Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 1 of 64 Days of Peace: Courage

Today we started our 64 days of non-violence. Today's focus was on courage. We talked about courageous people throughout history such as Martin Luther King Jr and Helen Keller. We also talked about the need to be courageous in our daily lives, courage for standing up for what is right and what we believe in. Each child lit a candle and made a silent wish for peace and 'courage' as we start this journey then they blew out there candle.

The Spirit gives courage to fainting hearts.
A seed is planted, watered by prayer, courage grows reaching ever toward the light.
Standing in God's love, risks can be taken without fear of failure, and without fear of success.
Courage is walking this life's journey peacefully with no fear of others or fear of yourself.
*** Kit Leamy

Friday, January 23, 2009

64 Days of Peace (Thanks Sadie!)

Join our family starting January 30th in celebrating 64 days of Peace and Non-Violence.
Sadie at has inspired me to take on the challenge (yes it IS a challenge) to be peaceful for 64 days and set a clear example to my children of the kind of persona I would like them to have throughout their lives.
Together this morning after reading her post and seeing her pictures, I laid aside the original plan for the day, broke out the construction paper and we created a peace flag together. We then wrote out and studied all 64 theme words and displayed them on a large tapestry and displayed it all together in the hall (where it cannot be missed)
There are booklets that you can print off for adults, teens and children that suggest an activity and quote to guide you through. They are in PDF form here:

WEEK 1 (1-7)Nonviolence begins with learning how to be less violent and more compassionate towards ourselves. We learn by building the courage to speak and act with respect, honor and reverence for our own being.
Day 1 – COURAGE (Jan. 30)
Day 2 – SMILING (Jan. 31)
Day 3 – APPRECIATION (Feb. 1)
Day 4 – CARING (Feb. 2)
Day 5 – BELIEVING (Feb. 3)
Day 6 -- SIMPLICITY (Feb. 4)
Day 7 – EDUCATION (Feb. 5)
WEEK 2 (8-14)Personal centeredness gives us the inner peace and calm to respond to situations with nonviolent means. Building that inner center is the first act of peace making.
Day 8 – HEALING (Feb. 6)
Day 9 –DREAMING (Feb. 7)
Day 10 – FAITH (Feb. 8)
Day 11 – CONTEMPLATION (Feb. 9)
Day 12 – GROUNDEDNESS (Feb. 10)
Day 13 – CREATIVITY (Feb. 11)
Day 14 – HUMILITY (Feb. 12)
WEEK 3 (15-21)By practicing nonviolence with ourselves, we begin to see how it might apply toward others. Each personal practice can be turned into a practice toward another. Try it.Day 15 – REVERENCE (Feb. 13)
Day 16 – GRATITUDE (Feb. 14)
Day 17 – INTEGRITY (Feb. 15)
Day 18 – FREEDOM (Feb. 16)
Day 19 – ACCEPTANCE (Feb. 17)
Day 20 – SELF-FORGIVENESS (Feb. 18)
Day 21 – INSPIRATION (Feb. 19)
WEEK 4 (22-28)“The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage they did not know they had.” -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Day 22 – MISSION (Feb. 20)
Day 23 – PRAYER (Feb. 21)
Day 24 – HARMONY (Feb. 22)
Day 25 – FRIENDLINESS (Feb. 23)
Day 26 – RESPECT (Feb. 24)
Day 27 – GENEROSITY (Feb. 25)
Day 28 – LISTENING (Feb. 26)
WEEK 5 (29-35)In order to create a peaceful world, we must learn to practice nonviolence with one another in our day-to-day interactions.
Day 29 – FORGIVENESS (Feb. 27)
Day 30 – AMENDS (Feb. 28)
Day 31 – PRAISING (March 1)
Day 32 – PATIENCE (March 2)
Day 33 – ACKNOWLEDGEMENT (March 3)
Day 34 – LOVE (March 4)
Day 35 – UNDERSTANDING (March 5)
WEEK 6 (36-42)To require others to change for us to be more peaceful does violence to us both. By choosing to be peaceful in relationship, we invite others to nonviolence in return.
Day 36 – MINDFULNESS (March 6)
Day 37 – GRACIOUSNESS (March 7)
Day 38 – KINDNESS (March 8)
Day 39 – DIALOGUE (March 9)
Day 40 – UNITY (March 10)
Day 41 – OPENNESS (March 11)
Day 42 – ACCOUNTABILITY (March 12)
WEEK 7 (43-49)Relationships based on nonviolence are built on the ability to see and understand another human being, whether or not we agree. Seeing people from our common ground gives us practice for bringing nonviolent actions, choices and behaviors into our communal life.
Day 43 – UNIQUENESS (March 13)
Day 44 – COOPERATION (March 14)
Day 45—MASTERY (March 15)
Day 46 – COMPASSION (March 16)
Day 47 – DISARMAMENT (March 17)
Day 48 – ECOLOGY (March 18)
Day 49 – HONOR (March 19)
WEEK 8 (50-56)Nonviolence challenges us to stand for Truth by taking action that honors the dignity and worth of every human being.
Day 50 – CHOICE (March 20)
Day 51 – ADVOCACY (March 21)
Day 52 – EQUALITY (March 22)
Day 53 – ACTION (March 23)
Day 54 – GIVING (March 24)
Day 55 – RESPONSIBILITY (March 25)
Day 56 – SELF-SUFFICIENCY (March 26)
WEEK 9 (57-63)Nonviolence challenges us to stand for Truth by taking action that honors the dignity and worth of every human being.
Day 57 – SERVICE (March 27)
Day 58 – CITIZENSHIP (March 28)
Day 59 – INTERVENTION (March 29)
Day 60 – WITNESSING (March 30)
Day 61 – PEACE (March 31)
Day 62 – COMMITMENT (April 1)
Day 63 – RELEASE (April 2)
WEEK 10 “Nonviolence should mean a complete freedom from ill-will, anger and hate and an overflowing love for all …. The nonviolence I teach is active nonviolence of the strongest. But the weakest can partake in it without becoming weaker.” – Mohandas K. Ghandi
Days 64 – CELEBRATION (April 3)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

