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Again, I’m here to apologize for dropping out for a bit.  I haven’t been able to keep up here or with my own blog reading for a few weeks.  My first class series begins this coming Tuesday.  I’ve been making binders for the clients, studying, searching for and creating handouts, lesson planning.  Shoot, I feel like a teacher again!  I’ve met some great women that I probably would have never connected with had I not began this journey.  I’ve been consumed by all the new work.  It’s been really good.

I have been blogging on a birth blog that I started to accompany my services website.  It’s informational in nature… about pregnancy, childbirth, and beginning parenting.  I’m enjoying that.

Deladis has had strep throat.  It was a phantom strep throat because her throat has never actually hurt.  Weird.  But, when she kept a fever for three days, I knew this wasn’t our usual little bout with a bug.  She’s doing much better though.

John is off to Kentucky Crafted in Louisville.  It is his biggest show of the year.  I think this is his fifth year to participate.  I’m so proud of him.  He’s such a hard working guy and dedicated to what he does.

Tomorrow, I am expecting a photojournalist from Western Kentucky University to come out to the cabin.  I believe she will be doing some documenting of my life.  It’s a little intimidating.  🙂  John is usually the one being asked to share his life with the public, and I get to tuck myself away in the background.  I don’t know what to think.  This blog is about as public as I get from day to day.  Can I still run around the property in my pjs?  Oh, do I need to clean the whole house?  Should I just go about life as usual considering it is a photo journalism project?  Probably. 🙂

So many people come into Appalachia to photograph, video, create the people.  I’m not sure what the draw is.  Debunking stereotype maybe, or in some cases perpetuating it.  This woman however is interested in more than just the whole Appalachian thing,which is good.  She is interested in our lifestyle choices of homesteading, homeschooling, and our career choices.  Maybe she’ll only get pictures of me handwashing dishes with my hair twigged up and in my pjs.  Or, in my pjs dancing in the living room with the girls.  Or, in my pjs trying to coax the chickens into the chicken area of the barn instead of hanging in the hog lot.  (Maybe we should put a hog there.)  Maybe I should get out of my pjs.  🙂  It’s hard to leave the sweatpants and t-shirts behind when you are doing work that is dirty.  You don’t want to mess up your good clothes.

I’m excited about what’s to come.  Hopefully when I find a balance, I can come and write here more often.

Later this afternoon, I will be making the long journey into the city.  Friday is the first day of the workshop that will begin my formal training to become a certified childbirth educator.  As I have mentioned before, the training is through Lamaze and I will eventually receive certification from Lamaze International when I complete the requirements.  I am so excited I can hardly contain myself.

Knowing my perception of myself ten years ago, I would have been very amused if someone had suggested to me that my life would take this path.  I was in my early twenties and while I had just recently witnessed the natural birth of my first nephew and acted as a birth coach for my sister, I had no plans to give birth myself.  I thought giving birth to be a miracle and it absolutely made me embrace my womanhood in a way I never had prior to witnessing the glorious capacity of a woman’s body.  I was sure though, that while other women were enjoying pregnancy, birth, and motherhood, that there were other plans for my life.  Not that I thought those plans more dignified at all, but more that I felt like life had not prepared me to fulfill that role in another’s life.  I felt like I was doing the child who I would birth a favor by choosing to remain childless.

I look back on my life at this juncture, and it is obvious to me my preparation through everything from my birth order, life experiences, and educational choices for motherhood and teaching (or should I say sharing my experiences with others and guiding the search for information).  I was the first born of my mother’s children and I tortured my baby sister day after day with school play.  It was either that or her torture me with trying to copy and become a part of my independent play. 😉  I majored in English with a minor in Creative Writing in college, only to accept a job as a Language Arts teacher in the public school system.  I went on to receive a Master’s in Teaching.  It was like I had forgotten how I told my family that I wouldn’t be a teacher when they had suggested it to me so many times.  I was going to be a writer.  Then, I experienced birth through my sister, and almost five years later John and I desired to make a family.  It was sudden, and in spite of all the plans to the contrary.

