Cedar Ring Mama

Taking My Cues From Mother Earth

Children In the Woods And A Giveaway


Last week was a dreary week, and the rain and gray skies discouraged us from spending a whole lot of time outside.  When we met for co-op, the boys played well for a while during freeplay, but eventually started bickering over toys and having trouble getting along.  We couldn’t wait to get them into the woods, because we knew… once a child is in the woods, the magic happens!

We had planned to do a fun outdoors craft- building a small hideout out of pine branches.  We hiked along, clippers and rope in hand, but we ended up not needing them.  After we crossed the makeshift bridge…

And climbed the Leafy Ridge…

We arrived at the top of the hill in the Poke Berry Forest.

Don’t eat them!  They are no-no berries.  The roots (poke root) have saved me from relying on antibiotics or visiting the doctor’s office during a bout of mastitis, but even with the herbal tincture form, as my husband (a homeopath) says, “a little goes a long way”.

So, this is where the children delve into the world of imagination.  At the top of the hill is a huge pile of logs and branches near a nice old tree.

And this is where they set up their ambush…

This ambush is part of an epic adventure the children live in whenever they come together in the woods.  It all began over a year ago when one morning, a little boy in our co-op discovered an interesting shaped tree branch in a huge puddle in his yard.  “My Indian Father left me this canoe,” he said.  The other children were intrigued.  Soon, they too had Indian Fathers (well, except for the very logical choleric)!  They recount the adventures and battles they faced back in the days of their Indian Fathers, and sometimes these Indian Fathers resurface at home at the most… convenient times.  “Peas?” My 4 year old looks up at me.   “I’m sorry, I can’t eat those; my Indian Father told me not to.” Hmm. Personally, I’m just glad there are no Indian Mothers as our poor husbands have had such a hard time measuring up to all the glorious deeds and doings of these Indian Fathers!

Today, they are waiting in ambush for the “Skull Kids” who defeated one Indian Father long ago in a dreaded battle.  Well, it’s the funniest thing the way little boys can’t sit still very long at home, but here in their ambush they not only kept still for over half an hour, but they even told us mamas to whisper! The woods truly does weave a spell of magic, eh?

Mama Monica and I decided not to disturb their imaginative play with our planned craft- we can do it another time.  We sat on fallen logs and nursed our wee ones, planned future co-op activities, and spotted hardy little blossoms and mushrooms still daring to hold their little heads up in the chill and cold.

For me, these moments are why I do what I do.  Unless rain is pouring down in buckets or the temperature is well below freezing, we can come here and restore balance and peace.  The woods seem to be a natural anti-depressant, an anti ADHD remedy, even an aphrodisiac (no matter what state we are in when we enter the woods, my husband and I almost always exit holding hands!).

In this place where the old and young trees take hold of the earth and twist and turn within it, their grounding energy centers me.  When we get the doldrums in our house, a walk outside, and especially in the woods, can change our moods and re-energize us.  My favorite thing about Waldorf education is the emphasis on going outside with your kids- rain or shine, every day.  I often reflect on how we can spend so much time inside in the first place, disconnected from it all?  I dream of the woods being my home, my garden being my art studio, and my house being that place I go to once in a while.

I’ll never forget the “aha moment” I had when I was reading a Ringing Cedars book and the main character, Anastasia, speaks about the beauty of trees- and how we cut them down to build these houses and furniture and consider them so valuable and beautiful.  And maybe they are… but how many of the things we make with trees are as awe-inpiring and grand as a tree itself?  Perhaps this is why I don’t have a lot of craft tutorials on my blog.  I love Waldorf crafts because they use natural materials and are beautiful and functional, using quality materials that promote such worthy livelihoods- bee-keeping, shepherding, woodworking.  And it is so important to teach our children to use their hands to build and create with confidence.  Yet… rather than bringing so many of these things into my home, I’d love to get out of the house, be part of this natural world, and use the very landscape as our craft project- and encourage you to do that with your children, too

