Golden September

September is coming this week and I love this month. For me, it is a time of contemplation as we head into the mood of Michaelmas. It is truly a time of prayer, meditations, new impulses and an idea of serving others and changing the future.

There is a beautiful poem in the book “All Year Round” on page 129 that could make a particularly lovely blessing for this time of year:

Thanks to our mother, the earth, which sustains us;

Thanks to the rivers and streams and their water;

Thanks to the corn and the grain fields that feed us;

Thanks to the herbs which protect us from illness;

Thanks to the bushes and trees and their fruiting;

Thanks to the moon and the stars in the darkness;

Thanks to the sun and his eye that looks earthward;

Thank the Great Spirit for all of his goodness.

Adapted from an Iroquois Indian address of thanksgiving

Here are a few things we are celebrating:

Labor Day – September 5 

The Nativity of St. Mary – September 8

Holy Cross Day – September 14

Autumn Equinox – September 22 – You can see my Autumn Pinterest Board for ideas!

The Feast of St. Michael and All Angels – September 29.  This is one of my favorite celebrations in the church and at home!  You can see my MIchaelmas Pinterest Board for some ideas!

The Home Mood:

To me, the fall becomes a time of turning inward; a time of gratitude and reflection.  How do my words, my actions, reflect my gratitude toward my Creator and toward my life?  How do I interact with others in order to show this?  There is a quote I often think about from Dr. Rudolf Steiner that talks about this. He says;

The cultivation of this universal gratitude toward the world is of paramount importance.  It does not always need to be in one’s consciousness, but may simply live in the background of the feeling life, so that, at the end of a strenuous day, one can experience gratitude, for example, when entering a beautiful meadow full of flowers……And if we only act properly in front of the children, a corresponding increase in gratitude will develop within them for all that comes to them from the people living around them, from the way they speak or smile, or the way such people treat them.”  Rudolf Steiner from “A Child’s Changing Consciousness As The Basis of Pedagogical Practice”

Gratitude is such an important mood to create in the home. I think this creation can be tangible,  like those gratitude jars or going around the table at night and sharing something we have gratitude for…those are wonderful in their own way, but I think creating a  true mood of gratitude in the home actually is a much harder and deeper task. 

How do I really permeate this mood and carry it, even when things are overwhelming, is for this season of overcoming and courage as we head toward the longer nights of Winter. I think this is especially pertinent for those of us with teenagers and young adults who often are in the throes of figuring out who they really are, what turn their life is going to take as they launch. It can be a daunting time requiring inner strength on the part of the parent to really hold for that teenager.

I think prayer comes to the forefront if that is in your spiritual tradition. I have never prayed as hard as I do now for my young adults and all the things they face. Even knowing from a certain perspective that they are made for these times, it can still feel overwhelming for them. Teaching them deeper joy in the midst of transitions is something valuable that they still can learn from us! The teaching and guiding is not over and in many ways they need us more now than they did when they were small. I also use many affirmations and place that positive energy out into the world on their behalf.

Ideas for the Home:

  • The seasonal table is transitioning to yellows with dried flowers, seed pods, bunches of oats or wheat or corn that are dried, cornucopias, nuts, acorns, leaves and little “helicopters.”
  • I am going through and taking stock of fall and winter clothes and purging what we do not need.
  • Fall menu planning – a time of chili, soup, stew, warming dishes
  • Crafting – I have some autumn crafting ideas on my Pinterest board, but I think I am going to start with Michaelmas crafts  and autumn lanterns.

Ideas for Celebrating this Month with Littles:

Ideas for Celebrating this Month With Older Children:

Ideas for Celebrating this Month With Teens:

  • Find great theater, museum, and festival events to attend
  • Longer hiking, camping, and backpacking trips
  • Bake and cook fall dishes
  • Work on fall organizing and cleaning
  • Stargazing
  • Find new activities outside the home that your teen will adore
  • Find  new knitting, crocheting, sewing, woodworking and woodcarving ideas to try

The Farm –

We are ordering cool weather seeds and setting out seeds and transplants for a fall garden, and we are ordering more apple trees to plant in winter.

I am contemplating ducks much to my husband’s chagrin. He is not enthused, but our middle daughter and I would love them!

We are enjoying the antics of our two barn kittens and our dogs who love them and want to go outside and play with them in the barn.

The equine end has been a time of injury and healing for nearly all of our horses, which is a very disappointing way to have our middle daughter’s senior year to be honest. No lessons, no showing. Horses are almost like a long term project in which the fruit does not always ripen at the time one thinks it will.

Our bees will be headed into winter in decent shape and we hope to pull honey in the spring

Homeschooling and Working:

Work has been busy both at the clinic and with my private patients. So much so that it has been hard to find time to do things like get a hair cut. Every day is busy.

Homeschooling our seventh grader has been going along – also busy! I am trying very hard to keep pushing him forward with math as he is interested most in science and science in the upper levels and college really requires math. We are also working on writing quite a bit as this has never come easily to him. We are studying African geography and this history of African kingdoms and different African cultures. We are also finishing up Middle Ages right now so we can move into the Renaissance.

