Collections Over Coffee If We Were Having Coffee/#JusJoJan Day 17

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, today, I’m combining this post with Just Jot it January Day Seventeen, where today’s prompt is “Collection”, courtesy of my friend Deborah at Container Chronicles.

I would tell you that living an unschooling life with three other creatives leads to a great deal of collecting…and that might lead us to chatting about things we each collect, and why. But we can’t be having coffee if I don’t have any, so I need to go get me another cuppa…back shortly.

If we were having coffee in person, I might take you through the house (it’s little, so it wouldn’t take long), and show you some of our favorite collections. Since we’re having coffee virtually, today, I went around the house myself, and gathered some things to show you. Let’s start with my daughter’s collections, OK? Why? Well, because she’s cute, and interesting, and, since she was born last, she likes to be first at some things. She’s very into nature and animals. She started collecting birds’ nests several years ago, and looks to add to her collection in the fall, when the leaves reveal the nests we couldn’t see, and the winter weather is likely to destroy them.

She also collects Littlest Pet Shop characters. There are over 70 here, and she has more on the way to her. Each of them has a name, a backstory, and a shifting biography. She often creates complex storylines with her two best friends, who also collect these tiny toys. She makes them jewelry, props, and backgrounds, and casts them as the stars in assorted videos.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve been collecting stones and rocks since I was about seven years old. Earlier, while watching a mineral documentary on PBS, my Accomplice remarked that he could have been a geologist, and I agreed that that would have been a cool career choice.

I keep stones, rocks, shells, bits of coral and fossils, and other found items in jars, bowls, and baskets throughout the house. Some of my favorites are tied to personal memories, like the jarof blue shells, sand, pebbles, and bits of beach glass I picked up while walking with the kids on the Atlantic Coast in Salem, Massachusetts during an unschooling picnic, or the stone with a hole straight through the middle that I found long ago, with my Accomplice, while we were newlyweds walking on the Pacific Coast, near the South Jetty at Florence, Oregon.

I can’t identify them for sure, but I’m almost positive there are some items I found on Florida Bay, at the bottom of the Florida Everglades, and some little pieces of Arizona, Montana, and Wyoming, too…not to mention the pebbles picked up far, far away, in Taiwan, by my friend Litsong Lu, who then paints traditional Taiwanese characters on them.

If we were having coffee, I might show you the stack of notebooks where I’ve been scribbling my thoughts and assorted fan fiction stories for years. I’ve just brought these out of a cabinet where they’d been tucked out of sight. I’d also tell you that claiming my fan fiction and sharing it has been tremendously liberating. Declaring that passion, and finding so many folks who appreciate it, has allowed me, in some strange way, to embrace all my writing on a deeper level, and to share without shame. There’s a value in that, and so this collection is moving from that cabinet in a corner of my bedroom to a visible shelf in my study.

If we were having coffee, we’d probably have it here in my study. If you looked at the top of my grandmother’s cedar chest, you’d see a collection of things I haven’t yet gotten to. Such is the nature of life…

And if you looked at the top hutch shelf, you’d see the Star Trek books I’ve been collecting since age 13 (this is a significantly pared-down collection) – and a collection of mail my Accomplice and I need to go through, but haven’t yet.

If we were having coffee, here in my study, you’d feel the cozy warmth of the fire in the woodstove at the far end of the long living room. This last collection is destined for consumption – some collections are inherently transient, and so it is with firewood…

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you it’s time for me to go, and direct you to Part Time Monster’s Weekend Coffee Share…via the link or the little blue froggy! I’d also remind you that you can find more Just Jot it January by clicking the link. I’d invite you to share your own collections. And, of course, I’d wish you all a week full of the very loveliest of chaos!

Presence, Confluence and ROW80: January 17, 2016

Have you ever been swept away by one or two projects when you had a laundry list of things you intended to be doing instead?

