sabato, ottobre 22, 2011

lunedì, agosto 08, 2011

If you can't feed one hundred...

I am the type of person who can sometimes tend to feel overwhelmed. When that happens sometimes I completely shut down and cease all action whatsoever. This happened to me one week during spring semester. I felt so overwhelmed with all of the work I had to do that I didn't do a single bit of it for two days. Of course this only put me further behind, thus making me even more overwhelmed. It's a downward spiral that only leads to more despair. For the past few years I have really tried to work on doing what needs to be done without worrying about the magnitude of the task. It has worked well in most areas of my life. I budget money pretty faithfully, plan out my school tasks by the day, and try to keep all of the activities I need to accomplish on a calendar. There is one area in which I have so far not been able to conquer my overwhelmed feelings - charity. I've always been involved in charity work to some degree, but there is SO MUCH need all the time for charities. There is the heifer charity, the mosquito net charity, the well charity, children who need to be sponsored in every place throughout the world, natural disaster relief, medical clinics overseas that need support, missionaries needing partners, not to mention local charities and needs - the list is practically endless. It's completely overwhelming to me. Even though I would love to give to all of them, I'm no millionaire. I tend to just sigh and say, "Wow, they're doing a great work... I'd love to help, but how do I chose one good work over any other good work?" More often than not, I simply end up not doing anything because I let myself feel like by choosing one organization to support, I am somehow turning my back on everything else out there. My main frustration is the feeling that I can't do it all by myself. And that's a valid feeling - I can't. But I came across a quote by Mother Teresa that really gave me perspective. She said "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one." That really shook me. I can't feed all of the hungry people in the world. I can't give them all of the medical care and teaching that they need. But today Mother Teresa's words really sunk in. I watched a youtube video called Kisses from Katie.mp4 that really touched my heart. I realized that to each of those children, "feeding one" means the difference between life and death. I realized that touching one life makes a HUGE difference if you are the one whose life is being touched. Maybe there are some of you, like me, who feel overwhelmed with how much need there is, and who feel like you might as well do nothing if you can't do something "major." If so, I hope this has been a little bit of encouragement to you. I hope one day I can feed one hundred. But today I can feed one. So I will :)

martedì, luglio 27, 2010


You know how sometimes events sneak up on you? Christmas did that to me last year. I was just trucking along and all of a sudden bam! there was Christmas. Well the same thing happened to me today when I looked at my calender to see how many weeks I had left til Sam went to school. I knew this was July, and that he started school in August, but somehow I still had it in my head that I had three or four weeks left with him. Then I was talking to my mom about how "he'll be going to school soon" (as I've been saying for months), and decided to look at my calender to see just how many weeks I had left. The answer shocked me. Next week? That can't be right... I'm going to recalculate. But as many times as I checked, I still got the same answer. It made sense, really... this is the 27th, of course the 5th is next week. Starting the middle of next week, Sam will go to school all day, every day.
Now you have to understand, Sam isn't mine. Not really. He has two parents, a sister, grandparents, aunts and uncles which I have no relation to at all. But to me, Sam is more than a kid I take care of. In fact, he's more like Samuel in the Bible - my firstborn that I don't get to keep. I got Sam when he was a mere 3 1/2 months old and I was 18. When I wasn't keeping Sam I was thinking or talking about him. I was always going around talking about the latest thing he'd learned or something funny he'd done. I poured my life into that little person and developed such a love for him that I literally wouldn't want to leave in the evenings. As far as I was concerned, he was mine. I took seriously the responsibility of caring for and teaching him, and treated him just as I would have my own. His parents became more like family than employers and before long, we were just one big happy family.
A lot has changed in these past 4 years, and he was right there in the midst of all of it. He was with me on numerous dates, waving goodbye the day I left for Ecuador, taking pictures with me the morning I got engaged, kissing me at my wedding, and coming in to see "his new sister" the morning after Selina was born. He's been far more than a job - he's been a part of my life. I look back over the years I've had with him and wonder where they went. He's certainly not a baby anymore. He now "eats" my kisses, dresses himself, and has "big boy playtime" while the current babies take morning naps. But one thing hasn't changed. I love him. He has outgrown his need for a nanny, but he will never outgrow his place in my heart. It's goodbye to this season, but not to him. Just so everyone knows, I still have first dibs when Guy and Lou Ellen need an after school or weekend babysitter!

