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When things don’t feel quite right, we make adjustments.  I have never been a go with the flow kind of gal.  I have always wished I were.  I get nervous if I feel like I might not reach an event or meeting within plenty of time to get comfortable.  So much so, that I am sometimes as much as 20 minutes early for things.  When my “routine” is interrupted, and I feel like something is getting left out of my day, I tend to feel dis-ease.  When John sits in my seat at the kitchen table, it bugs me to death.  I can sit in uncomfortableness and brood, or I can adjust.  I have chosen to adjust.

The blue moon of Kentucky is no longer making me blue.  I am now getting up at 6:30am to practice yoga and read a little before John and the girls are awake.  I am amazed about how much it feels like it adds time to my day.  I’ve not been trying to make Ivy nap.  She slept about 45 minutes today on her own on the couch.  I’m still exhausted, but feeling much more at ease.  Waking at 6:30am is very hard for me.  Our bed sleeps horribly, and my arms fall asleep at night and I have shoulder pain, so I don’t rest much.  However, in a way it makes it easier to get on up.  Our rooster is crowing his head off by that time anyway.  So much of how we feel/react to things is a decision.  I don’t think it is always a conscious one, but nevertheless, it is a decision. 

My sweet Ivy at Parent/Child yoga.

I really think that most often we are hindered by our own blockages or walls.  I have never been the mother that could pull out of the moment to figure out a less stressful way to deal with a situation.  I’ve always been the mother looking back and hoping that one day I’d be the mindful mother.  I think one day I will.  One day soon.  More often than not.

We see now that we do not live by acquiring, gaining, or achieving.  We live by Grace;…

-Joel S. Goldsmith, The Infinite Way

This week I learned some things.  I learned that peace starts inside.  I learned that once we know better that negative reactions are a choice.  Struggle in many ways is also a choice.  I don’t know if readers of this blog come here to read about spirituality, yoga, or personal growth.  I reckon most of you come here to read about Appalachia and mountain folks (if I go by my search engine hits), or copperhead snakes.  But, this blog documents our lives, and at this point it is as much for me and my girls as it is for those reading.  I’m putting the truth of our life out there into the regions of cyberspace and that is also a choice.  When you visit here you are reading the journey of an Appalachian woman born and raised, whose family has been here for many generations.  You are getting true Appalachia, folks.  Is it how you thought it would be?

Thursday, I came home from the Cowan Creek Mountain Music School with the girls.  Ivy hadn’t had a real nap since Monday.  I laid her down since she fell asleep in the truck.  I started my yoga practice as Deladis played.  I needed this time.  About ten minutes in, Ivy wakes up crying every breath.  Nothing wrong, just not happy and tired.  I try to continue to practice, hoping that she will soon get woke up enough to practice too or play.  Then, the power goes out.  It has been out so much this week.  The wind blows and it is out for hours. 😦  It comes back on, and I restart my DVD.  About two minutes later the power is out again.  I lay down.  Ivy grabs my head and shakes it back and forth.  I feel my body tense.  I feel myself wanting to cry.  I begin to whine – “just a few minutes girls.”  I was tired.  I was all touched out.  I was frustrated.

Inside, a voice spoke to me.  STOP.  This is not the way. Whatever I was perceiving as a wrong was not a wrong.  It wasn’t the end of my world.  I could whine and raise my voice, lament my ruined practice, or I could do something else.  I called my mother to watch the girls and I went to yoga in town.  I ran to yoga.

I met my needs and I met the girls needs with one decision that saved me a whole evening of being disheartened and aggravating to the girls.  Five other women were at the studio that evening, each coming with their own reason to practice.  Each coming with their own weight of the day, but all with a bit of joy and release in their hearts.  It was a beautiful practice.  We laughed.  We relaxed.  We loved.  We released.  I particularly enjoyed Lord of the Dance asana.

This is not me, but feel like my pose resembled this one.  Yoga is not efforting.  Yoga is not struggling.  It is relying on what you know to free you to take the risk of stepping into the unknown.  I can change bad habits.  I can change my attitude.  I can live with simple means in abundance of Grace.  In Luke chapter 15 verse 31, the father of the prodigal son explains to his oldest son who remained with him, “Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.”  God, The Creator, The Universe, The Collective Unconscious, whatever name you have for the Supreme Existence/Being is always with us, even when we choose to separate ourselves.  All that is, is ours.  Not finite material things, but simple being.  Very simple being.  And that is enough.  That is what is lasting into infinity.

