Relationships

Bringing Circle Time to the Homeschool

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I can’t believe we waited so long to do this!

Have you ever tried starting your day with circle-time? I am astounded by what has developed into a much-needed routine for my daughter and I. I always thought of “circle-time” as being something a lot of kids would do together: sitting on the floor, talking about feelings, or hearing a story. Honestly, I thought we would need, well, more people, to do one of our own. I was wrong. Our homeschool mainly consists of my daughter and I, working through projects, learning new things together, and attending wonderful enrichment classes twice each week at a lovely charter school. I was inspired to implement circle time into our routine when my friend told me about how the kids start their day at an outdoor-based enrichment program in Atascadero, CA. Wham! I realized with a powerful instinct that we needed to try this too. Thank you dear Annabell!

Last week I asked Captain if she would like to come with me to find a place to sit outside, under a tree, for circle time before we started our busy day. She grabbed my hand and said “let’s go!” We sat down and shared things that we are grateful for. It is wonderful. Not only do we talk about the good things in our lives, we are remembering to give thanks for the simple things, and that is priceless! We tell stories to each other, and it is a time for her to feel safe about addressing things with me, or talking about things that might be bothering her. For example, I found out that she would really rather do math earlier in the day, and that she doesn’t like for me to comment on her paintings until she is completely finished with a session. She expressed her concern for wild horses, and her gratefulness that kids can be adopted by new parents if the parents are unable to care for them. Wow. She wanted to hear detailed stories of her birth, about the time when the puppies were born, and tell me all about how amazing ants are. I find that after we are finished, we are both ready for our day. She is calmer and more receptive to some of the things she needs to do that aren’t her favorites. I love how it has changed the start of our days!!!!

Remembering to be thankful, expressing feelings, and getting some body-earthing in at the same time is a beautiful thing. If you homeschool, or not, do you have circle-time as a part of your morning routine? Would you be willing to give it a go? Does it seem silly or unimportant? I welcome you to write in, please! I would love to keep an open discussion going and hear any thoughts or ideas.

Luscious round thoughts to all!

Karen

Categories: Family fun, Homeschooling Projects, Positive Parenting, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Mother’s Day Blues & Gold

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My Mom’s eyes are a unique shade of brown.  There is shimmer of gold light in them that seems to disappear when you try to look for it….

The first part of this story was written for Mother’s Day in 2010.  It concludes in the present.  This is written from my heart and I thank you for reading.

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…this morning Captain practiced with her Dad, and then recited to me, “Happy Mother’s Day Mom… you’re the best mom in the world” and my heart melted onto the floor…

May, 2010

Today is my 3rd Mother’s Day, and what a wonderful day to celebrate being a Mama.  I love my daughter with all of my heart and am feeling a bit sentimental as I’ve been transferring video that we took at the cabin in her first year.  Time is going by so fast already!

I think about my own Mom and wonder how she is doing today.  To say we have an “estranged relationship” still feels funny to me, but the reality is, I haven’t seen her since 2002 and have only talked to her on the phone a handful of times since then.  Why we can’t connect is complicated and very sad, and I wish I knew the right thing to do here.  I recently began writing to her again, and sending photos of Captain, but haven’t heard back from her.  According to my sister, she is shy about getting in touch and regrets not having a good relationship with any of her kids for all of these years.  “Well, then TRY DAMMIT!”, I think.

After so many hurt feelings and so many years, is it the right thing to do to just let go in this case?  To try harder to get her back into my life?  To just keep sending cards and photos and leave it at that?

I can’t just let go, she’s my MOM!  I love her and I miss her! But, I won’t torture myself about this situation either because I have done that.  It doesn’t work.

My Mom was a wonderful stay-at-home mom when we 4 kids were growing up in Spokane, Washington.  She was quiet and shy and didn’t feel comfortable in many situations that involved talking to anyone, even the checker at the supermarket.  She did not teach her daughters about asserting themselves, or that a person could do anything they wanted to do as long as they worked really hard at it.  However, she was always there rooting for us, driving us anywhere we needed to go, firing beautiful ceramics in her little kiln, all nestled in the dark basement, hungry mouth propped slightly open with an intense red glow pulsing from within.

