Sunday, December 3, 2017
It was a weekend full of traditions in our home. From hiking out back to find the perfect little tree and adding the handmade ornaments my little man and I made when he was three, to the return of the Advent gnome and his scrolls, to the Advent spiral on our table and the beginning of the journey to Christmas day.
This time of year is steeped in tradition for most families, and we are no exception. I often wonder at what age my little man will decide the Advent gnome is too young for him. I thought maybe this year, but when I asked I got a very enthusiastic response that he is definitely not too old for the Advent gnome. And his excitement over the spiral and our Christmas tree hike was just as enthusiastic. As his mama, and one who loves these traditions and this time of year, I am over the moon that he stills enjoys our traditions.
Over the next few weeks other traditions will be a part of our days, things my little man now remembers from year to year. Our drive along Old Scugog Road to see the Christmas lights, our outing to buy hats and mitts for those in need, a trip into the city for the Toronto Christmas Market, decorating our Solstice tree, and of course our Solstice fire, complete with sparklers. There is baking to be done and friends to visit, hikes to enjoy and movies to watch. And hopefully there will be outdoor ice skating and a little snowshoeing too.
As things quiet down a little bit for me with work, and the darkness descends as we move towards the darkest day, I find myself craving space and comfort. I think that's why these traditions hold so much value for me, there is solace in returning to them, year after year, a feeling of familiarity that brings great joy to my heart.
What traditions are you returning to this year? Have you added any new ones?
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
The leaves are gone, my friends, and we have had our first snowfall. It was magical, and pretty, and reminded me why I love the shifting seasons so much.
It is not only seasons that shift, but we do too, and lately I have been shifting. The shift feels good, and has me feeling centered and grounded in a way I haven't been for quite some time. The shift began a few weeks ago when I attended a women's retreat. During that weekend I dove deep into my truth, and peeled back more of the layers to find me. It's a process, discovering who you really are, finding the woman who is hiding under all the "stuff" we are told we need to be. It's been interesting, healing and inspiring.
Can I share with you how incredible a women's retreat is? It was my first one, and while I circle with my tribe of women monthly, and I have an amazing network of friends who love and support me, the retreat was a totally different experience. To be offered a sacred space to work out what's deep inside, to be held by beautiful women as you move through a range of emotions, to be able to cry, laugh, scream, dance, and feel safe doing so....that is an incredible feeling and one I think every woman should experience at least once in her lifetime. I know, without a doubt, I will be doing another retreat.
Life on the homestead is full. There are still chickens roaming around, a dog, a cat and her two litters of kittens and the various wild animals that wander around. It's fun, and exciting, and very funny at times. My little man loves it, and for that reason alone it is worth it.
For the last five months I have had a pile of garbage, a large pile of garbage, sitting on my driveway as I clean out space here on my land. When you live in a space for a long time stuff piles up. Now most of this stuff was indeed waste that should have been tossed a long time ago, but it wasn't and was left to pile up in the garage. And so slowly it has been cleaned out, and garbage piled, waiting for the day when I could have it collected. Well that day came last week, and I can't begin to tell you how freeing it was to have it all taken away. It was amazing, and I now have my driveway back.
Cleaning up this land and space is a process, creating what I want here takes time, but I have dreams and visions of what this space will become, of what it will offer, not only to my little man and myself, but all those that come here to share in our journey. It's exciting to think about the plans, to dream and I know it will be exciting to bring it all to fruition.
I continue to work and live here on the homestead. Four days a week I have kiddos here, and together we learn and grow. We wander the woods, we keep nature journals, we craft, we play, we learn how to get along with others, we share stories, and we have fun. My little man is blessed with an amazing group of children that share in his days, and I am grateful for that. On the weekends I offer circles for young girls, mentoring them as they transition from childhood to young womanhood. I can't share how gratifying this work is....it fills my heart and soul with such joy. I am ever so grateful to the families that allow me to walk this path with their daughters. And here and there I still offer workshops on various topics including soap making, herbal medicine, self care product making and more, and I continue to sell the products I make. I am passionate about all of it, and while it is the way I support my little man and myself, I am hard pressed to call it work.
Did you know boys eat a lot? Like.....a lot. There are days I wonder where he puts all the food he eats. Last night we had dinner, he ate every last bit of food on his plate....which by the way was homemade pizza, homemade sauerkraut and pickles, and a cucumber salad....and not even five minutes after getting up from the table, asked for a snack. I am not kidding. And he is only nine! What's gonna happen when he is a teenager.
