My 7th Grade Bucket List vs. My 40 Year Old Bucket List

As I turn 40 this month I’m writing a few reflective posts. It’s always good to take step back and ask, “What have I been learning and experiencing these last few years… or better yet, decades?”

Here’s the post called, “What Stopping You from Being You?”
Here’s the Top 5 helpful things we love sharing with people in creative work.

 

Tim Coons Life Goals
from 7th Grade Health Class (and yes, this is real. Proof in the above picture.)

1. Skydive
2. Learn to surf
3. See Europe
4. Play high school football
5. Scuba dive
6. Be good at tennis
7. Go to C.U.
8. Party a lot
9. Get a Geo storm
10. Be famous

When I was in seventh grade I created this gem of a bucket list. My mom has kept it on a poster-board all these years and gave it to me recently. I still cannot read through this top 10 without laughing out loud. And for those of you who know me, you realize just how far this middle school version was from my actual self.

What is doubly incredible is that I failed to achieve any item on this list. I have yet to see Europe or scuba dive. I was never any good at tennis. I went to UNC instead of CU Boulder. I still don’t feel like I’ve partied a lot. And just where is my Geo Storm? My 13-year-old self’s dream car? That’s probably the biggest question.

I’d love to say out loud right now, in response to these lame dreams and aspirations…
Thank God my priorities have changed.

I’m so thankful that we “grow up” in life. If we happen to live long enough we are gifted with both painful and joy-filled experiences that open our eyes. We evolve and the values we held at 10 may be different at 20 and 30. And I hope that keeps happening for me past midlife!

I think it will, as I believe our souls are constantly becoming our true selves.

 

Two Halves of Life

In the book Falling Upward by Richard Rohr, he presents the idea that there is a major shift in the first half of life to the second half of life that many of us experience. And perhaps our goals and priorities in life’s first half will drastically change in the last. 

The first half of life is preoccupied with making the container of who you are.
It’s our job and family-building
and home-making
and career-establishing time.

It’s about the development and enhancement of our Ego and its mind-set: ambitions, plans, competitiveness, judgments about others, looking after oneself, one’s career, one’s family.

It’s a natural and important part of life!

The second half seems to be about undoing much of what has been accomplished in the first half in order to get at a deeper heart of human life. And it’s around midlife we begin to sense this.

We ask, What does it mean to keep growing? for the soul to keep becoming?

The second half of life is about pouring out from this container you’ve created. You’ve climbed some mountains and now it’s time to help others up the peaks.

“Most of us think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of our physical life, but the whole thesis of this book is exactly the opposite. What looks like falling can largely be experienced as falling upward and onward, into a broader and deeper world, where the soul has found its fullness, is finally connected to the whole, and lives inside the Big Picture.”
-Richard Rohr, Falling Upward (153)

Rohr recounts four stained-glass windows he sees in a church in India. It is a Christian church but the windows represent the four stages of what a Hindu would call a great life.

The stage’s actually really surprised me.

The first part of life you are the student.

The second is the homemaker,
where you are establishing your family and home and vocation.

These first identities made sense to me and it could be said these make up the first part of life.

What’s fascinating is as Americans we stop there. While driven by so much by the story of capitalism, we are constantly urged to continue the game of this first half of life until we own three homes and have more stuff than we can possibly know what to do with. It’s only about our ego formation; mine and my own. Then we retire at 65 to travel, disconnect, and enjoy our stuff. Or if we don’t achieve this we note a label of failure hinted at by our culture. 

But in the stained-glass windows was presented an aspect of the second half of life that seemed so new to me.

The third phase being forest-dweller.

I think of the great American poet, Mary Oliver, walking through the woods of her property and coming back with lines of wisdom. The forest dweller realizes there is more to know about the world than the building of their own small kingdom and begins to leave home to seek out that insight.

Then the last stage of life is, of course, sage. The elder person brimming with wisdom who you find yourself loving to be around with their gentle humor, easy joy, depth of mind, and compassion.

Student
Homemaker
Forest Dweller
Sage

These stained-glass windows certainly hint at what I’m feeling, this mid-journey. When it comes to my own growth, I’m feeling this.

In my vocation I still have work I’m excited to do and albums to produce. But I know that work and career doesn’t completely define me.

The idea of entering into the second half of life feels true to me. It is both scary and exciting as all great adventures are. In some ways it feels like a death: the death of dreams not yet realized and the difficult reality of just how fast life really goes. But of course with death you always find a rebirth and I can feel that resonating within me too.

So here’s my new list.

I know it will change in vocabulary over the coming years and I welcome that as I continue to grow. But here’s a first attempt. 

