Tuesday, October 15, 2019

To the forest musings

Today was another day in the forest. I usually hate fall, the darkness, the cooler weather. Somehow, being outside in it, appreciating it for what it is, helps me to enjoy it more. And not all the societal must haves like pumpkin spice everything, and farm parks. I do enjoy a good corn maze however. Perhaps, for me just being outside and noticing things outside my normal realm of thought, things that go on whether I am looking or not, things of beauty to marvel at, those have a quality to calm me and make me realize its going to be okay.

Today in the forest, I was fixated on making a leaf mosaic, I encouraged the children to pick their favorites to put in and we made it together. Somehow, making that art was satisfying. Perhaps, I am a maker at heart. Somehow if there is order and balance, I can be at peace. I think today that I needed that peace.

The children surprised me in their own way in their making, not in the way I wanted to be, but instead of their own imagination. There were leaf beds and rock drums and log hotels and it was marvelous to see the creativity that went into their play scheme. As it is through play that they learn and it is so neat to see them carry it all out.

I realize at times, that volunteering in the position of director for our Cleveland chapter is a bit daunting at times, but I do think it is more rewarding than not and therefore able to be continued. Perhaps there will be a point when it is not so, but for now I like it. Connecting people in nature and witnessing children engineering their orchestrations and multi-age play and generations coming together, its worth it.

Monday, October 7, 2019


A poem for the Kit Lit Contest happening on Math Is Everywhere. 


by Kiera Kurak

Pumpkin Seed

Pumpkin Grown

Pumpkin Picked

Pumpkin Painted

Pumpkin Carved

Pumpkin Lantern

Pumpkin Pie


Image #7 from contest

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

a local conference

Reading the daily readings today, it reminded me that sometimes we need to be renewed and refreshed in the good that is God so we can keep on keeping on in the beautiful mess that is our world. Prior to this, I was honestly weary of another conference when the Cleveland Catholic's Women Conference first came about. The over stimulated with people bit in me just thought, ugh, another thing where people will get half-assed speaches about being faithful and crap and then just go back to daily routine.

Today, though for some reason it hit me differently, that at times we need these bits of renewals these refreshing bits of what we know to be true but has gotten lost in the gun shootings and broken glasses and poop accidents. So I'm coming around to I think its good.That maybe I need this and perhaps you do too. Its hard to keep going a million miles an hour and not have time to stop and say thank-you and realize you are just one part of many that you aren't isolated in your struggle, we all have it, and we all can find solace in the goodness of God. And this gives a place to do that.

So I am buying a ticket to go. How I will get there, I am not sure, maybe I will catch a ride, maybe I will take a bus, or bike my way over. Whatever it be, I'll be going. Maybe you should too.


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A do over

I feel like perhaps the full moon got the best of us today. We struggled today. It started out fine, but I think something went amiss at forest school. During introductions, two of my children ran away and then at the tail end of it, one of my kids pushed another off of a bike rack hurting him in the process. Then somehow it seemed that the big kids had it in their mind that they were going up the path that has a giant set of stairs, but they didn’t have that direction to be able to do that. And since we had a lot of new attendees, my kids were basically the only people leading the group. It was a bit chaotic. I went the lower path way with the others who had not gone up and helped them along. My littlest was being her normal adventurous 2yo self, so we wandered our way over to basecamp. In the last bit Helena saw me and started crying right away, because she was with people she didn’t know and she needed a familiar face. And things were okay for a while, but then my boys were fighting with each other and then my oldest at one point hit someone and it was just all downhill from there. On the way back I lost a kid and just felt terrible about how little control I had. I think ultimately it was just the feeling that as much as we were used to having friends surrounding us, there were a lot of new faces today, and while its great to get people out, we missed the sense of a tribe today because its vacation season and so regulars aren’t coming so much.

And then at home it was just. more screaming and crying and I am thankful that at the end of the day my husband went to the corner chocolate shop and got a frozen mouse pop. It just helped.

So tomorrow is another day, and I am so glad of that.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mother’s Day

While the shock isn’t there anymore, I will always remember that I lost a baby the day after Mother’s Day. It sometimes makes me not have the best smile on this day. I know that God is good, and I will sing his praises because I have seen his work in my life, but at times I need to remember. I am thankful for what I have, I am thankful for Ben and his wise beyond years words, for Ephraim and his ability to do things athletically that I only have dreamt about, for Helena and her ability to always be up for a party, and for Stellamaris who just sets her own bar and makes us laugh along the way.

But there are 2 people that I held inside me for a little while, that I long for a reunion in Heaven one day. And one of their loss day’s is this week. You don’t ever get over grief, you just don’t. It will sneak up on you and drag you in on days when you are supposed to be joyous.

This past week, I was set to have an outpatient surgery to take care of a troublesome vein in my left leg. 6 pregnancies later, its just spent and it needs to be fixed so I can have a better quality of life and perhaps one day think about another baby down the road. But again, I went in and it didn’t work. My vein was once again squirrelly and they couldn’t catch it. So I again get to reschedule another surgery, this time with general anesthetics. So maybe one day it will be fixed.

