"Let's have a merry journey, and shout about how light is good and dark is not. What we should do is not future ourselves so much. We should now ourselves. "NOW thyself" is more important than "Know thyself." Reason is what tells us to ignore the present and live in the future. So all we do is make plans. We think that somewhere there are going to be green pastures. It's crazy. Heaven is nothing but a grand, monumental instance of future. Listen, now is good. Now is wonderful." ~ Mel Brooks

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Grace Notes

 
This week, I'm simply grateful for my family because without them I wouldn't be who I am today nor would I be faced with the challenges that encourage me to be and do better. Without them, I wouldn't be blessed with the most amazing gift of all: unconditional love.
 
 
Come share in the gratitude.......what are you grateful for this week?
 Link up below with a blog post or share your gratitude in the comments below xoxo
Please feel free to share this elsewhere.......sharing gratitude is a good thing :)
 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Michaelmas Shooting Stars

 
 
2012, the Year of the Dragon......It is the year in which we embrace the dragon, acknowledge, tame, accept, allow and understand all that they mean.
 
Michaelmas, a celebration of the archangel Michael and his ability to harness the courage he needed to slay (or tame) the dragon. Michaelmas is a time of much centering and inward reflection; a time to defeat the dragon within us, to look at deeply and shed light on the dusty places within our souls to allow our own star shine.
 
I could go on and on about what this time of reflection has meant to me. This Michaelmas season has brought about some wonderful shifts and exciting new possibilities. My heart has been opened wide and I've been able to listen and receive my calling, the whispers of my Angels who are guiding me along the way. My journey is not only continuing but most certainly beginning anew.
 
These thoughts are a bit much for the wee folk in my life. They absolutely can comprehend on a spiritual level the sacredness of this time; the purposeful work, the quiet storytelling and the magic of seeing the story of St. Michael come alive in our life. To help bring the story alive even more I chose to share with them this handwork project. Many years ago when my eldest first went to school we were blessed to be able to send him to our local Waldorf school. His teacher floated on air. She was as gentle as a lamb, as quiet as a mouse and her eyes twinkled like little stars. The children adored her, as did I. It was pure magic to watch her effortlessly move through a room of 20 or so children, sing a beautiful song and just like that the children would focus their attention her way. They quieted and they glistened in the pure magic of the moment. It was on a day just like this where I was able to assist the classroom in the making of these Shooting Stars.
 
The SITS Fall Back into Blogging Challenge has proven to be a bit difficult for me. I've been unable to keep up with the days and the blog challenges due to unexpected daily life occurances :) That being said.....I've mananged at least one post, albeit a day early, and so...... well, better late than never, right ;)
 
 
First, we went in search of Goldenrod to use for dying our felt.

 

 
We came home with two filled little baskets and began plucking the flower from the stems.

 
We put the flowers in a pot, covered them with water and boiled them for several hours.
 

 
While the flowers were boiling we went in search of the
 perfect stone to help add some weight to our stars.

 
 
One of the more fun parts......wet felting!!

 
Once the felt was formed into a ball, we dried them a bit then added them to our
strained goldenrod dye where they bathed for an hour or so. We let them
set/dry overnight. In the morning, we put them in a pillowcase and finished drying them in the dryer.

 
I added some needle felted star decorations and a ribbon tail and put them in
my littles hands; they ran for the door to send them into the sky.

 
 
"The Autumn winds wail through the wood,
Through rushes and through reed.
Who is the rider of radiant light
On the snowy white, shimmering stead?
Of garment of gold he rides along,
His face like the sun so bright.
O Michael, lend us your starry sword,
The darkness of Earth fill with light."
 


 




Sunday, September 23, 2012

Grace Notes


I find that keeping my "grace notes" has really been an integral part of my being able to keep a good check on reality and the world around me. My thoughts come and go, precious moments or challenging ones pass by and then I find myself in a much different place then where I began. I blink and all of a sudden my first born is on the brink of becoming a teenager! This week has brought many realizations to the fore-front. In 21 months I will graduate from college, my newborn will be 2 years old, my eldest will be 14 years old and a freshman in high school!! My two littles will be 5 and 6 years old and potentially in kindergarten and first grade!!! I can hardly wrap my head around how fast it will all go by! Now, I'm not trying to wish away these next 21 months.......it's just that these past 12 years have gone by so fast. It seems time is engaging in some warp speed act, like a rocket propelling through outer space. I am becoming more aware of the importance of slowing down, breathing, absorbing every little moment of precious time we have. I feel like I've let too many moments pass me by, spent too many moments frustrated or overwhelmed, sad, worried. I know these are all human experiences, they are somewhat unavoidable but in the grand scheme of things.......it is my choice to forgo the alternative. I'm excited for what lies ahead. I'm entering a phase of the unknown, like everyday that begins.......I wake up to uncertainty but yet am hopeful where I will be at days end. Holding the sparkle, the twinkle in the eye of my children's hearts. Holding the love of my beloved husband, amazing friends, and dear family. I'm choosing today to not waste a single moment and for that I am grateful.

