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Additional reading on breastfeeding in the bible

Additional Resources

 

Breastfeeding and the Christian Mama- What does the Bible say about Breastfeeding?
One mama examines what the Bible asks of breastfeeding mothers.

Breastfeeding and Following Jesus – uninviting ‘modesty’ to the conversation
TLB basically shreds all the arguments of pearl-clutchers and women shamers saying that breatsfeeding is immodest.  Raising my fist in solidarity over here.

Uninhibited Breastfeeding in Public {Reclaiming my Womanhood From Perversity}
More awesome commentary combining some basic critical thinking skills with a basic human needs of the tiniest among us.

What the Bible says about Nursing in Public
Babydust Diaries works out modesty, the act of breastfeeding as designed by God, and her own responsibility to give God glory.

Breastfeeding, by Rabbi Jill Jacobs
Rabbi Jill Jacobs offers some really interesting information about breastfeeding in Jewish texts.  I love the stories she presents – breastfeeding was (is) so powerful!

 

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The gift of a willful child

Sometimes I watch other parents with their kids and wonder at how docile they are.  Some kids just . . . obey.  It’s entrancing.

 

And I want to ask “HOW did you DO that?” as if their child’s personality is somehow the doing and making of the parent.  But let’s all say this together: My child is not my report card.

 

There is no intangible parent figure going to rain down punishment on me for my child having a bad day.  God is not going to hold me accountable for their behavior or compliance.  That’s part of the beauty of Christianity.  It’s one of the few religions where I answer directly to God and not through or to anyone else.  There IS accountability, but always and only processed through grace.

 

So anyway, when I’m standing there gazing at some beautiful little child coloring quietly while the parent finishes a conversation (or cup of coffee, or sermon, or whatever) and my child is literally running circles around me quizzing me on baptism (or elephants or trains or why the temperature drops when the sun goes down) I often find myself questioning their parenting to mask my questioning of my own parenting.  I alternate between wondering what the other parent must be doing right and what they must be doing wrong. I mean, you must beat them or something right? And maybe all my flailing attempts to be kind, gentle, respectful, and all the rest are really fruitless and going to mess up both the kids, my family, my marriage and society.

 

But I know my kids.  I know them especially well because I see so much of myself in my daughter.  My parents tried to lay down the law.  They were the dictators, I was to be obedient.  If I did X, I would be spanked.  If I did not do X, I would be spanked.  Do as your told.  All of that.  You know what?  It got my parents no where.  It destroyed our relationship and did major destruction in my head.  But in the end, that abuse becomes a sick, weird silver lining because I KNOW that will not help my daughters.  I know that they are too smart, too strong, too passionate, and too beautiful to be broken down by my own insecurities.  I could spank them in an effort to look in control to other parents, but my girls would only fight harder.  And in the end, they’re the ones in control of that relationship.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again: if you are in a power struggle with a 2 year old you have already lost that battle.

 

What’s more I know God does not give these qualities out to just anyone.  Not all people have this perseverance, this genius, this glow.  My girls are destined for something incredible.  I can see it in the gifts they’ve been given.  Breaking those gifts tries to usurp God’s authority in their lives and does nothing for any of us involved.

 

So I’ll answer the questions about baptism and elephants and trains and why the temperature drops when the sun goes down.  And I’ll run in circles with them and chase them when they dash off in the store.  I’ll get them exercise so they can finally rest and go to the library to find answers to all of their questions.  I’ll respect them physically, emotionally, and spiritually and respect God by doing so.  It’s obedience to God.  God loved me enough to give me these children, and I will not defy him by destroying these gifts.

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My newest venture: Press Pause Photography

We haven’t been properly introduced

Here in Denver I’ve started taking pictures of and for some really amazing people.  Over the last several months I’ve been stitching together a photography business, which ends up being significantly more complicated to do legally than one might anticipate.  I suppose I could just skip the tax man and legal obligations, a lot of beginning photogs do, but that’s not really my style.

Anyway, I would really appreciate if you would follow the link above and leave me some love.  Starting a business is a big thing, and it feels a bit vulnerable to open myself up like this.  I’d love some support.

