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Today I gathered the three of you around

to apologize

Not a new path, but a re-commitment

To your youth

the path we now walk together

until your womanhood

forging your own

A re-commitment to your soft skin

your innocence

the sweet knowing that peers out from behind your eyes

An acknowledgment of the importance of

now

that Spirit entrusted me with your well-being

The original intent

going back to the ground from which I was formed

you were formed

To learn there

in the warmth of a sun cut by the limbs of trees

A re-commitment to out foremothers

their well trodden path

not a new path

 

Today, Confluence Herbals and Spiritual Coaching is born, and I feel the relief and exhaustion that comes after the labor that is listening to Spirit.

Trail to Bad Branch Falls

Trail to Bad Branch Falls

Winter in the mountains is not for the faint of heart.  As much as I tend to dread the heat of the summer, it is most always an allowing sort of weather.  Winter brings further isolation for a mother of small children.  While a romp in the snow is fun, it only lasts about 10 -20 minutes for my girls before they holler – COLD.

This winter though has been more than mild.  I feel like more days than not we’ve been able to get outside.  This is our fifth day in a row without leaving the Confluence and I was so grateful to get to take a walk and see some sun.  The last snow is melted off and only leaves some heavy icicles hanging from the cliff sides.

I did really well with isolation when we first moved back to the mountains.  But, now, I remember how easy it was as a teenager for me to get sad about not being able to be with friends.  I’m a loner at heart, but even for someone like me, there can be too much alone.  I remain the only woman on the place.  John and I are the only family.  The other full time resident on the holler is a bachelor, and for our landlord this is a warm weather home where his family comes to visit.  So, when I see someone, it is usually a man.  A very helpful, kind, and fun to talk to man, so I’m not complaining.  No way.  But, sometimes girl talk would be nice.  I find myself missing the little community of mothers that the city gave me.  Folks to trade babysitting duties with for date nights.  I haven’t had one of those in a long, long time.  Hanging out with my sister and best friend on weekends.  I think that is what I miss most about the city.  That and access to decent food (organics and such) on a regular basis.  I don’t know how to describe it really because I do know people here, and in our homeschool groups.  I see the homeschool families monthly.  Yet, time and opportunity for those deeper connections is short.  We are all spread out so.

I dream of an intentional community where I can still live privately, yet, work as a part of a functioning group that is there for one another.  I’m feeling kind of down this winter.  No, winter in the mountains is not for the faint of heart.

Last week, we were away from home for most of the week.  It was Science Week for Confluence Academy.  We had to take one of the family to see a doctor in Lexington and we had two field trips while there and then two more when we got back to the mountains.

Here is a captioned pictorial review of our adventures!  I must say that at The Living Arts and Science Center there was an awesome forest exhibit that was so engrossing I forgot to take pictures.  There was a worksheet to take you through each station and a probing question.  It was perfect and the girls had crazy fun.  Not to mention it was FREE!

We really had a great trip and it was much needed.

Getting cozy in a fluffy hotel bed.

Getting cozy in a fluffy hotel bed.

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Exploring the impact of paper on our forest friends with an endangered species and recycling exhibit at The Living Arts and Science Center.

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Making an endangered Noonday Snail figure for play.

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I found my friend’s habitat!

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Enjoying some kinetic energy at Monkey Joe’s!

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Big sissy jumps too fast to catch her airtime.

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I take what my big sissies call Move Your Body classes at Confluence Academy. Today I am exploring the function of my hands.

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Tired in a sea of green downy softness.

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Some bearded dragon action at The East Kentucky Science Center in Prestonsburg, Kentucky. We also saw a planetarium show, and experienced hurricane winds in a simulator. We bought some fancy polished rocks and astronaut ice cream for an inexpensive treat.

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My 5 Senses! Ivy having fun at the preschool work table during Science Day at Kentucky Mountain Homeschool Association’s monthly meeting.

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Discovering just how well Dawn dish soap repels grease (fat). Also, during Science Day for KMHSA.