I’m experiencing that now. As you can see from the list below, I’ve got projects aplenty to engage with…

And yet, there’s a confluence of events in my life that pulled me strongly toward critiquing and making revision notes, more than anything else this week. I’ll be talking more about that in my Weekend Coffee Share later today. For now, it’s enough for me to say that I’m mostly content with the state of things. I feel a drive to get to the next stage in these projects. The full moon is coming on the 23rd; and I know I’ll have a shift toward creative energies around that date. Already, I can feel the wave building, beneath the surface.

So, for now, I’m going to be present, and go where instinct leads me, because instinct seldom leads me wrong…

Writing:

  • Draft “Peach Liqueur Love” prequel story (as yet only a glimmer in my mind) for the Nelson Algren Literary Award. The deadline is January 31 – complete rough draft by January 20.

Plotting:

  • Plan and Plot “Peach Liqueur Love” prequel story for Chicago Tribune Writing Contest. The deadline is January 31 – complete planning by January 10; plotting by January 15. Running two day late with planning, Character Sketch 1/3 in progress. Nothing new.

Revisions:

  • Revise “Peach Liqueur Love” prequel story for Chicago Tribune Writing Contest. The deadline is January 31 – complete first revisions and submit to crit group by January 24; final revisions complete by January 30.

  • The IDIC Romance: Reread “Slow Jazz Awakening” hard copy and notate; adapt revision plan as needed; write revised draft – 16 short scenes. Notations complete for Scene 13/16.

Blogging/Social Media:

  • Revise, post, and initiate new blogging schedule; keep all posts current. Revisions in progress, most posts up on time.

  • Keep up with all current blog comments and visits, at least twice weekly. Got swept up in Revisionland…got to a few, and made more visits.

  • ROW80: Keep visits and updates current; draft, revise, and submit Round One Sponsor Post before January 10. Visits and update current.

  • Change one thing weekly in my blog layout. I rearranged my widgets.

  • Maintain email at under 99 messages; clear Archives folder. Not so much, this week.

Hometending:

  • Homeschool Administration: Complete all pending paperwork. Draft IHIPs and attend to district’s Peer Review issue;create 2015-2016 Flickr portfolios for both kids, and begin adding to them. Sciences section complete; Social Studies: Patriotism and Citizenship; U.S. History; and U.S. Government; and Economics.
  • Continue decluttering/beautification projects; in home and/or yard, five days weekly. Continue making improvements to our home and our quality of life. 7/5 days. General maintenance; organization; decluttering.
  • Go through all online subscriptions; cancel those we no longer need; at least one each week.

Lifetending:

  • Continue planning/ attending outings (personal and family) as desired. Write-in for me. Tentative plans to visit NJ friends in April.

  • NNWM local group: Attend write-ins regularly, and check in on the Facebook group as inspired. Read and critique both projects I’ve been hanging onto; submit and critique weekly for our small crit group, which is brand-new this year! Attended write-in;submitted Monday Morning Coffee; completed crits for this week..
  • Complete Stained Snow beta read. Chapter 6/28 submitted to author. Chapter 7 in progress.

  • My beloveds: One on one time with each, doing something of value to us both, each week. Canoodling, cooking, cuddling, and chatting. Oh, and reading.
  • Complete 6 pending book reviews.

Selftending

  • Write in Abundance, Intentions, and #onegoodcup journals seven times each week. Meditate seven times weekly, including one eating meditation. Explore one new meditative practice. Journaling/meditation 7/7 journals; 8/7 meditation. Coloring meditation.

  • Tai chi practice: One class and one at-home practice each week. A tiny little ice-breaking at-home practice.

  • Focus on sprints of activity daily (hometending, dancing, tai chi, walking, whatever), and more strenuous activities I enjoy, like swimming and hiking twice monthly. Write twice-monthly health-centered blog posts. Hometending; putting away groceries; firetending. Health post 1 /2 complete. Moved firewood with my Accomplice, and on my own. 4 /2 strenuous activities.