Plus, that’s the place to be if you want to see pretty pictures, meet awesome people in denver, get tips for staying sane in a life with kids, and see what’s up in the mile high city.  ❤

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How to make an awesome peg board

peg board

I’ve been wanting to give my kids a peg board for a long time.  But I thought the pegs would need to be bolts, which seemed like terrible toys, and I wasn’t looking forward to wandering around a hardware store looking for alternatives.  Plus, the peg boards I’d seen used rubber bands, and I was pretty sure my kids would learn how to snap each other hard enough to leave welts by the end of the first day.  As it turns out, putting this together probably took less than 30 minutes, cost like $15, is totally safe, and I think I love it more than my kids.  Plus, it stores under the couch.  Awesome.

peg flowers

The peg board was hard to find with the directions from the guy at the door of the store, but the people who work in the lumber side of the store knew exactly what it was, where it was, and how to connect me with it.  Then, someone showed me these awesome wooden pegs.  They’re the 1/4″ size, and they are easy enough to slide in and out that both my little ones can put the pegs anywhere they want.  (Peg board was $6.48 and the pegs were $2-something I think)

Then I ran to JoAnn’s and got the fabric loops that we all used to make pot holders on a plastic loom.  Remember that?  We all did that weird craft, even though no one on earth has ever actually needed MORE potholders, and the weird fabric would probably have melted if used.  But they’re perfect for this because they don’t snap like rubber bands, and can’t possibly leave a welt on someone.  The box does identify them as a choking hazard though, so maybe feed your kid before hand and limit how many you let your kid shove down her throat.  Okay?  Good.  (These were about $6)
So when we get the board out, the girls spend the first 5 minutes methodically putting each peg in the perfect spot.  Then they look everywhere to be sure they haven’t missed any pegs, and eventually I show them the fabric bands.  Which are bracelets and grass and trees and flowers and playgrounds and homes and sharks and monsters.  (So far.)  Guys, my kids even like putting all this away.  This activity is THE BEST!  The tactile sensations and fine motor skills are enthralling and getting to stuff it all under the couch just makes their little days.

Getting time to sip my coffee on the couch while the kids play peacefully on the floor?  That makes MY day.  I hope this activity makes your day too.

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A Giveaway!

I’m doing a giveaway on my business page, and I thought you all might be interested since it’s a novel by a Christian author.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

A longer write up is on my (almost done) business blog: Press Pause Photography

 

Good luck!

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Six Months Today

A few weeks ago I found myself chatting with someone I hadn’t spoken to or seen in years.  Someone who works in drug rehab.  Six months ago today my relapsing, alcoholic father killed himself.  The chat brought on more thoughts, and questions, and work on processing the death.  And thoughts don’t quietly wander or move on from my mind, they take up space until they are forcefully evicted from the premises.  This is the curbside view.

Does alcoholism follow the same patterns as drug abuse?  Could a simple pill of Methadone eased my father of his desire for alcohol?  I could probably Google that and have an answer, but the answer isn’t really important.  He died with no alcohol in his system.  The only thing on the toxicology report was the med that makes you violently ill if you drink alcohol.  There were no anti-depressants in his system.  None of the things prescribed to him to take the edge of that desire.

What of that was intentional?  Did he purposefully go off his meds to bring himself closer to suicide?  Three weeks before he died, he met with a pastor and told him “The only way out of alcoholism is to stop drinking or die.”  I get the impression that statement is bounced around a lot at AA meetings.  Did he believe it?  What was he planning?  Why not just . . .

The impending election intersects with processing his death.  My father was a staunch conservative, and he and much of the rest of my family taught me plently about the Republican platform.  I get it.  I understand the narrative.  One of my father’s favorite lines was one of ‘personal responsibility’.  The idea that you alone are responsible for both your current and future circumstances.  I wonder if that idea ever caught up with him.  It’s certainly caught up with me.

I remember one spanking in particular – where I had been unable to meet the requirements for me to avoid the punishment.  I remember my mother telling him I couldn’t have finished what he asked of me.  He said I needed to learn that I was responsible for the consequences regardless of what obstacles were in my way.  (Was he trying to teach me something he knew he’d never learn?)  At the time, and ever since, I believed that it was more about the idea that my choices brought me into the situation, and only my choices could bring me out.  But that’s never been true, has it?

No one is fully responsible for their lot in life.  Your family can have money and buy you a house.  Your family can have money and never tell you about it.  You can go to work every day and show up one of those days to find the place closed and shuttered.  You can work hard to move up the ranks and have your health take your job from you.  You can do anything you want and it may or may not give you the result you intend.

I wonder if that realization was too hard for my father to process.  Because the consequences for his actions were huge.  Huge.  The drinking, the years and years of abuse of his health, body, family, and finances.  He chose not to keep going.  Did he have control over all of the things in his life?  Of course not.  But, to maintain his beliefs about personal responsibility, he’d either have to admit all of those years of wrongs or lose his house, his family, his job – everything.  How could he do that?  Either of those things would seriously alter his paradigm for understanding the world.

