8 Years Unschooling to the First Day of Public High School

This is a really overdue blog post. The whole transition of unschooler-to-public-schooler actually started almost 2 years ago. So excuse me while I quite possibly make this the longest blog post I’ve ever written (or in case it takes you two years to read it). Because I’m sure many of you can understand, there’s a lot that goes into a story like this. Continue reading “8 Years Unschooling to the First Day of Public High School”

6 Months In and It’s Kinda Sorta Maybe Starting to Feel Like Home, I Think

Six months has flown by. Our lease is already half up. We barely feel moved in.

We flew home to Las Vegas last month to visit family and hold some essential oils events. While we were there we rummaged through my mama’s attic, condensing the remaining artifacts of our previous life, trying to cut ties to what we no longer want to carry around with us but can’t stand to throw away. Continue reading “6 Months In and It’s Kinda Sorta Maybe Starting to Feel Like Home, I Think”

Gratitude Is All That’s Left (when we stop trying so hard)

Very last page of my very first #artjournal.

It’s Thanksgiving week. Our little family of three is planning our dinner and a long weekend, disconnected from the ‘puters and connecting with the tangible world.

We have yet to finish building our table. We’ve yet to find a couch we love. So we’ll be eating our meal in a camping chair. And we’re okay with that. Continue reading “Gratitude Is All That’s Left (when we stop trying so hard)”

The only blog post in which I can talk about Rocky Horror Picture Show and the Ego in one breath (okay, maybe two)

This little piece of fringe culture has been on my Bucket List for like, 87 years. Literally.

Or it was on my Bucket List. Because we went recently and it was beyond epic. We sat out in the cold. We threw rice. We yelled profanities. And Justin even did the Time Warp (happily he has no rhythm, which made it that much better).

This weekend I’m getting my nose re-pierced. Something I’ve been wanting to do for nearly a flipping decade since I took my last one out. Continue reading “The only blog post in which I can talk about Rocky Horror Picture Show and the Ego in one breath (okay, maybe two)”

Hello Life, My How You’ve Grown

Dappled. My #widn is really more of a #wiwdt since I'm driving now and this photo is cooler than the glove compartment.

June 2nd marked the longest we’ve ever been in one place since we’ve traveled. (I’m totally not counting the months we were in Vegas upgrading rigs.) We’ve now been in this spot for two and half months. In this area for 4 and half months. In this state seven and a half.

No, I don’t consider us off the road yet. Yes, I realize I’m being stubborn. 😉

We’re still in the RV. We’re still not making any real plans.

We’re only looking day-by-day. Today, tomorrow, maybe this week, a little into next month. We’re open. Open to the idea that we have no idea. Open to the experience of Whatever This Is. Open to be directed through it all, just flowing with it, a little Lazy River of Life right now.

The synergy has been tremendous. Tree. Men. Duss.

It’s like planting these seeds in our little RV Garden. We pushed them down in the soil, and then we waited. Hours, then days, even weeks went by. We questioned how we planted them, if we were nurturing them properly, even what it was we had planted. And we kept watering and watching and waiting.

Destined for the smoothie. #green #localfood #rvgarden

I had little idea when we planted ourselves here in FL what the hell we were watering or watching for but it’s just beginning to poke through. At first it looked a little like what we’ve been calling weeds and I had to call about a lot of patience (our monthly Guiding Word in the Sisterhood for June) to not pluck it out of the ground right then and there. But instead, we watered and watched and waited for it to grow, to see what it would become.

And it became clear pretty early on that this space is not really about me (ahoy! what a novel idea!). This space, from what I can see, is Justin’s space. His turn. He’s taking on challenges he only just told me he couldn’t handle 3 months previous, and with an expertise and a hunger and a certainty his quieter nature is not accustomed to. He first took on a job that he knew would be fun and challenging, then received a promotion that would be more challenging than fun. Now he’s got a fancy title, his own business cards, a work van and a voice in a company that is teaching him to embrace his gifts and strengths and sharpen the duller edges of his axe to match. He’s got a roadmap and a stepping stone and bigger things to come.

