Christian Books To Read And Love

I write a Christian book review post about once a year.  The last post I did highlighting Christian books was here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/08/10/three-books-of-importchristian-book-reviews/.  I would like to share a few books I have recently read and loved with you today!  Here we go!

Listening for the Heartbeat of God:  A Celtic Spirituality by J. Phillip Newell, the Warden of Spirituality for the Anglican diocese of Portsmouth.  One of the foundations of Christian life is the ability to achieve stillness and to listen.  This book is divided into sections on Listening for the Goodness (looking at the maligned Pelagius), Listening within Creation (Eriugena), Listening for God In All Things (the Carmina Gadelica), Listening with the Imagination (using the writings of George MacDonald),  Listening and Acting (George MacLeod), and Two Ways of Listening (The Apostles John and Peter).

Where God Happens:  Discovering Christ In One Another by Rowan Williams,  the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury.  Excellent look at the Desert Fathers and spiritual searching.

Abiding:  The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2013 which talks about abiding in body, abiding in mind, abiding through care, and abiding in relationships.  This books weaves together how we abide in God’s will through many stories – stories of St. Benedictine, stories of South Africa and Congo, Michael Ende’s Momo,   and St. Macrina.

Encountering The Mystery by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.  I love this book, and have re-read it over and over.  Whilst specific to Orthodox Christianity, it also touches on issue that all Christians should be thinking about.  My copy has a lot of underlined parts in it and notes in the margin.  Highly, highly recommended. Continue reading

“The No-Cry Discipline Solution: Gentle Ways To Encourage Good Behavior Without Whining, Tantrums & Tears”

Author Elizabeth Pantley recently contacted me and offered to send a copy of one of her books to review on my blog.  I immediately thought of the “No-Cry Discipline Solution” for my readers.

Many of you coming from a background of attachment parenting are probably familiar with Elizabeth Pantley’s work.  Her books on the Continue reading

Sunday Books: Last Chapter of “Completing The Circle”

This chapter is entitled, “A Modern Path of Meditation and Inner Development”, which talks about the two worlds that Rudolf Steiner perceived – one a physical world of things we can see, feel and touch, and a second world of spiritual realms.  Steiner felt that each of us held inside us a dormant capacity to be in touch with this spiritual world. He developed a series of exercises and meditations for this purpose.

Although Steiner did acknowledge the meditative traditions of the Far East, he saw his exercises as not a way to attain an enlightenment to escape suffering or the cycle of birth, life, death but as a way to assist the further development of all of humanity by using new creativity and new insights to help all of humanity.  Therefore, Steiner’s view on inner development was not just for the person doing this, but a way to assist others.  I feel this moral and social component driving Steiner’s insights into inner development uniquely reflects his time and place in the world.

In order to be ready to begin spiritual work in Steiner’s view, one had to Continue reading

Sunday Books: Completing The Circle

This chapter is entitled, “Watch Your Temper(ament)”, and how Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf Education, thought that class size was not as important as all of the children’s individual needs being met.  And the way he thought this could happen was by understanding the four temperaments.

In fact, author Poplawski writes:

A skilled  teacher has something in each lesson that appeals to each temperament and is also able to draw out and develop the special gift of each temperament. Thus the children learn to appreciate the strengths and virtues of those who are different from them……

The other approach to temperament work is equally important but perhaps more difficult. It requires that the teacher or parent take note of and then work on his own temperamental style. Balancing the excesses of this very intimate (and too often ignored) part of who we are constitutes an important path in our self development and has an important bearing not only in our interactions with our children but also in those with our friends, colleagues, and spouses.

Whew!  A tall order, to look inside and be aware, but so important in our work with our own children. Continue reading

Sunday Books: Completing The Circle

In this chapter of “Completing The Circle”, available for free on-line, we are looking at “The Four Temperaments”.   Thomas Poplawski writes:

The notion of temperament is very old, dating back at least to the ancient
Greece. Hippocrates, in the fourth century BC, spoke of four qualities or “humors” in the human being—cold, moist, hot and dry. In the second century AD, the physician, Galen, spoke of the mixing or “temperare” of these four humors to yield four temperaments. These in turn were related to the four elements yielding the fiery choleric, the airy sanguine, the watery phlegmatic, and the earthy melancholic.

Poplawski goes on to trace the idea of the temperaments through the ideas of the Greeks, and right into modern times and how the temperaments are used in Waldorf Education.  The job of an adult is to help a child break out of their habitual tendencies, and lead them toward balance

Poplawski then goes through all four of the temperaments of children. Continue reading

Sunday Books: Completing The Circle

 

Back to Sunday Books!  We are in the homestretch of this book, and I am looking forward already to our next book….I just love summer reading, don’t you?

 

This chapter is entitled, “Paradise Lost:  The Nine Year Change.”  I know this chapter will be of interest to many of you out there who have children verging on this developmental stage!

 

In this chapter, Poplawski writes about how Billy Collins, a Poet Laureate of the United States, poignantly captures the essence of this age in a poem called “On Turning Ten”:
The whole idea makes me feel
like I’m coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light—
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.
You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.
But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.
This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.
It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I would shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.

 

Poplawski traces the stages of development that come around age two, age nine and age sixteen.  The nine year old is standing alone in a sense and realizing their separateness from their parents and the world for the first time.  Waldorf Schools address this stage by working with the very rich stories of the Hebrew people as found in the Old Testament.

