Sunday, April 18, 2021

a frustrated mother rants

 I don't even know where to start. 

This year has been SO MUCH better than last year. I don't want to complain. I am not a rock bottom. I don't need mental help. But I need to switch priorities and refocus. I need to write it all out (this IS my online journal...)

Kids grow up fast. 


Reuben has been hitting some regular kid milestones that have Brian and I on our toes. I have not been reacting well. Becky is hitting different areas than Reuben did at three and we are on our toes with her. Both my kids are wonderful, and I love them, so please don't think I am angry or upset. I know these are normal, but also WHY and can I throw a fit about it, because I NEED to throw a fit about it and have someone tell me it's going to be okay. (I need my mommy too...do we ever grow out of that??!)

Reuben is pushing boundaries, talking back and dealing with anger and fear (some of it from covid). I don't know if I ever wrote about it, but he hates to go to the store and he hates masks. Poor kid. He is THRIVING at making friends, playing together at parks, and just being really amazing and fun. He's a blast to hang out with and its been awesome to have whole conversations with about whatever happens to be on his mind. He also hasn't been sleeping well. He has a lot of fear and anxiety and it comes out at night. Becky is out cold in 10 minutes flat and he takes an hour or two to nod off, lots of extra hugs, prayers, love and audio books. He is a sensitive soul, I am thinking on the highly sensitive spectrum. He has 100 questions about everything. He has a lot of questions about fear. I am tired of answering questions. 

Becky is telling a lot of lies, something we only went through briefly with Reuben. Reuben, right now, is a terrible lier and because of his highly sensitive nature will come to me an hour later after lying and tell me he lied and beg me to forgive him. I can also always tell when he is lying. I hope he never gets good at lying.

Becky on the other hand lies like she was born for it. I can only tell because she is three and ill equipped to falsehoods. But she can lie with a smile and a hug! We are working on teaching her how important it is to tell the truth. She is also dealing with the terrible threes (neither of my kids had terrible twos...) with tantrums over every small thing. She is having a lot of trouble sharing anything. But, she is excelling at loving all the babies around her, being gentle, and keeping up with big brother. I love her, she is amazing, but she is very headstrong and is going to need someone to catch her one day when she falls. Reuben is going to need someone to catch him too but for different reasons. He doesn't look where he is going and is clumsy. Becky looks and leaps anyway, she has the heart of a lion. haha.

In the midst of all this I have a chronic illness, Brian works all the time, and covid, homeschooling, political and civil unrest and I'm taking a course on plants. What a time to be alive! I know I was made for this time, I trust God, but my plate is a little full ya'll. 

Last week someone showed my son a pornographic picture (or movie) at a park. It couldn't have been long, 10-12 seconds...I keep an eye on him but he runs around and plays by himself often. I am not sure quite what happened--the kid was between 8-12 years old (there were a lot of older kids there and they were all playing tag) and there was some kind of bad movie he described to me that was definitely porn. I didn't know this would happen, so it's been a whirlwind of many other kinds of questions from Reuben that I thought would wait until he was bit older. By the way, Reuben HATES movies. He has for years, even before this incident. This is one of the things that makes me think he is highly sensitive. Veggie tails is too scary for him. He gets all worked up and afraid something "bad" or "scary" is going to happen and he literally starts sobbing and hyperventilating and goes into a full on panic attack. I am not quite sure what to do about this but for right now we avoid all movies except for his "safe" ones.  

I'm in a time where my chronic illness is not better, but it is not as bad as it has been? It's this weird middle ground where I'm okay most days if I remember to take all my meds but sometimes I get tired and I am pretty much always dealing with kidney pain... not quite sure. Hopeful for continued improvement. 

I noticed this week that I don't make enough time to play with the kids and really connect with them. I homeschool, cook, clean, and I need a break. I feel burnt out a lot...but I also need to schedule in some play time and connect with each of them. I think this will help with the attitude and issues we are seeing crop up. Both of them are so wonderful and I really am starting to savor our time together. But also I need to get stuff done and I have not found a good balance. I think going out less and staying home more will help with this, but my poor extrovert self feels a bit sad about that. It's a season, right? My kids need me and honestly I need them too. I want to be a good mom. 

Structure is my friend and I have been enjoying a bit more structure in our week. We have a laundry day, a mowing day, a co-op day and I need to figure out a loose schedule as well. I need a new morning routine, my last one fell apart when my chronic illness returned in February. I think I am going to stop typing here and go work one out. 

How are you all? Hugs and love and prayers from me. Tips for five and three year olds welcome, and I also would love your prayers as I mother our small family. I feel like as the seasons change I never have enough time to figure it out before it all changes again. God sure knows how to keep us parents on our toes. I wonder if he, the everlasting father figure, also feels this way...

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Wandering (part 7)

Scrape.

Dirt bumped over my exposed back.

Scrape.

I opened my eyes to see my legs hefted above me, my back pressing into the ground. Ignose's shape blurred into focus as I groggily attempted to push myself up. She was wearing my stone vest, and had one of my legs in each arm. Her face beaded with sweat as she drug me down the dirt path.

When she saw my eyes were open, she stopped, lowering my ankles to the ground.

“Those fool idiots,” She cursed, squatting besides me and easing off the vest. “They almost killed you. And you! You are supposed to spit it out, you blighted thing. Not drink half the ocean in wine.” I groaned. My arms hurt. My back hurt. My legs ached. I smelled of pee.

Ignose's gaze softened, and she leaned down to help support me. I sat, and immediately regretted it. While the trees were no longer bending or a-swaying with a will of their own, my head pounded as if someone had been playing the drum on it. My body felt all wrung out like just-washed clothes. I turned my head away from Ignose and began heaving up my insides. Bile and water rose out of me like a wave as I vomited.

Ignose handed me a rag soaked with river water after I was done, and I suckled greedily on it.

“Thank you.” I rasped, grateful for anything to easy my thirst.

“Cinna pinched my nose” I mange to hack out a little while later, between a spasm of coughing. My voice is gone. A little old woman has climbed down my throat and it is her voice that speaks to Ignose now. I take a shaky breath but go on.

“It was hard to spit it out,” I say. Ignose hurrmps.

“She would,” Ignose said. “That one holds no love for you. Avoid her, Solamae.”

I nod, sucking my damp rag. It wasn't enough. Now that I have my bearings, thirst roars through my body, unquenchable as fire. I could drink an ocean. Just no more wine. Never anymore wine.

“Is there water?” I croak. Ignose shakes her head.

“I couldn't carry a water-bowl and you,” She says. “And now it's almost dawn. You have to make it to the village”

I nod. We are close, as close as Ignose had dared to drag me. Just around the bend and through the clearing, are the first huts our of tribe. I can make it. I will make it. The luck of our tribe, our harvest and our future depend upon it.

I push myself up and Ignose swings the vest back into place over my chest. The weight pushes me back to the ground

 I can't make it. I can't even move. The stone-filled sack is heavy, and it digs into my back with significant force. I am pinned like a bug to the path, barely able to breath.

