You take the good, you take the bad

Today Jody and I celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary. Eight years ago, we said our vows and made promises to each other that have certainly been challenged at times. You know when you say your vows that at some point the honeymoon is going to end and that you will face challenges as a couple, but you never really know when those challenges will arise or how you and your partner will respond when they do.

Over the past few months, we’ve seen more than our fair share of “in sickness” rather than “in health” and, as a result, more “bad times” than “good.” Yet through it all, our love for each other has remained strong. I’m so thankful I have a husband who supports me even when I’m not at my best.

Today we celebrate our love and our commitment to each other and I am thankful for my husband for honoring his commitment to me, even though I don’t always make things easy.

Tomorrow we will face another challenge together as a couple – one no one can really prepare you for and one you hope you don’t ever have to experience. We’re putting the older of our two dogs, Ellie, to sleep tomorrow afternoon. It’s been a tough decision for us, but her health has been failing for a while now and we believe it is for the best. Jody and I are going with her for the process, while the kiddos will be staying at a friend’s house.

I explained to Ava that Ellie is going to the spirit world tomorrow and she asked if she is going to die and I said yes. She said, “we need to give her all of our kindness today.” And I agreed. She pet Ellie and said she will miss her and then went about playing. I think she will be OK. I hope the rest of us can be as accepting.

Please keep us, the kids, Ellie, and our other dog Maggie in your thoughts tomorrow. Thank you.

Holding onto hot coals

Earlier this week I finally got around to configuring my iGoogle page. If you haven’t set one up yet, you should do it. I like that I can have several important (to me) things on one page and I especially love that it has a To Do list right there. I’m constantly wanting to jot down reminders to myself and I either can’t find a pen or if I do, I end up losing the little slip of paper to a pocket abyss or the paper/receipt monster that lives in our house. So yes, iGoogle To Do list = Happy Amy. I added in some news headlines, of course my gmail, weather info for my city, a dictionary search bar, and a Buddhist Thought of the Day.

The first Buddhist Thought of the Day I read a few days seemed like it was written just for me. It said: “Holding onto anger is like grasping onto a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned.” – Buddha

I am always doing this. I have the hardest time letting things go.

Take today for example. I’m trying to sell some things we have laying around the house/yard on Craigslist. I posted an ad for 12 steel fence posts that we used to block off part of our yard while we tried to reseed it last year. The posts have since come out and were just sitting around. I had no idea how much Jody paid for them originally so I just went ahead and listed them at $1 a piece or $12 for all 12. When I told Jody what I priced them at, he thought it was a little low. So I added $3 on and changed the ad to say 12 for $15. But this was after a few people had already emailed me to express their interest in them. When I replied to the second guy on the list to tell him that the first person found some other ones closer to her house and mine were still available, I told him that my husband asked me to ask for three more dollars and asked him if he was still interested, when could he pick them up, etc. His response? “Tell your husband, no thanks. Go ahead and spend some more of your time trying to sell them.” I’m sorry, but why the attitude? Why couldn’t he just say no thanks? Why act like an ass?

So I’ve been trying to figure out what this guy’s problem is all morning. I wanted to write back and tell him where to go, but I haven’t and won’t. I guess I could just post his email address here and everyone could spam him for me. LOL That might make me feel better. ;) Just kidding. But seriously, I am trying to let go of this hot coal, but I haven’t yet and it keeps burning me. Why can’t I just let it go?

Perhaps this is yet another reason why I need therapy. Speaking of which, I should go make a phone call. ;)

The two-hour preschool interview

Apparently you gotta interview to get into preschool these days. When I say you, I don’t mean the preschooler, I mean you – the parents. Yes, tomorrow afternoon Jody and I are scheduled for a two-hour interview with Ava’s preschool teacher – without Ava. Two hours! That’s longer than any job interview I’ve ever had.

We decided to enroll Ava in a two morning/week Waldorf-inspired in-home preschool for the fall. She craves the socialization and I think she is more than ready for it. We have a few friends who have children in this program and they just love it. We’ve visited with the teacher twice now and went to see a class in session and feel it’s a good match for us and Ava. It’s a mix of ages (2-5) and there are a maximum of six children in the “class.” I love the Waldorf emphasis on natural toys and imaginative play. I also like that it’s spiritual, but not based on any particular religion. Another plus is that it’s literally about 4 blocks from our house so easily within walking distance. :)

I’m not exactly sure what is in store for us with during the two hours tomorrow, but I do know it’s a chance for the teacher to learn more about Ava. I’m sure it will be a good thing, it just seems awfully long.

I must admit I’m a little nervous about the Waldorf stance on TV watching (Waldorf kindergartens and lower grades discourage exposure to media influences such as television, computers and recorded music, as they believe these to be harmful to cognitive development) since Ava does watch TV (PBS shows) pretty much every weekday. It’s the only way I’ve figured out to make sure she stays occupied while I put Julian down for his naps. I understand why they discourage it and, in a perfect world, I would too, but I think the phrase “everything in moderation” could apply here too. (shrug)

I guess we’ll see if mommy gets into trouble before Ava even has her first day. ;) Wish me luck.

BSM – 8/6/07


Best Shot Monday – Buddhist Sand Mandala

My Best Shot Monday this week is actually four “best shots,” because I couldn’t pick just one to share of this beautiful art.

On Thursday and again on Saturday last week, I went to watched Kezang Dorjee, a Buddhist Monk from Bhutan, as he created a Buddha of Compassion Sand Mandala, all done by hand – sprinkling grains of sand with his fingertips in a slow, meticulous process. It was beautiful and amazing and I can only imagine the patience, training, skill and discipline that must go into creating one.

