In no particular order...
1. My Family - Grandparents, Cousins, Siblings, Nephews, Nieces, Parents, Children. I am blessed in spades with wonderful family on both my side and JDub's side.
2. My Health - I am grateful to be strong and healthy, able to do the things required of me.
3. My Faith - My faith in Jesus Christ and my knowledge of the Lord's plan for me is an anchor I could not live without.
4. My Home - Though it is often messy and takes a lot and of time and care, I am so grateful that it is a haven from the world for me and for my family.
5. Motherhood - What a breathtaking and joyous season of my life this is. I am trying daily to revel in the joy of being the mother of young children. I hope that I can continue to enjoy the seasons of motherhood in my life.
6. My Friends - Through many miraculous twists in my life, I have had the honor of meeting and being befriended by phenomenal people all over the world. I learn so much from the amazing women and men who grace my life and often feel unworthy of their friendship.
7. My Work - My work with Birthing From Within and as a doula has been a marvelous blessing. I get to do work that I love, that touches lives, that teaches and touches and stretches me and helps me develop greater compassion and tenderness. And I get to witness miracles on a regular basis.
8. The Internet - It is a double edged sword and I often feel my dependence on the computer drifting toward addiction level, but I am still so grateful. My life would be very different without the easy access to others and to limitless information that the internet affords. Thank you, Mr. Gore! *wink*
9. My Mistakes - I am who I am and often I am better than I ever would be because of mistakes I've made. My many weaknesses are an important source of humility for me, without which the Lord would never be able to help me be better.
10. Prayer - Again on the weaknesses, prayer is a blessing that I under-utilize terribly. I would like to learn to pray more frequently and fervently. But now, from where I am, I still feel a deep sense of gratitude for this connection to my Father in Heaven.
11. My Country - I am grateful to live in the United States of America and for ALL that entails (current political climate and craziness included).
12. My Husband - I already mentioned family, but he deserves his own line. What a remarkable man he is. He is my best friend. He makes me laugh. He lifts me up. He just makes my heart happy.
13. Words, Language, Poetry, Art - I have felt so grateful lately for all of the beauty in the world. And especially for the beautiful ways in which we, as humans, are able to express ourselves creatively and communicate with the world around us.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Just a few of the things I needed to do this morning before taking kids to school.
-Write a note to Scud's teacher to let her know that Scud would be going home with a friend today.
-Sign Kaitybean's homework return folder.
-Sign off Scud's book from last night.
-Make sure Kaitybean finished her homework.
-Look through and sign forms for my appointment with my midwife.
Not too exciting, right?
The scary part?
I got all of this done during the 15 minute drive to school.
In the car.
And I was driving.
One more reason for me to get a bit more organized.
Created by Heather around 10:52 AM
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Unless you've been living under a rock for the last decade, you probably remember seeing this lovely little dress. On national television.
And who can forget this? I'll spare you the image of what came next. Whether you were offended or not, it just wasn't pretty.
No doubt you've seen something like this or this in all kinds of public places. Museums, restaurants, schools, churches.
And you can always find these anywhere near water.
When it's very public, as it was in the first two instances, many people are offended. They write angry letters. Conservative action groups chime in with cries of "Off with their heads!"
But even those who are offended are usually glad to let these things blow over.
When the skin-baring is right in front of us, we wouldn't dream of saying a word. Especially not to the person's face.
That would be rude.
First of all, it's none of our business.
And it's just a little skin, right? They have a right to express themselves.
And what's wrong with being sexy?
Truly, the extent to which the female body is exposed and exploited in our society is staggering.
We're exposed to a mind-numbing daily stream of skin.
Breasts, it seems, make cameras especially happy.
Breasts are really very useful. Add a little cleavage and you can sell anything.
Those breasts are quite versatile.
Ask any advertising exec. A couple of double D's can come in really handy.
Most of us go placidly and unquestioningly along with all of this.
That's just the way it is.
Many would argue that the baring of skin and a fascination with the nude female body is hardly a modern, western phenomenon.
And they'd be absolutely right.
From the dawn of time the body of the female, the goddess, has been painted, sculpted, passionately honored and adored.
The earliest societies were filled with images of the nude female.
And most of those societies went far beyond our level of fascination. They worshipped the female body outright.
Some might bandy the word "worship" around when describing our society's current attitude toward women's bodies.
They'd be wrong.
There's a vast difference between worship and fixation, between appreciation and exploitation.
Once upon a time, both men and women held an endless sense of awe and gratitude for all that a woman's body could do. Intimacy was sacred. There was deep adoration and reverence for a woman's ability to bring forth and nurture life.
Last month, a woman named Emily Gillette found out just how much attitudes have changed over the centuries.