I struggle, but cannot rise.


“This is the worst part.” Ignose says. She sounds far away. “You'll have to drag yourself. Hurry.”

Her footsteps fade away, the sound of the forest rushing in to fill my ears. I push up to a crawl, only able to hold myself inches from the ground. The grass becomes my measure. Soft, dew sprinkled, salt-drenched, lighted by the moon. Inches from my face. I see a beetle, roaming with me, his shell effortlessly borne along on spindly legs. I see the wind and how it ruffles the blades like the caress of a mother.

I am a beetle. I tell myself. But the only whisper that returns to me, born on the wind or whispered by the sea is: Ryia.

Ryia. It becomes the chant of earth as I pull myself forward. Ryia. Stop, gasp. Ryia. Ry as I rise and ia as I complete the movement. The sound of my knees on the sand. The sound of the stones dancing in my vest to the tune of my crawl. Ryia. Ryia. Ryia.

The path is gone. Only sand, pressed with many feet, reminds. Thatched grass-huts. Silent black feet. Ryia, Ryia, Ryia.

The fire-pit. I have made it.

Ryia.

The sun rises. I am tied to the stone, our stone, the stone of the village that glows with the light of the moon every night. They dance. They sing. I am painted red, a moon-blood offering. Ogna May feeds me raw game and lets me suck the yokes from eggs gathered that morning.

By half-light, it is over. I am cut free. The Ogna removes my vest and all but carries me to the sauna, where I fall limp, spent. Once again I am washed. The sisters around me bless each other, whispering of good harvests and game luck, trading promises of sunny days and warm nights. My womb is cleansed and blessed, since I cannot be. Daughter of the moon I am, but daughter of the sea I am not.

Ignose waits for me in the treeline, Roan tied to her back.

“Good job.” She says. She offers me her arm, but I shake my head. I will walk. I have done it, and I will walk.

Ryia, Ryia, Ryia.

-----

[Transcription Note: Several hides in this section were beyond recovery]

-----

[Transcription Note: only legible part of several hides]

One moon-night, Cinna had beaten me just for speaking to her own daughter, a maiden of six. Both of us has been gathering mushrooms in the forest for stew. At the time I was not fully aware of my own place, and I had spoken with her, even dared to play with her. Ignose had been livid. I still felt the shame to this day, the sin I had caused against the moon and the sea.

The scars on my back remain.

-------

PART 8 HERE

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Wandering (Part 6)

Suddenly a villager was there.

“I stole game from the spear-sisters,” A voice said. “I cooked it in the sauna fires and ate it all by myself, even through it was the week of fasting.” 

I jerked my head from left to right, trying to follow the voice.

“You must now carry this shame, Blighted one. May your bad luck never touch us.” 

“I will carry this shame,” I said, tensing myself. Something crashed into me, making me topple onto my side. A foot? A branch? I curled inward, waiting for more, but no more blows came. Sharp breaths. Twisting. Turning. I inched upright as best I could.

Remembering Ignose, I began to weave my legs through my arms and around to my front. A trick. The blindfold had not looked so dark from the trees last year.

I had watched her, every time. Did she know? Was she watching me, now?

Another Villager. 

“I crave a man, moon-daughter, even through the time of ice is not upon us. I crave a man and I feel shame. You must now carry this shame. May your blighted luck never touch us.”

“I will carry this shame,” I said.

A slap. My head rang.

And so it went. One by one the villagers came to me and told me of their deeds. One by one they bruised or cut or hit me. 

The air felt cooler now. Was it nearing halfnight? I was very thirsty, and my head thrummed to the beat of the ocean.

A light tap on my shoulder made me start with fright. Laughter bubbled up from my left. Ignose. I wilted, relived. 

“You look ridiculous naked,” Ignose said. I felt her hands at my bindings, and as she released my arms, I yanked off my blindfold. The sea was now in front of me, the tide swelling with foam, and the sight of it calmed me. 

“Ignose,” I said, “You didn't tell me it would be so dark.”

Ignose shrugged. Halfnight had come, moons twining the sky, one low on the horizon, one high. The beach spread out behind me white and glimmering. But I was shaking, dizzy and out of breath and could not admire it as I ought. Ignose knelt and helped me drink some water.

“After halfnight, they will come with the stone,” She said. “And the fermentation.” 

I nodded. 

She smoothed my hair, and dipped the water-bowl into the sea, rinsing me off several times. The cold water made me gasp, but afterwords I felt much better.

“I should not have let you do this,” Ignose said, but I shook my head.

“I'm okay,” I tried to croak through wet lips from my dry throat. Ignose did not look like she belived me. “And it's almost over.” 

“The last past is the hardest,” Ignose said. With a glance at the sky, she re-tied my bindings, leaving the blindfold for last. 

“I will see you after,” She whispered, and then she was gone. 

And thus I sat while halfnight deepened.

I could not tell what changed, but suddenly they were there. My villagers. Ogna May untied my arms and legs and I choked back tears as tingling flooded my limbs for a second time. The sky was black, the darkest time of night. Tide had come. 

She took the vest, filled with pebbles from the sea, and placed it over my chest. I bent under its weight like a weed in the rain. 

“We wash our transgressions in the ocean,” she intoned, as she tied the vest in place. “These stones represent the burden of our wrongs.”

“I will carry the shame,” I managed to rasp out, trying to sit up straight under the weight. Both sides of the vest pressed into my chest, making it hard to breathe. I slid one of my hands under the front and pushed it away from me to relieve the pressure. This made the bulk of it pull tightly on my neck and shoulders, and I strained under the burden. 

Ogna May hefted the fermentation, and Cinna stepped forward. She gripped my jaw, thrusting my head back, pinching my nose shut with her other hand. Ogna May frowned at her, but said nothing. She eased the end of the bag into my mouth and suddenly I was choking as sour wine spilled over my cheeks and burned down my throat. I spluttered and swallowed and tried to turn my head, but the bag followed me where ever I jerked, until at last it was empty and I gasped for breath.

“It is done,” The villagers intoned, but I was already having trouble concentrating. Were the trees moving? A face floated over me, and my body felt hot and heavy. Sounds came in a rush, and colors wove together and danced in front of my eyes. My belly burned and I swayed, watching the trees climb towards the sky with dark, twisting fingers. My nipples hardened, pressing into my stone vest, and my vision swam with light.

“You have given her too much,” A voice said. I tried stand up, concentrating on keeping my breathing even. I could not rise. As I sat, my gasps for air increasing as I tried to climb out of the fog. Lightheaded. Was I swimming? I could feel each grain of sand pressing into my thighs and legs. Yet, a wetness? Pressure. Voices. And every night sound—a bird cooing, the steps of the villagers receding—loomed over me like the roar of a raging, relentless storm.

I tried to swallow, to wet my tongue, but found it swollen and thick. I pushed the vest away, gasping for breath, but the touch of my own hands against my skin made panic flood my senses. It was too much. I felt too much. 

