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

 

 

 

Glowing February

February can be a hard month for many people living in cold and dark climates and where it seems as if winter is dragging on forever.  I like to think of February as a month of illumination and light, which helps me counteract the darkness and think of February as a month of celebrating all kinds of love and light in the world.

This month we are celebrating:

Black History Month – Of course Black History IS World history and American history and should be in every subject we teach every month, but it’s also wonderful to take a renewed look at wonderful books and biographies this month.  Watch @theparentingpassageway IG and The Parenting Passageway Facebook page for our library hauls this month

February – Mardi Gras! (until Lent, of course)

February 2 – Candlemas

February 14 – St. Valentine’s Day (you can see this post about Celebrating Valentine’s Day in the Waldorf Home

February 17- Presidents Day

February 26- Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent  (try this post about Lent from last year with lots of links and ideas:  Lent – Pilgrimage of the Soul )  (and I am very excited to read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2020 Lenten book selection)

Lovely things to do with children this month:

Make Valentine’s Day cards; plan little treats and crafts for Valentine’s Day; make window transparencies; dip candles; roll candles; play board games or card games with your children;  draw, paint, model; whittle wood; make popcorn together; bake together; play in the snow – build snow forts; have snowball fights; snowshoe; downhill or cross country ski;  ice skate on a pond; read and tell stories; build forts inside; take a walk outside in the cold – look for animal tracks or berries or birds or all of the above; knit, crochet, cross stitch, finger knit, spin, sew; sing and make music together – learn some new songs; clean, scrub, dust, work around the house – rearrange furniture; go bowling or find an indoor swimming pool to swim in; write letters to family and friends; write stories together; snuggle on the coach with hot chocolate and marshmellows; cook for a neighbor; find a place of worship to attend and get involved; throw a party; clicker train your dog, cat, or other animal; take care of plants; start seeds indoors when it it is time, grow sprouts in the kitchen or a little microgarden.

Thoughts about Homeschooling:

This is the month I find myself thinking about plans for the fall.  I think I often get a little bored and restless this time of the year – maybe you do too!  This could be a great month for skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, surfing if you live somewhere you can do that or swimming – in other words, break the rhythm up with physical activity outside.  It can be really helpful!

Waldorf homeschooling is intensive and difficult at times. It requires a lot of planning and a lot of ourselves as teachers, so I think we should be easy with ourselves, especially in February and especially when we have all very young children close in age or large spans of ages, it can be a complete struggle to meet everyone’s needs.  I understand why people drift away from Waldorf homeschooling to unschooling, or to field trip/road trip schooling or something where you can combine more as opposed to Waldorf.  I have zero judgement about that.  I also understand why those who love Waldorf Education sometimes move to an area where they have a Waldorf school available. I think we need to be easy on ourselves and find what rejuvenates us, and to be honest and real when teenagers are older and the homeschool season is just changing.  For some families it doesn’t change, and that is great, but for many families there can be a lot of guilt and angst about switching either homeschooling methods or educational choices in middle and high school. It’s okay that things don’t stay the same if that is what the child or family needs.  Our job is to prepare our children for the future in the right time and in the right manner for that child.  They need to be functional adults!

My own little homeschooling corner of the world:

Our fourth grader finished a block on Norse Myths and now we are into a block I designed on Birds of Prey since that is a main interest.  Our high school freshmen is  still at a hybrid school, and our high school senior is finishing up the year with acceptances at all the universities applied to with scholarship money – so now we just have decisions to make about the best place to attend, which is a lovely place to be.

I would love to hear from you about your plans for February!

Blessings,

Carrie

January Love

Outside of the current situation of grey and rainy weather with flooding, I love January.  First of all, the bright and shiny New Year beckons to me with goals, lists, my word of the year (#radiant) and dreaming fun.  Second of all, I love the more introverted vibe of this season – nesting with blankets and hot drinks and inside fun, but still being able to go outside for a walk in the rain or bright sunshine with colder temperatures!    I am always delighted with the possibility and prospect of snow as well.

These are a few of the things we are enjoying this month:

  • Daily walks rain or shine
  • Puzzles and board games
  • Green smoothies
  • Exercising a lot
  • Going out as a couple – hope to get away for a few overnights alone this year ❤ and getting ready to celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary in May
  • Opting outside daily
  • Playing with our horses and dreaming of the show season to start again
  • Baking
  • Indoor microgardening!  So fun – and having bulbs blooming in the house

Decluttering the entire house – we have done closets and drawers and the garage.  It’s so freeing to let things go!

These are the things we are celebrating:

  • January 1 – New Year’s Day
  • January 6– The Feast of Epiphany and Epiphanytide that stretches until Lent begins on February 26 this year.
  • January 21 – Martin Luther King, Jr Day –Martin Luther King is also celebrated January 15 and April 4 in The Episcopal Church
  • Janaury 18– The Feast Day of St. Peter
  • Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
  • January 25 – The Feast Day of St. Paul

Some fast ideas for fun things to do with children:  Cut out paper snowflakes, including really cool 3-D snowflakes; dip candles; roll candles; play board games or card games with your children;  draw, paint, model; whittle wood; make popcorn together; bake together; play in the snow – build snow forts; have snowball fights; snowshoe; downhill or cross country ski;  ice skate on a pond; read and tell stories; build forts inside; take a walk outside in the cold – look for animal tracks or berries or birds or all of the above; knit, crochet, cross stitch, finger knit, spin, sew; sing and make music together – learn some new songs; clean, scrub, dust, work around the house – rearrange furniture; go bowling or find an indoor swimming pool to swim in; write letters to family and friends; write stories together; snuggle on the coach with hot chocolate and marshmellows; cook for a neighbor; find a place of worship to attend and get involved; throw a party; clicker train your dog, cat, or other animal; take care of plants; start seeds indoors when it it is time

On the homeschooling front, I ordered a cap and gown for our senior this weekend.  She is graduating on May 16.  We are super proud of her and are excited about what the future holds for her at college (we don’t have a decision yet as some college don’t send out acceptances until February, but she has gotten back all acceptances so far from the ones that send out earlier).  Our high school freshman is still at her hybrid school (four days a week) and is re-enrolling for her sophomore year.  And our little fourth grader is still at home homeschooling – we have Norse Myths coming up in January, Birds of Prey in February, Math in March, Earth, Air, Wind, and Fire in April (soul food tales from The Golden Stag by I. Wyatt) and finishing with African Tales (tales from the San, tales from the Bantu people, Yoruba myths) in May.  So excited about planning fifth grade! I already have a skeleton framework in my head and will be doing it differently than I have ever done it before.  🙂

I am starting up my business in January as well – home health pelvic floor physical therapy and lactation!  So that is new and exciting, and of course I still have the rest of my clinical doctorate to finish by December 2020.

Most of all, I am excited to have fun – 2019 was busy and fun with many new wonderful friends, and I am hopeful 2020 will be more of that! We started a #gratitudejar where we put a little note in for anything that brings you joy or feeling thankful and we already have so many things to be grateful for.

I would love to hear your January plans!

Blessings and love,
Carrie