Tag Archives: intentional community

Community Hopes

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A few years ago, I really, truly thought someone had traveled a long way to come visit me for my birthday. I knew for certain they were already traveling about half-way. I was so psyched out and excited even though I kept saying out loud, “no, I don’t know for sure that they are coming.” But, the person I was SO hoping to see was known for surprises, so it was hard not to get too excited. I asked Daryl if he knew anything about them coming and he said no – but I thought he was in on it.
I’d just had a miscarriage about a month and a half before my birthday and it was my emotionally hardest one of all 8 miscarriages. I had finally started coming through the depression when that weekend happened. When Sunday rolled around and I knew for sure that the person wasn’t coming, I could barely get out of bed, I was so heartbroken.
 
I have questioned my belonging in some areas over the last little while, and I kept telling myself that I was going to see something surprising and encouraging when I came home, but I found nothing of what I was anticipating. I know I could still be surprised, but my anticipation in it is now gone.
This time, I am not huddled on my bed, feeling discouraged and isolated though. I am finding promise that I need to seek what I am needing in different ways, to invest more deeply in the individuals I’ve always loved, and not hold expectations for certain things that I am really hoping for. Let hope thrive, but not expect. ❤

What are some lessons you are learning in your emotional life right now?

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We all indoctrinate

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Awhile back, I was having a relaxing time with some mama friends, while our children played together. It had been some time since I’d spent time with either of them, so questions revolved around updates, really. Both are public school moms now, so it was interesting to hear the phrase from both of them, “I’m so glad they are doing this. It’s exactly what X-child needed and they are so happy.”

It’s so strange to hear parents say this, for me. It also makes me sad for them and their children.

If you don’t mention “school” to your children, they will invariably hear it from someone else. Children are curious, but I’ve met very few 4 and 5 year olds who actually vocalize that they *want* to leave their home and be away from their parent 4-8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
What I have seen is parental build-up. We talk up all the “cool” things that going away means, without mentioning the negative aspect at all. Like, neat friends to play with (that, in a year they’ll either be separated from into different classrooms, or be chastised for talking to while in classes the brunt of their day). Such as the adventure of learning (to standardized tests). Such as recess (inside a fence, generally, set at someone else’s discretion)!! How fun!

All of those things can (and should) be experienced anywhere…. more often, and honestly, outside of an institutionalized setting. And generally with delight rather than an eventual dread or sense of drudgery.

All of these are things that they could be saying the exact reverse of, if they chose to be the kind of person (I have not yet met a mother incapable of it) they know is required of homeschooling:
“We’ll be starting a learning schedule this year, but you’re still going to get to hang out with the neighbor kids, Mrs. Linsky at the retirement home, and the kids at gymnastics, plus you’re going to start to meet new kids of all ages when we all chose to put homeschool community activities in our schedule. You’re going to get to make and spend time with so many new friends through homeschooling, while keeping your current friends!”
“You know how we’ve been counting buttons, taking nature walks, and listening to folk songs? You’ve been learning this whole time – and you get to keep exploring this whole wide world! I’m so proud of your curious nature and desire to learn! It’s pretty cool, huh?”
“It will only take 1-2 hours a day, then the rest of the day is free to play, read, draw, help around the house, dance, whatever we want or need to do. We get to control our own day, each day.”

I think, though, that most parents don’t realize that they have indoctrinated… conditioned and prepared… their children to “be happy” with the parent’s decision, regardless, anyway.
If I am to be honest, we all indoctrinate our children, for better or worse, and that includes me.
I would rather my children learn the message that it’s healthy and good to be a family that grows together, especially through the struggle of every day rhythm than the alternative message that we all need extremely large breaks from one another 5 days a week to function as a unit, that breaking up the family unit so regularly and for such long periods of time is “for the best” or will make any one of us truly “happy.”

I do not want to teach my children that “peaceful” family life comes from being apart… because, from experience in my own life, and watching others, I simply know that is not true. It’s cognitive dissonance, to tell ourselves that sending our children off for so long is what “works best for all of us,” when the reality is so very different.

Mothers who say that to homeschool their teen was causing their teen to act out, so *giving them what they wanted* was the most peaceful thing for their home –

Mothers who say in one breath they love their (growing, curious, needy) kids and in the next, “but” they couldn’t stand being home with them all day long… but could tolerate obnoxious (knowing-better) adults all day in a “fulfilling” job situation –

Mommas who say they dread summer vacation, because their kids “drive them crazy” –

Do all mom’s need breaks sometimes? Sure. But 9 or more hours out of a child’s 13-14 waking hours, 5 days a week? This is not a short break, it’s a complete disconnect for most of a small child’s waking hours, the majority of a week.

