Friday, December 2, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Heather already posted her birth story this week!
I will attempt to change the feed, so if you are getting updates in a reader or e-mail, you should continue to do so. If you don't get any updates in the next few days, let us know!!
If you are visiting the blog to find out more about spirituality and birth or our book The Gift of Giving Life, please visit the new blog!
Friday, October 14, 2011
So far my only connection with her is that I know her first ex-husband's sister. It's not a connection I really want to use. I tried contacting her manager a few years ago but they said she didn't have time to read a book. Hmph. I don't think they even asked her. Because if she knew it was THIS BOOK, I think she'd be honored. So if you know her, or have a solid connection with her, help me out!
I'm not asking for a face to face introduction. I'm not a crazy fan. I just want a way to get her a copy of the book before it comes out so she can read it and perhaps write an sentence or two about its awesomeness.You could even forward her this blog address or our main web address: www.thegiftofgivinglife.com
Also, as a second birthday wish, I'm still hoping for a Christmas miracle. That is, that we get the book out before Christmas and not Valentines day. A lot depends on our publisher's workload in getting it all edited and laid out in time. As you know, things come up. Things take longer. People's kids get broken legs. People go on maternity leave. But I am ever the optimist. So will you all join me in praying for a Christmas miracle. Thanks!
If you know Marie, email me privately and I'll send you a one page sell sheet to send to her to see if she will consider it. Thanks!
Thursday, October 13, 2011
But tell your Valentine not to wait until February to order! Ordering now will save 10%, and we're going to give you another incentive to buy your book(s) now...
We've already promised free copies to our previous giveaway winners. But we've decided we're going to give away another copy of our book!
Here's how you can enter to win this free copy...
1) You can earn your first entry into the giveaway by sharing a link to our facebook page on your profile, saying something like, "I can't wait to read The Gift of Giving Life [<--- tag our facebook page here]!" We need you to tag our page so that we can verify that you completed this part of the entry.
3) You can earn an additional entry into the giveaway by posting our book button on the sidebar of your blog. See it on our sidebar? Just copy and paste the code below it and embed it on your blog.
4) You earn another additional entry into the contest if you purchase a copy of the book! If you have already purchased a book (or multiple copies) that's fantastic and you can enter too! You earn one entry for each book you have ordered.
5) Then come back to this post and make a comment for each entry you have earned, explaining what you did. If you put our button on your blog, share the link so we can verify.So, if you share/tag our facebook page on your profile and order one book, that's TWO entries. If you share/tag our facebook page on your profile, post our button on your blog, and order one book, that's THREE entries. And, for each additional book you purchase, you earn another entry! Don't forget to tag The Gift of Giving Life when you post on facebook so we can verify your entry!
This giveaway will end at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on November 3.
Ready to order your book(s) now?
Remember these four good reasons to order The Gift of Giving Life before it comes out:
1. Be the first of our friends to get one when they ship.
2. Get 10% off.Thanks for helping us spread the word! We can't wait to send you all this book we have loving labored into life. She'll be worth the wait!
3. Help us reach our pre-sales goals and generate impressive pre-sales numbers. This will help us get wider distribution and get "in" with certain venues that might have been skeptical. $ talks, right?
4. And did we mention that all money from sales of the book goes right back into publicizing and sharing the joy of our book?
Monday, October 3, 2011
Last week, I read the great story of Gideon in Judges 7, and it reminded me of us. Us meaning me and you who are reading this blog. In a nutshell, Gideon is going to battle the Midianites and has gathered an army of 32,000. But the Lord tells Gideon to send some of the men home. Gideon is then left with 10,000 men. God leads him through another selection process until his army is reduced to 300 men.
300 men is not a lot against the host of Midianites which were "like grasshopper" covering the valley. And yet, God said, "by the 300... will I save you, and deliver the Midianites unto thine hand." (Judges 7:7)
And He did it. How? God had arranged some things in advance to spook the Midianites and then all the men had to do was follow His instructions. "And they stood every man in his place..." (Judges 7:21)
I realize that our numbers are small compared to the dominant cultural views about birth in America. I also realize that many passionate people have been fighting for change in the maternity care system in America for a long time, with only a little progress. However, as seen in Judges 7, a very small number of people, "standing in our places," and guided by God, can change everything:
"And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled." (Judges 7:21)
Sunday, October 2, 2011
It's here! Later than we expected, but here she is! We hope that staring at this beautiful cover will entice you to buy a copy now. Here are 3 good reasons to buy a copy of The Gift of Giving Life before it comes out:
1. Be the first of your friends to get one when they ship.
2. Get 10% off. You might as well buy 7 at this price.
3. Help us generate impressive pre-sales numbers. This will help us get wider distribution and get "in" with certain venues that might have been skeptical. $ talks, right?
4. And did we mention that all money from sales of the book goes right back into publicizing and sharing the joy of our book?
If you have just found this website or blog, here is some information about the book:
The Gift of Giving Life: Rediscovering the Divine Nature of Pregnancy and Birth offers something that no other pregnancy book has before–a spiritual look at pregnancy and birth by and for LDS women and other women of faith. With inspiring birth stories and essays from dozens of real LDS women, scriptures, words of the prophets and other spiritual texts related to pregnancy and birth, The Gift of Giving Life if the essential pregnancy companion for every LDS woman.