He was waiting at the door when I got home. #turtle

My role has been to hold space, to support, to ground, to bear witness, to stoke fires, and to send him out into a whole new world with a lunchbox full of affirmations and iced coffee. Life hasn’t ignored me though. It’s sent me spiritual teachers and new friends and the very thing to that will enable me to be patient: community to tend my own fires and reminders of what I get to do myself. His being “at work” has given me more space to do my work here and elsewhere, to delve into creative projects, and tweak and finesse the things that need tweaking and finessing. I’ve had time to do more in less hours (how the hell did that happen?).

It’s not without puzzles. Justin and Zeb still haven’t found their community yet, and that’s something we’re ready for. The dance between home and not home is still resulting in a few bumped toes while we work out the subtler aspects of timing and pace and oh yeah, there’s a grocery store to get to today. And the “stuff” accumulates the longer this RV stays in one spot.

Perhaps the ONLY sane response to a deluge is to go splashing through the puddles it creates. #surrender

But I can’t say there is anything off, anything “bad”, anything that isn’t working. Even the heavy rains…they seem crucial, necessary, a needed part of the operation of whatever this will show itself to be. They seem integral to what is to come. The deluge to infuse the growth. And they keep create these warm puddles of laughter to go stomping through.

It all looks and feels and IS exactly wonderful, even if I’m not quite sure if it’s going to be complete in 2 months or 2 years. I don’t feel like I’ll live here forever, not even for a long time. But the definition of “long time” is slowly morphing in my mind, and my fears are turning into jokes as we laugh about not really living here, even though we kinda do.

How we rock a date night. Wagner style.

We’re just Here for now. And when it’s time for Here to change, we’ll find ourselves in another Here. And until then we’ll keep plucking caterpillars off our tomatoes and having date nights at the water park and surrendering all those ideas that any of this means anything other than All Good. Because it could all change again in an instant, as Life is prone to do, but that doesn’t mean anything more than another Right Here, Right Now.

Don’t get me wrong. All the ingredients are here for a This Sucks recipes. But it’s just not what I’ve been cooking. So it’s good. It’s just all really, really good.

A Beautiful Surrender to Our For Now Home

Oh and this. This will be our For Now home for the foreseeable future.  #offtheroad #rv #groundednomad

That pic above? That’s us in our For Now home, grounded in the panhandle of FL for the foreseeable future. (If you missed that on the blog, you can find the details here.)

It’s been pretty incredible, this transition “off the road”. It’s come with a fair share of challenges, like missing my man now that he’s gone all day.

But it feels so very right, too.

We both are quite surprised by how right this feels. Walking together last night, we both just breathed it all in and felt like we were home. It felt good, even if we don’t know what it means (after all, this is only suppose to be for a year or so – who knows what is coming down the road).

I’ve learned something interesting from this though:

I really have no flipping idea what to expect anymore.

Talk about surrender. I’ve completely let go of all expectation of what we’re doing, when we’re doing it, or how it’s going to work out, except one: I fully expect Life to guide us where we get to go.

It’s funny how my Guiding Word for 2013 (surrender) was so freaking terrifying to me back in November, and now it feels so warm and comforting and safe…like it’s become a sacred friend and a true (and gentle when I go with it) guide. I can’t imagine the mess I’d be right now if Surrender hadn’t been working with me for so many months already. I can’t imagine where it will continue to take me, but I’m in complete trust of it now.

(1 of 2) During our RV blessing today this little guy appeared. #frog #messenger #treefrog

As we pulled into our new spot, Justin and I walked around doing a little smudgy blessing, speaking words of love and intention and prayer. And this little tree frog showed up, having hitched a ride on our RV from our last spot.

He sat in my hand awhile, looked up at me like he had a lot to say, and then hopped on my chest.

