Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ginny's Yarn Along

In joining with Ginny's Yarn Along this week, I am writing an article on the "needles" that will be found at The Wonder of Childhood on April first for the official launch of the first edition of the magazine. I'm very excited about that! A simple Easter knitting project will be there too, but it's off the needles now.

I have been playing with dye baths for wool roving this week, first with espresso coffee drips, then added walnut hulls and black tea for a deeper brown to make a felted bulb child. I got a warm brown in the end and am going to put some yarn in there today and see how that comes out. The dyed wool is here if you'd like to see it.

The book on my night stand is Anita Shreve's, The Last Time They Met. I am finding it so engaging, really engaging. I love the quirkiness of her writing and characters. They seem to reveal so much about human nature. I have read several of her books and find myself completely enthralled after an uncertain start.

I did see the movie version of Eat, Pray, Love this week (I mentioned it in my last Yarn Along post.) I watched it all the way through, unlike the book and  liked it so much better than the little bit of book I had read. How can the worst book go wrong with Julia Roberts as the main character?

Until next week!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Luck, Wonder and Saint Patrick's Day

Dear Readers,

Come on over and have a sneak peek into The Wonder of Childhood!

I am still loading articles and polishing the edges but there is a great deal of material waiting for you.

David Sewell McCann of Sparkel Stories, has an article for parents on The Four A's of Intuitive Storytelling, and in the article you will have the good luck of coming upon his story on luck, a speacial story for this day on Luck.

Feel free to share the link and we'd love to read your comments in the comment boxes. The clouds above will float you there with a click.

Warmly, Lisa

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yarn Along

In joining Ginny's Yarn Along , I'm sharing a book that I am a few pags short of finishing and reluctant to end because it has been such a pleasure to read. I have to admit that when I began this book, I was skeptical and thought not another American in Tuscany. Yes, judging without knowing for I could not endure Eat, Pray, Love and quit reading that, something I almost never do, no matter how dull I find the book. I have no idea why so many people have glomped onto it.

Marlena DiBlasi's, A Thousand Days in Tuscany, is a sweet  reflection on slow life in a small Tuscan village, complete with sage people, recipes and growth through relationships, both present and past.

On the needles is a little project for The First Grader and Handwork, a companion piece to Eugene Schwartz's multimedia presentation on The First Grader which will be published in The Wonder of Childhood, the online magazine dedicated to parenting, Waldorf education, living and nourishment which is about to have its soft opening........shhh

For updates on the opening of The Wonder of Childhood, watch the FaceBook Page.

Blessings with prayer and love and light to all the people of Japan,


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happiness is a Compost Bucket

When I was young and imagined my life as an adult, I saw myself living in a big city like Paris, New York or San Francisco, doing deeply meaningful work, wearing stylish clothing, discussing politics and working for causes I believed in and going to parties where people said witty things. 

The urge to have children had not hit and I did not envision children in my life although I seemed to attract children to me throughout my life. I imagined this adult world as a grown up. My work as a midwife was focused on the mom- to- be and her partner.

Fast forward this picture through relationships with men who wanted to have children and fairy tales and a home with a hearth and settling down with one who seemed to share my values. Fast forward to the birth of my first child. Pregnancy changed my body each day in ways I never imagined. I ate with a hunger I had not known before. I feel asleep on the sofa after dinner. Basic need became primary.

Who would have known that becoming a mother would do that?

I remember the day after my first child was born. His dad had gone to work and I was sitting on the bed watching this new and precious being sleep peacefully. When I began to consider the enormity of the task that lay before me, I began to cry. This was a human being and my task was to introduce him to the world. About diapers and feeding and creating a home, I felt excited and capable. But his soul, I had no idea how I, a mere person would provide enough of the right thing for this child. I sobbed my worries out and  went on staring at him the way new mothers stare entranced with their newborns while they sleep, encased in a bubble of timelessness.

You may be wondering what does this all have to do with a compost bucket ?

I'm getting there.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I gave up coffee and carefully read all food labels for additives and artificial food coloring. These foods became repugnant to me and my body no longer wanted them. I even gave up M&M's. I chose the healthiest foods I could find and ate protein with every meal and slept early each night. I thought pleasant thoughts and was excited about becoming a mother.  I talked to my mom about mothering and grew closer to her through this.

