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Six Word Saturday

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Longtime readers of this blog and those who know me as a human in the real world know that I am big on personal responsibility. I believe, with great sincerity, that the majority of my life is the result of my choices – the good, the bad, the meh. All of those choices. The way I respond to each moment in my life is always my responsibility. Life is a series of choices.

My friend, Tricia, introduced me to a thirty day yoga journey with a YouTube Yogi named Adriene. While no stranger to yoga, I’m not a big watcher of programs and such so I had never know about this young woman who is quite the awesome yoga teacher.

While I have enjoyed practicing with her each day this month, Day 12: Curate struck me the most thus far. Adriene states throughout the practice that individuals make the choices on their mats, in their lives, in their world. After that particular practice on a Sunday, I took the time to soak (a practice I hold dear and will discuss more when I feel like it) and while soaking I was reading and article about a Sudanese immigrant farmer in issue 25: Hearth of Taproot magazine. As I read the overarching theme for me was also about making choices. Life is a series of choices.

Surely there are reminders of my personal responsibility all throughout my days, but this day was like a megaphone – choose the way you respond, Woman! And so it goes.

I make good, bad, and meh choices. I always will. So will most others. When something happens – an accident of some sort – while my choices may not have actively contributed to the accident, I can choose how I respond to the accident. Or the argument. Or the mistake. Or the cosmic fail. Life happens. Life is a series of choices. I am ultimately responsible for me.

I stopped my kitchen on-a-roll to write this. No kidding.

Everyone I know is intolerant. No one I know is all-inclusive. We are all like a fancy resort in a sunny, warm clime. We are all good and nodding “uh-huh” until we see, smell, taste, hear, touch something that creates an opportunity to carve out a niche and criticize. For whatever reason.

Christians are criticize anyone who does not believe just like their preferred Christian clan. Bombs are tossed.

Other faiths criticize Christians. Bombs are tossed.

Non-faiths criticize anyone with a faith. Hearts are hardened.

Conservatives criticize liberals. Laws choke everyone.

Liberals criticize conservatives. Laws choke everyone.

Libertarians criticize other political ideologies. Laws choke everyone.

Broncos fans criticize Seahawks fans. Marijuana is wasted.

Seahawks fans know they’ll win. I mean, Seahawks fans criticize the Broncos. Smack talk is wasted.

And so on and so on. I know NO ONE who would open their door to a person they do not know and help them in any way they can. Not even me.

I am going to protect myself, my family, my friends, my home. I am not tolerant. And I personally know no one who is.

There are people who are more likely to open a door and a heart to those they do not know, who may be completely different from them, but it matters not one bit before or after a ride is given, a meal is served, a heart is heard. A dearest family to me brought in a hitchhiker that stayed with them briefly. But even they offered up their tree house rather than their home. They had a family, a home to protect.

There are the selfless people much of the world knows about – like Mother Teresa. But even she is criticized here for not encouraging the impoverished in ways that would have given them the ability to lift themselves out permanently. Maybe she did. I won’t ever know. I do not pretend to know hearts and minds.

No one is tolerant. No one.
And it is a good thing. It is OK to not agree. It is OK to believe different things. Until we force, physically or financially, others to believe like us. Like is happening here. It is OK not to agree. Move on.

I am not putting my dish gloves back on. It’s almost tea time.

There is naturally a buzz here with the anticipation of celebration and gifts. But it is a pretty chill buzz this year. Chill by all of us. There isn’t a flurry to do this, make that, buy things. Sure, we’re picking up here and there and making with our minds and hands, but it isn’t rushed.

 

It feels so good.

 

The highlights are times with friends, the advent spiral, and lots of just being.

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Even the most perfect tree we just picked up yesterday sits in its most perfect spot sans lights and ornaments. Only a stand full water.

 

And this calm, this peace, this moment is just right as solstice nears and I prepare my heart for the gift of Christmas.

Last week I sat in our local co-op grocery with three of the sweetest of friends. We listened to teens and tweens make their first attempt at a formal meeting. We listened to younger friends rambunctiously laugh their way through nearly every wobbly tall stool in the place. And I became overwhelmed.

Several physical challenges were wrapped around our family. All at once. Nothing life-altering. Nothing permanent. Yet I was overwhelmed.

Why?

I am sitting with a woman who has lost two loves. Lost them. They were taken from her. In an instant they were gone. I cannot comprehend.

I am sitting with a woman who will be central to the future of her parents. Precious parents. Parents who love to kiss one another and me. Parents who love their daughter with words and actions I cannot comprehend.

I am sitting with a woman whose steadfastness has bound her family with one another and in determination through the most devastating of challenges. She is the glue. I cannot comprehend the many months, years of wondering.

