Brought Back to Life

May 16, 2013 at 10:59 pm

An online friend of mine is working on a book about suicide. Last month she asked me if I would write something for their book. I told her I’d be honored. Most of you have probably already read/heard versions of this story, but I thought I’d share a modified version of my essay here anyway. Perhaps one of you needs a glimmer of hope. I hope my story can be a light in someone else’s darkness.

After my parents’ divorce when I was a toddler, my grandmother had raised me, called me her “baby,” saved my life. As a young woman I often said, “When Grandma dies, I’m going to fall apart.” I was mostly joking. I had no idea just how prophetic those words would prove to be, and living that reality was no joke.

The first panic attack hit me a month before she died. I had never experienced anything like it before. For a week, I was in an agonizing anxiety, my heart racing, my mind a whirl of fears, my body throbbing in “fight or flight” mode. Strange as it sounds, I think some part of my soul could feel that Grandma would soon be dying, and so I started “dying” inside myself.

I had a brief respite from the agony. I thought it was over. I thought it was a weird fluke. When I spoke to Grandma on the phone for the last time before her death, I was at peace as I told her, “It’s OK, Grandma. You can go.” And for the month afterward, I am certain I was being held up by angels. But then, when we returned home a few weeks after the funeral, I started to crack, and the panic came back with a vengeance.

Raising Wailing Women

May 14, 2013 at 5:15 am

“Your pain holds the key to your purpose.” -Reggie Littlejohn

Image: Luc De Leeuw 2009

A few weeks ago, I made the mistake of reading a horrifying news article right before going to bed. In it I learned of hoards of women undergoing forced sterilizations and abortions in China and other parts of Asia. I saw a photo of some of these women lying in a row on the ground following their surgeries. As I lay in bed afterward, I couldn’t sleep. All I could do was weep.

After my father began his training as a mental health counselor, his parenting style began to shift. He began to say things like, “It’s OK to cry,” when I felt sad as a small child. Those words were new to me, but I remember what a relief it was to hear them.

I want my own children to know that I will always be there to listen when they are hurting inside. In her book, The Courage to Grieve, Judy Tatelbaum says, “Tolerating another’s tears is a very meaningful gift.” This is a gift I want to offer, especially to my children. I want them to know that it’s OK to cry, especially for someone else.

After all, God has commanded it. Much of parenting feels like fumbling in the dark, but there are some things about which God has given us specific instructions. “Teach your daughters wailing,” God has said (Jeremiah 9:20).

Happy Mother’s Day!

May 10, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Never forget that nurturing children is the most important work on Earth.

Every day you are planting countless seeds of love. You water those seeds with every act of service you perform, no matter how mundane. Every seed, every drop of water… matters.

You are teaching souls to fly. And that will change this world.

Healing Traumatized Genes

May 2, 2013 at 5:04 am

So I’ve been kind of obsessed with near-death experience accounts lately. My Grandma (a.k.a. primary-caregiver for most of my childhood) passed away last year. Her loss was pretty earth-shattering to my soul, and part of me was absolutely terrified: “What if everything I’ve ever believed all of my life is false? What if she ceased to exist? What if I never see her again?” So grief books and near-death accounts (among other things) have been instrumental in helping me to hold onto hope and faith that she most definitely does still exist, and I most definitely will see her again.

Yesterday I finished reading the bestseller Embraced By the Light by Betty J. Eadie. I found it for 99 cents at Goodwill last month and threw it in my cart. I’m pretty sure I read it back in the 90’s when she originally published it, but it was a whole lot more impactful now. I really loved her near-death story for so many reasons. Here are some of my not-really-death-related favorite quotes:

  • “I came to know that each of my children was on earth for their own experiences, that although I had thought of them as ‘mine,’ I had been mistaken. They were individual spirits, like myself, with an intelligence that was developed before their lives on earth. . . . They had only been placed in my care” (p. 35).
  • “I heard a soft, pleasant sound . . . . It was a tone similar to a note of music, but was universal and seemed to fill all the space around me. . . . The tones produced soft vibrations, and as they touched me I knew that they possessed the power to heal. . . . They were like spiritual salve, expressions of love that mended broken spirits” (p. 87).
  • “I learned that spirits can choose to enter their mother’s body at any stage of her pregnancy” (p. 95).

