A Day in the Life

Homeschooling and Medieval Living

Under the Pier

When we walk on a bridge or pier we see the “right side,” the side designed for traffic, the side meant to be exposed to the world. But what holds us up is the unseen underside, the structure that makes the rest possible.

What beliefs are so foundational for you that you rarely think about them?

First, I strongly believe that a child should be allowed to form his or her own belief system. Ethics should be taught by parents and family members. But, the core beliefs should be chosen by the child. I am so tire of people thinking my son should have short hair and act brutish. For one, he is only 11. Secondly, he loves his waist length hair. He is not into sports. He is a very friendly, loving, sensitive boy and that is fine. My daughter has short hair, wears jeans and t-shirts, and loves to climb trees. She is fourteen. I love them both just the way they are. I have taught them what is ethical (right and wrong) but I have let them choose their own beliefs. It is fine with me if they turn out Buddhist, Pagan, Christian, UU, or even atheist. It is their choice. I cannot and will not choose it for them. I heard one woman say that she was Christian because her grandmother was. That was her only reason. I asked her if she did some research before she chose a faith that was right for her. She said “Sure. I went to a Methodist church, a Southern Baptist Church, an Episcopal church, and a Missionary Baptist church.” I found that very funny. Why? When I was searching for a faith that I could depend on I did my own research. I spoke with a couple of Jewish friends about Judaism. I attended a Catholic church for a couple of months. I also tried attended a Pagan circle, a UU church, a Methodist church, a Missionary Baptist church and spoke with several Buddhist and Humanist friends. I finally stuck with Unitarian Universalism. But it took me a long time to find that fit. I broadened my horizons. I did not just look within one religion. And I love a good challenge. I love it when I am faced with an issue that totally rocks my foundation. It makes me think long and hard and decided where my faith really lies. I want my kids to be the same way. I want them to chose a faith because that is where their heart lies – not because that is the belief I told them they would have.

My other belief is that everyone should be treated equally – period. This means I totally uphold civil rights, women’s rights, and gay rights. I think that gay couples should have the right to marry and carry insurance on their partners. It is not about being gay or straight. It is about loving someone so much that you want to spend the rest of your life with them. Hetero couple receive insurance and other spousal benefits. Gay couples should too. I also think that we should not judge a book by its cover. I used to do that. I met many Christians who treated non-Christians so horribly. I could not stand all the persecutions that were going on. I saw what groups like the Westboro Baptist Church and the KKK did to people. It made me ill. I then bagged all Christians into that group. I was wrong. The first UU church I attended was First Jefferson UU Church. The minister there was Christian and a UU. I was shocked. I listened to many sermons by him. They were astounding. I slowly began to change my view. I can no longer link all Christians together any more than I can link all Liberals or Hindus or Buddhists or Pagans together. That just leads to bigotry and hatred. This is what I mean when I say not to judge a book by its cover. Do not judge one person because of their faith, gender, race, or sexual orientation. As the UUs say, “We need not think alike to love alike.”

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Coming Home

My UU chalice and hymhnal

My UU chalice and hymnal

Today, I attended a service for the Church of the Larger Fellowship. It is an online UU church. I love it. Every Sunday and Monday they have a streaming service. I like the one on Monday because it is in the morning before I have to get ready for work. It lasted from 8-845 this morning. There is a chat window so that you can talk during the service. I love this feature. You can actually ask questions without disturbing the service. The service today was about love. It was so moving, I had tears in my coffee. I felt so loved. Everyone in the chat room was so nice and welcoming. I plan to attend next Monday. I could not believe it when the service was over. It was time to extinguish my chalice and I didn’t want to. I was enjoying myself so much. I did not realize just how hungry I was for this kind of comfort and companionship. I usually have to be one way at work, another way around my relatives, and yet another way around SCA members. I can’t just be myself. It is great to find a place where I can be myself. I have been reading a book of my daughter’s called City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. There are supernatural creatures in it. They must hide what they are from society. There are places in the book – havens – where they can go and just be themselves. While there, they let their wings unfurl, howl at the moon, or just let their glamours down. No one is punished or shunned because of who they are. I feel that the CLF (and in a larger sense, all UU churches) are that haven for me. I can let my wings out and howl at the moon. The only reaction I will get is “Hey, can I howl with you?” I love it here!:)

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Get a Grip

From the Daily Compass:

Some situations make it very difficult to hold on. We might feel like we’re clinging to the icy side of a mountain as we deal with unemployment, illness, divorce, parenting issues, or any of countless other seemingly insurmountable problems.  Yet, one way or another, however slippery the slope, we manage to keep moving on our journeys.

What tools help you to hold on when the going get s rough?

