on children and nature and culture

have we become a culture that is so immersed in "entertainment",
so far removed from what is real,
a culture so overwhelmed and filled with "stuff"
that to see people, children who love
who embrace
beautiful and
ignore the false,
could care less about the "stuff"
is unbelievable,
is shocking?

i just found so amusing,
but sad,
that a kind neighbor of ours stopped by
to ask if our children would like some games,
some toys, some movies.
she told me how she always saw them playing outside,
so she thought that maybe they didn't have very much
because my children spend most of their time in nature,
running, laughing,
watching, enjoying,
she thought they were void of things.
it was abnormal to her that children would want to be


and this made me sad.
children raised on television, on so much stuff,
that they are out of touch with real life,
with beauty
that it has become out of the ordinary for
a child to just be.


“Our children no longer learn how to read the great Book of Nature from their own direct experience or how to interact creatively with the seasonal transformations of the planet. They seldom learn where their water comes from or where it goes. We no longer coordinate our human celebration with the great liturgy of the heavens.” – Wendell Berry


a saturday daybook

life with a newborn is slow, peaceful, beautiful. 
days are filled with cuddling,
reading piles of books to children,
running outdoors and breathing in crisp air,
watching pigeons nesting in our trees and
sparrows flitting about our slumbering garden,
perching on rose bushes just beginning to bud.
it rained last night,
the first rain in a long time,
and this morning's wet ground smells fresh and new.

even though this is my sixth baby,
seventh child,
i am doing all i can to move slowly through each day
and drink in each moment,
for these newborn days are so fleeting and
i want them to last...

with children to care for and adore,
a newborn to nurse and cuddle,
a husband to draw close to,
a God to be in constant communion with,
and a house to {somewhat} care for,
time to create has been scarce,
but i did just cast on this vest for miss pearl.
it will take awhile,
i'm sure,
but it gives my hands something to work on...

i've a bit more time to read,
as it is my normal occupation when nursing,
which is a pretty constant thing these days.
though it has been easier to read fiction,
which is not what i typically read.
on my to read list for awhile,
i have finally picked up a girl of the limberlost,
and so far,
i love.
with a nursing babe,
a cup of tea,
and a gaggle of children playing on the floor at my feet,
these slow moments of reading and
simply being

i have been in thought about how some people can be so cruel.
due to our lifestyle choices we have had many hurtful comments,
and sometimes they come from the most unexpected places.
my husband is so gracious to brush them off,
but i dwell on them and allow them to affect me.
and i just don't understand why people feel our choices are
their business,
especially when their criticisms are so unfounded.
they don't like that we have so many children,
that we homeschool,
that our children *gasp* do chores,
and on the other hand,
that we allow our children to be children,
make childish comments,
spend hours outdoors,
devote time to their own interests,
and not expect them to be mini-adults,
to be perfect and
kind all the time.

let me apologize ahead of time,
for my layla is amazing and beautiful,
she is wise beyond her years and has a love of nature so deep
that she would spend hours in the trees watching the birds,
but if you were to meet her,
to introduce yourself to her,
she would ignore you.
ask her a question and she will pretend she didn't hear you.
she is very shy at first and uncomfortable,
and some people may make comments about how terrible we are
to let her be so rude,
but we will not force her.
she is uncomfortable,
she is a child.
she is not rude or disobedient. 
and if she is given the time to get to know you,
if she spends any amount of time around you,
she will open up and
you will see those amazing qualities that she has.

you see,
we allow our children to be children,
to be who they are,
and we love them and encourage them and
know that these qualities they have are God given
and in His time they will work out perfectly for
each one of these precious children.

for now,
we just love them,
guide them,
and pray for and with them.

for each of these children
for each slow day
for Peace surpassing understanding
for Joy in the morning, in the night, in the always
{this, my forever christmas decoration.  never comes down}

for friends always there
for my rock of a husband
for forgiveness and the ability to forgive
for beauty everywhere
for children who count each other as their best friends

for each. new. day.


to watch the new fall like snow

there was snow
lots of snow
and it was piling up outside,
and still falling
and my face was plastered to the window,
in awe,
this was my first year in snow
and it was taking my breath away

new years eve,
stuck to a window,
and not just me,
but my children too,                     
only 5 at the time,
and it was just beautiful
our first snowy winter,
and i hesitated to look away
for fear of losing the holy moment,
for to me it was a holy moment,
so much that tears were rolling down my cheeks
and all noise was gone,
and prayers were being whispered from
my trembling lips

for this snow
made me understand the new year
before this snow
celebration eluded me,
i could not grasp the point of celebrating the year changing,
even as a child
i didn't care,
y2k, 17 years old,
i spent that new years eve alone,
in bed at ten,
it was all so pointless to me

but this snow,
perfect and white and glistening,
everything i saw,
that i was used to seeing every day,
looked innocent and new,
it was a new place, a new world,
a new experience,
new feeling
and i could think of nothing else but His words,
“Behold, I make all things new."
and i felt it, i knew it was true,
and here i was,
a NEW creation,
with my family ready to celebrate
this NEW year
looking on this NEW world
and the Author of it all was watching
and loving
and making

and i understood,
with my face to the window,
tears in my eyes
and praise on my lips,
i was celebrating the new year,
because He makes new,
 the old has gone, the New has come...

