to do as time goes on. I still forget for parts of each day, but I have noticed that life flows better and more joyously when I remember.

 

  • Allow my emotions to be as they are. Practice expressing them calmly and reflectively.
  • I’m doing very well with this. Often, I find myself yelling often during the hormonal 48 hours, but I’ve barely raised my voice the last few days, although I have had irritation and annoyance in it.

 

  • Tend kindly and sweetly to myself and others. =)
  • To the best of my ability!

 

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Challenges and Contests, Flash Fiction Pieces, Life Writing, ROWnd #3, Uncategorized

Life, Death, and Gratitude -ROW Update #6

If you enjoy this post, and are so inclined, please leave something you are grateful for in the comments…I love knowing the little things that delight others.

Excerpt from July 25, 2012 75 Words entry…

I have been gearing up to write the flash fiction versions of the points for my Blood and Breath story arc. These will, I hope, form the basis for each chapter, with a built in sense of urgency due to their beginnings.

But today is July 25, and July 25 marks the end of Elijah’s Days.…the 12 days that encompassed the entire lifetime of our second child.

I have been living twice, at once, today. I am in the here and now – and I have sunk simultaneously nine years back in time, to the day in 2003 when our baby boy died….peacefully, without fanfare, simply slipping away forever beyond our reach….where we knew his soul had already gone….

A Pegacorn curled in her egg….

Today, here, live a girl who just turned 8 (a mere five days before Elijah’s Days commenced), a man who nearly died on the eve of his last birthday when a deer collided with his motorcycle, a boy who will be 11 in a bit more that five weeks, who was only 22 months old when his brother came and left so quickly, and who still carries his own memories of that time.

And me. In four days, I will be 43 years old.

My own day of birth is so close to my son’s day of death, that the two are inextricably linked in my soul; just as Annalise’s birthday, five days short of a year after that of the brother she never met, will always be inextricably bound up with his birth, and death….

If Elijah had lived, there would be no Annalise.

It’s been 8 years since she got here – and she is hugely here. She is a robust girl, interested in nature and genetics and anatomy and storytelling and fashion and horses and art…and a great many other things, as well…..

She is so very here, it’s hard to imagine a world or a life without her.

We would not be who we are, as a family.

I would not be who I am, as a parent….

Or as a woman.

There is a part of me that needed a daughter. Maybe always, maybe only after the traumatic experience of loving and letting go….of a newborn.

There is something in me that only awoke after I was the mother of a daughter….a part of me neither Jeremiah nor Jim have ever needed.

I think it’s the root of my femaleness, and hers; a way of embracing it, championing it, protecting it – without acting as though femaleness is superior to maleness.

Because, of course, it isn’t.

But neither is it worse…..

I have learned to let go of many many things since Elijah died, and I had little choice but to let him go, to let go too of the fantasy of a perfect and complete family…

As we were, three years ago….

We are a complete family, and yet we are not.

There is this fracture…..like the eight ribs that Jim fractured when he collided with the hard surface of the road, 100 feet from where he had been…

We’ve healed….we are healing, over and over, and yet that break remains.

A life was severed from us, and all the possibilities that life held.

Elijah lived only 12 days. The entirety of that life was spent in St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, NY. Most of that time was spent in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

There aren’t many memories to console ourselves with, to hang tightly to and treasure….

And maybe that’s a blessing. Maybe, in some sense, it is what forced us not to remain there, remembering and grieving, but to reach into our future, to remake our family, to remake our lives…

I have said, but seldom had it understood, that Elijah is the impetus behind our unschooling, although it was another five years before we even began to move in this direction.

Sadly, and perhaps unavoidably, considering where we began, we needed to live through several more years of controlling and forcing and punishing…..and those too-frequent outbursts of rage, directed at my children, that were the inheritance of my own childhood, by nurture and nature….

But, where I had accepted, before Elijah, that I needed to be in control in order to be a good parent, his death plunged me into a deeper place. I began to wonder why so much of mainstream parenting was about manipulating children to suit the adults “in charge”, and to wonder how this might tie in to people who see nothing wrong, as adults, in doing to their children the same things they KNEW were unfair, when they themselves were children.

Tiny Tiger, age 8 days.

I began to question…how does love laced with pain affect people? Are the people we call adults infallible? Are they always grown? Is surviving childhood enough? If my remaining children died tomorrow, what regrets would I have?

And those questions began to lead to a new and gentler way of being…..I am still learning, and growing….

And so, in some odd sense, so is Elijah….

 And now, for my ROW80 goals….

WIP Novels:

Trueborn Series

  • Trueborn:
  • Reread current rough drafts from 1998-9ish and 2000.
  • I am currently on Chapter Forty-Nine, page 196 of 240, still jotting notes and impressions as I reread.
  • Triage existing research.
  • I have begun moving the raw research to my work space, which I will be sharing with Jeremiah as he moves through his testing process. We’ll see if that means I wait to sort until later, or if we can work side-by side…
  • Blood and Breath:
  • Create a flash fiction piece for each story arc point.
  • I attempted to write the first flash fiction piece, and had trouble finding my opening point.
  • Instead, I wrote some sketchy backstory and plot elements. A few pieces that had not quite fit fell softly into place, and,when I begin to write again, I think I will find it far easier and truer.
  • Use Scrivener to compile into a pre-rough draft.
  • I am going to change this goal slightly. I like Scrivener, but, on more than one occasion, some of my files (files I know I saved) are not available to me, later.
  • I am therefore going to experiment with another program I have learned of, yWriter. It’s free, so I will explore it for this novel, and keep using Scrivener for Chameleon’s Dish, at least for now.
  • Chameleon’s Dish:
  • Finish inputting into Scrivener ( completed during break).
  • I did finish this – but fifteen chapters seem to have gone missing. I will be reinputting them as I edit them, and, if Scrivener loses them after that, I will stop using it.
  • Complete basic research based upon library books and websites; looking for information to enhance later digging and prevent hugely obvious gaffes).
  • My research reading has been going well.
  • Hamlet and Shakespeare: His Work and His World have been completed.
  • I am on page 120 of 128 in The Colonial Cookbook, and may copy several recipes to try later – tactile research, you might say, or fertile play.
  • I am on page 80 of 252 of Shakespeare’s England. I am reading for impressions rather than note-taking.
  • Experiment with removing Tisira’s story as a YA novel, with a potential optional add-on of the fanfic elements….not sure how this will work, exactly, but I think it might be the best approach to have something marketable without sacrificing my vision.
  • I think I have at least the beginnings of an idea on how to separate the stories, without losing the flavor of either, or of both, together.
  • I have begun, in a tiny way, to explore this, while re-inputting and editing the first scene, which involves only Tisira.
Jeremiah made himself three kinds of eggs!

Homeschool Administration Ad Infinitum….:

  • Standardized Test for Miah (due Sept.1).
  • On Tuesday, Jeremiah and I had a mom/son date, and bought his pencils and an electric pencil sharpener with a cord,
  • When we got home, Jeremiah set up his work area in my office…we will share the space so that he has a dedicated place to do the testing.
  • Wednesday evening, I ordered the PASS test – it is specifically designed for homeschoolers not familiar with taking tests, and will fit into our lives rather than causing stressful disruptions in it.
  • The test should be here by midweek next week. We have four weeks to complete it, so I am thinking we will start slowly, unless Miah wants to dive in.
  • IHIPs for both children (due four weeks after receipt of packet from school district).
  • The rough drafts of both IHIPs are completed.
  • I plan to let them rest while I return to the fourth quarter reports, and return to them when I finish the report drafts or want a break from them.
  • Begin setting up portfolios for both children – invite them to be a part of this process! =)
  • I took a few more photos, and sorted a bit more art for this project.
  • Relax, enjoy, learn, grow, laugh, and … BREATHE!
  • Check. Jeremiah and I enjoyed shopping together, doing a half-mile on the track at the Y (we had been planning on t’ai chi, but he wasn’t up to the newness of it, and I was a bit concerned about my knees. We had lunch at Bruegger’s, and thoroughly enjoyed our time.
  • Meanwhile, Jim took Annalise to my parents’ house, because my mother had stopped on the way home to tell Annalise she had a gift for her. They also enjoyed watching ChoBits together.
  • Both children are growing – physically, mentally, and emotionally. This has created some turbulence and disequilibrium, which seem to have coincided with Elijah’s Days, and the ebb in my energy cycle….
  • We’re all doing what we can to ride the waves with as little soaking as possible, and this does seem to be a less threatening degree of turbulence than we’ve had before…
  • Last week’s creative torrents have slipped into this week’s mellower, more sedentary pastimes…but Miah cleaned the guinea’s cage and learned to use a compass (the kind for making circles; he already knew how to read a compass), while Annalise detangled her own hair, and took a solo road walk. There’s been reading, TV, and gaming – and lots and lots of connection and flowing conversation….and we are finalizing plans for their birthday party! =)
Pegacorn hatching…..

