Friday, May 31, 2013

This Moment, PS Thank You


" I walk a track!"-Lincoln age 2. This is a daily ritual.  Our family takes an evening walk most nights.  We stop at the post box, I get a free coffee at the club house, and we walk the track.  The littlest always leads the way.


PS Thank you friends so much for your thoughts on schooling!  I had so many lovely inbox messages waiting for me.  My brain is swirling with ideas.  Most of my readers comment on FB, so when you do not see comments here, they can generally be found there.  I also get lots of private messages, and I love those too!  I will keep you updated on our decision.  It is going to be a neat year, regardless.  I am excited for the new journey ahead...and can't wait till I take that last elevator down from my office.  It seems to be coming so s.l.o.w.l.y.  But, it will be here before I know it! 

Come back later, there is sure to be a post on a certain kindergartner that is getting his debut this afternoon in the Bugz! program at school.  His costume is ready, he knows all the songs, and his speaking part is perfectly memorized...(along with every child's speaking part).  I do believe he could do the entire production solo.  He is so very excited!

B Charmer


Thursday, May 30, 2013

How Do You Learn?


Oh, the great debate of schooling.  There are so many thoughts, theories, choices, and schools that parents can choose from for their child's education.  It can be quite mind-boggling.  Not to mention, each avenue has outstanding reasons as to why one should choose that route or method.  I have been a classroom teacher for almost ten years, minus this year that I have spent working in the law firm.  I have spent time in various schools and settings.  I have been a part of public education, private Christian education, Orthodox Jewish education, and rural community school education.  I have seen so many different ways and methods of teaching children.  I think I am the better for all of my experiences.  But, it can leave me a bit bewildered about what method I would like to use for my own children.  I can find so many pros and cons of each that I find myself twirling my hair and thinking...hmmmm.  What should we choose?

I was educated in the public school system of East Tennessee.  It was a very pleasant experience.  I cannot say very much negative at all about my schooling years.  It taught me a deep sense of community.  It helped me to know my neighbors and my fellow citizens.  I felt I had outstanding teachers and programs.  In my school system, I learned to be a vocalist, play instruments, be on a team, and  to excel academically.  I was taught a love of writing and creativity.  I sculpted clay, saw major US Cities, and had many great friends.  I enjoyed the social aspect, the culture aspect, and being with my peers.  I dissected animals, learned trigonometry, and studied AP European History. I was a part of major school productions and developed a love for theatre.  Sure, there were days when things weren't perfect.  I had some teachers that had different world-views or religious beliefs.  I had friends that took different moral paths than I did.  I had heart breaks and times when I felt sure I was at the very bottom of the social status list.  Sometimes, I didn't fit in.  Sometimes I could not participate in certain events.  Sometimes, I wanted to skip class.  And, there were moments where I had to dig deep to make good choices.  It taught me to work hard on my moral compass and not to be intemdiated by others choices.  Overall, I am quite proud of the education I received.  It was a well-rounded experience that taught me both academics and life skills. 

However, my hometown was unique.  There were not, nor is there still, a plethora of private schools.  There were not any home school co-ops or large church affiliated schools.  Everybody was a part of the same school system.  There were various elementary schools, but we all came together in grade 6 at a combined middle school.  We then proceeded to high school in grade nine.  From grade six on, the entire area was schooled together.  We knew everybody from the age of 12.  It was not a small school, but it was also not a mega-sized student body either.  It was a community.  Everybody rooted for the home team, because all of the town graduated from the same high school.  Everybody had a place and a niche. It truly was a unique experience. 

Where we live now, it is much different.  The public school system is struggling.  There are pockets of success stories, but overall it is not as encouraging.  There are multiple private education sources to choose from.  There are religious affiliated schools, Montessori schools, and even online schools available.  There are co-ops to choose, programs to join, and educational outlets galore.  It leaves me feeling overwhelmed.  If I could hand pick my children to have a similar public education experience as I did, that would be my obvious choice.  However, that same option is not available. 

We are still a family in transition.   We could easily be moving again by Feburary.  When my oldest starts first grade next year, he will be in a different school than he is currently attending for kindergarten.  There is a great possibility that by second grade, he will be at yet another different school.  I do not like shuffling him around.  

There is home school.  I am lingering on that thought.  I think I would enjoy the experience immensely.  I know my children would enjoy it for a season.  My mind starts turning a million miles a minute when I think of all the great things we could experience by schooling at home.  It is certainly a good option.

