Reality Check

Finally, I see where all the fall colors come from.  So often each tree changes to its one color, then the leaves drop and become the brown, crunchy mass.  This past week, I’ve seen trees in all shades, from blazing orange to fiery red to brilliant gold.  Yesterday I even saw one of the most beautiful fall maples with shades from green to yellow and red to orange.  If I hadn’t been driving, I think I would have stopped to bask in its brilliance.

There’s no doubt we’re in the midst of fall now; the leaves are quickly dropping, the nights are cold, the holiday goods are out in all the stores, and the lights being put all around the square.  Now I figure is a good time to be honest with myself and take a good look at where I am, who I am, what I’m doing and where I’m going.  I should have done this on my birthday, but I was too busy doing.  I’m getting signs that now would be a good time.  (I share this with you not to boast or brag or complain out loud but rather to encourage you to take time to do the same for yourself at some point.)

note_creative_author.jpgI ground myself in my writing.  To write, I must be still so as to receive the truth that is being channeled through me.  I have to be careful about my influences, for everything in my environment affects how I interpret any given moment.  When writing, I feel my closest connection to the Divine and feel that this is my right livelihood.  Going forward, I make a conscious effort to write more daily, be a productive writer and establish myself as such.

I craft to disperse the creative energy in a physical, practical way.  Perhaps if I channeled all my creative energy into writing, I wouldn’t need to write more, but I enjoy greatly using my goods, giving handmade gifts and teaching the children how to make thin  Now I will increase my skills with what I have and make what I need or need to give.  I would like to make a few things well to sell in an Etsy shop.  That would be nice.

My relationships with others I feel has always been golden.  I do my best to be authentic with them, to listen well and to be participatory.  With my children and husband, I have to make a conscious effort to love myself well so that I may love them wholly.  We are currently seeking a family counselor so as to address our needs, for raising kids is harder than we ever imagined it could be.  We need some help, and asking for help is completely okay.  It’s better to ask for help than to sink into despair, withdrawing from yourself and others.  May we be always honest, loving and respectful of ourselves and each other.

In the daily round, I am pleased with where my expectations are.  I’ve come a long way in understanding what I can and cannot do, steering myself away from the buckets of shoulds.  That’s not to say I don’t occasionally regress.  In a given day, like all mothers, I combine all my different roles.  I am at once a writer, wife, mother, spiritual seeker and birth advocate and educator/doula.  I’m sure that’s probably not even all aspects of my being, but they affect most of what I do, day in and day out.

As with the leaves, I am constantly changing.  Where I am today differs from yesterday and tomorrow, but if I can hear what I need from and for my soul, then I can visualize it and try my best to make it manifest.  To do so, I need some quiet, some time for me.  Thanks, Casey, for giving me that time yesterday when I needed it so badly.  Thanks, Kaye, for listening.

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Perfectly Dreary Day

(Pardon my blogging absence; I’ll play catch-up the next couple of days.)

The temperature dropped throughout the day, and the skies grayed more deeply until finally it rained, softly at first, now steadily.  Today is a day to wax poetic . . . to sip tea before a fire, completely engrossed in a fantasy novel, whatever your fantasy might be, or to sit and gaze out an open window, feeling the wind carrying your mind and soul above and beyond where you ever thought you could go.

But me, I’ll visit with friends, catch up on e-mail, stop by the post-office, eat leftover chili and pick and choose which tasks need to be done first.  How does that make today different from any other day?

The air feels more like fall today.  The maples are getting particularly vibrant, and I feel that soulful restlessness.  I must create.  I must live vibrantly.  Do the ordinary tasks if I must, but the yearning for something different won’t subside.  That may be why when my son “had to go pee!” I pulled into our favorite park, let him use the restroom and then agreed to let them play at the castle for a few minutes.  We followed each other round and round the rock “castle” in the mystical, forceful air.

Perhaps I will wax poetic this evening and focus on writing or knitting or something besides household chores.  As a fall baby myself (and as I’ve mentioned before), I feel more aligned in the fall, like I’m where I’m supposed to be.  It’s okay to wonder, to question.  I believe that’s how we make soulful discoveries and find new paths, new ways to do things if not new things to do.  Perhaps my intuition speaks more loudly this time of year, or I listen more deeply.

Maybe the wind was blowing so hard today to wake me up, to clear my mind.  Stir my soul, o God, that I may be in perpetual motion and perfect ease within your Will, and thank you for this dreary day.

