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Happy Birthday Monk!

Today is September 20th 2022, my son’s 48th birthday.   When I was nursing him in the way way way back, I didn’t think about this day. No luxury of fast forward into the future; in fact, I thought little and just kept moving along.  My grandmother had always mentioned to sit down and take my time and suggested ever so gently that all would be alright. I don’t think I have a single photo of him nursing

Diaper Pin MOM & DAD & Monk at 9 months

 It would not have occurred to me to take such a photo or to even have someone take a photo of me nursing my baby.  I don’t recall who took the photo, perhaps my mother or father. Likely suspects with a camera. I was dressed, had a bra on, no leaking and probably getting ready to go somewhere and packing up a diaper bag, hence with a diaper pin in my mouth.  Things are different now. That’s Ok!

I didn’t have a computer, or smart phone, and this was pre-internet for me and he and I were still very close and connected and I would not be who I am nor would he be who he is without that relationship. So I am grateful and very grateful to celebrate his birth and to share this day with his father and to honor the women.

I am in the final stages of finishing up a second book on breastfeeding as a specia invitation to encourage any mother who wishes to nurse her baby for 365 days will have all she needs.

I have set out to have 52 women who have done so as part of an Elder Speaks: Wise Woman Series where you will get to meet the women who have just done that. First there are ten women, then 30, ten 100, and then 1000

If you would like to tell your story, please let me know… someone desperately needs to hear what you have to say. Birthday Blessings for each of you!

Please check out…. these two YOU TUBE videos… just for you…

Be of GOOD CHEER!

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FULL MOON MAGIC

RE-LACTATING OR BEGINNING AGAIN…

A Total Lunar Eclipse

I was reading something earlier today about the power of a knee jerk reaction to teach us something profound. The power of our emotional response can indeed be a window to something much deeper .

With all of this talk about missing infant formula, contaminated food sources, and broken supply chains; it is easy to miss the source of why our hearts ache.

This is a good time to allow space and time to get present and inquisitive with our impulses and urges that feel “automatic” and to get curious about from whence these seemingly knee-jerk reactions stem. Does that place within you feel like an aligned place of intuition and knowing? Does it come from your Higher Self? Or does it perhaps feel shaped by outdated conditioning and in need of an update… The invitation is simple: to slow down and get present with looking into why we do what we do. (Bonus points for talking it out with a trusted ally, practitioner, or therapist!)
 https://www.astrograph.com/horoscopes/configurations/2022/May/15

What if you or your little one could only eat one type of food… and it was taken away. lost, unavailable. Money couldn’t buy something not on the shelf. No disposable diapers, what would you do? How would you feel as a mother unable to sustain and provide? Who is to blame? This is the place and the time we are asked to sort out those feelings with kindness to ourselves and others. It is truly full moon magic. Awareness heightened beyond belief. It is painful, disturbing, this season of discovery and loss and change and longing for connection and understanding.

One estimate says 43% of baby formula is out of stock nationwide. The shortage is stressing out parents and putting babies at risk — here’s what you need to know.
Marketplace Reporthttps://www.marketplace.org
As with many shortages, the baby formula crisis doesn’t have just one cause.

Things really started getting bad in February, when the company behind Similac recalled several products over bacteria at one of its main manufacturing plants. That plant is still closed.

Similac maker Abbott Nutrition and just three other companies — Mead Johnson Nutrition, Nestlé USA and Perrigo Co. — produce almost all of the baby formula in the United States. 

“It’s been this way for decades,” said Brian Dittmeier, senior director of public policy at the National WIC Association. “We’ve had large manufacturers that have consistently commanded the market space and edged out the competition. … You wind up with a situation where one plant closing for the matter of a few weeks has this ripple effect throughout the entire industry.”



It’s particularly dire with something like baby formula that is a necessity and that doesn’t have substitutes.

“There are many infants that can only tolerate one or maybe two types of formula,” said Carri Chan, a professor at Columbia Business School. According to Chan, some parents can easily switch their babies to any brand of formula that’s available, but some can’t. They need specific kinds for health reasons.

“And so when there’s a shortage in that area, there’s not a possibility to just switch to an alternative,” Chan said.

If you had a baby recently within the past year or so, re-establishing your own milk supply would take some work and time, but it could be done. Stories of women who have adopted a baby and never having given birth seem far- fetched as to the lengths they would go for touch and nursing. where does the milk come from. How is it possible?

