Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Natural , Simple Living

This is the time of yr. I always say if people wish to have drudgery during lent move to MB. ! well truly it is grey and kinda mucky outside .There is much to be thankful for , much to plan ahead for , much inspiration from memories of springs, summers & autumns past . All keep us in the here and now . This is also the time of yr. we often feel most called to remember how we wish to try our best at living naturally & simply . Yes try our best , because we have and do just as anyone is capable of fall into the trap of materialism . Especially in the yrs of raising children .I know full well the pressures we can face be they from commercial main stream society or the fundamentalist stuff organic in your face crowd .

Balance is the key . So if you have to resort to using disposable diapers when you are looking after your preemie in the hospital while still trying to raise a house full of children hey we get it . My natural friend Sunshine got me hooked on pine sol so we all have our weaknesses . In fact it was my chemical sensitivity which in a way became my blessing , reminding me of what dh & I had slowly slipped away from .

However we always have turned to natural sources for medicinal , spiritual , physical needs first . I was thinking how some may assume this is just for country folk or perhaps only the hip cool urban crowd . No just look to your own grandparents or great grandparents perhaps. My own mother only served us porridge and brown bread even though it was her generation which was striving for conscience . I just finished watching the doc. about the Paskowitz family and their motto of eat clean / live clean sure was on spot . I won't even touch on their failures as we all have them ;- )

I do know the whole wave or fad to be green , eat natural etc. is big . Some I know it seems even phony . I know people who have dyed their hair with toxic cancer causing dyes , buy flowers at walmart etc. and yet call themselves natural witches . everyone wants to fit in somewhere , everyone wants to be cool at some point in their lives. So I think well isn't it better the ignorant are at least trying . Even if it is kind of fakey & pretend . Hey maybe in amongst the Doritos they will throw in stony field yogurt they bought at walmart ;-) so once again trying , education is key especially for our younger generation .

I do feel we need to try and return to more local & organic sources and at least become conscience of how our food has arrived at our table . I find this at times a struggle as I begin to open our own small business. Do I offer organic henna ? A plant which has had to travel using pollutants in order to get here ? Or rather do I find a good local plant source which I can grow , harvest and turn into healthy product right here ? I know in my heart I need to opt for the later ;-)

Most of all what I love about our natural life is that it is in the end just being , just existing with who we are for real . Don't get me wrong . I am also seeing how we can and I being one of the biggest romantics out there , romanticize often the simple life . My grandparents and even my parents lives were simple because yes it took 4-5 hrs to make bread , to collect kindling for a week can take a whole day etc. so all one could do was the simple and it had to be done well or the outcome could mean disaster for the family on a whole .

Yet I do still believe living in simplicity is the best option . It is just who we are and when we thrive the most . Right now I am truly enjoying visiting many of the wonderful homesteading blogs out there and reved up via my sil to try the backyard flock idea ! Who knows we may get that goat after all ! Urban farming is an option ! In natural & simple living we are always forever evolving and growing . Open to progress and change but in a truly real and healthy way which will enrich our lives and lifestyle .

Below are some ways in which we choose to live out our natural existence . enjoy .

When thinking of diet , look for healthy choices in cookbook options . Try and buy local , then organic . If you truly try and not add in junky prepackaged foods , your grocery bill will be no more then before . Try making your own mayo , salad dressings , ketsup , condiments , make your own chips & crackers .

You never know what you can find at the local thrift . We rarely buy new . Be it footwear or jackets our country has an over abundance of stuff there is no need for people to go without .

once again fresh & natural sources , yum yum, be they flowers
or grape leaves , make a very good meal .

there are many ways to make natural home & beauty products such as smudges hair oils and facial masks

natural play is always our first option
learning & growing in what has always been given to us seasons are one of the most wonderful learning tools add to your life that which brings joy from natural sources

Just Be You We use natural sources to inspire be this our prayer time churches do not need be golden temples we love our natural prayer spots giving thanks & blessings

