Simply Eve

Genesis 3:14-19 (KJV)

  14 And the Lord God said unto the aserpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art bcursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
  15 And I will put aenmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; bit shall cbruise thy head, and thou shalt dbruise his heel.
  16 Unto the awoman he said, I will greatly bmultiply thy csorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth dchildren; and thy desire shall be to thy ehusband, and he shall rule over thee.
  17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy awife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: bcursed is the ground for thy sake; in csorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
  18 aThorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
  19 In the asweat of thy face shalt thou eat bbread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for cdust thou art, and unto ddust shalt thou return.


From Mowing to Ladies

Today, was a good day.

I mowed the front lawn.  I like to mow the lawn.  I can do different patterns and still get the job done and I imagine anyone watching me do it probably thinks I'm crazy.  I go around the edge.  Then I go diagonal until I get bored with diagonal, and then I go perpendicular to the house.  When I see missed blades of grass popping up then it's time to go around the lawn in a clockwise direction and then switch direction and go the other way.  Then I notice that the blades of the lawn mower create enough dust to temporarily cover the holes of the innumerable, and large - meaning the ants are very large and intimidating and I am wearing sandals and they seem to be everywhere where the grass is scant  - very large, ant hills, so I return to the diagonal up and back but spend a little extra time in the parts where the mower is over the hills, and less time when my feet are over the hills.  Then, I see more blades poking up that appear to have been missed, so I divert and go to get them, making a bee line path in whichever direction will get me there the quickest.  And so it goes, until I'm done and I take the mower around back to mow down the weeds that Dru didn't think was worth his time when he mowed the back lawn.

I also picked-up the living room and vacuumed and wiped off the piano and tv and also the pencil drawings on the window ledge that I didn't know existed until I was over there looking at it today.  And, tonight, it is still in order. 

And, I played the piano.  For a bit.  For me.  Because I had ordered the next books in the piano curriculum from which I teach my children.

Plus, I went with my children to a city forest and watched them catch the tiniest of frogs.  And Ally held my hand.  And Lil Miss ran alongside them boys.  And she cried a sad cry when she couldn't hold both of her frogs at the same time.  And I had to count when it was time to let them go again. 

And, finally, the night ended with two wonderful ladies coming over to see how I was doing.  And we chatted.  And we laughed.  And we learned and were enriched. 

And now, it's late.  It was a good day.


Shaving Happiness

I was growing out the hairs in my armpits because I'd shaved my legs with a disposable single-blade razor that shaved a huge swath of skin off at the shin bone of which the scab is still very noticeable 3 weeks later and so what's the good of that? 

That razor had been purchased back when our income was less than our expenses and so I'd carefully priced my options that day in Wal-Mart and fatefully concluded that said razor would be what my precious penny would go toward as opposed to my usual triple-bladed cartridge head with moisturizing strip and pivoting action.  And, I'd actually managed to avoid using those bargain razors, even after buying them, so that after we moved here, and now had an income that could support my heftier desires, I still had a number of these single-bladed razors.  And so, I concluded once again that they needed to be used before I go out and buy something more. . . safe. 

So, in one near fatal swipe, I'd not only managed to gouge myself and purge my body of any excess blood, but I also began to wonder why it was I had committed myself to this shaving ritual anyway.  And found that I was the product of society and that it, as a whole, was a product of good marketing - which is absolutely scandalous in my opinion.  So, with that, I determined I wouldn't shave again.  I would be an adult with adult, mature, features that included pubic hairs (including the armpit and groin hairs).  And then I went about finding a swimsuit that might modestly cover those hairs.

My sister happened to call me "progressive" during one of our visits on the phone during this time and, though I hadn't told her that I'd laid my razors to rest, I felt dangerously progressive. 

Then, on Saturday, I went to my boys' soccer game and I couldn't help feel embarrassed that my leg hairs were as long as they were and I was uncomfortably aware that a lift of my arm could reveal the empowered fruits of two weeks but that nobody else would see it as such.  They would just see hair growing out of a woman who also had in tow 6 kids.  And drove a suburban.  And also sat and watched as her 2 year old drank the pools of water from off the picnic tables and then spit it back out - never swallowing it, mind you.  And all that just compiles into "letting oneself go" which denotes an all-around negative connotation in our otherwise ad-fed society. 

So, Saturday afternoon, I shaved.  I got out my nice razor with the triple-blade, the moisturizing strip, and the pivoting action, and I shaved my armpits.  And I shaved my legs.  And I did not shave my bikini line because there was no need to.  And that night, Dru and I got a babysitter and went to a church meeting for adults.  And the day had gone well but I felt like I was going to explode with sad emotion but I couldn't figure out why I was feeling sad.  My day had gone well.  I was feeling well.  The meeting was fine.  Life was good.  But I was on the verge of tears and as the meeting closed and others gathered for the dinner that was being served, I asked Dru to take me somewhere else 'cuz I was going to cry.  We drove to a more quiet place for dinner and I tried to assess the day and week and why it was I was feeling the way I was and the only good reason I could come up with is that, like Samson and his strength, I'd managed to shave my happiness off in those armpit hairs.  And that's the ever lovin' truth of the matter, I tell you.


Simply Eve

Genesis 3:8-13 (KJV)

  8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God awalking in the garden bin the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
  9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
  10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
  11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
  12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
  13 And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent abeguiled me, and I did eat.



Not too rainy, Dru and I found ourselves taking the girl's to a local forest today.  It boasted tree-houses.  And, Dru didn't have to go into work today, so, how could we not? 

