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

Wanna learn more? Click on the icon!

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.

“Trip!”

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 !

 

 

 

Wanna know more? Click the icon!

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.

Side….

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

Click the icon to join in!

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.

WIPpet Wednesday: Little Miss Logical

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!

This month, I’m participating in CampNaNoWriMo. I’ve exceeded my word count goal and finished drafting one WIP, The Stars are Fire. I’m past the halfway point of Perchance to Dream. Neither of these are ready for public consumption, yet, so…

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 last 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 first 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. If I got it right, you’ll see the passion as we go along!

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is July 16, 2014.
  • 16 sentences, for the day.

This snippet is told from Trip’s point of view and follows immediately after last week’s WIPpet, “A Taste of Sole?”. Trip and T’Pol are on Rigel 10, searching for the wounded Klingon who was abducted from Enterprise. Torn between attraction and dislike for his companion, Trip’s feeling just a bit put-upon.

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

The review starts at about 4:45.

It was enough to make me want to pull my hair out – or grab her and kiss her until she admitted that she’d felt something in that club, and when she first saw me on Enterprise, too. But the Cap’n said we were supposed to ‘extend her every courtesy’, and Little Miss Logical damned sure didn’t seem like the type who’d take being kissed half senseless as ‘couteous’. She’d probably issue a formal complaint in that damned disapproving voice of hers. Maybe the Cap’n would leave me on this grimy space station, and my big adventure would be over before it really got started.

I wanted to rub my shoulder, but I would be damned if I’d let her see that she’d hurt me when she pulled me away from that door before I could investigate the screaming, struggling shadows behind it. T’Pol looked delicate, but her grip was powerful enough that she’d moved me forcibly. Was it just wishful thinking that she kept her hand lightly on my shoulder for a second or two longer than she needed to make sure I wouldn’t bolt when she let go? Her, “keep your human nose outta other people’s business” speech was pointed, but polite – maybe there was hope for her, yet.

The Subcommander moved as though nothing here could possibly faze her through the tangle of beings and merchandise- I had no names for most of them – and the steam-belching pipes that seem to be everywhere. I’d have to really hustle to keep up with her, but I wasn’t about to let her know that, so I was left a little behind – a bumpkin in the big city for the very first time.

I tried not to notice how T’Pol looked in that long, curve-hugging jacket she’d thrown on over her curve-hugging uniform; it could be a long mission if she didn’t have something less flattering in her wardrobe. I pretended not to be staring at the way her hips swayed, or the way she carried herself – back straight but relaxed, walking lightly on the balls of her feet, head up and turning a little as she scanned to either side – she looked like a very sexy ninja, or maybe a Florida panther on the prowl – beautiful, mysterious, and more than a little bit dangerous.

Trying to ignore the obvious fact that she was every bit as desirable as she’d been a year ago only made me more aware of it, and, dammit, my body was responding in a way that was predictable and downright embarrassing. I didn’t have to guess she wouldn’t take that the way I meant it; she didn’t seem to have a clue how sensually gorgeous she was by human standards.

But maybe sensuality didn’t matter, to T’Pol – hell, the Vulcans probably even had a protocol for how to make their little pointy-eared Vulcan babies, and I’d just bet their tykes never dared to cry or fill a diaper or stick their fingers anywhere that wasn’t logical.

Is Trip getting ready to taste his boot again – or maybe T’Pol’s? Will he ever find out how Vulcans make more Vulcans? Will T’Pol ever stop acting like she’s in command, and he’s the kid she’s babysitting? And, well, will they find the Klingon, or more trouble, instead?

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.

 

Coffee and Conversation: The Gift of Grief

 

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..

Are there times of year that you find emotionally charged? Where your feelings are tumultuous and close to the surface? Where small things can lead to huge inner shifts?

As I mentioned in my posts throughout this past week, July is an emotionally complicated month for me – turbulent, surging up in joy, plunging into sorrow, lifting again…

Alive and silly, ten years after birth!

 

Earlier in the month, my daughter celebrated her birthday. She was born in July of 2004.

July of 2003 was a very different matter.

After a textbook pregnancy, our secondborn, Elijah James, decided it was time to be born, four days before his due date. Things didn’t go as expected. Eventually, forceps were used – and our baby boy, healthy only a few minutes before, was born not breathing.