Leaps of Faith:

  • Submit “Peach Liqueur Love” prequel story for Chicago Tribune Writing Contest. The deadline is January 31 -aim for January 30.
  • Fan fiction stuff: Polish “Mission: Accomplished”, and “Scavenger Hunt”, and offer Triaxian Silk. I’m now in contact with the site owner at TriS, and will soon be submitting there!

When focused on your current goals, do you use rigid schedules, freeform engagement, or, like me, a combination of both that keeps pace with a changing life?

Kait Nolan’s  ROW80  – The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life!

See other participants’ goals updates here!

My #oneword for 2016: #JusJoJan Day Five

Welcome to Day Five of Just Jot it January, where, for a month – well, we jot. Whatever. However. Wherever. Whyever. It’s graciously hosted by Linda G.Hill.

Today’s prompt, “2016”, comes to us from Fiona at Fiona’s Favorites, who’d love a visit! Pop on over and say hi, if you’re so inclined.

For the last few Januarys, I’ve chosen one word to define what I’d most like to place my focus on through the year. Last year, for instance, was my Year of Exploration.

And 2016?

Well, it’s my Year of Presence.

What does that mean? Well, it means that I want to become more mindful and aware of the things I choose to give my time, energy, and attention to. It’s not a new pursuit; I’ve been learning mindfulness for several years now, getting gradually deeper into learning myself, and how I fit within the greater whole.

This year, though, I will begin to use presence and mindfulness to shape my intentions – to embrace that which brings beauty and joy to my life, and those of my beloveds, and, from there, to the wider world…like each of you who reads this.

Because I’m human, I sometimes get a little thrown away in things that don’t serve the good in my life. I feel bitter, or angry, or resistant to making a change or taking a step that will make for a better life.

I’m going to be looking at those, paying attention, and learning ways to turn those times into something else – something more in keeping with my goals and ideals. I’m going to reshape some things, let others go, and give myself over to those things which feed life and delight…

While I’m doing all this paying attention to where I’m going, I’m also going to be focusing on the actual present…the moment that I’m in. It can be easy, when attempting to attend goals, to forget about the fact that NOW, this instant, this breath, is all we ever truly have, and that it’s all these NOWs, adding up, that make a life. If I throw away all my NOWS seeking after the future, the richness of life’s texture will be muted.

So that’s it – my #oneword, and for this blogpost, at least for the present…but there will be more – in the form of essay posts, images, and updates…

  • You can find my 2016 goals here.

  • My ROW80 Round goals are here (or will be).

  • What am I doing in January? (coming soon).

Read more posts, and join in if the spirit moves you! =)

A multitude of paths…and the present NOW. Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California.

A Year of Exploration: 2015 Writing Goals Final Assessment

My overarching theme for 2015 was Exploration. I began the year with a great many goals – too many, as it turns out.  Some definitely got lost in the course of the year. Here’s the final assessment.

Color-coding key:

  • Goal attained = blue with overstrike.

  • Goal in progress = green.

  • Goal-in-waiting = red.

  • Goal set aside = red with overstrike.

Writing:

  • Complete the Write1 Sub1 Challenge: Write at least 1 story and submit at least 1 story each month in 2015. The writing was easy; I blew that goal away. Submitted (and was accepted!) once.
  • Develop Kifo Island Chronicles: Write rough sketches for 10 novellas; plot 5 novellas; draft 3 novellas. The first three are drafted; I have ideas and notes for at least three more. These turned into novels.
  • Complete the Star Trek Chronology Project: Watch the entire canon Star Trek franchise, in chronological order – taking notes for future fan fiction development. Once I got into this, I realized I’d have to radically alter my life to do it in a year! Through Enterprise, and into The Original Series.
  • Develop The IDIC Romance: Plot and write 31 new stories; submit revised stories through “Movements” to at least 1 fan fiction site. Many new stories! Revising is slow, slow going; nothing ready for submission yet.

