Courage can be found in unusual places

Courage can be found in unusual places
When was the last time you felt brave or had to muster up the courage to do something that made you tremble?  When you are a kid, it seems there are many times when this happens, although the instances seem simple.  Maybe it's being brave to share a toy, order your own food at a restaurant for the first time, be gracious when you lose, or step over the edge when rappelling.  As a young adult, you perhaps have to muster your courage even more as you set off into the world on your own and navigate school, work, social life, and just being an adult.  Once you have children, courage may be seen in pushing through the day with patience on little sleep, finding a way to stay sane when you haven't talked to an adult all day long, or even watching your children grow up and start to be independent.  But even with the instances of daily courage, there are some that stand out and push us far past our comfort zone.  

Most of us have no desire to go against the grain, say or do things that would be polarizing, or speak up in front of others.  Most of us just want to live our lives,  quietly raising our children and minding our own business.  But there are certain things that bring out mama bear like nothing else.   Protecting our children from danger is one of these.  When I used to think of protecting my children from danger, I would think of the past and fighting off wolves or bears.  Few of us face that in the modern world.  I would also think of snatching my child out of the street, or teaching them to say no to drugs.  These are real dangers that our children face.  But there are also dangers within systems that we trust.  These can be the most dangerous simply because of our trust in them.   It takes an enormous amount of courage to stand up for our children in the face of large organizations and people in positions of power, especially when the majority of the people around you don't have the same understanding of the danger.   My inner mama bear woke up a few years ago, and now she will never go into hibernation again.

I tell more about this in my chapter of Courage, Dear Heart.  This is an anthology full of inspiring stories of women and how they mustered the courage to move forward in the face of hardship.  Get your copy here!

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

"Get Better" Soup

"Get Better" Soup

When any member of my family is feeling under the weather, there are a few things I turn to that help shorten that feeling.  Food is one of those things.  I am not a fan of feeding sick kids desserts and junk to "help them feel loved."  That is the antithesis of love since it lengthens the time they do not feel well.  Let's let food be our medicine, because it really is!  

So when my daughter asked me to make her soup because she wasn't feeling on top of her game today, I happily obliged.  Here is my "Get Better" Soup!

8 cups vegetable broth
1 large onion (chopped fine). (Find my favorite food chopper here.)
1 red pepper (chopped fine)
3 tablespoons garlic (2 full heads of garlic) (chopped very fine)
2 cups lentils (soaked for an hour)
2 cups broccoli (chopped small)
2 cups potatoes (diced small)
2 cups kale (chopped small)
3 cups tomatoes (diced)
1  cup mushrooms (chopped small)
2 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 bay leaves
water to cover


Sauté onion, pepper, garlic in 2 cups vegetable broth until onions are clear.
Add 6 cups vegetable broth and soaked lentils.
Simmer for 15 minutes.
Add potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, and spices with water to just cover.
Bring to boil and then turn down to simmer for 30 minutes.  
Add kale and simmer for 10 more minutes. 
Serve hot!

Can you become an author without writing a whole book?

Can you become an author without writing a whole book?
Have you ever thought about writing a book?  It may seem daunting, especially if you aren't a "writer."  I have always loved writing, but not everyone has lists of books in their mind, or in secret notebooks like I do.  

Enter a book collaboration.  This is one book that has contributions from many different individuals.  Each person writes a chapter or a portion of the book.  One chapter is not so daunting!  I have now participated in two book collaborations with different publishers and am working on my next one.  It is a delightful experience!  
Would you like an insider's view?

With some guidance from the publisher on the purpose, style, and feel of the book, we start writing our chapter.  With many different authors, there are many differences in how we write.  As we keep our readers in mind, we share the deep emotions of our journeys, many things that haven't been shared publicly before, and also include hope and encouragement.  

Next the writers wait while the editing process takes place to help make the unique chapters a cohesive whole, bringing the style together, while also fixing grammar, punctuation, etc.  Each author makes the suggested changes and the book is then compiled.  

As a whole book, more editing takes place so that it flows and the purpose is easily achieved.  Then it is proofread. These are different people with specific things they are looking for and it takes some time.  

In the meantime, author pictures, bios, and websites are collected and the cover, author graphics, webpages, and trailer video are created and improved.  There are many things in the background that are worked out for publishing.  

Then the authors get to read the entire book and beta readers (volunteers) read the book and give feedback.

As it gets closer to the launch date, it is so exciting!  Reality hits when the proof copy is made with your name on the cover!  

Each of these book collaborations have been with a specific purpose in mind to reach out and help others; to show the world that wounds can be healed, that women are strong, and that we are not alone in our struggles.  As I have read through feedback and reviews, it is wonderful to see the impact these books are having on the world!  

As for me, I have forged beautiful friendships and have been blessed by the opportunity to have a positive impact on others and at the same time feeling their positive impact on me.  

Find the books here

Cascade of interventions

Cascade of interventions

As I go back through the emotions of my first birth, I realize just how much fear and uncertainty I had going into it.  

I was so excited to meet my baby and already loved her.  I was also trusting in my doctors and nurses that they would help and support me the whole way through.  

I had an extremely long labor over 3 days.  I was totally exhausted once I was in the hospital.  
Then I fell into the intervention snowball.  

-Strapped to a monitor on a bed- no movement or food allowed.  
-Exhausted, fearful, in pain, pressured to have the baby fast.  
-Not really knowing the best support I needed, taking the only thing they offered- the epidural, which slowed labor down.  
-More pressure to labor on someone else’s timeline.  
-Pitocin was next.  
-And then laboring flat on my back with my legs up in stirrups, held by my husband and mom because I couldn’t feel them.  
-Someone else coaching when to push- because I couldn’t feel anything.  
-Doctor giving a huge episiotomy because he didn’t have time or care to stretch or work with the perineum, and wasn’t giving counter pressure or doing anything, for that matter, to help. 
- Holding baby for only a few moments before they whisked her away to the nursery for a bath and all their protocols.  
-Baby coming back exhausted, too tired to try nursing, even though we tried hard.  
-Nurses feeding her a bottle without permission.  
-The hospital staff totally undermining every effort to breastfeed, then giving me glucose to feed her because her blood sugar was low.
-Recovery from that huge episiotomy taking a full two months while we struggled the whole first month with breastfeeding, and I worried if she was getting enough.  

Thankfully we finally figured it out, and were successful with breastfeeding for a whole year.  Thankfully, my baby was healthy and a bright spot of joy in my life.  I loved cuddling her and smelling her and taking care of her.  The rewards of having a child and of breastfeeding are plentiful! 

But I was left feeling unsupported, undermined, betrayed by the medical community.  They did not act in my best interest. They did not act in my daughter’s best interest.  
From what I’ve seen, my story is not uncommon.  In fact, it is way too common and often the cascade of  interventions ends in a c-section- which is major abdominal surgery that takes a long time to recover from.  Doctors get paid a lot more for that, and every intervention is more money for the system.  

How about we leave the money on the table and just do what is actually best for moms and babies?  I’m all for that!

I wrote about this birth and my 4th birth which was a completely different and positive experience in the book Finding Strength in Unexpected Pregnancy.  Read the full story here.

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