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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Here’s to the groovy cat who works within the machine

Here’s to the groovy cat who works within the machine

In my WordPress reader show  up a few blogs I decided I should follow as an “educator.” But I read the titles, phrased to grab classroom teachers, and I just sigh and pass ’em by, looking for something more. Too many how to do this and that, how to capture attention, how to motivate, organize, plan, all for a teaching/learning environment that’s institutional, unnatural, supposedly the best we can do on a budget. It’s a wonder beautiful things happen there at all. But they do. That’s what I want to read about–the “in spite of” stories.Know any good subversive teacher, underground student-on-the-inside, Substitute Diaries blogs?

I tried reading blogs about shared interests, starting with the ones whose authors liked this blog (hello there), some blogs like my own, about life, family, homeschooling, gardening. I appreciate the effort it takes to write those, and how sweet it is to be liked and followed, especially at the beginning. But I simply don’t have the time to mess around with the variety of offerings. Which makes me a hypocrite I suppose. I want followers, check my stats, wonder if I should focus on the most searched or liked topics, if I should post more often to keep the readers checking in. But that’s a dead end for me now (and you too might appreciate less than daily posts, as I do in most cases). I hope my son, who has started writing on FanFiction, will discover the same after the initial thrill of counting views and rushing back to add another chapter or two every spare moment. He needs to remember to live, I tell him, and let readers wait so they can get a life, too.

In choosing what to read (besides the usual need-to-know stuff)  I look to be moved, changed, fortified, challenged, given hope and a truer understanding of true and more beautiful idea of beauty. I scroll to the latest post by a writer I know, a teacher at the local middle school, who’s real, who’s articulate, master of metaphor, and whose writing ranges across worlds, words vibrating with meaning, and so much grace and love for his students, family, friends, heroes. Every post is just, just lovely, and yet I just can’t click “Like” any more (after the first few times). “Like”? So inadequate, and not a very meaningful response to writing at that level. Don’t want to barrage with positive comments, either, or try to show I understand (lots of times I don’t) and relate. So this my way of honoring that writer. It’s a privilege to read his thoughts, and know he’s a real live person, a gentleman and a scholar, with a picture on the school office wall, and a lot of other fans here in this town and beyond for the life he lays down every day.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Writers & Books, Writing

 

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This year’s homeschooling resolutions

I’m thrilled to be able to report that I will be keeping my youngest son (ten years old) with me for home-based learning this year. I didn’t push my views as I usually do, just allowed my mate to think it through, and he was the one who expressed his preference for homeschooling first. Just me and kid J at home this time, without siblings during the day, which will be a new experience. I’ll most likely take him to the public school for one or two classes to connect with local kids, have a change of instructor, and practice group social skills. Probably P.E., since I’d like him to have the chance to learn all the sports and participate in more serious running. Grampa (former track and football coach) says he’s got good moves on the run.

I’ve been thinking of the successes and failures of my past home ed practices, and have come up with some working resolutions:

  • Read more unschooling and Lifestyle of Learning literature so I can get unschooled myself (again), and keep my plans loose, natural, and Spirit-directed. Kid J is already dynamite at learning, and every time it becomes too “schoolish,” we both get frustrated.
  • Have kid J make a list of, and keep listening to him tell me, what he’d love to learn and try. Be a “yes” mom whenever possible.
  • Pass on my special skills and enthusiasms whenever possible. Write, read, draw, and make stuff together.
  • Read good literature together every day.
  • Write every day, both he and I. J loves to write, so I just have to gently expand his experience in various genres. Grampa and others could help with feedback.
  • Memorize Scripture, prayers, poetry, historic speeches, and great literature together.
  • Start going to homeschool association meetings and special events again. We’ve lost touch with all but a few other homeschooling families.
  • Remember that plans, schedules and curricula are our servants, not our masters.
  • Find a piano teacher that fits J.
  • Set up a sturdy work table for woodworking and other crafts.
  • Co-op with some other homeschoolers in seasonal projects, a 4-H club, or specific topics of interest (or necessity, such as traffic safety or bike maintenance).
  • Schedule in some cool field trips.

 

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2013 in Education, Parenting & Family

 

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“Nothing that good can succeed,” we thought.

“Nothing that good can succeed,” we thought.

