New Normal

I am not sure I have “embraced” this new normal yet.  Have you?  How is the juggling going of school and working going?  There are times this new normal can feel overwhelming and anxiety-provoking.  There are times this new normal feels okay and comforting with my family and outside in my yard (and yes, I feel blessed to have a yard right now).  There are times this new normal is aggravating.  There are times this new normal feels quiet and peaceful.  All the feels!

I have seen a lot of posts asking  what one will “keep” out of this new normal.

I hope the increased empathy and kindness I have seen people give to each other in this time will stay.  I hope the outpouring of  love I have seen for all the teachers, first responders, medical personnel, environmental service workers, grocery store workers, military, farmers, and small business owner stays.

I hope the idea that being with your family (again, I understand not everyone has a loving family situation) can be better than so many of the outside activities that cause you to lose dinner together every night.  That is is okay to be home all together.

I hope the neighborliness of doing things to entertain the children stays (in my neighborhood we have had everything from talent shows on Zoom to collecting money for food for our local hospital to putting bears in the windows for a bear hunt for children).

On a materialistic note, I hope the uptick in being able to order and pick up, or the ability to use telehealth or attend religious services with on line streaming or  any of those things that brings more accessiblity also stays.  On line technology has felt increasingly important to me during this Holy Week in my religion.

So, tell me, is there anything lovely you will keep from this and be your new normal?



A Simple Plan to Celebrate Holy Week At Home

These are anxious times, and trying to plan an entire week of meaningful activities for Holy Week because church is closed doesn’t sound appealing to many of us right now.  I have been thinking about this for a week or so now – how to pull my family into Holy Week in a way that is thoughtful and yet not overwhelming.  This would normally be a busy time for us outside of our homes as all three of our children sing for our church’s choir and there are many liturgies this week.

For me, I think it comes down to knowing that church isn’t a building, but a community of love and grace that exists outside any walls.  It exists inside my heart.  So  outside of our own individual spiritual work and livestreaming our liturgies, our Holy Week will include the following –

Today, beautiful Palm Sunday – We will hang palms snipped from our inside palm on our front door.  We will livestream liturgy from church and enjoy the beauty of creation in our neighborhood.  A possibility for those of you with small children would be to create a beautiful Easter garden with fast-growing wheatgrass – it should be sprouted by Easter to show new life.

Holy Monday –  Show gratitude.  Make an Easter candle that you can leave on your table unlit until Easter Sunday.  If I had walnuts in the shell, I would make the little walnut boats with melted beeswax and a birthday candle in it and let my children play with this as a contemplative exercise outside on the patio.

Holy Tuesday – Listen to the birds sing.  Have a special gratitude jar for this week and remember the wonderful things of light in our life and in the world.

Holy Wednesday – Dye Easter eggs because it’s a family tradition.  Do a Stations of the Cross service at home. I have pictures I can use, and this is my favorite Stations of the Cross for Global Justice and Reconciliation

Maundy Thursday – This is usually the time of foot washing and the stripping of the altar. It is one of my favorite liturgies outside of Easter Vigil, so I will be livestreaming it.  I have seen suggestions to wash one another’s feet at home and to strip down a table in the home, etc.  These suggestions for some reason do not resonate with me for home.  I am going to keep thinking on this one.  We will have a simple meal, probably soup.  My parish always keeps watch through the night with the entire church body taking shifts at the church to pray, and that could be done at home by setting an alarm and waking up to pray.

Good Friday -We will be reading The Passion and the solemn collects found in our Book of Common Prayer.  This is a day of fasting.

Holy Saturday – At the Easter Vigil at home we will lit our Easter Candle and renew our baptismal vows.

Those are just a few of my ideas – I would love to hear what others are doing!

Many blessings and stay safe,


Preparing For Shelter In Place With Children: What Do We Need?

