Light + Joy: 2018

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

May this be your year of light + joy.

May this be a year you are renewed and replenished.

May this be a year you make great memories.

May you be proud of how far you have come and undaunted by whatever is ahead.

Go boldly and be your beautiful self.

Happy New Year, dear readers!



Refreshing The Rhythm

This is a great time to think about how to ease back into life after the holidays!  Here in the Northern Hemisphere many have taken the week off between Christmas and New Year’s, and some children are going back to school the day after New Year’s and some are starting on January 8th.  Parents everywhere are wondering how to get back into the groove of things, and homeschooling parents especially (you mean we can’t just end school here?)

Some of the things I love to do to help get back into things:

Review where we were in the fall semester and where we need to go in the spring semester. Some Waldorf homeschooling families write progress reports at this time.  I only write one at the end of the school year, but I think each family is different.

Get some inspiration from favorite Pinterest boards and You Tube Channels

Get the house under control!  Need help with rhythms and routines for house cleaning?  Try this back post from 2009 called Housecleaning and Homeschooling

Breakfast plans. It is hard to get the day going if we are caught up in making breakfast and then distraction sets in and everything starts really late. If you are home all day with younger children, this may not matter, but older teenagers often have places to be in the afternoon, and we need to get going in the morning. I find a warming breakfast often helps.

Planning rhythm around your rest and your  own physical and emotional needs. This can be hard for some of us to do whether e we often put everyone else’s needs before us or we feel as if the education of every child in the house is relying on us. For a refresher, try this back post on Building Your Homeschooling Around Rest

Ease into the rest of the school year by having a nature week, a handwork week, a week focused on one great book (“The Living Language Book” by Christopherus has suggestions for this sort of unit), plan extra time for crafting or playing wonderful board games (post to come on our favorites) or being outside… in other words, take half days to just be together with structure before you start trying to throw a full schedule onto everyone!

If you must tackle a full schedule due to time constraints, then plan to start on a Wednesday or Thursday so you have a few days to be “on” and another mini-break. 🙂

Just a few ideas!  Tell me your favorite way to ease back into school!


A Crafted Life

One thing I love about the beautiful and peaceful this winter season and the inner work of Christmastide is the ability to stop and think about how I want to craft our life – for me, for our family.  Do you ever think about that? Many of the parents who read this blog have made very conscious decisions in their parenting in order to provide the healthiest home environment they can for their children, so I know many of you do.

Often I need that mid-school year check in.  Things can so easily get off course depending upon what emergencies came up in the fall.  So I often use this time between Christmas and New Year’s to think about  what are the most pressing needs for each and every family member, including myself, and what would be best for building for the future.  Often what we need and what our family members  changes with the age/developmental stage of our children, the age we are (!!), and the seasons.  So each year, I invite myself to turn inward and think about, “What does my family need?  What does my spouse need?  What do I need? What is the most important and essential thing that we need?”

Sometimes this leads toward me thinking of a word to carry myself through the year.  You can see the little tradition of picking a word for the New Year and some of the things I typically do with that word here.  You can see my word this year, “replenish,” on The Parenting Passageway Facebook page as the pinned post.  Some people will go so far as to choose a word to embody their entire family.  We have a family motto that we have had for years (KIPPA – kindness, integrity, positive attitude, patience, adventure), but I am meditating on the idea of a word for 2018 for our family.


People often ask about choosing a word for their year.  Sometimes a word is obvious depending upon what has happened during the year, but if not I usually start by thinking what is the most important and essential thing and will that word help me or us strive in that direction?

Once I have my word, I think then is the time to work artistically with my word and see what arises.  This is almost like the idea of just free artistic journaling as mentioned in  the book The Artist’s Way.  And then I need an action plan if there is anything that needs to happen.  This year, my word will require some action, otherwise how will I feel replensihed if everything remains the same?  Something will have to change in my inner or outer world.  And the final piece is the action. It is not enough even to dream or to have a plan.  As I always tell my children, the dream is free, but the hustle is real!

