Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Velveteen Rabbit - Remembering the Magic of Real


I recently finished reading The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams to Levi. In Williams' tale, the toys converse. One day, the Rabbit asks the Skin Horse, "What is REAL?" and wants to know if it "means having things buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

The Skin Horse replies, "Real isn't how you are made...It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, REALLY loves you, then you become Real. It doesn't happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

Reading The Velveteen Rabbit brought a flood of memories to my mind. First off, I was remembering reading the story aloud to RileyAnn all those years ago. I had never heard of The Velveteen Rabbit prior to that time, but immediately fell in love with the nursery magic of Real. Secondly, I was thinking about an estate sale we hosted last fall, where there were so many beloved toys that must have been Real at some point to some very special children.


I specifically remember the daughter (now in her fifties) walking me through the house before we agreed to the job. She pointed out Huckleberry Hound and told me her brother received him as a gift when he had a childhood ailment. Huckleberry had clearly seen better days. His "velveteen" fur was very dirty and worn. He had a hole in his ankle where an inner spring showed through. Some may have looked at Huckleberry Hound and threw him in the dumpster, but this woman knew the magic called Real that existed for him and her brother, who had since passed away. I also knew someone would see the specialness of Huckleberry and want to take him home....which they did.

Professor Carol Reynolds talks about looking for beauty in the small everyday things around you. Often times, we come across things while staging the house for a sale that are new to us. Some beautiful and some not so much. RileyAnn will tell you that every old lady has a collection, whether it be snow globes, doilies, dolls, or dishes. And, if they've lived through The Great Depression, they are savers of everything!....especially Cool Whip containers and Tupperware. We have had many a giggle over these small treasures.

Part of the reason we took that sale last fall, was because there were so many everyday things and books in every room. I could feel the house that built this family. The father was a university professor who died suddenly one day while mowing the yard. The mother was widowed for over thirty years before developing some dementia and moving in with a daughter in another state. It was obvious her world stopped the day her husband passed on, as walking through the house was a time warp back to the early 1980's.

I grew up in the 70's and 80's so a flood of emotion washed over me many days while we worked and prepared for the sale. There were toys I had as a child and books that we've read as a family. By the time the sale came, my kids had heard countless stories from my childhood that I had all but forgotten before being prompted by some item or another. It was a special time.

Then the actual sale date came. Not only did I experience waves of memories, but so did many of our customers. Time and again, we heard people say after walking through the house that it was like going home to the days of their youth. It was absolutely joyous to hear stories from people I had never met before, but yet had some new found connection with. We laughed and there was even a few tears. People purchased items simply because they brought back a memory of days gone by.

Cindy Rollins talks about remembrance and the importance of making and sharing memories with our children. Everyone of these sales we do provides an opportunity for time spent with my children creating memories. Being able to work with my kids throughout this process was amazing! Through the people and the stories, we made memories. We have since moved on to another estate, but no less memorable.

All this to say, whether in work or maybe just the mundane of everyday, you have an amazing opportunity to create special moments with your children. And, don't feel guilty giving your child time to play because you never know which thing will spark the magic of Real.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

February 2019 Randomness...


It's been a wild week here on Drywood Creek! We had two major snow storms (about 15" total accumulation) and a very nasty stomach bug that took out all five of us. Thankfully, it was a fast mover and everyone seems to be on the mend.

We have one week left of our Winter Term. I'll be working on wrap-up posts after that time. One thing I will share now is that a couple of weeks ago, I did a major overall to Levi's curriculum and opted to begin Memoria Press's First Start Reading series. I will explain more in a future post, once we get our bearings. For now, I am pleased and we are off to a great start. If something isn't working for you, don't be afraid to switch it up...even if it is the middle of the academic year.


Have you heard about Common Place Quarterly? It's a new magazine written for Charlotte Mason moms. There are a variety of contributors, all current or former homeschooling mamas. Many of which, I've had the privilege of getting to know through a variety of home education circles and social media. The magazine will be published four times per year. You can subscribe per quarter or annually.

At the end of last year, I subscribed to three new ventures. One being Commonplace Quarterly, another Reshelving Alexandria, and the third, Forma. My first CPQ came mid week, just before I was the last to fall to the stomach bug. It was the light at the end of my very dark tunnel, after having a week of sick kids, including The Farmer, and then succumbing to it myself. I was in bed most of the day Friday, but so very thankful for my new magazine. It's delightful!! I'm still on the fence about Reshelving Alexandria and haven't received my first Forma magazine yet, but CPQ is a hit. I'm glad I ordered the annual subscription and may do a full review at another time.

I mentioned in my Fall Term 2018-2019 Wrap-Up that Ruben was in a farm accident the day after Thanksgiving. He was recovering nicely until Christmas time, when a staph infection caught hold of his leg. It's a rather long story at this point, but thankfully his infection has cleared. Unfortunately, he still has two drains in his thigh to eliminate fluid from that area. What we originally thought to be a hematoma, turned out to be a morel-lavallee lesion. This is where the skin shears from the muscle. Naturally, if there's any pocket in the body, it fills with fluid. In order for the skin to adhere back to the muscle, we must keep the pocket empty, not allowing fluid to collect there. Ruben has drained over five liters of fluid from his leg since Christmas and will continue to wear drains until his his output is minimal. We are hopeful that he will continue to heal. Please consider joining us in prayer that Ruben may make a full recovery.

Here he is dressed like a cross between The Michelin Man and a ninja heading out in the sub zero temps we had a couple weeks ago as part of the polar vortex that rocked the Midwest.


Lastly, with the cold, snowy weather, and sickness, I had some time to work through my inbox, reading past blog posts, and listening to various podcasts. Here are a few that gave me food for thought....

What is the Classical Approach to Phonics?

Homeschooling Middle School Boys

Why Gender Matters: An Interview with Dr. Leonard Sax

Charlotte Mason is Classical

Beautiful Feet Books new website

Worthwhile Questions

Misunderstandings, Writing Voices, and Five-Paragraph Essays

Shut Your Mouth and Change Your Life

I also recently finished reading Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen and am currently reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. How is your Winter Term going? Have you read any good books lately? Feel free to share in the comments below. If you're in need of some great living books, check out our sale lists. Proceeds go to help our family continue to home educate and provide shared content for the greater homeschool community.

Friday, February 1, 2019

February 2019 Book Sale Index by Subject....

I've been working through book sale list updates over the past couple of weeks. There have been many new treasures added to most lists, including history, literature, Five in a Row titles, poetry, science, and more. There are several fabulous titles from Ambleside Online, Beautiful Feet, Sonlight, Truthquest History, and A Visual American History Timeline of Books, as well as many other great picture and chapter books.

Below is an index by subject for easy access. I would love to add photos of each book, but the sheer volume of books listed here paired with my time constraints have not allowed me to to do that. However, if you have questions about a particular title or condition, please do ask. I'm also happy to give recommendations or send you photos when possible.

Please send book lists, comments, and inquiries via the contact form on the right side bar. We are a smoke and pet free home. I accept PayPal and ship media mail anywhere in the U.S.

Thanks for your consideration,
Melissa