Archives for category: Friends

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.

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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.

Our windows are still open and I am grateful. My body aches to the core when the air conditioning is on.

But our windows open has little to do with dinner on the go. A little. Just not a lot of a little.

It’s baseball season and with two playing in a city rec league (Forgive me Father, I know what we do. We pay our property taxes there, that is my only weak defense.), so with two boys in rec league, we often have several evenings to enjoy games. Add in tennis, golf, or swim team practices beforehand and we are leaving the house at 330p not to return until 930p.

We’re not often going to eat out. It’s not good for us, teaches convenience over value, demonstrates poor time management, and there just isn’t time. So I pack dinner these evenings.

The kids each have a Tupperware Lunch ‘n’ Things container. These are the greatest bento-like boxes ever. Tupperware no longer makes them but there are lots on Amazon and eBay.

I stack these in an insulated market tote cooler with two large reusable ice thingies. It all fits in one cooler just right with a blanket, cloth napkins, and silverware.

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I try to vary what I pack. Last night was grilled herbed chicken with veg strips and a peach. Tonight is rosemary and chive beef patty (aka hamburger steak) with salt and vinegar home fries and, of course, veg strips.

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And I try to have something quick and easy and cool for when we walk in the door so late. Yesterday I made a chicken pasta salad from last weekend’s grilled chicken. It was just right to sit and eat on the deck.

And that is the best part of packing dinner to go. We come home to a clean and calm house with no hurry or worry. I am grateful.

I also keep a snack bin in the truck. Sometimes it is pre-made (goldfish, lance crackers, etc) but usually it is homemade (granola bars, fruit leather, pretzels, protein balls). At this moment it is both. But all those glass and Tupperware containers, while ideal because they cut down on waste, are not always ideal for on-the-go.

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So to combat the commercialism of food, I will be wrapping my own. I bought this FoodSaver today. I hope to give it a try over the next few weeks. I am thinking it will be most ideal for granola bars and fruit leather. I’ll surely share.

I have had interesting exchanges with various people of late, all beginning with a conversation about the Common Core Standards or the state legislation redefining home education in NC. I am sharing a few such responses now. They are not perfect. Autocorrect took the helm too many times and too many times I did not catch the errors it left. Or chose not to re-read what I wrote. One was written entirely too late into the night, in fact. I have taken out individual names, but left organizations and locations. I am intentionally not including the other people’s original emails. I can legally do so since the letters were written to me. However, I choose not to.

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[Friend],

I have pondered much on this email today. Thank you for taking the time to write.

Your support of the CCS as a facilitator desiring to correlate does support public education. Public education is a coercive act. It is an aggressive act. in fact, so aggressive, it is widely accepted that public education violates the non-aggression principle. It’s funding is through taxation in which I have no choice – coercion. If I do not pay my taxes, armed “servants” will greet me at my home. If I refuse to come out, they will violate my private property and retrieve me with force and that force includes guns, pointed at my head in a standard shoot-to-kill stance. I am not making this up. This is fact.

Just as it is a fact that all government requires hunger for power lest there be no government. Government assumes that you and I are not capable of determining how to manage ourselves amongst this difference. I believe we are capable.

I do not care how you parent (education is a part of parenting to me). I am under no moral obligation to support you. But you become morally obligated to give me a good return for my good payment when you choose to take from the government till. While your children may be in an elite, private setting, you are supporting and promoting a public program in which I own a piece of the till.

Having had at length discussion with board members and having attended a board meeting (and others I hope as my evenings allow) I am aware that the board is not wholly leftist. It is, however, by definition statist. It also suggests an even-handed employment of that statism. It is not even-handed. Only those with non-statist, or in simpleton’s language “conservative” views have been hand-slapped in my time in CHH. Well, minus the harmonica playing vagina, but that was just funny, in the long run.

I do not believe in government. I do believe in the good, naturally peaceful free will of people to look after themselves. Yet, I choose to accept that this is not the community in which I choose to live. So I choose to simply point out the errors in the logic of such faux-tolerance. Life is a series of choices, after all.

But really, none of the above really bothers me, because I see no need to like nor dislike you. I don’t really care about you. You are just another person on the planet that I do not know. Another brick in the wall…

What does bother me is that you assume you know me. Well assume and you make an ass out of you and me. Who am I? I am a lovingly devoted wife and mother. I am a loyal friend. I am a fun person. So much fun, in fact, that autocorrect steadily changes “Patty” to “Party.” And I am a believer in people. I believe people, when left alone to make decisions for ourselves, make the most of ourselves. I hope this little note helps you understand a bit more about me.

