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

A Christmas Mood

The excitement in the air is palpable for the children; the gifts, the tree, the relatives, the food, oh my!  There is a definitive mood in the air, and it is one (hopefully) of good will and cheer.  An idea that the world is a good place.

This is a mood that children  in our society need more than ever:  that the world is a good place, the people in the world are good, and that my own little personal world is stable and good.

Maybe this holiday you are facing times that are not “so good.”  Divorce, financial crisis, housing crisis, illness, death in the family  all conspire to make the Christmas mood disappear.

Do not let it.  Part of being human and being an adult means we have the ability to strive, to rise up, to not let our circumstances define us but to allow us to define our circumstances.

As we come also to a close of another year, I can only leave you with this parting thought:  do not be the reaction to circumstances this coming year; be the visionary and shape your world.  What you cannot shape, call on your faith, remain strong, do the right things even when no one else is, and be someone who is proactive.  Be the goodness, and carry that Christmas mood in your heart for your children.

Many blessings, and Merry Christmas my friends,


Another Question From The Field: Balance In Homemaking

This question came in awhile ago and I have been pondering it since in the back of my mind.  I was not certain I had anything valuable to add;   some things ”just are”
in life, but then I did think of something I wanted to say (uh, and it turned out to be way more than I expected, so you may need a cup of tea! LOL)   Here is the original comment/question:

Here is a very honest admission for you: I get no satisfaction of out homekeeping and I am quite certain that I never will :) I *can* do all the things: cook delicious meals every day, ferment, and mill my own flour, I can sew and knit and paint, I can keep the home clean and in reasonable order. But when that is all I do, I can feel my soul slowly dying! I go through seasons of pulling myself together and even enjoying my tasks, and then falling apart, throwing in a towel, because after all, what’s the point? Yes, this is a lovely way to live, to have a cozy home and good food, but I.am.miserable. I’ve been told all manner of things: I’m lazy, I need to change my attitude, I need to get therapy to deal with some deep-seated resentment and blah-blah-blah. I feel that the truth is simpler than that. I am someone who is extremely extroverted, requires massive amounts of regular intellectual stimulation, and a great deal of variety in life :) There must be a way to find some kind of balance. I realize that my children are young (2, 4.5, and one on the way), I am quite realistic about the care, time and effort they require at this stage of life. But I just can’t give up my sanity and my very essence to keeping the home.
Thoughts? thanks!

That is really hard and I think so many of us as mothers can identify with the feelings expressed in this comment.  It can be so hard to do all the things we might think need to be associated with homemaking and parenting, to make things “right”.  Maybe there is also a bit of perfectionism hidden within many of us – if we don’t do all these things, then our children will not do well.  This can make things seem burdensome or a chore instead of light and lovely.  And, it all can be such a big burden – why do I have to be The Queen of My Home? Can’t someone else do it?  I just want to take the day off!  There are days I feel that way as well. Continue reading


Sometimes there just really are no words. I look around and see such good people, such wonderful people, struggling.  Maybe they are ill.  Maybe they have financial challenges that are crippling their family. Maybe they are going through a divorce.  Maybe their spouse is in the military and is deployed, or they are all trying to deal with the adjustment that happens when he or she returns home a different person than when they left.

All of us have struggles, from the small baby who struggles to get into crawling and sitting and upright, to the inner struggles of the teenager learning to be the king of his own kingdom to adults who may struggle with depression or addiction.

And yet, we can see the glimmers of beauty.  The smile of a child.  The simple meal on a simple table. Having a new to you coat to wear for the winter.  A beautiful star in a winter sky.

My middle child is a master of this.  She notices the most tiny detail of beauty and never fails to remark upon it.  Look, mama, how beautiful!  And to myself, I think, slow down because my Creator is saying, look, I put this here for you to see, to notice, to have it all sink into your skin, into your bones.

A good lesson for me…and.in the midst of all of this challenge and struggle, I pray.  I look for beauty. And I wait to be awed by the good things, the things that pop up when I least expect it, the miracles that do happen.

When things happen to me, I often take a breath and gently say, “May it be blessed.”   May it be blessed anyway!   It is not my plan, it is hard to watch,  I feel so sad people I know are going through things, what can I do to help them, what will happen?

And yet, may it be blessed.  May there be a glimmer of goodness, of grace, of love, somewhere in all of this.

Be blessed today and every day,


Squirrel Fun


I know much of the Northeastern United States is currently buried under snow and even some power outages, so I feel almost bad for saying that fall is finally here in all its glory in the Southeastern US.

I love fall; I always have.  Crunchy leaves of many splendored colors, smoke rising from chimneys, crisp air and sunshine, squirrels and chipmunks scurrying about, fall foods such as apple, squash, greens and pumpkins!  Oh yes, my favorite time of year!  I am gathering up Thanksgiving recipes and getting ready to start on some holiday crafting as well.

So, in that vein, I wish to bring some fun poetry, verses and movement about squirrels to our homeschooling this week, especially for my sweet little toddler who has finally figured out that not every four legged animal is a doggie like his giant Leonberger!

Here are some squirrel ideas for this week if you would like to play along with me: Continue reading

Thriving In The Midst of It All

Life can be downright busy, no matter how simple we want it to be. No matter how simple we try to make it, the more people one has in a household, the more pets one has, the more community and obligations one has, the busier it can become.

And you can still love every minute of it and thrive in it.

My life, as many of you who personally know me, can get rather busy.  Sometimes it is my life that needs to be de-cluttered, not my things!  I fully admit to having a hard time saying no to things at church, or to friends who need something, or to my neighbors.  But the older I get, the more I realize how much I love community, how much I enjoy gathering those I love together and connecting those who I think really ought to meet each other for this reason or that.  And, the older I get, I get better at setting limits and seeing how things balance out.

It all can’t be perfect.  One cannot homeschool well, have the house be spotless, cook every single thing perfectly, have all the errands done, have a social life, have the children do things, and all the other things on the list. It just can’t happen, and I think we could all end up having nervous breakdowns trying to do it all…

So, I try to remind myself about seasons, in both the literal and more symbolic sense.  Continue reading

Guest Post: Creating A Magical Summer


This gallery contains 26 photos.

I would like to thank Waldorf teacher Christine Natale for this guest post chock-full of magical summer ideas.  You can find Christine’s book of fairy tales here:  http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/fairy-tales/12093029 and her blog here:  http://threefoldwaldorf.blogspot.com/.  She also recently wrote an article about … Continue reading