Reading:

  • Continue reading books for Bookmark Break Challenge – aim for 7 in July, 8 in August, and 9 in September, but these targets will be flexible – summer is prime traveling time for the kids and I and we have things planned and others we’re considering.
  • I have decided to let go of the official challenge, but not the reading. I will just set my own parameters, and read what delights me.
  • I am at peace with this decision, and I am grateful the Challenge was there to get me reading.
  • Guerrilla Learning Completed.
  • The Mermaid Chair – Completed.
  • Container Gardening – page 120 of 256.
  • Shakespeare’s England – page 80 of 252.
  • Since I have decided to drop the challenge, I can count The Colonial Cookbook (cookbooks weren’t allowed in the challenge). I am on page 120 of 128.
  • I have completed 3 of 7 books for this month.
  • Read at least one book each month from my Kindle Cloud Reader, as a learning and experimenting process.
  • I am continuing on with The Digital Writer’s Guide to Blogging. I have completed 64% of this book.

Other Writing:

  • Play with flash fiction pieces as the mood strikes; aim for two submittable stories each month.
  • I played a bit more with my prologue scene (not sure it hasn’t left flash territory, though), and with the opening point for the Blood and Breath story arc, although I didn’t complete anything.
  • Play with essay ideas as desired; aim for three submittable essays each month.
  • I have written a few things in 750 Words that may eventually become essays.
  • I am still composting ideas, but I feel them bubbling up to the surface; stronger now, almost a boil…and they are winding their way into my fiction planning, too….
  • Use 750 Words for whatever – flash pieces, essays, venting, ranting, reports, book reviews, etc.
  • I played more with my prologue scene.
  • I made two exploratory efforts at Blood and Breath flash fiction.
  • Those attempts led to story stuff; and I have a deeper sense of the story than I did.
  • I wrote the beginning and ending passages for my last update.
  • I wrote a bit of a tribute to Elijah, on the anniversary of his death.
A future short order breakfast cook, perhaps?
  • Organizing/Tootling my Horn…
  • Choose a new notebook; input into Penzu.
  • Jeremiah chose my October/November 1999 Writing Practice Notebook.
  • I am on page 3 of 140.
  • Continue reading marketing and ebook publishing sites and articles.
  • I am in the midst of a marketing ebook (see above).
  • Draft a loose Mission Statement to guide me through the rest of the ROWnd, and carry me forward into the next.
  • More of this is surfacing from my deeps; I think I will be writing soon! =)
  • Set aside time each week to winnow email. Read items being saved for later reading, sort or dispose as indicated.
  • My Inbox is a bit full, right now, as I have been tending to other things and not reading much from there. But it is my intention to keep it under 50 messages, and there are still more businesses and sites I will be unsubscribing from as I fine-tune this tool.
  • Be bold and daring in commenting, sharing, and submitting. Declare myself, learn, grow, and sometimes do things that make me uncomfortable. Open and blossom!
  • Like so many of the other things here….I feel it coming, a grand upswell of daring and adventure. I don’t know yet what forms it will take, but I know that it will come, and I am quietly setting myself to flow into it when it arrives…
Pegacorn, hatched and celebrating life!

Celebrating Life!

  • Add some form of specific motion (t’ai chi, swimming, hiking, biking, skating, dancing, etc) to each week. Keep track of what, where, when, for how long, and how I felt during and after.
  • Monday was shopping with Miah, and walking and a bit of very light jogging on the Y track. It totaled half a mile, and, while my right knee caught several times, it was never the intensely painful locking it has been doing since May. I am looking forward to more time at the Y, hopefully helping the knee to recuperate.
  • I have done hometending and some weeding, and just a tiny bit of dancing.
  • Fill us all up with joy, and continue cultivating family peace.
  • I have been in an ebb phase, more inclined to quietness than exuberance. Still, the kids seem to be in a similar, hibernating place this week, so maybe that is the best energy to be having, right now.
  • The children have discovered that, if neither parent intervenes in their disputes, they can often work them out or just forget them. This has led to somewhat more conflict, but definitely more that they are resolving on their own, There is growth and deeper peace for us all in this, although it may take some time for both to equalize and absorb the new skills they are learning.
  • Spend time cleaning and beautifying my personal internal and external spaces each week.
  • I have worked some in my own room, and a little in my office.
  • I have gone deeper and more quietly into myself over the last days, as new things brew within me…
  • Embrace and be present in all my moments.
  • I am continuing to strive toward this goal, and I am seeing more grace, beauty, and sweetness in life…
  • Allow my emotions to be as they are. Practice expressing them calmly and reflectively.
  • The last few days have been calm and reflective for me in their nature. I am learning.
  • Tend kindly and sweetly to myself and others. =)
  • I have felt very tired, and maybe not as sweet as I might be. I am trying to make up for that when I can, and with the gift of my time and attention.

Annalise, then 5: Cameron, 9, and Jeremiah , 8.

So, it’s the day after the end of Elijah’s Days. The kids are in the midst of a South Park and Ruby Gloom session on Netflix.

I am bouncing between hometending, party organization, and reading, and writing.

The storms that were threatened…serious ones, with chances for tornadoes (not frequent, here, and we do not have a basement), have not yet arrived, although the hour or two before dark became progressively darker.

I am hugely pregnant with ideas and epiphanies, and, soon, I think, they will begin to break over me in crashing waves.

Annalise has an extremely wobbly top front tooth. Her milk teeth do not give up easily. The permanent tooth below is shoving it so far down and forward that we took to calling it Crazy Tooth two weeks ago.

We talked about the meanings of “imminent”, and “black market”, and Annalise and I discussed indexes, life in Shakespeare’s time, and colonial cooking.

We’ve discussed, the children and I, their guest list, party activities, and menu. The party will be next weekend, halfway between their birthdays, at an indoor play space they love, but which is a bit pricey to get to often.

When we come home, we will have my 12 year-old nephew, Cameron, who goes to school but wishes he didn’t, and who adds a “big brother figure” to our mix.

Ready for their close-ups!

Cam always wants to go to the state museum, and to the Y to swim. We’ve included him in other trips – to a local haunted house, to the neighborhood Aerosciences Museum, to our unschooling co-op, and to CMOST, which has a digital planetarium he loved.

Life will be swirly and maybe somewhat hectic, but largely in a good way…

So, just now, I am enjoying the lull…the quiet space of days between now and Sunday, when my own birthday will mark the figurative end of our July roller-coaster, and we begin moving outward into the world and bringing the world back in with us.

The lull before what is within me, building and growing, breaks wide open, and there is no cure for it but to write, and learn myself, and become, in the process, deeper and wider, so that there is always more awaiting its time to break loose, and more to be explored.

