28 March, 2009

What is beauty?

"Gazing on beautiful things acts on my soul, which thirsts for heavenly light." ~ Michelangelo

What is beautiful? Ah I have a purplish, pale yellow orchid that is in bloom. It rests in a pottery piece I found that makes me happy. There is sunlight streaming in the window, letting us know it is the afternoon, as the air is warmed before night falls.

There are 2 sets of beautiful azure eyes that look upon me daily. When I look into each set, I see beauty of what was, what is and what will be. They are creation, creation of the divine, creation of human love, creation none the less.

Recently, I have just finished The Book of Love. The beauty that is rediscovered in this text calls to my heart. There is a reference to Michelangelo and I am reminded of the first time I saw Davide, The Pieta, Moses, Night and Day, Dawn and Dusk...there are the vast number of paintings...

So when the new post from A Study In Brown had this quote posted... it felt right to reflect on beauty that does stir heavenly light. Heavenly light has been on my mind day and night lately. Finding the path I am to walk on in order to bring Heaven on Earth, as Earth as it is in Heaven...

Heavenly light, well it is all around us, isn't it?

26 March, 2009

The Book of Love

This post is dedicated to the Mystik.

If you were raised with a Christian focus, but found religion to leave you wondering where the women were in all of this or had questions that never seemed to be answered or found the current church out of touch with the simple messages delivered in the 4 approved gospels... then you might enjoy reading The Expected One by Kathleen McGowan.

The true identity of Mary Magdalena is explored. Not only is her identity discovered, but the teaching of Jesus Christ is also brought to life in a more practical, meaningful manner.

The second book to come from this series is The Book of Love. Currently, I am about 2/3 of the way into the book. The story is unfolding before my eyes and I am excited to see my desire in following Jesus is strengthened. If only I could find a community that shares these ideals....

Sad that the Catholic Church and other Christian Churches refuse to allow these other books into play. They fear what would happen if there was a challenge to their current structure. Fear is a blockage... something that holds us back from becoming great.

I try to be fearless in all that I do, always have been this way. I also try to be the best I can be and challenge myself in new ways. We all should be working on this. It is the opening or our heart.

This idea of opening the heart is not lost on me. I did after all join a circle of women years ago to focus on heart centered meditation. This is the coming of divine feminine. We are gearing up for greatness....

25 March, 2009

Changing the Face of Homeschoolers...

This past week, I was given the opportunity to provide feedback regarding my first homeschool enrichment program we attended last fall. For a second, I thought, no need to respond. But then I changed my mind, thinking they do deserve to know why I am no longer attending their organization.

For an outsider who does not homeschool or know anyone who does, homeschool looks a little frightening on many levels. First there is this idea that I am not a trained teacher...how on earth will I remember algebra? Then there is this idea of motivation, how will I be a teacher and a mother?

Then let's not forget those national spelling bee winners who have been homeschooled. My husband's first reaction to homeschooling was this very idea. He was afraid our sons would grow up to be antisocial and backwards in front of people.

Lastly, there is this other idea that all homeschoolers are a bunch of religious right wing freaks who want to control every phase of their child's life while filling it with religious dogma and rhetoric. So upon our decision to homeschool, all of these ideas had to be tested and challenged so we felt comfortable in our decision.

Luckily, we live in a state where the decision to homeschool is supported and seems to be the only option for teaching your children. The state of Florida has NEVER had a strong score among the nation as being a top provider of education. The public system lacks many standards when compared to other states. (Having worked for the Dept of Education in GA, I do know what I speak of and have seen the state rankings over and over and over again). Florida usually settles near the bottom in company with GA, HA and MS. Even my childhood state of OH has slipped near the middle, but has never been at the bottom.

Private schooling is another option here, if you have a lot of disposable income. My personal opinion is because a horrible public school system exits the private schools take full advantage and charge double and triple what other states may charge. For example, the Catholic Schools in Oh charge on average 3500 per year for one student. Down here the average is 8000 per year per student. I also know GA charges a lot for Catholic Schooling near 7000 per year per student. This I find outrageous in terms of taking advantage of an awful situation and in turn charging extreme amounts if you desire your child to get ahead!

