Monday, December 28, 2009

Tales from a Traveling Mum

I just finished reading an absolutely delightful book entitled Tales from a Traveling Mum-Navigating Europe with a Babe in Arms by Alice Griffin. It was exactly what I was looking for; an easy and delightful read full of adventure and inspiration. In it, Alice, (along with her husband, Scott, newborn daughter, Isabella and dog, Milla) takes us through France, Greece, Norway and Spain.

I absolutely loved this book. Perhaps it was because I myself once traveled through Spain, or because my husband and I once traveled and lived in a van with kittens, or maybe it was because I wholeheartedly believe in instilling a sense of travel and adventure in my son.

Whatever the reason, Alice’s writing is warm and engaging and difficult to put down. Tales from a Traveling Mum inspires you to engage with the world whether you are going across the ocean or just to the corner store. As she says, travel “is not about escaping from life, but about indulging in life…” As I read her words I was encouraged to dream about our next family adventure and to actually start planning it.

If you are a new mother and looking for someone who will encourage you to keep adventuring with your child, then this is the book for you. It is a practical resource as well as an inspirational one. Alice’s helpful tips range from how to get a passport picture of your child to turn out to what essentials to bring when traveling with a young child. The final chapter of the book is written by four other traveling mothers and gives four other wonderful perspectives on how to travel with multiple children and how to travel on a budget.

I look forward to following Alice on her blog and to hearing much more from her as she continues her journey. Learn more about Alice at

Monday, December 14, 2009

Miracle Mom Sings for Our Children!

(Bangor, ME) Amy Robbins-Wilson is a Maine singer-storyteller and more importantly a mom of neonatal intensive care baby. So it is no surprise that she wants to give back to the caregivers and the hospital that saved her son. That is why she teamed up with the Children’s Miracle Network of EMHS to launch a new music video for her lullaby “Child of Sunshine.”

She wrote the song for her son Clayton when he was about four months old and recorded it on her album The Divine Hours of Motherhood. Every time someone downloads the song Amy is donating 100% of the proceeds to the Children’s Miracle Network from now through the end of the year. The download is only 99 cents you can check it out at All the money raised will stay local and help our children in northern, central, and eastern Maine.

“This whole endeavor is a huge leap of faith,” Amy says, “We have no idea if one person will download the song or if a million will. All we can do is hope that others will get involved, download the song and tell as many people as they can.”

Josh Scroggins, director Children’s Miracle Network of EMHS shares, “It is so rewarding to see one of our Miracle children and their family doing so well and for them to turn and want to help children and families – that’s what CMN is all about. I am so grateful – we could not help as many families as we do if it were not for people giving what they can.”

For More Information:

Monday, November 30, 2009

Child of Sunshine

I am so excited to announce the completion of our first ever music video! "Child of Sunshine" is the song that I wrote for my son when he was about four months old. His grandmother had begun to call him her "Prince of Sunshine" and I loved the title. I went to a nearby lake where there was a walking path and began to walk around the lake with Clayton in a front carrier. By the time I had finished our walk, Clayton had fallen asleep and I had all of the lyrics. I found a napkin in our car and scribbled them down before I forgot them. I played with the melody for a few months until it settled down into what it has become.

"Child of Sunshine" was what I sang to Clayton every night before bed for years. I hope that this video shows the power of the loving bond between parents and children and that you and your children will enjoy it as much as we do.

If you enjoy it please pass the link on to your friends and family. We invite you also to download the song for your library. We have teamed up with IndieHeaven and are donating 100% of all proceeds from downloads of this song to the Children's Miracle Network from now until the end of the year.

Here is the link!

As always, we would love to know what you think and welcome your comments. Thanks!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lullaby Link

If it seems that my blogging here has been sporadic here you are correct! I hope that you will accept my new site as an excuse. I am so excited about this new work!

Music made such a difference in my life with Clayton when he was a baby. It remains one of our greatest ways of communicating. In fact, tonight he was really wound up before going to bed and he began singing about his day as a way to process (it's not fair Old Man Wolf can eat our kitty cat...") and also as a way of knowing what time it was ("it is dark out and my body is tired and I fall down and it is time to sleep..."). I asked him to sing some prayers and tell God what he was grateful for, he did, and he was asleep before I made it to the door to leave his room.

