In Awe….

Today I’ve slowed down. Today feels like a really great day to reflect on a busy month. There have been many beautiful things happen in the last month that I know are being organized by something greater then me and I’m in awe of that power. It kinda feels like after this long cold winter, spring has arrived inside of me too and if I let it, it will bloom in amazing ways.

I have met some absolutely wonderful women and am building friendships with people who share my passions and understand my life. I have always felt blessed by the special friendships in my life, and now even more so. To be surrounded by amazing neighbors, to meet fascinating birth professionals, and to see my children grow in their friendships is so special.

As I look back over the past month I see gatherings of friends, Doula presentations, playdates, baby visits, newspaper articles (Yes, one more for Red Deer coming April 23), networking of professionals, visits with the elderly, connecting with my hubby,  ladies nights, family gatherings and as the sunshine finally starts to melt the snow, a new found hope and energy for challenges in my days.

But this last week has special importance to me. Last week we said goodbye to a wonderful lady of almost 95years. Dean’s grandma had a long beautiful life, suffered very little and was visited by those important to her in her last few days. Only in the last few years was she in need of minimal care. She was a strong women, born in a blizzard one evening in 1919 at home, a premie, whom when the doctor saw her said she might not make it. But she proved them wrong, and I think her whole life she was an amazing women. So we say goodbye and celebrate her life.

And just as the saying goes the circle of life continues, I received an important call. An unexpected call as it came much sooner then anticipated. Last week I was told my certification is complete, and I can now call myself a Certified Birth Doula. I can now present myself as Christa Duquette – CD(DONA) – meaning Certified Doula with Doulas Of North America.  A new  chapter of my life is beginning as someone else’s comes to a close. How can we not be in awe of that?

Life is strange, sometimes we feel like we will not survive the winter, and other times the sky opens up and shines down on us. If we can only remember in the dark that the light will shine again, then we can get through that dark. I am now continuing on my journey of life, of careers, of motherhood, of marriage and of friendships. I feel like I can let it just be and go the path I am meant to for I am being guided and I want that to continue. I want to grow in knowledge, in peace, and in passion. I hope to see my business grow so that I can reach more women and their families and serve them in the way I am meant to do.

In honour of my celebration of a life, of my certification and my new business plan, today I donated to a cause that spoke to my heart. Samaritans purse allows you to gift to certain areas of service and this one spoke to me:

Provide critical prenatal care for expectant mothers.
1 Safe Birthing kit for a birth attendent in a remote community
Medical training for a birth attendant or local midwife
As I begin my journey as a Certified Doula, I want to know that I have helped someone else on their own journey through my donation.
Thank you so much for all your support, thank you friends and family and especially my husband. I look forward to the years to come. Today I feel renewed and peaceful. What a wonderful day for reflection and celebration. Easter is around the corner and I think it will have even more meaning for me this year! Cheers!
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World Doula Week has begun

World Doula Week has begun, and I’ve been a very busy Doula.
I have:
– Helped two moms with their special deliveries
– Had an article in the newspaper
– Attended local Mom’s groups to promote Doulas
– Volunteered at the Olds Location for Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Center
– Helped Organized more Q&A’s events in Olds, and one in Red Deer.

It’s been a really good month here for me even if the weather has been sub-par. I really wish the sun would melt all the snow. I feel like I’ve accomplished much and am blazing the right trail this time in my life. I hope it continues, And Happy World Doula Week to you from Me.

December Success

Christmas Eve, the day all the children wait for. Presents wrapped, cookies baked, gifts made and meals planned. Today we watch Christmas movies and snuggle on the couch waiting for tomorrow to arrive. Later  a supper with family close and  far and our Christmas is complete.

Surprisingly, I can say I’m ready for Christmas. After such a busy busy December I honestly don’t know how I did it all and have a cold (from which I lost my voice), and still feel ready and enjoy the day without rushing about. I even did a few last minute batches of fudge and cookies today. I managed to make 6 Christmas stockings, 5 teacher gifts, 2 grandma gifts, 7 arm knit scarfs, all the toy shopping and many many batches of cookies. Now to some of you this may be a normal year, but for me this was a big success. I have tried for many years to try and cut back Christmas buying with handmade gifts as I do have many skills if only I have the time. Well this year I MADE time and I’m very proud of what I’ve done. I think my husband is too.

