Friday, May 25, 2012

Books to Read

I am currently reading a trilogy from a very successful author, Helen Forrester, that lived (and recently passed away) in Edmonton. The books are a fascinating look at poverty, survival, and family dynamics...they are autobiographical, which when you read the deprivations suffered, is unbelievable. They are not self-pitying though, but she is honest in the telling. The books are 'Twopence to Cross the Mersey', 'Minereva's Stepchild', and 'Lime Street at Two'.

Happy at Home

“To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labour tends.”

Samuel Johnson 'The Rambler' no. 68

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I love these people....

Tim must be taking the photo, but I see him anyway in the faces of his children:)

I love Ezra's profile...he looks like a regal baby! I get the feeling that in one more second all these energetic bodies will be out of the frame of the camera!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives."

C.S. Lewis

Affection, what a gentle and sweet word, carrying with it the warmth of friendship, acceptance, kindness, and genuine caring. I will be thinking of ways that I can show affection in my relationships, especially with friends, since I think I probably have that covered at home though there is always room for improvement, by showing affection in different ways.

"Affection, like spring flowers, breaks through the most frozen ground at last" - Jeremy Bentham

"My affection has no bottom, like the Bay of Portugal" - William Shakespeare

I thought the last one was just funny....

Home School - George Washington

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Reality of Peoples Feelings

This is a concept I have been aware of lately and have learned a lot of about. It does no good to tell other people how they feel. That is as true for children as it is for adults (though we may get away with it, with children). It is unkind and hurtful, in fact, because it  makes the person feel small or diminished. I know how this feels,  and I have also been guilty of doing it I am doesn't feel good and now that I am aware of it, I will certainly try hard not to push in that way. It's really a form of bulldozing, that is sort of meant to come across as encouraging, but can be judgemental and damaging to relationships.

For example...let's say your child is scared of the dark. Do you say "You are not scared. There is absolutely nothing for you to be scared of. You have slept in this room a thousand times, and there is no reason to be scared!" (as if they will not be scared now because you told them they shouldn't be! We're trying to help or encourage, but it's really not doing either; the child could perceive that they are being judged for being scared, like it's a wrong way to be).  Maybe you could say "You're feeling scared? Let's figure out together what we can do so you can fall asleep." Then look under the bed, turn on the hall light, sing a song, say a prayer...etc.

This isn't a big example (like I said, our kids will forgive us our lacks), but it's just so true, that to honor people, especially if we profess to love them,  we want to acknowledge their feelings, which means not judging them or putting a label on them, but listening and trying to understand them. Show empathy. If you care. A lack of acknowledging a person's feelings is a sign of not really caring, which is just sad - a relationship killer for sure.

On a lighter note, you probably know the song 'Volcano' by Damien Rice. Phillip Phillips did a cover of this on AI (American Idol for those of you who are not geeks) that I have listened to over and over. I seriously love this song. He's my favorite of the 3 finalists, though they are all talented. I like them all, it's just that as far as the kind of music I would buy - it's Phillip Phillips. Joshua Ledet would be my next choice, if anyone out there cares. I can't think of anyone I know that watches, except my hairdresser, and she doesn't read my blog:)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Early Bird

A person would have to get up awfully early to beat Jared to the worm...he is ridiculously diligent with important days such as Mother's and Father's day, birthdays, and the like. He thinks big (creatively) too...there are no 'socks' or 'chocolates' from this thoughtful son. He is the purest person I know...I love him so much. I am so lucky that I get to see Jared every day, and that we do fun things together, like learning, road trips, eating out, and cooking cauliflower soup, starting a business, talking politics, and planning our football game for the season. Now we are trying to get in to a Dennis Miller/Bill O'Reilly show while we are in South Carolina in September. I have such a great life.