Reading about the decline of parents singing to their children made me even more determined to make LullabyLink easy to use and helpful for parents.

When people ask me why lullabies are important this is my answer. Lullabies are crucial to the development of our entire culture. If we teach our children that WE, that ALL PEOPLE can be the source of music and the arts, then the arts will thrive.

If we allow our children to believe that music comes only from the t.v. box, or only from professional musicians then we teach them to be consumers rather than creators.

Marketing firms want us to believe that the television or that recorded music can teach our children better than we can. This is a lie.

Our children need our voices. We have all that we need to help our children develop. It does not matter if you have a "good" voice or even if you are on pitch. What matters is that your child sees you creating. That your child sees you having fun. Your goofy chants and musical attempts will encourage your child to love music far more than anything recorded.

Recorded and professional music can play a wonderful role in the development of music appreciation and musical enjoyment. However, the key to it all, is in your body, in your arms, in your breath as you sing to your child.

I hope that you will check out Lullaby Link and let me know what you think. I look forward to your feedback!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Giving Birth at Home- an interview with Nicolle Littrell

The Lessons of our Labors- Part 2- Giving Birth at Home

The wonder of homebirth is alive and well in local filmmaker Nicolle Littrell. She beams as she recounts her homebirth in Montville 5 years ago.

“My son’s birth was magical. It was just after Christmas so the lights from the tree shone down on us. There was a full moon and candlelight, fresh snow was falling outside and I was warm inside the birthing tub. The moment I will never forget is looking down at my son for the first time. His head and shoulders were born. His father held his head while the midwife and I each held one of his hands. He looked up at all of us through the water. There was a sense of deep connection even before he was fully born.”

This magical moment was pivotal for Littrell who has become an advocate for choice in birth. “I was amazed that I could do such a thing…that my body was so incredible and powerful. I learned that I could take care of myself and be very strong. I knew that I had everything that I needed to give birth within me. Women are amazing.”

Nicolle credits Donna of Morningstar Midwifery for giving her exactly the kind of hands off support that she needed to be able to give birth. “Support of women is really important in the birth experience. They left me alone in a safe and respectful way. They were sensitive to my needs and that I wanted to do it myself. For me, birth was a metaphor for all the things that women can do. When my contractions got really strong I completely understood why women ask for pain meds. But I talked myself through it. I learned about my strength, my capacity and all that I could hold.”

The lessons of her labor have held Nicolle through many transitions in her life. Now a single mother balancing her mothering with a full time schedule as a graduate student at the University of Maine, she often recalls her birthing experience when faced with a sleepless night. “I remember what I went through, how I handled myself and my strength and I know that I can face anything. Of course I want to be supported in what I am going through but if those supports are not there then I know that I can handle a lot of discomfort in my life on my own. It is about being ok in the difficult places that both motherhood and life put you in.”

As with any birth, Nicolle’s birthing was full of uncomfortable moments. A 7 hour labor required that she open fast. She says that the familiarity of her surroundings was an advantage in her birthing process. “I did not have to go anywhere. Being in my own home gave me the freedom to labor in the way that felt comfortable for me. That meant being naked, moving into different positions, going into different rooms and making all the noise that I wanted to. As a result of this, I was able to really connect to my body and my power in birth. I remember feeling like a goddess, that my body was so powerful and beautiful and that this experience was sacred, even holy.”

Leo’s birth redirected Nicolle’s life and her film work which now focuses on raising awareness about choices in birth. She says, “I want to spread more information and narratives about homebirth. Giving birth radicalized my consciousness. It flipped a switch in me. The world was a totally different place after I had my son. I saw a system that was broken and that was not serving women and that the issues went beyond birth. I saw how key support of women was in birth and of women and mothers in general.”

Littrell is concerned about the number of women who give birth by cesarean section. “I mean, we are at an over 30% cesarean section rate nationally. Something is very wrong here. Women need more evidence-based information about their choices in birth and more support in their choices. There is no way around it, women are the ones who bring the human race into this world. We need to do more in our culture to honor and support women.”

