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Archive for March, 2011

It’s not that I have nothing to write about. Quite the opposite, in fact. I have so much that I want to write about that it’s almost overwhelming. Words flow and the ideas come at the oddest of times, usually when I don’t have a pen and paper at my side. My husband helped with that problem. On my last birthday, he got me a phone.

It was a pretty cool phone; I could write with it! I could create MS Word documents, power points, even excel programs. And when I couldn’t write, I could record audio for a time that I could type it up. I was set.

The problem? Not long after my birthday, and before I had the time to figure much out about my phone and get in the groove of using it, my life became a lot busier. Imagine having a couple of friends who would help with your kids whenever you needed a breather, and then from one day to the next figuring out how to operate without even a spouse for a couple of months. Thank God that phase didn’t last long, but needless to say, my blog remained untouched for that period of time, and my Facebook seldom perused.

Life has its cycles and there always seems to be something or another that requires a good amount of time and focus. It’s not always the same thing and it’s often a challenge for me to find the right balance between my responsibilities before the next cycle or stage comes along that requires a different focus or balance altogether.

I’m an incurable multi-tasker. Therefore, one main challenge for me is to let go of something that I no longer have time for and avoid spending every waking moment of the day involved in everything that’s part of not only my current cycle but past ones too. I just try to fit it all in—not always the best thing.

Example? It’s a typical school morning with my sons. I spend it at the school table teaching them. I help the older one with his reading; once he’s working on his own, I do some flash cards and educational power points with the younger one. Once he runs off to play, I open my laptop and continue working on an editing job or writing project, of which there are always at least half a dozen to choose from. It’s good to stay busy and not waste time, but when it gets to where Allen has the mindset that, “Mommies don’t play” and when Jessica sings “wheels on the bus” with her brother, it comes to what the mommies do on the bus and she sings, “the Mommies on the bus go edit, edit, edit, all through the town”, well, I guess there can be too much of a good thing.

Back to writing. Over the past month or so, the storylines started. It began with a dream I remembered one morning and by the end of the day it had developed into the outline for a children’s novel. At the moment, I have the rough outline of nine stories or books… with 5,000 words or less written in each one. Not a lot of “story” just yet, probably because I haven’t focused on just one at a time.

It’s great to multi-task but I’m realizing that at other times it’s important to focus on just one thing. In all things, “a just balance is the Lord’s delight”. [Pro. 11:1] I actually hope to write on the topic of balance, especially for parents with many responsibilities in this age when being a parent is so much more than just “being a parent”. Maybe I’ll write a book about it! Okay, make that ten. 🙂

But first, I had another idea, which you’ll see in upcoming blog posts… Stay tuned.

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As a young teen, I often watched TV. I “channel-surfed” quite a bit, trying to find a good show, or going back and forth between two or more shows, trying to avoid the commercials. I had a few favorite shows and a few favorite channels, but then, you never know when you might find something new.

By the time I was an older teen, my TV viewing had rapidly decreased. I realized that there were many more productive things I could do with my time.

As a young adult, I was told of a channel. From what its proponents said, it sounded too good to be true—a channel where you can find the answer to anything? I tried it a few times, but my channel surfing background kicked into high gear. I just couldn’t stay on that one channel long enough to see something through to the end. My thoughts and plans bounced through my mind and actions and I felt like it just wasn’t for me.

Of course over the years I returned to the channel many times, but it was just for a few moments.

Then it happened, only once or twice, but the memory and feeling will remain always. I just knew it was time for something special to show up so I got on that channel. It wasn’t a frantic channel surfing or trying to fix the antennas. It just happened and I know without a doubt that the connection was made.

Unfortunately, this multi-tasking and ever-busy mind of mine soon jumped to other activities and challenges once more. I found that channel fading into the background with more timely and important issues at hand.

I’m still not a TV person. But I realized that it’s now time to tune into that channel again, and not just once, but on a daily basis. It is the prayer channel—the station where anything is possible, the place where one approaches the very throne of God, the place where “if we ask anything in His name, He will do it.” It is truly a place where one can find the answer to anything.