My life project is creating a little garden paradise right here.  On just a small piece of land, so much can be done.  I blogged a while ago about creating a “space of love” for your family and future generations… a place where your loved ones are supported not only by the physical provisions- nut trees, berry bushes, and other useful plants (like quick-growing willows for basketry material) which create a living fence around the edges of your land (perhaps container herbs like this in an apartment or city dwelling)- but also a place where the fragrance of your dreams touches all who enter and the subtle vibrations of love and energy set in motion by your inner work and garden-gloved hand form a fortress for the soul and body stronger than those any builder can raise up.  

Only we can do this for our family- no hired worker, no stranger to our space.  For the seeds I plant in the fertile soil of my imagination and the physical seeds I plant in the earth next spring are one, and no two different hands can produce the exact same result!  The fruit will be imbued with the energy of its sower, and if you don’t believe me try a little experiment next year… take two seeds from the same seed packet, and both you and another family member can hold one tightly in your hands for a minute, or under your tongue so they are encoded with you biological essence (perspiration or saliva) and then plant them in separate areas of your garden with similar lighting and landscape features, perpared with the same type of soil.  Visit your plants often, and take care of them through the season… then wait and see what fruits they produce.  Early experiments have yielded fascinating results, with the harvest varying in both shape, texture, fragrance, and taste- each to suit the needs of their respective caretakers!  Why? Living plants are incredibly receptive to the data we give them about us. They grow to be useful and adapted to our needs.  And what happens when we can grow much of what we need and have extra resources to trade with others who have things we don’t produce ourselves?  It may seem outlandish, but here in Amish country I see it working beautifully every day.   Forget Occupy Wall Street- Occupy Your Yard!!!

As the snow begins to fall here, it signals that Winter Sleep will come soon.  I will listen in on the dreams of the land as it slumbers beneath its blanket of snow. Together we will determine where each new little tree will go, where each garden bed will lay.  It is not only the physical work of planting them and nurturing them which brings fruition; oh no, perhaps that is just a tiny fraction of it!  For me, everything begins with divine inspiration and loving thought.  Anastasia’s word, “Co-Create”, fills me with meaning and purpose.  Here, with God, I co-create the wonders He first imagined… I am created in the image of the divine, and each physical manifestation begins as a seed idea.  The ideas take root, they grow, they are made vibrant with care and attention and the willingness of my whole being.  Later, when my peach trees bear peaches and my gardens overflow, I wil be reminded of where it all began, here under the snowy blanket where Mother Earth and I dream together. 

So, all these physical manifestations do indeed begin with a dream and a thought.  Just under a year ago, I sat by the woodstove in my rocking chair dreaming of how I could develop the financial resources to bring the wholesome natural supplies for a living education to my children in our homeschool.  I began with nothing, really; nothing in my bank account but the echo of that dream. As I formulated the idea of a buying co-op that would support those who are really invested in Waldorf lifestyles, the material world began to comply.  I imagined the suppliers we would work with and the products we would offer; I came up with a magic number- 100- of families who would join.  I felt I could handle providing service for 100 families, but more than that would be beyond my capabilities as I also strive to love my family and develop our land.

Today, we are here.  Less than a handful of spots remains until we are at capacity.  It is an occasion to celebrate, and so I am offering a giveaway to both get the word out to those last few families destined to join and celebrate the dream, fully mature- everything I hoped it would be!  I have learned so much about myself and about being effective in this world by undertaking this venture. 

Fear seems a shadow of an old existence, confidence that we can co-create this world together and accomplish what we are meant to do- if only we will be still and quiet enough to intuit and receive it from the spiritual realms- replaces that.  I will bring this confidence and experience to my future work in the next year- I will be able to focus the energy that was expended this year on building the co-op and marketing it to get the word out, to developing toys and tools with the Amish to support my local economy and bring wonderful, lovingly handcrafted pieces to your incredible families!  Mama Monica and I are also working on an amazing DVD that will make a powerful impact in your relationship and interaction with your babies and small children!

