Homemaking In Lent: Inspirations From St. David

Do ye the little things in life.”

I love this day in the year!  It is the Feast Day of  St. David,  patron Saint of Wales.  Wonderful, wonderful stories abound about St. David.  He was known for his austere monastic lifestyle where he and his monks would hook themselves up to plows instead of using oxen and plough the fields themselves.  They ate no meat, nor ale, but appeared to have endless energy for hard labor and for prayer.

However, the main thing St. David was noted for was for his loving kindness, for his gentle words, for his respect for others, the way he observed others and did small things to help build up life in Christ for others.

I often think of St. David. Homemaking, after all, is a labor of small things.  Sometimes it is a labor of small things done time and time again.  Continue reading

Pondering Portals: Part One

There is much made in books and blogs and articles on the Internet about what I call the “pink bubble” of the Waldorf Kindergarten for the early years of 0-7.  I have always maintained that this time should be actually less about the wooden toys and silks, and more about movement, getting children into their bodies, bodily care, being outside and connected to nature – and in the home environment, living the spiritual year and the spiritual culture of that family – and not talking small children to death with explanations and verbal banter.   In other words, a rhythmic, mindful (for the parents) and activity-oriented time.  For more about what I envision for these early years, you can find back posts regarding Waldorf at home by age.

However, the pink bubble doesn’t last forever, and as the six year old hones in on developmental change and growth, there are the inevitable questions…If the world begins to “open up”, how and when?  And how can we do this with a joyous heart, with balance and with fun?  We are, after all, living together at home as a family, which is inevitably different than creating a school environment.

First of all, I think we have to get over the idea that we are somehow “closing off” the world in the early years by offering less choices and more stability.  It is a little like saying we are “closing off” the world because we don’t allow our ten year old to drink alcohol or drive a car…that comes later in development, and we all accept that.  Yet, we too often look at what is healthy for human development as this “weird choice” (or a series of weird choices) that we are making and that we really somehow depriving our children.  I think we have to carry this healthy attitude, a vibrant attitude, a respectful attitude for the dignity of the child and of development into the grades ages and beyond.  I see many parents treating their ten or eleven year old like a fifteen year old, and I think it actually is harder at these ages of 7-10 and then 10 – 14 to really reach that balance the need of the child of reaching out into the community and later the world and the inroads that must be made into family life and into themselves as a human being for health. Continue reading

Linky Love….and A Little About Writing

A very sweet reader wrote in and asked me about how I center myself for writing.  Well, since I have three small children and a large furry dog running about, I would say my writing at this point is only a meditative process in my head.  I go through almost any drafts that need to be done in my head, and then spill it out on a blog post FAST before someone needs something.  Smile   At one point, I wanted to take many of my back posts and turn them into e-books about development, but I do think book writing is and should be different than writing for a blog, and I don’t think I have the time it would take right now to turn a series of back posts into a book.  Maybe someday when everyone is a little bit older.

There are many, many beautiful writers on the Internet, and I have rounded up a few good links for you that I have enjoyed: Continue reading

Homemaking During Lent: Inspiration from St. Ninian

The Anglican Communion recognizes all the great and Holy Early Church fathers, just as our Orthodox and Roman Catholic brothers and sisters do.  But we do hold a special place in our hearts for St. Ninian, a pioneer in the Christian faith  during the fourth century who established a monastery in a remote isle location in Scotland.

I found a little thumbnail on the Internet that I couldn’t seem to enlarge.  It was what is left of the Chapel of Ninian at  the Isle of Whitby  (Whithorn in his native language).  Bishop Ninian is considered Scotland’s first Saint (see my Homemaking in Lent post about the very brief history of Christianity in Great Britain to understand how Christianity was pushed into Wales, Scotland and Cornwall).

There is not much known about St. Ninian. It is almost certain that was a Briton and that he traveled to Rome for training – so therefore, he was more tied into the Roman Church of the time than the Celtic Church. His monastery was a center of learning and it was called the Candida Casa, the “white house”. From there, he went out to the Picts and other neighboring tribes and took the news of Christianity with him.    Part of the legend around him stipulates that he sowed seeds that grew so fast they became mature plants in a day and that is how the monastery received its food and survived.  He planted his ideas and faith in those studying with him, and St. Kentigern, or Mungo as some of you may know him, became one of the most famous. Continue reading

Why Do I Yell At My Children So Much?

I think whenever there is a lot of yelling going on in a household, it signifies the possibility of several things:

1.  The household, or you, are under complete stress.  What  can you do to simplify your schedule, your rhythm, your life?

2.  Lack of nourishment for you at a physical level, an emotional level, or a soul level.  What can you do to fill your own bucket so you can be steady?  Do you need a break? If you are feeling stressed, how can you change the mood?  Being in nature is a huge help.

