A Fresh Start

(taps microphone) Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?

Welcome back to Warm As Pie. When I posted in July of 2019, I did not anticipate that I wouldn’t come back until 2021. I did not anticipate that in the meantime, our world would experience a pandemic that would change life for every single one of us in some way.

So many days during our lockdown, I thought about writing on this blog. I wanted to record our experience and remember the strange time of quarantine. But…it felt complicated. I realized pretty early on that I was not having the same experience as my friends and the rest of the world. I worried that my cheery posts about board games and pajama parties and learning the cello would only hurt the feelings of folks who experienced job-loss, illness, and fear. I learned a lot through 2020, and perhaps I will share some of those lessons here and there. But I am cognizant of the fact that my joy can exacerbate others’ pain, and that is the last thing I wish to do.

What have we been up to? In the last few years, some things have definitely changed. When I started this blog in 2009, I was a grad student in Education with two very small boys. Now, I am a professional birth doula with five wonderful kids. Those tiny boys are 15 and 12! My baby girl is 4 years old. Ack. I can’t take it!

In these years, our commitment to our faith and our church family have grown many times over, and our family is deeply involved in martial arts now. Almost all of us. (Just haven’t convinced Cory yet!) Tang Soo Do and Haidong Gumdo (Korean sword) are regular parts of every week. We are taking classes over Zoom these days, but it is still a lot of fun and hard work.

Photo by Moments Created Photography, August 2020
Photo by Moments Created Photography, August 2020

In all of our moves and changes, we have learned that some things never change. The moon still hangs in the sky. The sun rises in the morning. God is faithful. Love remains. We can learn together in any and all circumstances.

Homeschooling is still our education of choice. I was never more thankful for that decision than I was in March 2020 when schools closed, and teachers and parents had to scramble to find a way to make learning happen during unexpected and challenging circumstances. We kept on as usual, minus our amazing homeschool co-op. Like many homeschoolers, I reached out to help people trying to find their footing, and I watched as people dug deep and pushed up and over obstacles. New relationships were made and communities formed. New skills were discovered. We kept plugging on, aware of the blessing of norms staying normal!

Now, what? I hope to be back here at Warm as Pie each week, finding my writer-self and getting to know her again. I still have dreams in the realm of writing. I can feel that drive again. I see it peaking over the horizon, sending a few pale rays up into the blue. I hope you will join me as I figure out what that means and where it might take me.

Selfish Blogging

Confession:  I am here for self-indulgent reasons.

I have been feeling the itch to write for a long time!  I’m journaling more.  Noticing more.  Thinking more.  It’s a good feeling.  The urge to write brought me to a moment of scrolling through this old blog of mine, treasuring the moments I captured here and remembering how it felt to sit down and record my life and my thoughts.  The act of writing was rewarding; the resulting collection of memories is a treasure.

I am back to blogging for selfish reasons.  I don’t want to lose these memories! But maybe the side effect will be positive for you.  Maybe you will like what you see here and want to stick around.  Maybe you’ve been with me for a long time, and you like the way I see the world.  If so, great!  I’m glad to have you.  Let’s do life together…

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November – The Big Purge!

I am delighted to join Kristin from “Kristin’s Chaotic Life” and Heidi from “Heidi Sonboul” for a pre-holiday decluttering session.

FREE printable here >>>  CLICK!

I will be following along with Kristin and Heidi as we purge our clutter and get our homes clean and tidy for the holiday season.  My hubby and I have been getting rid of bags and bags of stuff throughout October, so this is a continuation of our efforts.  To be fair, all of our time has gone to cleaning out the basement, so we don’t have a lot to show for our work.  The Big Purge is just what I need to transform our living spaces, too.

If you would like to join in, visit the YouTube channels, grab your free printable, and comment on this post.

Happy November!

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Back to Homeschool

I love the back-to-school season!  I get so excited about all the big possibilities.  I love the return to a settled routine.  I love reconnecting with friends and trying new things in our homeschool.  When we made the decision to educate our children at home, I wondered if we would miss out on the excitement and festivities associated with returning to the school year.  What about school shopping and new school shoes and photos before jumping on the school bus?  Would I regret giving up those things?

