to read, play, have a stack of lewis

this week...

 lots of reading of this favorite
 found in kitchen:  a gnome in bed covered with an onion peel
lots of c.s. lewis reading
finally caught this girl, usually behind the camera,
in front.  she is incredibly inspiring.

it's been a beautiful week.
lots of writing happening around these parts.
lots of outdoor time.
gearing up for a relaxing weekend.
hope you have one too.


to ramble about culture and christian status

so i'm giving you fair warning...
this post is all over the place and might just offend you.
i hope that you can hear my heart and look past anything i shouldn't have said.


i was reading a blog the other day and they were talking about some tv show
i had never heard of called preacher's daughters.
apparently it's a reality show where they follow pastor's daughters and their parents,
documenting their bad choices, falling away from faith, coming back to faith, etc.
it sounded so ridiculous to me i thought it had to be a joke {you know, like amish mafia or whatever}
so i looked it up.  and i was left speechless.
see, i know one of the families on the show.
{and as many people that read my blog are from here, you probably do too.  and it's old news to you
that they were on this show.  but it's new news to me and to those who aren't from here, so i'm
talking about it}
i have been to their church.
one of the "preacher's daughters" babysat my children for years.
she came to my baby shower when i was pregnant with the twins.
i know many people who know them much, much better than i do.
so all that to say,
i was kind of stunned to see a family i knew pretty well on that show.
     *i haven't watched the show.  i can't comment on it.  i don't know if they look good, bad, or like giraffes*

but see,
it made me kind of sad.
and it made me think, because,
as we all know,
i think too much and too deeply and read too much into things.
i'm sad for our christian culture.
  • there's this family doing a reality tv show throwing their issues out for the world to mock,
  • another pastor we know desperate to be in full time ministry is joining a denomination he doesn't agree with and has often bad mouthed just because they will hire him,
  • a musician turned down numerous times by mainstream producers has started making"christian music" just so he can make music and be "famous," but his heart is "far from Godly right now" {his words, to my husband}
it's like we have made an identity out of the "christian" label.
just like everything in life, this christianity has rungs and everyone is stepping on
everyone else to make it to the top.
we wear our christian badges;
"christian reality tv star," "christian pastor {full time!}," "christian musician," "christian artist," "christian author."
we can't make it in a secular culture so we stick the christian label on it and
BAM! it's gold!
and we call poor sally who just works in an office five days a week and attends church once a week
a "sunday christian"  and we look down on her for her "watered down faith" because
she isn't high enough on the rungs.
and we strive and we do and we keep trying,
not because it serves Him but because it makes us look better,
it moves us up the ladder.

and we wonder why we are mocked and ridiculed?
why is "christian music" so terrible?
we copy the culture around us, trying to sound, look, be
just like it but with that christian label.
the church used to be the frontrunner.  the best music,
art, literature came from christians!  once upon a time
the culture copied us!  and it wasn't labeled.  no one was
trying to climb a ladder.  they just loved Christ.
they loved Him and they used their gifts and made

and then everything changed.
and everything had a label.
and now we are desperately trying to look like the culture we live in,
to become "relevant" to it.  so we make second rate art and
stick the christian label on it and hope it will draw some people
to Christ.
and it just makes them scoff.  and i would too.
i'm just saying,
why are we trying so hard to fit in?
and why do we have our own status symbols in the body of Christ?
why can't we just allow our identities to be in Him and
move as He leads us,
with no goal in mind but glorifying God.
and let Him do with it what He will.

don't try to climb the ladder,
don't worry about your status,
don't try to be relevant,

 But seek first the kingdom of God 
and his righteousness, 
and all these things will be added to you.
matt 6:33


to use my hands, head, eyes and ears...

I am seriously without words lately.
Does that ever happen to you?
I have just been trying to live the day to day,
learn with my children,
enjoy the oldest boy before he leaves,
spend good, real time with the husband.

Hands have been busy knitting,
baking bread and
bathing babes.

Head has been filled with wise words of
katrina kenison,
jack petrash,
and sally clarkson.

Ears delighted with children's laughter,
the music of all sons and daughters,
pearl jean's quickly growing vocabulary.

Eyes, searchers of beauty,
have sorrowfully watched the series finale of family favorite, merlin,
smiled at my littles dressing up and playing merlin,
beheld God's grandeur in perfect, glowing moon,
rested, but not long enough.