But to me the real success of Christmas is sharing the spirit of Christmas with Friends and Family. The joy, laughter, giving, food and goodies and love of the season is the greatest gift of all. If you can manage to share in just a little bit of the spirit of Christmas then I think that’s the real success. We can get so caught up in the commercial part of Christmas that we forget what it’s really about. So this Christmas Eve take a moment to look around at the ones you love and share a smile, create a memory and enjoy the simple joys. Be thankful for what you have.

It’s been a very big learning year for me and this Christmas is so peaceful and pleasant, this year that is what I’m thankful for. I’ve given of myself and it fills me with peace. That is a big December success! I hope your Christmas is beautiful too, Merry Christmas everyone!

November Christmas

Yes you read that right, I wrote November, not December. It’s very snowy and chilly here and feels more like the beginning  of December and that Christmas is upon us. Although I discovered it’s not a bad thing that it feels like Christmas for it’s put me in the right mood and the planning has begun.

As I looked at my calendar this past week, and sat down with my cookie recipe book, I realized that when you have kids and family and events to go to, Christmas starts earlier every year. I’ve got Christmas gifts to make, Cookies to bake, Events to plan, Shoeboxes to pack, cards to send out, and most of that before the first week of December. So for me Christmas starts in November as both my freezer and sewing machine will believe. I’m sure there are some people who do Christmas stuff all year round, but my house is too busy for that right now. Maybe when I retire. Some of my projects will wait till the calendar flips it’s page, but I like to get ahead of the game. Even if I just have a tippy-toe in the door of a project now, I feel I’ve got a plan on how to tackle it.

So today I’m going upstairs to bake more cookies for the freezer. Plus the oven will help heat up the house. Today I’m decorating Christmas tree cookies, trying my hand at peppermint cookies, testing out a recipe and modifying a new found favorite.   I hope my husband like sugar cookies for supper, I know my daughter wont mind. LOL. No I’ll get some real food on the table too.

 

 

White Stuff

Yep it’s here! That fluffy white stuff that covers the grass and the trees and tells us that winter is here. That S word, but today on the first day when I see how pretty it is, I don’t mind. Snow!

The first snowfall of the season is one of my favorites. Much like the first flowers of spring, the first snow brings with it the promise of events to come; Family Gatherings, Christmas, a New Year, Winter fun and on and on. We only hope that the winter isn’t too long and that those chinooks come often.

I’m enjoying the soft snowfall and the clean white trees, but ask me again how I feel March 1st, my opinion might be different. 😉

Keep it Simple

We’ve all heard our parents or maybe our grandparents tell us about the good ole days. A time when things were simpler and people more friendly. Perhaps as teenagers, like I know I did, we rolled our eyes at them and thought crazy ole people, don’t they see how far we’ve come? The advancements that have made our lives better, faster and more efficient? Maybe we still rolled our eyes at them in our 20’s, because look at all the amazing things that have even happened just in the last two decades. Internet, email, touch screen, smart phones, smart TV’s, Hybrid cars, medical advancements in treatments, surgical advancements, social media, and all the like. The ability to access and publish information quickly to a large portion of people. And now as a parent and only since then do I see things in a different light. All of these things have their benefits for sure, but I think there is something to be said for keeping it simple, less is more, and simple pleasures, especially when it comes to the pressure these things place on us.

I’m talking about the pressure to know things, to be informed, to share, to do the “right” things, wear the “right” things, say the “right” things and be with the “right” people. Again all of these can be good sometimes too, like knowing what your buying, or what options are available, but with all things, too much of a good thing can be bad. I’m sure we could all write a blog about how too much TV or Video games is bad, but today I want to focus in on a different issue I see that keeps recurring.

With internet and social media, parents have access to information like never before. Parenting sites, blogs, pages, support groups and research information is everywhere. We are constantly bombarded with articles, letters and posts on parenting.  Again good in moderation, but how do all those articles we read and posts we see about parenting make us feel?

