Friday, April 2, 2021

I woke finding myself writing....

I’m a long time continuing education student. Self educated. Struggled all my life with educating myself in a good way, fighting traditional forms of education that presented themselves in ways that felt contrary to my spiritual needs. Even as a child I was directed to healing forms not necessarily conventional when I went door to door at six years old selling small bottles of lilic water I had made. Then following my heart I went from big sister of five siblings to preschool teacher. Blessed to participate in creating and managing programs and staff development, to completing my masters degree at age fifty. It took me a very long time to settle down and stay and learn and accept what I had to do to complete my degree in human development with three specializations in parent community work. On then to teaching at Skagit Community College, completing my internship at Compass Mental Health Services in children and family services, and receiving my license as a mental health counselor. Now here I am an elder and remain a student always learning. I still grow and dry flowers, have jars of them that will one day be gifts and boxes of seeds I’ve harvested and carry with me and grow and share as I can. Healing is a full time job.
Currently I’m in a Baha'i study class on Thursday evenings from 7-9:00. The Vine Delorea, Jr. Symposium coming up in May was mentioned. Waking this morning, I searched the dates and registered. In the process I began viewing some of last years speakers. I share this talk in the link below because it has personal meaning to me and I believe it is important in terms of understanding how to reach out and listen and learn and ask questions of our families and community members about what they want to learn and need.

I want to respectfully acknowledge my dear friend, collaborator  and teacher Faith Campbell. She hired me in 1991 to help establish the Samish Tribe preschool in Anacortes. Faith has now passed over and I miss her deeply. Her husband Larry Campbell, spoke at the symposium. His words give healing, hope, and wisdom for our young ones and for those like me who are life long learners. Humbly I thank both Faith and Larry for the years of quiet lessons shared. You can listen to his talk in the link provided.
Northwest Indian College’s 14th Annual Vine Deloria jr. Indigenous Studies Symposium Relationships, Reciprocity, Rights, and Resistance “Redefining natural resource management as relatives.” May 17th and 18th, 2019 Facebook: @Deloriasymposium

Monday, February 15, 2021

Love and Laughter

After a year and on into the next with the covid pandemic testing each and everyone. 

In 2021, may we regain hope and learn from it all in a good way as we go forward.

Couple of thoughts. So...I’ve been telling Chuck this week that I’m taking up a new profession as a comedian, after my sister and father. They were both so great at telling a good joke. Laughter was really their medicine. As the oldest child I had too many responsibilities to find time to tell a funny joke. However after mom passed I made it a habit to have a funny story to share with my father when I visited. Knowing his history and what hardships he overcame, I learned to realize why humor was so necessary for him. Laughter and Love, two gifts from my parents. May we each carry a joyful story to share in these difficult times. I hope to share at least one story each month or so....

Here in our backyard is Grandson Rowan and Grandad lovingly playing a game that went on for quite some time, where as you can see, love and laughter were going full force. Grand kids River and Jenna in the back ground playing Uno. We have missed these visits over the last year with needing to be separate for our health ad safety. This photo gives joyful hope of renewed opportunities for love and laughter to continue. Over the last many months we have been separated because of covid safety protocol we have chosen to follow, we have been able to support each other in very creative ways that meant using our computers and phones as well as meeting for short periods of time wearing masks and staying at a distance. Chuck and I have had both or our moderna vaccines now. We look forward to having renewed visits with our grandchildren and to nurture opportunities for continued experiences of love and laughter together.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

"Come Sunday": A song brings reflection and gratitude.

                                         Posted January 31, 2021. My mother's birthday.

My mother did not go to church on a regular basis, weddings, funerals, invitations. She did not take her children to church. My mother said "you live your heaven and hell right here on earth, it's "how" you live your life that matters." She was a testimony to her statement and I love her dearly for what she taught me. She was always kind to others, always making sure she called the person she was talking to by their name and offered laughter and kind words to each person she came into contact with, always. She loved people. When my grandmother, Dee Dee Mom, my fathers mother, was in recovery in a nursing home mom took me and my two young daughters to visit her. My mother greeted each and every person with such joyful attention, including staff. She would ask questions, remembering conversations and respectfully attentive. It was one of my greatest moments to witness my mother living her daily life as if she were in a House of God. She was straight forward, told you like it is and never held back what needed to be said if it meant protecting you or advising you. Never punishing, often way too liberal for many. She did not let others attitudes get in her way however. I am ever grateful for what I am still learning from my mother. Her wisdom comes to me daily in all I do. 

Thank you my mother.

 My DeeDee Mom on the other hand, took her grandchildren to church. She took us to the United Methodist Church in Sunnyvale, California where we lived at the time. I was about nine years old the first time she took me to church. I had already been going to Catholic church with my best friend down the street. The day my grandmother took me to church was the first time I heard my grandmother sing. My brother and sisters went directly to Sunday school class when we got there. Because of my age I went to the main service with the adults before going on to class. After my grandmother got them settled she came into the main service and sat about five seats down from me. That’s when we all stood to sing a hymn and I watched her very intently. She was strong, proud, standing with the others singing so beautifully in my eyes. What I witnessed transformed me in how I understood my grandmother. I received my bible that day in Sunday school. I still have it of course, along with the memory of DeeDee Mom and her tall, heavy set body standing out in the congregation. She signed my bible for me filling out my name where I received it and when.