What are you grateful for today? Please link up below and spread the gratitude xoxo

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fall Challenge


Well, life sure is full of exciting twists and turns! Things around us here are swirling with wonderful new opportunities.......it seems as though all of our struggles over the past several months have ripened our souls and intentions to be ready for what is now making itself known to us!

Of all the amazing little things, one big thing that has happened is that I have applied and been accepted to the Center for Natural Wellness School of Massage Therapy. I have always been interested in and wanted to learn more about bodywork as a healing art. I've long been associated with reiki, aromatherapy techniques, craniosacral, you name it! However, once we began our second team of littles it all became a bit muddled. My energy, my creative instincts were somewhat buried under dirty diapers and late night feedings, piles of laundry and hours of snuggles, and all the running about that goes with being a Mama! I wouldn't trade any of it........not a moment because it is where I was that got me to here and it's where I'm headed that will bring me to my next phase in this grand tour of life. I've had much life experience that, although I am nervous about being a student after a 16 year hiatus, I am not at all worried that I will be incapable of becoming a master at what I am seeking to learn.

Another wonderful bit of news is from our homeschooling......Charlotte and Kiki are having such a wonderful time! We've been without a rhythm for some time so it is a welcome change and wonderful way to begin a new season. Our seasonal table is updated and fresh, our lessons are fun and engaging, our play is open and free, and stories.......oh, we've been blessed with many wonderful stories to enjoy with each other and some wonderful finger puppet patterns that I am eager to share with you!

And lastly, not that I *need* another challenge but this seemed fun to participate in and will give me a boost in my blogging efforts. I just love our little blogging community. I've made some really wonderful connections and so enjoy reading everyone elses blogs and keeping connected. I've joined the Fall Blogging Challenge with the Sits Girls. Head on over and check it out......maybe you'd like to join too :)

So......as the leaves are changing and finding their way to the earth below, how are you challenging yourself this season? Are you answering your soul's deepest dreams? Are you branching out and challenging yourself to do something you might otherwise thing twice on? I would love to hear about them xoxo

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

To look within

Autumn is a wonderful time of year. I know I expressed my joy and contentment with this phase of the seasonal cycle in my last post......I just can't help myself. September marks a time of many new beginnings........first school days, Rosh Hashanah, Michaelmas, the changing of the seasons from Summer to Autumn and the Full Harvest Moon. This time feels much like a "look within" time. A time to seek out the light within the summers waning and shine it inwards. A time to seek out our "dragons" and tame them anew. A time to replenish all that was given outward and now replenish inward.

Michalemas is upon us, the Festival of Courage, and as I mentioned above this is a wonderful time to seek out our inner dragons; to be courageous in our endeavor to seek out our best selves; to be persistent in our abilities to be loving and inspiring parents and teachers; to realize that the best gift we can give each other and ourselves is to be true to our deepest dreams, to be steadfast in making them a reality, and to be brave enough to share them with the world. The dragons in our lives give us the obstacles we need in order to keep learning and to keep moving upward and onward. If we ignore these dragons they just keep getting stronger.......if we can tame them and acknowledge that they live within us we can learn from them and be peaceful in our ability to grow fully within ourselves.

"Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave." ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
 
To help us begin our Micaelmas preparations Charlotte and I made our first ever dragon for our seasonal table. I am not an experienced sewer and having a three month old at home.......well, time seemed to elude us! Thankfully DH was home and he offered a much needed arm and respite to allow for us to complete our project. It did take us ALL DAY but I think if we were able to just sit uninterrupted it wouldn't have taken so long. But there again......
 
I found, quite by accident, this lovely link to a post over at Rhythm of the Home. It is written and contributed by Angela Mobley from The artist, the mom. It is beautiful and pretty clear in its instruction. If you're an avid sewer it should be no problem. If you aren't, like me, you'll find yourself muddling through, but it will prove fruitful in the end!!!
 
 
Here we traced our pattern on our lovely ruddy felt.
 
 
All of our dragon pieces:: feet, gussets, ears, spikes, body, wings
 
 
Charlotte's first turn at the sewing. It proved to be a bit difficult as the felt was rather thick
but she persevered and accomplished quite a bit.
 
 
Our nearly finished dragon about to receive her stuffing:: raw, plant dyed wool
 
 
Our beautiful and already quite beloved Dragon.
She is gentle and kind and loves to fly through our home.
 
 
We now have many dragon-tamers in our home.
 
 
How does your family celebrate Michaelmas? Do you have any practices that you could share in how you acknowledge the dragon within you? How do you tame your inner dragon?
 
 
Wishing you all a lovely season of  looking inward to find the light within you xoxo

Friday, September 14, 2012

Changes

Autumn
by T.E. Hulme
 
A touch of cold in the Autumn night
I walked abroad,
And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
Like a red-faced farmer.
I did not stop to speak, but nodded,
And round about were the wistful stars
With white faces like town children.
 
