04 February 2013

something new

I've begun a new blog....

What I will do with this one remains to be seen. I'm uncertain whether I will even continue writing here. I may close it off and make it private, by invitation only. The reason being, this one holds much of my family's life and I want to preserve their dignity, their privacy, and mine. The new blog, I hope to make public, plan to put on a business card. I'm not so sure I want them attached. But, who knows. Maybe I will just leave this to get dusty, but findable....

I think you will possibly find my new blog interesting and if not - my feelings won't be hurt in the least. If you find this blog turned private in the near future, don't hesitate to email me and request an invitation. I cherish each one of you who've traveled the path I've taken in the past 8 years. Now, I'm ready for a fresh start and a fresh blog and a bigger boost of confidence, (something I'm working on)!

Without further ado, I introduce to see joy.

09 January 2013


Happy New Year my friends....
As the old year fades away and the new one blows in with a gusty wind full of life, I thought I'd share a few thoughts.

This past year has been a deliberate slowing down for my household. With all the high needs that run rampant and some seriously intense and difficult years recently behind us, I made a choice to do "school lite" - my homeschool goal this year is "happy"....really, that's it. Which means academics are second place and a breezy unschooling attitude often drifts through here. They do have school requirements and they do have chores, but in a sense we're all taking a break from the push and shove of meeting a standard.  And happiness is starting to shine like stars on a cloudy night. The stress is less, the dark moods that hover over some in our family are less dark and more manageable....it's good stuff, stuff that cares for the hearts of each one in our home; that has far more value to me than anything else. Some days it's hard to remember to keep that focus, though, especially when so many around me push hard through the year academically. But we'll keep the course for now, and see what the fall brings for each of the kids when the time comes. I have a deep sense we'll land our feet one way or another.

We finished out 2012 with a bang - a month of illness that consumed our household:
6 cases of a mystery virus (like a mild flu)
4 of the real flu
4 of a stomach virus
1 cold
1 huge round of bronchitis
1 double ear infection
....bear in mind, there are only 6 people living here! And for a couple days my husband had the flu while I had a stomach virus and we had 3 sick kids to care for, 1 to keep far away from. It was FUN!

But in the end, Bitsy turned 2 in the last days of the year and Baby J hit 5 this week.
(We won't discuss tomorrow's mark in time for myself.)
I remain astonished at the rapid changes and how quickly my littlest ones aren't so little any more. I mean, where did my babies GO?

I am pushing forward with my novel-writing - I finished my rough draft last week, with thousands of words more than I aimed for. I'm excited to dig into the next steps of rewriting and editing and what-not. I'm setting little goals for myself and whatever may come, I am happy with writing. I really love it. I feel like I've found my groove at last.

I hope each of you has had a lovely start to the new year!

28 November 2012

why i'm glad the tv is on

I speak enough of Little B for you to know the ups and downs.
Now let me show you what life is like as winter draws her cloak closer around us, as the dark settles into our bones and the face she gives Seasonal Affective Disorder in our home, on my son.

B is asked to wake early - if he sleeps past 8, it's difficult to drag him from his bed. 7am is fine, 6am even better. He showers then sits in front of his light box for an hour while eating breakfast, reading a book, doing math, perhaps drawing comics. A book is his preference.

If he gets up at 8:30am because I've overslept (again) and he turned off his alarm, he moans and groans pulls the covers over his head. Repeatedly. By the time he has showered and finished his light it's easily past 10am.

By now he's ready to go to his room to read, listen to an audio book simultaneously, perhaps play Legos. For hours. He'd gladly skip lunch for the quiet solace of his room. When he emerges it's with fits of anger over chore time and resentment of an assignment he slipped away from with the quiet of a cat burgler.

Yes. It's a typical school day. Yes, he has chores to do and lessons to complete. But dragging him from his room becomes a chore to me in and of itself. He is peaceful in there, albeit too wrapped up in his little world. He does not bite angry words from his haven until he is called down from there. I crave peace.

He reads (and listens to) massive amounts of fantasy (dragons, space, etc), historical fiction, non fiction. He will come home from the library with a dense pile of books and need to go back in less than a week. Thus far, the reading material seems appropriate, I cannot keep up; if I read that much I would never sleep. He has a conscience and is bothered when the character kisses a girl and lets me know if there is cussing. (We keep tabs on how much, what kind, and discuss openly. If it's frequent, he stops reading the book. Willingly.)

