Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I have a pre-teen!

Happy Birthday to Canon James Alexander.

This guy is 12!!
Canon has been such a joy in our lives. These 12 years have been a flash flood. Canon is generous, compassionate, helpful and cheerful! I am so thankful to be his mama. He teaches me everyday about kindness, justice and friendship!

Here are some snapshots of the last year in the life of this awesome fella.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Many of you know I have been practicing yoga for about a decade now. I am so happy to share that tomorrow I start certification to become an instructor! This is a dream I have had for many moons. Finally happening.
I'd appreciate prayer! The first week is an immersion week, so I will be up to my lotus in asanas.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


January marks the beginning of my third year as a homeschool mom! Hard to believe I stuck with it - as you know, I was quite the trainwreck that first year and a half!

Over the weeks and months I began to find a rhythm. And quite importantly, began to formulate a direction for my children's' learning.

My reason for starting Well, it's simple really. There are so many mommas (and dads) out there who feel inept, and lack confidence in their decision to homeschool. My task, to help encourage them that - if I can do it, anyone can!

Please check out my new site, and if you have any homeschooling friends, point them my direction!

And you can follow me on Twitter @homeschoolqueen will still be my whitespace for all things family, animals, DIY and homesteading/survivalism. But will deal specifically with home education and parenting.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What season are you in?

In the liturgical calendar of the church, we are in the season of Epiphany: the weeks after Christmas in which the church celebrates the Light of Christ.

I appreciate the seasonal directive of the liturgic year, because it always circles my heart back around to Jesus - his birth, ministry, passion, death, resurrection, and transfiguration, and helps me stay connected to the life of the church universal.

In our personal lives, we have no such calendar dictating our seasons. The flow of circumstances, emotions and relationships is anything but predictable. However, weather personally, professionally, as a family or community - we are always in a season. Carve out time this week to take a pulse of awareness. What season are you in? Satisfaction, transition, illumination? Are you a season of growth or plateau? Discomfort, contentment, struggle, health, complacency, bliss?
Each new year brings about an expectancy for what is to come. Where are you now and where are you going? How do you balance your current circumstances with your desired choices? Share an intention with me about the seasons of your family, work, school, play, heart, health, faith, life…

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

We are Alexanders

"We are Alexanders, we are direct. We look people in the eye and say what we need." One family member overheard me saying this to my 8 year old. She mentioned that she has noticed this saying, "We Are Alexanders, we…" in various forms over the years, and began to interview me on the subject.

Where did you come up with the idea?

We started our Alexander axioms when Canon (now 11) was 2. I didn't want to be that mom who was constantly saying NO. I desired to parent in the positive. Speaking values and virtues over my children makes more sense to me than always negatively correcting. It is a code of conduct, whereby children begin to be aware of principles that are important in relating with family and community.

What are some other Alexander axioms?

We are Alexanders, we…
are direct.
are learners.
are leaders.
are problem solvers.
are kind.
use our words.
treat people with respect.
don't whine or complain.
tell the truth.
include everyone.

These are the main Alexander axioms. My children hear many other sayings throughout the days and weeks as well.
"We get in a rush, we get in a wreck."
"Be mindful of the needs of others."
"Yes ma'am, no ma'am, yes sir, no sir."
"You're always in my heart."
"Sometimes we need a reset."

And a couple I recently picked up from high-school-bestie-reunited:
"Swear on our love."
"Change it."

Do you have them written down anywhere?

I have always told myself I need to start documenting our family axioms. I believe that each family has a unique set of values they are passionate about. We should all record these values and speak them over our children in ways that help shape character. If we feel strongly about particular virtues, we can either assume our children will magically pick up on them, or we can clearly communicate them.

Monday, January 6, 2014

You will HUG your grandmother.

We see Nana once a year. On our 15 hour car ride, I discussed with my children the very simple 2 Rules for our time at Nana's house. One of those rules was, "You will hug Nana generously and without hesitation." The children performed this task beautifully. With glad hearts, they hugged their grandmother, both when she asked and when she did not ask.

As we traveled on, we stopped to visit friends in Dallas. My friend had a very interesting perspective on this. She recounted how her rule for her daughter is exactly the opposite.
"Do not feel obligated to hug your grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts, or any other schmuck who tries to hug you." (paraphrased liberally)

I respect this lesson in personal space and boundaries. The intentional message of "no means no" is vital for children to learn. Children need to be empowered to feel safe, and help themselves say what they need - whether it be inside or outside their own family!

We joked about the extremes of both scenarios, and agreed that there is always a middle way.

Your thoughts?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2 rules

Over the river (the Mississippi) and through the woods (Louisiana) to Grandmother's house (in Texas) we drove.

During our 15 hour car drive to Nana's house for Christmas, I announced my expectations for my children while staying at their grandmother's home. "By following these 2 simple rules, your time at Nana's house will be very enjoyable."

1. You will hug your Nana generously and without hesitation.
2. When Nana asks you to do something, you will say "yes Ma'am" and do it.

Let me splain.

1. Nana lives alone and does not get a lot of affection. She sees her other grandsons a few times a week, but besides that, moments of physical touch are few and far between.
BTW, did you know that physical touch is good for your health?

Check out this article.
And this one.

I tried to help the children understand that this is a way for them to honor and serve their grandmother, even if it means stepping out of their comfort zones to show affection to a person they see very infrequently. Forced intimacy? Perhaps. Just do it.

2. This 74 year old woman gets along quite well in her home. But there are things she has difficulty doing. So, in addition to hugging :), a way we can serve is to do whatever she asks us to do. The "yes ma'am" part of it, simply adds a pinch of respect and reminds us to perform our task with a pleasant, positive attitude.

Over the course of our 6 days at Nana's house, the children attended to these two rules beautifully. I was supremely proud of them. And I believe their grandmother was blessed by her time with them. Furthermore, I was thankful for the time in the car to de-brief. We talked about how the time was for the children and their perception of this experience. My 12, 10, 8 year old kids had a lot of great insight.

Do you have rules for your children when visiting extended family? If so, what are they?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Did you accomplish your 2013 GOALS?

One year ago seems like yesterday. I remember writing my 2013 goals and feeling determined to accomplish them.

Click here for last year's blog post.

I have to say I did pretty well with my 2013 goals, although there is always room for improvement.

I lost 10 of the 15 pounds that Tuscaloosa gave me.
I pursued people and looked for opportunities to create space for community.
I became more comfortable with homeschool, which in turn allowed me to let go and enjoy hands on activities with my peeps.

Now, onto 2014

The other night my friend was telling me about an amusing conversation with her husband. He was sharing some 2014 goals with her. When she asked, "So are these your New Year's resolutions?" He replied, "Uh no. Because I actually want to accomplish them."

For me, 2014 is going to be a focus on family, friendships, freedom and farm.

I want to continue to set down my phone and be present with my children. I am determined to spend these next few of years (pre-teen) connecting with my sidekicks in meaningful ways. I will get muddy with them, rather than documenting their muddiness and then washing it.

I have been intentional this past year to reconnect with friends of the past, stay connected to the friends of the now. Life is not meant to be an individual sport! Lock arms with the people you cherish.

I refuse to stress over schedule, expectations of others and futile first world problems. Freedom from financial worries and discontentment. Freedom to make a difference, make a move, make a change.

We placed our 5 acre property on the market to sell. Farm continues to call to me - and to the children. We are going to find a place where we can have a horse and a herd of goats. A place where we can build fires and shoot firearms, grow food and have a pond. A place where we can be loud and have loud animals (i.e. peacocks and roosters). I will keep you updated on our progress!