Month: August 2016

Early Bird tip #1: Childbirth Classes

You want a natural birth?  What about a childbirth class?  The ideal time to take a childbirth education class is probably around 5-6 months.  You are getting bigger, so it feels real enough to take all the information seriously.  You have had some time to read up on things and get a sense of what is important to you and what kind of birth experience you are hoping to achieve.

I teach The Bradley Method® so, of course, that’s the class that I think everyone should take!  But, there are certainly other options out there and not all areas have an active Bradley® Instructor.  I definitely think taking a good, natural childbirth class is essential, especially for a first time mom wanting a natural birth.

Here are some things I’d recommend looking for in a class/instructor:

  1.  Birth Experience – Has she had natural birth(s) herself.  This is key.  Make sure.
  2. Qualifications- Is she certified or registered with a method or an independent teacher not affiliated with anyone.  There are certainly some ladies with amazing experience and perhaps not affiliated with a method. Bradley Method® instructors receive extensive training and on-going educational requirements each year.
  3. Philosophy/Class goals – Some hospitals offer free or inexpensive classes, but sometimes these classes aren’t truly geared toward teaching natural childbirth principles at all.  This varies greatly from area to area.
  4. Statistics – How do her students do in birth?  Most instructors can give you some idea of her students’ statistics.  My couples average around a 10% c-section rate and over 80% of the others achieve a non-medicated, natural birth.  That tracks very closely with The Bradley Method’s® national stats.  That’s key.  Make sure an instructor has a proven track-record of successful outcomes using the techniques/information she teaches.
  5. Personal recommendation – Ask your friends, especially those who had a good birth experience what classes they took  More specifically, who do you know that had a birth similar to what you’re hoping for?
  6. Look early – you can always sign-up for a class ahead of time, but sometimes ladies wait so long they can’t get the entire class finished before their due date!  Inquire early!

Happy birthing!  And don’t feel like you can’t keep looking, keep asking, keep inquiring. There are many great teachers out there, passing along what we know to those coming along after us. . .you’ll find one!

Please visit to locate a Bradley Method® Instructor near you! (more…)


Food and Faith

I recently attended a conference featuring Joel Salatin, well-known speaker and agrarian.  I have heard him speak before, read some of his books and even patterned my farming practices after his models.

I came home with his newest book, “The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs,” and have begun my journey through its pages.  I am being challenged once again.  Each time I read one of Mr. Salatin’s books I am freshly challenged to re-examine various life choices and practices.  But, this book is truly challenging me on a different level.  This book is written to Christians – an audience he’s never specifically targeted before – and delves quickly and deeply into many spiritual discussions.

Food and faith and inherently connected.  Inseparable.  I’ve known this, but never thought about it quite this way before now.  I’ve experienced the beauty of God’s creatures in my garden and watched in awe as the bounty of produce grows seemingly out of nowhere each summer.  I feel God’s presence as I garden and often pray as I work and thank Him for His provision and abundance and creation.

But this book is tying things together and raising questions in my heart that are new.  Does is matter how I grow food?  Does God care?  Does it matter where I buy food?  He even cuts deep with questions about sickness, disease and diet.  These are discussions we don’t really want to have, don’t really want to think about or take responsibility for the answers that follow.

Basically, do my food choices bring honor to the Lord?  Am I showing His love to others and representing His glory when I plant, eat, prepare, shop and purchase food?  These are tough questions!

To be transparent. . .We raise pastured chickens for meat and eggs.  That’s a decision I can stand behind and know it’s honoring the Lord.  Those chickens provide my family and a few besides with quality, wholesome nutrition and also honor the way God designed chickens to live and eat.  We plant a huge garden and eat lots of produce all summer – asparagus, green beans, cucumbers, peppers, onions, tomatoes, spaghetti squash, watermelons, radishes and more.  We preserve tomatoes, pickles, potatoes and squash and eat them throughout the winter and have plenty to share with others.  This is good.

We also make choices that are certainly questionable.  I allow my children some convenience foods, pizza, hot dogs and sugar or worse yet the corn syrup that creeps its way into so many things!  These are obviously poor choices, but hard to change and I certainly think the occasional indulgence is acceptable.

In his book, Mr. Salatin discusses creation worshippers and Creator worshippers. . .making the fair point that so often the creation worshippers do a better job of honoring God with food choices and animal care than the Creator worshippers.  Ouch!  But true.  How much more should those of us who claim God as King be about the business of stewarding His creation well and healing the land through our use of it than those who don’t even know Him?  Do we look at food choices as an extension of our worship, our faith, our trust in God’s wisdom and God’s way?  Or do we use faith as an excuse to eat poorly and farm poorly and then ask God to bless it anyway?

Heavy thinking.  But needed and good.


Home. Sweet. Home.

You know that feeling. . .walking into your own house after a trip.  Tonight we arrived home after 5 days on the road and even my children now notice and express that inexplicable sweetness of home.

Truly it is not just one thing, but so many weaved together that make home, home.  My favorite, red coffee mug.  My bed.  Ah, my bed.  My laundry room. . .truly I love my laundry room. . .all the more for having used a laundromat on the trip!  My chickens and cats, my chair, my sink, my projects, my everything.  It just feels good and right and brings sweet peace to my very soul!

As I was actually basking in this fabulous feeling of immersing back into my world here on the farm. . .washing the beautiful pile of eggs, unpacking, reordering packed things, directing my children in various things, it hit me.  This isn’t home.  Not really.  As much, and oh so much more, as that hotel is not my home.  This home is not my home.  My real home, my permanent, true, eternal home is heaven!

Imagine how it will feel. . .the smells of familiarity, the things of comfort, beauty and peace.  We will someday go truly home and realize that all of this – the beauty, the loveliness, the hardships – all of it.  It was the temporary, the hotel, the trip.  Heaven is home.  And I must wonder if God wants to remind us in these moments on earth where we come into our earthly home after a trip and feel that sweetness of home to remember where our home is.  When we crawl into our own bed and relish the clean, crisp feel of those familiar sheets, to remember where we can find true rest for our souls.