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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.
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.
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’ve been away from here for awhile with my regular posts, and I am coming back now for the final time – indefinitely. It is time for me to destress and focus on the things in life that make me feel peaceful and truly happy. For the most part, being on the computer isn’t one of them. I’m prioritizing and right now, I’ve idenitified some ways to cut back without cutting anything I enjoy out. It’s really important that I take it seriously. My computer time is limited to 1 1/2 hours a day, which is more than enough to keep up with online advertising for my birth work, researching homeschooling for the girls, and typing the stories and articles that will be the focus of my writing for awhile. I’ve come to a point where I feel better expressing myself through my more formal writing – my short stories, my novels, and I’m branching out into essay and articles, but all for publications. I don’t know how successful I will be at it, but I have hope. I love doing it. I’m feeling good about being less personally an open book, and more creatively one.
I may come back to blogging one day about our lives, but I think it will be in a more professional way. Maybe a more journalistic way. Doing the radio piece made me realize I really enjoy documentary storytelling. I’m going to be working on some more stories for the Community Correspondence Core, hopefully. I will continue blogging on my birth blog.
For those of you whom I call friends, we will not be out of touch I know. And I hope we will continue to meet on the haunts where we first discovered one another. 🙂 Email is something I will always check, and I will be around. It’s really a bittersweet time for me. I’m excited about changes I’m making to my life, but there was a huge part of me that enjoyed sharing it here. However, I think it’s time for me to bow out. I think it the best choice. 🙂
We will still be homeschooling, homesteading, living and being in our east Kentucky mountains. I will be playing with my girls, baking bread, enjoying the fall breeze, and spending time with God in yoga and my day to day. I will keep this site online as well for awhile, until I find a way to do something with the posts I feel have been important in the broader scope. The rest I will print off for us.
Please enjoy these Appalachian blogs and stories:
I will post here if I get a new more permanent website for my writing promotion as well. I may blog on such a site from time to time.
Thank you for reading my work, and supporting my life. I’ve appreciated your words this year and a half.
Be blessed and adieu…
This week John and I are both working at the Cowan Creek Mountain Music School. I am co-teaching Kids on the Creek, and John is the faculty coordinator. Both of the girls are attending this year, and are with me in Kids on the Creek. It’s a busy and exhausting week. So many personalities in one place, lots of music and dancing, smiling, and fun. It is in its 9th year.
It seems though that our family always has a bit of a crisis during the time of the music school. Last year it was our van breaking down. This year, it is the dogs killing the diddles (chicks). They have killed two, and yesterday, we realized that we had to get the mama and the remaining seven into the old coop for safety. They have been totally free ranging since they were born. We hadn’t been able to touch their mother since she left the coop months ago. I figured I’d have to have John to help me catch all of them. In fact, I wasn’t even going to try without him. His duties keep him at the school from morning until wee morning, and we see him in glimpses. I had resigned to grieve the diddles and resent the dogs.
Deladis on the other hand, resigned to get the chickens into the coop come hell or high water last night. After a thunderstorm that knocked the power out, Deladis chased the diddles all around the yard in the steady rain. Ivy was asleep inside. When I stepped onto the front porch to check on Deladis, I realized she was catching them! She had a diddle in her hands. She handed it off to me and I rushed it to the coop. When I returned, she handed me another diddle. “Get the mama,” I said.
They were all huddled under the front porch, and it takes quite a bit for me to maneuver under there, so I wasn’t too hopeful that Deladis could get her hands on the mama, but I knew that if she were caught, the diddles would be easier. “Oh, she’s pecking me!” I hear. Then, I see my four year old turn around, her arms full of hen. “Hang on!” I say. We rush her to the coop, and proceed to round up the last five diddles.
The proud look on her face said it all. Her eyes round and wide. Her smile open and full. “I did it, Mama,” she said. “Are you happy at me?” She was determined to get those chickens to safety with or without her daddy, and that she did. I was beyond joyful at her accomplishment. She did something I thought wasn’t doable. Something I thought it would take our man to help us with. Deladis taught me something last night.
What/Who am I waiting on? I have been waiting on John to have time for barn repairs for months, so we could move the chickens down there once again. I have been working so hard on advertising my birth work that I have neglected my housekeeping and writing. I have been waiting on acceptance to a known literary journal before sending off the collection of stories to small presses for consideration. I’ve been submitting those stories for two years. I have 25,000 words on a novel that I am waiting for time to finish. There’s no waiting. There is just now. Now. Right now. There is nothing that exists to wait for. All that is, is present now.