I learned, through the literature that was distributed at the mandala creation, that it is said that those viewing the making of a mandala are benefited through clearing obstacles in their life and purifying negative actions and karmas that have been done in the past. By concentrating on the image of the mandala, the viewer can experience blessings. Nice. I could always use some blessings. :)

Below are two pictures I took on Thursday and then two more from Saturday (when he was getting closer to being finished with it).

I wasn’t able to attend, but on Sunday the sand was swept up as part of a mandala dismantling ceremony and was then dispersed into a nearby creek to return to the Earth. This process symbolizes the transience of life and the ideal of non-attachment to the material world.

Thursday:

Buddha of compassion sand mandala creation 1Buddha of compassion sand mandala creation 2

Saturday:

Buddha of compassion sand mandala creation 3Buddha of compassion sand mandala creation 4

I know that’s four pictures (instead of one) for Best Shot Monday, but I really wanted to show off the beauty of the mandala. After all of the work and energy that went into it, I feel it is deserving. :)

See more pics from Best Shot Monday over at Picture This.
Oh, and please sign Mister Linky below if you participated in Best Shot Monday! :)



Giddy as a school girl

Ina May Gaskin

I’m giving myself an early birthday present tonight (my birthday is actually Monday, May 7) and going to see/hear Ina May Gaskin, called “The Greatest Midwife In The World,” talk about her views on childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting at an evening talk. I was hoping both Jody and I could attend, but we didn’t have anyone available to watch Ava, so Julian and I are going ourselves and will meet several of my friends (and my midwife) there.

Since planning for a homebirth for Julian, I admit I’ve become quite the birth geek. I’m fascinated by and in awe of it and love to learn all that I can. I admire midwives so greatly for the work that they do. While I can’t picture myself ever becoming a midwife, I do think it’d be amazing, an honor and a privilege to be a birth photographer someday (when my kids are older).

Ina May is a midwifery pioneer, noted international speaker and author of “Spiritual Midwifery” – a book that “encourages Americans to view birth as a natural life process, rather than a medical emergency” – and “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.” She’s been “catching babies” since 1970. She also introduced to the world the Gaskin Maneuver, an important birthing technique, which allows for a safe, non-invasive solution to shoulder dystocia, one of the most perplexing and feared complications facing obstetricians. – The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project

There’s a great interview with Ina May here.

Besides the fact that I get to hear this incredible woman share her views tonight, I feel it will be an awesome experience to be in a room with so many other women who are passionate about birth. Imagine the energy! After I sent my registration in, I received word that due to the overwhelming response, they were having to close registration. However, I found out last night that it has since been reopened as they found a larger room in which to host the talk. I’m glad that others who had wanted to go, but didn’t get their registration in in time, will now be able to. At least three women from my AP group have said they will now be coming since I posted that there is seating available. Yay! The more, the merrier.

Rest assured I will be posting about the talk in the next few days. Julian is usually a pretty mellow baby, so I’m hoping he’ll be content to either sleep on me in the Ergo or suck/chew on his toys while in my lap. I don’t want to miss a word Ina May says. Maybe I should bring a tape recorder? ;)

 

 

“Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers ~ strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.”

— Barbara Katz Rothman

The Law of Attraction

Don’t you love it when you put something out there in the universe and then get what you asked for? Ah, the “law of attraction” in action. :)

A week ago, I posted about some new blogs I’d come across and invited you, my readers, to share with me any blogs that you thought I might be interested in, hoping to find some more like-minded mamas out there in the blogosphere.

Fast forward to Feb. 13, when I received an emailed invitation to join a site called Maya’s Mom. The invite stated “…you can easily and seamlessly expose your blog to new readers by importing a feed into your Maya’s Mom journal. All entries will appear as new and link back to your personal blog!” I’m always interested in expanding my blog readership so I checked it out and signed up. I didn’t plan on getting too involved there, because I don’t have the time to commit to something else. However, as I perused the site, I decided to do a quick search for other members who had the word “homebirth” in their tags. I came across three women fitting that description and sent them an invitation to be my “friend” (similar to “friends” on MySpace, etc.).

One of them, named Christina (om mamma on Maya’s Mom) – a mother, author (of “The Dharma of Motherhood”) and speaker – responded to me after checking out my profile, invited me to her website and encouraged me to sign up for her monthly newsletter, saying she thought it was something I would enjoy.

With Jody home from work and able to watch the kids today, I emailed back and forth with Christina a bit, then spent a good chunk of the morning browsing her site and reading her columns. It only me a quick glance around her site to realize she is exactly the kind of wise and inspirational mama I’ve been looking for and I immediately added her blog – Dharma Mum – to my blogroll.

I’ve been touched by many of the things Christina writes about like discovering your potential, the power of words with regard to your children, bringing spirituality back into our lives, the potential of “mommy brain”, and more. I feel like I struck a gold mine and I want to share it with everybody. :)

From Christina’s about page:

I believe that every mother can choose to become a Peaceful Spiritual Warrior:
become the change you wish to see in the world
spend time in sacred silence
bring Spirit into your children’s lives
lead by example and a willingness to learn new things
honour the Goddess perfection within each of us
honour the God and Goddess Selves within each of our children
believe in a better way
work to make the world a better place
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE…
I believe mothering does not have to be as difficult as we are led to believe. I invite every mom to consider the benefits of bringing meditation and gratitude (amongst other things) back into your lives – to ground and centre the experience in deep meaning and with honour.

I’m sure I’ll be blogging about some of her writings/philosophies in the days/weeks ahead, as I think I can learn a lot from her, but in the meantime please feel free to check her out on your own.

Isn’t it cool the way things work out if you open yourself up to the possibilities? :)

Oh, and if you happen to join Maya’s Mom, look me up. My username there is amygeekgrl – what else? ;)