Though, speaking of early birds....Mark has installed Dad's Father's day gift already in the garage...Dad will see his gift tonight. I wonder if Mark is going to give me Dad's gift for Mother's day?? Haha. I also had the perfect opportunity to share an afternoon with Mark this week. It happened spontaneously, the best way, though after a heart felt prayer for him that very morning, and we had the best, best day...really connecting. Mark carry's his own load - not letting on even if it's getting heavy. Do you know what I was truly thankful for? That I was here to be in the right place at the right time to listen. If I had a job outside I just wouldn't have been here. How often does this happen, that I find I am thankful that I was home? Nearly every. single. day. I would miss so many moments, even though my kids are grown; my daughter-in-law coming over to sew, making persian food with Mark's girlfriend Mariah, having Sarra call with good news or a question about something, running an errand for or going for lunch with Eli, learning fun things with my grandkids and taking their calls (which can be a time commitment given that there are four kids that can dial!) (Ezra and Isa don't call me yet:), going to the pool with my little grand daughter Isabelle, and being here when my big, beautiful, sweet sons need an ear or a hand. I owe this amazing privilege to my husband, who has made it possible. I should celebrate him on Mother's Day, because he has made that role possible for me. What an amazing guy - he has always been happy to know that I am home to take care of whatever comes. He's been there for me every single step of the way. Did I say I have a great life? 
I really, really do. 


"The least strained and most natural ways of the soul are the most beautiful; the best occupations are the least forced."  Michel Montaigne

This means do what you love! It applies perfectly to home schooling, but also to the rest of us; life is too short to be trying to undertake pursuits that we don't really love. Follow your heart, learn anything and open, but if you find you're not into it, let it go, and move on to something else you do love. You may find that you enjoy learning a little about everything...I am most like this I think, falling short of being a full on expert in anything.

On a different note...this morning was home school day with my grandchildren...I love this time with them. In fact, once we turn on Skype or iChat and the picture begins to open, the anticipation of  seeing them all there smiling and happy is wonderful! All of a sudden there they all are! We always clap happily! It's almost as good as when I hear them coming through the back door, but not quite! Today we only had 30 min. which was just enough time to get started on our new topic of American History. There are so many areas to cover; event's, people etc. Because we had such a short day we decided to write to President Obama, so they got their envelopes addressed and stamped...and this week the assignment is to talk to their Dad and get some idea's about a question, concern or suggestion they might have for the President, and write their letter. We;ll read them next week, and then mail them and hope for a response. They are always excited to do whatever I plan - they are so pleasant and eager to learn anything - we always have fun, and I love it! This fits in very well with 'do what you love'!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Little Things

What I have learned from my reading of The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, is that teeny, tiny adjustments in life can add to our happiness. This month, apart from being 'silly' (which it turns out is harder than it sounds, I'm not really that silly though I did fill the house with Iranian moves today...lalalala, lalala kai yai kai...then tried to get Dad to dance with me to Madonna's 'Hung Up', but he said he had to go do his taxes... when the kids are here I can be shamelessly silly - dancing around the house, singing out of tune etc., talking baby talk, playing silly games, etc.) I am also playing/singing along with upbeat music first thing in the morning and acting the way I want to way to do that is to smile more. I can do that :)))

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” 
― Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, May 4, 2012

Things to Read & Watch

I have some entertainment recommendations, some of which you may have seen or read already, because these have all been 'out' for a while, but I have just discovered them.


1. John Adams DVD's - a series. OUTSTANDING in every possible way. No crocheting or checking your phone with this one, you will need to pay attention. Also, you'll need about 7 hours :)

2. Downtown Abbey - Seasons 1 & 2. "Austenesqe (though set in early 1900's) Soap Opera - delicious.


A trilogy by Pamela Aidan:
1. An Assembly Such as This

2. Duty & Desire

3. These Three Remain

I know, Jane Austen knock offs are rarely good, or even passable, but this trilogy is worth every tree that it took to produce it. The story is told from the position of Darcy. The books combine a mix of the original story, where possible, and Pamela Aidan's own plot where the Austen left gaps. I don't love the entire set equally, in fact I would give the first book 4/5 stars, the second 3/5, and the fourth 5/5 stars. By the end I thought I was going to die if the book ended. It did end, and I am still here, but I finished it a month or so ago and I am still mourning its finish. It's so lovely to read a book with writing as close to Austen's as possible. Pamela Aidan does an admirable job of word choice and turns of phrase that are consistent with the original. There is a strange sort of mystical twist in the 2nd book that I could live very well without, hence the drop in 'stars' for book 2.