Nicolle credits her birth with teaching her to take full responsibility for her child and her choices. She is a strong advocate for educating oneself about reproductive choices. Her best advice for pregnant mothers? “Educate yourself. Read, read, read. Talk to people about their experiences. Watch films about birth-avoid the crisis “reality” shows. Start building a community of support and resources for yourself. If you are not clear about what you want, meet with different birth practitioners, consider and compare different birth locations. Most important, know and trust yourself. After gathering all of your information, base your choice on what feels best for you and your baby. The birth experience matters not only for your baby, but for you. After all, it is not just a baby being born, but a mother.”

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Top Ten Tips on Supporting the Mother of a Premature Baby

People often ask me how they can best support the mother of a premature baby. Here are my top ten tips.

1) Recognize that the family has been through a traumatic life threatening experience. They are stressed and confused and proud and worried and on an incredible rollercoaster of emotions. Be understanding.

2) Be encouraging. Tell the parents what a great job they are doing in managing a journey they never expected to be on.

3) Don’t expect them to keep everyone update on moment by moment changes in their baby’s health. They are just keeping their heads above water. Do suggest that you could set up an account on that they could update or that you could update as a point of contact for the rest of the family.

4) Offer to drive parents to the hospital to see their baby if they are away from the hospital.

5) Offer to collect their mail, feed their animals, or take care of an older child if there is one.

6) Bring them food. Don’t ask them to make a grocery list, it will be too much to think about. Make the food magically appear and it will be gratefully accepted.

7) Honor their wishes in your visits. We really wanted to show our little guy off even when he was in an isolette but more than a couple visits a day with all the testing and decisions we were making was overwhelming.

8) See if you can email the parents a message through the hospital. It meant so much to us to hear that people were holding us in their prayers. Keep messages simple. “Congratulations! We are sending you all our love.” Don’t be sorry about their circumstances or their child’s illness. Parents are protective and they need your support not your pity.

9) Never call parents overprotective or tease them about holding the baby all the time after they get out of the hospital. When a baby is in the neonatal intensive care unit parents can not hold them whenever they want to. My arms ached to hold my baby. Once we were home I would not put my son down and I was nervous about letting others hold him. Once the crisis is over remember to keep in touch with new mothers and listen. Post partum depression or the “baby blues” are an increased possibility in this population and mothers may go through a time of unexpected emotional exhaustion after their baby has stabilized.

10) If you are sick, even with the sniffles, stay home. Parents of premature babies must be hypervigilant about keeping their child away from illness. The first few weeks home they may not even be able to go out to run errands with their baby due to potential exposure. Then it would be a great time to offer to make some trips for them around town.

There are many helpful sites on the web for parents of preemies and for extended families. A few of the links I recommend are: – a free site where you can make a page for your family and update them on the progress of your baby’s health. - a wealth of information for parents and extended families of preemies a wonderful organization and wonderful information.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Lessons of Our Labors Part I

I wrote a series of articles this summer about what mothers had learned from becoming a mother. I am republishing them here on my blog so that they can be shared with you. I would love to hear your comments. Blessings~ Amy

We dreamed of a natural birth. My husband and I took natural childbirth classes. I read shelves full of wonderful books about natural childbirth. Ina May Gaskin was my hero. We hired a doula, we took Hypnobirthing classes, we thought we were prepared. My son was born six weeks early in an emergency room. We were not prepared.

Before entering the emergency room, I believed that I was the woman of lore who could work in the fields until the moment of birth, strap my newborn to my back and go on with my day. I learned that I was the woman who, in that earlier time, would have died.

While it was not the birth experience I had expected, it was the perfect birth for me. The lessons of my labor were profound. Where I had expected to feel empowered as an individual, I learned the power of surrender. Where I had planned to be in control, I learned that I was not. Where I had thought that books and discussions could prepare me for birth, I learned that very little about motherhood is neatly written about or passed on.

I had accepted the idea that the kind of birth I had said something about me as a person. I had accepted the idea that I could somehow “fail” at birth if all did not go according to my plan. I had accepted that there was a “right” kind of birth to have, and that if I did everything “right” then all would be well. I learned that birth was not about me and my plans. It was about becoming a mother and doing what was right for my son. No matter the circumstances, I was blessed.

