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The path of simplicity is truly what you make of it.  To me and my family it is a road of beauty.  It is a road that is not convenient always, but who says it should be?  Simplicity is the paring down of your life to purify the energy around you and find out what truly matters.  What does matter to you?  Most people say family.

I am piggy-backing on my last post about slow living, slow eating and slow educating.  To do these things you have to take a look at your family culture. Have you written down what is important to you?  Do you have goals? Expectations?  Boundaries?  How has society influenced you?  What are you really wanting to leave your children when it is all said and done.  Lots of money and “stuff,” or memories shared?  I am sure they would appreciate money, perhaps even skills that you have taught them, but most of all values, at least to us, values are important for posterity.

There have been several occasions where our children have lived in a very cluttered home.  There was a time when I was so overwhelmed with stuff that I thought I would go mad.  Eventually I cleared out anything and everything under their beds, on the shelves and streamlined their rooms. My living room and kitchen area is simple.  Not a lot of extra decor taking up space waiting for me to dust it off.  If I don’t use it, it doesn’t belong. I have been a practical person most of my life, so this was not terribly hard for me to figure out, although it was a side effect of having children.

We teach keeping the lights off when not in use.  We teach wearing appropriate clothes to keep warm and keeping the heat turned down to a reasonable temperature.  We like to air out the house on nice days and not overuse our cooling system.  We like to be proactive and eat well instead of getting sick, but it doesn’t seem like that mattered this year with all the sickness going around, it caught us too.  But we have learned from it and worked harder to investigate gut health, eating foods that are fermented and utilizing mother nature and her bounty of healing foods and herbs.

We own a small farmhouse with almost four acres.  The simplicity of play and living has far outweighed the desire to own more.  That is not to say we have not struggled and won’t ever struggle.  We own a business, Coydog Studios, and it has not been easy.  Thankfully, because of our life before we made the transition, it wasn’t as hard a transition as it could have been.  We did have family help at times and for that I am grateful.  I support my husbands creativity, and we are proud he has recently earned a place in the Kentucky Art’s Council Directory as Architectural Artist.  In reading his bio you will see how simplicity leads over into his work and creative life as well.  In our world Spirit and the Physical realm are not separate.  It’s simple, and interwoven throughout every moment.  Ryan speaks about “sacred space” in his work and I too think of our home as Sacred Space.  Sanctuary.  I have to work harder and longer if our sacred space is cluttered and dysfunctional.

As you know we home educate.  To fullfill my duty and sacred contract I have made with Creator I cannot have an environment that has not been simplified. There are times before and after having a baby that the house may seem fuller, but to everything there is a season and I always come back around to clearing and cleaning.  Simplifying is a constant.  Simplicity takes work.  Especially in this day and age when one can buy anything.  Where there are box stores on every corner and Amazon Prime can deliver you anything within two days.

To make it possible to shop at places like Whole Foods I had to do the work and preparation.  I had to go online, make lists, mark recipes, and read tips on how to shop.  I spoke with the folks working in the grocery isles.  They were more than willing to speak to a smiling, learning face.  I have learned in the isles where we shop, on the shelving, there are stickers for all the products.  On these stickers which read the prices are other numbers and information.  On the left hand side, top, there is a number that represents price per ounce or pound.  When you are shopping and trying to decide which product you get better bang for your dollar, read those numbers.  For example, I wanted to buy crackers for Cedar to munch on.  He is 15 months old. I had the choice of buying the baby brand cracker, or the crackers that were the generic Whole Foods brand.  I got more product for less if I bought the product not geared towards babies.  It’s all about the marketing, no matter where you go, and I realize this aspect.  Also, if you have the desire to buy something by the case, you get an automatic 10% off.  This is a rare need for us.

Also, we do not buy sodas, or loads of junk food.  Most of the food we eat is whole.  I do enjoy sweets upon occasion, but we have been sick this season more than any season in years, so we are eating less sugar that compromises the immune system.  If we do eat sweets I make them at home and alter the recipe with other substitutes that won’t hurt us, as much.  And as I said before I do not do a lot of purchasing in the middle section of the grocery, because I have learned to make many things.  In doing so, and in learning to cook good foods I have enabled us to shop at places like Whole Foods, where labeling is transparent. Where a family can shop and purchase non-GMO products.  And when possible we shop at Farmer’s Market, in season.

