Welcome to my homeschool blog, which offers insights into loving learning, loving your family, loving history, loving homeschooling, and enjoying your life! With your cup of coffee in hand, take a break to laugh with me, to have your heart refreshed, to be reminded of how cool your kids really are, and to consider the amazing adventure of being a homeschool mom. AND, if you are interested in the History Revealed curriculum, be sure to check out my Teaching Tips!
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Today I Choose to Fly

As a nation, we have had many moments of inspiration beyond the writing of our national anthem.  What happens to your heart as you read these important words from U.S. history?

"Fourscore and seven years ago. . . "  Abraham Lincoln

"Ask not what you can do for your country. . ."  John F. Kennedy

"I have a dream. . . "  Martin Luther King, Jr.

"That's one small step for man. . ."  NeilToday I choose to fly Armstrong

Do they encourage your perseverance, move you towards service, motivate you towards compassion, rouse you to greater actions?

Powerful words, spoken during momentous times, affect people long after their initial utterance.

Obviously, words are often inspirational.  Let's face it, though.  Our words inspire far less than our deeds.  Sometimes, it seems like we think our multitude of words will be what inspires the next generation to live nobly, righteously, and justly.  But, have you ever noticed the daunting reality that, "Children learn more from what is caught than what is taught"?  That puts the greater impetus on our actions, lived out day-by-day.

Inspiration is a tricky thing, isn't it?  One does not wake up one morning and say, "Today I choose to inspire the world, or my community, or my children."   Inspiration does not work that way.  It is not a tool we can manipulate, like power or wealth.  Instead, it is more like a river that flows out of daily living—gaining momentum and strength as we choose to live each day with courage and compassion.

That is how we choose to FLY!


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Today I choose WHY to be a Doodle

Today I choose why to be a doodle

Being free to be who you are is liberating. And it reflects the amazing creativity of the One who designed you.

It is easy to talk in generalities, isn't it?

Be yourself.

Embrace your identity.

Wear your uniqueness.

Big talk. But what does it mean? As you and I both know, being yourself can be a pretty scary proposition if you don't look exactly like everyone else in your circle. Especially if there are rules of conformity that push you into a cookie-cutter mold, shaping your looks, your behavior, your activities.

In 1755, when Yankee Doodle was written to express condescension of American colonists, the British military had rules and expectations. Some were necessary, like "Obey orders." Others were culturally derived, like precision marching and red coats (important in European wars, disastrous in the French & Indian War). The Americans, however, had a different culture. It wasn't "less than" the British, it was simply different. It fit the Americans, just as red coats fit the British.

So, bringing this home for today, let me tell you a story.

I like to talk.

That has been a problem for me much of my life, as the cultural expectation in the schools of my day was, "Be QUIET!" My report cards reflected this—I often received a "C" in conduct for talking too much.

When I was seventeen, an older woman looked at me as we were working together in the kitchen, and scathingly remarked, "Don't you EVER shut up????"

Despite the constant crushing disdain, the simple fact is that I was designed as a communicator.  And, when I stumbled into the joy of speaking before audiences (teaching gourmet cooking classes for a community program), it all suddenly made sense.

Just like American colonists who went to war in their homespun clothing, with their finely honed musket skills, I found satisfying success in simply being me.

As a speaker, I am a DOODLE. Though it did not fit certain group norms, it was who I am. . .who I am designed to be.

Now it's your turn. Despite the naysaying of those around you, what kind of a DOODLE are YOU?

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Today I choose HOW to be a doodle

Today I choose how to be a doodle

Face it.  All of us will encounter disdain at some point in life, whether at home, church, school or work.   But, disdain need not define.

Being a DOODLE means that we accept who we are, embracing our strengths, even celebrating our uniqueness—just as those early Americans celebrated their victory in 1781 with Yankee Doodle!

This is a good lesson to learn early on.  So, for the children in your life, look for evidences of their unique strengths and then encourage them there.  It might look like a ten-year old chef spicing up Ramen Noodle soup with unidentifiable herbs, a budding musician picking out melodies on the piano when her feet can barely reach the floor, a basketball-playing teen who shoots (and makes!) rim shots on the garbage can with a tangerine. . .

