Thursday, December 23, 2010

Remember that step of "bravery"?

Well I'm ready for another one. And I'm also ready to be less scattered, more centered. I'm ready to be more present in the moment, which (for some reason) can be very difficult for me! I often find myself in the world of ideas and abstracts rather than in the present moment. I love this "other" world, and I have no intentions of giving it up. But I recognize that I need to be here more. HERE. As in... actually with my kids, with our hands in the play dough, not off thinking about...oh...who-knows-what.
What am I doing to be more present? A lot of things. Actually, not a lot of things (because I don't do a lot of things at the same time well). A few things. One of the things I'm doing is this: instead of trying to keep up with two blogs, I'm going to return to just one. But I'm going to try to post what I would have saved for this blog on the other blog. For me, that's a bold step. (Yay for me!) And i'm going to return to journaling pen-and-paper style. Just for me.
How long will this last? Who knows. But I do know this: I long for a peace that extends beyond the borders of peaceful times and seasons. I long for the courage to be who I am without excuses or shame. I long to be more centered and grounded yet still full of feeling and emotion (which just comes so darn easly for me!). And, I think the reality of these longings are at least somewhat linked to un-scattering myself and refocusing some of my energy.
So this is not a good-bye--I'll still be alive and well over at thezsfamily. But this is either a permanent or a temporary closing of this particular blog. Obviously, only time will tell which it will be.
And maybe there really is no one to say good-bye too. Which is okay with me :). This blog wasn't really about "you" anyway.
Have a meaning-full Christmas. And as you ponder deeply, may you also experience fully today.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quickly becoming one of my favorite animals...

The elephant, when found in his natural habitat, is majestic (and worthy of some healthy fear).

Because I don't like saying the same thing twice...

please see our family blog for the latest post!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This is Africa.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Be Brave, Be Bold, it's time for me to take a step.

Why do I shy away from it? Why is it so stinking scary for me to confess my morphing beliefs and values? Probably because I was raised with the understanding that we believe in what is True, and that never changes, so our beliefs and values *should* never change. Well, the truth is I feel like recently I've discovered a whole new world. An entire way of seeing and living that I had no idea existed! I've backed away from sharing this because I know (or think I know) how the people I love most will respond. I'm still not ready to have any sit-down talks and share the "new me" with anyone. That would be putting myself in the hot seat, and I'm not ready to sit there! But why not take the step and write down what it is I'm coming to value? It's a start, right? And on a blog, no less. Can't get much less confrontational than that :).

So let's do this. Let's write that list!  

I'm learning about Rudolf Steiner/Waldorf. Here's what I'm appreciating:
+ the seven-year cycles of child development
+ the value that is placed on cultivating imagination and awe--viewed as vital to a child's healthy development
+ natural wonder, daily time in nature
+ incorporating yearly, weekly, and daily rhythms (I love the word "rhythm"!)
+ the importance of including children in work, and doing valuable "manual" work
+ viewing children as whole souls, not incomplete adults
+ rhythmic movement, song, verse
+ experience before fact
+ story
+ the importance of beauty and peace
+ giving children the freedom to develop in their time

The small steps we've made:

+ We are holding more closely to morning and bedtime routines
+ We take walks throughout the farm almost daily, observing, collecting, imagining, moving
+ We have a mini "circle time" and "story time" 4 days(ish) per week, singing songs, saying rhymes, doing movement games, then listening to a story. Sometimes we do a story-related craft, sometimes we don't.
+ We are trying to listen to our children more, both to what they're saying (verbally and with their actions) and to what they're not saying. This, I tell you, has been difficult some days, and so very different to what we were "taught"

The challenges:

+ As long as we live out here in the bush of Africa, resources will always be a problem! I love love LOVE many of the meaningful, therapeutic "projects/arts/crafts" ideas of Waldorf. But until we go back to America for a visit, the supplies needed are largely unattainable. For example, wool, felt, watercolors, beeswax, "play silks"... it's all simply out of our reach. And to ship it would most definitely sky rocket it out of our meager budget.

+ Crafting, sewing, woodwork, etc. is quite intimidating for me. I am quite confident that if I could attend some classes or make a friend who would want to share their expertise with me, I could "do this." In fact, I think I would thoroughly enjoy it! But again, my location is problematic.

+ Community. We live in community. We love our community. But our community would raise eyebrows at our "new" values. I often daydream about what it would be like to live in a community that not only accepted me and my "different" values but encouraged me and inspired me in them!

+ Time. I'm spending way too much time "researching" right now! My thirst to understand more is insatiable. I've got a million sites bookmarked, I'm following too many blogs, and it's making me feel scattered and cluttered. It's like I need someone to sift through it all and say, this is valuable and worth your time; this is not. Streamline. That's what I need to do. But I need help!

+ Also, Waldorf does have some "Christian" roots, but I don't agree all of the foundational philosophy. I don't see this as problematic, but I do want to learn more about how to infuse my more "traditional" Christian beliefs into the Waldorf Way.

What books are "must have's"?
How do I modify projects to make them possible here?
How do I incorporate more Waldorf into our tropical climate and unique lifestyle?

It's because of these challenges that living where we do feels every bit as far away as it really is!

I guess my big question is, has anyone "done this" in a place like "this"? If so, WHO?! If not, HOW CAN I?

I did it. I wrote the thoughts, and now I'm going to post it. Was it as hard as I thought? I guess we'll find out :) 

P.S. Thanks, Vina, for inspiring me to do this. Your honesty, your ideals, your way with words... They've helped inspire me to take this seemingly small step.

P.P.S. I'll post another photo soon! There are many...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

And so we wait.

I don't want to ever step foot in that court room again. Who knew it was possible to shake uncontrollably for so long?! But it's over. We have presented our requests before the judge, and now we await his decision. Will he grant us adoption of our dear Miss A? Will he make us the legal guardians of our happy boy? We will find out. But not before we wait.
I know there are lessons galore in all this, but at the moment, all I know is that we're waiting. Until December 9th at noon. Perhaps I'll look back on this and see a beautiful theme in the midst of what feels like nothing less than irritable, grumpy parents and overly emotional, sick children. This is not one of our better moments as a family! Dare I say it? Yes. My hunch is that there's a lot out there, beyond what I can see with my eyes, that really doesn't like this. And they're revolting. And we're feeling it.
Thankfully, ultimately, "they're" not in charge. Thankfully, ultimately, the One who adopts each one of us is in charge. And that, my friend, is the present shimmer in the otherwise dark sky.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Life! in a muddy, creative boy

My husband and I are very passionate people. We (I in particular) feel things deeply: Joy, anger, beauty, sadness, stress, peace... you name it, we feel it deeply. It lends itself to great creativity and imagination. It also lends itself to some pretty incredible arguments :). Our biological son got those genes! Happy 200%, angry 200% (and sometimes within a few short minutes). It can be exhausting. It can be hilarious. It can be marvelous.
His creativity and imagination flash me back to my own childhood, though my imagination often scared my mother. Anything that wasn't "true" was labeled as "wrong." I've learned that truth is a big word and much more complex than black and white. Truth is deeply meaningful, and meaning is always wrapped up in life. Take away the life of something, and you rob that something of it's meaning. they are united for ever-and-ever-amen.
My middle child, my biological son, is a well-spring of life and feeling. So much so that sometimes he doesn't know what to do with it all. It used to scare me. Now I see myself in him, and I remember. I remember what it was like to be young and to feel deeply and to feel alone. There has been redemption in my journey, and there has been grace. May my son experience freedom and guidance in his journey; may he know he is not alone, and may he embrace truth, meaning, and life.