Hot , rumpled, and happy in Plymouth, MA, 2010

I am wrapped in a quiet type of gratitude –

  • for ebbs and flows,
  • for the taste of frozen grapes,
  • for Jeremiah making three types of eggs (sunny side up, over easy, and scrambled), just because he wanted to.
  • For the Pegafil (that’s a Pegacorn filly, of course – and a Pegacorn is a winged unicorn) who hatched in my backyard and asked me if I would own her.
  • For the many animals Lise sees in the clouds, and the tree that looks like a cascading firework.
  • For the fact that Jim took the car, and will be home before too long.
  • For the messy chaos of our lives, and the sweetness.
  • For all three of my children – the gloriously living, and the long-dead, who still lives on in my soul and makes me better.
  • For a dog who looks at me adoringly, and greets me each morning, shoving his nose up under my hands if I stop scratching his head too soon.
  • For the sound of guinea pigs purring.
  • For the sight of Margot the Manx out hunting at the edge of the brush that borders our yard, and the way she startles into perfect attentiveness when a young and foolish rabbit hops too close – but does not give chase.
  • For how she and the rabbit share a certain quality of shape and movement.
  • For a mind that stretches and a soul that delves, and the time for stretching and delving to unfold as they will.
  • For nights I stay up until past dawn, and mornings I wake to a peaceful and happy family who so often let me sleep.
  • For hot sweet coffee various people in this house are willing to bring me, because, while I love to drink it, I don’t love preparing it.
  • For good books that weave poignant stories, that engage my soul, and leave me weeping at dawn – silently, so I don’t wake the best friend softly snoring beside me….
  • For my chosen family, so far-flung, but so very much a part of my living.
  • For the growth of compassion, and the beginnings of being able to set to words something that I have longed and needed to say, but which must be said well, else not at all…
  • For the understanding that we each bring our own perceptions to the table, even when we don’t know it…
  • And for the much-needed, rejuvenating rain that has lately fallen on our parched little bit of earth….
  • And for all of you, reading this……
The Sweet Life! Annalise, 4, and Jeremiah, 7, after a trip to the New York State Museum.
Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Challenges and Contests, ROWnd #3

A Slow, Smooth ROW:ROWnd 3, Update #5

What’s ROW80 about? Click the picture!

I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I write since I began ROW80 this past January. I’ve learned that forcing myself never works, but writing in joy and passion creates deep and true writing, and the desire to write more, and then more, and still more, until it seems that every moment, awake and asleep is filled with the thoughts and emotions and fantasies that spring from my writing, and feed, not only it, but the rest of my life, as well.

I’ve learned that setting goals only works if the goals arise from within me, as the organic result of where I am and where I want to go. This changes from day to day, and has little or nothing to do with anyone besides me.

I’ve learned that I can accomplish an amazing amount, and well – so long as I am focused on my goals, and in harmony with my own energy and attention and mood, and with the life flowing on around me.

Lego Tornado, by Annalise!

I’ve learned that when I share my passions with my family, give to them this part of myself that I held separate from them for so long, they are not only supportive, but they will often share in my passion, to some small degree.

I’ve learned that sometimes I have more to say than I can write down, and others, when I am mulling and composting, almost nothing.

I’ve learned that both of those are OK, and so are all the points in between. For me, things build and grow from beneath, and trying to stop that beneath the surface time, or turn it into something else, dams up the process, and leaves me rudderless and powerless, unable to do either.

It’s been a deeper time, here. My focus has been less on new writing (although I have been indulging all my whims for my McCoy / Spock Chameleon’s Dish fanfic prologue), and more on things like homeschool reporting, transcribing an old writing practice notebook, cleaning up email and the house, research, new reading, and rereading the first of the two drafts of Trueborn.

Photos by Annalise, age 8.

It’s a little deceptive. It has seemed, often, like I was in a rut or just spinning my wheels, going over the same things again, and again, and again, with very little new thrown in.

I tried, several times, to add in a book review, or go to blogs to comment, or answer comments, or begin new blog posts, flash fiction, or essays….

Those things really haven’t happened yet, but here’s what did….

ROWnd 3 – Update #5

Inspirations….

WIPs:

Trueborn Series:

  • Trueborn:

  • Reread current rough draft from 1998-9ish and 2000.

  • I have reread and jotted notes up to Chapter Thirty-Nine (page 154 of 240) in the loose leaf binder.

  • This leaves only 86 pages for this draft.

  • Once I complete it, I intend to give myself a little space before beginning the reread of the spiral-bound raft.

  • Triage existing research.

  • I have decided that I will do the triage in the break between rereading the two drafts, and I will use my recently-cleared large worktable space for this project – likely on a “Daddy Night” when Jim takes the children out for several hours so I can have a bit of solitude at home.

  • Chameleon’s Dish:.

  • Compile a print copy for editing, page count, and to see what it looks like!

  • Go through each scene to edit, take notes, and list research questions.

  • Complete basic research based upon library books and websites; looking for information to enhance later digging and prevent hugely obvious gaffes).

  • Hamlet – Completed.

  • Shakespeare‘s England – page 68 of 252. I am no longer taking notes – just reading for the general feel, because the notetaking was ahige job that was threatening to take over the entire research project, and what I am looking for now is a more layered and true vision of the time Henry lived in, and in which Tisira’s portion of the story is set. Deeper research will likely not come in until after I have written the second draft (maybe before the end of the year, and maybe not….).

  • Shakespeare: His Work and His World (reading aloud with kids) Completed. Jeremiah, in particular, loved this book, first asking to read quotes, then sections, aloud. He learned how to read the notations for Acts, Scenes, and Lines, and the flavor of the language, and some translations. He demonstrated that he can read Roman numerals, and he learned a bit about using punctuation to control the meter of poetic lines, and about several plays. He is interested in watching the Mel Gibson Hamlet that caused me to fall in love with the play, in The Reduced Shakespeare Company, and in seeking out other plays (Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and King Henry VIII. We talked about canals in Venice, Jim and I walking across London Bridge – in Lake Havasu, Arizona, believe it or not! – and about Shakespeare in Dead Poets’ Society and Star Trek. So, not only did this book give a lot of information, lovely art, and a sense of the times, it inspired a lot of learning (awesome to put on those silly reports the state demands because they can’t see how kids could possibly find value in Shakespeare if not forced to it!), and a wonderful bonding time. Annalise came and went and learned and shared, but the book is geared toward 11-15 year olds, and some was boring for where she is, right now, at 8.

    Annalise, Lego Man, watercolor, and Barack O’Llama!
  • The Colonial Cookbook – page 102 of 128. I am considering attempting several recipes, or adaptations of recipes, in this book. I like the simple ingredients and low-cost approaches, and the labor is often not intensive, which would allow me the feeling of playing with the food – my favorite thing about cooking. This will also offer me a more sensory understanding of food at the time I am writing about, here.

  • Experiment with removing Tisira’s story as a YA novel, with a potential optional add-on of the fanfic elements….not sure how this will work, exactly, but I think it might be the best approach to have something marketable without sacrificing my vision.

  • I am still playing with the fanfic Prologue scene, between Spock and McCoy. It seems to be a good place to let my mind wander and flow, and I feel a wave of creative expression building and spreading to other topics….

Flash Fiction WIPs

  • Go through old story notebooks for source material.

  • Although not technically from my old notebooks, I have found several old stories, poems, and bits of sketches in the papers I will be triaging for Trueborn. I have set these aside, and will explore them in further depth, likely during ROWnd 4.

Homeschool Administration Ad Infinitum….

  • IHIPs for both children (due four weeks after receipt of packet from school district).

  • I have completed the Social Sciences section for both children.

  • I have adapted both children’s Social Sciences Resources sections

  • I have completed the Visual Arts sections for both.

  • I have adapted the Visual Arts Resources sections for both.

  • I have completed both children’s Music sections.

  • I have adapted the Music Resources sections for both children.

  • I have completed the Foreign Language Arts (FLA) sections for both children.

  • I have adapted the Foreign Language Arts Resources for both.

  • I have completed both children’s Health and Safety sections.

  • I have adapted Annalise’s Health and Safety Resources section.

  • The rough drafts of both reports are nearly completed.

  • Once they’re finished, my plan is to set them aside for, as Miah used to say, “a few whiles”, and then revise, add, delete, attach links, and polish.

  • My ultimate hope is to have them waiting in my email drafts folder, when the district finally sends the packet they are required to send (as every other year, they are already overdue with this, which should be sent within 10 business days of their receipt of our letters of intent (emailed on June 26). Last year, the package arrived toward the end of August, and I didn’t begin the IHIPs until then…this year, I would like to be finished, so that all I will need to do is verify that the law hasn’t changed in any relevant way, and send them on their way! =)

    Learning just as they please!
  • Begin setting up portfolios for both children – invite them to be a part of this process! =)

  • I have taken a few more pictures – of current as well as past creations.

