Wednesday, January 24, 2018

"A Million Dreams" Lyrics and Life, The "Tightrope" of Marriage, INFJ's, and The House that We Built for the Rainy Days.

*For my actual thoughts ( and initial displeasure - I went in a skeptic and came out obsessed!) on "The Greatest Showman" see bottom of the post. All musical lyrics from this post are taken from the musical.*

~The Library pictured above was actually two rooms and a hallway before. Here it is pictured after we knocked the walls out and put in a new window from Habitat for Humanity~:

"I close my eyes and I can see, A world that's waiting up for me. That I call my own. Through the dark, through the door, through where no one's been before, but it feels like Home. They can say, they can say that it all sounds crazy. They can say, they can say I've lost my mind. I don't care, I don't care so call me crazy. We can live in a world that we design."- Lyrics to 'A Million Dreams'

When I was a little girl I would spend hours dreaming about my future home. I would wish I was a princess or a girl sequestered in a cottage. I would explore old building sites, little forests and gardens and imagine a world that felt like home. Often these dreams would feel more like my home than where I lived. Every night I would imagine places, things and my future husband in this world that I wished to make. I can recall walking through heritage parks or old homes and dreaming of what the inhabitants lives were like...then I would think about what I would wish for my life.

"Cuz every night I lie in bed. The brightest colours fill my head. A million dreams are keeping me awake. I think of what the world could be. A vision of the one I see. A million dreams is all it's gonna take. Oh a million dreams for the one we're gonna make." - Lyrics to 'A Million Dreams'

'A Million Dreams' is the perfect 'INFJ' anthem. INFJ's dream of making the world a better place and to design safe places of mind and body. They are often the ones awake at night with a million dreams. Often I am awake, not out of desperation or gloomy thoughts, but with bright colours.

My favourite times alone at night are when I am re arranging a room in my home, decorating or planning in my head. I can hardly wait until the next day when I can put my dreams into reality. I wake up to notes like "Plant moved above shelf to maximize light" or "Witch should be near Cottage" or "Purple needs to be taken out of the scheme- it's too distracting." Most of my notes barely make sense to me in the morning but the dreaming is just as much fun as the action. Almost. I still prefer the dreams being grounded in reality. Having a futuristic yet concrete way of making dreams happen is more of a hallmark of an INFJ in comparison to an INFP type.

"There's a house we can build. Every room inside is filled. With things from far away. Special things I compile. Each one there to make you smile. On a rainy day."- Lyrics to 'A Million Dreams'
(I should have taken the yellow aphid traps out before I took the picture.:)

I was often a collector of old things, vintage pieces, and concepts. With each film I watched from varying time periods, I would pick out lamps, lights, carpets, and create my style based on pieces I loved. My home is an eclectic mix of the late 1800's, early 1900's, Victorian era, Medieval era, 1930s, 1940's, 1950's, 1960's, 1970's and 1980's. I also incorporate all seasons, at all times of year, with the primary season taking centre stage. My sister was looking around once and remarked, "I don't know how you manage to pull off having four seasons at once in your home but it is surprisingly cohesive and doesn't drive me crazy." When we give tours ( because apparently our house is known for it's tours and we have people ask for them) the main compliment is along the lines of, "It's magic. I wish I could live here. It must be so much work to dust (It's not. One pleasurable hour a week.) but I feel like I am in a movie or another place. I feel at home even though it is not my home. It's just magic." The people who come to our home look around with stunned faces and often say it's hard to take it all in.

But this didn't just happen. It's been a dream activated for years. I married a man who followed my lead with my desires and basically crooned, "However big, however small, let me be part of it all...share your dreams with me. You may be right, you may be wrong...but say you'll bring me along to the world you the world I close my eyes to see..." He trusted my dreams and entwined them with his. Together we built a beautiful home out of an ugly starter home because of these brightly coloured dreams. We rewrote our stars.

But people thought (and still do!) that we were crazy for spending so much time on our home. And for having project after project. Or for changing colours and bringing in more plants, more furniture, and more books. I learned design from Sara Susanka's "The Not so Big House."

