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Friday, May 31, 2019

My chosen resources for pregnancy

Foxes and asparagus fern posed as a pregnancy announcement for twins


If you follow me on Instagram, you've likely seen me talk a bit about being surprised by pregnancy, which was only outdone by being surprised by twins. TL;DR I'm carrying twins who will probably arrive in August, and no, twins do not run in the family. We don't know the sex of our kiddos yet, because why not get one more surprise, right?

I thought it would be at least another year before I became a mom, and being flung into the pregnancy process and preparation has been a whirlwind with almost every negative emotion you could think of. I may talk more about my emotional atmosphere of this pregnancy later, because mine is a story I haven't heard before, but today we'll stick with the practical things.

These resources below have been a huge help so far. I'm no mommy blogger, meaning, I'm new to this and there are tons of more practiced voices on this subject, but the value I've gotten from these things has been great. Maybe they'll be great for some readers, too.

Books
  • Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardacke  : This is the first place where my fear and trepidation around delivering was calmed. I can't believe how different my perspective is since reading this book. Terror has turned to empowerment, and Mindful Birthing is the reason why I am eager to have a vaginal, unmedicated birth and the reason why I think I'd be a total badass at it.
  • Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin  : Similar to Mindful Birthing, this book portrays a completely different perspective on birth than the usual. Ina May is an OG midwife who's seen it all and who shares her wisdom and encouragement. She taught me to trust my body to do what it knows to do in birthing. This book has the power to completely change America's prenatal and maternity care.  The first part shares birth stories (no twins, though), and the second part talks about childbirth, what it's like, how to make things more comfortable, etc.
  • Expecting Better by Emily Oster  :  I hate being told what to do anyway, but when someone's telling me what to do with my body, they better have a good reason. That's where Expecting Better came in. Emily Oster analyzes the data behind colloquial and medical pregnancy advice and then empowers you to make decisions for yourself on things like drinking alcohol, eating tuna, epidurals, and vitamin K shots.
  • Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman  :  This delightful book on French parenting was the first parenting book I read and has informed a good deal about what I want to bring to my family. I took many notes about "the pause," French sleep training, and creating freedom within boundaries. Here's a good recap of the book if you'd like to take a look.
  • Cribsheet by Emily Oster  : Emily Oster's second book digs into the research again, but this time with how parenting choices impact kids in the short-term and long-term. (It's also funny.)

Tangible Things
  • Hypnobabies classes  :  A friend of mine recommended a hypnobabies birthing class, and I'd remembered Rubyellen from Cakies sharing how her hypnobirthing classes were amazing for her. I decided to try it. The self-induced hypnosis used in this method has been used as anesthesia substitute for surgery patients, and using the same technique for birth seems to be a great path toward a comfortable, even pleasurable birth. I'm looking forward to trying it in real life!
  • Yoga and my studio  : The teachers and students at my yoga studio have been a huge encouragement. Many days I've not wanted to get out of bed because my body felt so blah. Showing up to the mat and being welcomed by smiling faces who encourage me at every turn has kept wind in my sails.
  • An OB I agree with  : Not-fun fact : pregnancies with multiples (twins or more) are automatically considered high risk in the medical field. There are more opportunities for complications, including emergency c-section, which leads to a lot more hovering of care providers and being required to deliver in the operating room, just in case. I see the reasoning behind these measures, but I also see room for more flexibility in some areas. In my 5th month, I found and switched to an OB who I better align with. I'll still have to birth in the OR, but he's happy to make a lot more accommodations than the usual doctor, as long as things are going well. He's also less trigger happy with c-sections, and I believe he's my best bet for a vaginal twin birth in Atlanta. Having him on the team, I feel so much more comfortable and relieved.
  • Maternity clothes  :  
    • For early on, the ponytail holder trick will allow you to wear your pants for longer.
    • Bra extenders were a great investment.  Amazon sells small packs of them.
    • There are tons of maternity clothes options out there, and I'd like to add  the Storq leggings and dress to the list of the good ones. (The bra, tunic, and pencil skirt I wasn't as big a fan of.)
    • Being pregnant during Georgia summers with a huge belly compelled me to stock up on long flowy dresses.  I have this, this, and this one.  (This is one area where I let my eco-conscious goals fall into second place in favor of cost and convenience.)
    • Another huge recommendation : secondhand clothing!
    • Lastly, as a small effort intrying to keep my wardrobe sustainable, I try to find stuff I'd feel comfortable wearing after birth, too, like long tanks or flowy dresses. I wish myself luck in getting through this without having to drop too much cash and without having to look frumpy.   (See my Pinterest board of actually cute maternity clothes.) 
  • Other  :  While I'm not sure how these things will impact my birthing yet, I regular do these things that were recommended to me both by a close friend and my hypnobabies instructor.
    • Drink red raspberry leaf tea : This tea supports uterine health both pre- and post-birth.
    • Lots of squats and/or wall sits : This strengthens pushing muscles.
    • Perineal massage : This helps stretch the body for the kid's way out.
    • Hiring a doula : This helps cultivate a calm, respectful, and iterative environment for birthing.