(2 of 2) Then he hopped on for a ride and we went down for a sit together by the river. Like our own tiny Welcoming Committee. #frog #treefrog #messenger #totem

And there he rode down to the river that is our backyard. I tried to set him down but he stayed put, even jumping back to me when I tried to release him. So we sat for a few moments while I deliberated (and Googled) the symbolism behind these little guys.

The first thing I read:

When the frog jumps into your life it may indicate now is a time to find opportunities in transition. We see animal symbolism of transition with the frog in its unique growth cycle. The frog undergoes incredible transformations to reach the destination of full adulthood, and so do we as humans.

Could Life be any more clear? 😉

I have no idea why we’re here or how long we’ll be here. I know it will come with challenges of its own. But I also know it’s exactly where I need to be to do exactly what I get to do in order to transition into my own spiritual adulthood. And for once I don’t feel anxious. I just feel trust.

P.S. It’s never too late for a Guiding Word.

In the Sisterhood there is a private little care package, an ebook to help you DIG IN to your upcoming year and find that Guiding Word that will take you through it. It’s not just for New Year’s though. It’s for anytime you can hear Life speaking to you about a new direction and you’re ready to listen with intention. This little care package, Digging Into 2013, is currently only available to the Organic Sisterhood. You can learn more here.

Chronicles of a Grounded Nomad: Just like that, we’re “off the road”…

A good morning reminder...

Life has been taking me on a ride. Not the roller coaster variety where the twists and turns leave you nauseated and thrown around, clenching and screaming, wobbly legged and spinning when it’s over. So that’s good. 😉

This is more of a balloon ride. Lifting off the earth, and back down again, but in a soft and fluid motion. Because this is what it’s like when you move with the nature of the world. When you surrender.

I’ve had more peaks and valleys than I can count. More scenes to see that I can recall. There have been times when I thought for sure this one or that was It. It would be the one that popped our balloon or took us over the mountain or settled us back to the ground but each and every time the clouds would smile crookedly and the wind would chuckle and twist us ’round to a new direction, a whole new scene.

This has been Life teaching me surrender.

Teaching me to loosen up my grasp and just allow myself to float, allow the dips and swings to realign me and shake me from my sentry post and just let go. Show me that there is no such thing as gravity when I’m not in a death grip with the thing trying to catapult me to the ground.

Oh #Hafiz. Yes please to this wind. #poetry

Soft and gentle. This is Surrender.

It takes my second guessing and my worry and my deeply seeded desire to navigate the winds, and it wraps a sense of peace around me. So that everything is still there, snugly wrapped as well; I’m just warmer and cushioned from the harshness of the wind.

And just like that, amidst invitation to the Ricki Lake show and wildly persistent muses and an inbox that has been trying to eat me alive, we were welcomed home.

Three years of being a stay-at-home dad and six weeks of looking for a position (that felt more like 47), Justin took a job.

He’ll be a foreman again, dusting off his tools that we’ve so carefully lugged from state to state, and building with his hands once more. He’s leading crews and relishing in that sense of pride that comes when your employer is as excited to have found you as you are to have found him. (I mean, they even share a love for the Packers! Annie, can you believe the luck?!)

He’ll be on overtime and coming home fulfilled and tired. And our life will be transitioning to find that sweet spot where his dreams are nurtured right alongside mine, right alongside Zeb’s (who is dreaming of jujitsu), because we’re not quite sure how we’ll get the errands run and the dinner made and the work done with all of us suddenly going and no one full-time at the helm of this ship.

But more so, I’m not quite sure how it’ll be, being Floridians for awhile.

And just like that we were welcomed home. Details coming in about a week. #lifeontheroad #settlingdown

Freeport, Florida, in the panhandle.

This will be our home for the foreseeable future. Not forever, I don’t think, but for awhile.

When we drove up we knew it as home. It breathed us in and we breathed it in, and we heard our exhales say hello to one another and our roots start reaching down.

There is an eager and kind old man who laughs from behind the wheel of his golf cart and shares with openness the pros and cons of this special little RV spot that will be our own. And we like that in our landlords.