I’m so excited because before I was so out of touch with options that in situations where it seemed that struggle was inevitable, I fell right into that way of being.  I became struggle with all my heart and soul.  I didn’t hear the Spirit within.  I was deaf to the voice.  I hear the voice now.  Eventhough, it is still easier to fall into old patterns.  I hear the voice.  I hear it!  I’m finding the yoga.  The union.  The living to the full capacity of who I am.  I’m very excited about what that might mean for my life.  What miserable ways of being I might be released from.  Not that anything is any better, but that I am present.

After my prenatal yoga training in Asheville, NC a week or so ago, I feel like I have come full circle spiritually and in my path of becoming whole.  Not only did I get some girly time to myself, I got to immerse myself in yoga, birth, and teaching, three of my most favorite things.  I am back to the Hatha style of yoga.  I’m following my heart.  It led me there, and currently I’m into Baron Baptiste and Vinyasa.

In the video I’m doing, Baron at one point says, “struggle less, breathe more.”  Friday of last week it just clicked.  He also says “breath is free.  breathing is free.”  Struggling is not free.  Efforting can feel so much like forcing.  Efforting feels like impatience.  Why not breathe?  Why not let go of the struggle, and allow the Creator to work?  Living now is all we have.  Doing our best in the moment.  Living in the moment, instead of rehashing the past or pushing for the future.  The time is now.  If we don’t live now, we are missing life.

I quit trying to push myself into asanas (poses), and instead I grounded myself through my feet and hands, and I used the breath.  I felt peace rush over me.  There was nothing I had to do.  I felt my muscles release in the work.  I was connected to earth through my body and the life force through my breath.  I felt free.

I think of all I try to do with my life.  All the time tables I give myself, and the preconceptions of how I think things should go.  I analyze little things – glitches – and read into them much more than is there.  I don’t trust that the Creator will lead me through.  I don’t trust that where I am is exactly where I should be.  I don’t wait for the Creator’s time.  I don’t live in the time I’m given.  I keep struggling, thinking that I must push myself, or try this or that to see if it brings me forward.  I keep doing this despite the fact that I see it mostly resulting in wasted time.  I keep doing this even though most of my moving forward happens through the Creator bringing connections to me, and none through my efforts.  It’s like an addiction almost.  A need to have my hand in the mix, as if somehow I can influence anything through effort.

No, we make changes, progress, and find ourselves by letting go.  By breathing and doing only the work that is ours to do in that moment.  By being mindful.  Listening for that still small voice.  By not judging success by numbers, but by quality, and giving the glory where the glory belongs.  Snatam Kaur sings in “By Thy Grace” – “one day the day shall come when all the glory shall be Thine.  People will say it is yours and I will deny not mine.”  What a happy and amazing day – the day we can acknowledge that.  Know it with our hearts and live in that peace.  Living not to in and of ourselves make changes, or influence events, but to let it pass through us in the moments we are given and the connections brought to us.

It is – “Be still and know that I am God.”  That is what it is.

It is very tempting to make this my last post.  It has been a year.  I’ve blogged for a whole year!  At the same time, I feel like life is changing for me.  A period is ending and another beginning.  Seasons are literal things.

This week Betsy, with the Appalachian Cultural Project, spent Sunday through Wednesday with us off and on.  It made me a little nervous being as private and backward as I am – often socially inept.  Honestly, I’m a bit exhausted just from thinking about the whole experience.  I’m sure Betsy is as well.  I talked her leg off.  I tried to explain everything thoroughly.  I feared portrayal through a lens that didn’t understand our reasons.  Betsy was respectful, and always asked if a subject matter might be questionable.  Really, what was there to fear?  Judgment comes whether we ask for it or not, and those who get their kicks from judging will do so despite our efforts to help them see beyond limitations.