Twin-Specific Things
  • (Book) What to Do When You're Having Two by Natalie Diaz  :  Finally, a book for twin moms that isn't lame, that talks about the important stuff, and that gives me the information I actually need!  Diaz is very by the book (I'm not), but she also shares a lot of useful information and tips that I'd never thought of before.
  • (Online community & blog) Twiniversity  : Everything here is twin-specific and was founded by Natalie Diaz, author of the book I described above.  They have online forums, a so-so podcast, and kind of helpful blog posts, all created by and for parents of twins.
  • (Online community & blog) Lucy's List  :  Lucy's List has a mom-of-multiples (MOM) email drip campaign that has been helpful and informative.  Here's their Twin page.  I also love their huge spreadsheet of twin-specific nursery recommendations.  This spreadsheet is intense, and it took me weeks to go through everything, but a lot of my nursery and gear decisions were informed by this sheet.
  • (Podcast episodes)  :  Here are some twin-related episodes of The Birth Hour podcast I found empowering and encouraging.
Other
  • The transformation of a woman to a mother  :  TED Talk on this second "adolescence" for women
  • The Birth Hour  :  A positive podcast where women tell their birth stories 
  • The Double Shift  :  a reported, narrative podcast about a new generation of working mothers.
  • Baby Weight : The heavy truth of motherhood  :  Article on Medium on the burden motherhood places on women
  • Facebook groups  :  Good place to find lightly used gear, play groups, and encouragement
  • Daddy Up  : This is the least lame pregnancy tracking app I've found on Android. It's geared toward Dad and is minimal, but still fun. I checked The Bump and What to Expect's websites for weekly updates, but all the other pregnancy apps weren't my style.
  • Nordic Nursery Vision Board  :  Minimalist, gender-neutral nursery and gear inspiration
  • "God Our Mother"  :  A beautiful poem that elevates motherhood and reveals it as a reflection of the Divine
Have you read any of these books? Have you at one time been terrified of pregnancy or birth?  Comment below with your thoughts, I'd love to hear!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

God Our Mother

Octavia Spencer as God in The Shack (2017) and the feminine maternal God
still from The Shack, via

I didn't grow up viewing the feminine facets of God as legitimate, real, or orthodox.  When I listened to the Liturgist podcast episode called "God Our Mother," much of it made me uncomfortable.

And then they read this poem.

---

Allison Woodward’s poem was written for The Liturgists podcast, God Our Mother.

To be a Mother is to suffer;
To travail in the dark,
stretched and torn,
exposed in half-naked humiliation,
subjected to indignities
for the sake of new life.

To be a Mother is to say,
This is my body, broken for you,”
And, in the next instant, in response to the created’s primal hunger,
This is my body, take and eat.”

To be a Mother is to self-empty,
To neither slumber nor sleep,
so attuned You are to cries in the night—
Offering the comfort of Yourself,
and assurances of “I’m here.”

To be a Mother is to weep
over the fighting and exclusions and wounds
your children inflict on one another;
To long for reconciliation and brotherly love
and—when all is said and done—
To gather all parties, the offender and the offended,
into the folds of your embrace
and to whisper in their ears
that they are Beloved.

To be a Mother is to be vulnerable—
To be misunderstood,
Railed against,
Blamed
For the heartaches of the bewildered children
who don’t know where else to cast
the angst they feel
over their own existence
in this perplexing universe

To be a Mother is to hoist onto your hips those on whom your image is imprinted,
bearing the burden of their weight,
rejoicing in their returned affection,
delighting in their wonder,
bleeding in the presence of their pain.

To be a Mother is to be accused of sentimentality one moment,
And injustice the next.
To be the Receiver of endless demands,
Absorber of perpetual complaints,
Reckoner of bottomless needs.

To be a Mother is to be an artist;
A keeper of memories past,
Weaver of stories untold,
Visionary of lives looming ahead.

To be a Mother is to be the first voice listened to,
And the first disregarded;
To be a Mender of broken creations,
And Comforter of the distraught children
whose hands wrought them.

To be a Mother is to be a Touchstone
and the Source,
Bestower of names,
Influencer of identities;
Life giver,
Life shaper,
Empath,
Healer,
and
Original Love.