After showing our membership card to the desk personnel, we followed the girls out the doors and into the woods.  While exploring, we found a pond with 3 turtles sunning themselves, spotted a big ol' frog tending tons of jellied eggs, and watched a pair of geese take off into the air right before our noses.  Ally was a ball of excitement and to see her skipper-dee-doo down a wooded path - red mary jane's, purple socks, pink skirt and white shirt, her dark hair cropped to a short bob at the chin line, red highlights glinting in the sunlight that trickles down through the forest canopy - I just can't help but be grateful that I get to be a part of her wonder and learning.


Quran and Eve

I believe there is much truth to be found out there and I found this view of the Adam and Eve story from IslamiCity:

The Islamic conception of the first creation is found in several places in the Quran, for example:
"O Adam dwell with your wife in the Garden and enjoy as you wish but approach not this tree or you run into harm and transgression. Then Satan whispered to them in order to reveal to them their shame that was hidden from them and he said: 'Your Lord only forbade you this tree lest you become angels or such beings as live forever.' And he swore to them both that he was their sincere adviser. So by deceit he brought them to their fall: when they tasted the tree their shame became manifest to them and they began to sew together the leaves of the Garden over their bodies. And their Lord called unto them: 'Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you that Satan was your avowed enemy?' They said: 'Our Lord we have wronged our own souls and if You forgive us not and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be lost' " (Quran 7:19:23).
. . . The Quran, contrary to the Bible, places equal blame on both Adam and Eve for their mistake. Nowhere in the Quran can one find even the slightest hint that Eve tempted Adam to eat from the tree or even that she had eaten before him. Eve in the Quran is no temptress, no seducer, and no deceiver. Moreover, Eve is not to be blamed for the pains of childbearing. God, according to the Quran, punishes no one for another's faults. Both Adam and Eve committed a sin and then asked God for forgiveness and He forgave them both."



Memo to self:  Keep it beautiful.

I had hospital births because they were safe and the cultural norm.  I had a Cesarean because it was deemed necessary for the safety of me and my babies.  I had a home birth because I thought it could be beautiful. 

And the hospital births were done accordingly and with the best medical care available and with my well-being and comfort in mind.  And the Cesarean was done accordingly and with the best medical care available and with my well-being and comfort in mind.  And the home birth was done accordingly and with the best mid-wife ever, and with my well-being and comfort in mind, and, it was beautiful. 

But I wouldn't dare say that my hospital experiences with well qualified doctors were not also beautiful, because they were, by their right, just what I'd needed.  If the goal was to get the baby here safe, with me safe as well, then all of them met that goal according to their set of standards.  And each time a baby was placed in my arms, it was perfect.  And awesome.  And beautiful.

Each person has their own set of experiences in giving birth.  And, in general, each experience has a lot of beauty in it.  

I will say, though, that I was not at all happy with all of my hospital experiences and that is why I chose to have a home-birth with a mid-wife.  But, by the time I'd made that choice, I felt confident that my body knew what it was it needed to do and that I trusted my mid-wife to make any necessary call that we needed to go to a hospital should something go wrong during the delivery.  And, gratefully, everything went well and I was handed a beautiful baby in the comfort of my own home surrounded by people who loved me.

I know that not everybody wants a home-birth, not everyone would feel comfortable with my choice, nor will every woman every time have everything go as well as hoped.  Your choice and your experience must be your own, based on information given to you. 

And I'm rambling because I can't quite put a finger on how to say what I want to say. . .

There is a site, the man nurse diaries, that I was directed to via a good friend's blog who is a proponent of natural births.  When I was directed to his page, I knew I was going to a post that would be about the risks involved with a cesarean (and it was well presented and written) and was also advised to "Be sure to click on the art work in the article. It is profound."  As I clicked and viewed the artwork, (which you get an example of at the first of his post but the link to the gallery is now not working) I became sick to my stomach by what I perceived to be visually disturbing and, ugly.  The pictures represented hurt and sadness, loss and suppression. 

Those images haven't left my mind. 

They are so stark in contrast to the beauty of the experience of having a baby.  And I left that gallery feeling like the cause for natural births - something so simply and wonderfully beautiful - is fought so much better with beauty and love, as opposed to blood and fear. 

I don't want to attack people or their view points or blatantly shake a finger and claim that so and so is wrong.  I want this site to be filled with beauty, because walking with Eve, when you get the chance, is beautiful.



I have just been e-mailed a document about Eve that I'm thrilled to have in my possession and I'll share it with you just as soon as I digest it.  I actually have a number of articles which I plan to share.  They are wonderfully insightful and enlightening.   But, first, a story.

Dru went to 5 1/2 years of grad school during which we lived in a row townhouse in the university's Family Housing.  Right off the bat, I fell into a friendship with a lady and her husband who were master bakers of everything really, but mostly, bread.  They made bread of all kinds and watched shows on bread and read books on bread and on our early morning walks together she would share with me what new things they were trying to be able to make the perfect loaf of bread.  For Christmas one year, they delivered - I don't know how many - some-odd number of 3 loaves bundled to represent the gifts of the 3 wise men in the Christmas story.  Each loaf was a different kind of rustic bread.  That's a tremendous amount of lovin' goodness.  For our monthly game nights, they would bring homemade baguettes and challah.  After they moved on, they made a beautiful loaf for an auction to benefit the youth of their congregation.  It went for a pretty penny for being bread.

My mother baked bread about 3 times a week during the school year while I was growing up and I would watch her knead the bread and taste it as it was rising and smell it as it was baking and slather on the butter and gobble it right up when it was fresh from the oven, so bread making was not a foreign craft to me.  I just chose not to learn and do it.  (Actually, I was waiting until I had a KitchenAid or Bosch and 12 years of marriage later, I still don't have one.)