  • Both children and I have discussed my purpose in recording their projects, and various old forgotten favorites found along the way. I stack of things Lise created at age 4.5 were fascinating to her, now, at 8, and I am glad to have them!

  • Relax, enjoy, learn, grow, laugh, and … BREATHE!

  • So far, so good! Lots of baby bird observation, Lego building, link sending, Netflix watching, hometending helping, party planning, Shakespeare exploration, watercoloring, Plate Defending and pet loving going on around here. Far more laughter than tears, and we are regaining our energy and balance post-camping. A very mellow, introspective run of days, for all of us…a place of deepening on many levels.

Reading

  • Continue reading books for Bookmark Break Challenge – aim for 7 in July, 8 in August, and 9 in September, but these targets will be flexible – summer is prime traveling time for the kids and I and we have things planned and others we’re considering.

  • I am considering dropping out of this challenge. I seem to have a lot of trouble remembering to update, although I want to, and I feel I am not quite meeting the purpose of cleaning up the books I’ve begun – I seem to add more new ones, than I do finish old ones….

  • If I do drop this challenge, I still intend to aim for the number of completed books over 100 pages, but my criteria will expand to include a few books I can’t include in the challenge, so most of my reading, even research reading, will count toward my goal.

  • I will consider this until I am certain, and will make a decision by the end of the month.

  • Guerrilla Learning – 194 of 206.

  • Hamlet – Completed.

  • Shakespeare’s England – page 69 of 252.

  • Container Gardening – page 100 of 256.

  • The Mermaid Chair – page 46 of 335.

  • I have completed 2 of 7 books for this month.

  • Continue reading an average of three articles from my To Be Read files, weekly.

  • I have read an average of 3 articles per week.

  • I read Goals, Resolutions, Words.

  • I read Still Waiting.

    Lego Joy, Colorful Lives…..

Other Writing:

  • Write 1 book review each week.

  • Little on this goal since last update – beginnings of a rough draft I really didn’t like.

  • I am considering altering this goal, perhaps to an average of 1 review a week. I know I can complete 2, and possibly 3, in a week, if I am in the proper space – and I clearly am not, just now.

  • I will contemplate this one, and decide by the end of the month.

  • Play with essay ideas as desired; aim for three submittable essays each month.

  • I have been in the composting (not writing) stages of two ideas. One I have written on and need to mull a bit longer, and the other is waiting its moment ot break free.

  • Again, I seem to need to be in a different mental/emotional space for writing. I feel it approaching, but it’s not here yet, and I have learned to go with that sense of things (a big reason why I have so many diverse goals – to take advantage of whatever energy I have, in any given moment, without wasted energy in pursuing things that would be forced and far from joyful!).

  • Write at 750 Words every day, with possible hiatuses for Unschoolers Rock the Campground (July 12-16); Learn Nothing Day (July 24); Northeast Unschooling Conference (August 23-?); and kids’ birthdays (July 8, September 2).On my birthday (July 29), I WRITE!!!

  • I’m still on track for this goal. With the exception of the first day of the ROWnd (when I was so busy posting my goals that I just plain forgot and caught up the next day, and the travel days to and from Unschoolers Rock the Campground 4, I have written at least 750 words every day.

  • I have a request in to join a brand new 750 Words Facebook Group, which will likely provide me with even more incentive to get to the site and do my words each day (I haven’t checked back there, yet, but intend to,perhaps tonight).

  • Use 750 Words for whatever – flash pieces, essays, venting, ranting, reports, book reviews, etc.

  • I have been focused on the fanfic Prologue for Chameleon’s Dish, playing with ideas and plots.

  • I have written the too-autobiographical beginnings of a review draft for To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Midnight (and Corki!).

Blogging/Connecting:

  • Aim to post at least twice a month to The Unfettered Life. Make one of them an update, perhaps roughly categorized to make creating reports easier.

  • I have not posted a second time. I do have three posts in mind – Annalise’s birthday, Elijah’s birthday, and recent activities, growth, and projects.

  • Begin using this blog in a way that really supports documenting, so that it does double duty as a personal tool for me in the way it once did.

  • Each of these posts will achieve this guideline.

Organizing/Tootling my Horn….

  • Continue inputting June 2000 Writing Practice Notebook, if not completed before ROWnd begins.

  • I finished this notebook, and have attained this goal.

  • Choose a new notebook; input into Penzu.

  • Jeremiah selected my next notebook, from April of 1999, I think. I have not yet begun inputting it.

  • Continue sorting and filing files on laptop.

  • I worked on this rather suddenly, when Google Chrome suddenly dropped all my apps and my Theme last week. I also noticed that FaceTheme had gotten loaded (not intentionally!), and I deleted it and a few other programs I do not use or want.

  • After deleting, I added back the apps I use most often. Fortunately, I didn’t lose any of the app account information. I still have apps to add, but I have gone from three pages of apps (many of which I never used), to less than one. I like that.

  • Set aside time each week to winnow email. Read items being saved for later reading, sort or dispose as indicated.

  • My Inbox currently has 52 messages. I have not checked email for 2 days, and I suspect most of these are blog digests, as per my settings.

  • My Leisure Time Reading file now has 99 messages. I suspect it may go up a bit today, before I get to reading again.

    Three faces of Annalise, by Annalise!

Celebrating Life!

  • Add some form of specific motion (t’ai chi, swimming, hiking, biking, skating, dancing, etc) to each week. Keep track of what, where, when, for how long, and how I felt during and after.

  • I have mostly worked at hometending this week. After the physical exertions at camp, I haven’t had energy for much more. I have felt my energy returning, and am looking forward to a more active upcoming week.

  • Fill us all up with joy, and continue cultivating family peace.

  • Did well here. Lots of reading together, some watching TV, a more workable plan for our common spaces, gave the kids more latitude for working through their own issues before I became involved – and, mostly, they settled things without my help. =)

  • Spend time cleaning and beautifying my personal internal and external spaces each week.

  • I have improved the state of my bedroom and my office.

  • I have spent considerable time exploring my own depths, and honoring where I am.

  • Embrace and be present in all my moments.

  • I have been quite present, and am working on embracing and letting be the trickier ones.

  • Allow my emotions to be as they are. Practice expressing them calmly and reflectively.

  • I am allowing my emotions to be most of the time. I am feeling less guilt and fear of my darker places, and, perhaps as a result, I seem to be able to express them more calmly and productively.

So, now, as so often happens when I stop to recount what’s gone on in one of the ebb times, I look up there and realize that there was far more happening than I thought there was, at the time.

  • The notebook has been transcribed, and another chosen.
  • The rough drafts of the children’s IHIPs (Individualized Home Instruction Plans) are nearly complete.
  • I am less than 100 pages from the end of that rough draft.
  • My email is becoming more and more manageable.
  • I delighted in my reading, and shared that delight with the children.
  • We have a saner way of dealing with our common spaces that may even outwit my monthly “48 hours of hormonal hell”.

And, while doing these things, I have been renewing from beneath. Long days at home, where we all orbit each other, but mostly are engaged in our own projects….

And the ideas have been flowing, and growing, and are now beginning to rise to my surface, in a series of tickling little bubbles, each one a delicious surprise.

Soon, I feel, the shift will come, and I may find myself too energized and fertile to be content with the organizational projects I’ve been working on…

Then, I will need to WRITE…Yes, in big capital letters, and with fierce tenderness and truth. I have things to say, things that are beginning to bubble up on the rising tide of my soul. Things that will, soon enough, refuse to remain unsaid….

I expect that, just as today’s heavy, humid calm has given way to spates of rain and the rolling power of thunder, this pregnant pause I have been in must give way to the rolling power of my need to set forth my truths…..

I always wonder how others approach their writing…

How about you?

Do you have goals for every mood, and are you inclined to honor your own shifting balance of energy?

Are you more likely to force yourself to work on what you feel you must work on, whether you feel like it or not, as a matter of routine and discipline?

Is writing your passion, joy, and place of revelry, or is it something you come with determination, prepared to do the hard work of perfecting your craft?

My original ROWnd 3 goals, in their entirely.

The ROW80 Blog Hop!

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Challenges and Contests, ROWnd #3

ROWin’ Through Emotion – ROW80 Update #4

Another brief and bare-bones update. I am writing words, but not words to put here….

