Inspiration and Gratitude for Mother’s Day

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!

My own mother died after a very a long illness  when I had just turned eight, and I was raised by my paternal grandmother.  She had three sisters,and the four of them were very, very close.  I also had an amazing maternal grandmother.  I was very fortunate to have all of them speaking into my life.

 

The grandmother who raised me wrote this in honor of mothers everywhere for a mother-daughter banquet at her church long, long  before I was born and I share it here with you today: Continue reading

Monthly Anchor Points: May

 

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 yet 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 in past posts.  I have written monthly anchor points posts for August, September and October and now would like to extend our mood of celebration into May!

 

May is such a beautiful month, Continue reading

Celebrating Lent and Holy Week With Children

 

Holy Week is upon us!  I wanted to share a few ideas with you all about celebrating Lent and Holy Week.  Lent is such a beautiful time.  I love what Orthodox Christian priest Anthony Coniaris writes in his book, “ Making God Real in the Orthodox Christian Home”:

It is significant that Lent happens to coincide with Spring in the northern climes.  I think there is a wonderful lesson for us in this happy coincidence.  Lent should be for all of us a period of placing ourselves in the position where the best things can happen for us.  That position for Orthodox Christians is the presence of Christ, where the Sun of His love and power can shine into our arid souls to bring about a real awakening, a real springtime of the soul.

 

Here are some brief suggestions for celebrating Lent and Holy Week: Continue reading

Children First, From the Start

 

 

With interest, I read this 35 paged report called “Putting Children First”  available here:  http://www.savechildhood.net/putting-children-first.html.  This is a United Kingdom publication, but the challenges these children are facing are similar to here in the United States:

 

Young children today are subject to a range of cultural pressures that were simply unknown to previous generations. Family life has significantly changed, they live in a rapidly advancing digital world, they are much less trusted and more controlled, they have fewer freedoms and significantly less access to nature, they are highly vulnerable
to the dangers of commercialisation and sexualisation and the quality and depth of their learning in the early years has moved from being intrinsically connected to family and community to become increasingly seen as primarily a preparation for later schooling. Child wellbeing in the UK has been the subject of increasing concern. Currently one
in ten children is being diagnosed with a mental health disorder,4 one in three is clinically obese,5 one in 12 of our adolescents deliberately harm themselves and nearly 80,000 children and young people currently suffer from severe depression including 8,000 children aged under 10 years of age. This is a deeply worrying situation that needs to be
tackled head on.

 

We are dealing with a pandemic crisis in childhood.  If this was bubonic plague attacking our children, the government and every citizen would be concerned.  But to hear of isolated cases of a mental health disorder in a teenager,  or isolated cutting and additive behaviors,  isolated cases of obesity within one area – no one seems to really be paying that much attention on a national level.   There have been different movements in the United States focusing on different aspects of children’s health and education, but no one movement that encompasses the many branches needed to bring healing to this generation has taken place.  I have not seen any public health campaigns for the things that I think would make the most lasting impressions upon helping our children.

 

What would it look like to really help our children get the best start?  Here some ideas, but there are certainly many more areas so feel free to add yours in the comment box below! Continue reading

Interesting Links to Start Your Week

I love this post, (and the book referenced as well!):  http://charmingthebirdsfromthetrees.blogspot.com/2014/03/make-most-of-beautiful-moments.html

This post stirred up a little bit of controversy on The Parenting Passageway’s Facebook page.  It talks about banning hand-held devices for children under the age of 12 and why, including a chart regarding media by age at the end of the article.  Check it out here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cris-rowan/10-reasons-why-handheld-devices-should-be-banned_b_4899218.html

The disturbing trends of kindergarten: http://tablet.olivesoftware.com/Olive/Tablet/GreenwichTime/SharedArticle.aspx?href=TGT%2F2014%2F02%2F23&id=Ar00907

And lastly, an article about teens and texting and how it ruins romance:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katie-d-anderson/teen-texting-the-ruin-of-romance_b_3763576.html

Many blessings,

Carrie

Inspiring Links For The New Year

 

This is  such a holy and sacred time of the year.  It is a time to go inward and to reflect and also, I think to plan a little for the year ahead.  In that vein, I have to share just a few of my favorite things for the new year.

First of all, I am very content to see Heather offering a “Hibernate” on-line workshop.  I signed up for it when the announcement first came out, and am so looking forward to it.  You can find more details about that here:  http://beautythatmoves.typepad.com/beauty_that_moves/2013/12/hibernate-online-workshop.html

 

I am also happy to see what Sheila wrote here about envisioning her year through a single word:  http://sureastheworld.com/2013/12/16/word-2014/

 

I am pleased to see some more blogging about homeschooling from the Tan family over at Syrendell.  For those of you homeschooling, are you ready for the last half of the school year here in North America, or are you already busy thinking about next year?  Here is a blog post from Syrendell about fourth grade:  http://syrendell.blogspot.com/2013/12/return-to-homeschooling.html

 

I would love to hear what you are focusing on these holy days and nights of Christmastide.

Many blessings,
Carrie

Celebrating Christmastide

 

Merry Christmas!  Today is the second day in Christmastide, a wonderful season that begins on Christmas Day and continues until the eve of Epiphany.  Freya Jaffke, in her wonderful book, “Celebrating the Festivals With Children”, writes:

During the twelve or thirteen Holy Nights that follow Christmas, the events of Christmas continue to resonate; and it is a lovely custom for children if candles are lit each day, with singing, music making and perhaps a reading.  This period is set apart from the rest of the year, and can be a time when we gather our strength for the year ahead.  Nothing urgent needs to be done, and we can really take time for things.  Children are deeply satisfied if mother or father sits down beside them with some craftwork, or perhaps join in a game now and then.  In contrast to the summer when we like going outdoors, we feel very comfortable at home in the warmth – apart from winter walks and the fun of snow when it comes.