And my woes are temporary. I cannot honestly say I feel any guilt about my worry. I am concerned about my worry taking me. I am simply overwhelmed. But I was with friends. Sweet, honest, solid friends.

That evening, as I was pounded by the jacuzzi jets that ease the pains in my legs, I made a decision. I decided I am taking these physical challenges of my family’s. I am taking them. I am making them into the most sincere pause of Advent, Solstice, Winter’s Nature that I can. Not by doing, but by being.

And the treadmill I so badly want to be back up on … the walks on our trails covered in hickory nuts and dotted with mud pits? I am taking them, too. After all, I have been medically declared the most non-compliant patient in the county. Why disappoint?

My heart and mind have been quite heavy for many weeks now. I have chosen to allow myself to be stumped and have not been reading my blogs and, well, obviously writing this one. Then, on this last weekend of our societal end to summer, I am refreshed by a new blog.

This post about college pressure is what caused me to take a deep breath in and, well, breathe.

In the honor of being anti-government and therefor genuinely interested in full-disclosure, let me say I know this young woman. Well, I know her mom. I have cried with her mom, laughed with her mom, and nodded in shame, agreement, and nothingness with her mom. I love this family. I am grateful that this young woman’s family is respecting her innate freedom to live her life.

Enjoy!

The first step to recognizing my innate freedom was to first acknowledge that government may only exist through force. All governments exist only by way of force, coercion.

Obviously the “government,” federal, state, and local only exists through force. Government can only operate with taxation and taxation is force. I cannot choose to give or not give to government, rather I am forced via theft – the mandatory at gunpoint – to support government. If I do not pay my taxes, armed guards will visit me. If I refuse to leave with them, they will terrorize me with a raid and/or smoke me out. If, when captured, I resist, they will shoot me. All taxation is immoral for this single fact – I pay or I die.

What was not so obvious to me initially is that a family government is also coercive. Yes. I try to peacefully parent. I do better some days than others. But there is still coercion, force. If my child has an unsafe room, she will not go to her friend’s. If my son does not process his plate, he will not get a fresh one with fresh food. If an animal is not cared for, the pet is repossessed. All of these are coercion.

What makes universal government and family government different? Contracts.

A contract is, by definition, a binding contract between two persons, entities. I have no contract with the US government, with the NC government, with the AC government. I have not signed nor been in negotiation with any of those entities. The “Social Contract” is an empty concept. (Click on that little colored link to read a very clear and logical expression of such.)

In our home, we do negotiate contracts.

Want to see a friend? I will drive you when your room is no longer a safety hazard. The child can agree or not agree to the contract or negotiate further to the definition of “safety hazard.”

Want to be served the next meal? The child can agree or not agree to the contract or negotiate further his menu options and hunger.

Want a pet? The child can agree or not agree to the contract or negotiate further her responsibilities to the pet.

The child has choices.

My Husband and I negotiate contracts. He wants to see bands on Friday and Saturday. I only want to be out one day. I can negotiate to suit what my needs are while still respecting his wants.

I have no choices with universal government. None. Even if I vote and select an individual who may or may not win the election, I am still taxed without choice because government cannot exist without taxation and taxation is theft – I have no say in the amount, the timing, the direction of the funds.

So, the first step to acknowledging and applying my innate freedom was to recognize that all government is immoral, even within our home. I do what I can to mitigate that immorality in my home, however, because I can choose to acknowledge my children’s innate freedom as well and respect their humanity by allowing them to make most of their own choices.

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Yes. I begin this post at 444pm on a Wednesday with a full glass of wine. See, I am an optimist.

This morning, on facebook I believe, I saw this post about Ten Things You Should Know about Homeschool Moms. It is clever and cute and, like the author says, a general summary and not about all homeschoolers. I really enjoyed it. In fact, I tried to “share” it several times but the stoopid facebook app wouldn’t let me. That facebook app fail actually gave me time to ponder the list. I am grateful.

Now mind you, my favorite part of the post was actually all her disclaimers in the beginning, so know that I am heeding those and not taking any of her comments too seriously.

But this thought of mine (to her number 7)I have pondered seriously much of today: I do not lie awake at night worrying that I am ruining my kids. I am, uh, well, you know, like, the most confident homeschooler EVER. I mean EVER. For me, I figure, if the kids ever feel like they haven’t learned what they wanted to or needed to learn, well, that is their problem to reconcile, not mine. Once an individual can read, that individual is capable of learning anything and everything he wants to learn.

To suggest that any institution, public, private, or home could ever teach all that a person should or could know is infantile. It suggests that there is an end to knowledge. That once the word “cat” is mastered in understanding, writing, spelling, and concept that there is nothing more than cat. But really there are dozens and dozens and dozens of felines. If I choose to stop with cat, well, I chose to stop. Nothing is in my way but my infantile awareness.