The Gift of Giving Life does not advocate for any one type of birth or approach to prenatal care, rather it intends to unify our families and communities in regard to the sacredness of birth. We also aim to provide you with resources, information, and inspiration that you may not have had access to all in one place before.
Though we have written the book unabashedly for an LDS audience, we hope that birthing women, birth attendants and birth advocates of all faiths will find it useful and informative.
If you are a bookseller or retail store owner of any kind and would like to order books wholesale, please contact Meleah via firstname.lastname@example.org for information and an order form.
If you are a blogger and would like to advertize the book or sell it through your blog, just grab the button on the right.
Monday, September 12, 2011
"But we're gonna read the scriptures, right?"
"Um....Of course we are...."
Oh boy. If reading in the morning brought me so much more peace and abundance and happiness, what might it do for her or for our relationship? Why didn't I think of this sooner?
I think maybe I was just testing out the principle first. And I was enjoying the summer time schedule when she sleeps in longer than me (I have waited years for this!). But now I am motivated to get up even earlier, do my reading and meditation, then get her up for some kid scriptures and meditation. She loves to meditate with me. Yay! I think this will be a good thing to do before school starts. I can't believe Kindergarten is here.
I'll let you know what happens.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Thank you for sitting in the front row so that you could not see my face when you made your comment. The faces of several others were also classic. How would I describe them? Wide eyed, incredulous. Maybe even embarrassed for you.
While I agree that astrology is not something that we should get obsessed with, I think the cosmos are pretty interesting, and I like to see how people try to make sense of them. (Even the ancients tried to do this and because of their trying we have many advances.) However, I don't really see what your problem is with Tony Robbins. He's just a guy trying to motivate people and show them how to improve their lives with the tools he has. And what's wrong with the Law of Attraction? Sure people can get a little overboard with "The Secret," but why ignore a good thing when you see it just because it doesn't have your brand of shoes on? The Law of Attraction works when you work it. It's just another way of describing prayer and meditation and living life with intention. And if it inspires faith, what's wrong with that?
To say that I and other Mormons who also believe in this stuff are a blemish on the face of the Church is kind of funny--and sad. Do you really think that God doesn't reveal truth to others than us? And do you think that just because I'm Mormon I can't speak to others in the terms they understand?
Just the day before I was called a zit, I was thinking about two things:
- The quote "All truth can be circumscribed into one great whole." I looked up the word circumscribed and it basically means "to draw a circle around or encircle" and whole means "the full amount." So basically all truth is necessary for a completeness. And all truth will be encircled by God. I love this. I'm still pondering it. I think there ages of learning about just this sentence that could take place if one allowed.
- The second half of the 3th Article of Faith: "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." I love this particular article of our faith and I think we should pay more attention to it. I was even thinking of starting a blog called "Of Good Report" and just writing up or picturing great or virtuous or lovely things there. But of course, I have no time for another blog. But I can still "seek after these things."
Even later, when I mentally examined your statement to see if there was any truth in it, I wasn't annoyed at you. I feel sorry for you because I judge you as missing a lot of wonderful things with this perspective, but I also don't know what it's like to be you. Perhaps your views are necessary for your survival. Perhaps on your own path, you are more spiritually evolved than ever before. Your ladder is not my ladder, and so I don't know whether you are coming up or going down.
So I guess all I can really say is I am grateful that you showed me how different we all can be and God loves all of us anyway, even with beams in our eyes.
Monday, August 22, 2011
At the end of May I was praying about some career and financial stresses. I was very blessed to not have to work (except by choice) the first two years of Phoebe's life. But to make a very long story short I have a litigious ex husband who took me to court every three months since she was born until I had nothing left and working became a necessity. Don't get me wrong. I love working. Okay, occasionally I fantasize about having the time to make little decorative labels for all my pantry items. But really, I love what I do. But his choices and sometimes other factors still contribute to stress for us. Sometimes minor, sometimes monster.
I remember praying fervently about this one morning this spring and heard these words in my mind, "seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." (3 Ne 13:33). I thought, Well, duh. I do seek the kingdom of God. It is my underlying driving force. When am I not seeking it? Then I realized that when I am stressing out, I am not seeking the kingdom of God. The words ran through my mind again, this time with italics: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God."
Ahhhh. I realized that some days it wasn't till the end of a day stressing about x, y, or z that I sat down to read my scriptures. So I decided to make it my absolute first priority every day to read my scriptures and meditate (well, maybe sometimes I brush my teeth first). This one small change brought such an immediate difference into my life. The peace I felt brought me so much calm and confidence.
My situation didn't change right away. In fact. It got worse. All my clients canceled that week and my speaking engagement canceled, too. I thought about this and wondered if this was God's way of showing me that my efforts were nothing. Was He going to come out of nowhere and show me that He could work miracles? I wasn't sure, but I continued reading first thing in the morning and I still felt peace.
