I feel like life is both speeding up and slowing down at the same time. This week I will be 36 weeks pregnant, and I can feel myself moving into a sort of dream-like liminal space as my baby’s birth approaches. At the same time, life is so busy that the days fly by, and I don’t feel ready to walk through the doorway into the life where I’m a mom of five and waking up every few hours to feed a baby. But walking through that doorway isn’t really optional, so here I go. In other news… here are six things that have been on my mind these days…
A week ago tonight I did something very brave. I got up in front of about 100 [felt like a billion] women and gave a speech.
For years I have had this belief about myself that I am “slow of speech.” I am the daughter of a master teacher. My father has taught and trained professionally for most of his adult life. But I thought my apple had fallen quite far from the tree. For years I have believed things like this: I am a writer, not a speaker. I can be eloquent in writing, but not in speech. I am horrible at [vocally] explaining things, but give me a computer keyboard and I’m golden.
Simultaneously, I have had multiple experiences throughout my life in which I have been told or prompted (by teachers, friends, God and others) that I should open my mouth more, that speaking would be a part of my future. Me? Really? Me?
So, last December, a friend of mine extended an invitation. She wanted to know if I would come speak at a church women’s dinner meeting in February. I told her, “I think I can do that. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”
I thought it was going to just be a room of maybe twenty women. I would only be speaking for twenty minutes or so. No big deal. But the truth was… it felt like a really big deal. A really, really big deal. In fact, that’s exactly how I started my speech. After a few introductory words, I said something like this:
In October I received a free review copy (from Cedar Fort Publishing) of the book Walking with the Women of the New Testament, by Heather Farrell ( beautiful art by Mandy Jane Williams). I knew right off the bat that my review would be biased. Heather Farrell and I, along with Felice Austin, Robyn Allgood, and Sheridan Ripley, co-wrote The Gift of Giving Life from 2009 until it was published in 2012.
I found Heather’s blog Women in the Scriptures back in 2009 doing an internet search about Eve. After clicking around on her blog and devouring a bunch of her posts, I told Felice, “We need her!” Not long after that, we invited her to join with us in writing The Gift of Giving Life. Over the course of the project, we eventually all met in person. I adore Heather Farrell.
A couple of weeks ago I was driving home after dropping off my kids at school, and I saw a short older woman walking on the sidewalk coming toward us. She looked kind of like this. As we came closer to her, she and I made eye contact through my windshield, and something happened. It was like our souls connected somehow. But I had to make a turn onto our street, so it didn’t last long. I don’t usually have experiences like that when passing strangers in the street, so I was intrigued and wondered about it, but I also sort of forgot about it.
Until the next day. As I was walking my kindergartner into his classroom in the morning, we turned a corner and there was the same woman right in front of me again. We made eye contact (again). She smiled like she recognized me and said, “Hello.” I smiled back and said, “Hello,” and then rushed my son into his classroom. But, again, it felt like our souls had connected somehow.
A few days later I was telling a friend about these unusual encounters. In response, she said, “I bet she was an angel.” The thought hadn’t occurred to me, but I kind of wondered if she might be right. This woman definitely looked mortal to me, but (angel or not) I had a feeling we would cross paths again. I told my husband about these incidents and said, “What if we run into each other at the park or something? What do you say to someone who might be an angel?” I spent a lot of time pondering what the right words would be and feeling kind of nervous and excited about it.
If you follow me on facebook, you may have noticed that I’ve become a wee bit obsessed with sharing quote-pics of late. This is partly because I discovered Pinwords, and it’s so fast and easy to make them that I’ve become a little overzealous and perhaps a bit addicted.
Another reason I’ve been so pic-happy is that I’m a little late in discovering that facebook shares status updates and photos with more people than it shares links. Pics are a way to reach more people. Plus it’s easy to read and share a pic in a few seconds, whereas it takes significantly more time to click on a link and read the post before deciding whether to “like” or “share” it. But mostly I’m just enjoying having a new creative outlet.
Here are some of my creations… please feel free to share them on your social networks. Click on the pics to read more about the various topics.
