Friday, May 16, 2014
It happens every year....right about this time.
My focus drifts.
My doubts stir.
My mind starts to wander.
Did we DO enough math?
Baking counts as Home EC right?
Does walking around downtown count as a field trip? really?
Should I have read more to them?
Did we get in enough writing?
Science experiments we can be made up in the summer...right?
What I am trying to wrap my head around is....
Are they "smart enough"?
Did we make progress?
Is it ENOUGH?
Which can quickly spiral into ...
"Am I enough?" followed by "Who am I kidding? I'm not smart enough to DO this!!!"
I'm giving you a window here...LOL.
I try and reassure myself that:
1. I AM SMART ENOUGH.
2. I AM ENOUGH.
3. I CAN do this.
But the reality is....
I doubt. I stew. I lose sleep. I WORRY...ALOT.
I want to be the kind of homeschool mom who is completely confident and has her shit together.
Sometimes I do.
But...lots of times..
Lots of times those positive posts on facebook are directed TO me...from ME.
Trust me....the battle I fight inside my self is constant.
I figure that's what saves me. If I worry and stress about how good of a job I'm doing...I MUST be doing it right. Right?
So I spend days and nights praying that it was enough.
Praying that this year...we made progress.
Praying that were better off than where we started.
That's what I want.
And that's usually when it happens....
Life throws me a sign.
A glimmer of hope that it was a success.
This year it was when I walked into the room and Zeek was doing a FLVS(Fl.Virtual school ) collaborative lesson.
They have to do these 2 times a year. They get on with their teacher and a bunch of students and have a virtual lesson...where they type and speak to one another. Answer questions, etc.
Its all very Jetsons to me...but we're there.
They were learning how to write and an argumentative essay.
They had to choose a side of and issue and write a paper arguing WHY their side was right, using research, quotes, stats, etc.
The issue was......
Should kids be made to volunteer in their community in order to graduate?
So I walked into the room and Zeek has his arms crossed and isn't typing when everyone else in the "chatroom" is.
"Why aren't you typing? aren't you supposed to be typing and participating?" I said to him.
He looked at me and said, "Not right now. All these people think that you SHOULDN'T have to volunteer in order to graduate. I'm not typing because I'm the ONLY one who doesn't think that."
I love him.
Then I stood there and listened as the students one by one came on the microphone and spoke about the fact that kids shouldn't be forced to do things they don't want to do, they should do things that come from THEIR heart...not because they are being MADE to.
I heard a kid say that those things aren't important to getting a job and being in the "real world".
Some one said that getting an education and getting SMART was a kids job...not helping people who wont help themselves.
Blah Blah Blah.
What a world.
And there Zeek STOOD.....arms crossed and not typing.
He stood on the other side.....the RIGHT side.
His chart was filled with reasons that you SHOULD be made to volunteer before graduating.
he said ...
"Helping people makes the world a better place."
"Volunteering helps you see how good you have it in your life."
"Teenagers have a lot of energy and they need to use it doing something good."
What a world indeed.
An education of the heart is as important, if not more...as an education of the mind.
And that my friends....is PROGRESS.
Progress enough for me.
At that moment...
My eyes filled with tears and the doubt ran down my cheeks.
I stood there behind him and knew we were fine.
Friday, April 25, 2014
I found her in the living room silently crying.
Her tears were evidence that what she thought she would be "fine" with...she wasn't.
You see...sometimes things are easier to wrap your mind around when they are far away.
Sometimes......we convince ourselves of things that we know aren't true.
Its easy to do that...
In this situation..that is exactly what we did...
This is what happened:
Every year our dance team performs at Disneyworld.
They become "honorary cast members" for the day.
It is an amazing experience that they all cherish.
They get to perform on the stage one day and they get to visit one of the parks on another day.
So so cool.
Early on in the year we were told what the dates for our performance were.
it was AFTER our passes expired.
Panic started to set in.
We were not going to be able to afford it without those beloved Disney passes.
So ...in my mind...somewhere between the dance studio and the house I had worked up a very good argument..sorta.
