Sunday, January 18, 2015


I just finished Alan Watts' The Wisdom of Insecurity.  All I can say is, "wow."  I couldn't read it too fast or all at once--lots and lots to chew on here.  He was such well-studied man--once an Episcopal Priest, well versed in science and also Asian religions and traditions.  He gives me always so much to think about in the weekly podcast I subscribe to for free on iTunes.

Another book I read off and on is The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry.  I read mostly his prose, and he has such a simple yet poignant way of helping us see our madness of destroying the earth.  He's a Kentucky farmer as well as a gifted writer.  This cross-section of poetry spanning a good long while brings me back on cold, quiet evenings.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Hands Free Mama

I enjoyed Hands Free Mama because it was a different take on a lot of wise priorities as personal narrative.  I actually prefer a better blend of research/why kind of information and personal stories, but her stories are still very illustrative.  If I had to pick a bone, I'd say that she gets more emotional (on purpose it seems--designed to pull your heartstrings to wake you up I think) than I enjoy.  (I don't like being manipulated even though I appreciate her reasons.)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014: Looking Back on Reading and Learning

Home Grown-Ben Hewitt
The Bulletproof Diet-Dave Asprey
Learning to Walk in the Dark-Barbara Brown Taylor
Hundred Dollar Holiday-Bill McKibbon
Simplify Your Christmas-Elaine St. James
Moon Time-Lucy Pearce
Mrs. Sharpe’s Traditions-Sarah Ban Breathnach
Faith Unraveled-Rachel Held Evans
Unschooling Rules-Clark Aldrich
Two Thousand Kisses a Day-LR Knost
Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves-Naomi Aldort
Artful Parent-Jean Van't Hul
Hold onto Your Kids (twice)-Gordon Neufeld
Simplicity Parenting (third read)-Kim John Payne
Teach Like a Pirate-Dave Burgess
The Simple Living Handbook-Lorilee Lippincott
Breathing Room-Rosenfeld and Green
The Wisdom Way of Knowing-Cynthia Bourgealt
Navigating the Terrain of Childhood-Jack Petrash
Earthing-Clinton Ober
The Myth of the Spoiled Child-Alfie Kohn
Falling Upward: a Spirituality of the Two Halves of Life-Richard Rohr
Eat, Taste, Heal: an Ayurvedic Guidebook and Cookbook for Modern Living-Thomas Yarema (et al.)
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids-Laura Markham
Staying Healthy with the Seasons-Elson M. Haas
The Gifts of Imperfection-Brené Brown

Simplicity Parenting Coach Training (Kim John Payne, Davina Muse)
Transformative Parenting (Todd Sarner)
Making Sense of Discipline (Neufeld Insititue)
Power to Parent 1: The Vital Connection (Neufeld Institute)
Herbal Cold Care (Learning Herbs, Rosalee LaForet)
Hibernate 2014 (Beauty that Moves)

Cosmic Christ (Richard Rohr)
Hierarchy of Truths (RR)
Enneagram/Spiritual Tools (RR, Russ Hudson)
Making Sense of Preschoolers (Gordon Neufeld)
Making Sense of Anxiety in Children (GN)
Alpha Children (GN)
Raising Children in a Digital World (GN)
Helping Children Flourish (GN)
Cultivating Caring Children (GN)
Counterwill in Children (GN)
Heart Matters: What to Do with a Child’s Feelings (GN)
How to Keep Children Safe in a Wounding World (GN)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Some recent reading

