Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What I've learned from my Waldorf friends...

St. Lucia Day.

So this might be the start of a series....I hope this will be the start of the series, but I make no promises about that.  But I would like to (for my benefit as well as your edification!) acknowledge the fact that my thoughts are largely not my own, but rather a swirled up stew of the very best bits of some of the very best people and experiences that God has blessed me with.  I have so often been surrounded with really brilliant, lovely, thinking people and found myself awed and touched by the many gifts they have brought to my life.  So, I'll start today with my Waldorf friends....

If you don't know what a Waldorf-style education is, you should.  Like anything in life, there are some aspects of it that don't really sit well with me and my understanding of God, creation and children - but that's to be expected....anything made by  man is by necessity flawed.  But here's a little link for you to get some basic understanding: .  One of the best things about Waldorf education is the toys and crafty stuff - check out, (really lovely preschool curriculum written by my brilliant friend, Annette),, and (just to name a few) for some really lovely play and create things.

But it's the gentleness of it that really speaks to me lately - the idea that each child, each person takes time and space and guidance to unfold like a lovely flower opening.  And that each bud and flower is different, thus each child has sincere, individual needs that can only be discovered and met by close, consistent and careful listening.  That learning is a gentle process of first self-discovery (what can I do for myself, what can I accomplish, what beauty can I contribute?) and then a process of understanding how the self  fits into the community (how can my gifts by used to help and serve, how can my accomplishments benefit others, how can my creativity be a gift to others?).  And that children should be surrounded with natural, beautiful things - objects that are close to the way that God made them, that are full of imaginative potential, that have many uses, that stretch the mind, that encourage loving and communitarian play. 

And these thoughts are all such a far cry from the way that our flashy, cartoony, high-pressure American culture would bend and push us to raise our kids....with the mindset that they must excel, they must win, they must achieve, they must fit in, they must meet this standard at this time (obviously, I'm painting this with broad strokes...but, stereotypes are based in fact....).  And if your child fits all that and thrives in that, good for you and for kids don't (we found this out by trying on K12 cyberschool for size this year.....a great program - for someone else!). 

I'll end with an example.....December 13 is St. Lucia's Day which we celebrated this year for the first time (another Waldorf bonus - lots of fun holidays and traditions to celebrate!).  St Lucia was a Sicilian saint (which makes it an interesting question as to why she is so popular in Scandinavia.....but, I digress) who is celebrated, in part, because of her commitment to caring for members of the early Christian church who, under persecution, were hiding in catacombs.  She is traditionally pictured with a wreath of candles on her head as this was the way she lit her path through the underground passages since her hands were full of food that she carried faithfully to her brothers and sisters in Christ. 
On St. Lucia's Day, we talked about the light of Christ that we reflect in a broken and dark world, about how we can be light-bearers to those around us, and about how the light and love of God shines every day and in every circumstance.  Three days later, my father-in-law - my girls' beloved Pap - passed from this life to the next.  And two days after that, my grandmother also passed away.  It was a bleak, terrible, dark week.  But we had the reminder of a festival just passed, the gentle light of hope and joy and faithful provision in our minds and the example of a saint long-gone to provide strength, courage and direction.

So, we are slowing down.  We're watching a lot less TV (a painful transition).  We're knitting and sewing and re-acquainting ourselves with handiwork and watercolor painting.  And we are working on our gentleness. 

So, thanks Annette. And thanks, Heidi. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

weekend plans

So, what's up around here this weekend?  Not much.

Big Sarge is on base for drill.

We're doing mountains of laundry, cleaning bedrooms and with a little luck, I will actually get our cyberschool stuff REALLY packed up and REALLY shipped back.

Also school planning, knitting, and cooking supper for my Mom tonight.

Church tomorrow - both can't wait and dread it....I'm in a tender, discouraged spot these days so good teaching is a little hard to hear (even though I need it)....and I suspect I over-shared at Bible study this week and feel a little foot-in-mouth about it.

Blessed weekend to both my readers out there....whatcha doing these days?

Friday, January 11, 2013

A sigh of relief

Psalm 143

New King James Version (NKJV)

An Earnest Appeal for Guidance and Deliverance

A Psalm of David.

Hear my prayer, O Lord,
Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me,
And in Your righteousness.
2 Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no one living is righteous.
3 For the enemy has persecuted my soul;
He has crushed my life to the ground;
He has made me dwell in darkness,
Like those who have long been dead.
4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
My heart within me is distressed.
5 I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your works;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
6 I spread out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah
7 Answer me speedily, O Lord;
My spirit fails!
Do not hide Your face from me,
Lest I be like those who go down into the pit.
8 Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.
9 Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies;
In You I take shelter.
10 Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.
11 Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake!
For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.
12 In Your mercy cut off my enemies,
And destroy all those who afflict my soul;
For I am Your servant.
God, I know you are there....I can remember those bright, blessed, unmistakable moments when I saw and knew and felt your amazing presence in me and my circumstance.  I go back to those places and times and bathe in that close, tangible living warmth. 
But, today?  Today?  I am reaching out for you in silence....silence because my heart is so heavy and burdened and angry and discouraged that there is barely room for breath in me.

I am parched.  I can barely move through this day.  This week.  This life.  I am reaching, reaching, reaching for you.  Finally seeing my desperate, unending, life-giving need for You, my Savior.

Answer speedily.  I know that I won't wake up tomorrow and find all in order, all redeemed, all perfect.  But just to wake up in freedom, in joy, without feeling like I'm fighting for each single breath.  For each kind word I share.  For each pasted on smile to celebrate a victory in another's life.

I know what I need is a redeemed heart.  I need to know what I am to do - and the gift of humility to do it.  I need to know your will.  Your truth.  Your mercy. Because at the end of the day, I am YOUR servant.  Not my servant.  Or the world's.  Or even my children's.  But YOUR servant.

Revive me, O Lord, for your name's sake.