Film Review: Birth Story

April 24, 2013 at 4:52 am

“Some of the best birth footage out there–a must-see for anyone even remotely interested in the subject.” -Ceridwen Morris, CCE, childbirth educator, and co-author of From The Hips

When I received an email last week asking if I’d be interested in reviewing the film Birth Story on my blog, I immediately responded, “Yes!” I received my copy of the film over the weekend. My husband watched some of it with me, in between doing the dishes. I was impressed at how much it didn’t seem to freak him out. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. He’s been married to me for almost twelve years, after all.

they remember

March 30, 2013 at 7:08 am

So I’ve been working on a new project this past week in partnership with my new-found friend, Sarah Hinze. First, here’s a 50-second YouTube video I made to introduce it…

they remember is a site dedicated to the stories of unborn spirits–those who have already come, those who will come, and especially those whose first visits into their mothers’ wombs were cut short.

I Knew Her

March 28, 2013 at 3:39 pm

After my grandma’s funeral, each of her great-grandchildren took a flower from the arrangement on her casket. My children took their time selecting just the right one. And then my oldest daughter did something that touched my heart so deeply. She took a flower and laid it gently on my aunt Paula Kay’s gravestone.

My oldest daughter’s middle name is also Kay.

Paula died in a tragic accident just a few days before her second birthday. My father was a two-month-old infant at the time. I wouldn’t be born for another thirty-five years, but for as long as I can remember I have loved Paula Kay.

Rescue Mission

March 21, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Last week I wrote:

I have gone back and forth in my head about whether to share that dream publicly. I’m still not certain. But I think I was given that dream because it contains a message not just for me but for all women. And I feel it is my responsibility to share that message. Reading Sarah Hinze’s book today, I felt over and over… it’s time to tell the world what you saw. Hopefully I’ll muster the courage soon.

So I got a big kick in the pants today. Get over to your computer and write about your dream. I haven’t felt ready yet, and I’m still nervous about it. I’m nervous, in part, because I suspect that what I’m about to share will not rest well with some people. I suppose I’m willing to accept that risk.

In January of 2012, I had a dream. Occasionally God speaks to me in dreams. I feel that this was one of those divine messages. Here’s what I saw…

I was walking with someone. I don’t know who it was. The road we were walking down looked like a ghost town. Dark, abandoned buildings. Dirty. Trash everywhere. But we were the only people walking down a deserted road. Eventually, we went over to the gutter on the side of the road, and I picked something up. At first I thought it was just a piece of garbage. But then, as I looked closer, it seemed to transform in my hand. It was a baby!  A tiny baby… only an inch or two or three. It fit in the palm of my hand, and it was alive.

Coming From the Light

March 13, 2013 at 9:45 pm

“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:

Happy Sleep

March 7, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I’ve been fluctuating between severely-sleep-deprived and mildly-sleep-deprived for most of my life. Before having children, I had my own night-owl tendencies to blame. After having children, I wished I could go back in time and yell at my former self, “Sleep while you can!!!!!” I was utterly unprepared for the whiplash of new-parent sleep-loss. Honestly, I think last year’s craziness was partially just nine years of chronic sleep-deprivation pushing me to my breaking point. Sleep is so important, but its usually in short supply when you’re a mom, especially if you’ve chosen “night-time parenting” as your side-job.

I want you to get more sleep. I want your babies (small and large) to get more sleep. Here are some things you might want to try, if that’s what you want as well.

 

1) Music

I’ve been really interested in sound lately. I’m reading a book called Healing at the Speed of Sound: How What We Hear Transforms Our Brains and Lives. I love these words from the preface, “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.” And these words from the introduction, “We may choose organic good at the supermarket and avoid inhaling others’ cigarette smoke, yet we rarely pay attention to the equally positive or negative health impacts of sound, the other thing we put in our bodies.” I am loving thinking about the concept of “sound nutrition.” Great stuff.