This morning after three days of not leaving the cabin, we welcomed a guest for breakfast.  He came to get tattooed by John and to experience our mountain music all the way from Sweden.  We have the pleasure of hosting him on the holler for a few days!  Despite the fact that I haven’t been able to clean myself or the house in these days, I got over my initial embarrassment and hosted him at our table.  It was pretty awesome to get a firsthand account of a country we rarely hear of here in the US, or at least Kentucky.  I had so many questions and we conversed quite a bit about what would be the typical curiosities – daily life, education, religion, politics, etc…  Our conversation confirmed a lot of what I suspected and taught me a lot as well.  He was so respectful and personable.  I utterly enjoyed having him here with us.  I can say, if there is anything I want to do and have yet done in this life, it is to host more people at my table and to see more of our world.  I want to have more conversations like the one I had this morning.  I want to see what is past the Mississippi.  What is beyond Huntsville, Alabama.  What lies above Ohio.  I want to see Mexico.  Hang out in Canada, and ultimately cross the pond.

There is so much more to understand about the realities of a human existence.  Of what works and does not work.  I think if we are to make opportunities and a brighter reality for our children, we have so much to learn.  The American way isn’t the end all to be all for sure. I mean we can’t even agree on what the American way is anymore.  Congress is having too many my way or the highway arguments.  Honestly, our politics are gross to me right now.  Taking what works from respectably functioning countries and combining those things would be a great way to approach setting up a society.

Did you know that Sweden is kind of like Alaska right now?  1 hour of daylight!  Imagine that!

The only thing I won’t be taking with me when I pass on are my children.  They will have their own time to leave the planet.  So, they are my work – my lasting contribution.  I have to keep reminding myself of this because if I don’t I easily get caught up in trying to accomplish things.  I just add more and more to my plate when I should continue to remove things from it.  What Creator has meant for me to do will always find me.  It is so easy to waste time on meaningless things!

Today, I had a firsthand account of one man’s experience in Sweden.  An hour’s long conversation gave me a little insight.  It is such a rare opportunity.  This blog is the firsthand account of one mountain mother’s life in rural Kentucky.  Thanks for spending your time with me.  Those who write as well, thank you for sharing.  Hopefully, we can continue to learn from each other and form a consciousness of gratitude, interdependence, and blessing.

I haven’t had time to write here in so long.  When I have had the time I have been way too tired to try.  I don’t know how I get so exhausted.  Walking around as if I were in a fog all day long, no amount of coffee changing that.  Things are going really well for our family.  There is nothing at all to complain about, except that I wish I had more energy to enjoy it.

This week Deladis will graduate from kindergarten.  We completed our first official homeschool year with success.  I’m ready for 1st grade too.  We received our curriculum in the mail a few weeks ago.  Deladis will have a blue cap and gown, a tassel, and the whole nine yards!  This year our group will have 5 graduates and we are expecting around 100 visitors at our graduation.  We will be decorating and cooking all week long.  I’m doing sausage balls (my own recipe), a type of cinnamon roll (from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook), and chips with salsa (storebought).  Deladis is reciting the scripture she learned this year, and I’m making a speech on why we decided to homeschool.  I get to present her with her diploma and John will be playing her favorite song “Little Birdie”.  I’m beyond excited, and if I can keep the tears in long enough to get through it, it will be amazing.

Can you believe this was her 5 years ago?

Oh, it goes so fast.  So fast.

I might post the text of my speech once graduation is over with some pictures from the ceremony.

In the meantime, enjoy our family outing to the Lewis and Clark Old-Time Tent Circus when they stopped in Clintwood, VA.  It was a blast.  I was so happy to see people still dedicated enough to devote their life to such entertainment.  It amazed me.  None of these acts were performed with any kind of netting under the performers.  Pretty courageous and awesome!  The performers were really friendly and full of smiles.  I wish we had gotten some better pictures.

The girls loved the clowns best of all!

There were a family of acrobats and clowns. A few generations working together. Awesome!

Deladis always loves the animals.

My favorite was this woman. She did quite a few acts mostly of the juggling, balancing and gaucho sort.

This guy just kept stacking the blocks. It was insane!

The same juggler as before. This time with very large blades. She also juggled fire.

