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The Before And The After

October 6, 2011

Guest post by my husband, Yeadon!

I was born at an early age. *grin* Growing up, I was always active. I played outside with my brothers & sister non-stop. I rode my bike all over town, played on the playgrounds, was on the swim team, played sports, everything kids are “supposed to do”. So I never knew why I was always the heavy brother. As I grew up, I wasn’t obese, but I kept growing out at the same rate I grew up! Then after college I began serious weight gain. Ten pounds a year from age 24-29. I was in trouble.

For all those years, I felt trapped. I was going in a direction I knew was wrong, but I didn’t know what to do to change course. My family & friends around me didn’t realize what was happening. But I looked at myself in the mirror and I knew the truth. I knew where I was going to end up. I looked at myself and saw how unhealthy I had become. And to make matters worse, I was pulling my family with me & I didn’t even realize it.

I thought, “Is this really who I am?” I didn’t know myself as having been anything else really.

My wife was on the normal track of weight gain after having children and I was unaware of it.

But then God…

How many times in my life has that phrase happened at just the right moment!? Katia LeMone, our midwife, had been losing weight steadily all through our pregnancy journey with our second child, Phineas. Honestly it was a little old, because every time we saw her she couldn’t help herself from saying what her progress was so far. “Another ten pounds!,” she said almost every visit. Finally, after she had lost 100 lbs I realized I needed to change. I decided to see if what was working for her could help me. The rest is history!

Katia was the instrument God used in my life to coach me from my unhealthy habits to my lifestyle of health. I couldn’t believe what happened! I went from 239 lbs to 180 lbs and have never looked back! But that really isn’t the best part. The best part is that I began paying it forward to be God’s instrument in others’ lives. My wife, my parents, some of the college students who worked with me in ministry, many others and many more to come. If you are like me and you feel trapped by life and the constant stream of unhealthy pressure, please don’t wait as long as I did to change your course. You can do it, and I can help you.

Yeadon August 2010                                              Yeadon Thanksgiving 2010

Happy Seedlings!

September 2, 2011

Let me tell you something, that true Siberian kale, it’s hardcore. Those seeds were the first to germinate, and are now the biggest and most developed…And I anticipate, due, not only to the name, but also to the labeling, they will be the hardiest & tastiest come winter.

“Extremely cold hardy, True Siberian can be picked throughout winter in many areas. Kale becomes more tender, mild, and sweet after a frost.”

For those of you who might be thinking I’m a seasoned health food fiend, or a seasoned gardener… I’m NOT… I only discovered kale (and eating healthy) just a couple of years ago.  Not only is this the first time I’ve ever grown kale, it’s the first time I’ve grown ANYTHING from seed! With a little research and some dedication, many things are possible!  Kale is great raw in salads, sautéed with garlic & olive oil, and even baked into crispy “chips!” I am so grateful to Christie Hubbard for introducing me to kale (and to homemade pesto, beets, & quinoa for that matter)! Those 3 months she lived with us were a whirlwind, and we didn’t see much of each other between her crazy midwifery training and my busy family schedule, but I STILL draw inspiration from those few moments we did spend together .

The True Siberian in my garden! I can't believe these were just seeds 2 weeks ago!

The True Siberian in my garden! I can't believe these were just seeds 2 weeks ago!

My dolce vita spinach, in contrast, turned out to be rather picky. It did not sprout at all in the little portable hothouse, but for whatever reason, decided to sprout in the ground, direct seeded. Hooray!

My Dolce Vita F-1 Spinach seedlings!

Perhaps I am MOST excited about my heirloom Brandywine and Stupice tomatoes… seeing as we moved out of Texas just 1 week before the 20+ tomatoes on my plants were ripe this summer *headdesk* Needless to say this is not the first time I’ve had tomato plants, but, again I stress, this IS the first time I’ve grown them from seed!  The Brandywine will produce 1 lb. pink-skinned fruits, while the Stupice will produce 1-3 oz. fruits, much smaller. In the past, my tomatoes have regularly split open under the scorching desert sun, 3,000 ft above sea level, but I’m hoping that this mild lowcountry South Carolina fall climate will be the perfect environment for prolific (and tasty!) plants.