Can’t wait to hear about your word!


Building For Justice and Peace: The Fourth Day of Christmastide

This morning, the day of the Christian Holy Feast of the Innocents,  I was meditating on this piece about the humility of children from a Roman Catholic source.  It pointed out  how children are the builders for justice, peace, and truth. Children have a way of getting to the heart of things.

I really want my children to be bearers for this generation of these values and ideals.  I want them to not only be able to take care of themselves, but also to be able to take care of those around them who are suffering, who are poor, who are needy, and to be able to have a moral compass that will help them stand up for social justice and truth in a context greater than themselves.

In doing this, I have been thinking about:

Modeling Compassion and a Moral Compass-  Children are watching, and I better walk what my talk is saying.  It is sort of like saying, “You cannot watch TV (but I will watch 15 hours a day on my computer or phone”).  We cannot say we want our children to demonstrate a value for justice and peace if we do nothing to show compassion in our own family and in our community, and if we live a life completely separate and without regard for what we espouse.

Respect – If we cannot respect our children when they speak up, how on earth do we expect them to be able to speak up on important issues or when they have the differing opinion from a room full of people?

Humilty – It is not up to us to save the world by ourselves.  But it is up to us to do our part and to shine our light where we can. We need others to show us, help us, heal us, and strive together.  Change can be slow, slower than we often would like.   We must be humble and acknowledge that it takes long, hard work to make effective change whether in ourselves or on a societal level and it takes more than just ourselves.  There are many stars shining in the darkness.  Respecting the boundaries between what I can do myself and what I can’t without sacrificing my own family or my own health is part of that humility.

Community – Living in a community of people dedicated to justice and peace will not only push us as adults toward greater education, knowledge, and activism, it will help us model for our children and control our own egotism.  It helps us share comfort, forgiveness, and reconciliation as we work together.

Diversity – I have a quote up on my personal Facebook page that “love illuminates.”  Demonstrating love for all and putting those ideals into action is even more important than the words.   Think of others, think of others as individuals, and think about things, even large issues, from that point of view.

Still pondering on this winter day.



What’s Your Truth?: The Third Day of Christmastide

I got up this morning and I was thinking about this third day of Christmastide.  For Christians, it is the Feast Day of St. John the Evangelist. One of the familiar symbols for St. John is a chalice, sometimes with a snake emerging from it as by legend he was challenged to drink a cup of poison to show his faith.  He is often represented as an eagle, his truth soaring and illuminating and ever ascending.  In the Celtic tradition, (of which my spiritual path of Anglicanism has strong markings),  St. John was favored over St. Peter and St. Paul.  St. John, the Beloved Disciple,  is said to have leaned against Jesus during the Last Supper and to have heard the heartbeat of Jesus, which in the Celtic tradition became a symbol for this idea of listening  within ourselves for God and for listening to all of creation.  Find the heartbeat.

In parenting, we often have to hold a fine line between the truth and the values we hold and listening, really  listening, to the child and the family members before us and keeping ourselves centered.  Good truth requires not an idealisitic, I-will-get-my-way-for-my-truth-come-hell-or-high-water, but instead a careful consideration of truth, guiding, listening, and not losing our own center. We have to know our own truth and not be tossed about.

Six year olds will fight you and tell you that you are not the boss of them.

Nine year olds are certain there is more out there and possibly you are not all that there is.

Twelve year olds change their minds incredibly fast as to how they want to dip their toe into outside activities – how many, how much, when.

Fifteen year olds are certain you don’t know much about the pressures they are facing and that you cannot listen and really hear them.

What is your truth in the face of that?  And how will you listen?  It is sometimes difficult to fully and wholly listen.  We often want to  form our own response before the other person has really finished speaking. I think in order to be effective illuminators of truth, we have to ask ourselves through inner work what is that truth, why is this our truth and is it rightfully so, and how do we stand for this truth in a way that is harmonious with the unity of the family or others?  What is our responsibility toward ourselves and others, and what boundaries do we need to be healthy in that endeavor?