A recent goal is to find ways for him to leave his room. Reasons to keep him downstairs. A set way to carry on the day without denying his need for solitude.

First, I'm working to have him up earlier which shifts his entire day for the better. As does the morning shower, something we discovered in 2nd grade with him.

Then, the light. It's necessary. A blessing. We didn't even stop using it in the summer. Instead we cut the time back to half an hour. This time of year it's a full on hour unless the day is sunny and we have someplace to be that cannot wait. Half of that is the need for routine, consistency.

I'm finding a designated time to expect chores. That way he expects it. Eventually, it will be habit. In the meantime....well, we're pressing on.

I'm breaking up his room time with scheduled assignments. When they're done, he can find his haven until the next scheduled item.

This week, before we've really set this into motion (I'm in the figuring-it-out stages still), he is drawn to his computer programming book, smack in the center of the house, distractions all around. He is happy to watch documentaries at length (and Phineas & Ferb, the one show all kids agree on at any given time). I am happy to see him downstairs (until the crabby side surfaces when someone annoys him).

I've decided that in the throes of too much room time, TV is preferable, better, and healthier for him and his mental outlook. It draws him out of his exclusive world and I will use it for all it's worth. It will be scheduled into his day in some form. It definitely has a place.

21 November 2012


I prefer my privacy and close friends, not large crowds and a name splashed for many to see. Facebook is a trial to me (as I've mentioned before) and the idea that my blog could be found by people who scarcely know me is debilitating (and by the nature of this post itself, doubly so).

And yet, I am typically an open faced person with little left to secrecy. Lying is a pet peeve of mine and I feel my thoughts are an open book, written upon my face. As such, I frequently feel compelled to explain myself, leaving little mystery behind. (Of course, I've learned there can be quite a difference between telling someone what is going on externally versus internally; depends on the circumstance. It's an art, my friends.)

Oddly, those two aspects of who I am both go together and also repel one another. Forthrightness is much simpler with circumstance as opposed to intent. I don't mind babbling on and on about car repairs that have me stressed out and being worn out from hard months of homeschooling - those are my circumstance. But my feelings and dreams are much harder to admit aloud. Matters of the heart are far more personal.

I have wanted to share a secret for a while. But it's hard because it's my heart. It's something I'm doing, my outlet, my dream. Tending my dream is the easy part (some days anyhow); the hard part is admitting it to others. And yet that's why I'm posting today.

I'm writing a book.

Admitting it to those not already privy to the story has been a challenge to me, colored by a million different crayons....just a few of those colors:

  • I'm probably not that amazing of a novelist; it's just a dream of mine and I'm overdue to follow it.
  • I'm content writing and never publishing, though that bug is starting to bite me a little.
  • Having someone read my book who knows me, but doesn't know me well, terrifies me - I'm not worried that they'll think I'm a poor writer; I'm afraid of the opinions they will create, the impressions my book would leave about me, based on what I choose to write.  

Truly? I love my story. And I'm working at not caring what someone else might think of it (an author on a writing blog I frequent mentioned needing tough skin....so I'm trying to grow some). I've sworn for nearly 20 years that if ever I happened to publish I would use a pseudonym. And I still might. But I'm working to not have a secret life and be open faced about my dream and what I'm doing. Of course, if it sits in my laptop forever more, unloved by the published world, I suppose none of this will be an issue.

I'm more than halfway through my first draft. I will finish it - of that I am sure. I am already anticipating my second draft and how much better it will be by then. I'm also beginning to see the seeds of another story pushing out from this one.

I've taken steps like joining a writer's association and following a few writing blogs. I can assure you they captivate me far more than the ones on parenting (I learned to throw out most of what I read on that topic long ago!), and even homeschooling.  I'm nervously considering attending a conference next year as well. This desire to write has pushed me for years. Now it's spilled onto paper and I cannot get enough.

The bottom line - I'm writing.
I am following my dreams.
(Whew....secret told.)

11 October 2012

life in october

(So... I never had the guts to post my third pondering topic last month.  I'll save it in the draft folder in case I find that nudge someday.)

Autumn has begun.  It's fresh air, crunchy leaves and my wedding anniversary (15 years!) mark the beginning of my favorite season. This is the time of year I love to go outside and lay on the ground and just feel the earth beneath me, soaking in the loveliness around me.  It's the easiest time for me to be still and know God, even for just the moment at hand. Just to feel His presence in the midst of the chaos that surrounds me.