We have also learned to eat less meat.  You can still have a good meal without meat.  Your health is not determined on whether you don’t have meat on your plate, nor does every meal without meat have to be pasta.  Just take a look at my Pinterest food board and see many alternatives.

Below is another good link that I have also pinned on my food board with others sharing ways to shop at these other stores without compromising your budget, yet eating better.

http://foodformyfamily.com/menu-planning/whole-foods-menu-challenge-100-gift-card-giveaway

Fish was by far the most expensive it seemed.  Chicken and beef were doable if one prepared them in a good way and used the other parts to make things like bone broth, or leftovers for lunch the next day.  You can buy products like cous cous in the box or bulk.  If you buy cous cous in the box it is the same price as other grocery stores, and there is more variety.  Cous cous in bulk is even cheaper and there is less packaging waste for the landfill or to compost.

Something I have also noticed is the shopping carts are smaller at places like Whole Foods.  The isles are shorter, and there are less marketing ads flying around.  There is only one small isle of condiments, not a longggg isle, or two. Sometimes too many choices are just too many, and overwhelming.  We find the shopping experience at marketplaces like Whole Foods higher vibrating, and that is about worth the difference right there.  Trader Joe’s is definitely cheaper in some aspects and we have the choice to go next door and get some of the alternatives, however my friend’s husband works at Whole Foods and he says WF is competeing with some of TJ’s pricing. So, stay tuned and keep your eyes open. I still like to stop in Trader Joe’s as well though for certain things.

If you have patience or are blessed with even a bit of lawn or land you can grow a few plants to compensate the grocery bill.  I tend to grow medicinal and culinary foods most.  Community gardens are on the rise as well.  Another way we save, while having children is to breast feed 1 to 2 years and to use cloth diapers and cloth wipes.  I did make baby food for our second child, but we utilize the concept of baby led weaning now, so while we use some non-GMO brands like Beechnut, our little bear eats from our plate a lot.

Now, it may take some time to arrive at this destination.  There is more to it. Rhythm is tied to success I believe.  To keep us successful I shop the same day every week if we can help it.  We shop in the mornings, with three children who come to learn and be the next generation to make good choices.  It is also our payday, and I do errands for our business to make the short drive to a neighboring town worth it.

Feel free to comment with your own tips, or leave links to blogs or articles that may have helped you and your family budget better and still be able to purchase whole non-GMO foods.

Blessings!!

 

 

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A post has been building in me for some time.  I awoke in the middle of the night as I do sometimes inspired.  For most of my life I have lived very slowly. Growing up we had 100 blessed acres, and three families working together to nurture each other, grow food and live slower.  As I grew folks passed on and families moved away from each other, making it harder to rely and lean on each other for assistance.  Since leaving home after high school I have grown.  I have traveled.  I have opened my heart to healing and staying teachable.  For me I am not fixed in time and space.  I am changeable.  I leave myself room to change my mind as I learn new things.  But something that has not changed much is my desire to live slowly. Intentionally.  Honestly.  And I desire this for my family. Nature shows me this teaching in her seasons.  We do live in a part of the country where there are four seasons, although this winter seems mild so far.  I believe Creator placed us side by side with nature to learn cycles and the process and journey of living.  To everything there is a season the bible says.  And many other cultures feel the same way.  We have had the fortunate blessings to learn from Elders who have also told us stories to help us to understand these ways as well.  It is my intention to give you a glimpse of our family culture that works for us, but that has a lasting impact on posterity.  We care about our children’s future.  We care about our grandchildren. When my stories are told and I have passed into the earth I would like my legacy to be a lasting one.

Slow educating.

We homeschool and are known to ourselves as Eagle Tree Homeschool.  I am a firm, loving, boundary keeping, sensory protecting mother of three boys.  In my heart, the eagle holds the vision, and the eagle is also a symbol of the heroes journey, a symbol of youth.  The eagle also flies close to the heavens to bring prayers and messages from The People to Creator, and back again.  We also hold the name Eagle Tree Scouts for all of our Scouting adventures, although my middle son recently joined Cub Scouts to be a part of a group with some of his friends at church. Homeschooling is not easy, I never thought it would be, but Creator led me to it.