I decided that I would toss the idea up there about NOT going with the team to the parks but just driving up on the day of the performance to Orlando, performing, and then simply driving home.
Sounds good right?
I had all my reasons:
*weve been to WDW a bunch of times
*the boys would die if we went without them
*it was easter weekend soooo...it would be crowded.
I had it all worked out. It was going to be fine. She was going to be fine. I was going to be fine.
HA! What a dummy I am. LOL!
We sat around the dinner table that night and I plead my case.
I explains all my reasons and she said YES! I didn't get an "excited" yes...but it was a "yes".
OK...In my mind (HA!) all was well in my little home.
About 4 months came and went with little mention of the Disney trip...then:
THAT morning came and everything seemed fine.
The birds were chirping, roosters were crowing, and again...all was well.....
Until I found her curled up on the couch with her ipod looking at instagram.
Her whole team was posting pics of themselves all cute and ...AT ANIMAL KINGDOM.
I mean....like jumping in the air, matching shirts, so excited, super cute...pictures.
And she was heartbroken.
I wanted to take it back. I wanted to change my mind.
DO OVER PLEASE!!!!
I sat next to her and apologized.
I was truly sorry.
Not because she didn't get to go to Disney.
We go to Disney.
But I was sorry because I had underestimated the importance of the TEAM part.
In making that choice for us in this situation....I had put her on the outside.
I had alienated her from her team.
It broke my heart that I, as the mom, had done that.
I should have known that making the choices I have made for my life have already put her ...on the outside of a lot of situations.
My choice In this was made because I failed to see the importance...
not the importance of DISNEY...but of walking thru the park hand in hand with your bestie.
not the importance of roller coasters..but of running to look at the pictures of yourselves after the roller coaster.
THAT is where the importance is.
Its being part of a GOOD TEAM that has turned into family.
Its feeling like you are on the INSIDE of something special.
Its in the memories that you take home with you.
Its the feelings that you cant put a price tag on.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
It UGLY and we ignore it.
We choose to.
Because we can.
We live in a place that works hard to "GET RID OF" the problem.
We live in a place that works hard to keep the homeless man off the street....so we don't have to be REMINDED.
Some don't want THAT reality staring them in the face while they are trying to get a latte'.
Maybe it is the fear. Poeple fear what they don't understand.
All the while most of us are 1 or 2 paychecks away from the life of THAT man.
Most Americans cannot wrap their minds around true poverty.
The kind that is HEAVY with despair and pain.
The kind that SUFFOCATES people.
The kind that keeps SHACKLES around feet that are already covered in MUD.
The kind that FORCES a Mother to GIVE UP her child to and orphanage...so the child will LIVE.
The kind that FORCES a woman to sell her body so that she can EAT mud biscuits.
Most cannot UNDERSTAND because they have never looked into the EYES of a poverty-stricken child....outside of a infomercial.
People are SMUG. They are PRIDEFUL.
Because they want to think that something LIKE THAT could NEVER happen to us in the good ole' USA.
It can and will...someday.
In the meantime .....we need to EXPOSE ourselves to the TRUTH.
Its UGLY....but it's THERE.
It can't be ignored.
God wants us to help those that are in need.
We are called to help those who need help.
We need to be cleansed.
We need to let HIM wash away all the misconceptions and lies thet permeate our thoughts about POVERTY.
We need to let go of GREED and loosen our hands of our TIME and MONEY.
No more sitting back and saying...
next month I'll send that donation.
No more sitting back and saying...
next time Ill give that man a dollar.
Because tommorow is never promised.
You never know when you will find YOURSELF in invisible shackles that hold you down.
So I am calling you today to open your hearts.
Spread the LOVE.......
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
My life has been a series of twists and turns.
I grew up with a typical upper middle class American upbringing.
And had tons of typical middle class American teenage fun… too much actually.
Solo much “fun” that when I came face to face with myself at 21….I didn’t recognize WHO I WAS.
I had seen the inside of too many smoky rooms.
Been on the wrong side of too many decisions.
Had to sit and think to remember too many nights.