In my mind, I divide supplies into three general categories: emergency disaster supplies; food/shelter in place supplies; supplies for living with children and being sane (LOL).  Here is my list, which is by no means inclusive, but  if you feel shelter in place might be coming to your city or state next, it could be a jumping off point for your own family.  Thank you to Annie @thechildisthecurriculum for reviewing my list prior to publication!

General Emergency/Disaster Supplies (staying at home, not talking about bug out bags and sheltering in the woods or car):

  • Every source says water – but I don’t feel our water will be shut off for a shelter in place order.  Decide for yourself.
  • Flashlights and batteries, camping lanterns, emergency radio – again, decide for yourself if you think your power may be shut off.
  • Cell phones and chargers
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Prescription Medicines and Supplements, allergy medicines if you are allergy prone because it is also allergy season
  • Medicine for tackling cold and flu in whatever form that looks like for your family – no ibuprofen or elderberry for #covid19 ; we typically have herbal, homeopathic, and natural alternatives on hand along with acetaminophin if needed, zinc lozenges, vitamin C, etc.
  • Thermometer – we never seem to have one so this is on my list
  • Medications for pets
  • Supplies for any females menstruating
  • Diapers if your children don’t use cloth

Food/Other General Shelter in Place Supplies

  • Produce that you can freeze for smoothies later
  • Citrus fruits generally can stay stable for awhile and are helpful for the immune system
  • Garlic, onion, ginger root, turmeric root – also stay stable for awhile
  • You can freeze butter and milk; shelf stable milk like almond, coconut, etc are wonderful – you can obviously also buy nuts yourselves and make your own
  • Bags of flour, sugar,  etc for bread making – don’t forget yeast although there are flatbreads you can make; baking soda, baking powder
  • Rice and beans
  • Tomato Sauce, pasta, other pantry meals you would actually eat
  • Bone broth
  • Cans of tuna or other meat
  • Nut butters
  • Pet food
  • Microgreen growing and seeds to grow produce in pots is most welcome
  • Toilet paper or family cloth
  • Paper towels or cloth
  • Cleaning supplies including laundry detergent, dishwashing soap or you can make your own to save money
  • Hand soap and soap; castille soap can last a long time if you get the gallon sized!
  • Vinegar has many uses and good to have on hand
  • Salt, spices

Supplies for Children:

  • Games
  • Art Supplies
  • Deck of Cards
  • If you have a yard, there are many things you could get to play with in the yard – goal nets, volleyball, whiffleball, cones
  • Doorway gym for littles or doorway swing
  • Household items for science experiments you can find on line
  • If they were in school and now have classes online, appropriate devices and/or textbooks that are required

Please add to this list and share!

Many blessings,


Dealing With #allthefeelings During Social Distancing/Shelter in Place

In our last blog post, I tackled some super practical ideas and encouragement for being thrust into working and learning at home (you can see that blog post here), but one thing I want to talk about today is dealing with #allthefeelings amidst social distancing and quarantine.

This is a true and real thing.  We all have different personalities and temperaments, our children and ourselves included, and we all react to stressors differently.  Some children will be almost ecstatic to be at home with their dogs or cats and  activities cancelled, and some children will be absolutely bewildered and falling apart with the change in routine and rhythm.  Some parents will feel rather elated at not having to go places and will feel comfortable enough jumping between work calls and helping with lessons set forth from the school, and some parents really are feeling the complete stress of trying to handle it all.  Some parents are worried so much about the financial end of #covid19 which is so real, that it overshadows trying to work and do school.

Self care is a real need right now.   This really isn’t  just business as usual just transferred to the home.  It’s so important to include self-care as a necessity during this time, because if you can set good priorities and boundaries, you can be a calming force in your home when your child might be feeling overwhelmed.  Self-care looks like different things to different people.  Maybe it’s a nap, maybe it’s taking a walk outside if you are allowed to do that or sitting on your apartment balacony. Maybe it is a warm bath or exercising or soothing music.  Whatever that is , build it into your schedule.

