Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Heritage Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

1 pint pumpkin
1 cup canola/olive or favorite cooking oil
2 eggs
1 cup raw sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 cups heritage whole wheat

Combine ingredients, mixing each one well until incorporated. Divide batter amongst two buttered loaf pans- bake at 350 degrees or until slightly golden and tester inserted comes out with just a few sticky crumbs.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

boys and girls become men and women

I have two lovely daughters. I grew up with one, and then two very accomplished and interesting, intelligent, beautiful sisters. I was born to my mother, who had two sisters and one brother- who was born to my grandmother, the perfect woman by all our accounts. She jumped picnic tables as a little girl, was graceful always, smart, educated, nurturing, the best cook with the best lap and the occupied the space in our universe where everyone wanted to be. Most of my cousins are (get this) girls. We are really good at making really great girls and women. Where are the men? I have a very involved, supportive father, who has several brothers. Two traditional, creative, very intelligent grandpas. And uncles, who had sons. We like men, and love ours.
There was a lot of pressure in the previous few generations on women to be "more like boys". And then, in my childhood a lot of us girls heard things like " you can be anything you want to be" " you don't need anyone to take care of you" and " you can do anything and everything". I think many of us girls were put off by this, as apparently the anything they were talking about was anything out in the world. And anything as long as it wasn't overly feminine.  When I was growing up, I wanted to be like my grandma and run errands and care for everyone. That was not the "anything" my parents and teachers were talking about.  So I struggled with this confusion as a young women. I learned to create a life full of acceptable accomplishments and profession while still being the mother, wife and woman I wanted to be. I knew from observing the generation before me- I really couldn't do everything, or I would get very sick.
Then, my friends started getting married and having babies. And I started teaching pregnancy yoga. I heard much of the similar complaints and confusion from the other young women that I loved. And I recognized that while we as girls were being told we could do anything, without help, and that we didn't need anyone- the boys were listening. And essentially our culture was telling them they were pretty useless now. They grew up, with the same training as the generation of men before them to be husbands to different kinds of women. And we women wanted all this help and support from our husbands and many of us were trained not to ask for help, and many man were not trained how to support their women. I felt bad for our husbands. We wanted them to nurture us, to be understanding but they were raised to be needed and we were trained to not need anyone. My husband would look at me and say " do you NEED me to come" and I would say " no, I don't NEED you to come" and then we would both be hurt and out of sorts. But I do need him. I am not self-suffient. I need him a million times a day- as much as he needs me.
I thought all these things. And I was always protective of my girls to make sure no one told them they HAD to do or NEED or not need anything. I trained them in beauty and strength. I am training them in balance and showing each one that which they need as individuals. And I thought it was hard when people picked on their feminine ways as if they had no masculine balance within them. I would often say " they are very balanced, they wear dresses while exploring the creek and playing in the mud".

Then two weeks ago, we found out we were having a boy. We are so thrilled. So excited. I can't wait to explore this little person and all their specialness. I also can't wait to learn more about boys, and to help raise a man for the next generation- like I am excited to raise these little women for their future roles.
I started feeling more protective of this child right away and didn't know why.  And then I started to notice it was because of all those thoughts above. And more.
As soon as people found out we were having a boy they started asking different questions and treating him differently they they treated our daughters. It seems in our culture we would like kind boys and men, that do not show any femininity what-so-ever. We would like gentle men, but still want them to be strong and even aggressive. We are uncomfortable with boys showing any interest in anything not traditionally a masculine activity ( apparently we do not want any feminine boys or girls!). Well guess what, society? That is not going to work. Someone needs to nurture, and its okay if its everyone. Even if we are all nice and kind doesn't mean that we are not strong. Even if we need help, even if we are not self-suffient- that doesn't mean we could not be if the situation arose requiring that strength from us. But why live our whole lives like that.  And certainly my 20 week fetus does not need to live that way. Or my two week old baby, or my 20 year old son.
It is my great wish that all my children learn to love and balance the masculine and feminine within them. I pray they learn how valuable both are within us, and our culture. I pray that when they are grown they find a partner who is in balance with them, offering masculine support for their feminine qualities and feminine support for their masculine qualities. I pray that their homes are full of beauty and strength. I pray that their society and their culture embrace the strength of the feminine and the nurturance that drives the masculine. I pray they learn they do not ever need to do everything unless they are the only ones left on earth. I pray they find a way of balance. And I pray my husband and I can offer them this balance.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Accepting Joy

Joy is not available only when the world is in perfect balance- we need not wait for it to arrive. We need only to accept its availability.
Celebration has being a theme in my life for the last several years. We need not wait for joy to celebrate- we can celebrate sorrow, anger, even envy.
Joy and celebration bring meaning and connection to my life. They connect me to the divine, to humanity, to my family, through the generations past and the generations to come.
I may celebrate and be joyful today despite not knowing what tomorrow holds. I may celebrate and be joyful today no matter what has come from the past. There is indeed pain, sorrow, conflict and aggression surrounding me today- and I may still celebrate and be joyful.
It is not the lack of concern for the unpleasantries in life that allows my joy and celebration- it is the acceptance that they exist along with all else.
I may stomp my feet, raise my voice and clench my fists at the frustrations- and then I am allowed to throw back my head, open my heart, open my throat .  .   . and laugh. I am allowed to beam with pride towards my children, my husband and my home- while still moulding and guiding these entities towards their destiny. I need not wait until life is over to revel in it beauty, to realize my gains and shortcomings. Its not that I am not concerned with the future, or the past. It is that by being here today- living each moment of today- I am free. I am free to be whatever I need to be today. I am free to love what needs loving today. I am free to change what needs changing today. I am free to listen to my intuition and let it guide me today. I am free to be angry when it is time to be angry, and patient when it is time to be patient today. I am free to change my mind without attachment today. I am free to recognize the joy that exists in every moment, no matter how easy or difficult it appears, today. I am free, to be myself. I am free to be joyful.  Because even if tomorrow is full of sadness, it is not because of my joy today. If tomorrow is full of sadness- I will need to be even more accepting of joy. I need not be afraid of tomorrow, today. Today I need only accept today, and the blessing of joy that exists within every moment.

Friday, February 3, 2012

This morning . . .

This morning as I pulled two small fresh loafs of bread from a hot hot oven at 6am- I realized I must finally be back within myself. Back to myself. This little boy I am carrying took up a lot of etheric space for the first half of this pregnancy. Now that he is growing big and strong and needs more physical space, he is giving the rest of me back to myself ( as I type this he is pounding his fits on my insides to prove the point).
This morning David has left for work even earlier then usual, the fire roars, the world is still dark. There are two girls (9 and almost 5) asleep together in my bed. My home is clean, and safe and changing to accommodate this this fellow's coming.  There are all sorts of troubles in the world, around the corner, and in my budget.  Yet, none of them are capable of shattering the sense of peace. The peace comes from knowing that nothing that happens effect this awesome love. Even horrible, terrible events that we all try to avoid, that scare us as parents and challenge our strength- they cannot change that entity which is my families soul.