Last October, my friend Felice started teaching meditation webinars. I had been battling anxiety/depression for months. Felice had been trying to get me meditating for years. I figured, “Hey, it couldn’t hurt to try.” The week I started meditating with her was the week I started to feel like myself again. Coincidence? Perhaps. A lot of things had shifted in my life at that time. But the more I learn about meditation, the more I want to meditate.
Last week a reader recommended the book Meditation as Medicine, by Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., when I wrote about my panic attack. I checked it out from my local library and started reading it yesterday. I wish I could just sit and read this book all day. I love the author’s writing/teaching style.
I’ve been learning a lot lately about the healing power of sound (see here and here). So I’ve been seeing the world through that lens, frequently asking myself, “What sounds am I hearing? Do they feel good to me?” Interestingly enough, yesterday in the car, my daughter said (completely out of the blue), “This song sounds evil.” I changed the station!
I particularly like this quote from the preface of Healing at the Speed of Sound:
“When we speak of being of ‘sound mind and body,’ we seldom realize that sound itself is the root of being. That sound itself is the route to acquire those things we want so much, a sound mind and body.”
My father has been a mental health professional for the vast majority of my life. For a considerable amount of time, he worked as a counselor to survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Many of my immediate family members are, in fact, survivors. During my growing years, my dad spoke often of the great spiritual gifts and experiences of his clients. I have come to believe that survivors of sexual abuse are among the most noble spirits on this earth.
My dad once told me of a client who had several guardian angels who came to her often during the years she was sexually abused. On several occasions, while she was being assaulted, her guardian angels had to be restrained from intervening. One, in particular, wept in agony as he tried to break free from his angel companions to stop the abuse.
Almost a year ago, I was reminded of this story during a spiritual morning jog. I had been feeling myself slip into depression and despair for awhile and feeling sorry for myself. I wrote a bit about this experience here. After the memory of my dad’s story had been brought to my remembrance, my mind was flooded with flashes of images, realizations, and epiphanies. On April 19, 2012, I wrote about some impressions and revelations I received during that powerful morning alone-time:
“Your babies do not want another mother.” -from a 5-year-old’s near-death experience
Over the past couple of days I’ve been reading a book by AZ author, Sarah Hinze. She has many books, but this is the only one I was able to get from the library. It’s called Coming From the Light: Spiritual Accounts of Life Before Life.
I became aware of Sarah several years ago (while we were in the process of writing our book) when I stumbled upon her website. We were hoping to include more about pre-birth encounters in our book, but we were lucky to include just a few stories. I am hopeful that I will have the privilege of meeting Sarah sometime soon. (She will be speaking at the AZ Holistic Living Conference this month.)
As I have been reading her book, I have been flooded with so much warmth and light. The stories of not-yet-born children making appearances in visions and dreams have so touched my heart. As you may know, I have experienced several of these pre-birth encounters with my own children. The most profound of those experiences were with my fourth child. I recounted them in my birth account two years ago. I’ll share an excerpt here:
Last year we had a wonderful Virtual Book Tour where bloggers either interviewed one of us, hosted a guest post, or did a review of The Gift of Giving Life. It was so much fun! We are excited to do it again this year between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and we are looking for bloggers who want to participate this year.
If you are interested please e-mail Sheridan at sheridan At enjoybirth DOT com with the following information, or leave it in the comments below. OR if you have a connection to a blogger who may be interested, please put let me know who they are and your connection.
- What is your blog called? Please share a link.
- Give a one-sentence description of your blog/website.
- How many visits does your blog get in a typical month?
- Do you have a facebook page for your blog? If so, how many “likes” do you have?
- Do you already have The Gift of Giving Life and have you read it?
- Why do you want to be included in our book tour?
I mentioned on my facebook page that I recently turned our bedroom into a sort-of tribute to bellies, babies, birth, and life-giving. And people wanted pics!