Help your children. Smaller children love to hear stories, so telling stories about little animals that had to stay home  but the fun family time they had can be helpful and soothing.  Be calming and help them find stability in a rhythm that you create.  Too much time to just “hang out” often completely backfires into grumpy children and younger teens.  Having any semblance of a rhythm and balance will help normalcy.

But most of all, just listen. Listen to your children’s fears, listen to their disappointment.  This is such a huge change for everyone.  You don’t need to have the answers!  Things like, “This is hard” or “I wonder that too” or “That is disappointing” is validating along with the love language that fills your child’s cup can be very helpful.    Because it is hard, it is scary, it is disappointing to miss things.

Many blessings,


Suddenly Working and Learning At Home During #covid19? Easy Tips to Help!

This is an unprecedented time. I was raised by my grandparents who survived the Great Depression and World War II, and I keep thinking if they were here they would have brillant things to say about how to handle the sudden closures, curfews, and quarantines of #covid19.  It’s a hard situation for working parents, for the school system and the teachers working hard to provide online lessons on platforms they may not be familar with, for the online learning platforms that probably never thought entire countries would be logging on at one time, and for parents still trying to work or take care of elderly parents or both on top of all of this during this time.

First of all, I want to be clear.  This is learning at home, but in a different way than many homeschoolers traditionally do it.  The families I have spoken with in my area who have children in public school now and who have homeschooled in the past have commented that the volume of work is high  and here at least it is  mainly on line.  Probably the first advice seasoned homeschoolers would give is not to do “school at home” but this kind of is what is  mandated by the school district for many families as the lessons and classes are online. If we pulled children out of the public school environment, we would take the time to deschool.  Homeschoolers don’t remain isolated in their homes.  And so that’s okay that this is different! It’s different for a reason!  So just breathe; you are not imagining things; it is a lot of work.  Sometimes just hearing that can make you feel a little less crazy – what you are perceiving is true.  It’s a lot, and the fact that it’s a new normal that happened very quickly makes it difficult.

However, we have to move forward into the new normal – baby steps.  I have spoken with parents who are completely worried that their children will be behind and not move to the next grade because they still have to work and maybe even leave the house to work, therefore there really is no one available to help. I know some parents I have talked to said school has taken them all day like 8-4:30 yesterday when they finally stopped, so I think communicating with your child’s teacher can be really helpful – Again, I am sure everyone is learning what the workload can be at these days at home and it’s a learning curve.  The teachers want your children to be successful! Please, please keep communicating with your child’s teachers and the school staff.  Again, I  know they want your children to be successful, and they are learning about the amount of work for home too.  Just breathe. Things are going to continue to evolve.

Expectations and framework are the most important keys to holding the space in a successful way.  Many families aren’t used to being together for long periods AND having to really get things done.  So the expectations for school and work hours need to be set.  When can children expect you to be there right with them helping them? Is there anything they can do by themselves?   When can they expect you to check their work?  What should they be doing when you are on a call?    When can they interrupt you and when can they not?  What happens if they are wrestling with their brother on the floor during your call or when they are supposed to be doing their work?  When are their breaks? If you only have one device and three children, when is each child’s turn?  It is really helpful to have the expectations written down clearly and posted up somewhere so you can just refer to that chart when things are not going well.

For example, younger children will need more of a steady rhythm and most likely more support throughout the day, especially for certain subjects. So, hopefully you know a day ahead of time what is due, if the class is online at a specific time or more self-paced work – because if you know that, you can make a schedule around that and coincide it with your work schedule if you know where your child might need more help or if you can just check after working for half an hour. Homeschoolers in general often do school during unconventional hours, so if it is more self-paced, I wouldn’t be afraid to work after work hours on the subjects that need more hand holding if that is possible with the school and the teacher.

The framework that holds all of this is important.  A rhythm that includes walks, movement, set meal times, and  breaks are really important.  Healthy snacks and water being available throughout school is also important and helps many children. Staring at a screen for long periods is hard on children’s eyes, so providing those built in breaks are important. Some children will do better trying to do online things if they are sitting on a yoga ball and getting more sensory input or a disc on their chair.

