October

Nature! Your maternal being

I carry in my deepest will

The fire of my will makes strong

The mettle of my spirit

And thus is born that sense of self

That steels myself to carry me

  • The Illustrated Calendar of the Soul: Meditations For the Yearly Cycle with 52 Pictures by Anne Stockton

Michaelmas is still here, calling us to become strong, to find ourselves, to carry ourselves and our inner light through the wintertide of nature and the darkness of the world. May you steel yourself to shine bright this month!

The best way to find this and do this is to set boundaries. Boundaries are where I end and where I begin. Where I can walk beside you, but I cannot be you. I find a lot of people are really struggling with boundaries, whether from childhood or from trying to parent in a different way than the very authoritarian way they were raised. If you would like to get some of your boundaries in order headed into fall and the holidays (where typically many boundary issues come up!), here are a few back posts for you:

https://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/11/19/preparing-for-the-sixseven-year-change-the-importance-of-boundaries/

October is a golden month at the farm. The nights are crisper, we are preparing for colder weather. I just cleaned out a bunch of closets and drawers because simplicity and less clutter is cozy!

This month we are celebrating:

October 4-The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (we celebrate at church with the blessing of the animals)

October 9 – Our youngest child will be 13! Very exciting!

October 31 – Halloween, which really is low key in our house, especially on the farm because no one comes here. However, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are big!  You can see a back post about Halloween In The Waldorf Home, and this one about preparing for All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day

The little things that make ordinary October days magic:

Playing in the leaves

Apple picking

Pumpkin farm visits

Making pumpkin muffins and breads

Longer nights with deeper and later sleep

Warming foods

Fuzzy flannel sheets

Warm teas

Lantern making for Martinmas but I love to light lanterns in the school room as the days get darker and the darkness gets earlier and longer

Finding ideas to make for holiday gifts

Besides, the above post, I always think about:

Warmth

Warming Foods – this back post is from January, but it might give you some ideas for warming foods

Autumn Circles and Autumn tales for little ones

Make lanterns

Re-instating tea time if you lost it over summer and early fall– so warming and lovely

If you have small children, you might really enjoy this post from Liza Fox about meaningful work for toddlers

Rhythms From Scratch:

If you are wondering where I was this time of year a few years ago, try this back post: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2016/10/21/october-rhythms-and-meal-planning/

Right now, I have a different schedule:

Get up, help get horses in unless my husband and daughter are doing that, feed barn cats and dogs. My high school senior drives herself to her hybrid high school. Soon we will be putting horses out during the day instead of at night, so we will feed and let them out and clean everything.

If it’s a work day, I am out the door. If it’s a school day, we usually do opening activities, math practice and language arts/ spelling practice right off the bat because it is hated and if I leave it it won’t happen, Main Lesson, read alouds. We usually take a break to check on the horses. Afternoons we usually either go to the park, our son has horseback riding lessons or 4H or we work on the farm. This season I will be setting aside several afternoons a week to create holiday gifts and create art.

At dinner time we have dinner and feed all the animals. If the horses are in, we check on them about 9 and make sure they are good for the night.

Weekly I plan something for myself – lunch or dinner with friends. This week I have a facial scheduled which I haven’t probably done in 4 years, so that’s fun. We go to church most weeks, although I do tend to take one weekend a month and stay home and clean, organize, and rest. My husband and I try to do date night a few times a month, but it’s easier for us to do that as our children are older. 🙂

Seventh grade homeschooling – the first time I went through seventh grade, I detailed what we did weekly. I did not post it in one huge block as people often take things from this website and put it in a curriculum and I figured it would be harder if the information was spread out.

My original plan was to start the year with physics, but we actually ended up starting with Medieval as we were behind from sixth grade. We also covered quite a bit of African geography. Plans are always evolving but I am planning on sticking to my initial plan for the rest of the year, although I am contemplating sneaking in a little physiology. Our seventh grader had a lot of physics last year at an outside class, so I am not sure if I will swing back to that or not or just tack on a little time this summer and review some of the major concepts with him in preparation for eighth grade.

