06 February, 2017

True Pain knows True Joy

I miss her everyday.
Sunrise beach clean up with my son Elias today was,  well…  Beautiful sunrise, amazing waves, and the remnants of yesterdays celebrations scattered for miles.  It is constitution day in Mexico.  We gathered 3 bags of discarded plastic and styrofoam.   It was an amazing, disheartening, beautiful, difficult, joyful, challenging experience.  For many reasons.

So, Ive been reflecting and asking.  How does one survive the tragedies of life?  How do we get through times of utter pain, despair, hurt beyond knowledge?

The thing is… pain is real.  Deep suffering occurs because something happened to you.  And you have choices.  You can choose how you deal with your suffering.  However, there are wrong ways to suffer.  Or maybe I should say there are ways to suffer that only lead to more suffering.

We all suffer.  We all experience pain.   And when we push the pain away, distract ourselves, pretend that it didn’t happen, we only create an underlying anxiety.  The pain doesn’t go away if you simply cover it up.  It remains unseen.  And the anxiety of hiding the pain is often more painful than the pain itself.

So, I do my very best to brave the darkness, allow the hurt and let my little light shine. Moment by moment by moment, Feeling it.  I’ve said it before… and I’ll say it again.  To know true joy, you must experience pain (we all experience pain).  So don’t cover it up- brave those dark moments. Cry.  Hurt. Allow.  Be.   If everything in life was rainbows and roses…  we wouldn’t appreciate it.  We wouldn’t know that rainbows are promising and special. And roses smell sweet and hold color and beauty.   We know this because we have seen stinky trash, land fills, pollution and more.

I am going to make some a bold statements here.  There is joy in pain.  There is pleasure in displeasure.  There is good in bad.  There is beauty in ugliness.
To know the good is to know the bad.
Love hurts.

As a parent who lost a child, as a woman who has suffered through an abusive marriage, as a mother of living children that I hurt for daily, I know pain.  And I have the wonderful, beautiful, amazing gift of knowing love.

And I conclude, one of the greatest gifts you can give your children is allowing them to suffer.  To suffer the natural consequences of ones own choices is part of the process to finding true joy.  

23 January, 2017

Disney Alaska~

I met my husband in Alaska back in the summer of 2000.  He on break from BYU and I, hitch hiking around the state finding adventures.

It was a surreal time in my life.  A time of new found hope and healing for me.  It is an amazing gift to return to AK each summer as a family.  Still, a place of healing, heart healing.  Now watching my children enjoy this magnificent green land is truly a gift.

The Disney Wonder will be our home for a month this summer.  It is an amazing ship.  It was remodeled since we were last on board.  I am especially excite to try Tiana's Place- the new restaurant.

17 January, 2017

7 Years on the planet- Happy Birthday Ruby Catherine

I am a little surprised at how much they love school here in Mexico.
Friendships have come easily and naturally.

Ruby Catherine wanted a horse riding birthday party. 
It was a very fun day in Mexico, and it wouldn't be complete with out a piƱata.

12 January, 2017

Local Schools

I'm volunteering at a local school for a few hours each morning.  It has been a wonderful learning experience, both for me and my kids.  
Only Spanish is spoken at school.  
We are all increasing our vocabulary.

The best part though, is the FRIENDS! We have met so many wonderful kids and teachers.

So, as a special educator I have made several observations in this school here in Isle de la Piedre, Mexico.  It is interesting to me to see how other countries and cultures work with children, including those with special needs. 

There are a number of children with special needs at the school, some with physical disabilities and some with other challenges.  Just as in the states, some of the children need/benefit from having a paraprofessional in the classroom.   At this school most of the paraprofessionals are the parent or relative of the child with special needs, and if they are not, they are paid by the family of the child with special needs.  I am not writing to place judgement on their system in any way.  

I see pros and cons to this kind of system.  Pro: the child is working with someone who knows them and their specific needs well.  Con:  The child's parent is unable to get income during their time spent at the school which can lead to financial struggle.  The list could go on...   I just observe.  And the more time I spend in these classrooms the more I love the people.  

06 January, 2017

Here's to Adventures in 2017

Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.  -Buddha

Our adventure continues.  We love Mexico.  Living in an RV has its pros and cons.  Overall we are pleased with our situation.  I really miss having a bath tub, but seeing the ocean from my kitchen table is truly a gift. 

The kids have met some friends.  At our trailer park there are kids who to attend the local school, so we decided to give it a try for a month.  Awesomeness.  I volunteer every day, helping with reading and English, and I also get to spend 1:1 time at the school reading with my kids.  It creates a nice structure in our daily routine. (one of the cons of our last location).  Life is good.  

In all situations there is opportunity for joy.  I hope I can focus my lens on the abounding joy around me.  We live on a little island somewhat isolated.  We ride a boat to town if we need something the market here doesn't have-  Or if we need Urgent Care because we just got stung by a Sting Ray.  The boat ride is about 8 minutes and costs 8 pesos.

The island is indigenous- owned by the native tribe.  No one can buy land on the island-  only rent or if you build a structure (ie house, restaurant, laudria) you do not own it..  The tribe owns it.  It is actually very interesting.   No one owns anything here unless they are native.  Most of the island is 3rd world living.  As I drove the kids to school this morning we passed a mother hen with a cluck of new baby chicks.  I ride my bike around a lot more here than I did in Mazatlan.  It is amazingly beautiful.  Definitely my favorite location so far.

Ruby Catherine was stung by a Sting Ray.
It was traumatic and painful.  The venom can cause serious reactions depending on the location of the sting, how deep the barb went it etc...  Ruby Catherine is fine.  We were at Urgent Care for several hours as she received an IV to counter act the venom.  Apparently this is a little more common here than in Minnesota.  Ha.  The doctor was a young (yet quite skilled) woman.  And health care here is incredibly cheap when compared to the US.

03 January, 2017

Villa del Mar

We said goodbye to this lovely little Villa today.  We really enjoyed our time here.  Alfredo the owner was kind and helpful.  The showers were always clean and had hot water.  I could hear the ocean waves from my bedroom window.  What more can a girl want?

14 December, 2016

Schooling on the Road

Schooling on the road has gone better than I anticipated.  Before leaving I had concerns (not so mindful moments) about less than motivated children when it came to academic studies while living on the road.  I feel a weight of responsibility when it comes to providing a good education. I just want to help my kids to reach their highest potential.

Of course much of their education is simply the experiences they are having. One of the beauties of children is that they are always learning.  Whether we are spending a day at the beach or at the market great questions arise (eg how do Jelly fish sting people? How do I say "bathroom" in Spanish?, What kind of fish is that boat fishing for?).  Their questions lead to some fabulous educational dialogue-  and the best part is that they asked the question so they WANT to know (unschooling).

As for the more formal academics, we have gotten into a routine.  The kids do reading, writing, and math in the morning- then they have play time or experience based education- ocean time, or  their jungle fort, or mural painting.  All of which have created some great learning.

The Mural work is a refurbishment of some art that was fading and chipping away from years past.  We only have 3 paint colors to work with red, yellow and blue.  Mixing has been so educational and fun.  It is still a work in progress.

29 November, 2016

Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico

Grandma and Grandpa joined us for a visit.

Surfs up.

You better watch out.

Weathered in cold, rain and snow
Aged in the hot summer sun
Waiting to be reclaimed
We drift through joy and sorrow as one.

Our paint flecked off long ago,
Newness a fond memory
Cut down, worn, nailed through the heart
Then sanded smooth in new understanding

I’ve long had an affinity
For the provincial, rustic, yet firm
Helpmeet, partner, lover of mine
Did our love adapt, conform?