Glorious November

Alone in the night
On a dark hill
With pines around me
Spicy and still,

And a heaven full of stars
Over my head
White and topaz
And misty red;

Myriads with beating
Hearts of fire
That aeons
Cannot vex or tire;

Up the dome of heaven
Like a great hill,
I watch them marching
Stately and still,

And I know that I
Am honored to be
Witness
Of so much majesty

-“Stars” by Sara Teasdale

I love November in all its crisp leaved, golden sunset, chill temperatures.  The leaves are FINALLY turning here where I live, and it feels like the beauty and coziness of fall is upon us at last.

This is a wonderful month of celebrations for our family:

Learning and celebrating:

  • Learn songs for a Martinmas Lantern Walk
  • Use transparency paper to make window silhouettes and transparency cut-outs and lanterns.
  • Bake bread on the cold days
  • Look for bird’s  nests as the trees lose their leaves; make feeders start to be filled all the time, make treats for the birds
  • Dip leaves in glycerin or beeswax and preserve them
  • Cook things with cranberries, corn, and pumpkin.
  • Try the book Cranberry Thanksgiving and make cranberry bread!
  • Learn some Thanksgiving songs and practice so you can play them after Thanksgiving Dinner!
  • Find a place to volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner
  • Make Thanksgiving Baskets and leaving them on your neighbor’s doorstep!
  • Gather greens and natural items to use for an Advent Wreath.  We do this at church from the areas surrounding the church and it is quite lovely!
  • Find books, cozy blankets and pillows, and mark off half days for just reading and lounging around. Pull out candles, homemade Martinmas lanterns, salt lamps  and scatter them around.  Cuddle up and read with some fabulous tea or hot chocolate.
  • Find handwork projects that you will love and get started.
  • Order some woolens for your family members; my favorite place to get them is Green Mountain Organics

For littles especially:

For the older children:

  • Get them involved in your autumn traditions – baking, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the birds outside, hiking, star watching, volunteering.
  • Think of traditions of gratitude and light.  Some teens may no longer love a lantern walk (although I still love it and I am an adult), but some teens might go for a big bonfire with friends on Martinmas.
  • Some thoughts:  Cultivating Gratitude in Children

Inner Work:

The Homeschooling Corner: (where we are!)

Let’s see… our third grader is moving quite slowly.  We are still working on basic reading and math skills, and moving from gardening and grains of the world now into math based upon the book “Farmer Boy” and then into the Old Testament.  He is busy with lots of music – percussion, piano, voice- and soccer, karate, and church.  Our eighth grader has two outside classes and has found it hard to balance everything, but we are finishing up a literature block that was short stories and the novel “The Old Man and the Sea” and moving into Revolutions.  She is busy with music – violin and voice- and horses and church.  Our eleventh grader is taking classes mainly outside the home, and we are moving through chemistry at home this year.   She is also busy with music – voice- and horses and some exploring into careers at our local children’s hospital and church.   It hasn’t been a bad year, perhaps a slow but steady pace, which is fine with me.  I am feeling grateful. Come follow me on IG @theparentingpassageway where I post many of the resources we are using, pictures of main lesson work, and more.

The Episcopalian Corner

Blessings upon you this wonderful month,

Carrie

 

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Mothering Love

Today is Mother’s Day in the United States.  I find it interesting to reflect that as parents, we all come with our own stories of how we were mothered and by whom.

We also have our own journeys into parenting, the births of our children, the developing and deepening of the parenting arts.

We have our own ideas about what it means to be an incredible parent, and how we make our choices to support that.

We have our own strengths and weaknesses, our own failings and foibles.

However, whatever all this might mean,  at the end of the day, parenting is all about relationships and guiding.  It is also about the relationship with ourselves that we develop through our experiences of mothering, and how we so hope and work toward having strong family bonds to carry us through the ups and downs and storms of life.

Today, I honor all my readers in their parenting journey.  You are amazing in the trenches of parenting, and I see you.

My grandmother wrote this toast for a mother-daughter luncheon long before I was born, but its words still ring true today:

Here’s to mothers who waken and watch while others sleep, who toil while others rest, who remember when others forget, who are always close at hand when we rise with the pride that comes before a fall and who are ever making our tumbles easier and our bumps less painful.. Our mothers, whom we shall always follow with blind confidence in their wisdom and strength to guide us in the right direction.
Here’s to our mothers, in memory of our cradle days, in memory of our after years of success, in memory of laughter, of labor and love. The bigger we get, the better we love them. The higher we go, the farther we venture from security and contentment, the surer and more close will be our hold upon our mothers.
If I could mark it on the sands of time, or write it on the sky of every clime, this would I write and write in boldest hand that all the world might see and understand, that far and wide, there could not be another,so fine, so sweet, so wonderful as Mother. 

May you all have a wonderful day!

Blessings,

Carrie

Candlemas

“If Candlemas Day be fair and bright

Winter will take another flight.

If Candlemas Day be cloud and rain

Winter is gone and will not come again.”

The February second coming of Candlemas, in an agricultural sense, was often viewed as the first day of Spring.  How fitting to have a beautiful idea of light come into the world on this day, and to celebrate by eating sunny foods and making candles.   Many Christians bring their candles to their parish to be blessed as well.  This day in Christianity is known as the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord,  and commemorates the Christ as the Light of the world.

We plan to have a brunch with friends on Candlemas, full of sunny foods,  and to roll and dip beeswax candles.   Earth candles are also lovely and fun to make!  One of the things I love about this particular festival is that it isn’t really complicated and can be quite simple.  There have been many years where we dipped candles just around our kitchen counter!

This is also the day I love to put some first sign of spring on the Nature Table.  If you live in an area where you might see a hint of budding on the trees or the first pussywillows of the season, you might enjoy doing this as well.

Here are a few back posts for inspiration:

The Magic of Candlemas

The Quiet Beauty of Candlemas (with instructions for dipping candles)

Candlemas is Coming!

You can also see some beautiful projects on my Candlemas Pinterest Board as well.

Blessings,

Carrie

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!

Blessings,

Carrie

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.

Blessings,
Carrie

 

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,

Carrie

 

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 admin@theparentingpassageway.com to reserve your spot.

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

Blessings,
Carrie