Now let's take that idea that private schools are better...well the curriculum in FL is very similar to their public counterparts. Why on earth would I pay high dollars just to obtain the same type of schooling already offered for free?

Homeschooling in Florida is a generally accepted practice. Most all of the museums, nature parks, theaters and other civic minded institutions provide programming specific to homeschoolers. There are also enrichment programs where a group of homeschoolers get together and pull their resources. There are classes offered on specific topics to help simulate a class room experience, socialization etc. The groups are determined by like minded people and purpose, so there should be a group that suits your needs.

We joined the group last fall due to the variety of classes offered. My boys took Taekwondo, Pottery, Cake Decorating, Piano Lessons and Religious Story Time. This group seemed from the outside like a good choice. The classes were small so the students were still being considered the most important focus. The idea I liked most, is how the classes are not divided by ages.. they are divided by focus and ability. My 4 year old was taking Pottery alongside teenagers. How awesome is that? Empowering to say the least for his development.

However the time in that group was numbered as the primary focus was the stereotypical religious right wing strict strange looking people that looked as if they have not taken up personal hygeine as an important lesson. (Not all families looked this way, but many did).

There were lessons for my children and for myself with this group. I was told to remove my nose piercing. It was seen offensive and encouraged the younger teens that this was acceptable. I obliged them, this concession, but it really did anger me that I had to deny myself to belong to this group. What was I teaching my children?

In the end, I had to remove myself from the group, as I didn't feel accepted for who or what I am. We found another group to join and it is a refreshing contrast! The mothers are wonderful, open and friendly. The children are better behaved than the previous group. The classes offered this go around are Geology, Eco Art, Hand Sewing, Story Time, Tumbling and Musical Art. I even get to take Knitting!

These moms mostly shop at Whole Foods, find local and organic food choices to be the best. They practice moral respect and probably follow a religious order, but I can't say as I know what religion dominates. I find there to be patience and creativity everywhere I look and this is encouraging. The mothers are real people with a basic belief they can provide educational outlets for their children either by themselves or with help from the community.

Homeschooling is different for every family. It may be in seclusion to mimic the schooling our forefathers received or it may be in concert with other families.

As there are challenges to this decision to homeschool, the fears mentioned above have subsided. I found a great group of families to share in this journey with. Where there is a strength I have, there is a family that can benefit and vice versa if I have a weakness I can reach out for help. There are other teachers that come into play, so I am not their sole provider. I lean on music teachers, science teachers and where there is no teacher, curriculum can be bought to supplement and help guide.

I would say my family and those that I surround myself today do not look like a typical homeschool family like those found in the national spelling bee. We are average families with above average expectations for our childrens' future.

As for motivation while still being a mom... I work on this everyday, but show me a mother who doesn't encounter motivation on a daily basis! Getting your child to brush teeth, make their bed, set the table, practice good manners... we teach our children every day and we find new methods for motivation every day. This is nothing new to the homeschooler as it is to motherhood.

In closing, I would like to challenge stereotypes of homeschooling families as well as challenge this notion that I am not skilled or trained to school my children. (I will share I do hold a Master's Degree and have taught at the collegiate level, held many training sessions and led groups in learning new techniques/methodology etc). However, I am smart enough to know when I need or want help and reach out for it.

I take advantage of my community and join other groups that I find beneficial to my boys' learning process. Ultimately I control the subject matter, the progression and direction of their learning. To a small extent I also control the setting for their learning. I am engaged, I see the progress and I see the areas which need help. No one has to call me in for a parent teacher conference to tell me my child is below normal, above average or at the middle.

This option works for us now. It may change down the road, I have no idea. But I would like this nation to realize teaching our children is important and should be accomplished in a way that makes sense for each family. We have choices, this is what makes us Americans.

Let's support each other realizing the end goal is the same, to help our children realize their full potential. Maybe releasing the stereotypes and criticisms, we may progress and achieve this awesome goal!

20 March, 2009

HAPPY SPRING!

Today is the first day of spring. What a glorious day to start our rebirth while we honor our spirit.

I had a rebirth/honoring lesson today, which only took about 30 minutes to "get". Last night while reading my Path to Empowerment book, I was reviewing the chakras and how we need to clear them in order to gain the flow of healing energy within. The 3rd Chakra is the one situated in our bellies and it is best summed up in listening to your gut. Yes, I listen to my gut, no need to find a blockage there....