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https://www.llli.org/?s=re+lactation

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2022/05/13/baby-formula-shortage-hits-michigan-families-especially-poor/9733393002/?fbclid=IwAR0qCPljYYmnTUMQFx576AFWbIfpEEaVJkjpKYbjM7pO5OLB2jJfpzTGA8s

https://cultureddiapers.com

You could check out some resources that might help. Or you could call a friend if yuo know someone who is still nursing her baby. See if she might help you. Take your little one to the breast. See how it feels to reclaim your power for something you once had. If you even nursed a few weeks or a few months. take a shower together. Take your top off and your bra! If you ever had a baby, See what it feels like . All the hormones are still there. Prolactin, oxytocin, your desire might rise or not. It doesn’t much matter if you have milk, now does it?

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Thank you Cardi B.

Happy Mothers Day: Influencers

Reproductive Rights in the 21st Century

Thank you Cardi B for the Images of the Goddess the Divine Feminine

I suppose when I think of our covenant to nurse our babies for the first 365 days, staying connected to nurture ourselves. I get the medieval initial virgin birth Mary Madonna and Child image of sanctity. 

My daughter reminded me that image might be due for an update in the land of tik tok and you tube and influencers and shared with me the powerful not so subliminal image of Cardi B nursing her baby on stage at work. Embracing every aspect of her whole self. Sexual, powerful, fierce, and so divinely raucous and feminine. 

Happy Mother’s Day

 If she could make it so… then so could I. She deserved my Mother’s Day card of gratitude for the century. I should be so inclined of sending her a thank you card of power bringing her baby so close and so clearly visible if only the world could see. Grandmas living and dead would be so proud!

 She truly was my New York City home girl just like me and it was my daughter who sent me to higher ground. She showed me the video that Cardi B held court with her baby attached to her tittie inseparable from what she wanted to do.

Separations from our little ones are largely dependent on the kindness or idle comments of strangers opining on what should a good mother do. We rarely if ever ask what do women want and need. What does love and attachment look like.

What a good mother should look like and what does a good mother want and what choices can a woman make just fine on her own.  Many women had no choice on when they should or could leave their baby. Money and food and shelter and safety and what “Kulture” customs insist and define separation from mother and baby, letting go and who’s best interest it is. The things we say we do for the money.

We are not there at that moment! How could we possibly know their story?  I know I am so grateful to Cardi B.   I want to honor every choice a mother makes to share her body and her love with all Divine creation for whatever length of time and under whatever circumstances.

While this week, at the beginning of the month, the money from the check arriving predominates our thoughts. She calls it forth! She occupies her body and moves in ways that make me smile.  Thank you, my daughters, for your choices. Your visibility, your courage. I would not have seen you unless you lived large and sought to influence me.

 I honor this day my ancestors, mothers and daughters the matrilineal line. I look for them, I find their names. I say their names aloud. I see the babies they buried, the bodies they claimed and saved as their own when they could and when they couldn’t. I will never know what sacrifice was provided for me. I know I am standing here the only begotten daughter of our Savior the Divine Mother. Look closely she is in our midst. She looks just like you.

ROLL CALL

My granddaughter: Ava Violet      August,  2019   

My granddaughter: Taylor Marie  August,  2002  

My daughter: Amber Joy Meadows               September , 1980 

My mother: Violette Duckett                         April 1927-January 2009           b. 4/27/27- 1/ 2009

Her mother: Lois Laws.                                October, 1908 -February, 1985    10/24/1908-Feb 20, 

Her mother: Mary Ellen Thomas                  1884–Jan 1912

Her mother: Mary Ellen Thomas                   ???

My grandfather’s mother: Harriet Duckett    July, 1879- 1945

My grandfather’s mother: Ellen Eliza Miriam Samms    c..1862-

My father’s mother: Julia McDougall           July, 1892-September 1986

Her mother: Elmma McDougall.                   c. 1878- 

Thank you Cardi B, Influencer keeping it real… for nursing your baby …so much love and respect for you. Nursing your baby. Making Money. Showing up and showing out!

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Weaning After A Really Long While

I know this sounds trite, but it’s time to wean when you want to…

Madison and Leilani Still at it at 9 months!