Loving this good friend's bread, I asked to be the recipient of their hard work and was thenceforth treated to a fresh loaf of bread weekly.  It was always warm.  It was never regular white.  Each loaf was a dessert of wholesome goodness that I deliciously consumed, with butter.

Didn't take long for word of their breadmaking know-how to get out among our community, and they were asked to do a class on how to make bread.  I was encouraged to come and learn myself but, silly, I still didn't have myself a Bosch, just a hand-mixer, so, you know - my time hadn't come.  Yet.

Come the time when my husband is out of employment and we're trying not to spend what we don't have and what I do have is a whole bunch of wheat down in my basement, in large 5 gallon buckets, so I start to make bread.  With no wheat grinder, I'd take my wheat to a friend's home and spend time visiting over the loud din of the grinder.  Then, I'd take that wheat flour home and with just a hand-mixer, I'd mix me up some bread dough and then I'd put my shoulder to the wheel, and I'd knead and knead and knead the dough, then bake it up for my family.  Always a cheerleader, my friend posted for me her magical ever-lovin' bread recipe and I've been a bread-makin' fool ever since.  (And did I mention, I still don't have a Bosch.)

And my family loves it.

But, and here's, why I share this with you.  There is information all over out there.  A lot to be had.  It's not foreign to us; it's not kept secret to us but we have to want it bad enough to either jump in and find it or ask someone to help us find it.  It's like havin' tons of bread at the store ready made and friends and parents that make it for us and no need to learn for ourselves so we don't ever bother to find out.  And then, something happens that gets us to needin' to know how it is made and we make it a point to find out and even go as far as makin' ourselves a loaf.

When I first started learning more about Eve and finding these documents I started wondering who already knew but hadn't told me.  Why hadn't anyone shared this information with me?  Why had I been in the dark for so long?   I was saddened to know I'd been floundering for so long.  But, truth is, the information had always been available, but until I started asking my own questions and having a desire, even an urgent desire, to know, I'm not sure I really cared that it was out there.  It's not, after all, daily conversational material.  Now, I'm ready and excited and wanting to share it just as my friends and mother did to share their bread with me.  Enjoy the feast.



Putting up a profile picture of myself is akin to the calling forth of all my inner demons.  I scrutinized over it peoples - spending way too much time trying to decide how I wanted you to see me.  And, craziness, you probably don't really even care just so long as you can put a name to a face.  But I worried about it just the same.

Then, as I'm reading Tiffani's blog - which I love - and through a series of clicks, I happen upon a beautiful and confident self-portrait of herself which then takes me to her first self-portrait and the following caption:

In my entire flickr collection, there are only a handful of pictures of me. It's not that I'm the only one taking pictures, but truthfully? I crop myself out of them. When I see myself in pictures, there's a lot I don't like and not much I do. I think I'm getting a little too old for that kind of self doubt. I love the self portraits people take...confident, happy, accepting. So this year? It's my year.

No more cropping out. No more 'bad hair days'. Just me. It will be hard, but I want my kids to know how happy their mom was living this life with them.
I stared at my screen and read and reread her caption.  (The timliness of this find is fortuitous.) 

I want my kids to know how happy I am, too.  I want people to know that I was happy.   And confident, and accepting.  Because, I am trying to be those things.  Because, in general, I am.  I am.

Does that mean I'll change out my profile pic?  Probably not.  But it may mean that my eyes will be open in a few more family photos.  And that's a good thing.


Simply Eve

 Genesis 3:1-7 (KJV)

 1 Now the aserpent was more bsubtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, cYea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
  2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
  3 But of the fruit of the atree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
  4 And the serpent said unto the woman, aYe shall not surely die:
  5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your aeyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, bknowing good and cevil.
  6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for afood, and that it was bpleasant to the eyes, and a tree cto be desired to make one wise, she took of the dfruit thereof, and did eeat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did feat.
  7 And the eyes of them both were aopened, and they knew that they were bnaked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves caprons.



At the end of the day, it's apparent I didn't really accomplish a whole heapin' lot, or much at all.  I do what needs to be done and maybe that's enough but, maybe I could do so much more. 

I've decided that many women run faster through their day than I do.  "I [tend to] have two speeds and if you don't like this one, [it's a guarantee] you won't like the other one." 

At least that's what I've believed ever since I was given a plaque with that quote on it as a gift.

And the quote may be true.  I do take things at my own pace.  A slow April-kind-of pace.  But even at my slow pace there is still time in the day when I could have done something more than what I've managed to do.

I look back on my day and wonder why I don't do more of the things I'd like to do and it all boils down to fear.  I'm afraid I won't be able to finish what I start so I start nothin'.   I'm afraid what I finish won't be good enough or worth the time and money I put into it so I put no time into it and spend no money on it.  I'm afraid it will get ruined once I start so I never take the chance with anything and kids.  I'm afraid someone else could have done it better or cheaper or more efficient so why try.  I'm afraid I can't do "big" things if I haven't finished the day-to-day things so until I get the dishes and the laundry and the meals and the shopping and the cleaning and the feeding and the bills and all my unsung obligations done, I probably shouldn't start something new.  Which really tends to be quite debilitating when I think of all the things I'd like to do or try.

To begin with, we bought some old school chairs and a desk.  They need to be stripped and sanded and repainted and I'm waiting for Dru to do it because he does everything well and fast and better.  But while I wait I'm thinkin' I could probably do it - it couldn't be that hard.  But they're still sittin' and waitin' 'cuz I'm afraid. 

