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The Process of Becoming by Mary O'Connell

Additional Resources 
on our Theme

"Nurturing Yourself"   
Article by Esther Leisher from the LifeWays Blog.
Article by Kerry Ingram, LW grad and board member.  See Kerry's website Mothering Arts, with training for starting support circles for mothers.

"Being Your Best Self" Article by Faith Collins, LW grad and Student Services Director in Boulder.
See Faith's website, Joyful Toddlers! for her blog, teleclasses and video.

Discovering Joy in Parenting: The First Seven Years. Book by Cindy Brooks and Joya Birns, Waldorf educators.

The Wonder of Childhood (e-zine) and Celebrate the Rhythm of Life (living curriculum program and e-courses) from Lisa Boisvert, home schooler and LifWays board member.

Simplicity Parenting, website, books and recordings by Waldorf educator Kim John Payne.
Books on  
(all available from Amazon):
The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and "Women's Work" by Kathleen Norris.

Why Cleaning has Meaning
by Linda Thomas (housekeeper at the Goetheanum in Dornach).

The Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker
by Manfred Schmidt-Brabant.
A Children's Book 
Awake all Night by LifeWays Graduate, Paulie Cole (see Paulie's article, on the right)

Winter Verses

Advent Verse


I carry a light within me

A brightly burning flame

Though dark may try to win me

It ever shines the same

It guides me through uncertainty

It warms the wintry weather

and brings to every burden

the lightness of a feather




Winter Verse 


The power of my heart's bright flame Is striving to stream out through cold and dark. Life gives me power to fulfill my aim, That fires of love be kindled from each golden spark. A heart of love that in the dark is brightly burning Will mean that often to do deeds of love my hands are turning. ~ 


Adapted from In the Light of the Child by Michael Hedley Burton    



From Rudolf Steiner:  


To carry spirit light into world-winter-night

Is the deepest longing of my heart,

That shining seeds of soul

Take root in grounds of worlds

And Word Divine through senses' darkness

Resounds, illumining all life.




Three Kings Day (Jan 6), 2015


Reading this newsletter brought me a sense of peace. My heart sings every time I read the words of one of our graduates and other like-minded souls sharing from the heart of parenting and/or caregiving. I love the transparency we share with each other - the challenges, the joys. I genuinely appreciate the offering of immense talents. Congratulations, Paulie, on your book!


Perhaps what I appreciate the most is the consistent striving, the reaching for the light. It is a gift to realize that our imperfections are not deep scars or permanent potholes in the landscape of our caring. Rather, I think, they may be reflections of learning contracts or agreements, if you will, that we made with our children, our partners, and others in our care before we descended to earth to attend this high school of learning we call physical life! We didn't sign on for perfection; that is much further down the road!


Sustaining this remembrance, however, is not always easy.  

Read more.


Nurturing & Nourishing your Inner Light
Lighting up from the inside during the darkest time of the year


What a perfect time of year to explore one of the most challenging topics we have: nurturing our own inner light. 

How difficult it can be to remember as a care giver to care for oneself as well. We have experienced the darkening of days and the pull to venture within. Having just experienced the darkness of the longest night - the winter solstice - we can appreciate the returning warmth and light of the sun. 


Let it also serve as a reminder to rekindle the flame within us. 


Let the water settle, and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being. ~Rumi


When we first decided on this topic, I spent a lot of time discussing with parents, teachers, colleagues and caregivers about what they do to maintain their inner light through the many challenges we face. 

Remembering to take care of your body, mind, and spirit are vital.

It is important to remember to "lighten up" not only externally, but internally, as well, especially during the challenging moments. 

 "Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, 

and let it grow, be like water. 

Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless - like water.

Flow in the living moment. - We are always in a process of becoming and nothing is fixed. Have no rigid system in you, and you'll be flexible to change with the ever changing. Open yourself and flow, my friend. Flow in the total openness of the living moment. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Moving, be like water. Still, be like a mirror. Respond like an echo.
  Be water my friend." ~Bruce Lee


 In this newsletter we will explore the journey of the caregiver and discuss different ways to navigate the challenges we might face. I hope you find inspiration in these insightful articles. May your light shine bright through the new year!