She made all of our holidays fantastic.  Christmas’, birthdays, St. Patrick’s, Easter, Valentines Day… they were the best any kids could ask for.  When we were sick, she treated us like Queens and always brought cool magazines and ice cream to our beds on the couch.  She took me to all of my appointments for my back-brace for scoliosis and made sure I felt as good as I could about it at the end of the day.  She endlessly taped my magic wands back together (don’t you just love a good magic wand?).

She made the BEST pies, handmade ornaments, stained glass, and the cutest little chicks painted on Easter pails.  She liked chocolate, barbecue ribs, and Chanel No. 9.

My Mom was a great mom, and that very fact makes it hard to be in this situation.  She was not mean or abusive, or easy to run from.  She was beautiful, had a wonderful laugh, and loved Willie Nelson and pussy willows.

Now I don’t even know what she looks like.

I’ve decided right at this moment that I want to call her and tell her I love her.  I’m a little nervous, but it feels right.  When she asks about Captain, I will open my heart up wide and tell her about her granddaughter; she is my favorite topic of conversation!

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I did call my Mom’s number three times and it rang and rang.  I was disappointed, followed by feeling that things were right.  Perhaps we weren’t supposed to talk right then.  I will try again in the next instance that it feels right to me.  In the meantime, I send out big heart-shaped biscuits to my Mom, Carol, and all of the amazing and/or complicated moms out there who love their kids no matter what the circumstances surrounding their relationships.  

For now, I have my husband loving me up (he brought me a latte and a magazine this morning- lovin’ it!) And, then there is my darling little daughter who is two and creating a painting just for me, wants me to play jazz music while we dress up in necklaces and scarves and dance around with magic wands.  Life is good and I am filled with love.

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2013

Three years have passed since I wrote that, and I am thrilled to be getting ready to celebrate my 6th (!) Mother’s Day!  The true gold of this story is that not only do I share the love, daily, with my beautiful daughter, who is five and bursting with life and love, but I also have my Mom back in my life.  She lives in Utah, and I am in California, but we talk on the phone and she even wants to come up here to the mountains for a visit- hooray!

We started talking regularly last year and have accepted the past as best we can, and look at the here-and-now together.  I admire her honesty in dealing with tough family issues, and like the fact that, if two people who love each other just TRY, the spark of connection can be fruitful.

This post is written from deep in my heart for all Moms, and their kids, in all circumstances.  May you be wrapped in the golden light of celebration, for the memories of the past, and the possibilities of NOW!

Happy Mother’s Day.

Sweet thoughts, Karen

Categories: Mom's Junk Trunk, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Body Earthing Rocks! Science proves it and we at The Cabin can back it up

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Need to feel good in body and spirit?  Go outside and LAY DOWN ON THE EARTH!  Here’s Captain, Grandpa & Mom just laying around outside as a family

This sounds so simple.  Just go outside and lay down on the ground, ‘eh? Yep.  That’s all there is to it, but the effects are astounding.  We live in a forest where it is quite inviting to lay down on the soft grasses and pine needles and stare up into the sky while resting, but even if I lived in a city, I would find a place to do this and my kid most certainly would be right behind me.  KIDS NEED TO BE CONNECTED TO THE EARTH!  We all do.

