Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What grade is your child in?

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There's been an ongoing joke with people I meet these days. It goes like this:

Insert any Siskiyou School Event
Person: "So what grade is your child in?"
Me: "I don't actually have a child here at the school, but will next year."

This is usually followed by a blank stare and then the "and why do you volunteer so much?"

It's a good question because I am volunteering a lot of time and energy to the school and people see me around a lot. This evening was the Siskiyou School's Annual All School meeting. I was there working with the Hospitality Committee. A committee that I was very excited to be a part of.  I basically help set up the food and wine, make sure everything is taken care of in that department, and that people are generally happy. The meeting was very insightful to know the ins and outs of what is happening with the school and I witnessed something so incredibly beautiful. We heard from teachers who have been with the school since the days of it's fruition. To hear them speak of their trials and tribulations and to see where the school has been led, made me so happy to be a part of such an incredible group. To see the dedication that those teachers put forth to make certain that the school continued. Their sweat and tears and perseverance to make certain that my son was able to have a chance at such an amazing education. It is that core group that I hold with such reverence!

My real love for the school came when I signed up for an auction item last year. I signed up for a painting class with Christine Crawley.  This class transformed me. I am not sure what it was about the class, but something enbodied more than just the actual class. I remember a distinct feeling when Christine was teaching us how to do wet on wet painting, a feeling so profound as I watched the paints fall onto my paper, to start to blend in a harmounious way. The feeling of a group of us together, standing as one, and painting. In a world rather hurried, it was a moment of a teacher passing on her wisdom to her adult students. Listening to Christine direct us and watching my pictures come to life brought me to a place of wanting more. Wanting to bring this to my own children. To look forward to how I can have this feeling all the time. That painting hangs on my wall and everyday I pass it and am reminded of that feeling of the beginning towards something so much bigger than myself. I will always be thankful for Christine's class.

 I am there for more than just the volunteering. I am there for the community. I am there for the "feeling." This year I started working at the Siskiyou School as their aftercare provider. It has been such a change for me to hold the children for that hour in a time when they have ended their day. To keep them grounded for a little more time and to bring them together in peace. I have watched them grow and transform over the past few months. They have grown taller, they have grown in their being, but they have also grown in their inner selves. The kids have such great compassion and love. They have taught me so much and next week my position ends as the kids start to go the full day. I have many moments of heavy heart when I think of not seeing those kids every day. To not witness their growing personalities, to listen to their extensive chatter. They will never know what a deep impact they all had on me, but I walk away with such a feeling of happiness and fullness.

Oh the wonderful things I have gained.  I have walked in the doors of the school and have witnessed the beauty of what makes the Siskiyou School. I see a staff so well put together and a community of families that are dedicating themselves to the greater good of the school. I walk past beautiful artwork displayed on the walls by the students. I walk past the music room and hear the harmonious voices of students. This week the students have been singing Jack Johnson's song "Better Together" and I can't help but smile and think, we are.. "Better Together." The majority of my work has taken place in the kitchen as I prepare for the kids after school snack. The kitchen is one of the greatest meeting spots and a place where I have connected with most of the faculty. I have been met with such gratitude and such warmth.

So, no, I do not have a kid at the school. But what I do have is passion! I have such passion for the school and what is happening there. I have passion for Waldorf education. I have passion for learning more. I am blessed to have a beautiful friend that sets me in place to be able to volunteer so much. She has transformed my life more than she will ever know. My dear friend, Katie, such beauty and greatness. Such a blessing that she has shared so much with me.

It is with such heart that I continue to learn and seek more knowledge on how to better myself and my experiences. I do that with the people I surround myself with and these people are making such profound impacts.  Community.. such the root of feeling connected.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Putting myself out **THERE**

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Today I was talking to a mom and she said " I would love to have your confidence and ability to put myself out there." We were talking about my recent media presentation. I chuckled a bit, because she has no idea how I lack in confidence in this department.

