Tuesday, December 25, 2007

In A Good Place

"A dead end street is a good place to turn around” Naomi Judd (singer)

Ever feel like you are in a good place? Or in a dead end?

I feel that we are in a good place, homeschool speaking.

And in a good place, spiritually.

I am reflecting on our two and one half years of living in Sydney.

We previously lived for four years in Adelaide.

Spiritually, Adelaide was difficult for me. Hard to describe, and I can't really go into too much detail here, but there were a number of challenging things that happened, faith wise, and we found no real parish community.

Our fault? Probably. I am a great believer in the axiom that you get what you put in.

And it just didn't work for us and I let some of my practices slide...As a mother, I have noticed that as a mother's spiritual practices increase or decrease so follows the practices of the family. My influence is quite scary. So, as you can imagine, if my faith life was not what it was, so followed the faith life of the family.....

Moving to Sydney was something we did because of dh's work - dragging and screaming and complaining. Trying to make the best of things. We didn't want to be here. We didn't want to leave the oldest three sons.

But we have found that our faith, our spiritual practices, has been restored.

Attending our local parish, a community of Conventual Franciscans, has been the cause of our faith restoration. The weekly Mass and novena in honour of St Anthony of Padua. Lenten and Advent programmes. The prayers and work of the friars. Their example. All this has helped us out of our less-than-stellar spiritual spiral...

We are in a good place. And out of the dead end...

Similarly with homeschooling. I moved from radical unschooling, questioning myself on all my parenting mannerisms, comparing myself to some monolithic unschooling standard, to a bit here and a bit there - some days we do more formal learning, other days we do nothing formal.
The kids learn regardless. But I feel freedom, freedom to ask and require, being a mostly collaborative but sometimes directive mum, as well as still experiencing the freedom to discuss and to reach decisions consensually.

In a good place spiritually. In a good place in homeschooling. Are the two connected? For me, I think so. I am no longer trying to fit into a box ~ be it a Catholic box or a parenting/homeschooling philosophy box

As I conclude my reflections on Life in Sydney, I see that Being In A Good Place (for now) is great at Christmas. Happy Christmas to all! May you all find your good place..

P.S. The above is a pic of our new Christmas house decoration – a porcelain carousel. Got it almost at half price. :-)


Theresa said...

That must bring you so much comfort and satisfaction. I am in a pretty good place homeschooling-wise,too. I am afraid not such a good one parish-wise. Still looking for that community that makes me feel a welcome part of things.Hopefully the move to Alaska will result in us finding a better fit.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas, dear Leonie. God bless you.

Susan <> said...

*****As a mother, I have noticed that as a mother's spiritual practices increase or decrease so follows the practices of the family. My influence is quite scary.*****

Hi Leonie,
Oh yeah...I definitely agree with you here and can nod my head adamantly. Scary as is daunting and at times, overwhelming. And when I'm in 'a good place' it isn't all that overwhelming but it is when I'm not in such 'a good place'. kwim?

*****In a good place spiritually. In a good place in homeschooling. Are the two connected? For me, I think so. I am no longer trying to fit into a box ~ be it a Catholic box or a parenting/homeschooling philosophy box*****

Oh yeah! Sounds good! I also think the two are connected, definitely. Boxes are so, so stifling and restrictive. And even the boxes never fully encapsulate or describe who we are or what we're about eh?

I'm glad to hear that you have come to a good place in Sydney...and I hope that the New Year brings refreshment, joy and peace, along with good health.

Susan <><
(why my blog is down, I will not understand. We just changed to a new, local, faster (?) server and it went down!!!!)

Leonie said...

Susan, thankb you for your thoughtful comment - and I tried to access your blog with no success. :-( Am still gtting your feeds, though.

Good luck with you move, Theresa - hopefully you'll be in a good place parish wise. I know your homechooling is in a good place - love your blog....

Merry Christmas, Ruth and family!

Pam said...

