cloistered away | enjoying simplicity

Friday

14

August 2015

16

COMMENTS

homeschool | preparing for another year

Written by , Posted in HOMESCHOOL

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Everyone relates to planning differently. Some depend on it. Others despise it. I’m definitely in the “I love plans” group, but I also love change and spontaneity–go figure. I enjoy re-creating old ideas and nurturing self-directed learning in my children within a little structure, so in our homeschool days, it’s best for me to have structure with flexibility, days or blocks of time that can be shifted around when necessary without throwing everything into chaos. Plans may give you chills and cause paralysis. If that’s the case, please know that the greatest gift you can give your children and family is to understand your own family style and pace. Be challenged and stretched and inspired by others, but always understand what your own family and children need, and build your own style around it. That’s my disclaimer, otherwise, I hope this inspires you. It’s long, but fairly thorough so grab a cup of coffee. Also feel free to ask questions in the comments if you feel they might be helpful to other readers, or you can of course email.

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As I mentioned here, last year was a harder year for us.  I felt burned out and tired by what we had been doing (even though they were good and worthy things) the previous years. We had also moved twice within one year, which I know added a bit of hardship, too. We decided to rest from the local Classical Conversations group we helped start and enjoy a little time experimenting with other interests we have as a family, namely the arts. As Lilian kindly commented in that post last May, I should refer to last year as a sabbatical year, and honestly, that’s exactly what it was. We had an unset routine with little scheduling (or screen time) and worked in some way each day reading, exploring, and building. By the end of the year, I had a better idea of what my children needed in our learning and how we moved through our days in our new home. I also knew we needed more structure and sharper boundaries between work and rest.

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This summer, I’ve been gathering notes and reflections from our years of home education. I loved the way art and creativity was again a norm in our days last year and wanted that to remain an integral part to our learning. I decided to save money for better quality art supplies and tools. I had also been cleaning out and ordering our home last spring after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It was such a valuable resource concerning our homeschooling materials. I knew there were a lot of things and books on our shelves taking up space physically and emotionally that we no longer used–or worse had never used at all. So I took the room apart and went through each bit Marie Kondo style, asking myself what really brings value/joy to our learning versus what feels burdensome or even a haunting reminder of what I’m NOT doing. This took me two weeks, but was so worthwhile. As I put the book and tools on our shelves, it helped give me a clear picture of learning together, of organizing our academic year around these specific tools and ideas. Below I’ve included our own family’s ideal plan for this year, followed by the resources we’ll be using. I’m sharing them in hope they inspire and somehow compliment your own planning this year.

Some of you have asked how I have time to write or photograph or blog, so I’ll add a bit of that here, too. I generally wake up at 5am, sometimes a little earlier, during the week. I often write or edit photos or answer emails during this time. This year, I’ll be alternating those morning wake-ups with running or meditative yoga, as a way to take care of myself and nurture my own time with Jesus. I’m not a morning person, but I am more introverted, which simply means having time alone before my children wake up sets my spirit and mind in a good place to begin another day. I usually leave my big camera nearby us so I can grab a quick shot when the moments present themselves. My phone is usually in my back pocket, and this summer I’ve been practicing leaving it there more. I love the connections I’ve made and inspiration online, but sometimes I can lose important time there. So there’s that.

7:00 am | MEET AT THE TABLE

7:30 am | MEMORY WORK

8:oo am | READING, SPELLING, HANDWRITING

9:00am | MATH

10am | NATURE

10:30 am | ENGLISH LANGUAGE

11am (on TR) | HAND WORK

NOON | LUNCH

1:30 am | SCIENCE or HISTORY [alternate days M-R]

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TABLE MEETING

I know, I know. 7 am feels too early to formally begin a day, and honestly, I would prefer to begin sometime between 8 and 9. But my husband has to leave  for work around 7:15/20, and I discovered during our Spring semester, our days go smoother when we all begin together. Plus it’s a small way to connect him with the rest of our day since he works full-time outside of our home. During these first 30 minutes, the kids arrive to the table dressed, teeth brushed, and beds made. We eat a simple breakfast together, read a portion of the Bible together, and pray. This is short and sweet, but still meaningful way to begin. The children will each be in charge of making one breakfast/week, but I will share that in a different post.

