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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.
I am so excited to announce that a radio documentary that I have been working on these last few months is going to air on this coming week’s edition of Mountain News and World Report on the local public radio station WMMT. The topic is cesarean awareness and how it affects the women of the Kentucky mountains and nationwide. We interviewed a local obstetrician, a certified nurse midwife, and a certified professional midwife on the topic, as well as a local mother whose daughter’s life was saved by cesarean surgery.
The airdate is August 1st (Sunday) at 10:30am EST and again on August 3rd (Tuesday) at 6pm EST. You can listen locally at WMMT 88.7 and also online at www.wmmt.org where you will find a link for listening live. The piece will also be available for download after the airdates if you click on the link for the Community Correspondence Core.
This issue is close to my heart and the piece is airing right after the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology issued revised guidelines that are more supportive of vaginal birth after cesarean. It also airs on the week that we will celebrate Deladis’s 5th birthday and my 5th year of motherhood. 🙂 I hope you will get to celebrate with us by listening to the piece.
“You must speak straight so that your words may go as sunlight into our hearts.”
– Cochise (“Like Ironweed”) Chiricahua Chief
I’m going to try to speak straight here and everywhere. We can manipulate language in so many gratifying and harmful ways when we are fluent in it. We can make the truth read/sound a thousand different ways. Sunlight too, comes to us in unique and varying ways. It can be just enough to warm us on a day between fall and winter. It can beat down on us relentlessly with its burden of heat and sweat. When words touch our hearts they feed us – our state of being. They allow us to form opinions, to react emotionally, to prepare for great triumphs or damaging winds. To render ourselves steadfast. Cochise just asked that we talk straight. We talk straight so that our words feed our hearts like sunlight. So that there is fairness all around.
Summer has become that overbearing master once again. Restricting us indoors. The garden is out of control, though still producing well. Peace from the summer sun is hard to find, and you become a worshipper of conveniences like air conditioning. Deladis absolutely hates the summer sun, and though she wants to play outdoors, she cannot. Her skin is really sensitive because of the eczema and she sweats which makes her itch. Her face turns apple red, and then she starts to feel poorly. Ivy is restless from being cooped up like the hen and diddles. She takes an evening run through the living room and into the kitchen, slamming against the door and back again, like clockwork, everyday sometime after dinner. We only have a wall unit a/c and a fan, and we don’t turn it on until about noon everyday, and turn it off again at night. Our cabin is not extremely cool. We try our best to acclimate for summer and winter. We tend to freeze or burn up when we visit our family. But, right now, indoors is the safer place for us. This is the first summer since living at The Confluence that it has been this way. Though I remember many summers like this.
The sun zaps my energy. As a child I tried to play softball, and would end up vomitting on the field because the sun makes me sick. I’m no different now. It’s why I love the mountainside. The shade. The cool breezes. The altitude. What is harder on me this summer is that I’m not well. I’ve been reluctant to post about it here. I am a believer in what you put out into the world is what you will get back. People tend to avoid those that don’t feel well… or pity them too much. I’d rather not deal with either of those things. Writing about it here is more about talking straight. Writing about things being difficult, my patience being short, or my being tired all the time would be just complaints without being honest as to why. I don’t want to complain. And, I’m not trying to feel sorry for myself.
John and I do without some things in order that the girls can have them, or that I can stay home and be the primary caregiver of the girls. One of those things is health insurance. So, I’ve put off seeing a doctor for a detailed workup of my health for sometime. However, we’ve saved and worked it out so that now I can, and I am relieved. I’ve been so angry at the fact that I should be healthier than I have ever been in my life. My lifestyle, my diet, my physical activity are all joyful and healthy. Yet, I feel awful many days. I have horrible headaches that don’t go away, sometimes nagging for days. I’m always tired. It’s a challenge to keep up with my chores. My moods are up and down. I have stomach aches. I’m dizzy…. etc… The doctor says at this point she knows that it is my hormones and my glandular systems that are causing the trouble. Nothing contagious. Nothing that keeps me from doing my best. Tomorrow, I go for a blood draw for something they are calling a whole panel. This will give her a whole picture and then we’ll go from there.