The tricky part is how!

https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/weaning-i-want-t

If you have successfully sustained the womanly art of nursing your little one for at least 365 days or more; no one need remind you that how you transition to another way of loving and nurturing yourself is as unique a path as you could imagine.

If you were under the false impression that weaning was simply the transition to solid food, how wrong you would be.  This blog came about as a space for testimony for women to speak about the maternal experience of breastfeeding for an extended period of time.

  The longer a woman nurses, the less we tend to talk about it. Partly because we lack words and partly because once again it’s both intimate and private and we risk with our disclosure a harsh critique of extended nursing as selfish and not in the best interests of the child.

It is very very helpful to have someone to talk to about these things. Ideally a nursing mother; but clarifying why you no longer wish to nurse is a different conversation than how to gradually do it with love. Mother’s who have nursed in isolation particularly struggle with grief, loss and guilt when they often times have only had their little one to support and understand the importance and connection of the mother-baby couple.

Child-led weaning is a great concept.  Proponents advocate for allowing the little one to ease of the tit when we ask if the little one is ready leaves decision-making up the shortest person in the room without considering the needs or demands being placed on the mother.  While nursing is one aspect of parenting and child caregiving, for some of us, nursing made our lives easier, joyful and peaceful and leaving that part out increased the drudgery and lessened the joy.  Having a partner in child rearing, and care giving means a shared responsibility.

Often times, sitting in a still place, weaning is not so much a “choice” as a decision that is determined by the circumstances surrounding the separation of human mothers and babies. Raising animals for food and pleasure reflects cultural beliefs about making it easier to care for animals if they are separated 

from their attachment to their mothers. What does it do to their mothers?

Politically and socially, we separate mothers and fathers from their children to punish them for seeking freedom. How do mothers stay physically close to their babies without distancing yet not nurse the way they did in the past.  This is not just a question of graduating to alternate ways of sucking and nutrition.

 How do we experience letting go, and setting limits when the time is right and in the best interest of meeting the shared needs of mother and child. Saying no when someone cries for us, or when we are spent and fatigued beyond our limits.  Unavailable to our child because we are not present and whole within ourselves.

Attachment with love and interdependence is thought to be something that you get over.    Outgrowing the need for nursing, how does that look in your world?

https://www.llli.org/weaning-gently-outgrowing-the-need/

Have you heard some of these absolutes before… I am sure you could make your own list. What now?

If they (the baby) (fill in the blank).

  1. has teeth
  2. will take a bottle
  3. cries when the mother leaves
  4. eating solid food
  5. has a sippy cup
  6. is potty trained
  7. can talk
  8. can walk
  9. can sit up
  10. can hold their own bottle
  11. has a dad 
  12. has a sibling who didn’t nurse
  13. is spoiled

there is no need to continue nursing.

If the baby’s mother (fill in the blank). 

1. has to go back to work

2. has a fever

3. taking medication

4. has to go back to school

5. isn’t married

6. using drugs

7. is an alcoholic

8. is mentally or emotionally unstable

9. has other children

10. is nursing another baby

11. enjoying nursing

there is no need to continue nursing

if you don’t want to….

Consider gently with love…..

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What do Mother’s need? The keys to Successful Breastfeeding #1


 
• Love
• Knowing What You Have
• Freedom
• Mother-Baby Couple
• Healing
 
1 Corinthians 13:13
 
“ . . . For there are these three things that endure:

Faith, Hope, and Love. but the greatest of these is Love.”
 
LOVE
 
How are you with the love that you have in your life and the love that you have in your heart and the love that you have for your child, the love you have for yourself? Do you love God, the Goddess; do you worship and feel loved and perfectly made by your Creator?
 
Does it (love) feel comfortable and good and unblocked? When you have a baby love comes up because for most of us we fall in love with our babies in a way that we could not know was possible. Maternal love is different, especially for a small infant. Breastfeeding your baby is one way that you can love your baby. Not the only way, but one way and a very important way that establishes the primary relationship that child will have with the world and everyone in it.

Breastfeeding triggers all sorts of feelings, and hormones and chemicals that allow us to extend the connection and bond that starts when you make love and a little one is conceived, grows during pregnancy and extends through the first few years of life.
 
In some respects, breastfeeding is a continuation of pregnancy and NOT breastfeeding aborts a relationship between you and that, which is part of you and cannot exist independently of you for quite some time. To be a mammal, live birth and warm milk is something we share with many species in the animal kingdom. We can learn a lot from watching them.