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MEMORY WORK

Although what we memorize changes, memory work has and will always be a part of our learning. There’s plenty of research about the value of memorizing during early years, and the funny part is CHILDREN NATURALLY LOVE TO MEMORIZE and feel accomplished when they can recite for others. We currently have three parts to our family’s memory work: Bible, poetry, and historical timeline. When possible, I try to find a song or a rhythm to help make this time more engaging or easier for them to recall. We’ll begin with memorizing Proverbs 3 this fall. Each of the children will work on their own poetry. Liam most recently memorized “If” by Rudyard Kipling (a poem each of our children will be required to memorize) and is now working on Psalm 1. Burke is currently working on “If,” and the girls will begin with shorter works from Robert Louis Stevenson and Christina Rossetti, both included in their language studies. We’ll be using Classical Conversation’s historical timeline, which includes 161 major events and dates, set to music. They also have timeline cards, which have the historical event, time period, and a painting/sculpture from a famous artist representing the event. I’m not sure if this resource is available to people not involved in a CC community, and if not Veritas Press offers something similar.

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READING | SPELLING | HANDWRITING

My three oldest are excellent, fluent readers, a huge milestone in our home education journey. Olive is a beginning reader and should be moving into early chapter books sometime this year. I used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons for my boys, which was wonderful for reading but seemed to leave a gaping hole in their spelling. For the girls, I wanted to move back into memorizing phonograms and learned of the Spalding method. However, I was so intimidated by the methodology, texts, and workshops introducing it. Instead, I used All About Reading for my girls, which felt like a slower, but more methodical path to reading. They both have a better understanding of word segmenting (sounding out words) and spelling. I used All About Spelling for my oldest three and loved it for the same reason. They’re both a solid, multi-sensorial introduction to building and decoding words. That said, I’ve struggled with how time consuming both programs are, especially with four children at different levels needing their own lessons. It took forever, which also makes it difficult for consistency. This year we’ll be using Reading Lessons Through Literature for all of my children, expecting to consolidate time between reading, spelling, and writing practice. It is a spelling introduction to reading, which I also expect will give my readers a stronger foundation in spelling. The older children will quickly review all of the phonograms and word lists, while Olive will move more slowly at her own pace. For handwriting, we’ll continue using Handwriting Without Tears methods, a program I highly esteem and wrote about for an upcoming article in Wild+Free, but will practice writing using sandpaper letters, chalkboards, and our own primary composition notebooks. The older three will review print letters and practice cursive more intently.

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MATH

We have and still use Saxon math. It is a non-frilly, but thorough math program that we use because it’s what I know at this point. Olive is finishing up Math 1 and will be moving to Math 2 sometime this year. The younger ages provide worksheets for them to use, which I enjoy as she’s still learning to write. For the older three, using Math 5/4 and up, they each have a large, quad-ruled composition notebook, where they write out their daily work. Over the last year, I’ve tried to add more application and play into our maths, inspired by Montessori and Waldorf methodology. After reading books and researching on Pinterest this summer, I plan to add more projects for my non-worksheet loving children, which I’m excited about.

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NATURE

This will be a more fluid rest period after a more focused morning of work. We’ll always be outside during this time, running, playing, collecting, building, painting, etc with nature. Essentially, I wanted a time for the children (and myself) to interact with nature in a way that we need for that day. Sometimes this might evolve into its own study, but more often I imagine observation, play, and enjoyment of the seasons.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Last year, we used Michael Clay Thompson’s Island series for our language study, a more gentle and story-filled approach to language, diagramming, and writing. This year, I’ll be using English Lessons Through Literaturesomething I’m very excited about again for its consolidation. The lessons are only three days a week, the reason our language block will be longer on MWF mornings. On TR, each child will complete their reading for the next lesson, practice their memory work, and do a bit of copywork or dictation. We will study works of art, read classical children’s literature, memorize and read poetry, and also learn (or review, for the boys) the parts of speech and sentence diagramming. Most of their writing will be kept in a large composition notebook. However, every book they read and poem they memorize will be copied/narrated and illustrated on single paper with watercolor, crayons, or pencils for them to keep. These will be kept in a separate binder. Although we used notebooks for this last year, the kids were frustrated when their paintings or illustrations bled onto the next page. Ideally, this will curb that problem. Wink.

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HAND WORK

We added more hand work and home skills into our learning last year, and we all loved it! But there are so many skills I don’t know myself, so this year I wanted to build in a more formal time for learning new skills together. This fall, we plan to begin with sewing, pottery, and candle-making. For Christmas, we plan to give each of the children their own straight knife (yikes, I know!) and to introduce wood carving and weaving in the spring. Although hand work will be apart of the children’s routine everyday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings will be a more focused time to learn together.

