Thursday, November 30, 2006

Writing with Meaning

At the beginning of this month I started off writing like crazy for NaNoWriMo. I had told several people about NaNoWriMo and had inspired some of them to try it. I even gave a speech about it to my Toast Masters club. It was a fun speech full of enthusiasm, and by the time I finished the speech I was 90% there, actually doing NaNoWriMo.

When my pacing partner committed to doing it, I knew I had to try, even though November would be an insane month for me to do this this year, since I would have only 20 days (which breaks down into 2500 words a day).

My pacing partner is struggling with her mother’s imminent death and decided to write a book about the lessons she is learning through helping her mother and how she is expressing that learning into her relationship with her daughter. Wow! Talk about writing with meaning!

Inspired by her book, I thought, well, I’ll write out into the future about our annual getaways – the two of us plus our life coach. Long about year five, projecting our getaways became pretty uninspiring! How much can this event change and be interesting. I started writing about how each of us changed from year to year, but it became so outrageous that I scrapped the whole thing.

I know I could have pushed through week two because they say it is the worst – pure crap, but I really, truly could see no end to the crap that was spewing forth onto my computer screen.

Some would say I quit. I say I stopped the insanity that was becoming my November. Some would say I failed. I say there is never failure when learning happens.

When I stopped writing my NaNoWriMo, I started writing this blog. I decided I would rather challenge myself to really think about things that were churning around in my head and put them out to the universe (which is really scary to me – to know that just about anybody can now read what I’m writing – I have this little perfection hang up which is how I became involved in NaNoWriMo in the first place).

So my coach asks me this morning, “what is the meaning you are needing to write about?” She always has such good questions! I wish the answers were always forthcoming. Some times it takes patience to find the answers. I’m learning to be more patient.

But when I think about it, the meaning is this – this Journey of Joy. This is not a nonfiction NaNoWriMo book! This is life and how we choose to live it. And if I can help just one more person live their live as a Journey of Joy, then that truly has meaning for me.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Homeschooling - Job or Joy?

Real, natural learning is in the living. It's in the observing, the questioning, the examining, the pondering, the analyzing, the watching, the reading, the DO-ing, the living, the breathing, the loving, the JOY. It's in the joy. ~Anne Ohman

After unschooling for eight years, I'm finally realizing that just about the only thing that is important to be successful at homeschooling is to enjoy being with your kids (that, and making it a priority to be with them). If you enjoy being with them and exploring/talking/playing with them, they can't help but learn.

We have successfully surrounded ourselves with wonderful home/unschooling families here in our hometown, and the kids are so incredible because their parents enjoy their company! These kids are so alive, and they really know who they are and are so confident. They don’t need to seek approval, because they get it for free all the time! What a wonderful gift to give your kids!

Teaching school is a job, homeschooling is a joy!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Random Joys

really great chocolate, the smell of rain, camp songs, dancing, being respected, learning/growing, writing, using my bike for transportation, being on time, road trips, old houses, challenging myself, sunshine through the clouds, traveling, conferences, email, brainstorming, crunching through leaves on the sidewalk, pacing partners, listening to music with good lyrics, self improvement, creativity, new leaves, helping people, staying up late, color, friendship, the first smell of fall in the night air.

daisies, peace, rich hot chocolate, singing in rounds, water color, Powell's books, Sudoku, my comfy chair-and-a-half chaise, pondering, life coaching, Google, comfort shoe stores and the shoes they sell, organizing, photo albums (with journaling!), unschooled teens (they are so real), s’mores, potlucks, my incredible kids, big cities, going out to eat with friends, the internet (what DID we do before it???), shopping in funky little shops, authentic people, balance, downtown, laughing, talking, the smell of the forest, dark beer.

harvest moons, stars, iced tea and lemonade, fall, ATCs, microbrews, NVC, down bedding, great photography, smart people, the first snow, real people, creative spaces, smiling, celebrations, hanging out, crocus, unschooling, conversations, cameras, being real, alt culture, farmer's markets, motivation, gardens, clotheslines, cool restaurants, spring flowers, having dinner company, cooking with friends, cats.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Live & Learn Conference

After years of traveling on our unschooling journey, we finally went to "the" conference. My friends had encouraged me to go for several years, and we would have last year, except that we were moving into our new home and our new community (and we are SO glad that we did!).

So at the beginning of September we piled in the car and drove down to Albuquerque, NM for the big conference.

This was one of the best events I've EVER attended! It was full of happy families engaging together. I loved that people of all ages were welcome to partake in any offering that struck their fancy. There was no age segragation at all! It wasn't ever "children" and "adults", and not once did I hear the term "student". We were all just people there to explore and expand our world.

The conference impacted my life in so many ways - the way I am with my kids, the way I am with other people, the way I view unschooling, and it increased the joy in my life immensely!

I've never been around this many authentic people in all my life! It was incredible!

I choose happiness!

A few weeks ago, I spent the weekend with some women who were truly unhappy with their lives. They spent the weekend complaining about their jobs, their spouses, and their children. It had been a long time since I was in the prolonged presence of people who were unhappy. I have insulated myself, pretty successfully, from being around deeply unhappy people. The unhappiness of these women seemed to stem from their perceived inability to change their circumstances and from their actual inability, at least at this time in their lives, to see everything in a different light.

Sometimes seeing what you don’t want can clarify what you do want!