With incredible concentration I rose to my knees, pushing myself up. 

I took two steps into the fog before everything went black. Wetness. Fog. Breath. Heavy.

Where was I?

-----

Part 7 here

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The Wandering (Part 5)

Two hands passed. A full rotation, a week's time, 10 days, marked by the digets on our hands for easy remembrance. My age, 2 hands, as well. A special number, not more or less, but perfect and round and enough.

Two hands marked with the rise and fall of the alabaster sister. Her twin, came doubly slow, and only now made a soft decent towards Leaochis. The ever-moon was in her ocean phase, pale blue but still glowing softly, the highest and brightest light in the night sky.

Today was the beginning of our tidal celebrations. All week Ignose had prepared, while my stomach had grown tighter and tighter. How would Roan fair, without her for a night? How could she bare the pain, so soon after birthing her twins?

As night swelled round and full like her time was near, I made my decision. I would go instead. It was time, I was ready. And it was my place too. Ignose had Roan tucked under her arm, and a calm expression on her face, little expecting my purposed thoughts.

She looked serene now, all motherly affection, but I alone knew how she had tossed and turned all night, moaning with pains. She had woken to nurse Roan at least six times. Often I had heard the soft sounds of her feeding him as she sobbed quietly. Now she stood straight and tall, like a palm tree unruffled in sea wind, smoothing Roan's black hair and sniffling over his dark eyes. As I watched, she whispered his sisters name to him, crooning as the women did to their new babies. Ryia. Ryia, soft as wind. Ryia, who was not here in his mother's arms.

I could still smell the blood. Unlike the first hand her bleeding had ebbed somewhat. But now, as the second hand culminated, I still saw Ignose dumping sodden rags into our washing basket at least once every mealtime. Did it hurt? If it did, she did not say. Yet she tossed and turned...and moaned and cried.

Ryia, Ryia, she whispered, and it pained my chest so to hear it echo across the night from her lips.

There had been so much blood. Could she lose more?

My stomach was squeezing, and my palms were sweaty, but as she prepared to leave, I faced her. My mind had been all but made up when she had told me, many moons ago that she was with child.

“I will go,” I said, taking a step towards the women that waited at the edge of our small footpath, their eyes on Ignose.

“No,” She said, but her voice hesitated. Broke. “No.”

“Yes,” I said. “You must rest.”

“You don't know what you are asking,” She said.

Roan squirmed in her arms, his mouth searching for milk. She adjusted him, and made to hand him to me.

“I do know,” I said, and met her gaze. Her brows tightened, and she continued to hold out Roan like some moon-offering between us.

“I'm going,” I said, and turned. I looked back when I was halfway down the path to find her staring at me thunderstruck, as if the lightening from my birth day storm had finally shocked her to the ground.

It was Cinna, Beia, Mai and Ogna May.

“Is Ignose coming?” Cinna asked, tossing her head in the direction of our lean-to. “It is Tide, moon-daugher. Fetch her at once.”

I raised my head a fraction, to look at the neck under Cinna's chin, her black skin weathered but still smooth, wiry with a weaver's grace.

“We know,” I said. “I have come. I am also Blighted.”

Mai gasped. “She's too young,” she said.

I looked down again, curling my hands. Waiting.

“Ignose was younger, when she started. Six red moons, I think,” Ogna May's gravely voice made me relax. “How old are you, Solamae?” She asked.

My eyes roamed, found her cheeks. Wrinkled, wonderful cheeks, craggy with age and but pleasant to behold. Like a stone, the Ogna May was. A stone you picked up and held for luck, cupped in your hand until it wore your skin away, until you knew it's every crevice and dip. Until it became a part of you. That's who the Ogna was to our village.

“11 moons soon, moon-sister,” I said.

We left.

The first stop was the saunas, where I was meticulously bathed. No one spoke, and the steam rose and fell like ocean waves over my naked body.


After my bath, the weavers took me into their tent. I sat on a red mat while they brushed and plaited my hair into 18 different braids. 18, one for each month in our yearly rotation. They oiled my body, still naked. I shivered under their warm hands, sliding across my arms, now dipping between my legs, now reaching around my back. When they were done my black skin glistened like sea-spray on a moonlight night.

Still no one spoke. I kept my eyes on the floor.

The Ogna met me at the door. She smiled at me. Her I could look at. Her I did not always fear. She took my hand and walked me around the village, from hut to hut, space to space, for all to see.

I saw the woven grass huts, with cream fibers newly pressed and mended, as was the custom on the even of our tidal celebration. The dark skin of my moon-sisters glistened in the moonlight, making the whites of their round, black eyes almost glow in the night. I met each gaze, many for the first time. Limbs and moccasins were my identifying marks to name my sisters, due to my cursed gaze—but now I on this most ancient and solemn of celebrations, saw faces. And how varied those faces were, how quiet and puzzling their glances, where I was used to anger and disgust. Studying the dark faces of my moon sisters left me feeling like a beached fish after a summer storm. My belly felt like it swam with minnows but I tried to keep as calm. This was important. This, I could do.

Then we went to the beach.

“Solamae, look at me.” The Onga said, and I looked. The sight of her eyes made my heart pound. She was crying. “Do you know what to do?”

I nodded. And so did she. “Make sure you aren't late,” she said. Her mouth opened like she would say more, but she didn't.

I tried to make my face stone, so she wouldn't see my fear. I don't know if it worked but suddenly the Ogna wouldn't meet my eyes anymore. Instead, she reached into her basket and pulled out the kai, the thin reeds to bind me.

“This we do for the wind,” She said, and bound my left hand.

“This we do for the wind,” I replied.

“This we do for the sea,” She said, and she tied my right hand to my left, behind me.

“This we do for the sea,” I said.

“This we do for the sky,” She said, as she looped my legs together.

“This we do for the sky,” I said.

“And this we do for Leaochis,” She said, and she wrapped a dark cloth around my eyes.

“This we do for Leaochis,” I said, but my voice cracked and I couldn't help adding, “Ogna May, are you still there?”

She didn't answer.

“Ogna May?” I whispered, turning my head left to right, even if I couldn't see. “Ignose? Where am I?”

The sound of an owl hooted in the distance. My heart was beating so fast it was hurting my chest. I tried to take slow, calm breaths but I kept having to gulp back the lump in my throat. The sand was hot. I was thirsty.

-------

Friday, March 26, 2021

The Wandering (Part 4)

When I arrived back at our lean-to after my bath, I spread my damp, clean clothes from the sea upon the hut to dry. Ignose sat glassy-eyed by the fire, holding the sleeping man-child. She did not look up when I sat to add more twigs and sticks to the fire , rocking on my heals before our flame.

“I've named him Roan.” Her voice broke the silence and made me flinch. I looked up, and her face was towards me. Her cheeks were wet but her eyes looked beyond me, towards the trees.

I blinked again surprise and almost fell over.

“You cannot!” I said.

Ignose began to weep in ernest again. 

“They have taken my daughter from me. They have given her to another. All because she was ocean born, and I was not. Because I am cursed and she is not. Why did you fetch the Ogna. Why, why Solamae. Did I not tell you that I would give birth on land? Did I not instruct you, time and time again, to let me give birth as I wanted? A cursed life is the only life I had to offer a daughter. It was good enough for my mother to give to me, but now I am denied this for my own child.” She laughed hoarsely.


I gulped.

“I knew you would not want your daughter to suffer.” I said, slowly. “You said you were having a boy, so I thought it did not matter. The sounds you made scared me. I did not know what would happen. It might have been worse than the rocks.”

Ignose gently laid her son in a basket to her left. She stood, and her face was like thunder over me.

“It is not fair.” She said quietly, as I began to tremble. “My daughter is gone. You have greatly displeased me and the bad omens you have brought will never be forgiven. I will never--” here she picked up a thin branch from the ground-- “forgive you.” Before I knew it, the branch was over her head, coming down on my back. Switch. Again. Switch. Again. I covered my face and fell to the dirt. It stung. It would leave welts, but not bruises. Ignose is kind.

And while it was true she had asked me not to fetch the Ogna... in the deep in the night, she had begged me to never let her daughter turn out like her, out like me. I had done what I had to do.

Three switches later and Ignose was cradling me in her arms and sobbing into my hair while I clung to her.

“Why do you never fight back,” She croaked, squeezing me. “Why don't you yell at me, for a change.”

I smiled and hugged her tighter. For some reason, the switching had left me feeling lighter, somehow. Forgiven. Absolved.

“I need to go fetch some mushrooms for dinner, moon-sister,” I said “Or we will have nothing to eat tonight.”

Ignose released me, and she, too, seemed lighter, more relaxed. She tweaked my shoulder and grinned at me.

“The Ogna brought me a basket of spring vegetables for nursing,” She said. “There are turnips and broccoli, an onion, some peppers...and sweet potatoes.” Now I stared. Sweet potatoes? For us? My mouth started to water.

While Ignose held Roan, I fetched our clay cooking tray and strung it over the fire with kai reeds. Soon the smell of roasting veggies filled the air while Roan slept.

“Tell me the story of my birth.” I begged, to break the silence and to further cheer Ignose. Ignose smiled. She loved this story almost as much as I.

“There was a storm,” Ignose began, reminiscing. I relaxed, turning veggies. This is a story I had heard a hundred times over.

“I have never seen the sky so black. Everyone said the Creator was angry and I also was black and blue from being beaten for my ill luck. I remember crying in my lean-to, wet and miserable and hungry.”

“That night, I decided that enough was enough. Since I had not been born in the sea, to the sea I would go. The sea would be my forever home. I would trouble my sisters no more. My death would bring good omens, not bad, to my moon-sisters. And perhaps, in death, I would finally be forgiven.”

“I left my tent. The downpour was intense. I couldn't see beyond my two hands. The rain was pounding my body and the noise drowned out all else. I made my way down the path, slipping in the mud, not caring where I fell.

About halfway there I passed some of the women. They were huddled around another. She was screaming. I could hear her cries between the peels of thunder.

I ignored them, wrapped in my own thoughts. It wasn't until I reached the rocks that I realized what she was saying. My baby, my baby. And there you were. Tucked against the side of a rock, wet and miserable. When my eyes met yours, you started to cry again, mewing for me. I knew. I just knew. I picked you up and popped you in my shirt. The act of me walking must have soothed you to sleep, because your bald little head was nestled close under my chin in slumber by the time I made it to the village.”

I gasped. She had never said the part about going to the village after she found me. Ignose paused, as if searching for words.

“You were beautiful. And we both saved someone that night.”

I lean back, thoughts swirling. I'd never thought about it before, but who had nursed me back to life? Certainly not Ignose. Yet she always swore by the Creator she didn't know who my mother was, when I asked. Yet someone had nursed me. Hadn't they? Someone must have suckled me and held me close, and cuddled me in the night.

Someone else in the village cared for me. But who was it?

------

Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Wandering (Part 3)


“Oh!” I said, flinching back. The woman glared at me. It was weaver Cinna.

“Watch where you are going, blighted daughter.” She spat. I immediately sank to the ground, my face buried in her moccasins.

Silent, I trembled, waiting for her to move. As I breathed slowly, Ryia began to cry, not happy with being suffocated against my chest.

Cinna sighed.

“Solame. You bring bad luck here,” She said, in an impatient tone I had grown to be wary of.

From my place on the ground, I tried to speak.

“I am searching for Paqia to nurse Ignose's baby,” I said to the dust.

“Oh, get up here,” Cinna said. Deftly she knelt, hauling at my arm, pulling me upwards in quick irritated yanks. “I can't hear you if you're groveling. There is no harm done, I didn't see the baby.”

Ryia began to wail louder as I stood and dusted myself off as best I could with two arm full of a baby and a load of clothes.

Cinna tisked. “Paqia has headed off for the quarterly hunt. She will not be back until the blue sister falls to kiss her alabaster twin.”

I bit back a grin. That was two weeks! Ignose could have her baby! By the time Paqia returned, her milk would be dried up. She could not nurse Ryia.

“Another wet nurse will have to be found,” Cinna said, clicking her tongue. “Since a cursed maiden cannot raise a moon-daugher...Hmmm. Oai and Paoe both have sucklings at the breast, and six more in the hut are due in 2 hands...”

I studied my toes. My feet longed to be back on that path to tell Ignose the good news.

“I know,” Cinna said, her grip on me softening, “I could nurse her. My son nurses still at the breast, and more milk for a mewling would flow after a few nights.”

I stopped breathing. Paqia was one thing, but Cinna was another.

“I was wondering, sister...” I said slowly, hoping my face did not look flushed, “If there was any bad luck on nursing a cursed one's child?”

Cinna sucked in her breath. I held mine.

“I do not know,” She said carefully. I studied her moccasins again, with their soft hide flaps and blue and white beads. Finally she continued.

“The baby is better being suckled by those who are not blighted. I will nurse her.”

I did not move. Ignose hated Cinna. She would never forgive me if I left her daughter with her. I knew also that Cinna did not care about little Ryia. She would mistreat Ryia. A picture of Ryia, dead, laying on the rocks beside the sea flashed though my heads. She would leave the baby out on the rocks where the cursed ones were left to die. She held no love for Ignose, so why would she want her baby?

“Ogna May told me to leave the baby with Paqia, moon-sister. I must obey the Ogna,” I said, bowing so low while trying to rock Ryia and quiet her. Is I swayed and bent, I felt something fall from my bundle. I watched in horror as my washing-stone tumbled out and split in two against the stony ground. A lump formed in my throat. Ignose had traded many things for that stone. We used to take turns scrubbing backs in the sauna, and I had many fond memories of our time there. And now I had broken it.

I reached out to grab one of the pieces, but Cinna swiped it out of the way with her moccasin, and it clattered to the side, hidden among the short grass underneath the working-huts.

“You are clumsy, cursed daughter.” She said. I remained bent over, while Ryia screamed, and tears pricked the edges of my vision.

“I told you to stand up.” This time Cinna yanked me so hard I almost dropped Ryia. She tightened her grip on my arm and hauled me to my feet, then slung back her hand to slap me across the face.

I blinked as it stung, sucking in my breath and swaying on my toes. The light spun.

“What is the meaning of this, moon daugher.” It was the Ogna's voice. In one motion, she plucked the angry Ryia from my arms, and turned to face Cinna, sweeping me behind her. I flattened myself against the earth.

“The cursed daughter brings her bad omens here. You should not have sent her.” Cinna said. With my eyes to the dirt, I spied the other half of my washing stone, and flicked out my hand to tuck it back in among my clothes.

“Solamae was bringing the baby in to nurse. Ignose has been blessed with twins,” Ogna May said. “I instructed her to do this. You forget yourself.”

“Paqia has gone on the hunt,” Cinna said “I will nurse the baby. Yet Solame refused. She should not speak so to her moon-sister. She should not speak back to an elder. She is cursed.”

I felt Ogna shift above me.

“I just heard of Paqia's departure. That is why I came after Solame. I have sent Yegj to run after Paqia. You are still nursing your boy, he has not left your breast yet. You know we do not suckle men and women on the same teet, it is an abhorrence. He must be suckled for the full 2 red moon cycles.”

Cinna mumbled something, but I couldn't catch it with my face in the dirt and my ears ringing from being slapped. I lifted my head a little, but only saw the back of the Ogna's bare feet, calloused and brown against the rocks.

Time passed. I'm not sure how much. My stomach rumbled. Eventually the Ogna knelt down and I felt her gentle hands on my back.

“There, there, little Solamae.” She said. I realized then she had somehow made Ryia quiet. “Ryia will be fine with Paqia. Do not worry youself. Ignose will be okay too. It is for the best. Go and bathe.”

I turned and fled. I had failed.

----

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Wandering (Part 2)



We had both known this was coming. I guess Ignose had forgotten, in the pain. My heart plummeted.

“Can I move into the village?” She begged. “So I can be with my daughter? She was born in the sea. She was born in the sea. Please don't take her.”

The Ogna's face twisted. I thought for a moment she was going to strike Ignose. I dropped my bundle and dashed in front of her, prostrating myself in the dirt.

“She did not mean it, Ogna. She is distraught. Please, I will take the baby to Paqia before I bathe.”

The silence stretched, and when I finally raised my face from the ground, Ogna May's winkles were set like stony crags. Her eyes were kind, though. She nodded to me, and I stood, and took the baby from her arms.

“What is her name?” I asked Ignose, who was glaring at me through a wash of tears.

“Ryia,” Ignose said, her voice wracked with pain. “Her name is Ryia.”

“Ryia,” I said. A good name. “Do not worry,” I said, and turned quickly.

Paqia's hut was in the village with the spear-sisters, those who defended against the cursed clans, those who hunted and sported and fished. This, I knew, was the third time she had returned from the sea empty handed, but she had borne it well. She had always been kind to me. But Ignose, she hated. I do not know why.

As I walked, I swung my bundle quietly. The infant was asleep. She had dark skin, like the nights when the moons were all new. No eyelashes, yet. Fuzzy hair like soft moss crowned her head. 

She was beautiful. I smiled, watching her chest rise and fall and feeling her warmth seep into my arm. 

It was a bit cumbersome, walking with her, and my things for washing, but I managed. I wound around the path—the path from the village to the sea, where Ignose and I had made our home, and thought.

I thought, I need a plan.

Paqia's hut was empty of sisters, the grass pallets spread across the floor like discarded husks, the hollow indentations showing where each body would lay at night. It was quiet. I paused in the doorway, trying to imagine what sleeping next to so many women would be like. What living in the village must be like. A pang like a slap of seawater washed over me, but I set my face as stone. Thoughts and emotions were dangerous here, in the village where I did not belong.

But thoughts washed over me regardless of my inhibitions. I forgot Ryia, snoozing in my arms, and I forgot my bunched clothes and bathing requirements. And I allowed myself to dream. In the deepest depths of my soul I would like to be a weaver. Wielding the spear held no interest to me, but weaving! Oh, it did. I had helped Ignose weave our mats and lean-to every year since I could remember, and our clothes. Even she had said it was much better than she had done alone. I wished to stretch my skill, to have access to the soft plants those in the village cultivated instead of fumbling with my foraged cuttings.

A weaver. As I was two hands old now, I would be in my first year of apprenticeship. I eyed the warp and weft of the hut before me, and the leaves that padded the underside of the pallets. I imagined the spear-sisters reclining here, laughing together, sharing stories of their hunts and battles while they ate the choice meats and drank the fragrant bone broth from their hunts.

The baby stirred in my arms, reminding me of my purpose, and I took a step back. I had almost entered the hut.

Gulping in horror, I whipped my head around. No spear-sisters were visible.

I immediately ducked my head, backed away from the hut, and began to search the village. I should not dream thus. Especially not here.

I passed by the rest of the grass huts easily—where the weavers, the maidens, foragers, child-minders, the fishers slept. Beyond them lay the the inner circle, housing the elderly too old to work, who kept the fire-pits hot and the sauna steamy, and the Blessed, like the Ogna. Many of the women were gathered around the central fires with bowls of fish stew. It smelled delicious and made my stomach rumble, even though I had just eaten.

I didn't see Paqia's dark form or any of the spear-sisters with their short hair and breeches cut for running, so I kept walking. Beyond the fire pit lay the work huts, where the weavers wove and the women processed fish and game. I had to pause and kneel as two maidens walked by, their hair braided like mine. I heard the soft scuffing of their feet scrape as I clutched the sleeping Ryia, but they did not speak to me.

I counted two hands after they passed, and rose to stuff Ryia's fingers into her mouth. She had woken. Her eyes were dark and full, like two twin moons below her peaked brows. She latched immediately and began suckling her hand like her life depended on it. An old trick, I'd seen many of the women do.

Beyond the huts were the fields, with knee-high plants and climbing, half grown kai pushing sun-ward. I hesitated. If the spear-sisters were hunting, I would never find them. Maybe I should bathe first, and check with the Ogna again.

I turned to double back, chewing on the inside of my cheek. Plan. Plan. I still needed a plan. So lost in thought I was, as I rounded the corner of a work-hut, that I ran right into someone.

-----

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

7 months

Last May I was bedridden with either lyme or chronic EBV. After stumbling around in the dark (and getting worse) and around $500 later, I did a round of buhner herbs followed by the gaps diet and pronounced myself cured. Slowly I have been working on my digestion which was wrecked by the caustic lyme herbs. Today, I am happy to say my digestion is at a great place!! I can eat things I have not been able to eat in years and not be in pain... its great.

But four weeks ago my lyme started to come back. At first I didn't realize; it was slow. I thought I needed more sleep or more exercise; but one morning two weeks later, I realized these were the same symptoms I had presented with all those months ago. It was lyme (or EBV, really I can't tell). 

Here are my symptoms: 

1) Extreme fatigue. I wake up like I didn't sleep at all. I feel more tired in the morning than I was the night before when I went to bed. Mornings are rough. I am exhausted. Everything is hard. 

2) Pain in the back of my head, down my spine, sometime radiates to my shoulders or all over (joint/inflammation pain)

3) Low grade fever basically all the time

I decided to try if I could wait it out. I mean, I have some of the herbs but didn't want to shell out another 200-300$ for the ones I would have to replace if I didn't need too. I tried sleeping more and started a few supplements. I tried the gaps diet, again. Nothing worked--my symptoms remained. So yesterday I started on some Buhner herbs again, through I know the herbs make my heart palpitations worse and also lower my blood pressure and cause gut irritation. I have to make a choice--and the choice is I need the herbs because I have to function.

I thought I was done treating this. I didn't realize it would come back. Seven months of normalacy made me forget about how serious lyme is. It steals all your joy, all your energy. I was sleeping all the time again and irritable from the pain. I was (and still am) discouraged. But you know what? God knows that I was/am going to deal with lyme and EBV. He gives us suffering to bring glory to himself-- just read the book of Job to learn all about suffering and redemption! God is so good. I won't collapse in despair or give  up. 

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong...Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

I am not like Job, but I want to be. I am weak. I complain when I have piles of laundry sometimes! Even when I am in pain, and my body fails me, I will endeavor to be more like Job who did not sin and was wise to understand that following God is not all sunshine and rainbows. We are going to suffer. And yes, it is disappointing and yes it is hard but I am going to try to lean on God and not myself...to turn towards him and not to self-pity or self-loathing. God is good and he is here. I am not alone.

I would love some prayers as I gear up to fight lyme again. I'm feeling the same feelings of last summer--I had so many plans that we didn't get to do in 2020 because of covid and because of my chronic illness. I had planned them all for this year, and now am having trouble walking to the bathroom and back, so...we will see what this year holds. I will have to change my expectations once again. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Snow day!

Last year we had no snow! This year we have had two snow days. I know if you live up north you may be tired of snow; here we rarely get any. Snow is such a treat!













Looking back at these pictures reminds me how blessed I am and how wonderful God is. He is good and I should complain less. I have a beautiful family, a wonderful home, and am not hungry. God is good!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Wandering (Part 1)

It is official. I have too many hobbies. Maybe that is why I never seem to finish things. I jump from this to that and back again-- knitting, blogging, videos, writing, painting, music. I love being creative. Anyway, I wrote another story and will be posting parts of it weekly. Thursday? Thursdays. Enjoy.

-----


My name is Mary Lennox. I was part of an archaeology team on a watery planet called Leaochis. The ruins were extensive. I was assigned to a set of caves in the southern part of the two land masses of Leaochis, where I found several hides of an unidentifiable animal. On the skins was recorded a story.

Translating and interpenetrating this story has been my lives work.

I have tried to keep with the dialect of the time, but for those of us from the Milky Way, several substitutions were necessary. For example, the plant Pa has a sweet root that is harvested yearly in the southern regions of Leaochis. For ease of understanding I have dubbed it sugarcane, so that understanding may abound. But the reader should know that is not what the Leaochian people would have eaten.

We have barely begun to scratch the surface of the planets here in the Andromeda Galaxy, and many things are alien to us. Understandably, this is why the dialogues were updated. I will make available scans of the original hides, as well as my first three translations so curious observers may see how the manuscript evolved.

Leaochis is a vast ocean planet, with two distinct land masses that are not overly large. The people here were native Leaochians, they ate the plants and hunted in the forests, and fished the beaches. For all practical purposes, they were savages.

Yet this story is important to the history of Leaochis. It is one of three hides we have found. Three hides: the only documentations of life on this planet. There is not much we can glean from discarded pottery, empty caves, and grave dust. This story tells the real tale of Leaochis and her people, the story that the remnants left behind cannot.
-----

I remember the first birth I attended vividly. It was my sister Ignose. Her labor started at shade of the half moon, and she had shaken me awake, panting and breathless.

“My child comes,” She said. Three shade-spans later she was moaning and swaying with pains. “Don't go,” She said, but I rushed to get the Ogna. Her cries to the Creator resounded in my mind as my legs flashed over the smallpath to the village.

My frightened eyes must have told all, because Ogna May had arose and followed me without a word as I scrambled back to our leafgrass lean-to. I couldn't run now--even though I was breathless to get back to Ignose. The Ogna had been lifebringer for over fifty red moons. She walked with purpose and with a gnarled tree-root to support her and her basket, but she walked slow.

Once we arrived, she had to bend double to get inside. Seeing Ignose, she tisked. “You should have fetched me sooner. Her time is near.”

“It hurt, oh it hurts,” moaned Ignose. I had never seen her look like this, and I reached out to soothe her, worried.

She slapped my hands away. “Leave me alone! Oh, it hurts!”

“We need to get her into the water,” Ogna May said, as Ignose writhed. 

“I can't,” My sister moaned through gritted teeth before screaming. My heart began to thrum against my chest.

“Is she dying?” I asked, tears pricking my vision. Ignose was all I had.

The Ogna laughed. “No, child. She's bringing forth life. This is the way of most women.” She eyed Ignose testily for a second, before squaring her shoulders.

“You will walk. Solamae, help her.”

Ignose screamed again, sweat dripping from her face, and her belly undulated like a snake swaying in the rushes. Ogna May grabbed one arm, and I hauled at the other. Ignose rose.

“I hate the day I laid eyes upon the Sun,” She spat, but she walked, bowed over as the Onga backed out of our hut, Ignose leaning heavily upon my arm.

Ogna May talked as we walked. She talked to the moons, three were alight in the sky tonight. The blue sister, and her alabaster twin shone wanly through the boughs of the trees as we made our way to the sea. The full brightness of the evermoon shown as well, far to our backs and casting beams that highlighted Ignose's dripping face and the calmness of Ogna's weathered one. The only moon missing—the Red-- would come at shade, when the cold came down from the north and all the sisters retreated to the caves. Now, without its rose hue, everything was blue and white and dark. 

I listened to Ogna, half supporting Ignose, half watching the moons.

“For generations our women give birth in the sea. The pains come just as the red moon rises. It is our right and our task to bring life to Leaochis, to bring life from the womb to give to the Creator. He will sustain you as your red moon flows into the sea and life is born once again. He will...”

Ignose cursed, something I will not write of here. The Ogna missed a step, and came down hard on her tree-root, causing it to snap under the weight of both her and Ignose's quivering body. She stumbled to the side, and I found myself supporting the whole weight of my moon-sister as she clutched her belly and screamed. Water gushed from between her legs, drenching my calves. The Ogna fell in a heap beside the path.

Ignose panted, leaning heavily on me. Ogna May heaved herself up, tisking at the sight of her basket and pots. She had fallen on it.

“Hurry,” Ignose groweled, starting forward again. “He's coming.”

Ogna May grunted again, and I could tell she wasn't pleased. But she rose, took Ignose's arm, and we all inched onward.

I smelled the sea before I saw it. The sharp odor of dead fish intensified, mixed with salt and brine. Just before we rounded the corner, the breeze caught me with that vast emptiness, hanging just beyond my view, behind the treeline. The sea. It was near.

The trees thinned, and then we were there.

“I have to push,” Ignose said, but the Ogna just pulled her forward. Across the sand, soft like skin on our toes. To the lapping waves that ate at my ankles. She began to undress Ignose, the lights of the three moons making her dark skin shine blue and silver. We walked out, Ignose naked as the day she had been born here, on these shores, until I was chest deep and the waves lapped at the Ogna's waist.

Ignose reclined back, both of us supporting her, as she floated in the ocean, her breasts mountain peaks in the valley of waves, her belly a moon of it's own. She sighed.

Suddenly she arched her back, screaming. Red gushed between her legs, silver-black in the moonlight. Ignose clung to me.

“Solamae, Solamae, help me.”

I gripped her hand, trying to keep my panic down. This was not the way I had imagined a life-bringing. I'd seen many a maiden walk the path in the morning into the village, a small bundle in their arms, their faces alight with joy. This was entirely different.

'Shh, shhh,” The Ogna said. “It's almost over.”

Ignose screamed again. As she gasped for breath, Ogna May instructed me to stand behind my moon-sister, supporting her head and torso in the water, while she moved to peer between Ignose's legs, her hands cupping her bottom, her feet draped over the Ogna's sholders.

“Push,” She said, and Ignose pushed and cursed and cried.

In the end I was crying too, but a new sound soon stopped my tears. The mewing of a baby. I couldn't see—Ignose's hair was all in my face and the salt water kept bumping me up and down, but I knew, he was here. Ignose began sobbing in relief.

"It is a boy,” the Ogna said, and she placed the infant on my sister's naked chest.

I thought Ignose would grab him, but instead she gasped again. “It hurts, Ogna.”

The Ogna peered down, humming softly. “There is another,” She said, as my sister's cries intensified. “A good omen. The Creator has blessed you with twins.”

Chapter Two

In the morning, when the sun arose, Ignose walked proudly into the village, a baby on each arm. Her cheeks were pink and she was rosy with pride. I was exhausted. The villagers gathered around her, exclaiming over her prizes. A boy, for the sun. And a daughter for the moon. Rare to see my moon-sisters close to Ignose, but no one seemed to remember their places this morning.

I collapsed beside one of the mud and stick huts, watching Ignose. Ogna May waddled up beside me, chuckling again.

“One day it will be your turn, Solame,” She said, squatting down beside me.

I just looked at her. “I will never give birth,” I said, at last. But she only grinned.

“It is not so bad, once you get used to it,” She said. “You are only two hands old. Just wait until your red moon flows and the sun turns it's hot gaze towards you. The sun shines brightly on us, dear one.”

I just shook my head. Do that? No, count me out.

Ogna May leaned in close. “How many of your sisters have you seen go to the water? There might be pain as we bring life, Solame. But there is great pleasure between the sun and moon. That is why many of your sisters are even now heavy with child. Do not gainsay what you do not know.”

I returned to watching Ignose, but in my heart I purposed—I would not find myself screaming in the ocean at night, sun or no sun.

Ogna May clucked at me, as if she could read my thoughts. “Go home and sleep. I will care for Ignose. Eat, and rest. No one can support the moon alone.”

I don't remember walking home, but when I awoke I was on my woven grass mat. A bowl of clear river water and a cloth of fruit lay beside me. I rolled over, to hear Ignose arguing with Ogna.

“It is custom, daughter,” Ogna May said calmly. They must be standing right outside the vine-woven lean-to that both Ignose and I had carefully covered with mud to ward off the rain.

“So not only do I have to give my son up in two red moons, but now you ask me to give my daughter to another?” Hearing Ignose shout was normal, but the tone of her voice now near broke my heart. She sounded like a wounded wolf pup yapping at a mountain lion. 

“It is custom. Paqia miscarried. Her breasts ache to nurse a child. You have two. It does not change the blood, you know this. She will know of you, as she is your first moon-daughter.”

“But she is mine,” Ignose said.

“She belongs to Leaochis, and Leaochis belongs to us,” Ogna replied. I had finished my fruit at this point, and had started on some flat bread we had stored near our mats. The water I sipped slowly, and I trying to work the salt crystals from my hair. The smell of the sea filled our lean-to, and my clothes were pasted to my body, winkled in stiff, briny folds.

I drained the water. I would need to bathe. Soon.

Outside, Ignose began to wail. Her cry was high, a keening sound of mourning. I stripped myself to my flats, picked up my other woven dress, soft from the cloth-souring and meticulous mending, bundled it up and tucked my washing-stone inside.  Thus ready I and pushed back the flaps of skins that covered the opening to our lean-to, and blinked in the bright mid-day light. Before me, Ignose sat besid our fire-pit, holding her son. Ogna May loomed over her holding his twin.

--------

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Gaps Week 8

This week we tried adding the kids to the gaps diet! Both husband and I started at stage one with the kids. We quickly realized that reducing the kids diet that much made both of them miserable and all meal times were full of tears and sobbing. So we put the kids on the full gaps diet and Brian and I continued with stage one. It has worked out really well!! We do soup as a family once a day, with raw cheese in it for the kids as an incentive. The below picture shows the kids with plates of chicken and sugar free ketchup and bowls of soup.

Reuben loves soup. He has thrived on our new diet after the transistion that the one or two days of change brought. He has been abnormally hungry (the gaps diet is lower carb being grain free) so I've been feeding him extra raw yogurt and fruit and gaps friendly snacks. 

Becky hates everything about it and most of the time won't eat anything. We are working on it.

I made them these fun charts, and got them some gifts they were allowed to have after eating their soup. This week we did tape, markers, and play dough as incentive gifts. I know changing up our whole way of eating is crazy, but I have seen a reduction of gastrointestinal issues with both of my kids. I am not sure if I will keep them on Gaps with me--I don't want them to have any negative issues around food or to think of food as bad. But as they are growing up with a mother who has a severe chronic illness, it's got to leave some sort of impression on them. I do try to say "mommy does this because the food hurts her body. the food isn't bad" but I still worry a bit!

I am doing better this time, starting over. I know what to expect and that I can't have any dairy. I am hopeful that this time we are work through all the stages and finally get to the full gaps diet!!! Let's go, let's do this thing. I started on stage 1 and ended the week on stage 2. This coming week will bring stage 3 and avocado. 

I hope this will be the last diet I ever have to do.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Fun Flappy Ear Hat (and some updates)

I haven't crochet or knit in a while, I've been learning the violin and it is love at first...shoulder rest? The violin is hard. I am determined. I've been playing watching the kids run around outside and averaging about 15 minutes a day of practice, the usual amount of free time I have. 

My husband has been working from home and using up all the internet. I can't use the internet while he is working and thus, I have not been using the internet (which is good for me) but also impacts making YouTube videos and patterns, since the design app uses the internet; not to mention uploading pictures and pdfs. Oh, well. This is a season and a wonderful one. We get to see him for lunch and his commute is short. I love a short commute. 

I did finish one pattern last month, a Fun Flappy Ear Hat for the Becky. She asked for a rainbow hat, and I also made a blue one for the little boy I babysit (modeled here by Reuben). The pattern is available for download for the low price of $5.99 USD and I hope to make a video tutorial of it some time, when I have the energy to film and edit and all that goes with creating. 

How are you all? I have a list of things to make next but I am also tired. 2021 is wonderful so far even if I am mourning a lot of changes both individually and as an American. God is good, and I will cling to that.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

2021 Changes

It's 2021! Another new year. All I can think about currently are my hopes and dreams for 2020, none of which I attained. Life is funny like that sometimes. I wanted a baby in 2020, and I had two miscarriages. I made a list of books I wanted to read, and things I wanted to knit, and I finished about half of them. I wasn't expecting covid, riots, civil unrest, politcal stress, or the entire nation to start wearing face masks. I started the year excited to start homeschooling Reuben for kindergarten in August, ready to grow my family and have a lot of summer adventures.

Instead, we had quarantines, churches were closed, and I battled some serious anxiety and chronic illness issues. My summer was spent recovering from my second miscarriage and sleeping off chronic fatigue (well, you can't sleep that off, but you get my drift). 

I learned that even when nothing goes the way you plan, God will still meet needs. I am lucky to have food, a wonderful family, and a house over my head. My health is "fair" at this point, and I am able to function now. I am grateful. I never thought to be thankful for an ability to get out of bed, cook, clean, and stand up: but now I am. I totally am. 

This year my "word" of the year (a practice I have scoffed at in the past) is abide. My goals are to learn to play the violin and read more of my bible, and abide in Christ. I want my hope, my faith, my foundation to be in Him. So, unlike last year I'm not going to make lofty lists or monthly progress posts. 

I've slowed down a lot. We have a morning and an evening routine, and I am not a routine person but I love the structure it brings to our family. We stay home a lot. I love staying home. Homeschooling and chores and cooking and cleaning, knitting and writing and relaxing are all done at home. Going out a lot just isn't possible for me in this season of life and I'm getting used to it. Structure has made me feel like I'm not all over the place all the time playing catch up or two steps behind. It isn't fun living in flight or fight--that is what I will call the newborn phase, or whatever the first year of life after having a baby is.

I've also begun treating motherhood like a job. Maybe I should make a whole post about this, but honestly I came to the realization that motherhood is like five full time jobs where you also live (and sleep) at work and your coworkers don't understand personal space or emotional boundaries. So, I thought: why not treat it like a job? I mean, obviously I'm a mother, and it's more than a job: but what if I gave myself the things you get in a job? Like a lunch break and an ending time. So I did just that. I end my "job" at 6pm and rest before bed. I sit down and knit and I don't get up unless someone is bleeding. I also give myself a lunch break where no one is allowed to bother me or ask for snacks. It has greatly increased my mental and emotional health and it only took a few days to make it part of our rythem. Try it, if you can!

What else has changed? We switched math curriculums. I was using Singapore math, kindergarten level. Both Reuben and I grew to hate it. It is heavily parent-lead, and Reuben found it too easy and complained of boredom a lot.  We have switched to Masterbooks, Year 1, and suddenly math is fun for both of us again! I love the master books approach of teaching math through storytelling. Reuben talks about the characters in our math book like they are real and I see him applying his "lessons" in real life. This isn't me saying Masterbooks is the best math for homeschooling. This is me saying Masterbooks is the best math for Reuben. Every kid, and every mother is different. We did not like Singapore math but we LOVE Masterbooks. Finding a good fit for Reuben has made a night and day difference in our homeschooling!

Here are the other things we do daily: read books, do memory verses, and teach Reuben to read. We also work on habits, art, crafts, music, poetry and nature weekly. This week we did puzzles and made paper airplanes! Becky comes along for all of it and enjoys most. 

We have a great Wild and Free co-op that meets weekly for socialization and have a lot of play dates. I can't believe our kindergarten year is half over, and I am planning our Year One from Ambleside Online

Do I have any hopes and dreams for 2021? I think I am just going to accept what the Lord chooses to give me and be thankful, and pray. 

How are you all? Are you working through the drama (and trauma) of last year? What a year. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

What kind of world are my children going to inherit

I don't want to leave my children a world where red vs blue. 

I don't want to leave my children a world where two sides are always at each others throat, where the divide is great and full of hate, and violence flourishes as blossoms in spring. A branch full of buds that are bent on destruction of all we have achived. A tree rooted in lies, sin, murder and greed.

I want to leave them a world where kindness is not forgotten. A world where we listen to each other and place our emotions on hold to save space for the history. A place where we respect the experiances of others. 

We are not a hive mind bent on forcing each individual to conform. 

There is always a choice.

I want to leave my children a world where they can practice their religion without persecution. A world where the smallest among us are valued and seen as precious and wonderful, and not discarded unwanted, unborn and unloved. A mother never forgets. 

My heart aches. My soul longs for the presence of my heavenly father, for the peace and safety of his everlasting kindness and love. He alone is goodness, he alone is worthy. 

I do not hold any illusions. All the facade of my youth has been discarded the day those towers fell and I watched people jump to their deaths as the floors burned above them. Those on the roof, waiting for help that never came, dashed to the ground as the buildings collapsed. I'll never forget. I was in 8th grade. The world stopped for a week, a week that felt like a year. We have never recovered.

We are not a christian nation. We are a nation of sinful humans who wreathe with greed and envy, lusting for power and willing to do anything to climb up one rung. At what cost? The cost of our morals. 

My children deserve better. 

I am powerless. But I serve a God who is powerful, everlasting, who began our world and will be there at the end, who died on the cross for my sins. Who loves, and forgives. He is what I put my hope in.

I don't want to leave my children this world, this world of deceit and lies, where you can't trust the news or the government. It shouldn't have to be this way.

They don't know yet. They are three and five and the world is full of games and trees and laugher and toast, with one exploration after another, but soon they have to grow up and what will they think, what will they say, at this mess we have left them to dealt with one day. I shudder to surmise.

What kind of world are my children going to inherit. Have we left them something we can be proud of? 

Think of them next time. Think of them, and choose differently. 

How can you look in her eyes and say

you deserve a world that was used that way

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Becky's Mini Unbearable Hoodie

I finally finished this unbearable hoodie!! It's adorable. And it was HARD! I also made a video reviewing the pattern and the sweater, so check it out if you want to know more!


Becky loves it. She has been wearing it NONSTOP and we can't get enough. 

It is knit in DK yarn. I changed some of it to crochet (check out the video) and made a few other modifications. Happy bear time!