Category Archives: joy

A Trinity of Questions

I read about a fun exercise today called a trinity.  “A Brag, A Grateful, A Desire.”

Brag  — what can I be proud of right now?

Grateful — what  blessing in my life would I like to acknowledge?

Desire — if money, time, and the laws of physics were no object, what would I desire?

Source: Regena Thomashauer (Mama Gena) referenced in Christiane Northrup’s latest book, Goddesses Never Age.

Well, it was fun until I started to answer the questions, and lo and behold, I got all vulnerable feeling and hesitant to answer the questions.

It’s easy to answer the questions if I keep them at arm’s length. What can I be proud of right now? My dang kids. I could go on for paragraphs and pages about each of them and their wonders. Easy peasy. Harder to answer the question if I look inside my own skin.

Grateful for? Again, easy to answer if I stay superficial. Husband, kids, home, health, the usual suspects. I am truly grateful for them, but I feel a tug toward a deeper consideration of the question.

And the desire? THAT is the hardest question in the history of the universe. As I’m learning to let go of control, to lean into asking for things I might not get, to trust the process and take the next step, I recognize that answering this question is important. Pressing through the fear, having courage to ask for what I desire.


Dear blog readers.

What can I be proud of right now?

I can be and am proud of my willingness to learn new tricks (even though somewhat old dog).
I am proud of my willingness to try new things.
I am proud of my resilience and flexibility.

In Sylvester Stallone’s movie, Rocky Balboa, Rocky is tested to see if he still has a spark, if he can still get up after being knocked down. That movie made me cry big time because that is one of the questions that life is asking me.

from the

Do you still have it, Suz? Are you willing to keep getting up even though getting knocked down hurts? And I say YES I AM.

What blessing in my life would I like to acknowledge?

I would like to acknowledge the blessing of my five senses and all the wonderful things they have had the privilege of smelling, tasting, seeing, hearing, and feeling, lo these many years.

I am SO grateful that I can  …
see the blue of the sky
and all the colors of the spectrum
smell the coffee my husband makes every day
and the freshness of the outside air
taste tiramisu
and the smoothness of chocolate
hear the most amazing music on the planet
and the wind chimes that sing to me all day
feel the affectionate hugs of my children
and the touch of my husband
and the cold air on my face
and the warm water cascading over me in the shower
and the curves and lumps and perfect imperfections of my own body
I am SO grateful that I can.

And if money, time and the laws of physics were no object, what would I desire?

I would love to live near water and mountains. To walk out my front door and see water, and out my side door and see mountains and out my back door and see trees. I want to travel to Europe and see the countryside of France, the mountains of Switzerland, the fjords of Norway, the cathedrals of Spain, the sights in the fog of England, and much more. I want to go back and see my friends in Australia.  I want to be remembered for the love I give, the joy I share, and the impact I make.

Your turn. A brag, a grateful, and a desire. Are you game?

Another Snow Day!

I half expected another snow day today, as the skies poured rain yesterday, which eventually turned to snow. As the temperature dropped, it became evident that we would be dealing with both ice and snow today. Sure enough, no school.

I was with some parents recently and one of them gritted her teeth multiple times as she described the power struggles she was in with her daughter (Down syndrome). I felt for her, as I have been there, done that, more than I would have liked. Truthfully, though, I have learned that power struggles pretty much are a losing proposition. Kids just don’t respond positively to parents getting more and more intense, more and more DETERMINED to make the child do this thing, damn it.

So, I’ve had the opportunity to learn some different ways to approach Kepler when it comes to getting him to do something that needs to be done. I realized yesterday that my efforts are paying off. I wondered if they ever would, but he is getting more compliant.

As he has gotten more compliant and I have gotten more relaxed, I have been able to really celebrate his sweet personality, his sense of humor, and his love of doing things together. He patiently waited this morning while I jumped on the rebounder, then joyfully joined in while I washed a few windows. I have much desk work to do today, but he wanted to play a game with me on his iPad, so I said yes. (Important vs Urgent).

He chose Toca Boca Kitchen. You can watch the trailer here. His character decided to cut up a pineapple and eat the entire thing. All of the Toca Boca apps are really cute, and he loves them. While I watched, a light bulb appeared above my head! I have a pineapple in my refrigerator that needs to be cut up.

So, carpe-ing the diem, I invited Kepler to help me cut

up my real pineapple. I’m not even sure if he has even touched a real pineapple before, so we explored it first.
I remembered that the outside of the pineapple represents the fibonacci number sequence, but I just kept that little tidbit to myself.

I am continually amazed at what happens when I get in there and do something new. He used a sharp knife (Cutco, the best!) to cut off the outside of the pineapple. And this little man who eats only the fewest of foods licked his finger of the pineapple juice. He didn’t decide to go ahead and take a bite of the fruit, but any food that gets into his mouth that hasn’t been there before is a huge win in my book.