We recently had a group tour and three people couldn't get over the fact that our house seemed to have tripled inside as opposed to what they saw outside. They thought we made a good use of space. I learned architectural planning from Ms. Susanka and my husband went to Journeyman school to build my dreams and have a job on the side. I explained what I wanted, used books to plan out rooms, lights, space, shelving ect...he knew correct measurements and how to make dreams into reality. I decorated and filled every room with things from far away and near. "Special things, I compile, each one there to make you smile, on a rainy day."

I have to swallow back tears thinking about the effort, joy, hardship and beauty that has gone into our home. My goal was to build a place where my children could thrive with sensory needs. But also a sheltered soul friend for myself and the one I loved. I have always wished to protect my husband the ways that I can. I knew I was good at creating safe places of the soul and body. I knew I could, if given the resources, make magic. Take a piece of the world and fill it with all things good.

At a time in which Minimalism was trendy and before plants became an Instagram craze, we DID seem crazy. Now we fit in rather well because maximalists, jungles inside and bohemian decor are accepted uses of space...but a decade ago they were not...I never want to be on trend with my home, but currently we fit a few, although we still break moulds. Which I like. Overall, it's about comfort and magic. Practicality mixed with imagination and sprinkled with loads of plant life.

"They can say, they can that we've gone crazy. They can say, They can say we've lost my mind. I don't care, I don't care if they call us crazy. Run away to a world that we design."- Lyrics 'A Million Dreams

We have actually run away to a world that we designed. Years ago we desperately wanted to move. We researched all sorts of cities, towns, and countries. We put our house up for sale and rent numerous times. Our basement was a slab of concrete and we were squished into three bedrooms upstairs. We disliked the community we lived in and felt like we didn't belong. But then we had an epiphany. We realized that we create the pockets of the world we live in. We worked hard to save up and renovate cheaply. We compiled materials and began slowly building a place that we could find magic in. We wanted a place where we could sequester ourselves away, make choices to buffer from the communities we found toxic, and rebuild both home and the people we surrounded ourselves with. We found home both as a concept and a tangible. It was the best decision my husband and I ever made for our family. And a million little dreams was all it took.

"Every night I lie in bed. The brightest colours fill my head. A million dreams are keeping me awake. I think of what the world could be. A vision of the one I see. A million dreams is all it's gonna take. Oh a million dreams for the world we're gonna make."- Lyrics to 'A Million Dreams'

"However big, However small, let me be part of it all. Share your dreams with me. You may be right, you may be wrong. But say that you'll bring me the world you see. To the world I close my eyes to see. I close my eyes to see."- Lyrics to 'A Million Dreams'

This weekend I took down my Christmas Decor. I usually wait till February first due to seasonal depression. I find keeping my lit trees up longer also keeps hope up. However, today I arranged the rooms by colour (my primary mode of arrangement is colour balance) and snapped some photos. The beautiful part is that every single aspect of our home has meaning. We get rid of anything that is not useful or lovely to us. Many of the things scattered around are gifts, or parts of memories, or obsessions or interests of each person in the home. It's unique to us. No one else would be happy in it like we are, but they can enjoy the magic from time to time.

"Every night I lie in bed

The brightest colours fill my head..."

A million dreams is all it's gonna take....a million dreams for the one we're gonna make. For the world we're gonna make."- Lyrics 'A Million Dreams'

 I wanted the place I dwelt to have wonder. I dreamt of incorporating aspects of all the films, music, books and people who shaped me. I wanted heaven on earth. A slice of harmony in a world of chaos. A place to belong. A pocket that brings happiness. A canvas to create. A home of my own to shape, play with and work on. A place to smile, to dream, to love and to bring life...and maybe ease the pain in death...I wanted what I have. "You may be right, you may be wrong, but say you'll bring me along to the world you see..." Isn't that a beautiful phrase? I am so glad my husband wanted me to bring him along into my visions of the future.

The happiest memories I have to date, are the renovations on our home and the decorating involved with seasonal changes. I loved the children helping out and my husband working alongside of me or taking his turn beforehand. The music would be blasting while we would smile across the dusty room at each other. Then he would wink slyly at me, throw his tools down on the floor, toss me across his shoulder and run with me to another room while I screeched and the children giggled.

I remember walking into my son's constructed room and hearing my boys giggling as they plastered drywall and speckled each other...

 I see my daughter smiling giddily as she laid flooring because she knew she was working in the place she was going to dream...

