A Lovely, Beautiful Martinmas

I love Martinmas, this time of taking the beautiful spark of light within each of us, carefully carried from the height of summer expansiveness by the courage and bravery as seen in St. Michael,  that can now light up the darkness of the earth and the human journey.

Lantern walks are a most popular way to work with the festival for all.  A Lantern Walk does not even have to be a coordinated community effort; it can even be as simple and sure as walking around your own house or yard together with your lanterns.  For small children, this can be just as wonderful as a community event.

There are beautiful things to file here for your next Martinmas celebration.

Here is Lily’s beautiful St. Martin (I just loved her Santa Lucia and I love her St. Martin as well!  This is on my list to make for next year!):  http://blockaday.com/stitching-for-martinmas/

I liked this post from Charming The Birds From The Trees:  http://charmingthebirdsfromthetrees.blogspot.com/2013/11/saint-martin.html

The little story and sweets found here could also be kept in your files until next year:  http://www.celebratetherhythmoflife.com/2010/11/martinmas.html

The geometric lanterns found here could be lovely for older students:  http://waldorfmama.blogspot.com/2008/11/martinmas.html

This little lantern bunting is so very sweet:  http://rhythmofthehome.com/2011/08/martinmas-lantern-bunting-waldorf-felt-seasonal-craft/

Finally, this post from The Magic Onions has a beautiful needle felted tapestry embedded in it, along with verses, songs and other lovely goodies:  http://www.themagiconions.com/2012/11/a-thanksgiving-blessing-and-the-waldorf-tradition-of-lantern-walk.html

Many blessings,

Carrie

Guest Post: Reflections On St. John’s Tide

Some of you may be familiar with  fiber artist and teacher Judy Forster from her handwork shop on Etsy called Mama’s Jude’s Plant Dyed Stuff (http://www.mamajudes.etsy.com ) and a post she wrote for this blog some time ago here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/03/28/handwork/.  Today she is sharing her personal reflections upon St. John’s Tide.

Judy Forster grew up in a family where all kinds of Handwork were important and appreciated. While working as an adjunct instructor of English, she was happily recruited to her first position teaching Handwork at the Susquehanna Waldorf School where her son was a kindergarten student and her husband had taught German. She completed the first Applied Arts training offered in the United States at Sunbridge College. Over the years, Judy has taught Handwork to students of all ages in Waldorf schools and private schools, for homeschool Collectives, and at summer camps. She is currently working at home while enjoying time with her younger daughter; her son is now graduated from college. Judy teaches homeschool students, homeschool parents, and runs her on-line business for naturally plant dyed stuff at  Mama Jude’s Plant Dyed Stuff.

This is Judy’s meditation on the meaning that St. John’s Tide holds for her:  Continue reading

The Nativity of St. John The Forerunner

 

Today is the day of St. John, the Forerunner!  It is a time where the earth is exhaling as if in a deep dream, the deepest of languid sleep,  the height of  summer light and a time where perhaps the Christian Celtic vision of the “thin places” – the veil between the material and spiritual worlds – is so readily apparent.

 

We can feel this rhythm within us, and with this special time in June comes this Feast.  St. John comes to us, with his fiery spirit reminiscent of the Prophet Elijah, to connect us to a sense of repentance, of anticipation, of movement forward with connection to Christ. 

 

There is a renewal held in fire and for centuries people have celebrated this time with bonfires on the tops of mountains and hill tops.  This makes me think of “Hind’s Feet On High Places”, where Hannah Hurnard writes, “The life of the praying person is a journey farther and farther up and farther in, to places God Himself has spoken about to the attentive heart.”

 

Where is your attention?

Where is your Holy Silence?

What is God telling you?

Where is your renewal and your reconnection to God?  What does that mean to you?

How are you being cleansed and renewed by the circumstances in your life?

 

There is a cleansing held in the water.  We see St. John the Forerunner conveying the great spirit of cleansing, of binding and abiding, in his baptism of Christ.  

This weekend I went tubing with a group of friends. It was fun, and it was so much like life. There were banks and shoals and rocks, fast water over rapids and slow lazily drifting pools.   If you didn’t work with the person you are connected with, you didn’t get very far.  If you were not thoroughly yoked to your partner, the rapids would take you apart.  You may have thought you had it all figured out because you had a pole in your hand to keep yourself from getting stranded, but then your pole would be swept away in the current and drift away and you were left with trying to figure out another plan and relying upon people who were coming down the river path to assist you.  Such a loss of control, swept along in the vastness of the current. 

So much like life, and so much to say about this time of cleansing and renewal. 

 

What can you let go of?  What is not serving you anymore and why are you holding onto it?

Who  and what needs to be in your life?

Is it really that serious or should you be floating instead of trying so hard to use your pole to push against the current?

Where is your cleansing and your freshness of the soul?  What are you doing spiritually to support yourself as you go “farther up and farther in”? 