Blessings on your day!
Amy Gerassimoff, Editor

When it gets Dark, Hold on to your Spark!

by Judy Frizlen

The Rose Garden Early Childhood Center, Buffalo, NY 


In early November, at the Rose Garden Early Childhood Center in Buffalo, we construct lanterns to shelter the light that we carry into the darkness during our Lantern Walk festival. When we walk with our lanterns through the cold, dark evening, a gust of wind or drop of rain could put out the fire. So we stay together in case we need to share a light, a lantern or a hand. We walk, sing, and gather around the fire. While we are encircling the fire with our lanterns in hand, we marvel at the spectacle. The experience leaves an imprint on our souls, one of light and the warmth of community... Read More


A Better Way to Start a Sunless Morning

by Tyra Zuchowski


The whirl of kindergarten starting has slowed. My boys and I know each step of the morning.  I wake up at six a.m. to sit in front of my SAD light for 25 minutes. The boys chat in their room, then get dressed.  Up until recently, I patted myself on the back for rather easy mornings. Our routine worked, and they would arrive at school ten minutes before the bell. But now that our mornings begin in darkness there is resistance, sluggishness. I want more sleep in the morning, but rise reluctantly. They want to stay in their pajamas longer and to have their early morning talks last until sunlight pours into the room. They move slowly and my nagging begins... Read More


Nourishing and Nurturing:

The Care of the Caregiver - 

A Mother's Journey 

by Adrienne E. Nagy


I was a total and complete basket case. When I first decided to embark on the LifeWays training in the winter of 2007, I was right in the middle of a full-blown authenticity crisis. A new second-time mother with two 7-month-old and nearly 3-year-old daughters, I was experiencing the very difficult learning curve of acclimating from parenting one child to parenting two children of different age groups. My life was a constant whirlwind and, although I seemingly moved through my days in a somewhat orderly fashion, I was an exhausted, unhappy, overwhelmed, confused shell of a person stuck in a soul-sucking well of despair. Who was I? What happened to the "me" who used to be-was she gone forever?... Read More


A Spark to Reignite the Soul - "Awake All Night"

by Paulie Cole


This is the tale of a story born in the back seat of a car under a star-filled sky.  As a Waldorf teacher, I have had the pleasure of experiencing the gift of a story coming into my imagination at just the right moment.  Sometimes it was a complete gift from the spiritual world.  And sometimes it might be the result of exercising an imaginative "muscle" that left me open to stories waiting to be shared. 

We were driving home from lantern walk in Pagosa Springs (Colorado).  The night was so cold and clear, and the little boy who sat next to me was full of all the wonder the night had been.  A precocious 4-year-old, visiting us for the weekend and not raised in anything resembling Waldorf, he is tired and wiggly and about to get wound up tight as we make our way home. ... Read More 

LifeWays News  


Donate to LifeWays' Scholarship Fund 


The need for financial assistance is increasing, especially with the growing number of LifeWays students and trainings across North America.  It is all the more poignant when it is expressed by someone who would not have been able to enroll without community support. 

Britnee's testimonial 

More individuals are coming to us at a life crossroad that has awakened their interest and need to care for children in their own home or in working with others. For some it is after finally managing to exit an abusive relationship. Some have experienced job loss due to tumultuous economic times. And for still others, their financial situation has never opened the possibility to seek such a golden opportunity. 


Every time we help someone become an exemplary caregiver and/or parent, we are helping a whole community. Please help us help those who can most benefit from your support. Thank you for caring!


See our 2014 summary of activities. 

 Donate online or mail your tax-deductible contribution to LifeWays North America, 403 Piney Oak Dr, Norman, OK 73072. 


Mary O'Connell to Become LifeWays Training Coordinator

The LifeWays Board is excited to announce that Mary O'Connell will be joining the staff as the new Training Coordinator, starting March 1.  Mary has also served on the board for many years and is the new Board President, bringing her insight and clarity for moving LifeWays forward.  Mary will be working extensively with Cynthia Aldinger, Executive Director, and Rahima, who will be continuing as Outreach Coordinator.