Well today, I didn't listen to my gut and joined facebook. After I joined I started poking around and realized that this was a place to reconnect with people from your past and through that connection, possibly new people would come into your life. However, I couldn't think of new people, because my 3rd, 4th and 5th chakras were closing up. I had this invisible energy clamping down on my core. It started to become painful and increased my short breath.

As I was trying to calm myself down, I thought, this is silly, I will just sign off and try again tomorrow to see the benefits... then I had this strong NO come into view. I went to the delete account link.

Why on earth was I forcing something that every one is doing into my world? NO, I will not. I typically follow my own path, find my own music to tune in to and make my own decisions and this was not a good one for me.

The funny thing? The delete link was not working and it took over 10 minutes to delete the account! I felt trapped and the breath was getting shorter and shorter and shorter.... then finally success and it lifted, just like that.

The phone rang and the one person in the world that could understand not wanting to be found, called me. Yes, confirmation, I did the right thing. I listened to my gut and got out just in time.

This is not to say facebook is an evil energy sucker. For me it represents things in my past that I don't need to revisit. It may be a great thing for you and your present, but for me it wasn't. The lesson here is to listen to your gut, intuition and follow your heart. Only then will the energy flow to create harmony and peace in your life.

So rebirth your being and honor your spirit.

Blessings!

Creating a New Earth

Finally, the book is read, a New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. It isn't that it was a difficult read, but that I started it after the excitement wore off from Oprah. Additionally, between homeschooling, financial management duties, a new interest in knitting and being the momma, it was hard to find the time and quiet needed for this read.

I found the author repeating and discussing topics that were already known to me for the first half of the book. But then as I vowed to get through it, something started to catch on and the message started to weave nicely into my psyche.

I get it. The me in this lifetime gets it. I am being, just being. Walking lighter, being more gentle, trying at least, finding beauty, connecting to the present. I love the present!

We watched Kung Fu Panda last week. The line that struck me went something like this "The past is history the future is yet to be but the present is a gift, that is why it is called a Present!" YEAH! I love it.

My present is wonderful, we are healthy, living together in sunshine... the healing rays of great power, have a safe cozy home, get to touch sand whenever we want and connect with the cleansing waters of Mother Earth. We have made some new friends and found new boundaries that are healthy for older relationships.

Moments in my past have led me to this present moment of spiritual site. Whether or not I am destined to do something great or small, I am destined to be part of the whole movement forward. This I know, instinctively. The past month it seems a new portal has been opened. I have walked through to only realize it later. My body has lightened in karmic energy and I am sensing more energy. Yes movement forward has occurred, the shift has taken hold.

The present is a gift and I am blessed. I encourage all to find their pain bodies, work through them and then learn to unwrap this precious gift of the present. Maybe then you will notice the shift, after it happens...

19 March, 2009

Gaining Perspective

Ah, the homeschool debate....

"How do I know L is learning, what curriculum do I follow, does the state tell me what I have to do and how am I monitored on my ability? How come you are not teaching today? Is that all you are doing for the day? How do you get him to pay attention and stay excited about school?"

Between my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, I have the entire cons for homeschooling wrapped up. I don't really give much credence to what either of them say. Their point of reference is vastly different from my own. However, the other day, I was listening to another homeschooler defend her right and choice. It was interesting to listen and follow her logic.

This particular mom, was trained to be a teacher from educators of the public school system. She then went on to point out that there is no "training/education" to become a homeschooler and those who are classically trained as educators have no idea on what homeschooling is all about. So in theory, then the debate starts, there isn't even proper understanding of the venue or audience so to speak.

Hmmm, interesting point. Classically trained teachers are taught to have lesson plans because they have to submit them to the school board, required by law or something of that nature she went on. The lesson plans are devised as a way to stay on target for a room of 14 plus children and their attention spans. Actual learning occurs....

The point that I really grabbed onto was the fact that we teach our children in a manner that allows them to learn. Learning after all is the point. We teach our children to learn. It really doesn't matter the content, but the fact they know how to learn. After all, most of what we were taught, we forget if not practiced daily.

