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putting it out to the universe

November 25, 2012

Hi All,

Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays in which Tradition and Americana can issue forth instructions and I will bow down compliantly. (After this, things get a little shaky). Plus, turkey stock. There is little that makes my joyous and frugal heart sing louder than the extraction of mineraly rich broth from a pile of fowly bones and skin.

Roasting root cellar denizens makes me pretty insanely happy, too.

It has been so warm in these November parts that I feel a little apologetic. To whom? I don’t know, the season of winter perhaps, with all its freezy expectations of creeping sufferingly around exposed skin like a scarf. As someone said this weekend, “it’s hard to rail against global warming when it feels like this in November.” (Which is not to say that I’m not ready for blankets of snow to adhere themselves to the Earth. Oh, I am).

Someday I’ll set up the whole Amazon affiliate program. Or does that even make you any money?

To all of you who recommended  Peace like a River, holyliterarygreatness, that was a beautiful book. I can’t stop thinking about it. I miss the characters (11-year old Reuben was modeled after Leif Enger’s own asthmatic son, which of course plunges me into deeper love with the book). It’s a 1960’s adventure story complete with horses, outlaws, an airstream trailer, the bleak beauty of rural Minnesota and North Dakota, family love, a clever sister pounding away on a typewriter and the most breathtaking writing I’ve read in a long time.

Happy birthday to my wonderful mother! Also, homemade chocolate peanut butter cups. Certifiably easy. Recipe, anyone?

To change the subject completely, I’m generally a practical, grounded person who finds enough mystery and miracle in a spoonful of soil. My soul-sister Kati, who leans more towards tarot cards and putting it out to the Universe, will say to me, especially if I’m in a confounding place: “so I know this is a little woo-woo for you, but I’d be happy to pull some tarot cards for you.”

And I’m all: thanks but I’ll go meditate on a spoonful of soil. But here’s an interesting thing I’m noticing. Ever since I made a conscious decision to quit with the whole reward/punishment pitfalls of parenting (because they don’t work, more on that here), as well as the conscious decision to see my children’s education as a slow, gentle, all-inclusive continuum, rather than fuss over someone’s idea of where children “should be” academically at any certain age, people have been appearing in my life like lampposts lighting the way.

This fall, while organizing the Durango Positive Discipline workshop, Ruth Cutcher, local Suzuki guitar teacher, approached me about being a sponsor of 6512 and growing. She also mentioned she was offering free childcare to any of her students’ parents who wanted to attend the Positive Discipline workshop, so deeply did she believe in the concepts of encouraging children to be happy and responsible without the unhelpful distraction of rewards and punishment.

Ruth Cutcher, of the Guitar Dojo, explained that part of her work is helping parents support and encourage their children’s guitar practice, not by threats, rewards or punishments, but by conveying that the work, the practice, is the reward itself. (I didn’t understand this concept until I was 24, and it lit the flames of true happiness and meaning in my heart).

Ruth says, “what we do in music lessons transfers to everything. Children learn that putting forth daily effort builds skill.”

Guitar recital.


“There is a contract between parent and child to share space and time each day to practice an ever-expanding repertoire.  To move beyond the mundane nature of repetition, the parent becomes the creator and facilitator of engaging curriculum, which ensures her child’s continued interest and success.  Mom is more invested than the child, at least in the beginning; however, this is no trivial investment –  she is the happy witness to beautiful transformation as her pupil experiences the myriad benefits of routine, focus, responsibility and perseverance that is borne of daily practice.  The mandatory music lesson is a return to what truly matters; thus, these daily gatherings become almost ceremonial in nature, while the dirty dishes from dinner remain strewn upon the table, attracting only the attention of flies.”

Jamie Novak, mother of 7 year old student.

“Ruth doesn’t push and she makes lessons fun; she’s read more parenting books than any parent I know. She has a strong interest in supporting parents and building relationships between parents and kids. The Suzuki method teaches commitment to a daily practice, which is profound for a child of any age, but I can see the brilliance of starting young.”

Becca James, mother of 11 and 5 year old students.

If you think your child might be interested in learning guitar under the tutelage of  this dedicated, supportive, and focused teacher, please come check out The Guitar Dojo children’s recital on December 2nd at the United Methodist Church (On Aspen Dr, off Florida) from 3pm-4pm. Free (donations accepted). Bring your children! See you there!


Hoping the start back to your normal week isn’t too scary…if it is, try putting out something different to the Universe. Wink wink.

Next up in our world: book making.

This kills me.



16 Comments leave one →
  1. April Young permalink
    November 25, 2012 11:13 pm

    Glad you enjoyed the book. I still think about it!

  2. Ania permalink
    November 26, 2012 8:07 am

    one teaspoon of soil can contain like 1 billion of bacteria ! It is a universe ! No wonder you meditate it :)

  3. November 26, 2012 8:27 am

    Adding “I will go and meditate on a teaspoon of soil” to the arsenal of life hacks. Great post, on so many levels.

  4. David Smith permalink
    November 26, 2012 8:58 am

    Our beauty is not bleak! :) I read that one a few years ago (well before having any idea that we would be moving to North Dakota). Great read!


    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      November 27, 2012 12:59 pm

      Bleak being a euphemism for spectacular, naturally.

  5. November 26, 2012 10:24 am

    Loved this post (love all your posts for that matter). As I read along I found myself breathing out lots of “yes to that!” Also, as far as I know Amazon does not allow Colorado residents to participate in its affiliate program. ;(

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      November 27, 2012 1:00 pm

      That’s nuts (about excluding Colorado). But I guess that saves me from trying to figure out another fancy thing to do on my blog. xo Crazy warm up north too?

  6. November 26, 2012 3:31 pm

    So glad to hear that you loved Peace Like a River. I also read his So Brave, Young, and Handsome – also terrific, but not quite as transcendently so as Peace Like a River. I’m about to start the new Louise Erdrich novel, but I’m almost nervous to because so many people have told me how great it is. Am I the only person who suffers from an unnaturally big fear of dashed book expectations? Glad our raving didn’t set the expectations impossibly high for the Enger book.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      November 27, 2012 1:02 pm

      Oh gosh no, I’m the same. I’m still crushed over not liking Telegraph Ave by Michael Chabon, and a little mad at him for being such an amazing writer but too convoluted a storyteller for his own good.

  7. November 26, 2012 8:45 pm

    I had an advanced copy of Peace Like a River for YEARS (yay working at bookstores!) and never picked it up and read it. I’ll have to go hunt it down at the library. I love a good recommendation!

  8. November 27, 2012 12:49 am

    Down right lovely. When we give ourselves up to the freedom to let our children lead us, magic happens. And oh my, your kids are totally creating magic.
    Thanks for the book recommendation — I’ve been in a bit of a slump. I’ll have to check that one out.

  9. Jessica permalink
    November 27, 2012 1:06 pm

    “Plus, turkey stock. There is little that makes my joyous and frugal heart sing louder than the extraction of mineraly rich broth from a pile of fowly bones and skin.”

    Truth! I get overly excited about stock. I used to feel weird about it, but now I rock it with pride.

  10. November 28, 2012 12:46 pm

    i’m just diversified, sister – soil, tarot cards, my kiddo’s laugh: all = opportunities to listen to this glorious universe. love you fierce-like.

  11. Emmanuelle permalink
    November 28, 2012 4:16 pm

    ” the season of winter perhaps, with all its freezy expectations of creeping sufferingly around exposed skin like a scarf. ”

    yes ! That’s exactly it.

    And : Col and Rose look strikingly alike on this picture where they are looking at the candles together. Really amazing.


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