these ordinary moments: hand written note

“Because being a homemaker isn’t about being extraordinary.  It’s about seeing the ordinary in a conscious way.  A way that leads to gratitude, joy and understanding.  A way that allows me to create an environment in which my family can become more human everyday.  If you are moved, I invite you to share your ordinary things by replying below or leaving a link.”


After Las Vegas, I turned away.  I stayed off Facebook.  Unplugged the radio.  Tried not to talk about it.  I’d like to say that I was protecting myself and my family from carrying it around in our imaginations, and perhaps I partly was, but mostly, I was filled with powerlessness.  What is the point of paying attention, of opening yourself up to all of that collective pain, if you can’t do anything about it?

As the days passed I kept telling myself that powerlessness is a feeling, not a reality.  I cannot single handedly change gun laws over night, but I can take my kids to hunter safety class.  I can teach them the respect of handling a bow and arrow; the powerful finality of a gunshot.  I cannot rid my children’s world of door buzzers and 6ft fences and lock down drills, but I can teach them that the more walls we erect, hiding from other and different and what-ifs, the more we perpetuate the cycle of isolation, fear and violence.   I can show them that courage, human connection and devotion to peaceful interaction are the only true weapons we have against fear, isolation and violence.

Because, as a homemaker, I’m in it for the long haul.  The steady, small and unnoticed work of creating an example for my family of what is most human.  Praying that this world will not destroy them before they are powerful enough to change it.

Undoubtedly, the most difficult task of the homemaker is being the family’s source of goodness.  Yes, we are imperfect, we are propped up by spouses or grandparents or best friends.  But at the end of the day, when everyone returns to the hearth circle licking their wounds, deep down they depend on us to be the healing balm.  It is a burden, but it is also a gift: we can never sink into the paralysis of powerlessness for more than a few moments.  We have no choice but to seek out our own balm.  Summon our own courage.  Forge our own strength.  For them.

In search of something to keep me going, I pulled out my stationary and began writing to a very dear friend, with whom I have fallen out of touch.  I did not write about Las Vegas.  What I did write was my self into that brief hand written note, knowing that she would read it, carrying a piece of my heart with her throughout the day.  Weaving our friendship deeply into the fabric of a world fraught with separateness.  Knowing that this connection could balance the scales of humanity in some grain-of-sand-way.  Hoping that it will all add up to enough.







centering down for Michaelmas


“Strongly I will think, will remember often, how within I’m vitalized by all primal spirit strength, will strongly sense within me weaving soul and power of will, will reflect in stillness how I can find a hold in my heart’s depths when my soul, quiet in itself, rests and also strongly acts out of itself.” by Rudolf Steiner, “The Heart of Peace”

I’ve been reading a great book: “Living the Quaker Way,” by Philip Gulley.  A friend recommended it after my post about searching for buffers in this chaotic world.  In his preface Gulley writes, “I’m not inviting you to a church but to a life,” built upon the Quaker values of simplicity, peace, integrity, community and equality.    And it’s in these pages I’ve learned the phrase “centering down,” a common practice before a Meeting of Friends.  (Although we don’t have a name for it, it is also what you’d experience 15 minutes before the service if you were to attend The Christian Community.)  It means choosing to create the quiet needed to reconnect to one’s inner life, making more space for whatever divine or higher presence guides you.  And, according to the author, it need not be sitting in silence.  While he described his experience with walking meditation, a vision of yarn and needles came into my mind.  The familiar feel of them in my hands became a life line during the family’s bumpy transition back to urban life and school.  I do also love to sit in silence, a more traditional centering down, but it comes much easier after the rhythm of knit and purl have passed between my hands for a few minutes.

Between that and the unfinished projects I discovered while clearing out a fiber moth infestation, there is a lot coming off the needles these days.  This Striped Linen Stitch Cowl, however, I finished up over the summer.   I received the yarn (a Mountain Girl Yarn, whose Etsy shop is currently on a little break) as a gift from my friend Kim at Mothering with Mindfulness, a few years back.  I don’t receive yarn gifts often, so I when I do, I am always tempted to extend the gift by making something for myself.  I had a few other projects in mind and actually started one and pulled it out before I settled on this cowl.  I’ve been wanting to take on a linen stitch project for a while and this one was perfect: since it’s in the round I only had to learn half of linen stitch!  It proved the perfect repeating-pattern-travel-companion for about a year.  I took it with me to Ann Arbor, and Nova Scotia, and tossed it in my carry-on when I came back to Denver in July for my training program, then, back again to Canada.  All the while I wondered if I was going to be able to double it around my neck.  I started with not quite enough yarn for the project, by my estimates, so I cast on a few less stitches, fingers crossed.  Excited to say that it does tightly, but still comfortably, go around twice!  We’ve had an uncharacteristic rainy week and it has been so lovely to pull this out.

