Thursday, December 8, 2011

What is a Doula?

Dear friends,
Since I have decided that I want to pursue being a Doula after my Herbalism Program is complete, I decided to shed a little light on what a Doula really is. In the past, I have had a hard time explaining to people what a Doula is exactly. I did a little research last week, and have found out some very good things that I can share with y'all.

1) Doula comes from Ancient Greek δούλη (doulē) meaning "female slave." (this is from Wikipedia). In other words, a Doula serves as sort of a "lady-in-waiting" for the pregnant mother.

2) A Doula is a "birth companion" of sorts that helps a mother with everything from doing research and making informed decisions for her labor plan, to be there to support her and help her through her labor. She assists with breast feeding and post partum recovery.

I hope this helps !

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Journey West to be completed Later...But for now...

Hello all,
SOO as it turns out, my computer is having issues and so I am not able to post the rest of my pictures from my Journey West. The rest included Vegas, Grand Canyon, Crater Lake, Seattle, and Vancouver Island. It was a beautiful time and it was pure joy to see a very dear friend, Bjorn Stime marry his lovely bride.

Life has been moving right along here on the East coast. Since I arrived back on this side of the country I started working at Carteret Community College. I am an English tutor. I man the "Language Lab." People needing help with Enlish homework, grammar or writing papers come to me for help. Otherwise I just sit in here and work on my own stuff. Right now I'm learning how to knit socks. I will post a picture of my completed sock when I finish it. It is NOT easy. I had to rip out the heel and do it four times. I really enjoy knitting though which is a new developement. I've always been kind of a crochet type of gal.

My herbalism program is coming along. I'm supposed to finish lesson 11 today and 12 by the end of this week. I'd better get crackin'. Right now i'm practicing doing health analysis and evaluation on people. I did one on myself, a friend, and now I've got to finish one for a family member. I find it extremely exciting to look at someone's health history, family history, current symptoms and issues and to do research to find out what nutrients in foods, supplements and botanicals can help them. I love it. I absolutely can't wait, however, until I finish this and start working on my Doula certification. That is my real passion. I love pregnancy and everything about. I love ministering to pregnant women. I like reading about and developing botanical medicines and treatments for them. My latest project was a sitz bath mixture for post-partum healing. I got some ideas from my instructor, Mrs. Shonda Parker, and then also from another herbal company. Here is what I put in the mixture:

Post-Partum Sitz Bath:
I used Equal parts of
Comfrey leaf
Plantain Leaf
Lavendar Flowers
Chamomile Flowers
Calendula Flowers
St. Johns Wort
Arnica Flowers

Then I filled the rest of the bag up with Sea Salt. The finished product filled up a gallon zip-lock bag.

This isn't my mixture, but I thought it was a nice idea to put it in a mason jar and you could even tie a little ribbon around it!

I gave this and some other pregnancy goodies to a friend of mine for her baby shower. I've also made homemade Baby Bum Balm, and Baby Powder. I get most of my herbs from and they are great resources!

Other than that folks, i'm busy with my granny, with my family, cleaning my house using the AMAZING flylady system, and walking the beauiful Carolina beaches. Holiday preperations have begun. Stand-by for great recipe's and homemade gift ideas. See ya!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Maria's Journey West, Part 2: Family Joy

So After I left Atlanta, I had a great opportunity to discuss my views of marriage with a Greek man on the plane. I was glad that it was fresh on my mind, due to my late night post just hours before. When I got to Albuquerque I was so excited. I knew that my sister was getting there around the same time. I love her baby!!! She is the cutest. SO anyhow, she and her hubby got there about a half-hour later, and we all piled in the car to head to Nani and Tata's house. Nani and Tata are my mom's parents. We drove up and in seconds were enveloped in hugs and kisses from my sweet grandparents, brother, sister-in-law and sweet nieces. What JOY!!! Minutes later we were whisked off to a beautiful sunny park where we waited for admittance into our rental house. As we sat under a big tree and laughed, snacked, and played with the babies, I thought about how wonderfully blessed I was. Dad and Paul joined us and we were soon walking around and exploring our new little "casa."
The house was a little adobe place with an unmistakeable southwestern feel. It was complete with a lion claw bath tub and nice outdoor patio. It was perfect for us. We had the best time. Being with my sisters, my brothers and nieces was like heaven for me. However, for the first time in my life, I felt lonely in my own family. Mom and Dad had eachother, each of my siblings has their little family unit, and Paul had some friends in town. I felt a little alone, and found that I had alot of time to myself. I poured this time into reviewing a young adult sci-fi novel for a friend of mine. I enjoyed the idea of reading with a critical eye. I think reviewing books may be something I might enjoy doing in the future. So it was a quiet and a peaceful time. There were days, however,that were busy and full. The day we threw my Nani's birthday party was one of those.
My Nani turned 80, and as always with the Baca's, we had to have a big party. It was a HUGE success. We had music, dancing, great food, and lots of family. I've learned a lot of things from my Nani, but the most important thing I think I've learned from her is to enjoy life. She enjoys every minute of every day. I want to be like that. I want to be positive and enjoy the lonely times as well as the busy times. I want to thank God for every circumstance. Spending time with my family was just pure joy.

