Eastertide Joy In The Home

Despite #shelteringinplace with #covid19, life continues on.  Where we live in the Deep South, spring is here!  Flowers are blooming, everything is green and beautiful, people are starting their vegetable gardens.  It gives one hope just to look out and see the sun shining and the greenery!

I find this time of year, the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost, to be one of my favorite times of year.  It is hopeful and encouraging and feels like new beginnings.  Being home has provided time and space for thought, and that has been helpful.  It is a great time for new commitments, new ideas and thoughts, and for really discerning the essential.

If you are looking for joyous outward ways to celebrate Eastertide, here are some of my ideas rounded up, great for life with children:  50 Ways to Celebrate Eastertide.  We usually celebrate this by hiking a lot and even camping during Eastertide, which won’t be happening this year. We have all been exercising inside daily and walking, which has helped stave off some feelings of confinement.  We are fortunate as I know some countries you need an essential worker’s pass to be out of the house and an assigned shopping day.

Schoolwork is online for our  high school senior for her outside classes; our freshman is in a four day a week program that went smoothly to completely live online classes, and our little fourth grader is still homeschooling with me.  We started a writing/grammar block, and I will be posting some pictures on The Parenting Passageway’s Facebook page and Instagram account so you can follow along!

Other than that, work continues online for my husband and we are so very grateful,  my school begins again on April 22nd online, and hopefully I will be able to see some patients via telehealth in May.  We have been busy cooking and baking, growing microgreens in the kitchen, doing puzzles, playing board and card games, studying,  painting, reading, taking walks, and checking on our horses (considered an essential activity because we own them and have to provide food).  There have been  little neighborhood activities like a “bear hunt” for the smaller children to find on walks, drives for food for our local food bank and for healthcare workers to provide meals at the hospital, a cute Easter bunny who went around to houses so children could have a visit from 10 feet away, and I hear a Kona ice truck will swing through here in the next few weeks.  Lots to be thankful for!

This Eastertide may be like no other, the future may be uncertain for many of us economically and otherwise, but I am finding the gratitude in this time before the world opens up again.

A little note from my corner of the world,

Carrie

 

 

 

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,
Carrie

 

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,

Carrie

 

 

March

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?

Blessings,
carrie

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,
Carrie

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!

Blessings,
Carrie

 

Monsoon Weather

I had a dear friend the other day liken her year to being a “monsoon year.”  I can relate to that – some years are like that, I have found and I really love that analogy of how just sometimes its overwhelming.

Some monsoon years our partners stand with us and help us find the sunshine in the monsoon.  But,  sometimes it is just enough to have  a partner stand with us in the monsoon and know that honestly, there is no sunshine coming right now.

Sometimes a person helps us steer the boat in the monsoon and all we can do is just try to hang on through it, exhausted and tired.

Sometimes people jump out of the boat while we are in the monsoon, leaving us alone to come out through the trials and tribulations,  but stronger on the other side.

Monsoon years can be hard.

They can be terrible, and feel never-ending.

They can be overwhelming even if they are not wholly terrible – sort of the “I am dancing as fast as I can” spot.

But I can tell you the one thing about monsoon years –

You come out different than  you were.

You mature and gain some wisdom and some empathy for yourself and others, if you let yourself.

If you feel yourself growing bitter just because life has been unfair (it often is),  you have to do the work, pull yourself up, because it’s probably time.

If someone left you in your time of need, know that there will be other people.  Wonderful people.  Know that love is there and around and on its way to you.  Know also, that in long term relationships, marriages, partnerships, and parenting, rocky points happen.  It’s fairly inevitable.  The question is what you choose to do with it.

If you are having a monsoon year, I am sending you love. It’s hard, but it will end.  It will get better and you are doing a great job with where you are right now in this moment.

Blessings,

Carrie