We are Waldorf-inspired, where academics do not fully begin until around 7 years of age, when the milk teeth fall out.  During the first seven years of the child’s life we spend working with them in balancing the brain and the body.  Gross and fine motor.  Sensory issues.  And in general play-based learning.  From a neurological standpoint this works for us. Here’s a list of articles supporting our view.

http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/07_community/articles.asp

To me homeschooling is a great privelege and honor our country and state allows, and I have great counsel with Melisa Neilsen of Waldorf Essentials and many other women. Our inner work is the vital Center of success with the children.  Please go to this website to learn about how you can find more help in that way, with parenting, inner work, marriage and home educating.

I am not here to convince you of anything, but if you want more information on Waldorf, then please watch this video to help you understand further.  Home educating and Waldorf is not for everyone.

In early childhood we as parents work with the children in observing the seasons, seasonal festivals, spirituality, as well as normal daily life and skills. Slow living. Rhythm.  To us it is about the whole child.  The whole family.  The whole woman. The whole man.  The whole marriage.  All of this takes work, compromise, and we make plenty of mistakes or “learnings” as indigenous folks call it.  Not to be forgiven, but understood that this is a Part of the life process. Our children ((appear)) behind other mainstream children at first in things like reading, but quickly these practices take root and they are growing into strong sturdy trees reaching towards the sun.  It is difficult to explain and I don’t care to unless someone is genuine about listening to our chosen path.  Here is another article supporting the views of lifelong relevance.

http://www.waldorftoday.com/2011/11/daily-rhythm-at-home-and-its-lifelong-relevance-by-helle-heckmann/

To speak to our way of educating is to relate why we also eat slowly, or slowly dine.  While teaching Third Grade this year we have spent time learning the Old Testament and Jewish Festivals.  In this time I have learned about Shabbat.  A time to rest.  We do have Sabbath in Christian tradition as well, but this article really hit home and I have posted it on my Facebook page several times.

https://groundedmag.com/article/finding-rest/

Life is not easy, and we don’t always have what we think we need.  Life is uncomfortable at times, but suffering has made me stronger and I have also learned the things I think I wanted, were not even necessary for healthy, whole living.  There is so much luxury today for all of us, even compared to my childhood and my parents and grand-parents childhood.  So much has changed since the turn of the last century, 115 years before.  Cars, grocery stores, the internet, public schooling.  The opportunities are vast.  The economy relies on folks to work and stimulate consuming.  I however prefer to live simply and honestly, even if I must suffer at times.  I do not need an overly large house.  I do not need all that is trendy.  I am not entitled to have these things.  Only if I work for them and desire them should I have them.  And I hope to teach our children this as well.  We have suffered recently at the end of 2014 to make a change to our family for the greater good of us as a whole.  My husband is a man who works with his hands, who loves to build and create things and we support him.  Not only do we support him so he can support us, but it is vital for him to create as soul expression, even if it is a commission for someone else.  In the end, it is vital I stay home, as we have decided to provide slow living for our family.  It has made me stronger and more humble in the ways of the world.  I am a teacher and healer, true at heart and I enjoy what I do day to day, the spiritual mundane.  I walk in prayer and lean on Creator to help me.  I am not alone, and never have been even through my suffering days.  Our family has been a great support as well in trying times.  As hard as it was to accept help from them, I know their parents helped them tremendously and I intend on doing the same for our children.  I do help them and I will help them.  And so in the meantime it is important for us to keep or hold Space.  I hold the Center energy for the family or space.  In doing so I have to meditate on the foods we provide, among other essential for healthy intentional living.  Long term it is important to win out over obesity, disease and destruction of the environment.

Slow eating.

For some time we have shopped locally, whether at Farmer’s Market or our local grocery.  Even though I have shopped at Whole Foods before I never took the amount of time to really delve deep enough to see if I could shop there on a budget the same as our local store.  However two friends of mine swore to me it could be done.  The point was to avoid Genetically Modified Foods or GMO’s, which tear up the gut, as well as foods sprayed with Round Up.  You have other choices as well like Trader Joe’s, Earth Fare and locally there are cooperatives.  So, I set off to do my research on Pinterest (not a total time suck when you engage your will power).  I have pinned several blogs and articles on how to shop Whole Foods, grocery lists, receipes and coupons, which can be found on Whole Foods website. Here is a link to my Pinterest board where I have almost 20,000 pins and almost 2,000 followers, not that I tried.  Go ahead and take a keek, it’s up to you to do the work for your own family, tailoring style, taste, and menus.