It is hard sometimes being Appalachian.  It is hard being Appalachian and then still not fitting into any of the neat compartments within that term.  My whole life, when in contact with outsiders I’ve dealt with my speaking being corrected, asked if we have electricity, indoor toilets, and if we wear shoes at home.  I’ve heard people within our own home state say to others… “We’re from ______, the civilized part of the state.”  I’ve seen people’s perception of me change as soon as I open my mouth.  I’m a student of English literature.  In fact, I hold two degrees in that area, one of them being a graduate degree.  I don’t need correcting.  I know the proper pronunciation of the speech I choose.  If I did not, I would ask, admit to not knowing, or not use the word.  I also am not ashamed of where I am from.  I make no apologies to that extent.

Then, there is my identity within the identity.  We live in our tiny cabin.  Right now, the plan is to homeschool.  We don’t have cable or satelite TV.  I don’t have a cell phone, though I could use one.  We try to avoid fast food.  We play banjos, fiddles, and flat foot in the mornings.  We love our families, and weave our ideas in and out amongst theirs.  Gardening is a huge goal.  We want goats, and by cracky, those hens better start laying eggs soon, or they could end up on the plate.  None of these choices are to set ourselves apart from others,or to judge other choices.  It is only listening to our heart.  What is right for me is right for me, and if it isn’t I’ll change.

I can no longer call our homeschool choice Waldorf.  We are surely Waldorf inspired, but we are eclectic.  Come fall, Deladis will be learning her letters and simple numbers, along with long hours outside, art projects, her dance, and lots of music.  Delaying academics for her isn’t fitting in the flow of things.  She’s ready and asking.  I won’t try any more to fit a mold.

I won’t try to have a perfect yoga practice, or a perfect devotional period everyday.  I will have my practice and devotional everyday possible, listening to my needs and the urgings of my Creator.

I will continue to work hard at my new callings.  I will continue to learn and be taught.  I will try my best to listen to Truth and my intuition instead of ignoring it and second guessing.  I will do my personal best in all my pursuits.  I will love the people of my region and do all I can to offer myself as they/we need.  I will love those outside of my region and listen to their issues and share ours with them.

So, as I explained to Betsy why we have a busted fridge on our patio, and why there is a pile of scrap in the side yard.  As I exhausted myself making apologies for my lack of home organization and the sulfur orange stains in our tub, toilet, and sinks from tainted well water, I learned something.  It doesn’t matter.  There is a story behind us all.  All of us.  My job is to protect and love my family, the integrity of the services I am now offering to pregnant mamas and their families, and to understand as best I can that “the sun shines on everyone.  It doesn’t make choices.” (Snatam Kaur)  This won’t be my last post.

The picture CD I got from Betsy didn’t work in my PC. 😦  Hopefully, I will be able to share some of them with you soon. It also looks like that as of now, none of our pictures have made it to the ACP website.  You should look at the gorgeous pictures that are there though.  Betsy does have two up on her blog if you would like to see them.

I am uninspired to write here lately.  I have so many other things on my mind.  A new occupation to add to motherhood.  Projects with the girls.  Preparing to teach again.  Required reading, that I am absolutely loving.  Continuing a yoga practice and spiritual study.  Then, somewhere in there I do the dishes and the laundry.  The rest of the house is just what it is right now.  I think today I’ll clean the bathroom. 😉

I like it this way though.  I’m excited and I feel full.  The only thing I am having trouble balancing right now is the work and home duties.  The girls are watching more TV than we typically allow.  Our days seem to have lost the rhythm they had before.  We don’t have school every weekday, which is okay now since it is only preschool, but it is something I’ll have to figure out by next school year.  I’ll be more planted in the childbirth teaching by then too, so I hope the balance will come naturally.

Whew!  I’m busy and not complaining. 🙂

Speaking of naturally…  Ivy didn’t totally give up nursing after all.  She still asks a few times a day, but the nighttime nursing is over.  I don’t mind at all letting weaning be child led.  Yes, I feel tired sometimes, but for me it sure beats having to stick to my guns.  It is the same way with me and potty training.  I don’t have the wherewithal to actually train when it comes to something like that.  Deladis initiated it when she was three, and I helped her as she was ready.  It worked out really well.  She was without accidents in about  month.

I have been noticing more and more how our children develop naturally.  I mean, without being taught directly.  Ivy is learning so many words, and is putting together sentences.  She has started helping me with the dishes on her own.  She even knows where to place them in the drainer.  I noticed how carefully she handles the knives with the point away from her, gently placing it on the dry towel.  Before today, I always just took them away from her, or did it myself, making sure she didn’t touch them.  Today, I watched ready to help if needed.  A very safe environment in which to learn.  Ivy showed me she already knew what to do and can handle bigger jobs when Mama is around to observe.

