Simplicity Monday: Days of “X”’s

If you look at my calendar, you will see there are consistent days of the week marked with an “X”.  From week to week, those “X”’s are there.

Those “X”’s are a reminder to me that those are my days to be home, and not to schedule something on those days.  If someone asks me to do something on those days, then the answer is that I cannot because I have plans. My plans to be home are every bit as valuable as external plans, and in terms of nourishing a rich family life and connectedness, probably even more valuable.

Where are the “X”’s on your calendar as you are planning for fall?

Blessings,

Carrie

Simplicity Monday: Get Organized!

This month, I am enjoying being with Master Waldorf teacher Lisa Boisvert Mackenzie  over at Celebrating the Rhythm of Life’s “Sketch It Out” planning session for back to school.   Lisa serves on the Board of Directors of Lifeways of North America and also holds a position on the Birth Through Three Task Force for the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America.  You can see more about Lisa here:  http://www.celebratetherhythmoflife.com/p/about.html Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: Too Much

Are we building our families on the four pillars of “too much”:  too much stuff, too many choices, too much information, and too fast? I believe that we are.  But I also believe that we don’t mean to be.  I know it for a fact, and I’ve seen it many times, that parents can bring fresh inspiration and attention to the flow of family life. – Simplicity Parenting, Kim John Payne with Lisa Ross, page XI, Introduction

I think the most well-meaning and loving parents can get caught up in this.  This year, as many of my readers know, was a difficult one and has been a real wake-up call to me to cut my life, our family’s life, down to the things and the people that I hold most dear, the people and things that nourish us as a family.  It is liberating, it is freeing, it is rejuvenating.

I think many parents actually have an easier time with going through material things and getting rid of and simplifying in that area.  However, when it comes to “too many choices, too much information and too fast”, it can be more difficult.    It also can mean hard choices.   One example of “too many choices”, is in activities.  Many of the parents I know whose children are involved in lots of activities are in them simply because  it sort of creeps up, for one, and for number two, we are so lucky in these times that we live in that there are many good activities!    At least, on the surface it can seem that many of these activities are “good”.

However, if we take a closer look, we see the displacement of the family life that “too many” activities cause, and also that many of the activities actually are “too fast” for the age.  I posted this link on The Parenting Passageway Facebook page, but here is a good example by a noted orthopedic surgeon in regards to children in competitive sports:  http://www.cleveland.com/dman/index.ssf/2013/02/noted_surgeon_dr_james_andrews.html

“Too much information” can also be difficult.  In an effort to not be the Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: Reducing Time In The Car

Americans, in most parts of the United States, do have a love affair with their automobiles.  After all, here you can drive eight hours or more and be in the same state, whereas in most places in Europe you can cross several different countries during that time!  The United States is very large indeed!

And our urban areas often sprawl.  I live in a sprawling Southern metropolitan area that covers about twenty counties.  We have just about everything and anything one would want to do – but it often comes at a high driving price.

I love this insight by Jack Petrash in his book, “ Covering Home: Lessons On The Art of Fathering from the Game of Baseball”:

I can still remember my parents packing the car for our summer vacation.  The trunk of our ‘52 Ford was filled to the capacity with suitcases and boxes of food.  The back seat belonged to my brother and me and we were told in no uncertain terms that we had better behave.  “You are going to be in the car for a long time.  Bring something to play with and don’t fight.  This will be a long trip.”

That “long trip” was a fifty-mile drive that we made once a year to stay at a little motel on a small lake on Long Island.  Nowadays, this distance is a daily commute.  Back then, during most months, I was not in the car for even two hours.”

Spending hours in a car is difficult on small children, and on us as well.  It is an area that can almost creep up on us as we realize the amount of time we have spent in the car in the past week, the past month, the past year.  My husband and I  were driving back from his parent’s home yesterday and we looked at each other and marveled how many hours we must have spent in a car together in the past 25 years – together, without children and together with children.

I think there are some simple ways to think about reducing time in the car, and the first step is to being aware and wanting to change that pattern for your children.  Spontaneous, outside play at home is far more important than being in a car.  As Jack Petrash writes, “If our children today are wired and wound up, it is often because they have been denied an outlet for their nervous energy.”  So if your children do not seem robust, but instead whiny, difficult, demanding, nervous and anxious – double check how much time you are in the car!

To reduce car time think of: Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: Inner Work II

In our last post on Simplicity Monday I talked about a new  regard for  inner work in this season of light held so lovingly by St. John the Forerunner.  I mentioned taking just ten minutes a day in order to stand or sit in silence.

One thing to consider is the art of daily recollection.  In the book, “The Desert Mothers: Spiritual Practices from the Women of the Wilderness”, author and priest Mary C. Earle writes: Continue reading

Simplicity Monday On Summer Time!

Well, today is Simplicity Monday on Summer Time.  Monday was the wonderful feast of light and cleansing and renewal in St. John, and yesterday I spent time at the horse farm and then at the lake with dear friends, fireflies, live bluegrass music and swimming…so today is Simplicity Monday!

To take up this theme of renewal and cleansing, I think one must be clear:  inner work in order to discern what needs renewing and cleansing is so important.  The seed of light cannot grow within us unless we take the time to be in stillness. And without that, it is difficult to lead a family, to model for our children what we want them to be if we ourselves cannot do it.

So, for today, create a space in your day where you can spend just ten minutes a day in silence at a rhythmical time each day.  More to come on inner work all this week and next.

Many blessings,

Carrie

Simplicity Monday: The Nitty Gritty

 

I think in  life sometimes we just need to get down to the nitty gritty of parenting and childhood development.  It makes life so much simpler to know the things that are most important to your family, because then you can see what makes sense to do within your days, weeks and months.  Does your use of time match up with what you really think is important?

 

For example, if simplicity is important to you, but you are running your children somewhere every day, does that reflect your priorities?

 

If you think religion is important, or spiritual inner development is important to you, but you don’t spend any time in activities that reflect that, then does that reflect your priorities?

 

Too often we start out the school year very strong, and things sort of peter out by the end of the school year.  What a perfect time of year this is to look and evaluate where your family is, and where you would like to be.

 

We enjoy having a Family Mission Statement.  This is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it can be helpful in looking at priorities, and making sure everyone is on the same page.  Here is a link to a back post on this:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/08/creating-a-family-mission-statement/  Our Family Mission Statement involves kindness, integrity, positive attitude, patience, and adventure.  Yours will be different, but I think it is worthy project to undertake.

 

I would love to hear what you are revitalizing in your family life this time of year!

Much love,
Carrie

Simplicity Monday

Here in the United States, we are entering the official start of summer with the celebration of Memorial Day.  I find this time of year a great time to take stock of my home.

What needs to be decluttered and gone through over the summer before school starts?

How can I streamline errands?

How can I get costs down on  necessary items, such as food?

One way I declutter is to sit down with a calendar at the beginning of the summer, pencil in days for vacations and day trips we want to take, and then pencil in what areas in my home need attention on certain dates.  I have the garage on my list, plus the school room and other areas.

Recently,  I have been attempting to streamline errands by Continue reading

Simplicity Monday

 

I believe it was in Kim John Payne’s book “Simplicity Parenting” that I read about reducing the amount of toys a child has by about one-third and perhaps one would then be on track to simplifying within the home.

 

I was thinking about this one-third estimate and have thought about how this might apply to those of us with commitments outside the home.

 

Whether you work a part-time job, or your children are in sports, or you spend time volunteering, or you spend a lot of time with all the neighborhood children at your home – what would it look like to have one third of that time back in your own home and with your own family?

 

A simple thought to ponder,

Carrie