Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stay tuned. . .

Update coming soon. Promise.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

We Are the Breath of Our Ancestors

After along break, our clan gathered in the Wyoming woods. Descendants of Grandma and Grandpa T felt them close as we renewed friendships, made new friends and celebrated our shared heritage.
Great Grammy Mag
Andrey and son

Rock painting

Caught with Cam's new Spiderman fishing pole

So many cousins Lin, Tana, Jade and babe, Steen and Pres

Makin' a wish

Nat and girl
We are our grandmother's prayers
We are our grandfather's dreamings
We are the breath of our ancestors
We are the spirit of God.
Sweet honey in the Rock

Hansel and Gretel??

'bye. Goin' to Target.
Love, Lukey and Pretzel

Monday, June 16, 2008

moab treasures

On the day we left for our Moab adventure, I got
a check from MCU for 28.00. Lindsay challenged me to
see how far I could stretch it on our trip. So here are the fruits of
my 28.00 treasure hunt! Oh, right out of the chute, I spent
1.00 on a chocolate dipped strawberry at Thanksgiving Point.
It was yummy as well as very pretty!
Next, a little bottle of lotion, price tag, 2.50.
I read somewhere that the smell of pumpkin pie is the way to a
man's heart. Chuck's reaction: "It's not bad".
OK, this isn't so wonderful. Just me and Karma going 'round.
I had a few minutes to sniff around the Saturday Market as it was just setting up
A nice lady was setting out her stuff and was really nervous. It was her first time.
She asked me where to set her candy jar so that it would entice shoppers. We chatted and
I looked over her wares, mostly home made beads. I picked this one up, asked the price
and she lit up. 2.00! What could I do? I was her first paying customer.
This is my big ticket item! I thought about it alot.
Each little magnet cost 2.50 for a grand total of 12.50!
I am bonding with my new midwifery business name and colors
and think these will look sweet on my office magnet board.
Three buttons from a little yarn store that was off the main path.
I was drawn in thinking it would be like The Friday Night Knitting Club.
It was a great little store. I think I love felting. There was a small wall
hanging there I wanted, too.
I was hoping one of these buttons would work to fasten the wool
instrument bag Lindsay sewed up for me.
The one on the left, made from an antelope antler
was the winner! Price tag: 5.00.

This little woven coaster will go on my white library
table in my bedroom. Once in awhile I take some tasty tea up there.
The colors are perfect and it claims to be made by Zapotec Indians.
A mini notebook with some funky petroglyphs.
The red suckered me in as well as the mini price, 1.00!
Presley will probably make good use of it when she rummages through my purse.
So there it is, Sinny! You should see the list of things I didn't buy! Like the Native American music featuring my fave, Rita Coolidge. I've worn out my Walela CD.
Too much money for this hunt.
I think this would be a fun game for the women to
play sometime. While the guys are out 4-wheeling, we could be hunting in town.
What do you say?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Living in Color

"And, as with all retold tales that are in people's hearts, there are only good and bad things and black and white things and good and evil things and no in-between. If this story is a parable, perhaps everyone takes his own meaning from it and reads his own life into it." Prologue, pg. I

Black and white has it's place - zebras, newspapers, great photography, dalmations. . . My soul lives in the "in-between". I live in color. As a young reader, the impact this book, Steinbeck's "The Pearl" made on me, still shouts out directions. Who will I care for? What rules must I follow? What matters most?

I saw Dr. Patch Adams at Kingsbury Hall last Friday. Something pulled me to get there in spite of the usual Friday night conflicts. Chuck dropped me off (he had a Jazz game to watch) and I slipped into my seat just as The Show began. Although billed as a lecture, "Living a Life of Joy" was anything but. Patch lives in color! He would never have turned the scorpion bit baby away. He heals. He believes in community. He is troubled by labels. Folks getting rich from the coin of those with affliction pains his heart. For my efforts to suit up and show up, I was well fed. It was past 10pm when I finally left. I walked down the hill from 13th east to 7th East in SLC giving silent thanks with every step. For the warm spring night, for the sounds of the city, for the strong ones like Patch that share their voice, for a family that supports me as I march to a beat they rarely hear and for Kody, Jade and Presley who were on their way to pick me up.

Early the next morning, the mamas that color my world so beautifully showed up for a gathering at my house. They brought their babies and their baby full bellies. We feasted on each other's stories as well as the other tasty offerings.
"Celebration is a food we all need".
Community. My intention to create a safe space for women to come and share what matters most is coming to pass.
Nobody right, nobody wrong, little birdie.
One man got his black and white.
One woman got her color.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

For Katia

Last summer Katia was here working as an Apprentice Midwife. We had some amazing experiences together. She taught me many things about babies, bellies, mamas, papas, life and Michael Franti. We met at Gallivan Center one hot summer night and experienced his great, soulful music. I felt so sad when her time here came to an end. Once again we caught Franti in concert at The Capitol Theater performing for a U of U benefit, Raise the Roof for Diversity. This was the last song, "Say Hey, I'll Be Gone Today". I felt tears welling up knowing that my friend, my sister, Katia would be leaving directly after the concert for her home in Costa Rica. I took some comfort in the next line of the song, But I'll be back come around the way. . .I knew I would see her again. If not here in Salt Lake City, then I would have to go to Costa Rica. Kindred spirits just don't drop in on your life everyday. A recent e-mail from her gave a glimmer of hope - she might come for an MCU conference in June. I wish I had someone due then. Tamra, can you hold off that long??? Anyway Katia, this song is for you. Dance away. Share it with your babies. My little friends call it "Hey Ma" and we dance our hearts out daily, pointing to each other with "I Love You, I Love you, I LOVE YOU!"

Thursday, April 24, 2008

the mama and the papa

I thought the hard part would be letting her go. I had no idea. Yes, I did have a giant lump in my throat when Steen and Tyson sang during the wedding -
Now I see a family where there once was none
Yeah, we've just begun
Yeah, we're gonna fly to the sun
A few hours after the hospital wedding, she came home to change clothes. We picked Amy up at the airport, got some food and took her back to the hospital. We dropped her off at the door and she walked away with a little bag. Another giant lump in my throat. She was weary. For two days she had worried. Worried about her sweetheart. All of a sudden she became the nurturer in a big way, riding in an ambulance, watching him go through procedures, holding him tight, running out in the hall to get help. Worried about her family and the preparations that had to come to a screeching halt. She cried and apologized. We assured her that his health, his very life was by far the most important part.
She spent her honeymoon on a hospital couch bed, waking every hour to beeping machines and night nurses. Early in the morning she called. Did we miss her? DID WE MISS HER! Oh, yes we did. We picked her up that afternoon and fed her. I felt some relief. She was still my baby and I could still take care of her.

I think we all figured he'd be home in a couple of days - home to his new bride and the beginning of their life together. He's still not home. Tonight marks 2 weeks of this baffling experience. Sometimes she sleeps at the hospital. Sometime exhaustion wins and she sleeps here. She finished boxing up her childhood. She's set up the room that she hopes he will soon come home to. She's learning a new vocabulary. Lipids and amylase. She watches enzyme levels and monitors his breathing as he sleeps. Did I say letting her go was the hard part? Well, it's nothing compared to the waves that sneak up on me now. I can't fix this for my baby. She is ready to be a wife. I am ready to enjoy this season as they become the mama and the papa. I promise I will be brave and happy. Just let him heal and come home.

The helpless feelings have been hard for everyone. Today we chose to be proactive. If he can have liquids by mouth then we will bring in good stuff. No more orange colored Jello, high fructose corn syrup juices or msg loaded beef boullion. We loaded up at Whole Foods. Teas, homeopathics, probiotics and antioxidants. She will update her blog daily and share reply posts with him. We're organizing a family day of prayer and fasting for this Sunday. To everyone within the reach of this blog's ripples: Please join us in prayer and support as his doctors try to figure out why his digestive system shut down, his pancreas inflammed and his esophagus tore. If love can heal him, well, we're giving it all we've got. We have grown to love him and welcome him as one of our own.

It really seems like yesterday that we, too, were 18 years old and newly married. We had no idea how we were going to survive. It was more than our determination that carried us. It was the quiet, loving support of family and we are more than ready to pay it forward.
It used to be our song. . .
And in the morning when I rise
Bring a tear of joy to my eyes
And tell me everything's gonna be alright
To Kody and Jade ~
I don't know exactly how or when, but you will be together and on your way soon. You are going to be just fine.

We love you.

Mama and Papa

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

someone bless these seeds I sow. . .

My 5 Gratefuls on this Earth Day:
1. The purple mountains majesty that I can see through my window every day. It would be hard to ever leave Utah for that reason alone. Add a sunrise (pinkset as Cameron says) and it's breathtaking.
2. The herb and flower basket that sweet mama Jodie gave me. So far I have kept it alive!
3. Peter, Paul and Mary. I made an Earth Day playlist and found lots of their stuff made the cut. This Land is Your Land, Lemon Tree, Weave Me the Sunshine, Early Morning Rain, and of course my favorite of the day, Inch By Inch. This is the weekend that Jade and I planned so long ago to go see them in California and have a girl trip. Funny how life happens when you're busy making other plans.
4. Michael Franti,
"If you love somebody, better tell them so,
you never ever know when you're gonna go,
you love them back, just give thanks,
can't keep love like money in the bank"

"hold to your children, hold to your children, let them know"
The incredible balance and design of The Creation. From day and night, land and water, trees and plants, fish, birds and animals to man and woman and the wee ones we get a chance to help create. Doesn't the power and beauty of it all just blow you away?

Inch by inch, row by row
Someone bless these seeds I sow
Someone warm them from below
'til the rains come tumblin' down

Someone please watch over Kody and Jade until we figure out what is making him so sick.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

joy in the morning

My grandson was born in the wee hours, Sunday morning, March 30, 2008.
Your name is Elias.
Elias River Larson, named after the place where you were born on the mighty Columbia River.
There was a moment during Amelia's labor when time stood still and quiet for me. I realized what a gift, a blessing beyond description it was to be present in such sacred space. A new little soul was preparing to leave that place where all is light. He would be received in peace by a mother and a father well prepared to love and teach him in this world half day and half night. I gave silent thanks. The trials and challenges of my life paled with the realization of a great blessing; my son and his wife were worthy of the task of raising up a most valiant child. Amelia is a stong, amazing woman - a birth warrior as great as any I have ever known. Jeff is a strong, amazing man - worthy to carry the birth warrior high on his shoulders, triumphant. This was not an easy birthing. They worked hard and I felt them draw strength from each other. As a midwife, I celebrate women with my every breath. Being present with my son at his child's birth gave me a deeper sensitivity to the courage and faith that it takes for a dad to be "with woman". Jeff is truly strong enough to be gentle. I love Jeff and Amelia and their example of great strength and great tenderness. This birth experience will fill my soul with gratitude and goodness for the rest of my days.

My heart just grew a little bigger. There wasn't room enough before to hold all of the joy that these babies bring to me.

Papa Jeff said to Gabriel, "You have a really big job, don't you. You have to be a good example to your brothers." Gabriel stood a little taller. He said, "I am just so excited about this new baby!"

Lead us, guide us, little one.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

For Lovely Lindsay

I can't believe I am doing this. Today was a great day of teaching MCU students and I'm feeling pretty good about myself. I may delete when I come to my senses. So. . . 5 things I like about myself. It's not so easy when your an ol' lady!
1. I like my hair. I can do about anything I want with it, wavy or straight. It's thick but not too unruly.
2. My eyelashes. They used to be thicker and longer, I'm pretty sure anyway, but a little mascara and we're good.
3. My strong hands. They look like my dad's hands, a bit on the stubby side but I think my soul manifests through my hands.
4. My pancreas. I made it really sick and I'm sorry about that. It's still sputtering and so I'm taking this opportunity to publicly say "I appreciate your patience and beg you to stay."
5. I really like my Mission Playground sweatshirt. It says "Patience Achieves More Than Force". Nice little mantra. Thanks Linny Baby for the nudge to look for the good part. I didn't expect this to quite so emotional.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

breathe in peace

The legislative session is drawing to a close. Here in Utah, the midwives have been attacked again. I just want peace and the right to care for mamas and their families in the place and way of their choosing. When the AMA declares war (We'll squash you like bugs!") it's not clear what I should do. This battle leaves us weary and divided. As we try to stand back up, we realize the importance of unity in our small homebirth community. We'll never change the opinion of the AMA and that's not our intent. Difference is what makes this world keep on turning. I guess I just wish for tolerance and for everyone to be respectful. Michael Franti's words soothe me. On war - "One man got a jet fighter, one man got a song, nobody right, nobody wrong" This clip is not the best quality. I wish I could invite you all over to see the DVD I just got. In the meantime, hope this little piece of wisdom will bring some peace and healing.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Five Gratefuls

On days when you're feeling a little shaky, thinking "why me" thoughts and wondering if the sun's ever gonna shine again, try this. Make a list of 5 things you are grateful for on that very day. Amy taught me this simple therapy and it really has saved my day - many times. It's even cool on days that are smooth sailing. On this Happy Valentines Day, this is my list of 5 Gratefuls.
1. Pink frosted sugar cookies - a warm fuzzy memory from as far back in my memory as I can go. We made a list of our special friends and Mom personalized cookies for them.
2. Presley's teeny little red polished toenails.
3. An e-mail from my Valentine; we celebrate 33 married years together on this LOVE DAY, a package from Washington and cards from the home girls.
4. The family circling 'round to help Lindsay cope with a long week of severe hives.
5. Memories of a spontaneous trip to Seattle with Chuck a few weeks ago. It was filled with unexpected joys like an exquisite breakfast in front of a fireplace, new shoes, walking to Pike's in the rain with twin umbrellas, finding my favorite Mexican Chocolate candle, taking a snuggly nap in our room with the sun shining in, browse time in Elliot's bookstore and so much more.
I really don't want to stop at 5 but I'll save some for another day.
How 'bout sharing your 5 Gratefuls?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

'til we meet again

Today was B.'s 6 week post partum visit. They are always bittersweet for me. 2 year old E. opened the door and welcomed me with a hug as she squealed to her mama, "Cathy's here" just like she did for all of the prenatal home visits. I flashed back to those visits that started early last summer. The children always came running, eager to listen to their own heartbeats, have their temps taken and touch their mama's belly. They taught me about raising baby chicks and making apricot jam. Their home was respite for me more than once. One tired morning when I just didn't want to start up, I drove to B.'s house. Her kind spirit and happy children with gifts of artwork lifted me. As I got in my car to leave, I looked up and saw 4 little faces and a mama in the picture window waving good-bye. Driving away, the tears started to fall. I remember saying out loud, "I am so blessed to be welcomed into this family's space. I love my work. I love this family so much." Seasons passed, the Christmas tree went up and we knew a baby would soon be born under those lights. With 3 girls and 1 boy, hopes for a baby brother ran high.
Today Baby Brother N. was so chubby and smiley; the adoring siblings were generous with their kisses and hugs. Dad was home, too, so it was a great little family gathering time. Did I already say I love this family so much? I was midwife for Baby E. a couple of years ago and they make me feel like an honored auntie or something. We took some pictures and lingered a bit longer than usual knowing this was the end of another childbearing year, the end of our visits. As I finally said good-bye, B. surprised me with the coolest gift. As I prepare to leave the safe nest at Better Birth and fly off on my own, she knew I would need so many supples of my own. She gave me a new set of birth towels and cohosh tinctures tied with a big bow. What a great addition to my basket of postpartum supplies gathered by a favorite Tri-Cities mama, Karen Sharp. Then Daddy D. gave me a big basket of pretty bath goodies, for relaxing after long births he said. Next, out came a pretty box with pictures for me, one especially sweet one was even framed. We all hugged again and D. helped me carry the gifts to my car. His parting words were, "Our family isn't complete yet. We'll be calling you again." Once again, I said to myself as I drove off, "I am blessed. I love my work. I love this family."

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Work

A recent edition of the MCU newsletter included the winning student essay in the "Why I am a Midwife" competition. Since it has been published, I feel safe in quoting the author, Christina Shaffer, here in blog world.
"It's about how, at 3 in the morning, you can crouch, tired, sweaty and hungry, with your legs asleep and your back aching, arms wet up to the shoulders from leaning to far into the birth pool, and not be concerned about any of it. Because as you crouch there, what matters is that your hands are helping to support the emerging head. You know that yours are the first hands EVER to touch this baby. And with your eyes wide and glowing, you get to be RIGHT THERE as the universe shifts to make room for this whole new person who's being born."
Midwifery is all about hands and heart. I appreciated this reminder today to keep both of those parts of myself pure and worthy for the task that is mine - to support women with all of my heart and guide their babies with gentle hands.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

home again

There is nothing quite as satisfying as walking in my door following a birth. I wander around the kitchen, find a snack, talk to Majestic (she doesn't care what time it is) send out texts to my loved ones and climb into bed. The birth hangover is a mix of fatigue, joy, the wonder of the miracle EVERY TIME, and mental replays of the whole blessed thing. There is no such thing as a "cookie cutter" birth. Even for the same mama, each story has its own words. For me, there is something learned EVERY TIME. Today I find myself naturally drifting to the power of last night's birthing, Little A. and Big D. and their new baby girl, surrounded by the grammies and aunties. We all worked so hard. The chemistry of the team was just as it should be. There was trust, respect and so much love. Healthy soups on the stove didn't hurt either! So as I tuck this one away and prepare the the next ones, I give thanks to a gracious Father that heard my plea for wisdom and guided my hands to bring a little sweetie to an earthly family. Thanks also to you loved ones that send me messages of encouragement, offer up little prayers and check to see if I'm safely home. That is what gets me through when my own energy has long run out. Nursing this birth high for as long as I can. . .

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The pink sun is peeking over the mountains. Crisp white snow and a clear blue sky greet our morning senses. So much color for this time of morning, so much on our plate today. The circle game continues. I'm a mama, I'm a midwife. I am blessed to be present when women are born as mamas. Today I will be turning my baby over to another midwife. As much as I'd like to keep her my baby, she'll be born as a woman with all of the joy and pain that comes with that new self. I will have to step aside as that process occurs. Ready or not here we go . . .