I just heard an interview on CBC that I’d like to share with you, Mandy Pitinkin interviewed by host Jian Ghomeshi. I hope you enjoy it. Meanwhile, I’m going to put some episodes of “Homeland” on reserve, and accept my daughter’s challenge to make a batch of cookies that have no whole grains or oatmeal.

 

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Just say no to short term mission trips?

Last week our church bulletin listed an upcoming opportunity for youth to participate in a short term mission trip to Mexico, and I asked my two older teens if they were interested. Both said “no” without hesitation, though I know they both want to travel. My daughter saw another “ad” for a youth mission trip and scoffed at the mention of a free river cruise for participants. Poor taste, she thought. Maybe they should add free tickets to a bull fight, too. After all, isn’t the short term mission trip the ideal kind of vaca-, I mean, opportunity to serve, and who will go if it’s not fun?

Over the years I’ve seen many young people go off with church groups to impoverished communities around the world to help with building projects, do dramatic evangelistic presentations and run Bible learning programs. They send out letters or do short appeals from the pulpit asking for prayer and financial support, do fundraising and so on, and off they go. Their leaders are usually only a little older than they, and full of excitement and youth appeal. They come back with stories of how much it affected them, how grateful the people were, and photos of themselves with cute impoverished dark-skinned children smiling sweetly. The participants’ relatives are proud that their children are off doing good in the world and not just focused on material success or on drugs or something, plus they got to travel and see the world (without parents having to go, or foot the whole bill–and with nice church people). The church feels glad to offer such youth programs and opportunities, and everyone enjoys the multimedia presentation in the post-mission church service.The participants always say the received more than they gave. I think they mean this humbly and truthfully. But wouldn’t they be surprised if the missionees admitted the same, “We gave more than we received”?

I just got one of these mission reports in my email box, and, as usual, it had the photo with the smiling dark-skinned child. And a photo of a tarantula the young man had “defeated.” There were also reports of numbers that “responded for Christ,” etc., and a hope that this young person will get to participate in another mission trip soon.

What do these communities think of this invasion by cheerful, enthusiastic, purpose-driven, privileged young people? Was an invitation even sent? What kind of prep has to be shouldered by the community? It is like a mini-Olympics, where dissenters and ugly, uncooperative people are hidden or sent away (or are they kept in the wings to provide the exciting challenge of “spiritual opposition”)? Does the visit have a long term positive impact on the community visited? Maybe some of the local parents can get a break and get more work done while their kids get entertained in the day camp, I’m thinking. And there’s definitely entertainment value, even without dramatic presentations. Maybe some gifts are given, the hope of gainful connections is established. Of course the local folks get to encounter another culture, and that can be positive, but is it?

What about the fact that these people remain virtual strangers to one another and never meet again? Does anyone ever follow up, keep in contact, have the communities “served” give an evaluation or debriefing, the people “saved” get established in their new-found faith? And though I’m familiar with the phrase, “responded for Christ,” what does that really mean, besides the raising of a hand or a coming forward to an altar (Is someone holding a clicker to get the stats, or taking names? Does anyone know the motivations of people who respond, the prior experiences, the hopes for the future these people have? How many times have they “responded for Christ”? Are they doing it out of individual desire to demonstrate faith in the Lord, or just to follow along, or even do what they are told? I’d also like to go into the question of the nature of the mass message offered, because seems to me that Jesus and his best friends tended to make it pretty personal, pretty specific, except for the general “repent.” The current message seems to be more along the lines of “believe, and you get off, and get in.” But the theological inquiry is for another time. What I want to ask here is does a short term mission do more harm than good, apart from the message? For the impoverished communities, I mean–that harm done to the young people (in terms of getting a wrong idea of their own usefulness, a surface impression of a people, etc.), I think they’ll manage to weather just fine.

I don’t blame young missionaries for their good intentions, but I think they, and especially the leaders who plan, organize and train for these events need to think more deeply about these things, and talk to wise, experienced, older people (here and in other cultures) in considering how youth might best be engaged in the sharing of the message of Jesus, and how it is best shared.

I found a great article by Darren Carlson of Trinity Evangelical DIvinity School that beautifully addresses these questions: Why You Should Consider Canceling Your Short-Term Mission Trips.  I was tickled that I found it smack dab on a missions organization website, the Gospel Coalition–no self congratulation there, just smart self-critique, right there with a myriad of other voices. A subsequent article suggests better ways to do these types of trips, or what should be done in their place.

