Monday, September 10, 2012

The Power of Stories: Part II

Lately I've spent a lot of time thinking about how we tell our stories, especially the less than glamorous ones. Do we hide them and let them own us or do we shape them as a part of us that we are learning/benefiting from? As we are currently in the midst of a shameful part of our story and are not of one mind on how to proceed, I've started thinking about what this season of our lives will look like five or ten years from now. Right now the emotions are raw and uninhibited. In time I know I'll see this with different eyes. How will the story be told then? This is the story I hope to tell my children...

Once upon a time, in the kingdom of Ocean Beach, a princess met a wonderful prince. The two became fast friends and after some time realized there could be more meant for them than friendship. After a few months of courting long distance, the prince took a leap of faith, quit his job, and relocated to the wonderful land of Oregon to be nearer to his princess.

Those were wonderful days! The two shared a passion for the outdoors, exploring book stores, and were active in their church. They made new friends, became really good at badmitton, and enjoyed many road trips together. The time the princess spent in Spain studying only increased their fondness for one another, and when she returned the prince knew this was the woman he wanted to spend his life with.

So, on September 7 he gathered their two best friends and sent them on a mission while he was at worship team practice. Of the princess, he requested a picnic dinner for after practice. By time practice was over, the princess was not up to a late night picnic dinner, but the prince sweetly convinced her and she really was hungry after all.

Once they pulled into Mt. Tabor Park, a place they had long enjoyed walking around, the prince asked if the princess would like to be blindfolded. This was an age-old joke between the two, so she relented to his silly games by allowing him to throw his hoodie over her head and then lead her through the park.

They stopped near the summit, and when the princess removed the hood she thought the mountain was on fire. As her eyes adjusted she found her princes on bended knee with a beautiful ring. The "fire" was actually candles arranged in a heart shape around their picnic blanket.

She said yes.

~To Be Continued~

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Power of Stories: Part I

It's the eve of my fifth anniversary. This Friday, September 7 is so very different than that one in 2007 I remember so fondly. The one where I was surrounded by family and friends, wrapping up wedding details and celebrating another milestone - my Aunt Pam's 50th birthday. Above all, I was looking forward to committing the rest of my life to a man who had so unexpectedly come into my life three years prior and for whom I was so utterly and completely head over heels for.

Five years isn't such an extraordinarly long time in the grand scheme of life, but it is a major milestone. We have endured nearly every aspect of our vows with grace, thanksgiving, and sometimes a lot of self-sacrifice. In this new season of our marriage I can reflect on the day we took our vows with such promise, and a healthy dose of naivete, and recognize a pledge taken in faith sometimes means you're agreeing to stay true through things you couldn't ever have imagined. I think if someone had told me that then instead of a month ago I may have run in the other direction. It is probably for the best we can't see every trial our relationship will face "til death do {us} part."

I am becoming the family storyteller. The keeper of the stories of our family's trials and triumphs. Some of the stories are hard to hear and some are inspiring or just plain silly. I believe it is so important to pass those stories on, even the ugly ones, so the next generation knows they are not alone and others have gone before them and come through stronger. Those are the stories I so desperately need to hear while I am writing this difficult part of my own story. 

There is power and freedom in being an active participant in your story. Sometimes things happen that you would rather not share, but most times those things you don't want to share end up having power over you. When you tell your story you take control of it. The stories of better times hold us together when we're going through the muck and remind us where we've come from and when we reach the other side of it we can point to that time and say, "We did that, we made it."

It's our stories that can bind us or tear us apart. They are also the legacy we leave for the next generation. It doesn't do any good to keep them locked up.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Heeding the Call

The Midwife, Loren Entz
"We ask them questions about their sex lives, eat their food, feel inside their bodies, snoop around their houses, drink champagne at all hours, and best of all, we get to catch delicious little naked, wet babies. What I can’t figure out is, why doesn’t everyone want to be a midwife?” ~ Peggy Vincent,
Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife

As far back as I can remember birth has been something that has held my fascination. It has evolved from childish curiousity, to a fear of pregnant people, and, finally, to recognition that the human body is an incredible work of art capable of the seemingly impossible.

I was fortunate to be raised in a family where birth was normalized. The female body was created to carry and deliver babies and do it well. There was no fear in childbirth. Now, at an age where it seems I am surrounded by pregnant women or recently delivered babies, I have come full circle where I not only have no fear of the childbirth process, but want to be wholly involved in it.

The plan had always been for me to pursue my Master's degree, but through research, books, and conversations with people near and dear to me over the last couple years, I have realized my calling is not to counsel in the manner I had always pursued. My deepest desire is to educate and empower women to have the births they deserve and assist them during that sacred time. I am so excited to start down this path and am blessed to have had many affirmations along the way that this is the right course for my life.

This fall I will start checking off my prerequisites in order to pursue a Master of Science in Midwifery at Bastyr University next fall. The six college courses include College Algebra, Biology, Microbiology, Anatomy & Physiology I & II, and chemistry - courses I took in high school, but have passed their expiration date so to speak.

In addition to bolstering my college transcript, I will take attend a Labor Doula workshop and a Childbirth Educator workshop (two separate workshops). My sweet friend wants me with her when she delivers this winter/spring, so I want to have my Doula training done before then so I can be of the best service to her. (I am so honored to be asked to be with her - it will be a first for both of us.)

Doors are opening and I'm delighted to have this opportunity. I am looking forward to following in the footsteps of great midwives who have gone before me and am excited for the opportunities and adventures that are sure to follow such a calling.