I was blessed by the quick thinking nurses at Waldo County General Hospital and a superb doctor at the top of his field who knew exactly what was happening and exactly what to do. I was blessed by the loving presence of my own mother who stroked my hair and whispered encouragement in my ear as I was opened for our birth. I felt the presence of angels in the timeless peace that surrounds moments of crisis and I was held by the love of God as I lay on that operating room table. The tiny bleat of my baby boy was the sweetest music I have ever heard.

While my son recovered in the NICU, a well meaning social worker suggested that I would need to “mourn the birth [I] did not have.” The unintended implication was that a natural birth was a better way to give birth and that our birth had been something less, perhaps even a failure. A natural birth, although longed for and prepared for, was never promised. How could I mourn an experience that I had never had except in fantasy? Our birth had been surrounded by angels and filled with miracles. Lying within our birth were the very lessons that I needed to be a great mother.

I learned that I was capable in a crisis.
I learned that I could face even my darkest fears with courage and conviction.
I learned that there is tremendous strength in letting go.
I learned that sometimes the only thing a mother can do is to breathe deeply and pray.

When hearing mothers talk about natural birth now, I still love their stories. But for me, the shadow woman I glimpsed in the emergency room is never far away. She whispers, “Remember, death is natural, too. There but for the grace of God you passed.” It is a different reality than mothers who have had a natural birth experience, yet my gratitude is no less profound.

Becoming a mother is for each of us a unique and sacred rite of passage. It is a leap into mystery where the only thing we know for sure is that our experience will be surprising and transformational.

Becoming a mother brought me into a closer relationship with God which has transformed my life. Becoming a mother has redirected my life, my writing, my music and every aspect of my work in the world. Our birth was blessed. It taught me what all mothers learn eventually. Things will not always go as planned. Look for the miracles, appreciate the wonders, learn what you can from all that comes your way and move forward with love and an open heart.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Baby Talk

I had such a great time talking with Cathy Jacobs today! Cathy is the host of Baby Talk on WERU and she interviewed me about Transformational Mothering and The Divine Hours of Motherhood.

It was wonderful to talk to callers and to hear what they had to say on the topic. Motherhood is a slippery thing to talk about because it is both blissfull and exhausting.

It is easy to speak to the joy that we find in our mothering but how can we create a space where we can acknowledge the efforts that we put into mothering and the associated challenges?

How do we talk with new and expecting mothers about motherhood so that they are not scared, but so that they are prepared? How can music and prayer assist our transformational process?

All this and more are covered in the interview! Listen here. What did we forget that we should talk about next time?

Monday, June 15, 2009

When everything is beautiful

"It's not that unusual, when everything is beautiful.
It's just another ordinary miracle today."
- Sarah McLachlan

Here are the everyday ordinary miracles that I am surrounded by...

Black and yellow butterflies, the smell of grass after a rainstorm, swallows building a nest in our backyard, chocolate chip cookies warm straight out of the oven served with cold milk, freshly baked bread, baby hummingbirds making their rounds, grape vines reaching for the sky, laughter and good friends, dreaming on the back porch in a hammock built for two, fresh flowers straight from the garden, butter pecan ice cream, a freshly mowed lawn, a call from a friend just when I needed to hear her voice and a twitterverse of inspiration.

I feel so richly blessed. What ordinary miracles are coming your way today?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cover Mom

Never thought I would be on the cover of a magazine but here we are! Raising Maine is a fantastic publication for Maine Mothers and their online community is well worth joining. I love to read their blogs and it is a great way to network with other mothers as well as get great mommy ideas. Check them out at!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rising above it all

I can not tell you just what this plant is called. I can tell you that I have called it many things-most not very nice. My grandmother planted this ground cover and it must have been quite fashionable as I see it in most of the gardens in this area.

When I moved into my home and restored my grandmother's gardens I decided that I did not like this plant. I have spent 12 years digging it up and cursing it's persistence. This year my friend Susan has taught me a different way.

Susan is a magical preschool teacher. Her gardens are wise and wild and have a rhythm all their own. As I walked down the path to her preschool the other day, I noticed that they were full of my grandmother's groundcover! I asked her if she was worried that they would choke out the other plants and she replied that she had been, but that in the end the plants had grown around each other and found their own way.

This year I am looking at my plantings differently. Instead of pulling up the ground cover I am embracing it. I watch as it winds its way around the tulips and daffodils. I marvel as it moves around the lilies and how the other spring plants seem to rise above it.