I fondly recall my best friend and I painting my daughter's room. Her and I travel the world together in philosophy, health, sociology, psychology, and thought. We bring each other along to the worlds we close our eyes and see. We also share the same desire to make our world less chaotic by shaping our homes. "The brightest colours fill my head..."

I see my mother and father in law co creating with us. This was a huge moment in our relationship because we often would throw them for a loop. Yet they jumped on our crazy bandwagon and lent a hand in creating our place of being. My mother in law recently passed away so this memory means even more. Each time I walk into our closet and look at the Bewitched paint colour I smile and think of her goofing off whilst she painted. "The brightest colours fill my head..."

I can see other family members, my father, mother, grandparents and friends, all sharing moments and creating with us.

 I can see my daughter, barefooted, moping up the last bits of dust on our finished library. The sun was warming up the room to the point that it felt like summer when it was in the midst of winter. The room was empty and I looked up from my last minute paint touch ups. She looked at me at the same time and we both smiled. Time stood still and I quickly grabbed my iphone to capture her again so I could further ingrain the moment into my memory. "A million dreams..."

 Most of all, I see my husband, at his prime, when we both had energy...before unexpected death, disease and the world weariness set in. Before we walked the tightrope. I see him working on each aspect of the make me smile, laugh and feel protected. Many of his 'firsts' were on our house; tiling, drywalling, ect. but it doesn't show because he built every bit with his perfectionist tendencies.
"But I'd follow you to the great unknown. Off to the world we call our own. Hand in my hand and we promised to never let go. We're walking the tightrope. High in the sky, we can see the whole world down below. We are walking the tightrope..."- 'Tightrope' lyrics

He built me the world which I envisioned. He made my dreams a reality in the ways we could afford. Now when I lie awake at night, he is part of all the visions and reflections. He makes the world with me. It's ours together. "Never sure, never know how far we could fall. But it's all an adventure that comes with a breathtaking view. Walking the tightrope with you. Ooo, ooo, ooo, oooo with you..." "Tightrope Lyrics."

During "The Greatest Showman" I cried during the song "Tightrope" because it felt like it encompassed the last couple years in our journey. "Mountains and valleys, and all that will come in between, desert and ocean. You pull me in and together we're lost in a dream, always in motion, so I'll risk it all just to be with you. And I risk it all for this life we CHOOSE."- 'Tightrope' lyrics

"Hand in my hand and you promised to never let go, We're walking the tightrope. High in the sky we can see the whole world down below. We're walking the tightrope. Never sure, Will you catch me if I should fall? Well, it's all an adventure that comes with a breathtaking view...Walking a tightrope with you, oooh, ooo, ooo...with you."- 'Tightrope' lyrics
A World that We Design:

"There's a house we can build. Every room inside is filled. With things from far away. Special things I compile. Each one there to make you smile. On a rainy day."- Lyrics to 'A Million Dreams'

*At first I wasn't a huge fan of "The Greatest Showman" premis. I knew that PT Barnum actually was a generally horrid person who exploited the outcasts of society. He was a liar and thief. I had to suspend reality and pretend that this was a whole new show and then I enjoyed it. I liked the whimsy. At first I thought that it wasn't epic like La La Land ( I found at first but it's incorporated into my life more effortlessly than La La Land) but with each viewing I like it more. So maybe it is epic? I find I can sing more of the songs on a day to day basis. I also like how it spoke to many who feel alone/outcasted and that the writers intentionally went for an inspirational, liberating story instead of bleak. I probably would not have paid to watch the true to life version. I have incredibly high standards for musicals. The cinematography was gorgeous. If I pretend it's a different story and hope that most people know the truth but instead focus on infusing more inspiration in the world, then I can get behind it. I did originally dislike how misleading it could be to people who didn't dive deeper and then uphold P.T.B as a goal. PT Barnum was one of the guys in history who actually perpetuated myths and ableism and provided further isolation of the outcasts... but I wish life could have been like the movie and maybe the writers were trying to give that twist?  It's time for some lighthearted fun...Most musicals are escapism and touching or provide an outlet for emotion. Our family went together for my second viewing. Each time I watch it I fall in love with it more. My husband said it was the best film he had seen this year which shocked me. He even liked it better than the very funny Jumanji! 'Wonder' was my Initial favourite this year but "The Greatest Showman" has gradually won that space. All three of my children loved it and wanted to own it when it comes out. I also dislike Circuses, and always have, so that probably did not help my initial reaction but the songs, acting and sequences were gorgeous. The songs "Tightrope" along with "Rewrite the Stars" and "A Million Dreams" had me teary and were beautiful because they directly applied to my life.