Sometimes, when confronted with these marvelous talents, we have difficulty distinguishing genius-in-the-making from making a mess. That’s why we we’re talking.  By encouraging kids to discover their strengths, they will be better equipped to withstand disdain.

Today’s assignment:
Choose to be a DOODLE, then help the kids in your life learn how to be a DOODLE.

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Today I choose to be a DOODLE

Today I choose to be a doodle When Yankee Doodle was originally penned, it expressed the arrogance of certain British officers who looked down their nose at the local-yokel colonists. These colonists had come to support them in the French and Indian War, but their informal dress, lack of polish, and ignorance of the rudiments of marching made them appear foolish to the British.

That happens today, too. In fact, I happen to have my very own DOODLE story. When I went to college as a vocal music major, I was assigned a voice teacher.  Sue was a classically trained soprano, delighted to display her prowess with operatic arias. When I walked in, as a long-haired, folk-singing hippie chick, she regarded me with a chilling haughtiness.  My attempts to sing classical music must have been a whole lot like the colonial militiamen trying to march in military step. . .not impressive. I will never forget when she said, with disdain, “Don’t quit your day job, Diana.”  It was a humiliating moment in my life.

The colonists knew what it was to be mocked by those who considered themselves superior. When it came to fighting in North America, though, what had seemed weakness turned out to be strength. With a gutsy humor, the Americans changed the words of Yankee Doodle in the early days of the Revolution. With wonderful irony, it was also played at the surrender of the British in 1781.

It became obvious I would never sing opera. But then, singing opera is not the only way to be a vocalist, is it? I joined three other musicians to create America: American history through folk music. Our homespun, toe-tapping approach to music is the very reason AMERICA is successful.

Many people have had a DOODLE experience—being told that they “couldn’t” accomplish something, but now excel in that field or another. What is your DOODLE experience?

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Reenvisioning Me

Diana  Last month, I came to the realization that I had no idea what I looked like.  No, I am not talking about my nose or eyes or height. . .the mystery of my mien (def: person's look or manner) went a little higher.  The root of the matter, frankly, was my hair.  I knew the length, the texture, the style, but the original color had disappeared years ago.  My current color was the outcome of an advanced hair designer at an uptown salon, and though it was close to 30-year old Diana's haircolor—safe and predictable—it was definitely not the NOW color.

So, when I went to see Jacob a few weeks ago, I dropped the bomb.

"I've decided to let my hair go gray!"

Jacob is very cool, very professional.  His eyebrows stayed fairly close to his head, though I could tell he was shaken by this announcement.  Having vigorously perused the internet for "going-gray," I had some ideas of how others had accomplished this feat, and had ruled out a few.

"No pixie cut, no cold turkey, no hats. . . And I want about three inches cut off, so there's not quite as much to grow out!"

After a bit of discussion, his expert opinion was to do an ash blonde partial highlight. This would provide a bit of camouflage for those gray roots.

I have to say that I was definitely skeptical.  I have never been a blonde—though it had once been the secret desire of a certain freckle-faced junior-high brunette living in Miami. My comfort zone tends towards dark brown, so heading the opposite direction required a sort of J'en sais quoi attitude, a throwing caution to the wind approach.  If I was going to go gray, I figured I might as well dive in the pool.

As Jacob expertly turned me into a radio receiver (have you ever felt that way, with all of those foils hanging on your head?), he told me about one other client who had once tried to go gray.  I asked him how that had gone, and, with an amused glance, he said, "Well, after one month, she came back and told me she had changed her mind.  She has been dying her hair ever since."

Not encouraging.

However, once my hair was dried and cut and blown and styled, I was cautiously optimistic.  Not too obvious, not too blonde, not too much of a change.  Yet, the subtle weavings of silvery ash blonde and gray brought a new range of colors to my palette. 

Now that the die has been cast, so to speak, I am looking forward to the journey. And I'm sharing it with you as a personal incentive for staying-this-course, and, perhaps, helping someone out there to reenvision herself.



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