The Bluestocking @ Home

Musings and Reflections


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Nurturing Rituals

Relishing and indulging in some cozy moments, and delving into one of my fall reads; these moments are not only an integral part of my self care, but of continual growth and brain food. Before I was a mom, and a homeschooling mom at that, I was a comparative literature major. And even now as a mom and homeschool mom, I am still a writer, a photographer, and a creative.

Years ago when I started my first blog, simply called The Bluestocking, it was because even after finishing my academic career, I still felt the yearning towards academic thought, having rich and deep conversations with people about literature, art, creativity, and also about the ideas and experiences. Later when I became a mom, not surprisingly, those desires didn’t dwindle, rather they grew. And for a season it was so hard to juggle all the things, but it never stopped me from carving out little moments here and there for my loves.

Later when I relaunched my blog, it felt like it was time for a slight revisiting and revisioning of what being a Bluestocking meant to me after kids, as a homeschool mom. The desires were the same but they now existed in a different framework. Most of my days are here at home. Which suites me just fine, because I am such a homebody! And so I write, photograph, create, cook, imagine, ponder, and dream here. And so I became The Bluestocking At Home.

I used to think that wasn’t enough. I used to think that I needed to make my mark somewhere physically outside these walls to be validated. But as it turns out, I don’t want to and I don’t think that I need to. Though that doesn’t mean that I don’t invite all kinds of good and worthy things into this sacred space. It doesn’t even mean that I won’t move into and through different spheres at different times in my life and in different seasons.

But making time to nurture and feed my mind and my spirit, to pursue my art, to hone the writing that I can release to the world, those things are all vital to the work that I do here with my children. The decision to homeschool wasn’t simply about schooling at home, but about this passion I have for seeing our entire lives as opportunities for growth and learning. Those moments aren’t solely defined by certain hours and years, spent in certain buildings, culminating in pieces of papers telling us who we are. Rather, the goal has always been to encourage each of us to see every day as an opportunity to ponder new ideas, be moved by beautiful art, discover new talents, and never lose our sense of wonder.

As a result, I’ve stopped seeing my pursuits of reading and art as extra moments of frivolous self care, but rather vital components and building blocks to helping foster a love of learning and chasing dreams in my own children. These pursuits keep me balanced and centred, and they ultimately enrich our lives as a whole. Making them a regular part of my life also combats feelings of discontent or doubts about vocation. I’m not stuffing my dreams deep down somewhere for “when the kids are grown”, rather I’m choosing to show my children that being a whole parent is possible. That you can love your kids and be a person too. In fact, that moms are very much people with dreams, goals, and ambitions.

And I realize that for those moms who work outside the home, this might be more pronounced and tangible. But for us stay at home, and stay at home, homeschooling moms, those lines can get a little blurry, making it all the more key to allow our kids to see that a mother is just as complex a being as anyone else they might meet.

And so I read, and I write. I run around with my camera and am forever scribbling in notebooks, coming up with crazy new ideas of things I’d like to try out and create.

What about you? How are you feeding your mind and spirit? What nurturing habits breathe life into your dreams?

Warmly,

Magdalena

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Fall-ing Away

I’m finally layering in little touches of fall decor around the house, and taking the time to nurture my home and simultaneously a part of my heart again. It feels like it’s been a spell since I truly nurtured my home, but that can happen when your heart feels overwhelmed and overburdened, so I am both physically and emotionally embracing the gentle falling away of the old and a season of preparation and nurturing for the chapters that lay ahead.

I must be on the right track because even my loves are sensing the shift and are loving the return of the little touches around the home and in our daily rhythm that used to flow so naturally from me, but that seemed to be wilted for a time. And while I have berated myself and bemoaned the off feeling that I had for some time, they have never breathed a word. But I can see their excitement and their genuine pleasure at seeing the return and it makes me so happy.

Fall is a good time of year to let things go, and prepare the ground for something new. What are you letting go? What are you making room for? Is there anything that you are returning to that your heart has really missed? Or is it time for new pursuits all together?

Warmly and With Love,

Magdalena


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On Seasons

The winds are changing here.  More and more mornings greet us with cooler temperatures, carried in on ever-so-slightly brisk winds.  I have watched these past few weeks in awe as the leaves  have gracefully changed colour;  reds and oranges and yellows inched their way onto a new tree, spreading through our landscape with subtlety but also in such an intentional way.  And the sight of leaves ever so gracefully and peacefully floating and swirling from their tree tops to the ground has become an elegant dance that calls and beckons us to come outside and play.