{here we have king arthur, queen guinevere, and lady morgana and
yes, apparently arthur is a sad cowboy because, 

so days have been filled,
they have been beautiful,
they have just been so focused inward,
on the here and now,
on the love in front of me,
that words are sparse.
but life,
life is full.


to embrace rhythm {aka how to fight anxiety in times of change}

there is such a slowness to these spring days,
a creeping of warmth and life,
beauty transcending,
rhythms making way for hours of unscheduled joy,
of just being,
of breathing in and breathing out through
our days. when
change is coming and
you can taste it oh so close,
it's these days,
these life giving, simple, everyday moments that
help to keep our heads
children will grow,
boys will leave home,
go to college,
live their own lives in their own ways,
follow their own paths,
the one He set before them in those days
long ago and we,
we find peace by living these
days simply,
by seeking His face,
by continuing on.
There is a reason He makes the sun rise
in the morning,
and set at night,
seasons change and come again
the same time,
every year.
Finding peace in the constants of this life,
knowing the sun will rise again,
trees will drop their leaves as we drop tears,
will blossom once more as we laugh.
And so we live our own rhythms, our own constants,
finding peace in times of change as we
lay under shade of trees {again this year} and
read aloud on quilts as we picnic {as we do every spring},
collect eggs each morning,
snuggle in bed reading each night,
await ripe cherries and
hang diapers in sunshine.
Change is coming.
And we will be okay.
Peace remains.

*sorry for this reposted pic.  it fit here.  all too well*


to myself

when it's really hard and
you are so
when you are overwhelmed with 
you just need to 
look at what is real.
Because all that other stuff,
all that stuff that consumes you,
it's pulling you away from the beauty
right in front of your face.
 And if you don't stop,
if you don't simplify,
if you let it devour your time, heart, and 

you will miss all that is truly
lovely and good,
all of the simple beauties that make this life
worth living.
wake up mama, 
and see.


to enjoy His poetry

"it's poetry, isn't it mama?"

"yes baby, it's poetry."

"it's God's poetry.  you write poems and i love them. but this,"

"i know."

"He spoke.  you know, like spoken word poetry.  He spoke His poetry and we get to enjoy it."

"you are so wise."

"i love God's poetry mama."

"me too baby."


to mix the waldorf with the cm {part 2}

*we honestly dont follow this strictly. If something is not working for my kids or they need sometjing different, we do it. This is just a general outline and the books and subjects fit with steiner's child stages which i think are very right on.* Ok here is my follow up post to our combination of Waldorf and Charlotte Mason in our homeschool... if you missed the first, you can find it here.

A couple of things I didn't touch upon in the first post are grammar and math. With our children, as soon as they are able to write, they begin copywork and later, dictation, per cm. This is truly one of the greatest means of learning spelling and grammar, to learn from copying the masters. Learning the names of the parts of speech and how to use them fits in very naturally with the main lessons. We also use Mad Libs for learning and fun!

For math we really like Waldorf's method of whole to parts and learning the four processes at the same time. We love A Journey into Waldorf Math and Life of Fred. Josiah is making his way through Life of Fred's elementary series quickly and he absolutely loves doing math.

So our booklist is as follows:

Grade 1:
A Journey Through Waldorf grade 1
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales
The Among the...series by Clara Dillingham Pierson
The Burgess Animal books by Thornton Burgess 
Read alouds/free reads from AO y1

Grade 2:
A Journey Through Waldorf grade 2
In God's Garden (saint Stories) by Amy Steedman
Our Island Saints by Amy Steedman
God's Troubadour, The Story of St Francis
50 Famous Stories by James Baldwin
Aesop's Fables
Jataka Tales
The Book of Nature Myths
Just So Stories
Literature from AO year2
Read alouds/free reads from AO year 2

Grade 3:
A Journey Through Waldorf grade 3
Story of the Ancient People by Guerber/Miller or
Child's Story Bible
Red Indian Fairy Book by Frances Olcott
Any of Andrew Lang's fairy books
The Wonder Clock by Howard Pyle
Little Folks Land {book to read along with building main lesson}
hands on farming/building
Literature from AO year 3
Read alouds/free reads from AO year 3

Grade 4:
A Journey Through Waldorf grade 4
D'aulaire's Book of Norse Myths
Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans by Eggleston
Stories of American Life and Adventure by Eggleston
True Stories of History and Biography by Nathaniel Hawthorne
hands on zoology
Literature from AO year 4
Read alouds/free reads from AO year 4

Grade 5
A Journey Through Waldorf grade 5
Story of the Greeks by Guerber/Miller
Child's Homer and/or Black Ships Before Troy
The Heroes by Kinglsey
The Golden Fleece
Pacific History Stories {local geography/history}
hands on botany
Literature from AO year 5
free reads from AO year 5

Grade 6
Begin AO y6, term 3.
study astronomy

Continue Main lesson books and follow Waldorf recommendations for handwork, art, etc.

