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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.

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.

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.

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.

The break in the weather today was nice.  Really nice.  The truck is stuck in the creek because of all the ice and us trying to get it out before John took another short trip.  Today, it almost reached fifty degrees and I got to come home from my mother’s, where I’ve been staying for lack of ability to leave the holler in an emergency.

I like being cold much more than being hot, and I wonder sometimes if it is part in partial to my being a bit of an introvert.  Winter makes us go inward.  The bustle is not so much and it forces us to spend more time with ourselves.  We renew and we make big plans.  We resolve to do and be things.  We get really excited and then frustrated because we suddenly have lots of things we want to be doing and the weather doesn’t allow for us to do them.  We grow tired of inner conversation.  Then, we get stir crazy.  Then, it is Spring.

I enjoy the little breaks in the weather of Winter that gives you a moment to exhale, to take a fresher deep breath and begin again.  I am enjoying my time this Winter, and I hope the feelings I have gained are ones that I will never lose.  I hope to only grow in them and to go forward with the change they bring.

I have some simple things I will be focusing on this year.  Things that will change my life, my being, my heart, my work, and my basic approach to life.  Hey, it’s about time. 🙂

  1. I’m going to complete my childbirth educator training and classes with Lamaze International beginning in February.  I will become a certified childbirth educator and begin helping the women of my region take a look at all the possibilities and miracles of birth.  I will also become trained to teach prenatal yoga in April and tie that into my work as a childbirth educator.
  2. I will be reading the writing of Rudolph Steiner.  I want to learn about the Waldorf philosophy of education directly from the source and take what I learn to create the experience of education for our girls.  Lately, I’m too caught up in “being” Waldorf as in the examples from the many blogs, books, classes, and things that are Waldorf inspired.  The real “Waldorf” education will be the experience that works and fits with our own family culture.  It won’t look the same as what works for others.
  3. I am learning more about Spirituality.  I am exploring my beliefs and trying to learn all I can about living a life that is tuned in, out, and grounded. 😉
  4. Continue to practice Kundalini Yoga and to learn all I can about it.  This will also help me with number three.
  5. Finish my novel and continue to look for publication for my stories.

It feels good because it is nothing unrealistic like keeping the house in perfect order, or making sure the girls never get their feelings hurt. 😉  It is life in simple.  I’m so excited, I’m smiling as I type.

Photos by Brett Marshall

Day Four:

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?”

“Yes.”

“Awww…” to the tone of someone who has just been told they are having iceberg lettuce and escargot for breakfast.

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.

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.

UNIFORM

I rarely post a picture of myself on this blog (I think I have 3 times, this being the third), and you can see why.  I am the real frumpy mom.  I am the kind of person that the people doing these makeover shows would shake a finger at, then hug because they feel so sorry for me.  If there is no where to go, I don’t get dressed.  Yes, these are my pjs.

A friend on Facebook posted as her status the other day that she wished she could have a job where she wore her pjs.  I do – mother, writer, and homesteader.  In this particular picture taken yesterday for this post, I am wearing a thermal shirt that happens to be the first present John’s mother ever bought for me.  I have been with John for fifteen years, so there is no need for any math to figure out how old this shirt is.  As for the pants, I have to apologize, I don’t sport cartoon characters usually.  I had nothing else clean.  Both of these garments are more than several sizes too big for me.  My shoes are used.  I am the third owner of them.  First they were my sister’s, then my mother’s, and now they are mine. 🙂  The soles are falling off, but they still work good for sloshing around in our current muddy situation (Did you see the dozer?).  My hair, I know you think is lovely. 😉  A twig bun in the back, with no brushing beforehand.  Just up and twig.  Oh, and no makeup.  I rarely do makeup even when I’m getting dressed up.

Now, I have heard people on TV and in print accusing mothers like me of having low self esteem, being lazy, and taking no pride in themselves.  I’m not buying it.  Why would I want to wear my nice clothes to clean house, cook, and tend children, dogs, and poultry?  I don’t.  I’m not putting on an outfit to hang out in the holler.  I might if I’m getting company, but that’s a big might. 😉

I don’t think John cares what I wear from day to day, and I am satisfied in my pjs.  It’s not because I fancy myself ugly.  I can dress for an occasion and that is exactly what I do.  I love comfort and ease.  I have too many other important things to worry about like preparing nutritious meals, homeschooling the girls, doing a yoga session, reading a good book, or writing this blog post.

Hills Around the Cabin Last Fall 2008

Hills Around the Cabin Last Fall 2008

I’m waiting like a child at Christmas for this scenery.  Day 20 of my 40 days of commitment passed this weekend.  I’m doing pretty good with it though the last week it felt like I was not.  It was the kicking the caffeine thing.  The only thing I’ve dropped from the list is goal five.  I can’t possibly keep a 10pm bedtime and still spend time with John or have the “me” time I need.  So, I modified it to “rest when I’m weary.”

In church Sunday, we had a lesson on loving our brothers and sisters.  It wasn’t only about loving Christians (I am firmly against bigotry), but loving everyone – absolutely everyone – including those we are tempted to hate.  The lesson discussed what love/hate is, and what it looks like – that love is not words, but exists in action and truth.  But, what really spoke to me is that love requires time, and for most Americans today, time is a huge sacrifice.

hill1

Hills Around the Cabin Last Fall 2008

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

– Jesus (John 13:34)

Whether we are looking at Jesus as a spiritual or historical figure, as do so many religions across the world, it is hard not to acknowledge that he showed ultimate love in laying down his life for those who despised him.  He commands his followers to love like that.

I think about how that applies to me and what I love, and what I feel like I am called to do in my life.  The things that, if I had them all squared away, I give most of my time to and thus the things I love dearly are…

  1. My Creator and my spiritual life (my study of religious texts, prayer, meditation, yoga, and fellowship with other folks of faith)
  2. My children/parenting/homeschooling
  3. My husband/our home/homesteading
  4. My family and friends
  5. My homeland – Appalachia
  6. My writing
  7. supporting natural childbirth and breastfeeding

I believe the first three to be perfectly tied together.  My marriage is a spiritual commitment and therefore keeping it strong also keeps me in need of a close relationship to the Creator.  Being a mother is the ultimate example of a spiritual duty.  I am responsible for raising a child who begins life so connected with the natural world and spirituality as she eventually comes into awareness of humanity and helping her make sense of it all, be confident enough to make her own choices in life, and to love others.  Man!  It never stops flooring me to think about it.  And this particular part of my life is where that lesson on love really hits home.

In yoga and mothering circles, we often say – “this too shall pass.”  It will.  Now, is the only time I have.  I want to be present for my children, my husband, and I want to know myself.  If I begin there, then I can be a better lover of my family and friends.  I can volunteer and speak for the issues facing eastern Kentuckians.  I can write, and I might even have time (at some point in my life) to help the women of my region with their birthing and breastfeeding goals.  I will be able to do those things without stress because I’ll know my responsibilities to the family I created are taken care of.  Not only that, but I can take care of these responsibilities from a place of joy.

Early Morning Right from Bed - Fall 2008

Early Morning Right from Bed - Fall 2008

I rocked Ivy to sleep tonight, and used that as my meditation time.  I have come to believe it is a time that God has given me.  I tried to be like her, completely dependent, still one with me.  I sang my chant Sa-Ta-Na-Ma, and she drifted off.  It was lovely.

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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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