The Peaceful Family You Want……

Is within your reach.  Is not only possible and plausible, but waiting for you.   It begins with you.

Peace begins with feeling physically, emotionally and spiritually strong.  I see so many beautiful mothers who really neglect their health until something happens, and they know they HAVE to start making home cooking, menu planning, sleep, exercise, health appointments and other things necessary for them to enjoy good health because within it, their family cannot thrive!  If you are homeschooling or have stay at home children, putting these things as part of the rhythm is so important , along with the “how” – who will watch the children whilst you cook 20 freezer meals?  Who will watch your children if you go for a walk or do yoga, etc?  The “how” is as important as the “when”.

So many mothers are running on empty emotional tanks or still working on their baggage from their own childhood and childhood memories.  Parenting small children often brings these sorts of memories, feelings and triggers alive.  You can learn how to handle your triggers – your anger or anxiety, your own sadness even at your childhood – and not bring that into another cycle of emotional challenge for your own children.  I highly recommend family and marital counselors; many will work on a sliding scale.  I also recommend finding what fills your tank outside and apart from parenting as investing even just a little time in this area will fulfill you in such strong ways.  What is your dream?  For some it is begin home with children.  For some that is  is not all of their dream, but certainly part of their dream.  And the vision and dream can shift over the years – as we get older, into our later 40s and 50s – it seems to me that it becomes more important to have something to call our own as our own children grow up.

Spirituality is another area that many people seem to neglect or have little interest in…and yet the pull to the Divine Creator, I think is normally there and at some point this pull becomes a stronger and more intimate place than perhaps it had been before.  Some people experience a spiritual crisis where their entire belief system changes.  For some mothers, a belief system doesn’t have anything to do with religion, but it could.

When you are feeling on track yourself, you have the energy to deal with the things in your own home, and then you have the energy to deal with things outside of your home.  It seems to move in concentric circles of influence, so to speak.   

I would love to hear your plans for the New Year to begin with peace for you so it can extend into and weave throughout your whole family.  Let me know what you are up to!  What is your biggest priority for your own peace this year?

Blessings,

Carrie

Monthly Anchor Points: January

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.

January, how I love you with your still and silent ways.  I am reminded of the hibernating animals, the crunch of snow under my feet as a child growing up in the Northeastern United States, the glow of beautiful beeswax candles, the twelve festive days of Christmastide and the twelve Holy of Nights, new beginnings and new starts with a blank year before us.  Seed catalogues start to arrive with the promise of a garden to grow, organizing about the home is to be done, and I think about snowflakes, paper stars, and candles all month long.  You can read more of my joy about January  here.  It also has some wonderful ideas for working with children’s energy during the colder months.  Maybe now is time to rotate the toy collection, move things around so they are fresh and new and inviting for small hands and little hearts. Older children might appreciate a re-vamped crafting, art or woodworking space.

I urge you to use your January to slow down, plan ahead for the next part of this year, to enjoy being outside and allow yourself the luxury of a vigorous walk.  One of my friends sent me an article about the beauty of walking outside in a safe area under a dark sky and it made me think of walking in cold wintry skies.

My month will be anchored by  these festivals:

January 1st through January 6th – The twelve festive days of Christmastide and the twelve Holiest of Nights.    One of my favorite days of this cycle is today, the Feast of Saint Seraphim of Sarov.  There is a lovely book about this saint, and I plan to make a picture of this saint and a bear friend for the children today.  http://www.amazon.com/St-Seraphims-Beatitudes-Blessings-Wonderworker/dp/0978654307/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420235365&sr=8-1&keywords=st.+seraphim+of+sarov+children

January 6th – Epiphany.  You can see back posts regarding Epiphany and how to celebrate here and   here.   This is a festive day complete with a King’s cake or pudding and gift giving in our house.  The Christmas season ends for us here and we usually do take our tree down and then we tend to clean and rearrange and enjoy the freshness of things.

January 13 – Feast Day of St. Mungo, the Patron Saint of Glasgow.  The book “A Royal Ring of Gold” could be good for older children (middle school) – please always preread.

January 18-24 – Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

There are a few other Saints I am celebrating this month by reading some of their writings as well. 

Ideas for Celebration:

Making music – what a wonderful time to make music in our homes.  Jodie Mesler has a true passion for making music at home and tries very hard to make music do-able for those with no musical background at all.  For those of you who can read music , there are many wonderful music in the Wynstones books and other musical books sold at Waldorf booksellers.