Then there is the ever accumulation of photo album and scrap book stuff.  It needs sifting and sorting and to be spread out from here to there so I can see, and choose, and place it in its right spot and I'm waiting for endless days when I'll never be distracted or have to pull away, and when nobody will touch the piles.  Ever.  And so the whole mass just keeps building and building.  Proof's in the pudding - I'm a living bundle of fear.

My quilt.  Someday I'll make one.  Heaven knows I've been savin' up material to make one.  And why haven't I?  'Cuz I'm fully aware that it's a big project that I'll start and not finish 'cuz my track record of finishing things is crap.  So then I'll end up with a quilt project that may have time put into it but no huge reward out of it so that equals wasted time.

And I can go on.  I am self defeating.

But a small success on my part will be this blog.  Because everyday I write for it, is another day I've done something I want to do with all the fears attached.  And I'm still doing it.  Day after day. 

Maybe tomorrow I'll start those chairs. . .


Come again some other day

It's raining. 

It's raining hard. 

It's raining a lot. 

And it's been doing it in and out for most of the day. 

And yesterday. 

And the day previous to that. 

And I miss the sun.  And the warmth, and the energy it brings with it. 

I grew up in the high mountain west where winters are cold, spring is cold, summer is warm and mild, and fall is. . . actually, I don't remember how the fall is.  Warm days and chilly nights.  Freezing fingers from early morning marching band practice is really what I remember of the fall.  But before that, I lived in the low valley mountain west where winters are mild, spring is rainy, summer is dry and hot, and fall is . . . I've forgotten fall here too.  Going to school without a coat and nice warm recesses are what I remember.  But both places thrive on sunshine so when the rain would come, I welcomed it.

Rain was a respite from the day after day monotony of sun.  It was exciting or gentle.  It cleansed the air around us and brought much needed water for grass, gardens, and reservoirs.  I'd play in the rain, running as in a game of tag from tree to tree to take cover under their canopies from the water drops that were "it", and then finally, and deliciously, stand beneath the roof's water gutter and let the water pour upon my head.  Open my pants and let it fill my underwear.  If you'd ask me then, I'd have said I loved the rain.  Sun was an everyday thing - rain was magic. 

Now I'm in the midwest where this rain is the reason for the abundant green.  No one talks about a drought or xeriscape or devastatingly low reservoirs.  No one talks about it because it rains about every 3 days.  Or 3 days straight.

Now, if you were to ask me, I'd tell you I love the sunshine.  I love it because gray skies are becoming an everyday thing - sun is magic.

And my boys just came home from walking home in the rain 'cuz I'd have told you a little rain never hurt anybody but the reality is I lost track of time and it didn't even cross my mind to go and rescue their poor souls from the torrential downpour and thunder storm that is outside.  They've come into my bedroom soaked.   Soaked through coat and hat and shoes.  "Mom," they say,  "It's raining a lot."  "Yeah, we were afraid the lightening was going to get us because lightening hits trees and there are a lot of trees out there."  "And the gutters are rivers.  It's really crazy."  I smile at my boys.  "Guess today would have been a good day to have picked you up from school, aye?"  "Yeah.  You totally should have picked us up today."  I look at all my wet boys again.  They've lost their smiles and are looking at me pathetic and sternly.  I turn to Boybee.  He'd been so sad, almost to tears, this morning that there hadn't been enough water running down the gutters to float his little wooden boat.  "Well, I guess now would be a good time to float your boat?"  "No way!" he says.  "It's too wet out there!"  And now I laugh.  'Cuz I love them boys. 

I took Marie out.  We were tired of being inside and the rain was coming down in a drizzle.  And it wasn't as cold as it had looked from inside.  And it still smelled fresh.  And Marie was enticed by the puddles and babbled happily.  And I was grateful for the rain, and I look forward to the sun.


Seems so distant

Being Marie's birthday, it just seemed right to post this today.  I wrote it for my friend because she asked for it, otherwise, there might not have been a story written.  I'm so grateful she asked.  I needed to write it.

Please go to her site to read Marie's birth story.

A Baby's Cry

Always, when I heard the first cry from my babies, I was the happiest of mamas.  That cry signified health.  It was a wonderful sound.  The nurses would comment about the "good cry".  'Course I couldn't be happier, being done with the hardest part of the whole laboring process and just waiting for the placenta to be delivered, have any tears stitched up, and then, I'd be holding my baby - just as soon as the doctor finished up checking the baby over. 

The first time I hold my baby - everything becomes so worth it.  Everything.  And I could care less what goes on around me.  (Just so long as nobody touches my belly or my nether regions.) 

Tomorrow, we'll celebrate Marie's first birthday.  Time has once again slipped through my fingers and this little bundle of joy is reaching a milestone.  I feel like she's bigger already, and I love it.

But it's got me to thinkin' about her birth and how wonderfully different it was from the other 5.  On many levels, it was different.  I still labored and delivered a beautiful, healthy baby, but the entire experience was one I will forever cherish because, I chose it and, I did it. 

Dru and I had no insurance which meant any costs were "out of pocket" for the pregnancy and delivery.  (Although, by the end of my pregnancy, I had qualified and been accepted for state insurance that would cover all doctor visits and hospital delivery.  It was nice to know I had it, just in case.)  For me, not having insurance was the liberation I needed to do what I thought would be best for me and the baby - to have a home delivery with a mid-wife.  And so, without someone paying the bills telling me who they would or would not cover, I took all my money to the person I wanted to have my money, my mid-wife Amy.  At $3,300 for prenatal visits, delivery, and post-natal check-ups + additional costs of an ultrasound, labs, and birthing equipment, Marie's been my most expensive out-of-pocket baby.  And, I'd pay it again in a heartbeat!

