:super blue blood moon:

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This is the best shot I could get on my cell phone camera through the telescope, and it wasn’t easy. I got the kids up at 5:15 AM and we all went out with sweaters and socks to see it from our deck. Then the kids went straight back to sleep. They were out there for about half an hour. Doug and I normally get up at that time, but having our coffees out on the deck while the kids got excited about the moon and started questioning why and how the red color appears made us so happy to be homeschoolers.

:february reads:

Some of these I already started, but here is my current read pile. Don’t ask what’s on my to-be-read pile. That list is long and exhausting.

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Fearless Writing by William Kenower

This one I started just before NaNoWriMo, but once I began writing I stopped reading everything. It’s time to finish it.

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The Art of Whimsical Lettering by Joanne Sharpe. I saw this one recommended on YouTube. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at some lettering, and starting with your own handwriting seemed like a good place to begin. Also,….

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The Spencerian System of Practical Penmanship by “the Spencerian Authors”

…getting into very formal handwriting and fountain pens makes for a need to be unstructured.

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Dough Nation: A Nurse’s Memoir of Celiac Disease form Missed Diagnosis to Food and Health Activism by Nadine Greskowiak RN, BSN, CEN

This one I am half way through. My son is a celiac. I need to educate myself about this because not all doctors know or understand this disease in the United States.

:reconnecting:


I’ve been texting and asking friends to send me their addresses.

I want to send them a letter.

Yup, good old snail mail. So far I have written two. I have no idea if they will write back, but I am hoping a few will.

This is a lost art.

My letters are awkward and stilted. My handwriting, normally reserved for my planner (which no one cares about), my journal (which no one will ever see), and my grocery list (which  even I don’t care much about), is…hesitant. It does not flow, the words feel forced.

Plus, there is no autocorrect to save me from my craptastic spelling.

Never the less, I am enjoying it.

Now, let’s see if someone writes back.

:pluviophile:

Pluviophile: (n) a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days

I’m not very fond of labels, but I came across this term recently. I had never heard it before, but I absolutely love it. We live in California, where the sun shines on us almost unbated for months. When winter comes, it brings rain.

I love the rain.

I grew up in south Florida, where rain would come at precisely the same time every day. At 3:20 PM a sudden deluge would hit. Traffic would stop on the highways due to poor visibility, and you could not see the buildings across the street. Fifteen minutes later the sun would be shining again and the pavement would be steaming.

Here, the rain brings with it cooler weather. By the time the rainy season comes around, I am just parched for rain as the brown grass. We light the wood stove, and I love to snuggle in and write in my journal. My daily journaling goes from two or three to five or six during these months.

I especially love it when it’s the weekend and I don’t have to be anywhere. My husband and I will sit in a quiet house and write together (He prefers to write on his laptop.) Sometimes I’ll light candles. I always want to light the wood stove if it’s cold enough. Other times I’ll read from my current book pile. Right now my wrist is still healing from my sprain, but the itch to knit is very strong on these morning. We always have a French press of coffee to share in the morning. I don’t think I could live without coffee. I am Colombian after all.

I know lately the word hygge has been much bandied about the internet, and I can see how the weather can affect a people so strongly as to make them create a culture around the survival of the cold dark of the Arctic winter.

But I like pluviophile.

It suites me.

I love my sun, and I know I fall apart without enough of it, but learning to not just enjoy, but find joy in the patter of rain and the smell of the damp earth and the warm coziness inside is heavenly.

:the right to make:

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When I was a child I loved to make things: stories, drawings, knitted scarves for my cabbage patch doll. All of it was play, the important work of childhood. It is the way in which children learn who they are and what they like. But, with age, comes responsibilities. Childhood things are left behind. I put my notebooks and sketchbooks away and concentrated on getting into college, getting a degree, and getting my first job. It was the sensible thing to do.

And then….

…then I awoke one day and found something was missing.

I was happily married. I enjoyed my job. I had good friends. We had a beautiful little girl and a boy on the way. Yet, there was something missing. I had already picked knitting back up. I would occationally write up a short story here and there. I kept a file of ideas on a USB key.

Having a second baby re-focused me on them. They were so little and they needed me. As they got bigger, I pursued other interests, both because I loved them and because I wanted a career. Still, in the back of my mind I continued to have the feeling something wasn’t quite right. Something was still missing.

My second career ended, and my focus turned to homeschooling. I spent a large part of the first year lost as we went through the deschooling process. So, I took up my knitting more seriously. I began to draw again. I started stepping away from Facebook political fights to chase hashtags on Instagram. I made my first poorly timed attempt at NaNoWriMo (we were moving.) I learned to spin. I started taking photos again.

Slowly my inner self woke up.

At first I felt a bit guilty, but then I realized I was showing my kids by example. I was teaching them to use the resources around them to teach themselves. I was teaching them to go after the things they wanted.

Last year I also started to come to the realization I wanted to make making my life’s work. I’ve come to believe that it is everyone’s life work. Creating is part of what it means to be human. We all do it in different ways, as scientists, as poets, as surgeons, as teachers, as sculptors.

I want to make every day for the rest of my life.

I want to write novels.

I want to take film photographs.

I want to knit sweaters.

I want to spin my own yarn.

I want to cook.

I want to play music.

I want to create.

 

 

 

:TEDx Talks: Why Write? Penmanship for the 21st Century:

Due to my fascination with pens and paper, and having been a life-long journal keeper, I have always been interested in handwriting.

