Winter Solstice

This year solstice finally made sense to me.

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the rising sun.  i took this years ago when i was struggling with my newborn son who never slept.  talk about beginnings forged in fire…

We were invited to come together with our community in a beautiful, heart felt ceremony of renewal and human connection to nature.  For me, this was new year’s eve.

Our host had set up a table for the kids to craft lanterns, complete with battery powered tea lights, mod podge, brushes and colored tissue paper to paste onto jars, and wire to make a handle with.

IMG_0355There was also a beeswax candle making station were we rolled sheets of beeswax around a long wick, and a table with slips of paper for us to write down some things we want to shed or things we want to increase in the new year.  These words we wrapped in white linen along some herbs and tied with string to be tossed into the waiting bonfire.

What a beautiful thing to do for solstice!  It was inspiring, all the thought that went into this evening.

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When all the writing and pasting was done and every hand held a candle, we went out to the bonfire around which (you can see this in the pic above) a spiral path toward the fire was made with pine boughs.

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The kids lined up first (little ones had parents to help them) and after our host shared a beautiful poem about making peace with the darkness as well as the light in all of us, we all walked the spiral inward toward the fire and put our small linen bag of thoughts and herbs into the fire.

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I love this symbolism of letting go, turning hopes into smoke that rises upward  into the universe and burning up the heavy burdens we had carried from last year.

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We lit our beeswax candle from this common flame and when everyone was ready we stood together as a community and it was lovely.

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snow love

I grew up in Michigan with winters that often mounded street corners with snow, and the sound of snow plows in the morning meant possibly that school was closed.  I remember so clearly how warm snow is when you build a little snow hovel and lay down in it in your snow suit.  I love snow days.  I wish our current state got more of them, but when they do come we live it up.

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snowy sunrise on our street

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Laila is truly an experience seeker, a sensation seeker. She demands to go out and feel the snow in her bare feet at 7am whenever we have snow (or rain for that matter, or even frost).

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making big plans, diagramming a path for sleds in our yard…

Sledding at a nearby playground turned ski slope!

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I only had my iphone with me the evening I went to work and saw this.  I am trying to capture the steel grey of the frozen drainage pond.  The color was very quiet, like the rest of the air around me.  I could hear a faint cracking sound as things froze in the sudden cold snap.

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and when I left work, the snow was coming down hard.  I drove under 20mph the entire way home.

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and I still love snow days.

Birthday Girl

Out in the parenting wilderness, wandering by design, sometimes happily lost, there is no shortage of moments worth recording.  But then it’s snack time, and someone needs a hug, the dishes pile up, 6 baskets of laundry getting dug through for clean clothes (“Mama I don’t have ANY UNDERWEAR!”), and we need to paint and draw (“Mama I drew with my cheese stick!  Cheese can DRAW!”) and glue and sticker and get out the door before it’s snack time again.

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chalk on windows is nice…and I hear that cheese draws on windows, too….

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Laila self portrait in cheese and chalk

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Transmission from the wilderness:

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Laila turned 4.  She is 4 years old and now she says things like, “I can do it because I am big.  I am strong and I can do anything” and she names her stuffed animals funny things like “Unigrape” (a purple floppy unicorn) and “Ponycorn” (another unicorn).  She also wants her hair pulled back in “pones” (her slang for the traditional pony tail).

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birthday gift: a costume I made her for her birthday from a dress we found on consignment. I “bejewled” it for her, made the headband with feathers from a craft store, and put a big brooch on a chain for the necklace. She wore this to school

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on this particular day, she wanted her hair to look like “kitty ears” for school. Mama was more than happy to try and oblige!

 

Her birthday party is yet to come, but her smaller family celebration on the day of her birthday included making a cake to her specifications:  a vanilla, chocolate chip, raspberry, strawberry cake with sparkly candles.

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Check.
Gluten free, dairy free, grain free, maple syrup sweetened awesomeness.

Laila is someone I am both in awe of and feel fiercly compelled to protect.  People say she has such a “spark”.

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self portrait

Her spark is a raging fire of creativity, daring physical feats, self confident leaps in development and very soft, very vulnerable, very sweet little girl moments of light and love and asking the big questions.

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dressed for a tea party with her dog, “Chica”

Her huge blue eyes shine from the moment she wakes up, and she always has a plan for something great to happen.  Every day.

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birthday breakfast of buckwheat pancakes in the shape of Minnie Mouse… close enough…

Oh, she just woke up and joined me!  Here is Laila right this minute, fresh out of bed:

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see what I mean?

What I know is she will do great things, she has the power to be a force for good in the world, she will be brilliant and I want to hold her in my lap, in my arms, for as long as she will let me.  After that, I want to give her a boost to any height she needs help reaching and hope that she will always know I love her.  I love her endlessly.

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Yoga, Mama?

I have been meditation more and more consistently than I ever have before in my life. 2 times a day.  It is amazing the difference it makes in my day.  My mental image is that in those 20 minutes of meditation, my surface mind begins to sink into deeper layers of mind that are always talking in the background.  Then those layers get heavy and they sink with the surface mind even deeper, to a level where things that need to be repaired, renewed are circulating.  And in that silence, the renewal happens to whatever degree it happens.

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us this morning. right now.

How to do this with 2 kids has not been easy.  I get up before them (5am) and I sit beside them as they fall asleep.  In those 2 spaces, there is enough time and quiet to meditate.