A thought….I am considering joining the August NaNoWriMo. I have two novels I am wanting to get going, and doing one in August and the other in November would give me drafts of both to work on.

I’m not sure I will, yet, nor how doing so will affect the goals listed here.

I’ll weigh the factors, and decide before the end of the month…

ROW80 ROWnd 3, 2012

WIPs:

Trueborn Series:

  • Trueborn:

  • Reread current rough draft from 1998-9ish and 2000.

  • I have read and jotted notes through Chapter Thirty–One (page 133 of 240) in the ’90’s draft.

  • I am now more than halfway done with this read-through, and many ideas have occurred, waiting to be expanded upon.

  • Blood and Breath:

  • Complete story arc.

  • I have added Chapters Twenty-Four through Thirty- Five, and the Epilogue.

  • I had thought the arc would comprise 25 chapters, with a prologue and epilogue. It is ten chapters longer, at this point, and I am happy with the development of those chapters.

  • The entire story arc is 18 pages long.

  • I have accomplished this goal!

  • Chameleon’s Dish:

  • Complete basic research based upon library books and websites; looking for information to enhance later digging and prevent hugely obvious gaffes).

  • Hamlet – page 303 of 342.

  • The Colonial Cookbook – page 97 of 128. I made two shoo-fly pies from this book for our potluck dinner during Unschoolers Rock the Campground.

  • Shakespeare’s Englandpage 41 of 252.

Homeschool Administration Ad Infinitum….

  • Standardized Test for Miah (due Sept.1).

  • Jeremiah and I have agreed that we will get his pencils and sharpener early next week, and then I will order the test.

  • IHIPs for both children (due four weeks after receipt of packet from school district).

  • I have adapted both children’s Writing/Spelling sections.

  • I have adapted both children’s English Language Usage sections.

  • I have reviewed their ELA Resources.

  • I have adapted both children’s Arithmetic sections.

  • I have reviewed both children’s Arithmetic Resources.

  • I have adapted both children’s Sciences sections.

  • I have reviewed Annalise’s Sciences Resources.

  • Relax, enjoy, learn, grow, laugh, and … BREATHE!

  • Done and done – a relaxing, happy time for us all, although we are all tired.

  • Annalise, in particular, is exploring – modifying a broken television, creating watercolor art, copying Japanese and English titles, reading, playing Zoo Tycoon, creating computer animations with Scratch, and stop-action movies with her 3DS, and doing pages in a Mountain Wildlife activity book.

Reading

  • Continue reading books for Bookmark Break Challenge – aim for 7 in July, 8 in August, and 9 in September, but these targets will be flexible – summer is prime traveling time for the kids and I and we have things planned and others we’re considering.

  • Hamlet – page 303 of 342.

  • Guerrilla Learning – page 131 of 206.

  • Container Gardening – page 88 of 256.

  • Shakespeare’s England – page 41 of 252.

Other Writing:

  • Write 1 book review each week.

  • I have begun the rough draft of my review of To Kill a Mockingbird.

  • Write at 750 Words every day, with possible hiatuses for Unschoolers Rock the Campground (July 12-16); Learn Nothing Day (July 24); Northeast Unschooling Conference (August 23-?); and kids’ birthdays (July 8, September 2).On my birthday (July 29), I WRITE!!!

  • I have completed my 750 words for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

  • Use 750 Words for whatever – flash pieces, essays, venting, ranting, reports, book reviews, etc.

  • I am currently playing with a fanfic prologue scene for Chameleon’s Dish.

  • I have begun a book review.

Organizing/Tootling my Horn….

  • Continue inputting June 2000 Writing Practice Notebook, if not completed before ROWnd begins.

  • I am on page 94 of 120 –only 26 pages to go!

  • Set aside time each week to winnow email. Read items being saved for later reading, sort or dispose as indicated.

  • Inbox is now empty.

  • I have started to roughly sort messages into myfiles for later reading.

  • I have deleted more sites and a few businesses from my list, and will do weekly rounds of maintenance, to catch offending sites in the bud.

  • It feels good to know that, this time, my Inbox is likely to stay under my control, and I will be able to see and attend to the messages I really want to see – which now, too often, tend to get lost in the flood….

  • I have begun reading and processing the messages in my Leisure Time Reading file (the largest of the folders by a fair margin) – currently at 104 messages.

Celebrating Life!

  • Add some form of specific motion (t’ai chi, swimming, hiking, biking, skating, dancing, etc) to each week. Keep track of what, where, when, for how long, and how I felt during and after.

  • A mellow few days, post-camping. It has been very hot and humid until tonight, when the weather broke.

  • I have done some minor hometending, and, so long as I take it easy, it seems to be energizing.

  • Fill us all up with joy, and continue cultivating family peace.

  • Yup, in a subdued and pondering  manner.

  • Spend time cleaning and beautifying my personal internal and external spaces each week.

  • I did a tiny bit of tidying in my room, and some pondering.

  • Embrace and be present in all my moments.

  • I’ve done well on this one. I’ve been very present.

  • Allow my emotions to be as they are. Practice expressing them calmly and reflectively.

  • I’ve done this well, too – it helps that life has been pretty calm since our return home.

Elijah James Burton, July 13-25, 2003

We are still recuperating from our camping trip, and we’re in the midst of Elijah’s Days. Maybe that’s why I have less to say than normal, and why I seem to be waiting in a space of calm and quiet expectancy…

At any rate, I am reading, and writing, and being present, and connecting with my family, and pondering, and being with myself – and, for now, that’s emough.

I’m sure I’ll find my words again, and my desire for wider connections, but, for now, just know that I am well, and settled, and as at peace as this time will allow.

And I am remembering and honoring a sweet baby boy who came and left again swiftly, and who will forever be a part of all that I am….

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Challenges and Contests, ROWnd #3

Plymouth Rock and ROW – ROW80 Update #3

What’s it all about?

 I’m too tired to write anything to go with this update, but there are pictures…..I hope you enjoy!

Update – ROW80 ROWnd 3, 2012

WIPs:

Trueborn Series:

  • Trueborn:

  • Reread current rough draft from 1998-9ish and 2000.

  • I read and jotted notes up to Chapter Twenty-Three (page 101 of 240).

  • I found the missing pages, which had been misplaced further back in the loose leaf binder that houses this draft.

  • Several alternate storylines and deepenings have occurred to me as I am reading, and I am beginning to really feel this story coming to life in a richer, truer way. =)

    More of our Celebration of Annalise, July 8.
  • Triage existing research.

  • I sorted quickly through the stack of research I collected at the beginning of the ROWnd, and found some very old poetry and stories (yes, so old, if fact, that one still bears an A from senior year English class in 1987!).

  • Next, I plan to categorize the pile that actually pertains to Trueborn (and some will easily carry over to Chameleon’s Dish, as well, for an added efficiency bonus!).

    At Ravenswood, Lise’s choice for her birthday dinner….
  • Blood and Breath:

  • Complete story arc.

  • I added Chapter Twenty-Three.

  • I went back and flashed out the Prologue and Chapters One-Three. These were very sketchy, as written. Now they reflect some of what I have learned in subsequent chapters.

    Popcorn love…..

  • Consider creating a blog for this novel or perhaps for the series, with pages for each novel as it progresses.

  • I posted the Prologue and Chapters 1-3 portions of the story arc in shanjeniah’s Trueborn Jottings.

Homeschool Administration Ad Infinitum….

  • Fourth Quarter reports for both children (due Sept. 1).

  • I have written the base Reading sections for both children; I have written Annalise’s Writing/Spelling section, as well.

  • Standardized Test for Miah (due Sept.1).

  • Jeremiah and I have agreed that he will take the PASS test, and to order it shortly after our camping trip, with the goal of completing and returning it before we go to NEUC on August 23.

  • Before we order the test, though, we will be buying him two bags of #2 pencils and an electric pencil sharpener, as per our agreement.

  • Planning the shopping trip for a week from Tuesday, after he accompanies me to t’ai chi. Once the supplies are here, I have his go-ahead to order the test itself.

    Dinner!
  • IHIPs for both children (due four weeks after receipt of packet from school district).

