Little Home, Big World

…what would Ma do?

My Cathedral April 24, 2011

Filed under: Blahging,Simplicity — bethanyjoy @ 2:40 pm
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‘Cause out here in the stillness, I find my house of worship

With column trees and canopy of stars, here in my cathedral.

– Chris Rice

One could do worse than to be a swinger of birches.

– Robert Frost

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.

– Henry David Thoreau

Just a few reasons why I love living where I do. This place feeds my soul…

Happy (belated) Earth Day!

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How (and why) To Vote With Your Kids April 22, 2011

Filed under: Blahging,Kids,Opinionated — bethanyjoy @ 11:43 am
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I was a wide-eyed 7-year-old in 1988, trailing my parents through the crowds at a local arena along with my older and younger brothers. We weren’t there for a hockey game, though – this was a “family field trip” and we were there for a real-life lesson on voting. At the time, I was still trying to make sense of how this had anything to do with the colorful signs all over my neighbours yards, and didn’t realize how that simple trip would impact my life – but I’ve never missed voting in a provincial or federal election since the day I walked in on my 18th birthday with ID in hand to vote for the first time, and it has a lot to do with those early memories. I wasn’t the only one to feel the importance of that day – my younger brother, Eric, is now 23 and running as a candidate for the Green Party, and attributes his interest in politics to that same trip.  Just as I’m passionate about getting out and voting, I’m equally convinced it’s important for us parents to involve our children in the process as much as possible.

We need to teach our kids responsible citizenship in the same way we teach them to brush their teeth

– through example and endless repetition.

(A little nagging never hurts, either. 😉 )


Here’s how (and why) to vote with your kids:

Ride in Style

  • HOW: Keeping infants in carseats, slings or carriers works great. Use your parental powers of persuasion to convince toddlers and preschoolers that the stroller is the sweetest ride around.
  • WHY: You’ll need at least one hand free.

Timing Is Everything

  • HOW: If your kids are preschoolers or younger, pick the time of day they’re happiest – whether that’s right after or during a nap-in-the-carseat – and hit the polls.  If your children are in school, PLEASE consider either voting this weekend in the advance polls so you can take them along, or waiting and going to vote after school or in the early evening on May 2nd.
  • WHY: Waiting to vote during meltdown hour will make the experience memorable in a whole ‘nother way. 😉 Older kids need to SEE you vote, not just talk about it. They do what we DO, not what we say…

Forewarned is Forearmed

  • HOW: Take emergency rations (cheerios, how we love thee!) and entertainment (crayons and coloring book, a few quiet toys). Make sure YOU have all your necessary ID ready and easily accessible, and that you know where you’re going before you leave the house.
  • WHY: Murphy’s law of parenting says if you’re ready to wait, you won’t have to.

Manners Matter

  • HOW: Explain the rules before hand – inside voices, stay by mom/dad, etc. Depending on where you vote, they *might* have to stay a couple of feet behind you on the “white line” or some other mark when you actually vote.
  • WHY: Going over expectations beforehand makes any outing smoother – and we want this one to be positive!

Teamwork

  • HOW: When your friend/neighbour/mother-in-law offers to watch your kids at home so you can vote, politely counter-offer with an invitation to go WITH you and the kids to vote.
  • WHY: You’ll have extra hands to help, and your kids will see even more trusted adults participating on election day – and you never know, maybe you’ll encourage your helpers to vote, too!

Talk, Talk, Talk

  • HOW: Start now – talk about the different candidates in your community, how voting works, why it’s important. Hold mock “elections” at home – vote on what’s for dinner or dessert, which movie to watch, etc. On voting day, explain each step of the process as you go.
  • WHY: As with tooth-brushing, it takes a lot of repetition and explanation to communicate the importance of voting. When children understand the concept on a small scale (yay, chocolate ice cream won tonight!) they can begin to grasp the larger scheme as well. Educating them about the process of going to vote increases the chances that when they’re eighteen, they’ll actually go and do it – because by then they aren’t going to want to listen to your advice. 😉 Give it now, while they still will.

Take Your Village

  • HOW: Team up with another parent or couple, carpool, arrange a big playdate for all the kids while the adults watch the results of the vote trickle in. Offer a ride to people in  your community who need one, and TALK to your fellow parents about the importance of voting while you watch the kids at the park, wait outside school, and watch the t-ball game. Don’t like conflict? Stay away from the “issues” and just try to motivate the vote.
  • WHY: We’re not just cogs in a machine or parents sitting on park benches. We are Canada, and it is vital that we make our voices – ALL OF THEM – heard.