Things got a little blurry for me, after that. My blood pressure tends to be low; it dropped precipitously. I remember asking the nurses what was wrong with my baby, and the nurse answering, “He’s fine, he’s fine,” as I watched them attempting to resuscitate him.

After what seemed an eternity, they got enough response to whisk him away and intubate him – I’m not sure about the order of those events, only that both happened in the four hours I spent recovering before the maternity staff allowed me to use a wheelchair to go to the NICU.

My husband went to be with the baby, and my emotionally volatile mother stayed with me. She had been with us through Elijah’s birth, and I know she was feeling protective and helpless – but she became embroiled in a power struggle with my nurse, and the conflict had me trying to play diplomat, and feeling not only raw and terrified, but also like I was the non-sentient tug of war rope in their battle of wills. All I wanted was to see my baby, and for him to be okay.

I am lucky. Elijah was awake when I met him; we regarded each other. I wrote about that meeting in my poem, “Soul to Soul”. Here’s an excerpt…

Elijah lived twelve days, and died on Friday, July 25, 2003.

I turned thirty-four 4 days later.

I’ve learned not to try to hold a balance during this month. I live a life that is peaceful, chaotic, often laughter-filled, inspiring, sometimes frustrating. I have a tremendous deal to be thankful for. I have a marriage that survived a loss that 85% of marriages don’t, and that has grown stronger, deeper, and richer. I have two living children, and they are happy, strong, curious, kind, affectionate, bright, funny, confident, independent, and many other wonderful things – the chiefest among them being that magical word – LIVING!

I have a child who lived and died in less than two weeks. He never cried, never nursed. I never held him without tubes and sensors attached to him.

His death is the most shattering thing I have ever known. And it was the catalyst for deep healing. His donated heart valves made a little girl’s life easier. His brief life made me take a long hard look at the way I was raised, and what I wanted for my own children, my marriage, and, maybe most importantly, for myself. It led me to make massive changes, as a mother, and as a human being. He is my most precious and painful gift.

I don’t know how to balance between the extremes of this month. Instead, I go for blendings- allowing the emotions and memories to weave in and around and through the life I live now, the love I share, not only with those who are here, but also for the small life so quickly ended, and whose presence has been a part of me, ever since…

It’s July 14, 2014. I’m home alone, remembering, writing, hometending, and planning a weekend camping trip. Life goes on, and I remember, and make memories, all at once…

I ask you to take a few moments, today, to look at your life, at your loves. What would life be like without them? How can you show them how very cherished they are? How can you do that for yourself? Most importantly, what are you waiting for? I’ve got a fresh cuppa something hot and sweet. Won’t you drop by and chat a bit?

Sitting up front and looking mighty grown at twelve.

 

 

 

Stretched Between… – ROW80 Update, July 13, 2014

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Have you ever been stretched between joy and sorrow, light and shadows, sweetness and sadness?

That’s what July is for me. Tuesday, as I mentioned in Wednesday’s update, was Annalise’s tenth birthday- a day of fun and celebration, where I celebrated this daughter I never thought I’d have…

Because, you see, we were only planning to have two children, and she is our third.

And today – July 13 – is our second child’s birthday…and the beginning of the twelve-day stretch I call Elijah’s Days – the days that mark his very brief lifetime, all of it spent in the NICU, mostly in a coma from which he never woke. July 25 will mark the end of that lifetime, and, four days after that, I turn 45.

July is tricky. Elijah would be elven today, if he had lived – and Annalise wouldn’t exist. Our family would be different in ways too numerous and profound to mention here. I plan to take that on tomorrow, in my Coffee and Conversation post.

What I’ve found is that sorrow can coexist with grief. They’re interwoven, for me, forever. There’s no “getting over” the death of that sweet baby who lived only 12 days, but will forever be a part of who I am. The best I can do is to accept that it is as it is, and give love to those I can, and remember a small, perfect little person with an irreversibly injured brain, who was gone so long before I was ready to part with him…

In honor and remembrance of Elijah, I’m asking that, over the next 12 days, you lavish your beloveds with love. Life is brief, and uncertain, except for one thing…we are all going to die, someday. I’m not trying to be morbid, only realistic. Our time here is finite. Pretending it’s not, changes nothing.

Will you do it? Can you make life sweeter for those you love? Can you include yourself? If you do, I would love to hear about it in the comments. It would be a note of joy and hope to balance those lower emotional tones…

Elijah James Burton, July 13-25, 2003.

