The Bluestocking @ Home

Musings and Reflections


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Bound in the Light

Bound in the Light

Some places become a part of who you are. They become like second homes; places that when you walk through their doors, you feel that breath that you didn’t realize you were holding release, your shoulders relax, the stresses of your day, your week, month, or even year, dissipate and the burden of them lessen. Sometimes they are grand places, and sometimes humble and simple. Sometimes they have deep history, and sometimes they shiny and new. But they are places where your heart feels rest and your spirit is renewed.

This space, these pews, walking through these doors, this is one of those spaces for me. In a rush between responsibilities on Sunday morning, I caught a glimpse of the sun hitting the pews and it stopped me in my tracks, as it often does. Oh, the ways that the sun and those old stained-glass windows merge to create the loveliest of visions of colour and light, in and out of days, moving and changing with the seasons!

Stained-glass windows have for centuries told the story of the faith, they have told the stories that weren’t always accessible through the written word. Today, they continue to inspire as only art can, though we rely on them less to weave the story of who we are, and where we have come from.

And even though the scene is moving to me, even though it has been a place of solace and inspiration, it isn’t the stained glass, or the aesthetics of this place that make it home. When these pews are filled, it is the people in them that make this home. So many stories, so many relationships, so many deep journeys. Even though none of us are perfect, and at times we stretch, challenge, irritate, and upset one another, the very act of growing together and learning to soften our hearts towards one another, in love and in grace, is what makes this ground so sacred. And not because of the work that we do on our own, but rather because of the work that God does in us. Because without the way that he works on and in our hearts, we wouldn’t still be here. We wouldn’t be able to grow, to forgive, and to love one another, to share in both the joys and the sorrows.

Here we are, stepping into the Advent season, and some truths never change. Emmanuel, God with Us. He remains the glue that holds us together. The essence of a people bound to disappoint one another but blessed deeply by a grace that helps us work through our disagreements, our differences, and our hardships. And the difficult parts of the journey of community and in community are also the very things that make the joys we get to share all that much sweeter. When you’ve been through the trenches with someone, when you’ve helped carry their sorrows and their grief, when you’ve worked through misunderstandings, and differences, the joys become more sacred and carry great meaning.

But community is hard. It is hard work. Everything is easier and more picture-perfect until the pews start filling up. But we too are so much like those stained-glass windows; like broken pieces of glass, molded and fit together into a mosaic that through the changing of the seasons, in the morning and in the evening light, paints beautiful visions of colour dancing across the walls of our joint history. Without each of those unique pieces, those odd shapes, those different colours, the final assembly wouldn’t be the same and our stories wouldn’t be nearly as rich. And yet, a stained-glass window needs one key element to serve its purpose fully … it needs light.

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:4-5

It is the light of Christ shining through us that fulfills the story of our lives knit and molded together. Some seasons feel darker than others. Advent reminds us of the waiting, the waiting for the light. But the joy that we have on this side of the cross, is that the light is what binds us both individually and collectively. And the light shining through us reflects both to us and to the world the glory of him who is in us. It is he who changes and molds our hearts, it is his love and his grace that when flowing through us gives us the strength, the patience, and the endurance to grow together as one body.

After all, “in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:5.

This first week of Advent we light the candle of hope. A hope for the future and a hope for the goodness that is to come. When we invite the Christ light to shine through us and to shape us, I am confident that the future is bright. Bright not because of all that we can work to accomplish, though there is much work to be done, but bright because of the grace and mercy of a loving God who knows how to take amazing groups of “misfits” and do beautiful things through them. Bound in the light, and with his help, a vision of hope for others who have yet to feel the warmth of that deep and abiding love.

Oh, and you … you, looking over at all us of dressed in our Sunday best, walking through these doors, or other similar doors, wondering how you could ever fit in here, thinking that the people entering this space couldn’t possibly make room for you or understand you .. you’re just the piece we need, perfectly loved and wanted. We are all still stumbling along trying to make sense of this life and the hardships that find their ways into all our lives, no matter what our outsides look like. But in his light, and in community with one another, the burden of it all is so much lighter. In fact, we need each other because in the sharing of these mysteries together “our joy may be complete.” (1 John 1: 4)

Warmly,
Magdalena

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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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Halloween 2018|Part II|Hermione Granger

I know I say this every year but this girl of mine, she is fierce and brave, kind and smart as all get out! So I was thrilled when she asked to be Hermione Granger for Halloween this year. I think she nailed it … sass, bossiness, and spunk included!  I love her spirit, her confidence, and how comfortable she with who she is.

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Hope you all had a lovely Halloween!

Warmly,

Magdalena


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Halloween 2018|Part I|Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Happy Halloween! Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

My son and I had such a wonderful time with this costume this year.  Mr. Rogers was such a influential figure in my own childhood and I have nothing but fond memories of his programs.  My children have only had a taste, but my husband and I have both spent so much time talking about our fond memories of Mr. Rogers and finding old episodes to show our children that they know and appreciate who he was and what he represented as well.

