Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I say YES to spontaneous!

I remember not too long ago when we still lived a conventional life how exasperated I would get when my parents would invite us out to dinner...spontaneously...on a school night. I explained to my mother that it threw a wrench into our routine and and wreaked havoc on bedtime and dinner time. My how times have changed! Yesterday out of the blue my dear friend, the mother of my nephews and my children's aunt called up and said she and my nephews were coming to visit us. What a wonderful day we had! Grocery shopping, lunch, carousel rides, children playing in the park. Being a gypsy mama lends itself well to living spontaneously...What adventures are we in store for today?!! Stay tuned...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Warming our hands and hearts

It is cold...really cold. I think that even folks who live in regular houses are cold with all of this arctic weather going on. Last night, we returned from visiting a local restaurant and as we stood outside the door of the RV my husband's key wasn't working. Frantically and freezing I am digging through what my son referred to earlier as the bowels of my purse searching for my set of keys, the two layers of clothing don't seem to be helping at all. IT was 17 degrees!! Finally, I find them and try the door, it opens but the inside screen door seems to be frozen shut. All is well, we all file into the RV and huddle around the heater...my daughter is giggling uncontrollably as we are all hugging each other warming our hands and our hearts. Living this life for the last 16 months has brought about so many family moments. Moments that take my breath away in awe for the love we share as a unit. The five of us, living in incredibly close quarters. Our only escape from our togetherness is the great outdoors. There are no bedroom doors to slam shut, there is no place to hide from conflict...it's all here, right in front of us. And with this arctic blast of weather we are all here huddled together figuring out how to make it all work.

I keep presenting this lesson to our kids about how dealing with personalities, differences and emotions within our family is a microcosm for the macro of our relationship with our brothers and sisters of the greater world around us. Learning to love the things that annoy us the most in our siblings and even in our parents is a hard lesson (heck, I'm 42 and just now getting it) but if doing this work within our own family will help us to connect with the world around us easier and on some deeper level then what a great reward. Having that kind of compassion is difficult in so many ways but there it is everyday...right in our faces, over and over again. It wouldn't surprise me if there are those who think living this way is downright cruel to our kids. Togetherness can be too much of a good thing can't it? But my question is how do we stretch, how do we grow,  how do we come to terms that there is always going to be things that exist in others that just rub us the wrong way?

Many times when I can get really present within my own self I realize that what seems to bother me the most is a quality or issue that I myself have within me. Ahhh! The great mirror of truth, how ironic that it shows us so much that there is yet to be seen. Reflecting upon that mirror I see there is much work to be done. On my path these kinds of revelations keep coming up. I see them in my kids too, with all this togetherness. The two that seem to have conflict the most almost always complain and fuss about qualities and actions that they both have within them. I attempt to point this out sometimes and it just makes them angrier with me and with each other. I think it could be a good thing to push ourselves toward understanding. That mirror always reflects some truth. I know this sounds kind of cheesy but lately when the kids have had issues/conflicts with each other I have asked them to stop and to breathe. I ask them if the thought, the action, the words are coming from their heart. In that moment, with my question, they recognize that it is not. Then I ask them, "Where is it coming from then?" I'm not sure if they actually know where it is coming from exactly, but just the recognition that it is not coming from their heart is a start.

Funny also because it encourages me to practice what I preach as well. I think being their teacher inspires me to greater growth as well. Hopefully all of this togetherness will help us continue to grow the warmth in our hearts for our little microcosm and for the macrocosm of it all.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Creative Journaling...Everyone gets an A!!

Having a positive impact on my children is probably one of my deepest desires other than that attempting to change the world in some other small way is also on my list. I wish to be a splinter in the wood bridging heaven and earth.

Working through the little people in my life has been a blessing on some days and a curse on others. As a roadschooling/unschooling Mom, our life is the lesson plan, the curriculm. Everywhere we go there is something new to learn, a new discovery and a lesson. Some kids have the luxury of only having to learn at school-mine on the other hand are required to be present 24/7!

I discovered SARK the other day on-line through Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Life website... I am always inspired by anyone who let's go of fear and truly lives authentically. So while perusing Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy's (hence the name SARK) planet SARK website. I once again became inspired. The kids and I have attempted journaling several times and we stick with it for a few days or weeks, sometimes even for a month or so. I love writing and of course I want the kids to be inspired to write too. Write about anything poems, letters, stories, feelings, dreams, whatever. My kids are pretty creative (imagine that!) they fill notebooks with drawings, maps, imaginary menus, words, etc. but all on their own time and with out any type of regiment. So after discovering SARK and her amazing "juicy journaling" ideas we piled in the truck and found an art store where we all purchased some blank sketch books. Last night we decoupaged the covers. I went to bed leaving two of the kids up still creating. My daughter shared with me her first entry upon waking this morning. She has given me permission to post it here on my blog.
Here goes:

Dreaming is a good thing.
You can see the positive side of yourself and look on the bright side of things.
You can be whatever.
You can do whatever even go where ever.
copyright 2010 Bailey Baehr

Of course it was written is swirly pink and green lettering. With designs in different colors at the bottom of the page. I was pretty blown away to say the least! She asked me why I copyrighted her name at the bottom of the text and I told her that she has some amazing talent and we might want to go ahead and proctect her work now!

So here we are with the beautiful books full of blank pages for us to write, to dream, to drawn, to scribble in whenever and where ever we want. Kinda like life I'd say, a blank book...we don't have to write on the lines in boring pencil or ball point pen. We can use colorful markers, thick & thin. We can paint broad strokes  or skinny ones. We can make your words with curly Q's or swirlies. We can write in our books with clarity and perfect cursive writing or we can develop our own style of print. We can draw pictures in the margins. We can make up our own rules on how to create our lives and we can give ourselves an A or even an A+++++ !!

