Monthly Archives: May 2016

The nest

Birds have been flying back to the nest lately. Landing gently, with wings full grown, they linger for some days. Three little birds are in this nest yet. Their feathers are growing in. Quite soon, they will be taking little practice flights. At times, they may fall to the leafy cushion below. A mama and a papá bird are in the nest too, each with a broken wing. And so, the roles mix, as one who has strength brings the worms for the day. It is not known where the worms will come from; yet day by day there is enough for each open beak. A mother  bird flies out to feather the nest as her wing strengthens. There is goodness here, in the coming and the going. There is rest. There is love. Grown and young, big and small, give and receive…

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

The art of patience. 

Just for the record, I don’t have this. I was raised to figure it out, get things done, think it through, try harder. All of those well honed skills of my Baptist childhood are not serving me right now.

Healing  takes time. There are lovely supportive modalities, acupuncture and craniosacral, oils and chiropractic and reiki.  I do them, gratitude brimming for gifted practitioners. They help to support the body’s natural healing process; but nothing can rush it.

Today was a day of trying to figure it out. And after all my best efforts, it didn’t do it. If I could have the ability to do something by the sheer force of my will, I would be doing many things. It doesn’t work. 

Tonight it was a concert for the children. My brain was glitching, as my middle schooler says. More descriptive than “post concussive syndrome”. A little loss perhaps, in the grand scheme of things; but a little loss in a long string of losses.

And so, for tonight, I’m giving my brain permission to rest. Healing brains like rest; not the sleeping kind, but the kind that pulls down the stimulation and external noise and light. 

The problem is, much of the noise comes from inside me.  So for tonight, I ask for quiet to seep into my very cells. 

  Psalm 130

I pray to God… My life a prayer… And wait for what he’ll say and do. My life’s on the line before God, my Lord. Waiting and watching til morning. Waiting and watching til morning.  


I am a woman

What does it mean to be a woman?

How was your womanhood welcomed? Was it blessed?

One of the questions in the “medical” history of a first time midwifery visit is, “what age was your first menses?”  It is followed by data questions about how often and how long. Good to know when making a guess about when baby might make an appearance!

As a midwife, I love to step into those waters:  “what was it like for you when you first got your period? Did you feel protected? Who walked with you?”

The stories come, slowly at first  and then with a rush of words. They often leave me wanting to weep. The idea of even being honored is as foreign as can be. Most often, a girl was left alone to figure it out. Perhaps she filled in the blank with fearful images in a culture where blood is “dirty” and a woman’s “monthly” is called a curse. At best, a book or supplies had been provided ahead of time. More often than not, the girls in the school bathroom filled in for mothers.

I was alone, on a trip with my dad. I went to the bathroom every hour, becoming skilled at fashioning makeshift pads out of toilet paper. When I told my mom a week later, she immediately told my dad. I felt ashamed and betrayed. He immediately came and clapped a hand on my shoulder: “that’s my pal!”  He was proud I had kept it a secret; in a family where secrets were the rule and the threat of violence ever present. And the message I got, once again, was: “don’t tell” and “you are on your own”.

Let your mind drift back gently to remember your woman-girl of 10 or 12 or 14. How did this rite of passage unfold for you? What messages were spoken or unspoken? What did you carry from those words? Was there anyone, sister friend or mother, who offered eyes of kindness? Have you offered that to yourself, or sought it out from your grown up sisters now?  What about to your daughters?

We must begin to bless our womanhood. We cannot offer  it first  to our daughters. We must first begin to bless ourselves. Welcoming the moon cycle, reveling in its flow, is a beginning. Embracing the rhythms of rest and nurture that your body asks for. Recognizing that there are weeks of the month when creativity and energy will peak, and others where you will want to pull in and be in a cave. Gather in Red Tent circles, eat soup, knit, create, collage, sing. Find your people, your tribe, your sisterhood. Then, and only then, can you and I offer these gifts with open hands to our own daughters.

Embrace all that it means to say:    I am a woman. 
(Playing off the title of the “I am a midwife” series from MANA. )

Of mothers and daughters

Women weave their dance,

Maypoles and streamers intertwine. 

Little girls full of hope, 

Skipping down the maypole line. 

The colors of ribbons and flowers,

Swirl together in my mind. 

Waldorf memories with children,

A simpler, sweeter glimpse of life. 

Women weave their dance. 

Generations past still whisper. 

Girls whose hope is stripped,

Begat girls who grow to mothers. 

The colors of memories intertwine,

Grief darkens trees and flowers. 

Of daughters lost and mothers gone,

Or here but just as far.  

Children weave their magic,

This day to honor mothers. 

Simple gifts of kindness,

Offer love which covers sin. 

The colors of hope and grief,

Side by side swirl from His palette. 

Today is all there is, 

Tomorrow still inside us. 

May courage weave it’s thread,

To see what is behind us. 

Take off rose colored glasses,

And grieve the pain that binds. 

Yet colors speak of love,

Both before and behind us. 

And whisper of the hope

Tis truth the women choose. 

I am a hero.

“You are my hero… “These words from my rheumatologist’s mouth caught me entirely off guard. I laughed, an old trick I learned as a Baptist preacher’s daughter when I felt uncomfortable. He came right back again: “I’m serious. You are my hero.”

I am having trouble soaking that one in. I don’t know why? Maybe I had my shield up so strong that nothing came through. I told a friend, “how can I be a hero if I can’t even drive or function as an adult in this society”. I am 5 1/2 months into healing from the car accident. It seems to all be about trusting the slow heal. There’s no “hurry up” on anything. 

So 24 hours later, I am still wrestling with the word. I decided to look it up in the dictionary, a leftover tactic from being a good girl student. Now I’m just angry!

he·ro. ˈhirō/. noun.  1. a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”a war hero”. synonyms: brave person, brave man/woman, man/woman of courage, man/woman of the hour, lionheart, warrior, knight. 2. another term for submarine sandwich. 

What is this “typically a man” business?! That just offends me on every level.   (Nor do I identify with being a submarine sandwich, by the way). 😏

So in God’s humor, the ridiculousness of the definition has had the desired effect. While I am not so sure about any “Noble qualities”, I can say this with certainty:


I am a hero. 

Courage. Bravery. Me.