I'm glad it's a good place for you, Leonie and that you feel you've grown and become more comfortable in homeschooling, too.

Would love to catch up sometime in the holidays when you are not too busy enjoying big boys!


Leonie said...

Thanks Pam - email me about a time to get together!And about the Maths. :-)

Ladybug Mommy Maria said...

I like this post.

Hope you and yours enjoyed a beautiful, happy Christmas!

Leonie said...

Hi Maria! Have a super Xmas period...

Cindy said...

Hi Leonie-

It is so wonderful to hear you are in a good place atm.... oh, that makes the world look so much brighter, doesn't it?

You have come so far and shared so much... from your 'radical' unschooling times to more structure and always been so open and sharing with it all.

I had a similar smaller epiphany about this myself lately. It began when I listened to The Truth talk by fr. Larry Richards I posted on. It *clarified* things for me tremendously and helpeed me (once again) get past the doing things for others--- but back to the source of why I should do anything at all!

And it also helped me let go of my perfectionism which can often paralyze me, and I may hear some of that in your 'boxes'-- maybe not, but I find I will have to be in the 'right' box... and then I just have a hard time.

Also, I realized I had myself in several boxes... I read The Five Love Languges and that led to me looking inward and seeing how I am trying to live up to things I have no need to live up to.

As far as faith.. I think that fits right in with well-being in homeschooling and parenting. I find when I am in a good place the faith come naturally.

Your parish sounds wonderful. We are missing our priest already, though he just left today. Sometimes I think a smaller parish would be just what we need, but God has us here for a reason.

Our Indian priest who does not like cold weather just moved to a tiny town in North Dakota where it is VERY cold. Please pray for him, Fr. John.. as he will have many challenges... way out on the prairie.


Cindy said...

I meant to say...

"Helped me get past doing things for HOW THEY LOOK TO OTHERS"--- lol! Of course I keep doing things for others.. I am a mom and a friend, right? lol

Leonie said...

I understood what you menat, Cindy - you are a very giving person. :-)

Boxes can be convenient but extremely limiting. When I first became a Catholic, ( I was a homeschooler way before I was a Catholic! lol!) - well, Ifelt kinda inferior. There were so any things I did/said/wore/watched/listened to that other "orthodox or coservative" Catholics ( labels!), and esp other Catholic homeschoolers, looked askance at. So began my boxing in of myself. Others didn't do it, I did it to myself.

Then, in my "searching" I went the other way - also less true to myself, but trying to find who I was as a different sort of Catholic and a different sort of Catholic homeschooler.

Realized I am just me - learnng all the time, for sure, but still me.

We live in a large parish, too, but, funnily enough, I have found that a small parish is not necessarily a more friendly parish. I know you are sad about Fr John leaving - I'll pray for him and that your parish will continue to be "good place".


Cindy said...

Yes Leonie.. I am nodding!

Listening to how you searched in various ways--- more Catholic, boxes, more non-traditional and finally decided to just be You.

That is so true and wise!

And I think that when I do make turns and twists I need to remember that is part of it, too. That is the journey. I think it is easy to beat ourselves up and think, "I was on the WRONG road! Oh no! I wasted time and now my kids won't turn out right. How dumb was I?"

When really it is all a process. My boys know now that I change and now I just tell them. Consistancy is not EVERYTHING! lol Honesty and love is.

I read a John Holt quote a while back where he talked about that. He would go a direction for a while, and when he found he was not quite sure about it anymore, he would just start anew. It is all a learning process and not something to feel bad about, but part of us and who we become who we are.

This got off on a tangent.. but thanks for getting me thinking!


Leonie said...

"Consistency is not everything. Love and honesty is." Really like this line. Thank you, Cindy.

Anne (aussieannie) said...

That was a lovely read Leonie, may you and your family continue to be greatly blessed, especially in the year to come.

God Bless, Anne

Leonie said...

Thank you Anne!