There was the planning for my birth – the dreaming.  Then, there was the experience.  I didn’t embrace what happened to me and my baby girl in any way for the longest time.  It wasn’t suppose to have happened that way.  Not to me.  I didn’t understand that it was another leg of my journey.  Ivy’s birth gave me a little more understanding, and yet I still didn’t accept what my heart was asking me to do.  I felt like everything I had experienced and studied about would eventually bring a correction of what happened to me.  It wasn’t about that at all.  Healing isn’t always a reversal of a problem, and I would argue that most often it is not, but it is a renewal of our perception of that problem.  That self that I thought I was, wasn’t me at all.  It was an ego denying my whole self peace.  I am complete just as I am.

So, now I have this awesome opportunity to put myself to use to a cause greater than I could have ever imagined for myself.  A cause that is much greater than I am.  It is not something I could ever take on of my own accord or understanding, but it is a movement of a collective body of women and men, working, in the best of times, as one force.  To help other women learn about their bodies, enjoy their pregnancies, plan their informed births, and process the experience is a huge undertaking, but it is one that I love.  It was done for me, and I am so thankful to those women.  Not only will I have the opportunity to be an active part of a birth community, but I will be helping women in my mountains.  The birth tradition in these hills is so rich and beautiful as much as it is hard to grasp at times.  I think of the courage of those women and the trust that they put into the natural course of life.  I want to help women from whatever place they come from in their journey to motherhood and through whatever their plans may be, help them to understand what is happening, to trust their body, and help them to feel comfortable and safe in the choices they make for themselves and their babies.

I’m thankful that I am finally able to listen to my heart.  It is much easier than trying to rationalize contrary choices.  I’m thankful for this opportunity.  I’m able to embrace what happened to me as an experience in a longer journey that has a larger purpose than a few events in my life.  Not that those experiences were easy ones, but more that they helped me to grow as a person.  No, it wasn’t a part of my planning, but it chose me, and I’m so glad.

I think I have already chosen a name for my services and a tag line.  It may change, but for now I like it. 🙂  I will be starting a new blog upon my return under that title.  I will blog about my experiences in formal training and the topics I am studying or finding interesting in the world of childbirth.  I won’t blog about anyone (privacy is my utmost priority), but it will be more informational in tone and a companion to my eventual personal website for my services.  Birth is a very personal topic and because of the many varied experiences can seem almost mythical.  Learning about the ideas surrounding birth and the issues involved is a great way to make it seem less so, but no less miraculous. 🙂

I want to begin by apologizing for not quite keeping up here with the comments and posting these last few months.  I want everyone to know I read every comment and respond in my mind (Hopefully, I will be able to do better about posting those thoughts as we get back into a healthy post holiday rhythm).  I very much value the interaction on this blog and the others I read.  It’s nice to have online community.

So, we just got back from Cincinnati visiting some family there.  We went to the zoo’s Festival of Lights and saw an amazing light display, some neat animals (an eastern screech owl up close and personal, shown by a delightful caregiver, and some spectacular insects), and an outdoor show by the Madcap Puppet Theater in about 10 degree weather. 🙂  It was their Christmas present for the girls, and I am so grateful for it.  Both Deladis and Ivy were in high hog heaven. 🙂

But… the highlight of the trip for my personal self was a trip to Trader Joe’s to stock up on some hard to find grocery items.  I had read various women sing the praises of Trader Joe’s on internet forums, and I had never experienced for myself.  I have fallen in love, and I want to know how you can get a store like that to come to a rural place like this.  The first surprise was the size.  It was a tiny, quaint store.  I didn’t know what to expect, and while I didn’t see shelves and coolers filled with a crazy variety of food like you would at a Whole Foods store, I saw just enough.  It was almost perfect – almost.  The prices were the kicker for me.  I found Trader Joe’s bacon that was nitrate/nitrite/MSG free for $3.99.  I bought 4 packs.  Here you pay $4.99.  Frozen blueberries for $2.99 (12 oz.).  Gluten Free Mac-Cheese for $0.99 a box!  I found whole milk yogurt with a higher fat content than Yo’ Baby, and when you have a picky toddler who loves yogurt that is a blessing.  Ivy needs all the fat she can get.  It was wonderful.  I bought four large canvas bags full to the top of good food for $137.00  I can’t believe how excited I get over food.  I want a Trader Joe’s in the mountains.  I pay twice the price for some of the things I bought today on a regular basis.  I think that once local people saw the food was affordable, they’d be happy to shop there.