Song choice:- A Million Dreams:


Re Write the Stars:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Why Influenza was THE Highlight of My Christmas Season. Life Simplicity. The Circumstantial Silver Linings in Sickness. Active Choices in Life.

I wrote about our battle with Influenza HERE. As with everything in life, our experience with influenza had some awful moments mixed with the good. Now that my family is done with it, I have realized I miss it a bit. I asked myself, "What kind of crazy misses the family having Influenza?" It's not like I would actively go search it out again. I am generally a germaphobe. But it was the sort of sickness I could handle. Plus my vitamin C regime made me get over it quickly and only suffer moderately (see more in link.)

I shocked myself when a friend was over and asked how was my Christmas was, and I replied with, "Well I think the highlight for me was our family having the Influenza." I felt surprised at my statement but realized it was the truth. We both started laughing. I added, "I'm serious actually, now that I think about it. It was more magical than Christmas. Maybe because it literally ended Christmas Eve and took up so much time...but I liked it better because for two full weeks, our family of five was camped out in our room. I was Supermom taking care of everyone, including my husband. I seem to be more capable when I have a fever and food is taken out of the equation to think upon mostly. We still have most of our December grocery shop packed in our freezer and pantry because for two weeks we mostly drank fluids or consumed light meals...But more than that, we were together, just focusing on getting better, moment by moment. Our only priority was each other and a clean house when it was possible."

Little pleasures like fresh sheets, warm showers, and soothing fluids felt like a day at the spa. Gratitude was ever constant for the small sensory comforts. Everyone was sick enough that they didn't bother with conflict, but well enough at times, that we could gather together to watch a show or nap at the same time. It was beautifully simple. Community and individualism wrapped into one ongoing event. Four of my most favourite people constantly around me but also not overly loud or demanding. It was demanding in some regards but not in the usual way. Quiet and home time. Our world was reduced to our room and our bathroom for the most part. We felt lucky when we were well enough to travel upstairs. Our home felt huge and comforting. We had everything we needed, except for the few times my dad went out to grab us more Vitamin C or new toothbrushes...and that satisfied feeling was enough. We had enough.

The world was also boiled down to what was right in front of us. For two weeks we simply survived. We didn't think about the news, the bills, the mail or anything outside of our home. For a hermit, to have this also with family, when they are not divided with their attention and also have the same wants and needs of solitude and healing, this was heaven on earth. I will always look back fondly on the Influenza of 2017. It was probably the magic swirl of togetherness, servitude, body care and rest.

I'm not saying it wasn't alarming at times, or miserable with symptoms. If it had been more complex with more dangerous symptoms, more stomach symptoms or secondary infections with the need to use antibiotics I would be singing a different tune... I also feel lucky that we have made a life where it is possible to take two weeks off and not suffer too much. Yes, this next month will be trickier but it won't break us. Some people have awful experiences being sick because they are not able to rest for an extended period of time. The body needs to convalesce for a good chunk to recover. Also, if one is alone and sick, even an easy sick can seem hard. I loved this flu because it was the one time all five of us have been sick together. Which made things tougher in some aspects, like cleaning, but luckily I improved enough to manage that even though I was also sick. I thrived off of being able to do the minimum for my family, but also allowing myself to rest. In fact, I would say that suffering myself enabled more compassion when care taking. This is not always the case. If I am in a lot of pain or throwing up, I am obviously not going to be able to help. But in this case, I was able, and I loved serving my family in a tangible way while also understanding what they were going through.

I felt the same way about Mono. When my daughter and I had Mono it had moments of being absolutely terrible. It dragged on for months. Just when I thought we were getting better, we would regress or have zero energy. But BOTH of us look back on most of our memories as positive. We spent days in bed watching our favourite shows together. With no pressure or guilt to get moving. We just WERE. When we had spikes of energy we would goof off or sing together and then crash afterwards. My daughter stated, "The problem with Mono is that I never knew when it would end. The exhaustion and sore throats were also miserable...but now that I know that it did have an ending, I look back fondly. I don't think I would want it again - especially because I liked having it with you and having it alone would suck. I had someone who understood so neither of us pushed the other and we were each other's companions through out the day. I liked that.