There are scientific reasons why laying down on the ground, or running around outside without shoes, makes us feel better.  K and I always used to say that we liked it because it seemed to “absorb negative energy” from our bodies.  It’s true and here are the facts:

Body earthing implies grounding-  giving a human body electrical connection to the earth.  It is known that the earth maintains a negative electrical potential on it’s surface.  When you are in direct contact with the ground (walking, sitting, or laying down on the earth’s surface) the earth’s electrons are conducted to your body, bringing it to the same electrical potential as the earth.  Living in direct contact with the earth grounds your body!  This is a good thing! The earth provides electrons that the body needs and also stabilizes the electrical potential of the body.  A grounded body is far less influenced by  disruptive environmental electric fields (called “electromagnetic pollution” or “dirty electricity”… lets go ask the birds and other animals, I think they could tell us a bit about this problem!).  The body earthing benefits include:

Reductions in overall stress levels and tension and a shift in nervous system balance, reductions in immune cell and pain responses, delayed-onset muscle soreness, reduces viscosity of the blood, reduction of indicators of osteoporosis, improvement of glucose regulation and immune response, inflammation, sleep, balance, and, again, reduction of stress.

Ancient civilizations recognized the power of the Earth and heavens. Monks would meditate seated on the ground to achieve high spiritual states. The Chinese referred to this universal energy as Qi (Chi). Earth Qi enters the body at an accupoint located on the ball of the foot known as “Bubbling Spring” where it ascends through the water channel throughout the body. Tai Chi and Qi Gong exercises designed to balance and heal the body/mind are often practiced outdoors without footwear to facilitate this process. But, as I have learned (and you can ask parents everywhere!), the simple fact is that kids, and people in general, just feel better when they have been outside with their shoes off…

A bit about the history of the term “body earthing”:

Research at the Max Planck institute in the 60’s and 70’s showed that it was important for human performance and health to receive electrical signals from the earth.  The modern practice of earthing began in the late 1900’s when Clinton Ober, a retired cable TV executive, started thinking that it was notable that humans in the last century had been using synthetic shoe soles which isolate the body electrically from the earth, and he knew that ungrounded electronic instruments perform badly.  When he approached scientists and physicians with his thoughts, they generally refused to have anything to do with this, so he had to do the experimental testing on himself.  Dr. Maurice Chaly, a retired anesthesiologist, did a pilot study involving measuring the cortisol levels (a stress indicator) in his subjects and found that grounding normalized the levels.  Others continued to test with the same results.

The use of isolating shoe soles (rubber and plastic) started around the middle of the 20th century.  Leather soles, used for 1000’s of years, give partial earthing when moistened by sweat.  Could shoes be a part of the dramatic rise in chronic inflammation and so many other physical problems of modern life?  Modern activities like swimming and walking barefoot through the grass will give thorough earthing and make us feel good.  Some people, especially who don’t have access to convenient, well, earth, use such conducting and grounding products as:  cotton earthing sheets that connect to an outlet, or pads that are made of cotton with conductive silver fibers that are placed at the foot of the bed.  These products can be found on amazon.com or you can google “earthing products”.  Personally, I wouldn’t buy something that provides what walking and laying on the ground can do, but whatever path we each choose is our own.

A personal note on the sky…  The other cool thing that happens from laying on the earth outside is simply looking up at the sky.  Birds, the wind in the trees, clouds that look like dragons, perhaps a even an airplane going by are all wonderful things to just watch. Imaginations are sparked by life.  When our family “earths” together, we find that interesting conversations usually arise, intermixed with long periods of silence.  For my 5 year old Captain, she seems to want to paint or draw outside a lot of times after we have been laying down under the sky.  I see how calm and happy she becomes.  Her artwork just flows right out…

If I had to pick one thing that I think is vital to kid’s (and big people’s too) health and happiness, it would be keeping in contact with the earth.  It’s something almost anyone can do, it’s free, it’s fun and the results make life better.  It really is as easy as that!!

I invite you to share your earthing experience here.  If you live in a big city and have a spot to lay down outside, would you PLEASE send me a picture?  For some reason I like to think of someone laying in the grass in a place like Central Park in NYC….

Info and more to be found at wikipedia, Earthing:  The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?  by Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D. and Martin Zucker

Happy earthing and good thoughts!  Karen

Categories: Homeschooling Projects, Mom's Junk Trunk, Relationships, Science Rocks For Kids!, Sequoia National Forest & Park, Social Science Rocks For Kids! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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