I've been planning on writing this blog since I got my latest issue of Whole Living magazine.
I always want to write some amazing and fabulous New Year blog, but I end up with resolutions I forget about or goals I don't fulfill.
I am always astonished by what each year brings: never what I expected.
This year, Whole Living published a short article about assessing the past year, and I decided to do my assessment on this blog, answering the questions given as starters in the article in the order the are given there.
THE PAST YEAR:
How have you spent your time?
The year seems so long. Looking back over it - the spring of 2010 doesn't seem tangible. It's like a bubble that has floated away and popped. I can imagine where it was, but I can't see it any longer - just a vapor, a few droplets, a brief shimmer.
How have I spent my time?
The winter of last year - Jonah was still at the Montessori School and I was relatively happy with that. I was living into my identity as stay-at-home mom to mostly Maeryn with interludes of picking up my son at school and rushing him to activities.
I attended the State One Act Festival with Butterfly by Trish Cole in the role of David - a transgendered young man who was trying desperately to win his mother's acceptance - he never gets it. She strangles him, in the end, in her desperation and insanity and grief over her lost daughter who never was to begin with.
During the one-act festival I stayed at Sheila's house - the producer - along with the other women in the cast and learned so much about being a woman and a mother and an artist and how those things go together. It was a spiritual retreat of sorts - and even though we "only" got first runner up at the festival (Trish was honored with best original script) overall, it was one of the best weekends of my life to date. I think of it with warm, fond memories of Sheila's beach colored walls and her boyfriend, Steve's vegan whole foods and huge bag of oatmeal and a beginning on my journey toward holistic health.
Also during January I started a holistic health blog and made a concerted effort to take better care of myself and my family through what I bring into the house and put on the table.
In February I trained hard for the Shamrock 5K and the Cincinnati Flying Pig 5K (held in May). I researched unschooling options and was introduced to John Holt after a book exchange at a friend's house. I made an effort to parent our children with more respect.
I ran the Shamrock 5K and had a great time doing it. I wrote this blog.
We started living with intention as a family. We took hikes.
In May Michael ran his first marathon and Jonah ran a mile and Maeryn ran 25 yards and I ran another 5K at the Flying Pig.
I dreamed about unschooling and about hiking the AT. I directed W;t and spent hours at the theatre and thinking about the play. There were a lot of frustrations, but the end product was a good one.
I visited Denver and had my first trip west of the Mississippi. Played at a waterpark in Missouri. Saw the Kansas sky.
Michael and I took our first backpacking excursion. It was fantastic.
I took my children to the beach and the library and hiking in the woods and played with them all summer long and never wanted it to end.
In August, Jonah went back to school and I was sad. Happy that I liked the school and the people in general and that he had friends, but sad because I missed the joy he brought to our family life during the day. Sad because I saw more progress in him when he WASN'T at school. Sad because homeschooling (unschooling) was heavy on my heart.
In October we pulled Jonah out of school. I taught an acting class throughout the fall semester. Jonah joined the swim team. I took a Mommy and Me art class with Maeryn that we both loved and we found out the teacher is an unschool mom. I made friends I have never met in person who inspire me daily.
I explored the idea of intentional community and New Monasticism and Common Prayer and felt a growing sense that Unity was something God wanted me to focus on. I met new artists in the area and made new friends. I learned to cook new foods. I spent a lot of time on the computer - blogging and keeping in touch with those who are far away.
I purged old crap from my soul.
I went through studies that changed my outlook and gave me freedom - I learned that freedom and love go hand in hand.
I learned more about my husband and how to love him better and more completely - I learned what unconditional love means.
What are you grateful for?
I am grateful for a supportive network of friends that I sometimes forget are there, but who always are.
I am grateful for the myriad of resources about unschooling, the people who are open-minded and willing to help me, the reactions of most of our family and friends positively.
I am grateful that Michael's album is finished and he can think about gigging and more music and PR and that I get to be a part of that.
I am grateful that he chose me to sing with him and play piano on a song on his album.
I am grateful that God is so GOOD and that He moved me so much this year.
I am grateful for the women in my life. For my girl friends. For letting myself have them.
For books and paper to write on and my children and what they teach me on a daily basis.