Yee-haw!!!

2010 is a good year.  Heck, every year is a good year.  We are blessed with life!  I have been inspired in these last weeks, and I know without a doubt that I am being led, and I am taken care of.  It’s nice to be assured of that.  It’s freedom.  It makes you want to do something about it.  Over on a blog I found a few months ago a challenge is being held – Hip Mountain Mama (One Small Change) .  She is encouraging people to make small changes in our living to create sustainability and positively influence our impact on the environment.  John and I try to work on this every day.  It is of a great deal of importance to us as energy issues impact our everyday life with the coal industry being a crucial part of the economy of the mountains and living with the impact that has on our surroundings.  We know that this isn’t a stable energy source, and it won’t be possible to fuel our local economy off of it forever, and John and I both believe we mountain folk need to start making those changes now and learn what we can do to sustain ourselves here.  However, we know that coal provides about 80% of the nation’s electricity, so it is up to all of us to begin that change.

I probably won’t be able to keep up with the blog deadlines she has set, but I’m going to participate in my own way.

Here is what I want to change:

1.  There is no recycling center in our county.  The closest is about 30 miles away.  Because of this we have stopped recycling.  (And John watched a Penn and Teller BS episode and feels it might not be so bad. I don’t know.  I’d have to revisit that episode myself.)  So, in lieu of that, I’d like to reduce our waste.  We have it down to about 1 garbage bag a week.  The next change I think I will make it making some napkins to use in place of paper towels for eating and some mess clean up.  I have some old sheets that would work perfect for that.

2.  I’m going to make it a point not to buy bottled water when I am out and about.  I plan to purchase a stainless steel water bottle and fill that to carry around.  We use water we collect from the watering hole for consumption and cooking at home.  Carrying that with us won’t be hard.  Plus, after hearing about the movie Tapped, I am motivated.  It is hard to think about when the local water supply can hardly be trusted because of recent petroleum spills and other such industrial pollutants.  Praise God for our watering hole.

I challenge everyone to make one small change.  Something you can feel good about.

It takes us awhile to recover from Christmas.  In two days, we have Christmas festivities with four families.  This week we are traveling to South Carolina (where I am writing this) and later to Cincinnati to see more family.  The two days we’ve gotten to spend at home have been spent in rest and trying to find places for the new toys.  We gave a box of toys the week before Christmas to my nephew to help us with that task.

I have never been an organizer of things.  I organize myself and I have places for things that I care about in my home, but when it comes to having things look neat and tidy – I fail miserably.  Our house is clean where it counts.  The toilet, bathtub, dishes washed, and clothes washed, but neat and tidy it is most definitely not.  I have tried before.  I was fairly successful, but with so little room it has been hard to really make a difference.  Not being gifted with the talent of housekeeping has made it hard to maintain. 

John recently told me to let go of the standard I am trying to achieve.  In ten years of marriage, we’ve not had a neat home, even before kids.  It’s true.  Clean, but not neat.  With our various collections and our love for the written word, music, and art, comes a lot of things to be kept in our small cabin.  I am not doing a good job of managing it all.

Then, I am trying to find an organization that will work with me and my pursuit of becoming a certified childbirth educator.  There are none here to train under or observe.  Most organizations have at least that requirement.  Travel isn’t possible for me without making huge,expensive arrangements.  I also have to keep in mind the reputation of the certifying organization and the experience of others.  It is proving difficult, but I’m pushing onward.  I hope that by the time I finish my prenatal yoga training in April, that I can start offering my services to the women in our area. 

There is a lot of organizing to do.  We have been taking time off of our homeschooling.  I have been in deep spiritual study, and I am missing my yoga quite a bit.  I love seeing family and spending time in places away from home, but not being able to do my daily yoga is hard.  It is at those times when you can really tell what such a practice does for you.

I hope to be able to post more starting next week.  In the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions on home organization or childbirth educator certification for such a rural mama, I’d love to read them.  Please comment.  I’m wishing you all a great New Year and some restful fun!