Mary will be stepping down from being founding director of LifeWays Early Childhood Center in Milwaukee, a position she has held for the past twelve years.  The center will continue under the able direction of Jaimmie Stugard.

So you can get to know Mary and her dedication to the LifeWays mission better, we are including her letter to LifeWays of Milwaukee families and friends, "A Piece of the Chain." Take a look - it's a stunning articulation of the LifeWays work! 


LifeWays North America Recognized
by YoungStar in Wisconsin

LifeWays North America has just been approved as a Professional Organization by YoungStar, the childcare rating system in Wisconsin. 

What does this mean to you?

If you work in a licensed childcare program in Wisconsin and you are rated by YoungStar, you can earn a point by being a Representative Member of LifeWays. Those points can be hard to come by, so this is a wonderful way to earn a point while also receiving support you in your work with children and families. 

To find out more about becoming a representative member of LifeWays North America, please visit our website: Here 

If you are dealing with a rating system in a state other than Wisconsin, it may be a simple matter to get LWNA added to their list of approved professional organizations now that we have been successful in Wisconsin. 


Please feel free to contact Mary O'Connell at (414) 218-8558 

to talk through the details of how this new development might help you in your work! 


In this third edition of You Are Your Child's First Teacher, Waldorf educator and LifeWays board member, Rahima Baldwin Dancy, has included much more information about the LifeWays approach for parents and childcare professionals. 
She also explains the different stages of learning that children go through from birth to age six, giving you the wisdom and understanding to enrich your child's natural development in the right way at the right time.

Learn More....  

LifeWays Training Courses

We have new trainings starting in 2015 in Colorado, Pennsylvania, California (Sierra Foothills, Oceanside, and SF Bay Area), Alaska, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Texas!
  • Are you interested in a natural, holistic approach to child care?  
  • Are you looking for innovative, groundbreaking ideas on how to care for children-your own or others? 
  • Do you want to create your own home-based preschool or a parent education program? 
  • Are you seeking personal growth through artistic expression, music, handcrafting and meaningful practical skills? 
COME TO LIFEWAYS! Trainings meet part-time over the course of a year, supplemented by independent study and work with a mentor between sessions to help you gain:
  • A comprehensive understanding of the developing human being
  • A deepening experience of personal growth
  • Guidance in establishing a successful program
  • A sense of being grounded in practical, artistic, and nurturing skills
The LifeWays training is based on the human development research of Rudolf Steiner (founder of Waldorf education) and contemporary researchers. It is designed to engage you as a whole person, not only intellectually. It is a very hands-on approach that will refresh and rejuvenate you. Put joy back into the center of your work and parenting!

Apply by Jan. 31 and save $225!
Chinyelu Kunz,
Student Services Director
610-933-3635 X109

Apply by March 31 and save $225!
Faith Collins,
Student Services Director
Learn more or request an information packet!

Anchorage, AK
May 2015 - June 2016
Apply by March 31 and save $225!
Lori Berrigan,
Student Services Director
Email Lori or call her at 907-315-4030.

 Learn more or request an information packet!

Oceanside, CA,
July 2015-July 2016
Bianca Lara, Student Services Director. Email Bianca or call her at 760-525-8569.
Learn more  or request an information packet!

Sierra Foothills, CA (Applegate, near Sacto)
July 2015-July 2016
Marianne Alsop, Director
Email Marianne or call her at
Learn more  or request an
information packet!

Portland, OR 
July 2015-June 2016
Anne Kollender, Student Services
Director.  Email Anne at
[email protected].

Learn more or request an information packet! 

Milwaukee, WI 
Oct 2015-Aug 2016 
Mary O'Connell, Director
Email Mary or call her at
(414) 218-8558

 Learn more or request an
information packet!

Boulder Training
Austin, TX 
October 2015-Oct 2016 

Kelli Hoisington, Student Services Director
Email Kelli or call her at

Learn more or request an

LifeWays offers a variety of Workshops for parents and professionals, on topics such as Storytelling and Puppetry, Nurturing and Nourishing, and Parenting Seminars. 