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Crafty Family Outing

You’d be hard-pressed to find something more unique, creative and inspiring to take the family to.  It has engineering, robotics, sewing, silkscreen, ecology, electronics and everything else you never thought of rolled into one artsy-craftsy-geeky Maker Faire in Austin, Texas.
Last year was our first year to go, and one of the highlights was the life-size Mousetrap (pictured here) that we’re excited to see will be there this year, too.  But that’s just one thing.  The fairgrounds are covered with amazing feats of creativity.

If you want to know more about what’s going to be there, visit the site above or search around on the Make and Craft blogs.  If you can’t make it this year, put it on your calendar for ’09!

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pregnant_belly.jpgPregnancy is an exhilarating time — all the anticipation, excitement and sacredness of what’s happening within.  Then there’s birth.  Ah, words can only try to capture what happens. We understand what’s going on physiologically, but for every woman, there’s a different psychological and spiritual story unfolding.  Let us not forget postpartum.  After all this excitement and focus on the mother, now the focus is on the baby; the woman that was once treated like royalty in her pregnant state is now a slave to this infant who is solely dependent upon her.  Hopefully she had a wonderful birth experience and developed the mama bear bond with her babe and gives of her time and body with a happy heart, for what wouldn’t she do for this new love in her life?

For the past week in my blogging absence, I’ve been working with our BirthNetwork for the BOLD Red Tent and the play “Birth.”  My time and energy were absorbed in the planning and nurturing of the events, and I had to draw some boundaries for myself (coincidental that that was my last blog topic, eh?).  Then, one by one, the events were born.  I suppose we had triplets!  Two Red Tents and one “Birth” play.  The events were fabulous, and I have earned a new level of respect for the women in my community and the talent and generosity therein.  I was amazed at the beauty of sharing, the diversity of stories, the openness of women’s hearts given the space and even amazed at my own ability to help pull something like this together — not by myself but with the help of others.

Now in our postpartum phase of the BOLD events, I miss the excitement, anticipation and connection with other women.  Those elements are too few in our society.  Yet it was a lovely birth, and I come away knowing that I have much work to do for improvement in maternity care.  In the words of one of my former midwives, I’ll “do it with a happy heart.”

I believe our lives are meant to serve, and I’ll consider it a blessing to serve the wonderful women in our community.  May we all be blessed with beautiful births, whether it be of children or of creative endeavors, and may we all feel the support of one another.


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The Gift to Birth Well — A Reflection from Pregnancy

(No, I’m not pregnant now.  This is from our last pregnancy, with thoughts relevant even now.)

After receiving accreditation as a childbirth instructor, I figure I’m supposed to know all about natural childbirth, at least have access to unbounded information about it.  I’ve also been blessed with three healthy children.  So, at our fourth birth, it should be a piece of cake, right?  Most mothers know this isn’t true.  Every pregnancy, every birth is as unique as every child.  I still learn things in this pregnancy as we go, and as this is our first home birth, we’re not finished learning yet!  (Not for a few weeks, anyway!)

Regardless of what I have to learn, I’m still amazed at what my body, what women’s bodies, know to do.  There is a baby growing!  My children ask how I know how to make a baby.  I honestly tell them that my body is just the house for the miracle of life. The flower doesn’t have to know how to bloom; it just does.  Of course, there are ways to provide optimum performance, and I do better when cared for with love.  In the meantime, the process keeps unfolding until we have a baby.  Both the process and the baby are phenomenal.  Isn’t it amazing?  We know how to do this; we participate as closely as ever to the divine unfolding and revealing of life.

Birth may be an obvious way to observe a greater knowing, but I believe that we all also possess the ability to give birth to the divine in every moment, for in every moment we are given the opportunity to breathe.  We make a conscious choice about the energy we contribute in every situation, and we determine whether or not we follow our heart, the still small voice.  This doesn’t mean we have to be painting, writing, sculpting, dancing, acting, sewing, or whichever art you pursue every waking moment, but it means you do not deny yourself the opportunity, either.  I find it best to do what must be done when it must be done.  If it’s not bothering me, it can wait.  If I feel I can’t possibly think in this house because it’s too dingy and dirty, then perhaps I need to spend a couple of days cleaning.  I still need to maintain my connection to the Spirit of creativity.