And so it is that my grandmother's gardens (and my friend Susan) have taught me yet another set of lessons: to look for beauty in all things, to embrace all that comes my way, to trust that there is a rhythm to all things and to know that no matter what happens wonder and delight will rise above it all.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Photoshoot for Raising Maine Magazine

Monday was such a fun day! Clayton and I did a photoshoot for the cover of Raising Maine Magazine!

The photographer, Jill Brady, was really fantastic. So much fun to work with. Her work is beautiful and you can see it at

I found Raising Maine online ( and it is a fantastic resource for Moms in Maine. There are great blogs (Raye Tibbitts is one of my favorites) and great discussion forums.

We took pictures in the backyard and also at Young's Lobster Pound, our local place to get great lobster. If you live in Maine, definitely check out Raising Maine online and sign up for their monthly magazine. Look for us on the cover in June! The details are below.

Raising Maine is a free monthly publication produced for Maine moms by Maine moms. It is distributed at nearly 200 locations in Maine and is available through free mail subscriptions. For more information, contact 791-6700.

Monday, May 4, 2009

May 5th Free Music Giveaway

Special Offer
May 5th

One Day Only!

Buy Transformational Mothering-
A Prayerful Companion for New Mothers

and get all the music and prayers from
The Divine Hours of Motherhood
for free!

11 lullabies, 7 spoken prayers, and a transformational book all for under $15
and 10% of the authors profits go to the Children's Miracle Network.

A great gift for you or the mother in your life.

Just click this link and get it all!

Do you know someone who would love this offer? Go ahead pass it on!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Plant the seeds


In Spring my mind turns to

Every year I add a bit to my gardens. When I first moved in to what used to be my grandparents house, I put all my grandmother's gardens back in. Then I pulled up raspberry bushes and planted additional gardens. At that time I had no interest in vegetables so flower gardens surround my home.

A few years ago for my birthday, my father built me these raised beds. They are FANTASTIC. Every year they fill up with tomatoes, beets, carrots, garlic, herbs, a few peas...The peas were my downfall. I adore fresh peas and my son loves to pick and eat them by the handful. So I began to think what I really needed was a bigger garden like the one my grandfather use to have on this property. I remember long rows of peas and beans and cucumbers and a beautiful pantry of canned romantic. This weekend the fantasy hit the shovel. I began turning the sod in my future vegetable garden. I began turning it because a previous attempt (pictured above left) to suffocate the grass proved to be only an incubator and frost protector for very large dandelions. I did not want to use pesticides and I did want to keep the organic material from the grass (minus the seeds) so I found an online solution that seems to be working. I cut and turn the sod upside down, cover it with cardboard or plywood, and in a few weeks I will rototill it all into a gorgeous vegetable garden. Albeit one much smaller than originally planned.

The thing I love most about making this garden is having Clayton's help. By this I mean both my grandfather Clayton who got this plot originally free from huge rocks, and my son who is wonderfully adept at worm relocation. The lessons my grandfather passed on to me, I now pass on to my son. For me this is what gardening is all about, linking generations, passing on knowledge, working with the earth and learning about faith and miracles.

Planting seeds and trusting that they will become plants and flowers is a work of faith. It is a miracle that a tiny seed can grow into a 9 ft sunflower. If the tiny seeds we plant in the earth can grow to become larger that we are, if they can burst forth with fruit and flower, what amazing things can grow in the gardens of our lives if we will but plant the seeds?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The nightlight that lit my way

I was going through a box yesterday and I was thrilled to find my nightlight! When Clayton was about two the bulb popped and I put it away thinking that I would change the bulb when I had a minute. Well, yesterday was the day (almost 2 years later). I took it apart and when I plugged it in it was like finding a long lost friend. This was the nightlight that changed it all.

I can not remember the name of the woman who gave me this light. She was someone that passed through my life when I was pregnant with Clayton. What I do remember is the night that I first plugged it in. Clayton was a few weeks old and still recovering from his time in the NICU. We were still trying to get nursing established and we were all exhausted. Clayton was trying to "get my milk up" by nursing almost all night. As I sat up to nurse I looked over and turned this little light on and it transformed my mothering. I realized that I was in the middle of the sacred.