 

Here is to a fresh vision, a new hope, a cleansing and renewing, a new chance for meaning,

Many blessings,
Carrie

Circle and Activities For St.John’s Tide

 

Happy Summer!  St. John’s Tide, or The Feast of The  Nativity of Saint John the Baptist as it called traditionally in the church, is almost upon us!  I have a back post about Midsummer Day/St. John’s Tide here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/06/09/midsummers-day-st-johns-tide-day/

 

Here are few things we are enjoying in our home as we prepare for this special day, both in church and at home.

 

Circle:

This is a tune from the “Summer” Wystones book:

In the Summer Garden

Where we singing go

Light is flowing

Glowing flowing while the roses grow

 

Then I will add this version which I made up, to the same tune:

In the Summer Garden

Where the sun’s a- glow

St. John’s coming

Making straight and narrow the paths go

 

A Traditional Waldorf Verse, found in many different sources:

I am the sun

And I bear with my might

The earth by day, the earth by might

I hold her fast, and my gifts I bestow

To everything on her, so that it may grow

Man and stone, flower and bee

All receive their light from me

Open thy heart like a little flower,

That with my light I may thee dower

Open thy heart, dear child, to me,

That we together one light may be.

 

Ring Game For The Young Child:

Sally go round the sun

Sally go round the moon

Sally go round the chimney tops

On A Sunday afternoon – whoops!

Saint John, who ate locusts and wild honey, makes me think of bees in this summertime.

Bees Verses:

Five Busy Bees

Five little busy bees on a day so sunny.

(Hold up all fingers.)

Number one said, I’d like to make some honey.

(Bend down number one.)

Number two said, Tell me where shall it be?

(Bend down second finger.)

Number three said, In the old honey-tree.

(Bend down third finger.)

Number four said, Let’s gather nectar sweet.

(Bend down fourth finger.)

Number five said, Let’s take pollen on our feet.

(Bend down thumb.)

Humming their busy little honeybee song.

Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! (Fly fingers.)

From Nature Boxes for Early Childhood Educators, Debbi Williams, Story County Conservation Board

 

Here is the beehive, where are the bees?
     clench fist and bring out fingers quickly one by one
Hidden away were nobody sees
Watch and you will see them come out of their hives,
One, two, three, four, five,
Buzz, buzz, buzz.

 

One little bee blew and flew.
He met a friend, and that made two.

Two little bees, busy as could be–
Along came another and that made three.

Three little bees, wanted one more,
Found one soon and that made four.

Four little bees, going to the hive.
Spied their little brother, and that made five.

Five little bees working every hour–
Buzz away, bees, and find another flower.

And you could end with the traditional favorite:

Ring around the rosies

Pocket full of posies

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down

Cows are in the meadows

Eating buttercups

Thunder, lightning, we all stand up!

 

Some little activities to enjoy:

Read the story of Saint John from the Holy Bible  – such richness for all ages!

Make some small hanging suns – directions page 105  of the book “All Year Round”

Make some bees for your nature table:  http://ancienthearth2.blogspot.com/2010/07/summer-bees-needle-felting-tutorial.html  (no dry needle felting for young children, please! However,  they could paint rocks like little bees)

Wet –on-wet watercolor painting with yellow

There are stories in the back of the Summer Wynstones and also a story for older children in the back of the book, “All Year Round”. 

 

 

Many blessings on The Feast of The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist!

Blessings,
Carrie

Favorite Last Minute Gifts to Make

It is almost down to Christmas Eve, and many of you would love some ideas for a few last minute gifts that are quick and easy to make.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Peppermint Bark:  You will need a bag of milk chocolate chocolate chips, a bag of white chocolate chips, peppermint extract and about four or five regular sized organic candy canes if you can find organic.  Unwrap the candy canes and put them in a ziploc bag before you start – crush them with a rolling pin.   Preheat your oven to 250 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with a lid with parchment paper or wax paper.  Spread the milk chocolate chocolate chips in an even layer in the pan and put in oven until soft enough to spread with a spatula (about five to ten minutes, watch them carefully!).  Put in the refrigerator to cool for about twenty minutes.  Melt the white chocolate chips in a double boiler (you may need a teaspoon of canola oil to make the white chocolate chips spreadable), stir in about 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract and  some of the  candy cane pieces.  Spread over the milk chocolate layer, sprinkle the rest of the candy cane pieces on top and put in the refrigerator to cool.  Break into uneven pieces and package for friends you love.

If you have a dehydrator (and I bought a nice one used), you could make grain free granola or coconut macaroons. Both make fabulous gifts!  For my grain-free granola, I take an apple and mix it with about a cup and a half of dates in a food processor, then add salt, cinnamon, orange zest and the juice of a lemon.  Then I take pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds that have been pulsed in a food processor, mix them with the apple-date mixture and stir in a cup of dried cranberries.  This can be dehydrated for about 8 hours and then packaged.

Easy to package is to make savory salt.  This salt is divine on brown rice.  There are many recipes on the Internet.  The other easy last minute gift is bath salts.

Please share your favorite last-minute gifts below!