This is just the sort of topic Blimey Cow would probably address, and sure enough, I found a hilarious video lambasting short term mission trips. (My daughter introduced me to Blimey Cow–they are often right on, in the Flannery O’Connor tradition–writ large for the semi-blind, shouted through loudspeakers for the semi-deaf. It’s a bit sarcastic and maybe offensive for the tender-hearted, however.)

Here’s another question: Why do church youth need to go to a foreign country, or at least a good ways from home, to get a polite hearing? I think it’s partly the demands of hospitality placed on the host community (perhaps the power dynamic also, as mentioned in the Carlson article). But hospitality means making someone feel welcome, not that the visitors actually are welcome. You put up with a lot in temporary guests, and want to be thought of well, so you smile and feed them, show them around, let them feel important and try not to get into arguments over their crazy views. And it takes a while to get your energy and routine back afterwards.

I once heard that sort of evangelistic outreach compared to “flashing” (as in indecent exposure)–show quick, get a reaction and a thrill, and run away anonymously. It would be different, wouldn’t it, to do a short-term mission in one’s own home town, without being invited, in the public square, rented room in the library or under the bridge by the freeway. One might even be recognized, pulled in, held accountable over time to practice what’s preached. That kind of ministry is for those who are truly full of God’s love, willing to lay themselves down, open to real relationship, and who believe and live the message deeply, or try to. Those are the kinds of missions and ministries we should be supporting.

Young people need to learn about their world, observe and experience different cultures, and in the process become more critically objective about their own. Short term group trips with the youth pastor can whet the appetite for a more in depth experience. There are lots of good foreign exchange programs that provide extended encounter with other cultures (see this list of exchange programs around the world), and lots of ways to intern or assist in programs and projects run by nationals. But why shouldn’t churches organize these educational opportunuties too, with reliable, intelligent Christian leaders (preferably from the host country, or at least who speak the language) who can help young people stay safe and on the straight and narrow (secular programs can be pretty wild), relate what they are experiencing to their faith journey, make a real contribution in the community according to needs and gifts, and finally, do no harm. Each young person is different, and is involved in church for different reasons. They’re at different stages of maturity, they have a variety of personalities, beliefs, doubts, lifestyles, and should not be herded into programs that require profession and dissemination of convictions before they are really there. Churches shouldn’t take advantage of young people’s naivete, “lifestyle flexibility” and energy to get them to spread a message they themselves wouldn’t take downtown to people they wouldn’t allow to tag along after them. We’re not all ready to be like the Master, who said to the extra-curious in his audience who wanted to know where he was living, “Come and see…” (John 1:39-41) after his sermon.

But why not harness the opportunity to take these young adventurers across cultural divides, in a thoughtful and non-invasive way, so they can become “world citizens”? God knows we need more of those in America, and in conservative evangelical churches in particular.

I welcome your comments. By way of background, when I was twenty I participated in Canada World Youth/Jeunesse Canada Monde, a government-funded exchange program that places selected youth from Canada and a partner developing country (mine was Togo) in rural host families in the two countries in turn, three months each, to learn about rural development. Families receive compensation for expenses, and host a pair, one from each country (not the participants’ home town), who simply live and work there, learning the languages as best they can, with weekly group meetings to process and discuss. I’ve never been on a short term or long term foreign mission, though I have participated in informal evangelism in universities I attended.

 

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Trying not to be such a sissy when I can’t solve a problem right away

There’s a bed stuck across my hallway and two bedroom entrances. Can’t seem to configure a way out of the puzzle, and I’m ashamed to say what a sissy I’m being about it. Every way I slide, lift, or turn it, some piece of the bed jams against a wall or door. I am bad at handling blocked pathways, physical or metaphorical. This time I’ve both blocked the pathway myself (though one can stoop and wiggle through), and been blocked numerous times by complications. I’m growling inwardly, then whimpering.

