Friday, May 27, 2016

Girl child

Need so great
Trust not earned – by necessity given
Special birth tea drunk
Prayers are said

Low bed – newly arrived
Medical care here not concerned
with religion or cultural practice
Sorry, hands are tied

Honored women let me ease your struggle
Hours of work
Sweat, blood, tears
Life is being born

Mothers faced turned from baby
Different tears shed now
A girl child:
Grief – I know that tear

Don’t touch him you are not clean
Kind look and word of gratitude
But still, sorrow

After all you helped to bring forth a girl child

Friday, May 20, 2016

Desperate Birth

I entered the barn
In the darkness of night
Intoxicating smells of life
The plaintive bleating of a mother in pain

Trusting doe eyes flick toward me
Struggling to understand
Twisting, pulling, efforts vain
No progress made

Muscles ache, back sore
Mind busy, body still
Racking, reaching for answers
A thought whispers

Head connected to neck
Neck connected to chest
Chest connected to leg
Leg connected to hoof

But thought arrives late
Last struggled breath: life over
The dark tongue falls: at peace
But still for the mother I try

Follow the head, the limp lifeless head
Feel the neck
Not connected to this leg
Urgency enlivens my hands

Push, push the head back
Reach deep, struggle long
Rearrange, manipulate
Delivered: a son to a mother

Again, reach deep, pull firmly
Rearrange, manipulate
Delivered: one lifeless
Kissed, enwrapped with love

Sweet doe lovingly nuzzled
Gently feeding
Swaddled young one
Dried and well

The peaceful sounds of a mother at rest
Reaches out and touches me
I creep out in the stillness

I leave into the night

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


So much has happened. So much. I stopped writing this blog because it just seemed like I could not keep one more thing going. But I miss it. I miss writing. I miss you.

Here I am again.

My name is in the program! I presented original research at a conference. This has nothing to do with Spain.
I got to travel to Spain on a research trip.
Stairs to the Bells
 It was amazing to see the architecture in the BoƱar area. 
I loved the stone work and the sparse but gorgeous use of wood.

View from a Museum patio.
 We got to see a few museums, it seemed like each one was better than the last.

My roommate and I - same schedule early to bed and early to rise - but still lots of sleep.
 We started with 14 people in our field house. By the end of the stay we were down to 12 people. 
So many people - so little space!
Architect Gabriel - AMAZING
We had a beautiful lecture about the architecture in the area. Gabriel was amazing. 

Roman Bridge
 Ceferino, a partner of the program took a few of us on an adventure 
which included this bridge, a river and the dam (shown below.)

The Dam
I loved doing research while in Spain. I am doing a rewrite of my paper 
and it brings back great memories of wonderful people. 

More to come...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today I was moving from my most beloved Goat Farm. 
It was unexpected, unplanned and unwanted. 
I loved living on the Farm. I loved loved loved it. 
And it ended before I was read to leave.

Worse yet, the job that I had planned to take 
(I worked as a tutor) 
was no longer waiting for me due to lower than expected enrollment.

I felt Crushed. Destroyed. Hopeless.

My best laid plans all seemed to be slipping away. 
I couldn't understand why.

I was so wholly discouraged.

I gratefully had faithful friends that took pity on me.
I ate meals with these people.
Took walks.
And leaned on them.

And then I started to believe that it would be okay.
I can remember going to a BBQ and seeing an old friend.
He gave me a hug and asked how I was.
I blurted out that nothing was going as planned.
That I couldn't figure anything out.
That I didn't know what to do next.

He smiled kindly and said 
"It's going to be okay. Don't forget to enjoy where you are."
And then kissed the top of my head.

My dearest mentor reminded me constantly

 And I am.
My sister and a very close friend came over today,
and I reflected how life seemed to be falling apart a year ago...
but that this last year has been one of the best of my life.

I am more human because of it.
I am better because of it.
And I am thankful.

A special thank you to all my friends who watched me: 
moan, groan or complain last year. You are dear to me.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Beautifully Broken Communcation

For the past three years I've been meeting with my mentor at least once a week. Sandi greatly encourages and empowers me. One of the really life-changing things I've grown in is communication. Before meeting with Sandi, I frequently was unable to communicate what I needed or wanted from people who loved me, and would have provided those things for me. I was very passive in my communication. I despised conflict, and sought to avoid it whenever possible (slash all the time.) I was passive aggressive  Mostly, this occurred because I didn't have good conflict resolution skills. I can't say I'm perfect, and I don't think I'll ever be perfect. But friends, I can say I've grown. GROWN!!

I'll give you two examples. Both deal with my brother Uriah. Who, really is pretty cool.

