Tuesday, November 3, 2015

600! ~ take the time

(October 20 - 24)

This happens to be my 600th post! Crazy. (I used to blog much more regularly when my kiddos were younger.) My very first blog post was just over five years ago, and I have been quietly and sporadically creating this hodge podge of a blog ever since.  Other than the fact that I don't have a young baby anymore this short post from 5 years ago isn't so different from how I feel today about being a mama. 

This motherhood journey has helped me learn to more deeply appreciate the little moments, to take the time, to go with the flow (even in stressful moments). Those ways of being align with my general nature.

I've also learned to be more organized, more prepared, and more willing to speak up in uncomfortable situations. Those ways of being caused me to dig deeper into my nature. There's always more to learn.
I keep coming back to the theme of honoring the process, of things becoming, not merely end products.

So in that vein, our carved pumpkins aren't showpieces (did I even remember to take a picture of the finished product?), but the process took its own sweet time.
These little moments add up to be a childhood, an honored part of family life, the shaping of a world.

separating the seeds for roasting with garlic and sea salt

"I don't want to carve a pumpkin this year. Can I throw it off the deck and see how it smashes?"
"Sure, just pick up the pieces and feed them to the chickens, ducks, and geese when you're done."

"Let's throw the big pieces again!"

"Mama, will you come and watch my concert? This is my stage."
She proceeded to strum and riff about the earth and animals and the wind and love. It was glorious and so worth setting aside what I was doing to take the time to be her audience.

Also, well worth the time to see this talented saxophone player perform in the local high school band concert.

I also make sure to check in with my children as regards their privacy.
Such as: "You look silly in this picture. Are you ok with me posting it?"
"Ha, ha, ha. I look hilarious. Go ahead."

I find so much value in taking the time to be silly with my kids. Sometimes it means cracking up while watching YouTube videos (like this funny one or this impressive one) with them, playing on the Wii together, just snuggling and telling goofy stories in bed, or beatboxing to the alphabet song while walking in the woods. Time spent in laughter with children is well worth it.

Camille spends some time most days coloring in her Anatomy Coloring Book and watching Bones on her tablet. She gets engrossed. She showed me her favorite colored picture yet. It was the cross section of a lymph node. 
It can be hard to predict what might capture one's imagination or interest, which is why time to explore these things can be so important.

Sylvia took this picture while we were lying on our backs at the park reading aloud from The Last Dragonslayer.

time to play and run and push and spin

time for a picnic supper
"This veggie stirfry is so yummy!"

"Mom, I know it's late, but can I bake a cake?"
"If you can do it without a lot of assistance, go ahead."
Next day: Gluten-free chocolate cake for breakfast? Why not? I want some too!

Occasionally, I take time to myself. This time, it was out in the woods, with my camera, balancing on tree limbs, because I enjoy it and that's good enough reason.

Even while we are running errands, we are learning, playing, discussing, helping, and interacting in the community. "Mama, we don't want to buy these, but can we try them on?"

Twice recently while out running errands we have seen homeless people with signs asking for assistance. The first time it was a young couple with two dogs, dirty clothes, tattoos, and large backpacks. After chatting for a minute and asking for their preferences, we stopped in a nearby store and bought dog food, fruit, beef jerky, and other foods and drinks for them as well as giving them a couple of dollars that my girls wanted to chip in from our grocery budget. Ayla told me that the girl was "nice and pretty". When I told the young woman what my five-year-old had said her face broke into a dimpled smile. Less than a week later, we stopped and chatted with an elderly man living out of his van. When we asked his preference, he wanted ham and rolls and a Coca Cola, which we bought for him as well as a few other foods and $5. Neither of these acts cost us significantly in the way of time or money, and they definitely benefited us as much as they did the people that we stopped for. It feels good to help others and to connect with them as fellow human beings. It's good to remember and talk about the times that we have struggled and been helped as well.

rainy day fort building

In prep for Halloween, we made opera glasses mostly from cardboard, toilet paper rolls, and copper spray paint.

We tried wrapping Victorian rag curls for ringlets (didn't work too well) and altered several thrift store finds for a pirate costume.

Camille and I spent a special day with friends at Echo Valley Farm learning to weave. We started the day by letting the sheep out to pasture. I didn't bring my camera along, but was able to borrow photos from my kind friend, Jen, and also from the Echo Valley Farm facebook page.

As I was sawing wood to make the frame for the weaving, I must have looked like an inviting surface for a snuggly cat to perch on.

Most of us were in the beginning stages of learning to set up our looms for weaving, but Camille's friend came to the class with a nearly finished project and was ready to take it off of the loom. It turned out beautifully.

A week before Halloween, it was time to get ready for a Costumed Dance at the local middle school.

This time does go by!

It goes by whether we choose to live frugally, creatively, and joyfully, or live in fear, or live for chasing wealth or societal recognition. Whether we strive for peace or strive in anger. We all have our stuff, our struggles, our anxieties, our insecurities, and unforeseen circumstances. It can't all be overcome by wishful thinking or overcompensation, but we can choose to see our time and our attention as a valuable commodity, as a gift to ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities. This time does go by, one way or another.

There's always more work to be done, more deadlines to meet, more dishes to wash, but there's also more snuggles to be cherished, more thoughts to be shared, more sadness to comfort, and more time to enjoy the process of this living.

"I know, you never intended to be in this world.

But you're in it all the same.

So why not get started immediately.

I mean, belonging to it.
There is so much to admire, to weep over.

And to write music or poems about.

Bless the feet that take you to and fro.
Bless the eyes and the listening ears.
Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste.
Bless touching.

You could live a hundred years, it's happened.
Or not.
I am speaking from the fortunate platform
of many years,
none of which, I think, I ever wasted.

~Mary Oliver, excerpt from her poem, The Fourth Sign of the Zodiac (Part 3)

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