I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmed before, contemplating a change from homeschooling. I’m not immune to sinful thoughts or feelings, a desire to have someone else deal with an unruly, mean-spirited child the majority of their day. I also don’t try to pretend that the desire I once had to send them away, was right or good. It just was what I was going through. It made me dig into the Word of Truth, cry out to God, and be once again convicted that His written will for families to be together, is for a reason and He can be trusted.

Trusting Him truly *has* been exactly what our family needs, and while we are not always happy, as we strive to serve Him more, we find more joy and contentment, together. This is true for everyone who surrenders to His will for family with a spirit of joyful obedience.

July Challenge: Quotes!

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I am excited to participate in a blogging challenge, hosted by Jennifer and Lynn, to get the blogging “mojo” flowing.

July Blogging Challenge

What a great idea, ladies! Thank you for hosting this.

Today, the second of July is Quotes, and it comes at a perfect timing, as I just wrapped up my 2nd semester of a Mother’s Feast, and I want to take note of some of my favorite, inspiring quotes from books that I read through.

Let’s start out with two quotes that have been so fully realized in this semester, that, while I’d read these via other’s books or blogs before, it finally became alive to me, and has helped me be put more at ease about Melody’s learning schedule. That is, the science of relations:

“Education is the Science of Relations’; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of––
‘Those first-born affinities,
That fit our new existence to existing things.'”
~ Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education , with a quote from The Prelude by William Wordsworth

“The art of standing aside to let a child develop the relations proper to him is the fine art of education, when the educator perceives the two things he must do and how to do these two things. The evolution of the individual is a natural sequence of the opening up of relations.”
~Charlotte Mason, School Education

The last few months has been the first time I’ve seen it so very clearly… that letting things alone, just reading, interacting with others, enjoying nature and the arts, simply being… will result in making connections necessary to each person. I mean, yes, I have experienced that my entire life, but I hadn’t experienced it with Charlotte Mason’s thoughts about relations running in the back of my brain. It has helped me feel less stress about if I am *cramming* enough into Melody’s learning schedule. If I can obtain beautiful connections, with quite meager readings (a chapter or two out of one or two books a day), Melody surely can with a wider array of educational feast planned into each day.

Some of my other quotes from this semester collide together in different ways that I am soon to write about, but I will share them simply as the beautiful or inspiring quotes that they are, all on their own.

“As I stated earlier, these unresolved feeling vibrations can never be considered dead and buried, because they are energies that are still alive – resonating at some level. And these feelings will manifest themselves somewhere, sometime. Their vibrations are on-going. How liberating it is to know that any negative on-going vibrations you are storing inside you can be transformed into permanent, positive, healing energy vibrations.”
~ Karol K. Truman, Feelings: Buried Alive, Never Die…

“We close, then, imagining ourselves in conversation with Pilate, with one who only understands politics from the point of view of human agency and expedience. He can get us off the hook. We can defend our positions and interests, and perhaps go back to Galilee. Or, if we choose, we can steer the conversation by saying that we operate out of a completely different political context, one that prizes divine revelation and human relationality. The risk of taking this position, though, is that as we claim an alternative political identity, we may suffer the consequences that involve shame and disgrace. At a minimum,  we will be misunderstood by the majority. In the end, if we have the courage to testify of God’s newness through this nonaction, it will be our belief in the power of agape love that leads us to refrain from participating in the conventional forms of power management. This trust in the power of agape love would, to be sure, reflect the nature of our true citizenship.”
~Ted Lewis, Electing Not to Vote: Christian Reflections on Reasons for Not Voting

“Spirituality that saves men from hell and keeps men from vulgar sins is wonderful, but, I believe, elementary. When Paul went to the Cross, the miracle of conversion and regeneration took place; but later when he got on the Cross, the greater miracle of identification took place. That I believe is the masterly argument of the Apostle – to be dead and alive at the same time. “Ye are dead,” Paul wrote the Galatians. Suppose we try this on ourselves first. Are we dead? – dead to blame or praise? dead to fashion and human opinion? dead so that we have no itch for recognition? dead so that we do not squirm if another gets praised for a thing that we engineered? Oh sweet, sublime, satisfying experience of the indwelling Christ by the Spirit!”
~ Leonard Ravenhill, Why Revival Tarries

