Morning Musings: The Bondage of Fear

Insomnia. Depression. Anger. Fear takes on so many shapes. It looms like a mountain and irritates like a pebble in your shoe. It whispers and lies and builds itself up like the mightiest force in the universe. It smothers out dreams and is like a noose choking out the very joy of life.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Before I can share how I have overcome the bondage I think its important to share how deep it held me. Fear is something that I have battled most of my life. I can even pinpoint the moment it began to enslaved me.

My father suffered from schizophrenia and was an alcoholic, as long as he took his medication (that was most of the time) everything was wonderful. Seriously, I could not have asked for a better dad! But like all people, he was not perfect and from time to time he would stop taking his medication, and then he would start drinking and then my mom would take me away from the home for the night.

This might have been where fear started but it wasn’t, my mom always made me feel safe. She made the time at the hotel feel like a girls get-away or a stay with friends like a slumber party. But there was one time she was unable to do that.

The summer of 1992, I was 13 years old. We were at a party at my grandparents home and my mom got sick. Really sick! And we ended up taking her to the emergency room.

It was a long night with lots of tests and x-rays of some sort. I can still see the cubical waiting rooms, florescent lights casting odd shadows because they were not all on. Listing to the doctors say things like “strangulation hernia”,  “if she doesn’t start vomiting” and “surgery”.

She was admitted into the hospital that night with talk about the surgery in the morning. My daddy took me home and then some time in the still dark hours the phone rang. “Mommy is having surgery.”

It’s funny looking back as an adult into childhood. Being able to see my reaction and having a greater understanding about what my dad must have been feeling. How scared he must have been.

I don’t remember much about those day that followed. I was thirteen, lost in books and the world of innocence. I don’t know how the surgery went, but my mom ended up in ICU for more than a day before she was moved into a normal room.

It was after she moved into that room that I reminded my dad (again) that he promised to take me to Enchanted Village & water park. He did, we drove the long hours there while my mom stayed in the hospital. He paid the ridiculous ticket price. We rode the Carousel. And then we got into a fight.

What a stupid fight for both of us. He wanted to ride the potato sack slide and I thought is was to babyish. So I told him he could and I would skip it. We both skipped it. Then I wanted to ride the Octopus but he didn’t want to and then I wouldn’t go on it.

We were both being stubborn and bratty. I sobbed and we went home.

We hadn’t even been at the park for an hour. We spent money on gas and tickets and food, money I was to learn wasn’t really in our budget. Hospitals, ICU and surgery is expensive when you don’t have insurance and we didn’t. And I’m pretty sure finances were tight even before that.

I cried the whole way home, then went to my room and took a nap. When I woke up my dad wasnt home, so I cuddled up on the couch with my book.

He wasnt too late getting home after that and went straight to the kitchen. I gave it no thought, the anger and hurt from the earlier part of the day already fading from my heart.

Then I heard the can open.

Most people wouldn’t think twice about that innocent sound. It wouldn’t fill them with absolute fear. But we didn’t drink canned soda in our home, the only time I heard that sound in my house was if daddy had bought a beer.

Daddy was drinking and my mom wasn’t there to protect me.


*I’ve shared this story many times, but have never written it down. This all happened 25 years ago, it’s amazing what time and age does to memories and the ability to see others possible perspectives in a situation. Bear with me and I will continue my story of overcoming the bondage of fear.

Part 2


Symposium Social Studies

I’ve decided that our mornings Symposiums are missing Social Studies. I know history is considered a social study, but with our love of living books I decided we needed another idea added to our Morning Symposium Slow Loop in order to fit in the long list of books I want us to read and some more varied richness that I feel our week is missing.

I’ve been surprised to discover how well even the younger two are doing with chapter books during our morning time. So Morning Symposium Social Studies will follow that same theme, but I expect we will have more “short” stories on our reading list for now.

Its been on my heart to include more mission and cultural diversity into our weeks, that being said this will be a great time to include some early American historical fiction books as well. Picture books are great for this and are definitely included into our Books & Blankets time, however I really like the idea of making more of those connections and having them slowly looped into our mornings. I expect this will have a domino effect and should naturally spill over into our Hands On time more regularly to.