Then things got even worse.
|"It's either gas or spark. You got no spark." That's because he's married. Oh wait, you mean my car...|
Yet, even when my car died on the freeway on the way to a Memorial Day Barbeque, I didn't worry. I was just curious to see what would happen, and then I saw blessings everywhere. For one, the Freeway Safety Patrol towed me to a Park N Ride lot for free. 15 minutes later and the FSP would have been closed and I would have had to call a $ tow truck. I happened to break down near the city where some friends live, and they had an extra car that they lent me for a week. Also, the FSP guy told me what was wrong with my car. So I didn't have to wonder what it would cost me to fix it.
I felt so much gratitude and peace.The next day on the way to the zoo with Phoebe, in my borrowed car, I was pondering what do. I love my car, but its end-of-life issues had cost me that month. I had just put a new axle in it the week before. As I was driving I had the strangest idea pop into my head. Maybe I should not put Phoebe in preschool during the summer. What? I wasn't sure whose idea that was. Sure, I would save on preschool tuition, but what about work? How would I get all my work done and pay the bills?
It seemed illogical. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it wasn't counter intuitive. Often the revelation I receive from God is this way. Counter logical from my brain perspective--but not counter-intuitive. So I decided to just do it and try to get all my work done on the days she goes to her dad's house, and when she's home we would just play and go to the beach and the pool or draw on the side walk with chalk and all the things that moms who stay home with their kids all day probably get to do.
|Preschool Graduation. Cutest thing ever?|
|First day of summer. That's me throwing water.|
|A few days ago. They are very tan now.|
Ultimately, I have felt more peaceful and had more abundance this summer than when I was working a lot more earlier this year. And the abundance has come in more ways than I can articulate. I am grateful for the lessons that God taught me through this--the primary lesson being that it is He who provides. I am grateful that I got to learn this lesson while getting a tan and eating watermelon and being totally in the moment with my daughter. I look forward to more of these lessons.
|Me and Phoebes at Venice Beach right before I taught her to body surf.|
Sunday, August 21, 2011
- An Open Letter To the Guy in the Front Row of Sunday School
- What I Learned This Summer
- Why I Became a Hypnotherapist
- Project True Love Diaries
- What I Learned From "Hairspray" and "Lilo & Stitch 2"
- What Kalamata Olives Have to Do With Beliefs about Childbirth
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
For the last two years I have worked on this book in any and all of my "spare" time, to the point where it literally became my second child. Or my significant other. But I loved it and didn't begrudge it (much). God called me, He qualified me, and He brought me wonderful women to help. Now we're almost done and a funny thing is happening. I feel a sort of release coming. Not completely, but I feel like I am being sent on another mission for a while. Project True Love.
But let me begin earlier.
A few months ago I participated in a mythic and archetypal imagery certification and did the entire hero's journey in one day. What does this mean in lay terms? It means I spent a whole day going in and out of trance watching movies on the backs of my eyelids on a trip better than any drugs could induce. It was literally epic. I love therapeutic imagery because I feel like God communicates to me in profound ways when I am in this state. After all, He does communicate to our heart and mind.
In the first journey I had to dig something up and the image my mind generated was a baby. But I turned it into a statue because it is weird to dig up a live baby. Then I felt I had to put it on some stone stand and Mary and Joseph were going to take it away and take care of it. It did not want to let the baby go. It was MY baby. (It was not Jesus. It was a girl baby. And a now a gold statue.) When I came out of the journey, I was emotional. I wondered if this was about miscarriage, but realized that the baby could be a symbolic baby.
In the second journey, the wizard gave me three gifts and one was a baby. The others were things I needed to nurture her. Basically food and the scriptures. Then I had to take this baby up to the top of a mountain and there was an altar. I understood that I would leave her there on the altar and she'd be taken care of. In that journey, I felt fine about placing her on the altar. I realized later that both babies symbolized this book. The journey continued in several more parts and I can't tell it all, but it was Lord of the Rings style epic, including getting past a dragon. In the end, the treasure for me turned out to be a true love. I can't share any more, but I can tell you how it felt. It felt like I was in Lehi's dream--like I was having a deep spiritually significant vision. I saw Phoebe there, too, a little bit older and far off. She told me she had her own mission to fulfill. It was wild and full of symbolism, but I had a knowingness about what everything symbolized.
So back to the present moment, what I'm feeling is that it is time to put the baby on the altar and spend less time married to this book and start working on Project True Love. Of course, God is behind this one, too. PTL is an actual project with a plan and phases. Phase One begins with a lot of first dates, 30 to be exact, but I'll tell you all about that in another blog post. If part of the reason you read blogs is because you are a little voyeuristic, you are going to love this.
So, this is my way of announcing that I have invited some of my collaborators to contribute to this blog. Now that we have the book all together (almost), I really enjoy reading the many different voices and I think it's time the blog benefited from different voices, too. Their presence will also give me a little break to fit in all those dates in September and October. (I promise more juice on this later). So, please go read their bios and look at their lovely pictures on the Authors page. They are beautiful inside and out, and I adore them.
We haven't worked out a blogging schedule yet, but I'm guessing you can expect excellent reading candy at least three times a week. Hooray!