But, I like the community building skills that public education promotes.  I like having that as an outlet to know our neighbors, our teachers, and our local leaders.  I think it is a great way to be involved and make a difference.  I like the social lessons that are learned when children come together and discover their world.  I like the idea of what public school should be and can be.  I think it is perhaps the greatest opportunity to bring something good to our community by being a part of our local school.

Still, I am baffled.  I want to do the best thing for our family.  There is a huge part of me that thinks a year together at home would be perfect.  To have a year of calm and no pressing need to be away from home all day every day sounds like something we all would benefit from greatly.   Not putting my son through the chore of changing schools for the second time seems reason enough.  I like the thought of being able to really focus on the things that would ignite a passion to learn in both of my children.  I think we would all enjoy it greatly.

 But, I am not ready to pull away from the public.  I think we are all meant to find a way to be a part of our communities.  I think that is Biblical and for our greater good.  I think that there are numerous ways to school at home and still be very active in the community, but public schooling is a lovely way to do it quite easily.  It says something to your fellow citizens about your willingness to be a part of their lives.  It would take a very concerted effort to home school and still provide various community-building outlets for the kids.  I am not sure that I am disciplined enough to do that well. 

Would you like to weigh-in?  I welcome your experiences.  I know many of you home school.  Share with me your joys and drudgery.  Tell me why you keep doing it, or why you quit doing it.  I would like to hear from those of you that send your little ones to public school.  Is is working well for you?  Do you feel that it works well for your family and your community involvement?  I would sincerely like to hear your stories. 
How do you learn??
B Charmer





Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spaces



I think we must all have spaces.  Spaces to breathe and be quiet.  My newest space is beneath the twinkle lights on the patio at evening.  I water the plants, brew a cup of coffee, and think of the world spinning on and on.  The babies are sleeping. The stars are shining.  The warmth of southern, spring evenings wrap around me, and I simply sit.  I sit and sip. Think and write.  I listen to the sounds of spring at night. Perhaps another cushion and a bit more decoration would be nice, but really it is doing just fine--this space of mine.

I'd love to get a glimpse of your space.  You can send me a photo of your space!  It would be most fun. I hope you do.  

B Charmer 


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

When We Can See Answers

The past week has been full of good things.  We are continually blessed with new friendships in our new neighborhood.  The boys have more friends than I can count.  Amazingly, so far all of our neighbors have little boys.  Boys on bikes, boys in the dirt, and boys in the woods are the makings of most of our days.  They play as long as there is daylight, and then even more if we mommies allow.

Recently, we began a family Bible study with some of the families in the community.  We met outside under an umbrella.  We shared food, stories, and encouragement.  The kids ran and played in the yard while 3 families and a pastor shared time learning truths about God's word.  It was such a nice time.  We have decided to meet again, and hopefully our little group will grow.  It felt like an answer to a prayer.

I put my notice in at work.  As scary as it was, I have felt such sweet peace for the past few days.  I got a surprise note from a a far-away friend that just added to the goodness.  They did not know of my plans, and their words were so very fitting.  It felt like another answer.  Being remembered is always a good thing.

So often, we pray for things and wonder if or when the answers will come.  I have prayed so long for good friendships for our family, peace for where we lived, faith in God's care of us.  I have prayed for opportunities to be a light.  I have prayed and prayed.  I think I forget sometimes to notice His many answers.  Sometimes, the answers are so visible, praise is inevitable. 

Lately, I can see His answers all around me. 





B Charmer


Friday, May 24, 2013

This Moment


Bacon always finds himself in crazy places, but he is never too far from Baby Lincoln.

B Charmer


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Glow

Simple things really are quite sweet. 

My husband randomly picked up two very cheap glow sticks at the store for the boys to play with while running an errand.  We very rarely buy the kids toys because they spend so much time outside, and they have more than enough toys at home.  But once in awhile, every child needs a treat. 

This really wasn't much of a treat.  It was a stick that glowed...nothing more, nothing less.  We took the boys walking after dark and gave them their sticks.  You would have thought the oldest had just opened Christmas.  He jabbered a million miles a minute.  He twirled his stick.  He used it to look for frogs on the path.  He giggled and skipped.  He loved the glow.  He was quite pleased with his newest treasure.

After our walk, the boys took their baths and headed to bed.  All the while, the glow sticks stayed by their sides.  I tucked them in, kissed their cheeks, and said nighttime prayers.  I returned a bit later to check in on them.  They were fast asleep still clinging to their little glowing treat.