Lived too much for any girl.
I had the time of my life and then that life had no more time.
I was confronted by God….and had no choice but to change.
From outside to within…..everything about me changed.
I decided that my life basically needed to be devoted ONLY to my faith.
I had no more time for anything but TRUTH.
Because I had been lying.
I decided that everything in my life had to have a purpose….if it wasn’t completely TRUE and honest….I was not participating.
That was at 21.
I spent most of the next year traveling in Costa Rica. I loved it. I was in love and was being true to myself and God.
But…my views were wound pretty tight. Air tight actually.
Then we started having kids and held strong to our beliefs. They never have had Santa come visit them, never gotten money from the “tooth fairy”, never gotten an Easter basket, and never participated in Halloween.
Believe me…..they are not upset.
It has been their life.
They are used to it.
They never HAD IT….so they know NO DIFFERENCE.
I have spent the last 13 years teaching them what I know as TRUTH about holidays and the reasons behind them.
I realize that MOST PEOPLE celebrate these holidays with fun and love in their hearts.
But MY JOURNEY took me the long way around. I felt like everything but TRUTH had to be stripped away from my life….
which left no room for fat men flying EVERYWHERE delivering presents in 1 night.
It left no room for cute bunnies who lay eggs or fairies delivering money.
It just didn’t….
So my children never experienced that.
They experienced things like Rastafari’s Birthday, and learning about the solstices, candy sales after Halloween, and the truth BEHIND the holidays.
TONS OF FUN RIGHT?
Then over the past few years….
something started to happen.
I started to realize that they pretty much KNEW all the things that I wanted to teach them about the holidays.
I KNEW that they were not fooled and that they would not run and REVEAL the holiday secrets to any babies…i.e...Santa.
So….slowly we have started to add some of the holiday “stuff” back into our lives.
The last few years we have had dinner for Christmas with family
the kids have gotten Christmas gifts from Grandparents
they have gotten cards on all holidays from loving family….
But never have we had a “Christmas morning” experience.
Then we decided that we were comfortable with the whole thing…we were going to Texas for Christmas with my family.
Like…..they are STILL asking me if we are REALLY coming! LOL
And we are….I am finally comfortable with that.
I feel like the kids can handle it. They know that their faith is different…and Christ probably wasn’t born in December.
And he DEFINITELY didn’t have a bunch of STUFF.
So…its cool now.
We can move on…
Halloween was something that they never experienced either….BUT.. they have seen the “Truth about Halloween”special on the History Channel every year they can remember.
After feeling my life unwind and loosen a bit….
We are going trick-or-treating.
We are stepping out of our “Comfy Zone”…
We are stepping BACK IN …a little.
We are testing the waters.
I feel so brave and rebellious.
Just like the old days….
Monday, October 28, 2013
She has begun doing this lately.....
putting her "'foot down".
For no reason really...I mean what does an 8 year old have to "put her foot down" about really?
Nothing...she just doesn't KNOW THAT YET.
She just wants to make a stand.
She wants to be heard.
She wants to stand her ground....even when her ground is shaky as SHIT.
Its something IN HER.....
I can see the strength in her eyes.
She has a hard time backing down...in that moment.
The other day she was supposed to be cleaning her room....
But, you see,....she is the baby of the family.
For her WHOLE LIFE she has been given a little "leeway".
She has been picked up after, carried(literally), and "babied" her entire existence.
But...we have only done that because ....- she only hated INSIDE CHORES.
She would rather be on the roof helping jay, or raking, or hauling wood.
So....I folded her clothes and put up her laundry
I admit it..
I did it fore her.
I figured that she was a HARD WORKER...just not as domestic in the "laundry area".
But lately.....she has been just plain REFUSING to help her sister clean up their room.
She will lay around, look at a book, or SLOWLY walk around and act as if she has NO IDEA what needs to be done.
Like..."WHO ARE YOU?? And what have you done with my sweet daughter??" Infuriating. UGH.
Which is what I was thinking when I walked into her room and ALL HER CLOTHES were still on the floor after Shasha had already cleaned up everything else ...just not HER SISTERS CLOTHES.