 

Poplawski points out other challenges many nine year olds face – their early learning abilities often become challenged and the child has to try to memorize things for the first time, the child emotionally withdraws, the child needs time and space and privacy.  Children this age can feel stressed and anxious over chores, activities, homework.  Parents can help by limiting their child’s activities and making sure there is ample time to dream and just be. 

 

Poplawski writes about the importance of the parental role:

The nine-year-old child is yearning for autonomy, but parental warmth,
affection, and support continue to be important. Though the child can be irritable
and seems to want to push away, he still needs hugs and comforting from the
adults around him. A nine-year-old will sometimes hover near a parent wanting
and waiting for a reassuring hug, but hesitant to ask for it. A child will sometimes
be more prickly and hyper-sensitive with one parent more than the other, this
being affected by the respective temperaments of child and parents. Sometimes
one parent needs to step back and let the other be more involved with the child.
Many children have some psychosomatic symptoms around this time. Heart
palpitations, breathing problems and headaches are not unusual. Nine-year-olds
tend to be worriers and some physical symptoms may be related to that. Nightmares
—dreams of being chased or being bitten by a snake or even of being murdered—
are common and no reason for great concern. Dreams of storms and runaway
fires are also frequent.

For the nine-year-old, suddenly cut off from the world, forced to stand on her own, and beset perhaps by physical problems, anxiety is a dominant emotion.
Hence, the child depends on the structure and guidance that watchful adults can give to provide stability and a sense of security. The child needs the solid authority of teachers and a firm parental presence. Otherwise she will be overwhelmed by a sense of insecurity.
The nine-year-old likes to have rules. Adults need to be fair and consistent in enforcing them, however. Fairness is important for the nine-year-old.

 

Talking about life and death, the meaning and mystery of life, praying, asking about religion and prayer are all very common things in the life of a child going through this developmental change.  Children in this stage are still young, but must be recognized as the young men and women they are becoming.  How are we assisting our children in getting to an adulthood that encapsulates the ideals of duty to humanity through this stage?

 

Many blessings,
Carrie

Guest Post: Hybrid Rasta Mama Weighs In! A Special Offer for Parenting Passageway Readers!

This is a letter from my friend Jennifer over at Hybrid Rasta Mama who has a special offer you won’t want to miss!  Thank you so much Jennifer for this offer, and for all your kind words.

 

Jennifer writes:

I have been a long time reader of The Parenting Passageway. I can actually remember the day that I stumbled on Carrie’s site.  I felt like I struck gold when I found her Random Thoughts About Newborns post! I was two months away from becoming a first time mother and I drank in every word Carrie wrote from that point on. She presented information that a new mother like me could wrap her brain around without getting completely overwhelmed (more so than I was from simply becoming a mama!)

 

Carrie is actually the sole reason that I started my blog. She didn’t know that until now but it was with her gentle encouragement that I took the plunge and started chronicling life as a conscious parent and natural health advocate. That was February 2011. Over 500 posts later and I have never looked back! (Carrie here:  I had no idea, and I am touched. Jennifer’s blog is great – head on over and take a look!)

 

One of the first series that I tackled on my blog was the Mindful Mothering Challenge. It was inspired by Carrie’s original 20 Days Towards More Mindful Mothering series. To this day, it is still extremely popular and I was thrilled to not only share Carrie’s wisdom with my audience but to work through the entire series for all my readers to garner inspiration and motivation from!

 

Fast forward to today and my series is now a 57 page bonus eBook that is part of the Mindful Parenting eBundle. (Don’t worry – I made sure that Carrie gave her blessing and of course I credit her upside down and sideways!) This eBook takes you, the mother, through 20 small steps which will awaken your mothering, push you beyond your comfort zone, and deepen your connection with your children. What I personally love about this eBook is that it is real talk…I give you me and all my flaws to learn from!

 

Carrie talks a lot about gentle parenting from an anthroposophic viewpoint on The Parenting Passageway (obviously!) As a former Waldorf preschool aide, this always resonated with me and it is how I approach my parenting. The more I wrote about conscious parenting on my blog, the more I realized that I needed to pull together a pool of gentle parenting resources that would resonate with parents from a wide variety of backgrounds and parenting philosophies.

 

I teamed up with two other wonderful mamas to bring The Mindful Parenting Bundle to fruition! There are 22 eProducts including eMagazines, eBooks, teleseminars, audio, and workshops. Topics include peaceful guidance, creativity and play, stress relief for parents, mindful motherhood, divorce, coming of age, children and food, and more! Attachment Parenting International even included their teleseminar on the 8 Principals of Attachment Parenting, something I wish I had access to long ago!

 

If you would like to learn more about the contents of this Bundle, please visit: http://www.hybridrastamama.com/mindful-nurturing-bundle. This bundle is only available until June 10th and is an incredible deal at only $24.95. You get close to $300 worth of products that will truly enhance your parenting no matter what season of motherhood you are currently in! I personally will be able to glean inspiration from many of these resources until my daughter is well into her teen years.

 

Thank you again to Carrie for being such a huge inspiration to me and for allowing me to share The Mindful Mothering Challenge as part of this bundle. You are a beacon of light for a lot of mothers and I honestly would not be the mother I am today if I had not stumbled on your blog.

 

Peace and Love,

Jennifer at HybridRastaMama.com