Editing:

  • Chameleon’s Dish (title subject to change): Complete first pass revision; reread and create plan for revision pass 1.5 (cohesion, consistency, etc.).
  • Bounded by a Nutshell: Create pre-revision plan, using existing notes and Cathy Yardley‘s Rock Your Revision.
  • The Stars Are Fire/Perchance to Dream: Readthroughs and pre-revision notes.
  • The IDIC Romance: Organize Scrivener file; revise stories through “Golden Slipper”. Still working on the first story, “Slow Jazz Awakening”. As the lynchpin for my vision, I want to give it all the time and attention it deserves to shine and be a cornerstone.
  • Write1Sub1 Challenge: Revise 5 existing short stories using Sarah Selecky‘s Deep Revision process. Revised 1/5“Monday Morning Coffee”, published here; story 2/5, “Peach Liqueur Love”, in progress.
  • 2012/2014 OctPoWriMo poems: Revise all poems; categorize by project.

Social Media:

  • Blog Maintenance: Keep to regular posting schedule; answer comments, and return visits. I did fairly well, but not quite well enough to make this blue.
  • Build blog queues: 5 each WIPpet and C and C posts.
  • Blogging Action Plan: Review; revise; and implement. Well…
  • Twitter and Facebook: Visit at least twice weekly. Ummm….sometimes….
  • Pinterest, LinkedIn, WANATribe, ect: Visit at least one weekly.
  • Share posts – mine, and others’: Share at least 15 items per week. Not 15 times a week; sometimes not at all; but there was some sharing.
  • Blog views and followers: Increase views to 150 at least 10 times/ month; followers to 1000; WordPress followers to 333, because I like that number!

Hometending:

  • Complete resets/reorganizations: family room, porch/playroom, and kitchen. All started; none finished. Ongoing.
  • Inhabit my study: cleaning, organizing, and using the space daily, when home. A Great Big Blue here!
  • Personal Administration: Clean, organize, and back up all laptop files; sort email folders; delete excess. Having my laptop down nearly half the year slowed this down.
  • Homeschool Administration: Complete all homeschool paperwork, including Annalise’s standardized testing, on time. Streamline where possible. Finished the year with a couple of pending reports in progress.
  • Yard Beautification: Plant edibles and cutting flowers in season; maintain in a presentable manner; declutter outgrown kid-things and random life debris. Much better than previous years, and still improving.
  • Photo digitalization: Scan box of travel photos; save in organized files with backup. This fizzled post-Oregon.
  • ROW80: Sponsor duties up-to-date.

Lifetending:

  • Oregon vacation: Prepare for and take vacation trip in February. And a wonderful break from a LOT of snow at home!
  • Kindle ebooks: Read and write reviews for the 22 books on my cloud written by writers I know. Read 8; reviews posted for 2.
  • NNWM local group: Continue attending write-ins whenever possible; interact regularly online.
  • Meditation: Experiment with guided/unguided meditation at least 3 times/week.
  • TBR Stacks: Complete bedroom TBR pile. Dispersed the pile, and lost track of what was in it. Some read; some not.
  • Smart Change: Work through at least one goal using the methods in this book. Lost track of this goal.
  • Starfleet: Reconnect/possibly rejoin USS Albany group.
  • My beloveds: One on one time with each, at least thrice per month, doing something of value to us both. Big time blue! Lots of happy connection. =D
  • Paying it Forward: Complete at least six beta reads and ten promotional blog posts for other writers. Some. Not as many as the goal, though.

Fitness and Nutrition:

  • Workouts: at the Y or a strenuous activity thrice weekly; with Wii Fit four times weekly. I was more active, but not at this level.
  • Walk, dance, swim, or physical play: With children, spouse, and/or dog three times weekly. Again, not this much, but some.
  • Practice: Resume t’ai chi and yoga classes, either/or at least twice/month. Mostly.
  • Intuitive Eating: Read and put into practice as I continue to evolve nutritional goals that make me feel healthy and energized. A little; not much.
  • Cooking/ Food Preparation: Develop a repertoire of 30 self-made food options that support my nutritional goals. I got to four or five; cooking isn’t my thing.
  • Weight: Maintain or reduce weight; continue monthly checks. I’m still wearing the same size clothing, but not focusing on the scale.