“If you do not feel and experience love for your baby, it is impossible to breastfeed and to have a close and intimate relationship with that child. The sucking on your breast causes changes in your brain, your uterus, your breasts, your heart, and your muscles. The sucking also causes changes in the baby. The sucking that occurs several times throughout the day at regular frequent intervals maintains levels of hormones and changes in your body that produces the nourishment for your child, reduces stress, promotes sleep and relaxation and a sense of well-being for you both. The more unrestricted sucking you allow, the more milk that you have. The more at ease you are and the more relaxed you are, the more milk your body makes. It is creamier, sweeter, and higher in nutrients based on how well you feel, how you are eating and drinking and how much you are loved and how loving you are.”

Excerpt From: Jacqueline Lois. “Little Black Breastfeeding Book.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/little-black-breastfeeding-book/id529791868


 

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What do you do that makes you feel better?

I am rarely struck to silence, or even given to pause before answering a direct question.  Sometimes I suppose it depends on who is doing the asking. But when my daughter with three children ages 21, 17, and 9 asked me that question after a challenging day (hers not mine). I was dumbstruck and hesitant and should have had the good sense to just text back; “let me get back to you on that one “. Legitimately she was in the pits and couldn’t snap out of it!

I am very lucky in that I feel good most of the time. Good, better, best, I am at a good starting point. Of course life happens and many things are out of my control, but I don’t have bouts of feeling bad or in search of doing or needing something to make me feel better as a general rule.   I know there is not necessarily a magic pill, or an antidote for a bad day or yet even a series of bad events clearly one right after the other mounting up when you are already past your limit. I am an optimist; glass half-full kinda gal. My optimism annoys my daughter. It is especially annoying when she is feeling bad, overwhelmed and not well.  She depends on me for framing the issue in a different way or the gentle reminder that I find myself saying more often as I get older “that this too will pass” . I thought this bit of encouragement was coined by my mother until I later learned this maxim was somewhat attributed to bible verses allowing for anyone who calls on the name of the Lord to expect that they will be saved.  So while we are yelling in the moment, be assured and encouraged, HELP is on the way.

While we don’t understand why bad things happen to us and why we feel sad and overwhelmed and not up to the task however small; it is in fact a temporary condition that invites us to be more loving, kinder, gentler with ourselves and others. The condition we are facing will pass. It won’t last all ways. We will be drawn closer to a loving presence where we won’t feel ashamed, and not good enough.

In 12 step program fellowships when you struggle with an addiction; they ask you to just stop for a moment and use the acronym HALT!  Ask yourself, are you hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? This could be a trigger for searching for a way to do something to make you feel better.  What you select as the remedy may seem to work for the short term, but it does not truly address what is bothering you.  You can barely care for yourself and yet you are expected to supply someone else with their most basic needs for survival 24 hours a day seven days a week. How might that even be possible?

When I want to feel better almost instantly; I pray!  It works every time.  Even when I didn’t know it was working. Just being myself was truly enough.  I have a conversation with the Love that I know to be true in God’s presence.   If I am feeling awful, I know it is often because I believe something that I also know is not true.  There is a bit of information that I need that I am missing or help in this situation to see the reality more clearly. I don’t try to talk myself out of it, I just lovingly accept for that moment, that is how I feel, and it is the very best I can do.  It is in that moment of deep surrender that I feel the love well up around me and something shifts.  Indulging in that space of unconditional love is what many mothers do so readily for their little ones.  It is a gift we can learn to give ourselves.

At times, it may be sitting down with a cup of tea, allowing myself a bit of grace where I am not being graded or evaluated by anyone. There is joy in what we do and who we are. I am grateful to have friends I can call on that I don’t have to explain everything. It just is and hearing their voice encourages me and makes me feel better.

Tell your story, what may have worked before having a child may look very different now. I would love to hear what you do when you want to feel better. What brings you Joy?

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The “Price is Right” is My Favorite Game Show

There are some things I do daily.   Some things happen weekly; biweekly, monthly; bi-annually; you get the picture, they are on the calendar, a regular practice. Somethings I don’t have to remember, they just occurred. There was some security in that knowing something would happen in spite of me, or because of me.

Every other Tuesday, I would get paid a set amount.  There was some comfort in knowing that. I thought it provided some measure of control I thought over my life.  I could plan things at least I thought around my spending.  The regularity of that check made me do or not do a lot of things.