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SCIENCE

Most of our studies in science have been through experience, nature walks, and books. We’ll definitely be continuing that this year using Nature Anatomy, Farm Anatomy, and Animalium. Gardening is a large part of our scientific learning, and this year I hope to include more of their own artwork and learning in its own binder (much like the language binder). They won’t carry around the binder, only add to it when they finish their artwork or writing. This will work both as a record of our personal garden space and their own reference for the future. The older children will also be reading biographies and doing small experiments about several pivotal scientists in history. The History of Science as a guide for this, learning about the ancients such as Archimedes, Pythagoras, Aristotle, and Galen to Galileo and Di Vinci and more modern inventors like Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, and Benjamin Franklin. Some of this reading we will do together, and some they will read on their own. Narrating/summarizing and painting/illustrating will be a part of this process, too. Mostly, I hope this study will help them understand the connection of thought and scientific breakthrough in a bigger picture, to see how one idea builds off of another.

HISTORY

We still love The Story of the World and will continue with Early Modern history two afternoons a week this year. We will keep track of our history readings as well, but I’m still waiting to see in which way works for us. I do know we’ll create some sort of project around our studies for the week, making sure our hands stay as busy as our minds.

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PUTTING IT ON PAPER

I’ve written before about planning on paper. It’s a simple way for me to gather ideas and for the children to see what they’re doing in a day. If and when we don’t finish an area of work, I either let it go or begin there the next day. I created this sheet really quickly using a table in Google docs and made one for each day of the week.

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TOOLS + SUPPLIES

In terms of art supplies, we’re using Lyra Rembrandt pencils, Stockmar watercolor paint and crayons, cardstock and watercolor paper. My oldest will use charcoal sticks a bit more to work on form drawing. Each of the kids have their own set of watercolor paint jars and will eventually have their own carving knives, but they will share the pottery wheel, weaving looms, and general art supplies.

OTHER RESOURCES

Here are some of my favorite helpful references for practical homeschooling and home ideas. I write monthly for Wild+Free and Babiekins Magazine’s blog right alongside several other inspiring parents. There are a plethora of creative homeschoolers on Instagram and you can find several following links connected to the print and blogs below. I hope these offer you much as you prepare for another academic year. Happy planning, friends!

PRINT

Wild+Free | Babiekins “schoolkins” features | Taproot magazine | The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Shafer

BLOGS

If you haven’t read Jodi Mockabee’s last blog post, you should. She’s a long-time online friend and homeschooling powerhouse. You’ll notice several of our resources happen to overlap, which I love. She steered me toward the language lesson books, which I’m thrilled to be using this year. (Thanks Jodi!)  I also highly recommend Kirsten Rickert’s blog (another brilliant online friend turned real friend) who always draws attention to the earth and art in learning. More recently Kirsten has been including a variety of contributors around specific themes, such as honey and water.

Happy planning, friends!

 

Tuesday

4

August 2015

5

COMMENTS

TAOS, NEW MEXICO

Written by , Posted in WANDERINGS

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TAOS, NEW MEXICO

Take me someplace where we can be silent together.
― Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things

We left for New Mexico before the sun, my one hand in his, the other holding coffee. I’ve always struggled to speak in the early morning, and after 14 years of marriage, I love that he doesn’t require it of me. Instead, music softly wafted through the car. We floated along the highway side-by-side, grounded only by touch and with respect for the dark quiet. Our words loomed with the glowing line on the horizon, a nebulous and powerful light. Over the week, we would speak often and laugh. We would eat, drink, wander, and enjoy one another in every possible way, but we were also silent of heart and spirit. We went away to listen.

TAOS, NEW MEXICOArroyo Seco, New  MexicoEarthship | Taos, New MexicoTAOS, NEW MEXICOTwo note-worthy roads lead into Taos from the South, the High Road and the Low Road to Taos. Although not originally intended, we entered by way of the Low Road after missing a turn earlier in our drive. The metaphors feel endless. Winding along the Rio Grande River, between the rising rock ledges and the cold rolling rapids, one cannot help but feel small and vulnerable, a more humble perspective of glory compared to the sweeping vistas of the high road, a path we’d take home at the end of the week. We turned off the highway at some point, onto a tiny two-lane road, a more direct route according to our map. “Are you sure this is the right way?” he would ask. I would merely shrug, looking at our moving dot on the screen, “yes, according to the map.” Eventually, this path would lead us through Orilla Verde and then up a winding dirt road through the Rio Grande Gorge. The nearby Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, a common tourist stop, would have been the safer, more obvious route, providing stunning and broad views of the canyon below. But driving up the canyon wall on a single-lane dirt road held a different sort of splendor and gratitude. The low road held quiet beauty and gentle lessons.

