Saturday, November 29, 2008

Minutes ~

As I was driving home the other night, within minutes the sky gracefully and quite dramatically changed from a slate grey to dusky pink and into a flaming orange glow that actually caused my heart to race. At one point, I looked into my sideview mirror and it looked literally as if the sun was growing larger...I felt a bit of a primal fear, you know, the one that causes you to realize how matters of this earth are so often, really out of our control... It looked almost as if the sun was about to explode ~ so wild sounding I know, but in those few minutes there was such beauty in that fear...a surrender and peace. Of course, I was also seeing an absolutely gorgeous sight so maybe that was the peace ;) I don't think that was it though...

Later the next day, I couldn't get that shifting sky out of my head...then I realized there was a message for me there. There has been a struggle lately with staying in the moment...of truly seeing my children and being in those moments with them. My mind is often pulled to some other, often silly place. There have been minutes of beauty that I just catch the tail end of. Seeing this beautifully shifting sky was a reminder for me of the constant flux of my time with my loved ones. Each moment being unlike anything before it and will never be recreated. I so want to be able to catch and hold these moments, completely ingest them and have them be part of me for the rest of my days and theirs. For while these minutes we share tumble on, the love born out of them will remain with us... this was my reminder to mindfullness - as I was rushing home to get dinner ready ;)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Snow ~

The first snow ~

It's always so very exciting to see the first snow of the season on the ground...

The girls rushed out this morning to taste a bit while it was fresh and then wanted to play in the snow...which at this point consisted of walking about and inspecting the tracks their little footprints left in the light dusting as well as brushing the snow off of any object within reach. I'm convinced this is a universal habit among kids in snow laden climates since I must have witnessed it no less than a hundred times over these years of raising kids...;)

Such a good thing they were so quick on it I look out the window, it's aleady melting away...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Harmony ~

"The objective is not dogmatically to live with less but is a more demanding intention of living with balance in order to find a life of greater purpose, fullfillment and satisfaction."
Duane Elgin

I also found this definition of harmony ~ "compatibility in opinion and action"
and found it very fitting for where our family is at these days in relation to stuff and time ~ Trying to make sure our lifestyle fits our values and what we want to pass onto our kids...

Does 3 sets of bongos seem too many? I suppose this depends on if everyone wants to play at once and create great music together. Or, if our 8 year old wants to set them all up together and rapidly play away as he was doing this morning...

What about dolls? A basketful seems excessive but, they are literally *all* played with - daily.

Yet, I know they would also make do and be fine if we had less of these things ~ they would share what there was, take turns, maybe even learn a bit more patience? They would also improvise ~ that's a definite...

Then I come back to that quote above concerning balance. They do find fullfillment from playing bongos together rather than waiting for a turn...there is enjoyment in all of the roles created and mixed with a basket of various dolls...I keep in mind that the greater purpose of our home is to help everyone make sense of and find their way in this world (with some heaping doses of love) so as long as it remains fullfilling and not overwhelming I think we are on the right track...just don't peek at my sewing stash - that's a *whole* 'nother post ~

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Enjoying these days of having a sleepy baby close at hand (and heart!)...
Such sweetness, is there really anything like it?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Experiential ~

"...the invisble wealth of experiential riches."

Focusing ~ one of the gifts of life ~

Speaking of life, yesterday our 8 year old began planning a 'Festival of Life'. Honest to goodness - can you believe this? :) Just too sweet. He said this was to be a "celebration of life"...

The 8 and under gang was practicing dancing, talking about doing a puppet show, storytelling, having a walk with some handmade decorations and of couse - yummy food ;)

Tomorrow night the festival takes place ~ eat, drink and be merry ~

Simplicity ~

Voluntary Simplicity that is ~

Thought for this week I would share some bits of an article I'm reading by Duane Elgin, "Voluntary Simplicity and the New Global Challenge". I'll give it a little whirl and hopefully folks will enjoy the ride too :)

"Voluntary simplicity involves both inner and outer condition. It means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within, as well as avoidance of exterior clutter, of many possessions irrelevant to the chief purpose of life. It means an ordering and guiding of our energy and our desires, a partial restraint in some directions in order to secure a greater abundance of life in other directions. It involves a deliberate organization of life for a purpose. Of course, as different people have different purposes in life, what is relevant to the purpose of one person might nmot be relevant to the purpose of another...The degree of simplication is a matter for each individual to settle for himself." - Richard Gregg (a student of Ghandi's teaching).

