Slack Tide

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The “Lobster Pound” – the cottage sets right on the edge of the former lobster pound. For those of you who follow me on IG, you know how I delight at finding Hearts in Nature! Look at the ice floating in the center of the pound upon my arrival to Maine.

I am in Maine for what I will call “slack-tide.”

Time away. In silence.

I traveled just about as far up the Northern Coast of the United States one can travel to ‘get away.’ I am staying at a family cottage that sits on the Atlantic Coast in Delano Cove in pristine solitude.

Time like this doesn’t just happen. Self-Care usually doesn’t. This time was the fruit of generous family, much discussion, coordination and planning on the home front. Our life is deliciously full and time away had impact on all involved.

It was becoming abundantly clear to me that this mama needed to step up and practice a little of that “Self-Care” we understand to be essential to our mental, physical and spiritual well-being.  We spend much of our time and resource making sure our families are receiving and doing the things they need and that make them whole – I knew it was time to invest the same for myself.20190305_082044

In previous posts, I have shared that mothers, motherless daughters in particular, could benefit from performing more self-care acts for themselves in ways they wished someone would else would think to do without asking.

Self-Care is personal and Self-Care is universal. Only you know what your soul needs. It’s like the ground plug on an electric cord – you can plug and run items off it all day long, but if there is a power surge, a frayed wire, without a good ground your cord is going to fry.

I could sense my brain was overwhelmed and over-taxed. Been there?

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BHAG’S & Teens – Ten reasons you should say “YES!”

Kayah on steps at Oxford

Our teen on the steps of Oxford University. She had been on campus less than 24 hours and looked so happy! BHAG achieved.

BHAG’s – ever heard of that acronym before? If not, let me share.

Backstory: BHAG is a term I was introduced to by my homeschool-mentor-guru, Julie Bogart. I believe it originally was coined in the business world, but it stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goals.  Awhile back, Julie did a talk on her top ten must do’s when raising teens and BHAG’s were one of her recommendations. She shared that every teen should be given the opportunity to tackle one before they graduate from high school.

BHAG’s are exactly what they stand for…big, ginormous, difficult, bold goals.  They usually start with the words, “hey mom, I was thinking…” They are going to sound CRAZY when they share them with you! Your mind is immediately going to scream “danger, danger…” Your brain is going to immediately turn into a calculator adding up the costs! But, if they are sincere, if they are for real, if this is something they really really want to do…say “YES!”

Some of your friends and family are going to think you’re crazy or insane for spending the amount of money or time necessary to dedicate to helping your teen achieve their BHAG, but do it anyway! I promise, it is completely worth it! Regardless of the outcome of their efforts,  the experience of chasing a BHAG is where their grit and ability to follow through on a dream will emerge.

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The Jump

Hey Friends!

Happy summer!

Although my blog doesn’t reflect it, I have been diligently writing. I have almost completed the revision, additions and changes to my first book – well, book may be a stretch…how about a collection of thoughts?

The book is in the final stages. I am excited to see this process through to the end. This book is specifically for families hearing the whisper or feeling the nudge for a possible change. This is a book for parents who are not only questioning if the current education of their children is really meeting their personal needs, but if their lifestyle is allowing them the type of connection and joy they desire, too. This is a book for all those considering homeschooling.

I will be learning how to format and transition the material for publishing soon! This is the first time I have done anything like this. It is a cool process to learn and fun to witness the book take on a voice and shape.

Quinn and I spent many hours reminiscing and discussing the time leading up to our decision to pull the trigger and bring the girls home from public school.

Quinn recalled the very day I withdrew the girls from public school. He described a feeling of dread all morning – like for real, dread ya’ll. He said he even called to tell me to wait so we could talk a little more about it (we had been talking about it for TWO years!) but I had already done it.

We are happy we made the choice, but it was not (and is not) without worry, anxiety and stress if we were making a huge mistake. Some comfort I have found is that every parent, regardless of the choices we make, worries a little! Right?

Five years later, our only regret? That we didn’t do it earlier…

My hope is this book will serve as some inspiration, encouragement and food for thought for a family contemplating a big change. This is for all of you out there who question the status quo and entertain different and new ways of being. This is not a “How-To Homeschool” book, but more of a guide to support you in determining if home schooling may be the right fit for you and your family.