So, back to the giveaway… one winner will receive $50 worth of co-op credit (whether or not you’re a member) towards our November 15th order (remember, we will be offering select Kinderkram, Ostheimer, and Sarah’s silks items!), a second winner will receive a free copy of Christmas Crafts, a new book from Steiner Books with Waldorf inspired Christmas crafts and gift ideas which we are adding to the catalog for our November order, and… as soon as we hit 100 (I think we are just a day or two away!), I will celebrate by offering a free membership!

To enter the giveaway, share about it on a social network or blog.  An extra point if you subscribe to the blog or like Cedar Ring Circle Waldorf Supply Co-op on facebook here.  Please leave just one comment, telling me which of the points you’ve earned, this will help me tally it up easier. 😉  Giveaway closes on November 7th!  Good luck, my friends!  And thank you to everyone who has ever whispered a word of support or encouragement, or shared enthusiasm with me- the raindrops that watered the seeds and the rays that warmed it.

40 thoughts on “Children In the Woods And A Giveaway

  1. Oooh! Awesome giveaway…I just posted about it on Facebook. (I already subscribe to the blog & “like” the co-op on Facebook.) 🙂


  2. Hi Becca! I posted about the contest on my blog, and I “liked” Cedar Ring on Facebook. Thanks for another great post! 😉

  3. I am subscribed to your blog, have shared the giveaway on facebook, and am a fan of the Cedar Ring Circle Waldorf Buying Co-op. 🙂 What a wonderful giveaway!

  4. I liked Cedar Ring Circle on Facebook. Love seeing the big trees and SNOW. Thanks for the wonderful opportunity.

  5. This looks like a fun book 🙂 I just found you yesterday. I subcribed to your blog and liked you on Facebook

  6. Sweet Becca! The imagery and message in this post are beautiful. It is amazing how your idea has grown so much in one year I can’t believe your generosity in offering this give-away…it is a wonderful opportunity. I subscribed to the blog and also posted a link to the co-op on the yahoogroup for my Waldorf Handwork circle. And now have liked your facebook page. I hope the next year brings you great fulfillment in this project…I think it is a beautiful dream (and reality!!)

  7. hi becca,
    i posted the giveaway on my facebook page and i already am subscribed,,,,tried to like you on facebook but can’t find you!

  8. HI.. just subscribed to you blog — thanks to Anastasia’s post (above).. Posted the giveaway to my facebook page also and I too couldn’t find you on facebook to ‘like’ you..

  9. What a great giveaway! I have always wanted to be a member but it just hasn’t been in the budget yet.
    I liked the Co-op on fb.

  10. So sorry. I forgot to say that I am subscribed to your blog via an Google Reader.

  11. Inspiring, Becca. And beautifully written. I just shared on facebook and am a fan and email subscriber. Thanks so much for a generous giveaway!

  12. Yesterday was a fruitful day–2 of us found you. I didn’t realize the co-op was so new. Congratulations on being able to take a beautiful dream and turn it into a workable reality-that is inspiring. I subscribe to your blog and liked your fb page! Thank you so much for putting together this co-op. I look forward to more of your great blogs!

  13. Yet again your words weave such beauty. I love what you say about always leaving the woods holding hands with your husband. Tis true, the woods are a magical place to be. And you have me pining for NY again, thank you very much! I so want to come explore with you. I love the boys’ story about their Indian Father. So awesome!

    I’ve facebooked the giveaway on my personal and business pages. And of course I “like” you and follow you! What a generous giveaway!


  14. I just “Liked” you in Facebook. You are so generous, even with all your inspiring ideas! Thank you, thank you for leading us mamas in this journey. Can’t wait to hear more about your upcoming DVD!