Our Brandywine seedlings… oh how they start small!

I am currently awaiting the delivery of some organic veggie fertilizer and recycled tomato cages.

Soooo… that’s where we are right now! Hurricane Irene passed close enough to fill my 2 32-gallon rain bins with water, but did not produce enough wind or rain to drown my seeds or seedlings! I am so GRATEFUL! I know I was a crazy woman direct-seeding 4 days before Irene’s arrival… but, then again, I’ve always been a risk-taker ;)

Back-to-school Nutrition Tips!

August 24, 2011

Go watch this great segment on ABC’s Good Morning America a couple of days ago! Our company’s co-founder & medical director, Dr. Wayne Andersen, shares on the benefits of healthy back-to-school lunch and gives some great tips!

Let’s lead our nation’s kids by example and by giving them the gift of good nutrition & healthy habits! Love this guy!

Dr. A’s Back-to-School Nutrition Segment on Good Morning America

The Ghost of Tom Joad

August 23, 2011

This moved me to tears. Let it move you too. My brother, Eric, wrote the post below after meeting an old couple on a desolate road in the middle of the desert.

Eric is pedaling (as part of a team of 5 cyclists with a support crew of 2 adults & 1 preschooler) 8,840 miles around the perimeter of the USA in order to raise awareness and funds for clean water solutions around the globe.
Their name: h2o ride
Their vision: to raise enough $$ to provide clean water for 1 person for a generation for every mile they ride, that’s $20 per mile. Yes, a mere $20 will provide clean water for a person for a generation, so give if you’re lead, because every little bit counts.

The h2o Ride

The Ghost of Tom Joad

The New Mexican section of the ride has been a pretty amazing few days.  Tuesday’s ride from Ft. Sumner to the town of Willard on was surreal.   After a “second breakfast” stop in the collection of mostly crumbling buildings known as Yeso, the terrain opened up in to a vast rolling grassland.  From the tops of the hills we could see the road stretch out in a straight line to the horizon.  Winds were picking up from a slightly favorable south direction which made the going a little easier.
New Mexico Highway - Michael Way

About ten miles outside of Vaughn, I spotted someone headed east on foot.  As I approached I could see that it was a man pushing a woman in a wheelchair.  Except for the Yeso post office, there were no services or shelter to speak of  for 45 miles in the direction they were heading.  Dumbfounded, I slowed and crossed the road to see if they needed anything.  They appeared to be in their late 60s as the man’s white windblown hair contrasted his sun-darkened deep wrinkled face.  I first asked if they needed any food or water.  The man replied they had some food and two jugs of water so they were ok on supplies.  I introduced myself and found that the woman’s name was Judith, but I missed the man’s name because I was trying to think of a tactful way to ask just what they were doing out here crossing the rolling plains of New Mexico on foot.  I don’t remember exactly how the exchange went, but they shared that they were flat broke except they “had just collected their check,” and were headed with everything they owned to Arkansas where they had family.

As the rest of the group rolled by, I told them we were headed to Willard from Ft. Sumner and Judith mentioned there wasn’t much in Willard except a cantina.  We had plans to camp out on that cantina patio or maybe stay in an old church if the vague details from our contact there could be worked out.  They asked if there was a motel in Ft. Sumner and I told them I spotted one on the edge of town on our way out that morning, but that we slept in St. John’s Episcopal Church and if they asked someone in town to get in touch with Mary, the caretaker there, she might be willing to let them stay there if they told her we met out on the road.  I blurted all of this out in a lame attempt to meet their needs in some way.   It was the best I could do, and it felt like nothing.  I told them I wished I could give them a ride or do more for them and the man replied “Well, God will send us someone.”  I hope he did because that stretch of US 60 is the most desolate highway I’ve ever seen and the late morning heat and sun were oppressive.  We wished each other safe travels and as I clipped in and rolled down the hill I turned to see the old man taking large labored steps as he pushed Judith up one of the countless hills that lay ahead of them.

