Friday, July 24, 2009

I wanna be like Susan Sowerby

My dd7 and I just finished reading my all-time favorite childhood book, The Secret Garden, by Frances Burnett Hodges. I had forgotten how much the power of positive affirmation and belief in the "magic" of transformation is explored by Colin's "Scientific Experiment".

When it comes to positive thinking I have been much like Mistress Mary (quite contrary) through many stages in my life. I have believed in positivity and professed that belief (without actions to support it), I have wanted to believe in it- but couldn't seem to figure out exactly how to practice it, and I have sarcastically scorned it, feeling that the I was being blocked by unseen forces out of my control. I have come full circle to a place where I believe in being positive and I know that I must tend to my "secret garden"- a place in my heart where I can weather (and wonder at) the cycles of creation, destruction and rebirth.

Such a timeless novel (it was written nearly a century ago) - it is filled with sage wisdom and simple rituals. The children are left to themselves in the outdoors, they learn and play and grow strong. Their own natural curiousity guides them to marvel at the mysteries that unfold as a wintery, seemingly dead garden blossoms and shows them how to believe in unseen workings of a powerful universe. They sing and meditate, they giggle and conspire, they laugh and love. Dickon, the eldest child in the trio of main characters, is the son of Susan Sowerby and sibling of 11. His connection to all things in nature and his constant big grin are simple and sincere. He is the essence of childhood delight.

We decided to try our own Scientific Experiment, and it couldn't come at a better time. My eyes have been opened to the idea that I have been overcome with doubt, fear, negativity and bitterness. I have faulty relationships because I empower those types of thoughts in others and attract the people who also are also bogged down by these "weeds" in their "secret gardens".

Today in my "secret garden" I am weeding & pruning- and I am planting pumpkins. It seems I have been in the habit of putting off weeding until it is too late, and I have lost plants that could have been saved with just a little pruning. The pumpkins signify my belief in the coming harvest of brightly colored, nourishing and useful growing things! My positive affirmation for the day "I am a child of light, I believe in the power of the planet- the nurturing nature of a wonderful world."

My husband tells me that the highest paid athlete on the planet is Tiger Woods. He made most of his money from endorsing Nike. Nike coined the phrase "just do it". The true power of positivity shines when that idea is applied.

So how do you "just do it"?

Monday, July 20, 2009

How do you keep your house clean?

Since I am in the throes of making a human in my womb, constantly chasing an almost terrible two and homeschooling an almost 8 year old I am overwhelmed with the smudges, waterspots, spills, splashes and crumbs that seem to spontaneously appear everywhere. Not to mention the piles of laundry, constant shortage of towels, clothes and flatware, feeding frenzies, chaotic calamaties, disappearing surfaces, towers of tomes toppling off the bookshelves and crayons & markers making their way to places they should never be allowed.

Our house in Temecula at least had a plethora of pets to be blamed for the mess and gave the place a zoo like feel that welcomed the wildness and weathered the war on clutter. Our new little casita is bright and beautiful and busting at the seams!!

Giving myself a break I must admit I did spend most of the weekend finalizing the details of our adventures in 2nd grade! My dd7 is thrilled to be teaching her baby sister shapes, colors and songs as part of her own curriculum, and we have an array of exciting clubs, groups and activities to participate in. The schedule is full, the stage is set and we still have an entire month to enjoy the hazy lazy(?!) days of summer.

What is your secret to a calm, clean and chaos-free cottage?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Baby Sign Language

As many of you know we have had great success using baby signing with our youngest. I became interested because I had taken ASL in college and had a friend at Starbucks when I worked there whose day job was as an aide for special needs and autistic adults- I never knew they use signs quite often because it helps when emotions can block words (haven't we all had that experience!). She started me on the path of refreshing my skills and I have continued on my own.

After having so many people stop me in public and ask if I knew where they could take baby signing classes in South Orange County, I searched and was only able to find one class in Fullerton at Belly Sprout. There are probably others, but I didn't find them easily and there is a definite interest in South OC, especially.

So I have decided to join MySmartHands as a teacher and I am in the process of signing up as a contract instructor with the city of San Juan Capistrano's Community Education Department. Baby Signing Level 1 is an 8 week course and parents and their offspring will learn over 100 signs. At this point I will only be offering baby signing- but I do plan to develop a homeschool course by next spring and get approved as a vendor with several charter schools.

There is a well respected homeschool class at the Sign Language Factory in Anaheim if anyone is interested in getting started right away. The instructor Bill Rennie is wonderful, so I hear. I hope to take some courses there myself as I delve deeper. For older children (and adults) usage & grammar, history & culture and other nuances are very important. With hearing babies it's a whole different ball of wax, but I do believe it is very important to use actual ASL signs!

While the location is being determined I am forming an interest list, if you know anyone who might be. Just send me an e-mail ( I will also have gift certificates available for expecting and new moms- give the gift of communication!

Barefeet & busy hands make baby a happy bundle indeed!
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