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Two days ago my daughter was eating a peanut butter sandwich. She opened the sandwich and began carefully eating each side open-faced. I sat with her at the table and she said, "Sometimes, I want to hurt myself, or like turn this on the table and make a mess," she gestured with her sandwich. "But I don't."
I was a little taken aback by this comment. "Oh?"
"Yeah. I feel like I want to. But I don't."
I realized that she was talking about impulses, more specifically, the moment between impulse and response. She was articulating what millions of people don't understand for years--sometimes never d0--and that was that she had the power to make a choice. In that gap between impulse and response lies destiny.
I told her that she was right, that she had a choice and this was a very mature realization.
I am still amazed. I have spent the last five years working on this very issue. First on my own issues, and now for the last year and half, I continue to grow as I help others.
I honestly wasn't sure if that this was possible for a five-year-old. When I was five if I wondered what kind of commotion spilling my milk would create, it was spilled before I completed the thought. I can only assume that she is receiving some kind of education I was unaware of. I am so grateful for this awareness.
I am so grateful.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Anyway, I realized that in gestating a book, this is the home stretch. In fact, this book has shown up symbolically as a baby many times in my imagery journeys. (In the end of these journeys I often put said baby on an altar.) In all the stories I have been reading (and re-reading) every woman has a different experience at this final stage in labor, some feel tired, many feel elation, but what I noted in most of the stories is that there is an increased outpouring of prayer, faith, and focus during this time. And so why would the book be any different. I realized that I need to get down on my knees more, meditate more, fast, and invite the peace of Jesus Christ to fill my home as I do this final push.
I also feel like I need to ask for others to pray for us. For me and my collaborators and everyone else in anyway affiliated with bringing this book to be. Our families would be most grateful for your prayers.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Here are the winners:
|175||Mother Nurture Baby|
|44||One Lucky Mom|
Just in case there were two people with the same name I included your randomly generated number in the comment/stuff-done order. That should help you find yourself....
If you won, please contact me with your shipping info at email@example.com. Thanks! Please continue to spread the word about the joy of spiritual childbirth.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
It is July and it's my 2 year blog-iversary! It has been an amazing 2 years. I can't believe all we have accomplished--which brings me to my next exciting announcement.... Bust out the sparkling cider and the chocolate lava. We are trilled to announce that November 1, 2011 is the official release date of our book "The Gift of Giving Life: Rediscovering the Divine Nature of Pregnancy and Birth" from Madison & West Publishing.
The book has surpassed our greatest expectations. We are so grateful to all the women who sent us their stories and who have helped contribute to the book in many different ways. We are also grateful to all the men than have contributed and supported. This projects has been inspired and blessed at every turn and we look forward to getting into the hands of LDS women, birth attendants, care providers, and birth junkies of all faiths everywhere who are interested and invested in the sacred nature of birth.
To celebrate the book release we are giving away 10 copies of the book! If you'd like a chance to win one then there are four ways you can enter:
- Leave a comment here.
- Sign up for our Gift of Giving Life email newsletter (if you have already signed up for them then please leave a comment and let us know and we will give you an entry);
- Share this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, or on your own blog (let us know what/where you have done this via comment);
- Become a "follower" of The Gift of Giving Life blog;
- "Like" the Gift of Giving Life on Facebook
- Follow @giftofgivinglif on Twitter
Also, if you don't happen to win a book, pre-sales for the book on August 1, 2011!
p.s. We are still accepting blurbs for the book, so if you have lots of birth world credentials and want to read the book and blurb it before it comes out, let me know. If anyone knows Marie Osmond, Ina May Gaskin, or Ricki Lake, and can get the book to them for a possible blurb, that would be fabulous, too.
Peace and Blessings!
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I was praying for my little daughter, who is going through some hard stuff right now and trying to sort out her feelings and emotions and I had the feeling to ask people to pray for her. All my Gift of Giving Life girls were already praying, so I called another friend that I know from hypnotherapy school. She's very spiritual and believes in and prays to Archangel Michael a lot. So I asked her to pray. She sent me a message later that she prayed for us and then pulled an angel card. The card she got was "'Peace,' overseen by an angel named Melchizedek, 'The Divine Mediator.'"
I was kind of blown away. I love that God used my friend and her angel cards to communicate a really beautiful message to me. It was clearly meant for me. The name Melchizedek doesn't have much significance to her--but I knew what it was about.
That was just the beginning of my day. I went to the temple--literally carried there by some other feet, and God sent me many more angels with messages of peace. I can't share it all, but what I thought was interesting was my pondering of who I should have give Phoebe a blessing.
My thought process was, "Who should be blessed with this task? Whose life should I bless by asking them to bless Phoebe?"
This is so contrary to how I used to be about asking for blessings. I used to think I was such an annoyance or a burden. Now I see that God wants to bless us and that it is an honor for whomever gets to be his representative....That is all for tonight.
Oh wait. One more thing. I opened to this scripture when I was reading in the temple:
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (Psalms 46:1)
The rest of that chapter is pretty fantastic, too.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
The Spirit is too Blunt an Instrument
The spirit is too blunt an instrument
to have made this baby.