The "irrelevant to the chief purpose of life" part really speaks to me. It's all about balance. When we have so much exterior clutter that our chief purpose in life is hindered than its time to let go of some things. I have been thinking that if I am spending more time managing stuff than loving and playing with my family than something is most definitely wrong. A balance also comes in teaching them to manage their things also and if they seem unable to do than this credo would also apply to them, wouldn't it? When the fun to management ratio becomes out of balance for them or the love to management (although some of that management is an expression of love isn't it?)becomes out of sync for me than we need to rethink our 'stuff' issue.

Although the exterior clutter may not always be stuff - it means distraction of any sort...this would include a busyness of life too, I guess. Too many activities, classes, social engagements...And the chief purpose in life? Seems to me it would be love ~ for family, friends, strangers and the would have the potential to be a nurturing and healing salve...

"an ordering and guiding of energies and desires...a deliberate organization of life for a purpose." This will be a mediation for me this week ~ something to keep in the forefront of my mind especially as we go into this season of love and have a purpose, a goal and keep on track with it...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hunting ~

House hunting that is ~

We spent a good chunck of yesterday looking at houses - seven of them to be exact...
All of those possibilities! Post and beam kitchens, colonial type kitchens with an overabundance of old fashioned and super cool drawers, broom closets and built ins. Multiple bathrooms (oh yeah baby) - imagine not hearing the words "Huurrryyyy!!" every morning?

Separate bedrooms, full garages, dining rooms, livings rooms, family rooms and the topper (hear the choir singing?....) space! It's all enough to make a girl just plain giddy over here.

But, it doesn't. Am I crazy? Possibilities of space, expression, falling in love with a home all made me, well...a little sad frankly. We only have 800 square feet here but, I swear, each of these little feet were calling to me yesterday. Every comparison brought a thoughtful, "Well...".

Thoughts from the eight and under gang? After the initial excitement of immediately divvying up who would get what room (note: in older houses, much of the wallpaper is floral so your 8 year old boy may feel he's getting the short end of the stick here ;) they would look out the windows and soon head outside.

After each house, my eight year old said, "But there is no forest....I can't live without the forest." (yes, he actually said this...) with little murmers of agreement from his sisters.

I felt that way too...

While standing outside in those yards or on the porches, in many cases, instead of the birds I heard cars zooming by. Some of the places had rigidly defined yards, something my guys just don't get at all apparently. These children who have never been fenced in; for them, boundaries are defined by tree lines and how far away they can get and still see their home.

At one of these houses, they all ran out into the fenced in yard. Our 4 year old zoomed right out of the gate toward the open space of trees and grass...we tried calling her back... she just stood and stared at us. Then I realized...for her this fenced in play area was something to exit in order to get to the *real* play area. Like a room to pass through before heading outside. She didn't see this fenced in, rigidly defined space as being outside...the look on her face...a bit of confusion. While she was staring into my eyes, I saw in hers a clarity. In those seconds all of the cool built ins, multiple bedrooms and even the possibility of a second bathroom seemed so....trivial. They are happy here in the hollow. They are thriving. They are connected and surrounded by beauty...

I'm not sure what this means for house hunting but, I have my priorities straight again. It was so easy to get sidetracked by all the space and just plain cool architecture and layouts of those places. As much as I *knew* the natural surroundings were paramount...I still got swept away in an image that I realized was not my own making. Its foundations were laid in my mind by movies, books and a sometimes overactive imagination ;) The promise of what I imagined overshadowed the beauty of what is. That somehow the purchase of this thing - albeit the Ameican Dream- would somehow transform our lives into perfection.

Yet, perfection is here - its now. In these fleeting moments of elevated voices shouting "Huuurrryyy", of small bodies huddled together in wee hours, toys strewn across the floor, eating, book reading, playing and reflection all combining in these 800 square feet to make this unique song of our family. A melody that will never be repeated....I'm fearful to let that go. To step into an unknown that doesn't promise this will hold. That with a little storm we may scatter like fall leaves outside our door...

Yet, with hope, a hunting we will go...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Warmth ~

Creating warmth, seeking warmth, redefining warmth...autumn days.

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