 Until I nursed a baby, I don’t think I had an activity that occurred regularly that I allowed “control” to be given so freely and lovingly by someone else as an extension of me.  TNTC (too numerous to count). Why would I count?  That’s about how often you might nurse your little one some days.  

Surrender if you will if you can… I just sat down, or lay down, or refused to move or to do anything else. Allowing little else to take precedence over that five or ten minutes to at least to take the edge off. And then maybe a bit more time when needed or without watching the clock. Just till done, till the next thing called or we felt better.

  It wasn’t scheduled, this “nursing on demand” thing. We just had to be willing to show up for each other… I called to my little one when I felt full. My little one called to me when feeling near empty or hungry, or lonely, or curious, or just when something smelled yummy, or new or whenever.

What might you be saying by now does this have to do with the “Price is Right” ? Well I will connect the dots for you.   I love the Price is Right because I get to vicariously witness people with such excitement and joy.  They hear their name called and first with initial disbelief, it then registers , they mean me and the announcer gets louder and calls their name again and beckons them to come on down. They are usually crazy ecstatic! Running or moving gingerly, slowly, or great deliberation; they make their way down and bid on the prize.  From that moment on it doesn’t quite matter whether they get the price right or win the game. The joy and possibility is there and tangible and folks are jumping and excited when it means they mean me and I have something excited to look forward to…

Some people associate watching the game with others, my grandmother watched and I sat with her and we shared a snack. She was very reliable about the cuddle time and the snack. We also watched a program long off the air now called “Queen For A Day”. I can relax easily into that memory from time to time. However most often, I just like seeing people happy, total strangers especially full of hope and expectation.  It is absolutely contagious. It makes me smile.  

I find that if I schedule my day around the Price is Right and I hold that time from 11AM to 12 Noon weekdays. My day just goes better.  Watching a game show is not a quick cure for postpartum blues, or worry that won’t go away, or even a good substitution for a nap. But scheduling time for pleasure and joy reliably is a good spiritual practice. Something I learned from watching those amazing women around me who cared about me and for me.

Maybe I just won’t answer the phone, or I will sit still a minute and not multi-task. Or maybe I will actually play along with the game and guess the prices and wonder why they listened to someone else in the audience instead of relying on their first instinct and best intuitive judgment, but I rarely come away sad, after watching the Price is Right. 

Do you have something you do that you can schedule in or spend time with that will give you infectious joy and confidence in yourself and the world and most folks around you?

Reclaiming Our Bodies Our Selves

Today was my grandmother’s birthday and I thought so much about legacy and how we are shaped by our stories and the people in our lives. I wrote a memoir about the woman I was named for and I so grateful and committed to listening and sharing the gift of conversation with our Elders and Wise Women who showed us how they did it.

While I am passionate about oral history, I was unprepared for how much both listening and telling my story might affect me.

Who did we welcome in to our lives at just the right moment?

Who made a difference?

Do you know any women who nursed their little ones?

Do you wonder about healing your relationship with your mom and the people in your life who may want to support you?

How do you show up for yourself?

What would bring you great JOY!

PHOTOS: Kangaroo care for newborns comes to the Ivory Coast’s moms and dads : Goats and Soda : NPR

Can the warmth of a parent’s chest be a boon to babies, especially premature births? In the 1970s, Colombian researchers found it did. The technique has gone global. Ivory Coast is the latest convert.
— Read on www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2022/09/18/1121295549/photos-the-moms-and-dads-of-ivory-coast-are-falling-in-love-with-kangaroo-care

My grandson on his cellphone

I know I have been accused repeatedly as in more than once of believing that nursing your little one will solve everything.  I don’t really think that, but I do sometimes. I have struggled with the words to describe the grief and anger I feel. It is my responsibility to tend to that… I have been playing one of my favorite songs reminding me that I have agreed to bring the revolutionary love in whatever form that looks like at the time.  

https://anidifranco.com

Again, some days are easier than others and sometimes I connect the dots when I can find the dots in the multiplicity of ways that don’t make sense to other people. A writing friend explained that was what I do well when we are able to see things metaphorically from another perspective.

Do what you can! Nurse your baby if you would like! Your little one may be 17 one day or not or snatched away by something complicated or evil or simply in ways we don’t understand or can’t help making sense of, so we find something, or someone to blame.

