Crane Beach and Other Surprises

Posted on: December 10th, 2011 by
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Recently I was gifted with a trip to Lexington MA to visit a dear friend and her family. I expected the trip to be a wonderful reconnection with Paula, whom I have known for almost thirty years… and it was that. What I did not expect was a complete reconnection with myself and a part of me that often goes unexpressed in day to day family life.

I am wanderer, an adventurer. It gives me life energy to go new places and witness new things – meet people I’ve never met and see me in their eyes, in their experiences. There was so much opportunity on this trip for me to refresh and re-energize my love for living:  reading and singing with children, engaging in challenging conversations with adults, listening to great music and taking in beautiful art in all forms.

The highlight for me of the “tour” part of my vacation however, (among the history and the architecture and the stories of well known authors and politicians and military men from ages past) was a trip to Crane Beach. I was enthralled by this natural beauty and her ability to hold my heart in her white sands and changing waters.

I don’t know if it is the same for all of us but I suspect that stepping away from one’s day to day life is bound to bring some perspective to most of us. I could not help but see things anew when I was standing barefoot, for the first time, in the cold (but not unbearable) waters of the Atlantic Ocean in early December. An awareness of all that I have and all that is to come, provoked a response in me that could only be described as pure joy.

I hope, in the days to come, you can find moments in your life to be outside of the hustle and bustle (or even to be inside of it) connected to something calm and powerful and life giving.

Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email:  and look for new posts every week starting in January 2012


Props to Computers

Posted on: November 25th, 2011 by
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I never thought I’d say this but I am grateful today for computer technology which truly does make many things in my present day life much easier.


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Happy About Hospitals

Posted on: November 22nd, 2011 by
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Today I am grateful to live in this country where medical care is still largely free. Two people in my family have spent time in hospital this past month and they had no worries about how their tests or medicine would be paid for. Yey, Tommy Douglas. Yey, Canada …let’s hang on to it!

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High Expectaions / High Support (Excerpt from “How to Treat your Toddlers…”)

Posted on: November 21st, 2011 by
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Back in the days when I used to attend church regularly, I was, for two years, privileged to be a parishioner under the guidance and leadership of Dr. Roy D. Bell. Roy was an intelligent, no-nonsense man who was willing to reveal his humanity, good and bad, and who had such an obvious care and concern for people without being at all saccharin.

One Sunday morning, Roy departed from his traditional presentation of the sermon and set up a screen and an overhead projector smack dab in the middle of the platform in place of the pulpit. He proceeded to draw a simple chart on the screen in messy black marker which indicated four general approaches to raising children.





The accompanying “sermon” highlighted the concept that in order for parents to have the best chance at raising a child who possessed the tools for ‘success’, the ideal model was having High Expectations of said child accompanied by High Support.

For some reason that message stuck with me and as I started to raise my own girls, it became a foundational underpinning for my approach to parenting.

If I were to expect great things from my daughters, not my great things but their great things, and then support and facilitate in any way possible those expectations that they had set out, maybe I could raise young women who loved themselves, women who were comfortable in their bodies, didn’t exhibit self-destructive behaviours, didn’t look to others to tell them they were worthy, knew and trusted the directions they wanted to take in life and didn’t ever once question their value as human beings. I realized that was a tall order but it seemed better than any of the other alternative models

Although most of the story of my daughters’ lives is yet to be written by them, I think we have managed to implement the model of high expectations / high support with a great degree of success. We are not highly competitive individuals in this household. We are not all “Rah rah, go team go!”, with the blood sweat and tears kind of high expectations, but we do expect our girls to strive in areas such as knowing themselves and being clear about what they want for their lives. We expect them to not stay in situations that are not life-giving for their spirits, and we expect them to remember that they are growing, changing ever expanding versions of themselves, and anything that brings them true joy is the direction we hope they will pursue. Yes, in these ways we expect and hope a great deal from our daughters.

Just for the record I like the “High Support” part of this equation the most. I don’t think there is such a thing as too much praise, too many hugs or enough encouraging notes in lunch kits. I’m not one of those mothers that thinks you can spoil a child with too much love or attention. I do think we can hamper our children’s progress with over-functioning in their lives (and I have been as guilty of this as the next person at times), but I do not think we can do any damage by over-loving them. High support, high support, high support!

One more thing: I expect that my children will surpass me in most, if not all, aspects of their human experience. I hope that they find their place in the world sooner than I did, that they trust their instincts and stand up for what they believe is right even more certainly that I have, and that they fulfill every creative and relational impulse known to them without shame or doubt or guilt or fear.

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Un-Schooling: There’s More Than One Way

Posted on: November 17th, 2011 by
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In my book “How to Treat Your Toddlers so Your Teenagers will Talk to You ” I speak a great deal about the choices we made regarding education for our daughters. I explain that we gave our children the option to stay home for school and therefore refer to that practice as “home-schooling”. The truth is, during the years our daughters chose to be at home, what we did was more  like “un-schooling” and even that does not adequately describe it.

The facts: we simply let our children live their lives and included them in our lives within the context of our value system, our financial reality, our spiritual, emotional, intellectual and cultural choices, and gave them a great deal of freedom to explore the world – each from her own intuitive place; that’s all.

Sometimes that found us sitting them down with worksheets and pencils but more often than not it led to a lot of reading, playing Pooh-sticks in the park, singing together, visiting with other “un-schooled” friends,  and countless trips to Grammie and Papa’s house.