We celebrated Martinmas on the weekend, one of my favourite festivals. We made our lanterns, and together the two of us lit them, sang our lantern song and shared the story of St. Martin. Our lanterns still sit on our dining room table, shining bright, reminding us that our inner light is strong and that we need to shine it bright during this dark time of the year.
I am grateful. For various reasons, which I cannot share in this space, life has been hard, but I am here. I am staying true to who I am in this beautiful mess called life. I am living my truth, and sharing my passions with others. I wake every day happy to be where I am, to be living this life, to be sharing my gifts. I have an amazing son who reminds me every day what a blessing it is to be alive and to be a mother. I have the most incredible tribe of women who love me and support me. I have a loving family who has stepped up and helped in ways I will never forget. This life, my life, is messy, it is hard, but it's mine and I couldn't be happier or more grateful for this path and the lessons I am learning along the way.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
There are certain times each year I find myself reflecting, and early November is one of those times because it marks one of the biggest, most life changing moments of my life...it marks the beginning of my journey as a Mother.
My little man celebrated nine trips around the sun the other day, nine!!!! Can you believe that? I am still in the stage of how the heck is he nine, but here we are. I have tried my best to move slowly on this journey, to soak up each and every moment, and yet here I stand amazed at how fast time is moving. Each year seems to come at me faster and faster, and no matter what I do, or how many times I remind myself to slow down and take it all in, it still feels like a blur.
How did nine years pass by? How is it I still feel like a newbie in my role as Mother? And why, after nine years don't I have all the answers? I have come to accept that there is no way to be the perfect Mother because I am forever a student in this role. Every day I wake with no idea of what I will be expected to deal with. Some things are tiny, I handle them, pat myself on the back and move on. But some things are big, really big. And like the small things I handle them, pat myself on the back, and then question myself. Did I handle that well? Was it right? Was it good enough? I am sure every Mother does exactly the same thing, at every stage, from infancy to adulthood. It comes with the territory, doesn't it? Forever wondering if what we are doing is the "right" thing. But is there a "right" thing?
I have been reflecting on that a lot lately, as well as the journey of the last nine years, and I know now that I will never have it all figured out because, as a Mother, I am always learning. I am always growing. I am always changing. The gift of being a Mother is that each and every day I am allowed to take what I have learned from the day before and apply it to a new day. I am blessed with the best teacher in the world, for this little being has so much to teach me. And so I do what every Mother before me has done, I step forward, lessons in hand, and strive to be the best I can be for the little man who has chosen me to journey with him. Will it be perfect? Not a chance. Will I make mistakes? You bet I will. Will I ever figure it all out? Nope. But I will Mother in a way that feels true to my heart, and in a way that best supports the beautiful soul I am lucky enough to Mother.
As he begins his tenth trip around the sun I couldn't be more proud of the little man I am raising, and the young man that is beginning to shine through. He is loving and kind. He is honest and genuine. He is strong and resilient. He is creative and smart. He has a beautiful heart and a laugh that warms my heart and soul. He reminds me every day to live fully, to be present, to slow down. He is the greatest teacher I have ever had. He is an amazing human, and I am one lucky mama to be walking beside him on his journey.
Sunday, September 17, 2017
The first week of nature school is done, and all in all, it was a great week! There has been a slight shift in the days here on the homestead brought on by an increase in the children I have joining me, and the range in ages. It became clear to me late last spring that it would be difficult to have a formal main lesson not only because of the variety of ages, but mostly because all of the children are only here one or two days per week and homeschooling in such varied ways at home. So, I shifted and decided to move to a nature school format, and it's amazing. As we always have, we start our day in the woods, but now we spend a bit more time there. We wander, climb trees, build forts and stop to get a closer look at anything that captures our attention. Then back to the homestead for a snack and journaling before lunch. After lunch free play, read aloud and craft time, with a little more free play before heading home. It feels good, flows well, and so far the children are loving it.
I have loose themes for each week....last week and this coming week are all about mapping. Mapping the homestead and the forest we walk, using old maps for our crafts, learning the directions and more. We will then move on to four weeks of gardening where it will be a little more hands on....meaning the kiddos will be in the garden with me harvesting, cleaning, prepping, planting garlic and bulbs, and learning the ins and outs of seed to plate. And the weeks move on in that way, with a theme and activities and crafts based on that theme.