Miss Angie, over at The Artist, The Mom, and mine and Deladis’s former Parent/Child (Waldorf) teacher told me once that I was exhibiting some sanguine traits. At the time I thought – no way. But, I couldn’t just put it off. She had really studied the temperaments after all. She gave us an article on parenting and temperaments. I thought – sure, I’ll accept melancholic, even choleric, but sanguine? I had always thought, if only I had some sanguine tendencies. I am not the life of the party by any means. I’m lucky if I can approach you for conversation after knowing you for some time. I’m one of those who gets shy and ducks in and out of store aisles trying to avoid eye contact. Not because I don’t love conversation, or crave it even, but when I’m not prepared for it, it is very hard for me to initiate. I want to be assured that someone wants to talk to me before I approach them. I also remember things, and have been notoriously good and holding grudges (though not any more. What a blessing!). I have strong opinions about a lot of things, but I don’t go declaring most of them everywhere, and in most situations my opinions aren’t such that it makes me dislike anyone or confront anyone.
However, I see what she means in that I have my hands in so much at once. My focus changes so often, I don’t think I give anything time to really be what it is going to be. Just go through this blog and you will see that I have this and that then that and this on my mind. Does it mean that I need to find just one thing? Does it mean that I need to give up my little work for the important work of mother and homemaker, so I can do those better than I am now? I don’t think so. I really don’t.
I think it just means that I need to focus on what needs to be done in any given day. What work do I wake to? What work lends itself well to the feelings of the day – mine and the girls? Does it mean that I will take the conventional approach to things? No, I’ve never been conventional. Does it mean that the path I had set out on will be the one that gets me to where I am going? Nope. In fact, I think it is most doubtful. I need to always consider alternatives. Always consider now.
I wonder if I can do the work down at the barn. I wonder. I wonder how much time and advertising to put into my birth work. I wonder which small press I should query first. I wonder what it will be like to pick up my novel again. I’ve been wanting to switch this blog over to one that will allow me to do the Amazon Affiliates program, and post links to my book when it is published by a small press or myself. I wonder if I’m computer literate enough. I wonder. Deladis didn’t sit and wonder. She just did it because it needed done.
To be an Appalachian is to exist in the midst of stereotype (we aren’t the only people who do). You’ve read me going on about it here before. There’s no escaping it, even in the most unexpected places. I have lived with watching the perception of who I am change for a person as soon as I open my mouth and speak. And as much as that can tick me off, I must admit that I believe most stereotypes are made from the misunderstanding of truth. John believes it too, and it becomes apparent in his paintings. There is a part of us that is prideful of being in that state of misunderstanding – it is comfortable to us. It has been our way of life for generations.
One of the stereotypes that is very prominent in most Appalachians I know – at least in east Kentucky – is our fight. Our clannish ways. Our ability to hold a grudge. Our seeming lack of concern about getting physical if need be. Our willingness to stand up for what is right even when we know good and well it is wrong.
Every trait develops for a reason. We are evolutionary beings. We adapt ourselves to meet the needs of our environment both physical and emotional. Otherwise we’d have all died out long ago. I thank the Creator for that. My people in particular (as with many Appalachians) are Native American and European. In the specific combination of my family, it is Irish and Cherokee most abundantly. My native people were here for thousands of years. Here is there’s. Simply. My European ancestors dared to settle the frontier. They dared to go up in them mountains and stay. They were looking for home in landscape. They were looking for respect. They were looking for freedom to live the life they set out to live by coming to America, when they found in the early cities it was not the promised land and not as welcoming as they had expected.
My people entered the mountains with a fight in them. I will live by the standards I set for myself – and family, God, and myself is the only answering I am obligated to do. A way of life developed. We looked out for one another against those who came in from somewhere else. We fought for what we believed mattered.
In present day, I see our fight regrettably directed at the wrong situations. I see it serving its purpose in truth on rare occasion anymore. It is intolerably sad, so I put that in the back of my mind. But, right now, I am considering my fight. Physically I’ve been in one real fight, and two almost fights. I fought a boy in the fourth grade. My daddy had taught me a trick – see, and I used that trick, so it didn’t last very long. I had a bloody jaw. The almost fights were in 8th grade and college and those were fights for honor. Most of the fighting I did was on the basketball court. Us mountain girls were terrors on the hardwood. Not just for playing good ball, but because you didn’t want to get us too mad. We’d get you out of the way as best we could without a bad call by the ref, but if it couldn’t be avoided, we’d take one.
What normally could be a kind hearted compassionate person woman or man is turned by a speck at the first thought of honor or home being threatened whether it be their own or a family member’s. Gurney Norman read a story Friday night at the Seedtime on the Cumberland Literary Reading that got me to thinking about all this. The family of characters disapprove of their daddy’s/grand-daddy’s new marriage, and when grand-daddy also comes to despise it, his daughter goes to run the woman off in her dress, hat, and nice black pocketbook, threatening to get physical with her. We were all laughing and shaking our heads – get ’em girl. It was hilarious. A truly lovely story.
