Reflecting on the Early Days of a Fiber Artist

Many years ago, when my daughter was still very young, my husband and I were given two enormous, white, couch pillows. Crayons in hand, my daughter without my permission turned one of the pillows into her canvas. In reflection, I must admit that on that day so many years ago I was clueless as to how much fun coloring on fabric could be. Now all these years later, I chuckle when I think of the bins, tubs, and boxes of paints, dyes, inks, and crayons that I have supplied my daughter; all of which she uses with my permission to color cotton, wool, and silk fabric.

Fabric Painting

Fabric Marbling with Dye

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You are a Mom

One day they are little and the days are long. Then before you can catch your breath, they are grown and the days seem unfairly short. Confident and sure, they are ready to embark on the adventurous journey of adult life. Having done your job, a job well done due to the endless hours and days in which your frustration, tears, and worry threatened to overshadow the precious moments of their youth, you watch as they pack their bags and depart from the safety of your home. As they wave goodbye, you pray for an assurance greater than the confidence that has inspired their departure.

Peace descends upon you as you pray and calms the emotional storm that threatens your composure, sanity, and well-being. You know with a certainty that you did your job day after day. You did it well through sacrifice, gritty determination, and boundless love. Although the daily chaos will settle into memory, you realize the journey is not over because you did your job and you did it well. You are a mom.

 

 

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Saith Me… Thesis Lesson #12

Give yourself permission to celebrate when it is done, even if the celebration is a simple as getting caught up on rest.

 

Oh yeah – I passed with distinction!!!!

 

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Saith Me… Thesis Lesson # 11

As much as I dearly love my 97 page thesis, it has become quite tiresome to read it again, and again, and again.

However, on a positive note, the fibro fog with which I so often struggle makes each reading interesting because I quite frequently feel surprised at what I have written.

 

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Stop Condescending the Youth

Stop Condescending the Youth – my thought on banning books. Inspired by John Green, after reading one of his recent tumblr posts and watching a 2008 volg.

Parents should have a voice in their student’s education, and balanced curriculum is vital, but at the heart of any book banning discussion seems to be the perceived notion that the youth cannot handle the material. Is it any wonder that so many 18-20 year-olds make terrible choices once they leave the confines of parental oversight?

I would rather have my youth confront life while still at home than to have them face it for the first time when they are on their own. This philosophy has not made parenting easy, but I didn’t sign up for easy.

I grew up in a very conservative community where one very conservative religious group dominated the society and the politics. Yet, I still read books considered controversial, some that have been on banned lists elsewhere. The best classroom discussions came from these books and prepared me for the great human stories I went on to read in college. More importantly, these books have aided me throughout my years as a mother.

So my take on controversial reading material – Parents READ the books, and then DISCUSS them with your teen before they discuss them in class. The shock you will receive from the book is nothing compared to what your kid already faces or will face in school, particularly in college even if they attend a very conservative/religious college.

The material that seems to be at the heart of this latest controversy pales in comparison with what my son encountered while taking classes at a nearby school. It was not material addressed in class but was the conversations and actions outside of class, and it shocked the administration when my son finally reported the language and behaviors he encountered in non-classroom activities. As a parent, I assure you, I would have been much happier if my middle-school child would have had exposure due to “book discussion” rather than exposure due to normal youth behavior. Normal had changed since I was in school and since the administrators had been in school. We were all shocked, dismayed, and deeply troubled by what we learned.

Discussion of the issues and norms needs to be part of a youth’s education. Maybe if the older students had been more aware, more educated, then they could have acted where adults could not have. We need to stop condescending our youth and instead empower them with knowledge gained from discussing hard, controversial topics.

Since I am personally acquainted with the people behind the latest petition to remove books from school curriculum, I would ask that anyone reading this avoid emailing the people directly, but instead only contact the school district in question with comments. While my readership is small, only a minuscule fleck of dust compared to John Green’s, I would not wish to cause issue for the people involved. Comments of criticism and/or comments of support should ONLY be sent to the district. Edit – it appears John Green removed the link to the petitioners. Good.

 

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Outward Expression of Who You Are

I teach a simple statement to both my son and my daughter, “Your clothing is an outward expression of who you are.” This statement hinges on a very important factor – knowing who you are.

I recently taught my son’s youth class about how in everything we do, we are communicating something. Knowing what we communicate and how we communicate it is very important. I made the simple demonstration of putting on and taking off an oversized, black cardigan. The class was amazed at the transformation one garment could make in my appearance. I then proceeded to have the tallest, coolest boy in the class stand next to me. I asked him to read a passage and then I read the same passage. Then I asked the class what were differences about the two of us. This time the class was intrigued. Youth vs. age, male vs. female, pitch of voice, and the list went on; each of these things can affect the way people see and hear us.

How we dress, how we move, how we interact – great tools of communicating who we are and what we believe – BUT first we must learn to know ourselves. This is what I wish more parents and leaders would focus on rather than simply listing what today is considered modest or popular. Teach the endless possibility of Dos rather than always the specific Don’ts. Certainly providing boundaries and guidance is important, but more important is providing guidance on how to become the wonderful individual that each of us is. This guidance must include teaching our youth how to dress in a way that is an outward expression of who they are because then we are helping them develop of the courage they will need to be that person in the world.

In my experience, it takes much more effort to provide a creative, personal wardrobe than it does to provide either a modest or popular wardrobe. It does not necessarily take more money, but it certainly takes more time and sometimes more skill. It also takes a really strong parent/child relationship because it must be a team effort or it will not work. I have had a wonderful time working with both my children and will miss this part of parenting and homeschooling. In reflection, I believe I have learned as much as my children have, and that is truly a great blessing.

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Saith Me… Thesis Lesson #7

Thank you archivists and dedicated graduate school interns!

My admiration for archivists and interns has abundantly grown in the last hour. When a document is placed on the web for public use, but not in a manner that facilitates creating a searchable pdf, it is a massive pain and reminds me to be forever grateful to those dedicated souls who transcribe original documents for public use.

 

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