October 23, 2018

Simplicity, Waldorf and A Changed Perspective

Let me start by saying, this is not what I had planned for my day today. I had a list of things to do, none of which included writing a post. But, here I am.

Our son is 14, our daughter is almost 4. We recently tore out old carpeting from our daughter’s room and installed wood flooring. We still need to put trim back in her room and then we can put “everything back”. Except for one thing: I don’t want to put everything back.

A while back I picked up a book called Simplicity Parenting – Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne, M.ED., with Lisa M. Ross. Even though I loved the book when I started it, I got about a quarter of the way through and then set it down, to be left until now. I didn’t recall much of what I’d read before, so I started it again last night. Before we put things back in our daughter’s room, I wanted some guidance on how to sort all of her toys. I need to clarify, I have nothing against toys and I have no intention of leaving her with nothing, but I would just like to pare down to a few favorites that she can really play with.

Our kids are fortunate, they have everything they need and more. What I’ve been realizing though, is that the “more” part causes a lot of problems. She spends so much time looking for the toys she wants to play with rather than actually playing with them. All of the extras create clutter because we just don’t have the storage space for everything our house.

So, back to the book. I got a few pages in when I read that the many of the concepts of the book have their roots in the principles of Waldorf education. (Insert “love” here). Ahhhhh, Waldorf. This concept keeps popping up for me, maybe because I’ve been on a mission to simplify our home and our life, maybe because I’m constantly digging for ways to spend quality time with our kids, maybe because I miss the “simple” times of my childhood vs how things are now. In any case, Waldorf is popping up again. So last night I started looking up all of the Waldorf principles again and how I can apply them to our life, or at the very least that of our almost 4 year old’s.

This morning I even looked up “Waldorf bedroom”, just to see what was out there… (Yes, I was looking for the magic plan to make the sorting and clearing easier.) What I found in that search was even better. I found a picture of a little girls room. It was beautiful, simple, inviting. To be honest, I wanted her room! I followed the photo to a blog post written in 2013 about the bedroom. Turns out the author’s daughter was 4 at the time. I smiled. And then I searched the archives for more. I wanted to know what the rest of their house was like.

Instead, I found this post. It was beautiful. I could identify with the author so much about the rustiness of writing, but I also loved her perspective on working in her yard and on the home they just moved to. She has such a loving perspective on this work that it has completely shifted mine. I love to garden and I don’t even mind weeding so much, but I usually do it as more of a mission to improve rather than “a way of showing gratitude for all the beauty and life Mother Earth gives” as she put it. And to rake ruts from their driveway? I would feel defeat and frustration if a storm washed out our driveway, but she “felt purpose caring for their homestead created by other’s hands and hearts”. Wow! That perspective is beautiful.

I’ve heard others refer to cleaning their house as “blessing your home” and while it sort of made sense to me, it still felt like a task that needed to be done. But this perspective truly changes things for me. I love our home, I love the history of our home and am always searching for more information on who lived here, searching for old photos, wanting to learn more about life when our house was built (1940), why the rooms were laid out the way they were, but that blog post made a huge impact on me. I suddenly felt connected to our home without needing to know all of the answers. It makes me feel connected to the previous owners and want to care for our home and gardens in a different way, in more of a nurturing way.

So I set out to get help sorting my daughter’s toys and ended up with a beautiful, new perspective on caring for our home. I’d say this is starting off to be a pretty good day.

As for the book, it’s great! I’m going to keep reading. It covers simplification and why it’s good for children, soul fever, (home) environment, rhythm (of the family)and rituals, schedules (cutting out the “busy” and building in breaks) and filtering out the adult world. In a nutshell it’s about taking the reigns back and creating a more simple, better life for our kids. Who wouldn’t want that, right?

‘Til next time,

Kate

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November 9, 2017

My Authentic Self

In the past week I have been told four times that I am authentic. Four times! And that people like me for it! Prior to this I’m not sure I’ve ever been told that.

The funny thing is that just before each person told me that I am authentic, I had been feeling extremely self-conscious for what I had just gotten done saying.

Then I realized, with each of those situations, I had exposed myself, not literally, but figuratively. I had put it all out there and then envisioned myself ducking out of the way, sheepishly looking in people’s eyes for their disapproval, only to be met with smiles and the words “you are authentic”. Each time I took it as a compliment, but couldn’t help but wonder, why now? Am I not always being my authentic self? Maybe.

Growing up, I was shy. An introvert. (Still am.) I didn’t really put myself out there. I didn’t express my thoughts and opinions on most subjects with anyone other than family and close friends. I was afraid to. I was afraid people wouldn’t like me for those thoughts and opinions and I carried this with me for a long time.

People who were in my inner circles have always known the real me, but people on the periphery? I let them believe whatever their preconceived notion was.

A few years ago (that’s Kate-speak for I have absolutely no recollection when, but know it wasn’t in the recent past) I read something that highlighted the irony of what I’d been doing. I had been sheltering my real thoughts and feelings from most people I would meet, fearing if they knew what I really thought, they wouldn’t like me. I know I said this earlier, but I’m saying it again because the thought is ridiculous. If I was afraid they wouldn’t like me for who I was, why did I want to connect with them in the first place? By doing this, every conversation was uncomfortable because I didn’t say what I really thought, others made assumptions as to what I thought because I hadn’t expressed a difference in opinion in prior conversations and then they made more assumptions that I agreed with everything they said.