It is this passion about our right to live the life we choose, where we choose, and how we choose that drives so many of us. A life that is by no means a permanent fixture on this earth or even in our experience – our path. And sometimes it becomes so personal that we forget there is a bigger picture, other experiences and paths. A deep ingrained belief in respect for the “person”. It has most definitely ignited passions in me or at the very least fueled them. But, sometimes, when used in a way that is not appropriate it is more of a detriment than anything else. It’s true for all of us in these hills.
Yesterday, I made a decision. Whether it be a cause I believe in, something I feel I am supposed to be doing for people, or my perceived obligations in life, I’m approaching it differently. What makes me – me? How am I sure I’m doing the right things? It’s one of those things that you can’t really put into words, but, I’m believing it is the difference between fighting through life and flying. There comes a time when old ways of being leaves us stuck. They don’t serve us anymore. Putting them off doesn’t change who we are. There is always our basis – what we know already, and in relying on that most basic of basic we can take the risk, and open ourselves to something new. What we are doing right now is the result of the path we are taking, and how closely we are paying attention to where it leads, our mode of travel, and the true distractions along the way.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Ghandi
“And don’t expect it of anyone else…” Kelli (if I might add to Ghandi… :))
I am all alone for a few hours. All by myself. John’s mother is keeping the girls. John is settling things at the house in Louisville, which we are preparing for selling. We have a buyer! I am supposed to be cleaning. Cleaning in this silence with thunderstorms on the horizon. Doing things that are truly impossible when the girls are here, like mopping and sorting junk. Somebody must be kidding me. A cosmic joke. Because the only thing that I can think about at this moment is writing, songs with the word silence in the title, and reading good books. My current read is Pushed by Jennifer Block. Playing is…
Words are unnecessary unless written and/or thoughtful. Good point this song makes. Listening is much more necessary. This song has grown better as I have gotten older. 🙂
Next, we have a classic. A most beautiful classic. I remember listening to this in the dark as a teenager. My room hot with no air conditioning. Fan blowing. Sticking to synthetic red satin sheets that wouldn’t stay on the bed. Alone, listening and staring at the ceiling – most of the time lamenting something (you know those melancholic teenage years), but in this case not. There was no thinking to do when listening to this song. This song always touched my soul. It’s nice, even now, in the quiet.
It is on such rare occassion that there is no one calling my name. Asking me questions. Suggesting I do something. Asking me to do something. I dare not waste a second. Not one slice of a second. I will write, read some, and then if I can muster up the energy after a couple, few more cups of coffee… I might do the dishes. 🙂
Have a nice holiday weekend folks. It is a time for celebrating life.
Yes, it’s been four days since we have left the cabin other than two treks to the barn to refresh the chickens. We have about 5 inches of snow and the temperatures have not been above the mid-20s, but have spent most of the time in the teens and single digits. Ice covers the confluence so thick that we don’t dare to try to drive the truck through it. I have waterproof insulated boots now, so it’s all good.
Really, it is starting to eat away at us. The girls need room to play, and I have found I need activity. I thought about drinking coffee today just for some excitement. I can’t motivate myself to clean, but I have finished a short story that I am pleased with, and read some good ones.
There are good things about being stuck.
- More time together with Daddy.
- The girls have learned to love grapefruit.
- Snow angels
- Hot chocolate
- Blueberry muffins
- Coloring on black paper with metallic crayons
- Watching movies and reading books
- Dance parties in the kitchen
- Registering for my childbirth educator workshop/course. I start in February.
- Getting some writing done
There are not so good things about being stuck.
- Overhearing Deladis tell John she likes him best. (A fear I have had since becoming the mother of girls. I know she is just four, but I can kind of feel where she is coming from. I want her to like me too.)
- Something about our “doing school” isn’t quite exciting enough for Deladis, but Ivy is now growing into participating and it is just right for her. So begins the perplexity of homeschooling two at different levels.
- Aching bones. That little headache that develops from looking at the same four walls.
- The girls having penned up energy. Deladis gets too rowdy and has tantrums where she hits me, and Ivy just throws fits trying to bite herself and pulling her sister’s hair.
And so it goes. At least the good list is longer than the bad one. 🙂 I hope the bitter cold is over soon, and we can have more time outside. I’m doing some revamping of our schooling too, so I’ll post about that soon. I don’t know what will work, but I’m already getting…
“Is it a school day?”
“Awww…” to the tone of someone who has just been told they are having iceberg lettuce and escargot for breakfast.