We spent 4 days at my brothers house in Maine. It snowed over 14 inches in Hiram while we were there and another 16" I heard on the news yesterday. The kids had so much fun sledding down the big driveway and taking turns putting the smaller children on their laps for a ride.
Manon got such a kick out of the fact that she could walk across the top of the hardened snow without sinking down and dig holes in the giant mounds of snow and sit in them like eskimos.
I loved being in the quiet of Maine. I thought I would be restless but instead found myself wanting to stay there in the house which is so simple and rustic. They use only the necessities and a good portion of food they get right from the land they farm. Laura has the day she bakes bread for the weeks supply and they have preserves from canning and a root cellar with...you guessed it...root vegtables. Their Christmas tree was out of their back woods and all of the gifts we recieved were wrapped in brown paper and tied in red string. I receieved a amaryllis plant and planter...the bulbs had been dug up in the fall from the garden so that they can bloom again.
The Girls, Manons Counsins are being home schooled and are already starting to learn to read.
They each have a wooden desk set up against the far wall of the living room with their paper and supplies. Manon and the girls played "Little House on the Prairie" for most of the second day we were there and they had a ball pretending to go to the "schoolhouse" and pack their bucket lunch of bread and cheese.
The upstairs of the house is not heated, and small but cosy with low slanting ceilings like a loft, and a steep wooden stairway. There are three bedrooms, and they have each a simple dresser and a chair or table. Drawings are hung on the wall, and peeling old paper add a look of an old rustic farmhouse in the 1950's.
My brother and sister in law are not poor. They are humble and they prefer to live on only what they need. They do not have any attachment to asthetics in their home. They do not spend their money frivilously. They do not have a TV, or a DVD, or a microwave oven. They do not have a dining room for entertaining, or any fancy china. They have one small bathroom with a clawfoot tub, and an outhouse for emergencies. They collect their own eggs in the morning. Trade eggs or vegitables for raw milk from another farm. They can and freeze left overs, and always use left overs for making soups and stock. When they shop they buy wheat, flour, sugar and other supplies in bulk from a Co-Op. They conserve energy and Water, and waste barely anything.
They have a compost bucket in the kitchen and collect another bucket of scraps for the chickens.
Laura Knits and cooks while the children play, and she mends holes in clothing to extent their wear. She has only ever purchased clothing from the Good Will or Salvation Army, or taken hand me downs for the girls and baby Joe.
For entertainment we read all in the same room, talk or play with the kids. The game of choice the evening before we left was charades and we played in front of the wood stove and everyone got turns to act out the animal or thing while all of us guessed, and laughed and made time together.
It was a great vacation, and I felt rested and rejuvinated by the time we left.
The book manuscript is finished!
Random house and Pippin Properties will have it in their hands this week although hopeful I know that they get hundreds of submissions every day.
Since the inspiration hit me in 2004 I have never lost the enthusiasm or drive to see this become a reality.
My dream is to have the little bits brand be synonymous to with global change and human values for young audiences. My goal is to inspire children to feel empowered and able to make a difference. My intention is to introduce children to ideals, values, products, and insights that they can incorporate into their daily lives and draw from as they grow into contributing compassionate adults who want to make a difference.
I believe that if given the right tools, and introduced to social responsibility and human values that nurture their spirit at a young age that they will be the change we need in the world and we will one day experience world peace, human equality, planetary health, spiritual well being and survival of the beautiful species that inhabit the earth including our own.
I know that I am but a small player in this vision, but I pray to the universe, and God for the grace and courage everyday to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and that each day I can retire feeling resolved that I did my little bit for the day to advance the dream, and that I wake up with more determination than the day before to continue to inspire those around me to do the same.
The book is the first in a series of projects that will follow to create a dialog between children and their parents who want to make a difference. I am really excited about it's potential.
I have copied and pasted the following information on Isabel Allende one of the most eloquent women speakers I have ever heard. She is a champion of Women and an inspiration.