Throughout the pregnancy, some things were as I expected - labs, peeing in a cup, measuring the belly, hearing the heartbeat - and other things were a change in what I knew to be the norm. 

Visits for instance were always personal.  I never waited in a waiting room and then waited again in the patient room for a brief, 15 minutes at most, down-to-business meeting with the doctor.  And not to say that I didn't like those but I didn't know how much I'd like the difference in approach and knowing that the time was all about me and my pregnancy and who I was and what I wanted.  I knew that every time I walked into Amy's home and office, I would leave feeling only better about me.

My desires and rights were respected with Amy.  I was given clear information for every lab, every poke, every choice I made and it was always clearly stated that it was my choice to make.  And yet, I had a feeling that if Amy didn't feel right about my choice or could not support that choice, that she would have let me know and we would have parted ways at that time or figured something else out.  That's very freeing.  There's a lot of freedom in knowing that somebody trusts you to make good decisions for you and your baby; freedom in not feeling backed into a corner.  That's how I'd come to expect it in a Dr.'s office, anyway.  It was a "highly encouraged" kind of thing and I was afraid of not obliging.  A "this is our practices' policy" and I knew that no one else would do differently.  A "you want a healthy baby, don't you?" corner.  And once, I was even told, "if you decide not to, me and my staff will leave" (and that was said to me as I lay in triage, pregnant with twins and measuring a 5, wondering if c-section really was my only option).  I had always felt so little.  More like a parent-child relationship then an adult patient-doctor relationship.

Differences were in the treatment of my body.  I knew that any appointment with the doctor, I could be asked to strip down, put on the gown, and bare all to the doctor.  And that never bothered me.  It's how the appointments went.  And my doctor's were always respectful of my body and they'd do their thing and then we'd shake hands and I'd be on my way.  Amy taught me it didn't have to be that way.  I had always been nervous to bring my children to my appointments for modesty issues.  I needn't have feared.  She told me ahead of time which appointments to come prepared for and measuring for dilation or effacement never came up.

Amy loved my baby before she met her.  I was not another mother with another baby.  I was April, and I was creating life and that life was exciting and so very precious to Amy.  She would talk to my baby and wonder at it's movements.  I loved Amy because she loved my baby.  I had never known any doctor except for my very first doctor, to really, genuinely care. 

Amy taught me that having a baby could be so very different and more reverent and more empowering than I ever thought it could be.  All my births had been uniquely wonderful, but Amy showed me that they could be even more, if that were possible. 

Always, when I heard the first cry from my babies, I was the happiest of mamas.  That cry signified health.  It was a wonderful sound.  The nurses would comment about the "good cry".  'Course I couldn't be happier, being done with the hardest part of the whole laboring process and just waiting . . . But, when Marie was born, no sooner had she been delivered, but she was placed in my arms for me to hold.  She gave a small cry, and then she nestled into my bosom and she lay peaceful and slept.  And I held her close as I continued to have the last of my contractions.  I held her close, and she was perfect, wet and naked and with a cord still attached to the placenta.  In fact, she'd been given to me so quickly that it was a few minutes later when I asked if anyone got a look at whether my baby was a he or a she.  There would be plenty of time for checking and cleaning later.  For now, I just held her.  And I wept over her.  And there was a pause for the peace that was in that room.  And there was a reverence in the room for the miracle that had taken place.  And there was love that was felt by everyone, for the newest life that was now with us. 

And it was wonderfully different because somebody showed me, it could be.


900 years +

Not long ago, I found myself in the trenches of mothering.

Dru picked up a job contracting for a company 9 hours south of us. He'd drive down Sunday around noon, work for the week, then drive and be back by Friday, late afternoon. I had the option to move down there but made my choice to stay where I was at. Due to this choice, except for 40 of the 168 hours in a week, I found myself a single parent to 5 small children ages 9, 4 (two of them), 3, and 1. Oh, and then one on the way! (We discovered the latter not long after Dru started the commute.)

It was an amazing, hard year.

Dru was convinced this was his break - his chance to follow a dream and, if we stuck with it, a chance to strike it rich as well. The golden carrot was just beyond his reach but if we all persevered, he'd get it by and by. For me, there was no golden carrot, only days with kids and lonely, quiet nights. But, it wasn't impossible and I'll forever fondly refer to that year as "the year of the empowered mother".

Near the end of my pregnancy and having lived through 8 months of this lifestyle, my mother flew out to go to a conference for women with me. (She owed it to me to come. And that's what ya get for playing pass the unleavened bread at a passover meal.) =) One of the speaker's told about being ready to retire and being given the option to continue with his career with some tantalizing perks. He considered it and then said how he had turned the offer down, telling the people that his wife had lovingly supported and stood by him as he chased his dreams and now, it was her turn to chase her dreams.

And I bawled.

I bawled and bawled and bawled. And I tried to shake the tears and calm my shoulders but I didn't do too good a job of it.   I had been holding the fort down fairly well, managed to keep a cheerful attitude, and had tried to be so supportive of Dru and his chase for that carrot but, for as much as I tried, it was wearing me down.  I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I couldn't see when my time would come. 

And then I felt so selfish.  I was sitting next to a woman who had sacrificed a lot of her own dreams and ambitions to raise 8 children on a meager budget.  My mother made us feel like there was nowhere in the world she'd rather be than at home with us, day in and day out.  She supported my dad; continues to support him.  I love her for it!  For being there for us, for loving us.