Jackson woke this morning shocked to find it still glowing.  He hopped out of bed proclaiming his was magical.  He is hopeful it might still be glowing after school.  He knows the likelihood is small, but he still hopes.

Oh the joys of childhood.  A little magic, a little wonder, and a lot of smiles.  It truly was a dollar well spent.  I watched them walk hand-in-hand with their daddy last night carrying their treasures.  I hoped they knew the real treasure was the fella in the middle. 



Lucky boys.

B Charmer


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I Did

I have been quiet for a bit.  I tried to write yesterday, but there were just no great stories to tell.  I have been thinking.  The days are swirling by.  My oldest is finishing his very first year of school.  The baby is talking non-stop, and I think I found a new wrinkle around my left eye.  Time moves so very swiftly.  I wonder how long I can call the baby, the baby?  Forever, I suppose. 

How long will I wait to do things I love?  How long will I think I have time?  Do you ask yourself those questions?  I certainly do from time to time.  Seize the day is how I think, but is it how I live?  Sometimes, I feel like the day seizes me.  That, for sure, isn't very motivational. 

I packed all the daily bags for school, preschool, and work.  I threw my purse on my shoulder and grabbed my keys and the baby's sippy-cup.  Everyone was sent on their way.  Kisses were given and hugs were shared.  I took the elevator up.  I turned on my computer at work and began the task of processing endless checks. The world turns, business takes place, and people move and busy themselves all around me. 

I sighed.  It was time.  It was scary and difficult.  With a bit of an anxious heart, I turned in my notice.

I must seize the day...I am done being seized by it.  It has been quite the year. There are still a few days left of elevators and lipstick. A few more days of countless check writing.  A few more days of looking at the world from the fifteenth floor.  Then, I will ride down one last time.  I will step out into the sunshine and figure it all out again.

What is next?  Who knows?  But, I am sure the stories will be plenty.  There will be much to write.

B Charmer


Monday, May 20, 2013

Going Home














We took the quickest trip back home to Tennessee.  My, how I miss it.  The cool, rainy mountains are always a welcome site. I never thought I would be gone this long from Tennessee.   I miss the mountains, the green hillsides lush with thousands of wild flowers, and the feel of the clover-filled grass.  It is a hard thing to miss.  But, coming back, even for mere moments, feels good.

The boys loved the hills.  The baby told me all the way into the city this morning that we needed to turn around and go back to the mountains.  How I wish I could....













We had a lovely visit. We all wanted to stay longer. I am so thrilled that my love -loves Tennessee like I do. Maybe one day we will settle back in these hills....mabye.



B Charmer


Friday, May 17, 2013

My Daddy


May 17 is a special day.  It is my daddy's birthday.  Daddies hold a very special place in the heart's of their daughters.  Mine is no exception. 

Can I tell you about him?

My daddy can fix anything.  I have never once doubted his super powers to fix things.  He has fixed so many things in my lifetime.  This very moment I could call him up and make whatever noise I could think of, and he could pretty much tell me what is wrong with a car.  I will never forget when he called me in college and told me he had found me a new car.  I was so excited.  I made the hours long trip home only to see an ole banged up car that needed a door and other parts.  I remember him telling me to trust him.  I did, and he made that car beautiful for me.  I knew in my heart he would come through.

He taught me to roller skate, push a lawn mower, and how to make a whistle with my hands.  He played hours of ping pong with me during many long hospital stays.  He taught me to drive and helped me build countless snowmen.  He even worked in concessions stands as a band booster so I could enjoy the football games all through high school.  He let me see all the airplanes at his work and  let me fly in them a couple of times.

He taught me patience and persistence.  He taught me to keep trying till I figured it out.  He showed me that things were not all that complicated if I just took them apart one by one.  He worked with his hands and his heart.  He was always doing for others and teaching me life lessons at the same time. 

He made old houses new.  He made cars sparkle.  He made me giggle.  He worked very hard for our family.  He loved my mom with his whole heart.  He gave and gave and gave and never asked for anything in return.  He was and is a very, good man.  He is tender and kind but strong and fearless.  He is a superb story teller and excellent in the kitchen. 

He loves my children and cares for them like they are his own.  He is a bit of a superhero to them.  They think the world of their grandad, and I love that so very much.  He spends time with them on the phone, time with them in trees, and gives special rides in the convertible.  He tickles them, fights with them, and lets them crawl into bed when they stay over. 

