Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Belong ~ An Acrostic Poem

Believe in becoming the you you were meant to be, creating strong branches

Embrace the path before you, knowing the pain of feeling empty, but the healing of being enough

Letting your light truly shining through, lightening your load by letting go, releasing what is holding you back

Opening the doors ahead, daring to dream, finding your tribe

Nourishing your mind, body, soul

Grounding your roots, growing your sturdy branches, giving grace with a focus on gratitude

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A Loving Kindness Message ~ On Belonging

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself... 

~May you find comfort where your heart takes you~
~May you find connection, even through a simple smile while out and about~
May you find your grounding spot, grow your roots, let your branches grow free & strong~
~May you know that you have a place to be truly you, a place of belonging~

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Finding Balance in Life ~ Especially in Marriage

Finding the balance between you, your marriage, and your kids can sometimes be a tough thing.  But when you stop to think about it, having a solid marriage is something that your kids need just as much as anything else.  They also need to you be you.  They also need to see you be a parent.

Is it possible to do all three?  Yes!  But, no they may not happen equally every day of the week.  Sometimes the balance shifts focus into one area heavily due to the time of season you are in.  Maybe you have a big work project that needs a little extra focus, but once done, things will even out.  Or maybe you have put your marriage on the back burner for far too long so finding the balance again is tough.  Or maybe a kiddo is sick.  The list goes on  for why our focus shifts the balance.

But the balance doesn't have to stay in one area forever.  It can and will shift around.  But want to know something interesting I have found?  If you make sure to include time for yourself, to dream, to create, to do your hobbies it is easier to put a good amount of focus on your marriage.  And vice verse.  If you make sure to invest in your marriage, the other pieces will find a balance point.

It is kind of interesting how investing into your marriage can greatly effect all the other areas of your life.  You put good in, you will get good out.  That is a phrase we use a lot with our kids. 

Beyond it all, communication is definitely needed.  Just talk, talk about it all.  Your dreams, your hopes, the mistakes, the hard stuff, the day...all of it.  Talk about it all.

Set up a good marriage foundation.  Then when you add kids, it will still be there for you to come back to, for your kids to learn from.  But don't forget to keep investing in your marriage through the years.  Let it grow, let it build.

What do you do to keep investing in your marriage?  What do you do to keep it off the back burner, always simmering on low?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Peaceful ~ Acrostic Poem

Plant yourself in fertile soil
Even in the midst of chaos, storms, drought
Allowing yourself to grow, accepting what you can control and letting go of what you can't
Cultivating the richness, the balance, the calm: carving out the time to
Ensure that the calm can wash over you
Fulfilling you in all ways, in all areas ~ mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually: Finding grounding in the moments
Utilizing your bounty, beauty around you, your strength, your courage: Uplifting you
Letting you see calm, feel calm: Letting go where needing: Letting light in, loving yourself and those around you through all the twists and turns on this journey

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Setting Up For Our Homeschool Year ~ Schedules and Curriculum

I used to be a teacher.  My classroom was filled with 20 four and five year olds.  We would work through the morning with a focus on reading, art, writing, math, science, circle time, and story time.

In all the years I taught, I was given the curriculum, given the calendar, given the order in which it would all go.  Told how long the kids got to have "free play", how much outside time they got (which was still structured teacher led), how long they had to sit for each activity.

On the flip side, through it all I learned how I would want my classroom to flow like if I had the freedom to have more say in how the schedule and curriculum looked.  Despite the attempts of telling parents there is a balance between teacher directed and child lead in the classroom, there really wasn't.  Literally everything was scheduled, if it wasn't teacher lead it was teacher influenced.  For example, sure we could have the block area open, but we told the kids which ones they could use for that time and suggested what to make.  No real free, open play...not even outside.  And looking back, it was a lot of sitting for the kids too.

While I had my own classroom, I tried to make as much room for free play and learning through play as often as I could because in the end, that is what the kids really needed and learned the most from.  I tried to plan and schedule, then let the flow of the day lead.  So if reading books was taking longer because the kids were enjoying them or the discussion was going well, I kept reading and adjusted things later in the day as needed.  When areas were open, I just let the kids use their imagination and play.  If circle time the kids were getting antsy, we would take a break and get moving. 