I caught back up to the group and filled them in on my conversation with these folks as I was still trying to make sense of the situation.  I had just met two desperate people struggling in a stark landscape and couldn’t really do a thing to help them.  Or maybe I could, but I didn’t.  Our fully supported, “challenging,” high on our horse bike ride around the US with matching jerseys and GPS tracking seems a joke compared to these peoples’ genuine struggle to cross this country to be with their family.  On the climb out of Vaughn, I startled a small herd of pronghorn on the right side of the road and began to match their pace.  With Judith and her husband in mind, I stomped on the pedals and didn’t look back.  There were fifty miles of deserted New Mexico highway left on the day for me to get a taste of the authentic suffering that keeps you humble and I didn’t want to waste any of it.   I reached the cantina in Willard in time to take shelter from a desert thunderstorm and then used the rain water to wash the sunscreen and sweat off my skin and the salt of my evaporated tears off my lenses.

via the H20 Ride

Posted on July 3, 2011 by  in blog

Aside from pedaling 50-100 miles per day with the team, Eric is also the team bicycle repairman & trained emergency response guy for those inevitable crashes, injuries, & health issues. Please keep him in your prayers as he continues on this journey of strength, sweat, responsibility, and sheer willpower through the middle of November.  To find out if they will be riding through/near your town check their route here.
Please take the time to watch this 2.5 minute video (featuring ERIC!) about their vision and share it with your friends!

The h2o August Alliance from h2o ride on Vimeo.

Our ride supports the work of Living Water International. We are raising $20 for each mile we ride. Our goal is $176,800 – enough money to bring clean water to 8,840 people for a generation.

Give Clean Water

This button brings you to Living Water’s site to make the payment. Give $20 for each mile you want to “buy”.

If you would prefer to make a donation using a check, use these details:

  • make the check out to: Living Water International
  • in the memo line write: h2o Ride
  • and mail the check to:

Living Water International
PO Box 35496
Houston TX 77235-5496

If you need help giving or would like an alternative method, visit LWI’s Giving page.

We deeply appreciate your support of our mission. Giving water saves lives, shares truth, and empowers development in communities across the globe.

The Seeds in the Hot House

August 23, 2011
My seeds in the hothouse

The time for late Summer sowing for Fall harvest has begun! I have sown seeds in my little hothouse and am awaiting germination in 3-15 days!  For those of you who are thinking, “Is it just me, or isn’t it the wrong time of year to be beginning to grow veggies?” I was in your shoes not long ago! 

 Then, while dreaming about Spring planting I was looking around on Seeds of Change and found out that in many climates it’s possible to plant in late summer for a Fall harvest! It gave me all of the details, told me which plants and which variations of those plants work best for planting this time of year!  Their info and tips are here: Fall Gardening

 I will be planting 2 types of Heirloom tomatoes, 2 types of Kale, 1 Salad Mix, 1 Type of Spinach, & 1 type of Carrots! My mother-in-law has more Jalapenos and other hot peppers than she knows what to do with, so I’ll be getting those from her garden :)

Aside from the seeds I bought from Seeds of Change, I also purchased the items below from Amazon with free shipping (I DID go to my local gardening centers, but no one carries this stuff this time of year).

Img_3583

I can’t wait to start seeing little sprouts pop up and transplant these outdoors (after Hurricane Irene passes, of course)

Happy last week of August to y’all and do pray that Hurricane Irene passes without incident… I am nervous about all of the tall trees so close to our house… did I mention we moved to South Carolina? Yes, moved in June (hence my long absence) and we live about 45 minutes inland…

Sustainable Mothers’ Day!

May 3, 2011

What to get Mom? I was leery of ordering commercial flowers from who knows where, laden with who knows what kinds of chemicals… Bottom line: If you want to purchase something, go for sustainable, local products & services (ask your local florist about their organic/fair trade options or try a google search for local places).