I’m excited at the thought of feeling better. Of restoring my body to proper function. Healing mind, body, and spirit. Wholeness. I know any improvement I experience comes from my Creator, and the journey is of most importance. It is a way to grow. It is to be accepted and worked on from a place of peace. Being able to just go through the outward movements of going to the doctor, getting results, is allowing me to release the anger at the problem. I’m hoping it will help me to be still as well.
I suppose I’ll write some about it here because it will be my focus for sometime. And, as the summer brings other exciting things I’ll have share some of those too. Opportunities are everywhere right now. I don’t know whether to chase them all or pick and choose. 🙂 The Creator will give me the work of my day upon the unfolding of it.
Introducing Little LuLu
Hi everyone! I wanted to invite you to my “birth” blog today to check out a three part series I have been working on. The first post is on the history of childbirth in eastern Kentucky. I hope you enjoy it.
I’m wonderfully optimistic about the year to come. I think I’m finally coming to an understanding of what it means to let go and let God. To kick off the new year, I have decided to start a series of posts on things we have a right to know about (in fact in many situations our life depends on it), but for whatever reason they are kept “secret” whether through planned secrecy or by tactful exclusion of information.
John and I spent the evening on the couch last night watching our new Netflix arrival – Food, Inc. . I’ve been waiting on this movie since it came out a while back. This film demystifies our current system of industrialized food and the problems that arise from our expectation of fast and cheap food.
It was a little over a year ago now when a prolonged illness of mine prompted me to switch our diet to a traditional foods diet as proposed by The Weston A. Price Foundation and authors like Sally Fallon and Nina Planck. Since then, I have noticed a tremendous change in my health and well being along with that of my husband and children. I have lost and maintained a 100 pound weight loss (though I was already losing weight before changing my eating, I contribute most of it to traditional foods). I have more energy. My gums no longer bleed when I brush or floss my teeth. But, the most noticeable for me is my relationship to food. I no longer fear food making me fat, because I know that what I am choosing to eat is real food and not something fabricated in a factory. I enjoy my food and I eat plenty of it. I’m eating things the diet industry tells us will make us obese and sick – butter, bacon, red meat, and whole fat dairy.
This approach to eating (I don’t call it a “diet” in the terms of how most of us view the word) has changed my life so completely that I can’t help but get excited about sharing it with others. However, all to often I have noticed people don’t want to hear the truth about where their food comes from, and I tend to get tuned out. Instead of accepting that there is a problem here and we are in need of huge change as a society, they continue to eat from the conventional store shelves food that more often than not is some kind of factory made variation of corn or soy bean products and they wonder why they are sick with things like diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, or obesity. Why is that?
The fact of the matter is that we have a right to know where our food comes from and under what conditions it is being processed for our consumption. Our food is life. What we put into our body directly affects how we are able to live our life. However, now that our food supply is being controlled by just a few multi- million (billion) dollar corporations that treat their farmers and factory workers like second class human beings, who don’t care at all about the health of the animals they process for meat, and treat our meat, produce, and dry goods with a variety of chemicals to give them unnatural shelf lives, we are being kept in the dark of food practices that if they were public knowledge would incite the citizens of this country to demand a change.
The truth is that 1 in 3 children in this country born after 2000 will develop diabetes. 1 in 3 children in this country are either considered overweight or obese. Low-income Americans (under $30,000) a year find it hard to afford a healthy diet. This comes along with the idea of fast food being cheap. You now can buy chips for a lesser price than a head of broccoli, and then there are dollar menus at fast food restaurants. The question of food availability also arises. Living in rural Appalachia, I find it extremely difficult to find food I feel is appropriate for my family, and I have to make too many compromises.
Our country is facing an epidemic that is inexcusable. We owe our children a better chance at a healthy life than this. We owe it to ourselves as well. While industrialization has brought about many good changes in our way of life, when its principles are applied to certain more personal areas of our lives, we find we are detrimentally affected by its lack of concern for the greater human good as opposed to the low cost production industry holds so dear. A few profit from the loss of many.