I thought of all the other women who were up nursing or caring for their children. I felt the eternal thread that went back through me to my mother and grandmothers. I thought of the monks up praying and honoring the cannonical hours and I decided that I would look at the hours I was spending with my son as the divine hours of motherhood. I began to pray and I was lifted up. That nightlight lit my way through two years of sleepless nights, two moves and a hospital stay. I can not count the hours I have spent holding my precious boy by that light and praying.

What a gift. The woman who gave me this light could neve have known all that would come of it. She could never have known that such a seemingly small thing would be the catalyst for such change in my life. I believe that God did know. He had a plan and she was his hands.

May my hands be guided to give such gifts to others.
May I remember that no gift is too small if given with great love and an open heart.
May my hands be Your hands, Lord. Amen.

Has anyone given you a seemingly small gift that transformed your life in a positive way? I would love to hear your story!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

God Bless All Who Are Pushing Shopping Carts

There is a homeless couple in our town who I see walking up and down our busy highway most everyday. Yesterday I saw them holding hands as they pushed their cart. This morning I woke with this poem in my head.

God bless the homeless pushing shopping carts and holding hands.
For they shall inherit our returnable bottles and scraps.

God bless the man standing at the stop sign begging for change.
We offer only dollars.

God bless the homeless.
God bless all who are pushing shopping carts.
God bless all who are holding hands.
God bless all who are standing and begging for change.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

May All That is Sacred Return

The Rape Response Services Center of Bangor invited me to perform last night as part of a benefit to raise funds for their organization. I was honored to do so. Minutes before I left for Bangor I got an email about a woman named Marie who was interviewed on the Today show. Marie had been raped in the NY Subway. People witnessed the event and did nothing but push a button requesting the police. By the time the police got there she had been assaulted twice. She sued the NY transit authority and it was ruled that there was no law that would make it necessary for anyone to say or do anything more than what they did. Marie responded that she did not expect anyone else to do the work of the police but that she just wished someone had said something.

Last night I raised my voice in honor of Marie.

May we know the sacred that we are.
May we see the sacred in others.
May we never be tempted to trespass on the sacredness of any living being.
May we never stand silent when our voices need to be heard.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Proof!

Yay! The "proof" of my book came in the mail yesterday and after going through it extensively I approved it to be printed! So exciting!

It is interesting that they call this book the "proof." For me it is proof of many things in my life. It is proof that dreams come true and prayers are answered. It is proof that I have accomplished something. It is proof that good things come from hard work and persistence. It is proof that the love that I have for my family and for the community of mothers can be made visible and shared. It is proof that when I focus on sharing the gifts God gave me, He will open doors and make it all come together.

Thanks so much to all of you who read the beginnings of this book and who gave me such concise and loving feedback. This book is here because of your support.

I look forward to sharing it with all of you! Follow me and you will be the first to know when it is available!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Cleaning

It is Spring! Time for new discoveries! I was cleaning out the garden to get ready to plant and what did I uncover? The cell phone I lost last fall. Oh, well. One mystery solved.

What do you do to keep track of your cell phone? Obviously I could use some help here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Call me an April Fool

April 1 is one of my favorite days of the year. Perhaps it is because it is the beginning of my birthday month that it always feels like a new beginning. I don't do the practical joke thing, but good things always seem to happen to me on the day of the fool.

Five years ago today I was hanging posters for an upcoming performance. I walked into a small juice bar that I had never seen before and behind the counter was a very intriguing character. He chatted me up about the show, came to see my performance and we were unofficially engaged on our third date. We waited to tell people for 6 months so they wouldn't freak out. Although I have to say, it has become increasingly hard to surprise my family. They have grown accustomed to my "foolish" ways.

Perhaps what I love about the fool is that he lives by faith, not by sight. He sees the wonderful future in store for him while walking on the edge of a precipice. That feels familiar. There is profound wisdom in knowing that we do not know it all. There is power in faith and in knowing where our treasure lies. The happiness that the fool embodies is not folly but a kind of enlightened optimism.

Today I embrace my foolish nature and know that I am held in the hand of God.