The other thing that learning at home entails is taking nurturing care of the home.  Children should be helping with laundry, meals, the pets.  It is okay if you are folding laundry during a school lesson!  It is fine to do school at the kitchen table while chopping food for dinner.  Homeschoolers multitask like this all the time.  Also please plan some fun at night together – after dinner walks outside or a lovely game night.

Some parents have asked about troubleshooting problems.  So, for example, if you have children who are fighting during school time, sometimes you can separate children if they are really bothering each other. Also, you can learn how to pace yourself and be available – it’s hard to do math with everyone at once if the age spread is wide or one child really outpaces another or if everyone is vying for your attention with questions about different subjects. You may need to seat them around a table and answer their questions in order. Sometimes older children can help younger children;  for example my high school senior is a big help with my freshman’s math.

I also usually have things out like puzzles, science kits, and art supplies for younger children when it is not their turn to be worked with. They need the direction to do something not destructive during those times of not being held in a rhythm whether its due to your work or you working with another child.

I hope some of this is helpful and applicable to your situation.   I will be running a live call to help some employees at my husband’s work troubleshoot, so if you also have questions I am happy to answer here or to try to get a call together for those interested.

This is hard, and again, quite unprecedented.  I am wishing strong self-care for everyone trying to hold the space for children right now in the middle of being stressed out!   I keep thinking that perhaps the only good thing to come out of this may be the realization of need for more funding for the schools, more appreciation for the roles that schools play for food and shelter and support for children, the importance of health care and public health initiatives,  perhaps the importance of society learning once again that families can learn to work together to reach goals.  It’s a large task and feels overwhelming right now, but I think these might be the lessons to come out of this.  And perhaps the need for society to slow down in general!

Many blessings, would love to hear your thoughts,



Thriving During Challenging Times

My oldest child was born right before 9/11 and now will be graduating high school during #covid19.  One thing I have thought of  is the anxiety  I had surrounding those early days of breastfeeding as I  watched too many hours of television news, waiting to see if any survivors would be pulled from underneath the rubble of the Twin Towers in my homestate.  I see some folks feeling the same way about this time and age, only perhaps doing it through social media instead of television. Times such as these can lead us to feel helpless, anxious, isolated, depressed.

You are not alone.

If you are struggling to adjust to a new normal, you are not alone.

If you aren’t used to being home and it seems really difficult, I promise it will get easier.

If you now have to juggle being at your job more hours on top of finding a new home life, hopefully it will feel more at ease soon.

I think we could be in for a long haul.  If places have been doing social distancing, depending upon the state, the uptick in cases will hit two weeks from now, plus the time after that to see who needs to be hospitalized to recover.  So, I think this time of distancing may be longer than originally hoped or planned for, which can feel overwhelming.

My favorite ways to thrive during these times of uncertainty….

Get grounded.  We aren’t having church at our place of worship, but I can still have my own little home church daily.  I can still use  apps for meditation, and I can still do it outside where I feel most connected to nature.

Form a rhythm for your family that includes outside time , rest and sleep. I think turning off social media and finding soothing and connecting things to do can be so helpful.

Keep the living space ordered – ordered an outside space can really bring an inner calm.

Have warming foods that are nutritionally supportive.  Eating healthy supports the body.

Include music making as a family, handwork, and creative projects along with puzzles and games to be together.

Love to you all,





March is already upon us, with its fluctuating weather and promise of flowers and spring to come! March lives in my head as this beautiful, peaceful month of new foliage peeking out along with little spring flowers.   A month of wind and gardens to be planted.  A month of sunshine tossed with splattering rain and a little wind…but a good month full of shining new possibilities just as spring is beginning to emerge!