SEPTEMBER 26-30 FALL BREAK

Week  Eight October 3-7- Renaissance

Week Nine October 10-14 – Renaissance

Week Ten October 17-21  – Renaissance

Week Eleven  October 24-28 – Renaissance and Father-Son Trip

Week Twelve  October 31-November 4 – Perspective Drawing

Week Thirteen November 7-11 – Perspective Drawing

Week Fourteen November 14-18 – Catch Up Week

NOVEMBER 21-25  THANKSGIVING BREAK 

Week Fifteen November 28-December 2 – Astronomy and Navigation

Week Sixteen December 5-9 – Astronomy and Navigation

Week Seventeen  December 12-16  – Astronomy and Navigation

DECEMBER 19- JANUARY 4  – CHRISTMAS BREAK

Week Eighteen  January 5/6 – Grammar and Writing

Week Nineteen January 9-13 – Grammar and Writing

Week Twenty January 16-January 20 – Grammar and Writing

Week Twenty One January 23-27 – Chemistry

Week Twenty Two January 30-February 3 – Chemistry

Week Twenty Three February 6-February 10 – Chemistry

FEBRUARY 13-17 WINTER BREAK

Week Twenty Four  February 20-24- Math Main Lesson

Week Twenty Five February 27-March 3- Math Main Lesson

Week Twenty Six March 6-10- Math Main Lesson

Week Twenty Seven March 13-17 – American Colonial Times

Week Twenty Eight March 20-24 – American Colonial Times

Week Twenty Nine March 27-31 – American Colonial Times

APRIL 3-7 SPRING BREAK

Week Thirty  April 10-14 – Writing (probably will base in physiology)

Week Thirty One April 17-21 – Writing

Week Thirty Two April 24-28 – Writing

Week Thirty Three May 1-5 -Writing

Week Thirty Four May 8-12 – Catch Up Week

I would love to hear what you are up to!

Blessings,

Carrie

When Life Derails: Building A Rhythm From Scratch

Sometimes life has a way of changing either dramatically and smacking us in the face, or changing so gradually that we barely recognize that it is different than it was in the past. We grow and change as a family through the seasons, for sure. But sometimes we need a hard reset to get back to our own values and the things that matter most.

This week is Michaelmas, a favorite festival of mine and I love this opportunity to think about shifting into the season. What has been lost in busyness? What has changed and required a new rhythm? What needs more time? If you feel like hiding in a blanket fort and not seeing people, how can you get some more downtime? Where is the time for yourself?

This has been a busy time of life for me personally. I really ramped up during the pandemic with working and moving to a farm, plus still homeschooling and obligations with our other children, it seems kind of whirlwind.

So, I am looking ahead to October and seeing what I can do to tame things. It should be calmer, but I am also making it calmer. If I wait for things to calm down, at least with the ages that our children are, that could be a long time!

Here are a few things I am doing and maybe they will help you:

  1. Scheduling exercise 4-5 times a week. Not negotiable even if things are crazy.
  2. Back to meal planning and batch cooking, which fell off in September.
  3. Keeping our homeschooling times as non negotiable times.
  4. Scheduling farm work times daily for routine tasks. The list of special projects is often overwhelming, and the projects require money, so while not everything on that list can really happen, maybe small pieces of it can as we break projects down into pieces.
  5. Scheduling appointments, things around our place of worship, and seeing friends for October now so they don’t get shoved aside. Also, if I schedule them across a month I can see how busy or calm it is and how I need to balance things to make the month match my energy.
  6. I have patients that email and ask me to make space in my schedule for them. I started a cancel list rather than keep adding to my hours. If I burnout, no one will be seen and treated.
  7. Set one goal for each area (for me – farm, patient care/continuing education, homeschooling) this month that I would like to see happen. Find the top focus in each area.
  8. Prioritize rest and sleep. Rather than continuing to go at warp speed, honor my body and emotional state.

What is helping you shift into the season where you live?

Blessings,

Carrie

Taking Your Time Back

I firmly believe in parenting that there are seasons to everything. Some seasons or years are being at home (especially, for example, when you have younger children). Some seasons are expansive. Some seasons might be about you and your partner – I have friends who just had the summer of “husband and wife” and traveled.

This time of Michaelmas is a calling back to our inner most selves as we prepare for winter and prepare for rest and being in our homes more.