Of course I'm sure you are wondering when my little man does his lessons. We are bookending our days with more formal lessons. So before the children arrive we do some math, and language arts, and after they are gone we do a little more. We are both enjoying that rhythm so far, and will see how it goes. I think what we both love about it is that this is the first time since we started homeschooling that it is just him and I for lessons. He loves the attention, who wouldn't, and I love really focusing on him during this time. Right now we are doing lots of review and read aloud, and will continue for another week before moving into some new things.
So, here I am, first week done, about to move into the second week. It feels right, for this time and place. I have lots of ideas and dreams about the path forward with nature school, but for now I am taking it one day at a time, focusing on the present and keeping those ideas and dreams alive in the back of mind.
Has school or homeschooling shifted for you this year? How is it going?
Thursday, September 7, 2017
Oh September, how I adore you. You bring darker mornings, and earlier sunsets. You start the day with a chill in the air, allowing the sun to slowly warm the earth. You bring forth a sense of renewal, and transition. You remind us to connect to what is most important to us. You call on us to realign ourselves with our dreams and goals. You are a quiet pull, gently tugging us inward.
I have been sinking into September, in the way I usually do, by shifting things in our home here and there, creating a cozy and comfortable space for my little man and I. The curtains that are pulled back all summer long to let in the summer sunshine, are released. The blankets and quilts are being pulled out, draped across the sofa, and used on a regular basis. The hand knit shawls are finding their way to my shoulders more often. More candles are out, and being lit in the early morning and again as the sun goes down. A cup of tea is always close by, and the kitchen has come alive with soup, chili and curry. In essence, I am beginning the move into hibernation.
I feel it every year as the weather shifts, the pull to tuck myself away, body, mind and soul. To reconnect to me. To find more moments of stillness and quiet. To turn inward, deeply. To create more time and space for reflection. I relish this time, and love the gentle nudge to retreat. This rhythm of mine, connected to the shift that happens in September, brings me solace, and always serves as a reminder that we are deeply connected to Mother Earth, and her rhythms.
How is September treating you so far, my friends? Are you retreating, feeling the shift of September and the transition it brings?
Friday, September 1, 2017
Water....just the sight of it and I can feel a certain peace wash over me, so you can imagine how a day on the water might affect me. If you guessed by the end of the day I was happy, relaxed and feeling fully alive, you guessed right. Last week I had the pleasure of spending a day on the water with a friend, and to say my soul was happy at the end of the day would be an understatement. I know I am not the only one who feels, so deeply, the healing power of water, and I know every time I am near the water I feel more relaxed, tuned into my true self, and more fully alive, but goodness every time it takes me by surprise just how magical it feels.
The day was spent on the beautiful lakes of the Kawartha's, moving through the lock system into three different lakes and back again. The afternoon began on Lower Buckhorn Lake, then onto Lovesick Lake and finally Stoney Lake, before heading back. With cottages lining the lakes, and little islands, some with cottages, some without, all along our journey, I sat back and tried to take it all in. Mother Nature is truly stunning, and I was gifted so much beauty that I am still in a place of awe thinking about the experience.
On Stoney Lake, on a small island, there sits a church, a church! We docked the boat, and took a quiet little tour. It's a little church, but it feels so majestic and magical. Every where I looked as I walked around little things caught my attention...the way the windows opened, that craftsmanship, the way the breeze blew in, the plants lining the paths as we exited the church and wandered the island, and so much more. The simple beauty of this building surrounded by water was stunning.
After visiting this island, we toured the water, stopped for a picnic at another little island, watched as mama osprey sat guarding her babies, stopped at a dockside restaurant for tea, and then witnessed the most beautiful sunset as we headed back, my heart happy and soul filled.
There was a certain simplicity to this day, an ease and slowness that allowed room for moments of awe and inspiration. There was no time limit, except the setting sun, and there was no rush to get home, instead there were the simple pleasures of sinking into the moment, being fully present, and letting my heart and soul fully connect to the magic around me....a true gift.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
And what I have learned. Well, the biggest lesson is that the Universe always, and I mean always, has my back. I talked about the abundance in my life in my last post, and while I have done some work to welcome that abundance, a lot if it has made it's way into my life in ways I can't explain. Magical ways. People, and experiences have come into my life and left me in awe at the perfect timing, sharing with me what I need right in that moment.
That is a hard concept for a person, who feels like she seemingly has control over everything, to wrap her head around. But when the Universe keeps doing it, sending you what you need, when you need it, you accept what it has to offer, and you also learn the art of surrendering.