Last week I geared up for a Media Presentation. It comes as no huge shocker that I am not keen on any media for children (especially young children). Last year I presented my class project on the topic and my teacher said I needed to "take it to the masses." I gave a smile, that uncomfortable chuckle, and thought to myself "Hell No!"

You see. I don't have a ton of confidence to put myself out there. I just really, Really, REALLY, think people need to have more information on this topic. I really think that our media culture is moving WAY too fast for adults, let alone children. So, I chant to myself:

"You Can Do It!"
"You Can Do It!" 
"You Can Do It!"

And last week I did do it. I arrived at a local preschool where I set up my materials, looked at an audience of parents and even grand parents. And then.. I wondered to myself... "What am I doing here?" It's funny that I sometimes don't see myself as a successful woman in her 30's (ahem! I did run a very successful wedding planning business in San Francisco), but I see myself as my 16 year old self. Not worthy of presenting to people. But, then it dawns on me, these people are hear because they TOO really care to hear about the Effects of Screen Media and Children.

Then... I can breathe.. and start to speak. And once I start to speak.. it rolls.. like a child rolling down a big grassy hill. It rolls! and I find myself in my element. I find myself confident and excited. My passion for children, Waldorf, life.. it can be seen through my words and I enter into my being and I greet it with a warm embrace. 

My presentation was a success. A good balance of science, stats and personal experiences. I was so happy to open this email from one of the parents: 

"Hi Lora,
You did such a wonderful job on your talk! First of all, and perhaps most importantly, the content is so important and well thought out. Your delivery was very well done with a great mix of anecdote as well as scientific references. Your message touched me deeply and reinforces some of the choices I have made about screens and refocuses me on areas I could do much better at (those iphones are terrible!). Anyway I just wanted to share my support of what you are doing. It is a difficult message to give because it makes all of us parents question the choices we are making and highlights where we are falling short and that can make people defensive. Good for you, it is a message that must be heard and awareness must be brought to this.
Thank you!"
And that.. makes it all worth it! Excited to bring the presentation to more schools. 
If you have a school that you think would benefit from a Media Presentation, please email me at:

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 Diet Changes

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Like so many other people on this planet, I did make a "diet resolution" this year. It came at the recommendation from my doctor. He believes that gluten and caffeine are a source for a lot of the digestive problems I have. I have been suffering from horrible stomach pains for years and he said cutting these two things out of my diet would warrant profound changes. 


I have currently switched to only decaf coffee, but I do have hopes of eliminating it all together. 

Gluten is YUMMY! 

Let's be honest. There is no real substitute for gluten. Even though they try, the gluten free stuff just isn't that great. My hope is that it starts tasting better with time. For now though, I am trying my hand at just natural whole foods and keeping grains somewhat limited. Smoothies have been a key part of my new diet. I take a bunch of kale and spinach and add fruit.. blend away.. and eat. It's very filling and doesn't leave me feeling the constant need to snack. 

Heather, over at Beauty That Moves, blogged a yummy breakfast recipe Banana Blender pancakes

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These pancakes were really moist and fluffy. I couldn't believe how easy they were to make and kids devoured them **Without Syrup!**

The other shift has been for lunch. I am currently enjoying bean chicken soups and lettuce wraps. They make for easy, no fuss lunches. 

Snacking is easy. A handful of almonds or other nuts. Carrots. Celery with peanut butter. 

I have really enjoyed not finishing my children's snacks. Although, also the hardest! Leftover scone? Nope! Leftover tortilla? Nope! My waistline will thank me for this shift for sure!

It's a life change for sure, but I am also very excited about it. Yes! In just 10 days I have felt so much better. I haven't had any stomach bloating or feelings of getting sick. It's so nice to be listening to my body and deciding to take the necessary changes now. 

When going Gluten Free, understand that you still have to read the ingredients. Gluten Free products still have lots of sugars and ingredients that break down into sugar. Just because it's Gluten Free, doesn't mean it's healthy! 

Let me know if you have any great recipes to share.