Slowing down is not new.  Slowing down is old and our ancestors understood this concept.  Over time however we as a society have somehow found value in being busy.  Being busy means production is taking place, and that is necessary to some degree, I won’t argue that.  But, I will argue for balance.  Long term and with the long vision that I hold for our family Slowing Down is important, because babies do not keep, and neither will Mother Earth if we do not do our part. Here is an article supporting dinner time as a family.  We are not perfect and our house is quite loud at times.  Our boys do burp and fart in front of us and their immediate grandparents at times, but it is because they feel loved and comfortable and well they are boys/kids.  It’s funny and contrary and they show us that life is really not all that serious as we adults intend to make it 24/7.  Now, in front of their peers and others they tend to curb themselves and have better manners.  In fact, quite often I get compliments at the grocery, at church and elsewhere.  Still, we are not perfect and do not claim to be.  But I do claim to love them and I do claim to love Mother Earth and Creator.

http://parentandthepro.com/slowing-dinner/

Let’s reconnect here again.  Feel free to subscribe to my blog if you wish, or just check back upon occasion.  I don’t promise to write regularly, but I do promise to be honest, truthful and transparent.

Have a blessed day, the sun is shining outside and in our hearts.

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Welcome to my home!  Grab your cup of tea or coffee and sit with me a moment.  I want to share with you our recent adventures!  When I am done I want to hear how you are as well.  Without connection to others, sharing and storytelling, what would life be like?

In case you couldn’t remember I am currently teaching Waldorf Inspired First and Third Grade, along with our little nursling.  In Third Grade not only are we learning all about the Old Testament and Jewish Festivals, but we are also studying Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Farmer Boy is about a little boy named Almanzo when he was nine years old and is beautifully paired with the nine year change our oldest child is moving through.  If you want more developmental information about the nine year change, please visit my friend Carrie over at The Parenting Passageway.  I hope to speak on developmental change from my perspective in the future on Nurturing Spirit.

With much gratitude, family affectionately known as The Gramps treated us to Conner Prairie, just outside of Indianapolis, Indiana.  An interactive history park, set in 1836 and 1865.  So off we went to learn and experience together.  Upon entering the welcome center a college student from Wisconsin approached us and asked if my oldest son and I would wear a microphone as we moved around the exhibit Create.Connect.  She asked us some questions afterwards about the exhibit she helped to create, in exchange for an ice cream coupon.  Click on the link above to learn more about the exhibit.  It’s worth some of your time I promise.  However, the day was getting hotter by the minute, so we were a tad anxious to get on outside.

We headed on over to the Civil War area first, because it was the farthest walk. We entered into the Civil War area across a covered bridge, with Civil War banners and bayonet slices through Abraham Lincoln banners.  I believe this park is top notch.  Clean and accurate.  The actors really take their jobs seriously. Parents with little bitty kids take note.  Some of the interactive aspects in this area are loud, with yelling, horses neighing, pots and pans hitting the ground and video.  If you have children with sensory issues, please check it out first, or avoid altogether.  One little girl was crying because she was scared, and to her it was a very real.  The park is great for older children who can understand.  We did not take our little babe into those exhibits.  The park is quality and worth admission, and theses actors and scenarios gave us a lot to ponder over.  Upon returning home we are going to take a tangent into the life of a freed slave girl to try and understand the many aspects of this era, while reading this book by the Dear America series.

We looked ahead and decided we wanted to attend the funeral re-enactment, so off we went to Prairietown, after a delicious picnic lunch prepared by The Gramps.  There was a funeral procession to the grave site dug that morning by the town folk.  The coffin was made by the woodworker at the park, and will be buried permanently.  We sang Amazing Grace and the Preacher read the bible verse we all know from Proverbs 31.  We weren’t afraid to allow our children to see this aspect of the parks interactive history, because death is a part of the circle of life.  Death is hard.  I know because I am selfish and it is hard for me to release those I love most back to the spirit world, when it’s their time to go.  But that is for me to learn to cope and teach my littles and this process has helped Awaken me to this life and my soul purpose.