  15. Lovely post. We have woods all around us and for some reason I love to be inside my house. Good reminder that I need to be outside more. Thanks for a great giveaway too – I FBed it here: https://www.facebook.com/robinphillipsknotts/posts/300986143245648
    And have subbed to your blog, and joined your FB page.
    cokelush at gmail

  16. I so enjoy reading your blog posts; they are inspirational and full of encouragement for this homeschooling mama. And what a wonderful giveaway–full of possibilities for my littles! I subscribe to the blog already, and “liked” Cedar Ring Co-op on facebook. Thank you for the chance to win.

  17. I adore the pictures and imagination of the children. Such wonder. What a generous giveaway! I’ve been hoping to join for awhile, but it has not been in the budget. A membership would be so helpful for making my felt animals in my little biz and all the other lovelies. I am already a friend on Facebook and shared on my wall. I follow the blog through email. Bright blessings.

    I LIKED the facebook page, and added you to my FB Page (Nurturing Spirit)
    In Peace,
    Nichole Goff

  19. Hi Becca,
    I liked you on FB and posted about you on my page as well. What a fantastic giveaway! I enjoyed your post, what truth about the forest. My kids go to TWS and spend a significant amount of time outside and in their huge forest playground. It really is therapeutic and magical every time they experience it, for myself as well!
    Warm wishes,
    Suzanne Villa

  20. I liked on facebook and am about to place my first order!

  21. The book looks lovely. I mentioned it to a fellow homeschooling friend — does that count?

  22. I liked on facebook, and shared on my blog! Your co-op is why we have such wonderful supplies for the kids, thank so much for all you do!!

  23. I shared the giveaway on my Facebook page. I also subscribe to the blog. I also like Cedar Ring Circle Waldorf Supply Co-op on facebook.

  24. I really admire all the work you are doing to build your home, your family, your community. Thank you for the history of the past year – good reminder to dream and work hard with love!

    I posted about the giveaway on facebook, subscribed to your blog and liked you on facebook.

    Thank you for the chance to win!

  25. Awesome giveaway! So exciting for me. I liked you on FB and subscribe to your blog now! Thanks!

  26. Love your blog on Facebook and have signed up to your email. Thanks for chance to win!

  27. Hi! Love it all. Subscribe to blog, “like” Cedar Ring Waldorf Co-op on Facebook, posted on FB, and also mentioned in my blog, sbnaturalmama.blogspot.com. Keeping my fingers crossed! Thanks 🙂

  28. liked you, but actually, I LOVE your blog and your inspiration. thank you so much! Aloha! I shared your page, too..

  29. Just stumbled on this post! Wonderful pictures, and so glad to see children exploring and enjoying the outdoors and its beauty as I once did as a child myself! Makes me miss the East Coast. I have shared this post and liked you on Facebook!

  30. I shared your blog and liked you on facebook and signed subscribed to the blog. Thanks for the contest 🙂

  31. i subscribed to the co-op store and the blog.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  32. I subscribed, liked on facebook and shared the link! Wonderful story!

  33. Wow- I so needed to read this absolutely gorgeous post today. Gorgeous, mama- thanks so much for being such an inspiration. Shared the blog and giveaway on FB, subscribed to your blog, and WISH that I didn’t miss out on the Co-op. Will definitely add my name to the waitlist. Sincere and kind thanks for all that you do!

  34. I just discovered your beautiful blog through a friend’s posting on facebook about this giveaway. I’m excited about the idea of a co-op! Can’t wait to scroll through the rest of your blog while I enjoy a cup of tea! 🙂

  35. Oh what a fabulous giveaway! The book looks fabulous. I have to say I just love your blog. Thank you for all the heartfelt inspiration. I also follow you blog and like you on Facebook.

  36. I liked on facebook and will follow the blog. Thank you!

  37. We bought this book a couple of weeks ago – it has some lovely ideas. Do you have any suggestions as to where to get the materials to make the straw star decorations?

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