It also marks the beginning of Little B's seasonal struggles.  It seems he has different issues all year long, and they cycle consistently. This is when the days begin to get shorter, and his frustrations mount higher. Resistance to everything becomes his norm and my ability to cope falls through the floor. Arguing begins with rising and ends when his melatonin finally kicks in around 9pm. Or he swings from helium-like-high to the darkest shades of blue in the blink of an eye.

This drains the entire family and asking him to complete his homeschool day is practically impossible.  It spreads to Miss C who would then rather draw on her papers than write. It oozes over to the little ones who would rather be in another room and grow cranky from the grumps that pour over the house as the day drags on.

I am challenged to find new and creative ways to help my kids learn.  Every year I try to go farther "out of the box" and still help them grow and learn. I've spent weeks talking to the Lord about it and gradually I'm finding little ways to make changes. Since Little B does more with a routine and is the master of avoidance, it's truly a balancing act to get the things that need doing done and blend them with the easy things.

Anyone with creative learning ideas, do share!  I'll try to post on how it's going once in a while.  For now, I'm finding subjects (read: "electives") to enrich the enjoyment of learning without requiring lots of table time unless they want to....

So far, my list of ideas include:

Science Experiments (not per curriculum - just whatever strikes their fancy)
Languages (Little B listens while playing Legos, Miss C wants to learn...)
Music Appreciation (um...we'll see)
Reading (easy for Little B, less so for Miss C)
Cooking (anything and everything)
Walks, yoga, outdoors, skating, etc.
Nature Study (again, we'll see...though Miss C adores animals and bugs more than anything)
Art (again, Miss C's forte...though they all enjoy it)
Time Line of World History, fill it in as you read something (this stirred Little B's excitement!  LOL!)
Netflix documentaries
Educational apps on my iphone (need to find some GOOD ones!)

I'll give them a small chunk of time for the math and writing/phonics each day, and chores are a must.  But I want their heart not an all day argument....if they grow up to be bitter with a stellar degree, it would mean far less than if they love the Lord (and hopefully me) and are happy and have a job and life they're content with, whatever it is.

10 September 2012


Some of the friends who make my life richer and more robust by their very existence live far away now - the ones I've known more than half my life and whose short, infrequent visits leave my cup full and running over.

When time and distance and life are the reason for not having time together, it's easy to think you've just lost touch, drifted away - it's nothing personal.  But when anticipation of a reunion fills you with delight, it's not a drifting away.  And when the friend gives you a hug, their words spilling out easily: "Why don't we live around the corner from each other?"  - it's then you know that you didn't imagine the invisible thread that's kept you connected in spite of rare phone calls, infrequent emails, thousands of miles.

This weekend was one of those times.

I am full, renewed, beyond words.

08 September 2012


I have about three possible posts circling my brain, wondering if there are enough words to go with the feelings to cause them to spill into my fingers and land on the keyboard.  I'm still not sure.  But I'll give it a try, offering each a space of time and a different posting this week....

In the last week, Little B asked me if I'd ever decided whether he was "autistic" or not.  (Some of you may recall that a couple years ago we discussed the likelihood of Asperger's with him.  It went over as well as withdrawing money from a negative bank account; a doctor retracted the suggestion of Asperger's and pushed him onward instead, leaving me mildly uncertain what to think).  So in response to this recent question, I deferred to the therapist or other doctor he sees.  Just that simple.  I also clarified that he's not autistic - but left most of what needed to be said to the professional.

Yesterday Little B asked the right person.  Who explained the spectrum, ascertained he was not on far end, and described the milder side, Asperger's.  She told him that she didn't always care to use such terms to describe people since everyone is different....I love and respect this, but I also think it's good to be able to embrace our individuality and be okay with it, label or no label. (I'm still learning to embrace my forever cluttered life - and be okay with inviting guests over whether their homes are cluttered and dusty or spotless...definite work in progress.)

She concluded by asking Little B what he thought of what she'd said.  He promptly said he believed he had Asperger's.  Her response was that while she agreed he exhibited many of the symptoms, it didn't mean it was conclusive.  He came away more accepting of having it than not, but being okay with it.  I'm relieved.

That, however, does not make it easier to live with him, or teach me how to be his mommy, or give me the compassion or balance needed at pivotal moments.  I'm still a major work in progress.