3.  I find sometimes the most gentle people are gentle up to a point, and then they explode.  I think this goes back to boundaries.  Sometimes gentle people can be too lax in boundaries, and all the small irritations build up until it all explodes.  I think what one finds with folks who have older children, who have multiple children, is that they are much quicker to set a boundary in a kind but firm way before it all escalates.  Always think about boundaries. Continue reading

Homemaking Through Lent

In homemaking, one thing I would like to encourage is to give value to the innermost experiences of your soul, not just the outward.  In other words, homemaking is not just about whether or not the house is picked up or the everyone has clean underwear (although those things are nice, Smile)  , but how you feel  about your family and your home during each season.  How  does your homemaking reflect the seasons of your soul.

This is the eve before Lent begins in the Western Church.  Before you decide to click off this page because you are not Christian or anything else, realize that Lent is a season that anyone can celebrate.  It is a journey of the heart and the mind, a time of examination and stillness, a time of renewal of life, of renewal of mind heading into a spring that right now seems so far away.  For me, Lent is a time where I deliberately examine my own choices – how I am using my time, am I serving my family, am I taking care of myself?  It is a time to find a renewed source of strength.

I would like to walk through these days with you with my favorite friends:  some of the Celtic Holy ones.  I love the Celtic Saints, or you can just call them your Celtic Holy Companions, because they were so very interesting and inspiring and I do think they represent a point of commonality amongst all Christian denominations and form a bedrock of Western Civilization.  In Advent, we often travel through Advent and mark St. Nicholas Day and Santa Lucia Day for cultural reasons, for religious reasons and for personal reasons to find light in the darkest of days.  Why not do this in Lent?  There are wonderful holy people to be celebrated during Lent to inspire you to renewal.

Here is a brief background, based on my understanding of the early Celtic Church, that might help you understand the Celtic Saints a little better: Continue reading

Ways To Encourage Your Child

Look for the positive things in your child, and love and encourage your child.  There is a saying of something to the effect that we do not teach a toddler to walk by berating them every time they fall, but we encourage them when they make it onto their feet and stagger a few steps.  This is the same for older children; the things they are trying out and doing are different than learning to walk, but they are still learning to be a part of humanity!

Here are some encouraging words:

I knew you could do it! Continue reading

My Favorite Links To Love This Week!

I love pretty much anything Annette Fronz writes…lately she has been writing about the grain of the day often incorporated in Waldorf Education and she utilizes this in her home with her six children: http://ourseasonsofjoy.com/in-the-kitchen/a-month-of-mondays-monday-is-rice-day/

I like Sheila’s Grade One Qualities of Numbers block here….and Happy Birthday Sheila! http://sureastheworld.com/2013/01/21/grade-1-numbers-block/

I love to find how people have combined Waldorf Education with their religious life.  Here is a list from “Flowing With My Ducklings” regarding Judaism and Waldorf:  Continue reading

Revolutionize Your Family For Health

Do you feel happy and joyful most of the time?  Or consistently exhausted and overwhelmed?

Are you in good enough shape to bike, run and chase your children around?

I have spoken with so many families this month who are in the position of having too many things to do, too little time…and what frequently suffers is the basic need of the body and soul for health.  Sleep, cooking from scratch, having time to relax and rest, time to exercise, time to just BE can all be really difficult to come by when you have small children, (and I think especially when one is homeschooling and has small children about all the time).  There is no turning a walk into an aerobic exercise with a small child in tow who wants to stop and examine every cute little ant on the ground.  That is just the reality!

But, the other reality is that one cannot neglect one’s health for years on end either.  Some mothers seem to have this idea that if they can just wait until their youngest child is “X” age, then this is when their family will be getting into shape and will take better care of their health then.

My husband and I are working on revolutionizing our family life this year toward even better health.  We have always been fairly health conscious in terms of our food, using alternative health care, getting outside daily, not watching media (which is time you could spend in getting outside!), but this year we really wanted to put some specific things into place.  And sometimes that is hard, because we are apart most of the week, every week, all year long due to my husband’s work.  It is harder to urge each other on to do healthy things, like exercising without the children,  when you are not even together to support each other in person!  So, here are some things we are trying: Continue reading

Part Two: Attachment Parenting: What’s Going On?

The first part of this series can be found here, including some really interesting comments regarding attachment parenting and enmeshment, attachment parenting and children learning to have self-reliance:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2013/01/23/attachment-parenting-whats-going-on/

So, on with my list of the ways I feel attachment parenting as sometimes been misconstrued and misunderstood, coming from my experience of being in the attachment community for the last 11 years:

Number Two:  The only way to guide a child is to talk to them, and talk some more, no matter what the child’s age.  I think if we look at the child as moving through the stages of imitation, short explanations, needing a loving authority figure,  going into cause and effect reasoning around the age of twelve and then moving into mentorship, apprenticeship, and such during the teenaged years, a completely verbal approach cannot and should not be the answer for children of all ages.  I have written about the idea of combining thinking, feeling and willing for the guiding of a child many times and in many ways on this blog.

Sometimes I think attached parents use excessive talking to a child to not only communicate and explain, but, (in all honesty!) in hopes that the child will agree with them. This way we can still all be friends!  This can be a very passive way to set a boundary.

Just because you are attached and connected to your children doesn’t mean they are always going to agree with you!

So, I wish the attachment parenting community would Continue reading