These are just a few of the books on our reading list, the ones that are a collection of short stories will be sprinkled between the longer books.

Or some mornings I will make it really easy on my self and use Stories Around The World instead.


This post does contain some affiliate links but as always only to things I love and of no extra cost to you.

Symposium: History

Using our chapter books for Morning Nature Study has been splendid! So much so that I needed to take another look at how we were doing Morning Symposium: History, that hasn’t been going so well. I’ve been simply reading beautiful historical fiction picture books on those Slow Loop mornings and while they are lovely we are just not connecting with them as well for morning time. So I’ve decided I need to move them over to our Books & Blankets time instead and save mornings for chapter books.

I have my eyes on a new history curriculum that we are planning on starting this fall/winter term that looks like an amazing fit for our whole family. Even dad is excited to spend those mornings with us! In the mean time I’ve decided simply read chapter books, that are sitting on my reading list waiting for a turn anyway. The new history we will be starting also follows this pattern of ancient to more modern history. So we will read our books in that order for now as well and create the flow. Plus, I already have these on my book shelf.

2017/2810 History Reading list for Symposium




Poetry Tea Time in a Basket

“Put the kettle on.” Was something I heard every time a guest walked into our home. Formal tea time was not something we did because we always had tea time! Now that I have children I find that I’m the same way, the first beverage I offer a guest is a cup of tea. And while I won’t give up my many cups of fortification each day, I do want the magic of Tea Time for our family.

Poetry Tea Time was the answer to finding that magic and my Slow Loop provides just the right amount of regularity we want and need.


So just about every other day (some days we don’t loop) I pull out the teacups my Grandmother gave me for my birthday the year my daughter was born. I fill my tea pot that was my Mum’s, with some decaffeinated tea. I check to make sure the sweeter bowl is full of a stivia based “sugar” and I decide on a little something to nibble. Most of the time I do this myself, but the children are working in turns to serve the other with their Helping & Hosting Hands.

My husband picked me up a box of Red Rose tea recently and the children were delighted to find the glass figurine inside. So, we are now collecting them so that they can decorate our tea time table and be played with at that special time. However, they were very disappointed that they could not help me drink that tea so we could buy a new box sooner. Now that I think about it, perhaps that is way they have been so extra helpful about making me tea these days.

After the table is set and the food is made, I pull out a collection of our poetry and literature books, no ebooks for tea time!

Each one of the kids choose a poem or story for me to read and my oldest picks a few for him to read as well. It’s so fun to hear Macaroon pick up our book of Robert Louis Stevenson Poems and declare, “This is my favorite one!”. Or notice that Pumpkin always picks from Shel Silverstein or that Cupcake will take her time and choose from among all our books.

If time is passing peacefully and their attention holds I will also take this time to read a longer story from one of our anthology books and have lovely conversations. If they are being cheeky monkeys I quickly dismiss them to play outside as soon as they are done with their treats so I can savor the last of mine.

These are the books currently in our Poetry Tea Time Basket.

And these are a few on my wish list for when we have exhausted or just need to freshen the ones we own..


A Children’s Book of Verse

I was ten years old, that was almost 3 decades ago, and I can still see my daddy pulling this book of the shelf in the book store. I was so NOT interested in it, I was to busy looking for Archie comic-books. But he wanted to me to the poem The Owl and The Pussy Cat, so this is the book he bought for me that day.

We went out to eat after, just him and I and he read me the poem. I didn’t get his fascination but I enjoyed that he wanted to share it with me.

I think also, that he may have bought me this book with hopes of enriching my reading. I cannot ask him, he passed away just a few years after he gave me the book. But now that I’m a parent I can imagine myself doing the same thing for my children. Well, I do that same thing for my children.

Pumpkin would be perfectly happy to read Fly Guy every day but I now he needs a little more scope for his imagination. And I know that he would find just as much delight in many books that would not be his first choice. We are building a relationship with books, mostly in the audiobooks and read aloud I choose for us. He may only be 9, but he knows that his mama loves books and so far she has done a great job choose books that he loves as well.