Making crafts – I love things to do with stars and snowflakes for this time of year and there are many examples on Pinterest. I would be pleased to have you follow any of my Pinterest boards as I gather ideas for my own family.

Making time for outside fun – down here we can still hike and paddle; other areas of the country you may be able to still surf and swim and still others you may be cross country skiing, skating, or downhill sledding and skiing.  You could try indoor roller skating and bowling as well.  Stay active and enjoy movement together as a family!

Plan a garden as family

Feed the birds and observe them and draw them

Walk and observe what plants are growing and what the animals are doing

What could you do as a family to help others?  This could be a lovely time to gather supplies for a food pantry or donate clothing or something for your local animal shelter

What about an adult time for you, the person you are besides the mother, with friends or another female adult in your family? I have tickets with my sister-in-law to see the Russian Ballet perform Swam Lake this month and am looking so forward to it.

The Domestic Life:

Making bone broths

I am in the midst of re-organizing all of our “medical” supplies – organizing the essential oils by what we frequently use them for, organizing the homeopathic medicines and stocking up on the ones we are low on, gathering things of nature for illness

Revamping rooms, framing pictures, dreaming of what else we would like to make for our home

Crafting a few things for Candlemas!

I would love to hear what you are up to in these January days.  Shine your light out into the world.

Blessings and peace to you,

Carrie

5 Ways to Have A Peaceful Family Life in 2015

The idea to use one word to embody the direction, vision and scope of a year has been in use for some time now.  This year, I chose a word for my personal use but also a word for The Parenting Passageway. Our word for the year is “peace”, so you will be seeing quite a bit of that this year on this space – how to really craft peace into your family life.  To move us forward, I was thinking today of five ways to have a peaceful family life.

Know who you are and make apologies for it as you live your life and be the parent you want to be.  When you know yourself and really know your strengths and your weaknesses and work with that for the benefit of your family, it becomes an unshakable foundation.  Love who you are and  what you bring to the table. This confidence and quiet strength allows the family to shine!

Go for balance.  Look for balance throughout the cycle of the entire year.  For example, I am feeling a real need to keep January simple with time to be outside in the morning every day.  So I am working with that pull.  It may change in Spring and I will put together something different.  Look for  the balance with activities outside the home – are they all for one person, one child?  Are there too many?  We need balance to be both parent and person – is that there or is that always on a backburner?  Make this the year for balance for all members of the family!

Boundaries.  Part of having a happy family life is boundaries. Boundaries are love for children, and a happy family life is dependent upon boundaries.  I read a recent article about this topic not too long ago and I thought it hit why parents struggle with this so right on the nose. Give it a read http://www.janetlansbury.com/2014/03/parents-struggling-with-boundaries-3-common-reasons/

Rhythm.  Rhythm gives us an unceasing strength to pull from, just as the tide doesn’t tire of going in and out each day.  Rhythm doesn’t have to be complex, and a minute by minute rundown does not have to be listed on a piece of paper.  However, if you are homeschooling and have three children or more,  I personally have found you may need to write more of a schedule to go within your rhythm, if that makes sense, for the schooling part of your day.  If you can think of rhythm as how one anchors and nourishes all members of the family, this can lead to a peaceful feeling as everyone’s needs get met and validated.

Outside movement.  In these darker and colder winter months, it can be easy for some families to want to stay inside and hibernate. However, it is so important to get outside and move.  Movement literally re-wires the brain!  This is very exciting, and I hope to be able to write more about outside movement for you this year.  Children need movement – it is a true need just like air, food and water.  We all need connection with nature.  Making this a priority in 2015 will bring to you a most peaceful family!

Many blessings and joy for 2015 to you and yours,

Carrie

Peaceful New Year’s Wishes

This week between Christmas and New Year’s did not start out as I had planned.  I wanted a very quiet and calm place of nurturing and steady rhythm with a lot of time outside to hike and play.  I wanted time to dream and plan and unplug, which is what I normally do during these twelve days of Christmas and the twelve Holy Nights.  Somehow, instead we ended up with commitments almost every day (yes, I forgot to use my “X”’s on my calendar to “X” off days, I guess!)

Then I guess  our oldest daughter and I got sick with some sort of flu-like virus where we pretty much laid in bed for over 24 hours, too sick to do anything else…. And now the littlest one is down and out as well…..So that took care of our commitments, but not in the way that I had planned!