  • I opened Jeremiah’s IHIP from 2011-2012. Like Annalise’s, it looks like at least parts can be used with some very minor wording changes (it’s easier to write passion-based plans!).

  • I adapted his Reading section, and created a new file for his 2012-2013 IHIP.

  • I also created a new file for Annalise’s 2012 -2013 IHIP, and adapted her Reading section.

  • Begin setting up portfolios for both children invite them to be a part of this process! =)

  • I took some more pictures for the raw files…I love going through things created years ago, mixed in with this week’s creations…such a lovely way to see how they are evolving!

    Birthday cake!
  • Relax, enjoy, learn, grow, laugh, and … BREATHE!

  • Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!!!!!

  • We spent four days with people we love, people who are our chosen family. We swam, we walked a lot, we talked and ate and played and slept (and had a few conflicts and moments of friction that we weathered). We saw swans and fish and interesting insects and small rodent wildlife.

  • Miah and Lise went canoeing with the Woodman family, biked, ran, dug in the sand, gathered lakeweed, jumped off a floating dock, had Nerf gun wars and water gun fights, listened to music, ate cotton candy with glow sticks inside, budgeted their own money, roamed freely, helped as they were inclined, and so much more.

    Pole huggers and grate explorers
  • Annalise played extensively with friends she doesn’t see as often as she would like – Gabriella, Alana, and Gabrielle. She enjoyed time with Harry, Logan, Jeremiah, Maeve, Drue, Declan, Zella, and Makana. She met and played with random others at the beach and around camp.

  • She and Gabriella, while brainstorrming ideas to increase their financial resources (there were more temptations at the camp store than they had money to buy with), they decided to pick up rocks, and offer a selection of custom designs to be drawn on with markers. This venture swelled to include six employees over two days, with profits being evenly shared among them. They created a design list with pricing, gathered rocks, hawked their wares, and created art.

    Blossoms and Blooms…
  • Jeremiah has been asking for more one-on-one time with me of late – he’s hovering at the edge of puberty, and is eager for more adult challenges than a few months ago. We swam together, he helped me participate in the potluck, do laundry, set up and break down camp, and load the car (I would not have gotten the bike rack on nearly as securely as he did.

  • Jeremiah also built, tended and extinguished his own campfire! As a bonus, he was able to pop Jiffy-Pop on it, after much experimentation.

    Margot the Manx loves my newly cleared work space.
  • Miah and I went out to a (more expensive than I am comfortable with) lunch at The Olive Garden, and for iced chai lattes at Starbucks. He charmed pretty much everyone we met, and talked about topics such as Phineas and Ferb, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, aspects of schooling and unschooling, etiquette, standardized testing, and the nature of life. Once again, he amazed and captivated me with the depths he displays, in those quiet, unhurried moments of just he and I.

    Friends at the lake….

Reading

  • Continue reading books for Bookmark Break Challenge – aim for 7 in July, 8 in August, and 9 in September, but these targets will be flexible – summer is prime traveling time for the kids and I and we have things planned and others we’re considering.

  • Hamlet – page 292 of 342.

  • Shakespeare’s England – Life in Elizabethan and Jocobean Times page 23 of 292 (taking notes as I read; this is research reading).

  • Guerrilla Learning I’ve been reading it, but it’s still in the car, so no count until next time, as I am too tired to go fish it out of the bottom of the trunk – I was reading when our friend Emily told us about the impending storm, and then I leapt into action…

  • Many of the books I am currently reading are library books, which I was not comfortable taking camping. As a result, and because reading was in short bursts of alone time or just before sleeping or rising, I didn’t read much over the past several days.

    Happy at the lake!
  • Continue reading an average of three articles from my To Be Read files, weekly.

  • Tiny Buddha article….

  • I read two articles from here this week, largely due to the differing reality of packing and camping. The next few days will likely be restful and recuperative, so I am hoping to bring my average closer to 3 a week, if not a bit more.

  • I can’t list the first article – Why Arrogance is a Virtue for Writers, because all the links seem to be broken….

  • I also read A Letter from Your Calling.

    Tree Rock Art Studio

Other Writing:

  • Write 1 book review each week.

  • I finished one review, for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I was ambitious and included a lot of links for further reading.

  • I am still a review behind my goal. I plan to at least draft two more reviews this week.

  • Play with essay ideas as desired; aim for three submittable essays each month.

  • I wrote something on Elijah’s ninth birthday that might become a submittable essay. I haven’t been back to reread it, yet.

  • Write at 750 Words every day, with possible hiatuses for Unschoolers Rock the Campground (July 12-16); Learn Nothing Day (July 24); Northeast Unschooling Conference (August 23-27); and kids’ birthdays (July 8, September 2).On my birthday (July 29), I WRITE!!!

  • I am continuing to write my words.

  • I did not write on our travel days – Thursday and Sunday – and have not yet gotten my Monday words in (although I plan to take a break from this update, when Jim gets home, and write them).

    Lunch – just Miah and me, at the Olive Garden.
  • Use 750 Words for whatever – flash pieces, essays, venting, ranting, reports, book reviews, etc.

  • Thus far, just light stuff and detailing goals and scheduling for the rest of the ROWnd.

  • After I wrote the above, pre-trip, I also used it for writing about Elijah, playing with the fanfic prologue for Chameleon’s Dish, and detailing some of the events of the weekend.

Blogging/Connecting:

  • Aim to post at least twice a month to The Unfettered Life. Make one of them an update, perhaps roughly categorized to make creating reports easier.

  • I have the makings of two great posts – one about Annalise’s birthday, and the other about Unschoolers Rock the Campground. I plan to write drafts of both this week.

  • Begin using this blog in a way that really supports documenting, so that it does double duty as a personal tool for me in the way it once did.

  • Both of the posts I am planning will accomplish this goal.

  • Aim to post, at least weekly, non-ROW80 update material on shanjeniah. This may take the form of adding to my pages; creating new ones; other challenges, blog hops, etc; writing samples of various types; musings on writing and life; guest posts; photo essays; or whatever else seems relevant at the time.

  • Thus far, I have only posted once, with my book review noted above.

  • I do have some ideas firming up, and will be exploring them soon!

  • Consider and perhaps experiment with creating a blog for the Trueborn series. This could contain excerpts, bits of what I am working on (character sketches, research, flash fiction, story arcs; inspirational images and quotes, etc. Its purpose would be specifically to share the process of creating the series, from the beginning on….in a way, a window into my world and my mind as none of my other spaces are….

  • I added my first post to this new blog – the prologue and first three chapters of the Blood and Breath story arc noted above.

    Jeremiah made his first campfire…..

Organizing/Tootling my Horn….

  • Draft a loose Mission Statement to guide me through the rest of the ROWnd, and carry me forward into the next.

  • I haven’t written anything, yet, but have been mulling this over, and feel the shape and scope becoming clearer. I will be writing soon, I think.

  • Set aside time each week to winnow email. Read items being saved for later reading, sort or dispose as indicated.

  • As of Monday afternoon, my email has been winnowed from 685 to 310 messages.

  • I plan on doing another round of settings and subscription changes this week, as I have pinpointed several sites to eliminate or decrease email receipt from. Even without having done that, though, the first round of changes has made a considerable positive difference in superfluous and unwanted messages.

  • Be bold and daring in commenting, sharing, and submitting. Declare myself, learn, grow, and sometimes do things that make me uncomfortable. Open and blossom!

  • I have shared a bit about Elijah’s life and death. It can be painful to be so open, but it is also healing, and maybe gives a more realistic picture of my grief, through time.

Celebrating Life!

  • Add some form of specific motion (t’ai chi, swimming, hiking, biking, skating, dancing, etc) to each week. Keep track of what, where, when, for how long, and how I felt during and after.

  • I spent a couple of hours swimming, mostly with the children, and enjoyed it tremendously.

  • I set up and broke camp. Breaking camp was a sprint, and exhausting. Setting camp was relaxing.

  • I maintained camp (camp hometending).

  • I walked around camp, and up and down steep hills. It was hot, and I was easily winded going uphill (but active Annalise said there ought to be a bench halfway up, so maybe it just wasn’t me). My knee was better this trip than it has been since I wrenched it in May. =)

  • Hours of driving. Jim figured out how to work the cruise control, which made my knee much more comfortable.