More and more often I am reading encouraging blogs about not worrying if your not a perfect parent or a perfect mom. Articles about enjoying the simple things in life, or letting your kids have more independence and saying no to attachment parenting. And the scary part….. we need to read those articles, we need to be reminded to not be so hard on ourselves. So that got me thinking…. Why do we need to be told these things?

It would seem that sometime in the last two decades something happened to the standards of parenting. Socially have we expected too much, set the bar too high, and made it our business to be in everyone else’s business? Parents are scrutinized and measured up to some kind of standard set by “THEM”. And when we don’t measure up we feel guilty. It seems now that as parents we are taking a stand and saying no to this. More and more I’m reading about being a good mom is being true to yourself and trying your best. How not to be so hard on yourself if there’s toys everywhere and your home does not look like the IKEA catalouge. A reminder that our kids wont remember the clothes we wore, or the color we dyed our hair, but the times we sat on the couch and read them a bedtime story. Those articles truly encourage and inspire me. They remind me that if we really do try our best, show respect and don’t be so quick to judge, that we don’t have anything to be guilty about, except for being human. And maybe that is what we are realizing…. that we are just that Human. We make mistakes and that’s okay. Reading these things makes me hopeful that we have not lost touch with a simpler time, and that maybe we can continue to make our world a better place for our own children’s children.

Gone are the days when Mom gave you $0.25 to go see a double feature at the theatre downtown with your brother on a Saturday and told you to not to come back till supper (True recollection from my Father-in-Law) but is organizing every minute of the day being with your child and then trying to cook, clean, dress and look perfect better? I think we are desperately searching for a happy medium right now, and we are looking for other parents who feel the same way. I know I’m not the only one out there as I have found friends who share this view. Right now I believe we are in the process of trying to learn from the past and grow in the future taking the good things from both. I think we now recognize the benefits of encouraging independence but know the importance of guidelines. I want my children to be aware that people watch everything they do and say but to also not be trapped by this. I wonder what the world is going to be like for my children in two more decades, a thought I never worried about till now. Will it truly be a better place?  Only time will tell.

This mom is going to try putting her guilt and judgement out with the trash, and set realistic expectations. Live by example and not worry if my floors are sticky. I can clean them tomorrow. I will also not try to stress about those 10lbs and remember that my kids care more about hugs then my love handles. As long as I stay healthy and keep my kids feed and healthy, clothed and happy, then the rest can follow. We need to start with the simple things which are the most important. Love, food, shelter and grow from there.

My mom who inspires me always gave me a gift for mother’s day and I think it is a really good reminder…. GOOD MOMS HAVE STICKY FLOORS, DIRTY OVENS AND HAPPY KIDS. My dad who cares about my happiness with all his heart gave me another gift that says: In this house we do real, we do loud really well. we do sorry. we do fun. we do mistakes, we do second chances. we do hugs, we do family. we do love…… So my parents really get it. They know what its like. And these pictures and sayings are out there to purchase, so that tells me deep down our whole society believes it too and we want to bring it back to the forefront. We want to live it daily and for that I am glad.

Cheers to all the moms and dads out there who are trying to keep it real and simple. Be proud, Do your best, Learn from your mistakes and let your kids be kids, so in turn they can do the same.

 

Fall colors

The days grow shorter and the leaves are beautiful colors of orange, yellow and red. The Suns warmth is fading and I know winter is coming. Yet, the vibrant colors of the changing leaves, the bountiful harvest of the field, and the gracious gathering from the garden are all reasons to rejoice and be thankful.
So why is it then that my mood doesn’t reflect the vibrant trees? Why is it I resonate more with the tired grey grass and the wilted lilies? I feel a sadness as I morn the going of summer. I think I was meant to live somewhere warm… All year…seriously. Oh dear I already miss the touch if the warm sunshine.
I shouldn’t feel bad, for today was a perfect fall day. Warm by fall standards, no wind, the leaves crunching beneath my sons feet for the first time. A smile crosses my face. And yet I feel tired, unmotivated, bored, impatient like the evergreen trees waiting for the first snow to touch their branches and show off their true beauty. Yes I feel like I am waiting for something,
My fall color isn’t red or orange or yellow, it’s blue. I guess summer means so much more to me then I thought. So I’ve decided that’s it okay for me to be sad that fall is here, to be sad to see summer go. We need to morn for loss before we can move on. And I know summer will be back if only I can get through the winter. I will hold onto that thought but I hate waiting. I am not nearly as patient as I wish I was. But for my sake and the sake of my family I have to shake this mood. Like a fall tree dropping all its leaves on the ground. Bare, stripped away and ready to start anew. Yes that is what I need to do, let it all go and see the true joy of the colors of fall. That and take my vitamin D. (There’s a lot of truth to that too) : )