It's easy to look back on life and not only think "whew, we made it" but also, "that wasn't very long after all" because in reality, a lot of life is really such a short time.  We can do it!  Good grief, if Adam lived to be over 900 years, and who knows how long Eve lived or how many times during her life she was in trenches, and if after all was said and done, she could still say it was worth it, then so can we.  Our time will come.  If not in this life then, certainly, in the next.


Simply Eve

Genesis 2:21-25 (KJV)

  21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

  22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a awoman, and brought her unto the man.

  23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and aflesh of my flesh: she shall be called bWoman, because she was taken out of Man.

  24 Therefore shall a aman leave his bfather and his mother, and shall ccleave unto his dwife: and they shall be eone flesh.

  25 And they were both anaked, the man and his wife, and were not bashamed.



I worked as a teller at a bank.  About, oh, a little over 10 years ago.  It was where I wanted to be.  On a spring day, I walked into the manager of the college-town branch and told him I wanted to work there.  I didn't know who he was and he didn't know who I was but he said yes.  Well, he couldn't hire me quite yet 'cuz I wasn't trained and I was going to live with my parents over the summer, so, I went on in to the branch in my hometown and told them I wanted to work there and they said they didn't want to train me if I was going back to school in the fall so I had them call the first manager and, wah-la, it was a done deal and I became a teller at a bank.  

My life as a teller was fairly posh.  I took people's money and I counted money and I gave out money and if there was no money to take or count or give, then I read or visited with fellow co-workers whilst sitting on a stool behind a nice little counter.  Oh, and I answered the phone and sometimes, I got to open the mail and who doesn't like opening mail.  Plus, and also, I got to give out suckers to the kids and doggy snacks to the dogs.  Money and a sucker.  That just makes for a good day all around.

I considered myself to be a stellar teller.  Since learning customer's names was important, I kept a couple stick-it's behind the counter with the names of frequent customers and something I could remember them by so that when they came in to our branch, I could invite them by name to come on down to my teller window.  Then we'd make small chit chat and I'd finish the transaction and they'd be on their friendly way.  

Favorite day was the payday for a large meat-packing company.  The employees would rush us just before closing so that they could get their check's cashed before the weekend.  Lots of customers, lots of cash, lots of fingerprinting and ID checking, and lots of smiles from hardworking folks - many of whom spoke little English, but I loved their smiles and thank yous just the same.

Most of the customers were friends - people I enjoyed seeing and serving.  And then there was Lola.  I kid you not her name was Lola and she was straight out of the song "Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets. . . " but it was not a favorable getting and we all knew it.  We'd see her heading towards us from down the street and, it was a "dibs not it" for who would get the privilege to help her.   She never had her slips filled out; she always had a lot to do; she was never gracious; she was always rude.  Always.  If it was Lola, you just held your breath and hoped she wouldn't be at your window long - kinda like when you would if you got to help the couple who loved garlic, but at least helping them was pleasant. 

If a customer had a problem or complaint, we tellers, would do our best to help them as long as possible until a "buzz" word was spoken and then we'd get the manager.  I learned "buzz" words could be pretty powerful things in terms of how fast and what kind of service you received.   (Except for Lola.  Lola didn't need a buzz word.  We were more than happy to direct her complaints to higher up.)

Jobs end, but I like to think that I still know the banking business.  It's like I do my mental warmups before going in: smile, have slips filled out, ID ready, smart questions, "buzz" words.  I am living proof that the banking industry has changed faster than I have in the past decade.  I'm pretty sure it was so much less complex back in the day.  And, and, we didn't have fancy machines that spit our money out for us, so we got to count it more. 

I took a couple of checks to the bank to deposit.  My three girls are with me.  It's an errand-running kind of day.  I drove up to the teller drive through and began to fill in my deposit slips and sign my check.  (I always use the drive-up window because (a) I can hide in the car if I come up looking ignorant; (b) I don't have to take all the kids in; (c) I don't have to be prepared; and (d) they give out suckers and if I'm lucky they'll send out an extra one for me.)  I signed the check made out to myself and Dru.  Then I signed Dru's name for him on the other check.  Then I thought about it and figured I may as well sign Dru's name on the joint check as well, even though they were both being deposited into a joint account and no money was being taken out.  It was for a large sum of money and I figured the teller might just check for those signatures.  I connected Dru's "w" and "a" and made sure to put a tiny circle above his "i".  Then I put those checks in the tube and waited for the suckers. 
"I'm sorry.  The signature on the back of this check for Dru doesn't match the signature we have on record." 
Well, of course it doesn't.  Wait, they checked it against the original?  Crap.  "Yup." 
"We can't deposit this check without his signature, Ma'm." 
Buzz word, buzz word, buzz word.  "Well, it's a joint check going into a joint account so, isn't that ok?" 
"No Ma'm.  He needs to sign it."  Emphasis on the he
Shoot.  I'm soooo losing this.  "I'm sending it back to you and you'll need to bring it back another time." 
"Right."  Hot dog.  I didn't want to have to come back again to deposit this check.  My afternoon is ruined in terms of checked to-dos and efficiency.  It's got to get better.   I buzz her again.  "Oh, and can I get 4 suckers? Thank you."  Doesn't get much better than that.


My grace

Nine months following the birth of my twin boys, I was pregnant again - this time with a little girl.  I was still reeling in diapers and bottles and laundry and adjustments.  Many adjustments. 

It was a crazy time.