From this point we follow Ambleside's curriculum while continuing main lesson books, handwork, etc.

A Journey Through Waldorf series can be found here.
Life of Fred can be found here.
Ambleside Online can be found here.

I hope this was thorough and answers the questions I have been receiving.
If you have any other questions feel free to ask!
And now I'm done talking about homeschooling for quite a while :)

*i realize i haven't talked much about the early years... there is so much info online about early waldorf, i figured i didn't really need to write about that.  i wanted this to be mostly about how we combine the two methods in the grades... but if you have any questions about our early years, feel free to ask here or on the facebook page or by email!

to mix the waldorf with the cm, stir, shake and pour

So after my last post I have had some requests to know how we combine waldorf and Charlotte mason in our homeschool. I haven't really written about this much before because 1) I have many readers not interested in homeschooling so I don't want to write about it too often and 2) I am still learning. I still google "combining waldorf and cm" all the time looking for fresh inspiration. There is not much out there which kind of makes it a pain and I feel totally inadequate in giving advice on the subject. So. That's why I haven't talked much about it. But I have had enough inquirers, so I'm just going to write this thing. These are just my ideas and what we do in our home.

 I really think cm and waldorf combine beautifully and naturally. Even down to the ideas and mottoes behind each. Waldorf speaks of "thinking, feeling, willing" and cm's motto is "I am, I can, I ought, I will." In cm, education is defined as an "atmosphere, a discipline, a life" while waldorf education seeks to educate the whole child. They both embrace beauty and gentleness, focus on nature, shun textbooks and rely on the child's "telling back" in various forms. Handwork is seen as necessity not extra curricula,as is art.

There are differences but these differences compliment each other and can be intertwined.  I am not going to use this post to explain all of the intricacies of the two methods, {those can be found in numerous places... try here and here} but what I will do is tell you what we embrace from them and how we live and learn.

Charlotte Mason graces our home in the artist, composer, folk songs, hymns, poetry, nature study and living books.  Every morning we have a circle time of sorts where we read our Bible, poems, learn music and art and have a classic read aloud.  This is the one time of the day when our studies are all together, and this time {along with our afternoon quiet reading time} is a staple of our daily rhythm.

Waldorf is a method of education and a life atmosphere.  Where cm talks about education being an atmosphere, Waldorf creates that atmosphere.  Yes, our home is filled with nature, with wood toys, with dolls, dress up clothes, scarves, etc.  Real, open-ended toys which equal real, open-ended imaginary play.  This is a huge part of Waldorf education and a huge part of our early years.  For the grades we incorporate Steiner's recommendations for main lessons based on the developmental state of the child as opposed to Miss Mason's chronological history study.  I know a great deal of Steiner's beliefs and teachings and there are many things which I do not agree with him on, but I also believe that he was given a great deal of wisdom.  One area that he had great insight into was child development and I know this from watching my own children.  Waldorf education is designed to reach the child where they are and I do believe that the main lessons for each age do a wonderful job of doing that.

Thus, my 9 year old is currently going through an Old Testament main lesson while my 10 year old is reading the Norse myths.  My 5 and 3 year olds spend their days playing, working alongside me and being read to.  We add CM in by having loads of living books which my children and myself read through, narrate, and really drink in.  Waldorf does not really start teaching history until year/grade 5 and I do not require focused history study before then but with all of our reading my kids are exposed to all areas of history.  Both Layla and Josiah love history and have desired to read about it on their own.  {Layla is completely immersed in the middle ages right now, all of her free reading is devoted to it!}

So we follow Waldorf's main lessons for the grades and when history study truly begins with Greek and Roman history, we begin using AO's year 6 {terms 2 & 3} which fits right alongside.  Following AO from year 6 through the end of high school keeps right on track with Waldorf's history study and adds a bit more CM to the mix.  Main lesson books are continued, filled with long written narrations, summary and creative.

Wow, this is so much and I suddenly just ran out of steam.  I really hope all of this makes sense :)  I know some of you are really counting on my book and resource list so I will do a post on that in the next couple of days and that will be my last post on this topic for awhile.  And if you have any questions ask and I will answer them in the next post as well.


to live in a wonderful world

if you have a few minutes,
i put this video together of one of my favorite songs and
my daughter layla's photos {and a few of mine}...


to watch love's rhythm

I learn to love from the ocean,
crashing of waves upon golden brown shore,
receding of water's sparkle as it pulls back out,
never ceasing,
never changing.
the way I yearn for my love to be.

never changing,
never ceasing.