So, many times, more so in the last six months, I have learned to surrender. To let come to me what is intended to come, and to let go of things I thought I wanted, but didn't come to me. Now that is not to say I am not an active participant in my life. I still have dreams and goals, and every day I take another step or two towards those dreams, but I am also open to receiving the gifts of the Universe, to allowing the abundance it has to offer into my life, and to work with it instead of against it. And in doing so this new path, one I never intended to walk, is happy, bright, and full of unexpected blessings, all because I have gotten out of my own way, and surrendered.
How are you at surrendering? Do you get out of your own way and allow the Universe to share it's gifts with you?
Friday, August 25, 2017
Hello there, it seems I have let summer pass and not stopped into this space, or yours. Sorry for my absence, it was not intentional, many times I thought to pop in with some photos, or an update, but then the day would pass and I would find myself at the end of the day wanting only to chill with a cup of tea before crashing into bed.
It has been a full summer, in so many ways, and I don't really even know where to start. Let's start with summer camp here on the homestead. It was amazing! Three days a week I hosted three different camps on my land. Tuesday was Kids Herbal Camp, Wednesday was a Nature Camp, and Thursday was an Arts and Crafts Camp. Kiddos joined me each day and together we explored in the woods, created, played, and enjoyed the beautiful July summer days. It was busy, in the best way, and I was sorry on the last day of camp that it was over. I took a week off after that, and then ran a three day camp for girls. There are really no words to describe the beauty of this camp. Young girls gathering, exploring in the woods, creating and crafting, and playing all while showing the greatest love and kindness to each other. It was a special three days, it made my heart so very happy, and on that last day when all the girls had gone home I cried....because it was over, and I so didn't want it to be over.
And since girls camp finished I have been off, enjoying time with my little man, working in the garden, putting food by, hiking, and soaking up the last bits of summer. I have been doing a little work getting ready for the launch of my new nature school in September, and preparing for my newest venture, running circles for young girls, playing a small role in guiding them through the transition from childhood to young womanhood with a program called Circle of Friends. Girls summer camp was the first step in the direction to Circle of Friends, and cemented my intentions to move forward on this journey, supporting and mentoring young girls. I have been working on this since last summer, studying online to become a mentor, and finishing my course a few months ago. I feel strongly pulled to this work, and look forward with excitement to see where it takes me.
You will notice in the photos that my little man isn't so little anymore, how exactly does that happen? I do my best to soak up every moment but still the years seem to fly by, and he changes and grows and I wonder how I missed it. This summer he passed two swimming levels, spent a lot of time with friends, soaked up a few beach days, climbed trees, hiked and explored, created and crafted, and so much more. We have been watching the Little House on the Prairie series this summer and he loves it, and we have been following Amazing Race Canada, which he is super excited about. He continues to amaze me as I watch him unfold into the beautiful human he is meant to be. Walking with him on this journey is the greatest honour, and I thank my lucky stars every day that he chose me as his mother. I still call him my little man, or my baby, but he always reminds me that he isn't my baby anymore. I remind him he will always be my baby, and he just laughs.
And me, well I hope the title of this post gives you an idea of how I am doing. I am feeling the abundance of life this summer. From the amazing support of wonderful families who support what I do here, to beautiful friends who continue to love and support me, to deepening relationships with both old and new friends, to feeling like life post divorce is coming together as the Universe intended it to. Abundance has been flowing in every direction of my life, and I have opened myself up to receiving. And that feels amazing!
In full disclosure, I will be completely honest and share with you that even with all the abundance there are still struggles, but by noticing the abundance and taking time to offer gratitude for all that has come my way, those struggles seem like little bumps in an otherwise pretty awesome journey. Single parenting is challenging at times, making ends meet financially is challenging sometimes, finding time for myself can be challenging, taking care of the demands of my homestead is challenging some days, but they are simply challenges that force me to find solutions, to think outside the box, to discover new ways to live this life I want to lead. This is the life I want to lead, I know that, and so every day I make it happen, one little step at a time. Some days are easier, some days are a little harder, but it's happening and if I focus on that I am more aware of the abundance in my life, and I can allow it to fill me up, and remind me that the struggles are just avenues to teach me to surrender and eventually they lead to growth.
So, my friends, how are you? What have you been up to this summer? I will do a little blog hopping this weekend, and take a peek to see what you have been up....so excited to catch up with all of you.