Right now I am helping my son with his penmanship. Due to some of the issues I mentioned him having from when he went to school, he has hated writing.

He avoids it like the plague.

Now, he is ready and interested in learning cursive. Mostly because he wants to read my writing. So, I spent the weekend surfing the web, looking for the best way for us to approach this. In my surfing I watched a whole bunch of videos.

Videos on how to, on methods, on curriculum reviews.

And I came across this gem:

Now, I want to go practice my own handwriting.

:writing it out:

I can’t remember the first journal I used. It may have been in second or third grade. All I know is once I started, I have never been without one. There have been breaks in my writing, but putting pen to paper is one of the things I do. When the words pounding away in my head get to be too much, I can come here and spill them out onto the page.

I’ve had cheap composition notebooks, fancy hand stitched leather beauties, Moleskines, glittery diaries with a unicorn on the cover and a key to keep my ten year old secrets locked up tight.

Lately, starting my day writing instead of checking Instagram has proved centering. The method is Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages if you want to look it up, but it’s been around for a long time. I had gotten away from journaling first thing in the morning to get sucked up into the internet and see what other people were doing with their mornings.

Now, I don’t think I could start my mornings without my journal, a pen, and a cup of coffee.

Many times, it’s not even what I write.

It’s the act of writing.

The feel of the pen in my hand.

The way the ink stains the smooth surface of the page.

The movement of the pen across the paper.

Sometimes the words are secondary.

:our choices:

Creativity to me is a life style need. I don’t think of it as a choice. I’ve lived through short periods of time in my life where I did not create, and the maelstrom of depression which accompanied those times were scary.

I never want to live through those times again.

Then, three years ago I watched as one of my own children started to spiral into a self-loathing no seven year-old should have to go through.

He was struggling in school and it was bleeding over into everything else he did. His teachers and specialists as the school tried to figure out what was wrong. I sincerely believed they did try to help. But nothing seemed to help. He struggled and tried. Homework each night was a cycle of tears, anger, and anxiety. He began to hate school, and I began to hate sending him.

At home he was hesitant to do things, especially anything new. He assumed he would fail. My happy little boy was being replaced by an angry one.

Then, we moved to California.

I had always wanted to try homeschooling. My husband and I read the works of John Taylor Gotto, John Holt, and Rahima Baldwin. We even did it for about a month and a half during the move from Georgia to South Dakota. But never fully. We never fully committed to making a real go at it.

In researching neighborhoods and schools prior to the move to California (mid-school year mind you) we realized that California homeschooling laws and the resources available to us in the South Bay Area made this an ideal chance to give it a shot.

So we did.

I wish I could tell you it was all rainbows and moonbeams, but no. We’ve had a lot of deschooling and trail and error to go through before we found our stride. We chose to unschool and follow our own path since my son was already “behind.” Now I know he was just not developmentally ready for some of the things the schools were trying to make him do. He just needed time. My daughter has thrived with homeschool. She was already doing advanced courses before we left Florida, now she gets to really dig into what she wants to learn.

Unschooling can mean different families, even to different kids within the same family. Indeed, that has been the case with my kids. But I am so glad we made the decision. I wish now we had made it earlier. My son still struggles with a lot of self-doubt and anxiety in new situations, but he had learned he is capable and he has learned to love learning again.

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Enjoying the Solar Eclipse together back in August. 

Disclaimer: I firmly believe childrearing and whether or not to homeschool is a decision best left up to each individual family. I wanted to share my reasons here for why we chose to homeschool. Please be respectful of our decision. I do welcome any respectful questions or discussions. 

:goals for 2018:

So the first half of January is gone and I have my goals for 2018.

No, I won’t be sharing the entirety of them here, but I will be talking about a few. Mainly I’ll be sharing the ones having to do with crafting, homesteading, making, and writing.

Here are a few:

  • Write two full novels.
  • Blog every weekday.
  • Teach myself yoga.
  • Lots of road trips as a family.
  • Create every day.
  • Learn to sew.
  • Learn hand lettering.
  • Keep a Gratitude Journal, and write in it daily.
  • Study herbalism.
  • Finish the declutter I started last year. (so close!)

I made myself a GOALS Page and stuck it in the front of my planner. Every morning, after writing my Morning Pages, I read my goals and make my my lists based on what is really important to me.

 

 

:writing pains:

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So, one of the souvenirs I brought back from the cruise is a sprained wrist. I’ve had sprains before, but this one has proven to be painful in more than one way.

It is a bad sprain. Probably aggravated from what it was originally by the fact that I did not get it in a brace until I got off the cruise ship.

But what is really hurting is the way this sprain has thrown a wrench into my writing. It hurts to type. These blog posts are just about the limit of what I can do with it, and I am scared to push it much more because I want it to heal fast.

The novel I started in November is still waiting for me to finish it. My plan had been to come back from my vacation and use January to complete the first draft. Just do a single-participant NaNo.

You know what they say about the best laid plans.

I know I can still write it out longhand, but the times I have tried have felt…awkward.

The flow just isn’t there.

I started the draft in Scrivener, and I enjoyed the software enough to buy the full version (with my NaNo winner discount!) I am hoping to be able to get back into it in February. I am not really able to dictate my writing. My hands are my best tools for storytelling.

My plan had been to do 1,500 words daily for January, but now I’m thinking I may need to throttle it back to  750 words in the first week of February and see how that goes.