“Yes, this is a major paradigm shift in how we view health and wellness. It means you have power and control over your own health, but it also means you have to take some responsibility and initiative in terms of making the time to read it, learn it and live it.
~ Amy Yasko, Feel Good Nutrigenomics

“In contrast, one of the hallmark characteristics of Jesus’ ministry is that His disciples were with Him. If you think about it, three years wasn’t a long time for Him to prepare eleven of His twelve closest followers to establish the church. But it was three years of being with Jesus – of talking with Him every day, listening to His teaching, watching His miracles, feeling His embrace – that made that time long enough. You have a lot longer than three years to spend with each of your children, but that may not be long enough if they are seldom with you. If culture gets more of your children than you do, then it’s time to reclaim your God-given nurturing role in their lives.”
~ Clay Clarkson, Heartfelt Discipline

If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth. When I was an atheist I had to try to persuade myself that most of the human race have always been wrong about the question that mattered to them most; when I became a Christian I was able to take a more liberal view. But, of course, being a Christian does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong. As in arithmetic-there is only one right answer to a sum, and all other answers are wrong: but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others.”
~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Okay… so this isn’t a quote, but a picture from the book I just finished reading, Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief by Katy Bowman, but it’s said that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” right?

Imagine putting any degree of lift (heel on a shoe) under one side of a bookshelf in your home like this! YIKES. Image: copyright Restorative Exercise, Inc.

Facebook is the New MySpace

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Honestly, I almost forgot what MySpace was when I read an article on Modern Alternative Mama, which led me to an article at Living Whole (it’s linked at the article I am providing).

I could leave it at the simple statement that Facebook is the new MySpace, but it’s at once so much more and so much less.

It could be hashed out here all the reasons why Facebook is creepy invasive, but many other authors have covered that sufficiently. I want to share my personal experience.

First, about a month and a half ago, I learned about MeWe through a friend in an amazing Facebook birth group (and keep hoping they’ll all convert to MeWe!). Since I am all about privacy and protection from invasion (a ridiculous but scary run-in with CPS, invasive/abusive mother-in-law, a child molesting ex-husband – they all tend to enforce that mindset), it appealed to me.

I decided to wean myself over to MeWe and shut down my Facebook account by the beginning of May. Between that and using a Bullet Journal, I was down to under 25% of my average “device” usage, and I loved it.
I posted about MeWe on Facebook like crazy on April 30th, more than I had in the weeks leading up to leaving. I started writing down everyone’s contact info, and thought I had three more to go. I also planned to write down a bunch of information from a thread in my birth group, to share with a friend.
As I was opening my 3rd to last contact, I got a page telling me to sign back in. When I tried, I got this:

That was weird.  What is this all about?

I clicked “accept a number of documents” to find out and get this rubbish, confirming for me why I have moved to MeWe in the first place:

Seriously, aside from tracking people, using their information for financial gain, and being creepers, what do they need THIS for? Even those documents don’t prove jack crap, really. I could still say I am whoever I want. But… invasive much? Most charities don’t require this rubbish when applying for assistance with rent or food – some do, but not many. I’ve certainly never had a forum, chatroom, or other social network require this kind of “evidence” that we are using the name that helps us have our best experience. Banks do. Governments do. Facebook does, too, apparently.

I sent an “ID” picture of me, with my two fingers over my eyes, MeWe #NOT4SALE style. They responded with this:

“Hi,
It looks like the name on your Facebook account may not be your authentic name. We ask everyone to use the name they go by in real life so friends know who they’re connecting with.
Please help us by responding with your first and last name.
If the name on your account is already the name you use in everyday life, we would like to work with you to verify that this name best represents your identity.
We accept a number of documents to allow you to verify your everyday name. Learn more in our Help Center:
https://www.facebook.com/help/457469094277849/?ref=cr
We appreciate your patience, and thank you for being a member of the Facebook community.
View updates from your support dashboard: ____________
Thanks,
The Facebook Team”

Seriously? I have friends that play roller derby – we all know their player name is their authentic self. I have fun college kid friends who have used their best friend’s last name as their own, joking they were married, we knew who they were, or who used “danger” as their name. Then, there are folks like me, which I’ll get to in a moment.

If you click on the link that they shared, above, you will find a section “Why do I need to upload an ID?.” It states that after they are done “verifying you,” that they’ll delete the ID document… except, the ridiculously long user agreement everyone signs says they can and do keep all our information – which includes the government-issued ID.