---


You might also like:

Friday, May 10, 2019

Recommended with the Hollow Knight soundtrack

Fun blog fact: this is the 65th "Recommended" post I've published!  For those of you who've been with me for a long time, for years, thank you for sticking with me through my shifts and changes.  It's an awkward question when someone asks "what do you blog about" because "well, it's just personal... about my life and things."  I've started writing more about deeper things in the last couple years, but it's still easy to dismiss my work.  Thank you for reading and being here with me.

Today I wanted to introduce you to some of my new favorite peaceful music.  Last fall, Caleb bought the game Hollow Knight for us, and we immediately fell in love.  The game is enchanting, bringing mystery and mission together for a thrilling ride.  The visual design of the beautiful settings is matched by the lovely music, and I have to share these two pieces with you.



"Greenpath" is the music for the most delightful area in the game filled with lush, green flora, plants with teeth, and adorable monsters who kill you.  "Reflection" plays in the rooms where you're able to rest away from monsters and adjust your weapon charms.  I have played these 2 songs on loop for probably over an hour by now, just because they're so beautiful and peaceful.  I hope you like them, too!

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Nifty things

Have a 10x15' space, 5 minutes, and wifi?  That's all you need to run an on-demand book printing machine!  The Espresso Book Machine is a consumption and resource game changer!

Screen printed tees with empowering messages printed on thrifted pieces?  Yes.

Have you seen the most remote Airbnb on the planet? You could spend the night with a nomadic Dhukha family and herd reindeer with them in northern Mongolia!

Do you like meat charcuterie boards?  I like charcuterie boards forever and always.  Binging with Babish, one of Caleb's favorite youtube channels, put out a video with all the info you need to pull together a beautiful platter of meat, cheese, and more.  I'm drooling over here!

This is a Twitter thread of two litters of farm puppies meeting each other.  Enjoy.

Social issues 

Victoria Secret is losing its sheen, which I'm very happy about.  Check out The Hustle's report on its plummeting stock (which I can't help but be happy about).  "Reports show that women’s perception of the iconic lingerie brand has been declining since 2013, as more women have shifted toward female empowerment instead of hypersexualization.  You mean Kendall Jenner strutting the runway in an aqua lace corset doesn’t scream women’s empowerment and inclusion??"

And Scottish doctors are now prescribing new treatments for people with chronic health issues.  What do you think?

Two big things in women's issues!  US abortions are at their lowest since Roe v. Wade and one way the #MeToo movement is hurting women

Art and science

The very fancy Arabic script is called Tuluth.  I learned about it here.  Check out this wild 3D calligrafitti in Cairo that uses Tuluth.

You may know, but I've been in love with the minimalist design of Japanese and Scandinavian interiors.  For the last few years I've used those terms to describe my ideal aesthetic, home, and  holiday decorations.  Just last month, I've learned that there's an actual word for this combination!  Japandi!

DNA uncovers that a famous viking warrior was a lady!  Science is cool.

These guys danging.  I love it.

Monday, April 15, 2019

How I stay so organized

Productivity tips from an exectuive assistant.jpg
image by STIL classics via Unsplash


A few times now, coworkers have asked me, "Lindsay, how do you stay so organized?"  Cutting to the chase (because that's what organized people do), here is a teaser summary my tips, tools, and treasures for staying "hashtag on top of it" (which I often say out loud).  To see the whole article, check out the story on Medium and join the conversation there!

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#1 Take notes
Write notes all the time.  Compile and allocate later.

#2 Keep lists
Use master lists to track your projects and progress.  Trello is highly recommended.

#3 Maintain your calendar
Schedule your tasks, use separate calendars for separate categories, and set reminders.

#4 Keep stuff minimal
Declutter your tasks to stay focused.  Make Inbox Zero a goal, keep your desk tidy, and toss tasks as needed. 

#5 Collaborate
Share your lists and calendars with others so they can share with you.

#6 Bonus : super admin tools
See some extra tidbits that have been helpful in my role as an executive assistant by trade.
    ---

    Again, hop on over to Medium here to catch the full low down and share your thoughts.  Looking forward to having you contribute to the discussion!

    Sunday, December 23, 2018

    2018 in Review

    I suppose it's usually this way, but this has been quite the year.  I think of words like unexpected, trying, growth, unleashed.  I want to tell you some of it, but there's too much to share everything.  Starting from the smaller things, here are some of the important pieces.