In preparation for Christmas, I decided to read a bit about simplifying.  Hundred Dollar Holiday by Bill McKibben was very interesting in terms of Christmas history.  He's an environmentalist, but the book doesn't do much with that aspect of the downsides of our excess.  He worked within the United Methodist Church on this "campaign" so it had spiritual roots.  I really enjoyed the short read, and it was a great encouragement to focus on the important things.
Then I checked out Simplify Your Christmas by Elaine St. James.  She has some other books on simplifying life so I already knew she had an edge.  She included interesting traditions (even around Winter) so I enjoyed it.  It was also a short read.
I've seen some hype about the Bulletproof Executive (Dave Asprey) so I read his book called The Bulletproof Diet.  It's very interesting in that it comes from the biohacking world.  He spent a lot of his own money applying research, trying things out etc. and losing a lot of weight in the process.  He's a Silicon Valley guy, and I think his perspective is worth a look.  I think I might try his 14 day process approach soon just to see if it agrees with my body and really does jump start brain power and loose extra pounds.  (I've gained a few so I guess that'll be good timing?)

Monday, December 22, 2014


We are decking some halls.  Making a few more treats, a few art projects, wrapping last packages, mailing last cards.  Singing songs, making meals together.  We're also planning mundane things with vigor.  These couple of weeks off will be nice for some small chores we can do together.  We're looking forward to our family gatherings too!  We might try our friends' Twelfth Night gathering if we are still social come January 5th.

We're also doing some of the traditional listening/watching within reason.  I'll share a bit of that.
Journey to the Christmas Star
We loved this little movie!  It's dubbed over but done well.  Journey to the Christmas Star has nice effects but not too many.  It's rated G and is not scary.  It's clever and interesting in all that innocence.  For me, the Nordic traditions woven in it are worth it all.  The little gnomes really clenched it for me personally.

Throughout the season, our other favorite movies are the typical ones like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, White Christmas and The Grinch.  If you're looking for something touching and a little different, consider The Snowman and the Snowdog--not overstimulating--not truly animated actually, only set to music.  I personally don't understand why they aren't chomping at the bit more to see Muppet's Christmas Carol, which is probably my favorite.

One of these days, I need to do a post about our favorite Christmas books...

As for music, Over the Rhine's Snow Angels is still probably my favorite listen, but don't forget about their other two which are amazingly wonderful Christmas CDs too.  With that group, it's never going to be typical Christmas music, for what it's worth.

Some more: anything by Loreena McKennitt, Elizabeth Mitchell's Sounding Joy, The two Sufjan Stevens contributions, Gaby Moreno's Posada (new to me this year), Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas album, Shawn Colvin's Holiday Songs and Lullabies.  I also have a big heart for The Carpenters' Christmas Portrait, what can I say?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

More herbal preparations

 I decided to work with elderberry a bit more, and I ended up with a simple elderberry syrup and an oxymel (that also includes ginger and elecampagne) that's doing it's soaking magic.  Oxymels are distinguished by their mix of apple cider vinegar (just the good stuff like Braggs) and honey (just the good stuff like raw, local).
 Above is the chai mixture I made from a bunch of different herbs like your typical chai spices but also burdock root.  It was simmered with astragalus and reishi mushroom.  (I made a bulk amount of the original base spice set so I can do it more quickly next time.)  All I do is heat this concentrate with some almond milk and add some honey.
 I have here some elecampagne honey (lungs, cough) and rose/sage honey (throat).  You can see the old fire cider above before I strained it, and below is the ready-to-slurp form before I added honey.  I have gone through some honey today!  I'm glad I tend to get a lot.  I've probably used a quart and a half today.  Fire cider is often a preventative (like an oxymel), but it's also good with a cough (like that oxymel!).

Monday, December 15, 2014

Learning to Walk in the Dark

One of the best books I've recently read is, hands down, Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor.  She's also fairly local to our area.  Once I saw her in a restaurant we were having dinner in, and I felt like such a little fan girl.  (I've read a couple of her other books.)
This book is about faith when things don't make sense anymore and when the traditional Church answers just don't suffice.  It's a beautiful exploration of the important aspects of senses, vision, belief and obviously what darkness is.  She looks into caving, moon cycles, blindness, you-name-it.  We're reading it in our Sunday School class, and we're supposed to spend five more Sundays on it--I really hope we do.