I quickly realized that the traditions of back-to-school are easily mirrored in homeschool life.  We go back-to-school shopping, but we aren’t following a prescribed list.  We get new shoes (Thanks, Grandma!), but we aren’t worried about having “the right” shoes based on peer pressure (at least not yet).  And I love snapping first-day-of-school pictures and comparing them to previous years.  Boy, these kids grow like weeds.  Here’s a quick look at our start to school for 2018-2019:

 

October Fun!

I love October!  I love pumpkins and hay rides and festivals.  I just can’t get enough.  Oh, and babies with pumpkins–the cuteness leaves me speechless!  Here is a little peek into our October.

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Between the fun annual events–a pumpkin patch trip, a local parade,and a zoo trip–we have been working on letting go of many of our belongings.  It’s hard but freeing,and I am left feeling amazed by the amount of stuff that simply accumulates when you really aren’t looking.  Here’s to keeping our eyes open and our hearts ready for whatever comes next!

Art: A Busy Mom’s Manifesto

I pledge to make room for art in my life.

I will create art with words.

I will make art with my camera.

I will make art with clay and paper and ink and paint and fiber and pencil–even if I only have fifteen minutes!

I will explore new modes of art, and I will relish the experience.

I will make art with my cello and with my voice, even if it’s out of tune.

Even though it is hard and makes me shy and embarrassed, I promise to make art through movement.  I will dance with my children.  I will dance with my husband.  I will dance alone.  I will stretch my comfort zone and my muscles.  I will feel wind in my hair as I turn, and I will imagine a time when I could do that without worrying what others thought.  (Was there ever a time?)

I vow to make art for its own sake.

I will be a “process over product” maker, and I will ignore those internal voices that say my work isn’t good. I will hear the “why bother,” and I will remember that the value of *my* art is in the making, not in anyone’s assessment of the results.

I will claim creativity as a core value in my life, and as such, creating will sometimes come first on my to-do list with no guilt attached.

I will celebrate art in my community and honor the people around me who create in many forms.  I will seek opportunities to see others’ making or displaying art, and I will cherish those experiences with my family.

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I will say yes when my kids want to paint, sculpt, or draw.  I will join them.

I will bring art into my home, but more importantly, I will treat the art that is made in my home with the respect it deserves.

Picasso said, “Every child is an artist,” and I am a child at heart.

 

(Photo from World Ballet Day 2017)

Instead.

The post I planned for today seemed inadequate after I woke to the news of the shooting in Las Vegas.  I was going to talk about something rather personal, and suddenly, it felt too self-centered.  When tragedy strikes, we often find comfort in unity.  For a time, we are bound by our common shock and our collective mourning.  My post would have been inappropriately individual.  It can wait for another day.

Plans change.  Our morning was supposed to begin with breakfast and school work.  Typical.  Pleasantly ordinary.  Instead, our dogs escaped the fence, and we spent over two hours searching for them, crying, and even making missing posters.  One child lost a tooth in the midst of everything.  We did find our dogs. We read about the shooting and talked about it.  We talked about violence and hurting people.  Hurting people and people who hurt.  We talked about peace and about anger that sits deep inside a person.  These were hard conversations.

We abandoned our plans.

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Instead, we had a picnic in the park.  We walked to a local historical site and let our imaginations take over.  We enjoyed the perfect weather on an October afternoon, commenting on the remarkable blue of the sky.  We made note of the leaves just beginning to change and remembered how fleeting autumn color is.  What will the trees look like in a week or a month?

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My oldest son asked why shootings happen.  I don’t have all the answers, of course, and I certainly cannot control what other people do with their hurt and their anger.  Heck, I can’t even control my Monday morning that was supposed to be ordinary and predictable with math workbooks and phonics practice.  But I can make a little home where peace is a priority–where love comes before all else.  I can create gentleness in my kids, hoping that they will pass it along. I can try.