The new, 40 year old Tim bucket list:

1. Be a soul who abides in Love.
2. Share this life with my wife in deep partnership
3. Be a present father for my children.
4. Belong to and be connected with the family and friends I’m blessed with.
5. Produce good, life-giving, and fruit-bearing work and experiences.

This bucket list is much more ethereal and harder to quantify. I can’t checkmark these of these dynamic goals off, because, like the soul, there’s never really an arrival point for any of them.

It’ll be much harder than the tangible purchasing of a Geo Storm.
But I find this list to be much more satisfying for where I’m at in life. 

 

October 2018 Desktop Wallpaper

 

“It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt,
It lies behind stars and under hills,
And empty holes it fills,
It comes first and follows after,
Ends life, kills laughter.” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Sweet October is here my friends. The days are darkening, the spooks are out, and the leaves are shifting. Enjoy this walk into the dark woods!

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the image you want. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen or both.

iphone wallpapers:

 

“There are different kinds of darkness,” Rhys said. I kept my eyes shut. “There is the darkness that frightens, the darkness that soothes, the darkness that is restful.” I pictured each. “There is the darkness of lovers, and the darkness of assassins. It becomes what the bearer wishes it to be, needs it to be. It is not wholly bad or good.” 
― Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury

Shakespeare Homeschool Unit – A Midsummer Night’s Dream and More

This year to share our homeschooling journey, I am going to post updates on our unit studies we do, rather than on a month to month basis like I have in the past. I figure it is more helpful for you other homeschooling mama’s and dad’s out there who are looking for ideas/sparks for your own homeschool journey.

Shakespeare:

Lucy(9) was the spark behind starting the year off with an introduction to Shakespeare. She had really enjoyed these two graphic novels by Ian Lendler that are based on the plays but made for kids. They led to lots of questions about who Shakespeare was and what his plays were about. So we decided to jump in and start off the year with a little Shakespeare study.

Image result for zoo macbeth graphic novelRelated image

Thanks to my own parents (who read it aloud to us when we were kids) and the book “How to Teach your Children Shakespeare” by Ken Ludwig, we decided to start with Midsummer Nights Dream. It is lighthearted and silly with themes and content that can be understood by kids (mine are 9,7,3, and 1).

One of the things Ken suggests is to memorize passages – which takes knowing the subtleties of meaning and words to a whole other level. Here is the passage we worked on memorizing –

Because the passage has so many flower references, we spent some time illustrating the different flowers and learning what each flower looked like – touching and smelling some out of our own garden. And then we also learned about how flowers work in this lovely book by Gail Gibbons

Image result for flowers gail gibbons

And this enchanting one by Rita Gray and illustrated by Kenard Pak

Image result for flowers are calling book

I made some pretty little printouts to show and talk about each of the different plants referenced. Feel free to print your own and use them for personal use if you want. Here is the pdf if you would like a copy —-> Shakespeare flowers

Speaking of printables, thank you Phee McFaddell for sharing the fun printable paper dolls. They were the perfect thing to work on while reading the original Midsummer Night’s Dream play (I only wish there were a few more of the characters! – we improvised and made our own Lysander, Hermia, Demeter, and Helena).

For the reading of the actual play, we would read a couple of scenes in the original Shakespeare, and then switch and read the same part of the story in this kids version. Lucy also jumped ahead and read several of the other stories in the collection.

By switching back and forth between the two, it made it much easier for them to understand the difficult language of the original version.

Shakespeare Childrens Story Collection 16 Books Box | Andrew Matthews Tony Ross

Here are the books we used all together –

Along with the literature side, we learned some history of the era following Susan Wise Bauer’s “Story of the World”. She has an awesome chapter on the Elizabethan Era and also one on Shakespeare. (I think this series has the WORST cover design ha ha with some of the BEST content. The activities companion book has some seriously awesome and creative ideas that go a long with the history).

The Story of the World, 4 Volume Set - By: Susan Wise Bauer

As well as doing some map work, and some coloring pages from the book, the girls chose to learn about 1200’s remedies and potions

The Shakespeare chapter also talked about stage fighting which was perfect because Lucy has been doing fencing lessons this month, which she LOVES

As well as stage fighting, we pulled from this awesome list of drama games and had a great time learning stage directions, playing improv, and miming.

(The only photo I could find of this was of Tim, ha ha)

We decided to wait on watching Shakespeare in Love (partly because I love that movie so much and I want to save it for when they are a little older), but we did watch the clip from the end with Queen Elizabeth.

Image result for shakespeare in love elizabeth

Once we finished reading the play, which we LOVED, the girls worked on making a set for our tiny “Fable Theater” so that we could put on our own stage production of A Midsummer Nights Dream. Overall, an awesome unit! So fun!