There a lazy, sprawling river with fingers inching in every direction and kayaks waiting by the shore. There’s talk of crocodiles but only with reassurances that they’re friendly. 😉

There are trees. Big and loping ones. The kind that look as though they may lumber around at night, and cast ghostly shadows with their robes and play tricks on where you left your bike.

There’s a place for my furry kid to run and play freely, and for my hairy kid to swim and watch TV with friends. We’re not too sure who our neighbors will be or if there will be young blood to ride bikes with, but a jujitsu class might solve that problem.

There’s space and time and stillness to delve into my work and my self-care and find a rhythm to our days that doesn’t include a twice-monthly uprooting and relocating.

There’s a calm that is longed for after such a grand adventure as ours has been.

But more than anything, there’s a door opening, asking me to step through.

And it feels right. It feels welcoming and safe.

And none of that means my heart is not aching. For all changes have their melancholy, I’m remembering, even the longed for ones. And I’m doing again as Anatole said I’d do, as I’ve always done: I’m dying a little to my old life to step into this place between lives….between our life on the road and our Someday Home, full of chickens and gardens and yurts for gathering.

This is where Life is showing me – slowly and gently – what it will be like to step through that bigger door that’s coming down the road.

And there’s always a sadness to these things for me, when I throw my arms around the neck of that one I’ve loved, will always love, not knowing if time and fate will bring us together again. Not knowing if age or circumstance will take away my friend and if this will be my last goodbye.

I’ve never been bad at goodbyes but they are getting harder, especially when the goodbye seems like it’s to a part of myself. Maybe it is only the jaded view of years gone by that have changed me. I’m no longer so certain it will all pan out and that I won’t hurt a little when Life sticks its finger in the soup and changes the flavor of our expectations.

Cuz this For Now Home might only be for the summer, or it could be for a year or more. It is only meant to be a long-term place to stop our wheels, but it could someday mean a bricks-and-sticks house. Cuz Life could always throw in a dash of this and a dollop of that and I may or may not find myself a long term Floridian, growing up right next door to where my mama followed her first love out and had her second baby while her heart got broken by a soldier. (Life likes to take our stories full circle like that and lace together those crazy coinciding details we tend to call “coincidences”.)

And it all carries that vibe of coincidence. Where things fit together and you have a funny sense of déjà vu over somewhere you’ve never been and your heart is aching while your world is being thrown open with one major life event after another.

February and March 2013. I’ll be talking about these months with my grandchildren, or the neighbor kids who care to humor me, around a fire or a porch swing someday. I’ll be telling the story of how our world pivoted, and I’ll likely be stretching the details to captivate the antsier listeners. I can see it now, only I can’t hear the end of the story, the direction of the pivot just yet.

I can only hear that dual inhale and exhale, and that warm blanket that Life has wrapped around my shoulders to keep me from the coldness of the worry and heartache of goodbyes that likes to nip at the back of my neck these days, while it whispers Welcome Home. For now.

I wrote this last week, while I was deep in the process of surrendering to it all. It sounds a little forlorn because it was. It’s funny how much changes in a span of a week, how much excitement and readiness comes in when we give space to process the funk that rises up first (funk is so pushy!).

Now? Now I’m freaking excited!

My husband’s first day at his new job was today, and he text me how much fun he’s having and how over-the-moon he is and how amazed his crew and his boss are at his mad skillz, and it’s hard to feel unsure with excitement like that.

And in two weeks we’ll be moving to our For Now Home and I’ve got plans for a container garden (my own veggies again!) and talking to the RV resort about a community garden, and new curtains, something I’ve been putting off because I didn’t know how long we’d be in this RV.

My heart is so full of excitement for Ricki Lake (you can follow THAT adventure on Instagram this week!) and all the magic that is happening in Justin and all the potential of what’s to come. Yes, there are still uncertainties and I’m sure more funk will rise up. But I’m ready for that shit. Bring it on! ♥

13. Snorkel with an underwater camera (video – and an added bonus)

I feel like I’ve been blowing through my 31 Things list. I haven’t really, but I have been working through it at a steady pace.