Kait Nolan’s ROW80  is the Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life!

 

Solstice Soul Treats for Mindful Monday

Happy Solstice!

I’m a fan of the night-time. There’s something about those long quiet hours that sets my mind to peaceful wandering. Sometimes I have Big Ideas, epiphanies, and revelations. And so, on this longest night of the year, it seems like a perfect time to get mindful….

And what I’m feeling most mindful about, on this first and  longest winter’s night, is the season at hand.

Somewhere along the way, Christmas became – something other than a simple religious celebration – either the Christian one, or those which it long ago supplanted. Instead, it’s become, for many people, and in many ways, a secular, consumer holiday – a season of chores and obligations and to-do lists, more than a simple, magical observance.

In the midst of the holiday bustle, today I’d like to offer something of a peaceful oasis, and an invitation:

Please join me as we pause in our busyness, and give our souls a little treat.

How do we do that?

Well, it’s different for each of us. To find out what it is for you, ask yourself what delights you. You get bonus points if it’s free, and if it doesn’t take more time than you feel comfortable giving to it. And you win the jackpot if what delights you can also benefit you in some way.

For me, the jackpot was decorating a bulletin board.

You see, I mostly write in my study, a small windowless room. I’m also a wide-angle kind of person, and an unscchooling mom, which means that there’s a lot of spontaneity in my life.

So I have a space that could use brightening, an array of writing projects at varying degrees of completion, and a lifestyle that means I might not know in advance just when or for how long I’ll have for my writing projects.

A few weeks ago, I realized that the bulletin board, which was outdated, was my answer. Late-night inspiration struck, and I realized that I could redo the board in a way that was both whimsical and functional.

And I got the chance to play with paper, colors, textures, writing, and decorating – all little treats for my creative soul.

Over a few days, I spent about four hours total, working on the bulletin boards in small sprints (I’m a huge fan of sprints for all sorts of things – that may be a spinoff post!). I made a great big paper mess, in the best of ways, and I’ve ended up with a pretty splash of color that feels more like a window. It invites my eyes, and that means that I’ll look at it and use it – and that will inspire me to spend time writing, which feeds my soul in another way…

It wasn’t until after I created the board that I truly realized just how much of a treat it was. I had fun playing with the idea and the execution. Every time I look at it, I smile – it’s just so bright and cute! The colors, lettering, and design all give me a little thrill of joy.

Even better, there’s room to expand. I can add new projects, and move the ones already there along their paths to completion. My daughter, eleven, might make me some worms and butterflies to decorate it with even more whimsy…

Yup, that’s a soul treat!

 What’s your soul fancy? Will you take the time, in the midst of all your activities and preparations, all your buying and wrapping, and give yourself just a little soul gift?

Want more Mindful Monday? Follow the link!

Grateful Solstice: December 20, 2015

As the days reach maximum shortness, on their way to lengthening, maybe it’s natural that there would be something of a corresponding pause in my productivity – or, at least, my perception of it.

Honestly, I’ve made good progress this session. It’s just that having my Lenovo back has meant that, rather than focusing on the writing I’d been intending to make my primary goal. There are other projects I can do far more easily, now, and I’ve been playing catch-up as I relearn my machine.

As a result, I got a thing or two crossed off the list, a few new things started, and more than a few moved forward.

I also had some lovely connection with my beloveds, and at least one creative indulgence for myself.

This is already, the penultimate update! I’ll have a final assessment on my Round 4 goals available on the 24th, a day after my final ROW80 update on the 23rd.

For all who are celebrating – whatever you are celebrating, may the Solstice find you merrily greeting the longer days to come…

Dona Nobis Pacem.