Take the bed apart is my first thought, maybe just part way–one end or one side beam. It’s a sturdy wood affair held together with bolts.Out to the garage to look for a socket wrench, and there’s further resistance to my project. Periodic irritation that that the tools are always in disorder reawakens. I mutter and rummage with a cacophony of metallic clanking and take three or four likely sockets, can’t find the proper sized wrench, to have to use a little socket driver. It works to loosen two bolts, but the third has a nut that won’t stop turning with it. Out to find crescent wrenches, but the nut’s in too deep to reach with one. I continue griping and whining. Why can’t this be a slam dunk? Why can’t people put nuts on right, and use all the same kind? It’s those problem-solving types (like my husband, but he’s off at work) that make do with what’s available, and no one else knows the system. I confess to my daughter, back from walking her dog, that I just don’t handle this well, never got to practice working problems like these as a kid (a cop out).

I feel my stress rising, know I’m not in my right mind for patiently solving the problem. Time to take my son to the community college for his math placement test anyway; he takes the wheel to get in more driving practice. I’m able to relax now, even on the freeway, forget the fears I first had driving with my teens in charge. I plan to pick up a new debit card (my purse has gone missing) and do errands, but five minutes after I drop him off he calls to say the testing center is closed for exams. This is the fifth time we’ve tried to fit this in–another blockage. Well, at least I get to hang out with him–we’ve been enjoying each other’s company more this year, especially lately. He’s willing to hang out with his brother in the car while I do what I have to do (it takes three visits to various branches until we find the one that can issue a card right away), then we get back home. I take off again to do a major grocery trip–first, Costco at rush hour. My membership card was in my purse, so I have to wait in line for a temporary pass. The woman ahead of me is being served by the only staff member available, and wants to really be sure a Costco membership is a good deal for her. After a good five minutes I exchange comments with the woman behind me, who decides she may as well skip out. But the clerk is doing his best to be informative and helpful, and feels the sense of urgency as the line gets longer, so I feel sympathy more than irritation. Finally she pays cash and goes off to have her picture taken, excited to be in the club, and I get my pass in a jiffy.

I skillfully navigate past the doorway crowd, those uncertain shoppers who are checking the special deals on socks, fake candles, generic clothing, twin toilet brush sets, and body length pillows, head down the northbound artery, slow for traffic, dart around, lengthen my stride past the housewares, and load up produce we can’t get around here, a slab of wild salmon for Friday’s dinner, some marinated mozzarella.  It’s sample time on the west side of the warehouse, and the locals and cross-border shoppers are hungry and completely blocking an aisle, waiting for some tidbits to be ready on the tray. Excuse me–I politely point out that no one can get through at all. I’m not meek when it comes to this sort of thing, assuming others will be reasonable. Could you maybe line up this way? A man apologetically explains that the vendor asked them to line up that way. They are all quietly obeying, but several people kindly let me through anyway. After a few near traffic jams I decide to park on the southbound main aisle and weave in and out on à pied for hummus, orange juice, non-GMO bread, chips, shampoo. Chocolate covered almonds (not as diligent as usual at reading those ingredients) to top it off just before arriving at what is surely the shortest checkout line.

I’m rather proud of my Costco skills. While projecting an attitude of welcome to all those Canadian shoppers crowding the store and buying up all the milk (I buy locally produced milk anyway), I cheerfully pass them all with my strategic passing and park-and-dart methods. Even if the checkout lineups are long, I relax there with my shopping done and enjoy watching people–the strong-armed and ever-cheerful cashiers, the families of recent Indian or Asian origin, the more westernized ones, anyone else who seems iherntriguing. There’s the interesting human element available, but my Costco shopping is a system, and always works.

Back home after the kids help unload, I’m faced with the bed crossways in the hall again, wrenches strewn around, and nowhere for my daughter to sleep yet. My oldest son hears me reciting the list of blockages, without that Costco can-do spirit, and offers to help. He tries to cheer me up, explains a way it can work. Instead of letting him take over and supporting, I grumble that this won’t work, that probably won’t work, and he almost slips into resentment and criticizes me for lack of listening skills, but instead says as soon as he has a bit to eat, he’ll help.

Meanwhile I’m able to get one beam off, and only one nut is defying my grip. I inwardly rebuke myself for my immaturity about this. My son comes back, but we fail to loosen the last bolt and decide to call it a night. He says it will be easy now that there’s only one side beam, and I guess I’ll believe him. Sounds like his Dad, and his grandfather, and that’s a good thing. My father-in-law just says, “There are no problems, only solutions”. Another of his favorite sayings is “You can’t learn any younger!” I’ll keep trying to take those to heart.