Whether I’m writing a novel or birthing a child, I know I house divine potential.  Similarly, divinity abides with me as I clean or nurse or chauffeur.  I can do all things with love, and with love, I can birth well in every moment.

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Baby the Mother

I confess.  I spent most of the day in my pajamas, reading a book.  I managed a shower before my hubby came home, but barely.  I left the kids to their own devices, though I remained in the living room where I could see and hear all.  We ate our meals; thank God for cereal and leftovers!  Why am I sharing this on a craf-T day?

Because we have to take creative risks when we need some time off.

I spent all day Tuesday and Wednesday fully committed.  Not that I don’t love that.  I love doing what I do and doing it well.  It’s just that it consumes my finite amount of energy, which in turn drains my creative energy or allows it to get stagnant.  I have huge fever blisters telling me I’m not treating myself well.  Thus, a day off to recharge.  Plus, we got the next Alvin Maker book.  I started it a couple of days ago, reading the first four chapters or so, but you bet I finished it today.  Now I’m waist deep in the story and have to keep reading so as to know that the series ends well.  I also had to finish it today so that I could limit my day of near-neglect of children to only a single day.

Am I recharged?  I have to think so because there is much creative energy ready to burst at the seams.  Do I have time to do it all?  Maybe instead of reading I should have been writing or sewing.  But a good foray into a fantasy is nearly as good as any movie, and I haven’t been watching much t.v. lately.

I’ll just chalk today up as a day I babied myself, nursed myself, gave myself permission to do nothing strenuous.  As a mother of four, that takes a lot of creativity.  Now to look forward to Monday’s massage.

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Expect the Unexpected

I’m convinced tables in the living room are meant for cutting open little boys’ faces, no matter how rounded the corners are or how chubby the little boys’ faces!

All in a day’s time, we might see a cut by the eye, a pitcher of sweet tea spilled in the fridge, an unhealthy lunch of PB&J, Fritos and root beer, a hefty library fine, too much t.v. and to top it all off, a sincere moment of creative energy while making snowball cookies.  (Yes, this is from experience.)

Actually, the day wasn’t all bad; it just fell during a busy time of year.  But when do we not have all sorts of projects running, ideas brimming and multiple things to be doing?  What I sense, though, is that if we pause and feel deeply (even with hands covered in oily cookie dough), we can give sincere acknowledgment to the kids, answer a question politely and laugh heartily at any given moment.

Children are wonderful reflections of ourselves.  Mine have done a great job of showing me how short I’ve been when talking with them.  How many weeks will it take to undo that example?

In the midst of near chaos, why sudden creative inspiration?  Perhaps it’s my idea that’s relevant to my current situation, but I do believe that it is a divine message to enjoy where I am right now as a mother.  While doing so, I should have fun, set a good, positive example for my kids and possibly a good example for other mothers, too.

autumn_highchair.jpgYou just never know what’s going to come your way, whether it be seen as good or bad.  No matter what it is, if you’re a parent, there are little eyes watching you to see how they should react when it’s their turn.

I need more practice.

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Getting Creative and Looking Pretty

I got inspired a year or so ago to try my hand at apron-making.  I truly enjoyed the process and the result.  One I gave to my sister-in-law, and the other I gave to my cherished art/soul companion.  I’ll be working again here soon on a couple of others that I’ll share after they are gifted.

The thing about aprons is that they are classic, and they seem to be making a comeback.  Just search for apron patterns, and the result returns thousands of links.

After I made my first apron, my husband picked up a magazine at our co-op.  I hadn’t before read MaryJanesFarm, but I was hooked.  Though I haven’t treated myself to a subscription (though I plan to soon!), I cherish the magazine I have like a book; it was the Artists in Aprons special stitchery issue, and there was a particular article about MaryJane’s mother.  Helen was the type of mother I only aspire to be.  (Browse around the site.  You’ll probably fall in love like I did!)

utasapron1.jpgIn the magazine, it said that when you’re wearing an apron,
people know you’re up to something.  So whether you’re in the garden, kitchen, craft room or garage, tie around an apron of your choice and let your creativity soar.

* * * * * *

Gifts are given, and below are the two aprons we gave to the daughters of the mom with the art apron above.  Interestingly enough, the aprons double nicely as a lovely cape, especially great for the fairy princess.  My four-year-old was playing with my camera and caught me gathering the top of the smaller apron.


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