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Category Archives: Beauty

Uncommon Thanks

1)  The physical act of pressing the French Press.  Such joy it brings.

2)  That Norah deals with her own loose teeth.  Loose teeth gross me out.  She lost one this morning and it was such a non-issue.  Note to self:  DO NOT forget the tooth fairy tonight.

3)  The ways my husband wakes me up.  I’m not a morning person.  Scott is.  This week, he parodied local radio personalities to wake me.  “I’m Cathy Bradberry and this is Earthsense” or “I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension.”  In October, he put a giant Halloween Snoopy inflatable in bed with me.

4)  That the girls haven’t noticed I sold their play kitchen.

5)  Popping the top on the popcorn.  It doesn’t happen often.  When I was growing up, I watched my dad pop stovetop popcorn and sometimes the lid would start to rise.  It still gives me shivers of excitement.

6)  Letters Norah leaves around the house (this one is for the house gnome.  She thinks he took her barbie.  In reality, Goodwill took it.)

I think I’ll blame the house gnome for the play kitchen, too.

End of September Joys

As I try to give myself more margin, I’m noticing much small joy around me.

Is any joy small?

* Cedar’s love of frilly pink things and My Little Ponies.

* Sharing poetry and Shakespeare with Norah.

* Playing iPod shuffle “name that tune” with Scott. I’m really weak at Yacht Rock.

* Silly texting with Noelle even though international texting isn’t free. We’ve always silly texted so even though Skype is free, we continue the practice.

* Learning about the Faroe Islands because they regularly show up in my blog visitor stats and I don’t know about this lovely place. Now I want to visit. Or live there. Hello to my reader(s) in the Faroe Islands!

* Receiving texts about intimate birthy things in the middle of dinner parties. It is like the sweetest slumber party secret.

* Cedar sleeping with 24 My Little Ponies and hearing them fall out of her bed. One at a time. All night long.

* Watching Norah draw.

* The mothercords I wear on my ankles and the families they represent.

* Cedar putting on her “work boots” to help my dad work. I have almost this same picture from when I was a kid.

* Discovering that Keen makes boots. Discovering this tidbit because my sweetest of all husbands ordered a pair for me.

* The last warm days of summer.

* Norah asking me to help her memorize “Be Thou My Vision.”

May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright heav’ns Son.

I hope you’re also finding joy in these fleeting, wispy moments.

My first 10 on 10

Inspired by Rachel and Victoria, I want to do a 10 on 10.  One picture for ten hours on the tenth.  Who knows?  Maybe it will become a regular to-do.

Or maybe it will be incredibly uninteresting.

7am:  To keep my sanity during election madness, re-reading Jesus for President.

8am:  On my commute downtown, I spy someone’s pants waiting for the dry cleaner’s to open.

9am:  Toddler potty emergency led to an unplanned stop in Starbuck’s.

10am:  Visiting with Natalie as she beautifies Natural Baby.

11am:  Storytime

12pm:  Lunch.  Don’t judge.  I was craving that mean looking green pepper.

1pm:  Helped a newly pregnant woman pick out some beach reading. (No, not Orgasmic Birth)

2pm:  Evaluating the mess.  The mess this girl-child makes.

3pm:  Picked up Norah from school

4pm:  scuppernong snack


ten on ten button small

Who takes most of my blog pictures?

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If there is a picture on my blog that looks really amazing. And if I look perfectly photoshopped in the picture. Or the kids look like darlings. Then Tracie Birch took the picture.

I always have great hair in her pics.  I think I might be skinnier, too.  She’s cool like that.

And she’s giving away a FREE SESSION with digital prints!

If you’re local to upstate, SC or you want to visit, go enter her contest.  It ends tonight!

I mean, look at the photo she took of my parents.  Perfectly captured his crazy.  Perfectly captured mom’s patience.

Cozying up with Little Women

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Last night I took Norah and her two friends to the theater. We saw “Little Women”, the musical. I wanted to do something special for her friends since I knew their dad was deploying the week of the show.

As Norah and I pulled into their neighborhood, Norah said, “You know, Mom, the girls in Little Women are a lot like my friends’ dad. Both of the dads are gone to war.”

I had to pull over for a second. I hadn’t made the connection at all. Quickly, I ran through the story in my head. Would it be ok to take these girls to see it?

I pulled the girls’ mom aside as they loaded up and asked her thoughts. She looked as surprised as I had been. I can’t believe we didn’t think about it! She hurriedly took her youngest daughter aside and told her that the story tonight would be about a different war. One fought a long time ago.

I’m mentally kicking myself.

I’ve read Little Women umpteen times. Somehow, reading it and watching even the musical version at this time in my life has been powerful.

Reading it, I’m intrigued by Marmee as a mother. Her candid talk. Especially when she admits, “I am angry nearly every day of my life.” Mostly, Marmee makes me feel inadequate in every way. It is no wonder I latch on to this one revelation.