Must-(not)-haves for the first-time mom

March 5, 2013 at 1:43 am

“Most children’s shoes ought to come with a government health warning.” -Tracy Byrne (podiatrist)

When I was pregnant for the first time, I was fresh out of college and my husband was starting graduate school. We answered phones after-hours as live-in caretakers in a mortuary (seriously) for four years so we didn’t have to pay rent while my husband finished his schooling. He worked in addition to his graduate school responsibilities, but we had very little money.

Not all families start out as low on funds as we did, but I know many of them do. The marketing targeted at first-time moms is overwhelming. Magazines, television, internet ads, and sometimes friends and family can fill our heads with so many “must-haves” for our babies. After 9+ years of motherhood, I think often of all the baby paraphernalia that seem so essential when you’re pregnant for the first time but really aren’t necessary at all. It’s astounding how much stuff you can accumulate once a baby joins the family. And when we had our first baby, space was at a minimum in our tiny apartment.

If you’re looking for ways to keep your stress levels at a minimum, simplify, and cut clutter and costs as you enter parenthood, here’s my personal list of items you may want to leave off your list.

1) Changing tables. We got by just fine with a towel (for leaks) on the floor or on our bed. My goal was always to not leave my bed for night-time feedings and diaper changes… none of this going to a changing table in the middle of the night thing. They may be nice to store all the diapers and wipes, but a nightstand, closet, or cupboard works just as well for that. I’d also include the entire “baby nursery” as unnecessary, but that could be a whole other blogpost in itself. ;-)

2) Baby lotion. We got bottles and bottles of the stuff for baby shower gifts as first-time parents. Most of them got re-gifted to other new parents… you know, let’s spread the useless wealth, right? Here’s the reality… babies have lusciously soft skin as it is, and baby lotion may actually be harmful. If you’d like something to use for baby massages or skin irritations, I’d recommend coconut oil or olive oil.

3) Pacifiers and bottles. I realize that these are life-savers (or absolutely essential) for many moms, but if you’re certain you want to breastfeed, you probably won’t need them. My babies simply wouldn’t take any size or shape of pacifier (except our pinkie fingers or my own real-life nipples). And they wouldn’t take bottles either. We wasted a lot of money trying different brands and styles in search of “the one.” In the end, it was just easier to breastfeed exclusively… and the good news was that we never had to break our children of their binkie or bottle addiction.

Mothering my children, healing myself

July 28, 2010 at 8:08 pm

The way I mother my children is unusual in mainstream American culture (but common among my readers).  I share my bed with my babies, I could never endure “cry-it-out” (even for a few minutes), I breastfeed on-demand for an extended period of time, I practice “nighttime parenting” by soothing or nursing my babies and toddlers back to sleep every time they awaken, I hold and carry my wee ones as much as possible (often in slings/wraps), I respond as quickly as possible to their cries of distress, and I rarely leave them with anyone besides my husband.  Some might say I take Attachment Parenting to an extreme.  There are probably those who would even say I take it to an unhealthy extreme.  I certainly haven’t had a decent night of sleep for, well… years, and date nights with my husband are very rare.  Some might assume I am driven to these extremes because I believe other parenting styles to be unethical (or evil), because I’m trying to be better than everyone else, or because I’m pursuing an unrealistic vision of “perfect” motherhood.  But they would be wrong.  Understandably…. because they don’t know my history (or my gene pool).

No-sew baby wrap instructions

July 1, 2010 at 3:18 pm

I frequently peruse the clearance fabric looking for anything stretchy and breathable. You can never have too much stretchy, breathable fabric.  That is, if everyone you know is having babies. Wrap-style baby carriers are my new favorite gift for pregnant mommas because they are a must-have for busy moms who need their hands, and they’re incredibly easy to make.

Here’s how (I consulted this site to figure out the details):

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Pinterest