But do you know the best thing about my dad?  He is that way to every person I know.  He is at the age that he could be thinking about retirement.  He could be gearing up to spend his days leisurely piddling around the house.  But, he is isn't.  Right now, he is working so very hard as the director of a Home for Children in rural South Carolina.  This job is no easy task.  He is the face and heart for a place that gives a home to children whose family can not, or will not, care for them.  He spends his weekends traveling and telling their stories so that they can have a home.  He spends his week days being their advocate and voice in a world that is little help to them.  He has a million obstacles in his way, but I know he is taking them one by one just like he taught me to do when I was a girl.  It is job that could weary the strongest of souls and try the patience of the greatest warrior.  But daddy, he just does the work.  Every day, every trip, every phone call, he does the work.  One task at a time and he is keeping the wheels turning so that these sweet, little faces have a foothold in this crazy world.

I wrote a song for him that I sang to him when he walked me down the aisle in my wedding.  It was a surprise to all that attended, even him.  The words have stayed true as the years have passed.  Here is just the chorus, I have been humming it all day...

Daddy, I will always be that little girl on your knee
singing silly songs in the back seat of the car
Daddy, our lives often change
but some things stay the same
One of those is the love between our hearts
That will never change.  I will always love him.  I will always trust him.  And I will always be proud of him.  He is my daddy, my very own real-life superhero.  I am so glad he hasn't put his cape away, yet.  He is still in the business of saving the day, one little heart at a time.


Happy Birthday Daddy.

B Charmer


This Moment

This little one LOVES cars.  He plays and plays.  I cannot keep my shelves organized for finding little treasures in every nook.  He tells me the green file boxes are big mountains. 




I could watch him play for hours. He didn't even know I was there catching his mountainous adventure. 

B Charmer





Thursday, May 16, 2013

Melt


This picture always makes me melt.  I remember the moment clearly.  It was raining so very, very hard.  My sweet love was soothing a fussy baby at the screen door.  We were waiting for the rain to pause just enough to dash to the car for Sunday evening church service.  I saw these two having their moment at the door, and I melted.  Love of loves is seeing your sweet baby in the arms of their daddy...perfectly content. 

B Charmer


Progress

Amazingly, I am doing pretty good with my patio garden.  My husband thinks it is a small miracle that I have not killed anything.  I think he is a bit over-dramatic.  The plants are green and growing.  They look healthy, and I have a new resident.  Do you see him?  He is there every morning in the same spot soaking up the sun.  I have come to expect him. 








I think we might get a tomato before too long.  That will be a lovely treat. I hope I keep the streak up...I think I will.

B Charmer


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Some Things Never Change

My husband and I have been planning something special to celebrate our ten year anniversary.  We are dreaming of places to visit.  We have been looking at flights and gasping in disbelief at the cost of traveling these days.  Our anniversary isn't until January, but apparently we should have been saving for the past ten years for this trip.  I was thinking about how much has changed in ten years.  Our first big adventure together was in Europe when he met my family for the first time.  It is kind of hard to top Europe.  As I was going through the grainy pictures of the past, I found it comical how many were in the stacks of me taking pictures of things I loved.  There I was often with my old, trusty camera and film.  I loved finding roadside cafes, rows of lovely flowers, and strange things to eat.  In all our years together, that has never changed.  I have old journals filled with pictures and stories.   Blogging was non-existent then for me.  I think it is funny how little I have changed in those ways.  I have taken my loves and went digital.  I have really always been B Charmer...just back then, I was the only reader.  Now, I get to share my loves with all of you. 

I love this first picture because I was down on the ground photographing something tiny and I heard my name.  I popped up with crazy hair, and thus this moment became permanently etched in time.  The look on my face says it all.  I was in a world of my own finding pretty things. 








For all the other pictures, I would prop up my trusty old tripod and set the timer.  Maybe if I were lucky, I would get a stranger to capture the moment for me.. if family were not along.  Oh, the memories. Perhaps one of the sweetest lies in an old shoe box in our home.  While I was waiting on my love to land in Spain, I traveled to France for several days.  Each little town I visited, I purchased a postcard and wrote to him.  He kept every one.  They are comical and lovely to read today.  I was smitten, for sure.

So, ten years deserves something special.  I am not sure what that will be, but I know I will have my camera at the ready.  For we all know... some things never change. 

B Charmer 


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