Friday, May 25, 2018

Today I am a bystander watching the struggle for life by a little boy I have come to love along with his family. This is super hard on many levels. Talk about understatement.

I am also watching a whole community love and support and pray for this boy as I am doing.

I am also experiencing that love and support from others as I have broken down in tears among friends who are also watching. I am grateful and sad and hurting and nowhere near understanding the full pain or any of the reasons. Waiting. Just waiting and praying with every breath.

Monday, March 05, 2018

a poem by Amaris

Spun bundles of sheep, 
speared with two short sticks,
tucked in a bag 
'til used again

In goes your hand, 
gently lifting the fiber and spears
Then short metal sticks 
softly go click

Woolen strands take a shape,
guided by the metal poles
Colours weave and twist,
forming a masterpiece

Soon the last row is finished,
The spears are removed,
and Voila! What appears?
Colourful socks spun by your very own hand

Thursday, May 04, 2017


This February my two youngest children, boys in grades 11 and 12, entered brick and mortar high school and I am no longer a homeschooling mom. My life as I have lived it for the past 16 years has come to its natural end. We have lived fully and deeply; the transition to this phase of our lives has been ...lurchy. But we are finding our footing. 

If I liken our schooling years to a race, I am the marathon runner who stumbled across the line completely spent and needed help to get up. I have since moved from the critical first aid station to the convalescence home. I am encouraged by the days when I have the energy to look around and visit with those who come across my path, but I rarely go looking and when I do it's mostly just to the path outside the home. Crossing the street is still too much. I'll wave at you but will turn back to my bench in the sun or couch looking out at the rain.

So for now, my life is being lived closer to home. Instead of the focus being on what is best for my children's education, I am able to consider my own health and well being. The difficult days are less frequent. I can usually "do something" two days in a row now, although the third is often a flat, slow day and I plan those days of activity carefully. More than that scares me because I know what the next days will be like. (And by "doing" I mean one activity: one yoga class, one grocery shop, one visit with a friend.) I still prefer days at home. I am learning some amazing things about myself, the world around me, and am finding joy and passions that are deeply satisfying. 

I am in no hurry to leave this bench. I have completed and succeeded in my marathon. My recovery time will be a while yet, my next races nothing more than vague thoughts, except that I will plan and run them differently. If you see me, know that I'd love some company. I can encourage you in your race. I can sit quietly and let you catch your breath. I can listen to your dreams. But it's up to you to stop. I can't, and won't, make you notice me.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

a time to reflect

I have spent the last 14 years teaching my children in the Charlotte Mason style. I have read and read and read: to myself, to them, for us and for others. I have guided, taught, learned alongside them and been deeply moved through it all. I see the results in them and in myself in subtle, deep ways that have become the fabric of our lives rather than a noticeable wardrobe. Still, as I learn from the lives of those parents around me I can be overwhelmed with a sense that I have come away with nothing. This is not true of course. But it is important for me to examine the question.

I have not always delved as thoroughly as I have wished into the subjects I have taught and Mason's exact words are not always on the tip of my tongue. I have floated these past few years deeply in debt to my community who have taught my children while I have struggled to keep from slipping under the waters of health problems. As we approach the end of our home years I would now give back to the CM community, to homeschooling parents who are starting out and are trying to make sense of the words of wisdom that Mason has left us. I cannot offer enthusiasm, programs, and energy. But I can listen, advise, nudge and guide. I can pray. I can be a voice of objective reassurance when it all becomes overwhelming and you, dear parent, think you are failing.

I have a daughter who weaves. As she has learned the process and I have watched her grow in this skill, I have been impressed with the amount of work that goes into preparing to weave. At least half of the work takes place before any actual weaving happens. It is careful, delicate work and some of it is tedious. The weaver has full control over what kind of fabric will be created and it takes much time.

In this I see a Beauty that can apply to our lives. Perhaps the fabric that others weave will become something flamboyant that they throw over their shoulder and wear as a flowing robe or cloak. Perhaps it will be an undergarment that shapes everything they wear on top but is itself unobtrusive.

If I have a gift to give it is that I can point out this truth to encourage: Each person weaving will create a unique and personal design, each student will come to understand the style of clothing that fits best, and it will be beautiful.

Friday, November 27, 2015

My sweet, thoughtful, fun-loving 16 year old boy spent considerable time last year studying the audio speeches of Sir Winston Churchill so that he could imitate his cigar-chopped voice speaking great lines.

Right now I hear him in the other room playing around with the voice and the speeches with his sister. They are laughing in a wonderful sibling way as they wash dishes.

My heart is full of joy.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


My life often seems to revolve around food.

I spend a lot of time cooking, planning to cook, cooking some more, eating and cleaning up. I read food blogs for fun. I also read cookbooks for fun. Sometimes it's not fun and I'm reading out of desperation for something to match my cupboard's ingredients for dinner that everyone expects in half an hour. During the past five years I have transitioned my diet to wheat free, dairy free and low on corn products. I try to eat local, organic foods. I also have an athletic husband and family of teenagers. I'm broke. But when I'm not racing the timer I know that everyone is thriving and I like this way we are choosing to live. 

Which brings me to the point of this blog post: a chance to talk about food. 

Yesterday, I made this cake for my youngest's 15th birthday. If you're not a car person, I'll tell you this is a Maserati wheel. I was told it's cool. I was also told by said 15 year old that he's never seen the badge close up since the car always whizzes past too quickly. The chocolate cake underneath all that fondant and icing is our go-to for everything cake. 

Before the cake we went for dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant that Pieman and I had enjoyed for our anniversary. K2 is also a foodie so it was a good opportunity to introduce the kids to a new cuisine. My mom and dad came too and BTG, who had been told what to expect in terms of beans, stews and lentils, actually seemed to enjoy what she tried. Yes! CTM wasn't too keen on the injera, which is the bread used to sop up the beautiful food but he still ate his 16 year old full. 

After the meal we had coffee served in individual pots and espresso sized cups. The waiter/owner brought out a cast iron pan in which he had roasted the beans for us to see, smell and hear before he went on to prepare the coffee. We've not had the whole coffee ceremony but one of these days I'd love to.

Because cake and coffee and celebration is important.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A recent walk

I love the colour of late afternoon sun at this time of year; it's golden and rich and adds depth to the view. 

We live in prime agricultural land. This tends to be in direct opposition to birds, butterflies and wildlife.

About 20 years ago a group of people got together and decided to fight for the return of marshland and the birds that had been disappearing from the area. Our town's water treatment plant was decommissioning some of its cells and the group acquired permission and funding to create a wetlands area. There are now three good sized ponds of varying depths surrounded with trees and bushes to attract birds. The water levels are monitored and adjusted depending on rainfall or the migration patterns of the birds: shore birds, for example, need mud flats instead of the deeper water of the great blue heron's preference. Our wetlands now account for 50% of our county's marshland. 

We are a hot spot on the birders' route. This is migration time and a visit to the ponds last week revealed lots of really big scopes and cameras and a man doing a happy dance over a sora rail. He was thrilled to share the sighting with everyone in his group and did a happy dance for each one who saw the shy little bird.

When I stand on the edge of the easternmost pond I can see the 150 year old red maple trees of my house. If I were a crow I could fly straight here in less than two minutes, but must instead skirt the 100 acres of crops in between us and take four to make it to the parking lot. 

It's a happy place.