One day a friend dropped in with a fresh baked pecan pie.  My shades were still drawn and I was still in my red floral nightgown - passed down to me by my great uncle when his wife passed away. . . which, I also have her coat too and once, my brother chided me and asked if a got my coat from a dead person and I had to answer yes, I did, to which he sarcastically laughed and then asked "no seriously" straight faced, to which I restated "no, I really did get it from a dead person", and he made some off comment like, "yah.  It looks like it." and suggested I throw it away.  I still have it - 'cuz it's warm and works.  The red polyester large floraled mu'u mu'u style nightgown was one he'd probably laugh at too, but I have to say that my Asian neighbors liked it and since I was surrounded by Asians, I was right where I belonged with it.)

I was still in my nightgown, the house was less than presentable and I honestly don't remember the condition of my children.  And, it was 11:00 in the morning, quickly approaching afternoon.  My friend just came right on in, we shared pie and visited, and then, after waving goodbye, I crashed on the sofa - mortified.  With infant twins, I was definitely not the competent mother I had been when it was life with just me and Boy.  I felt reminded of this point every day.

Nearing the end of my pregnancy, I was having to go in for non-stress tests to make sure she was still doing ok.  One ultra-sound technician mentioned she thought this little girl would be so lucky.  Lucky? I asked out loud.  I'd never thought of this little baby as being lucky.   To be sure, I was actually sad for her that she was coming to our home at this craziest of crazy times.  "Sure," the tech said.  "I always wanted an older brother so I could meet their guy friends - and she's going to have two."

I wouldn't have planned my family any other way.  Really.  Lil' Miss reminded me that I was a competent mother, that I was a good mother.  She was easy, and absolutely just what my heart needed after twins.  My heart still needs her.  Will always need her.  She allowed me grace.  She continues to allow me much needed grace.

But somewhere, I worry she's already gotten lost in our home.  I sense it some days more than others.  She is such a little bundle of self.  Her desire to find a place in our home sometimes leads to days of me reprimanding her more than praising her.  Lil' Miss' soul is so big in her little 4-year old body. 

Shortly after moving here, I stood at my sink grumbling under my breath and huffing - close enough to cursing.  I had cookie sheets I had to scrape and scrub free of oven cleaner - left by someone who had offered to help me with the move and then later complained to me about how terrible the oven had been to clean.  I was not there for the "help",  but my Lil' Miss had been.  Lil' Miss now stood on a chair beside me as I tried to get the awful stuff off my pans.  "Mom," she tenderly said.  "Don't be mad at Lea.  She forgot the pans."  I hadn't said Lea's name but Lil' Miss knew; I imagine Lea having few kind words to say about me or the state of my home as she huffed over my oven, and Lil' Miss would have observed and heard it.  But she knew even Lea needed a little grace.  She reminded me that while I huffed on that I hadn't been given grace, I also wasn't giving enough of it. 

This morning she came to me and in a quiet voice said she had thrown-up last night.  Oh, my Lil' Miss.  I went to her room to assess the situation.  As I looked over her bed, I could hear her hushed sobs of despair.  As gently as I could, I reassured her it would be ok, told her we'd get it cleaned up, gave her a hug and ran a bath for her.   That was this morning.

'Course, by lunch time, she'd already been sent to her room, reprimanded and sad.

Oh, my Lil' Miss.  How. I. love you. 


Wild Flowers

I've been here now, almost 3 months.  I realize that is a short amount of time to be somewhere and to expect great things but I still do.  I walk into my children's school and I'm still not warmly received.  In fact I'd say some of the ladies in the office have it in for me.  Just once, a smile would be nice.  It's never a question of who'll I'll run into at the store, or the park, or, at my mailbox because I won't be running into a familiar face.  And our congregation is very kind and outgoing but it still leaves room for many awkward moments. 
I just returned from an evening for women at church.  A nice evening with mini-classes on how-to fix drain plugs and put out fires and what to do in a city chemical emergency.  A nice evening where I felt very out of place, very much the wild flower up against the wall.  It's where I sit and try not to look out of place -  not wanting to interrupt conversations, afraid to break into standing friendships.   The women must sense my anxiety and they sit down next to me and speak to me and ask me how I'm doing but I couldn't shake the sickening feeling in my gut and the instinct to run: eat the refreshment faster and slip out.

There are days when I wish there was someone I could fall into a conversation with, without first discussing the weather or how I'm liking this town.  Someone who I know a little more than a first name basis, and who knows, me.

Not choosing to be alone, but finding myself uncomfortably alone in a crowd, makes me very aware of just how many dear friends I left behind.  Makes me miss them a little more; ache for the closest ones.  It's one of those "without the pain, wouldn't know the joy" moments in life.  (sigh)



My Ally is angrily screaming in her room.  She's screaming because I sent her there for playing with water.  She's screaming because it's also bedtime and she's tired.  We joke that she has a feral side about her but it's only funny as a parent - as a bystander it's actually quite the act of defiance and, scary.

And now it's quiet.

And I'm reminded of how gentle she can be.  My Ally loves textures, especially softness.  When she was even smaller than she is now, I would let her crawl into bed with me.  She'd ever so gently touch my hair, stroke my face, press her cheek against mine and gently move across it - back and forth, always soft, always gentle.  She would keep this up long into the night until I'd put her back in her own bed, unable to sleep myself.  She'd carry cotton balls around the house with her, plucking them off of bunny crafts and packing them clutched in her hands and mouth, for hours.  She has a ballerina ornament with a feather/downy tutu that's never on the tree - it's being held up to her face so she can feel it tickle her nose.  At nights, if the cat it to be found, I find her face buried in his belly.  Ally does something with me called "magic makeup" where we pretend to put makeup on the other one.  It's all about soft, gentle touch, on the eyelids, eyebrows, eyelashes, the cheeks, the lips, and, she insists, the chin.  She, is wonderfully soft - when she isn't screaming.