Color-coding key:

  • Goal attained = blue with overstrike.

  • Goal in progress = green.

  • Goal-in-waiting = red.

Writing:

Plotting:

  • The IDIC Romance: Complete note-taking process for 26 stories. Completed notes for FM; 13/26; halfway done.

Revisions:

  • The IDIC Romance: Using existing notes (once complete); create a revision plan for “Slow Jazz Awakening” (the lynchpin of my Trip/T’Pol shipping fan fiction); write revised draft; 16 short scenes. (Download all relevant OneDrive files to assess my current status for this project.) Pre-planning revision notes complete for 7/16 scenes.

  • Peach Liqueur Love”: Complete steps 2 and 3 of Sarah Selecky’s Deep Revision process; rewrite in preparation for steps 4 and 5.

Blogging/Social Media:

  • Publish all regular features posts; scheduling ahead where possible. Revise and initiate new blogging schedule; complete special December treat. #8sunday and Thursday/Friday Advent posts scheduled in advance; all other posts current.

  • Catch up all blog comments and visits. I caught up with all current comments on Friday, thanks to my Lenovo, which makes it a breeze!

  • ROW80: Keep visits and updates current. I caught up on all of these, and more, on Wednesday night.

  • Maintain at under 99 messages; clear Archives folder. Cleared a few items from the archives. Cleared Inbox; cleared a few dozen from Archives.

Hometending:

  • Homeschool Administration: Complete all pending paperwork. Draft IHIPs and attend to district’s Peer Review issue;create 2015-2016 Flickr portfolios for both kids, and begin adding to them. Reread requirements for grade 9-12 IHIP – the boy already does well above those minimums! English and Mathematics sections complete, Uploaded images captured last week to OneDrive, in preparation for creating Flickr albums for them.
  • Get computer repaired!
  • Continue decluttering/beautification projects; in home and/or yard, five days weekly. Continue making improvements to our home and our quality of life. 7/5; moderate.
  • Reset my study bulletin board with Pending/Drafting/ Simmering/Revision/Finishing categories. Board is finished!

Lifetending:

  • Continue planning/ attending outings and events as desired. Plans in the works for a girls’ day after Annalise’s next doctors’ appointment. We’ll be buying her winter boots, and lunching out.

  • NNWM local group: Attend write-ins regularly, and check in on the Facebook and Twitter groups as inspired. Read and critique both projects I’ve been hanging onto. Attended write-in; small and informal group.
  • Complete the two beta reads I’ve had waaay too long. Beta #2 complete through Chapter Four (p15/121).

  • My beloveds: One on one time with each, doing something of value to us both, each week. Cuddles, conversation, cooking, lunch,an outing, television, and couples’ time.
  • Complete 7 pending book reviews.

Selftending:

  • Write in Abundance,Intentions, and #onegoodcup journals seven times each week. Meditate seven times weekly, including one eating meditation. Explore one new meditative practice. 7/7 for journaling; 7/7 meditation. Missed Tuesday; but caught up by journaling and meditating twice on Wednesday.

  • T’ai chi practice: at home three times; class once or twice a week. Continue reading The Tai Chi Directory.

  • Make time for physical activity five days a week; Evaluate how I’m approaching them, in preparation for 2016. 5/5; walking; hometending; shopping.

Leaps of Faith:

  • Poetry Chapbooks: Categorize poems roughly for 2016 development.

  • Website/Business blog: Come to a decision for 2016 before WP renewal time; research self-hosting. Talked with my Accomplice about my plans.

  • Fan fiction stuff: Polish “Mission: Accomplished”, and “Scavenger Hunt”, and offer on Ad Astra. http://adastrafanfic.com/ The last snippet of “Mission” will appear on Sunday, after which I will begin commenting and interacting on the site while I polish these little fluffy bits of slightly more than slightly naughty fun!