TAOS, NEW MEXICOTAOS, NEW MEXICOEarthship | Taos, New MexicoThe Love Apple | Taos, New Mexico

We spent the week in a more remote, off-the-grid home on the Taos Mesa, running solely on rain water and solar power reserves. Nestled within the Earthship Biotecture community, this spot seemed both educational and restorative, a perfect pairing for the level of simplicity we had in mind that week. We craved something quieter and more in tune with the natural rhythms of the wild. Souls are rarely stitched back together with city lights and busy streets, certainly not our own. We yearned for creation, to rise with the morning sun and rest with the afternoon rains, to purchase local whole foods and prepare them ourselves, to somehow again become comfortable without agendas and imperatives to see and do. 

Over the week, we would read, write, dream, and pray. These routines were not rigid or forced, but organic and restful. Our conversations occurred everywhere without the formalities of deadlines or time constraints. We reflected on God’s goodness in the same breath as our casual banter and joking. The time was slow but not boring, one activity and thought rolling into the next, mixed with idle afternoons and naps, glasses of wine, and long walks. We strategized ways to carry this same spirit into our daily life at home, how in spite of busy days we would live more slowly, more intently focused this coming academic year. For two driven people, this would require practical steps.

TAOS, NEW MEXICODH Lawrence Ranch | Taos, New MexicoTAOS, NEW MEXICOTaos, New MexicoTaos, New MexicoEarthship | Taos, New MexicoThe summer air in northern New Mexico is hot and arid. Cold summer rains commonly arrive in the afternoon, soaking the hot earth like tea, infusing the wind with faintest aromas of Silver Sage. Hiking guidebooks warn travelers of thunderhead clouds while in the mountains, as they drop rain quickly and can even cause hypothermia in the summertime due to the elevation. The lower areas near the river can rise quickly. We mostly hiked in the morning, just after our coffee and view of the sun cresting the Sangre de Cristo mountains. I’m convinced anyone could be excited about the early morning if they woke up to this light.

On our favorite morning, we climbed to Williams Lake in the Taos Ski area. The hike is a somewhat steep 2 mile-trek to an alpine lake through national forest and streams and snow (even in late June ). If we ever return, I’ll carry a blanket, books, and picnic lunch with us. We could have stayed all day. Around the lakeside, over the rocky perimeter and tucked behind the trees, a waterfall parades down the mountainside. We found a large piece of driftwood wedged between large boulders there, and he carried it back across the lake and down the mountain so it could rest in our home, a tangible memory.

Rio Grande Gorge | Taos, New MexicoTAOS, NEW MEXICOWilliams Lake | Taos, New MexicoTaos, New MexicoTaos, New Mexico

The town of Taos is casual and varied, as are the people. Like many small and beautiful places, artists flock, earning money by selling their wares in tourist markets near the Rio Grande Gorge bridge or in one of the local shops of Arroyo Seco or Old Taos. My favorite stop was Weaving Southwest, a minimal shop full of hand-dyed yarns, locally woven tapestries and apparel. At the back of the store, one of the shop-owners was giving a private weaving lesson to a beginner. I wished to join them and decided again to learn weaving with our children this year.

We traveled one afternoon to DH Lawrence’s Ranch, now owned and kept by the University of New Mexico. As we drove through the rolling outskirts of Arroyo Hondo, it is not hard to imagine why this British writer might have chosen this sunny place to begin a utopian society. There, Georgia O’Keefe painted his famous tree. The bench and the tree still remain just behind the main house, a tribute to legendary artists and ideas.

On one morning, we visited a public hot spring nearby in Arroyo Hondo. We traveled down single lane dirt roads and bridges and along the grassy riverbanks searching for two naturally-occurring warm pools. Instead we discovered only the higher pool–the lower temporarily swallowed by the river–and four nude strangers already bathing in it. We stayed for almost an hour (swimsuits on) carrying awkward conversations out of politeness. When the sun and two more travelers arrived, we gladly exited the tiny pool and clumsy talk. We changed into our clothes and went out for coffee, where we laughed at ourselves.