 As a child I spent a great deal of time with her learning to cook, sew my own clothes, make quilt tops and blankets, as well as my own pajamas. She taught me most of what I know regarding domestic care of the home, self care and care of others. When my first child was born my mother apologized when she came to be with me to help with her first grandchild. She said, "I'm sorry Connie there is not much I know to help you because Dee Dee Mom always took care of me and my babies. I said, "just do what she did mom, and we will be fine." The last time I was with my grandmother was when I stayed with her for about a month with my two little daughters, who were nine months and three years old. Dee Dee Mom was just home from the hospital recovering from treatment for cancer. Before we left she needed to make me a flannel nightgown. Just as when I was a child visiting her for the weekend, she would often made me a pair of pajamas, she sat at her sewing machine and made me a full length flannel nightgown because she wanted to make sure I was warm heading up to Washington. Dee Dee Mom passed away several months later. I’m so blessed to have had that very special time with her. Going through her treasures and photo albums with her, learning so much of her life as she shared her stories and wisdom with me. I thank God for my grandmother and for all of her many gifts.

Referring to the song  “Come Sunday” written by Duke Ellington, which is now in the hymn book of the United Methodist Church, the author of the article below states: “The song is ultimately about the providence of God in all our lives. The refrain addresses God directly, “Lord, dear Lord above, God Almighty, God of love,” and then makes a petition, “please look down and see my people through.” The stanzas point to hope and heaven, concluding that “With God’s blessing we can make it through eternity.”

Dr. Hawn is professor of sacred music at Perkins School of Theology.

The Pilgrim House


I’m moving my writings and photos from Facebook over to my blog. This is the second one thus far.

 January 2021

Chuck and I were blessed to travel to Haifa, Israel for a nine day Bahai pilgrimage in the early summer of 2003. More photos to follow as I begin to unpack and organize albums. In November of 1998 my daughter Emily and I visited my daughter Jenni in Haifa where she served at the Universal House of Justice for five years. From 1996 until 2001. I’m looking forward to giving time to writing and sharing memories of these precious days together in the Holy land. At that time we were able to take day trips and travel to Jerusalem, Galilee, and Akka. I learned all about riding the taxi vans of the area from my daughter, called sheruts. We used these often to get around the area, to shop for groceries, and visit the downtown markets and sites of interest. We traveled by bus to Jerusalem and extravagantly rented a car for the day to travel to Galilee. In the evenings we would walk to the Pilgrim House from my daughters apartment where we were staying to attend wonderful talks on the history and current affairs of the Bahai Faith. They were given by members of the Universal House of Justice serving at that time. Tea and special desserts were always served afterward with lovely opportunities for meeting and socializing with the friends on pilgrimage from many other parts of the world.

Little Danelion

Posted on Facebook February 14, 2019.

Watching over you, watching over me, parents watching over. Watching over and holding onto my children, watching over and holding onto my grandchildren, watching over and holding onto my parents as they so graciously let go of this life to walk on to the next. Not able to call them today, sorrow shadows the heart. I talk to them in prayer and with gratitude for the gifts of love and lessons learned, directing me now.  New life continues as our journeys continue, step by step, day by day, and yet and still, watching over you, watching over and ever holding onto each other. 

Thank you little dandelion. Happy Valentines Day.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Mother’s Day 2020

A Photo Tribute for Mother’s Day 2020

My youngest daughter Emily, left, myself in the middle and my older daughter Jennifer, right.

              My daughter Jennifer and grand children Ethan, Shireen and Alexander and myself.

 My daughter Emily, my Grand daughter Jenna and myself

                                                            Emily's boys, River and Rowan.

                                                                My beautiful Mother.

                                                                    My Mother and I.


                                         My Grandmother Audrey Mae (Deedee mom)

My Grandmother Juanita

Sunday, September 1, 2019

My Journey as a Montessori Educator

Photo of my daughter Emily and myself 
in front of our Children's House Montessori Child Development Program

Happy Birthday Dr. Maria Montessori. Born August 31, 1870

As a Montessori educator of young children, from 1976-1997, I am ever grateful for what she taught me. I received my Montessori Certification when my daughters were four and six years old. Dr. Montessori’s teachings gave me a deep understanding of my life’s purpose as a young mother. I grew this purpose to not only continue to raise my beautiful daughters, but to serve as a door to serve the many children we were blessed to care for during my years serving families in our in-home child care program. This later grew to become “Children’s House Child Development Center.” In 1997 I was working on my Masters degree and sold the program to begin my career as a child and family mental health counselor.
Thank you to the extraordinary teachers, Liz, Melanie, Penny and my dear Emily and Jennifer for their tireless work and love offered up to the many children and families we served over some fifteen years in Anacortes, Washington.