Nothing so unskilful as human passions
could have managed the intricate exacting particulars: the tiny
blind bones with their manipulating tendons,
the knee and the knucklebones, the resilient
fine meshings of ganglia and vertebrae
in the chain of the difficult spine.
Observe the distinct eyelashes and sharp crescent
fingernails, the shell-like complexity
of the ear with its firm involutions
concentric in minature to the minute
ossicles. Imagine the
infinitesimal capillaries, the flawless connections
of the lungs, the invisible neural filaments
through which the completed body
already answers to the brain.
Then name any passion or sentiment
possessed of the simplest accuracy.
No. No desire or affection could have done
with practice what habit
has done perfectly, indifferently,
through the body's ignorant precision.
It is left to the vagaries of the mind to invent
love and despair and anxiety
and their pain.
I love the phrase: "ignorant precision." If you are poet and have some birth poems or poetry about motherhood, send them to me! We have a few poems we'd like to use in the book. If we can get more that we love, that would be fabulous. I can't guarantee we'll use anything, but if you'd like us to consider it, please send it ASAP to ldsbirthstories at gmail dot com.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
In February there were 3 babies due in our little collaborator group--so we did a virtual mother shower/ blessingway for each of them and sent our love and wishes for their birth along with some beads and a little bonsai tree suited to their climate. Above is a picture of Busca's tree.
In doing the research for the trees I became obsessed with bonsais, so I had to get one for myself, too. Mine is the same as the one above, a Japanese Elm.
As soon as I unpacked it and started to care for it and nurture it, I wondered what the lesson was. I knew there was something this tree was going to teach me that I would one day write about. But everything about bonsai trees seemed to be backward. Rather than letting it grow big, I was keeping it small--which is the opposite of what we should do with our children and not really possible with them anyway. Other metaphors fell just as awkwardly.
So I gave up on finding meaning and just found joy in the little tree and learned a little about pruning from my friend's husband who I learned is a closeted bonsai master. Pruning is tricky. It's all about trying to mimic nature--but perfection in nature. Fat trunks are desirable, and little cloud-like tufts of leaves with a tapering toward the top are also desirable. Shaping bonsais takes years and years of practice and patience. Whenever I prune my bonsai, I go into trance because it is totally meditative--you have to have a vision.
You can keep your bonsai under a foot tall forever, or you can let them grow larger but still keep their miniature look. If you want them to grow, you have to re-pot them every few years in a larger pot, let them grow wild for a bit, then prune the heck out of them. You do this over and over till you get the shape you want. Some people wire or tie branches to achieve a certain shape or windswept look. Here are some pictures and examples:
It was a long time in coming, but I think I finally got my inspiration from the bonsai tree. The other morning I was lying in bed and some words came into my mind so powerfully that I knew I needed to write them down. They were: "restriction is training." I had no idea what that meant, but as I lay there in that early morning hypnotic state where connections and free association happen easily, thoughts of my bonsai tree came to me. Restrictions placed on a bonsai train it to grow in a certain direction. A bonsai master places restrictions on the bonsai in order to shape it into an amazing thing of beauty. It takes patience and practice, and sometimes after a hard prune doesn't look like much, but it is well worth it in the end.
The metaphor seems so obvious to me now, but it was a huge epiphany in the moment, when I was feeling annoyed about some restrictions in my life. It is clever how God saved or withheld this teaching moment from me till I needed it most. Also, is saw the metaphor as hugely applicable to parenting. It is our job to train up these little prophets and prophetesses, (with God's help), and sometimes we need to restrict and train them--while at the same time, God is training us. I hope that my little tree, which gives me so much joy, will always remind me of this. And one day, when I die at a ripe old age I hope one of my posterity will take over the care of my bonsai(s)--because by then I will surely have a dozen or more.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
My first big shock was the nausea. I wasn’t prepared for how totally pregnancy could ruin my life. I had to drop out of the photography class I was enjoying. I had to stop working on my writing projects. All I could do was lie down and munch saltines and puke them up again. I was furious. I decided having a baby wasn’t worth the trouble after all, and wished I would miscarry. Then, in the middle of the night, I had a terrible cramp on my way to the bathroom. It was so sharp I fell to the floor and had to crawl across the rug. I thought for sure I was loosing my baby, and I was terrified. I repented, and I started bargaining with God to just let me keep her.
Clearly, I was confused. Even after the middle of the night incident, my mixed feelings persisted, until one day I was sitting in my car in front of a friend’s house on Alla Street. (Alla means God in Arabic) I had one foot out the door in case I needed to lean out and vomit, but the rest of me was too tired to get out of the car. It was fall. The trees were turning orange and the sky was an electric blue we only see in winter here. The surprising thing was, that I noticed it. Even though I felt miserable, I was awed at this small gift from God that could make me so happy. I cried and smiled and worried I might vomit but didn’t care if I did.
I realized that when I stopped fighting the nausea and submitted to feeling miserable, I was less miserable. I was finally able to see small moments of light and happiness everywhere around me. I began to let the child inside of me take a place in my thinking. To be real, and to bless my life.