I encourage you to set up an art station for a few hours this week – paints, colored pencils, pens – and see out of this free artistic spirit what prayers and truths arise for the coming year.  These are precious days in winding down this year.

Blessings during these Holy Nights and days of Christmastide,



The Fourth Week of Advent and a SPECIAL offer

This year, the fourth week of Advent is very short since it is also Christmas Eve Day and then we are thrust into the joy and splendor of Christmastide!  There are some wonderful activities for the fourth week of Advent, including baking gingerbread men, adding human figures to your Advent spiral.  There are wonderful stories for this week.

But most of all, this fourth week of Advent is about LOVE for humankind. Are there any single mothers who might need your help?  Maybe their children would like to go shopping and get their parent a gift.  Are there any people around you who you know are having such a tight Christmas financially that maybe a card for groceries would make a huge difference?  Is someone suffering through grief and loneliness this holiday?  Can you listen, walk with them, have them over.

This is a short week this Advent, but I really encourage you to look outside of your realm and see if you can help anyone else.  I am grateful we were in a space this year to help several families out.  It really was the best!  Let us teach our children that this is what Advent and Christmastide is all about!

I had several mothers contact me this past week about working with them to set new patterns and new intentions in their family life and homeschooling.  I don’t normally do consulting and answer a lot of email questions for free.  I have for years and years.  But this year, in a spirit of love and encouragement, I am offering half hour and full hour phone consultations through the month of January.  If you would like a phone consultation, with me please email be at to reserve your spot.

Many blessings to you in this special week.  Looking ahead, may your 2018 be bright.


The Third Week of Advent and Preparing for Winter Solstice

This is the beautiful week third week in Advent, in which so many facets of light shine through in different ways and traditions.

In the traditional Christian view of Advent, this is the week that the third candle in the Advent Wreath is lit and it usually is a pink candle, seen as a symbolism of joy and hope.  What I love about this week is that to me it strikes at the heart of simplicity and minimalism.  We don’t need a lot to be happy.  This is the week to hike, play board games with your children, light candles for dinner and be grateful and full of love for all that we have in each other, not in material things.  This can be a great week for adults to evaluate if the materialism of the season has gotten out of control.  If it has, my solution would be to tuck away some of the gifts for the time of Christmastide (you can get gifts throughout Christmastide!), tuck some away for a future birthday or holiday, and to replace some of those material gifts with coupons for the gifts of time or service.

This third week is the week of the Animal kingdom in Waldorf circles.  We celebrate the animals who are waiting for the Christ Child. Here is a back post with ideas for the fourth week of Advent and a few of my favorite things for the fourth week of Advent.

Thursday is Winter Solstice.  I find it a lovely day to bake a sunny bread, just like in the book  “Sun Bread”, to watch the sun rise, and to eat dinner by candlelight. I really enjoyed this post by Backwoods Mama about some other solstice ideas.

Looking ahead, the fourth week of Advent will be very short (Sunday) and then the next day is Christmas with the twelve days of Christmastide to follow. If you need ideas for the twelve days of Christmastide, which traditionally in Waldorf communities is a time of inner work and warm in person connection, try these posts:

The Twelve Days of Christmas

2009- The Twelve Days of Christmas

2011- Christmastide Message

2012- The Twelve Holy Nights: An Introspective Approach

2013- Celebrating Christmastide

Christmastide: Nourish

Christmastide: Forest, Farm, Field, and Stream

I am also looking ahead to the wonderful cozy month of January, when things in the Deep South have always seemed slower for me due to weather.  I have some ideas for celebrating coziness, gratitude, love, and service.

First of all, Epiphany:  A Sweet Epiphany Celebration

January:  Celebrating January

A Few of My Favorite Things for January

This year, I have a volunteer commitment one morning week through January and February, and on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of service on January 15, so I will be limiting some other things for these two months until my longer-term commitment is done.  I am planning ahead for eight weeks of self-care and replenishment since we had a busy and tiring fall.  You will be finding more of my plans as we go along!

Looking forward to Christmastide!