Back in the saddle…

Today I get to jump back on the horse per say, and bring back a role I have not had for a while. I think the entertainer in me is very excited. The practical part of me is worried if I can do it again, but as I complied my music cd, the music called to me. Yes it’s time to SLOWLY get back to Bellydancing.  After almost two years away due to my pregnancy and birth of my third child, I am really to take on that role again in a small way.

I was (and still am) a professional bellydancer, part of a troupe and have danced at many events. Most of all I miss the ladies who I consider my dance family, and I look forward to seeing them again soon. But I do have to take it slow.  It is a big time commitment and with three kids I found I needed to be home more, my husband needed me home more, and I’ve learned that I need to make sure I don’t over commit. That all being said, about a month ago I really missed Dance; The music, the ladies, the costumes, the exercise and the way it made me feel to perform, so it was time to figure out how to make time for a little dance.

Tonight I get the honor of filling in for my mentor at her regular gig, dancing at the local restaurant to bring smiles to the local patrons. I’ve done it before and am happy to do it again. A small way to get my feet wet again, and in time I will be able to do more of the dance I love and enjoy so much.

 

Important Stuff

After a busy day , last night,  this came to me. Enjoy : )

I wake up feeling overwhelmed

In my mind so many things I want to do and things that need to be done.

My mind is full

Not sure where to start

What is important

And what can wait.

Sorting, Washing, cleaning, bills, sewing, cooking, Preparing

Can’t there be more time in the day??

Then a small voice breaks my thoughts

“Mommy can you make my hair pretty too?”

Oh right, THAT’S what is important

“Sure sweetheart, what do you want me to do?”

Play, read, color, dance, giggle

Go back to bed, still overwhelmed

But glad the important stuff didn’t wait

The rest will get done another day

For today was my reminder of what’s truly important

Super September

Well so far it’s been a SUPER start to September and tomorrow marks the 1st Anniversary of my Blog!!!! Really? Already? Wow!  A pat on the back for me! I may have not got as many posts in as I wanted to, but it is really nice to have a place to journal and share some of our silly little life.

So lets see…. what has made September so SUPER so far.

1. Kids are back in School. And yes we had an amazing summer, but I was glad to see routine back into our lives.

2. I signed Caitlin up for Gymnastics which she is really excited about.

3. Deanna made it to the second stage of her appliance. So we now have fewer trips to the dentist and the improvements have been positive.

4. I was blessed to be part of another beautiful birth of a first baby and witness also the birth of a family.

5. My girlfriend asked me to come on a totally last minute get away to LasVEGAS!!! to celebrate her birthday. And even though it rained almost everyday we were there (lol) we made the best of it, and as I browsed the pictures tonight they brought a smile to my face. Thank you so much for those wonderful memories my friend!!!  I’d do it all over again.

and

6. The anniversary of my blog. I didn’t realize it till I sat down to write this post, but then I was really excited. I hope to grow in my writing more over the years. Sometimes inspiration hits me and I can write something really deep, other times it’s just a quick post to update my craziness.

So thank you all of you for following and reading my blog, for sharing my moments and memories, and for not boooo-ing me offline… hehehe. 

Super September, lets keep up the good work. Lets keep the momentum going as we push forward into harvest on the farm and head into what I call birthday season….If you don’t remember check out my early blog.. Autumn Arrives…. My husbands birthday kicks off a series of 9 birthdays in the last months of the year.