We look for old items to use in the garden etc. to inspire our surroundings

I really try not to purchase plastic / petroleum based products as it has now become a disposable item rather then the first intention plastics were created for . However items we already own or others gift us we try and use and not throw away . My dear friend gave me this statue of Momma Mary She sits above my Mary garden .I found this beautiful piece of willow which is now my new Mary statue we make up a seasonal fairy house using items we already have I love harvesting , ok almost to an obsession .It is just so rewarding for me , the job of preparing .we love to learn and do what we have learned from the old we bring to the new

we also harvest for our woodpile mostly driftwood , dead fall and trees fallen from storms

we have and slowly learn which trees to pick for medicines and the when , where and how to use them . once again using natural items to make beautiful items be it beading toys and natural play when out walking , picking , exploring we feel it is very important to walk softly when possible . follow deer trails etc. We are well aware of damage done by those who feel the need to use the gift of nature in order to sit back drink alcohol , watch satellite tv and drive ATV anywhere and everywhere . Yes ! We believe it is an unhealthy lifestyle ! We do believe ATV has a purpose when used properly by say a farmer checking on livestock or crops , forestry officials updating info etc. however we know first hand the effects and damage caused by ignorant use of this technology .
we prefer to walk during summer or winter as we hope to try anyway . My sil has inspired me to try and not depend on vehicle so often as she has now been months without a car .
I wonder if there is any law against dog sleds in the city ?

I just love this picture of Nelly & Diamond living simple can be hard work for people and animals that is the truth !

Monday, February 1, 2010

Birth ~ A Miracle

This is a pic of our 6th child our little adventure boy if you click on the pick it will lead you to a YouTube animated birth video .