Getting to meet Michael's aunts in Baltimore.
I am grateful for a piano in my house and for the courage to step in new directions and for my Church community and for places for my kids to go and Jonah's swim team and my blogs and music and all of the experiences of this wonderful year past.
What were your sorrows and disappointments? How did they change you?
I had a lot of sorrow surrounding some goings on a the theatre where I spend most of my time and where I serve as secretary of the board. A lot of brokenness. This coincided with a lot of personal conflict for me. I learned that avoiding conflict is not always the right answer. In fact, it often causes more harm.
I was disappointed that the Intentional Community endeavor never really worked out, even though it's still close to my heart. I learned that some things are for later, and some for never - and you never know which is which.
I felt guilty and sad about our situation with Jonah's schooling - I felt helpless many times and lost. I learned that as a parent, it is okay to trust my instincts - they are often right.
I feel like much of my time is spent on things that will never be successful, in the worldly sense. That I may never make anything of my writing or many of my other endeavors. I am afraid to follow-through. This is a lesson I'm still learning. I am often afraid of what I could be - I don't want to build myself up, I don't like to put myself out there - I wish other people would do it for me, or tell me I'm not good enough - or push me if they believe I am.
I am disappointed that we couldn't afford to go on our planned vacation this year, but grateful that we did a fun stay-cation instead. I learned that plans aren't always the best things - that it's okay when they fall through, and living in the moment is so important to keeping joy in my life.
Sad for so many people in my life who experienced intense loss. I was reminded that life is short. We are but a breath away from dying at all times - no matter our ages. That every ability we have is a blessing - including walking, talking, interacting... everything.
What books, films, etc., moved you?
The Chronological Study Bible (NKJV)
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
Learning all the Time by John Holt
A Question of Balance: Artists and Writers on Motherhood edited by Judith Pierce Rosenberg
Schools for Conversion: 12 Marks of the New Monasticism edited by Rutba House
Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and Enuma Okoro
The Search for Significance by Robert McGee
The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell
The Future of Food (film)
No Impact Man (film)
How are you different from the way you were a year ago?
I am much more in tune with my body. I have a renewed relationship with Christ and a new perspective on Love and Christianity. I have a greater respect for my husband and children. I have learned so much about love and am so full of love and I am so eager to learn more about this Gift.
I feel better about myself and my situation in life.
I have embraced being at home with my children.
I understand myself more as an artist, even though I haven't created as much art as in some years.
I am not able to exercise as much as I was last year at this time - I am saddened by this.
I have learned an immense amount about holistic healing and herbal remedies and look forward to learning more.
I am living in unschooling rather than just reading about it.
I can knit!
I have fallen in love with so many of the people around me in ways I never thought possible.
I have freedom in Christ and understand what that means (at least a little more than before).
How can you integrate the lessons of the past year?
It's all about love. Love and freedom. 2010 was the year of Freedom and Love.
Is there anything you're trying to force into existence right now? If so, what would happen if you stopped?
Maybe the paying off of debts and the moving into the RV. If I stopped, I think financially it would be a stupid move. Paying off debts is a good goal for this family. The RV - to stop striving is sometimes a good thing. I think that the RV will fall into place when God is ready for it to get there. I want people to read my writing. I need to stop worrying about that and write just for myself again. It's a really hard balance. When you write with a bared soul and someone criticizes you, there is a lot more pain that if you write with a mask.
What do you want to focus on in the coming year?
Art. Unity in the Church. My children and loving them fully. Worrying less. Cultivating and maintaining friendships. Getting outside/being in touch with nature. Organic foods. Gardening. Prayer. Letting go. Breathing fully. Really SEEING things around me. Studying the sky. Learning Greek. Memorizing scripture. Remember what's important. Cutting out things that just aren't. My writing - quality writing - maybe working on poetry again - good poetry. Reading more books that are interesting and wonderful. Going with the flow. Listening to God. Drinking in this life.
If you could sum up your desires and longings in one simple statement spoken from the highest aspect of yourself, what would it be?
(Holy crap. That's not hard or anything. Well gee.)
I want to create, nurture, and propagate peace and beauty through LOVE.