Recently also, I have been told I need thousands of dollars of soft tissue grafting on my gums, I have moderate gum disease due to again many pregnancies. They don’t mention as a side effect of many pregnancies you will get gum disease. But perhaps like me you will.

So Friday, I was exhausted after another no go, and then I got mad. Mad because this is an effect of a fallen world. That somehow I have to be the one to sacrifice because I want to take a chance on love. I guess I am being prideful.

Intellectually I understand that with love is sacrifice, but sometimes it just feels really unfair that is a mother who constantly sacrifices. And I do take care of myself, I leisurely read and write every Saturday for myself. I make sure I get out with other women and am in nature because it soothes my soul. I walk everywhere I can.  But yet motherhood really truly is built in to be sacrifice and that means you get beaten up along the way. It hurts, it hurts in the name of love, but it still hurts.

So soon I will try my best to be okay once again with being the Velveteen Mother as Ann Voskamp calls it. But for now I am still sitting with the hurt and the hardness, and I think that’s gotta be okay sometimes.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

How did I get here...FFS edition

Free Forest School in Cleveland has taken off.  A little over a year ago, I had found out about the parent organization off of Instagram when someone mentioned what they did for science in their homeschool curriculum was go to something called Free Forest School. I had no idea something like it existed.

I tried to influence friends to look into starting a chapter. I knew at the time I couldn’t because I was teaching a class and running a co-op, and running Cleveland Blessed Is She among other various things I had decided worthy of my time.

June came around and everyone I knew was leaving Cleveland that were instrumental in groups of mine. And the school no longer could provide classes because there were no students of that age wanting the school environment offered. I needed something as a project, I’m a jumper and I like community.  Insert Free Forest School.

But then we left for Indianapolis for a month and everything felt as if it was on hold. I couldn’t fill out the paper work and I just felt a bit stuck. I enjoyed Indianapolis immensely, but just needed to get going with this project of mine. At the same time I got invited to a co-op that I wouldn’t be running the show on, so my kids could have that too and it just was nice to not have think of everything on my own.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy starting things and seeing what they become. I really do, sometimes its just nice not to have to expend all that energy to do every activity. Its probably why when my kids play sports I never coach. Even if I have a lot of knowledge of that sport, I literally need the rest and they need the break from me running the show.

We came back and right away I started up a group that would be scouting sites for a pilot forest school location. It took us at least 5 tries to get the right location. We had glass, or mega drop offs, sites with only creeks and not enough varied terrain. It was a patience thing because I really wanted to be able to say we were doing this and we knew what we were doing. We then did find a site and I turned in the paperwork and then I waited and waited. One thing about a volunteer run organization is that you cannot expect speediness in reply at times. Its okay and I appreciate what they do but we just ran rogue for a while that way setting up events under an interest group and it was okay. I still had everyone sign the waiver. :)

Near the end of October it got a bit crazy because we got the okay to go with the school and so we did. Simultaneously I had a volunteer speak up saying she wanted to start her own site on the east side of Cleveland, we had settled on a west side location, so this seemed perfect. The one hard thing was trying to balance a new volunteer with me just learning the ropes myself with giant handbooks being given to me to read and a new site to manage. But somehow, probably with grace, we did it.

We then had regular meetings in two places, and it was slow over winter, but also awesome. People hibernate in the winter, at least in Cleveland. But we did not, and I feel like it honestly made me a happier person to do so. I think my kids did better with that outside free time as well. And we just learned how to do proper winter gear along the way.

As more people joined the consensus was to get a Saturday session going. A large portion of our members had week commitments but could make weekend events.  So we tried to get volunteers and eventually we did, in two locations!

And now spring has sprung in Cleveland, and the masses are coming out for the forest. We are trying to set up locations everywhere basically at variable times. I think because I like setting people going on these things, you wouldn’t think I’m an introvert, but I am, so I enjoy my books and down time as well. The large groups scare me, that I am in charge of these folks in some way. The movement itself is awesome. That is where I am at today.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Happy Birthday, Ben!!

Dear Ben,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! You are 9 and that means you are halfway to adulthood. You were my first baby that I got to hold in my arms. You often remind me that technically you weren’t my first-first baby because you are a rainbow baby and you identify with that with your sister who is one as well. You are wise beyond your years at times and I often sit back and watch you operate a conversation as an adult would, perhaps better than some adults. 

You challenge me in your personality as it's a dynamic one, but I think you are amazing in it. You are not afraid to voice your opinion, sometimes to a fault. I blame the Great British Baking Show for that one. Paul Hollywood, I’m looking at you. However, lacking fear in this, and having persistence in what you want to accomplish will probably do you well in life. 

It’s been fun watching you grow and seeing how you react to certain situations. You have taken off with reading this year reading chapter book after chapter book. You still will listen to an audio book without limits, a good story captivates you every time. 

Your love of video games abounds and sometimes its hard for me to enter into this world with you, but I try in bits and you welcome me graciously. You will always share about your favorite game no matter what. 

I pray for you to grow even more this year, and I am thankful to know you as you. Keep being you and love everyone no matter what. 

With Love,
Your Mama