While most of those sound like the right thing to do, I was really going against what the schedule and curriculum said or allowed for.  I was risking getting in trouble from the director.  But even before having kids of my own, I knew that while yes a schedule is needed because it creates consistency and routines for kids, they need time to just play and be kids.

So when we decided to home school, I knew what direction I didn't want to go.  I also knew that I could really tap into my kids likes and dislikes, to build our day and the curriculum.

For the first time ever since becoming a teacher I bought a lesson plan book.  I found it in the dollar section at Target and thought, it's $3 pick it up and maybe I will use it to help put a plan down on paper.  I am using it.  For two reasons, one to help guide us through the year and the other is to keep a running record of what we are working on for records.

After assessing I laid out our plan of what we need to focus our curriculum on.  No, I didn't buy a bunch of curriculum.  But I do have a few things. 

I have a Alphabet Letter Curriculum that is filled with different letter and math activities with each letter.  Right now, I am using the letter color page for my youngest and the fun poem on how to write the letter with my oldest.  We are using Reading Eggs to guide through learning to read and sight words and Mathseeds for the number side of things.  We are also using Growth Mindset for Kids.

The rest of the curriculum has been found online for free.  So while my oldest has a focus on letters and numbers, my youngest is starting to learn his as well.

Each day we do calendar and weather, as well as we have a thought of the day card that also pairs with the letter of the week.  This week our letter is A and the thought of the day, which we use for the whole week, is always be kind.  There is also a sight word posted near the calendar to help learn specific sight words.

So here is what our week looks like:

Mondays are our reading focus day as well as the growth mindset activity.

Tuesdays are our getting together with other home school kiddos at playgrounds

Wednesday is our swim lessons day and outside for as long as we can, mixed in with art

Thursday is bible study fellowship

Friday is our math focus day

We head to the library, have time to just play, art whenever the mood strikes, and plenty of other adventures and exploring around the city.

Add in science, geography, history throughout each month and the planning all falls into place.

The library fills the gaps, especially for learning about history and geography.

We have put together a nature bag so that we can capture moments for our time spent out and about in nature as we have such a vast amount of possibilities for exploring.  There is a home school on the go bag, so I can put in any work we need to accomplish in the day and take it with us.

A few other items we got for supplies:
  • I bought a magnetic calendar and weather set up
  • Kid writing lined notebooks to create an ABC Journal and Math Journal
  • Flashcards
I have various other items we have gathered over the past year and a half to set up for homeschooling.  I have yet to decide when and where, or how those will be incorporated.  But for now, we have some letter boards, dry erase dice, puzzles that can help guide us in our learning.

As we start this journey, we are also learning the flow that works the best.  So, for now, this is what works.  Both kids are enjoying learning, asking for me, and show enthusiasm.  It provides enough variety, while getting in the things we need to, as well as utilizing the things the kids enjoy doing.  Because we can learn through all areas of life, where ever we are, no matter how old we are.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Emergence ~ Acrostic Poem

Each and everyday

Meet the day

Easing in

Ready for the richness that it will provide

Give grace, ground yourself, & grow

Enlightened, full of energy

Nourished for what comes next

Come, celebrate, and cherish this new found

Emerging, to bloom right now, right where you are, in this moment

Friday, September 21, 2018

Setting Up For Homeschool Year

If you have been reading my blog for awhile now, you know that we are going to home school for our kids' education.

I know, some of you may think I am crazy for going this route, but we took a lot of time and thought about the direction we wanted to head for education, where education in our society is headed, our options around us, and what would truly be the best fit for our kids.

My oldest, Kindergarten age, is curious, creative, loves the outdoors.  He asks about a million questions a day and loves art.  Anytime he can spend outside is even better.  Those things aren't available in schools, and the curiosity, creativity, and questions would get squashed out of him like a bug on a windshield the first week of school.  We want him to flourish.  We want him to learn where ever he is.  We want him to develop a life long love for learning, while keeping the bits of personality that make him him.  Homeschooling, or as I like to call it sometimes road schooling, allows us to do this.

We may not have to officially report to the district until the school year he is 7, which will be in two years, yet we are still setting up the foundations and basics to grow his learning.

We are gearing up for the school year, though the reality of it is that we school all year long.  Because we take it where we go, it is always a part of our day.

Here is what our year looks like:

I will wrap assessments this week to see where we need to focus our efforts on the most while building off of the stuff he already understands.  I have done a lot of research and have found that he has a pretty good handle on most of the Kindergarten things.  So the stuff he knows, we will move forward on to the next level and see where it leads.  This will lead a majority of learning time.