There are many times when I feel so overwhelmed. I do have financial woes and so many other things. When I feel that way, I usually turn to reading, journaling/blogging, my family, or my best friend J. She really helps. But she is just so busy lately. Usually, I end up crying myself to sleep. I really miss those times when I could go to her whenever I wanted to. I used to go to an SCA event or go do something with THEA. But, I no longer have the gas money to go anywhere by work. I just have to try not to think about things. I have my cats, but they just aren’t the same. I guess in the end, there is really just me. I meditate and that seems to help a bit. In this new year, I would like to add the Church of the Larger Fellowship to that support list. When I was going to First Jeff, I felt so loved and like I was part of something bigger than myself. I really miss it. I also missed the online worship service yesterday. I was spending time with my family. So, I plan to attend this morning. There is another service at 8 am today. I got up early so that I could be part of it. I can’t wait. I hope I can find that love, warmth and support again. It really does feel nice.

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Clouds Overhead

– From The Daily Compass

Light and shadow, water and land—sometimes the places of greatest beauty are when opposites meet up.

Have you ever found beauty in a close encounter with something or someone you were opposed to?

I actually have two thoughts on this subject. The first involves my son.  He loves bugs, spiders, scorpions, snakes, and all wiggly things like that. In fact, he is determined to be an entomologist. I love that boy. I used to hate bugs and all creepy crawlies. I never thought I would catch myself in a situation as I did the other day. He saw a small spider in the van. It was a spiderling no doubt. It was the size of a pencil eraser. He looked at it crawling along and said “Look, Mom! Isn’t he so cute?” I looked and I agreed. He was really cute. Instead of freaking out, I just sat there and marveled over how small and innocent this creature was. We sat there for a full two or three minutes just watching him (or her, it was too small to tell). Then, I left it there. I could do with the company anyway.

 

The other involves the UU Principles. Number one on the list is “The inherent worth and dignity of every person.” Now all the other principles I have agreed with wholeheartedly. But, I always had problems with this one. When I took my UU Class at First Jefferson, I asked about it. I would look at people such as Ted Kaczynski or Jeffrey Dahmer. It is so hard to find their inherent worth and dignity. I have since thought about that. There are things that happen that make those involved so angry. Look at the Sandy Brook shootings. The parents of the victims are so angry. They have every right to be. I was angry and sad when the Twin Towers fell. I have had time to reflect since then. Anger and hatred for those responsible does nothing. Sure there was a sense of joy at Dahmer’s death. But, that did not bring his victims back. It did nothing to heal the parents of those victims. Hurting someone (no matter how “evil” that someone may seem) may make one feel better temporarily. But, in the long run, it would only lead to guilt and self-loathing. Why bring yourself down to his/her level? My minister at the time answered my question thus. He said that those people are still people. They are human beings. They should be treated as such. He mentioned Amnesty International. The goal of this organization is to ensure that all humans are treated humanely. I guess I do agree. If I saw a person in need, I would help them. I wouldn’t stop and get their resume first. I wouldn’t ask if they had committed any crimes. I would just help them. As a UU, I need to look at that person as a human first. After all, we are all in this together. We should all take a lesson from that.

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Blowing Bubbles

-From The Daily Compass

We often lament the transience of life, and how nothing that we do seems to last. But who hasn’t had their heart lifted by a cloud of bubbles that lasts only for seconds? Bubbles are fun not in spite of their fragility, but because of it.

What tiny, fleeting moment of grace have you noticed recently?

I am a courier. I travel, roughly 250-300 miles a day. I deliver vet supplies to the vets, farmers, and ranchers of the Gainesville/Whitesboro area. In the beginning, this job was fun and I really enjoyed it. The route is beautiful. It takes me through the countryside and I get to meet very interesting people. Then I began to see the toll it was taking on me and my family. After paying for gas (which I am NOT reimbursed for), we have only $900 a month to live on. Plus, I am gone M-F 10 am to 7 pm. As soon as I get home, I am so tired that I just eat and go to bed.

Well, I am allowed to take someone with me. So, yesterday, I took my son. It has been awhile since he went. It makes things better if I have company. It is a long drive after all. Anyway, the day had started out just like any other. In fact, it had been worse. There were things at home that needed my attention and I felt stressed at having to leave it all yet again. But, I went to work because I had to go. I did the route because I had to. I went and I got it done. On the way home, I was thinking how good it felt to finally be done but how long the drive was ahead of me (over an hour and a half still to go). Then, something wonderful happened. As the sun began to set, a deer ran out from my left and bounded across the road in front of me to the other side. He was a beautiful young buck with small antlers and a gray coat. He disappeared into the forest on my right. My son was overjoyed to see the deer. Hunters have hunted them so much out near our home that we never see any. It was my fleeting moment of grace that I will keep with me for a long time. Whenever I feel that I just don’t want to go to work, I will think of that deer and the joy it brought to us. What will I see today?

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A Beacon

– From The Daily Compass

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” Matthew 5:14

How will you let your light shine today so that you can give light to those around you?

 

I see my light as one of compassion and service. How will I shine this today?