Apparently this is a perfectly acceptable way to associate breasts with food.
But this is offensive, inappropriate and disgusting. Grounds for being asked to leave an airplane.
You see, as a society, we are mostly interested in what a woman's body looks like and what that kind of eye candy can sell for us, or do for us, especially for men.
And that has turned a woman's body from something sacred to an object of either passion or disdain.
We can see a woman's body as dirty or lucrative, provocative or beautiful.
But many of us are completely incapable of seeing a nursing breast, whether covered or not, as amazing, nourishing and worthy of simple respect.
I'm astonished at how far we've come.
And I'd like to think that we're better than this.
Created by Heather around 6:26 PM
Monday, November 20, 2006
Today is my wonderful husband's 31st birthday! We got married when he was 21 years old. So, this is the 10th birthday I've spent with him!
He is such a good, wonderful man. It's been an honor to share my life with him all of these years. I'm looking forward to many, many more.
So, I made this video for him for his birthday.
Okay, just watched this and it's a bit pixelated. Loses something. I'll see about using a different codec or some different settings to get it looking better. And maybe I won't. Maybe I'll just take a nap. :) We'll see. JDub can see it full quality on my computer when he gets home.
Oh, the music on the video:
I Need Love by Laura Pausini
I'll Choose You by Stephanie Smith
I'll Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab For Cutie
Created by Heather around 12:02 PM
So, I'm home with two boys who have croup today. Yucky, yucky, yucky! Last night was the second night of it and croup is ALWAYS much worse at night. Scud was bad the first night, but aside from feeling icky, he slept well last night. Mashuga, on the other hand, was pretty severe last night. He was barely breathing. Once morning came and I was coherent enough to think about it, I think a visit to the ER might not have been a bad idea. But, alas, I didn't think about it. And he and I both made it through the night. Lots of bed-switching and sitting right by the humidifier and spending an hour in the steamy bathroom and a nice warm bath.
So, I took him to the doctor this morning and they gave him a steroid that should take effect by tonight and open up his airways more.
So, I'm sure hoping for a peaceful night tonight. Or at least some rest.
And hoping that my guys will start feeling better very soon. I hate seeing my sweet little ones sick.
Created by Heather around 11:58 AM
Friday, November 17, 2006
Wow, it has been one VERY fast week. It feels like it should still be Monday. Or Wednesday at the very least. I went to pick up kiddos at noon today and was doubting myself the whole way there.
"It's not Friday, is it? It's not a half day today. It can't really be Friday!"
But, alas, my friends. It is in fact Friday. I shall see if I can come up with some sense of what's happened during this blur of a week.
And I'll leave you with that. I'm sure I could find more to say, but I feel like the best use of this particular now for me has nothing to do with continuing to type on the computer. Gotta go see what the clanging and banging upstairs is about.
Created by Heather around 12:42 PM
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
And I'll tell you the truth.
I feel like I've returned from a different planet.
From a world of howling coyotes and labyrinths and warrior initiation and Inanna and huge red and orange rocks and hearing my powerful voice.
And now back to a world of laundry and kids and driving to and from school and missed parent/teacher conferences and homework and primary programs and dishes.
Re-entry has been more difficult than I'd like to admit. Integrating the marvelous things I learned about myself last week with my life, that is set up to allow me to shrink and stay small and comfortable, has been painful. And interesting.
It has been quite a study in who I am and how I've looked at myself for so many years and how disparate the two are.
So, I'm moving on with great faith, great love, great doubt and GREAT determination.
I'll probably be processing a great deal here. Or on my other blog.
I hope it proves to be worthwhile for others, rather than just me.
Created by Heather around 9:36 AM
Thursday, November 02, 2006
And I'm off...
Tomorrow morning I will be flying to New Mexico to go here for this.
I've heard that a Birthing From Within Advanced Retreat can be quite life-changing.
So, I'm terribly excited. But also feeling a bid of trepidation.
Partly about the possible intensity of this coming week.
But mostly about leaving my cute kiddos and my husband for an entire week. It will be the first time I've left them for this long.
So keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
My sister will be helping with kiddos for most of the time. So, I know they'll be in good hands. She might take them to Grandma's house over the weekend.
If that's the case, then JDub will be a lone man. If you see him, please feed him. Otherwise he might not eat all weekend.
Wish us all luck.
Over and out.
Created by Heather around 12:48 PM
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
So, I've been teasing you all by promising photos. Then, I've never actually posted any. So, here you go. Some of the interesting moments of our last few months.
Remember me telling you about the hurricane-like storm that blew down our 50-foot pine tree and knocked down powerlines all over the city? Well, here are some of the pictures. It was quite an experience.