My wish for you  this New Year is the gift of steadiness – of not jumping into the highs and lows, but the sure knowledge of when to take a risk to do something new and when to know when routine is just right.  It is so important to remember that the most beautiful things in life are made up of the most ordinary moments.  I constantly get reminded of this, because when I say “yes” to something, something else usually happens to derail it! 

Here is a beautiful Irish blessing I shared on New Year’s some years ago, and I think its words ring true once again:

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours.

From an Old Irish Blessing, author unknown

Many blessings for a peaceful New Year with new beginnings of nourishment and love.

Carrie

Silence

For many meditating during these nights, silence is a theme for yesterday.  I am meditating on silence today as I think of the polarity between myself and St. John the Evangelist, whose feast day is today.  How do I bring silence and stillness into my life so I can have a more fruitful inner life?  I find it hard to deepen that if there is nothing but noise or clutter or chaos swirling around me.  So, having time to be home, to not rush, to have space and time is so important.  How can I construct the rhythms of my family and of my heart in order to have this space this coming year?

And when do I boldly proclaim the truth in words, the way St. John proclaims the Logos?  Do I speak truth when it is needed?  Do I do that boldly, tactfully or timidly?

While so many people say they want to quit homeschooling in November and February, I find that a bit ironic for me personally since I perceive those months to be ones of silence and stillness and I love that aspect.  Solitude is so different than taking a knowing break to replenish the soul.

How does silence manifest itself in your life?  Do you welcome it?  How does silence work with courage?

Blessings,
Carrie

Courage

The Twelve Days of Christmas and the Twelve Holy Nights is a time when we slow down and listen to our deep inner selves, and what the Divine Creator and spiritual world is presenting to us as we silence and still ourselves enough to listen.  It is this time of year, that if we are open, we can see the year that is coming and wonder at some of the things of virtue of humanity in the world.

I was meditating today on the virtue of courage.  In the Christian calendar, we see this virtue in the life story of St. Stephen, the first martyr of the church. This is also a traditional virtue for many who  meditate during the twelve Holy Nights.

Courage encompasses so many things – courage helps us forgive the unforgiveable.  Courage helps us to be honest in tough situations.  Courage helps us to stick to our values and morals even when it is not popular.  Courage helps us try things we are unsure of which is a way to grow and change.  Courage helps us chart a new path and direction.  Courage doesn’t promise safety, but the ability to move forward in strength even under the worst of circumstances.

Parenting takes courage.  Boundaries are very important in parenting, and it takes courage to set a boundary and help children achieve a healthy balance between form and freedom.

I would love to hear your thoughts about courage and the role it plays in your life.  How do you see courage within yourself for the upcoming year?

Blessings,
Carrie

Looking Forward

It is Christmas Eve Day, and in the midst of the last minute baking and preparations for tonight and tomorrow, there is a certain feeling of contentment that goes with this time of year.  I love looking ahead and thinking about the wonderful and beautiful twelve days of Christmas and the Holy Nights.

These can be days of silence and wonder, days of cutting out media and spending time with the people you love most in person, days of connecting to nature and to the light within ourselves.

Within the Christian calendar, these days mark twelve days of Christmastide after fasting and preparing ourselves spiritually for this season.   They are festive days, but also requiring a certain amount of thought.   Where is the light within us and how do we reflect that light?   There is a threefoldedness that occurs in the three days after Christmas with the feasts of St. Stephen, the first martyr; the feast of St. John the Evangelist and the feast day of The Holy Innocents that begs us to ask the questions how do we show generosity (especially to those different from us in spirit and also how do we materially show generosity to the poor?); how do we show light and wisdom in the words we speak like St. John; how do we advocate and help the innocents in our world – how do we protect them, seek justice for their tribulations and trials and renew our own faith in the Divine Creator and all of humanity?

This is a time to start with ourselves, but  also a time for us to look within our own families.  Do you have a family mission statement or motto that guides your utmost principles?  Do you need one or need to update one to reflect where you are?  How is this put into action in your home?

For homeschoolers, this can also be a time of reflection upon the past semester of schooling and a sense of what needs to happen the last half of the school year.  It can be also a time for some to even look ahead into the fall school year and start thinking and dreaming about the essence of those grades.

II would love to hear your plans for the wonder that is these twelve days that begin tomorrow.

Blessings,
Carrie