SoCS: Dear Elijah (written July 25, 2014)

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme.

Rules and this week’s prompt.

The idea is simple – write a stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt.

This week’s prompt is to write a post that ends in a question, with bonus points for including an exclamation point somwhere in the post.

My dear Elijah, our Tiny Tiger, our Sleeping Beauty,

Eleven years ago today, I was shattered. Daddy and I were out shopping for a telephone, while your big brother Jeremiah hung out with Aunt Mary and Uncle Jim, spending his afternoon cushioned from the realities of grief, at least a little.

The phone died a few hours before you did and needed to be replaced, because your Oregon family would be calling to check on you, and we needed to be able to tell them that you had died, that there would be no further updates, and no hope that you could recover, that you would never get the opportunity to live, to grow, to learn, and to come to see and feel and know how very, very much you are loved.

Yes, baby boy. You are loved. Always. I’m your mommy, as much as I am Miah and Lise’s, and your place in my heart and my soul are assured, forever. There are tears in my eyes, right now, as I remember you, as I think of the twelve days when I could touch you, which seem so brief, and the eleven long years of life without you in it, the void that became of the promise of your life.

You left, and yet you are still here. You are the change in the way I live, the way I am. You are in every bout of raucous laughter, every time that I find a better way to handle my anger than to lash out, in the overwhelming sense of peace that permeates our home.

You are here!

One of the great mysteries of my life is how someone whose life came and ended so swiftly, who lived the majority of that abbreviated life in a coma, and all of it within the confines of a NICU, could have wrought such powerful and direct changes – changes that, even if you had been born well, you would have needed years of living to even begin to understand. Changes you never got to benefit from, but which others do, with every breath, every beat of our hearts…

Somewhere, in another part of this country, there is a girl on the cusp of adolescence, if she’s still alive. That’s poignant to me, because, here, at home, you have an older brother also approaching his teen years. While he is strong and healthy, this girl in another part of the country had heart valves that didn’t work properly. If not for you, she would have needed frequent surgeries to replace mechanical valves. Instead, yours have grown within her, with her, pushing her blood through her, giving her the chance to live and grow and feel all that there is to feel, in this life…

And so, on that day, we walked into Sears to buy a telephone. “How are you today?” asked the saleswoman, in a courteous greeting we couldn’t begin to answer. We knelt in front of the row of telephones, utterly flummoxed, and finally, we chose a phone, and took it to the register. After ringing it through, the woman smiled pleasantly, and said the words that lanced and sliced their way into my own heart – “Have a nice day.”

It’s a nice day today. It’s a mellow Friday, not too hot or humid, sunny and a little breezy. Daddy’s gone to work; he washed some dishes and did a few other things around the house before he left us. Your big brother and little sister are mellow and relaxed. We spent last weekend camping, and we’re still feeling a little tired and bathed in the afterglow of good friends and nature.

Would you have loved camping as much as the rest of us? Could I have found my way to being this mom I am, this person I am, today, if you hadn’t come into my life, and gone again, showing me just how precious and fragile life is? Who would I be, if you weren’t a part of my soul?

Jeremiah and Annalise explore memories of and stories of you.

My SoCS offering for this week isn’t an easy one. Thank you for reading these words I needed to write.

Do you find Stream-of Consciousness Saturday intriguing? Remember, anyone can play, so long as they are willing to follow a few simple rules. See you next week, perhaps, for another live-streaming look into the lovely chaos inside my head! =)

Join in or read more SoCS posts here!

What about you? Have you suffered the loss or near-loss of a child? Have you ever imagined life without a living child? Have you expressed your love for those closest to you lately?

Coffee and Conversation/Wordless Wednesday: Unschoolers Rock the Beach!

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while.

It’s Monday again – time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own..

Didja miss me?

I know, I know! I generally post Coffee and Conversation on Mondays…or, sometimes, Tuesdays. Late into the night on Wednesday is a first…

This is partially a Coffee and Conversation post, and partially a Wordless Wednesday post….because, after all, this is the home of Lovely Chaos! =)

I was camping with my kids and a wonderful group of fellow unschooling families.

I could spend thousands and thousands of words writing about the goodness of the weekend. But, instead, I’m going a different route.

Over the next week or so, I’ll be sharing images of various aspects of our weekend. If a picture is worth a thousand words, there’s a story held in these.

Let’s start with Friday, at the lake.

These aren’t all the images or moments; just a few of the most sparkling instants I captured with my little blue Canon point-and-shoot.

Have you ever had an experience that seems too big and rich to be reduced to language, or even pictures? Where was it? Who were you with? Want to chat about it?