Some dangling from the top of the tent. John loves taking pictures without a flash.

More rope work!

I’m so excited to share with you an article that was published in The Daily Yonder last week!  I wrote it!  Closing Maternity Wards: Costly and Risky… click on the picture below to read the article.

My darling nephew - brand new

The article was also picked up on www.kentucky.com!  There has been some discussion on both sites.  I’m so thankful to have gotten the opportunity to write this article for this publication. 🙂  I hope you will take a look if you get the time.

I finally got hold of the camera, took some pictures, and then let Deladis take some on her own.  I’m going to share our last few weeks with you mostly in pictures.

Easter, Redbuds, and Dogwoods – The Tale not Found in the Bible

Today is Good Friday for Christian believers and others who are inspired by the life of Jesus the Christ.

“Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said.  “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

Jesus answered. “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.  Therefore, the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” – John 19:10-11

Jesus accepted what was for what it was.  He lived the Now and He realized the essence of His being protected by Father God.  My maternal grandmother taught me that the redbud and dogwood trees represent some significant things in this story.  They grow wild in these hills.  Many plant them in their yard.

The redbud was once a large tree with large white blossoms.  Judas Iscariot, after betraying Jesus, hung himself on one of these large trees.  It shriveled up and the blossoms turned pink with their shame.

The dogwood represents the events of The Holy Week.  You can read more about how by clicking these statements.Spring has gotten into my being more this year than ever in my life.  I have never been fond of rainy up and down weather, but this year the beauty of creation has been recognized as a gift in the core of who I am.  The most beautiful part of the redbud and dogwood story is that they bloom around the same time, the redbud a bit ahead of the dogwood.

Deladis Won a Blue Ribbon at the Homeschool Science Fair for her Tree Project!

She worked so so hard!  I can’t believe this is a kindergartener’s work!

It’s Electric – Boogie-Woogie-Woogie

The Chickens – Photos by Deladis Rose – Titles by Mommy

Where's the Beef

The Peach

The Ladies

Cockfight

Family Man

We're Havin' a Party

I'd Eat One if I Could Fit it in My Mouth

And Finally – The Mole Killer – Not for the Squeamish – Photo by Deladis Rose



I’ve been holding out on a new post to wait on getting the camera back from John.  He is teaching now and has been doing photography with his students the past few weeks.  It doesn’t look like he’ll be done before too long, so I’m going to post anyway.

We got our spring garden in!  Cauliflower, Broccoli, Lettuce of several kinds, Swiss Chard, Potatoes, Onions, Garlic, Shallots, Peas, Italian Parsley, Dill, Cilantro, Rosemary, and Chives.  It felt so good to be outside in the dirt.  There is such peace there in most cases.  The girls were much more helpful this time around.  They are getting older.  All the plants are perked right up and growing.  Hopefully the seed will show sprouts soon.  I’ve been craving good veggies after a pretty rough winter.  It is hard to find good produce in the groceries here.

We also had some homeschool friends give us 5 hens and a rooster in order to make room for their upcoming 4H projects.  There were two little bantams – hen and rooster, and some large mixed breed hens.  The little bantam hen, we called Little Lady.  She had blueish gray feathers along with some tan, and she was so very gentle.  We even brought her in the cabin to eat macaroni and cheese.  I did away with her body yesterday.  The larger hens had pecked her to death.  😦  There was no sign of them bullying her.  She stayed in the coop most of the time, but I thought she was just getting used to things.  After loosing 4 entire flocks, including all the grown diddles from last year, you’d think I’d be over caring.  I’m not.  Well, especially when a hen will let you pet her and will sit in your lap like a dog.  We are getting eggs daily from our free-ranging flock.  They are healthy and roost on the front porch.  It makes a mess, but Lars (our dalmatian) sleeps there with them and keeps them safe.  It would be nice for these new hens to eventually be free ranging too.  It seems we have better luck that way.  I told them though, they better start laying or they’ll be in the pot for killing Little Lady – barbarians.