P.S. Pictures to come...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Maria's Cross Country Journey Part 1: Change

The first leg of my journey is in Atlanta. I've been here since Wednesday. My friend Ali got married today-actually yesterday I guess, and I was a bridesmaid. It was a flurry of preparations, and activity. However, the weekend was a HUGE success. Amazing food, exciting venues, people and events made this an extremely memorable time for me. I will admit, it was not easy watching yet another one of my friends get married, nor was it easy to see yet another one of my best friends move far away. I've never been good with change. Yet there were other feelings I experienced as I performed my bridesmaidenly duties this weekend.

I've been to many weddings in my life. Some were exciting, somewhere dull. There were some that have left me still scratching my head. As a whole, I would say that I enjoy weddings. The romance, the righteousness, to me its a constant reminder of God's love for me. Its a beautiful picture of what Christ has done for us. People get so worked up about marriage. They wonder what the point is. Marriage is no longer necessary for intimacy and procreation; it's no longer necessary for companionship or for the good of society. Why get married? It is an unnecessary step on the path to a happy and care-free relationship.

Marriage means that you have to answer to someone else, that they own part of you. Marriage means that you can never go out with anyone again, and that your social life is basically over. This is what society at large thinks. They don't see it. Yes, it is hard. Yes, you do have to give things up, yes its painful at times and yes it is sacrifice. That my friends is the beauty of the thing. It is Christ. It is him give His life for us. It is Him being beaten and abused for our benefit. He didn't do it because of what He could get out of it. He didn't do it because of some fuzzy feelings He had about humanity. He did it because God commanded it. He did it out of obedience. Marriage is obedience. You might tilt your head to the side and say, "Well God never commands us to be married." You're right, He doesn't. But He tells us to love over and over and over again. THEN He paints all these amazing pictures of the bride waiting for her bridegroom, preparing herself for his arrival. Suddenly it becomes clear. Marriage is this incredible gift that we have been given to show people active, concrete Gospel. To show people sacrifice, selfless love, redemption, and obedience. We marry because we want others to see Him, and because we want to bring glory to God.

So as I put on my bridesmaids dress today, and curled my hair, and walked down the aisle, I thought about being the last of my college friends to marry. I thought about how my best friend Ali was getting married and moving away. But as I lay trying to sleep tonight, I thought about Jesus, and what He did for me. I thought about how many people would come into contact with Ben and Ali and see Christ through their marriage. I thought about how many children they might have that will also, God willing, bear the name of Christ and bring Him to others. So I hope that some people who grumble about marriage or are marriage cynics will have seen this wedding today and will understand that pain and sacrifice is what makes love, forgiveness, and mercy shine so much brighter. I hope they will see a picture that looks like a human, giving His life and suffering, so that someone else might live.

And thus the first leg of my journey comes to a close. I left "Cabbage Town" yesterday morning and I leave Atlanta in about eight hours. I will never forget this weekend, and I hope that I'll never forget what an unbelievable gift I have been given from God.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Long Lapse

So its been a long time since I last blogged. I haven't blogged literally all summer. Well its been a busy one, let me tell you. I have visited the Hernandez family and I intend to blog about protesting at the abortion clinic, I visited my new DEAR friend Cara Jones, and i'll have a whole post about her too, and we had my grandparents here for two weeks. I feel like there is so much more but I can't remember all that has gone on. Now I am in the midst of preparing for my LONG JOURNEY across the west. I will start out at my dear friend Ali's Wedding, and then follow that up with a family reunion in Albuquerque NM. Then from there i'll be driving up to Vancouver for a wedding by way of Salt Lake City UT as well as Northern California, Seattle and Portland. Its gonna be great so stay tuned. I also have to recipe posts coming up- one for face cream, and the other for strawberry rhubarb pie. Lots to come, God Bless ~ Maria