What happened to me that day on Alla Street is that part of me died, so that another part of me could live. I sacrificed something, so that the mother in me could grow. In order for you to become a mother, some part of the old you has to go. Some women may feel her die peacefully in your sleep, others of you may have to kill her in an intense physical battle.
I guarantee it is worth it. Even if you struggle. But why struggle? I'm going to get a little preachy now and invite you to just surrender to the earth mother inside you. The old you wont be all gone, but part of her we be forever. Accept this. Try to help your partner accept this. The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to have joy and revel in this spiritual journey.
Perhaps you’re reading this and you don’t think that it applies to you, but this invitation to surrender is important. Think about what you are resisting something else in your life. Maybe you have not forgiven yourself for something. Maybe you are resisting learning more about your options for birthing because you know you will then have to make an educated choice. Maybe you are resisting this pregnancy for what it can be, a spiritual journey.
I sometimes wonder why is this so difficult for us to surrender our will to God’s when we have so many evidences of it working out much better than our plans. My two year blog-iversary is coming up, and it reminds me of all my resistance to starting this blog. But God knew what he was doing, and only good things have come from it. If I hadn’t started this blog, this book would not be almost finished. I have also made amazing friends. It is interesting how the Lord’s promise about when two or more gather in his name, "I will be in their midst” applies to people gathering virtually as well.
I have to admit that surrendering gets easier with practice, perspective, and with support and love.
Thanks everyone for reading and sharing my blog for the last two years. We are very excited to announce the release date of the book very soon.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
I went to the recording studio last week to record my first official, professional hypnosis MP3. I have titled it: "Relaxed, Peaceful, Divine." It a general relaxation journey that is also a bit spiritual or meditative. I kept it somewhat generic so that anyone can listen to it and get relaxed, whether they are pregnant or not. I think your dude might even like it if he's open to that kind of thing.
It was at my friend's home recording studio so I just made myself comfortable while he went into the garage to work all his knobs and levers. Sound is very complicated. I am glad he's a professional.
Then we edited out any loud breaths or sounds I made. It took about 4 hours total to record and edit a 16-17 minute track. That was actually pretty speedy. We still have to lay down some white noise or beats in the background, but once we do that, I should be able to make it available for download. So that is potentially in just a few days. It will be for sale to the general whoever on iTunes and audible, but you can get a free copy. All you have to do is sign up for our email newsletter (that's how I'll send it to you) in the left sidebar. And then if would be so kind as to LIKE our page on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (if you are of the tweeting persuasion), and "Follow" the blog, then we will keep giving you love back. And if you really love us you can grab our button and put it in your sidebar.
Also, if anyone has any love they would like to donate in the form of prizes that pregnant ladies or moms might want, feel free to hit me up and maybe I'll do more giveaways. Personally I didn't understand the whole giveaway thing for a while. I feel like I am giving my soul to the world by writing this blog. And if I am going to give something away, I want to give it to everyone--which is easy with MP3s, but I see that it is not so easy with other things and the idea of a lotto or contest might be kind of fun for some readers. So maybe soonish. We'll see.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
I actually put all this together after reading Lani's post Building a Better Bond. I will quote heavily from her piece and also get brazenly personal.
For the last 8 months my custody schedule with my daughter has been almost 50/50. I hate it. She doesn't love it either, but I am not in control of her destiny right now, someone higher is and He (God) is parenting and protecting her. But anyway--here's the story. When she is home, we are lovey dovey with each other and cuddle a lot and laugh and I am basically flooded with oxytocin. This is the feel good hormone that studies have shown lab animals prefer over crack, cocaine, or heroin. Then when my daughter has to go away for two days or five days, depending on the week, all those feel good hormones bottom out. And without a lover or other source of oxytocin, by day two, I become like a crack addict in withdrawals. It can be physically and mentally painful, and I start looking around for a fix--and not always in the right places. This is when Satan tries to really mess with my mind. I was at my wits end when Busca's post turned up in my email inbox.
..God showed me that I needed to be loving others (particularly my own little family) better. And that means loving them not just in word, but in deed. And that means more praise and gratitude, more random acts of kindness, more hugs, more kisses, more cuddling, more massages. I was reminded that when I live a lifestyle full of love, affection, and service for those around me, I further enhance my capacity to love more deeply, until eventually I am able to feel and give “perfect” love....Busca received inspiration about how to build a better bond with her newborn baby by increasing her oxytocin levels at the end of her pregnancy. But it was instructive to me, because I realized that this could help me with my problem too. I realized that instead of working through the days she is away, I have to be more balanced and serve others and teach classes and go on dates.
....it makes complete sense. A person living a lifestyle of loving action is a person flooding him/herself constantly with oxytocin.
And incidentally, this helps me re-bond with her when she comes back, because the first day back is usually a difficult transition out of work mode for me.
I know each situation is different and maybe for some moms, who have their kids 24/7 and are touch saturated, the break from sex is great. But they still feel a loneliness. In this case, a phone call to a good girlfriend may be just the right dopamine fix.
If you are not in this situation, be mindful of those who are. Evenings are usually the worst. Also Sundays. If you can, invite them over on Sundays or stop by and visit or call in the evening.