  • Fill us all up with joy, and continue cultivating family peace.

  • As much as I could. Better in some moments than others.

  • Spend time cleaning and beautifying my personal internal and external spaces each week.

  • I enjoyed maintaining our campsite, and filling up my soul with good people, nature, activity, and laughter. I got kissed by the sun, and caressed by the lake. =D

  • Embrace and be present in all my moments.

  • I’m getting better at this. It’s easy to be present while living in nature, and surrounded by others who are practicing presence.

  • Allow my emotions to be as they are. Practice expressing them calmly and reflectively.

  • Yes, I allowed them to be. No, I wasn’t always calm and reflective in expressing them. Camping with children can be frustrating, and more so when I am the solo parent. At one point, I flung Leo the Stick Lion, who was falling out the car despite my having asked several times to have it moved. I forgot to retrieve Leo, and Jeremiah noticed when we were half an hour away from the campground. We went back. I drove an hour more than I needed to….there’s something to be learned there…. and yet, there was a time when my reactions were far more violent and reactive, outbursts were far more frequent, usually directed at a person, and lasted far longer than 30 seconds. I am growing.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot

Book Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot

This book was pressed into my hands by my dear friend, Sylvia Woodman, whose bookshelves I love to browse so much that they would be worth the three-hour drive to New Jersey, even if she, her delightfully spirited family, and embracing home were not.

This is not a story for the faint of heart, or those who would rather not notice the wounds and inequalities of America – past, or present.

It is the story of one woman, her family, her cells, the world, and another young woman who must break down walls of racial mistrust in order to tell it…and the changes and connections forged in the process.

I’d never heard of either Henrietta, nor HeLa, the “immortal” part of her, although, like most people in America, my life has been directly affected by it.

HeLa was the name given to the first human cells grown in a laboratory. The cells came from Henrietta Lacks – more specifically, from the malignant cervical tumor that killed her a few months later.

The cells were given to George Gey, at his request, by Howard Jones, Henrietta’s gynecologist at Johns Hopkins. Neither Henrietta nor her husband were told anything of this, and she died in 1951 without knowing that some of her cells would live on well into the next century.

It was the age of segregation, where white patients and black were treated in separate parts of even a hospital as esteemed as Johns Hopkins. There was an air that the charity extended to the poor black population – Henrietta and her husband were poor tobacco farmers- , and maybe the devaluing of these disenfranchised people, granted the hospital the right to conduct experiments upon them, without their consent.

But Henrietta’s life and death are just the beginning of the story. The complexity of it grew as the years passed, becoming as huge as the volume of Henrietta’s cancerous cervical cells, which, at this point, could possibly outweigh 100 Empire State Buildings, at 50 million metric tons...

.An inexhaustible and generous researcher, George Gey gave HeLa samples away, at first carrying them on his person every time he went to visit a colleague who worked with cells, later shipping them, but never charging or keeping records of where he gave them. The HeLa cells were incredibly fertile doubling in volume about every 23 hours, and there were always more to give away. They have been used for purposes as varied as testing polio vaccine, treatment of diseases such as hemophilia, leukemia, influenza,and Parkinson’s, exploring the effects of the atomic bomb, researching in vitro fertilization, and going to space …and no one in Henrietta’s family – not her husband, her siblings, her many close cousins, and not her children – knew anything about it for more than twenty years .

While people were getting rich selling Hela cells, Henrietta Lacks’ family was trapped in the reality of a poor black family in the southern United States. They did not profit from her famous, indispensable cells, taken without permission – and Henrietta herself lay for years in an unmarked grave, because her family could not afford a tombstone.

HeLa cells are remarkably prolific because they are malignant. Cancer is an uncontrolled rampant growth of cells, and the epidermoid carcinoma Henrietta was afflicted with was particularly virulent -so virulent, in fact, that, when combined with other human cells, it takes over. People given inoculations of HeLa cells developed cancerous growths at the site of the infection. Countless important experiments were tainted by contamination. – if HeLa cells get into the air, they will contaminate what they touch.

When the Lacks family finally learned about HeLa, they did not understand how Henrietta’s cells could be alive when she had been dead for so long. It filled them with fear, anger, and bewilderment. The situation was made far worse when Henrietta’s identity became public, and her family began being sought for interviews, for prestige – and by Johns Hopkins, for improperly represented follow-up genetic testing.

People wanted to talk to them, but no one seemed to want to give answers, and their distrust and rage spiraled, causing devastating effects within an already troubled family.

These ethical aspects of the story struck very close to my own soul…

Nine years ago, when our infant son, Elijah, died, we agreed that his heart valves and tissues could be taken and used for research. After reading this book, I am wondering exactly what it was we consented to, in our desire to bring meaning to our baby’s death. We know the heart valves were given to a little girl, and hopefully they will serve her well during a long and joyous life…

But what of those tissues?

That’s a question I never thought to ask, until I read this book that is at once intimate and universal, and which raises a constellation of questions for which there are no easy answers…

Ratings: 1 to 5, 5 highest

Readability: 5; Very readable.  Almost impossible to set down. The story itself is compelling, the author’s personal commitment to it and  to honoring the Lacks family in the telling makes it gripping.

Thought-provoking/Perception Shifting: 5;  This book changed and deepened my perspective on many levels…ethics, racism, the implications of science, the most basic of rights – the right to one’s own body….I will be pondering these issues for a long time to come.

Credibility: 5; Rebecca Skloot took the time to do her research and to get to know the Lacks family, over a space of years.  She has since created a foundation to honor Henrietta, and to benefit her family.

Overall Score: 5.  A valuable, thought-provoking, unflinching read, with a tender treatment of sensitive subject matter.

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Challenges and Contests, ROWnd #3, Uncategorized

Celebratory ROW – ROWnd 3; Update #2

Wanna know more about ROW80? Click here!

I’ve had a head cold the last few days, Annalise’s birthday was Sunday, and we leave for a five-day campout in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Therefore, I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking, this time…..

Goals for ROW80 ROWnd 3, 2012

WIPs:

Trueborn Series:

  • Trueborn:

  • Reread current rough draft from 1998-9ish and 2000.

  • I am still reading the first draft, from the late ’90s.

  • I have read Chapter 11, and discovered that the beginning of Chapter 12, pages 50 and 51, are missing. If they don’t turn up elsewhere, I will recreate them, from what I already have.

  • I am continuing to jot notes and impressions on the backs of pages as I read.

  • I am currently on page 49 of 240.
My office worktable, as I clean and organize!
  • Consider title change.

  • I am letting this idea sit with me, while I explore the story. I figure I’ll learn whether it has the right title, and, if not, a better one will come, somewhere along the way. Sima garo provides.

  • Chameleon’s Dish:

  • Compile a print copy for editing, page count, and to see what it looks like!

  • Although it may not seem related, I am vigorously working on cleaning my office work table (made out of a door from Eden Mabee‘s house; it has recessed panels that I hope will help to keep my papers corralled a little better). I will need spreading-out space for the editing, and so this is a positive step in the right direction.

  • Complete basic research based upon library books and websites; looking for information to enhance later digging and prevent hugely obvious gaffes).

  • I am currently reading Hamlet; Shakespeare’s England; and Colonial Cooking.

  • I am taking notes on the latter two books listed above.

  • I have finished reading the play portion of Hamlet, and will resume taking notes as indicated as I read the accompanying articles.

  • I am reading Shakespeare: His Life and His Works, aloud with the kids. This is a childrens’ picture book, but it is very comprehensive, with quotes from many plays, and the artwork is simply lovely and evocative. We are all enjoying it!

  • I intended to renew these books last week; a Wednesday Independence Day threw me off. I will do so early in the week, before Unschoolers Rock the Campgroundlater this week…

Some of my current reading material….
  • Experiment with removing Tisira’s story as a YA novel, with a potential optional add-on of the fanfic elements….not sure how this will work, exactly, but I think it might be the best approach to have something marketable without sacrificing my vision.

  • I am letting this one percolate until I am ready to print and work on actual paper pages.

  • However, it is working in my mind, and I beginning to see the fault lines where I can perhaps easily separate the stories without losing the character of the Trueborn elements.