 

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Not content to bow and bend to the winds of culture that swoop like vultures, eating us away

Not content to bow and bend to the winds of culture that swoop like vultures, eating us away
This Indigo Girls line is so poignant, so powerful, and has gone with me many years through many phases of my life. Before becoming acquainted with the Indigo Girls in the late ’80s, I had my own much less poetic saying, “If you go with the flow, you’ll go down the drain.”
As a recommitted Christian in my third year of university I got involved with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, a student-run and staff-mentored campus ministry that started in England, spread to Canada and then to the United States. It was a great fit, because the theme was living under the lordship of Christ in all areas of life through “knowing Christ and making him known.” It was inter-denominational, international, multi-age (freshmen up through grad and doctoral students), and placed a high value on the intellect, learning, and scholarship in all fields. There was great music, cool people (I hadn’t experienced cool people in a religious setting before), rich friendships, a sense of belonging, good, relevant teaching, and lots of hanging out in coffee chops til all hours. The emphasis on loving God with all of my mind was and is important to me. Even though I’ve been attracted at times to the charismatic and emotionally expressive church denominations, I tend to be most excited about those that allow and encourage active and critical thinking, bring up heavy and difficult questions, and aren’t quick to swipe away complexity with doctrinal statements. I recognize that many people prefer simplicity in religion, are happy to sign and recite statements of faith other people have come up with, and truly appreciate confident and authoritative leaders to guide them. I read somewhere that that sort of thing has a genetic component, as does the way of the questioner, the skeptic, the pursuer of knowledge and one who is okay with uncertainty (most Republicans fall into the former category, most Democrats the second. Isn’t that a gas? Here’s a link that summarizes the study).
I loved being in a university setting. I loved studying (once I grew up a bit), loved the interchange of ideas across cultures and academic disciplines, and the freedom to flow in and out of situations and experiences that were interesting, enjoyable, challenging. But as I honed my personal ethics and built rules for my life, I also felt the pressure of being countercultural. The phrase, “in the world, but not of the world” (see John 17:15-16), “like sheep among wolves,” (Jesus, in Matt 10:16), and “do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Paul, Romans 12:2) were reminders that I was to be different, or I would not do any worldly good.
Perhaps I have since lived a rather mild-mannered life–I didn’t join Inter-Varsity as staff after all as I planned, never was much of a missionary, and in  the realms of my extra-religious convictions, never joined a march or campaign (except once, when I found it was not my style and left early), taught a folk workshop or chained myself to an old growth tree. All I do to try to forge an independent path that somehow affects the world in a positive way is to try to stay true to my conscience, have conversations, write a little, and raise children to be independent thinkers with a solid grounding in what I can’t help by this time but regard as wisdom. In college, and afterwards in various churches, there was a dichotomy made between people who believe that there is Truth and those who believe that all truth is relative. I tend to try to pass on the idea that there is indeed Truth, but that lots of truths are indeed relative, and application is complicated and requires godly wisdom. I think we ought to hold all knowledge and opinions as working versions in subservience to first principles. Namely the Commandments–the Ten, especially the two Jesus said summarize all the rest–love God, and love your neighbor. Not, let me point out, always be nice. There are still pressures, it’s still a battle, there are powerful forces that rage against right thinking and right living, forces within and without. So let’s listen to the Spirit of God, (who is not a tame lion) and not let ourselves become too content.
Below are the lyrics to Love’s Recovery, and a YouTube Link. There’s so much more there than the line I extracted, so enjoy.
Love’s Recovery
Amy Ray and Emily Saliers (Indigo Girls)
During the time of which I speak it was hard to turn the other cheek
To the blows of insecurity
Feeding the cancer of my intellect the blood of love soon neglected
Lay dying in the strength of its impurity
Meanwhile our friends we thought were so together
They’ve all gone and left each other in search of fairer weather
And we sit here in our storm and drink a toast
To the slim chance of love’s recovery.
There I am in younger days, star gazing,
Painting picture perfect maps of how my life and love would be
Not counting the unmarked paths of misdirection
My compass, faith in love’s perfection
I missed ten million miles of road I should have seen
Meanwhile our friends we thought were so together
Left each other one by one in search of fairer weather
And we sit here in our storm and drink a toast
To the slim chance of love’s recovery.
Rain soaked and voice choked like silent screaming in a dream
I search for our absolute distinction
Not content to bow and bend
To the whims of culture that swoop like vultures
Eating us away, eating us away
Eating us away to our extinction
Oh how I wish I were a trinity, so if I lost a part of me
I’d still have two of the same to live
But nobody gets a lifetime rehearsal, as specks of dust we’re universal
To let this love survive would be the greatest gift we could give
Tell all the friends who think they’re so together
That these are ghosts and mirages, these thoughts of fairer weather
Though it’s storming out I feel safe within the arms of love’s discovery
 