Can't believe he was ever this small...

Before Ecuador! I love these people.

The morning I got engaged. I didn't know that at the time, of course...

"Bible time" with Knox. Some of my happiest memories :)

My sweet baby on the best day ever!

Christmas decorating 2008

With Baby Selina. One of my favorite pictures.

Summer 2010. They love each other so much :)

sabato, maggio 01, 2010

Homemade Baby Food - It's Easier Thank You'd Think!

Chopped organic veggies steamed to perfection, processed into baby food consistancy. And ta-da! Homemade baby food :) Selia loves it!

venerdì, aprile 09, 2010

Sacrificing Freedom for Something Better

I am a free spirit. I like to have flexibility in my days so I can do out of the ordinary things. Cole is very much the same way, and strangely enough, it works well. We both like to do things on the spur of the moment and like to feel free. Getting married, strangely, didn't make either of us feel tied down... at least not in a bad way, like most people say. Now we both had a constant companion in our musings and random whims to go out of town and do fun things. We liked it this way and since we had enough sense to not be irresponsible in our ventures, it worked.

Fast forward three short months. I stared down at a positive pregnancy test and knew in that instant that my life would be changed forever. I was thrilled at the idea of being a mother, but I was incredibly apprehensive about how life would change. I felt guilty of my fear, knowing that a child was a blessing and gift, but on the other hand I just couldn't imagine exactly what life would be like. I had been a nanny for 2 1/2 years, and before that had spent a lot of time around children so I knew what to expect as far as caring and nurturing a child, but it wasn‘t 24/7 for years upon end. I knew, as a mother, there is no such thing as "taking off" and I did my best to prepare myself for the change. The few people I was honest with about it were incredibly encouraging about my feelings being completely normal. "Once she's born, you won't be able to imagine life being any different" a friend told me. I wasn't sure I believed her, but really hoped it would be true for me. I was excited as I got ready for her and after a little while, didn't think much about the change anymore. I didn't have time to!

She came 2 1/2 weeks early, on an incredibly stressful, but nonetheless beautiful day. There were 5 1/2 hours from my first contraction to the time she was born in a near perfect delivery. When she was placed in my arms, I was shocked. She didn't look anything like I'd expected her to. When Ianna was born 2 1/2 weeks earlier, she looked like a clone of Merisha as a baby. Selina didn't look a thing like me, and I didn't think she looked like Cole either. But one thing was certain: She was the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen. That night I didn't sleep. The night following I didn't either. All I wanted to do was look at her. Cole had the nurse take her to the nursery at some point so I could sleep, but I was a wreck the whole time she was gone.

When we got home, reality set in. She slept very well for a newborn, but was a light sleeper who wouldn't sleep in her car seat. This meant I was home-bound. I wouldn't be seeing anyone unless they wanted to come see me. I had some mild drug induced depression which made everything seem way worse than it really was. Overwhelmed is the best word I can use to describe it. So in the first two months I really felt like everything was just a huge deal. Going out of the house was a no. Waaay to overwhelming to even think about! After a while I decided I’d rather live with the effects of not taking the medication and be myself than to continue in this very uncharacteristically down me. I got off of the medication and within a couple of weeks I was a new person. Or actually, I was back to the old person. Either way, things were looking up!

And now that I’m back to myself, it amazes me how little of a sacrifice my freedom seems to be. I definitely don’t have the chance to go and do things at the spur of the moment anymore, at least not for now, and sometimes I still long for those by gone days. But overall, I consider my life to be far better than it was 6 months ago. When a friend asked me how I was adjusting to being a mom, I responded this way: “Ya know, you can prepare yourself for the sleepless nights, the responsibility of having a child rely on you all the time and the change it will make. But no one can prepare you for the love you will feel for your child.” It’s simply indescribable. When I look into those beautiful dark blue eyes, see her amazing smile and cuddle her close, nothing seems like nearly so much of a sacrifice. 2 am feedings? Got it. Pumping every 2 hours because baby REFUSES to nurse? No problem. “Sorry, I can’t, Selina just went down for a nap.” Worth it.