My friend Sylvia, the consummate Jewish mama, even on the beach, baked yummy chocolate chip cookies for our pleasure!

In-Tents Stretch -ROW80 Update, 7/23/14

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Hey there! I missed Sunday’s update – I wrote it, but the kids and I were in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Rocking the Campground with radical unschooling friends old and new. It was a wonderful weekend, but internet connectivity was, shall we say, capricious, and I didn’t manage to get the update posted.

We’re home now, and life is starting to settle back into something resembling a typical rhythm…well, there is plenty of unpacking and unjumbling and hometending and dog-bathing to do, but we are home, and, little by little, things are starting to get done…

What about you? How was your weekend? Did you do anything special, or stick to routine? Did you find unexpected beauty or inspiration? Do you need time to readjust to life after an excursion, or do you just pick up where you left off?

My simplifed goals for the weekend:

Be where I am. Target attained!

  • Swimming, visiting old friends and making new, bestowing kindness, singing, partying, writing, taking pictures, enjoying nature, campfires, tending camp, being with the kids. More on what “being where I was” looked like in a very belated Coffee and Conversation post, later today.

Keep up with regular blog posts, and maybe comments. Target attained!

  • I didn’t quite get to all of the comments, but I did most. I’ll take it! =)

Get Lise’s report signed. Target attained!

  • It’s tremendously easy to find members for a homeschool review panel at an unschooling camp-out. I’ve even got a bona-fide teacher on the list. Each signature came with a chat, and these were the true treasure.

  • The report is signed by a panel of five, and ready to be mailed to the school district.

Move forward with beta-reading. Target attained!

  • I moved forward, and am confident at this point that I can finish by Sunday’s update.

Drafting if so inclined. Target attained!

  • I held off on new words until we’re home again. I did pull out a notebook, and write 3 pages of bulleted notes – mostly questions – to consider. It was a handy thing to do at the beach, when I’d had enough of the water, but the kids hadn’t.

And now, for those other goals, which were, for the most part, set aside for the weekend, and picked up on Monday and Tuesday…

July Focal Areas:

  • CampNaNoWriMo 

  • Homeschool Administration

  • Blog Maintenance and Exploration

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Maintain regular posting schedule; queue one post for each regular feature. A bit jumbled-up and delayed.

Continue interacting through comments; expand and diversify my willingness to comment. On target.

  • I answered a few comments, and made a few visits, on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday.

  • There’s still a small backlog.


2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

Make plans to meet with at least 1 person on my get-together list; get in touch with at least 2 more to express my wish to reconnect. On target.

  • Met with more than a dozen people I’ve been wanting to see, and made tentative plans to get together with one again sometime in the next month.

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

Plan a monthly family excursion that involves physical activity. Target attained!

  • Oh, yes! =D

One workout at the Y each week. Target attained!

  • A low-intensity workout after a physically intense weekend.

Workout goals for July:

Treadmill: 22 minute walking mile using “Rolling Hills” program. On target.

  • .25 miles. I forgot to note the time.

Recumbent bike: 8 miles in 30 minutes, using an interval program. On target.

  • 1 mile; resistance to 8.

Weights: At the Y; minimum 3 machines for arms, legs, and torso weekly. Target exceeded for this week.

  • I added an arm machine, for a total of 4 arm; 3 leg; 3 torso this week.
  • I increased my repetitions, but used lower weight.

Nutrition goals for July:

Consume minimum five veggie/fruit salads and/or fruit smoothies each week. Target exceeded!

  • 6/5: 3 salads, 3 smoothies.

Consume Greek yogurt and nuts minimum twice weekly. Target exceeded!

  • Greek yogurt; 4 /2.
  • 3/2:Pistachios and almonds.

Because I just had to share this! =D



Sponsor Stuff:

  • I have a rough draft of my sponsor post. Will revise and submit by Sunday.

Wednesday Visits:

Sunday Visits:


Wanna ROW with us? Read about ROWing? C’mon in, the water’s fine!

WIPpet Wednesday: Bigger Problems

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move their WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It is hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengel, maven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys!

I was camping with my kids last weekend, and didn’t get around to visit everyone. I hope to make up for that this week!

I’m continuing with snippets from my Story A Day May Challenge: Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction exploring the interspecies relationship of T’Pol and Trip, in a project titled (at least for now) The IDIC Romance.

Disclaimer: T’Pol, Trip, and all the rest of Star Trek are property of CBS/Paramount; no copyright infringement intended. I just want to play with them, and I’m careful!

Story a Day is just that- a story every day in May. To make the challenge more interesting for myself, I used all of the prompts offered throughout the month. The stories are sequential, with various tones, POVs, and voices.