After years of suffering through lonely Sundays, I have finally found the perfect situation. Another single mom friend and I go to Love Feast. Love Feast is sponsored by the Hari Krishnas in our area and ever Sunday night they offer free vegetarian cuisine to anyone in the community who wants to come. It's delicious. It's free. It's holy. And it's served with love. This means I don't have to cook on Sunday night. I can just enjoy being with Phoebe and teach her in word and deed how we mingle and interact with other religious communities. Phoebe loves all the colorful people there. I'd say it is about half Krishna devotees (who often wear beautiful colored saris), a few homeless people, and other people from the community who are just curious or just love vegetarian food or free food. I usually see one of my neighbors or friends there and a few Mormons.
If you are not lucky enough to have a Love Feast where you are, start one. Get someone else to do it if you are too overwhelmed. There is always someone who loves to be a host or hostess. Keep it simple, healthy, and make it about community and love. That's the main thing. And it will keep those ocytocin and happiness levels up.
Friday, May 27, 2011
So they returned to Jerusalem and spent 3 days looking for him. If you know this story, you know that they found him in the temple hearing and asking the doctors questions. What I noticed this time reading this story were Mary's words: "Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing." (Luke 2:48)
I realized that even though Jesus Christ was without sin and perfect, he still sometimes caused his parents sorrow.
This is interesting to me. They felt he had dealt with them badly. He didn't understand how they didn't understand that he was just fulfilling his mission.
49And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? awist ye not that I must be about my bFather’s business?Again. Interesting. This makes me wonder how much of our sorrowing over our children is just misunderstanding their mission.
For example, last week, Phoebe got up early and I could hear her messing around in the kitchen. She has been in a sneaking phase, so I though she might be into the freezer sneaking ice cream or frozen raspberries.
I was about to catch her in the act and give her a long boring lecture, but 1 second before I could she saw me and screamed, "Close your eyes!"
It turned out that she had gotten up early to make me a surprise breakfast. I was stunned and awed that she would even think to do such a thing. It was the best breakfast I think I have ever had. Peanut butter on toast. Not toasted. :)
It was a nice literal wake up call to give people, but especially her, the benefit of the doubt before I start sorrowing.
I'm sure that you also have examples of this. I'd love to hear them.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I said, "What?"
My first reaction was to laugh, but I withheld. Laughter is sometimes the unconscious mind's first response when there is an incongruity. Meaning, it was not what I was expecting to hear. I was honestly expecting "taxi driver," because I have been telling a funny story about a girl who wanted to be a taxi driver when she grew up.
I said, "That's great. Do you know what a prophet does?"
"They testify of Christ. They teach righteousness."
"Oh." She seemed to be thinking and then decided that she could begin being a prophet right away.
I tried to correct her and tell her that she was a "prophetess" not a prophet, but she had a harder time with that word. (She's not yet five and doesn't understand feminine and masculine word endings.) So she still says prophet if you ask her. It's really cute, and it's 100% sincere.
I told a few friends about it, and their first response was laughter, but then, thoughtfulness. One of my neighbors, after looking up prophetess on his iPhone to see if it was in fact a real word (he is not LDS) said, "Well, they don't come around that often, so maybe she is one."
I love that he said that. (He has his own kids, too.)
While he was reading wikipedia and his wife was looking up prophetess in the dictionary, I opened my Bible Dictionary and shared a few things with them:
"The work of a Hebrew prophet was to act as God's messenger and make known God's will.... He was to be, above all, a preacher of righteousness...."
I remember studying up on this a few years ago after I had a very interesting priesthood blessing wherein, one of my oldest friends blessed me with "the spirit of prophecy." I was sure he was speaking craziness, until I read the bible dictionary and this story in Numbers 11, which is now one of my favorites.
I love Moses's response. "Enviest thou for my sake?"
24¶And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the Lord, and gathered the aseventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.
25And the Lord came down in a acloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy belders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they cprophesied, and did not cease.
26But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.
29And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were aprophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!
The very last line of the entry in the bible dictionary for Prophet says: "In a general sense, a prophet is anyone who has a testimony of Jesus Christ by the Holy Ghost."
Even though we are the only church that believes in a living prophet who presides over the church and can receive revelation for the church, we also believe that we can all have the spirit of prophecy. We can all preach righteousness, and uplift, edify one another, declare truth, and receive inspiration from the Holy Ghost.
As for my daughter, I can attest that she is already a prophetess. At her baby blessing my father blessed her that she would find out her mission early in life. I feel humbled, but up to the challenge of helping her remember it.
Of course, she is also still an almost-five-year-old--which makes for some fun times.
At lunch last week at the Sikh Ashram, where I like to eat yummy vegetarian Indian food, a woman came and sat by us because she said she was drawn to Phoebe's light. When she asked Phoebe what she wanted to be when she grew up and heard her response, she was not at all surprised. She couldn't believe her luck. She asked Phoebe to say a prayer that she could have a baby. She had just turned 40 and was trying to decide if she should have one of the men she knew impregnate her or if she should go to a sperm bank. She really wanted to have a child.