I have suggested in a poem that I wrote this week that everyone consider adopting a 17-year-old whether you know one or not.

I was sure that we all know or have at least seen one, buried beneath a hoodie, or otherwise in plain view. You may know one of their parents who may need adoption, foster care, orders and prayers of protection for their grandmother and at a minimum some handholding for these times.

Here is the link to my poem below on adoption and my fervent prayer this Sunday morning that I can pray for all of us on their cell phones but especially my grandson on his cellphone and the seventeen-year-old who filmed George Floyd’s last moments crying out for his mom on hersand that we will all be able to do what we can if we just sit down a minute and share love when we are ready and able.

https://jacqueline-laughlin.medium.com/adopt-a-17-year-old-today-e65214ef3ac

Prayers: for Grandson on his cell phone

Losing A Mother

This pandemic of 2020-2021 has hit our mothers in many ways that are unimagined.  Having a baby, nursing a little one and supporting one another through our stories is one way we make a difference in the lives of someone close to us or maybe some mother we don’t even know.

I listened to a story on the radio of a young woman who memorialized her mother who was lost in the pandemic.  What was so sweet about it was the memory she shared about the daily ordinary presence she played in her life that allowed her to just go about the everyday business of her own life.  

I write a devotional as part of a series for my beloved church family and while it’s not usually this personal, as I re-read it this morning, I decided to share it with you.  

Many of you over the years have so courageously shared your stories of missing your mother.  Even if it was not the best or most supportive relationship.  It has indeed impacted how you have parented your own child.

                                                         
 
I CAN ONLY IMAGINE
 
by Jacqueline Lois
 
 
Today as I share my devotion time with you, I took a peek at the daily numbers as we approach a half a million people all beautiful souls who have died from a novel virus.  A life force that was looking for a host to land and thrive and grow with abandon is taking no prisoners, no son, no daughter, no parent, no sister, no brother is left unscathed.
 
I am struggling with the numbers creeping upward unabated as we all try to fathom the sheer weight of it all. It is easier for me to pray for each person, wondering about their story and wondering if I sit quietly for a moment and I can try to take it in without unending despair and grief. As millions recover, we hold them close and see them restored.
 
This hits home my house it hits home as I am the last grandma standing for a portion of my family tree. In less than two weeks, another grandmother and great-grandmother were called home to the Creator.  Returned to the Source to stand in the gap on a different plane than the everyday where we are left behind to care and do and be our very best.  Ancestors of two generations pass the gate.
 
The sudden and cruel devastation causes me to step in and look for ways to spread hope and encouragement. Love is the best of these virtues in finding the courage to be love.
 
I hope you will find a way that allows you to sit with me in pain, anger, and frustrations for whatever time you need.  I see me and the other Grands surrounded by Glory wondering what their hearts would feel where their bodies fade, and they return to Spirt.
 
I like to say, we are not our bodies, we are Spirit.  This does not comfort me in my hour of need. It does comfort me to imagine how it might feel to bow in praise, knowing the sweet peace that comes when all is well, and all is unfolding as it should.
 
I want to be good enough to stand in the gap and do all the things Grands could do and keep healing memories alive. Both my parents were raised by mothers who had no mothers in their living memory; not exactly orphans but their mothers were gone and watching,  protecting from afar.  I had the most wonderful loving parents ever.
 
Without Grace, and Love, where would I be?  I am blessed to give love until my last breath and ever after. Amen!
 
Thank YOU so much Grandma Ann and GG!
 
You both have blessed us all your sons, your daughters with Mercy, Grace and Love.   We will make you proud!  Lives well -lived!   Surrounded in Glory. Well done faithful servants! Your labor has not been in vain.
 
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless  1Corinthians 15:58 (New Living Translation)
 
Here is a link to a wonderful song, “I Can Only Imagine,” with its images of love and hope. https://youtu.be/1v6nIjuTeCs  
 