Cynthia and Child

"What Do Young Children Really Need?"  

A Talk and introductory LifeWays Workshop   

in Texas

with Cynthia Aldinger

Founder and Director of LifeWays North America


"Taking Life as the Curriculum"

Friday evening, April 24, 2015, 7:30 pm 


"Experiencing LifeWays: A Hands-On Introduction to The Living Arts"

Saturday, April 25, 9:00 - 4:30  


At Good Earth Day School in the Cedar Park area of Austin, Texas


Check the website as information is posted or contact

Kelli Hoisington for more information. 




Home Health Care: Nurturing and Nourishing Ourselves and Children 

with Elizabeth Sustick, RN,  

Anthroposophical Nurse


Saturday and Sunday, March 21-22, 2015  

8:45-5:30 (Sat.), 8:45-12:00 (Sun., followed by lunch) 


Location: Mt. Desert Island, Maine, at The Village Center for Childcare, 21 Summit Rd, Northeast Harbor, ME 04662  


In this hands-on course, you'll learn how to care for your family at home with natural home health care techniques. Elizabeth describes the workshop:   


"We will begin our work together looking at principles that guide and support the healthy incarnation process for the young child. Then, through presentation and demonstration, we will explore home care principles that work with these lawful processes. External applications to use during normal childhood illness-as well as ways for care givers to nurture themselves-will be experienced and practiced using healing and nurturing botanical substances.  Students will become familiar with wraps, poultices, inhalations and healing touch for common ailments, fevers and self-care."


For further information and to register, click here.  

Local  sponsor, Marie LaRosee, 207-276-5388. 



Self Care in Winter 

by Lisa Boisvert


Winter tends to be a busy time of year with many parties and gatherings between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, followed by many more months of winter in many locations. How to keep from getting worn down? 


I make sleep and eating well a priority. The sleep is easy with the early darkness, Mother Nature gives us a nudge to sleep earlier. To simplify eating, I usually roast something with a bone in it on Sunday, turn it into a stock on Monday, cook a pot of beans on Monday and make a soup on Tuesday, so there's always something easy to put together for a meal. Soup or stew for breakfast, why not? Beans and eggs can make a hearty breakfast of Huevos Rancheros.


From the beans, I might prepare tacos, burritos, chili, quesadillas or nachos. Soup makes a quick easy and comforting meal with bread and cheese or served as a stew over polenta, quinoa or couscous.


One of my favorite warming soups is this one:


Warming Winter Stew


Prepare ahead of time:

cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight

3 coins of fresh ginger

1 cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves


Rinse the soaked chickpeas, put them in a pot with the ginger, cinnamon stick and bay leaves, cover with water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently until the chickpeas are tender and cooked.



1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp ginger, grated

3 carrots, sliced into bite size pieces

head good sized cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces

1 good sized stem of broccoli, cut into bite size pieces

2 potatoes, cut into bite size pieces

turnip or rutabaga

peas or corn if you have them in the freezer

1 28 oz can of tomatoes or 2 lbs fresh tomatoes

1 tsp cinnamon

tsp turmeric

tsp cumin

tsp coriander

pinch of cardamom


Heat pot, add olive oil, saute onions, garlic and ginger, add vegetables and spices. Add chickpeas and broth from cooking chickpeas.


Cover and simmer gently.

Add salt and pepper to taste.  

Garnish with:

  • squeeze of  fresh lemon

  • whole milk plain yogurt

  • cilantro

  • raisins 

Serves 4 to 6  

Note: Many vegetables work well in this soup, use what you have. I try to include at least one vegetable from each color: orange, green, yellow, white. Roasted vegetables made good additions too.


Orange: carrots, butternut or acorn squash, turnip, rutabaga, sweet potatoes

Green: broccoli, zucchini , cabbage

Yellow: sweet pepper, corn, summer squash

White: cauliflower, parsnip, fennel

Red: tomatoes, sweet peppers


This recipe in my adaptation of Annie Sommerville's North African Vegetable Stew from her Fields of Greens Cookbook.