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Connecting the Dots in Homeschool History

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Miko at The Tower of London Fall 2017 – (built in late 1070s) stories of knights, prison, palace, torture, crown jewels. Currently, Queen Elizabeth II is the ‘owner’

Right now we are enjoying an unplanned and completely welcome serendipitous coordination of learning with our history and geography curriculums. One of my favorite perks of home-education is our family learning together. I love when connections are made – where we kind of connect the dots between subjects as a family and create common familial context.

Case in point:

DOT: In language arts we are reading historical fiction novel, Georges, by Alexandre Dumas (France, 1800’s.) We are using the Bravewriter Boomerang Guide for literary analysis and copywork.

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Kira’s Copywork for Georges using the Bravewriter Boomerang Guide

DOT: In geography we are studying Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

DOT: In history we are reading the Story of the World (SOTW), Volume 2 – Middle Ages.

DOT: We are binge watching the Crown on Netflix.

 

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The girls love this show and have acquired such an understanding of who Elizabeth, Philip, the monarchy, Winston Churchill, historical events and much more. We are excited for Season 3!

 

DOT: We just returned from a field trip to France and England.

DOT:  Poetry Teatime Tuesday is a Bravewriter staple in our home. We have tea, hot chocolate, lemonade and treats on Tuesdays and read poetry or lyrics to songs. When we were in England we made sure to have high tea and brought home some special souvenirs to keep our holiday alive just a little longer.

 

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Poetry Teatime Tuesday special treat

 

DOT: My eldest daughter just finished reading Don Quixote and recently attended the  Carolina Ballet perform it as well. (Spain, 1600’s.)

DOT: In the story, Georges, the main character is confiding to Lord Murray that he intends to duel his nemesis to win Sara’s (his love) hand in marriage from Henri (to whom she is already engaged.) Henri is of no masculine threat to Georges. Lord Murray makes a comment to Georges that perhaps he not worry about Henri as he is like a “windmill and not a giant.” This subtle little reference could have been so easily glossed-over and missed if it were not for my eldest.

CONNECT THE DOTS: Kayah giggled and ‘got it’ straight away! She explained to us that in Don Quixote he is preparing to fight a “giant” that turns out to be nothing but a mere windmill. Thus, the author was implying Henri maybe should be of little concern to Georges…nothing but a mere windmill.

 

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Kayah sharing the passage from Don Quixote during our read aloud this week.

 

All of these dots connect to create an image of connected context (that is some serious alliteration!) I may be a total dork, but I love when that happens.

These are the AH-HA moments that can never be planned – learning that occurs across curriculum.  THAT is exciting! Subjects never seem independent of one another, but connected.

One of my favorite questions to ask the girls when we are exploring a new topic is “what was going on in the United States at this time…” I love this question because sometimes the USA was not even an idea and other times they can connect the global dots of what was occurring during the many phases of the United State’s maturity – a layering of history.

If you are looking for some ideas to study this time period, here are some links to product we enjoyed! You can just click on the image for links or more information or select the links in the text above.

(All  amazon links are affiliate links.)

Henrietta

Hey all,

On New Year’s Eve, my husband and I agreed to a short-story challenge.  The challenge was to create and illustrate a short story by January 31st.

Without further adieu, meet “Henrietta.”

Rock on! Vickie

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Road Trip USA – Day Fourteen “Land of Enchantment”

en-chant-ment noun – the state of being under a spell, magic.

One of my favorite words is enchantment – the magic...

In life, I try to sprinkle pixie dust to the mundane to helps us remember that at every moment we have the opportunity to make the ordinary extraordinary! So it is no surprise that I had lived in a state with a tag line boasting “the land of enchantment” for many years!

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Has it really been over a year since I started the journaling of our Road Trip USA? What in the world?!  Seriously? Time is moving at warp-speed.  So without further ado, I offer our final day, the closure to our Road Trip, our visit to New Mexico!

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We concluded our Southwest trip with a visit to Albuquerque, New Mexico.  We snuggled with our former neighbors, visited friends and favorite places. We consumed as much green chili and breakfast burritos from the Frontier Restaurant as humanly possible! This was an awesome way to wind down from our trip, reminisce and connect. Home.

