Earth Day

Earth Day

It’s easy to get jaded about the state of the world, and what humans are doing to it: pollution, war, greed, disregard… but there is so much more that’s good about our world.

Sometimes, we just need to step outside to refresh, and reset our perspectives.

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. John Burroughs
I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
John Burroughs
There are always flowers for those who want to see them.

Henri Matisse
There are always flowers for those who want to see them.
Henri Matisse
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.

Edward Abbey
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
Edward Abbey

Nature gives me hope


Kids give me hope


“seems to me, it ain’t the world that’s so bad, but what we’re doin’ to it”
~ Louis Armstrong

Love, Baby, Love… Yeah….

I hope you can take a moment and get outside to enjoy the beauty and magic.

Happy Earth Day

A new day

A new day

On April 15, 2013, terrorists detonated two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three people were killed, and many others were seriously wounded.

There have been several occasions in my life where chaos and violence shifted my perception of time, even if I was physically far from the event. Time slows down, speeds up, sometimes feels like its hiccuping or repeating itself as we hit refresh over and over and over again on the browser, or the same scenes are replayed by each of the major networks. But these aberrations in my sense of time, and in my sense of safety, never stopped the sun from going down at the end of the day – and never stopped the sun from rising the next morning.

A new day, with a new set of challenges, including the challenge of wrapping my head around yet another wave of violence. But that fresh start is also an opportunity for a fresh perspective, for evolving the way I look at the situation, and the world.

This morning, it was the sunrise that woke me up. Our bed is on the west side of our home, but for a brief minute the rising sun lasered it’s way through the balcony, through our living room, down the hall, and across my bed on the far side of our bedroom. The precision required to get the light across that space is remarkable, with maybe an inch of leeway. I know the light did not have a will of it’s own, but it sure felt like it was trying to get my attention.

The sun always rises

The sun always rises. But it’s not really rising, is it? The sun stays in the same place, and we revolve around it. It’s our changing perspective, in the physical sense, that brings the sun back into our little corner of the world each morning.

In the moments when the world seems dark and evil, it’s a change in my perspective that shifts my attention to the light.

As a child, I was taught that all people are evil at their core, but I no longer believe that is true. I believe most people don’t want to hurt anyone. In fact, I believe most people would go out of their way to avoid causing physical harm to another person. I believe most people want to be helpful. I believe most people want to do good. I believe that right this minute, people from all over the world are praying for Boston, and for the victims and their family members. I believe that when I small handful of people do something evil, a much larger group of ordinary people rise up and perform heroic tasks without even realizing it. They do it because they are there, and it’s the right thing to do. There’s no time to think about whether or not their good actions will be recognized.

Nature always seeks a balance

Yes, there are evil people in this world, and one way or another, they’ll get what’s coming to them. I want them stopped, to prevent another tragedy, but I refuse to invest any of my own limited life in thoughts of revenge. Karma will get them, even if no one else does. Nature always seeks a balance.

In the meantime, I choose to focus on the people healing, and the people doing good. These stories keep reminding me that despite the presence of evil, there is so much hope for the human race.

10 Touching Acts of Kindness at the Boston Marathon

People offering space in their homes to strangers stranded in Boston

Patton Oswalt put it beautifully, and again I marvel at how our comedians can cut right to the heart of the matter – Modern day court jesters who speak the truth others are too fearful to say.

To the bad guys: “the good outnumber you, and we always will.”  Patton Oswalt

Members Unite

Members Unite

I was selected for this campaign by Clever Girls Collective. This post is sponsored by Members Unite.

“The doggie makes him feel better?”
“That’s right, they give doggies to soldiers who are hurt, and the doggies help them to get stronger, be happy, and feel loved.”
“I like that.”

Gem has her hand in most of my blog posts in one way or another. When I was hired to review the Members Unite program, where users vote on a collectively funded project each month, I pulled her right up beside me to help out with the review.

Each month, nine philanthropic projects are highlighted. Members read up on the details, and vote on which project their membership dollars, in our case $5 a month, would fund.

Members Unite

Gem and I did not agree on many of these projects. She was much more taken with the projects that focused on making people happy (not surprising for a two-year-old), while I was more interested in the projects that help with nutrition and education. But we both easily agreed on the dogs for wounded veterans.

I love the fact that these little projects are funding something specific: 30 front doors for habitat for humanity, or tutors for 30 homeless children for one year, or planting 5,000 trees in Brazil, just to name a few. This takes giving to a different level, and helps me feel more involved in what my donation is doing. My measly $5 is not getting lost in a giant fund to be used for whatever, it is to go to this specific project. There’s a shift that takes place in my brain around that. I don’t have a lot of money to give, but I can give $5, and in this case, I know what the $5 will go towards, and I know it will make a difference.

I’m going to keep watching this program, to see how it plays out for a couple months, and how the voting process proceeds, but so far I’m impressed. Each week more information will be provided about the projects that survive the previous weeks cut. So as you go along through the month, you learn more, and become more involved with the projects for which you are voting.

“One person giving $20 is a drop in the ocean.  One thousand people giving $20 brings clean water to a village for a lifetime”

Additionally, I love the fact that this project brings to my attention 9 different projects that amazing people are working on each month. That’s a lot of awesome to introduce into our lives. It’s good to see other people do good. It’s good to get exposure to a wide array of possibilities. It’s good to have this kind of inspiration for our own future projects. And it’s good to have a chance to deal in to these projects, even on the $5 level. I want my daughter to see that her opportunities for making a difference in the world are limitless. She will be joining me in voting on Members Unite projects each month.