I will work so that my family will have food and shelter.

I will ask my mom if there is anything she needs from me before I leave.

I will hug my children and let them know they are loved.

I will be the best mom, wife, and employee I can be.

 

This is another difficult one for me. I love the Daily Compass because it really makes me think. It is helping me grow as a person. I have always been so scared of what people think of me. I have had this irrational fear that I will be so disliked and left alone. I think it goes back to being the new kid at school. There were so many times when I ate my lunch with a teacher or in the office. I did this because I was being teased and ridiculed. They treated it by just removing me from the situation. So, I tried to keep my light hidden so that I would not get noticed. Then, when I finally reached high school, I began to do things outside of school. While at school, I was very professional and meek. I dressed in business attire and was very quiet. Outside of school I wore black and did as I wanted. I was a drama queen through and through. I really let my light shine. When I got to college, I began to merge the two and it was stunning. After college, I found a local UU church where I could finally be myself and believe how I wanted. I saw that my light was brighter when I entered the Sanctuary. It was bliss. Then my family moved. Now, I am nowhere near a UU church. My light has dimmed somewhat, but I am trying to keep it lit. It is very difficult. This week, I found an online UU community and I was overjoyed. I will attend their online service this Sunday and see how it goes. I can’t wait. I am so excited. I will light my chalice and let it illuminate my life.

 

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New Year’s Day

I have always loved journaling ever since high school. I will never forget Mrs. Romano, my Creative Writing teacher. Our homework in the class was to keep a daily journal. There were times when it was my best friend and others when I dreaded the assignment. I have tried many blogs and I have quit them all. I think there are two main things that keep me from staying up with it. First, I let life get in the way to often. Two, I am always afraid that someone will read it and judge me. I hate conflict and I really hate being judged. I should not care what others think, but I do. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I hurt easy. I have tried to toughen up but it is very difficult. This is my effort to toughen up. I am starting this journal on MS Word to begin with. If I can keep it up for more than a couple of weeks, then I will start yet another blog. It is very important for me to have a journal of some sort. I start one on paper then I lose the paper. I start it in a journal book and I lose it. Then I am afraid that my family will read it. So, here is my blog online so everyone can read it. It makes no sense. Oh well.

I have also started another new thing today. I visited the online community for the UUA at www.questformeaning.org. It really got me to thinking. I used to be a member of First Jefferson UU Church. I loved it. I really miss it. I wish I could attend but I live over an hour away from it now. I also do not have the gas to visit there. So, I am now looking into the online community. Through that community, I also found a site called the Daily Compass. It is great. It reminds me of the Baptist “My Daily Bread”. The Daily Compass is a daily blog with a passage and a question. It is designed to really get you thinking. I figured it would give me something to write about. It looks like I found something without using it. But, I like the question anyway. So, I will include it here.

New Year’s Day

The passage from one year into the next is really no different than the passage from one day to another, except in our minds. But in our minds is where all possibilities of change and growth begin.

What new thing do you imagine for yourself this year?

I would really love to spend more time doing the things that matter to me. Right now, I work outside the home. I work Monday through Friday. I leave the house at 10 am and I get home around six in the evening. Now this doesn’t seem so bad. But, there is a problem in this. I homeschool my children and I am an officer in the Society for Creative Anachronism. Both are a dear passion of mine. But I cannot indulge in those passions because my work takes way too much out of me. I am off today and I will spend the day doing all the things that have needed my attention way to long. I will clean house, catch up on email, write a report (for my SCA officer position), and get other SCA loose ends tidied. This will probably take the entire day. After which, I will be off to bed. As soon as I get home in the evening, I am tired from driving all day (did I mention that I am a courier who drives over 1000 miles a week?) and want nothing more than to eat and go to bed. I rarely spend time with my family. The good news is that I am allowed to take them with me. I only have room for one other person, so we rotate who goes with me. The kids loved it at first. Now, they really don’t like going. But, it is the only time I get to spend with them.

Anyway…I really want to solve this problem. I feel the best solution is for my husband to work and allow me to stay at home. Right now, he is going to college. He gets no support from my family in this. No one in my family (except me) ever attended college. My mom married two months after graduating high school. My dad always puts my husband down because he feels that he should be out there working. “College won’t get him anything but a stupid piece of paper and no job,” my dad says. And sometimes, he really convinces me. I see so many college graduates who are working at McDonald’s and Wal-Mart. I see people with a BS in Computer Science who become construction workers because there is no work in the CS field (or it is just so flooded with applicants). So, what do I tell my family? And it does not help that my husband doesn’t complete his work. He went from Phi Theta Kappa (honor society) to scholastic probation.

So this is a bit more than I really intended to write. I guess I really need journaling after all. There is so much I want to say that my blog entry seems very disjointed. I guess I will really have to work on that.

Well, this is where I must leave for now. I will be back tomorrow with another Daily Compass assignment.

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