Last week I had a rough day. I came home feeling overwhelmed and decided I needed to finish something. Completing a project gives me back a sense of control and restores my confidence in myself. I find it to be helpful when I feel like there is a never ending pile of ------- to find something that I can see through to completion. I had really wanted to put new hooks up in the bathroom for our towels. So I got the hooks and started the project. But the project wasn't going well. I needed some help. So I asked Uriah if he would be able and willing to help me by screwing the hooks onto a board. Uriah looked at the situation and thought for a moment and agreed. I communicated that I needed to know when he would be finished. He said "I'll be done within a week. I think I can fit it in tomorrow or the next day." This thrilled me. In the past, I would have passively said something about it being really difficult. I would have been annoyed that nobody was helping me. I would have felt like people weren't noticing my need. Doubtless, the thought would have crossed my mind "Do they even care?!" Not this time. The new hooks are up and it's good!!

Yesterday I had a number of things I needed to attend to before departing for work. As I was racing to my room to do some homework Uriah asked me if I could look at something. At that moment I knew I didn't have time. Rather than saying no I said it needed to be fast. We went and looked at this.

But Uriah didn't want to just show it to me, he wanted a discussion. I felt pushed for time. He asked me a question. I answered. He disagreed with me. I put forth the argument that Brave had been sexualized. Look at her face! Her dress. Her waist. Her bust. Her collar line. Uriah pushed back with something like:
Well I've seen you wear shirts that have lower collar lines. So are you saying that all clothing must have the same collar line?
I was annoyed. I didn't feel like I was being listened to at all. I felt like Uriah was trying to trap me in my words. That's crazy! Every collar the SAME! Never. I responded with something like:
Of course that's what I'm saying. Every collar should be the same. The EXACT same. Yes yes. That's it.
Then I walked away.
Uriah followed me asking me if I was upset. I was able to talk with him a little more. We parted ways. I left the conversation where it was. I was done enough.

But then on my lunch break yesterday, as I was enjoying the waves and the sun and breeze, I thought about these two events. The towel rack and Brave. And the contrast was pretty clear.

With the towel rack I'd been able to communicate clearly. With Brave not so much... I asked myself what happened. And a few things came up.

First, I shouldn't have been in the conversation to begin with. I needed to tell Uriah I didn't have time - and postpone.
Second, I didn't feel listened to or that Uriah was hearing what I was saying. I should have stopped and said that. ie. " Uriah, I don't feel like you're listening to what I'm saying. It feels like you have already come to a conclusion and you don't want to hear my words."
Third, if I continued to feel like my words were not being heard, I should have said something to the effect of: "This is a conversation that we need to revisit because, I unfortunately, do not have time to complete it right now. Can we agree to revisit it tomorrow, Sunday etc.?"

I didn't. But here's a wonderful thing. I am beautifully broken. So is my communication. And Uriah gives me space for that. He lets me come back and try a take two. He gives grace when I just don't get it right. He acknowledges that I'm growing and working on this. He forgives. And so, I stand without shame, brokenly communicating. Failing, trying again. Growing. Becoming more beautiful.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Middle of Week 14

This week I've done things I'd never before done.
I complained.

Like to the Chair of a Department at SCHOOL.

And I took a school week night off.
And watched a movie and didn't do homework.
And I fell in love again - with dashes and fragmented sentences.

Powerful love.

Over the weekend I read a really great article about being a committed complainer. 
It made me realize how often I'm willing to complain without doing anything about it. 
I don't want to be that type of complainer. 
I know venting is important. I get that. 

But I also know that sometimes I really need to do something about a situation. 
Instead, I complain and it makes me feel a little better. 
Then I don't do what actually should have happened. 
I want to grow in that area of my life. 
I want to be more proactive and less knit-picky.

I also saw The Great Gatsby. Which I loved.
It's beautiful.
Not everyone in the group I went with loved though.
So be ye warned.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Better to love whether you win or lose or die

Talking in my lab class today with my lab partner I shared about my oldest niece and the close relationship I have with her - due in part to the fact that her father died shortly after she was born and she spent some of her early years living near me (or even sharing a bedroom with me.)
The response, which is so natural, was that my luck isn't very good. In a way it's totally true. My eldest sister lost her first (and always beloved) husband Joey, and my twin sister lost her daughter (and always cherished) Abbigayle. Death is awful. It hurts.

But I was thinking about things I do have.
Two brothers I enjoy.
Two sisters that are supportive.
Parents that are still married to one another and like me. A lot.
Nephews that number four.
Nieces that number eight.
Two brother-in-laws that care about my sisters.
A sister-in-law that is absolutely wonderful.

One of my favorite bands has a line in it that goes "better to love whether you win or lose or die."
And I believe that. One day my body will return to the ground like Joey and Abbigayle's did - and it's better for me to love.