Prairetown is my favorite and I really enjoyed each and every single building and the people.  I had great conversations about the cooking, the animals ( oh my gosh, the piglets were so cute!), the work – like carding and spinning, which you can DO yourself right there!  The Blacksmith was spectacular and made a nail right before our eyes.  The Store.  The Inn.  Don’t let me forget to mention your child can play a part in the town!  Spin the wheel or choose yourself a part.  Town Healer, Deputy, Merchant and so on.

We have been reading Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and when I saw the two baby oxen in their yokes at Conner Prairie I immediately went to the picture in my mind of the book.  Almanzo has two of his own oxen to train from babies, so the park was really bringing the book to life for us.

Well, I should leave the rest of the park for you and your family.  We really hope to return, as we did spend 10 am to 5 pm, enjoying everything we could.  If you want to see a plethora of pictures, visit me @healingoneself on Instagram, where I share our daily homeschool life in pictures.  And let me say homeschooling has given me the opportunity to really bring Language Arts and Math to life.  I feel Blessed and I want the universe to know I am grateful.

Learning about the Old Testament, Norse Mytholgy, Buddhism and other cultures and religions helps us to build our tolerance of others, and better understand God.  It is antiquity, and I know it will shape and temper us into whole beings.  I appreciate having more opportunities to learn along side our children, because as it turns out they are teaching me.  And it is easy to see how “worth” taking the boys places like this are by the days-on-end of play and reenactment outside I have been watching.  Thank you for visiting with us.

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Beeswax anything has become a tradition in our household.  We dip tapers, roll sheets into tapers, dip nature items, and use it in salves and wood polishes.  Have I missed something?  Well, as the cold creeps in with a breeze, I find myself shuffling around in house shoes, and no longer flip flops.  Fleece and wool clothing begin to surface.  And the aroma of beeswax keeps our souls warm.

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The images and scents we display help to remind us of our own inner light, as our gaze shifts inward during fall.  The place where we are warmed from the inside out.  We created a Fire Fairy to put with our Nature Table.  A table that is ever changing with the seasons.  It includes the felt decorations sewn by me and the children, the hanging beeswax dipped items, our knitted gnome friend Sam, and his Community’s harvest.  The kids and I have a story we go by every week about Sam the gnome and his forest friends.  This story continues the entire year, and we act it out on our nature table.  Our nature table is located on the top of a small bookcase.  The bookcase contains all of our natural, wildlife, outdoors and homesteading books and magazines.  Along with a bug container, some finds in nature, and a magnifying glass and binoculars.  Our nature table and stories are the heart of our Circle Time together.  How do you use beeswax?  What does your nature table look like?

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Here is a recipe from the vault.  Apple Cider Vinegar Herbal Hair Rinse.  I remember the days when my grandmother would rinse her hair with vinegar.  One never forgets the smell.  But vinegar is tried and true, with so many uses.  Get an organic bottle of Bragg’s or whatever is available.  Acquire a nice big glass jar, with a wide mouth.  Use many combinations of herbs to take it a step further.  The following herbs help remove residue on the scalp, including dandruff, and it is good for itchy scalp, natural hair loss treatment, and a home remedy for lice.  Horsetail, rosemary, nettle, yarrow, chamomile and lavender.  Just make a whole large jug, which should last your family a few seasons.  I take a cup of the vinegar and mix it with water in a pitcher, then apply to my scalp in the shower.  Let me give you a reminder.  Do not let this recipe intimidate you.  Before even gathering herbs you do not have, do an experiment solely with vinegar.  Plan, and order over time, meanwhile document your personal research, in a journal.

To be honest, apple cider vinegar is an excellent deodorant.  It smells the first few minutes, but dissipates.  Vinegar is very anti-microbial.  Apply with a cotton ball, or washable rag.  If you find your body is sensitive to store-bought products, give vinegar a try.  Try it under one arm first to be sure.  Remember every person’s body is different, and that is my disclaimer.  If you are looking for a way to be frugal, this is one stop along the way.  Maybe you can find more uses here.  Not that you have anything else to do, but what if you tried using vinegar for as many things as you can.  What if it was a home school experiment?  What if it was a personal challenge?  What if you are trying to save money?  Think about it.  If you don’t do it now, the seed is planted.  Winter is a good time for such projects.