REALLY? I asked her 15 times...at least.
She looked at me with a blank look...kinda like a deer in headlights.
"You have to clean this up. You have to stay IN HERE till you have every bit cleaned up. By yourself." I said, very calmly.
And then she looked at me calmly with determination seeping from her tiny pores and said, "I guess I'll be in her the rest of my LIFE."
It was in that moment I didn't know whether to shake her or hug her.
She was so brave and disobedient.
I know I'm not supposed to love that ....
I love it because I know that this girl is a fighter....one day she will stand her ground...
She has will and determination ...and a pretty smile.
Who are we kidding?
There is no stopping her...no matter..
Maybe if I guide her in the right direction and teach her to love the truth...
Maybe if I mold her to love GOD with all her heart....
Maybe if I can teach her to shine her light brightly on injustice....
Maybe if I can show her that love is stronger than hate....
Maybe...all the time I spent letting her "practice" will be worth it.
Praying that one day....
she will stand for something worthwhile.
Until then...I will laugh and let her "cut her teeth" on things like laundry and schoolwork, all the while thinking, "Stand strong baby girl ...Stand Strong. One day you will change the world."
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
When you become a parent you can convince yourself of ANYTHING ….I believe it is self preservation.
I always “saw” myself (in my mind) as this easy going, lackadaisical, non confrontational parent.
I had visions of me TOTALLY relaxed, school everyday at the beach, never spanking…and NEVER, EVER raising my voice or yelling.
Because…..I would be under control, patient, loving, kind, and CALM at all times.
Life is hilarious.
I guess in my mind I always thought that with children those traits would naturally APPEAR in me.
Who was I kidding?
If I have learned 1,754,420 things since starting to
lose my mind having kids…it is this.
I know NOTHING.
I never know where life lessons will come from.
After being pregnant 4 times, nursing for 8 years, changing countless diapers,refereeing unthought-of of arguments, dealing with sibling rivalry, homeschooling for 8 years, dealing with a teenager, a preteen, a tween, and an 8 year old who thinks she is a preteen(like her sister)and 2 “sex talks”(so far…YIKES!!!)….
I STILL only know SLIGHTLY more than nothing.
Because …Now I KNOW that I know nothing.
This all came to me very clearly the other day during school.
During the morning…while they are doing their journaling or drawing…we listen to music.
Generally we alternate and everyone picks a song.
It always brings in the perfect amount of fun to the morning. Although to the neighbors …I'm SURE that our schoolroom seems completely bi-polar.
We go from…
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Countless other POP singers that I cant remember.
It is always a lesson for me in ACCEPTANCE.
It takes everything I have to ACCEPT that they like POP MUSIC more than REGGAE.
GASP! (Yet another thing I never saw coming.)
As they have gotten older…..I have actually embraced this as an opportunity to get to know them better. I feel like if I listen to what they like WITH THEM…maybe they will listen to ME more.ILLOGICAL…I know. I try to really listen to songs with them. We break them down word for word sometimes, we analyze the meanings of the lines….which they LOVE. Not.
Imagine me deciphering “Royals” by Lorde for them…
They LOVE it…LOL.
I'm sure they think it takes all the “fun” out of it.
I think that the words matter.
I think that music should SAY something.
Sometimes today…POP MUSIC doesn’t SAY anything.
ESPECIALLY for girls.
Most of the time it is all about GIVING yourself away, talking bad about someone else, or wanting something you cant have.
In the end….making you feel inadequate.
BUT…every once in a while I come across a song that I TRULY LOVE.
A song that SEEPS with encouragement, INSPIRATION, and energy. A song that LIFTS you up with words.
THAT SONG right now is “ROAR” by Katy Perry.
She is pretty amazing though….if you can see past the boob cupcakes she has worn before.
As we watched the video the other day I talked to Shasha and Sheba about how she is so pretty…but being FUNNY makes her even PRETTIER.
We talked about how she has pretty hair, and clothes, and make up…but the prettiest asset she has…
is the ability to laugh at herself.