  • I find I’m still really excited to see where this project will lead me!

Flash Fiction WIPs

  • Begin compiling a list for possible ebook anthology.

  • Although I haven’t added any stories to the list, I have thought of a few more I would like to add when I am in the mood to play there again…

  • Go through old story notebooks for source material.

  • I have read 568 of 591 handwritten pages of Solemates: The Courage Version. I know there are other portions of this storyline, scattered in different notebooks, and also variations on this theme.

  • Not only is this good material for potential flash fiction; it will greatly inform the various “clean” incarnations of Trueborn, as well.

  • I have found snippets of story pieces in my Writing Practice Notebook – June 2000.

Annalise and her first gift.

Homeschool Administration Ad Infinitum….

  • Begin setting up portfolios for both children – invite them to be a part of this process! =)

  • I have been sorting and photographing lots of projects going back several years. I will have a huge number of photos to categorize, later, but that’s OK…I need to begin somewhere!

  • Annalise has expressed some interest in what I’m doing, and I have explained it to her in a general sense, and let her know she can help if she likes.

  • Relax, enjoy, learn, grow, laugh, and … BREATHE!

  • Oh, yeah – we’re on this one – except that breathing has been a little tricky for me the last couple of days….
Annalise, 8, at the Erie Canal!

Reading:

  • Continue reading books for the Bookmark Break Challenge – aim for 7 in July, 8 in August, and 9 in September, but these targets will be flexible – summer is prime traveling time for the kids and I and we have things planned and others we’re considering.


  • The Secret Life of Bees Completed.
  • Container Gardeningpage 80 0f 256.

  • Hamlet page 289 of 343.

  • Shakespeare’s England – page 20 of 252.
    Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids a Real education With or Without School
    page 69 of 206.

  • Blogging for Digital Writers (ebook) – 13% – I am still getting used to how this app records progress….

  • I have read 1 of 7 books for this month.

Browsing and buying!

Other Writing:

  • Write 1 book review each week.

  • I didn’t quite finish it, but I have a review in the final stages.

  • I feel that’s pretty good for a busy, sick, birthday Week 1!

  • Play with flash fiction pieces as the mood strikes; aim for two submittable stories each month.

  • I played with a fan fiction piece which will likely become the prologue for the inclusive version of Chameleon’s Dish.

  • It’s not strictly a submittable piece, but it is stimulating creative juices – and bringing me delight!

  • Play with essay ideas as desired; aim for three submittable essays each month.

  • I have taken this one and run with it. In two days, I wrote about 3000 words on a topic I have been turning over for years….what makes one an over- or under-achiever, really? Having been labeled both, for similar activities, but at different places in my life, I have some ideas.

  • The material I poured out was stream-of-consciousness, and will need to be played with more before it’s cohesive.

  • I feel I have an excellent essay or two sitting amidst the words, just awaiting its excavation.
  • Write at 750 Words every day, with possible hiatuses for Unschoolers Rock the Campground (July 12-16); Learn Nothing Day (July 24); Northeast Unschooling Conference (August 23-?); and kids’ birthdays (July 8, September 2).On my birthday (July 29), I WRITE!!!

  • I have written every day. Some of it was deep; on Lise’s birthday, it’s mostly just an account of the day, so that I can remember it… but I am writing daily, and enjoying the return to that habit!

  • Use 750 Words for whatever – flash pieces, essays, venting, ranting, reports, book reviews, etc.

  • In the last several days, I have used it for: a book review, a two-day introspective rant, and journaling family events.

Scenes from the farmer’s market…

Blogging/Connecting:

  • Aim to post at least twice a month to The Unfettered Life. Make one of them an update, perhaps roughly categorized to make creating reports easier.

  • I posted about our July 4 activities in An Unschooly Fourth.

  • Begin using this blog in a way that really supports documenting, so that it does double duty as a personal tool for me in the way it once did.

  • I feel that the above post did that very well.

  • I hope to keep on in the same vein.

  • Aim to post, at least weekly, non-ROW80 update material on shanjeniah. This may take the form of adding to my pages; creating new ones; other challenges, blog hops, etc; writing samples of various types; musings on writing and life; guest posts; photo essays; or whatever else seems relevant at the time.

  • I came close. My book review in progress isn’t quite ready to post, although it may be soon after I post this.

  • Consider and perhaps experiment with creating a blog for the Trueborn series. This could contain excerpts, bits of what I am working on (character sketches, research, flash fiction, story arcs; inspirational images and quotes, etc. Its purpose would be specifically to share the process of creating the series, from the beginning on….in a way, a window into my world and my mind as none of my other spaces are….

  • I haven’t added anything, just yet, but I have been considering ideas for the three WIP novels in the series (Trueborn; Blood and Breath; and Chameleon’s Dish).

  • I am also considering going WAAAAAY out on a limb in August, and starting a NaNorough draft for one of the other two novels I have in the concept stages…that way, I could write the fifth in November, and have all five novels in various stages of progress!

Hanging out with Elsie!

Organizing/Tootling my Horn….

  • Continue inputting June 2000 Writing Practice Notebook.

  • I am currently on page 80 of 120.

  • I am not moving forward quickly, but I am moving forward.

  • Continue reading marketing and ebook publishing sites and articles.

  • I am reading The Digital Writer’s Guide to Blogging.

  • Set aside time each week to winnow email. Read items being saved for later reading, sort or dispose as indicated.

  • I am doing well on this one. Currently, there are 685 unread messages. Scanning the top of the list, I see many that can go away unread – from busineeses or sites where I seldom read.

  • I spent some time changing my preferred settings for WordPress and Yahoo Groups. I love all the wonderful bloggers I follow, but getting an email every time one of you posts adds up to a LOT of email – more than I remotely have time to read. Now, I will get a digest on Mondays, and maybe can spend a bit of time Tuesdays, browsing through.

  • I will continue my weekly winnowing sessions, and also ferret out more places where I can unsubscribe or receive less email.

  • It’s an ongoing process I am still near the beginning of, but I feel good about taking control over what reaches my Inbox!

Live action Annalise!
  • Be bold and daring in commenting, sharing, and submitting. Declare myself, learn, grow, and sometimes do things that make me uncomfortable. Open and blossom!

  • I am being a bit bolder about commenting, and I am contemplating new venues for sharing and submitting….stay tuned…I tend toward wee-hours leaps of faith!

Celebrating Life!

  • Add some form of specific motion (t’ai chi, swimming, hiking, biking, skating, dancing, etc) to each week. Keep track of what, where, when, for how long, and how I felt during and after.

  • I did some hometending every day but Sunday.

  • On Sunday, I walked along the Erie Canal, and carried heavy produce bags a quarter mile or so to the car…we parked on a side street.

  • I had planned to swim with the children, but was not feeling up to it, due to a nasty phase of my head cold.

  • I am hoping to spend more time swimming and engaged in physical activity during our upcoming camping weekend!

Birthday blueberry turnover bliss!
  • Fill us all up with joy, and continue cultivating family peace.

  • Loving this goal. Sometimes joy is the farmer’s market, or a tub of neon gummy worms, or truly present lovemaking…we are finding it in many ways…

  • We continue learning about conflict resolution and accommodating one another. We are evolving…

  • Spend time cleaning and beautifying my personal internal and external spaces each week.

  • I have made considerable progress in the bedroom, and have resumed organizing my office space. I have finished cleaning my work space, and now have a place where I can work on hard copy editing.

  • I have been writing introspectively, and practicing presence.

  • Embrace and be present in all my moments.

  • I am learning this one.

  • It’s amazing – I notice things like the lone seagull skimming the sky, and they seem rare and lovely in that moment.

  • I’m feeling very relaxed, and that is helping the overall peace and joy in our lives.

Erie Canal life….
  • Allow my emotions to be as they are. Practice expressing them calmly and reflectively.

Being more conscious of this. As I move through the space between Annalise’s birthday and Elijah’s, I will be as present as I am able, and gentle with myself. I know I will miss being with Jim (although the anniversary isn’t the same for him as for me), but being amongst many other unschooling family will bring a special type of warmth, joy, and solace.

Images from our walk to the car….that’s a hummingbird moth!

For those who want to learn more about the hummingbird moth…with a pretty video.