Many blessings, happy merriment,

Carrie

Ideas For The Fourth Week Of Advent

Such a short time, this fourth week of Advent, this year!  Therefore, here are just a few very simple ideas for this special time:

Read the story of “The Greedy Woman”  from “Hark! A Christmas Sampler” by Jane Yolen and Tomie dePaola.  This tale is best suited for ages 7 and up.

Here is another tale to try, this one is regarding Saint Francis and the first Christmas at Greccio:  http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=smithe&book=christmas&story=greccio.  This would be a lovely story for eight year olds in the midst of second grade on up.

Make Gingerbread People.  Here is Martha Stewart’s gingerbread recipe:  http://www.marthastewart.com/336115/gingerbread-people

And, on Christmas Eve Day, won’t you consider making several stars to light the way of the Christ Child?  Here is a wonderful tutorial from Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys:

http://blog.bellalunatoys.com/2012/how-to-make-waldorf-paper-window-stars.html

Some countries also use this day to commemorate “Adam and Eve” and place red apples in the branches of their Christmas tree in order to remember.  Bread decorations are also sometimes made and used as a sign of redemption.

And here is the “To Do Ahead!”  Continue reading

Ideas For The Third Week of Advent

This is the third week of Advent; for some Christian denominations this is the week the rose candle of “joy” is lit on the Advent Wreath.  What brings you joy?  The true mark of being a Waldorf parent, and also being a spiritual person,  is joy and contentment.  Are you reflecting this to yourself and to the world?  What would help you do this?

This week also finds many of us in the Anglican Communion observing Ember Days on the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of this week. You can see  more information about that here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ember_days

I am sharing a few of my simple plans for this week.  As we get closer to Christmas, a beautiful Feast day, I try to pare things down as much as I can and enjoy the time I have with my family in simplicity.  Here are a few of the things nourishing me this week, a week where we look closer at our animal friends awaiting the love and joy that is coming to Earth.

Sunday, December 16th:  Church; our oldest child is singing at our evening Mass that is an entire Mass of “Lessons and Carols”…a favorite out of the whole year!

Monday, December 17th:  Make treats for our feathered friends; read “The Legend of The Birds” – found in “Hark!  A Christmas Sampler” by Jane Yolen and Tomie dePaola

Tuesday, December 18th:  Continue reading

Favorite Posts of The Week

I have rounded up some wonderful, wonderful posts for you to read today.

First of all, yay for Kara for being back at Rockin’ Granola.  This post is just wonderful and you must go read it right away.  I have been married almost twenty one years, and this one is so right on:  http://www.rockingranola.com/2012/12/baby-our-love-song-must-survive.html

Are you searching for lovely Santa Lucia stories to tuck away for next year?  There is one here on The Parenting Passageway, and here is another one over at Bending Birches:  http://bendingbirches2010.blogspot.com/2012/12/embracing-lightand-our-time.html Continue reading

Ideas For The Second Week of Advent

The second week of Advent is upon us; perhaps we are fasting and praying in accordance with our religious traditions of Advent being a small Lent.  Perhaps we are feeling weary from having a holiday season that is moving rather fast; the fatigue that comes from trying to create perfect holiday memories for the children or the fatigue of spending.

I invite you this week to go back to the true meaning of Advent.  Perhaps this is the week you really think heartily about that question that truly seems to afflict first-world citizens more than others:  how much do we really need to “get”?  What are we giving?  How much do our children really “need”?  Is that what they are going to associate this season with – getting?

Staring new traditions can be difficult.  I was reading the post on gratitude the other day on the blog A Holy Experience and how they exchange no gifts at all and instead choose gifts from catalogues designed to help others – giving the gifts of animals, trees, seeds, bees.  If you are thinking about new traditions, I don’t think it is ever too late to start.  I saw this post on Simple Mom regarding supporting mothers in need for the holidays here:  http://simplemom.net/csp/  Perhaps a tradition along these lines will be of interest to your family.

Here are some nourishing ideas for this second week of Advent. Continue reading

Favorite Stories For Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas Day is fast approaching, and I wanted to highlight some of my very favorite Saint Nicholas books!

First of all, here is a series of stories you can tell starting on December 1st written by Christine Natale, esteemed Waldorf teacher and available for free at the St. Nicholas Center.  Here is Day One:  http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/waldorf-1/. You can enjoy more of Christine’s seasonal tales in her fairy tale collection here:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0557591317/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=stnicholcente-20&link_code=as3&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=0557591317

Fairy Tales

And, as a special treat, Christine left a comment below with a special offer.  She writes:

“As a special gift, I would like to share with your readers a Winter story that I wrote last year. It is not in the collection mentioned above, but will be in any future editions. Here is a link to the story in PDF format to download. The illustration is by Josephine Wall and I do not have permission to use it, but I think it is ok to share among friends.”

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10811968/Stories/King%20Winter%2C%20Mother%20Holle%20and%20the%20Snow%20Maiden.pdf

She also makes great points below about the more common legends of Saint Nicholas and the Waldorf curriculum.  See the comment box below!

Here are a few other tales and some comments:

This is one of the best St. Nicholas books for children Early Years through about first or second grade, and then just as an enjoyable read-aloud for the whole family: Continue reading