Our senior in high school needs physical science to graduate and at her school this was done much earlier, so we are doing that at home along with two online electives she needs to graduate. Wish us luck to get it all done!

Our college junior is sort of in the homestretch as she attends every semester (through the summer) now until she graduates college in December of 2023. She wishes it wasn’t flying by so fast!

What are your September plans? If you blog or on social media, please leave a link in the comments below so we can follow each other’s plans!

Blessings,
Carrie

Building A Life To Let Go Of

I have heard it said that parenting is a small series of letting go..the first crawling away, first steps, first “bye bye”, the first “no” (“I am a different person than you!), all the firsts…until your child is ready to live on their own, go to college, have their own lives.

This time of year, many people are posting sadness on social media about their child going to university and wondering how to let go.

I think this is so very individual, as individual as the temperaments and the situations and dynamics involved. Overall, though, I think if we build our parenting lives around the fact that our children are their own unique selves, their own people outside of us, with a journey when they are ready toward their own individual experiences, then the idea of letting go becomes helpful and not a hindrance.

If we are sad, that is for us to process and hold. It gives us space to find the new things in our life and to figure out how to forge ahead in our relationship with our children as that relationship is changing yet again. It is okay to be sad. However, this is the season of Michaelmas, a time of bravery and courage. Sometimes we just need to figure out what the new normal will be. We can make time for our now adults on their schedule, we can plan around them and go to them. We do this because we nurture these new adults in the family just the way we would nurture any other special and utterly important relationship.

One of our children told me the other night that she was grateful I taught her how to handle life. She said it wasn’t by giving her too much information or access into my own adult life or necessarily even sharing a lot about how I was as a teenager, but how I modeled and showed how we handle things that came up with a level of maturity. That was probably the best compliment I have ever gotten; that our children feel capable to handle life. Because that’s really what this parenting is all about.

Give your children roots and then wings to fly. Model, teach, guide at the different developmental stages and be prepared to be amazed by the young people that are born ready for this time in history on earth.

Feel how you want to feel about letting go as all feelings are valid! However, be proud of all the wonderful things you did for your children and the time you invested in them. That energy and time investment pays off in the long run with capable adults and seeing them so ready for life on their own terms is so heartening. Your relationship may shift and change, but it will never be any less. It just may have a different form.

Many blessings and much love,

Carrie

Small Step Monday

This past week was an exercise in frustration: our third week of homeschooling for the year technically but we lost week number two due to illness and then there were a lot of bumps during week number three.

Work

Two vet visits and a farrier visit to the farm

Driving to the vet to get the kittens spayed and neutered

A challenging time for a family member states away that involved multiple calls to hopstial staff and others.

(We also ran up to our daughter’s university at the beginning of the week and she came home to celebrate her birthday but that wasn’t a distraction or impacted school. It was very welcome!! <3)

Week number three was a long week, and while we got some things done it certainly didn’t feel as productive as it could have been.

But the reality is that many weeks in homeschooling are like this than not; always juggling and trying to hit moving targets. It was easier when the children were smaller, because I think our lives were more about holding the rhythm in our home, but now there are lots of outside forces that influence things…

Small steps are what is needed.

I had made a little general written flow to our homeschooling days, and while it didn’t work perfectly this week, I think it is generally going to work just fine. I don’t have the luxury of planning a lot of margin into our days or weeks, but that’s ok. We keep moving forward!

The thing that suffers the most when we have a lot of outside pull is the creative pieces because creativity requires time and space. So, I decided to build our foundation around this piece first thing and see how that goes.

How are you making your homeschooling work for you?

Blessings,

Carrie

50’s

Despite what is frequently portrayed in media, development doesn’t end in our twenties; of course we grow and change throughout our lifetime. This is my birthday weekend and on Monday I will begin another trip around the sun!

My few years into the decade of my 50s with its backdrop of COVID, political drama, economic uncertainty has certainly been a strange decade so far in many ways. The book “The Human Life” by George and Gisela O’Neil and Florin Lowndes is always a good reminder as to what to expect with aging in a more archetypal sense that transcends immediate circumstances.

Of the years 49-56 they write: “At the onset of the second phase, traumas are possible. It is as though new vitality were lent man, and adjustments are called for. For the one still adaptable, whose sense of humor or perspective is intact, the transition can be smooth. Symptoms can be reminiscent of adolescence. In the profession it is called “the change of life”, and here, definitely, distinctions are permitted. The “he” who avoid self-knowledge in these years is prone to the heart attack – a rather two-meaninged expression: either late summer romance or hospital care. The “she”, of course, much reckon with a metamorphosis of bodily forces into “spirit-life” powers. The powers of maturity now manifesting can be seen in the forcefulness with which a person in these years can promote a new cause. It can be seen in the power which an older eurythmist or an older actor has on stage, or an older teacher with young children. There is something quite different from the talent and skill with which younger people are endowed. It is as though the wisdom of life becomes now instinct in their whole being…..”In summary: whereas in the forties one is conscious of the ideas one has in mind, in the fifties one can find the strength to bring to life these ideas as intentions, and only in the years following will one have the native ability to realize these ideas and intentions in their final forms.”

