Friday Fill-in #126

1. It's cold and rainy if you live up north. If you live in Florida, it's usually hot and rainy - weird!

2. I love my little cherry tomatoes.

3. My favorite health and beauty product is a lovely lavender Zum Bar of soap.

4. A DVD player and a few Nintendo DSes in the car make for a nice long ride.

5. Well, first of all good grades are not necessarily an inidication of intelligence.

6. I can't quite remember who were the cast of characters in a recent dream, but it was unsettling.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to some yummy homemade chicken soup. Tomorrow my plans include enjoying my lack of plans, and Sunday I want to enjoy some sunshine!


Friday Fill-in #125

1. Moving on up, to the East side, to a deluxe apartment in the sky-y-y!

2. Too many people don't realize they're free.

3. My best quality is patient persistence.

4. I'll come up with the great idea, if you work out the details.

5. In nearly 10 years, all three of my children will be able to drive.

6. Intrinsic motivation is what I need right now!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to having some money in my wallet. Tomorrow my plans include buying some new paintbrushes for my mother as a birthday gift, and Sunday I want to enjoy a shrimp boil made by my husband!

Learning All the Time

This was in my e-mail inbox this morning. It describes my view of life and learning pretty accurately. It's a wonderful thing to know that you can learn whenever, whatever, and however you want. The prospect fills me with a joy and excitement that I want to share with everyone. This life of learning is better than any single school could ever be, and the only enrollment requirement is to be alive!

A Life of Learning - Earth School

Life is the province of learning, and the wisdom we acquire throughout our lives is the reward of existence. As we traverse the winding roads that lead from birth to death, experience is our patient teacher. We exist, bound to human bodies as we are, to evolve, enrolled by the universe in earth school, an informal and individualized academy of living, being, and changing. Life’s lessons can take many forms and present us with many challenges. There are scores of mundane lessons that help us learn to navigate with grace, poise, and tolerance in this world. And there are those once-in-a-lifetime lessons that touch us so deeply that they change the course of our lives. The latter can be heartrending, and we may wander through life as unwilling students for a time. But the quality of our lives is based almost entirely on what we derive from our experiences.

Earth school provides us with an education of the heart and the soul, as well as the intellect. The scope of our instruction is dependent on our ability and readiness to accept the lesson laid out before us in the circumstances we face. When we find ourselves blindsided by life, we are free to choose to close our minds or to view the inbuilt lesson in a narrow-minded way. The notion that existence is a never-ending lesson can be dismaying at times. The courses we undertake in earth school can be painful as well as pleasurable, and as taxing as they are eventually rewarding. However, in every situation, relationship, or encounter, a range of lessons can be unearthed. When we choose to consciously take advantage of each of the lessons we are confronted with, we gradually discover that our previous ideas about love, compassion, resilience, grief, fear, trust, and generosity could have been half-formed.

Ultimately, when we acknowledge that growth is an integral part of life and that attending earth school is the responsibility of every individual, the concept of "life as lesson" no longer chafes. We can openly and joyfully look for the blessing buried in the difficulties we face without feeling that we are trapped in a roller-coaster ride of forced learning. Though we cannot always know when we are experiencing a life lesson, the wisdom we accrue will bless us with the keenest hindsight.

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Friday Fill-in #124

1. If we had no winter, we would never discover the infinite beauty of snowflakes.

2. Being a mother is a perpetual astonishment.

3. If I had my life to live over, I'd rather not. I'm not done with this one yet!

4. A LOT can happen inside of four and twenty hours!

5. If you've never been thrilled by the clouds, I wish that for you.

6. To be interested in the changing seasons is practical for living on Earth.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to at least 8 hours of sleep. Tomorrow my plans include swimming, and Sunday I want to ride my bike to a local park!


The Wonders of the Internet and Critical Thinking

Our unschooling lifestyle is so intimately tied to use of the Internet, I can hardly imagine life without it. I initially learned about unschooling, and continue to learn about it from the rich resources found on-line. The potential for almost immediate feedback to questions is unparalleled. Numerous times every day, we "look it up" on-line. We seek answers to questions about such varied topics as the current weather forecast, if a certain game is in stock at GameStop, how to build a half-pipe ramp, and why our cat is behaving aggressively. There is rarely a topic for which we cannot find information on-line.

This ease of obtaining information always amazes and impresses me. I love knowing that I can find out what I want to know quickly and easily. However, it is just as easy to add to the enormous amount of information on-line too. That requires us to be critical in analyzing the source(s) from which we gather this information. We need the skills that a journalist typically uses in gathering information. We need to check our sources and utilize multiple sources for verification. I just read about the best real life example that clearly illustrates the need for this diligence. Apparently, a sociology student added a quote to Wikipedia entry which was then redistributed by newspapers as accurate, before it was found in error and removed by Wikipedia. The full story is here. This is just one more example of the wealth of opportunities to learn and develop critical thinking skills from our media rich world.


Mother's Day

This was our first Mother's Day without my husband's mom here. I was missing her so much this week. It is such a bittersweet holiday this year. As sad as I am for not having my mother-in-law and my grandmothers here to celebrate, it makes me even more grateful for my own mother still being a part of my life, and especially grateful to actually be a mother myself. I am frequently awe-struck by the fact that I am blessed with children, and they each are so amazing to me! There is no other gift that could ever possibly bring more joy and meaning to my life than my children have, just by being who they are.

To me, that is what Mother's Day is all about, celebrating the gift of each other. Hope you all had reason to celebrate this year!


In Case You Were Curious

Here's a glimpse at some of what we've been up to since I last blogged here.I got a new car! We went skiing with cousins in Maine.
We visited Grandpop in NY.
We celebrated Uncle Joe's birthday with him in CT.
We went to Dave & Buster's for the first and second time ever while in NY. What a fun place! I wish we had one close to us.

We colored Easter eggs.

We hung out with some of our unschooling friends at the park and Jump-N-Slide.
We got a new orange tree from my parents as a memorial to Chuck's mom.

We enjoyed the bounty of the garden Chuck gave me as a birthday gift. Sweet!

Our unschooling friends visited us from AZ, and we joined them for a quick trip to Disneyworld.
We enjoyed seeing our son's band, Horizons, perform at Hot Topic. Too bad the police came and said that they could only play without amps. They only got to play 3 songs.
We sent our son Tom, his girlfriend and their friends to their prom in a limo!
We continue to lead very full and fun lives here in Florida, and we're looking forward to even more! Wishing you a life full of fun too. ;)