After viewing this film and others like it, I can’t help but encourage others to become informed as well. Know where your food comes from. Know that in one pack of ground beef there is meat from 50-100 cattle. Know that most chickens raised for commercial slaughter for companies like Tyson never see the light of day or feel grass under their feet. In fact, they are lucky to be able to bear their own body weight on their brittle legs. Know that the tomato you are buying that is so pretty and red was shipped to your location in many cases over thousands of miles, and picked while still green. It was ripened chemically. Know this, and decide to change it. There are farmers out there with answers to this problem. We can have normal, affordable, healthy food. We can live without the fear of food related disease. Arm yourself with knowledge. Then, cast your vote for the foods you want every time you choose your purchases at the grocery.
I sat in the living room with Ivy in my lap watching the fog come up the holler this morning, and wondering how the rest of the weekend will play out. The gas company is still working on roads and new pipeline. The yard is becoming a mud pit, and I am ready to have the peace back around here. Today, I caught about five of them hovered around the chicken coop. One of them was giving one of our roosters hits off of his cigarette. I quickly went out on the porch to make myself known. I was about to have words with him, but I was able to restrain myself, and they just as quickly left our yard. I know that when all is finished, it will be better for us and easier on the vehicles, but right now, it’s hard.
I’m having to keep the girls inside for the most part. Today, it was so beautiful, we had to venture out for a quick swing while we caught some quiet. What you see here is the new road. We had to move the swingset. The road took our compost pile, all my wild blackberries, and my bird feeders that I made with the girls. However, it will prevent us driving through a large part of the creek. Hopefully, we’ll have a bridge over the deepest part at some point. Right now with the rain, we can’t park anywhere near the house. We are parking about a football field’s walk in the mud from the house. The dozers and inloaders coupled with the type of work they are doing has kept us out of the hills this fall. Usually, we are in them most days. I had wanted to take pictures of the trees and all their colors. The leaves are pretty much gone now. I took this next photo from the yard, catching a patch of trees that hadn’t been so blown by the wind.
I’m trying to look on the bright side of things. John has described this month as the month from “hell”, and for him it probably has been. October is my favorite month, so I’m giving its redemption my best shot. 🙂 I went to the produce stand on Wednesday and discovered that as long as there is something to be sold and people buying, they will be open! They carry some local goods like potatoes, honey, sorghum, and other canned items. The rest of the produce is trucked in from North Carolina, but it is a family business and small. It is an outdoor stand. Though the produce is not organic, its flavor is magnificent.
Here are some of the winter items I stocked up on, just in case they close.
In that basket are apples of all sorts, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, and butternut squash. I plan to peel, slice, and freeze some of these apples for fried apples through the winter. Some of the green ones will make an apple pie. I have Mutsu and Granny Smiths. Sweet potatoes are something John and I have never liked until we started cooking more traditional/whole foods. Now,in this area, most sweet potato dishes that are served are very sweet, almost like a desert. Brown sugar, margarine, and marshmallows are added along with other spices. It makes it taste wrong to both John and I. However, we have found that we love them fried in butter with nothing added except occasionally a little nutmeg or cinnamon. I thought about making sweet potato chips with some of these, or baking a few. Yum! I can just see the melted butter.
I also got a few huge cabbages for sauerkraut making, and a box of the nicest onions. The red ones in the picture are the best tasting onion I have ever put in my mouth. They are so sweet. The little ones are PeeWee Vidalias. I’ll have to report back on those.
Before John left today, we talked about cooking. Neither of us can remember when I made a dinner last. 😦 I cook breakfast every morning. It is the family meal we rely on. This month we have been apart most of the time for dinner. I don’t cook when it is just me and the girls. They eat so little that we just eat lunch type foods. I miss dinner. That is why I bought the butternut squash. I have never had it, and I want to make something different. I want to eat things that are in season.
This morning, I made fried apples from the fresh apples I bought yesterday. The girls and I really enjoyed them. It is a traditional Appalachian food. Many families had apple trees on their little hillside homestead. I’ll post my recipe on the favorite recipes page.
Thanks ladies for the well wishes for the girls. It is a minor thing – cold like. I’m thinking either from all the wet weather or the sitting in the car cart at the mall when we went for my birthday. It is that or the mold issue. We are still working on that. The ventilation has brought some help, but not quite enough. We are looking for a dehumidifier. If that doesn’t work… I hope that isn’t the problem.
It is more than a blessing to be able to live in this holler and in this cabin. It is perfect for us. Our landlord is a true friend. I wish so much that it wouldn’t have to ever come to an end, even when things are a bit off kilter.