For those keeping track:

This is the third installment of Story #4, “Tigress T’Pol” . The prompt was to write a story of exactly 2000 words. An additional guest prompt from Heidi Durrow invited us to explore passion in this story. Hopefully, you’ll see the passion as we go along!

How about a different view of Jolene Blalock -and a hint as to why poor Trip is so addled?

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is July 23, 2014.
  • 23 sentences, for the day.

This snippet is told from Trip’s point of view and follows immediately after last week’s WIPpet, Little Miss Logical. Trip and T’Pol are on Rigel 10, searching for the wounded Klingon who was abducted from Enterprise. T’Pol seems to think she’s in charge, and Trip is growing resentful, which doesn’t do anything to defuse his growing desire for his Vulcan companion, who seems utterly oblivious to his emotional turmoil…and then things start to get interesting.

This is an add-on scene for the pilot episode: “Broken Bow Part 1”. Ive done my best to extrapolate without violating series canon.

Come on, Trip, get a grip – you’ve gotta stop staring at her and wondering about her mating protocols, as if she’s ever gonna share them with the likes of you.” It made me mad to think that just being human was enough, apparently, to eliminate me from her precious gene pool – nope, she obviously had no use for half-human, inferior offspring whose feeble minds weren’t up to playing with toys ‘more sophisticated than Enterprise’s sensors’.

Being mad at her was safer than wanting her. I didn’t need her bossing me around; I’d done pretty well for myself, and I’d never needed a Vulcan nursemaid, before now. I half-ran to catch up, dodging aliens of all shapes and size, and grabbed her shoulder, the way she had mine, trying to spin her around to face me. “Who the hell said you were in charge here?”

T’Pol slipped out from under my hand as though it was just so much more air, and kept walking without even bothering to look at me.

I’ve had more than enough of your damned Vulcan superiority,” I snarled, and stomped off in the opposite direction, as if I had some idea where the hell I was going or what I was going to do to find a wounded Klingon.

“Commander.” Her voice was sharp as a gator’s teeth, snapping at my conscience. I kept on going – I’d be damned if I was going to let her know that she was getting to me. “Commander Tucker -”

“Shut up!” Yeah, real adult, Trip. Maybe she had a point with that ‘impulsive carnivores’ line of hers – I sure as hell wasn’t doing anything to prove her wrong.


It was closer to a yell than I’d ever heard from a Vulcan – and now it was Trip, not Commander Tucker.

I turned back to tell her not to bother calling me by my nickname, but T’Pol was facing off against three circling Suliban. Something slammed hard into my back, and I ducked and rolled instinctively, my weapon sailing away into the shadows as another Suliban jumped me.

I got in a couple of solid licks, but my fists bounced off him, like he was made of rubber instead of flesh. Before I could come up with a better plan, he leapt over my head and yanked my arms painfully behind me.

My captor wrenched me around to where more Suliban milled around a pivoting figure – T’Pol was tiny in the midst of them. I noticed that none of them seemed eager to get too close to her, though, and there were two more down on the ground, not moving. “Watch, puny Hu-man,” he hissed into my ear. “This Vulcan woman fights better than you!”

And let’s even things out with a Connor Trinneer interview…just in case you need to hear Trip’s voice in your head. Look for the on-set interview on the playlist.

Can T’Pol escape the Suliban? Will she try to rescue Trip? Why are the Suliban attacking them in the first place? How will this affect their mission? And will Trip ever get the chance to satisfy his curiosity about Vulcan mating protocols?

You guessed it – you can watch the episode, or come back next week for another WIPpet snippet!

Story A Day excerpt and commentary…

Full original version of the story…

These posts are the seeds of a project that will germinate over the next months, so input is especially valuable. Already, new stories are weaving themselves into the fabric. No need to feel shy; I’m a friendly sort, and will keep my phase pistol on stun ..for the most part.

And, because I love it, and because it’s got bits of Rigel 10 in the beginning, and hints of things yet to come…

Welcome to My Sunday Monday Post for July 20 21, 2014 !




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Yes, I’m late – and unrepentant. I had a very full weekend, camping with the kids and several other unschooling families. Sunday was filled with saying our goodbyes, breaking camp, and the nearly four-hour drive home. Life was full of living, and, although I started this post on Saturday, I gave myself to being where I was.

That being said, here’s what’s up in my little corner of the blogosphere

Recently at shanjeniah:

Sunday Post for July 13, 2014Celebrating life and mourning loss; book cover reveal party; Star Trek fan fiction; indecision and growth; ROW80 updates; Celine JeanJean‘s flash fiction;AmyBeth Invernessrediscovered treasures; a poetic offering; and a song.