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A new kind of personal training program

A new kind of personal training program

To keep fit and maintain my energy, I run a few miles as many days as I can. I was never much of a runner, never pushed myself to the point of the second wind, the rush of endorphins others report as being so addictive. But I’ve been inspired by others to push a bit harder, and I love the sense of growth that comes, as well as the satisfaction of consistency. In the summer I try to swim several times a week, and have discovered some fast twitch muscles I didn’t know I had. Makes me hope I might enjoy training for a triathlon in the next year or so, even though I’ve never enjoyed races (I prefer contests of strength and skill).

This last month I had to save my physical energy for a big floor refinishing project, and that, grueling a physical as it turned out to be, also brought additional strength and a sense of accomplishment. I hope that strength and endurance will transfer to swimming and running as I return to those forms of training. As, I am sure, and more properly so, the running and swimming gave me strength for useful labor.

But perhaps it’s time for some work in an area in which my habits have been slack, my motivation weak and easily quashed, and my metaphorical abs not supportive. This time, it won’t be mainly for myself. Yes, I mean, I am going into a training routine in homemaking.

The floor is done, the furnishings mostly back in place, and I am determined now, first of all, to prepare decent and regular meals. Not to say cook, since some of the best meals don’t require it. I’m starting with supper. We can coast at the other meals a while longer and have (whole grain) cereal, fruit, yoghurt and instant oatmeal for breakfast, and leftovers or self-prep sandwiches for lunch. Plus three of my children enjoy making waffles or pancakes occasionally, so we’re good there. A sit-down supper, on the other hand, we need, in order to to improve our protein and vegetable intake as well as reconnect and enjoy each other’s company. And review mealtime etiquette, I’ve already noticed. When possible, I’ll even try to make (or delegate) dessert. At least once a week, I’ll bake bread or something similar like I used to. All that requires planning, at least when the garden slows down and I have to rely on groceries more.

Second, I am determined to work harder to train and engage everyone in sharing household duties and responsibilities. On the fly at first, catching people at leaving dishes around, eating in their rooms, failing to put things away, leaving work for others. Nabbing helpers for meal prep, cleanup, fetch and carry, laundry and other necessary tasks.Then, back to attempting to organize specific responsibilities and keep everyone accountable. I will do my best to be encouraging but firm, appealing to the best in each family member.I regret to say that I was a poor household helper when I was young, but I think my parents should have taken me in hand on that account. I mightn’t have become such a housekeeping slacker and taken less time to adjust to my new life as a housewife. I hope I can do my children (and their future housemates) a service by this training and preparation.

Third, and here’s where I’ll need all the inspirational literature and motivational RSS feeds I can get, I will try to keep the house clean and orderly, even if others don’t care or aren’t willing or able to pitch in. Which is occasionally the case, you may be surprised to know. I have found that my mood and creativity are negatively impacted when things are in disarray. Since it looks like I will have the most time this season, and because I care about order and beauty, I’ll have to take responsibility for those in the main. In some ways I’m looking forward to that, as it means a few sewing, painting and furniture refinishing projects. At least projects, unlike general housecleaning, stay done. And part of this work will involve selling or giving away stuff we don’t need any more, which is liberating.

Finally, I will try to be more of a “yes” mom whenever I can. Mom, can we go shopping? Mom, will you help me make this? Mom, will you look over my essay? Can I play a computer game? Can we do something special? I’ll even try to surprise the children and my husband more often with something they enjoy or appreciate–a treat, a special time, an outing, a gift.

You see, it’s new year’s resolution time for me, which, I just realized, is appropriate. The Jewish new year is coming up (Sept 5-6, sunset to sunset). I’m not Jewish, but I do think fall is a better time for the new year to begin. I’ve always felt a new energy then. So l’Shanah Tovah, Good Year, to you.

 
 

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