In my season of having very different things happening – running up to our daughter’s college for varying things this fall, senior year for our middle, seventh grade activities, working, homesteading and running an equine business – I have needed some different tools to keep myself on track. I am trying these out this fall:

  1. Menu planning. I always was a good menu planner but somehow got off track with moving to the farm last year. Back to planning!
  2. Blocking out days to be home with a big “X” on my calendar. I usually see patients even on the weekend, so it’s important I garner some time at home.
  3. Blocking out self-care – I have tried this all different ways. I do better with exercise classes outside the home so it doesn’t get shoved aside and is more treated like an appointment.
  4. Not scheduling things during our homeschooling hours.
  5. Making time with my husband a priority. It’s easy to lose each other because we have to divide and conquer so much of the time.
  6. Keeping to the rhythm of the year. I find it very nourishing!
  7. My calendar is blocked off into spring and the end of the school year with some things, and I try to schedule out exercise and self care at the beginning of each month.

I would love to hear some ways you keep yourself on track as far as your time!

Blessings and love,

Carrie

Michaelmas: The Inner Work

Michaelmas is celebrated in the Western Church and in Waldorf Schools on September 29. In Waldorf Schools these days this festival is celebrated with themes of bravery and courage, of the idea of slaying dragons as a physical embodiment of overcoming challenges.

The season of Michaelmas, for me, really lasts from a few weeks before Michaelmas until a week or so before Halloween.  In honor of this occasion, I have been reading the words of Rudolf Steiner from his lectures  collected and entitled, “Michaelmas and the Soul- Forces of Man”  In the fourth lecture, he relates the four major festivals of the year:  Michaelmas, Christmas, Easter and St. John’s.  He says, “ Easter: death, then resurrection; Michaelmas: resurrection of the soul, then death. This makes of the Michael Festival a reversed Easter Festival. Easter commemorates for us the Resurrection of Christ from death; but in the Michael Festival we must feel with all the intensity of our soul: In order not to sleep in a half-dead state that will dim my self-consciousness between death and a new birth, but rather, to be able to pass through the portal of death in full alertness, I must rouse my soul through my inner forces before I die. First, resurrection of the soul — then death, so that in death that resurrection can be achieved which man celebrates within himself.”

You can read these four lectures for yourself here:  http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/MichSoul/MiSoul_index.html  There is also this really interesting collection of articles, lectures, verses and stories all about Michaelmas available in  Waldorf Journal Project #15, edited by David Mitchell.  You can find that here:   http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/WJP15.pdf

I love this festival as one that illuminates the soul into the winter, takes up the challenges in front of us as we wind our way ahead in the dark to help us find that small space of courage and bravery that lets us know we are not defeated yet. We have not given up yet. Imagine a humanity where this was the theme before us of overcoming, of bringing new into the world. I may be attacked along the way of this new birth and new bringing, but I am not decimated. I can move forward.

There is a very old Polish legend about St. Michael converting his sword into a lyre. A lyre is often seen as an instrument that works to harmonize the threefold capacities of mankind: thinking, feeling, and willing. The strings of St. Michael’s lyre will be made from the valiant thoughts of mankind. You can see a version of this legend here: http://lyreassociation.org/blog/2017/12/5/st-michael-the-crescent-moon-and-the-lyre#:~:text=Michael%20will%20stand%20on%20the%20crescent.%20As%20a,He%20will%20perform%20his%20office%20as%20%E2%80%9Cheavenly%20lyrist.%22

These are lovely spiritual ideas to bring forth in our inner work this month.

Here are some physical, tangible ideas for celebrating Michaelmas with your children from young to teens.

We have done all sort of things over years past:

  • Made felted shooting star balls
  • Made dragon bread
  • Dyed capes and sashes either golden yellow with natural dyes or red
  • Had obstacle courses
  • Hunted for “dragon tears”
  • Made dragons out of felt
  • Made dragons out of thin modeling material and put it on candles
  • Made blackberry crisp
  • Had puppet shows with older children presenting for younger children
  • Had music and verses specific to Michaelmas
  • We have made Calendula Courage Salve.
  • In accordance with our religious tradition, we have shared stories of angels and verses and prayers about angels from The Bible and other sources of tradition within our church.
  • We have told many stories of St. Michael and the Star Children, Little Boy Knight, St. George and the Dragon.  There are so many wonderful stories and legends!