    Small-ish things

    I tried a lot more foraging and made an Instagram account to help me record my journey.  Caleb bought a video game for us called Hollow Knight and I am almost consumed with it!  I framed pressed ferns and hung them in my kitchen.  A new Brazilian coffee shop opened nearby, Buteco, and I tell everyone about it every chance I get.  I got to see Lion King on stage!  I took a serious step back from Twitter and Facebook for a few months.  That was nice.  All of this was good stuff.

    Bigger than what's above, but maybe not worthy of its own section, I was knighted as a moderator and then an administrator of a Facebook group that's now over 6,500 people.  It's a little weird bringing this up here, but it's been a big part of my life since the summer.  The group is a discussion and support hub for folks in similar faith spaces as me - folks who are deconstructing or restructuring their faith.  The responsibility has been big.  I've put a lot of energy into moderating the group and participating in logistics and vision-casting behind the scenes.  One other admin and I led an ambitious initiative this month to bring on additional mods, clarify the purpose and guidelines, and better support the members.  It's been a lot, and now that I've written it all out, I can see that this definitely deserves to be mentioned and celebrated.

    Personal development

    Last fall I realized that I had been expecting Caleb to completely carry the responsibility for our marriage from what I'd been taught from complementarianism (i.e. the husband is the leader, wife submits).  This led to very unfair and undue pressure on him and hurt.  When I realized that our marriage could be stronger if we both took ownership for it, I found much more freedom and ambition to help guide us toward things that would be good for us.

    To help me find my footing, I took leadership courses at my church - three different ones, and completed a total of 8 books, 18 lecture series and discussion groups, and 4 presentations!  I'm very proud of the work I put into this and the decision I made to claim and better this part of myself and my relationship.  I also identified my Enneagram type.  That framework has been the most helpful tool in understanding myself and how I relate to others.  (I'll write more about this later, and I'm excited to share!)

    Physical development

    In September, I checked out a nearby yoga studio.  I'd done yoga videos by myself before, and I was nervous about not having the language or skill to be even a beginner, but my intro to the studio was welcoming and lacked judgement.  I kept going, twice a week, sometimes more.  I started weight lifting at home twice a week and taking walks to supplement my exercise plan.  I kept pushing myself, and I found myself pressing into and accepting the discomfort.  I noticed how my body became more pliable, more comfortable in poses.  Then one day I was able to lift my feet from the floor and hold myself up entirely on my arms!  It was jut for a second, but it was amazing!  Arm balances had always seemed so inaccessible to me, and now, 3 months later of moderately consistent but intentional trying and practice, I can hold some simpler arm balances for over 5 seconds!  I'm so proud!  And I'm so excited to see where I'll be this time next year!

    Professional development

    In January, I started a new full-time job in my field as the Sr. Admin Assistant at Pivotal Labs Atlanta.  This isn't what I want to do forever, but being here has helped me discover what I do want to do with my career.

    In April, I listened to one of our Product Designers talk about what he does for a living.  He talked about interviewing users, pinpointing their problems, listening to their struggles, and then planning and reiterating on the app/website/experience to bring a better product to the market.  That's what a designer does?  Sign me up!  I didn't realize there were so many human-focused elements to the work, and I didn't realize there was so much process.  I started digging in, reading a lot, planning out a way to test this idea, and then found myself moving forward toward this career change!

    I've been writing about it some on a new Medium blog, and I made a portfolio for my work so far!  This is all still a work in progress, but I'm especially proud to share that I applied to a role in November, didn't get the job (they decided to not hire at this time), but I got halfway through the process and did pretty well!  Again, I can't wait to see what happens in 2019 here.

    Faith

    I could say a lot, but at this time, I'd like to simply share that my relationship with God has been beautiful and sweet.  It feels reborn.  I'm feeling more grounded and secure than last year.  I've read a lot.  I still have questions, but I also have trust, and I love that.

    Marriage

    Last year, 2017, was an especially painful year for Caleb and I, but this year has been especially healing.  We actually just came out of another trying time, an are-we-gonna-make-it time, but overall, Caleb and I have been able to rise to meet each other better.  Communication has improved, empathy and understanding has grown, trust was put through the wringer but then came out purer.  More than ever, we now grasp the breadth and depth of our differences and dissension, but more and more we're finding how belonging, love, and friendship transcends.  A new couples counselor, family, weekly friend groups, and regular hangs with other couple friends have been welcome support to keep us pointed in the right direction.  I could go on, but my partner is a private person, he wouldn't appreciate me sharing too much more in public, and I want to respect his need for privacy.  :)

    Reflection

    I've seen myself come alive with energy, self-assurance, the willingness to try and experiment, openness, and action.  I am so proud for the person I'm becoming, but especially how much growth I've shown this year.  I haven't had a year like this before, there's been so much newness, so much "I'm going to do this and see what happens," so much courage.