When my first child was born, I knew that I would give my life to save this child if ever need be. I felt protective in ways I never imagined. I drove slower and more cautiously. I calculated risks that I had thought nothing about doing before like jumping off trestles and picking up hitchhikers. My life took on new meaning and purpose in such a simple and primal way. I drew stronger boundaries in my work and instantly realized the value of my time when it was weighed against caring for my child and homemaking. I realized that my mom was a really good mom and capable homemaker. I realized how large it is and how encompassing it becomes.

This past weekend when I went to the dump, I learned that the large compost buckets I had been waiting for, were in, the four gallon ones with the tight fitting lid. The dump man gave me one. My own five gallon bucket had split on the side and never fit right under the sink. My porch bin is full and it is too much to trek out to the bins with each meal's scraps with the snow and cold.

I am thrilled to find a compost bucket that is large enough to hold the scraps we produce and to fit under the sink. I am thrilled to be home with my second grader, homeschooling him. I am thrilled when my teenager asks me to sit with him and help with his homework. I am thrilled to go outside and hear the birds and see a cardinal in the tree. I am thrilled for the sunbeams poring into the kitchen this morning.

Now I live in Northern Vermont, in this small rural, agricultural state. It is a huge big deal to throw a party and most likely it is a birthday party or lantern walk or cookout in the summer. That's what I can manage. Grown up time is scarce and precious. It's been ages since I've been in the city and I find the bigs ones overstimulating with children. When I took my first born to San Francisco, he was nearly three and I was afraid he might step on or pick up a syringe in my old neighborhood. The neighborhood looked so different through my eyes as a mother, filthy and fast paced. No where to roam freely on the sidewalks.

I do miss the pulse of urban life and experience it vicariously through my city friends. And today I am grooving on my new compost bucket which means gracefully turning our food scraps back into the earth which satifies me in ways I never imagined possible.

Who would have known?


Monday, March 14, 2011

The Moon Maiden, A Japanese Story

~ For those of you who may be seeking a story from Japan, this is a very old story that goes by many names. It makes a beautiful puppet story.

There dwelt once on the edge of the forest, at the foot of Fujiyama, a bamboo-cutter and his wife. They were honest, industrious people who loved each other dearly, but no children had come to bless them, and therefore they were not happy.

"Ah husband," mourned the wife, "More welcome to me than cherry blossoms in springtime would be a little child of my own."

One evening, she stood on the floor of her flimsy bamboo cottage and lifted her eyes toward the everlasting snows on the top of Fujiyama. Then, with swelling breast, she bowed herself to the ground and cried out to the Honorable Mountain:

"Fuji no yama, I am sad because no little head lies on my breast, no childish laughter gladdens our home. Send thee, I pray thee, from thy eternal purity, a little one to comfort me."

As she spoke, lo! from the top of the Honorable Mountain there suddenly sparkled a gleam of light as when the face of a child is lit by a beaming smile.

" Husband, husband, come quickly," cried the good woman. See thee on the heights of Fujiyama, a child is beaming upon me."

"It is but your fancy," said the bamboo-cutter and yet he added, "I will climb up and see what is there."

So he followed the trail of silvery light through the forest, and up above the steep slope where Fujiyama stood white and still above him. At last he stopped below a tall bamboo by the bank of a mountain stream, from whence the glow seemed to come. There, cradled in the branches of a tree, he found a tiny moon-child, fragile, dainty, radiant, clad in flimsy, filmy moon-shine, more radiant than any creature he had ever seen before.

"Ah, little shining creature, who are you?" he cried. " I am the Princess Moonbeam," answered the child. " The Moon Lady is my mother but she has sent me to earth to comfort the sad heart of your wife."

" Then, little Princess," said the Woodman eagerly, " I will take you home to be our child."

So the woodman bore her carefully down the mountainside.

" See, wife" he called, "what the Moon Lady has sent you."

Then was the good woman overjoyed. She took the little moon-child and held her close, and the moon-child's little arms went twining about her neck as she nestled snug against her breast. So was the good wife's longing satisfied at last.  