But #13? Oh yeah baby. Simply. Amazing.

We swam with #Jesus! Apparently that walking on water trick didn't work out so well for him here.  Can't wait to share all the video we took. @justinplayswithballs even swam with a school of fish. #epic #bucketlist #thebigchill13 #keylargo #pennekamp #chr

One of my favorite pics of the day. It's the simple things after all. #bubbles #underwater #snorkeling #mamaocean #ocean #water #blue #turquoise

Captain Zeb. #boat #ocean #diving #snorkeling

We couldn't go out with the entire crew! @heathermattern @calebabc  You guys were totes there! #thebigchill13 @caylaanngirl @bluesparklejoy @Isaiahchasingdanger

I can’t describe what it’s like to be doing things I never saw myself doing. It’s like trying to picture yourself as breaking mach speed…just not really on your radar until one day it is and you can’t believe you’re making it happen.

We went out in Key Largo, rented a boat from John Pennekamp State Park, and dove in with friends. Zeb didn’t stay for long – cold and wet and over-his-head are not really his thing.

It! Was! Amazing!

The reef was gorgeous and the fish spectacular, but what took me by surprise by the Christ of the Abyss statue. Many, many jokes were had at old Jesus’ expense, but to see it was still pretty wicked cool – way more wicked cool than you would assume.

I didn’t know how I would do snorkeling. My HSP nature makes a lot of things challenging, like cold water and strong currents that cause a sense of panic to seep in. My back and joints make it easy to hurt myself. Plus I’m just the right size to not be able to float but not be able to dive down easily either (I tend to hang just below the water – safe!).

But there comes a point in self-awareness when you can acknowledge these things about yourself and also acknowledge where you can ask for support. It’s a surprisingly sweet and wonderful point.

Enter Justin. Strong swimmer. Scuba certified. Tenderly compassionate when he understands what I need.

This man.  @justinplayswithballs

And he pretty much made me fall in love with him all over. He held my hand when the current was too overwhelming, grounding me with his presence. He pulled me through the water so I didn’t have to swim, so we could spend more time in the water before my body had had enough. He was by my side, pointing things out, making sure it was WE that had fun. He even helped me find a wetsuit a few weeks before so I wouldn’t freeze (as much).

It took us many years to get to the place of my being okay to ask for support and his giving it in the most amazing way (aware of my limits, not pushy too much and not letting me quit too soon). I’ve gone through periods of just sitting out, periods of wanting to join and wanting help but wanting him to anticipate my needs, periods of refusing all support and fighting with the reality of what is my body and its limitations.

It was kind of a wakeup call when I realized just how blessed I am to have a man who is so tender, so gentle, so eager to give. (So sexy doesn’t hurt either.)

It’s been a lesson in love – self-love but also love for him – to lean on him more.

So not only was #13 on my 31 Things list a totally amazing experience. It was a deep reminder of who this amazing man is.

 him. I would've drown out the today. Instead I had a blast. Every time I asked him to help he was there to make sure we both had fun.  @justinplayswithballs #ocean #diving #snorkeling #keylargo

Oh! And we took video! Cuz that was kinda the whole point of #13 – to capture some fun stuff. ♥

And An Added Bonus

This one may not have been on my list, but when Zeb and I got here and saw the parasailing we made a pinky-swear with one another to make it happen before we left the Keys.

And today, just him and me, we made it happen.

Best Mother-Son date ever.

Getting ready for parasailing!

This totally happened! #parasailing #keylargo #ocean #zeb

Capturing this was the best part. #zeb #parasailing #keylargo #ocean #smile #joy #fun

So much fun! I wanted to never come down. #parasailing #keylargo #zeb #laugh #smile #joy #flying

 him. #zeb #parasailing #keylargo

#Rainbow in the #sky. #colorful #keylargo #parasailing #sun

It’s late January and I hope your New Years dreams and lists are still going strong. ♥