Sometimes, I think the same can be said of Chronic illness or even terminal illness depending on the type. Obviously pain factors can negate all the good if they are constant. I am NOT saying Chronic illness/ Terminal illness/ or any suffering is necessary or beautiful or easy...but I have talked to people who said that their Terminal illness diagnosis gave them some of the most beautiful moments of their lives. Because sometimes we discover what can really live on without us. It is both terrifying and emboldening. We then have the freedom with the time we do have, to concentrate on what we truly love. (Again, this can not apply to being in loads of pain because that concept is completely different.) If one is only mildly uncomfortable sometimes or moderately a few times, but can have some Mono was for us, the rest of life becomes clear. Priorities are made. The loved ones in our lives also make their priorities. Suddenly we are enjoying more time with those we care about and less time with the details of life that do not really matter. Yes, there is still some responsibility but overall we find that most expectations or goals we have for ourselves and those we love are less important than we originally thought.

Most of us do not realize how much of our to do list doesn't actually need to be DONE. I actually love to do lists and believe they can be a necessary part of living, but illness has taught me, over and over again, that life still goes on, whether I finish my list or not. Life is so much more than a goal for my children's career or future family or... Sometimes, I get stressed about their future but then realize that maybe they won't have one- so why am I not maximizing their time NOW? Also, maybe they will have a future, but life can change on a dime, so why not teach them joy, gratitude and flexibility to adapt and truly see the beauty moments when life inevitably brings it's change? This is more important to me than their 'school', their 'socializing' or their 'career goals'. Because if they learn how to grow, love themselves, prioritize, recognize both good and bad in choices, enjoy any learning opportunity, and create serving with self giving, they will be set for most things. They will struggle, they will have hard moments happen. However, they will also have what they need inside themselves regardless of disabilities, or what town they live in, or what job they have or what adventure awaits. My chronic illness always puts this into sharp clarity whenever I start to worry about the future. I should not make all my decisions based on some unseen mark on the horizon. It helps me find the balance between living now and being somewhat prepared.

The greatest freedom I have found, has come from realizing that I am both expendable and valuable. No one can give what I can. I am unique and bring to the table of life many gifts. YET, there will be someone, just as unique to carry on life in a different way, when I am gone. It's both simultaneously everything and nothing. When life is reduced down to the very basics, even for a few weeks, it's easier to see what matters.

On the flip side, any illness can be awful. I do not underestimate the suffering and stress that can come with being sick. I have been there in some instances, and in others, I do not envy anyone in these cases. While, like anything in life, there can be good and bad, some circumstances have more silver linings than others. I wish I could change that for the world.

For myself, I just found out that my thyroid nodule shrank from last January by 5mm to this January. That fact alone felt like a weight had been lifted off of my soul. Because if it had grown, I would have had to do a biopsy and possibly surgery. Both of which would bring down my quality of life immensely. Now, I can ignore it for another year and get another ultrasound again...and continue that cycle unless something changes. It's back on my low priority list. Which helps for all the other issues I tend to have. I was light and happy last night after this news. I do not underestimate the power of good news and good health.

What I am trying to convey, is that when illness strikes temporarily or permanently, there CAN be some beautiful moments. Not always and there are many, many tough aspects of ill health, and it is completely circumstantial. There are diseases and sicknesses that bring nothing but heartache, pain and terrible suffering. But for the instances where there is more, I am hoping that my example can show that there can be silver linings?

Life is part choice and part circumstance. We have a lot in our power to change, and then sometimes nothing at all. Yet, what is most important is our ability to see the possibilities, to see the opportunities but to also see what is NOW, to recognize with gratitude the little moments that make up an entire life. To acknowledge that our time is the most precious gift we have. So why are we wasting it on moments we hate, people we dislike or do not trust or take advantage of us, and our focus on the mundane? Why are we not realizing that 5 minutes on the phone to a telemarketer is five minutes we can not get back? Unless we are giving those five minutes to make the telemarketer feel good about themselves because that changes everything...Why can we not see that an hour on a show that does not bring us either delight, beauty, challenge or inspiration is an hour we could spend on something or someone we love? And that most (exceptions to everything) careers or jobs are only as awful as our perspective.