I wish I could say that I’ve been outwardly preparing for Michaelmas while wearing it, but alas, no.  One myth of parenting I am beginning to really understand: it does not get easier as the children get bigger, it just gets different hard.  What the children once needed in physical care–diapers, feeding, shoe tying–they now need in emotional care.  I find it equally difficult and more complicated, and draining all the same.  Which is why our nature table at the moment consists of left over pictures from Lucien’s birthday (in August) and a vase of flowers from Nana’s garden that should’ve made its way to the compost days ago.

I am thankful for the years when I’ve had more space for dragon bread and harvest activities, because I think they are part of why I have an inner relationship to Michaelmas.  A simple, enigmatic relationship with the courage to act; the courage that He can plant within our hearts.  For some, those actions may be loud–taking to the streets.  But let us not forget the others.  The ones carving out a simple, conscious, life, in partnership with the Spirit, an act that goes against every grain of our more-faster society.  Let us not forget the courage and sacrifice it takes to turn off the device and “center down,” making room for whatever it is that reconnects us to our best and most authentic selves.

That’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow afternoon.  Come join me on the porch if you’re passing by.


these ordinary things: vacation

“Because being a homemaker isn’t about being extraordinary.  It’s about seeing the ordinary in a conscious way.  A way that leads to gratitude, joy and understanding.  A way that helps me create an environment in which my family can become more human everyday.  If you are moved, I invite you to share your ordinary things by replying below or leaving a link.”






John and I gave ourselves the gift of a short vacation last week: three nights on the Pacific shores of La Jolla, California.  Two days to vacate the course of our regular lives.  To forget the housework and papers in need of correcting and be free of the questioning and self-doubt that are destiny’s best friends.   Two days for new parts of the world to awaken in us what we hadn’t realized had fallen asleep.

We were lucky to do it there, where saltwater, earth and tides come together to make a place for pelicans and sea lions, palm trees and scurrying crabs.  Where arid plains and sky piercing rock are nowhere in sight.  And then, not even one full day into our trip, the report from home was dismal.  One very sick kiddo, another two close on his heals, and us 1000 miles away.  In seconds we were whisked away from this coastal haven.  Sucked right back into the questioning and self-doubt.

There are magical far away places that allow us a respite, it’s true.  But as far away as we go,  the course of our lives persistently knocks on the window of the rental car.  So we make a choice.  Pause, take a deep breath, be present.  Notice the way the surf sprays over the rocks and the sand–once shells– beneath our feet.  Or, we follow the sucking force, the anxieties of feverish children in need of a Mama or  Papa at their bedside, and we allow ourselves to be not quite transported but stuck in between where we are and where we want to be.

It’s that choice that allows us a vacation, be it miles from home, or standing at our own kitchen sinks, elbow deep in dishwater.  The choice to turn off the voice that wants us to believe that there is so much more to get done, to worry about or brood over.  Not enough hours in a day.  But there is, lots of them.  So many to fill that, sooner or later, we all need a vacation.

(Kiddos are all on the mend, as well as hard working grandparents.  Now all that’s left is to get Mama back on her feet.)

these ordinary things: ebb and flow

Because being a homemaker isn’t about being extraordinary.  It’s about seeing the ordinary in a conscious way.  A way that leads to gratitude, joy and understanding.  A way that helps me create an environment in which my family can become more human everyday.  If you are moved, I invite you to share your ordinary things by replying below or leaving a link.


There is an underlying belief about parenting nowadays: if we do everything right–build attachment, protect them from suffering, nurture self-esteem, buy organic mattresses and grass-fed beef–well, in the end, they’ll be okay.  One day they’ll be healthy, well adjusted, contributing members of society who call home every Sunday night to check in with Mom and Dad.

It’s a belief I know personally, and I’m glad it’s begun to fade into my past.  Too often it plants the seeds of perfectionism.  Anxiety replaces trust, confidence becomes guilt, and none of it does much to foster satisfaction.

Now, I look back over our days, and watch as each player tosses a card from his hand into the center.  I see how exhaustion transforms a broken puzzle into a wrestling match.  How happiness bubbles over to joy when it’s shared.  How not enough adult time equals a lost tempter.  How two and a half year old exuberance collapses into tears and the-wrestling-opponents-turned-best-friends respond with big brother hugs.  “We’re twins so that means we always love the same things and we do all the same things and we go everywhere together.  You can be a twin with us!”  Happiness.  Joy.  Wrestling match.  Frustration.  Lost temper.  Forgiveness.  Peace.  Repeat.  (Also an excellent single player game.)

Conceived of our imperfect parents, we were invited into the stream of imperfect earthly life.   Here in this little red house, five imperfect people have come to know the ebb and flow of family life.  Of human life.  Just as it needs to be.



