Thursday, March 19, 2015

Childhood, C.S. Lewis and Books

"There were books in the study, books in the drawing room, books in the cloakroom, books (two deep) in the great bookcase on the landing, books in a bedroom, books piled as high a my shoulder in the cistern attic, books of all kinds reflecting every transient stage of my parents' interest, book readable and unreadable, books suitable for a child and books most emphatically not.
 Nothing was forbidden to me."

C.S. Lewis,
 Surprised by Joy, The Shape of My Early Life.

Recently my brother's position at Palmer Homes for Children led him to meet up with Ben Carson, presidential candidate and well known physician in pediatric surgery. 
Ben's mother has for many years been a she-ro of mine. She decided to turn off the t.v. 
I almost don't need to complete the story, because it has become so well known, but that's where the story for my kids seem to stop-- in pain. They know when mommy thinks about Ben Carson, t.v. goes off and the books come out. But truthfully, I don't think they care. Recently, my youngest, Henry 'Rabbit' as he's known at tennis class, has been reading aloud to me. He brought home the class read-aloud, The Tale of Despereaux, and read 2 chapters each night for several nights in a row. This may seem odd at bed-time, aren't I, the parent supposed to be doing the reading? Well, if he doesn't read, he falls asleep. He's exausted by the end of the day. He's a contender for the energizer bunny. 
But, like Isak Dinesen, I wonder, will he have a song of me? What will that song sound like? Sharp shrieks and snaps, or snuggles and love, and consistency. Will he remember me as the jailkeeper or the one he could count on? Even after last night where he thought he'd been left at church.... oh my, what comes around goes around,
 but for me the karma just needs to change(ironically, I was left many, many times at church, I do it to my kids?) 
I really believe he knows ho much I care, about him, and that there is 
some reason we 'go to so much trouble' to manage and guide him. 
From the breakfast of lucky charms at school, or the overdose of t.v. in the afternoon, we try to curb, guide, teach, promote, whatever you want to call it- censure? Whatever... 
I was blessed with him, in God's providence and wisdom,
 to be his guide,
 his life's mother. 
I. am. the momma. 

So when I read, 'Nothing was forbidden to me,' I see a child in a well chosen library of an adult, but not selected for a child. Not one that has censored out all the books that have a love scene, or knights battling to the death, but one that has been purchased, collected, received from a variety of means. I look around mine and see the years of sifting through, sorting and de-accessing, filtered by my own choices, not for my children's delight.  I look back and realize my parents books were chosen from their spiritual bend, not to influence me, but because of who they were and what they would naturally choose. MY books as well as my life, may be a reflection of me later, and will most certainly, for better or for worse influence my children. But it will be his choice, just as it is mine, and just as it was C.S. Lewis' choice to decide which we might re-read again, take ownership of, and become the person we are meant to be. 
(Reading Rock-a-bye Farm for the millioneth time. Henry 3, Jack 6.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Homeschooling the Dyslexic Child - For Our Family

I recently came back to blog. Our homeschooling journey has not been reflected here. It's just been too personal. Too difficult. But for those of you, like me, who venture back to old (cyber)friends, I wanted to catch you up. 
It's been a educational 'Groundhog's Day' around here. 
Star Trek, Groundhog Day, and Eucharistic Prayer C

And that's what it feels like sometimes. 
When you really don't understand, so you throw caution to the wind. You. Just. Let. Go. 
But eventually, you find yourself really seeking relationship with your child, the way they are made- the way they see things. Adding Sally Shaywitz book, Overcoming Dyslexia & The Out of Sync Child to my reading list is a big step. It says 'it's real.' And 'it's not going anywhere.' They've been on my shelf, bedside, and book bag for years now, but saying it on the blog is full circle. 
This may not seem like a big deal to some. It has been a real challenge for us. Our household has had some real come-to-Jesus moments. The kind that the baby-books just don't go into. And the kind that The Well-Trained Mind or The Lost Tools of Learning doesn't cover. It's been more of a 'Mr. Holland's Opus' kind of a ride. Admitting and tossing what you thought was ideal to the side, and embrace the child as they are. 

When you are thinking they are hearing you.
 Other children do....?

The literal struggles over what seems mundane.

No one can accuse you of not being willing to put on the monkey suit to make things happen. 

But sometimes the results don't become clear until after the composition has gone to print.

Dreams turn into struggle, success not happening where you have prayed for it to be seen, wishing it was for your own child. And then perhaps at last, seeing that smile that makes you know, they are going in the way - they should go.- In the way they were created and designed by a benevolent, loving Creator. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Lifemeds #44 March 2015

There is a delightful moment in 'The Family Man' where Nicholas Cage has taken Tia Leoni to a penthouse apartment that is only one of the minor perks he's been offered if he takes the job he 'really has' in his real life. He's trying to describe the amazing life they can have and all the amazing things that will happen and come if they just step up to the changes, alterations, enhancements. It will be so much better than their existing life
 I recommend watching with the hubs. After the kids go to bed. (maybe you can catch the edited version, disclaimer: some parts are inappropriate.)
 For us, when things get out of control and we need a reset on our perspective as marrieds or parents-- we say what Tia says to Nicholas -- we are that family, we are have what folks are striving for. Oh please, you know I'm not saying perfection, or the modern interpretation of success. We are blessed. We have longevity, a collective history, safety, warmth. HOME. We have stayed the storm of 17 years, with all the details that go with those years. And we still like being together. But it's those stress filled days of 'no answers' and 'no compromise' that seem to make us wonder - what were we thinking??
What fool commits to a life of ... - this?
Parenting, marriage, living, = challenge.
Perhaps this explains my affinity for end of the world movies- theme-- survival. Like The Day After Tomorrow. Yes, you'll catch me watching this during our personal catastrophic moments)
 But our goal is not just survival- right? It is to thrive, live, honor God by honoring one another.
The week is here. It's Monday already. Lord, accept my thanks for all that you have blessed me with. 

My cup runneth over. 

 The Serenity Prayer seems appropriate-- 
Lord, help me to accept the things I can't change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. 
Give me, oh Lord in your infinite wisdom, perspective and gratitude for the smallest wonder in my life. Love for those in my immediate circle of life. May you be honored in all things, in every way, by my actions and that which is in my power to influence. May the whispers of my heart's voice be only love and self-sacrifice. 

If you wish to read and fellowship with others in life-changing thanksgiving and gratitude, consider visiting Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience
An example of her beautiful expression can be found in this post. 

If you are looking for a Lenten Series,
 visit Edie at  Life In Grace and sign up for her e-mails. I highly recommend.  I'll be heading there shortly, even though I do not strictly keep Lent.
 Go there, sign up, you won't be disappointed.
 And you'll be welcomed, even if you don't know what the ashes are for. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

January 2015

These two. Love these two. 8 years old is just special.

First basket, his first game ever.

New Years-ish hike around Kennesaw Mountain.

These two. Love these two.

They said they were 'Union.' What? (Kennesaw Mountain, Illinois Monument.)

These two. love these two.

My tiger mug may need a replacement.

Oh, Anthropologie.... you do me wrong... to show me these beauties.

The boys continue to stack wood, almost daily. It is our 'almost' sole source of heat. = COZY.

Monday, December 22, 2014

December 2014

Cranberry bread recipe from JoAnn Jacobi, shared with Mom when I was little. So yummy.

A new tradition that has 'it's own life, Buddy, the Elf.

Our trip, with kids to Athens Symphony. Can't say enough good. Dreams come true.
We stood, boys and all, through the Hallelujah Chorus! Yes!! 

2006 Christmas

2014 Christmas
Feeling at Home, at last.