continuing to count His gifts today...
953  a new creation
954 the new life of pearl jean
955 pink baby stuff... everywhere
956 baby breath
957 baby smell
958 children running around outdoors, all day long
959 this beautiful post by suzy
960 the wisdom of my husband which often leaves me speechless
961 cups of tea, books and snuggles on sick days
962 sleeping all night with a newborn in my arms
963 friends whose words and prayers make life beautiful
964 snow, though far away from me, and removed from my life, still there is snow


to share {this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

linking with soulemama


to tell about pearl

so some have asked me to share pearl's birth story,
if you are not into that you can skip this post
and pearl and i will not be offended :)

as we all know,
this precious wee one did not come when we expected,
{isn't that usually the way,
things never happen when we expect or
how we expect}
and we were beginning to feel a bit anxious for her arrival...

we really needed {wanted} her to be born before january,
and many people had told us they knew {thought} she would make her arrival
december 30th,
so when i awoke at 5:30 on december 30th
with contractions ten minutes apart,
i thanked God for the beginning and rose to greet the day
i would meet little pearl...

now i know most mamas wouldn't jump to conclusions,
"knowing" the day had come,
but with my history it seemed so likely...
i typically began having contractions ten minutes apart and
within an hour they would be at five minutes,
and within 5-6 hours there would be a new baby in my arms.
and so,
i let my midwife know my contractions had begun and
my husband took the day off of work.
we prepared for baby
and she didn't come...
all day, contractions ten to twenty minutes apart, and
i was so confused,
this had never happened to me before.

through the night and into the next day...
new year's eve day arrived and met another morning
of constant contractions,
never progressing,
and i cried
so confused as to what was happening,
and why.
i knew she would come eventually, but
what was this?

and then,
as i checked in with my midwife in the morning,
my heart broke a little bit when
she told me she was preparing to go to another birth...
so my loving husband took me out to get my mind off labor,
driving me around to garage sales,
my number one good {bad} habit,
(and yes, on new years eve on the coast of california,
people have garage sales)
and it worked,
my mind was preoccupied for a couple of hours.
at home i learned the other woman's labor had slowed,
my midwife just waiting
for one of us...
we took the kids to the park and the store and then,
driving home at 5:30,
my contractions suddenly went from ten to five minutes apart.

we didn't want to get our hopes up though,
so we waited,
and an hour later when they were still five minutes,
and getting stronger,
i called the midwife and her wonderful assistant,
and they,
on their way to a new years eve shindig,
were greatly excited and wanted to know if they should come,
but i,
still not wanting to get my hopes up,
said we should wait a bit.
by 8:30 they were still 5 minutes,
and getting stronger,
so they
dropped off kids at various locations
and came to the house.

let's see...
moses was asleep,
hannah and ruth were asleep,
josiah and ian were doing something together somewhere
and layla, sweet layla
planted herself on a chair in the living room and
determined to stay there until pearl arrived.

at first we sat,
my husband made jokes and
held my hand through every contraction.
he played some guitar,
the boys went to bed,
i had a snack,
layla kept sitting on her chair,
and my husband kept making us laugh.
with the new year approaching, we wondered
if pearl would come before the fireworks,
before january...
and as fireworks exploded outside we told eachother
happy new year,
and went on laboring...
right about midnight,
the contractions got stronger and closer,
we filled up the birth tub,
and eventually i got in...
pure relief.
let me say, if you have never labored in water,
it is a beautiful thing.
pain subsides substantially...
at one point i had to get out of the water and
the pain was immediate and constant and
getting back in that warm tub was

then came the pressure,
the unbearable moments,
and then she was flying out into my husband's waiting hands...
then to my chest,
and eventually layla,
in absolute awe,
cut the umbilical cord.


2:16 am,
barely into the new year,
we embraced little pearl jean,
welcoming her into this large, loving family
and we haven't stopped breathing her in deep,
haven't gotten back to normal,
we are
loving her.


to introduce...

Pearl Jean Hughes
January 1, 2012
8 lbs. 1 oz.
born at home, everyone is good.