Yes ! Birth , it is about time I arrived here and tackled this subject is it not ? lol . I cannot believe I've not posted since Oct. !! We were computerless for 3 months , then Christmas and our birthday season . Yes life is what happened so I can't really apologize for that now can I ;-)
I try and keep this blog strictly non political . I have and do use both secular , pagan , and Christian sources . I wish people to know this right off the hop. We share what we know here is all. If something upsets you then you have choice to discuss via e-mail and also the choice not to read on ;-) I will not partake in bullying or conflict . I have always believed in the gift of life from the beginning be I a pro life pagan or in the closet Christian ;-) I don't like putting people in boxes . We all are entitled to believe . So on we go .
It seemed very very fitting I sit down today to write on this topic because of the feast day of Brigid ! I have felt a great calling to walk with her as well as Hildegard this past month . This also seems fitting as it was also my birth month . Yes my birthday. The children and I were talking about how really truly we only have one true Birth Day do we not ;-) the rest are merely a remembering , more like an anniversary of that day .
The day of birth is a miracle is it not . Child Birth I want to stress is a miracle no matter where it takes place . The outcome and result we ultimately all hope and wish for is a healthy baby . I however of course wish to focus on the topic of home birth and birthing as a natural process. My first child was born in hospital and the shortest labour and most likely the easiest . I was young and in shape and she was a tiny munchkin . Although it was in hospital the outcome was a wonderful healthy baby girl .
The one issue I have with hospital birth is that of interference . Yet we must also realize this can happen within a home birth or anywhere we give birth . One of the main interferences during labour and birth is that of people ! I cannot stress enough over and over again how we are very capable to project our feelings , negatives vibes , pass on our bad stuff etc. on to both mother and child. I wish very much to stress if you and dh or life partner choose to birth alone take the time to work on your relationship , share emotions etc. so thruout the pregnancy and labour your spirit will be free and open to deal with the birth etc. You will also have the right positive energy to get thru the labour as well.
The issue of inviting others to be present during the labour & birth of your baby is also very very important . once again I cannot tell you how important the choice of midwife , doula etc. is . I've just had the issue of doula come up recently so I feel the need to address this. In choosing a midwife or doula please please look at and reach out to community. If you can at all please begin during pregnancy or if possible before conception to actually locate a midwife etc. Knowing your birthing community is a big help. Finding others mums and couples who have already experienced . Get a feel for those who are similar to yourself in lifestyle etc. because they no doubt will have connected to a midwife who will fit into your groove .
I am very leery of big business and this includes the birthing business. Yes I love how we all can globally connect to learn and support but on the actual topic of birth I always will choose the in at home community based midwife ;-)
You will soon learn which people are controlling and only in this to help others by taking control . Being able to assert ones self in a situation is not the same thing as those who need to have glory etc. as the outcome of a birth. I know personally a few who are neither doula nor midwife regardless of the official title .
I can also speak from example that not all family members will be in the right state of mind either to be present at a birth . Our first few home births we asked a family member to attend or rather just be present to help with the younger children . This person works in health care and is very used to helping those who absolutely cannot do things are their own. Needless to say this person did not feel comfortable in our home just reading books to children etc. they felt a deep need to have some control over the birthing event. This did cause interference and disruption for us all as a family. Of course babies arrived safe and sound but upon reflection that was the one thing we would choose to change in that experience.
In hospital this will be the main issue with nurses and health care aides etc. they need to feel busy and will often do things they just have no need to do . imagine a nurse just sitting back reading a book during your labour at the hospital ?
Preparing for birth as I mentioned is one of my fav things to do. I love preparing and being ready for what is to come so why would birth be any different ;-)
If you are headed to hospital birth then try your best to see about birthing rooms , the layout etc. a few months in advance. This way you have the image of the room in your mind .You can then think of items you'd like to have present . a comforter , old plaid shirt, slippers etc. I took cranberry juice and my gramma's old flannel shirt with me .
Of course if you are at home you will plan your birth room out right there . having fresh sheets , towels etc. packed in a clean bag ready for the day. I always have a clean sheet for the birth with a shower curtain or big plastic table cloth underneath . then one other clean sheet for after birth on hand . towels and paper towel as well. A tip instead of pads right after is have on hand a small bag of large disposable diapers or depends for yourself . much much more useful then those tini tiny menstrual pads .
Another big tip is have a heating pad for those after pains ! Yikes , mine get worse after each birth and the heating pad was my life saver.
I also have on hand for midwife olive oil warmed up , wash clothes and anything else she has requested. We always have detol around for the birth because I am a big in the tub person during labour. Also have on hand salt for after the birth for in the tub after it is just a great precautionary measure against infection .
We always always have a tub with baby a few hrs after birth so have those nice big fluffy towels handy .
As you may know you may not end up having your baby in the planned area lol . this is why it is nice to have the sheets, towels etc. in a bag so someone can easily just run upstairs and grab it if need be. We had one son in the sunroom and another near the staircase so being prepared is a good idea.