While scouring the internet, I found several great places for organic/sustainable/fair trade flowers… take your pick:

Spring Creek Organic Farm
If you live in Plano, TX this woman is so sweet and responded quickly to my emails!
Contact Kari at:  kgatesscd@aol.com

Organic Bouquet
This online organic flower delivery & organic gifts site is great!

California Organic Flowers
All of their flowers are California-grown and certified organic!

FTD- Go Green Living
FTD has a fair trade section!

You could always give a gift card to a local service! I don’t know many women who aren’t dying for a professional massage (no offense men, your 5-minute massages are a nice quick relief, but we need at LEAST an hour massage)!

Alice Langford: Massage Therapist
She is a fantastic therapist, and the most reasonably priced that I’ve found here in El Paso.
Contact her at: 915.494.2575 located at 1806 Yandell Dr.

Stonebriar Spa
Located in Plano, TX, this place is extravagant! Worth every penny!

The Beauty of HOMEBIRTH: Including some great resources!

April 15, 2011

My youngest turns 1 next month, and the month after that, we move out of the only home my children have ever known, the home into which they were so miraculously born in our very bedroom… such precious moments in such a precious space,  soon to be more than 1700 miles away… As I reflect on my experiences birthing my two boys, I feel compelled to share with you all my preferred way to welcome a baby into the world, and it doesn’t include a hospital or an obstetrician…*gasp*

Let me first say that when Yeadon and I first talked about getting pregnant he said to me, “no child of mine is going to be born in a hospital unless it’s medically necessary!” I was completely taken aback and responded, “but isn’t that where babies are born, in hospitals?” Turns out Yeadon and his 3 siblings were all born at home, not at a hospital… So I told him I’d “investigate this crazy idea of his” and lo and behold, I completely loved what I found!

Both of our boys were born at home in our bedroom, the first, on the bed; and the second, in a birth pool! Both were wonderfully empowering experiences and beautiful, peaceful first moments and hours with our new baby. I’d post the beautifully videoed and edited home waterbirth video of our second-born here for the world to see, but my dad freaks out a bit at making such an intimate moment so public, so I’ll stick to sending you the link if you wish to see it…(seriously, you can’t really see anything private… the lower half of my body is underwater, and I’m wearing a sports bra! hahaha! it’s 6 minutes long and it’s video, not a just photo slide show! In case you’re interested in waterbirth, out-of-hospital birth… etc…let me know and I’ll be happy to send you the link)

If you want to know more about why I make such non-conventional choices in birthing my babies, or if you are weighing your options for your own future births…I’ll share some of my thoughts and advice…

Why I am comfortable risk-wise with being under the care of a midwife and giving birth outside a hospital:

Midwives offer all the same standard tests and prenatal monitoring that an OB offers. I have prenatal appts on the same schedule I would with an OB. There are all kinds of state guidelines as to the condition a mother and unborn child to be eligible for an out-of-hospital, midwife-attended birth.  If the client/mother develops any signs of a govt-defined high-risk pregnancy, the mother must be referred to an OB.  During labor, mother and child are carefully monitored and if anything happens outside certain safety parameters, or time deadlines, the midwife must transfer the mother’s care to a hospital/OB.  Licensed midwives are also trained in emergency procedures including CPR, neo-natal resuscitation, suturing, and pharmacology to deal with hemorrhages etc.  I feel like they are very competent and well-trained to monitor and make sure everything is progressing safely and to take action if needed.

I believe that pregnancy/childbirth is a process for which God designed our bodies, and is not in itself a state of sickness or emergency.  At the same time, I also understand that it is a sacred responsibility and it does place women at an increased risk for health problems/complications during pregnancy and birth.  I am grateful to have a healthcare provider who is trained to both teach me how to be responsible with my health and nutrition while pregnant, giving birth, and postpartum and also to monitor and recognize if a complication comes up so my care can be transferred to someone else.