 
A picture containing grass, outdoor, person

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Thank you so much, Grandma Ann and GG!Backyard graduation celebration on June 30, 2020. None of us knew it would be the last family gathering with all present. From left to right is Grandma Ann (aka Antoinette Montague, 1960-2021), Taylor Meadows(2002–), and her paternal grandmother, Ann’s mother GiGi (aka Delores Marie Montague (1942-2021). Jackie is Taylor’s maternal grandmother and also delivered her. [Photo by our own Donald Burch III]
You both have blessed us all, your sons, your daughters, with mercy, grace and love. We will make you proud! Lives well-lived!  Surrounded in Glory. Well done, faithful servants! Your labor has not been in vain. “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” –1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT) 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/02/26/pandemic-grief-could-become-its-own-health-crisis/?arc404=true&utm_campaign=wp_post_most&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_most&carta-url=https%3A%2F%2Fs2.washingtonpost.com%2Fcar-ln-tr%2F302af7d%2F603a76119d2fda4c88f526e3%2F5978a9659bbc0f6826ca1ba6%2F18%2F70%2F603a76119d2fda4c88f526e3

Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, December 8th

As a day of Holy Obligation, I attended on-line Mass today. Not because I had to; but because I wanted to truly celebrate A Feast Day for Mothers. It was really quite lovely. It has been many years since I went to Mass. However, I have found myself moved to prayer most days, these days; and as you would imagine I pray mostly to Mary in all her mysterious glory to intercede on behalf of all Mothers.

It is a simple prayer, probably one that I first learned in my childhood.it goes like this…

Hail Mary

Full of Grace

The Lord is with Thee

Blessed are you Among Women

Blessed is the Fruit of thy Womb

Jesus.

It is the foundation of the Rosary , a calming and repetitive devotion that is an integral part of a long held ritual often enjoyed during Advent, the season leading up to the birth of the Christ and all of the celebratory events we associate with Christmas.

You don’t have to be Catholic or even religious to imagine what it might be like for you the 17 days before the birth of your little one. In addition to feeling fat, and wholly unready for the task at hand and how you might ever care for a little One; you hope for a moment of calm and the knowledge that all indeed will be well. it can be very reassuring to know that God is within you.

The tale is really quite magical, that a Virgin gives birth. There is NO sin, Original or otherwise and this was known well before your (Mary’s ) conception. Her mother (the baby’s grandmother) Anne knew and it was foretold that her conception was like no other and that She alone would give birth and nurture someone incredibly special who would save the world because of her Divine Love and Grace.

Today no matter what, I hope and pray that you feel special and wonderful and capable of even the impossible. Spirit’s got your back and you need not worry about the details.

My granddaughter introduced me to a word that she had tattooed on her forearm in plain view, she was “Too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words”. Pope and a bunch of folks used the same Word to describe Mary and why we might worship her.

ineffable

In case you have forgotten, you are truly Divine!

TODAY is MY DAUGHTER’s 40th Birthday

See her there, gorgeous mound of amber Joy pretending to cheez for the camera. She is about 15 months old. My dad took this photo just past the 365 day mark. This is a lovely Sunday December near Christmas Gathering. We are nowhere near weaning. I am getting some good natured teasing from folks, I am smiling, she is ignoring them. Weighing in about 36 pounds, my Nana is whispering in my ear to ignore them reminding me she is strong and healthy for a girl and I look happy and well. “You will know when it’s time” I find it’s so interesting today that both my grandmothers who had a chance to nurse their babies well past a year gave me almost verbatim the same advice. “just sit down and nurse that baby and you will both feel better”

My daughter is wondering why I wore that stupid midi dress, turtleneck no less which provides no access to titties. I was trying to look grown up as if we no longer nursed at a moment’s notice. She more practical still than I wonder how long does she need to be polite and wait and eat finger foods olives, cheese, crackers, codfish cakes, deviled eggs.

See her reaching over pulling the fake pearls, not distracted a bit from what she knows will be our quiet time when we are done with these family folk. I just found this picture. The only one I have with me and my Nana. She lived a few years more and died my first day of midwifery school, passing the torch as it were. I now can see the power of Elder blessings!

I have been uncharacteristically teary today. I just finished the last payment on the headstone for my mom. She’s been dead now since 2009. The cemetery couldn’t find the account number or paper working barely the grave site if not for my daughter. The cemetery changed hands or pandemic stuff; records not digitized whatever? My daughter is the only one that visits the grave site and I think it is a fitting present that today on her 40th birthday, we remember my mother properly with so much gratitude. The gravestone goes to production, no more debt. We are so free to love and remember.

Violette Duckett Strachan April 27, 1927- January 9, 2009

Legacy is love. Inheritance is joy, and hope and promise.

Happy Birthday my beautiful Daughter. You are my Joy! I love you so!