Expectation, Anticipation and The Holy Mystery of Advent

 

Advent in the Western Church is almost upon us as it begins on Sunday, December 1 this year.  A beautiful time of power and mystery awaits if only as a culture we can live with expectation, anticipation, and abiding.

 

Advent is not to be rushed nor to be confused with Christmas. We have twelve glorious days to celebrate Christmastide, with many important feasts within that season.  No, this is the season for learning to live in the darkness before the light truly comes. 

 

There are beautiful Saints within the season of Advent to journey with.  The Anglican Communion  included St. Martin (yes, of Martinmas!) and “St. Martin’s Lent”, the beginning of a forty day fast, the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple and Our Lady of the Sign on November 27th, Saint Andrew, Blessed Nicholas Ferrar, Saint Barbara, Saint Nicholas (oh, the back posts on St. Nicholas on this blog!), Our Lady of Guadalupe, Santa Lucia, Saint Thomas.  These days hold such beautiful places, spaces and saints to draw from to make Advent a season of its own within your family life.

 

As for celebrating Advent, popular things to do include making an Advent wreath, using an Advent calendar of some sort, and for those of you with religious leanings, perhaps making a Jesse tree. 

 

Families within the tradition of Waldorf Education often follow a path of Advent that builds up to all of Earth welcoming the Christ, first with the mineral kingdom of shells, stones and bones, then with the plants, animals in the third week and all of humanity in the fourth week, waiting and abiding in expectation and promise.

 

There are many, many back posts regarding Advent on this blog, and I will keep writing during this Advent season about this time of anticipation.

 

Many blessings,
Carrie

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

Great Links To Love and Make You Think!

I LOVE this one about not complaining and how to stop.it.now.    Here it is:  http://www.becomingminimalist.com/complain-less/

My Christian readers might enjoy this one about marriage: http://www.rickthomas.net/2013/10/14/youve-lied-marriage/

Ancient Rome is on my mind; it is a mainstay of sixth grade in the Waldorf curriculum and we are starting this block next week!  Here is Sheila’s post about her experience with Ancient Rome:  http://sureastheworld.com/2013/10/21/grade-6-roman-history-block/  (For those of you keeping track, I wrote about our geometry block already but still have yet to write about our mineralogy block.  Hope to get to that soon!)

Such a sweet Martinmas sweater here:  http://seamless.typepad.com/my-blog/2013/10/create-22-october-2013.html     I am thinking about Martinmas as well, and making new lanterns this year.

Moving into the season of Light,

Carrie

Friday Linky Love

Happy October!  Here are a few links to love and enjoy:

First of all, my dear friend Andrea has a new blog:  http://solrevel.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/tuning-in/. She wrote that wonderful homeschooling manifesto as a guest post for this blog if you would like to re-read it!  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2013/04/17/guest-post-a-homeschooling-manifesto/

http://downtoearthmother.com/2013/09/23/hormone-disrupting-chemicals/  I don’t normally post about nutrition or holistic health issues here as there are so many blogs that cover this area beautifully, but this article is an important one.  Starting with small steps can make it all less overwhelming if you have lots of changes to make! Continue reading

Monthly Anchor Points: October

Anchor:  a person or thing that can be relied on for support, stability, or security; mainstay: Hope was his only anchor.

When we work to become the author of own family life, we take on the authority to provide our spouse and children and ourselves stability.  An effective way to do this is through the use of rhythm.  If you have small children, it takes time to build a family rhythm that encompasses the year.  If you are homeschooling older children and also have younger children not ready for formal learning, the cycle of the year through the seasons and through your religious year becomes the number one tool you have for family unity, for family identity, for stability.

I wrote about my homeschool planning method of marking seasonal and liturgical ideas down for each month and shared my list for September here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2013/05/16/the-mood-of-celebrationpart-two/  and August here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2013/08/01/monthly-anchor-points-august/

We are already in October, and here in the Deep South the nights are getting crisp, leaves are falling, apple picking is in full swing and pumpkins are getting ready on the vine.

Here are the festivals and holidays we are celebrating in October: Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: Abiding

Abiding, to me, is more than just waiting.  Abiding is the sacred art of enduring, of being durable, of waiting without impatience for the fullness of time to reveal things.  It is knowing deep in one’s soul that the permanent state of life is one of goodness and fullness if we can wait and hold on.  It is trusting in that as a innateness and permanence.

Abiding is such an important thing to model for children.  We take our time, we wait, we abide.  Things in our family are not smooth right now, but it will be over time.  We will look back and we will laugh about it, we may cry about it, but we will know we were always there for each other and we did the very best we could with the information we had at the time and where we were in our own personal growth.

Abiding is knowing that when Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: Doing

Just for today, I will be a “do-er”.

I will put away my computer, phone, email, Facebook and be present with my children.

I will stop researching parenting styles, homeschooling curriculum or other outside advice, and look inside myself to see what is right for my own family.   I will talk about this with my spouse and together we will work toward our own family culture.

I will work in my home and show my children how to do practical things.

I will involve my whole family in working in our home in a caring way.

I will have fun with my family and do things that will create memories.

I will initiate and take the time to sustain doing real physical exercise and inner work.

I will include myself and my needs as part of the family and show my family that I am a person as well by doing something for myself, even if that just means taking the time to do my hair and put on clothes that fit.

I will take the time to go to a place of worship if that has been calling me; instead of listing all the reasons why I cannot do that.

I will go to bed at a reasonable hour.

If I am feeling sad or blue, I will do something nice for myself and also something nice for someone else.

I will plan my day tomorrow and actually do things, even if it is not perfect.

I will dream big and I will do.

Many blessings,

Carrie

The Stranger

This is an amusing yet sobering  piece written by an anonymous person about the stranger living in his home growing up.  It is well- worth the short read.

The  Stranger

A   few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger  who  was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was  fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and  soon invited him to live with our family. The  stranger  was quickly accepted and was around

from  then on.   As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my  family.  In my young mind, he had a special niche.

 

My  parents were complementary instructors: Mom  taught  me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey.  But  the stranger… he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures,  mysteries  and comedies.  If  I wanted to know anything about Continue reading

Freedom Versus Form

This has been a season where the theme of freedom versus form has been coming up repeatedly in my life, and as usual, I took this as a sign that I should write about this subject for my readers.

During one of the first few weeks on her Yahoo Group for homeschool planning called “Sketching It Out” that in homeschooling, Lisa Boisvert Mackenzie wrote something to the effect that we have a freedom so different than what is found in the Waldorf schools in bringing the impulses of Waldorf Education to the home, but then we have to create the form.  I have been mulling this thought around for several weeks now, where it has been germinating in my heart.  I  know from my own experiences in talking to  so many mothers and families that creating the form seems to be the most challenging part for families not just in homeschooling, but in parenting.

A small example in  parenting, for example,  Continue reading