It is so close to warm here.  We had a week of 70 degree weather and the girls were so happy.  We will be getting new water soon, and I won’t have to take them to my mother’s for baths any longer.  Deladis graduates from kindergarten on May 26!  Our homeschool group has a great ceremony planned and I’m going to cry like a baby.  I just know it.  I ordered her 1st grade curriculum yesterday on sale.  I can’t believe it.  It’s funny that Ivy still seems so small.

I’ll try to get some pictures up soon, and some exciting news.  I hope to start hearing from folks again.  I’ll do my best to comment back as well.  My computer reading time has been kind of limited lately.

The weather has given us a break, and the girls and I took a hike this past Saturday.  It was lovely.  We got home and both the girls fell asleep by 6:30 and didn’t wake up again until the next morning!

Start with a nice blue sky.

Add a warm hilltop breeze

Two lovely little girls

 

A release of penned up energy waiting all winter long

And a few soft smiles

One portly little cat who follows along behind like a dog

Neglected hunting cabin

 

That had to have once been loved

A few open old deep mines

 

An old logging road

Big old maple leaves

A couple of rolled over rocks

Blow one last kiss to the sun

Explore Kentucky… Explore the World…  Those words were the mantra of my time spent in early new motherhood when we lived in Louisville.  We have never bought cable or satelitte since we’ve been married, but we were excited when we got almost 7 channels on our TV with a regular antennae.  I love KET, all the versions.  I grew up watching KET (Kentucky Educational Television) and the PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) programming they aired.  Mr. Rogers, Reading Rainbow, The Write Channel, were staples of my education, and I have to say it is a huge part of what gave me the courage to call myself a writer.  A huge part of who I am as a person.

Deladis was about 2 years old when she was watching evening programming with me as I rocked her to sleep.  Explore Kentucky… Explore the World… flowed out of the television and Deladis repeated the words with the same cadence and tone as it was spoken by the narrator.  My eyes welled with tears.  It was one of the first times I realized that she heard words like I do.  Hearing those words spoken in that way for that KET advertisement made me proud to be a Kentuckian.  I loved hearing them, and in them Deladis heard the same value.  KET and PBS produce such a quality programming, which is so hard to find now days.

Now, that we live back in the hills, we don’t get any channels.  We watch television and movies through Netflix.  I watch KET/PBS anytime I get the chance – renting their shows through Netflix and watching for free online through their websites.  Public broadcasting is still such a part of our lives through radio as well.  NPR and PRI programming through WEKU and are my chosen sources for news, education, and entertainment in the car and at home.  Not only that, but WMMT (Mountain Community Radio) is our community’s (Appalachia’s) leading source for programming that is at the heart of our culture and community.  I host a show on there once a month called Mountain Talk. 

It was only a week or so ago, when no radio was playing, or TV going, Deladis broke out in her play as perfect as a radio announcer and said – “P…R…I… Public Radio International.”  I felt the tears well again.  Her gorgeous child’s voice, hearing words so beautifully.  It’s an awesome thing for me as her mother to hear.

So, right now my heart hurts over the funding cuts proposed by our Congress to all public broadcasting – radio and television.  It would mean the end of so many of the shows I value so much.  Not only have they proposed this but also complete cuts of funding for preventing teen and unplanned young adult pregnancy programs, and cutbacks for initiatives geared toward maternal and child health.  I have no clue what is going on here.  I understand we need to budget, but there are so many programs wasting government money, not to mention the government itself, that I can’t see justification in cuts such as these.  I don’t like to get political here, but in this case I have to write on it.  Funding cuts for the arts, public broadcasting, family health, education, etc… really???

Read KET’s urgent plea here.  Make your voice heard.  Mr. Fred Rogers isn’t around to do it for us this time as he did in 1969.  Can someone… can we fill his shoes?

I just wanted to stop in and share with anyone who might still be lurking around here or stopping in that I made it into the Winter Issue of Still: The Journal! I have a short story included called “No Part of This”. Silas House is the fiction editor of this journal, so I was overjoyed to have made it in. 🙂

http://www.stilljournal.net

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About Me

An Appalachian woman born and raised, mothering two little girls in a place that is non-existent to AT&T or UPS. Happily working toward a sustainable lifestyle and writing on the demand of a loud muse.

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