Living Arts Weekly: Refreshing

July 15, 2018

Love is the greatest refreshment in life.  – John Lennon

Sunset over Green Bay, July 3rd 2018

Last week I was on vacation with my husband’s family in Door County, Wisconsin. There were about twenty of us in one house, and it was as fun and wonderful and chaotic as a family vacation with twenty people should be. Each evening, after a hot, sunny day of activity, we would all gather on the dock to watch the sun set over Green Bay. The sound of the waves gently lapping against the shore and the cool breeze on our faces was just the refreshment needed at the end of a full day. As is tradition, when the sun made its spectacular final descent below the horizon we cheered. A good sunset deserves applause. “I give you this sunset,” my father-in-law declared.

On the final evening of our vacation, all the other adults had gone out to enjoy some “kid-free” time, and the littlest ones were already tucked into bed for the night. Only my young niece, Maria, and I sat on the dock to say goodnight to the sun. Maria said very enthusiastically, “Aunt Mary, it’s a good thing we are here!” Her fervency made me smile; over the course of our one-week vacation, she had become convinced that it was our participation that made the sun set so eloquently. If we weren’t there, who else would be witness to the beauty? She and I applauded extra loudly that night, to make sure the sun heard our gratitude.

We appreciated your responses to last week’s survey about the blog. If you would still like to complete the survey, you can do so here. We are glad that our little Living Arts Weekly blog is refreshing to many of you, and we hope it continues to be so. If you have any thoughts to share, please write them in the comments below. We love to hear from you.

Wishing you sweet moments of refreshment in the coming week!

Mary O’Connell, Your Living Arts Weekly blog editor

Practical Activity

Rosewater Lemonade

Last week on our vacation we enjoyed Rosewater Lemonade, a recipe handed down by my husband’s Lebanese grandmother. Rosewater is made by steeping rose petals, and its unique essence is often used in Middle Eastern cuisine. It gives lemonade a very refreshing and unique flavor.

    • water
    • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon rosewater
    • 1 cup sugar

Mix well and chill. For sweeter, use more sugar. You can always cheat and use frozen concentrate.

Yield: For one half gallon of lemonade.
To learn to make your own rosewater, click here.

Nurturing Care

from Kerry Ingram, the creator of Mothering Arts which is devoted to uplifting the postpartum journey by building local inter-generational nurturing gatherings. Learn more on the Mothering Arts website.

Five quick tips for mini-moments to refresh your spirit through the day

  • Keep a hydrosol spritzer near your sink. When you wash your hands through the day, give yourself a spritz, breathe deeply.
  • Keep a small bowl of written affirmations by your mirror. First, create or buy some lovely affirmations and put them in a pretty bowl or basket. When you are in front of your mirror, pull out an affirmation and say it out loud to that amazing human in the mirror.
  • Stand barefoot on the earth. Lay down on the earth. Feel the nurturing of mother earth.
  • Find a moment to pause each day and drink a whole glass of water or tea. Set your intention for the rest of the day.
  • Hug longer. Hugs produce oxytocin, the feel-good hormone, the longer the hug…the better we feel.

Lynn Coalson, LifeWays Training Graduate and Mentor, with the children in her “Outside Kids” program in Jacksonville, FL

Creative Exploration

Sea Dream Awakening

A story for my granddaughter, by Pamela Perkins

Little Turtle stirred in her sleep. She began to dream. In her dream she heard a deep blue-green Voice singing to her. “ Come to me !” “ Come to me!”  “Come to the sea!”

The song grew louder and louder, until one night Little Turtle woke up in the darkness. She stretched and stretched. She poked and prodded with the tip of her beak. She prodded and poked until her shell began to open. She  rested for a while, then her tiny flippers pushed and pushed. She pushed all the way out of her shell. Her strong tiny flippers scrabbled and scratched until they opened the doors of her nest in the warm, dark sand.

Suddenly she popped up into the world of her dream. She smelled the salty air. She felt the cool nighttime wind blow across her shell. She blinked in the glittering starlight. She heard the deep blue-green Voice singing loudly.   “ Come to me !” “ Come to me!”  “Come to the sea!”

As fast as her tiny flippers could go, she crawled and scrambled. She scrambled and crawled towards the Voice. Her many siblings woke up as well, and they too began to scramble and crawl out of the sandy nest.

Around stones, over pebbles, through sea grasses and over the warm dry sand they all crawled and scrambled. It was hard work ! At last Little Turtle reached the dark wet sand.  Suddenly  “Swoosh ! Splish- splash ! A great wave scooped her up in its arms. It scooped up her dozens of brothers and sisters. It carried them out into the heart of the great Song itself.

For a moment, Little Turtle rested, floating up and down, up and down. The Voice sang. Then she dove into the blue-green water and  disappeared. Together they were One in the world of her waking dream.

Puppet Finger Play –  Five Little Turtles

One little turtle,

Alone and new

Finds a friend

And now there are two!


Two little turtles

Crawl towards the sea

Find a friend

And now

There are three !


(OR: Two little turtles crawl

As fast as can be

Down to the pond

And now, there are three !)


Three little turtles

Resting by the shore

Find a friend,

And now, there are four !


Four little turtles

Go for a dive.

Up swims another,

And now there are five !

One !  Two ! Three!  Four! Five !

Notes from Pamela:

I have done this in various ways: as a small puppet show by myself or with a helper; or as a group activity. For the latter, I sat in a circle with the children, with large pieces of deep-blue silk gauze overlaid by blue-green silk gauze covering our laps. In the center of the circle I placed a few beautiful shells.

Each child was given a little turtle finger puppet to put on his or her finger. Their other hand would be the ‘sand’. As I said the verse, I would go around clockwise, with each child taking a turn to wiggle or move their puppet as his/ her number came up. If I had more than five in the group, I would just repeat the verse until we had made our way around the whole circle.

The children would swim their little turtle for a few moments, then I would slowly bring out my Folkmanis Mother Sea Turtle to quietly swim out and collect her babies one by one around the circle. The children balanced their puppets on her back, then when all were gathered, she drifted slowly up and down, up and down, up and down, before gliding away and under the blue green silks.

[Pamela Perkins has worked with and for children in various capacities since 1970. A former Waldorf teacher, LifeWays graduate and home provider, she now delights in being with her five granddaughters, plus creating magical needle-felted puppet stories and writing gentle tales to nurture young and old. She lives in the Upper Valley of Vermont, and is working on her new writing project Silver Seedlings – Nurturing Tales for the Young and Young at Heart.]

Social Awareness

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2 thoughts on “Living Arts Weekly: Refreshing”

  1. Vicky Trillium

    I love this story and also how Pamela uses it with a group of children. I enjoy my newsletter every week and find it inspiring.

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