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Puttin' Up Strawberries

Howdy out there,
Well life has been a little crazy here on the East coast, go figure. I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Atlanta to visit my dear friend from college. We picked out bridesmaid dresses for her upcoming wedding in August, and spent some time getting reacquainted with one another. Its amazing how you can keep in touch with someone through letters, phone calls etc., and still not be aware of all the changes going on in and around them until you are physically with them. I have never dealt well with change, so it was difficult for me to process all the changes and understand where she is and how she got there. However, I serve a merciful God, and through all my melancholy, tactless blunders and emotional spasms, God gave us a sweet and memorable time together.

I promise, I WILL get to the strawberries...

Two more things to note:
1) I recently saw the latest adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's, "Jane Eyre," and was sorely disappointed. Apparently, (according to the afore mentioned friend's fiance)literary critics consider the portion of the story surrounding Jane Eyre's cousins to be unrealistic and disconnected with the rest of the story. This is because they view Jane Eyre as an independent woman striving out into the world to proclaim her independence and her will to be free from any master. This is a feminist viewpoint which is not only inaccurate but also offensive. How dare they turn a such a deep meaningful story about a woman's search for love and righteousness into a story about a search for independence! Jane Eyre is a love deprived person who wants nothing else in the world but love and familial connections. She feels a void in her latter days at school and seeks to fill it by finding a governess position. She is not seeking a career, she is just trying to find out what the ache and longing is within her and is under the impression that she will be joined with a family this way. She is forced to leave there against everything that she feels. She wants to be tied forever to Mr. Rochester, but she leaves because she knows that she will answer to God for her actions if she does not. When, with St. Jean, she finds out that she is a rich woman, she ALSO FINDS OUT SHE IS INDEED RELATED TO HIM AND HIS SISTERS! She weeps with this discovery, She is SO happy to finally have found what she was looking for. She never wanted independence. She wanted love. Alright, I'm off my soapbox now.

2) I recently made my own skin care line: cleansing grains and moisturizer. I will post pictures and such very soon. I have not yet made a toner.

OK FINALLY! What you've all been waiting for, the first glimpse into my 2011 canning season. It has begun!

All of my materials gathered and clean. We're ready to start!

Beautiful berries, rinsed and ready for the sauce pan.

Boiling berries, filling the house with a heavenly smell.

Putting it in the jars is tricky. Not boiling your fingers off is the key.

The finished product!

See folks, not as hard as you thought! More to come....


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

God the Father, My Ever Present Help In Time of Need

Hello Dear Friends,
Easter has passed, and now the balmy, glorious days of Spring melt into Summer. As I type this I am sitting beneath a full Oak tree enjoying a cool breeze and watching the motorboats whiz by in the Bogue Sound. I have been dwelling lately on the sacrifice of Christ, but even more on the sacrifice of the Father. On Good Friday, my parents and I joined a group of people from the Methodist church in an evening worship service. To our surprise the service was a simple reading out of the King James Version of the Bible, the passion of Christ. As we read the scriptures, the whole congregation rose and followed the pastor out as he and some men carried a cross down the highway and through our neighborhood to a park. There they erected the cross and there we continued the story. I pictured Him hanging there and tears streamed down my face. I saw the depths of my sin hanging on his shoulders and marveled at why he would do such a thing for me. It was all very moving. Christ sacrificed much for me, but the Father sacrificed even more. I thing about my sister and her new baby. Could anything in this world induce her to take the life of her own baby? Could anything make her freely give her to death and then watch her suffer? It is ludicrous to think that she would ever do such a thing, but God did. He gave His only son. He watched Him suffer and finally turned away. He watched them beat Him senseless and spit in His face. He watched Him bear the sin of the world. For me. For us. How can I now know this and yet continue to allow things in my life that I know do not bring me closer to Him? How can I still hang on to the things of this world? How can I daily forget this love and push Him aside so that I can get to my checklist that is oh so much more important? Help me Lord to forsake the world, to turn from all and seek only to love and please You. Let me not forget the work that you did. Let me not forget how you gave your son. Let me never doubt that you love me. Amen.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring At Last