Deladis has started coloring between the lines.  This definitely wasn’t something taught, as we generally don’t have a firm stance on coloring books.  We prefer a blank page.  Deladis has come to love both.  She is coloring some creative pages, showing us that coloring books can foster creativity.

Deladis has also learned more about birth being normal than I could have ever imagined having never witnessed it in person.  I could blame it on Milo and Otis or the few birth videos she has seen.  But, I don’t think so.  She is learning about family structure, innately sensing gender and a variety of family units in her play.  Her favorite family to play with are her cattle.  She has a bull, cow, and a calf.  I think they are Jersey.  The mama will say, “Oh, I feel like it is time to have a baby.  I think I will lay down and rest on this soft pillow until my baby comes out.”  The cow will lay down and soon her baby is born.  She stands up, licks her baby, and jumps for joy.  The bull then looks at the cow and says, “Isn’t that a cute little face.”  Then, he joins in the love.

It is great to watch my girls grow.  How if I just provide them with warmth, nutritious food, and love, they will develop into who they are without much else.  It is amazing.  We all are born into our place.  Sometime between childhood and adulthood, many of us get lost and spend so much time trying to dig through the muck to find ourselves again.  I hope my girls will grow and become independent without too much muck.

Adding my new work to our daily schedule is already changing things up quite a bit.  Not in a bad way though.  I feel myself relaxing about things that worried me so much before, things that I took way to seriously.  Sure, it has only been two days since the end of my training workshop and I am still riding that wave of pure joy, but the relaxation is very real.

I don’t know why.  I suspect it is because I am finally paying attention to where my heart has been leading me for years.  Not just the childbirth education, but actually listening to that part of me that has said, you’d really enjoy _____.  Listening to that part of me instead of making decisions based on some “dream” idea of what our family life should look like, what makes a great parent, or how a grown woman can give to her community and children.  What makes one a productive, satisfied individual?  It definitely isn’t trying to adhere to someone else’s prescription of that idea.  So far, I’m finding that giving in and listening to what your heart says, doing the leg work for yourself, is much more satisfying.  No, it’s not going to look anything like what other people have found satisfying.  We are all gifted differently.  We are all unique, so it shouldn’t.

Yes, we may get ideas from one another.  Of course, if something speaks to us, but is challenging, we should give it our best effort and time to see if it is something that is beneficial for us.  But, if we are attempting something for our benefit and thus that of our family, and it is doing nothing but bringing discontentment, it is probably not a fit.  There can be great satisfaction in a challenge and hard work, so I am learning to look for that satisfaction.  For example, doing an hour of yoga everyday is a huge challenge.  Finding the time for it in my day, trying to relax despite the bustle around me, and listening for that still small voice is anything but easy.  Yet, while practicing, I feel satisfied.  I feel like I have done something important, and in turn I feel happy for it.  That is how you know that an idea is a good one.  The work it takes isn’t always easy, but you continually have the feeling that it is right.

This morning, Deladis started drawing bodies on her figures and animals.  Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer suggests that this is one of the first signs for academic readiness.  However, for most children this won’t occur until around age 6 or 7.  I watched Deladis’ glee as she showed her new accomplishment to her artist daddy, who in turn looks at me and says that his daughter is a genius. 🙂  I smile and think that it’s cute that Daddy gives such esteem to his little one.  Then, Deladis looks at me and says, “This little girl cat is beautiful and this boy one is handsome.”  Her mommy who thinks in words couldn’t help but be amazed and think maybe her daddy is really onto something.  Does it mean she is ready for academics?  I’m doubtful.  Do I ignore this sign?  Absolutely not.  The recommendation for Waldorf education is no formal academics until age 6 or 7.  Is that a strict rule to be adhered to in homeschool families?  I don’t think so.  I think it is something to deeply consider.  I’m going to spend many weeks, perhaps months watching her cues… seeing where she leads me, and listening to my heart.

Our lives are changing.  The road for me has been rocky, but some lessons are hard learned and should be.  I’m glad for it.  I’m really glad.

