A Bit of Sunlight – A Road Trip

It is a gorgeous day. I feel like I am floating down the highway as I drive to Esterhazy. I love it. I am going to meet Frances, my mom’s first cousin. My mom said that there were no relatives left on her mother’s side. None of them had kids and all her mother’s siblings have passed on. But I couldn’t believe it. I see how families multiply and grow, there had to be someone who could tell me about my grandmother Nellie. I can’t believe this dream of mine is coming true. This is really happening. I have found a treasure box in my family tree.

I feel guilty about cancelling a counselling session and not showing up at yoga practice but I really feel that I have to do this. As I drive I kind of dissolve into the blue sky in front of me. I wonder if the houses I past, the abandoned farm yards of families long ago suffered as I suffer now.

Did the women accept their world and environment? Did they enjoy parenting and cleaning? Or did they long for something more? Did their longing kill them? Did they get to do what they wanted to do? Could they dream past their present situations? Did they find happiness in the small, everyday things? 

Looking at the houses and I wonder where the gardens were, where the kids played, did the mother have a special spot in the yard or a favourite window to look out of? Did she garden out of necessity or did she enjoy it?  I can almost imagine kids running around outside but only there was more trees around the yard back then.

When we live in one world, a world of pioneers, can we even imagine living in a world outside of that?  Can we imagine and have the opportunity to move towards our passions?

Photo was taken through my car window in 2007 along HWY 11 in Saskatchewan, Canada.



Homeschooling Conflict

Homeschooling this year is a struggle.  I feel faced with all my fears of traditional thinking versus what I feel is right.  There is a battle going on.  The result is me constantly contradicting myself with my children because I am struggling with these notions within myself.  I feel I need to get grounded.

Both my girls lack any goal or intention for the year.  My eldest, Sherese, who left school in her Grade Twelve year is doing nothing but watching movies all day, sleeping and announcing she feels sick whenever I ask her for something that might involve some motivation.  But then she will ask to go and see a movie in the evening or hang out with friends all weekend.

I know kids and families need time to adjust to this new way of learning when leaving the traditional school system but this seems particularly challenging.  So I went to my library to get some support from popular homeschooling books out there.  The first one just came in and it is titled If Learning is so Natural, Why am I going to School?  by Andrew Nikiforuk.  It opens with this quote and I felt compelled to share it.

“We need better government, no doubt about it.  But we also need better minds, better friendships, better marriages, better communities.  We need persons and households that do not have to wait upon organizations but can make necessary changes in themselves on their own.”

–  Wendell Berry

Memoir Writing: Discover Your Life: How is it going?

I am checking in.  How is it going?  Are you writing?  Boy, I must admit this September has been a challenge for me.  There is so much going on at home I am just swimming.  This post was supposed to happen yesterday and there are not many hours left in today!  How do we keep a schedule?  How do we maintain goals?

It is so easy to pick up your note-book and pen and write today and then leave it for a day, week, month, year or even decade!  Too easy.  We leave it, stumble across it, make an intention to pick it up again and then get busy and never do.  Next thing you know it has been on the to-do list the longest and you wonder if you are ever going to finish it!  Are you?

The other day I read a blog post from a fellow writer.  In it she references a blog post she read that inspired her.  I would like to pass it on to you here and see if helps you find a routine, or to reinstate your desire to write a reflection of your self.  Cause I think recording our views, thoughts, perspectives, events and stories of our worlds is very important and for each one of us it will be for different reasons.  More on that later.

Here is the link and please follow her links.  They are very insightful!

Have a happy week!

A Bit of Sunlight: Deserving

September 21st, 2010

Dear Self,

I just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love.  I am now confused as to what happened in the book or the movie or both.  Not sure.

While I was reading the book I folded corners over of pages that resonated with me.  I thought I would now reflect on those pages or comments from the end to the beginning – yes in that order.  I will see if I can finish reflecting prior to a nap.  I hope this venting of feelings will be healing in some way.

The last thing she, Elizabeth Gilbert, says that really hung on me is the concept of ‘paying back’ people who have helped us live and showed us kindness.  I always feel like I need to pay back to these people.  There is this constant pull to owe someone something.  People give me so much that I feel forever in debt to society as a whole.  EPL (Eat, Pray, Love) says that we should maybe stop trying to pay back and instead continually say thank you sincerely and honestly for as long as we have voices.  Somehow this never feels like enough to me.  I am forever feeling undeserving of people’s help.

I need to get past this part of myself that feels like I owe somebody, or everybody, something. I need to get past this part of me that always feels guilty for living. Guilty for receiving love. I’ve often told myself that my life is too good to be true so something bad is going to happen. I feel guilty all the time. I feel undeserving.

On Saturday after my sutra study class Debra, the facilitator and yoga instructor, and I were chatting. She was telling me about things her business advisor has told her. He said that in our culture people pay with money as a means to say thank you. Some cultures give food for sacrifice but in our culture it is monetary and it should be honored and respected. Spend it wisely.

She also mentioned another piece of worldly advice from her business advisor. She said that you can’t be all things to all people. While I know this I forget it or subconsciously feel that it doesn’t apply to me.  I bend myself in every direction to make everyone happy and am flooded with guilt if someone is not.

Memoir Writing: Discover Your Life: Imprinting

What are the images and perceptions we gained from ourselves as children from our parents? They instilled in us some of the first police we have about ourselves. (Remember, if you get a glimmer of some memory peaking in at the edge of your mind grab hold of it! Don’t let it sneak away!)

There is no doubt that we grew up with love in our house hold.  Although I am pretty sure it came almost all from my dad.  He would give us hugs and piggy backs to bed.  He would play games with us, trapping us in his legs and giving us whisker rubs on our checks.

Dad with three of us. I am the one with the bottle.

Mom booted us outside so she could have some quiet in the house.  She only ‘hugged’ me twice as a child.  They were not really hugs.  I just got to lay my head on her lap once cause I was tired on the bus ride from Rose Valley to Saskatoon.  The other time I was on her lap.  As an adult she hugs me all the time though.  When she sees me hugging my kids she says that she never thought to hug us girls when we were little.

This is an old picture but it is one of my favourites of mom and I.

Going down town with dad was like being a superstar when I was a kid.  All four of us girls in tow as dad led the way down the street, in and out of stores.  We were Hjalmar’s girls – his “four dolls” as we were often refered too.  I sware dad took us to town just to get attention.  He was otherwise a very quiet and reserved man.

One thing I wish dad never taught me was the notion that what I had to say was not important.  My dad is 52 years older than I am.  He raised my three sisters and I with the idea that children are to be seen and not heard.  When we speak it was only to answer the questions we were asked and not to say anymore.  If I was caught carrying on then I got a firm squeeze on the shoulder or arm or even plainly said to me, “That’s enough now.”  This left me feeling embarrassed and ashamed of myself.

This message is deep within me.  I am attempting public speaking lessons with Toastmasters and let me tell you it pops up.  My voice trails off when I assume I am ‘carrying on’.  It is going to be hard  habit to break.

In summary I grew up with the two messages of be quiet and listen to others while being cute.  Too this day when my husband says I am cute it drives me batty.  It feels like the biggest insult.

He also taught me to be of service to others no matter the cost of myself but that is probably a whole book.  Hey, I guess it might be Sunlight.  Hmm…

Back to this blog post.  What messages did you receive from your parents as children and how does it impact you now?