I would have loved to video the process, but only had enough hands to help guide his hand, and hold the pineapple. His enthusiasm and joy is just so heart-warming, though.

After we did all the cutting, we ended up with this:

Now, I’m sure none of the rest of y’all have ever bought a pineapple and not gotten around to cutting it up until it was too late, but, alas, I have. So, it was extra sweet today to get this job done, and all the pineapple bagged up and put into the freezer for future smoothie use. 
All of this because I said yes to playing a game with him on his iPad, even though my desk work was tapping its foot and yelling mean things at me. 
What important thing can you say yes to today?

If I Knew Then What I Know Now — Ten Things I’d Do Differently as a Homeschool Mom

This is not what homeschooling looked like here.

Saw a link on Facebook from a homeschool mom who shared what she would do differently now as a homeschool mom. I could relate to some of it. It was posted by a homeschool mom I rarely see, but care about very much. I often read the comments on blog posts, but decided this time to write about my own list first.

First of all, I didn’t know then what I know now. Part of the journey of homeschooling is the learning that the parent does. So, maybe this is all just a moot point. But, let’s see …

1. I would de-emphasize intelligence and strongly emphasize character. Thing is, I actually thought I was doing this. Truth is, my “students” were all above average. I was constantly amazed by their grasp of concepts, their precociousness, and the joy I felt at just watching them learn. I didn’t realize I was reinforcing intelligence as much as I did. There were multiple times when something they did or said just BLEW ME AWAY. Like Valerie just up and reading the back cover of the Billy Graham autobiography I was reading. What was she, three? Four, at the most. I hadn’t even tried to teach her to read. I didn’t know that kids could learn to read just be being read to.

2. I would understand that no one else was going to be as thrilled about my children as I, and instead of rueing that, I would be affirming and encouraging to every other mother I came into contact with, realizing that she was as excited about her kids as I was about mine. At the time, my hands (and mind!) were full. The kids were born in 93, 94, and 95, and then 98. Kepler came along years after the first four, but I wasn’t just homeschooling one — I had a class!

3. I would be so much kinder to myself. Nothing ever felt like it was enough, and I know MANY homeschool mothers who experience this. Probably just about everyone who homeschools feels this at some point.

4. I would recognize a kid “come-apart” as an opportunity, not a sign that I was failing at my job. This might be the biggest one for me. I had a misunderstanding about my own role and responsibility in the feelings of my children. I needed them to be happy, and that was probably the biggest disservice I did them in my zeal.

5. I would remember that every type of school situation is good for someone, and every type of situation is also less-than-ideal for someone. Now that I’m on this side of things, where the educational methods of our kids include(d) some homeschooling, a bit of public school, years of a two-day-a-week homeschool set-up, an exhausting early grades online school, a poorly-administered online high school online, and the learn-while-you-sleep method we practiced for a few weeks months, I’ve discovered that there are PROS and CONS to every method.

(As an aside, big-time homeschooler mother, Mary Hood, wrote a book (June 1995) called “Onto the Yellow School Bus and Through the Gates of Hell.” Back when I started homeschooling, there were only a few voices writing about it. Although I never bought into Mary’s philosophy, the title comes to me often when I put my little Kepler on the school bus and send him to school where he is absolutely loved and cherished by his team. From the bus driver, to the school secretary, to the librarian, to the other students, I hear all the time how much joy he brings them. And they, as a group, give him things I simply cannot provide at home. )

6. I would find a balance between the heavy peer pressure of the school setting, and the freedom we had as homeschoolers. Without adequate preparation, going into public school can be (and was) traumatic. Happy-go-lucky kids who were unself-conscious became very self-conscious when they entered the public school system, not because they were deficient, not because the school system was evil, but because there are developmental phases that happen.

7. I would never, ever, ever compare my insides to anyone else’s outsides. Because, you know what? My insides ALWAYS came up lacking, when I looked at someone else and thought I knew ANYTHING about them based on what I saw.

8. I would find a balance between my very laid-back teaching style, and a more directive style. Both styles work in different situations, but some work better than others with young learners.

9. I would get up earlier and get us going and have a routine that we stuck to for more that a few days or weeks. Yes, back then, I was exhausted, dealt with depression, and had several “owies” on my heart. But that would have been a great example to my children, and one less thing to chastise myself about.

10. I would get professional photos taken every year. Well, I think I would. No, this one is that I would take a similarly posed photo in a similar place every year. I still have extra copies of the professional school photos I got of every child from every year. They’re so hard to let go of, even if we have enough for every person in our family! My photos would be all about the heart of the learning, the heart of the family, the heart of the giving, the heart of the love.

Things I am extremely glad I (we) did?
1. Read out loud, nearly every day and evening.
2. Do as much experiential learning as we could.
3. Practiced as best I could, a lifestyle of learning.
4. Enjoyed our children.
5. Made it through.