May 2, 2011

Be there. Show you care.

VOTE.

I’d love to hear any other tips or suggestions you might have – how do YOU involve your kids in voting? Any strategies for going to vote? Leave a comment! And if you found this post helpful, pass it on to your fellow parents, and do what you can to motivate the vote around you! Make a difference.

 

The Benefit of Doubt April 20, 2011

Filed under: Blahging,Simplicity,Virtuosity — bethanyjoy @ 9:50 am
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I’m convinced that the more we question, the more we open ourselves up to the possibilities, the closer we are to finding our truth – some might call it “belief” or “faith”.  I prefer to think of it as simply the truth that resonates in our heart, the kind that can change our thinking and the way we react to life.

I don’t care where you find your truth, whether it’s in the pages of a holy book or graffiti on the alley wall, in the lyrics of an angry punk song or the sound of the waves on the shore. What I care about is whether you are asking the questions, and searching out every possible answer, and ONLY following the one that fits into your soul like a missing puzzle piece.

It doesn’t matter if your truth is different from mine, or if your truth is different from your parents. But finding it matters.

After you’ve found it? When you’re full of excitement and conviction and absolute, unshakeable assurance that THIS IS IT?

Let go.

Not of your truth, but of the desire to convince everyone around you that your truth is somehow “The Truth.” Because while the truth you found may fill your emptiness and change your smile, forcing it to fit into another person is like taking a chunky wooden puzzle piece from your child’s alphabet puzzle and forcing into a delicate 1000 piece puzzle of the Mona Lisa. It will not fit, no matter how you manipulate it.

Give the people you care about the gift of respect, and allow them the benefit of doubt. They’ll find their truth when they need it.

 

Just Another Day April 13, 2011

Filed under: Blahging,Kids,Writing — bethanyjoy @ 8:37 pm
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1 cup of coffee

2 lunches packed

2 children taken to school

2 others brought back

1 more cup of coffee (ok, I’ll admit to 2)

1,980 words written

2 block towers built and kicked

3 sinks of dishes washed

1 handful of bubbles hurled

3 meals made and shared

1,560 stitches knit

8 little snacks prepared

2 loads of laundry processed

5 chapters of a favorite book

1 child taken to ER

1 prescription filled

1 of 30 doses given

1 blog post shared

Just another day in an ordinary life.

A little bit crazy, and a little bit fun.

A  little bit excitement, and a little bit dull.

A little bit of wonder, a little bit of fear.

Just another day. Just another year…

 

Things I’ll Miss April 5, 2011

Filed under: Blahging,Kids — bethanyjoy @ 4:10 pm
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Marbles in the washer,
Toothpaste on the mirror,
Legos stabbing feet as I chase away bad dreams.

Endless cries of “Moooommy!”
Snacktime every hour,
Water spilled across the table, half of dinner on the floor.

My opinion being gospel,
My stories being loved,
“I need a Mommy snuggle!” whenever I cease to move.

Hugs that end with giggles,
Rubbing kisses into my cheeks,
That moment of blissful silence when they’re finally asleep.

 

Wordplay April 3, 2011

Filed under: Blahging,Writing — bethanyjoy @ 8:44 pm
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The woman stared at her computer.

The exhausted mother stared wearily at her computer screen.

The exhausted mother stared with dagger-like intensity at the glowing screen of her computer.

 

She tried to think of something to write about.

She struggled to find anything interesting to write.

She wrestled futilely with her muse, but inspiration hovered just beyond her grasp.

 

This, she thought, was the hardest part of writing.

Keeping things simple, she thought, was the part of writing she struggled with the most.

Propping her head on her hands, she stared at what she’d typed and realized – not for the first time – that finding the balance between adding enough detail to bring a piece to life but not so much as to suffocate it was really, freaking hard.

 

Making Time: A Pep Talk In Pictures March 30, 2011

Filed under: Blahging,Kids,Simplicity,Writing — bethanyjoy @ 9:48 am
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Some days, I feel like this:

Other days, I feel like this:

 

What makes the difference?

What lights you up inside?

Find out, and make it happen every day, even if only for a minute or two.

Trust me, it’s not being selfish. It’s being smart. Charge your light, and let it shine…

because everyone in your world will feel it if you don’t. 😉

 

 
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