Give yourself an A+ today. You get to decide what excellent is...even if it's in a failure. Be you. Get your own blank book and fill the pages with whatever you want. After all it's your story, you get to make it up as you go.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Reflections on 2009

As  I was laying in bed this morning on the 2nd morning of 2010 my mind began to wander through the last year. Although I am not one to live in the past the manifestation of our dream of being a family on the road came to fruition in 2009 and the adventures that we had were amazing, beautiful and full of joy and wonder.
I loved Dawna Markova's book,  "I Will Not Die An Unlived Life" and I can say with certainty that in 2009 I did my share of really living. So I have composed the following list of experiences that we had in 2009...

Watched the fireworks over the Gulf of Mexico
Learned everything I need to know about the natural sea sponge
Paddled in a canoe in the Marshes of Glynn
Rode bicycles all day
Reread "To Kill A Mockingbird" with my kids (outloud and with a southern accent)
Saw an art exhibit inspired by the the book mentioned above
Found the Hostel in the Forest
Cooked Chipati's over an open fire
Participated in a Shabbat Friday evening meal
Ate fresh shrimp & crabs
Saw a red headed woodpecker
Picked up litter just to be nice
Learned how to face paint
Was courted then rejected by a reality TV show
Volunteered to paint faces at the Boys & Girls Club
Road a public bus
Watch the 2nd largest St. Patrick's Day Parade in the country (Savannah, GA)
Rode in a bicycle taxi
Saw the fountains in Savannah, GA with green water
Fed a semi-wild bunny out of my hand
Drank mojitos on the beach
Danced on a sandbar at sunset
Built many sandcastles
Walked on the beach in the moonlight
Fell in love with a sea turtle named Joey
Volunteered at the humane society
Cooked breakfast on the beach & watched the sunrise
Saw the sunrise and sunset all in the same day
Volunteered on an organic farm
Discovered Athens, GA
Got pulled over by a state trooper & only got a warning (later found out he was wrong)
Met up with a group of old friends and camped for a weekend
Watched our children play and form friendships
Laughed a lot
Drank too much
Sold a business
Went to a hula hoop workshop
Bought a hula hoop
Discovered CSAs & locally grown sustainable agriculture
Fell asleep to the sounds of frogs, crickets and foxes
Taught workshops to kids on composting, sprouting, tea and gardening
Attended Food For Life @ Sequatchie Valley Institute
Learned from Sandor Katz about tempeh, kombucha, sauerkraut & beet kvass
Hooked an RV trailer up to a truck with  just me and a kid
Celebrated my nephews 5th birthday
Got to drive a convertible BMW for a night
Attended a hip sushi restaurant opening in Midtown Atlanta with 5 kids and FREE sushi
Watched a pod of dolphins frolick upclose & personal for 3 hours while paddling in our canoe
Watched two sea turtles get released back into the ocean
Volunteered to face paint for the GA Sea Turtle Center
Cooked dinner at sunset right on the beach
Enjoyed being with good friends and their kids at the beach
Visited one of the oldest art museums in the country
Made art
Made love
Saw living history
Had a tea party
Watched my daughter dance in the rain
Built a fairy village
Learned how to really bake bread
Watched the star Sirius rise just before the sunrise on the beach
Had an amazing 42nd Birthday
Visited my sister
Danced with my son to Gumbo Boogie
Explored St. Augustine
Lost one of our kitty cats
Watched someone die
Saw a fox
Attended a Thresheree
Cleansed the currency
Prayed for peace
Participated in a Sweat Lodge (3x)
Tailgated with friends for a TN Volunteers Game
Went to a Greek Festival
Walked on the Natchez Trace
Met Joel Salatin
Visited "The Farm" in Summertown, TN
Shopped at Farmer's Markets
Supported LOCAL restaurants and businesses
Watched an old friend perform in TWO theatrical productions
Went to a public school's fall carnival
Cooked food I never cooked before
Watched my high school alma mater play football as the away team
Had fun with friends
Recycled almost everything
Went to the top of the Arch in St. Louis
Ate Kansas City, MO BBQ
Visited a living history museum for the Old West
Saw the documentary film, "Enlighted Up" with my son
Visited the original "Little House on the Prairie" site
Watched my daughter get her ears pierced
Took the kids to Nashville, TN Parthenon and had them teach me about classic mythology
Read many, many, many books
Read the entire "A Course in Miracles" text
Saw the film, "Food Inc."
Heard cookbook author, Mark Bittman speak
Helped build a haunted house in my friend's kitchen
Celebrated Halloween with a dear friend & her family
Celebrated my husband's birthday with wings, beer and football
Helped out on another local organic farm
Saw two shooting stars
Saw a bald eagle
Purchased two new tires
Baked organic cookies with a 97 yr. old taste tester
Discovered Booya Cacao
Saw live music
Stood atop Lookout Mountain
Helped others
Healed relationships
Enjoyed the artwork of amazing artists
Reconnected with old friends and made many, many new ones
Felt gratitude and appreciation
Experienced the immense hospitality of incredible friends and family
Fell in love with my husband over and over again
Allowed my children to learn anything and everything
Drank lots of really good coffee
Cooked incredible meals
Celebrated the change of seasons
Loved myself and others
Became forgiving and accepting
Gave birth to another dream
Visited 11 different states
let go of things that no longer served me

I am sure there are things that I have left out but all in all I believe that 2009 was one of my best years yet. I know that 2010 has much to offer as well. Stay tuned!!