I remember when I was first considering the radical (and it was still pretty radical at the time) choice to keep our children home from school, I was reading about other home-schooling families. What I found was very encouraging. The stories of children who had been allowed to simply continue living their lives in a fairly unstructured but supported way, were the most appealing to me The fact that many of these children were reported to  have entered high-school or college at the top of their class gave me great hope.

But I have to admit I was skeptical at first that such an outcome was possible in my family. Maybe the only people writing about this stuff were really smart people with freekishly smart kids. How could I be sure that allowing my girls play their way through childhood would net similar results. I wanted more information, more details. In short I wanted structure, a  fool-proof plan that I could follow so that my girls would not be left behind, so that they too could later choose to enter the “real world” and excel at anything they wanted.

You see what was going on there. I was needing reassurance that what I was letting my girls do would not come back to bite me. I was still stuck  in the old pattern of belief that there is a right way and a wrong way to do everything and I wanted to know the right way to make sure home-schooling was not a failure in our home. I was working from the very mindset that I was trying to avoid having my children adopt; success vs. failure, right vs.wrong. It was crazy.

So I’m here to tell you that I do now have and answer and I am prepared to reveal to you the way to successfully “educate” your children at home…YOUR WAY or better yet THEIR WAY.

I could give you detailed notes about our process and our choices but that would not make keeping your kids at home a “successful” venture. There are as many ways to home-school or un-school  a child as there are children in the world and the key to everyone of them is to FOLLOW and FACILITATE. Follow your child’s lead and help him get access to the experiences that interest him. Allow your child to create her own methods of learning and she will never lose her joy for the same.

If you are just starting out, I know you probably want more information – the “secret for success” – but that’s all I’ve got. It’s not about the end results, it’s about trusting yourself and teaching your children to trust themselves as well. That is victory.

Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email:  and look for new posts every week starting in January 2012



Children in Transition.

Posted on: November 12th, 2011 by
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Last night I was invited to a small and lovely dinner party – four women, two of whom I knew (myself and the host) and two others who were new to my acquaintance.

As we sat around the candle lit table sharing food and conversation our thoughts often touched upon our grown children. We all told  stories from our own experience about the phase of parenting where children are crossing over from childhood to the adult realm and I realized that although each tale had unique details there were many places of common ground.

This time in child’s life can be any and all of the the following; exciting, confusing, motivating, paralyzing, terrifying, exhilarating and more. The choices, the responsibilities, the freedom; all of these things can (depending on the person or the day in question) make young men and women see themselves as increasingly powerful in their own lives or unmanageably overwhelmed by their future.

Every child has to go through this rebirth of sorts and each one of them will face it in his or her own way. At times we as parents must watch as the emerging butterfly struggles and strains to shed the chrysalis. Sometimes our children will ask for our help and sometimes it is the last thing they want from us. It is my belief, however, that we  parents must continue at this time to be a vigilant, patient presence for our children, helping them protect their spirits most of all by reminding them often that the only true measure of success is joy.

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Sometimes we must not “delete”.

Posted on: November 12th, 2011 by
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Email box stuffed with unread letters. Without the time to read I often press delete. Not business emails. Not good friends (although I must admit sometimes their “attachments” go unattended to for days).

But the emails from the random strangers or the people trying to sell me something or fill me up with wisdom. And those from folks with whom I have had chance encounters or shared some meaningful moment at one time or another in the distant passed. These often get discarded without much respect. This is my confession.

But today I got an message I did not ignore. I thought of letting it go down the mail chute of cyber happenings but something tugged at me to take notice and so I opened it and was treated to words of grace and quiet; words by a man with whom I had shared a song writing circle for several weeks. A man who had such a passion (there is no other way to describe it) for crafting words and learning more and more about their power and their beauty.

So here with you I share his words today.


A. D’Agio

just now
soon now
be just here


emerging blossoms
veiled by
doubt filled suspensions


the universe sighed


chase not the stars
but wait…
the sunrise


lily pad to lily pad
hoping for a place
without a leak


oak- even you must have been an acorn once


I regret that I was unable to visually present this poetry as I first saw it but for that you can follow the link bellow to the site of its original publication.

Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email:  and look for new posts every week starting in January 2012


Home-schooling: Is that Legal?

Posted on: November 7th, 2011 by
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Parents or guardians who consider keeping their children home for school usually have a great many questions and concerns. The most common has to do with the legalities of educating ones children outside the realm of the public school system.

The fact is that in Canada and the United States home-schooling is perfectly legal but from province to province (state to state) there are variations in regulating students who are schooled at home.

Some provinces/states require home-schooled children to be registered and then monitored through a local public school. Some expect annual reports to be filed on the progress of the children and some even mandate testing of the child’s skills at different intervals throughout the year. Then again some require no notification or registration at all.

It is probably a good idea to find out the specific requirements of the province or state in which you live. Here in Canada you can visit the following website which answers many of the questions you might have re: the home-schooling legalities for your area.

I found this website to be quite informative but not without its gaps in information. If you have further questions you can always contact the office of the Minister of Education in your province and get the straight goods from them

In the USA you could start with the following link and explore from that point. Again things vary from state to state

Beyond that I would say do your own digging on-line or with your local government offices. Regulations have changed a great deal since I first took my girls out of school and I expect they are always under review. Keep up with law and then make your own choices from there.

Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email:  and look for new posts every week starting in January 2012


Off the Beaten Path

Posted on: November 2nd, 2011 by
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As of today I no longer really think of myself as on a journey or a path – as though there is somewhere I am going , some destination I am aiming to reach. Rather I am creating a state of grace, a state of peace, a state of love from the point where I now stand. I create these states with the thoughts I choose to allow and I expand out of the present moment into the next moment and the next. And from each new moment I create a new state of being from which to expand.