I am going to add in calendar and weather time each day, as well as some character development stuff.

We will be continuing to build connections, explore, learn, grow.

Our schedule is almost set up, stay tuned and look back to see what our plan looks like even more detailed.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Welcome Fall ~ Change is in the Air

Happy Fall Y'all!

As I sit here and dwell on this change of season, I am sipping on some pumpkin spice coffee, letting it warm me and listening to my heart. 

It has been raining all week, big storms here and there, and cooler weather is beginning to settle in.  The weekend was hot, humid, and definitely a last hurrah for Summer.  Today, the first day of Fall, it is raining and storming, but it definitely is looking and feeling more like Fall.

It is a time of transition and time of change.  It's also a time of preparing, a time of gathering in the abundance, a time of letting go.

It surely has been a transition week, not just the weather, but I can feel it in me and the happenings around me.  I have taken some time this week to do some digging in and setting my focus for the season.  Opening up, doing some simple clarity card work, and seeing where this season will lead.

I have been one to take dragonflies, butterflies and the like as symbols, a deeper connection.  Dragonflies are my baby girl dropping in to say hi, or it's okay, or it's going to be alright, or you got this.  Seeing them makes me pause, even if just to linger for a few seconds more.  Butterflies, since about a year ago, have become another big one for me.  They represent change for me.  Whether it is a change I know about it or not, they are a heads up that either I need to change something or to be ready for a change.

Let me share two dragonfly stories with you that happened recently, one has a butterfly in it as well.

Back in the end of August I cracked a tooth.  My first thought was, I am only 36 and I cracked a tooth.  But then I thought on it, I was the one who tried to eat the cookie filled with m&ms and chocolate chips too soon after I took it out of the fridge.  Oops...I still need to work on patience sometimes, or waiting until truly the kids won't know.  Either way, I was left with a cracked tooth.  From the time I got the temporary until I got the permanent, it was on my mind that what if this wasn't going to be enough of a fix.  The day I went to get the permanent, I was sitting in the chair waiting and looking out the window.  For a brief moment I watched a dragonfly hover nearby before it took off on the wind.  I knew then, that things would be okay.  And yes, I do pray, and yes I added this all to prayers as well.

Now, just at the beginning of this week I came to a stop light.  While I waited I watch a dragonfly pass by the front of my car.  As I watched it fly by, a butterfly flew near it in the other direction.  Okay, I thought...Change is in the air, but it is going to alright.  At that point I didn't have any clue as to what that change could be. 

But looking back now, here is what I came up with.  A reminder that life is precious, to slow down, to breathe, to take care of our bodies, to take care of our relationships, to be open, to trust, to let go.

On the way home after that experience, I was driving and without warning a car from three lanes over came shifting lanes towards me quickly.  I had really nowhere to go, couldn't speed up, couldn't slow down. After the driver realized what was going on (mind you I have a mini van, this was a car...my car can't be missed), quickly moved over to their own lane and exited the direction the freeway took.  As for me, I had begun to slow and pull off onto what little shoulder there was.  I paused for a moment, looked around, and drove the rest of the way home (luckily I wasn't far), probably holding my breath and tense the whole time.  I got home, paused, but just couldn't shake the feeling I had.  I had groceries to unload, and had to help get the kids ready for nap.  Hubby came out and took one look at me and asked what happened.  We took a moment to just settle me and then glanced at the car, noticing just how close that car had come.  I am missing some paint and there are scratches.  Yup, that was close, too close.  But I can look back on it with a different perspective.  It's going to be alright.

I have had two unexpected doctor appointments this week.  One with my doctor, and one for a mammogram/ultrasound.  I couldn't quite shake that something wasn't quite right in a certain spot.  The doctor agreed, something off, but what.  My mammogram and ultrasound both came back normal.  So what next?  I have this tubular spot that doesn't feel right, but also hurts sometimes.  I am waiting to hear back from the doctor which way to head.  Lots of praying, lots of patience, and still some waiting.  But at least for now, I can rest on the it isn't anything abnormal and all looks good.

Like I said, life is about change and transition.  That is where we are at, where I am at.  There is always some amount of uncertainty.  But there is also something to just being open to the change. 