I’ve had a few realizations that have changed the way I function.  One of them is that I do not have to accept that what I’ve been told is all there is.  It’s a process, to be sure, but I have been running (however erratically) down that path for many years.  I do not have to do the things my family did because they’re what is expected of me or what I expect of myself.  I do not have to accept that I can’t do the things my parents couldn’t.  I do not have to accept that the knowledge I have already acquired is all I need.  It never is.  There is always, always, always more.

As a result I tend to grab a topic, soak up everything I can find, and try to mush all the pieces together until I think I can see match the puzzle to the box.  Till I think I understand the answer.  I am a birth junkie.  Absolutely.  I have lists of breastfeeding resources.  I have shelves of parenting books and ideas on index cards and a family where I try to practice and perfect.

Even death.  I oscillate between trying to avoid and wanting all the information, but in the end I just can’t process without sliding the pieces around.  I thought the absence of this relationship would be a relief.  I honestly didn’t know if he would every be emotionally healthy enough for me to be in an emotionally healthy relationship with him, but I didn’t exclude the possibility.  And here we are.  Where the absence may be worked for good, but the work is no relief.

Maybe that is similar to the work of rehab.  It’s no relief.  Not even with a pill.  Not even with the right people and resources and structures.  Transferring the addiction, the problem, the pain from one place to another is not healing.  It’s only the hope of a more manageable situation while you struggle through the work.  I suppose in a sense, the addiction’s just been passed down to another generation.  His pain was put into his parenting.  His parenting passed his pain to me.  His death absolves him from the work of healing.  I bear extra work because of his choices, because of his actions, because of his words.  Luckily, for me and for my children, I’ve never been as lazy as they said I was.  I will do the work.  I will break the dysfunctional paradigms that transfer pain to my children.  I will make many mistakes and expect no easy road.  But I will not let my politics or my parents or my pain burden them with false beliefs about themselves.

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The Republican Requirement

Sat in a church today listening to a sermon on Mark 9:38-50 and my head nearly exploded.  Or maybe it was my stomach.  Or my heart.

The disciples were persecuting someone who had been driving out demons in the name of Christ.  The disciples were upset because this person hadn’t gone through them to get to Christ.  Christ was less than pleased.  “If he is not against us, he is for us.”

Just a few weeks ago, I was attending a congregation from the same denomination as the church this morning.  I found a publication by that denomination’s governing body which had an article detailing how to deal with “Christ-less Liberals.”  The pastor this morning was preaching that the disciples were wrong to persecute someone working in the name of Christ but not following the disciples.  This pastor was saying that the intermediary body (disciples) was not  as importantas the fact that the person was working miracles in the name of Christ.  But the denomination is publishing that anyone who doesn’t go through the Republican party (or at least conservative values) can’t have a relationship with God.  The two ideas don’t exactly go hand in hand.  And one idea is from Christ.

I mean, let’s just take a quick second to look at the term “Christ-less Liberal.”  The idea is that no one who votes liberally could know Christ.  That every vote cast against the Republican party is a vote by someone without God.  People really believe, however ignorantly, that God can only be reached through the Republican party.     Does this sound familiar?  Anyone?

Over and over Christ expressed his frustration at people putting themselves between Him and other souls.  You know what?  I don’t have to go through anyone to reach God.  I don’t have to go through this denomination or the Republican party or the pope or president.  My God is accessible to me where ever I am AND how ever I vote.  Mark 9:41 says “Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.” But if I vote in favor of clean drinking water or environmental protection I’m a socialist hippie – and godless.  Christ said “the least will become the greatest” but if I vote to support a living wage,which is vote for the dignity of every person, I’m entitled – and godless.  Are you sensing a pattern here?  I am not ashamed to be considered liberal (especially since I don’t consider myself liberal.  I’m certainly not ashamed of the things other people assume about me or gossip about me).  I am not ashamed to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am NOT godless.  Regardless of any arrogant, self-righteous church body (or person) that believes otherwise.

Over the last several years, the far right has deified Ronald Reagan.  The same Ronald Reagan who passed the “Therapeutic Abortion Act” just 3 months into his first term as Governor of California.  Even President Reagan would fail to live up to the standard borne by the idol he’s become in the hands of the Republican Party.  And the whole idea that Christian = Republican is relatively new, utterly wrong, and sadly naive.  There are hundreds of thousands (millions?) of Christians who believe that Christ was serious when He spoke of loving those who persecute you, caring for the sick, and selling all you own to give money to the poor.  [hah!  How un-Republican is that?!  Instead of your yearly vacation to the beach, take that money and hand it to the first person you see in line at the food bank.]  As we approach the election, I am encouraging all of my Christian friends to be praying for the conservatives in this country.  Praying that Christians and Republicans, particularly Christian Republicans, examine their hearts, their logic, and their choices for President.

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