Bottom line:  I am comfortable being in the care of a licensed midwife and having a birth outside the hospital as long as everything proceeding safely and normally.  Should any complications arise or during pregnancy or labor, I am grateful to have OB’s nearby and be 5 minutes away from the hospital.

Why I PREFER and love my midwife care and homebirth instead of an OB and hospital birth:

I totally love the midwives model of care…The Midwives Model of Care includes:

  • Monitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
  • Providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
  • Minimizing technological interventions
  • Identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention

At any rate, I feel so much more comfortable giving birth on my own turf, with someone I trust (this brings up the issue that if your OB is not on call, then whatever OB in their practice is on call will deliver you, not the OB you’ve been seeing for forever, which totally defeats the point of getting to know and trust your OB).  I would feel so out-of-place and pushed around in a typical hospital… now there are SOME hospitals that are starting to be drug-free childbirth friendly, and are actually listening to moms’ requests for birth plans and whatnot, but not many…

I love having my midwife come to my house for prenatal appts instead of having to go sit for an hour in a waiting room and then spend only 5 minutes with an OB. I love not having to drive anywhere in labor.  I love walking around my house during labor, only allowing people in with me that I am comfortable having in with me… I love not having nurses and techs coming in and out of my postpartum room at the hospital wanting to wake me and baby to do tests all day and night after I’ve just labored so long and hard!  I love not having to drive anywhere in the couple of days after delivery. I love curling up in my own bed with my baby and my hubby on our first night together as a family…

The only way I would choose birth center over homebirth would be if my home were too far from a hospital and a birth center was closer to the hospital… As it is now, I am 5-10 minutes from 3 different hospitals, so that makes life easy… If I were more than 20 mins from a hospital I would probably choose a birth center (if it were closer to the hospital than I was).

Out of Hospital Birth Center vs Homebirth:

A couple of thoughts and reasons why, if it were me, I’d choose homebirth over a birth center. At lots of centers, you are not cared for by 1 midwife throughout and then have her present at your birth, you are often cared for by different people throughout and then whoever is on call when you go into labor.  I prefer to build a personal relationship with 1 midwife throughout my prenatal care and have her present at my birth (she has a backup i meet beforehand in case there’s an emergency, but basically, if she accepts me as a client she commits to being at my birth.)  I also prefer to have prenatal appointments at my house rather than have to go somewhere and sit in a waiting room… And one last note: many birth center tubs look nice, but I really prefer a deeper pool (deeper water provides more support and relief) with a cushioned bottom (much easier on the knees if kneeling and much more comfortable to lean on).

My advice:  Look into both options.  Go to a birth center and meet the people.  Then, look into homebirth midwives in your area, ask about prenatal care (they come to you or you go to them?) and back-ups and stuff.  Talk to them about your questions about out-of-hospital birth… Then, after your research, make your decision based on what you visualize as being ideal and on which care provider you best connect with.

Only make $$$ an issue if it HAS to be an issue. I have found that, with birth, I don’t want to skimp.  If I can pay for it and it’s something that will help me, I do it.  I didn’t buy a quality birth pool the first time around because I didn’t want to go crazy spending $$$, but MAN it made such a huge difference when I “splurged” this time and got one.  There is a birthing center here where you can do prenatals, delivery, postpartum for under $1000, but I chose to pay $2400 out-of-pocket so I could birth on MY turf and have a personal relationship with midwife I love who comes to me for appts and who commits to be at my birth.  My philosophy is that if there’s anything in this world worth spending big bucks on, it’s the experience of bringing a child into the world!  Also I get regular massages and chiropractic adjustments during the last trimester!

Also just do a google search and read some homebirth and birth center birth stories… and I bet you will feel inspired!  I loved reading birth stories, especially the first time, cause I had no idea exactly what to expect labor and delivery to be like…

Websites:

Supplies:

http://www.yourwaterbirth.com/

I HIGHLY recommend the Birth Pool in a Box! It is AWESOME and waaaaay better than the $30 pool I used for my first birth.  I used it this time around and it was wonderful, so nice and deep, has handles to help you move around and also an inflated seat on one end…

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