with my crew at the Cincinnati Zoo

Last year I did not “choose a word.” The last time I chose a word (the word was Brave and that year kicked my butt!) it ended up being a spiritually/emotionally hard year for me. So I avoided the practice the past couple of years! But as the year ended I felt a need to return to the ritual of choosing a focus word for the year. I like to use the Susannah Conway workbook for finding my word. This is the first year that my focus word wasn’t hard to divine…it was the first and only word I wrote. In that moment I knew the word encompassed all of my struggles from the past year and flipped them around. I’ve been fighting so many personal changes, ignoring the happening both within and around me. I want my life to go back to how it was before the changes of last year. But it isn’t to be. Time to quit running, stand my ground and turn around. Face the new…embrace. Time to stop planning and worrying so much and just breathe and be in the moment. My word is embrace. Doesn’t it seem like a nice word? God does scary things with nice words.

last day of standardized testing

Today the kids finished up their standardized testing. The last time I tested them was about four…maybe five years ago. The test is from Hewitt and is designed for home educators. At this point I’m planning to use Hewitt (a non-profit) for the high school years (and maybe the writing course for Sparkles). I like them because they will let me use much of my own curriculum (except language arts), provide grading, lesson plans, evaluations, counseling, a transcript and a diploma. I still get to be in control of my crew’s education but get the help and guidance I need since I am now a working home educating mom. I do not mind working, most of the time my job is enjoyable. Sometimes I bring the work-stress home; I need to learn to let such things go.

Boots isn’t sure about the snow

Anyway, working with Hewitt will take some of the home education stress away and likely add new ones that I do not yet foresee. I’ve been praying about this for a while (not just thinking about it) and feel this is the best choice for us at this time.

While my crew took their exams this week I read Making Space by Thich Nhat Hanh. The book is about creating a sacred space in the home for spiritual practices. Mindfulness practices help me deal with stress. Since I started daily practices over a month ago many of my IBS issues have quieted down. Stress is my most harmful trigger. No matter how well I eat, stress will unravel my health. I’m fairly certain that stress is more harmful to me than drinking a jar of spaghetti sauce…not that I would ever consider such a method of suicide. My daughter has also started meditating to help her deal with her own illness. I want to create a space for us for our meditation practice. From my time in the monastery I do understand the physical need for sacred space. I plan to disassemble the dining room (we use the school table

this is what read-aloud time looks like with Littlest…no wonder my back hurts

when we eat together) and make an office/music room. I could also devote a portion of the room for a meditation space or use the “empty spot” between the kitchen and living room. Or I could move the computer to the empty spot and have a music/meditation room. Something for me to consider…

We finally saw Star Wars this week. We had to go to Lexington since it wasn’t playing in our town anymore.The last time I saw a Star Wars movie on the big screen was when Return of the Jedi came out. I was really excited to see the movie and enjoyed that same childlike excitement from all those years ago. Seeing a Star Wars movie on the big screen with my kids was…special to me.

watching Star Wars

I’m not sure why, really, but when I looked at my family watching the movie…the moment is engraved in my mind…I felt like this bit of time together mattered. A feeling of connection…a feeling that I rarely have. I’m still puzzling over it. Anyway, I liked the movie. Luke’s confrontation with Kylo Ren was awesome.

I am looking forward to this year…the year of embracing…whatever may come.