It is something I can do while multi-tasking, which is right up my alley: “Pray without ceasing” and “Men ought always to pray and not to faint.”

But there are times when everything else needs to be shut off and shut down, the times when I enter the “prayer closet”, the times when I get on that prayer channel and stay there until I know the prayer has been not only heard, but answered and seen to completion.

Even the advertisements are great. Here is one, about the channel’s Creator Himself:

“This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

Like I said, can’t top a channel like that! No more channel surfing for me. It’s time for a bit more action in my life and I know exactly where to find it!

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Me and Jessica, a couple weeks before Aiden was born, March, 2009

And I’m excited about it! A Doula (Greek for “woman caregiver”) has quite a few helpful synonyms to understand what it is: labor coach, mother assistant, childbirth assistant, labor companion. In short, it is someone who stays with a laboring woman and helps coach her through each moment and encourage her through each stage until after the baby is born. The primary purpose of a Doula is to have an educated understanding of the natural birth process and to help parents—especially the mother—make it through the process, to the end of a satisfying and positive birth experience.

Why, with doctors and nurses readily available who are knowledgeable of the birth process, would a laboring woman need a personal coach? Not every woman “needs” one, but I can personally attest that they are a great help! My mother acted as a doula for me during my first labor and delivery, and a great friend, Celestina, for my second and third. The fact that they had been through the process before (each of them had six kids!) was in itself a great help. I knew they had done it and their calming strength and encouragement was a wonderful support.

And I know it’s not just me. A book I’m reading through, “The Doula Book,” has some amazing stats about the difference in births when a doula is or is not present. These statistics are not just one study, but gathered from ten different studies from different countries.

“The presence of a doula reduces the overall cesarean rate by roughly 45 percent, length of labor by 25 percent, [labor stimulation] rate by 50 percent, pain medication by 31 percent, the need for forceps 34 percent, and requests for epidurals [35] percent. Doula support enhances the well-being of mothers and babies, leads to fewer medical interventions in the process of labor and delivery, and saves money.”

There is even surprising evidence that the presence of a doula makes a more long-term difference than would be imagined. There is a striking difference in a mother’s attitude and behavior toward herself and toward her baby, the only difference being that she received constant support through labor and delivery. Breastfeeding is easier and there are fewer problems doing so, the baby has fewer visits to the doctor, the mother has a closer relationship with her baby and responds more quickly, and she has less anxiety or depression. (Rephrased from, “The Doula Book”.)

Having a baby—whether a first, second, or tenth—is a magical time. It’s also pretty hard. The moments that move by almost too slowly at the time become etched in your memory forever. A baby is a priceless gift from God and the whole process of labor and delivery is nothing short of a miraculous demonstration of God’s creation.

For thousands of years, births occurred usually at home, in the presence of caring women, mothers, those who had been through it before, understood the process, and could coach a woman to work with her body to help it do what it was made to do…bring forth new life. Today, the process of labor and delivery is treated more as a medical procedure, and often an emergency. If things are not progressing according to the ideal time frame, something is given to speed up the process. This interference often results in more and more interferences, proven by a Cesarean rate that has hit above 30 percent of all births in the U.S. and teetering at around 90% in some countries.

When did I first think about being a Doula? Well, with a mother who was first a doula, and then a midwife, I read plenty of books on the topic and was familiar with the birth process long before I became a mother. I remember when a friend of mine was having a baby. When she headed to the hospital, something in my heart said, “I’m supposed to be there”. That was probably the moment I realized I wanted to be a support to mothers in labor. I wasn’t even a mother yet. Now, after having three children of my own, and at a point in my life where I have the time and wherewithal to get a bit of training, I am on my way to attend Doula classes this weekend!

It is always exciting to make a step towards your dreams, especially if that dream has something to do with helping or being a support to others in some way. The future is always as bright as the vision in our hearts. Oh, and if you’re pregnant and looking for a Doula and are in or near Fresno, or want to help me get to wherever you are :), I’m happy to be in touch!

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