Autumn Caddo I

Autumn at Caddo Lake ~ Texas

Last week, the change in colours was brilliant, though fleeting!  On a Monday the reds were so fiery and yellows glowed with an intensity reminiscent of burning bushes and there was a holiness in it, and how could it not take your breath away?   Every day that week, I wanted to soak myself in the moment.  We drove around with only scenery in mind and just took it all in.  A mere seven days later,  many of these same trees stand bare, leaves scattered at their base like fallen ashes.  Yellows have turned deeper orange and then brown, and are beginning their descent as well, as wintry winds begin to weave through the branches, as though sweeping away the last remnants of a lovely party that must, alas, come to an end.

And now we feel ourselves drawn inward again, huddled by cozy fires and comforted by the warmth of hearty meals bubbling on stoves.  And so we nest.

The bustling nature of modernity has perhaps somewhat blurred our connection to nature and her rhythms.  So often we are rushing ahead to the next moment that we hardly have time for pause and reflection.  We live in an age where it is possible to be connected to literally everything we could think of with a few swipes and taps of our fingers, our technology a form of wizardry in its own right.  We can stand in the middle of nowhere and still be connected to millions of other people, accessing information from all corners of the world, privy to the thoughts, ideas and ramblings of people in places we have never heard of or seen.  I don’t deny the lure and the comfort in finding the world a smaller place than it sometimes seems.  I have so often found solace in knowing that I am not alone in my thoughts, my joys or my struggles.

And yet, there is the yearning for balance.  Too much of one season is never a good thing.  Anyone who has ever lived through a long and fierce winter can attest to that! Though similarly, anyone who has experienced a seemingly never-ending scorching summer where the heat refuses to break understands the yearning for cool autumn days!

Autumn Caddo II

Autumn at Caddo Lake ~ Texas

But we all have seasons in our own lives don’t we? We have our very own Summers and Winters, Springs and Autumns.  Our very own ebbs and flows, even though sometimes it is hard to place your finger on it.  Others times, we know and can distinctly sense the difference in our own season to not only the season outside, but to the seasons of those around us.

There are seasons in our lives that buzz with activity and growth; living them, we feel full of energy and excitement, chasing dreams and passions is what we hunger for, our personal Spring.  Our Summers bring feelings of pleasure and relaxation and a yearning to soak in the gifts of beauty around us.  Our Autumns refreshing us with their brisk winds, reward us with the harvest and bounty of the hard work of the previous seasons.  And our Winters, our own personal dormancy.

Sometimes Winter feels like the end.  For many people winter is the dreaded season.  I love winter.  I cherish the quiet and the insular.  For me it is a time for reflection and for renewing strength.  Would it be possible to burst forth in Spring without the quiet moments of Winter?

Sometimes Winter does mean loss.  Having suffered through my own dark and quiet moments of mourning, perhaps nothing is harder than feeling alone in a season of Winter when others are joyfully celebrating Spring and new beginnings.  But in that there is a lesson too.  The realization that there is in fact, a time for everything under the sun.  And Winter cannot last forever, ultimately we all must come out of it.  Even the longest, darkest and coldest of winters eventually gives way to that first spring bud or that brave blue crocus that has the tenacity to poke its head out from under a blanket of snow and stand as a beacon of hope reassuring us that a new beginning is not far off.

Sometimes, our seasons last years and perhaps that is why we do not always recognize them as such, but whether they be short or long they are part of our journey.  Our journey of constant renewal and change.  Nature’s seasons are always about forward motion; one leg of the journey giving way to the next.  And no matter how dark things get, how hard the storm rages, in time the sun shines again, in time a new balance is found.  It may not be the same balance as before but it is nevertheless a balance.

As winter inches (or in some places plows) her way towards us now we feel her sting, but we are also given a chance to cocoon ourselves for a short while.  And although life around me seems to be bursting with activity and excitement, I am also yearning for a time of reflection and quiet.

Our universe is filled with these archetypal metaphors of rhythm, of seasons and change, of life and death.  The rhythm of expansion and contraction is always present.  And with it, the reminder that even when things are contracting they will eventually expand again.

As for me, I look forward to a little self-induced cocooning.  I am craving colder night and crisp mornings, of more time spent curled up with good books and scribbling away in journals, of crackling fireplaces and hot apple cider, of rosy cheeks flushed from outdoor play, of the stillness of the woods as nature slumbers and the brightness of the stars as they somehow seem brighter in these winter months.

I hope that wherever you are and whatever season in life you are in that balance, joy and hope find you.  If you are basking in the excitement of Spring and Summer, may your adventures fill your reserves and take you to places that you never imagined.  And if you are contracting and turning inwards to the quiet days of Autumn and Winter, may you find wisdom and peace in the gentle solitude of those days.

And if you find yourself in a Winter not of your own choosing, I pray that hope finds you.  I pray that wounds have time to heal and that your spirit finds renewed strength.  That even in the darkest, coldest moments, the promise of Spring remains that twinkling, glimmering light that beckons you forward.   Spring will come again, birds will sing their joyful songs and the trees will once again come alive bursting with life.