We can celebrate the twelve days of Christmastide with children by using candles or a ring with twelve hearts or a simple Advent type calendar adapted to the twelve days of Christmas.  This becomes a nice way to bring children down gently from Christmas and to continue the joy and wonder society too often associates with just a single day.

Instructions to make a Christmas ring can be found in both “All Year Round” and “Celebrating Irish Festivals”.    There are instructions to make a “postcard” calendar for the twelve days of Christmastide, each window representing a month of the year, ie, the first card would represent January and be opened on the first day of Christmastide, the second card would represent February and be opened on the second day of Christmas.  I would like to do this and follow the Church Year calendar to be represented on these cards.  Maybe I can do this in time for next year!

Today is also St. Stephen’s Day, and in Ireland and other places this is a time of fasting, a day to visit friends, a time to walk and feed the birds.  “Celebrating Irish Festivals” talks about the custom of the Wren Boys in Ireland and the mummer’s play.   Today is a wonderful day to make treats for our feathered friends in honor of St. Stephen!

If you are careful to celebrate Advent as a preparation, this time of Christmastide in its fullness can hold such incredible joy and fun.  Each day the family can gather around the Christmas tree for singing and readings and to play old-fashioned games.  Some families like to  craft window stars, rose windows and transparencies during this sacred time.   Many families also spread out their gift-giving and acts of generous kindness to other family members amongst the twelve days of Christmas, which is another wonderful tradition. 

Many blessings to you as you celebrate these days,
Carrie

Last Minute Gifts to Make

 

Happy Holidays! I know many of you are in a flurry of crafting and baking right now, but I know some of you are also looking for last minute ideas for gifts to make.

 

Here are a few suggestions:

I have a friend entranced by peg people, which got me thinking about those little people again!  One of my favorite Pinterest sites has this to offer:  https://www.pinterest.com/queenslace/peg-dolls/

 

My oldest daughter and I have been making straw stars.  I think this is a great project for children who are middle school (ie, age 12) and up.  Here is a link to order supplies:  http://www.germanplaza.com/productcart/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=280

 

Here is a list of 10 Waldorf Christmas crafts.  I love “cinnamon ornaments” and think having little ones make these for a grandparents Christmas tree is always lovely:  http://www.valleywaldorf.org/10-waldorf-christmas-crafts-kids/

 

Here are free projects from The Silver Penny: http://www.thesilverpenny.com/FreeProjects.html

 

Wee Folk Art also has much to offer:  http://weefolkart.com/

 

Last year, my last minute gifts included peppermint bark, savory salt, and grain free granola.  Things one makes in the kitchen are always good gifts!

 

Please do share what you are making this year!

Blessings,

Carrie

The Simple Christmas

 

Christmas begins on December 25th, and continues until January 6th.  Christmastide is a beautiful season with simple pleasures. 

 

I think we have to be so careful to not raise our children with a sense of entitlement, but with a sense of gratitude.  Gratitude begins with us, and with how we are gracious and grateful with less material things and more with the connections the seKason provides.  Kim John Payne talks more about this important topic here:  http://www.themotherco.com/2013/12/a-simple-holiday-less-toys-and-more-time/

 

I have my own suggestions for slowing down and enjoying Christmastide.

 

  • Go media free if you are not media free already. 
  • Get outside.  Hike, ski, skate, and enjoy the season and the great outdoors in your area.
  • Have a Christmastide party with your close friends and  family members.
  • Have a board game night or a night of playing cards together.
  • Have a crafting night.  You can make rose windows, straw stars, window stars, paper lanterns, dip candles, or roll candles.
  • Visit something seasonal in your area – a winter wonderland, ice skating, a cultural celebration.
  • If you are religious, attend your place of worship for the wonderful feast days that happen during Christmastide.
  • Take a night to make popcorn and tell tales.
  • Do sweet and kind things for each other throughout the twelve days of Christmas
  • Say thank you often for the small things in life, and model this for your children.

 

Please leave a comment in the comment box regarding your favorite traditions for Christmas. 

 

Many blessings,

Carrie

Happy Santa Lucia Day!

 

I love this day and hope everyone is having a wonderful day curled up with hot cocoa and lussekatter!

 

Please don’t forget the wonderful free stories that are out there by my friend, the wonderful Master teacher and writer Christine Natale:  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10811968/Stories/A%20Little%20Story%20for%20Saint%20Lucy’s%20Day%20-%20December%2013.pdf

 

There is also a gentle and sweet tale about St. Lucy right here on The Parenting Passageway for free:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/12/14/guest-post-a-gentle-santa-lucia-story-by-tiziana-boccaletti/

 

Here is a post with quite a few links in it regarding crafts and songs and traditions:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/12/08/more-about-celebrating-santa-lucia-day-in-the-waldorf-home/

 

One of my favorite books for this day is “Lucia:  Saint of Light” by Katherine Bolger Hyde.  It combines the traditions of Santa Lucia from a Swedish perspective mixed with the main stories we have heard regarding Santa Lucia and includes a recipe for lussekatter.  Here is the cover: 

 

 

Have a wonderful, warm day!

Blessings,
Carrie