I do have a challenge out  there for active folks.  Those who run, climb, jump, track and play.  Give vinegar a try as your natural deodorant, and see what happens.  You’ll sweat, but the odor will be minimal.  Based on the person though, it does matter what types of toxins release from your system.  You’ll want to consider what you are eating or what medicines you might be taking, or the air you are breathing.

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Here’s a keek at our Bourbon Red Turkey, one of two right now.  This is a Heritage breed, from Bourbon County, KY.  If you would like information on adding some to your flock or dinner table, comment below.  Or, email me at healingoneself(at)gmail(dot)com.  We went down to Buffalo, KY, near Abe Lincoln’s birthplace and got ours.

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Welcome back folks.  Today we are dyeing with coffee.  It’s kind of funny because I usually try to keep coffee off my clothes, but this time I really wanted that coffee color on silk.  It came out a super light brown.  I am mostly a Simpler, so the recipe was easy.  A plop or few of vinegar, a pot of second-generation coffee, and the grounds.  Get it to a boil, then take it off the burner to sit.  I will either hand roll hem or take it through the machine.  I haven’t decided.  Here is what came of it.

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Stay tuned to see how our soap turned out.  I can smell it from where I stand.  The soap is curing and I am about to pop it out of the mold.  Also, our next project will be to achieve a pink dye for silk, using food.

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Thanks for joining me here in the studio.  This month we are taking a close look at the Michealmas Festival.  The story of St. George and the Dragon, and Archangel Michael.  With my Margaret Hodges book, St. George and the Dragon to inspire us, we made felt banners as visual imagery.

If you are wondering where I got the large felt, it is actually a Christmas tree skirt.  My mom picked it up at Michael’s on deep discount.  I had no idea what I was saving it for, but now I know.  The white felt is embedded with glitter, which bounces light nicely.  I made three banner flags.  One for the kitchen as you see.  One hanging on the boys bedroom door, and a small one for our nature table.  I got the fantastic verse below from my homeschool consultant and the Thinking, Feeling, Willing program, through Waldorf Essentials.

Brave Saint Michael is my guide
As free and fearless forth I ride
With courage of Saint George of old
I dare to fight fierce dragons bold.

 

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Kentucky is such a beautiful place this time of year.  A late summer morning took us to a local orchard, out in the hills of Owen County.  2012 is the second year in a row we journeyed to the orchards to pick Mother Nature’s bounty and to make something of it for our bellies and pantry.  I like that we are making a tradition of apple picking with my mother and my children.  A little bit of adventure and we had a bushel of apples.

We also enjoy the book Johnny Appleseed, by Jane Yolen.  Each year during the month of September we read this lovely book, and enjoy the tradition of pairing it with our orchard trip.  Yolen’s book is poetic and filled with facts of Johnny’s life.

Today, almost a week later, my mother came over and we peeled apples upon apples with my new crank de-corer/peeler.  It is a very nice tool, and not hard to clean up.  The kids enjoyed cranking the apples and being apart of making my birthday pie.  Before we got the apples out I set up my ice cream maker and made some vanilla ice cream to pair with the pie at my birthday dinner.

In case you are wondering where we went, click here to visit Ayer’s Orchard.  The year before we really enjoyed a presentation by Larry Ayers and his wife at the Frankfort library.  The boys loved tasting a variety of apples grown at the orchard and a few ways to use apples. 

The rest of the apples we picked are carefully stored in our cool basement.  It is going be nice this winter eating local healthy apples.  As they say, an apple a day, is delicious.

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Welcome to Nurturing Spirit.  I have taken some time away from writing to breathe and be.   I have grown, and watched my children and marriage grow.  I have watched the seasons pass and the fields and gardens around me burst with abundance.

Join me here, as I move forward into the Great Mystery.  Let’s unfold together, share ideas and create.  Nurturing the Spirit of Family through nature and rhythm.

If you would like to reference my old space, please click here.

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