I’ve been taking what we already had (with the addition of a few cheap Goodwill frames) to decorate with. So that means we finally hung up lots of things I’ve been planning to hang up for ages, including many of our birth and pregnancy photos (most of them taken by my talented doula friend, Cassie). And lots of trees, green things, life, love, and growth.
I think this is the first time we’ve ever really had stuff hanging in our bedroom. I really like how everything looks!
Now for the pics…
Give The Gift of Giving Life this holiday season! Get 33% off when you buy three or more copies of our book HERE using coupon code FSLUTHK9!
- Get three books for only $40.17. It is pretty much buy 2 get 1 free!
- Regular shipping is $4.77. If you want the books to be under the tree you should order by December 12th for regular shipping.
- The Gift of Giving Life is also a perfect gift to have on hand for baby showers too, so stock up now! One woman bought 6 copies – 1 for each of her daughters and daughters-in-law. Another bought 10 copies to have on hand as baby shower gifts.
- Offer ends December 20th.
I’m planning to purchase several (once I figure out what my mailing address is going to be next month). I hope you will too!
p.s. Just as a reminder… I’m not sharing this to put money in my pocket. I won’t see a penny from your purchases (and I don’t get any free books myself). We just want to spread the message of our book far and wide… that God will help us through all the challenges and triumphs of the process of giving life and that our Heavenly Parents care deeply about the life-giving process from start to finish.
Saturday was my birthday, and I was given a wonderful gift at the end of the day. I received an email from one of my readers, sharing how my essay “Unity with Providers of Care” (in the Unity chapter of our book) had a positive impact on her. She also shared a beautiful spiritual experience she had after reading my essay. With her permission, I share it today. -Lani/Busca
I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and have been making my way through The Gift of Giving Life, and I wanted to tell you how much your book has helped me.
Long story short, I was very unhappy with the hospital care I received with my 3rd child. While I like the Ob/Gyn I normally see, they have about twenty doctors that rotate at the hospital. With my 3rd child, I played Russian roulette with this system and ended up with two very horrid doctors who threatened and yelled at me for giving birth the way I wanted to. So I have been hoping to find—and not have to pay for—a better option for my 4th child.
Yesterday I had a very important meeting with the head OB for the insurance provider we have to discuss whether or not I could get a referral to a birthing center. I’d been waiting for a month for this appointment and was very keyed up about the whole thing, so I went to bed the night before knowing that I probably wouldn’t be sleeping well…
Read the rest of the post HERE.
I’m posting over at The Gift of Giving Life today…
Right now I feel like my life is a birth canal, my universe pressing in on me from all sides, so much pressure.
And as I look back over my nearly-32 years on this earth, I can see that my whole life was a series of wombs and birth canals. Comfortable lulls followed by strait and narrow (frequently uncomfortable) squeezes into my next phase of growth and development…
Read the rest HERE.
I haven’t been able to bring myself to blog here (or anywhere) for awhile. The things I love… writing, researching, thinking about birth, taking photographs, cooking, gardening… they’ve all fallen by the wayside. I’m in survival mode, and it’s taking everything I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. This trial has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever been through. Every trial probably feels that way when you’re in the middle (or even the end) of it, I suppose. Even so, this one feels especially hard and long. I thought it was over when I wrote this post, but alas I was wrong.
For someone who has spent the last decade of my life passionate about birth and motherhood and babies, it seems so strange that… at present… I have to confess… seeing pregnant women makes me feel anxious, seeing babies makes me feel anxious, thinking about ever being pregnant again or having another baby makes me feel horrified. How awful is that? I just helped write a whole book called The Gift of Giving Life for crying out loud! How did I get to this place? I hope with all my heart that I will be able to once again see the beauty and joy of giving life someday soon.
So the blog has been more quiet for the past month or so. This is partly because I’ve been busy trying to get better (still have some hard days), partly because I’ve been focused on my grandmother, partly because I’ve been busy with our Virtual Book Tour, partly because we’ve been spending lots of time with family and outdoors. I do have blogposts waiting to be written, gestating in my brain. But, in the meantime, here are some pictures of what we’ve been up to…