The musical was brilliant. Fifteen minutes into it, I stopped biting my nails and fretting over the girls. I got caught up in the story. The first moment that hit me was Marmee’s scene in which she tries to write her absent husband a letter. She wants to tell him how hard the days are and how alone she feels. And how she fears she is failing as a mother. But she can only write chipper words of encouragement. I ached for my friend who said the same thing about when she tried to write a letter to her deployed husband.

And then came Marmee’s song, “Days of Plenty” which begins after Jo asks, “How do you do it? How do you go on?” referencing Beth’s death.

I missed the funeral of a young mother in our community to attend “Little Women”. It wasn’t an easy decision. Images of my grieving friends and this mother’s small children were always in my thoughts. I wanted to be there to support them.

And then this song.

I refused to feel tragic,
I am aching for more than pain and grief.
There has got to be meaning,
Most of all when a life has been so brief.
I have got to learn something,
How can I give her any less?
I want life to go on.
I want Days of Plenty

You have to Believe,
There is reason for Hope.
You have to Believe
That the answers will come.
You can’t let this defeat you.
I won’t let this defeat you.
You must fight to keep her there,
Within you!

So Believe that she matters!
And Believe that she always will!
She will always be with you!
She’ll be part of the days you’ve yet to feel!
She will live in your bounty!
She will live as you carry on your life!

So carry on,
Full of Hope,
She’ll be there,

For all your Days of Plenty

I love that line, “She will live in your bounty.”

I didn’t know Eileen well. I knew her as a mom in the playgroup. Our conversations were rarely more than surface level mom stuff. She had sparkly eyes and a humongous spirit. I remember once when she spontaneously led the older kids in yoga poses during a babywearing group. They followed her like the pied piper.

Many of my friends knew her deeply and loved her deeply. And as I sat in the theater with tears falling off the tip of my nose, listening to a musical (a musical!!), I knew that I was hearing Truth.

She’ll be part of the days you’ve yet to feel. She will live in your bounty. She will live as you carry on your life.

My time with Little Women has been unexpectedly raw and revealing. And I have to believe there is reason for absorbing it at this time and place.

Of deployed husbands and fathers.

Of angry marmees.

Of grieving friends.

May we carry on full of Hope.

Lately Preparing for Christmas With

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy unchanging love
Here I raise my Ebenezer
Here there by Thy great help Ive come
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily Im constrained to be
Let that grace now, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Heres my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, Im fixed upon it
Mount of Thy unchanging love

Overheard at a homebirth

I take notes during births.  I like to record comments.  Usually I get some funny ones.  Occasionally a few “you did this to me” from mama to papa. 

Here are all the notes I recorded from a recent homebirth.  I arrived 2.5 hours before baby so these were all spoken in active labor.  And mom is not a Hypnobabies student.  🙂 

“What a magical time.”

“Gimme some lovin'”

“I can’t believe how natural this feels.”

“I love you.”

“It feels good.  How can it feel this good?  It is %*#&$ great!”

“Why do I feel it is easy?”

“So easy, easy, easy, so easy.”

And then after the birth, “I don’t know if that birth could have been any more blissful.”

The question is:  Do our positive words, feelings of love, and gratitude to partner/support team create an easier birth?   Or does an easy birth create the positive words, love, gratitude?

Expecting twins?

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Sacred Moments

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It was the middle of the day.  There were four of us.  A woman, her husband, their doula, and a baby ready to be born.  The light was muted by curtains.  She had carefully created this birthing room in her home.

It was an ordinary weekday.  The neighborhood went about its business.  The postman delivered the mail.  In the distance, someone cut the grass.  The school bus picked up and dropped off children.

But inside the birthing room, something transcendent was happening.

Inside the birthing room, there was silence.  For an hour, complete silence as the woman worked with her waves.  The only sound was water.  Each time a wave began, I slowly poured water from a pitcher down her back.  And in the background, water flowed from a fountain she had placed in the room.

I didn’t dare speak.  The space was heavy with the sacred.

This is what the Lord says—he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and will help you:  Do not be afraid…

for I will pour out water on the thirsty land…

I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring and my blessing on your descendants. 

They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.

(Isaiah 44:2-4)

Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself,

where she may have her young—a place near your altar. 

(Psalm 84:3)

This is what the Lord says—he who created you…he who formed you…

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you by name; you are mine. 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you…

Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you.” 

(Isaiah 43:1-4)

I glimpse the sacred at all births I attend.  I feel near to the altar.  Like a priestess serving the woman; but ultimately the Author of this new life.  It is a meeting of worlds–the spiritual and physical.  Soon after, the midwife and her apprentice arrived.  The baby was born.  And the world carried on, though forever changed by a new life.

As birth servants, may we ever tread carefully in these birthing rooms.  These altars.

More wooden lovelies

I promised to post some pictures of other beautiful wooden gifts Scott made for Christmas.

Wine bottle stoppers:

Coffee scoops:

Duck call:

Coffee Grinders:

Ice Cream Scoops:

Teething Necklaces:

And yes, he is working on the teething necklaces this weekend!  I’ll have some for those of you who wanted one very soon. 

I think he did a FAR superior job than that time I tried to make all our Christmas gifts.