This month we are celebrating:

  • Lent
  • March 1st- The Feast of St. David
  • March 19th- Spring
  • March 25th – The Feast of the Annuciation, which we will celebrate at church
  • March 30th- The Feast of St. Innocent of Alaska

What I am loving right now:

  • Tulips
  • Sunny skies peeking through
  • The promise of spring break coming!
  • Great friends and coffee dates
  • Learning new things
  • Creating art

Homeschooling –

Homeschooling is going strong!  Our oldest is in the home stretch of senior year as we finish up microeconomics at home and head towards graduation.  We should have a college decisision soon!  Our middle child is at a wonderful hybrid high school, and our youngest is still fully immersed in fourth grade at home.  It’s an exciting time with many changes ahead!

Parenting – 

I find March can be an incredible month to re-read some of our favorite parenting books!  Some of my personal favorites are:

  • The 5 Love Languages of Children:  The Secret to Loving Children Effectively – Gary Chapman
  • Playful Parenting -Lawrence Cohen
  • Simplicity Parenting – Kim John Payne
  • Mitten Strings for God:  Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry – Katrina Kenison

Please leave a comment and share your favorite parenting books!

How is your March?


Launching Into Life

I am Christian, and today is the first day of Lent.  Many people are familiar with the custom of receiving ashes on this day, Ash Wednesday.  It is a day where we hear the refrain, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

But Ash Wednesday is more than that, it is a promise of light coming to shine out of darkness.  It is a promise of joy to come.  It is a promise of things that we cannot see, but that will move us and change us for the better forever.

I find this season of waiting during the last semester of senior year much like this.  Senioritis, slogging through that last bit of school, waiting for college acceptances, can all feel a little uninspiring or like a very long path without a lot of variation in the days.  But there is promise and joy to come.

Our oldest has an amazing brightness ahead of her, and we are thrilled for her new journey and adventures.  But that hasn’t blinded me to the gamut that mothers feel around this time with their seniors because sometimes it can feel dark or at the very least like a gray path that no one else is taking in the rush of the “lasts” of senior year.

If your child is going on to trade school or the military, I see you.

If your child is in the throes of addiction and trying to get healthy, I see you.

If the bad choices and lack of responsibility of your teenager have been difficult this year, I see you.

If you are worried that your child is socially immature or easily swayed by peers and now headed away from home, I see you.

If you are worried because your child is fighting anxiety, depression or anything else, I see you.

If you feel like you are losing your best friend and you aren’t sure what you are doing after this because you have put so much into parenting, I see you.  Graduation is a change for parents too.

I see you all and I love you.  Change is inevitable; some seasons are easier than others.  Children do grow into adults that also have responsibility and choices to make in how they live their lives and we cannot do that for them but that transition between their responsibility and how much to step in can be a blurry line at times.

May we all look forward to the promise of spring, the promise of renewal, the promise of good days to come.

Many blessings on this Ash Wednesday,

Observing Lent

This time of year in the Northern Hemisphere can bring to mind eating cleansing greens such as nettles, dandelion, leeks, chevril and fasting.  It can also bring to mind spring cleaning.  For those observing Lent, which runs from Ash Wednesday through the Thursday before Easter,  this season can also make one think of:

  • Stillness
  • Focus
  • Promise
  • Transformation
  • Self-Reflection

I think this can be tricky with children, especially small children as much of the true Lenten work can be a  time of true adult inner growth and spiritual work.  However, I do think there are ways to observe Lent as adults and to include the entire family.

My church and I think of Lent in three parts, with a few ideas for each area gathered from my spiritual advisor and myself:

Self-Reflection, Repentance

  • Keeping a daily journal of thoughts and feelings
  • Praying
  • Hiking in Nature (yes, this may seem an odd one but what better place to feel connected to the world and to connected to onself for reflection than being out in nature?)
  • Schedule a meeting with your spiritual advisor

How to observe with children – setting a Lenten mood can be as easy as watching the sun rise or set every day, or observing the same tree every day at a particular time, or hiking and seeing the wonder in the world, make a Lenten calendar

Reading and Meditating on Spiritual Matters:

  • I will be using Saying Yes to Life as a daily meditation
  • Read a poem a day, create poems
  • Re-read a profound children’s book such as Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, Wrinkle in Time
  • Create music and art

How to observe with children:  Attend church together, read together, start a gratitude jar for Lent, share music and art creations

Prayer, Fasting, Self-Denial

  • Turn your screens off on Sunday
  • Get off social media for Lent
  • Create a prayer list for those you don’t know and those you do
  • Skip a meal a day

How to Observe With Children – sit for one to five minutes in silence, create a ritual of praying for others, do secret acts of kindness, writing a thank you a day or a week to someone special, creating a true day of rest for the family with lots of family games and family time

More ideas from past posts regarding Lent:

2019 Lent: Pilgrimage of the Soul

2018: What I Want My Children to Learn During Lent

2018: The Wonder of A Simple Lent

2014: Celebrating Lent and Holy Week With Children

2013: Favorite Books For Lent

2011 Lenten Ideas

I would love to hear your amazing ideas for Lent!



Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles

I love Chapter 14 of this book because it is about balancing boundaries and independence, which is something I think as parents we are always riding the line between, no matter what the age of our children.

Part of boundaries and setting limits, particularly for toddlers and onward could be to offer two small choices (either one acceptable), follow through on the choices (I can hold you if you sit quietly or I can put you down), and then be able to not be afraid of the child’s protest, outburst, anger, or sadness. We follow up with the ability to try again.  I like what Mary Sheedy Kurcinka says on page 245: ” When you say yes, you give her a sense of autonomy, a chest-pumping pride of acheivement, a glowing sense of capablity.  When you say no, you are teaching her when and how to stop herself.”

The challenge, of course, is to get the balance right – so many parents say no to each and every thing until the child doubts his or her own capablity, and so many parents never say no to anything at all, meaning the child never learns how to stop him or herself.  It is much harder for older teens and young adults to figure out how to stop themselves and give themselves limits if this was never ever modeled or taught earlier.

Finding that balance can be individual for each child – age, circumstance, but also temperament,  developmental age and maturity, along with  your family’s values. We all want our children to be capable, so sometimes it bothers parents that in order for this to happen we have to model our best decision making for our children, and yes, gradually  helping our child learn to control him or herself.  We teach and we guide.

Manners and safety become good places to start with boundaries and then increasing independence.  Manners are actually important, because it is a sign of respect for other people, and because we all live together. Safety is something  we can’t negotiate on and must set boundaries. Safe doesn’t mean smothering, however, especially as our child grows toward independence and being on their own.  We support our children when they are young and help them move toward the point where we provide guidance.  This is possiblity no where as true than in the older teen years.   Our boundaries are guided by our family values.  The author gives the example of the Olympic ski-jumping champions on page 252.  She writes, ” I have to admit I’d have stopped them from jumping off the roof onto their mattresses even if they’d wanted to.  Today, my kids are not champion ski jumpers.  Theirs are.”

Sometimes when children are younger, what comes up is, “Well, so and so can do this. Their family does this.” That is the point though! Ultimately, not all families have the same rules or the same emphasis on things like work, play, adventure, etc.  We need to look at the child in front of us and figure out how to not only meet that child’s needs and temperament, but how to do that within our family value system.  Sometimes family mission statements are awesome for honing in on that – if you would like to see a back post about that, see Creating A Family Mission Statement

We need to respect our children’s no answers, but sometimes older children need a nudge.  The author points out on page 261 that helping to support a child through sometimes fearful sometimes requires nudging and that nudging is not pushing.  Whether it is learning to ride a bike, potty training, driving a care – sometimes children need a nudge.  It involves talking to your child about what is bothering them about the situation, and seeing what you can do to help support through that.  We also need to be careful to recognize that children may be doing things, just not the way we would do them and that is okay.

What did you all think of this chapter?  There aren’t too many more chapters left in the book and then we will be on to our next book!