Please bear with me as I try to figure out what place this blog will have in my new schedule.  I am going to try to still post regularly, but I am almost certain that things will change here a little bit as I am devoting time to different things.  I hope you will continue to check back in and share your thoughts here.

In my twenties, I didn’t think much about self improvement.  I would have laughed at anyone suggesting a self-help book.  I read little on spirituality, and honestly didn’t have a clue where I fit in.  I figured I was who I was by that time and I had to learn to endure the faults, the neurosis, and the walls that I had built for myself.  What I did dwell on were the negative parts of my childhood.  I couldn’t seem to move passed them, and I felt like I would need to muster all the strength I could to move on down the line.  I also clung to the good parts of my childhood.  They stuck to me – bittersweet, moments of bliss that were only to be glanced at here and there.

After becoming pregnant with Deladis, I realized that life was much more than existing in a past you can’t change.  I realized that there were things I didn’t want to pass on to my daughter.  Things that can be excused in families.  All ___ (insert family name) are mule headed.  Oh, you get that temper from your Uncle ___.  You’re always depressed, just like your ____.  Things that are chalked up as inherited personality traits, that can very well be negative if given the right circumstances, but given a different environment can be worked with and made into positives.  Instead of saying, that’s who I am, it’s in the blood, we can work to stop the scars that are passed down through generations in families.  Those scars don’t have to be a curse.  The fact is, you don’t have to live with them anymore the moment you choose to see them for what they are and no longer choose to accept them.  Not that it isn’t hard work through them, but acknowledgment that there is no power there to hold you.

I didn’t completely understand my great desire to become a better me after becoming a parent.  I would catch little thoughts as they passed through my mind that would hint at why.  If you keep losing your cool, your relationship with your child will erode. Do you ever want her to wonder if she is loved? Then, there is the whole aspect of parenting daughters as a woman.  Stop downing your physical appearance in front of your child.  You don’t want her to spend her whole adolescence thinking she is an ugly duckling or not feminine because she doesn’t like makeup or spending too much time on her hair.

Eli, The Good the most recent novel by the eastern Kentucky author Silas House came out in September 2009.  My grandmother went to North Carolina to hear him read and to buy me a signed copy of the book.  I thought that pretty dang cool of her considering she was supporting an independent bookstore and she was buying me the best kind of material present I could ever receive.  Silas House is my very favorite author.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect of this novel.  I had heard him read an excerpt at the Hindman Settlement School’s Appalachian Writer’s Workshop evening readings over the summer.  I appreciated the segment he read.  I soaked in the frankness of the tone and took up the imagery, making a movie in my mind, as the best books do for me.  I relished in his audible voice, true to his accent and unapologetic.  The kind that makes you even more proud to be who you are because someone molded from the same clay as you is making a difference in the world.  I was ready for this book.

I opened it and began reading, noticing immediately that this novel was very different from his first three (a series with the same family as characters).  It was different in feeling and much different in tone.  It was told from the voice of a ten year old child, Eli Book.  While the setting was obviously the mountains, it was more universal.  It felt like it could be many places.  Immediately, I felt like that child could have been me.

I went through the first half of the book wondering where it was taking me.  I didn’t grasp it fully because at times it was a very uncomfortable place to be, but as I moved onward I understood that was exactly the point.

By the end of the novel, I felt like I had been on a life transforming journey.  The kind that is a one way ticket.  You go from beginning to end and never look back.  The end of the novel held the juice for me.  Eli’s father dealt with demons brought back from the Vietnam war.  A war he had gone to fight still being only a child.  Eli’s mother clung to the love she found with his father because she had not known love as a child.  There was Eli and his sister both feeling the very same way, but coming to the understanding that what they were feeling was not the reality of their life, but the feelings that their parents were carrying with them and projecting out onto their lives.

But then he saw me.  I just stood there, feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness wash over me.  I had felt alone all my life, had felt as if my parents only saw each other as they moved through the world, thought they loved each other so much that there was no room to love me.  But now, by the way Daddy looked at me, I knew better.

His faced is what convinced me.  He was so hurt to see me there, to know I had seen all of this.  So I knew, once and for all, that he did care if I existed or not.

