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

Celebrating The First Week of Advent

The first light of Advent is the light of stone–.

Stones that live in crystals, seashells, and bones.
The second light of Advent is the light of plants–
Plants that reach up to the sun and in the breezes dance.
The third light of Advent is the light of beasts–
All await the birth, from the greatest and in least.
The fourth light of Advent is the light of humankind–
The light of hope that we may learn to love and understand.  –  attributed to R. Steiner or to an anonymous author

That beautiful season of waiting and anticipation is here, and I love the slowing down and stillness that occurs during Advent.  In a season full of  often materialistic bigger and over the top, we have a chance to wait the coming of Christ with a realization of our own frailness, and the time to search for own epiphany of what God can do  everyday with the ordinary, with the small, with the weak, with the impossible.  It is a season which demands our attention, our watchfulness, and our slowing down to really be present with our children and families.

Celebrating festivals often starts simply, and traditions deepen over time as the children and the family unit and family culture grows.  Each year layers upon the next, and it is never too late to begin. Continue reading

Linky Love

Kara over at Rockin’ Granola is dreaming up some change:  http://www.rockingranola.com/2012/10/dreaming-new-dreams.html#disqus_thread

I will miss Kara’s blogging whilst she is gone; I have always loved Rockin’  Granola

I see Annette has a Martinmas book out here:  http://ourseasonsofjoy.com/seasons-of-joy/martinmas-round-up/  and don’t forget Waldorf Wednesdays!  http://ourseasonsofjoy.com/seasons-of-joy/waldorf-wednesday-11/ Continue reading

Ideas to Celebrate Christmastide

This post today celebrates some of the traditional ways Christmastide has been celebrated with the Christian faith.  Therefore, many of these ideas may be familiar to many of my Christian readers, but I think there are many things to sort through and use to celebrate the Twelve Holy Nights even if you are not Christian and would just like to mark this special time. These can be peaceful and holy days, truly to slow down, to fast from media and screens and to enjoy the simple pleasures marked the traditions of the Church.

Here is a small guide toward helping families enjoy each day of Christmastide, and I do so hope you will leave your favorite traditions in the comment box as well!

Saturday, December 24th - Since the Feast of the Nativity truly begins on Christmas Eve, attending liturgy is a priority for this night! In the hustle and bustle that can often accompany this day before Christmas, making time for quiet prayer is a powerful example of showing our children that God is with us should we choose to acknowledge Him, find Him, adore Him. God is with us, and with His smallest creatures. In Scandinavian countries, it is traditional to put sheaves of wheat for the birds. Children will enjoy taking time on this day to decorate an outside tree for the birds by stringing popcorn or making the traditional pine cone bird feeder of peanut butter rolled in birdseed.

 

Sunday, December 25th– Christmas Day, the first of the twelve holy days, is a wonderful time to take an afternoon walk and see God’s creation, and also to read from The Gospel of Saint Luke. Old-fashioned board games are another suggestion for celebrating the Christmas afternoon in family togetherness.

 

Another suggestion that some Christian families have tried with success is to spread gift-giving throughout the twelve days of Christmas so that not every gift is opened on Christmas morning.

 

Monday, December 26th- The Feast of St. Stephen – Continue reading

A Message For the 2011 Twelve Holy Nights

This is such a special time of year for me.  As a Christian, the season of Christmas starts on Christmas Day and extends through January 5th, and then we move into the season of Epiphany.  This time of year, for me, is one of the major times of the year when I am off the computer, I spend more time thinking and dreaming and planning.  I spend time connecting with what vision I want to create for the coming year, and spend lots of time with family and friends and being outside in nature.  It is lovely.

In the past, I have chosen a focus of inner work personal to me, much like what Lynn Jericho does, to work really work off an inspiration for these twelve holy days. In the past I have worked with being easy with myself, one year I worked with “letting go”, one year I worked with love, one year I worked with “no comment”.   This year, I have been feeling especially inspired by this passage from Brother Victor-Antoine D’avila-LaTourrette in the book, “A Monastery Journey to Christmas”, which runs through Candlemas on February 2nd: “We can only find peace and calmness within the confines of our own selves.  Inner peace is a gift from the Lord.  Let us beseech him day and night for his gift.  And let us help him by cultivating actively all those things that lead to inner peace.  Like the angels on that first Christmas night, let us pray and work for peace on earth.”  How can I be a part of peace this year – peace in my heart, peace in my home, peace in my community, peace in the world?

There are some resources out there to help you celebrate the Holy Nights. Continue reading