Thursday, December 29, 2011

An Eastern Orthodox Baptism.

I am still lacking in words for this amazing experience, but I wanted to at least share some photo's!
Baptismal crosses and Icon of the Nativity.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Breaking up with a Forum....or maybe not.

I can be such a spaz! :) While my recent experience on my favorite forum was difficult I have discovered a few things. First off, I did receive and apology for the comment left on my visitor messages. That is something I really appreciate. Secondly, was that I feel way too protective over a forum that I have no ownership of! It is not my forum and I do not get to say how or when the mods get to do their jobs. Lesson learned :)

I cannot believe I am about to write this. I guess we are an internet age when leaving a forum hurts like this. The Hive was my safe place. Not because the posters were perfect and we all agreed, but because the moderators seemed to have great boundaries. I do not know how they did it, but I was so proud of them. They did not shut down every thread, discussion was allowed and even when threads were shut down there was humor from the mods.

Fast forward to yesterday; yes, I started a thread knowingly against board rules. There had been numerous little rules violations going on for a week or so. No single one was a major violation or tattle worthy issue, but in total the atmosphere was becoming increasingly tense and stressful. Maybe not for every one, but definetly for myself.

So, I tried to start a somewhat humorous thread with a gentle reminder that there were some rules guiding the forum. I knew it would get deleted and I reported my post myself so that the mod could find it quickly and take care of it. I am not saying what I did was the best course of action, but I made the best decision I felt comfortable with. What happened next was quite shocking for me.

The mod not only deleted the thread (which was perfectly understandable) but, proceeded to blame me for all the extra work I had made her do. I am sorry, but I did not cause her more work. Other people made their own choices, but the only thing I was responsible for was my post. To blame me for all the extra work is a bit like blaming the member of a family who identifies a being the problem.

From there the mod  proceeded to post a visitor message on my profile. Something anyone can see. This is blatant intimidation and public shaming. For many this would not be a big deal. For me it is. I do not feel safe in an environment where authorities wield their power in this way.

I am sad about the loss of support and relationships I had developed. Thankfully, I made many wonderful friends who I get to continue in relationship with.

Edited: Here is the message I sent the moderator. And her response. Guess I am supposed to consider the treatment as some sort of Christmas gift.

 Today, 01:12 PM
WTM Forum Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 155
Default Re: In regards to deleting my thread

Merry Christmas.


Originally Posted by simka2
First off I have know idea if this goes out to one Moderator or more than one. So, if you are not the Moderator who deleted my thread and wrote me a visitor message I apologize.

That said, what you did was uncalled for and far worse than my little thread. Do not blame me for what others choose to do. I owned my thread post, but that's ALL I am responsible for. I reported my post, so I could not have made that much work for you. What others did is not my responsibility. Good gracious!

Then to take it a step further and post on my visitor messages. Wow, just wow. Honestly, I stayed on these forums, because it was a safe place. It had moderators that had a good sense of boundaries and how not to abuse their power. Something has changed.

Don't worry, I will not break anymore forum rules and post my farewell there. Good night.
Forward Message Reply With Quote

Edited again: I did receive an apology for posting the message to my visitor board. I was told it was an accident. I was then informed that the "Merry Christmas" comment was not meant to be snarky, but to diffuse. I have spent some time thinking about this and honestly I just don't buy it. Maybe the visitor messaget was an accident, but the "Merry Christmas" was not kind in anyway. It is just illogical to think that it would be. I did try to discuss with the moderator the bind many are finding themselves in. That they are banned when they report posts. She wouldn't hear it. She insisted that it was not happening.

So, while I got the apology, it rang with a hollowness that leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.

I wish people would realize that there is actually strength in admitting inperfection. It is okay to drop the ball, just be honest about.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Foggy Farm.

Our very long driveway.
I figured it was time to post some pictures of the farm. I have hesitated up until now, simply because this drought has made things rather ugly. But there is something wonderfully mysterious about fog, so I thought I would take some photos.

Part of the front yard with a small view of horse pasture.
Close up of the ponies!!! It is so nice to have them right off the back porch.

Dasa and the puppies getting ready to feed the ponies.

My view out the back mudroom towards the stock pens.

Standing at the stock pens looking towards to back of the house.

This is beyond the stock pens towards the back acerage.
 Trying to give some idea of the property. This shows about 30 of the over 200 acres we get to play with. :)
A close up of the tree I thought looked pretty in the fog.

Part of the front acreage. Pecan trees.

More Pecan trees.

The front view of the farm house.

Side yard.

The one lone cow I could find in the fog!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Ornament Fun!

 These were so much fun! Salt Dough, acrylic paint and glitter. Now I am trying to find new ways to dress them up and fun things to add to them.

 I did one for each of us. Behold a new family tradition is born! I cannot believe it took me this long to come up with homemade ornaments to mark a new year.

 Hot glue a little twin rope for the perfect final touch.

I think they are perfect for our first Christmas back in Texas!
Merry Christmas!!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Of Trains, Christmas Trees and Orthodoxy

Yesterday morning was a gift, a very special gift. My 6 yr old son loves trains, I mean LOVES trains!!! The only thing that comes close to anything Christmas. I was doing what I normally do (sitting on the couch, drinking coffee and watching GMA) when I noticed my son industriously rebuilding his Geo Trax under the tree we had put up the night before. The perfect combination Christmas Tree and Trains!!!

This is my quiet, contemplative, youngest son whose nickname is "Stealth Baby". I loved the peacefulness the two of us were enjoying before his older siblings decided to grace us with their boisterous presence. I remember waking up early just to play with my She-Ra dolls and Trollz in the beautiful, prismatic branches of my own childhood trees.

With these fond memories, of Christmas past, warming my heart I glanced down at my little boy. The industrious building had stopped and he settled into a seated position right in front of his masterpiece. He just sat there, controller in hand. What was he thinking? What was going through is 6 yr old mind? Did he fear it wouldn't go?

There was a deep, deep breath and then I watched as he bowed his little head and crossed himself. He straightened, sat as tall as he could and pressed the, "Go," button on his controller. My heart melted taking in the sweetness of his glittering eyes on the train, "Choo Chooing," around the base of the Christmas tree.

Some of you may ask why this is so special. Well, my family is going to be baptised into the Orthodox Church in a couple weeks. Even though I have had a year to explore this branch of Christianity, sometimes fear creeps in. What am I thinking? Is this best for my family? Does it work?

....then I have moments like that morning. Catching a glimmer of Living Orthodoxy, through the actions of a 6 yr old boy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A season is ending.

I guess it is fitting that winter has begun. A season where things are dead, dormant, and transitioning to new life. In a few weeks the kids will be going back to public school and it is bittersweet. I have loved homeschooling and it has been wonderful for us as a family. But, we have finally settled onto a wonderful farm not far from Houston, and the kids have the opportunity to go to small rural school. They are such social buggers! And have really missed being a part of a school community. I am excited for them, but am already grieving the loss of complete family freedom. The freedom to go where we want and when we want. To spend an entire day on one subject. To see them playing amidst the trees and the middle of the day!

This new season brings opportunity as well. A chance for them to grow new friendships and bonds. Experience new experiences. To grow and mature. A chance for me to hone some craft projects I have put on the back burner and even progress in new pastures. It is exciting and scary and the right thing at this moment.

So, I lay down the mantle of "homeschooler," pick up the cloak of "afterschooler," and embark on a new adventure!