As the years passed by Princess Moonbeam brought nothing but joy to the woodman and his wife. Lovelier and lovelier she grew. Fair was her face, her eyes were shining stars and her hair had the gleam of a misty silver halo. About her, too, was a strange, unearthly charm that made all who saw her love her.

One day there came riding by in state, the Mikado himself. He saw how the Princess Moonbeam lit up the humble cottage and he loved her. Then the Mikado would have taken her back with him to court, but no! - the longing of an earthly father  and mother had been fulfilled, the Princess Moonbeam had stayed with them until she was a maiden grown, and now the time had come when she must go back to her sky mother, the Lady in the Moon.

"Stay, stay with me on earth," cried the Mikado.
"Stay, stay with us on earth," cried the bamboo-cutter and his wife.

Then the Mikado got two thousand archers and set them on guard close about the house and even on the roof, that none may get through to take her. But when the moon rose white and full, a line of light like a silver bridge sprung arching down from heaven to earth and floating along that gleaming path came the Lady from the Moon. The Mikado's soldiers stood as though turned to stone. Straight through their midst the Moon Lady passed and bent caressingly down for her long-absent child. She wrapped her close in a garment of silver mist. Then she caught her tenderly in her arms, and led her gently back to the sky. The Princess Moonbeam was glad to go back home, yet as she went, she wept silvery tears for those she was leaving behind. And lo!-her bright shining tears took wings and floated away to carry a message of love that should comfort the Mikado, and her earthly father and mother.

To this very day, the gleaming tears of the little Princess Moonbeam are seen to float hither and yon about the marshes and groves of Japan. The children chase them with happy eyes and say, " See the fire-flies! ow beautiful they are!" Then their mothers, in the shadow of Fujiyama, tell their children this legend--how the fire-flies are shining love messages  of the little Princess Moonbeam, flitted down to bring comfort to earth from her far off home in the silver moon.

With prayers and love and light to all the people of Japan....

Saturday, March 12, 2011


March roars in like a lion so fierce,
the wind so cold, it seems to pierce.
The month rolls on and Spring draws near,
and March goes out like a lamb so dear 
                              Lorie Hill

The month of March has rolled in with great ferocity here. Over three feet of snow have fallen and the wind has ripped along, creating beautiful snowscapes and drifts.

Our most recent snowfall was one of the greatest on record for March.

Moe is always happy for a romp in the snow.

I jumped for joy this week when I saw, for the first time this winter, sunbeams shining on the wall in the late afternoon. 

The sun is moving north despite the snow.

For now there is skiing and sledding and shovelling and the warmth and cosy feeling of being tucked in at home.

And prayers for Japan and the people there.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mardi Gras Parade

Waiting on the snowbank for the parade to start.

The bubble bus, spewing bubbles...

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Wonder of Childhood

Dear Readers,

In case you are wondering.....or have missed me.... I have been very quiet over here, with nary a post for some time. This corner has been a  bit like winter, seeming still and gray, yet beneath the surface the waters flow and great movement is taking place.

My time and energy has been focused on Celebrating the Rhythm of Life with Children, Caring for Children in March Guide and like the maple trees, the sap is rising with my new project, The Wonder of Childhood.

 The Wonder of Childhood is a monthly online publication devoted to questions and topics around parenting, Waldorf education, nourishment and living. Columnist from many walks of life and from all over have come together to contribute to this endeavor.

Here is a little peek into what is coming:

We spotlight a Waldorf early childhood program each month and bring you a glimpse inside. We'll go through aspects of the Waldorf curriculum over the coming year beginning with Grade One and extend across the curriculum to delve into handwork, games and movement, family reading. Our book review will focus on a book that is relevant to the grade we are exploring that month.

We have a very special column in which a homeschooling mom shares her journey of Waldorf homeschooling and how she came to it, what supports the work and a glimpse into what that looks like.

No work is complete with some food and emphasis on the role good eating plays in life. We have a columnist whose work is all about food and health. We have columns on luscious lunches and family suppers. We'll look at truth, beauty abd goodness in the lunchbox.

And lots, lots more.....

Thank you for your patience and stayed tuned for launch date and launch site.


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