Sometimes, it is an easy, happy time.  Sometimes it is hard, brings sadness or grief.  Either way, it can be scary.

My hubby started a business and it is to a point where big decisions need to be made on it.  But it involves change, uncertainty, and a whole lot of trust and letting go.  Does this scare us?  Most definitely.  Have we answered all the decisions?  Not yet, but we are working through them.

We have our home school plan and schedule set up.  It's still new to us, but it is exciting.  Giving us some new adventures to try out, but also take our learning on the go.

Fall is my favorite time of year.  It is about change, letting go, starting to prepare.  It's about learning and growing.  It's about reflecting and digging in deep.  It's about trusting and yet still dreaming.

What changes are you facing right now?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Loving Kindess Message ~ On Emerging

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself... 

~May you allow yourself to take up space, to be seen, to be heard~
~May you have strong roots that ground you~
~May you let yourself plant your feet firmly, grow, & emerge from within~
~May you let yourself - inside and out- radiate~
~May you let your blossom emerge as you emerge, filling the space around you~

Saturday, September 15, 2018

No Make Up Challenge ~ What Came of it?

Beside the fact that I am terrible at taking selfie pictures, for which I am sorry, I wanted to share my thoughts and experience on going without makeup. 

So almost 2 months ago I gave myself the challenge to go with no make up.  I started July 19.

On that day I woke up, put my make up away in our linen closet and closed the door.  I will admit, I did use an under eye dark circle roller thing for a few days after, but then decided to be done with that as well.

The hardest part of it all was giving up the under eye roller.  I had been using different eye creams and the roller to help but nothing ever seemed to be an effective, long term solution.

Before giving up makeup, I felt I needed it, all the time, everywhere I went.  I would start with day eye cream, primer, then do the under eye roller, bb cream foundation or just full coverage foundation depending on the time of year, and then powder.  At one point I was using the green face stick to cover up red spots on my face.  On special occasions add in eye liner, eye shadow, lip liner, lipstick, mascara, occasionally blush, and occasionally lip gloss.

I know, it sounds like a lot for some and not enough for others.  I wanted to simplify my routine for both the morning and bedtime.

I have even given up the two different eye creams that I was using depending on time of day and the apple cider vinegar toner I made.

So, if you add in the washing of my face, the toner, eye cream, and then make up it was a lot going on my face to start the day.  Then I had to clean it off at the end of the day.  So wash, toner, and eye cream again.

Lots of steps, lots of time, and for what?  Did I really needed the make up?  Thinking on it, no I didn't really.  For me it was a layer I could put on.  That layer represented different things at different times.  But once I grew my confidence and decided to challenge myself to go without did I finally, truly see the beauty that I had actually hidden underneath.

I found an amazing face product that helped me to switch out almost of all of my morning and bedtime routine.  It is called Joyome.  It is two different all natural serums, one for day and one for night.  I have been using one pump of each, every day, and have seen positive changes in my facial complexion, scar reduction, lines disappearing, softer texture, and my favorite no more dark circles under my eyes.  I have even gotten a little red from the sun a couple of times because I was out too long without my hat or sunscreen on and it has helped to get rid of that quickly.  The changes may be slow, but they are happening and they will only improve with use and time.

By adding this in, it gave me more confidence to be brave and go without makeup because it got rid of my dark circles within just a couple of days.  No amount of anything I had used before worked.   I now just wash my face with water in the morning and put the day serum on.  Then at night I wash my face with a homemade, all natural, clay based bar and then put on the night serum.
By giving up my daily make up routine, I have simplified my routines, begun to save money, and actually have better looking skin now then I did before.  Even better, it gave me the boost in confidence I needed to see that I don't need that extra layer on and don't need to hide behind it.  It is almost as if a load has been lifted allowing me to be more vibrant and truer to myself.

Sometimes it is the smallest step, the smallest thing that sets up as a catalyst and brings perspective changes, a shift in grounding, and growth.

This all started one day when I looked in the mirror, like really looked, and noticed that make up or not, I look no different.  I made the comment to my hubby that maybe I don't really need to wear makeup.  He never commented when I did, never commented when I didn't.  To him, it was all the same look.  And in reality, he preferred the look without, the natural look.

So between my observations, his honest comment, I decided to let go of the layers I added on.  Lay them down, let myself shine anyways.

What layer or even layers do you need to shed?