 
 
 
 
Autumn time is my favorite time of year. The air is more crisp, there is a silence that is unlike any other time of year. The early birds have quieted and are now sleeping later and the sun stays in bed a bit longer, too. It's the beginning of the breathing in, the coming back from the hot summer and the return to the hearth. The inner reflection that begins at this time of year, for me in particular, is so profound. I look forward to it every year because it feels a bit like New Years. I, for whatever reason, wipe the slate clean and make adjustments to my livelihood and get a clearer picture of where I am, where I'm headed and if I'm in line with where I'd hoped to be.
 
I may be jumping the gun a bit early on our recent Seasonal Table addition as our leaves haven't even begun to change just yet, they are falling however. Our mornings are quite chilly, we wear slippers and warm covers over our pajamas. Breakfast has become heavier and the morning light has shifted. All of these changes put me in the mood to add something autumnal to our table. Since the leaves aren't in their peak of autumn color we decided to make our own and suspend them over our seasonal table.
 
  
 
We used watercolored paper, some random bits of string, scissors, a grapevine wreath, and a hole punch.
 
 
Charlotte watercolored, wet on wet, two pieces of paper.
 
 
Oncw they dried we cut out many different style leaves; Aspen, Maple, Ash, Oak. I was planning on oiling the paper as well but I didn't have enough oil on hand. Feel free to, though, as it will give your leaves a transparency that allows light to flow through and will brighten your colors a bit.
 
 
Then, we simple punched a hole in the leaf and tied a string through the hole.
 
 
Lastly, we tied our leaves onto our wreath and suspended the wreath over our seasonal table just as if they were falling and making their way to the ground.
 
Here's a fun little poem with movements to get you and your littles in the mood!!!
Little leaves fall gently down
(Raise arms over head and twinkle your fingers like leaves dancing in a breeze)
Red and yellow, orange and brown.
(Flutter fingers and bring arms down in a swaying motion like leaves falling to the ground) 
Whirling, whirling round and round
(Whirl arms and hands around as if leaves are being blown around by wind)
Quietly, quietly without a sound;
Falling softly to the ground,
(Sway arms and rest of body, like dancing, and lower entire self to the ground)
Down and down and down and down!



Even though it's not technically Autumn yet.......I'm wishing you a lovely season of changes xoxo
 
 
 


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

From my head to my feet,
 I am the image of God.
From my heart to my hands,
I feel the breath of God.
 
 
When I speak with my mouth,
I follow God's will.
 
 
When I see God everywhere,
In Mother, Father, in all dear people,
In beast and flower, tree and stone,
Then no fear shall I feel.
But love for all that is around me.
 
 
 
~ Rudolf Steiner

Monday, September 10, 2012

First Days

September is upon us. School has started, leaves are falling, the air feels crisp. The light has shifted into a more autumnal feel.......less blazing heat and more fragmented light. It happens every year. It's inevitable. These are our first days of Autumn.

We have three school aged children in our home. Two are attending our local public school while the other has begun her schooling at home. We are not taking these first years so seriously as she is only four and a half but she feels ready nonetheless. Charlotte is a go getter. She is eager to begin to write and keep up with her siblings. We try our best to follow the natural rhythms around us, allowing for an organic learning experience. We draw our creative energies from nature and the seasons, we follow Rudolf Steiner's grain and color of the day, we try to create an environment that is full of mindful work........baking, painting, cleaning, felting, gardening, singing, and stories.



Our little "homeschool" is our dining room. Our seasonal table sits there as well as our rhythm chart. Its the center of our home, next to our kitchen and play space. The room is draped with westerly sunshine all afternoon thereby creating a warm glow during our afternoon hours. It is cozy and sweet and so far........a comfortable place to learn.

 

 As a mother and teacher I am trying to allow Charlotte to blossom as she is.  In a traditional Waldorf setting writing wouldn't begin until quite a bit later in a child's education.  Charlotte, however, is eager and has been practicing all on her own for sometime.  She is eager for it. She asks for it. As we try to establish Waldorf traditions in our home I also feel it is my responsibility to her to honor what it she feels like she is ready for. Little steps at a time. So as our first lessons we practiced spelling her name. Atop her name is a picture of herself with a few of her favorite things; butterflies, rainbows, sunshine and flowers. We also began to learn all about Monday; how Monday is connected to the Moon and that part of our main meal will incorporate the grain rice (according to Rudolf Steiner's Grain of the Day). We've begun this process by creating a book on the days of the week.......I will post photos once we are finished!

Another thing Charlotte was eager to do was memorize. She loves to memorize poems, stories or jokes and perform them for her family and friends. This is what she learned to day.......

video


"The world is full
Of a number of things.
I'm sure we should all
Be happy as kings."
 
 
If you are homeschooling I would love to hear how your first days are going. I'm looking forward to an exciting year ahead with homeschooling as well as being able to create a relaxing and nurturing environment for our children that attend school elsewhere. If you have children that go to school outside your home, how do you create a space where they can come home and decompress? 
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