House Blessing

Scattering herbs around our home.
Lighting a candle for passion and determination.

Sprinkling water to represent life and flexibility

Gold coin buried in a new house plant represents the richness of the earth

Burning incense to purify the air It doesn't seem possible but we have been out here in our new home for a whole year. Yesterday, January 19 marked the 1 year anniversary of the first night we spent here and what a night it was! In the middle of a West Virginia January, we moved in even though our furnace had not yet been installed...chilly but wonderful none the less. We slept on the sofa bed and the girls made a mattress nest on the bed room floor. Over the next few weeks we adorned the caramel walls with our art, hung plants in the windows and placed our furniture in the very best places to take in the breath taking view that lay right outside our door.
Watching all the seasons of this past year bring their own unique decor has been an amazing show, one that I will look forward to taking in again and again.
We have grown so much as a family now that we reside where family roots run deep. Laughter has echoed, tears have fallen, lessons have been learned and memories made.
To mark this important day in our lives we gathered some extended family for a brief but meaningful blessing of our home.
I have a large collection of herbs. I love their medicinal qualities, their soothing aroma and the flavor they bring to the pallet. I thought it only fitting to blend my most beloved herbs, throw in some goodies for the birds and scatter them, family in toe around the perimeter of our home. These are the herbs I used:

Mint for clarity and freshness

Basil for flavor

Cayenne for spice

Rosemary to revitalize

Anise for sweetness

Ginko to remember

Chamomile to calm

Red Clover to balance the female energy

Yarrow for healing wounds

Blessed Thistle for cleansing

Lavender for Harmony

After we came in and dusted the snow off, we blessed the interior of our home honoring the four elements. We all lit a white candle for fire to represent passion, perseverance and determination. We sprinkled lavender water in every room to represent life and fluidity. We buried a gold coin in a new house plant to represent the riches of our earth and burned a combination of sandalwood, frankincense and myrrh to purify the air and remember the freedom of the spirit.

Last but not least, Sam's mother, Janet read from the Bible and offered a prayer for Gods blessing on our house and our family.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The things that make a house a home.....

This antique rocking chair
This window The archways
My husbands dresser
Our bed

My favorite piece of driftwood
My self portrait
This painting
My lunar phase calender
My log candle holder

My favorite lampThis area above my stove
My Hindu Rope Plant (Hoya)

My Ugandan women mobileThis view
My front door

This spiral
These are just things and if they were all in the house together without our family, they would be meaningless. However, we surround ourselves with things that we deem beautiful to create a place of peace and harmony to go through life in. I am so thankful for our home, to have a place of soul-nourishing beauty to grow old with my husband, play with our dog and raise our girls for many years to come.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone! I wanted to share with you some new year traditions that we started this year. Our gigantic Christmas tree was fading so Sam fired up the jig saw, loped off the branches and the girls delighted in heaving them out the window.

We all took turns writing new years wishes down on paper and carefully folded them and tucked them into our coat pockets.

Then we went outside and gathered the pine boughs and carried them over the hill to the burn pile.

It took no more than one little match and a gentle breeze for every branch to be aflame. We sat and drank hot tea, breathed in the scent of crisp winter air and smokey pine and waited for the fire to die down.

We all took turns tossing are wishes for the new year into the fire and watched as our longings for each other rose into the air.

I made the journey up the hill to check on the hoppin john while the girls took a frosty spin on the tire swing.