P.S. Today I opened up my email to find that I had won a book from the Carpool Reader Blog I follow! What a lucky fool am I!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Rhythm of the Rollercoaster

This has been a very exciting week indeed. The proof for Transformational Mothering is now being printed, and all the artwork for The Divine Hours of Motherhood (prayers and lullabies for mothers and babies) is complete! Tomorrow I head to Thundering Sky studio to rerecord some things I was not completely happy with and by the end of next week that project should be on it's way to being printed. Phew!

The past few months have been a grand adventure. Writing and editing, recording and designing, learning about social networking and marketing and, of course, being a Mom. I wonder, were Barbara Kingsolver or Margaret Atwood ever interrupted at their desk with an "I pooped in my pants, Mommy."? Or a "Mommy, I hungry. Why aren't you feeding me?" (I do feed him but lately he is a bottomless pit and he knows that I will always stop to feed him. Clever little guy, no?)

I hear people talk about keeping their lives balanced. Does this really happen for anyone? When I try to keep my life balanced I just feel guilt for whichever part of my life seems neglected at the time. My life is more of a roller coaster, some things get more attention at one point and then swoosh it is on to the next. I am a wave of motion climbing slowly to the top, pausing in the still points and then hanging on while plummeting toward the next goal.

The good news is that I love beyond words the people I am on this ride with, I am excited about the hills we have to climb and the rise and fall of our life. All things have a rhythm and we are finding ours.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Prayer for Homeless Mothers

Dear God,
Today I pray for all homeless mothers and their families.
Wrap Your arms around them Lord.
Give them strength as they face this transition.
Send Your angels around them and give them hope.
May they feel the presence of Your love
in this even the hardest of times.
May they be restored.
May they be blessed.
May they find You in these troubled times.
May we be ever mindful of our blessings
and use them to serve the world.
Thank You.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The First Transformational Mothering Gold Star Mom!

In my book, Transformational Mothering, I talk about wanting gold stars for my mothering efforts and recognizing that there just were not that many being given out. Mothers do not get enough recognition! So, I would like to use this blog to give out gold stars.

The very first Transformational Mothering Gold Star goes to...(drumroll please...) my friend Katie B.

Hooray! (wild applause)

Katie is the mother of a beautiful little boy named Richard who happens to have Type 1 Diabetes. Knowing how stressful it is to have a child hospitalized, I can only imagine the stress of caring for a child with an ongoing illness.

Katie is a beautiful and enthusiastic mother who is also brilliant and blessed with a magical voice. Little Richard made a very good choice when he looked down and chose Katie for his mother. Each day I watch Katie focus on the joys of motherhood rather than the trials. Each day I read her Facebook updates and they educate me about Type 1 Diabetes. Each day I am amazed by what we all accomplish as motherhood transforms us and redirects our lives.

Katie has created a beautiful, educational and inspiring video that I have linked to here. Just click on the title of this post and it will take you to it. After you watch please join me in congratulating Katie by leaving a comment on this post. And if you know a mother who has a child with Type 1 Diabetes why not give her a call and give her a "gold star" today?

P.S. If you know of a mother who deserves a Transformational Mothering Gold Star, tell me about her at!

My Child Has Diabetes-A Mother's Prayer

This prayer was inspired by Katie B. and all the other mothers who are caring for a child with Type 1 Diabetes. I am so proud of all of you.

Dear God,
Comfort me.
I am so tired.
I feel consumed by numbers, weights and pin pricks.
Take my worry, Lord.
Bring me Your peace.

Keep my mind clear that I may interpret the numbers around me correctly.
Help me, Lord, to embrace the technology that keeps my son alive.

I ask Your blessing today on all the doctors and nurses who have gotten us this far.
I ask Your blessing on all the researchers who are
developing the medicines and technologies that will bring us a cure.
Please bless me with patience and perseverance as we await this miracle.

This is not the journey I had planned,
yet I know that Your hand is upon us.

Please guide and strengthen us.
Show me how best to use my talents and abilities
so that I may be a source of comfort to my family and Your light in the world.

I am so grateful for the gift of my son.
He is a blessing and a joy.
Let me not forget that joy is my strength.

May I be an instrument of Your peace.
May I be an instrument of Your love.
May my hands be Your hands.
My life is Yours.
May it bless my family and the world.