Here is a short bio of Dr. Montessori's heroic life as she fought for her educational rights. She was forced out of Italy and yet she carried on her work as a doctor specializing in psychiatry and children with special needs, carrying her teachings and her beliefs to other countries. She stood In behalf of children during the horrendous trials of the political tyranny of her time. The definition of tyranny in the dictionary is “cruel and oppressive government or rule.” Today, the United States has unfortunately putting 15,000 migrant children in camps under the guise of homeland security, separating thousands from their parents. This is an act of child abuse and falls under the definition. tyranny. At the very least we must stand up for these children. Vote, volunteer, and work together in their behalf. 

Tony Traficante, ISDA Contributing Editor.

“How Maria Montessori Defied Mussolini and Changed the World.
For International Women's Day, we celebrate the life, grace and indelible contributions of Maria Montessori. 

Maria, a beautiful and young Italian woman, stood at the doorway of her future — one of Italy’s medical schools — eagerly waiting to enter, only to be greeted by unfriendly students and professors, muttering, “Che vergogna,” for shame!

Why the fuss? Well, it was once an all-male school, and now it was not! For young Maria Montessori, it was such an unexpected situation. All she wanted was the opportunity to be a doctor. Little did anyone realize that, in time, she would be internationally recognized for her renowned Montessori educational process and schools.

Maria was born August 31, 1870, in the town of Chiaravalle, Le Marche, Italia, to parents Alessandro and Renilde Stoppani-Montessori. It was not until Maria was 7 years old that Italy permitted females to attend public schools. Up until then, fathers and the Catholic Church decided the educational needs of Italian women. And, as it was, Maria’s father did not favor her attending public school, let alone the higher educational institutions. But headstrong Maria, “Con una testa dura” was not about to capitulate to the educational limitations imposed on Italian women, by Italian men.

Maria’s determination to get an education began when she was 13 years old when she enrolled in an all-boys technical school, where she had hoped to start her training as an Engineer.

She was not an extraordinary student, but did well in the sciences, especially with mathematics. However, by the time Maria completed the secondary level of schools, she decided she wanted to be a medical doctor.

Continuing (and about to break more barriers), Maria applied to the University of Rome Medical School. Unfortunately, she failed the entrance exams on the first attempt but succeeded in the second go around.There are reports that the Pope at the time, most likely Pope Leo XIII, had a hand in Maria’s acceptance into medical school.

One of the problems Maria faced with the male medical faculty and students was no one wanted her beside them when having to work on a naked cadaver! “Mamma mia, senzapudore” does she not have any shame, they whispered to one another. However, the enterprising Maria was not to be sidetracked from getting a medical degree, so she solved the problem by agreeing to do her dissections of naked cadavers, after regular class hours. Dr. Montessori was one of Italy’s first female physicians when she graduated medical school in 1896 and a trailblazer for other Italian women to pursue the same.

Maria’s early medical practice focused on psychiatry, specializing in working mostly with special needs children. Disturbed by the learning difficulties suffered by these special children, Maria set out to improve their learning capabilities. She established the first of her Montessori schools, in a ghetto of Rome, on January 6, 1907. “La Casa dei Bambini,” the Children’s Home, became the foundation of her Montessori educational system. So successful was the Montessori system, it spread worldwide. Later, Maria included regular students as well as the special needs children in the school system. Dr. Montessori gave up her medical practice to devote all her time to educational endeavors.

As the Montessori educational method grew in popularity, it attracted the attention of no other than Benito Mussolini. Mussolini became so enthused with the Montessori system, he agreed to serve as Honorary President of the Montessori Society of Italy. With the approval of Mussolini, Maria opened a teacher’s training college and a wide range of Montessori institutions throughout Italy. As the years went by, Dr. Montessori’s ideological viewpoints, mainly as a pacifist, clashed with the Fascist administration and her mutual relationship with Mussolini ended. The situation became particularly worse in 1931 when Maria refused to order her teachers to take the fascist loyalty oaths, as all teachers, government employees and professionals were ordered to do. Furious, Mussolini closed the Montessori schools, and by 1934 Maria fled Italy to escape political surveillance and harassment.

Maria Montessori lived through some tough times, but was a very determined, ambitious lady. She was teaching in India when Italy and Great Britain became embroiled in war. Then, in 1940, Britain ordered the internment of all Italian nationals in the United Kingdom and its colonies. India refused to confine Maria but limited her movements to the area of the Theosophical Society compound where she was teaching. Not able to return to Italy, Maria lived in exile, in India, for the remainder of the war.

In the United States, many Montessori schools are privately owned, and some are part of the public school systems, allowing more children to attend, regardless of the family economic status.

Former alumni of the Montessori schools include Larry Page and Sergey Brin (founders of Google), Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon), George Clooney, Helen Hunt, Peter Drucker (Management Guru), Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Julia Child, and Princes William and Harry of England.

Dr. Montessori was an exceptional person. She has the honor and distinction of being the only Italian woman to appear on an Italian banknote.

Maria spent her final days, living with friends in Amsterdam, Netherland. She died on May 6, 1952, at the age of 81.”