This was my response to “the Facebook Team”:

“It’s me. Not only can I verify I began and maintain my FB profile by providing the correct email and password, but I access it with this very email account, which is connected with it.
I am happy to be moving over to MeWe. I still needed to gather contact information from a few people, so I would have appreciated being able to collect it so I can get the heck off of your violating system, via the name EVERYONE there knows me as, _________.
I don’t want anyone else to find me, as I have a child-molesting ex-husband and you don’t allow for more privacy than a made up name… and now you rob the hunted of safer connection with their loved ones. Not surprising, after sexualizing and abusing women with pictures nursing their babies, selling people’s information for your profit, and generally being the promoters of invasion and intrusion into people’s personal lives.
If this was about ME getting MY best experience from FB, then you wouldn’t care about this issue, as having a harder-to-search-for name IS what gives me *my* best on social media, but it’s really about government tracking and your own financial gain from advertisers to target me.
I’m making sure to blog about this and tell everyone I know – and hopefully it won’t be long before your stocks crash and you close down for good.
Sincerely, _______.”

Good riddance to them, I thought. They sent yet another email saying basically the same thing, to which I copy and pasted only this from my first email to them:

“via the name EVERYONE there knows me as, ________.
I don’t want anyone else to find me, as I have a child-molesting ex-husband and you don’t allow for more privacy than this made up name… and now you rob the hunted of safer connection with their loved ones.”

Their response was more dismissive than I imagined it would be and makes me sick to my stomach, given that I was extremely clear about what my family has been through in terms of trying to live life and connect with our loved ones, while staying hidden from abusers.

“Hi ____ (my first name),
Thanks for your response. We’ve changed your name and reactivated your account. You should now be able to log in.
Please keep in mind that you’ll no longer be able to update your name from your settings. If you need to change your name in the future (ex: you get married), please fill out this form:
___________________
You can also list another name (ex: nickname, maiden name) on your profile along with your authentic name. Learn more about other names in the Help Center:
https://www.facebook.com/help/131728300237162/?ref=cr
View updates from your support dashboard: _____________
Thanks,
Flynt
Community Operations
Facebook “

(Ironically, Flynt didn’t give me his last name so I could verify who he really is.)
So, they did not demand the government-issued ID they wanted to begin with. But, not only did they change my name to the name I stated would put my family in potential danger, but they made it so, if I kept the account, I would have to grovel to someone else to change my name, and they REINSTATED my account that I wanted shut down anyway.

Facebook is monitoring all of us, and they DO NOT CARE about YOUR safety OR what kind of experience you have.

Do we want to be a part of a system that doesn’t care about not only us, but our friends and family… people who may desperately want to stay connected with their loved ones, but need a safe haven to do so? Do we want to be a part of a social network that endangers everyone who uses it?

Life-Giving Living in an Automated World

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Sunrise Over Camas Prairie, Idaho by Charles Knowles

I think the most interesting thing about learning healthy biomechanics, while I am in my first year of Restorative Exercise Specialist training, is re-realizing how extremely separated from life-giving things we have really become in “modernized” nations. We sit in chairs all day. We are busy, busy, busy, but are barely moving, and this hurts our bodies, minds and yeah, spirits. 
I find this in most areas I study, actually, whether it’s whole body movement, birth, treatment vs. healing for ailments, food choices, schooling, politics, and more.

Even as I type this, I am separating myself from more life-giving activity (sleep), despite that writing/typing out my thoughts does help me to express inner workings, and I enjoy it (life-giving when I do it in the day time).

I began writing the above on the first of April, and this sentence is my attempt to revive my thoughts, on the last day of April. Since, I have cut down my time on social media, making a slow move from Facebook to Mewe… and finding I did not use MeWe as frequently as I thought I would. I still use it, but it’s not so all-consuming as Facebook was.
I made a deliberate choice to start “chewing the cud” from 
my time in this life, to unplug from device more and more, and make intentional relationships a priority rather than a spectatorship… which I found myself doing with Facebook.

I moved to MeWe, I started a Bullet Journal, and I began making direct contact with my friends and family – outside of Facebook. I started to hone my focus on RES work. The result, personally, was overwhelmingly refreshing. I felt free. For the first time in 4 years, I felt like I was taking part in my own life, have been regaining a sense of community, and am showing the people I love that I am invested in them… not just watching on and waiting for a status update. (I’m not denouncing this entirely – it has its place. It had just become a crutch for me and an escape from pain, after the failed trial, and I needed to step away from it entirely in my life.)

It makes me wonder – what more can I be doing to offer and seek out life-giving living, in this automated world?
Is there anything you do to seek out life-giving living, that you’d love to share with others?