Last night there was a warm shower of rain, a golden sunset, a beautiful rainbow blazened across the evening sky and flowers positively everywhere. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Spring has finally sprung in North Carolina. There is no time more beautiful in this state. Azaleas are in bloom, Dogwoods are in bloom, Red Buds, and Crocuses are in bloom. Everywhere you turn is a burst of color and breath of warm, fragrant, balmy air. Birds are chirping their lungs off. Its pretty amazing! This time of year takes me back to our farmhouse. It makes me think of Dad digging the grass and weeds up for his huge garden, the rooster yelling is head of at 4AM, and my sister and I picking strawberries and preserving them. It reminds me of getting up early and baking all day long and then packaging until the wee hours of the night, only to get up at 5am the next morning and head downtown to sell our wares. I miss you vange. This time of year also starts me thinking about cutting down on the heavy casseroles and soups and getting into more fresh fish and crisp salads. Here is a lovely cold salad recipe. I hope you like it!

1 pouch (4.5 oz.) StarKist Tuna Creations®, Zesty Lemon Pepper
1 garlic clove
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 can (16 oz.) Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
½ red pepper cut in cubes
¼ cup chopped red onion
Fresh Basil, chopped, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Mince garlic and mash to a paste with the back of a spoon. Mix garlic paste with lemon juice, salt and pepper and slowly whisk in olive oil.
Toss red pepper, onion, and beans together.
Break apart tuna and mix in to bean mixture.
Add dressing and toss well. Add basil just before serving. Serve at room temperature.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Backwards Broken Days and Yet....

The last 36 hours have been so backwards and crazy. I've been nannying four children whose parents took a trip down to the Cayman Islands. Taking care of four children completely on my own has been a challenge. I've been trying so hard all week to teach the children about love and kindness. They've had a hard time being kind to one another. Last night I had to take two trips to drop them off at church because their programs start at different times. Well, when I left to pick them up, I forgot that I had closed the garage door and I bumped it, leaving it dented and three hinges popped loose. I was able to "un-dent" it but I have no idea what to do about the hinges. This morning after dealing with an argument between the children, I got in my car to come teach for my mom. When I pulled out of the driveway I didn't cut my car over enough and grazed a large plant to the side of the drive way ripping off what was left of the right side of my front bumper.
A broken garage door, a broken car, and a broken spirit from the arguement among the children-then I read this

I'm thankful for food to eat, and a job that provides me with my financial needs. I'm thankful to be alive, to have a wonderful family and I am thankful for a God who looked down on my pitiful state and decided to forgive me anyways and save me. I'm just thankful.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bleak House

Well my friends, I did not reach my goal of finishing Bleak House, before the end of January, but I am still faithfully chiseling away at it. It is a very good book I think. The character of Richard Carstone is extremely meaningful to me in that it mirrors our everyday battle with sin. He is mesmerized by a court case in which he is a party. He is driven to watch and wait and work in whatever degree possible to ensure his desired outcome for this case. All of his energy, his passion, his money, and his life is being drained away by hope, false hope in this court case, Jarndyce and Jarndyce. It reminds me of myself, or any human being for that matter, pining away after things of the flesh. Waiting and hoping for some euphoric happiness or pleasure that is never going to happen. When we put our energy and our hope in the things of this earth we will perish. It will suck our lives away. We need to put our hopes on things above; I need to trust in the promises that I know are true and banish the lies that would so easily entangle.
Another character that I can see myself in is Lady Dedlock. She is pining away also, for a more interesting life. She is bored and dissatisfied with life. She has a shady past and is terrified that her husband will find out. Her greatest fear is to bring shame to her husband and his house. What she does NOT know or realize is how much her husband really loves her. He loves her far more than the family name, far more than his pride, and far more than she could ever realize. Sometimes I get discouraged when I think of how often I make mistakes and bring shame to the name of the Lord. Often I forget, however, after I've repented, how much the Lord loves me. I don't have to fear shame, or fear his rejection. He will never reject me. He loves me and has promised me that there is nothing in this world that can separate me from his love. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Birthday Blues and Dreams Come True