Thank You.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

How to Tap a Sugar Maple

When I tell my out of state friends that Sugaring Season has started in Maine they are often confused. Making maple syrup is a tradition in my family. I remember collecting sap from the trees in my current backyard (which used to be my grandparents home) when I was small. I would follow my grampa from tree to tree filling big garbage pails full of sap. Then we would spend weekends boiling it down in an open pan over an open fire in the backyard. Flies and other detritus added protein.

A few years ago, my family bought a larger property and we now tap over 200 trees each year and make 30-40 gallons of syrup. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup so there is a lot of collecting to do and we are a whole lot higher tech than what my grampa was in the backyard.

I made this video last weekend as we were finishing up tapping the trees. Click the title of this post to check out the YouTube video and enjoy! Welcome to my part of Maine!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I went to a great event put on by our local Maternal Wellness Center last week. There was a showing of my friend Nicolle's short film entitled "Roar" and a poetry reading by local poet Arielle Greenberg. After the performance there was a panel of midwives and mothers who discussed choices in birth and answered audience questions.

I went, because even though we did not have a natural birth, I am a great supporter of natural birth whenever possible. The puzzle of how much of the difficulty of our first year was related to the challenges of our birth is something that can never be unraveled. It is pointless to try. Our experience was our experience, it was necessary and I would not trade what I have learned for the natural birth I thought I would have.

I was curious about how I would feel watching a mother give birth naturally. I wondered if it would make me sad to think of what I had "missed." But the truth is, I was proud of both of us. I was proud of the power of women to adapt to whatever their birth brings and take lessons from it.

It was disturbing to learn that birth choices for women are being limited. I was shocked to hear that in some states midwives are illegal. While a homebirth is not something that I would choose for myself, I strongly believe that it should be possible for those who wish to make that choice.

I also learned that it has been decided that in Maine, midwives do not have to be licensed. We need to license our hairdressers but not the women who assist us in bringing life into the world?

There are so many changes going on in medicine right now. To hear that maternity care is considered a "special service" is insane to me. What mixed messages we are sending to our mothers. On the one hand we will not license your midwife to help you with a birth at home, and on the other we reserve the right to eliminate your ability to give birth in a hospital if it is not financially advantageous to us. How did we get here?

I thought that the best comment of the evening was by a midwife named Holly. She said that she supported women along the full spectrum of birth experience. What she wanted was for women to be educated about their choices so that they could make conscious, educated choices about their births. I absolutely agree. This is a bit more difficult than it seems however.

While midwives often feel that doctors overemphasize the medicalization of birth, doctors often feel that midwives under emphasize the dangers of giving birth. Knowing firsthand how much our emergency birth has colored our feelings about birth in general, I can only imagine how repeatedly seeing dangerous birth situations must skew a doctor's view. In the same vein, if you have seen hundreds of women give birth naturally that also skews the midwife's perspective toward natural birth.

None of us is "right."

I look forward to the day when Maternal Wellness Centers present panels that include the voice of doctors and when panels of obstetricians welcome the voices of midwives. Until then, the burden falls to pregnant mothers to educate themselves knowing that at every turn the experts have their own biases, and perhaps necessarily, perhaps unfortunately, their own agendas.

To see the film short "Roar" by Nicolle Littrell (15 minutes or so) click on the title of this post. You will be watching a live natural birth with all the sounds that go with it.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Thank you Nancy Dysart

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a celebration of Nancy Dysart. Nancy just retired from working as the Philanthropy Officer and Director of Healthcare Charities' Children's Miracle Network of Eastern Maine Health Services. All of which means that she led the efforts to raise the money that made the services for my son possible while he was in the neonatal intensive care unit in Bangor.

What an inspiration. I have never met a more positive and loving person, or anyone more passionate about helping children. Though Nancy has helped tens of thousands of families, she always manages to make each of us feel special. Her memory for people and their stories is astounding. It was wonderful to listen to her daughter's tribute to her and to learn a bit more about the woman who has helped so many.

Many blessings on your retirement Nancy! Thank you for all you have accomplished on behalf of miracle families in Maine.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Blessing

Dear God,
Please bless this site and all who enter it.
May it be a space of comfort, joy and inspiration.
Bless my words, Lord.
Make them windows, never doors.

May we find joy in our interactions.
May we find comfort in each others' stories.
May we find inspiration through prayer.
May our community illumine the world.

Thank You.