Eli, The Good by Silas House, Chapter 25, pg. 265

It was that moment in the book that sealed the deal for me and my commitment to becoming my true self.  The self that is uninhibited by my circumstances or past.  This was the point that gave me hope.  The hope that despite my shortcomings and my personal pitfalls, my children will at some point be assured of the fact that I love them and I love having been a part of giving them life.  They will know it because it is true.

All the things that I am doing are not only for myself at this point, though I believe looking inward is important  for people in all walks of life.  It is for my family.  From the choice of Waldorf inspired education, to moving up in the head of no where, to making our traditional culture a daily part of our life, those choices were made to help my children experience childhood.  We can grow up so quickly.  My spiritual studies, my yoga practice, my writing and reading, making the choice to become a childbirth educator, are all part of ending a cycle and embracing my natural state of well being.  Disease is not our natural state.  It is dis-ease.  Feelings of inadequacy, depletion, and blaming are not natural.  These are things that can be healed.  These are things that with mindfulness can be made whole in beautiful ways.

I want to bring my children up in a healing environment.  I want to do all I can to insure that I leave little baggage for them to carry into their adult life.  Any baggage they will have will be theirs, personal and part of that which helps us become independent of our parents.  It will be the stuffs of a beautiful life and the tools to make it a complete one.

I’ve been threatening to announce something for a week or two now.  It’s time.  I’ve been struggling to come to terms with what I feel like are big failures in my life as a mama and homemaker.  I can’t keep my house straight or organized.  I’m tired and feel disconnected more than I would like to.  The fact is that I think I am getting burned out.  Without many breaks to be had, and with basically no social life aside from taking my girls to see their grandparents, I’m suffering to find balance.  I’m looking for an outlet.  I have to have one in order to do my job at home to the best of my ability.

A few week’s ago, I thought God had given me a very blunt answer to my prayers about what my life is supposed to be.  I thought the answer was that I was being selfish and I needed to realize that I chose life as a mother and wife and that being home, homeschooling, and homemaking – devoting my life solely to my children and husband was where I belonged and where my purpose lies.  I was not to add another activity, but focus on fixing my shortcomings at home, and find all the happiness I need in being given that blessing.

The answer that I had thought I had gotten was through something that I thought was happening to me.  Thought.  It boogers us up sometimes.  What I thought was happening was not, and I was disappointed.  Disappointed not because I had hoped or planned for this event to happen, but because I thought I was getting a straight answer and my worry and searching was over.  I had resolved myself to simply being what I am now and had vowed to make it work.  Now, I was back to square one.

Then, after a few days of mulling it over I realized what had actually happened was an open door.  It was a door that when stepped through allowed for me to make my life new.  It allowed me to acknowledge that my feelings of aloneness and churning were legitimate, and because they are I don’t have to try to rid myself of them by pretending there is something wrong with me.  Instead, I can do something about them.  That is what I have decided to do.

I need to use the talents and passions that God gave me.  I can write.  I am passionate about safe childbirth and breastfeeding.  I am in love with yoga.  Books make me happy.  I also need to make an effort to connect with others and get some time outside of the home.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my life in this holler.  I would live nowhere else, yet there needs to be balance in my life – a chance to breathe and contribute what I can.

I have decided to take a course and become a certified childbirth educator.  I would teach all aspects of birthing, but focus on helping women achieve a normal vaginal birth when possible.  I hope to help promote breastfeeding and natural childbirth.  I am also getting certified for teaching prenatal yoga in the spring.

Along with this, I plan to do more with blogging in the form of a couple of niche blogs that I’ll announce here when I get it all worked out.  I may try my hand at some nonfiction articles and submitting those.  I will also be stepping up finding a publisher for my short story collection and finishing my novel.  I may consider self-publishing.  I received a note from an editor on one of my story rejections this week encouraging me to send more.  Usually rejections are just the form letter, so when you get some real ink from a pen on there, it is promising.

I want to help bring in some income and I want to use my skills.  I want to have something to do that will relieve me a little from time to time.  I don’t know how I am going to work it around our homeschool schedule, or how I will manage childcare if I need it.  I’m taking the plunge without that being set in stone.  I have to.  For my sake and for my girls.  I simply feel like I was designed that way.