Welcome to February, the month of love and African American History. Coincidentally it is also the month of my birthday. January held many surprises, including a six inch blanket of snow across the coast of North Carolina. One very exciting thing that it held for me was my very first viewing of live figure skating. Some friends of mine and I went up to Greensboro NC for the US Figure Skating Championships. We were able to see the pairs skating and ice dancing final competition. It was absolutely breathtaking. This was my birthday celebration this year. That brings me to something not quite as exciting. My birthday is in two weeks. Yes, my birthday is in fact on Valentine's Day. For the first time, I am actually not happy about being another year older. I think twenties are the most difficult time in one's life as far as aging is concerned. I don't think you will ever feel as old as you do when you are in your twenties. That is silly, you might say, but its true. When you are middle aged you have already have children or a career and you already realize that you are an adult. When you are a senior you accept that you are old and enjoy the benefits of it(cheap coffee, free admission etc.). However, when you are in your twenties you are forced to accept a fact that you have been trying to fight for the previous ten years-you are growing up. No one wants to grow up once they realize its happening. You only dream of that when you are little. Once you actually start growing up you can't stand the idea. I don't want to be aware of how fast time is passing. I don't want to see how long I've been alive and how little I've accomplished. I don't want to face the decisions of adulthood. I don't want to grow up. I feel very old this year, and I feel as though life is just slipping through my fingers and I can't seem to catch up with it. It is scary, but it is also motivating. Seeing those ice skaters with their AMAZING talent and how much time they have put into mastering such a skill made me think "Am I using my time to its full potential?" I don't think I am. I need to make sure that I am redeeming the time and that I am spending time invested in things that really matter. So this years theme for me is "Plan." I want to make sure that I am planning my activities out well, that I am planning my future well, and that I am always seeking God's will first. Well, here's to another birthday, and another year that the Lord has given to me. Now it is up to me to decide what to do with the time given me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Bulk Herb Store Affilliate

Just a note to all my many followers (haha!) that you might notice that I've added banners and links to the Bulk Herb Store. This is because I am now an affiliate. If you click on my link and then buy something, I get 10% commission for whatever you buy. Just keep that in mind as you shop for your herbs etc. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Salt and Light

It’s been a while since my last blog. I sat down after the Holidays to write one, but it just wasn’t coming together. Suddenly, before I knew what was happening, I was swept up into a whirlwind of service and ministry. I went up to Wake Forest to help my dear friends the Hernandez family. I spent a glorious week “playing house.” I cooked, cleaned, laughed, tickled, hugged, kissed, spanked, wiped noses, changed diapers, and combed hair to my hearts content. What a difference that family is making in the world. How boldly the father speaks the Gospel to others. How contentedly the children memorize scripture and go about their chores (well, most of the time). I rejoiced to see the fruit of lives solely lived for the Kingdom of God. Tony Hernandez and his family inspired me. What am I doing for the Kingdom of God? Who am I sharing the Gospel with? What am I doing to stop wickedness and evil and encourage truth and righteousness?
     I also had the opportunity to join Tony and his boys at an abortion clinic. Tony stood on the curbside crying out to the men and women coming in and out, pleading with them to turn away from evil and come to God. This moved me beyond words. The zeal that is driving this man and his family is just beautiful. He has opened his home to women seeking refuge from the world. Women who want to turn away from the evil of abortion and choose life. I can’t wait to see his ministry, “The House of Hope” blossom. All of this made me think about my own life and ask the questions above. As I opened my Bible time and time again with the children, and recited Matthew 5:1-10, I kept returning to one verse:
      “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness
       sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matt.5: 10

     I want to be working for the kingdom of God and talking about Him until I am blue in the face. I want to stand on curbsides and in town centers proclaiming His glory. I want to be the kind of salt that burns and irritates. I want to be so fervent for Him that I am made uncomfortable and even persecuted. I want to inherit His Kingdom. I realized something very important this week: I love mothering, I adore homemaking, and I want to be a wife and bear children more than almost anything in the world; but I want Christ more. I want to bring glory to Him. I want lost, broken people to see Christ and come home to him. Thank you Hernandez family for reigniting my fire for Him. Thank you God for giving me such dear friends. Bring me opportunities to share you with others. Amen

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, which is in heaven.”Matt 5:13-16

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A quick reading update

I have a longer much more profound blog coming up, BUT I did want to comment on my "Books I'm Reading" column. I gave up on "French Women for all Seasons." I read the first three chapters and thought, " Why am I reading a crazy book about how I should live life that has nothing to do with God?" Also, it was due back at the library. I did not list up there "The World of Mr. Mulliner" by PG Wodehouse. That book was very funny and enjoyable. Finally, I am on a crusade to catch up with my reading for my Family Herbalism program so that is my main focus right now. I am also determined to finish Bleak House by the end of the month. Thats about it. More to come soon. MLM