Well, A Children’s Book of Verse is still one of my favorite books ever. The illustrations by Eric Kincaid are so detailed and full of magic. The selection of poems so varied that even as an adult I am enthralled with them.

A few of my favorite poems included in the book are The Highwayman…remember when Anne recited this poem in Anne of Green Gables? Oh, the hours my junior high girlfriends and I spend recreating the drama of that scene quoting that same poem. (You can watch that scene here.)

My Mother Said is another favorite, I think it had more to do with the illustrations then the verse. But I can still rattle it off if asked for a recitation on demand, along with Way Down South Where Bananas Grow.

It’s a splendid book, one I think I should buy extra of so my children can have in their own private collection one day.



Liberty Harbor Park NJ

When one travels to New York City, I’m pretty sure they do NOT consider traveling via motor-home. But since that is how our family gets around these days that is what we did! California to New York for my sister-in-laws wedding. I was able to locate an actual RV park for us, not in the city but a short ferry ride away in New Jersey.

Liberty Harbor RV Park is not an RV “resort”, the “park” is an very apt description, it’s pretty much just a parking lot. But it was clean, had full time security and friendly, helpful staff. Considering the location I’d say the price was pretty fair as well and being able to see the Statue of Liberty from our living room was pretty awesome! When we decide to brave the city again, I would for sure return. And hopefully explore all the close by fun things to do as well.

Next time, I will get a subway map and a printed street map. Google maps was very little help in traveling the city and our feet paid the price of the extra miles we ended up walking. I will also try and plan our trip for when their isn’t any rain.

Generally if the weather is foul I would just have us all stay inside and read books. But when your paying more then usual to be at a park to see the city… go and see is what you do! No matter how lost and soggy you get. Thankfully it only rained on our last day.

From the resort there is a ferry a few blocks over that will take you into the city. I’d suggest doing that at least once if you have not been to NYC before, it totally adds to the magic. Or just a few blocks up was the Path (subway into NY) and the above area near that entrance boasts a farmers market. It was pretty magical emerging from the subway the first time to those surroundings. Oh and a block up from that was a street closed to cars full of great shops and restaurants. I felt like I was in a perfectly charming movie! And even found a favorite restaurant to go back to next time.

See I keep talking about next time!


Veglio Michelino & Fillion 2012 Barbara d’Alba DOC

I’m a PACNW girl and no stranger to rain but the other day in New Jersey was enough to having me bemoaning the weather. Braving the the drizzle and pour, in the muddy sand to pack up the RV for a trip into town. Oh how glad I was that our Wine Club had delivered that day! And the section of wines included worked well with what I was already planning for dinner.

Did you know NJ doesn’t sell wine at the grocery store? But they sell beer! It boggles my mine.

Well Italian was on the menu for that night, ground turkey meat sauce and gluten free noodles. This bottle of Barbara d’Alba was splendid with it, complemented the chocolate square for dessert and was pretty darn wonderful on its own while the chef worked.

Here is what my Wine Club says about the wine. They have a sommelier on staff so their description just might be a little better then mine.

This offering is made from 100% Barbera. It pours an intense ruby red with violet reflections in the glass. The aroma is fruit forward, with young, captivation notes of red fruits, particularly Amarena cherry and plums. On the palate there is more cherry notes with a nice balance of acids and tannins typical of Barbera. Overall a well-expressed Barbera with nice long finish. Pair this wine with past (meat or spicy sauce), grilled poultry, roasted duck, mushroom risotto, spicy vegetable dishes and strong flavored cheeses.

I’m by no means a wine connoisseur, I simply enjoy things that taste good. Personally I think it tasted like I should be dinning alfresco in the Italian country side with lots of friends and lots of laughter. I’ll happily settled for cozy at my table with my little traveling family.

And yes,  if you join I will can earn wine for free but you could be in my club and we could compare our own favorites  and you could get yours for free too. Cheers to Wine Club!