I love this idea that the most productive period to come, of final forms of ideas being produced. I have several projects on a personal level and watching them come to life is exciting. Some are small scale, like steps toward my own health. Some are medium scale such as the farm and what we intend to produce and how we intend to shape the house and the land. Some are larger such as how to carry out my professional work into my retirement years and what my husband and I will do in retirement. I am lucky to have him by my side and I also so lucky to have been able to watch my children grow up to this point – they are now going to be 21, 18, and 13 this year. What a gift and a treasure to be here with them, to be working and helping people, to be on our farm.

The few things I have learned in these decades outside of loving people, always loving people, always meeting people where they are is that we need effective ways to educate and bring balance to our young people. We need to help our children develop their will and new skills and new faculties as they navigate their 20’s and then 30’s. The later 30’s and early 40’s can be lonely times, but as we head into our 50’s perhaps we can see a new progression toward community, building our family up again, re-connecting, seeing unity – at least perhaps in those awake enough to think along these lines! How can we best prepare our children for that point?

Peace from my corner of the world,

Carrie

Glorious August

I love August so much! It’s the beginning of another trip around the sun for me and this year I will be 52! I will be honest, 50’s have been kind of a strange decade so far, but I think that was mainly due to all the big shifts that have occurred in my personal life and also with all the background of the pandemic and world events. So, I am looking forward to 52 being a wonderful new beginning in so many ways!

This is a month of sunshine and sunflowers, lakes, and fun – and here in the deep south, it’s also time for back to school. School down here begins this first week of August or the second week depending upon your program. For a long time this seemed quite off to me after growing up in New York where we start school after Labor Day, but now I have lived here much longer than I ever lived up north, so it just seems natural.

The things we are celebrating:

August 6th- The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ

August 8th- My Birthday!

August 10- School starts!

August 15- The Dormition of St. Mary

August 28 – our oldest child will be 21! Doesn’t seem possible! So excited for her bright future and watching her graduate university in 2023!

Ideas for Celebration:

  • Making a  beautiful triptych to celebrate the life of St. Mary.  There are many wonderful ideas regarding this on the Internet.
  • We have about another month of tubing, swimming and water park availability to us, so we hope to take advantage!
  • Camping – it can be super hot here, but I am already making camping in the fall a priority.
  • Gazing at the stars
  • Equines and apiary – We have settled in to having four horses on property and their daily care. The bees are doing well and we already got a little honey for our pantry back in June. We aren’t going to pull any honey until spring, so hopefully that will go ok. We have two barn kittens that are quickly growing up!
  • Walking in the mornings
  • Working out.  Move!  

The Domestic Life:

This a good time to take stock of needs for fall/winter in clothing, shoes, outside gear, school supplies, art supplies

I also think this a great time to go back to manners.  Children are often in an expansive place with summer weather and may need some help in remembering school behavior, work ethics and manners!  

Getting back into a rhythm that supports school is also a huge help with that.  Rhythm is a key word for this month and the structure of the rhythm of school for homeschooling does us all good!

Meal planning gets us through because I am too busy to have to spend a lot of time every day planning.  So, I like to plan 2-4 weeks of meals and shop in bulk!  

Homeschooling:

We are jumping into seventh grade (for my third time!).  I am looking forward to it, and have plans laid out for 3 weeks of physics, 3 weeks of math, a week of the life of Buddha, the Renaissance for four weeks, two week of perspective drawing, and two weeks of Astronomy and Navigation to start us off in the fall. (Plans always subject to change, LOL). He also has sailing, horseback riding, 4H, our place of worship and youth group to keep him busy!

Our twelfth grader (last year of high school) is in an outside hybrid homeschool program, so mainly we are at the stage of finishing high school and looking at universities. She is interested in smaller schools, so it is a different experience than when we looked at colleges with our oldest. We are so proud of our high schooler.

We are super proud of our girl at university! She is an amazing adult. She had a great summer visiting Greece and France and she and I just took a weekend trip together. I am trying to make that an annual tradition for us. When you have adult children, you have to make time to see them as they are busy leading their own lives as well! #dateyouradultkids

Self-Care and Rhythm:

With farm life, working, homeschooling, consulting — I am working on keeping my morning rhythm of self-care, and making time for exercise and food prep! This is really, really important to me.

The other thing I make room for is on Thursday mornings to meet with a group of ladies from my place of worship. This helps anchor me for life!

I want to hear how August is shaping up for you! How is school looking?  I have been very busy doing homeschool consulting this month! If anyone needs help with homeschool planning or planning for family life, please email me at admin@theparentingpassageway.  My rates for a half hour phone call are super reasonable and I have helped lots of moms this month!  I also answer fast questions via email for free, and always give my single moms free help. Please let me know if I can help you!

Lots of love and many blessings,
Carrie