For more information: The site includes a useful FAQ that outlines the transparency of their financials, the vetting process for projects, membership information (yes you can cancel with 30 days notice, no long term commitment required) and a number of other relevant and useful pieces of information. It’s well worth the read.

UPDATE: For a limited time, Members Unite is offering my community a 50% off discount on the annual membership fee of $25! Use code “WELOVEMOMS” when you sign up!

Let me know if you join 🙂

March of Dimes

March of Dimes

My brain stopped working when the words Neonatal Intensive Care Unit came out of the doctors mouth. I sat on the exam table in my paper gown, strapped to monitors spitting out ticker-tapes, and tried to unhear those words. This is not an eventuality for which I had prepared myself. All those nights I stayed up worrying about things that could go wrong with this pregnancy, and I forgot to worry about preterm birth. The pregnant brain does funny things.

Terrible back pain had kept me up the previous night, I thought I must have a doozy of a pinched nerve. After that sleepless night, something told me I had better double check my list of warning signs, and sure enough back pain warranted a call to the consulting nurse. The nurse didn’t seem too concerned about it, but I was 33 weeks pregnant and, since it was the weekend, she thought I should stop in to Labor and Delivery to have them take a look, rather than waiting till Monday for a regular doctor visit.

I truly thought we would go in, wait forever to see the doctor, they would pronounce me a hypochondriac, and we would go out for dinner before going home.

Well, we did wait forever to see the doctor. When we got there, they got us right in to a triage room. They attached two monitors to my belly, one for the baby’s heartbeat, and the other for my contractions.

“Hey look, you just had a contraction.”

I did? I didn’t feel a thing. That’s right, sometimes labor sneaks up on you.

The nurse’s aid showed me how to read the tapes, the line with the spikes was my daughter’s heartbeat, the rolling hills were the contractions. And then she left. And we waited, and watched the spikes and rolling hills draw across a growing pile of paper. Until an alarm went off – my little one had moved away from the monitor. The nurse came in and repositioned the monitor and left. The alarm went off this way several times, and even went off once because the monitor ran out of paper. Finally, the doctor made her appearance.

She talked to us for a while, asked a lot of questions, then she did an exam. I was one centimeter dilated so she wanted to check me again in an hour to see if there was any change. So we waited and watched the ticker-tape some more. By now I had already learned how to move the monitor myself to chase my baby as she made her rounds of my womb. After an hour and a half, the doctor returned to check me again and see if we could get out of there and finally get something to eat. That’s when she started dropping words like preterm labor and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. In 90 minutes I dilated an additional 2 centimeters.

This baby was trying to make her appearance seven weeks early.

The plan was to give me a shot of steroids today and another tomorrow. This would strengthen her lungs to help improve her survivability if she was born in the next couple of days. They started me on niphedipine to help slow down the process of labor, and they hooked up an IV of antibiotics to help guard against infection. In addition to the drugs, I was to stay flat on my back. Gravity, they have learned, has a role to play in moving labor along.

We were given plenty of time to digest this information as we waited for a room in the antepartum unit. I stayed in the hospital for eight days. In that time, I met several other expectant mothers with complicated pregnancies, most in much more dire circumstances than mine. One mother’s water broke at 20 weeks, another young woman had been airlifted to Seattle from Yakima, she didn’t speak English and had been in the hospital for over a month. Each mother’s story was heartbreaking and terrifying.

I know how lucky I am. Once things stabilized and my daughter reached a gestational age at which her birth would not be life threatening, they sent me home from the hospital with strict orders for bed rest. And bed rest, in this case, means flat on your back. I stayed pregnant, and in bed, for another 3 weeks. My daughter was born at 37 weeks, three weeks early, but perfectly healthy.

Amazing advances have been made in techniques for for saving the lives of infants born too soon. My daughter did not need to take advantage of them because of the amazing advances that have also been made in helping to prevent preterm birth. Thanks to the care we received, my daughter was born strong enough to breathe on her own.

For all these advances we’ve made, the United States still has a deplorable rate of preterm birth, birth defects, and infant mortality as compared to other nations around the world. This situation is particularly bad in Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Oklahoma. We’ve made amazing advances, but there is so much more to be done.

Today I’m taking a moment to thank the March of Dimes for everything they do to help prevent birth defects and preterm birth.

And if you’re pregnant and your back hurts, talk to your doctor right away.

Blog Action Day 2009 – Climate Change

Blog Action Day 2009 – Climate Change

Blog Action Day
While we represent less than 5% of the world’s population, the United States is in the unique position of both being a world leader in greenhouse gas emissions and a world leader in clean energy technology. We are among the best and the worst.

This December the world’s leaders will come together in Copenhagen to discuss climate change and a global response. President Obama was voted into office with a mandate to make a change, including a change to our approach to caring for the environment. Let’s remind him of his promise to take a stand for the planet that we will pass down to our children and grandchildren.

Sign the petition to tell President Obama that we want him to to carry this mandate for change to the world leaders and take action to significantly reduce greenhouse gasses.