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“I champion the weak, the poor, the oppressed, the simple and the persecuted. I maintain that whosoever benefits or hurts a man benefits or hurts the whole species. I sought my liberty and the liberty of all, my happiness and the happiness of all. I wanted a roof for every family, bread for every mouth, education for every heart, light for every intellect. I am convinced that human history has not yet begun, that we find ourselves in the last period of the prehistoric. I see with the eyes of my soul how the sky is diffused with the rays of the new millennium.” – Bartolomeo Vanzetti (Anarchist suspected in murder and robbery along with another – Nicola Sacco. Both were convicted in one of the most controversial trials in the United States and executed in 1927.)
It is that simple. When I left blogging here more than a year ago to pursue more work outside of my home, I was working under misconceived notions. I was thinking that I could earn money and contribute to our family income. I was thinking that it would help John have to work less hours outside of the home. I was thinking that extra money would bring us things we needed and deserve. I’d be lying to if I didn’t say that I had started feeling stifled at home because of various aspects of my personality.
What I know now is that it was a wasted effort. I was leaving behind pursuits that would do so much to benefit my community and my family, in order to spend more time social networking, mailing letters, building websites, and writing newsletters for Birth True. All of that time I spent, countless hours, with little to no return. The clients I find are still typically word of mouth. My amount of actual paying work did not increase. The clients that were meant to find me still would have without those advertising efforts. It is sad that we have to learn some things in ways that make us sacrifice so much.
Time… time that I’ll never get back with my girls. Sure, I still homeschooled. I still took them to activities. There just wasn’t time for much else. We weren’t outdoors as much. I was frustrated more. They played and I didn’t pay attention as often to where their minds were at. Now, I have a 7 and 4 1/2 year old who need me just a little less. It is precious – time.
But, it is ok. I’ve learned lessons the hard way before and I have found that it is most often those lessons that produce the greatest results in us. What I know now is that there is a term for what John and I set out to do when we moved back home. Our mindset then was fresh, adventurous, and yet there were other couples all over the place doing the same thing for good reason. It is radical homemaking.
I read two articles recently that grabbed my attention. I was feeling called back to tradition, and into something new altogether at the same time. Coming across those articles in the same period of time was no accident. It was Creator sending a clear message to me.
The first article was by Charles Eisenstein called “Don’t Should on Us” in the magazine Pathways to Family Wellness. I immediately related it to my birth advocacy and wrote about it on Birth True Blog. Eisenstein write that our “selfish” interests, or what I took to mean our instinct to self preserve and thrive, directs us in three ways – choices that are simple, close to nature, and close to community.
The second article was by Shannon Hayes in Taproot Magazine and was called “To Retreat or Engage”. She explained how civic engagement happened within our duties in the home. That by living the life we were making a huge impact. Her article kicked the switch in my soul. I knew exactly what Creator was calling me to do, and for once so many pieces of the last year fit perfectly in this vision. So, I bought her book Radical Homemakers and am still reading it, devouring every word.
Hayes writes in Radical Homemakers that radical homemakers tend to be on a 3-step path:
I am now re-entering the renouncing stage and I will move quickly I imagine into reclaiming and then back to rebuilding.
Entering the rebuilding phase did not preclude a return to the other phases. The myriad stages of life are forever presenting new challenges that require everyone to occasionally retreat from the public sphere to regain skills and life balance and to critically evaluate the societal givens that they may have to consider at that time. – Shannon Hayes, Radical Homemakers
So, what am I renouncing this time. Broader American consumerist culture had held a veil over my eyes. I am renouncing my participation in it with renewed fervor. I am not a contestant in the rat race and I am returning to the choice not to be. Does that mean that I don’t value my work with women and babies? Absolutely not! I value it more than ever. I’m just trusting that as I am needed I will be called upon. I’ve also decided to take barter as a method of payment for my time and services. Money doesn’t have to change hands for my work to be valued, and not only that, but it also makes my services accessible to most if not all those who are interested. I’m stepping more fully into my place in my community, while also offering my services across the globe through the internet.
This whole thing culminated with my watching the film Sacco & Vanzetti the other night on Netflix. Hearing the quote from Vanzetti that I began this post with, filled my heart. We are missing so much in our society. Happiness is not found in consumerism, materialism, or corporate manipulation of the people. We are puppets as long as we participate. We are leaving the prehistoric behind out of necessity. A new paradigm for living is emerging.
I am being called back into my home, into tradition, to learn new skills, to be with my family, to be fully present for my community both locally and globally. I’m so excited to continue to share this journey here. These new plans I have. I revamped the Birth True site today to reflect some of this new stuff. Now, I’m going to put my efforts where it will have the most impact.
And… just for the brightest of reading experiences. Guess who sits up on her own at 5 months?! Gweneth Lenore. Gotta love a clothes basket for safe supervised sitting fun!
At Confluence Academy this week, we are taking a break from the routine studies to delve into some holiday fun. The way we celebrate the Christmas season in the US has always been counter intuitive to me. I miss the days of the winter spiral that we had in Louisville when we attended Parent/Child classes at the Waldorf School. St. Nicholas and St. Lucia came by for a visit to our little homey classroom. It was so cozy and introspective.
The rush and fuss of the holiday season often leaves me in tears. Too much stress involved. I don’t like feeling pulled and tugged. Expectations are high. We want to see all of our family, but it is hard to go to at least 3 different places in the course of 2 days. That doesn’t include our own home. There are always too many presents and I end up feeling more frustrated and guilty than blessed because we just can’t reciprocate and our space here is limited for bringing in more things for the girls. It is my problem and not appropriate at all. We are abundantly blessed. It is the consumerism and the pressure that makes me feel like my head is a spinning top and my guts made of mush. I don’t connect with this type of celebration at all. I honestly do not think Jesus, Mother Nature, or St. Nicholas are bothered in the least by my rejection of it, because when they espoused this season they had a totally different thing in mind. I lackadaisically drift in and out of our families’ homes trying to keep an even keel.
The darkness and soft lights… the cold air… the gray blue sky… it makes me want to retreat. I want to read books, drink warm drinks, eat hearty food, and make traditions with my daughters. I want to breathe into the Truth of who we are – beings in the image of God, never lacking.
So, this week we are going to explore in our schooling things that are typically lost to us as we scramble to buy gifts, get to every expected location, and zip through it all barely conscious of why we are doing this in the first place. We are going to look at the great stories, art, and timelessness of the season.
Tuesday, we explored The Nutcracker with this FREE unit. We listened to an adaptation of the story on Story Nory, watched the ballet on YouTube, drew a nutcracker (see Deladis’s below), and read about Tchaikovsky. We talked about composers and choreographers. It was a good time. Deladis has been humming the music since.
We discovered the story of the real Santa Claus – St. Nicholas – on a lovely website – St. Nicholas Center. We read several of the stories. Our favorite was – And Now We Call Him Santa Claus by Kay Tutt. We did an drawing of St. Nick as well (again… Deladis’s is below). Then, we went on a nature walk to gather decorations for the house – moss, evergreen twigs, rocks, seed puffs, and wood. Tonight, we’ll eat popcorn and sip hot chocolate.
We haven’t gotten around to putting up a tree this year with all the running around like chickens with no heads. Sunday night, we decided not to put up one at all. There isn’t the space right now, and I think we are going to go in a totally different direction with our decorating. We are getting real, simple, light. I think the fake tree will be going away beginning this season.
I think it is just right.
We loved our time together. I can’t believe it was 60 degrees out on Wednesday and today – Winter Solstice – it is snowing.
Thursday, we learned how to care for hermit crabs, since the girls will be getting one from us for Christmas. They danced a Christmas performance at the area nursing home in the evening. Today, we are learning about Winter Solstice. Then… a much needed break from school.
Later, we’ll put up our stockings. I’m going to read and do some more writing. We are going inward. Winter Solstice is drawing us inward with its snow and sleepy skies.
Maybe if I make a few reasonable adjustments, I’ll be able to enjoy my first new pair of tennis shoes in six years that I know my mother has under her tree. I know I can manage. 🙂
“This is messy work. We cannot simply attend a meeting, carry a sign at a march, have our name listed in the minutes, make one or two follow-up phone calls, then give ourselves a pat on the back. Our efforts require experimentation, failure, learning curves, self-criticism, and the constant examination of new ideas. We cannot compartmentalize a little “civic corner” of our lives; rather, we have to examine every day how each of our actions can build a better, more nurturing society for everyone. And for the time being, until this new, life-serving economy is more fully developed, it may continue to go unnoticed, and it may receive a certain lack of respect. But true civic engagement is not about taking credit for a job well done. It is about making the world better for the next generation in an enduring way that honors our deepest beliefs and greatest hopes.” – Shannon Hayes (author of Radical Homemakers)
Witch: And you, my dear, what an unexpected pleasure. It’s so kind of you to visit me in my loneliness.
Dorothy: What are you gonna do with my dog? Give him back to me.
Witch: All in good time, my little pretty. All in good time.
Dorothy: Oh please give me back my dog.
Witch: Certainly, certainly, when you give me those slippers.
Dorothy: But the Good Witch of the North told me not to.
Witch: Very well. (To her winged-monkey captain) Throw that basket in the river and drown him.
Dorothy: No, no. Here, you can have your old slippers but give me back Toto.
Witch: That’s a good little girl. I knew you’d see reason.
– The Wizard of Oz (1939)
I’ve seen reason. But, as we all know, the witch loses in the end and so will frustration. My work here at home with these girls is radical world change in the making. Creating a lifestyle that presses boundaries, breaks walls, and reinvents the common experience, that is being the change. Every day I am being the change. Some days are better than others. But, each day we should strive for balance. Creator didn’t lead me down this path for naught. What I have recognized is that each and every step is important, and it isn’t always going to be as I envision, nor will it always be in my time frame. It isn’t going to look the same for me as it will others. Each day is new and has its own work. I have life and I have it abundantly. I’m never left without, and to struggle to gain something I haven’t lost in the first place is pointless.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.