Other ideas:

**Stress doing good for others during this four-week period.  In the book, “Festivals With Children,” Brigitte Barz talks about bringing a balancing scale into the children’s space with dark stones on one side and helping the child choose a task each day to  help the archangel.  In this way, different stones can be added to the other side of the balance and hopefully by Michaelmas, the scale will be in complete balance.

**Make kites to fly.  This has been associated with Michaelmas for some time.

**Make a dragon out of clay or modeling beeswax

**Decorate a candle with a Michaelmas theme with the thin modeling candle wax.

**Tell fairy tales to the grades-aged children that fit into Michaelmas:  The Devil With The Three Golden Hairs, The Drummer, The Crystal Ball, The Two Brothers, Sleeping Beauty are all suggested.

**For children ages 9 and up, find Christine Natale’s story “The Golden Soldier”.  You can find Christine’s work here.

**For even older children, Parsifal is read in eleventh grade, so those 16 or so may enjoy this tale.

**Tell stories about St. George, a brave knight, who is a human symbol of this conflict of slaying and taming dragons; the personification of carrying inner light at a time when the outward light is diminishing

** For tiny children, try Suzanne Down’s story “The Brave Little Knight” or  the story “The Far Country” in the back of the book “All Year Round” for those five and up.

**Make plans to make “dragon bread” or a Michaelmas Harvest Loaf.  There is a story to go with this in the book “All Year Long”

**Learn Michaelmas songs.    There are some good ones in the Wynstones Autumn Book and yes, also on You Tube!

Most of all, if you are a parent, I urge you to pray and meditate over your children and their growth toward goodness, kindness, beauty, truth, responsibility and duty, and most of all self-control and compassion towards others.  It is a wonderful time for spiritual growth as a family in whatever way this is meaningful to you all as we will be heading into a season of Light for the world.

Thinking thoughts of courage and bravery,

Carrie

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

Uncertainty and The Sphere of Agriculture

“A course of this kind naturally makes many demands, for it will show us to what an extent the interests of Agriculture are bound up with those of the widest circles of human existence and that there is scarcely a single sphere of life which has not some relation to Agriculture.” From Rudolf Steiner’s Agriculture Lecture I, 1924

I talk to people all day long as a physical therapist, as a lactation consultant, as a parenting and homeschooling consultant, and I think there is a lot of despair and unsettled feelings related to overall background of life right now:

The pandemic.

Political situations.

Gun violence.

The economic situation

The rates of depression, anxiety, suicide in young children

I told my husband the other day that sometimes I feel like we are watching Rome fall, but instead of the Roman roads crumbling and eventually castles and fiefdoms are taking over, now there is retreating into an increasingly physically isolated but interconnected digital world. We saw this during the pandemic with a necessary shift to everything being online, but I think the other thing we saw is that this gave people the ability to move out of cities and find increased acreage/ land due to the ability to work remotely.

So, when people ask me how I think we are going to deal with the things going on in the world, I can’t help but wonder if some of it will be healed by agriculture and coming back to the land. There is nothing like healing emotional and mental anguish with working on the land, being in nature.

Many of us are homesteading in whatever capacity that means to us, whether we are on acres of land or in an apartment. Many people I know have three months or more of water and food stocked up just in case job situations change or the supply chain runs short. Most of the farmers I know believe that hay and grain will be hard to come by this fall and winter, which in turn will affect food prices.

I think the other positive thing that has happened is people are living smaller – Instagram is full of families taking to the road in RV’s or living on boats. Mobility is a good thing, and while full time RV living has been around for years, I think the numbers have really gone up in the past few years. People are opting out of a mortage and instead living simply. They get to be in nature, and pursue hiking, biking, travel, and being together. I think this trend will continue and since housing prices are high, it may end up being a typical way for young couples to start out as well.

So, I often meditate on the fact that we can as a people be healed if only we could return to simpler ways and into nature. I read an article this morning about expats retiring in other countries and one thing they were distressed about was having a beautiful ocean –and sitting on their surfboard or walking the beach and seeing all the plastic float around them.

Live smaller, live simply.

Reduce, recylce, reuse.

If you have land, grow something, nurture something and as we do this people will be healed and nurtured.

So instead of bemoaning the current state of the background of life, I often find the small and still voice – what can I do in nature today? What can I grow today? What can I do where I am right now?

Blessings,

Carrie