Thursday, March 20, 2008
Highly anticipated and long overdue, Norah's birth took place 5 years ago earlier this week.
It's hard to forget those 2 rainy days. After 2 reassuring and gentle midwives labored with me for hours and hours and hours, one brave midwife (backed by my husband, mother, sister, mother in-law, and sister in-law) coached me through 3.5 hours of pushing, to no avail. Finally, one OB, armed with a pair of forceps, swooped in to rescue poor Norah from further damage than one giant sized hematoma. He also (thankfully) saved my life.
My first born arrived chunky, bruised, and initially, with only inward beauty. In fact, my highly tactful brother called her a troll. Luckily, Norah has blossomed into an outward beauty as well.
The blueberry pancakes we had the morning of Norah's birthday are a treat we only indulge in a few times a year.
You beat egg whites separately until stiff and gently fold them in at the end resulting in very light and fluffy cakes.
Grandma threw Norah a little birthday party at her home, complete with a sleeping beauty cake.
As a show of her new found wisdom that 5 years brings, Norah chopped the very front of her hair to the root. When I asked her why she did this, she replied, "I wanted to be beautiful like you momma". Hmmm....
Thank you for making me a mother Norah; for making me more than just Martha. Thank you for constantly pushing past the limitations I believed existed. Thank you for awakening in me, untapped, unknown, and unconditional love.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Last night we celebrated the anniversary of the birth of the Relief Society. I was asked to share the feelings I have about the organization with the sisters of my ward (congregation). I decided to post what I had written because my story is not unique; I'm sure thousands of women have had similar experiences. I also want to publicly thank the good women who surround me. I love you and I will miss you.
There was a time when I certainly did not appreciate being a member of the Relief Society; I was unable to comprehend it's value. I disliked the old Relief Society manual and felt injustice in the fact that as a woman, I needed to be taught lessons on 'gardening in small places' while the brethren studied the doctrine of the scriptures. I was young and naive, and maybe had a slight feminist streak. I felt the 'domestic' lessons trivialized who I was.
I need to add that at this time, I was unmarried, didn't have children (good for me, seeing as I was not married), felt very little inclination toward domestic duties, and did not yet have my own garden to attend to. I also had never received a calling in Relief Society; I had always served in Sunday school teaching different classes or had been blessed to serve with the young women. Then I moved to Traverse Mountain.
A few months prior to moving here, I gave birth to my first child and had decided to stay home to be her mother. All of my college friends had moved away by this time and my work friends were still working. I had to rediscover who I was as a woman and as a mother. New motherhood was a little confusing, and I found myself feeling isolated. Not too many months after moving to Traverse Mountain, I gave birth to my second child. After Lulu was born, I experienced a rather difficult battle with postpartum depression. As some of you know, postpartum depression intensifies the feeling of isolation accompanied by feelings of shame and worthlessness. After a few months of struggling, I decided that one of the ways I could help myself was to seek the companionship and support of the woman around me. By throwing myself into my callings I offered the women in my ward my love and my services and their support was returned 10 fold.
During this time I gave birth to my third child, Abram. I had a difficult delivery and recovery. Although neither Brad nor I solicited any extra help, the sisters of this ward with whom I have been blessed, supplied me with an endless amount of food and love. We weren't necessarily in need of food, it was the love that accompanied the food that made the difference. There were numerous visits and phone calls. There were consistent offers to take my older children. Instead of isolation and depression I felt a constant outpouring of love and support. Instead of shame and worthlessness, I felt joyful and blessed. I was constantly reminded of the Lord's love for me because these women brought it with them to my home.
Relief Society no longer seems frivolous. It has been a number of years since I have felt that the organization trivializes woman; it is quite the opposite. The love of the women of Relief Society and the opportunity to reciprocate and initiate that love empowers me. I am empowered with the knowledge that I am in the service of my Savior when I serve those around me. In the sisterhood of Relief Society I have found the knowledge and power to be a better sister, a better wife, a better mother, and a better daughter of my Father in heaven. I am so grateful for the love and the service of the Relief Society and for the opportunity to serve. I am so grateful for my sisters and I love you, thank you for helping me understand my divine worth.
P.S. I now have a garden and would love to hear more lessons on gardening in small places.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Many people have asked me to post some of my recipes, including the lovely ladies of my book club. I've sat down numerous times in the past month to type up an entertaining and informative post about the wonder and delight that is food-and then I stop before I start.
There is an inner conflict that takes place regularly in my mind and heart. In the struggle to lose myself, I find a slight conflict of interest in my choices and actions, one of them being blogging.
I have to question my motivations to blog. Are they altruistic? I certainly cannot speak for anyone else's motivation, but at times blogging feels a little self indulgent and like an awful lot of self promotion. What really is inside of me-the need to tell people how awesome I am, or to seek out their praise? I don't know, these are just things that I find I have to consider.
There of course, are beautiful benefits that come from blogging. It is certainly a bridge, connecting the lives of many and defying the isolation of distance and time. It is an opportunity to learn from and support one another. The greatest personal benefit that I have found is the testifying of love. In this human experience, nothing is more powerful and motivating than love-and I have the desire to be more motivated by love and less motivated by ego and self. Is blogging truly helping me move closer to this goal?
I don't think there is anything wrong with "just for fun", or posting recipes. I love reading fun posts and I love reading about good food, but blogging makes me consider who I really am and who I want to be. Am I really expressing sincerely the person I desire to be? Am I honestly articulating what is inside of me?
Am I neurotic or do you ever consider these things?