Archive | Personal Essays

Discover the Wild Animal Inside of Your Loved Ones

animal personality portrait bear sable

Inside of each of us there lives a wild spirit.

It’s easy to overlook this intangible part of our being, but it creeps up into our awareness, through our nicknames, our slang, our childlike imaginations. We often use animals to help us describe the otherwise indescribable aspects of ourselves.

What is the difference between a hug and a bear hug? What do we mean when we say one person is sheepish and another is foxy?

Animals make terrific analogies for the different parts of the human spirit or the different personalities that people exhibit. Animals are fun. They are whimsical. And the anthropomorphism of our favorite critters is something that has been around ever since children sat around a fire listening to the first fables and stories known to man.

We tend to compartmentalize our concept of The Physical apart from our concept of The Metaphysical. But what if the two were intertwined all along? What if the skin on our faces reflected the face of our souls? What would that look like?

Maybe it looks something like this. (more…)

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Parents Are the Ones Who Need to be Unschooled the Most

walking down a dark hallway antique store silhouette profile

My daughter is only four years old, and this has been going on for over a year: every conversation with a new person starts the same way, “Where is your daughter going to preschool? Is she excited about starting Kindergarten soon?”

When I reply, “We are homeschoolers,” I invariably get the not-so-subtle raised eyebrow, the quick intake of breath, the pursed line of the mouth. Yes. I can read your body language. Your judgmental thoughts are coming across loud and clear.

I want to scrunch up my nose at the stranger and walk away. Who do they think they are, judging me? But what good would that do? So I try to be kind and diplomatic, an Ambassador for Homeschoolers Everywhere. I smile as open-heartedly as I can muster, and I say something like, “We are really excited about providing her with opportunities that we don’t think she can get through the public schools,” or, if I’m tired, I just say, “It’s what’s best for our family,” and leave it at that.

I keep hoping that someone will be smitten with how noble I am and actually want to reexamine their views on the “public school versus homeschooling” debate; but nobody wants to discuss it further. The topic becomes taboo for the rest of the (short-lived) conversation. (more…)

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Wild and Free: A Beautiful Homeschooling Community

sketchbook ekwetzel heart say yes“All good things are wild and free.”
– Henry David Thoreau

The Wild and Free Portland conference was held on on May 29-30, 2015 at the Kennedy School hotel in downtown Portland. Here are my reflections on that event, as well as some thoughts about the Wild and Free homeschooling community, in general.

From the moment I bought my ticket to the Wild and Free conference, I always knew that, for me, it was never going to be about learning homeschooling tips and tricks. I just don’t find that kind of stuff interesting. If I believe in something, I know I can figure out the ins and outs of applying it in daily life. I don’t need to learn HOW to homeschool. What I need is community and support. Homeschooling is a fundamentally lonely endeavor, in both a day-to-day way, and also in a broader ideological sense. (more…)

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Announcing My New Job: Maker Mentors!

ekwetzel erin wetzel spin spinning

I have a new job.

I know that I just wrote about quitting my job and living on less so that I can homeschool. I am still homeschooling. I might not wash as many dishes or make my own sauerkraut anymore, but I’m doing the things that are most important to me.

I partnered with Cassie Boorn, and together we launched Maker Mentors, a platform for helping creative people take their business to the next level. We are holding an online conference this May, as well as building an ongoing community and a library of free webinars. (more…)

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What do you do when a child gets Type 1 Diabetes?

violet wilson lovelittleviolet

The moment I learned that Melissa’s two-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes,  I wanted to bury her in the biggest hug. But, since they live 1,000 miles away, I painted her a picture instead.

I’ve never met the Wilsons in person, but we’ve known each other online for years. The more I talked with my friend about the struggles her family was facing, the more I wanted to do something to help. The Wilson family has health insurance, but it barely covers their expenses, and they quickly blew through their savings in order to get the appropriate medications and treatments for their little girl.

Just because we are part of an online community, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a Real one. So I created the Love Little Violet fundraiser. A swell of encouragement rose up to support the Wilsons, and a few donations trickled in. Online community can be amazing and full of love.

Donate to the fundraiser.

But it still wasn’t enough. So I decided: it was time to do more. (more…)

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What is the Shape of Your Soul?

daydream papa nap dream

The only statement you really need to make is the sound of Your Name pressed against the never-ending skin of the universe.

When someone is striving to be more spiritual or more religious, all too often they end up despising their physical existence in the hunt for the metaphysical. I have been guilty of this. I understand the impulse. I want to rub up against something divine, to grant Meaning and Purpose to my mundane existence. I want to believe things happen for a Reason, that the monotony and heartbreak of everyday life isn’t all that there is.

I’m not supposed to talk about these things. It’s not polite. But, during tragedies, or in the quiet, lonely moments of the night, these feelings slink about in my heart, like never-ending questions. What is the meaning? Who am I? What is my purpose?

I don’t have answers, but I find comfort in words. (more…)

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Updates: Note Cards Now Available and My Next Project!

Oh deer cards

I am excited to announce that I am now offering note cards in my shop!

My popular Oh Deer print is now available in a 4-pack of note cards.  It has been a journey this last year finding a printer that makes quality note cards; after dozens of test prints from shops far and wide, I’ve found the perfect match. The subtle and soft quality of the watercolors comes across wonderfully, and the card stock is a smooth, matte paper and feels excellent and is very easy to write on.

You can buy the note cards here! (more…)

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