    In January, I heard of a friend of a friend who'd set a new year's resolution to fail more.  Her story has inspired me this entire year to try new things, see what happens, and expand my view of what's possible and attainable for me.  I'm so thankful for the opportunities, feedback, and encouragement I've received along the way.

    I'm in the middle of what's become a busy holiday season, and I'm always hesitant to set long-term goals for myself, but I would love to see myself land a job as a UX Designer, I would love to knock out some more yoga pose goals, pursue my close friends, gain better control of myself in conflict, start a consistent meditation practice, and keep reading lots.

    Lindsay, you worked hard.  You invested in your self and in others, and you reaped good things.  Keep going, friend.

    Friday, December 21, 2018

    Books I read in 2018



    I did it!  I reached and passed my goal of 24 books read this year (not all pictured above)!  I participated in courses and book clubs that pushed me to read more than I usually do, which helped me a lot in my goal.  Rediscovering the Libby and Hoopla audiobook apps was also a big help.  I still borrow as many books as I can from the library, though I did get a few hard copy books because I knew I'd want to mark notes in them (looking at you, Brené Brown).  We have a Kindle that helps us keep our book count down, which helps me keep sanity and integrity with minimalism.

    I joined the goodreads app this year to track my reading.  Having that visual aid kept me motivated and gave me an easy place to write reviews, too.  I haven't written reviews for everything I've read, but if you're interested, you can follow me and see what's next on my lists here.

    * indicates required reading for leadership courses from my church.
    Bold indicates books I especially enjoyed highly recommend.

    Religion
    • The Forgotten Desert Mothers, Laura Swan
    • Half the Church, Carolyn Custis James - Uncovering God's full purpose for women
    • * Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Peter Scazero
    • * The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones
    • The Bible Tells Me So, Peter Enns - The Bible is more than you ever knew.
    • * Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, Paul David Tripp
    • * Can Man Live Without God, Ravi Zacharias
    • * Renovate, Léonce Crump
    • Inspired, Rachel Held Evans
    • Falling Upward, Richard Rohr - The two halves of life and how to navigate the transition
    • The Day the Revolution Began, N.T. Wright - Coming back to a biblical view of atonement

    Fiction
    • Laurus, Evgenij Vodolazkin - An enchanting story of an herbalist monk in the Middle Ages
    • The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
    • The Yellow Wall-Paper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
    • The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins - This thriller had me hooked like few books hook me.

    Professional Development
    • * The Leadership Challenge, James M. Kouzes
    • * Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry
    • Teaming, Amy C. Edmondson - Research and insights on psychological safety in the workplace

    Other Nonfiction
    • They Thought They Were Free, Milton Sanford Mayer
    • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Ann Jacobs - The life and sufferings of a black slave girl in the South
    • Braving the Wilderness, Brené Browne - Vulnerability and belonging matter.
    • Atlanta Chef's Table, Kate Parham Kordsmeier
    • Eating Viet Nam, Graham Holliday - Lifely stories about meeting Vietnamese street food
    • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson
    • The Most Beautiful Thing I've Seen, Lisa Gungor
    • Girl Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis
    • 'Tis, Frank McCourt
    • Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice, Brené Browne

    Friday, November 9, 2018

    Recommended reads

    Happy Friday, friends!  Here are a few things I've been digging lately.

    golden cocoa via the kitchn

    Golden cocoa (haldi doodh from India) :

    I first heard about golden cocoa from Local Milk.  It sounded really strange, but I like trying new things and I've been dipping my toe into herbalism this year, so why not go for it?  (Turmeric's supposed to be an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.)

    I'm pretty flexible with my recipes at home, so I guessed at my measurementswhile adding the ingredients I had on hand.  After taking a peek at Wooden Spoon Herb's powder recipe, I decided to add some ginger and cinnamon to my cup, along with the cocoa, turmeric, butter, and milk (no ashwagandha).

    My first attempt was best described as sludgy, but it wasn't bad.  Later I adjusted my ratio of powders to milk, and then at work I got to try it with almond milk (a mix of sweetened and unsweetened almond milk).  That's where I found my sweet spot.

    It's not for everyone, but I enjoy the earthiness, the savory and calming heaviness of the drink, and the process of building the drink and whisking it with my matcha whisk.  Also, I absolutely love butter and pretty much anything that contains it, so I was already predisposed to like this thing.

    Have you tried golden cocoa?  Do you think you will?  What warm things have you been gravitating toward since the weathers become colder?

    And some extra reading for your weekend...

    Just interesting

    Social issues

    Design inspiration