DSCN1507 DSCN1508

DSCN1513I celebrate my 33rd trip around the sun today.  After sleeping in, I woke up to these handmade cards from the family, and these special grasses that Mattheus found (over) growing along the barnyard fence.  The boys also picked this “salad,” for me, which I think is mostly purslane. lamb’s quarters and dandelion greens, with a few accidental quick weeds to add to the mix.  Opal dressed for the occasion in her two year old style.  She’s been singing happy birthday to me for several hours.  They are all out on a pastry hunting adventure at the moment.  I’m looking forward to a break from cooking dinner tonight, and a free pass when it comes to the endless piles of dishes. In a few days we will have a small gathering with family.

And that’s about it.

It’s fitting, I think, that the celebrations are passing simply and quietly.  This year life has called upon us to strip back all of the extras and focus on what is fundamentally most important to us: health, mindfulness, gratitude, honesty, striving, faith, family and community.  I’m not sure we even could’ve made this list a year ago, and so I am deeply thankful for the experiences of the past 12 months.

This month also marks a year since my first post!  I hear it all the time, but it really is true, I couldn’t have imagined what the blog would bring into my life.  I have made so many wonderful connections with like minded friends that have fed me and nourished me, struggled with me and rejoiced with me.  I’ve also realized the blog keeps me honest and it reminds me to acknowledge the deep truths that sit quietly underneath the fast flowing current of life.

I’ve struggled to find a good rhythm for writing and posting, so as I move forward into this year, I hope this will emerge a bit more clearly.  And, I hope that my connections with others will continue to multiply and deepen.  I also hope that my readers can find some support and encouragement in meeting the many challenges of life, and that they might find a small moment of peace from our hectic world here in my space.

As for the rest of it, I expect to be thoroughly surprised by what I find in my 34th trip around the sun, and second year on the blog.

Out of my many connections I have met my friend, Tiffany, who is hosting a series on Journeys in Waldorf Homeschooling.  I am honored to have been included, coincidentally on my 33rd birthday! I invite you to pop over and visit her blog.

friendless february


The light is returning.  The sun is beginning to peek through the window at our supper table.  The number of eggs in the laying boxes is increasing.  The seed order has arrived, promising the green of spring.  The predictable thaw has been so unseasonably warm that the spring bulbs have begun poking their shoots out of the ground.  The next snowfall will set them straight.  All of this waking up in the natural world, and yet, for some reason, February seems generally short on friends.  (Respiratory season surely does not help its social life.)

How can it be that amidst all of this promise of rebirth, the inner feeling of soul is one of death?  This is how I always experience it, and when I speak with others the words, “it’s just been really hard lately,” repeat themselves over and over again.  Not the hard that demands fire and force and fury as Michaelmas does, but the hard that requires the day to day commitment of putting one foot in front of the other, even if it feels like the ground is molasses.  And unlike the dark days of Christmas, it feels as though there is little grace sent to us in the form of hope and celebration and community.  Instead we are called upon, our tiny huge selves, to gather our own endurance to live these days.  Perhaps not to excel, or thrive or find revelation, simply to be steadfast and know that that is enough.  That sometimes we learn what must be learned, just by getting by.  That we accept the feeling of dissatisfaction and for a time lay it out honestly on the table, because we hope that it wakes us up to what we’d rather forget, to all in this human world that is not right, even if we cannot begin to find solutions.  That joy and hardship are the partners that make us human.

As I watch the children, it’s clear they are oblivious to the mood of these days.  They gaze back at us, wondering why our knickers are all in a twist, for they are too fresh to be burdened with the atrocities that human beings create, to understand how far we have to go, to experience the lasting, inescapable grief of loss.  They speak of returning to the Starflower Garden with matter-of-fact-ness.  They have their squabbles, their small inequities, but of the grand things, they are little Buddha’s of the heart.  As far as they are concerned, all things are possible, and all solutions have problems, and if there isn’t a solution, then maybe it wasn’t really a problem after all.

It is a tempting place to be, but I remind myself that a five year old is not going to figure out how to feed the world without toxic chemicals and bee colony collapse.  He’s not going to solve the Southwest’s water crisis as we watch the Colorado River dry up, or find the economical path to renewable energy.  And, it’s not likely he’ll depolarize the Islamists and Christian Fundamentalists.  Or the Pro-Lifers and the Pro-Choicers.  Or the Vaxxers and the Antivaxxers.  Perhaps one day (I hope, as all parents do) he will have as good a shot at it as any of us, when he has known the sufferings of a few more Februaries.

As I wade through three feet of molasses, I watch my children and their innocent hearts, and hope that as I am enduring the darkness of these enlightening days, I will find a way to preserve this openness of heart within myself, so that when the crocuses finally do bloom for good, I may emerge from poor friendless February with a clearer picture of what it means to be human, and a little more strength and desire to strive for this capacity within myself.

I guess I’ll have to wait and see what Easter brings, but for the moment, it feels like it’s enough just to get by.