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.

There is quite a bit going on around here right now.  Deladis had her first dance recital last night, and she did amazing!  She danced all by herself.  I’m so proud of her.  I had to take Ivy back to the doctor this morning for more medicine and blood draws.  I spent most of the rest of the day trying to recoup on the couch.  I have so much on my mind and with Ivy not able to sleep well at night, it is leaving me a little foggy.  I want to be on the top of my game when I write here, so I’ll make sense at least.  I have had to neglect the blog a bit, but I have many posts planned.  I should be posting more often real soon.

It has come time for some change in my life and it has become more obvious to me than ever.  I have some big plans and some big hope.  I can’t wait until I am able to write all about it here.  Thank you folks for the well wishes, and hanging in with me.  I’ll write a real post soon. 😉

Hey Everyone!  Hop on over to Waiting for the Click where I am the featured “click” story of the day.  Leslee has an interesting and inspiring blog, and I am so happy to get to do a guest post for her.  I hope you will spend some time there and get acquainted with her words.

Take care and have a lovely day!

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.

Ms. Angie at The Artist, The Mom bestowed upon me my second blogging award ever!  She is such an inspiration to me in real life and on her blog.  I am flattered at the note she wrote about me and at being on her list.  I went through the other bloggers she awarded, and am humbled to be included.

AwardThe idea behind passing on this award is to list six things that others probably don’t know about me, and then to pass the award on to 5 other bloggers.

  1. I won’t be telling the things I really don’t want anyone to know.  I’m a very private person.  (That’s why this blog has been a huge deal for me.)
  2. Oh, my!  I tell so much here that there isn’t much that I’d be willing to share on this little list that isn’t already known.  I’m honest, so if asked, I answer questions honestly, and when writing about my life I am for the most part an open book.  I think we are all in this life together to learn from one another.  That’s the great thing about blogs too.
  3. I have things that I’d love to do/be, but fear I won’t get to do in this lifetime.  (Some examples are: knitting on a regular basis and learning to use a sewing machine, owning a bookstore, owning a traditional foods cafe, being a doula or midwife, teaching yoga, and owning my own natural health/mama-baby  store).
  4. My husband was only my third real boyfriend ever and my second serious one.  We’ve been a couple since I was fifteen years old and we are best friends.
  5. I’m really shy and introverted unless approached by someone else to talk, then I can talk your leg off.  I rarely initiate a conversation, and I’ve been known to hide because of being too nervous to talk.  However, get me in front of a room of people to teach or speak on a topic and I’m good to go.  I love public speaking.  Though it can get lonely sometimes, I’m really comfortable being on my own… in my own little world.  It’s something I think would be better if I could balance it out with some extroverted activities and IRL friends.  The problem is finding those in the country for an at-home mama.
  6. I love heights.  I love standing on cliffs.  Going up in small airplanes is something I’ve thoroughly enjoyed since childhood.  Rollercoasters are a blast.  I’d bungee jump if given the right opportunity.  I love a good thrilling ride, and the peace of being high up and looking out over earth.

Other Gorgeous Bloggers:

  1. On a Silent Sea –  I adore Alisha’s transparency.  This blog is open about a journey so many of us are not brave enough to take.  In fact, I’ve always been one to shy away from actively seeking some kind of self-improvement until we moved back to the mountains.  I always thought life would do it for me.  Alisha is an inspiration.
  2. Homemade Serenity –  This is a newer blog that I have found and fallen in love with.  It’s comfortable at Simple Mama’s place.  Her pictures are breathtaking, and her approach to life seems so pure.  Her words are a peaceful read.
  3. Life in Slow Motion – I love finding like-minded people in the blogging world.  (I wish I were finding more IRL.)  This blog helps me realize I’m not alone in my goals, struggles, and triumphs as a mama.  It’s a wonderful read.
  4. Green V Neck – I am enthralled by Deb’s sense of humor about everything.  Give her a topic and she can make you life.  Not to mention she is a homeschooling mama and we have many of the same goals.
  5. Fun Mama – She deserves this award for even attempting to be a fun mama.  I love her willingness to share her discoveries with others.

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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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