. With Love, From The Mother 'Hood: Gandhi, Life, FISH and Barns

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gandhi, Life, FISH and Barns

Photo by me

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Such a great quote - and what I have been striving to do - at least within my little corner of the world. On the surface, a seemingly simple task - I mean, it isn't like I am going after world domination, but at times it feels like it. Lately it means managing my children's atypical needs and advocating for the Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)* they are entitled to, and hopefully pushing for some positive changes within our district for all children in the process. Managing their needs and education can eat up A LOT of time and energy - and the blog took a back seat for awhile. So, the answer is "Yes, I am still writing the blog", even though after two months of no posts I am sure it doesn't seem that way. Ironically, this quote was included in an email from an educator; a person who doesn't seem to live by it, at least in the capacity of "teacher". We are on the same page now after I used that magic word, "appropriate", in an email reminding her of the education plan in place for my child. I have also had the opportunity to help two other moms advocate for their children, and while I am grateful for the path my life has taken, I am saddened by the necessity of this advocacy. In regards to their education, my children come with more paperwork than some corporations. I often wonder what it is like to just send a child off to school, minus the meetings, forms, evaluations, management and worry that comes with it all.

I haven't written a single word since December unless you count the paperwork, and I prefer not to. Seems I've had a bit of stress induced writer's block - when it rains, it pours, and it seems to have been raining for awhile here (not going into the details, just major stress going on concerning health of much loved extended family). There are some huge rainbows in all of this, though. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my first nephew this weekend - nothing more beautiful in life than a newborn baby. My short story submitted to FISH Publishing has been "longlisted" this week, which means it has survived the first cut from 1800+ down to 350-450 stories. There will be a party if it is shortlisted (even if it is just me dancing in my kitchen to 80's music, drinking pinot noir), and a major celebration if it is published. Honestly, I am thrilled that it was deemed fit to be longlisted. I've learned to take what I can get, and enjoy it - although right now is a bit of a roller coaster ride, with such polar opposite events happening all at once.

Even with all of the current stress, Marc and I are in a good place, and in celebration of our 11th wedding anniversary, we purchased some work from a local artist, "The Barn Lady" (check out her work at http://www.barnlady.net/). We bought a BIG giclee titled "Perfect" as our gift to each other and my sweet husband bought me one of her smaller original oils for Valentine's Day. I also had the pleasure of meeting her at a gallery opening, and talking about a barn near my house, promising her some pictures. She liked them, a lot actually (her response made my week), and I am hoping she paints it; Marc maybe not so much after I told him "If she paints it, we will have to buy it!" - only because of our recent purchases, not because he doesn't love her work. I may show some of my photos in the CCAA Gallery at her encouragement. I also geared myself up last weekend to start some paintings of the barn and a pastel of a goat named "Angus" - he has the most beautiful horns.

I know I make some people scratch their heads, and suspect I always have - the difference is I am comfortable in my skin now. My passion for art has been reignited, the long ago art major emerging from her hiding place. If you happen to see a woman running along a country road with her camera near a barn, racing the waning light, wearing knee high garden boots (for wading through the snow) and a fluorescent orange hat (to avoid being hit by a car), this is happily me. A woman driving by was clearly laughing at me in my getup as I took my photos, and I thought, Laugh away. I am leaving my stamp on the world, and in my mind it is beautiful, fluorescent orange hat and all.

*For more information on advocating for appropriate education please go to http://www.wrightslaw.com/ or the book, Wright's Law, From Emotions to Advocacy.


  1. My son is in the transition from First Steps to the school district. I'm fortunate enough that one of his therapists (who has set in on tons of IEP's) might be able to sit in with my son's IEP. It's a lot of work advocating for our children, but it's worth every second. Good Luck with everything!

  2. I never knew you are an art major! You are like an onin with so many layers- without the crying part. I see you smashed through the writers block. I would rather paint you in a white field of snow wearing an orange hat- but then I'm a people person.

  3. I love you. You make me giggle! Dont be too sure that that girl in the MUDBOOTS with a CAMERA in her hand taking pictures of BARNS...isn't ME!! Missy---you're killing me here at how much we have in common! I always thought i was kind of an odd-ball to be as infatuated with barns as i am!!!! and photography is totally my thing! :) LOVE your blogs! Thanks for sharing you life with all of us...it's VERY inspiring to me!
    Love, Carrie--not so anonymous anymore since you busted me the first time! LOL


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