We are social beings – even the most introverted of us.  I read an article in the November/December issue of Mothering Magazine by Heather Hall about her family building a house where they lived along with her parents and her husband’s mother.  I have been looking into the history in women’s lives, and I also saw this article on the Mothering website.  The nuclear family living in separate houses from their elder parents and other family members is a relatively new thing.  Historically, women had a village around them, and we’ve all heard the statement – it takes a village to raise a child.  In other words, they had ready fellowship, an occasional break from their childcare duties, and an outlet.  Mothering where I am now is a very isolated thing.  I don’t think I have to feel guilty by feeling that I need something else to go along with my efforts here.  If I don’t have a village, I have to create a situation where we are all balanced and ready to be all we can be for each other.

As I work out what this will mean for my family, I will write about it.  We are still homesteading, and I am still homeschooling, and will primarily be a stay-at-home mom.  I will just be seeking to do some things on the side.

It is really apparent to me that I need a break.  Just a break.  A mama break.  Time to unwind.  It’s 11:30 at night on the day before we make our big annual trip to Paducah, Kentucky to visit John’s Granny and Papaw, aunts, uncle, and cousins.  I’m so excited that I have been asked to make some things to bring this year!  Maybe this means I’m growing up. 😉  So, tonight, I’m baking.  I’ve made sweet potato and raisin cookies and sourdough bread from the Nourishing Traditions Cookbook, and a coconut oil fudge recipe I got from a message board.  At about midnight, I’ll put in the blueberry muffins.  In the morning, I’m making a pumpkin pie.

I’m looking forward to this trip.  I love John’s family as much as I do my own.  They are precious to me.  The trip will also give me time to reflect on what is and isn’t working in my mothering.  I have decided that I need an information purge.  I first read about the concept on Alisha’s blog – On a Silent Sea, and her journey through reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  She posted the idea on August 19th.  It has taken me this long to get the guts to try it.  Since we are going to be away for the weekend, I think it is the perfect time to start.

My biggest issue is the internet.  I never used to use it like I do since we moved.  I resented it really.  I hated the thought of computers taking the place of books with pages, sticking your nose right in the binding and taking in the scent of paper and ink, flipping, marking, and highlighting your way through.  I hated the internet for being trendy, the knew “thing”.  Yet, here I am right in the middle of it.  I don’t feel so strongly about it anymore, and I have come to see how useful it can be, especially to a mama who is kind of isolated in her beliefs and relationships.  That mama being me.

I live four and a half hours away from my best girlfriend and sister.  There are no more weekends on her couch watching TV, eating, and talking about what goes and who gives.  I am no longer close to the only Waldorf School in Kentucky, and therefore am missing out on that community.    The attachment parenting group that I am a member of is also far away now, and there’s no more meetings at the coffee house, or VBAC support.  I no longer have the community group meetings with my church sisters and brothers.  These were weekly activities that got me out and into the world when we lived in the city.  Granted, I’d be fine with just the weekends on the couch at Ariana’s, but I needed the rest too.  Despite all the wonderfulness of home, I’m missing the break that these things gave me.  A chance to get out of my shell once and awhile and experience people.

I took the girls to most of these outings, but it was a time to be with others, vent frustrations to people face to face, a time to develop friendship, have meaningful conversations.  Now, most days, the only conversations I have are either short evening ones with John, or on computer message boards.  It has become such that if I have any little issue, my first instinct is to go get advice or look it up online.  Sad, I know.  Useful, yes, but sad.

I’m so not good at making friends.  If you notice, the above activities already put me at a place where there were folks meeting for a purpose, or common goal.  I have such a hard time without that setting.  There aren’t many opportunities for mothers here to get together, and when there are, I don’t see many taking advantage of it.  John and I don’t get date nights.  It is a rare thing that I am doing anything sans the girls.  I simply don’t have childcare throughout the week when most things I would like to attend are going on.  John is busy weekends, so those are out most of the time.  I just don’t have anyone other than family (who work) that I am close enough to to feel unembarrassed to ask about childcare, and no money to pay anyone.  Historically has it most of the time been this way for mothers, or were extended families and communities part of the child rearing?

I drink Yogi Tea and on the little tabs they have a quote from Yogi Bhajan.  Yesterday, my quote was:

Self reliance conquers any difficulty.

While I believe that relying on God is the first thing, I can completely understand what Yogi Bhajan meant here.  The answers lie within ourselves.  God in us.  It’s there if we can shut out all the noise, observe, and listen.  I don’t do that – not at all.