I recently watched a documentary called "The Philosopher Kings" about people who are the toilet cleaners and "bottom of the barrel" workers in our society. Yet, most of them either CHOSE their job because they actually liked it, or began to see what merits are in what they do. It was a beautiful commentary on perspective taking. And if a job is truly truly constricting, abusive or damning of the soul...usually there are ways we can find, outside of the box, to still live without it. This mentality can be applied to many aspects of life.

My life looks like "quitting" to many outsiders. Because they see that I dropped out of church, education, communities, some extended family circumstances, jobs, good opportunities ect. But these were all active choices that I filled with other things that were more meaningful to me. I adore most of my life. My therapist can testify that I have a weird, strange love of life that is heavily entangled with the struggle of it. I have both strong abilities and disabilities. I need regular therapy to cope with a world that I rarely ever fit into 'appropriately.' Sometimes I am hard on myself for this fact. Ok, if I am being honest, I am consistently hard on myself, which is why I write, to gain healing and understanding...and acceptance from my own persona. I don't need these aspects from anyone else besides a few key people in my life, but I need these attributes for myself balanced regularly. I write what I need to hear or what I need to share into a void, hoping that maybe one less person will feel alone or weird or ... not enough. I spent most of my life feeling those emotions until I was about 28 and I started taking back my life in big strides and baby steps. The years following have been the TIME OF MY LIFE. And now that song is happily in my head...But these years have been the time of my life, even though I have been chronically ill for most of them... I hope, that I was articulate enough in this post, that those outside of my situation, can understand why that fact IS?

Song Choice: Time of my Life- Dirty Dancing Soundtrack

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Crash Course YouTube. Perspectives On Learning. Unschooling. Education as Growth. Crash Chronic Illness Days = New "Crash Course YouTube" Days.

I define a chronic illness "Wasted Day" as one in which I can not even function. One I have to spend the whole day wishing time away to cope. But I know from my experiences within suffering from Chronic conditions, that there are also "wasted" days that are on a lesser level. On these days I STILL have to spend most of the day in bed, but I can text occasionally or quickly answer an email or watch episodes or shows. I can walk around the house a bit but end up exhausted quickly and needing to go back to bed because my symptoms worsen. I would call this a "level 2 wasted day." Level 1's are the worst and there is not much that can be done in them, but Level 2 days leave me feeling a bit of guilt. Because if I was good enough to quickly text a friend, even if I had to recover after, should I not be well enough to do a household chore or school my kids? But each time I have tried this, I would be sicker than when I started.

But then I had an epiphany! I recently suffered a Level 2 day. My husband estimated that these 'Level 2 Wasted Days' tend to happen every two weeks. That is a lot of time, once added up, of being near the bed all day. Especially when added to the Level 1 days that are more spaced out...and the normal day to day struggle of chronic illness or being a "*Spoonie" that I try to power through. Thus, you can see how I was distressed about this fact and my time management. Especially because I value my children learning. I am one of the main sources of integration of their learning and facilitator of resources. This requires me being active.

Which brings in my epiphany moment. I was confined to bed again, flipping through Netflix pointlessly because I was already caught up on all my regular shows, and wasn't interested in starting new ones. I also didn't feel like mindless viewing yet I didn't have the capacity to read a book or teach from a book...or much else that requires talking. Talking out loud is EXHAUSTING when one is already tired, nauseated or dealing with other bodily symptoms. Which nullifies my usefulness in many ways. I decided to browse through Crash Course (CLICK.) I chose Crash Course Ecology (CLICK). I find it fascinating. I convinced my husband and children to watch three episodes with me. The episodes run at about 12 minutes each. As we were watching, I realized that we had free time the rest of the day...Why couldn't we focus the day on Crash Course while I was "Crashing" in bed???! I came up with the plan of watching three episodes in a row, with half hour breaks in between to get food, play, write down what was learned if wished, or exercise...and for myself, to lie in quiet and recover. After the half hour break, we come back and the next member of the family would choose three episodes of any Crash Course topic.