The past 5 ½ months have flown by just as I knew they would. I’ve loved every moment and I can say, I’ve lived them to the fullest. I’ve nurtured and loved my child. I’ve watched in amazement as she does new things. I’ve spent countless hours just looking at her, trying to soak in the moment, knowing so soon she’ll be past this amazing age. And I’ve prayed. Prayed that God would make me into the mother I should be. Prayed that she would learn to hear his voice. Though some people may call it “tied down,” I don‘t regret an instant I spent with her. To me, she’s worth any amount of freedom I’ve lost a hundred times over.

lunedì, gennaio 18, 2010

venerdì, novembre 20, 2009

Happy Hospital Birth

In the circles I was raised in, especially as I got older, home birth was a big deal. It seemed like most people I knew were having their babies at home or in a birthing center, so naturally I thought I'd follow in that trend when I had my babies. I had heard all kinds of hospital birth horror stories and all about the evils of doctors "just doing what's easiest for them" and had dreams of a water birth in a birthing center. After all, that's really the only way to have a good birthing experience, right?
Well, that's all well and good if you're in a sizable city, but in Natchez (population 20,000) there isn't a female OB, much less a birthing center with a midwife. This caused me no small amount of frustration when I first found out I was pregnant. I decided I'd drive to Brookhaven (a little over an hour away) to the only female OB around, but was still distressed about having to have my baby in a hospital at all, especially without the option of laboring in a whirlpool. After my first visit, I knew she was definitely not the doctor for me. I racked my brain all the way home... how in the world was I going to have a remotely successful birth that I wouldn't look back on with horror? I got home and made an appointment with an OB in Natchez. I had heard great things about Dr Carey as a doctor and as a person, in fact, one of Cole's best friend's credits him to his wife surviving a very difficult miscarriage. But still, it's a small town, and I knew him. In fact, my mom works for him and his wife doing housekeeping and I taught his son guitar lessons. But I went forward knowing I was making the best decision. Then Merisha and I toured the 2 hospitals. Neither of them seemed as conducive to natural birth as I had hoped, but I made my choice. I trucked along for the first few months discouraged. After my first visit, I was very glad I had chosen Dr Carey to be my doctor, but still didn't want a hospital birth at all. It was just not what I had in mind. I decided to research doing natural childbirth in hospitals. Wow. I read all kinds of helpful things like "a hospital is the most unnatural environment imaginable to labor in," "hospitals are such a cold, sterile enviornment" and "doctors only care about what is easy for them, whereas a midwife has your best interest at heart." I'm pretty sure I had never been so discouraged in all of my life. I had resigned myself to having a regular hopsital birth with all of the medications that go with it because I honestly didn't belive it was possible to give birth naturally in a hospital and it be anything less than horrid. Much less a good experience.

I hired a doula to be a labor coach and to offer support and advice (that was definitely the best little chunk of change I've spent lately!) She was really encouraging that I could have a good experience regardless of the fact that I wasn't getting my way. So I stopped pouting, stopped reading the nay-say books and stopped listening to everyone's opinions. This was the only option I had and I was going to give it a shot! Who knows, I thought, it may not be as bad as they say. And you know what I learned? "People" are wrong. My doctor did care about how I felt and wanted me to have a good birth. My nurses were supportive of me wanting to try to go natural and honored my wishes. Laboring in a bed is not the end of the world. In fact, I found it far less painful than using the birthing ball my doula brought for me to try! No one tried to force me to get an epedural to make me easier to deal with. No one gave me unnecessary checks, cuts and surgeries.
And I did it. Not only that, it was a wonderful experience. So here's a success story. If you've got a doctor you trust to do what is best, nurses who care about your wishes, and a person or two cheering you on, natural childbirth in a hospital can be great :)


Selina Grace Rutherford :)