I first came across the word paradigm while sitting in a college Honors Child Development class.  The teacher opened the class by placing the word alone on a clear overhead sheet and projecting it largely on the wall.  That day's lecture made a real impression upon me.  It was such a powerful lesson that day that I even left a little shook up.   I continue to have my paradigms shaken.

A paradigm, as I'll use it, is a basic assumption we hold to be true and through which we base our understandings of, and interactions within, the world.  It is the colored glasses through which we view life itself and our own purpose for existence.    In general, I'd say most of us go through life subconsciously seeking out things, ideas, and people that validate our paradigms.  It's when we allow ourselves to reevaluate the "truth" of a deeply rooted paradigm, that we really mentally and emotionally extend ourselves and grow in understanding of the world and our place in it.

A paradigm might be whether you accept evolution or creationism, or to what degree you believe in and incorporate either.  Every article, every conversation, every thing in nature you observe, your choice of religion, your view of self, is all going to support your paradigm, otherwise, you will dismiss it, or you may argue with it, unless the contradictory information is loud enough to make you reconsider your assumption and change it.

Changing a paradigm is not easily done.  You have to realize you've been walking that path for quite awhile, consider why you chose that path to begin with - whether you chose it or were led there by parents, peers, or clergy - and recognize that the fork in the path is quite a hike back.   

My paradigm of self was that I was cursed as a woman.  I was less because I was woman.  No body came out and told me this but I knew it was true.  All my life I was to look forward to being a woman, to menstruating and having children, to marrying and having an intimate relation with a man.  That was my purpose.  And I did want children, and I did want to be a wife and mother, but my wants constantly fought with my paradigm and my paradigm would win, time and again.

Time went, and if life was good my image of self was good, but when it got hard - usually in relation to being a mother or wife - I would naturally fall back on my original idea of the cursed woman: cursed because I bled, monthly; cursed because I bore and labored in pain for children; cursed because I was expected to meet my husband's needs; cursed, because of Eve.

One summer, I scheduled a long vacation with my kids.  I scheduled the vacation for two reasons: one to visit far away family, and, two, to get an intimate break from Dru.  That same spring, the women of my family had a short get-together and I came away overwhelmed with the feeling that I needed to let Dru know I loved him.  I'd ask him what three things I could do for him and then choose one that I felt like I could do.  I figured I'd have him give me three choices because I was afraid that if I only asked for one, that one thing would be too hard for me to do and would break me.  When I asked him, he just turned to me and said, "I can only think of one thing.  I love to be hugged.  April, will you hug me for just a bit when I get home from work?"  It was that simple.  And I could do that.  But that fear of not being able to have done more for him if he'd asked left me unsettled.  I went ahead and asked my sister to send me book about improving one's marriage.  I knew when it came in the mail, knew when I held it in my hands, that my paradigm was about to be rocked.  And it was.

The following weeks were filled with tears and prayer and study and more tears and much downloading in my journal.  Some nights I would sit awake in bed and stare out the window wondering how it was I'd gotten to where I was and whether or not it was where I really wanted to be.

On one occasion I found myself reading a poetry book written by my grandma and grandpa.  Oh, how their love for each other just emanated from the pages.  He cherishes her and thinks the world of her and I wanted that in my marriage.  Not that Dru didn't cherish me or think the world of me but I wanted, needed, to believe I was good enough to be cherished like that. 

But I felt ugly.

I was woman.

Five children later, one pregnancy seeing me stretched to abnormal proportions with twins, and I had widened fat hips and unsculpted calves.  My belly was a large third breast that fell in folds around my outty belly-button.  My breasts were small and listless.  And once, twice, a month I bled for 5-6 days.  I did not feel attractive in or out of the marriage bed.  I, was cursed if ever any woman was cursed.

Then one night, I took a walk with Eve.  When you walk with Eve, you discover that you are powerful and beautiful and worth being loved.   For me, that meant examining my body and realizing that my calves and thighs were strong, my belly had held life and had the potential to hold life.  My breasts were capable of sustaining life and were attractive to the hand that caressed them and the nipples responded in kind to that touch.  My neck nobly held my head and my lips felt, moved, kissed.  Every part of me was worth being loved, by me.  I was not a curse nor did I carry with me any curse.  I was capable of joy because I knew pain.  I was human.  I was woman. 

The book my sister sent, helped me pin down what my paradigm was and how I'd gotten there, but it was my reading of Eve - this first woman of women, the one "cursed" and who brought life upon all women - that really reached my core.  And the more I read, the more my image of her began to change.  And as it changed, the image I had of myself has begun to change as well.

That's why I wanted to write: to challenge the world's negative paradigms about Eve or the ones we, as women, have for ourselves.  I want to let you know how worth love you are.  How knowing that, empowers us as women.  How we are all heroine's of the best novel of all - life.  How we can walk with Eve and find joy.

And of the summer vacation?  I still went and enjoyed my time with family immensely, but I missed him dearly and, in the end, I begged Dru to come out early and we went to a hotel, and loved each other.  =)


Simply Eve

Genesis 2:7-9, 15-20 (KJV)
  7 And the Lord God aformed bman of the cdust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the dbreath of life; and eman became a living fsoul.

  8 ¶ And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in aEden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

  9 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the asight, and good for bfood; the ctree of dlife also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of eknowledge of good and evil. 
                         - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the agarden of bEden cto dress it and to dkeep it.

  16 And the Lord God acommanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest bfreely eat:

  17 But of the atree of the bknowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the cday that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely ddie.
  18 ¶ And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be aalone; I will make him ban help meet for him.
  19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto aAdam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the bname thereof.

  20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.