And now, on to the update, because, as always, writing helps!

July Focal Areas:

  • CampNaNoWriMo Target attained!  (50,115 words).

  • Homeschool Administration

  • Blog Maintenance and Exploration

2014 Blogging:

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.

  • All regular posts done.

  • Sunday Post for July 13.

  • Gathering mental ideas for queues. This will not apply to SoCS posts, since those are prompted weekly on Fridays.

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

  • No Kristen yet, but I’ve put a couple ideas into experimental use; more on them later.

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

  • Again, I’ve put a couple new practices into play; more on them later.

  • Comments are being answered, but so many lovely folks have things to say that I’m a little backlogged! If I haven’t gotten to you yet, I am on my way! =)

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 NaNoWriMo. On target.

  • 19,409 new words! WHOA!

  • 50,115/50,000 NaNo Words

  • 113,551 WIP words.

  • 35/60 scenes.

  • NaNo is won; but I’m continuing on at a slightly more relaxed pace for the remainder of the month.

Joy!

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Clean out email files. On target.

  • A few more done, but now there’s more…

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

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

  • I’m paying attention to the flow of days, and what I tend to do with them. It’s early days, yet.

Develop Daily Hometending Frames. On target.

  • Same as above; paying attention.

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

  • Same as above…

2014 Lifetending:

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

Nutrition goals for July:

Acquire Intuitive Eating ebook. Target attained!

  • Book is waiting in my Kindle.

Consume minimum five veggie/fruit salads and/or fruit smoothies each week. Target attained for this week.

  • 3 salads; two smoothies.

Consume Greek yogurt and nuts minimum twice weekly. Target attained for this week

  • Twice for each.

Sponsor Visits:

  • Yes, I visited…adding them to Wednesday’s post…time grows short to post before midnight!

Come ROW with us!

Welcome to My Sunday Post for July 13, 2014

 

Have you ever had the best of intentions, but found yourself spread just a bit too thin to manage everything you’d hoped to do?

Yes, that’s me, over the last two weeks. I meant to do a Sunday Post, both weeks, but…

Well, I was writing, and reading, and celebrating, and, today, I’m mourning when I might have been celebrating. It’s the eleventh birthday of our second child, Elijah…and we are now twelve days from the eleventh anniversary of his death.

What makes it even stranger is that Tuesday was our daughter’s tenth birthday, filled with all the goodness a birthday should have.

For me, July is just like that. Four days after that anniversary, I will have a birthday, too. The entire month is something like surfing, trying to balance on the surging and ebbing waves of emotion.

I am a person who prefers an optimistic outlook. I choose to be grateful for the twelve days we had with our beautiful little boy, and the profound affect he’s had on the course of our life as a family. I choose to allow the grief to wash through me, but not to wallow in it. Death is an inevitable companion to life, like the shadows are to the sunlight.

Elijah James July 13-25, 2003.

 

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

Recently at shanjeniah:

 

Coffee and Conversation:

  • And Then She Was Ten… A celebration of a decade’s worth of my daughter, and some musings on the experiences of the day.

 

WIPpet Wednesday:

 

SoCS (Stream of Consciousness Saturday):

  • Are We Getting Away From Getting Away?, in which I explore whether we will be taking a planned camping trip, or bowing out in favor of the comforts of the little cocoon called ‘home’.
  • Body Language, a Star Trek fan fiction excerpt, written stream-of-consciousness style, with the theme “body”.

 

ROW80 Updates:

 

I can’t imagine life without her in it!

 

What’s Next:

 

I’ve completed the rough draft of my first July CampNaNoWriMo WIP, The Stars Are Fire. This week, I’ll be continuing with my second WIP, Perchance to Dream, a Star Trek: TOS/ Enterprise fanfiction novel, and the other half of this duology.

 

In the Wilds of Internet-Land:

Life Stuff:

  • It was a busy “weekend” – ours is Monday and Tuesday – since I squeezed my workout in a day early, so that I could take my daughter out for a Girl’s Day to celebrate her tenth birthday. We took in a movie, did a little shopping, and went out to dinner. =)
  • I completed July’s CampNaNo challenge.
  • I pinned to my Pinterest boards for the first time in months!

 

Want to join the Sunday Post fun?