My husband chose "Crash Course Philosophy (Click)" (which we have already completed as a family but it's fun to go over it again) and my youngest son also chose this as his option. My daughter chose Crash Course Film History (click). My other son chose Crash Course Chemistry (CLICK). For my second choice, I chose Crash Course Anatomy and Physiology (CLICK.) I almost chose Crash Course Psychology (CLICK) but we had already completed the course awhile back, so I wanted something new. Honestly? I almost get stressed looking though all of the options because I LOVE THEM ALL. I want to watch the episodes over and over again and memorize the details. Hank Green is my favourite host, or maybe his brother John Green Is...I can't decide...but each host is amazing in their chosen field.

For the second round, my Husband chose "Crash Course Mythology ( CLICK)" and "Crash Course Sociology (click)" while my youngest chose, "Crash Course Physics (CLICK,)" my daughter chose "Crash Course World History" and my eldest son chose "Crash Course Astronomy (CLICK.)"  Our afternoon was not long enough to engage with Crash Course Literature - CLICK or  Crash Course Biology (click) or Crash Course Economics (click) or "Crash Course Big History (click)" ...or any of the other spectacular choices.

I am excited about my level 2 chronic illness days because they now have a purpose I feel good about, while still engaging somewhat with my family. We will actually have fond memories about my illness. In fact, my children, looking back, may even be glad on some levels, that I was the mom that I am, with the suffering I have, which enabled very different life choices! I have a fond regard for the  both Hank and John Green and the team of Crash Course for these incredible video resources. The Crash Course series are brilliant, thoughtful and fun. Our children love the cartoons drawn by the graphics team "Thought Cafe" and the humorous ways the material is presented. Our youngest was five when we first found Crash Course, and even his ADD, five year old self would sit through an entire episode.

My eldest son was frustrated recently during Chemistry, "Why do I have to learn about Electrons and the Periodic table if I am not planning to go into scientific fields." To which I replied, "So let me get this straight? You won't bother to learn about cognitive functioning or anxiety coping mechanisms or personalities because you are not planning to be a Psychologist? Even if you live better because you know these aspects of yourself? Or you are not going to learn about how our world works and how it has shaped us because you are not planning to be a Biologist? Why do we bother to learn that 2 plus 2 ALWAYS equals four if we do not like math? Why bother learning about how culture works collectively and the individuality behind it if we are not studying Sociology or Psychology? Do you see where I am going with this? Many people approach learning as a means to get somewhere. Which is part of the equation...but you lose something if this is how subject matter is approached. Learning should be something that is done for the sake of yourself. When you know and understand more about all aspects of this world, you will make better decisions which will also affect the world at large. Ignorance breeds contempt, prejudice, hatred and fundamentalism. The more you learn about Chemistry, Physics, History, Literature, Anatomy, Philosophy, Sociology, Psychology, ect. and connect them together to grow your mind's perspective, the more you will become a balanced, thought out individual. Why do you bother to learn how to build Lego? Enjoyment motivates you, right? But sometimes you are frustrated, yet you prefer your life with Lego in it, don't you? What aspects of learning are in Lego alone? Now, you tell me why you have to learn about electrons. And for the record, mainstream "Education" is mostly about control, I want your approach to learning to be about Freedom and Growth."

Usually my son will argue further but he simply mumbled,"That makes sense." Which amused me because usually I do not make a strong enough point for him to concede, but I didn't show any expression in my face. I didn't want to discourage his thought process. Later he showed me his summary of a complex theory based on electrons and he excitedly explained all the details. It was a victory.

We are lucky to have ample resources which we use to promote growth, understanding, humour, compassion, empathy, and intelligence. Crash Course is one of many, but it stands out because of the short, yet full way each episode is presented... and because, for a chronic illness mother, it is accessible and easy to incorporate. It’s also a great use of time for anyone, of any age, who has a few minutes to learn.

Isn't this age we live in full of happy surprises?

Post edit: Some episodes may not be age appropriate for children( mythology ect...)
*Being a Spoonie/Spoon theory; "The spoon theory is a disability metaphor and neologism used to explain the reduced amount of energy available for activities of daily living and productive tasks that may result from disability or chronic illness. ... A person who runs out of spoons has no choice but to rest until their spoons are replenished." (taken from here:

Song Choice: Learn me Right - Byrdie and Mumford and Sons: