Nourishing life, community, family, home.

Posts tagged ‘family’

Mother’s Day, 2017

Mother’s Day, 2017

Right now, my husband is making breakfast while I linger in bed. My son is cuddling next to me watching me type out these thoughts. My teenaged daughter is entrenched in her bed. Everyone is enjoying the break from the harried pace of weekday mornings on this gorgeous May Sunday. Facebook greetings and well-wishes are going out. It is a wonderful day to celebrate mothers.

Enjoying the day

Enjoying the day!

Being a mother has as many faces as there are mothers, but here are a few thoughts about mothering:

  • Being a mother sometimes means allowing your body to be transformed—I think I used the term hijacked during my first pregnancy—by the development of another person. Other times, mothering means making a commitment to a person to help them develop and grow.
  • Dinner tables become the stage for sharing stories, playing games, family debates, arguments, and forgiveness. Our family table is, at some microscopic level, probably still covered with clay, paint, paper mache, candle wax, poked with felting needles, and yarn. And of course the energetic layers of so many birthdays, potlucks, tea parties, holiday dinners….
  • The garden becomes a surprise of beans planted in clumps instead of rows and the flowers pulled out with the weeds.
  • Your bed becomes the scene of cuddles and tickles and snuggles, and comforting tears, sick kids, and hugs of appreciation.
  • Being a mother means driving…the endless driving (or bus/train trips) and the support of all the activities you are transporting your child to.
  • Being a mother means creating the space for a person to go through all the steps to becoming an adult—a healthy, contributing member of a healthier society—knowing and supporting the acquisition of the skills needed to thrive.
  • It means surrendering your life to be in service to another person’s best interest—forever.
  • It means failing in that surrender, because you are only human. And you are only human in a society that is not set up to help anyone succeed in being healthy or whole. This means taking responsibility for the wounds you inevitably, unintentionally inflict.
  • It means holding your heart open while pieces of it leave on their own journey through life.
  • It means continuing to grow and develop on your human journey through life—developing your skills and insight, so that you become a better mother, a better elder. That means facilitating community and culture towards wholeness.
  • It means holding irresponsible people accountable for the harm they do to your children, their development, and the world we all share. The Earth is our first mother.

We are all responsible for the well-being of our Earth. We are all able to respond to the needs of the Earth. While we are checking in today with our human mothers, why don’t we take a moment to appreciate and care for our first mother. The birds outside are singing…the catbirds are watching the berries grow toward ripeness…fish are nesting in the lakes…frogs are calling by the pond.


I’m inspired…imagine how fun this would be

After watching this short, insightful video about Rebecca Burgess’ challenge to wear only clothing produced within 150 miles, I was just ringing with possibilities. She’s doing something many have imagined for a long time–taking responsibility now, reclaiming how she lives from a system she doesn’t believe in, finding ways to work with those around us and create livelihoods. This is part of the permaculture systems developing. Everywhere, people are setting aside the systems and products that are making them sick, making others sick, polluting the Earth. Rather than focusing on the negatives, these people are doing something about it. How many of us are out there? How are we already re-shaping the course of our times?

I’m a spinner and weaver (among many other things). I”m preparing to launch my first subscription spinning, where clients will get a certain amount of yarn from me each month over a three or six month period to use in their own crafting and creating work.  Check it out here. My husband is becoming a cordwainer (someone who works with new leather to make shoes and boots). When looking for panniers to support Corbin’s daily commute to work by bike, we found Swift Industries (be sure to watch their short video on this page, too!). When we looked for a similar producer in our area, we couldn’t find one–a niche waiting to be filled.

It occurred to me, when reflecting on Rebecca Burgess’ observation about how we let our manufacturing go overseas, that it may serve us in the end. We may, as we pick up our tools and trades, in control of our product, independent of capital and debt, creating items that others need and enjoy and (likely) seeing them used within our regions…assuming all of this might come to pass in the very near future…we will have turned the nineteenth and twentieth centuries on their head.

We will have joined our wills with those of the guilds and craftsmen in the mid-nineteenth century that fought the capitalist systems of America then and lost–sometimes losing their lives. It’s not that I”m opposed to market trade or setting prices, but that the market has never played fair with the independent producers. With the protests around the world, and the occupations in our cities, I wonder how others like myself are already building the new culture, the new face of a healthy home economy. How fun will this be?

Connecting through our Relationships

For all my relations…realizing that any help I can get for relationships is beneficial to all relationships, I signed up for an online course with Gay and Katie Hendricks through the Shift Network. Every Thursday, Gay and Katie led the participants through wonderful exercises and provided lots of support and energy for seeing relationships in new and exciting ways.

I was thrilled to take part–not because my marriage has needed a great deal of help or because I feel that I am lacking as a partner–but because I want to learn how to be a BETTER partner in ALL my relationships–marriage, mothering, business, teaching, creative projects, non-profit work… With the thought of Zone Zero Zero from permaculture in mind, I jumped in with both feet and what a wondrous journey.

Here’s a tiny bit of that wisdom:

Seven Generations

For seven generations…

I am the seventh generation to live in this state. In this part of the state of Indiana. Parts of my family have been in my or surrounding counties since before Indiana was a state. If seven generations mark a cycle, then my daughter and son-the eight generation-mark a new beginning.

I’ve thought a lot about what this means. Some of my ancestors were here before Europeans staked a claim on the land. I learned recently that my mother’s people, Grandma Mountain in particular, was of the Cherokee that were forcibly removed to the West. My father’s mother’s people were from the Cherokees of North Carolina. I couldn’t get more specific than that. The story is lost. Some of my ancestors fought in the American Revolution. Some of them hired Daniel Boone to bring them to this territory before it was a state. Before they came here, parts of my family were French Huguenots that re-settled in England. Parts of my family were Virginians fleeing a devastated South. That’s a lot of family karma. And, does it mean anything?

Does it mean something to come from a place with roots this deep? My husband and I have chosen to stay in this area, to raise our children here despite the temptation to be like many of our generation and take better paying jobs on the coasts. We have valued being near our families and friends, making a life of that values real things–real connections.

I feel deeply connected to this hilly, forested, rolling landscape–even naming my business Sheltering Hills Design. I belong here. My children belong here. We are of this land. I was raised close to the land by gardeners and skilled craftsmen. I expect that my children will be at least gardeners and skilled, even if they choose other careers.

I’m in awe of the beauty of my landscape, and upset by its abuse. The here I have inherited is as polluted and damaged (Indiana consistently ranks last in environmental quality) as it is beautiful.  It is my home. The powers that be, the mechanistic minds and memes that have invaded the culture of this area extract the natural bounty of this landscape. Seven generations of use without the deep thought to plan for the future generations. What will this land look like in seven generations? Hoosiers have choices to make.

I am on the path to defend and begin restoring this landscape. I’m not going anywhere. I’m raising my children with the understanding of the challenges they face in life–and where those challenges came from. I am raising the next generation to be committed to this place, to work with others to create a permanent culture of place amidst these forests, roads, fields,quarries, coal mines, naval bases, universities, factories, rivers….to have the tools to make this place a whole and wholesome one. Better than we found it.


Creating intent. I have the best of intentions. A lifetime of good intentions. And this is my go at sharing some of those intentions, experiences, and foibles with the world.

Dill in the Garden

In part, it began five years ago when I took a permaculture course (Permaculture is a way to ethically reintegrate our human world with the natural world). For me, it means following rhythms and patterns that regenerate the abundance of the planet. It means caring for my family–of birth and choice in a way that really builds connection for all of us. Real community. It means following my own journeys into creativity and into the soil. Adapting my home to the environment instead of the other way around. And it means taking responsibility for myself.

For the past five years, I’ve intended to institute a permanent culture and permanent agriculture in my life. I’ve intended to bring to life a vibrant permaculture world to raise my children in. And I’ve made enough strides, that perhaps I have something to share.

So, this is my intention, to blog about what’s going on and see if it doesn’t help you create more vital connections in your own life.