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Last night, when very few people recognized his costume at a party that we attended, Yuri was little disappointed.  We came home and washed away any of those feeling by watching the deeply moving “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” documentary about Mr. Rogers.  Despite this being my second viewing, I bawled my eyes out again.  If you haven’t seen this phenomenal film, I emphatically encourage you to see it. It will move you and inspire you.  It will remind you of the power and simplicity of love, the far reaching effects of empathy, the simple act of kindness and how deeply they can affect a generation … and the generation after that and onward.

 

This boy of mine, he knows how to show empathy, patience and kindness with younger children, and has a heart of gold. If he’s going to emulate anyone, I can’t think of a better role model than the likes of Mr. Rogers. Watching him grow and change and become the wonderful young man that he is today is one of the greatest joys of my life.

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Stay tuned for our Halloween Part II with our sweet girl!

Warmly,

Magdalena


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Dancing with Daffodils

With all the blooming happening out of doors, it seems the polite and neighbourly thing to do to invite Spring indoors as well!

Some glimpses of the daffodils and spring decor currently brightening things up inside our home!

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth

The afternoon light pours into my dining room in the most beautiful ways! I love my kitchen and back patio in the mornings and my dining room in the afternoons. Always chasing the light, I suppose! And in the glow of the afternoon sun the daffodils really shine.

Daffodowndilly

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,

She wore her greenest gown;

She turned to the south wind

And curtsied up and down.

She turned to the sunlight

And shook her yellow head,

And whispered to her neighbor:

“Winter is dead.

A.A. Milne

And yes, what can I say, I love lace and old fashioned linens and dark woods and gold gilded frames! Traditional yet eclectic probably describes my style best. But it makes me happy and feels cozy, and I love cozy best of all!

Happy Spring!

With love,

Magdalena


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Snow Day!

Snow Days, real honest to goodness snow days, with heaps of snow and air so cold you can see your breath, and most of the city shut down (perhaps even most of the State in our case) don’t happen here often.  So when they do, we celebrate them!  And take lots of photos.  In fact, when we weren’t playing outside ourselves, we were relishing and soaking in the photos of all of our friends and loved ones also playing in the snow around town and around Texas.  And indeed, in all the other parts of the South where snow comes knocking only occasionally and is thus met with shouts of rejoicing and the clamoring of children to throw on their coats and boots and hats as quickly as possible at the risk of missing their chance to build snowmen and throw snowballs.

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Snow in Texas has been on the wishlist of probably half the children I know for months and today a good number of them got their wish.  Our two munchkins were no exception!  The anticipation of the snow kept everyone awake way past any decent bedtime, so I let them sleep in and spent some time on my own quietly relishing the beauty of freshly fallen snow on a January morning.  It was absolutely what a snow loving, Texas dwelling Northerner needed today!

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And with this deep arctic chill that we seem to be caught in this year, for the first time that I can remember in my nearly thirteen years in Texas, the snow did not melt away by noon or end of day!  The mercury was decidedly set on not rising above freezing all day and it’s no exaggeration to say, baby it’s cold outside, with temperatures hovering at the 15F (-12C) mark!  Brrrr!!

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This snow day has now manifest into a second “snow day.”  Though without more snow accumulation, it is simply a chance for Texans to let the mess on the streets clear.  With weather events like this one coming rarely, we lack the proper infrastructure for clearing roads like they do in other parts of the country where snow and ice are dealt with swiftly and cold temperatures are no excuse for missing school or work.

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And maybe that’s why we love our snow days so much, because they allow us the room to pause, to play, to relish and soak in the beauty of it all while we can … because believe me by February we will all be plotting out our Spring gardens and no doubt,  back in flipflops and shorts.  Just kidding, there will likely be shorts as of the weekend, short sleeves at the very least!

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In the meantime, snuggle up friends, stay warm, drink hot chocolate or warm tea, eat warm soup or chili or chowder or stew, read good books, play games and cherish the moment!

Warmly,

Magdalena

 


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Halloween 2017 | Part II | Pirate Captain

Listen!  This girl of mine has so much spunk and moxie!  She is no push over and rocks it out at Taekwondo every week with her power kicks and fierce determination and discipline.  She is this amazing blend of kindness and courage.  And that usually means that her costume choices are always interesting and you can never tell which direction they will take, as we saw when she wanted to be Red Riding Hood one year and then next decided to be The Wolf!

This year she decided that a Pirate Captain was the way to go!  And friends, not just a Pirate, but to be clear, a Pirate Captain.  Because if she was going to be a pirate, we both agreed that she wouldn’t just be some random pirate, but the Captain.  She’s a boss lady already.  For the past two years she always says to me, “Mommy, let’s be boss ladies together, okay?” Indeed!

#bossladies #warriorwomen #girlstrong

Warmly,

Magdalena

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