At one point in time this happened with my boss. She made assumptions about me, my thoughts and opinions, even my political viewpoints and assumed they were the same as hers, when in reality, I was pretty much on the opposite side of the spectrum, but afraid to speak my mind because I was afraid those differences could effect my relationship with her and ultimately my job. So I let it go on. Until one day I couldn’t. Unfortunately my timing stunk because another co-worker of mine was with us. I probably should have said something when it was just the two of us, but I didn’t. Lunch was going fine until the conversation turned to polítics. This was in the time frame when a woman from Alaska was running for office. My boss thought she was awesome. Me? Not so much. Although I was excited for a woman to be running for office, I thought she had just fallen off the crazy train and I didn’t want her representing me as a woman. So I voiced that. And my boss looked at me as though I had betrayed her. She thought, and assumed, that because I was a woman and because I hadn’t said anything differently in previous conversations, that I was in support of Crazy Train too. It wasn’t true. And I finally spoke my truth. I’m not sure why I waited for that moment. Maybe because my friend was with us, maybe because my soul had been screaming for so long that it couldn’t be silenced any longer, whatever the reason, it came out of me like a cat in a bathtub. And then I felt guilty. Guilty for not saying something earlier, guilty for having what I didn’t say, be a betrayal of friendship and good working relationship. Guilty for not being authentic from the beginning.

That may have been the turning point for me to always honor myself. I would love to say it was a conscious decision, but the reality is that it is something that evolved over time and that particular story had been sitting on a shelf, covered in cobwebs in the back of my mind until I started writing this.

Now I try to be conscious to share my thoughts and opinions and honor who I am, not only with my inner circle, but with everyone.

Being authentic is tough sometimes. It means exposing myself when I don’t know my audience and how they will respond. It means talking when sometimes I would rather not. But it also means I am at peace with myself. I’m being me. Authentically me and that feels good.

Kate

October 23, 2017

Let’s Talk About The Weather

I often wonder if talking about the weather is a normal thing or if it’s just a Minnesota thing. I’ve made assumptions that in Minnesota we talk about the weather in our daily conversations because at one point in time most of our state was farmland and it impacted the farmer’s lively hood (and still does for the farms that still exist.) But for the rest of us, who live in other more urban parts of the state, I assume that talking about the weather is one of those things that got handed down from previous generations like lopping-off the end of the ham before putting it in the pan only to find out years later that the only reason your mom lopped-off the end of the ham was because she didn’t have a pan that was big enough to fit the whole ham.

Or is it simply that living in Minnesota brings weather that makes you think a toddler is controlling the thermostat (85°, 45°, 75°, snowing!) and talking about it is like therapy.

Whatever the case, we tend to talk about the weather a lot in Minnesota, particularly during the change of seasons… or when it’s cold, or hot, or windy, or rainy. So basically every day.

Oh, and when a storm is brewing? “Weather” is coming. As if weather only comes on occasion, like an annoying relative you really prefer wouldn’t visit. Ever.

In the Twin Cities we’ve just had a beautiful, unseasonably warm, week of 75 degree days. It has been absolutely gorgeous! Tie that in with the peak fall colors and it really couldn’t have been any better. This season is so beautiful, it really is the primary reason I stay in the state. Seriously, if you’ve never been here in late September or early October, put it on your bucket list to visit. It’s also peak apple harvest, which makes it even better.

But as they say, all good things must come to an end. And it just so happens, I heard today that weather is coming. Yep. Not-so-great uncle Jack is making his way into town from Canada. And some of us, primarily from the Gardener side of the family, don’t really care so much for the Frost side of the family so we are less than excited about his arrival. But what’s worse than uncle frost is that I heard he might be bringing cousin Snow with him.

Seriously, I swear they were just here! I don’t know why they have to come back so soon. Why couldn’t they stay with North Dakota or Wisconsin this year?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate them, per se, and not everyone in our state dislikes them as much as us Gardeners. My son, for example, who obviously got most of his genes from the Skiier side of the family, actually like Jack and Snow. He loves it when they are here. Not me. I’m good with a short stay and then they could continue on, but every single time they come they stay forever. They don’t know when to leave!

But I guess there is one good thing about them… at least they give us something to talk about.

Til next time,

Kate

October 20, 2017

23 Minutes

I’ve been yearning to write again for a while. And by write, I mean here, on my blog. Or maybe a book, but that takes time. I don’t have much of that these days. I mean, we all have the same amount of time in a day, but the time I have to myself each day is very limited. When you have young kids that happens. My alarm clock says, “Momma!” and it goes off at very inconsistent times each day. Once I’m up, I have a little body with me at my side (or on my hip) nearly every minute of every day; while I dress, take a shower, even while I pee.

So when I say I don’t have much time alone, I really mean it. And to have time alone to write? Ha! Haha! Bwahaha!!! But wait.

No, it’s late.

But it’s quiet. Everyone is sleeping. I could write now, like I used to.

But you didn’t have to tend to a teen and a toddler when you used to write. Besides, being a night owl writer is no place for a Momma. Or is it the other way around? Okay, fine. You’ve got 23 minutes.

What could I possibly write in 23 minutes?

You won’t know until you try it. Let’s see what you can do.

Maybe there’s something to this though. Maybe if I could write for 23 minutes each day… who am I kidding, some days, one day(?!) a week I could dust off some of the cobwebs, loosen up the joints and work some of the rust out. Maybe, this becomes the 23 minute blog?

Maybe.

No seriously, maybe I could start to find that girl who used to write. She’s a little older now.

A little?!

Shut it. Yes, a little older. But the baby is nearly 3 and I just read that as a mom you should take 15 minutes a day for yourself to do something you enjoy. This would be an extra 8 minutes.

Over achiever.

Whatever. I think I might try this. 23 minutes. I might be a fun experiment. I’m sure some days will be thin. Some may have writers block. I’m going to try it. We’ll see where it takes us.

Til next time.

Kate