Coffee and Conversation:

  • The Gift of Grief: The death of our newborn son brought many unexpected changes and challenges – and an enormous shift in my own priorities.

WIPpet Wednesday:

SoCS (Stream of Consciousness Saturday):

ROW80 Updates:


What’s Next:

I’m continuing with my second WIP, Perchance to Dream, a Star Trek: TOS/ Enterprisefanfiction novel, and the second half of a duology.

In the Wilds of Internet-Land:


Life Stuff:

  • This week was all aboutUnschoolers Rock the Campground. Delicious, on so many levels!
  • I reread several stories from my WIP anthology, The IDIC Romance. Revisions, additions, and new stories wove through the weekend, and are still going.
  • I moved forward with the WIP I am beta-reading for another writer. It’s already amazing; can’t wait to see how much juicier it’ll be when she’s done with it! =) 

Want to join the Sunday Post fun?

Breath-Taking Beauty!


SoCS: Bringing the Inside Outside, or the Outside Inside


An early exploration of inside-out living – with a horse skull!

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme.

Rules and this week’s prompt.

The idea is simple – write a stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt.

This week’s prompt is to write a post based upon the wordside” -prefixes and suffixes are just fine.


At the moment, I an simultaneously inside and outside. How can this be, you might ask. Well, I am inside, in a nominal sense – there is a thin layer of fabric and screening between me and the night outside our tent. I can hear the sounds of insects, motors on the highway, and the movements and living of the other campers.

Here inside this roomy yet cozy little home away from home, my children are sleeping, spent from a day spent swimming in the lake, playing with friends, and growing. Jeremiah is breathing softly beside me; his air mattress is closest to mine. Annalise is beyond him, a small tangle of discarded towel, swimsuit, and an assortment of toys – plush friends, the new Monster High ghouls she got as a birthday gift from her best friend, who lives a state away. She just started snoring very softly.

Aside from a few hiccups, I’m having a delightful time. I’ve hung with the kids, and visited with several friends I see not often enough to suit me. I’ve had a swim, made camp feel more like a home, lost myself a bit inside story worlds, gotten a little frustrated when the kids were quick to make messes and far slower to help make things pleasant -and I’ve been just a little beside myself that I’ve paid for internet access, but have been able to use it for only about 20 minutes, because the connection is something beyond cantankerous – if I were the paranoid type, I’d say it was out to get me..

Camping seems to make me more deeply aware of what’s going on inside of me. I’m not writing as much, but I am gathering insight, ideas, connections, and insider information. All of these will churn around, and, on the other side of the trip, words and stories will be born.

For right now, though, I think what I need to be on the other side of is a few hours’ sleep. Things tend to look better, wen I’m snuggled inside my blanket next, watching the stars outside and above through screened skylights…

Goodnight from my inside, outside weekend! =)

And now, the second installment. Shortly after I finished the first passage above, my son stirred in his sleep, and started to talk. This is what he said:


The young warrior magician at 8.

That’s true magic.

He held pure fire in his big hands.

Now that’s magical.”

-Jeremiah Burton, not-quite-13.


Now that’s another kind of stream-of-consciousness, right there, and, if we hadn’t been inside a tent with him, I might never had heard it. Cool, eh?

This morning, I awoke rather late, having gone to sleep late, and not sleeping much the two nights prior. What a contrast. Both children were already up and about, and it was quiet, if untidy, inside the tent.

Not so outside.

Children had gathered in the common field, playing Nerf wars, magical games, Monster High, biking, laughing, yelling…a baby’s cry cut through the happy noises – maybe that’s what woke me. I don’t have babies anymore, but the maternal instinct is a powerful thing…I seem to always go a bit on alert whenever I hear a baby cry.

Inside and out, the inside brought outside, is how I’ll spend my weekend. May yours be as delightful and life-filled!

I hope you enjoyed my SoCS offering for this week. Remember, anyone can play, so long as they are willing to followa few simple rules. See you next week, perhaps, for another live-streaming look into the lovely chaos inside my head! =)

What about you? Do you enjoy nature?  In what ways?  Have you ever camped in a group?  Slept beneath the stars?

Do you share my fascination with what’s going on in other people’s heads? Come on inside, and share in the comments section – the water’s fine!


Told you the water was fine! =)


Join in or read more SoCS posts here!





An Adventurous Stretch -ROW80 Update, 7/16/14

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Hey there? Are you ready to go camping? No? Neither am I – which wouldn’t be a problem, if we weren’t going camping hours from home, starting- well, tomorrow!

