Prayer-Book Making, And Update

First, the Update …

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted! Here’s a brief update on other writing I’ve been doing.

I’m finishing a draft of a children’s fantasy novel called Because Of The Red Fox, and am posting chapters of this work-in-progress on my kids blog, FoxTales. Characters from the book speak about what’s happening in the novel, as well as comment on the goings-on in their lives on an island called Yonder. I invite you to check it, and share it with the kids in your life!

My website Wise Child Learning is devoted to herbal learning and nature’s magic adventures for kids of all ages. I’m posting about plants, my own herbal adventures, sharing herbs and nature with kids, and more on the blog there. If you’re at all interested, check that out too!

… And now, Prayer- Book Making:

Another project that’s up are Prayer-Book Making  workshops that I am presenting with book making artist Julie Shannon.

As part of that project, I’ve decided to dive into an experiment in prayer-book making, which I’ve begun right on this blog.   Prayer-book making can look and feel like anything with which you might experiment with creatively, from your heart.  It is an expression of your journey with the Sacred, and how that looks and feels in your life.  Really, (I’ll repeat!) that can be expressed in anyway you like–as a scrapbook, a journal, a collection of quotes, photos of loved ones, some mix of all of those or none of them!

In upcoming posts I’ll share some past prayer-books I’ve created, and glimpses of prayer-books that speak to me.  But today I’ll just start by inviting you to view my new prayer-book, a web-prayer-book,which I’m calling Jane’s Book Of Deer.

Please don’t think that this web-book is any kind of expression of “how” one should create a prayer-book! It absolutely isn’t. But what I hope it does is invite you to view your life, your imagination, your heart,  through the lens of the Sacred–something more than yourself, however you experience that more/beyond/forever-deepening.

I invite you to step into your conversation with the miracle of existence, and begin crafting your own prayer-book, a whirl of that magic, in whatever form flows from your being. A garden can be a prayer-book. So can a dance. Our lives are prayer-books. How do we celebrate and honor this conversation with the Divine, the Universe, the beyond-ourselves that lies within and around us and includes us? Let your prayer-book be that  curious wandering and wondering!

Prayer Book - art by Jane Valencia (c) 2003

Renewing The Story

Spring returns to the island.

Teeny tiny whorls of Cleavers (but they have been teeny tiny all winter)

Child-nettles flinging upward — I swear, growing an inch a day!

Long fingers of yellow-green starred with purple-red catkins, a dangle of worms from — which tree? A nibble reveals that immediate dryness–the complete astringency of Red Alder. A quick check on friend Web confirms what my taste buds and body already know.

Oh, and the resinous Cottonwood buds! The windstorm of a few days ago helps me here. So easy to walk along the road and begin this year’s harvest, walking a harvest with friends that took place four–or is it now five?–years ago.

I’m waking up with the land, stretching my arms after a long sleep punctuated by fevered dreams, restless awakenings, sun-dapple imaginings.

As I drive down the long stretch of Cove Road, as straight and tall and probably in some form, just as old
as the Western Red Cedar I leaned against only minutes before, I feel the strong straight connection,

old home with new

It’s like picking up that book once more, finding my place, taking up the threads of story that have crisscrossed and wandered and played about in the wind. The plants and I make medicine.

A Tale and A Storytelling Festival

Deep nature connection, nourishing our true selves and our communities by way of nature, and adventuring in nature with our imaginations, curiosity, and creativity has long been my passion, and has mingled in numerous ways in my harp playing, writing, illustration, healing artistry, and workshops. This Sunday I’ll be offering harp and story at an event that mixes much of the above for me!

Please join me on a little journey ….

In 2007 a group of parents banded together to establish program of deep nature connection for kids. They created a vision and mission for the program — “to ignite relationships between the natural world, self, and community”, hiring some amazing instructors, and aimed to never turn anyone away from any of its offerings due to lack of funds. I was one of these founding parents, and helped craft the vision of what was to become the Vashon Wilderness Program. You can read our full history and legacy here. I resumed membership of the VWP Board last year.

In our program, kids spend their day learning just like our ancestors did – engaging all of their senses to co-create a living ecology for them to love and sustain. With Nature as the living teacher, mentors subtly stretch student’s awareness making learning invisible, effective, fun, healing and empowering.

I’m amazed and delighted that VWP has held to its commitment to support any family who needed assistance in meeting tuition, by awarding almost $50,000 in scholarships to date! This year we saw a dramatic increase in requests for support. As VWP grows, we are holding true to our mission – to give the gift of nature to as many kids as we can.

We are poised to mentor more than 185 youth this year. Will you help us make sure that everyone who wants to participate is given a chance to do so?

Please join us for tales and free delicious treats to delight your senses at our 5th Annual Storytelling Festival. Hear some great local storytellers: Steffon Moody, Mik Kuhlman, Lauretta Hyde, Steve Jones, Jane Valencia, Cyndi O’Brien & more
I’m honored to be offering story and harp at this event!

Here are the details:
February 5th from 4-6pm at the Vashon United Methodist Church. $7 individuals, $20 families. Tickets available at Vashon Bookshop.

If you can’t make the Festival (obviously, many of you reading this can’t possibly get over here!), please consider making a donation to the Vashon Wilderness scholarship fund by way of its website, or by mailing a check to:

Vashon Wilderness Program
PO Box 712
Vashon, Washington 98070

The Vashon Wilderness Program is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Any amount, small or large, is greatly appreciated!

Help us in our mission to leave no child left inside!

~ thank you!
Jane

Vashon Wilderness Program Annual Storytelling Festival