THAT is where her TRUE beauty lies.
That is where the REAL DIAMONDS are….gleaming thru in her sense of humor.
I tried to tell them that when you can laugh at yourself and be funny…..your TRUE beauty shines thru.
And then it hit me once again….
You NEVER know.
You never know WHO or WHAT or in WHAT form your life lessons will come.
Sometimes they come in the form of Katy Perry….in the jungle, roaring at a tiger, brushing an elephants teeth.
Monday, September 16, 2013
In the faith of rastafari -there are many different "kinds" of Rastas.
Some are more strict than others, some are more lenient, customs can be different in different places, or for different people....
Not very different from the "denominations" of Christianity.
In Jamaica, up in the hills, there is a group of Rastas called "BoBos" ..
They are VERY natural, VERY much on the outsides of society.
Well one of their customs is that when a woman is on her "cycle", she must retire to a "red room"...
She is FORBIDDEN to cook for anyone, come out of the room, or even be around the men, for fear her negative "vibes" would taint anyone around her.
I WISH I HAD A RED ROOM!!!!!
I told Jason that I need one of these.
I need somewhere I can go and noone has to be around me.
I dont even want to be around myself at these times.
PMS can make me a Mommy that yells and dosent have patience.
PMS makes me a wife that dosent want to clean or cook ANYTHING!!!!
PMS makes me feel like I have electricity under my skin.
I NEED A RED ROOM!!!!
The trouble is ...I dont WANT to NEED a red room.
I want to be patient, kind and CLEAN, the WHOLE month long!!
So say a little prayer for me tonight...
Pray that tommorow when I wake up- I will not WANT a red room.
Pray that my kids get something besides Pop-tarts tommorow morning for breakfast….
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Last week was ......
I know that he has a hard time concentrating.
I know that he spends more time reading that he has to on math.
I know when he needs a break and when we need to push on.
Everyone was very excited and happy for him.
"How was your day babe?"
"Eh." he said with a heaviness in his voice.
"What do you mean. "Eh?" I said.
He just sat there and stared at the rain that was so fittingly pouring on the windshield.
"I don't know Mom. I don't know."
I pryed and pryed.
I asked and begged...
He wasn't talking.
We drove all the way home with me asking and him shutting me down.
When we pulled in the driveway he got out and walked right past his Dad.
Jay looked at me with a puzzled look....
"Whats wrong with HIM? Bad day?"
I just shrugged and followed him inside.
He sat and stared at his TV for the next hour while I wondered what happened?
A while later I left to take the girls to dance...giving him instructions to start on his 3 hours of homework(WTF???) after I left.
He nodded and said nothing.
By the time I came back an hour and a half later he was in the schoolroom with Jay CRYING.
He was asking to come back home.
In the end ......
after hours of talking and discussing..
We decided that this was not the best option for us.
We decided that if we honored him when he wanted to GO...we needed to honor him when he decided to come home.
In the end...
It feels right to have him HERE.
It feels good to know that he went out there....
and CHOSE to come back.
Never mind the chaotic classrooms...
Never mind the 3 hours of homework...
Never mind the "problem" kids...
Never mind the wrench it threw in the schedule...
NONE of that was the CORE of the issue....
The CORE of the issue for me was this....
I want them to be prepared for the world, but I don't want them to be "of this world".
I want them to be comfortable with themselves.
Comfortable enough to come to us and say, "This is not right for me."
I want them to know that we listen, we hear, we trust them.
Enough to HEAR them when they speak....no matter if they are 3, 13, or 33.
We will listen.
We will HEAR.
Friday, July 19, 2013
I look at parenting like I am building a soul.
I take what God has entrusted to me and TRY to help them walk their journey.
Wherever that takes them.
As mine grow we are facing different obstacles now.
Life in the first world for a pre teen is a landmine of decisions and choices.
I am constantly saying, “I need YOU to make better choices.”
Which is funny, because when they are little you don’t think past the diaper changes and the breastfeeding dilemmas.
Hard to imagine a life without whipping out your boob every 20 minutes….