That said, there will be no message boards, Facebook, or crazy internet searches for information for an unset amount of time.  I’m going to use the extra time that will give me to work on my home, my selfishness, and my relationship with the girls.  I’m going to use this time to listen, and come up with my own answers.

I realize these last few posts have been lots of words and no photos.  I will do better as soon as I am able.  I also apologize for the typos in the last post that I haven’t had the chance to fix yet.  I don’t know if letting others spend time in my head is interesting or not, but that’s what’s on my mind, and I’d like to tell someone.

I’ve been guiding myself through my yoga practice the last six days with a set from the back of The 8 Human Talents by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa.  The music I have chosen, because I don’t have any yoga music, is Eddie Veddar’s work on the soundtrack to the movie Into the Wild.  If you have never seen the movie, it is beautiful, breathtaking, and based on a true story.  I love Pearl Jam and have since they became a band.  I believe Eddie Veddar to be the best lyricist possibly who ever lived.  There are two songs that seem to sing from a place where I am at now… Here they are for you.  I hope you enjoy them.

I have a little quiet time.  Both of the girls are napping, which is a bit unusual.  I have a million things I need to be doing, but I’ve decided to update the blog in a more formal way.  I don’t know when I will have the chance again.

I was going to post about our work on the barn and moving our chickens there.  I don’t know how much time I have and I haven’t uploaded the pictures yet, so I will post about life for me now.  This is almost becoming a journal for me.  If nothing else, it is a way to keep my family up from afar, and a way for me to keep a record of our life.

After the last five weeks of things being so out of sorts around here, I feel like I’ve fallen into a land of chaos.  There is so much to do and so much to be done.  Catch my drift? 🙂  I think the ups and downs and the interruptions to our rhythm have fostered in a “stage” with the girls.  They are both so very needy right now in different ways.  It has caused me to pull back a little to problem solve.  Sometimes it is so overwhelming being a mother – meeting everyone’s needs.  I’m trying to observe where I am falling short in my keeping up a rhythm that satisfies all of us.  That takes thinking about the girls and their needs throughout the day, adding in my goals for things to accomplish, and making sure John is fed and has clean clothes, along with a semi-tidy house.  What about time to just be a family?

I have decided to use the Daily Guide I purchased from Little Acorn, but create my own curriculum to go in that.  I’m feeling we need something a bit more natural to us and to the age of the girls.  I have to find our flow.  There are several books that I’m looking to purchase to help me along, and one I have on loan.  The loaner is Festivals, Family, and Food by Diana Carey and Judy Large.  It is filled with seasonal songs, verses, food, stories, games, and crafts.  It has most of the major American holidays and lots of European holidays or those less familiar to us.    The others I plan to purchase are:

This is a lot of reading.  I am trying to read four books right now.  Eli, the Good by Silas House, Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer, Concentration by Ernest Wood, and The Christian Home by the Valley View Mennonite Church.  I do a daily Bible study.  I am also attempting to enjoy the magazines and journals I subscribe to – Mothering Magazine, Yoga Journal, Appalachian Heritage, and Fugue.  Reading the blogs I love as well as exploring the new ones, is another reading goal.  Studying up on Kundalini Yoga, keeping up with yahoogroups, Facebook, and email… more reading.  Did I mention I’m an information hound?

I’m feeling like I need to pull back from myself.  I’m healing and seeking and seeking some more.  It’s not a wonder that I am having such difficulty making my mind be still.  Again, I recall… “Cease striving and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10.  In trying to make things easier and more organized, I’m finding that I am slipping into a need for days to be 72 hours long.  I’m becoming more and more tempted to shut it all off for awhile and trying to just listen.  Yet, I need to study and prepare myself to teach my children, practice my yoga, and truly understand my spirituality and religious beliefs.  What gives? Did I mention that I am still trying to write and submit?

How do I stop this momentum?  How do I keep the things of interest and necessity to me to one at a time?  I’ve never been good at balancing my life or organizing it.  I get things done, but I’m wondering if I am not going about it the hard way.  I was gifted in other areas. 😉

In all of this, I see the tremendous blessings in my life.  I have the opportunity to learn about whatever I please, and devote as much time as is necessary and good to my family.  That is a jewel more precious than any diamond.

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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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