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I loved our life in New Mexico. I clearly remember the day we arrived in Albuquerque for the first time. The manner we arrived echoed the feel of our new “home” – simple and expansive.

Before moving to New Mexico in 1997, Quinn and I had owned a home in Virginia Beach. Once we decided to take a leap of faith and move out west, we downsized and sold it all! Now that I am reflecting, it seems a pattern or habit of ours…hmmm.

We packed up everything we owned in our two cars, cats riding gunshot and drove for a week across country. What a simple time.  To basically carry everything you own in two cars.

I will never forget our approach to Albuquerque. The song “Great Pets” by Jane’s Addiction came on the radio and all of a sudden the flat, open endless terrain became interrupted by the enormity of the east side of the Sandia Mountains. For a girl that was raised in Ohio, this mountain looked enormous!

With excitement and anticipation we began our drive through the more lush, rural side of the Sandia Mountain to the urban west side of the mountain – Albuquerque. The enormity, expanse and simplicity of the town is incredible. After our almost 11 years of life in this town I am convinced one either falls under the enchantment spell of the west or doesn’t. It is isn’t a place for everyone, and honestly, the natives and inhabitants of the town like it that way.

“When you turn around, you’ll see something I bet you’ve never seen before. If it takes your breath away, then you’ll fit in nicely. If you don’t feel anything, then maybe you don’t belong here.”  Veronica Randolph Batterson

We were moving so Quinn could attend The International Institute of Chinese Medicine (IICM) to study Chinese medicine.  I had interviewed and accepted a position at the best hospital in the world, (I’m a little biased, but I am pretty sure it is!) Presbyterian Healthcare Services in the Coronary Intensive Care Unit. I made some of my closest friendships at that hospital. Many of my friendships in the unit began in our early twenties and we shared an intimate lens into our ‘growing up.’ We partnered each other as we entered adulthood with one another- growing our families, marriages, divorces, careers, celebrations, buying homes and holding each other close through some of our friends and families untimely deaths. Special people. Special bonds.

We were living in a sketchy part of town, in our rented apartment and life was good.

Neighbors 

After a few years, and being the victim of several crimes in our apartment complex, we decided to rent a home in a better area of town.  We rented a sandy-brown flat roofed stucco home that would hold some our most special memories –  Quinn’s completion of studies, my completion of a Master’s degree in Science and Nursing and the arrival of our first two daughters. It was also the home where we met Sherry and Tom, or as our family calls them, “Sherrytom.”  Sherrytom – a perfect compound word.

 

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Sunday Dinner with Sherrytom.

 

After a few weeks in our new home, Quinn was out back playing horse-shoes by himself. Tom came up to our fence (think Mr. Wilson) and said, “howdy neighbor.” Quinn invited him over, the two drank some beer and played shoes and this began a friendship that we believe was inevitable.  From that day forward, we spent every Sunday together having “Sunday dinner.” Tom even built little wooden steps between our two homes called the “neighbor’s steps” so we could visit each other more easily. They became our best friends. When we moved, they gifted us a pendulum clock with a plaque engraved “neighbors by chance; friends by destiny.”  

Good Buddies

Sean and Liz are our Good Buddies.  We met Sean and Liz through Quinn’s school of Chinese medicine. Sean and Liz are the type of friends that you can enjoy a bottle of wine and then sing and act out the entire score to the musical Rent. (yes, this did happen!)

Inside jokes, intimate memories and shared life.  Good Buddies. Circling back through Albuquerque, visiting and spending time with Neighbors, Good Buddies and all our friends was the perfect ending, like a cherry on top of a big old sundae on our road trip adventure.

 

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Breakfast at Frontier with Good Buddies.

 

 

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Lunch at Garduno’s with some of the CCU gang! (best margaritas, ever.)

 

This trip was a trip of a lifetime. I know for sure our family is at its best when we are doing life – having adventure – and we are committed to continuing to make changes and adaptions in our everyday life to allow for more!

If you have never visited any of the National Parks in the USA – GO! Experience them! They are treasures, truly, and a gift for you and I.

I conclude with a quote by Theodore Roosevelt…

“In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.” – Theodore Roosevelt