Welcome to the new Warm as Pie

Welcome, friends!  Welcome to http://www.warmaspie.com.  I am grateful that you are here to follow my family’s journey, to take the time to spend a few quiet moments with me when you have infinite options in this big, busy world.  Quiet.  That is what I wish to bring you. I’ve been learning in recent years how much I need silence each day.  I need a little time to rest, to think, and to listen for God’s still voice.  Writing here gives me those moments that I crave deeply.  I hope that reading my blog will be just as refreshing for you.

Yes, the biggest change on this 8th anniversary of my blog is that I have finally purchased my own domain!  Warm as Pie has been an important part of my life for quite a long time.  I dreamed it’s name more than eight years ago, and it immediately felt perfect.  I never doubted my choice, and unlike so many other ventures in my life, I have never grown tired of it or wondered if it accurately captures the content and mood I wish to create here.  The move to claim this piece of virtual real estate felt like the next right step, so this afternoon, I did it!

You will also notice that Warm as Pie has a very different look.  What do you think?  The grid of photographs highlights my favorite part of keeping this blog–the images.  Landing on this “Cubic” homepage feels fresh and alive.

Are you ready to take the next steps with me?  I hope you’ll return frequently to see my pictures and stories, and I’m excited to introduce a new element to this website — Movie Mondays! I won’t promise a video every Monday, but from time to time, you will have a chance to see and hear me reach out from this screen in the form of a short video.  I’m excited to connect with you in a brand new way.

Cheers!

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Summer 2017: Recap #1

{Don’t forget Warm as Pie‘s official re-launch on September 22nd.  I’m welcoming autumn and celebrating 8 years of blogging all in one fun swoop.}

The summer flew at top speed.  It came in wet and cool, and it seems to be going out with a brief return to summer’s heat.  Or at least the kind of heat we are used to in the northeast.

We had a nice summer.  We didn’t go on a grand vacation to an exotic place.  We didn’t take a road trip or climb a mountain.  Instead, we worked.  I had a few doula jobs, and we made some changes to the house.  We enjoyed sunshine and family time.  We grew a garden with moderate (but joyful!) success.

In July, we spent a fun day at a Lego extravaganza!  It was a colorful and energetic event with so many things to touch and explore.

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Leading from Behind

As a parent, leadership is a daily job, and it can be all-consuming.  If we don’t direct the day, will teeth get brushed?  Will math be practiced?  Will bedrooms be cleaned?  Will Bibles be read and prayers be said?

If we don’t walk at the front of the line, will these little ones go astray?  Will they know where to go and how to get there?

We are placed in the position of authority in our homes, and that isn’t a job to be shunned or taken lightly.  However, being in charge can lead us to put on blinders as we focus intently on the goal of raising healthy, responsible adults.  We can too easily miss the wonderful people these kids already are.

Early in the fall, we had a remarkable day with glorious, sunny weather.  My mom and I took the kids for a big walk.  We strolled behind as my children walked ahead of us, happily brandishing sticks (and light sabers!), picking up interesting finds, and relishing the  warm day.  I called out to them from time to time if someone drifted too close to poison ivy or became too enthusiastic with a stick.  But overall, I simply chatted with my mom and observed the wonderful way that children learn even without direct leadership.  Their curiosity comes naturally, so I can’t help wondering if their learning actually happens more readily without my interference.  Certainly their joy seems to!

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But this post isn’t simply an attempt to say “get out of the way” of kids’ learning, I have something a little different mulling around in my brain as I reminisce about that particular afternoon and reflect upon some things that I’ve observed in the last few months of homeschooling with a newborn in our family.

When I stand behind the action and watch from a few steps back, I am still leading my family.  I am leading them toward MORE of what they are doing.  I am showing my children that their activities are productive, their conversations are important, and their observations are valuable. I am leading them to do more of the same, to see their choices as good.  By not interrupting, I am saying, “You are doing good things.  You are smart, curious, and important.”  I tell them by my actions that we are on the right track.  School is going well, and they are growing as amazing people on this beautiful planet.  I do have to step in at strategic points in our week.  I do have to make concrete plans from time to time and take the first steps into new activities and new lessons.  However, the more I lead from behind, the more I see the leaders that these kids are becoming, and I have the ultimate pleasure of watching it happen.

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