Earthship | Taos, New MexicoTaos, New MexicoEarthship | Taos, New MexicoTaos, New MexicoThe Love Apple | Taos, New MexicoTAOS, NEW MEXICOTaos, New Mexico

Before arriving, we had stopped in Santa Fe to pick up fair-trade coffee beans, wine, fresh bread, and other foods that might make the 2 hour ride north. In Taos, we’d discover Cid’s Market, not too far from where we were staying, and stock up on leafy greens, berries, and locally sourced cheeses and sprouts. We had decided ahead of time to make food on our own, both for economy and simplicity, with the exception of one evening where we would eat at The Love Apple, a quaint local eatery recommended by a neighbor, serving delicious organic foods sourced in and around the Taos area.

It rained that night, leaving the air too cool for my causal sundress, too wet for delicate sandals. I had opted to wash clothes earlier in the afternoon, when the outdoor line was dry and hot, just before the rain came. When it was time to leave, my denim still laid strewn about the studio, damp and waiting for sun. I wore what was dry: a random skirt, a mis-matched tank top, fleece jacket, and my Chacos. Again, I would find opportunity to laugh at myself, to get over myself, as no one else seemed to even notice.

The Love AppleEarthship | Taos, New MexicoLake Williams | Taos, New MexicoEarthship | Taos, New Mexico

Something foundational shifted in us that week in Taos. It often does when one rests. Over the last few weeks at home, we have been quietly re-ordering our home life, cleaning out unnecessary things both spiritually and physically, simplifying goals and roles, preparing for another academic year and homeschooling. More defined boundaries between work and rest will be a large part of our routine, one I’m sure will trickle out into this space over time.

Although Taos is a small town, with a few obvious musts, below I listed our favorite spots in the area, in the event you ever find yourself wandering there.

 

 

Sunday

21

June 2015

1

COMMENTS

25/52

Written by , Posted in THE 52 PROJECT

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Tread softly! All the earth is holy ground.

― Christina Rossetti

olive | your heart is full of laughter, especially when your father is swinging from a tree limb.

blythe | watering the large oak, you look so small, but you love being helpful and take great pride in your work, whatever it may be. this week, you informed us you want to study math and chemistry at a university some day. I have no doubt you could.

burke | helping your father clear out the garage this week. you are so good at taking care of details and are learning to be patient with those who tend to overlook them.

liam | every day you help me search the garden for unwanted pests. i appreciate this time with you, a bond formed by protecting a space we both love dearly. you are changing, as most boys your age are, and although some days it catches me off guard, I am not afraid. I expect they will be sweet in a very different way.

Tuesday

16

June 2015

0

COMMENTS

24/52

Written by , Posted in THE 52 PROJECT

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There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.
― Wendell Berry, Given

olive | every evening you come outside with me, to pick pests off the plants and to water them. this week, we picked our first fruit: cucumbers, jalepeno peppers, green beans, and a tiny butternut squash.

blythe | lounging in my room, recovering from strep throat, you suddenly appear so grown up. it must be your new specs.

burke | snuggled up, recovering from strep throat, watching a movie that you can now see from the back of the room.

liam | you and burke have been mowing lawns this summer to earn and save money. finding and studying insects is an added bonus.

Friday

12

June 2015

8

COMMENTS

homeschool | on finishing

Written by , Posted in HOMESCHOOL

We just quietly finished our seventh year of homeschooling. We didn’t have an award ceremony or any large posters or completed books or projects to show off this year.  Instead we simply wrapped up our lessons–some of them neatly at the end and others midway–and decided we were done for the summer. I write a lot publicly about homeschooling here and elsewhere and I think it unfair to only talk about the beautiful and successful parts of this journey (and there are many) without noting the adversity, too. And it should be noted:

Last week, I hit a wall.

Perhaps it is easy to sit with pen and paper and draft the way you expect and hope home education will occur, and in some seasons and years, things have gone generally as such for me. In previous years, I’ve spent part of my weekend planning for the week, reviewing what lessons we’d need to cover. A natural balance between planned and unplanned learning occurred. I even shared some of that process here and here. But this academic year, I didn’t really plan much at all. I felt exhausted and almost adverse to it. In our more formal studies, like math or reading, we’d simply turn the page to find another lesson and work from there. We had a few regularities in our routine, mostly surrounding our mealtimes, but in between, our days seemed more in-the-moment, an unorganized journey through books and ideas and play and life-work (daily chores, yard+gardening, cooking).