Of course we all know labour is painful . Remember in the 80's when it was a no no to use the word pain lol . Well yes labour is painful . It hurts ! Yet my oh my it is the most joyous pain one will ever endure ;-) little things that help during labour and also help it progress are , walking , squatting , heating pads , tubs and dh back rubs .
I also prepare for myself lots of juices and Popsicles for myself & kids of course so make lots . If you can have some activities put away for your other children for when labour happens . I also do a gift giving thing for all our children to celebrate the new birth of their sibling . Some little ones have a hard time after new baby has arrived so giving them a little something and including them in the help etc. is important. Our last ds became an uncle at age 5 yrs. After the birth of our grandchild who did not even live in the same home our ds would constantly bring out his photo album . He would show us and any visitor willing to visit a look. He wanted us to remember him .He was the baby of our family after all ;-) , what a sweetie pie .
Of course as I mentioned in other posts it is also good to be informed medically . Be prepared by reading up on safety issues etc. Do what you can to learn if any birthing supplies will be needed via your midwife or a birth supply outlet . Again I cannot stress enough how important it is to inform and educate ones self .
I would love to write in detail and share each and every birth of our 6 children but that would be a book in itself would it not lol . I can share a few of the things I learned and liked though from all of the births themselves. First off , I love labour and birth .This is the one gift & blessing from God over it all that I truly love . Birth has got to be the ultimate high lol . Some people take herbs , castor oil to start labour , smoke pot during labour etc. I do not . I need to experience for myself , baby and family the real thing . I have had a 2 1/2 day labour with a baby who had her hand on her head , a baby who was posterior etc. so I know pain ! I also know never to be fooled because I always heard the rumor that your second birth is always faster and easier then the first . My first birth and labour were a breeze , not the second lol .
During the labour at hospital it was very important no matter how much a nurse or aide was bothering me that I focus and remain calm for baby . After the birth the hospital has such bright bright lights we put a blanket over baby and myself . She looked right at me with her big big eyes. I love to get up and walk around . I also found I am a big squatter when it comes to birth and if I have a hammock , person or banister to pull on all the better . I know I'm in transition because I will all of a sudden blurt out the most ridiculous requests and sayings . During one labour my midwife told my dh " turn up the heat " ! lol he has our thermostat on a fixed setting babies need a warm home to come into. As soon as I know baby is here and I hear him/ her I flop . I am happy to let dh and midwife clean , dress etc. that little sweetie pie .
After our last was born the midwife set him on my belly . he began to crawl up my belly right to my breast . The whole time he was making sound just like a monkey like ee eee eee eee lol . I just recently told this story to friends and mu girlfriend said " so that was your ds " apparently our midwife said she had never seen this before in all those birthing yrs.
During the birth of our eldest ds my dh lit a beautiful candle and placed it in the window . It was a gorgeous night with the moon big and full . After the birth we looked over at the candle and it had taken on a whole other beautiful shape all melted and dripping . Small things like this can just add so much to the whole experience .
When I was near the end of birthing our second child and my longest labour to date . It was dark still and I was hanging off of our hammock pushing . I was exhausted . Thank God I was still young ! This is the birth I made the most of my birthing voice . Such wonderful primitive sounds come from birthing . I have no idea how but all of a sudden I was placed within a Forest . I was squatting and holding onto a tree. I could feel the earthy damp soil between my toes as they dug into the ground . I could smell the earth so raw and pure . If I looked up I could see light trying to filter thru the tree branches. Then I heard it , other women hooting , calling out their own birth sounds . It was like our own language we were all in tune with each other . Then pop back in the room I was and our baby girl was born . I've like I said no idea the why this happened .I like to think God knew how tired I was so He gave me that little break ;-) it was one of the most precious moments I've had .
During the birth of our 4th child he was born blue and needed oxygen. My first reaction was panic then within seconds it lifted because I knew this was not in my control and whatever the outcome baby needed his momma calm . I just gently talked to him touching my face to his he came thru crying ever so loudly . I think seeing birth as we do all other experiences in our lives helps be open and trust for what may and can come . Do not try and control the process but rather be one with the experience is key.
We almost always have a funny moment during the birth event as well. One time we had the sudden oder of burnt hair . We all looked up to see the cat walking across the table right over the lit candles !
Ok one of the best parts of giving birth as I also mentioned before is that of finding all those little treasures for baby ! Yes be they little booties or a night cap isn't it so much fun . I love checking thrift stores , especially those little small ones run by MCC because often we find handmade clothing as well as toys. We always have items for cord care , little cloth diapers, small hats , receiving blankets , little socks , a bunting bag , cotton pad for changing baby on , small quilt or blanket , nighties , undershirts and rubber pants or wool covers for once the cord falls off. That is about it , babies truly are not an expense , it is all the gadgets mankind has invented that turn birth into an expense .
I'm hoping to work on putting together a few give away packs , related to pregnancy , herbs , infant care etc. over the next few months . I think this season of rebirth is a great time to offer this . For now I hope this wasn't to long , or boring and may offer some helpful insights . For all those who are expecting may I wish you a very Happy Birthing to You and may such beautiful saints as Brigid and Hildegard walk and share with You along the way ~ amen