Phoebe said, "Okay." She turned to me. "Mom, I'm going to take a walk." Phoebe took a walk around the courtyard to say her prayer and then came back. The lady asked if Phoebe would say another prayer so that she could have 2 children.
Phoebe said, "Okay. Mom, I'm going to take a walk. I'll be right back." She took another walk and came back. "Okay. It's done," she said. "But you are going to get fat."
!!Laughter. Then, "Can you say a third one that I won't get fat?"
"Don't worry. It's just baby weight," said Phoebe.
I have no idea where she get this stuff.
So the follow up of this story is that yesterday, when I went to lunch at the Ashram I saw this woman again. She told me that prophet Phoebe's prayers were answered.
"I met the man I'm going to marry and we're moving in together and I'm meeting his parents in two weeks and we're going to try to get pregnant and plan a conscious wedding." All of this spilled out of her mouth as she showed me a picture of her new man. Cute. Good DNA. And she told me what a serving, loving person he is.
This all happened in a week. Yikes. But why I am I not surprised? For her sake, I hope she's right and that he is fabulous.
Back to the weightier matter of raising little prophets and prophetesses. This is no small task. But here's the kicker. It is not so much about parenting skills as it is about getting over your stuff--your own personal stuff and your relationship stuff--so that you install as little as possible of it in your children. That way they can find and start their missions sooner.
When I say get over your stuff, I'm not talking about the sort-of-trying, thinking-about-it, small steps you may have been taking toward positive change. Small steps are good. But I'm talking quantum leaps. These are the last days. And the fact that you are here now today parenting these children means that you can quantum leap every day. If you are not already growing and transforming and healing from your past every day, then ask God how. Lay down all your old stories, including guilt about not being there already. Just move forward. Any time a woman does something to raise her own vibration, the entire family benefits. You know this to be true. When you are grouchy, the whole family follows. When you are joyful, they also trail along like little puppies.
Ask God where to look and what to do so that you can grow more each day than you ever have before. Pour your heart out to Him. Then be prepared to follow inspiration. This requires releasing attachment to what growth should look like. Ask your children to pray for you, too. Then get ready.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Well here's my best one shot wonder story yet. I teach pregnancy yoga once a week at the YMCA. The boot camp teacher, who was pregnant, who has never been able to make it to my class, came up to me one day in mild alarm. Her first birth was a C-section and she really wanted a VBAC.
"I'm getting nervous about the birth," she said. "Can you hypnotize me right now to feel no pain?"
"Well, I teach class in 5 minutes...."
"Come on. Can't you just zap me."
"You'll be fine." (Reassuring tones) "Just picture your cervix as a turtleneck sweater. It looks like it will never fit over your child's head, but it does. It stretches easily and effortlessly."
"Ha. A turtleneck sweater. Hey that's a good one..."
A few months later, she shows up back at work with a little baby and tells me that the turtleneck sweater metaphor is what got her through pushing. I had totally forgotten by then.
She said, her husband, an anesthesiology resident, would like to thank me.
You are very welcome.
Monday, May 2, 2011
"Want to hear a funny joke?"
"Once there was a bunny who forgot to lay his eggs and now he's dead. HAHAAAA!"
"Want to hear a funny joke?"
"Once there was a girl named Juliet. She fell in love and now she's dead."
The last one truly made me crack up. I'm sure she has never seen or read Romeo and Juliet (she's only 4) and yet, somehow the story is in the collective unconscious. she summarized it pretty accurately. I keep cracking up about these jokes while at the same time not wanting to make death funny.
And yet. I haven't told you my favorite joke. Want to hear it?
"Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?"
You say: "Why?"
"Because it was dead."
If i am not already hysterical by the time I deliver the punch line, I then become hysterical and people usually just stare at me, which makes me laugh harder.
So, I guess my girl has picked up my sense of humor. I'm not sure how. But then again, we aren't aware of everything they see us do. And sometimes they seem impervious to the things they see us do. We think nothing sinks in. But it does. One day my babysitter, whose tendencies tend toward spoiling, told me that she offered Phoebe ice cream and Phoebe said, "If we have ice cream every day it's not a treat." Hallelujah. She does listen.
And the other day Phoebe said to me, "Mom, can you put on some nice music. I want to meditate." So I did. And I went out of the room to make dinner. When I came back she was sitting with her fingers in Giyan mudra (classic yogi style) and chanting Ong Namo. I tried to get a picture, but she told me to leave her alone. So I did. She continued for about 5 minutes, which is a long time for an almost 5 year old.
One more story. I have a reputation for being a creative problem solver. Well, the other day Phoebe was complaining about her pants being too long. Since I apparently didn't do anything about it, she went and hemmed them up with a stapler and didn't say a word about it. I only noticed later and gave her a high five for problem solving.
Of course, she hasn't absorbed anything negative up from me. (Okay may one or two). There are a few things I'm not happy that she has picked up at her other house. For one, the fact that her stepmother has never breastfed a single baby and she's about the have her 3rd. Of course, I don't know all the details. She might not be able to, but it bothers me that Phoebe went from breastfeeding her baby dolls to bottle feeding them. I have to remind her that not all babies take bottles. However, she is totally into baby wearing.
Share your stories of cuteness!