  • Self-publishing: Finish reading The Indie Author Power Pack.

These goals are a part of Kait Nolan‘s ROW80 Writing Challenge  –

the one that knows you have a life.

 Find more ROWers right here!

Stores of Love: #SoCS for 12/19/15

 

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme -an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: “store,” used any way we like.

I went to the store early this afternoon. One week before Christmas, maybe that’s not exactly a news story…

But I wasn’t shopping for holiday gifts, or for the ingredients to make a fancy dinner for extended family or friends. Our bigger kids prefer to order most of their gifts online; they’d rather know what they’re getting and have the autonomy to order it themselves, track the packages, and open their treasures as soon as they arrive. And none of us are fond of those extended family gatherings – they tend to come with a great deal of stress, bringing to light any and all areas of friction, with a focus on things that aren’t important to us.

So, what was I shopping for, early on a Saturday afternoon, at a time when I usually don’t leave the house without children?

Groceries. The average, we-need-to-get-some-food-people-want-to-eat-in-this-house kind.

Somehow, we never quite got around to doing the weeklyish shopping last week. Both my Accomplice and I picked up a few things here and there, and that was enough – but, on Friday, we all found ourselves surveying the available options with a decided lack of enthusiasm.

So, last evening, I announced that I would be shopping today, and invited the children, 14 and 11, to make shopping lists, since, along with rampant physical and cognitive growth, their tastes are changing with almost dizzying speed, and I honestly had little idea of what they would want, beyond staples.

When I woke this morning, my son told me that they’d both sent me their lists on Messenger. Yup, we’re a modern family! It was fun to read their lists (my son even wrote his in priority order!), and to see the way they’re gaining writing skills. If they were in school, or schooled at home, I’d have assignments to record their progress; instead, I have shopping lists and online messages – the utilitarian purposes and their fancies.

Anyway…

I took their lists and copied them to the Colornote app on my Kindle. Then I wandered around the store, fulfilling their wishes and adding a few extras. We came in only $.48 above budget, and, when I got home, my son came out and unloaded most of the groceries from the car. My Accomplice had cleaned the refrigerator after I left and before he left for work (chefs work weekends!); I gave a cursory effort to the freezer, and the boy helped me put things away even though I told him I was just fine doing it on my own.

Once that was done, I spent a couple of hours doing hometending sprints, and the girl came to pitch in. I note this because many parents assign children chores in the hopes of teaching them responsibility, cooperation, and helpfulness. Our children have no chores, and parents who are willing to do things like go to the store at odd times, and buy the items on their lists without passing judgment on them; parents who are OK with them ordering the gifts they want, and opening them when they arrive, because a Christmas morning blowout, regardless of the photo ops it would present, just isn’t their style.

I have to think that those things aren’t unrelated.

We’re willing and ready to help our kids to get the things they want, because we understand that children have less power than adults, and because we consider their wants to be on a par with our own. We’re willing to shift our schedules, and to go out of our way, when we can, to make their lives happy and peaceful.

We help them, and, the older they get, the more they help us, too.

That’s a wonderful bonus, especially since, at their ages, they’re learning skills they can use in a few years, when they become independent, and maybe live on their own.

But it’s not why I do it.

What I was doing, out at the store today, was storing up love. By my actions, I was telling my children that they matter to me. They matter enough that I would go out, buy what they want to eat, and bring it home happily. They matter enough that I can release my ‘ideal Christmas’ – and more. They matter enough that I can be something more than “Mom” to them – more than that name, and the role that goes with it.

 

I can be myself.

So can my Accomplice.

 And so can the children.

And together, we can keep on adding to those stores of love that will sustain us through the joys and the sorrows, the growing pains and the turbulence and the times of quiet or chaotic peace that life is made of.

Have you tried stream-of consciousness writing?

Come read more, or join in – there’s just a few simple rules.

Check out the #SoCS hashtag, or click here!

Just being herself…pink cat ears, National Geographic book, and all.