Enjoy every word:
In one of the most beloved talks from TED2007, novelist Isabel Allende talks about writing, women, passion, feminism. She tells the stories of powerful women she has known, some larger-than-life (listen for a beauty tip from Sophia Loren), and some simply living with grace, dignity and ingenuity in a world that, in too many ways, still treats women unjustly.
Why you should listen to her:
As a novelist and memoirist, Isabel Allende writes of passionate lives, including her own. Born into a Chilean family with political ties, she went into exile in the United States in the 1970s -- an event that, she believes, created her as a writer. Her voice blends sweeping narrative with touches of magical realism; her stories are romantic, in the very best sense of the word. Her novels include The House of the Spirits, Eva Luna and The Stories of Eva Luna, and her latest, Ines of My Soul and La Suma de los Dias (The Sum of Our Days). And don't forget her adventure trilogy for young readers -- City of the Beasts, Kingdom of the Golden Dragon and Forest of the Pygmies.
As a memoirist, she has written about her vision of her lost Chile, in My Invented Country, and movingly tells the story of her life to her own daughter, in Paula. Her book Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses memorably linked two sections of the bookstore that don't see much crossover: Erotica and Cookbooks. Just as vital is her community work: The Isabel Allende Foundation works with nonprofits in the SF Bay Area and Chile to empower and protect women and girls -- understanding that empowering women is the only true route to social and economic justice.
"Allende can spin a funny, sensual yarn, but she can also use her narrative skills to remind us that parallel to our placid and comfortable existence is another, invisible universe, one where poverty, misery and torture are all too real."Patricia Hart, The Nation
Thank God (the Universe, or whatever you believe in)
That there are only 24 hours in a day, and that the crowning glory of our species is that we MUST sleep for a minimum of 5 hours in order to perform the following day at any sort of competent level.
I am home with two children for 72 hours strait...It's miserable outside and both of them are sick and have been awake at all hours of the night. Daddy is away on a business trip. I have slept for no more than 30 minutes at a time....I am desperate.....
Do I call 911?
I imagine the fire engines and ambulance showing up in the early evening, I look particularly strung out, and completely at wits end, turning myself in with any ailment that will god willing show up in my body. I once did Children's theatre and was a huge hit in the production Oliver!
I know that I can pull this off, and I'll simply act like I am faint and out of it...like a mental patient. I will hope that they put me in a comfortable hospital bed with all of the ginger ale that money can buy. Crushed Ice...hospital food... TV! I'm dreaming.
As I snap to reality I realize how desperate I have become and have absolutely NO idea how I will survive the next 48 hours. Self Medication? Pills? Alcohol? They are both taking turns vomiting now, and fevers are high...my two year old feels like he could heat a small department store. Did someone tell me recently that having three kids is the new two? NO THANK YOU.
I'm covered in bodily fluids and I have no idea if I can squeeze a quick shower into the intervals when my stomach starts to roil. The urge to throw up is so great as I am laying my son in the last set of clean sheets we own praying that he will finally sleep when the force of the sick pulses through my body. Now, it's every man for himself and I lay with my children in the hallway of the upstairs trying to gain some sense of control over a completely unmanageable situation.
By the time my husband arrives it's Friday night. The three of us are sitting at the table playing
with play dough and eating crackers. We are finally through the worst possible sickness we have all been through and as he hugs us we meet each others eyes, realizing that we are survivers.
It's impossible to believe that these images were taken this summer.... they've already changed so much.
Seven days of Maine with them between Christmas and now was a dream and I drank them in and loved them up. We played in the snow and at Mim's house and watched movies and ate popcorn and had great belly laughs. I brought in the New Year knowing that for the moment i should just be happy to be alive and healthy and have the blessing of my family. It's so easy to get wrapped up in this business of wanting. I've received everything in 2007 I could have ever wanted, and more.....
thank you my Manon and Shaw and Brad for giving me everything I need.