As a student that excelled in school, I can attest. I tested out of College Calculus in High School; a special day long test was administered and I passed at age 17. Pretty smart hunh? Well ask me today to complete a calculus problem and I would be hard pressed to solve it. But I would know how to figure it out over time, because I was taught to learn.

As long as my boys know how to read, write and compute numbers... I am good. They are being taught to be life long learners and find solutions to problems, simple and complex. I have their best interest at heart and I can honestly say, no one else in this entire world can say that besides the other half of their DNA component!

Yeah, I get homeschooling and I am an advocate for anyone that desires to do it!

17 March, 2009

Gratitude

What I am thankful for...

1. My CPA, she was able to exceed my refund expectations.
2. Our Health
3. Knitting - it offers a way to create, meditate and find peace in patterns
4. Yoga - I really do feel better after a session
5. My boys smiles - even when there are bad decisions made on both sides, they always come up smiling which tells me the love in their heart is still there, as it will always be there from me.
6. My hubbie - he is there for us, all the time, even if he doesn't initiate complex conversation...
7. The ability to read - taking time to fill my noggin with spiritual insights

13 March, 2009

Dream and Little Voudou?

The other night my dreams led me to Marie Laveau.. the famous Voudou Queen. I was possessed by her spirit and I have to say, the voice and movement is still with me. Each night I do pray to Jesus and the Magdalene for guidance in what I need to focus on. Not certain why the voudou queen decided to possess me, but it was a signal that I am dealing with some sort of past life experience. The fact that I did live in New Orleans for some time might also be a clue and that I did visit her grave...her house...and the shores on which she practiced...

There was this other experience in a Voudou temple. I was in the back room and upon leaving it, I felt a strong presence push my upper torso back into the room while my legs proceeded to walk out. In that instant, my breath stopped short and I remember blinking my eyes trying to understand what just happened. After I caught my breath, I was able to walk out and never returned to that temple, even though there were many opportunities to do so.

I was visited by spirits while living there. The graveyard was adjacent to our home, but that is nothing unusual in NOLA. A reader friend of mine warned me before I moved to NOLA that I needed to find protection, because that was the worse possible city for me to move to at the time.

Connection to Marie Laveau... I don't know. But with this spiritual quest to know Mary Magdalene better, could there be a connection? A common theme water, outcast, misunderstood, and then there is this connection....

09 March, 2009

Catch UP

The List

1 Parents in Town - playing tourist for the past couple of weeks. Ate at some new places, spent time on beach and poolside at the Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne... and enjoyed some nice conversations... a little like the old days when I lived in New Orleans, a little.

2 Enjoyed a wedding weekend in New York. Watched a dear friend marry a nice man. Sure pray they are happy and enjoy their life together.

3 Fit into dress for above wedding... lost 10 pounds... put back on 3, ugh.

4 Spent time with in laws while in New York. Enjoyed time for most part. Nice to have the relationship we have now, after all these years of it being so so.

5 Spent entire day in Airport returning from New York weekend due to the Snow Storm that blasted the Entire East Coast.... Ugh... but did manage to finally finish The New Earth book.

6 Trying to catch up on entering the Financial Books for a client.

7 Staying up too late watching CNN... addicted now.

8 Miss knitting... I really look forward to knitting and having the yarn between my fingers... weird I know!

9 Went strawberry picking and found some exotic fruits.

10 Finally drove all the way down the Keys... and saw the sunset in Key West.

11 Looking forward to summer activities here on the Island.

12 Made more ice cream... but still having issues with fruit ice creams....

13 Spent time at Miami Beach... finally ate at Ice Box, best cake in the USA according to Oprah.

14 Been sleeping on sofa so parents can have my bed. Hubbie is sleeping with the little guy.

15 Owner of an orchid... it feels like I have a pet, they require special attention and hopefully I will give it.

16 Looking forward to sending things home with parents in effort to make some extra money, share some items with those who need and clean out some space.

17 Listening to lots of Sting... I have no idea why, but the music hits me a certain way that I just can't stop.

18 Will attempt Key Lime Pie next week.

19 Loving my boys like crazy... really I just love them.

20 Enjoying new friends at the homeschool enrichment classes.

21 Feeling more and more at home here on my Island Paradise....

Ciao!