If you are interested in details from the CCS source documents or the CCS source documents themselves, I will be happy to direct you.

With less interest than when I began this note,
Patty

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(this is a response to [Friend’s] response to the above:

[Friend],

Thank you for your reply. You ask a lot of questions about liberty. No, I do not think the government has a role in roads, prisons, fire, police, schools, etc. I believe communities (think Chapel Hill, Efland, Burlington) can make these choices as communities. If they want. Or not if they don’t. I also believe in the ability of individuals to choose where they want to live. However, with a federal and state government in my bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, backyard, and vehicle, there is no where I can go and be untouched by government. Not in this country. Yet I can choose to be where my physical needs are balanced with my philosophical core. Anyone can.

If you are interested in concepts of liberty, I can direct you to some easy to read sources. But I will not give you the answers. If it is worth your interest, you will seek it yourself. Know this, as a community, a county, a state, a country, we did not have these “services” and we did just fine. It is an attitude of entitlement that creates the need (want, in my books) now. There is no true need. There is also no true responsibility.

My family is a member of several homeschooling groups. I fact, six groups. CHH is the only one with a board. The.Only.One. In the other groups, individuals make decisions and communicate them to the community of that group. If something requires money, individuals pay for it or prepare a personal budget to make it happen. If people argue or something inappropriate is posted, the individuals work it out or the community pulls it back into check.

An example of self-managed activity is the Homeschool Fall Formal myself and four other homeschool moms are planning. We are not doing this as part of or on behalf of any homeschooling group. We are doing it because it is something we want for our children and therefore we are making it happen. We, as individuals, decided to cooperate, make estimations, develop a budget, and so on. This is no different than the Not-Back-to-school swim party. In fact, the budget for the dance is at least 10 times greater, yet requires no board nor any designated “leader.”

We do the same in each of our other homeschooling groups. We just throw it out there. And those groups and equally as mixed with “conservatives” and “liberals.” Oh how I have come to despise those, and most other labels. I have yet to have any such issues in the groups to which I belong without a board. I founded none of those groups.

And lastly, no contribution is charitable when it is made by force. When I choose to give money or resources to a local food bank, that is charity. When I choose to give money or time to St. Jude’s, that is charity. When my husband flies a cancer patient to Mayo Clinic pro bono, that is charity. Taxation is coercion. By definition it is not charitable. I make no choices regarding the spending of the funds.

Please stop admonishing me. I do not need a parent. I will choose to communicate how I want. I wear BIG, BIG big girl panties. I choose, with intent and thought, how I respond to the few post on CHH to which I respond.

Again, if you are interested in learning about liberty or the CCS, I am happy to direct you to sources.

Enjoy the day,
Patty

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(to a different individual who feels we are journeying together because we walk on the same planet and wonders how we can be in the same homeschooling group if we are not journeying together.)

[Person],

Are we on the earth together? Yes. Do we share citizenship in the same country, state? Yes. Do we both educate our offspring at home? Yes. Therefore we are in CHH together.

However, it is clear from your response that our homeschooling journey has little else in common. There are two paths in the wood and I take the lesser traveled one – the one without the government’s dictate, reassurance, false hope. I do not believe there is any role of any kind for government in education. I believe education is a commodity and one to be chosen by each individual family, not subject to coercion as compulsory education is via government.

Your discussion of the CCS expresses an appreciation and responsibility of government to educate. I find compulsory education immoral. I find compulsory education in direct violation of the non-aggression principle. Compulsory education is coercive. No one should be coerced into any action. Our paths are different.

Yes, my less traveled path is a journey also. One in which I am constantly learning, assessing, and developing my thoughts and philosophies. But my journey is not yours. And I am OK with that. I simply ask that we acknowledge the topic of the CCS for what it is – a politically motivated issue. It has been a hotly contested and debated issue for at least three years for many reasons, among which are a denial of parental rights and the windfall for private testing companies that have aided in the development of the CCS. To pretend it is not a political issue is to be a sheeple and walk with the herd. I do not herd well.

With gratitude for your kind and sincere reply,
Patty