Its hard to imagine these tiny beings …..bigger.
But – it. happens.
They become…right before your eyes.
Its actually painful…like when you get tickled till it hurts.
It’s a love THAT piercing.
And then all the sudden…its 10 years later, your boobs are tightly locked away and your kids are as tall as you….and have bigger feet.
And then …Here we are having to explain WHY you cant text someone 30 times in 30 minutes….it just rude.
WHY you HAVE to wear deodorant EVERY DAY. Seriously. Every day.
staying up late at night to see what all the girls are “talking about” on Instagram. So weird being the “appropriate police”. Teaching them to be nice even when others aren't.
why you should appreciate your friends and family EVERYDAY ….life is short and you never know what tomorrow holds.
That is what happened the other day on the way to dance.
I had Shasha, Sheba and their friend Honour in the car.
They were telling me that Talia Castellano.
I knew who she was because for the past few weeks they had been watching her youtube videos and make up tutorials.
She was a youtube sensation and all the girls LOVED her.
And….she had cancer.
The girls were enthralled with her story.
and then on the way to dance that morning they told me that she had passed.
They were really quiet.
For a good 2 or 3 minutes there was silence.
Then…I started telling them that she was put on this earth for a purpose. God put her here to teach us.
Thru Talia we could learn that life is too short for dumb arguments with your brother or sister.
Thru Talia we could learn that no matter how long your life you can shine and make a difference.
Thru Talia we could learn what it looks like to be brave in the eye of a storm.
Thru Talia we could learn to really LIVE every day.
Thru Talia we learn that you are never to young to TEACH.
It was such a beautiful conversation…..they recognized the reality that she was no longer alive….but her light was still shining.
I think they recognized that thru bravery , kindness, and joy…..your light can never be dimmed, your memory never forgotten, and I think they recognized the importance of EACH DAY.
R.I.P. Talia… you are still teaching.
Monday, July 1, 2013
People ask me one question a lot…
They ask…. “How is it that yall have stayed together soooo long?”
And it always surprises me that in this day and time….
15 years is an ETERNATY.
I mean…it isn’t. REALLY…in the scope of things.
In the days of broken promises, fairy tale expectations, and unrealistic standards….
We have been married “FOREVER”.
In todays world girls are taught to never accept less that 1000% of a mans attention.
We are taught that unless he remembers birthdays, anniversaries, and the day of your first kiss…..he is an ass.
We are fed the lie that he will be perfect. We are told to accept NOTHING LESS. Wait long enough…and he will appear.
I hear women all the time talking to their friends about how “if he wants you…he will PROVE it by…(Insert ANYTHING).
I mean we are taught to be UNFORGIVING and to expect no less than perfection.
We are taught to NEVER …ever ever ever…
Wave a white flag.
We are taught to never SURRENDUR what we WANT…for anyone.
WOMEN FIRST…Ugh. Such a set-up.
It is engrained in our minds from a very young age that marriage and life will be EASY…if you find the “right man”.
The problem with all THAT is:
No one is perfect.
No one will live up to those standards.
No one will ever be “everything” to you.
No one will ever fulfill your every need and want.
The “perfect man” does not exist.
He has never walked the earth.
I mean even Adam was tempted…and flawed.
That is the secret….
the realization that we are ALL FLAWED.
None of us are perfect.
Don’t get me wrong…I am by NO MEANS saying to settle with just ANY MAN.
But if you expect perfection…they will ALL fail you.
ALL MEN are NOT created equal…in a woman's eyes.
What I do mean is… find and pinpoint the things that REALLY MATTER. The things worth “fighting for”. Find the things that are “deal-breakers” and stick to them. But give some leeway in other areas. Learn to wave your proverbial white flag.
Marriage isn't easy and in my opinion:
In order to make a marriage last ….you have to be forgiving.
And be forgiven.
I look at it like this:
There are times in life when you have to fight FOR your life and times when I had to surrender TO IT..
The key to a lasting LOVE and marriage is to know the DIFFRENCE…
and to always carry a white flag.