Sometime a few months ago, I began referring to this as our water table year–the place in the marathon where you pause and drink and use the latrine. This sounds theoretically lovely (minus the last part), but what that meant was: I threw out most of my original plans for the year. I love this journey, even the hard parts, but I also felt mentally exhausted by it. I needed to find a new pace, to continue but in a much smaller way. We struggled to keep up with most of our planned lessons for most of the year, and by early spring, we had stripped our days down to the basics of math and spelling lessons and reading. We still read a lot and often but we didn’t produce much writing (ironic, I know). We did an assortment of random projects and continued with outdoor play and work. We shelved our formal science and history studies, leaving these discussions to whatever they were reading in stories or learning outdoors. We researched bugs and plants in our yard/garden, and while this would be an excellent journal of its own, we haven’t yet recorded it. In short, our learning has been practical and somewhat random. We’ve allowed our routines to breathe a bit, something I desperately needed in the seventh year.

I realize some of you will read this as an affirmation that you shouldn’t homeschool, that somehow you would be like me, too disordered or lacking in simple routine. Trained by traditional education, you might perceive non-linear learning as a lack of progression. Regardless of style and method, this journey is certainly not linear–and perhaps this is what causes myself and other homeschooling parents the most doubt and conflict. Lessons, formal and informal, build upon the other, but not always in the way we expect. The nuances of home-education are innately more holistic and organic, they ebb and flow with life seasons. Like a run through the hills or a mountain climb, the terrain is varied, and progress can feel downward, wayward, or challengingly upward. Still, it progresses. I hope this encourages us, all of us, to remember sometimes in life we run these figurative races with steady breath and strength, and other times we crawl, sucking wind. Either way, we must keep moving. We must cross the line.

It is difficult to discuss homeschooling without discussing the rest of our life. It seems one always gives and takes from the other, one of my favorite aspects to our learning. Last week, I figuratively hit a wall, but this was only in part due to our homeschool. It was more an exhaustion of soul, a stretching of my heart over too many things, too many concerns. I’m looking forward to pulling back a bit in every area this summer, to some travel, to some quiet. I need the space to listen, to more fully reflect and set new goals. I will be posting here in the process but more sporadically during the summer months. Last week, I remembered this short film I had seen a few years ago, the image of a runner crawling the finish line and a parallel story of her running coach battling ALS. I watched it again and felt so inspired by her finish, her will to follow through. I felt stronger listening to his perseverance, his fortitude and determination against a degenerating body. Take three minutes to watch it. I’m sure it will inspire you, too.

The Finish Line 2 – Short Feature from Evolve on Vimeo.

Monday

8

June 2015

0

COMMENTS

23/52

Written by , Posted in THE 52 PROJECT

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2015_week23-22015_week23-3When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.
― Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet

olive | I actually took this image of you in April, as you hopped along the garden borders when it was newly sprouting. One day I’ll see this image and remember when you too were just a sprout.

blythe | Moving our basil pot to another spot on the porch, away from the leaf hoppers in our garden–you have such a nurturing spirit.

burke + liam | You both helped your dad chop a few dying trees in our yard this week, and stack them for firewood when it gets cold again. Although you both are being silly in this image, I love how much it says about the both of you: Liam, witty and sometimes stirring trouble with your words; Burke, quieter with his words and faster his hands. We all are learning ways to love and respect each other a little better in this home. I love your friendship.

Thursday

4

June 2015

1

COMMENTS

22/52

Written by , Posted in THE 52 PROJECT

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There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life, everyone of them sufficient. ― Marilynne Robinson

olive | your laugh is deep and rich, the sort that stems from your belly and echoes a room. God knew I needed your electric spirit and lightness of heart.

blythe | when I returned home last weekend, you couldn’t stop talking, spilling details about your day–a sweet surprise to me as I always find you quietly focused, building Legos or drawing or writing. You require a balance of time between people and solitude.

burke | you and Blythe both had strep throat this week, and although it seemed so very painful, I think you may have enjoyed lying around in PJs and shirking chores for the day. (Wink.)

liam  | your feet have outgrown me and soon you will be taller, too. You test your growing strength by picking me up–yet wasn’t I the one just holding you?