First Day of School
Kaitybean and Scud in their school uniforms. I LOVE school uniforms. Not only are they cute, they completely cut out morning arguments and the need for me to shout "You are NOT wearing that to school!"
Kaitybean and Scud show off their backpacks.
Mashuga and Scud on the first day of Kindergarten.
On the first day of school, the kids all came outside for a flag ceremony - complete with members of the Army National Guard providing music and flag raising. Pretty cool.
Scud's 6th Birthday
Ah, my Scud boy. What a cutie he can be. Here are some pictures from his 6th birthday.
Oops, I did it again!
Um, I have oven issues. We now have a strict rule against plastic in the oven. This is the second time I have melted a great deal of plastic in the oven. JDub had put a bowl of rolls in the oven a few days before. I turned the oven on to preheat and soon the whole house was filled with smoke. Smoke detectors went off. Mashuga ran outside crying. There were little fires all over the bottom of the oven. I felt like a complete dork. Here's a picture of the after math.
Just one more. So glad to have happy kids.
Created by Heather around 9:58 AM
I wrote this last year and thought I'd repost it for your enjoyment and encouragement. Mashuga and I took advantage of early voting on Monday. So, I'm done!
My main message for today could easily be summed up in just one word: VOTE!
My secondary message could be summed up in three: Take your children.
Hopefully you'll read farther, but if all you remember are those four words, I'll be happy.
Election days always remind me of my mother. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve walking home from school to our high school auditorium. There my mother, who was usually a stay-at-home-Mom-extraordinaire, worked year after year as an election judge. I'd walk in to find her flanked by two sweet, gray-haired grandmothers, each of them taking names and handing out ballots. I always felt spoiled on election days. My mom had fun snacks -- licorice, Wheat Thins, peanut M&Ms -- and she always shared. The other women, who always brought candy for me, were happy to see me each year. So, even from a young age, I got the sense that election day was a special day. I knew that this voting stuff was important and I felt very honored to be part of it through my mother.
My parents did many other things to help me understand the importance of being involved in government. I remember them having a meeting at our house once, I believe it was a caucus meeting. I remember them going to other meetings in the months leading up to November. There are very few years that I don't remember having at least one candidate's sign posted in our front yard.
Most importantly, my parents always voted. In 2000, when George W. Bush was running against John McCain in the primary elections, George W. Bush had already won before Utah had its Republican primary. I remember talking to my Mom that year and she confessed to me that she hadn't voted in that primary, because it had already been decided. Then she told me something that really blew me away. That was the first election she'd missed since she turned 18. That's 27 years. What a testimony to me of the importance of exercising our right to choose our elected leaders and have a voice in our government.
I know my mother voted faithfully because her parents voted faithfully. I've heard many stories about my Grandma, who died long before I was born. One of my favorite stories is one my mother tells about going to vote with her mother. She was standing in the booth when her mother leaned over and whispered, "Don't tell your Dad I voted for Kennedy." I smile every time I think of that. It seems that not only do I have a rich heritage of faithful voters, but that I come from a long line of strong women as well.
This tradition of mothers taking their daughters with them to vote seems to have had a huge impact on my family. As I got older and visited my mother each year when she was an election judge, my interest in voting and politics grew. I began to read the notices posted on the wall, trying to understand the issues that were being voted on. I listened to my parents and others as they talked about why they thought a certain candidate would be best for the job. The joyful feelings from my childhood grew to a full-fledged interest in politics, in government and a deep sense of patriotism. After years of training and being joyfully welcomed into this mysterious adult world of government participation, it is second nature to me to go to the polls, to call my representatives about issues, to research bond proposals and other initiatives. It has been a very organic process, years of covert (and possibly unintended) lessons in political science and civic responsibility.
Best of all, the warm fuzzy feelings are still there. Today I dropped my daughter off at school and walked inside with my boys to vote. Seeing the smiling, gray-haired election judges, watching people file in and out and stepping into the blue and red voting booth was incredibly nostalgic. It felt much like going home for Christmas.
I let my boys take turns using the puncher and told them what we were voting on and why I'd chosen each candidate. I explained to them about taxes and bonds and how the roads we use are kept in good repair. They listened, but I think they mostly thought that punching out chads was pretty cool. Then, we took our ballot to the election judges and we each got to choose a cool "I Voted" sticker to wear all day.
I hope my children will learn about government as we talk about taxes and mayors and presidents and take field trips to the state capitol. I hope they'll develop a love of their country and an interest in politics. What I wish most for them, though, is that election day will always remind them of their mother. I hope that stepping into a polling station will fill them with the same warmth and joy as cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.
Created by Heather around 9:34 AM