Yeah. Failure to prepare early means I will spend most of today pulling my sh – uh, stuff – together. And help with the kids’ too…

I’m also simplifying my goals for the weekend, as I will be swimming and camping and not online much. Here’s the deal:

  • Be where I am.

  • Keep up with regular blog posts, and maybe comments.

  • Get Lise’s report signed.

  • Move forward with beta-reading.

  • Drafting if so inclined.

Yup, that’s it. I want low-stress and camaraderie and fun. I’ll be home on Monday. By Wednesday, I should be more ready to resume the rest of my goals-in-progress.

So, what are you doing, this weekend? Camping? Sunbathing? Living somewhere where it’s winter? Scribbling away madly? I’d love to know!

First unschooling campout, York, PA. They kids were 5 and 8, and that’s the local horse skull they’re posing with.

July Focal Areas:

  • CampNaNoWriMo 

  • Homeschool Administration

  • Blog Maintenance and Exploration

2014 Blogging:

Focus on layout and design aspects of my Blogging Action Plan.

Play with Web Lab app; goal is exploration and experimentation.On target; more or less.

  • I looked at the app; the lab is closed. I saved some related links that may allow me to do what I was hoping to do with Web Lab.

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Maintain regular posting schedule;queue one post for each regular feature. On target; more or less.

Develop a sharing strategy that feels natural; incorporating input from Kristen. On target.

  • A bit slow; I’ve discovered that I prefer sharing as part of an interaction, and that I don’t feel a need to share every post. This is valuable information.

  • I have another insight or two developing.

Continue interacting through comments; expand and diversify my willingness to comment. On target.

  • I’ve spent some time answering and making comments; I still have some dangling, but that means that I have interaction! Lots of happy, chatting, interaction!

Off to the boffer battle! Unschoolers Rock the Campground II.

2014 Writing:

Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream.

Continue drafting Perchance to Dream during July. On target.

  • I’ve relaxed on word count, this session, and likely the next two, at least, while I focus on other things.

  • 3,556 new words.

  • 53,771 CampNaNo Words.

  • Scene 37/60 in progress.

  • 117,062 WIP words. I’m hoping to finish this long WIP draft at around 140,000 words.

Outside the Mayflower II, Plymouth, MA, 2009. Hot on the ship, hot in the village, hot in the tent, too!

2014 Hometending:

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

Experiment with Daily Writing Frames from Round 1. On target.

  • I’m doing this in a very general sense.

  • I’m attending to the flow and focus of my days.

  • I will adapt these into a daily plan by August 1.

Develop Daily Hometending Frames. On target.

  • Still attending to this one; I want more flexibility here.

Set aside time weekly for administrative stuff (Adminstrative Frames, maybe?) On target.

  • I’m discovering that this works well in the spaces between larger projects or activities; in times when I want to mull stories; and early and late in the day.

  • Began preparing Annalise’s End of Year Report.

  • Attended to some details for our camping trip.

Ready to explore the Mayflower II. Annalise at 6.

2014 Lifetending:

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

One workout at the Y each week. Target attained!

  • Moderately strenuous workout on Tuesday.

Continue exploring fitness goals – more on this throughout the round. Target attained!

Workout goals for July:

Treadmill: 22 minute walking mile using “Rolling Hills” program. On target.

  • .50 miles in 10 minutes; 12 seconds.
  • I’m ahead on speed; but not quite ready to attempt the full mile (weekend plans include camping where there are several steep hills; I’ll add distance next week, after we’re home.)

Recumbent bike: 8 miles in 30 minutes, using an interval program. On target.

  • 6.32 miles in 30 minutes; resistance to 9, but mostly 5 or below; again, saving some energy for a long, active weekend..

Weights: At the Y; minimum 3 machines for arms, legs, and torso weekly. Target exceeded for this week.

  • I added an arm machine, for a total of 4 arm; 3 leg; 3 torso this week.
  • I also increased my repetitions and weight on a few machines.

Nutrition goals for July:

Consume minimum five veggie/fruit salads and/or fruit smoothies each week. On target.

  • 3/5: 2 salads, 1 smoothie.

Consume Greek yogurt and nuts minimum twice weekly. On target.

  • There was Greek yogurt in my smoothie. 1 /2.
  • I bought Greek yogurt and pistachios, so they will be on hand as snack items.

Campground Warrior at almost 9….

Sponsor Visits:

From Wednesday last:

From Sunday:

Wanna ROW with us? Read about ROWing? C’mon in, the water’s fine!

The water really IS fine! The lake at Pinewoods Lodge Campground.