 

 

September 2018 Desktop Wallpaper

 

The first of September is one of my favorite moments of the year. There is this subtle but tangible shift from Summer to Autumn. This wallpaper was made by overlaying several antique landscape engravings on top of one another – creating this beautiful but subtle translucent effect. To me it is an illustration of that movement from one season to the next. The delicate folding and unfolding of a year.

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the image you want. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen or both.

iphone wallpapers:

 

Desktops for Evensong

On Saturday, August 18th, I had the opportunity to give the message at St. Andrew Evensong, the church where I’m a music director in Highlands Ranch, CO.

I spoke on how with every revolution of the earth around the sun, the seasons themselves preach over us… fall, winter, spring, and summer tell of death, hope, resurrection, and new life. We encounter this every year and the truth of it permeates our lives as our Christian holiday calendar reflects these truths every season.

I let folks know that the symbol that Courtney Wilkinson initially created (and that my wife has redesigned a couple times) was to capture this wonder.

And then I ended the talk by telling the story of this icon and offering it as a wallpaper for desktop and iphone backgrounds. Enjoy, friends!

 

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the image you want. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen or both.

iphone wallpapers:

August 2018 Desktop Wallpaper

Inspired by the yearly migration of the Monarch butterflies  –

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the image you want. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen or both.

iphone wallpapers:

July 2018 Desktop Wallpaper

My little poetic line for this month is simple. Just something I read while heading to a hike in the mountains.

“Linger Longer”

 

That’s it. “Linger longer” friends.

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

June 2018 Desktop Wallpaper

Happy June friends!! I just came across this poem shared by one of my friends. I love the feeling it leaves me with. I want June to be full of fun, and freedom, and wild abandon. Jump!

Long enough have you dream’d contemptible dreams,

Now I wash the gum from your eyes,

You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life.

Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore,

Now I will you to be a bold swimmer,

To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout, and laughingly dash with your hair.

Walt Whitman

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the image you want. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen or both.

iphone wallpapers:

March 2018 Homeschooling

Two years ago we began homeschooling Lucy (8), Hattie (6), Beatrice (3), and Arlo (1). We’re including this on our Giants & Pilgrims blog as all our family adventures seem to impact our art & music so much! Also, we just like sharing the stories. So we’ll be sharing posts on the themes we’ve been covering each month and calling the adventure “ABACUS”! Our hope is that these posts will help spark creative direction and inspiration for your family as well as giving us somewhere to be document and record our experiences.

Easter Goodness:

I don’t love it when Easter falls so early in the year, because I feel like I haven’t gotten fully into the swing of Spring yet, but it is a great kick off for the season.

Easter morning photos (Tim is missing because he had services to lead at his work)

Dying Ukrainian Easter eggs as part of our “Good Master” Book club. It is such a beautiful layered process – you use very intense dyes paired with layers of beeswax to create really beautiful eggs.

 

We read “The Good Master” for our book club. It is a story about two Hungarian children on a farm – a perfect portrait of spring. Our book club is never complete without lots of literature inspired feasting!

Sneaky little bugger…

Making seed bombs

Lots of fun hunting easter eggs –

 

 

And of course a visit from the Easter Bunny

Art:

We spent a morning studying birds nest and eggs

And wrote bird postcards

Harriet rediscovered her love of hedgehogs

Matisse inspired “backwards color” portraits

Life:

We delivered this art piece to Houston

And we maneuvered a family crisis with a lot of love and help from our friends

Rainbow Science:

We spent a day in rainbow land (including color themed outfits)

Rainbow snack time

Light table fun with magnatiles

Preschool Fun:

Learning about cavities the importance of teeth brushing

Buzzy showtime on our table top theater we made last year!

Engineering Fun:

Fun with ropes and pulleys as part of our Simple Machines exploration

And we made an official inventors kits!

and finally, we built little circuit lanterns with Tinker Crate

May 2018 Desktop Wallpaper

Thanks for being patient with me on this months desktop wallpaper. Moving is a lot of work! I am running a few days behind. One of the unexpected joys I am finding at this new house is how loud the birds are in the morning! Tim has had to shut the window a few times in the morning because they were so noisy. I love it. So the artwork this month is inspired by our new noisy neighbors.

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

This months poem is from a Newberry award book called The Girl Who Drank the Moon. I love it so much –

“The heart is built of starlight

And time.

A pinprick of longing lost in the dark.

An unbroken chord linking the Infinite to the Infinite.

My heart wishes upon your heart and the wish is granted.

Meanwhile the world spins.

Meanwhile the universe expands.

Meanwhile the mystery of love reveals itself,

again and again, in the mystery of you.

I have gone.

I will return.

Glerk”

 Kelly BarnhillThe Girl Who Drank the Moon

 

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the image you want. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen or both.

iphone wallpapers: