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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.

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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.

This is a pen and ink drawing John did of me picking through the carrot harvest in October.  It was close to my birthday I think.  I’m ready to take this stance any day now for planting season.  It was spitting some snow today though, after a glorious weekend.  Deladis can’t seem to get over our “family time”, and honestly her mother can’t either.

It seems like our “family time” is too here and there.  This weekend I think we were all ready just to be there for each other, and it felt perfect.  Saturday we went to the Mexican restaurant to eat, then to play with some ferrets at the pet store.  After that, we went to the Isom Vendor’s Mall where I found a book that I had checked out from the library, hadn’t finished, and was hoping to buy at some point, for two dollars.  It was one of those things where the Creator is putting things and people in my path to show me that this new path I have come across is ok and worth exploring.  I now own a copy of the book.  Then, we went to an ice cream shop in Vicco where Deladis got chocolate chip cookie dough, and Ivy birthday cake ice cream.  Deladis said, “This ice cream sure tastes fresh.”  Next, we went to a music store for John some strings.

Sunday, we went to church, came home, had supper, then walked up on the cemetary hill for a sweet snack.  Lars and Lucky followed us as always.  We sat, talked, and enjoyed the moss and the view.  Deladis said, “I just love our family time.”

While it seems so simple, it isn’t.  It feels new.  It feels good.  John and I both got a little more regular paying/scheduled jobs after Christmas this year, and this has allowed days like this weekend.  This change has put us both to thinking, as change can often do, about what is possible, and what our priorities are.

Family and faith should receive most of my time.  One day I’ll be eye to eye with two grown women, and I don’t want to wonder where those days in between went.  I can scramble and fight, and try to do my thing, but if the thing isn’t the right fit at the right time, no amount of scrambling or fighting will get me anywhere.  The time I gave to that goal, will be for naught because I was too set in my ways to think of an alternative route.  Or a more favorable goal.

I’m excited about the days ahead.  The possibilities and even getting out of this tight coat I’ve been wearing for far too long.  Spring has sprung.  The bushes outside have buds.  There are more activities to be found.  And we are renewing ourselves – as a family.

One new thing I’m doing is offering online Lamaze Childbirth Preparation classes and Early Pregnancy classes for any woman anywhere with any schedule. 🙂  Thinking outside the box.  For more information http://birthtrue.wordpress.com/online-classes-e-courses

2010 proved to be a very trying year for us.  I was almost glad to see it go.  2011 has already proved to bring with it great change.  Not only in our lifestyle and goals, but for me – my very being.  The end of 2010 had us reconsidering everything.  Our bank account was hacked and we lost all our money.  Ivy got really sick, and we found out we had E.Coli in our drinking water and coliforms in our well water.  Ivy is still dealing with stomach issues because of that.  I am taking the girls to my mother’s or John’s mother’s for their baths, and we are drinking store bought water now.  We re-evaluated our money making efforts, and had made a plan when the Lord blessed us both with new more regular jobs!  Mine being one I can do mostly from home.

It has been really hard promoting my birth work in that it takes great, constant effort.  I get tired of the promoting part.  I love the work, and am working on some decisions to make things a bit more clear for me goals wise.  I have been so absorbed in getting my name out there, that I didn’t expect at all getting my first two (what I would consider larger scale) publications back to back earlier this year!  It was an awesome surprise.  It blessed my heart immensely.

So, what I am trying to say is… it is a time of cleaning out.  Before I briefly ended the blog last summer, I had began a post called Wake Up and Prioritize.  I don’t think I ever really did that then, and I forgot that realization all together, making summer a struggle for me.  I’ve come back around now, and I think I’m at a place where I can actually act on that realization.

I’m looking at things with fresh eyes.  Doing a lot of reading of some good philosophical and spiritual texts.  I am learning what isn’t serving me or my family.  Sometimes it is hard to let go of activities that you have pursued with great momentum.  When I left the blog, I thought I’d spend less time on the computer – I spent more.  It was mostly researching for my work and trying online advertising like – Facebook.  Since being more active on Facebook, I have had trouble with mental chatter (though I know Facebook isn’t the only reason, and probably not the biggest).  It’s kind of like the news feed on Facebook, except through my mind and my own thoughts (well, that’s arguable too… 🙂 ).  I don’t know really how well being on Facebook has benefited me personally – business wise maybe somewhat, though I do value some of the business things/connections I do/have there greatly.  A Facebook friend shared this link not too long ago – 30 Day Facebook Fast.  I just read it today, and he makes some really, really good points.  I had been thinking of pulling back before I read this, but I’m pretty sure I will now from my personal page.  I will keep up with my business page and another responsibility, and see what changes.  Then, I’ll look closer at any benefits having a regular business presence there has, and go from there.

I’m looking at this because balancing homelife (mothering, housekeeping, homesteading, and homeschooling) with a career life (birth business, advocacy, and writing) is hard.  It is hard to prioritize those things.  On one hand, you want to say homelife always comes first.  On the other, if I don’t work very hard at the career life we might get wiped out again financially and with no health insurance, and some debt, that is not something that you easily recover from.  Plus, I do like my “career” life.  I think my work is important work.  Something that brings fulfillment and enjoyment.  That’s what I’ve always said is important when thinking about what you will do as a job the rest of your life.  Not, how much money you can make.  Then, my children will only be children once.  My biggest responsibility is to them, their well-being (physically, emotionally, and spiritually) and their livelihood.  I love them, and they deserve the best of me.  I then come to the answer – a perfect balance. 

Our lifestyle is a bit unique, but it fits John and I.  We’ve never “conformed” all that well, and finding our place and what we can contribute has been a journey we’ve enjoyed.  I’m thankful that I still live a life that leaves room to explore, begin new things, to change.  I’m not stuck in any place.

So, on top of reconsidering the benefits of Facebook, I’ve been doing other things.  Once again, cleaning out the cabin – except this time in a more drastic way.  If we haven’t used it in a few years, or if it isn’t an heirloom – it’s out.  Not selling, not trying to find homes for things, but just sending them away to a place where if someone needs them they can be obtained for free.  I’m also writing out daily/weekly goals.  Reading the Bible in a year.  Recommiting to my role as wife and mother, and looking at what I hope for my birth work with self respect, needs of women, and the needs of my community in mind.  For my work, that might mean changes in form or approach.  For my mothering that means working hard to be fully present in the now.  I’m feeling relieved.  I think that is why I came back here.  This is a thoughtful place.

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

I’m excited to be back and writing here.  I don’t know how often I will get to post, and I am thinking about putting this page on my own domain so I can host certain things along with the blog.  I don’t have any money to hire anyone to help me and figuring it out for myself is a bit intimidating, but maybe soon I’ll tackle it.  In the meantime, I’m here.  I hope to get back to reading more of your blogs too as I can.  Work has been keeping me busy, and some writing projects too.  I’m also looking into a new educational philosophy (Charlotte Mason), which is taking up much of my reading time, as well as reading the Bible in a year with Life Walk.  Anyway, I won’t update too much.  I’m just going to jump right in, right like I left off. 🙂  I hope to hear from you. 

I’ve never been much on Valentine’s Day.  It always seemed like such a cheesy holiday to me, and I was never the “lucky” girl who received gifts from a secret admirer or even her own husband or boyfriend.  John did buy me a mug once with a little stuffed Dalmatian holding some fabric roses.  The handle of the cup said “BOSS”, which he hadn’t noticed when he bought it, and was cracked.  I still have the cup put away in my cedar chest for safe keeping.  I also received flowers delivered to school from both my grandmother and my dad, but that stopped when I was in high school.  There were always feelings of the holiday being too forced for me.  It didn’t seem fun for the people around me, and deep down I knew/know that getting a dozen red roses on Valentine’s Day does not equal true love always.  I haven’t ever truly celebrated the holiday, and have never shared it with my girls.

This year, that all changed.  Our homeschool association throws a Valentine party each year.  It is like the traditional one we probably all experienced in school.  Everyone makes a box in which to receive valentine cards from each of their classmates.  There are plenty of goodies to eat, games to play, and visiting with one another.  Last year, we kind of coped out.  I brought a red gift bag to use for the girls’ boxes and the construction paper hearts we cut out for valentine cards was not fun for neither me nor Deladis.  I was thinking of getting to the party only, visiting with other mothers and letting my girls have some social time with other kids.

However, when we got the party, I saw the decorations and the boxes the other children had made.  They do have a little contest for “best box”, but I didn’t feel we’d participate last year.  What struck me though about the boxes of those who were participating in that way was the obvious time put into the creative process of making those boxes.  I knew it had been a family project and the time spent creating something nice was a love offering from mother to children and from children to their friends.  Love offering – is that the real meaning of St. Valentine’s Day?

This year I dedcided to learn for myself and alongside my girls what the real purpose of our love holiday is, and maybe find some magic there to make it a more joyful time for our family.  We went to the library and checked out two older books on the history of the holiday and the symbols used.  St. Valentine’s Day by Clyde Robert Bulla which is a wonderfully written book for all ages about the history behind the holiday.  Then, giving us some ideas of how we’d celebrate the holiday we borrowed Hearts, Cupids, and Red Roses: The Story of the Valentine Symbols by Edna Barth.  The full text is on Google books at the link there.  It is great too.

From the Barth book we decided to make puzzle purses for our valentine cards and put within them a traditional holiday poem we found in the book.

Sure as the grape grows on the vine

So sure you are my valentine

The rose is red the violet blue

Lilies are fair and so are you.

But, before even settling on this we created a real valentine box.  I wanted it to be a project that Deladis could take ownership of, so we made nothing extravagant.  We did spend about 4 hours on it though.  A whole Saturday.

The design was Deladis’s creation.  Painting, gluing, and cutting were done mostly by the girls.  The idea for paper lace came from the Barth book, which I decided to make using the heart shapes.  The images you see decorating the box were illustrations from the Barth book by Ursula Arndt.  They are gorgeous, old-school illustrations that Deladis enjoyed so much.

I’m looking forward to sharing our valentines, box, and our treats with our homeschool friends.  It will be a fun time I know, especially for Deladis and Ivy.  Deladis is so proud of the box, and she hasn’t stopped making valentines.  Another thing the homeschool association is doing is having the children create valentines to take to the nursing home as a service project, which we did as well.  Deladis put her best effort into those. 

Yet, what I am looking forward to the most is sharing with others what I have learned about St. Valentine’s Day.  How there is a bit more to it than couples, cupids, and love songs.  I typed up a one page history to share with the families at the party.  This approach has helped me to enjoy St. Valentine’s Day this year, and I have had a good time making it something for my girls to enjoy.

Our Valentine’s Day comes from a Roman Catholic Feast Day for the many Christian martyrs by the name of Saint Valentine in early church records.  The feast day for all St. Valentines was February 14th.  There are many legends as to who the St. Valentine was.  But, we believe he lived in the third century after Christ and was martyred for defying the Roman Emperor Claudius II by performing marriage ceremonies when the Emperor had outlawed marriage in order to keep and recruit young men as soldiers.  Another popular legend is that St. Valentine helped Christians who were persecuted by Claudius II even winning a jailer and his family to Christ.  Regardless of which legend is truth, Valentine was beheaded on February 14th.  The story goes an almond tree which grew near his grave burst into pink bloom as a symbol of lasting love.

As Rome adopted the Christian faith, the Roman Catholic Church sought to replace some lasting pagan festivals with those which they saw as Christian.  An important Roman Festival, Lupercalia, was celebrated near February 14th.  It is believed that Valentine’s execution was carried out as part of the ceremony of this festival. 

At that time February came later in the year than it does now, and Lupercalia was a spring festival.  The festival is so ancient that no one is sure of its origins – not even the historians in the last century before Christ was sure.  It was a very important festival however, and recordings of its celebration are lasting.  Animal sacrifices took place, fertility rites, and purification ceremony.  Lupercalia was probably established to ensure good crops and to protect flocks from wolves.  It honored the god Faunus who was similar to the Greek Pan. 

Roman young people would draw names and become couples for the year at this festival.  When the Catholic Church replaced this holiday with the feast day of St. Valentine, the emphasis on “love” and fertility never quite left it.  And those sorts of celebrations attached themselves to the saint’s name.

Eventually the name drawing and extravagant gift giving turned into giving valentine letters, simple treats, and cards to friends and sweethearts sometime in the 18th century.  This was only after the Puritans banned the holiday for quite some time during the 17th century.

adapted from Edna Barth’s Hearts, Cupids, and Red Roses

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.  The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.  The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.

-Psalm 121

This week has been a rough one, but also one of joy.  I was witness to another birth of a baby boy. 🙂  We celebrated Deladis’s fifth birthday (pictures to come), and I received my test results for my bloodwork.  I haven’t had a lot of time, and this next week will be busy as well.  I’m just trying my best to keep up.

The bloodwork says I have low blood sugar, my adrenals are shot, of course there’s my thyroid, and a few other minor things.  The low blood sugar is a shocker.  From what I understand it is connected to the function of the adrenals as well.  So, one is causing the other, or one is the symptom of the other.  I think the adrenals came first.  Anyway, I have to see another doctor Wednesday that is about an hour away.  I’m supposed to eat every two hours, which is going to be very difficult for me to do.  I just don’t get hungry like that.  I’m one that eats breakfast at 8am and doesn’t eat again sometimes until 2 or 3pm.  I do have this shake stuff to drink in between meals to help regulate my blood sugar, so that will help.

The most depressing thing for me is that I have to be off of dairy for 3 weeks.  I didn’t show an allergy, but she expects that I might be having some sensitivity to it because I’m not digesting well.  Have I ever mentioned that I love dairy?  I truly don’t know what I’m going to eat now.  I live off of milk products.  Now, this isn’t good from a traditional foods standpoint, because pastuerized and homogenized milk is so tampered with that it is hard for any human being to digest or utilize properly.  I don’t have access to raw milk products, and that is one piece of eating traditional foods that I have never been able to adopt.  Rather than go without dairy, I just ate conventional dairy.  I have been pointed in the direction of the PETA website called Milk Sucks.  I suppose I need to check it out.  I know conventional dairies are cruel.  I know these three weeks won’t kill me, but…. Did I mention I love dairy????

I have been having these episodes of dizziness and such that is related to my blood sugar, and I’m tired.  I’m lifting my eyes to the mountains, and pushing onward.  Whatever manifests in our body has its beginnings in our inner work.  I believe that thoroughly.  Healing is a time of inner work as much as it is getting well physically.

I posted a comment on Mama-Om and she was gracious enough to share with me some of her experiences with being a parent and not feeling well.  I wanted to share them here.  Sometimes I think us mothers tend to hide our pitfalls, and things that aren’t just so.  There’s nothing to hide.  Mothers are people afterall, and we all have work to do in this life. 

Mama-Om:

Thankful Anyway and Unraveled

I am so excited to announce that a radio documentary that I have been working on these last few months is going to air on this coming week’s edition of Mountain News and World Report on the local public radio station WMMT.  The topic is cesarean awareness and how it affects the women of the Kentucky mountains and nationwide.  We interviewed a local obstetrician, a certified nurse midwife, and a certified professional midwife on the topic, as well as a local mother whose daughter’s life was saved by cesarean surgery.

The airdate is August 1st (Sunday) at 10:30am EST and again on August 3rd (Tuesday) at 6pm EST.  You can listen locally at WMMT 88.7 and also online at www.wmmt.org where you will find a link for listening live.  The piece will also be available for download after the airdates if you click on the link for the Community Correspondence Core.

This issue is close to my heart and the piece is airing right after the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology issued revised guidelines that are more supportive of vaginal birth after cesarean.  It also airs on the week that we will celebrate Deladis’s 5th birthday and my 5th year of motherhood. 🙂  I hope you will get to celebrate with us by listening to the piece.

Be blessed,

Kelli

Find more Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Mom.

I typically don’t like to cross my birth blog with this one, but this issue is close to my heart as a mama, and I think it is a crucial one to think about as a country.  What is motivating the opposing sides on this issue, and what can a constructive dialogue look like between the two?  It is important to our discussion on improving our maternal and neonatal outcomes in this country.  There is no excuse that we, who supposedly has top-notch medical care available to all citizens, has such a poor outcome for our mother and babies.  No excuse at all.

Is Homebirth a Safe Option? – Birth True Blog

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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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