Golden October

October is my favorite month of the year. Here in the Deep South, the days can still be so warm, the nights can be so cool in comparison( and much to my consternation in trying to determine what my horses need to deal with the weather), and the leaves are starting to turn to the beautiful golds and yellows and even brown. I have that poem by Robert Frost in my head in October:

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

But October is surely that golden period where all things are suspended in autumnal glory. I start thinking about flannel sheets, elderberry syrup, what to make for Christmas, pumpkin bread and pumpkin muffins, lanterns and lights. It’s the best!

These are the festivals that are our anchors this month:

October 4th- Blessing of the Animals and the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi

October 31 – Halloween is my least-favorite holiday of the entire year (Ba! Humbug! LOL), but I love All Saints Day and All Souls Day and those are very important feast days in the liturgical year, so I am looking forward to those days and preparing for those days at the end of this month. 

The little things that make ordinary October days magic:

Playing in the leaves

Apple picking

Pumpkin farm visits

Making pumpkin muffins and breads

Longer nights with deeper and later sleep

Warming foods

Fuzzy flannel sheets

Warm teas

Lantern making for Martinmas

Finding ideas to make for holiday gifts

Things going on – Homeschooling fifth grade! We are a bit behind (of course) and finishing Ancient Civilizations and working through some Geometry. We will be ready to start North American Geography in two weeks or so, so that will be a fun approach. The stories of Ancient Civilizations have been a hit so far, and math through Jamie York’s Math Academy, while perhaps not ideal with online lectures, has also been a hit and a needed help for this working mama to help hold things together this year while I am scrambling to get the last classes in my clinical doctorate completed. We still do the math practice I set up daily and the math practice assigned by the math academy, but meeting in a small group two days a week over zoom has become a highlight for my son to connect with other boys his age being Waldorf homeschooled. We are finally getting some fraction work and long division solidified, and still working on writing and spelling (frustration). 4H has also been a hit for fifth grade this year so far, in a year where nothing is really meeting in person and things haven’t been too fun for a little 11 year old. Our homeschool enrichment days are still meeting twice a week, so that has been helpful (it’s all outside). Our high schooler is in a hybrid high school for outside classes. Our college student is still at college, and getting Covid tested weekly at her university. Other than that, work is busy for me despite Covid-19. I work two days a week in a clinic and see some private patients on the other days and that has been something helpful for our family right now.

In the dwindling days of sunlight, I am also holding on fast to time with friends we can see outside for a walk. I am a bit worried about the social isolation that will go with the inability to meet outside as much due to the weather this winter, and the impending flu season that will hit on top of Covid. We shall see what the future holds. I am thinking of working in some skiing days in a neighboring state, as that could be something different and fun for this year.

What are you up to this glorious October?
Blessings and love,

Carrie

Exhaustedly Fine

We so often try to pretend everything is fine. We aren’t thriving, we aren’t feeling fantastic, maybe we are on the edge of literal exhaustion, but you know, overall we are fine. Even though we know we really aren’t. We really could be better. True exhaustion is a hard thing to climb out of, like being stuck in a deep ravine with steep walls on all sides. But yet, as parents and as human beings, we deserve more and to thrive in our lives with joyfulness.

Moving from exhaustion to thriving requires something more than being fine. It requires figuring out what is really and truly essential and nourishing, and moving toward that. I especially enjoy embracing this task as we move into the darker days of winter. There is something special about all the festivals of light that occur in these months of dwindling sunlight such as Martinmas with its lanterns (November 11), Diwali with its lights (November 14), Advent (which begins November 29) and Hanukkah which begins on December 10. I still cling to these traditions, even if we celebrate in a more low key way with older children at this point because those traditions give me nourishment. The creativity nurtured in these ways nurtures me.

Another way I find that helps me climb out of the exhaustedly fine stage is to block out days to be home. Even with working part time and homeschooling, I still try to do this. Some weeks are more successful than others just because teenagers need to be places and if they can’t drive, their schedule becomes your schedule, but I do try. I also block out blocks of time and carve self care into those blocks. So today looked like-

8-10 Homeschooling (Laundry, dishes)

10-10:30 walk outside in the beautiful air

10:30-11:30 More homeschooling (Prepare lunch)

11:30 get ready for work/drive

1-4 work

4-5 Self Care

Dinner

Errands

Schoolwork for myself and my teenager, look at calendar for tomorrow

Pray and Bed

Each day looks a little different, but I find I am most successful with combatting that sense of being exhausted if things have a rhythmical order that includes me and not just me being in the state of doing for everyone else. It’s a tough thing to learn and try, but yet rather than having the days and hours slip away and out of our hands, especially with older children where we can be pulled by so many directions, it is helpful to think of the anchors of the year and of our days.

What are you doing to combat your exhaustion? I would love to hear!

Blessings and love,

Carrie