My kids are responsible for their own accomplishments. Those wants are not on my shoulders. If the six year old wants to become proficient in reading, well, she has to choose to stop playing veterinarian and practice her reading. I am not going to choose for her as I feel her compassion and logical sequencing when playing veterinarian is as important as spelling and reading “veterinarian.” She is wise enough to know when she is ready.

If the thirteen year old chooses to listen to Journey play “Don’t Stop Believin'” and not actually practice the song himself but would rather whine and complain about how he’ll never master the piano piece, well, it’s his choice. He must not really want to master it. No one has barred him from the keyboard.

Now, the six year old is working a vet clinic in the big tent outside. The thirteen year old is upstairs practicing the Journey song. Of course, that makes sense. As I am aging I am certainly learning to prioritize more carefully. And I lead by example. As do the children. Reade, since I wrote that last sentence, left the piano and now the ten year old is there working on “Love Story” (Taylor Swift, as if you had to ask). Reade led by example. And Laura Lea will one day follow the example of an older sibling or friend who is captured in a written story. She will decide she wants to join that world. And that will come in due time, with age.

As I progress forward in time with our children, I am choosing to be less authoritarian. It does not mean I do not make my own expectations and limits clear. It means I allow them to make their choices. Including some that would seem odd to others. I expect them to look after themselves.

My kids pack themselves for overnights and long trips. I will sometimes look over what they have packed, but if the kid arrives without a bathing suit or toothbrush, well, she’ll not swim and have stinky breath. If I pack for a child and forget the bathing suit or toothbrush (and realize it) I will make right by the child even at a monetary or time expense. Thankfully I rarely pack for anyone other than myself because I am very forgetful.

If my kids say to me, say at 2pm, “I am hungry, why didn’t you feed us lunch?” Uh? What? Are you serious? I have, more than once, answered, “Wow. I have been busy! Didn’t even think about stopping to eat.” I won’t apologize because these kids can all choose, slice, dice, spread, cook, and clean. They have no problem at all with helping themselves at any time of day without ever saying a word to me about it, so really? If they get hungry, they know how to feed themselves.

So, no. I never worry about ruining my kids. Because they are learning to care for themselves. To think for themselves. They are reminded that they have the tools to learn, do, think on their own and that all choices have good and bad consequences. They also know that I have their backs. That if they have a need it will be met with comfort, guidance, and love. They only have to choose to ask. I am grateful.

This Spring and Summer I have spent some of my time re-reading. Textbooks, interest books, fiction from high school and college, family communications, friend communications, journal entries, this blog.

What I’ve learned is that I have not changed significantly over time. My perspective has rounded, though. In some cases, my perspective is 180 degrees from where it was when I first read or wrote. In some cases, my perspective followed through the 180 degree mark and fell right back to the starting point having circled full round. For the most instances, my perspective remains more or less the same. And most of that is: don’t tell me how to live my life.

As I have read what I’ve written over time, it was easy to see that I have taken more ownership of my choices. Thus is life and the natural progression, I believe. As I read other authors’ pieces, both published authors and my friends and families, I now expect them to take ownership of themselves as well. Whereas before I might understand why or sympathize with the excuse(s) offered. I don’t understand much anymore about excuses. I have more sympathy, or is it empathy, than ever, though.

While it has always been easy for me to distance myself from anyone, it is even easier now than ever. I feel no need to please anyone outside of the seven hearts in this family. And, now, when I re-read 1984, or My Side of the Mountain, or The Scarlett Letter, that ability to distance myself is making me a better reader allowing me greater empathy.

Ultimately, I am disappointed that teachers from high school and college told me I should identify with these characters. Why not let a student look at the person for who that person is? Why be afraid of recognizing what is different about the character? I do not understand…

The private schools in my area have been dismissed for less than two weeks.

The public schools in my area have been dismissed for two days.

And thus begins the facebook parade of Summer Love…

OH MY GOSH. Can they not be quiet?

I wished for school to end now August 26th can’t get here fast enough.

I forgot how hard the first week of summer vacation was. OMG! The bickering has got to stop. Where’s the decorative duct tape?

A friend and I discussed the disgust and resentment towards these children who only yearn for freedom. And rest. My friend has not always homeschooled. In fact, she was right in there with the rest of the herd at her local government school. What she wrote in response to such statuses was more powerful than those expressions of hate. Here is exactly what she said:

So so sad. When I schooled I would have snorted understandingly. Now the clairty of its meaning is tremendously sad. When you don’t have your kids with you all the time. When you think they are supposed to be away from you…this is how you see it… scales from the eyes.