Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Stockings for the Family! . . . (and Special Thanks to My Sisters!)

My oldest sister, who is a professional designer, has excellent taste; but has recently been short on storage space.
As such, I agreed to store her multiple bins of material for her, bins just packed with fabric that she has used for both personal sewing projects, as well as decor projects for clients.
She told me that I can use any of the scraps I want to, and believe me, there is quite a lovely selection to choose from!

Ever since having my first two kids, our stockings for Christmas have been rather hap-hazard and mismatched. We received one random stocking as part of a gift when we got married, (I don't recall why they only gave us one. It was probably full of treats or something.) So for our first year of Christmas together I went to the dollar store and bought another fuzzy stocking that almost matched.

I've also received a couple of mini stockings from my grandma over the years . . .
She would decorate a tree with them and each year we'd pick the one off the tree that had our name on it, and find some money inside. 'The money tree' was such a cute tradition!

Anyway I used one of the mini stockings for my oldest baby for her first couple of years, and then when I had a second baby I had the second one. However, these mini stockings hold very little. . . This wouldn't normally matter much except that this year we're spending Christmas with my Sister's family in Arizona.
She has two kids of her own and I didn't want my own kids to be comparing the size of their stockings to their cousins' so I decided it was time to upgrade.

My sister is A Domestic Goddess and has made her own family's stockings that are a nice size; not too big, and not too small, so I called her and asked for the pattern.
She mailed it to me right away and I went through all the glorious swathes of fabric in my storage unit.

My oldest sister, who I mentioned before, made a stunning Queen Elizabeth costume for her daughter for a school project last year. . . Which, of course, also made an appearance for Halloween.

The leftover scraps of luxurious gold brocade, and lovely, silky sari material really spoke to me, and I felt they would look great with my Christmas decor for years to come, since my front room is decorated with an Oriental twist.

The sari fabric was two sided, so that gave me three different options for at least three stockings . . . That way they would coordinate, but still be different enough that everyone could tell theirs apart. However, we have four people in our family, so I went to the fabric store and was lucky enough to find a lovely gold brocade piece in the remnants bin!
This is so perfect, because I already have pillows made from this same bamboo brocade material in my front room; only my pillows are gold bamboo against black.

I also found some lovely burgundy lining I was able to use for the inside of the stockings, and some matching cording to use for the loops.

 I also love that the sari material was two sided because this way my two girls can have very similar stockings, but still know which is which.
 I decided the Bamboo one looked the most masculine so I've decided my hubby can have that one, and I will have this gold brocade one that ties them all together. That's what mom's do right?
 I'm really pleased with how they turned out!
 And it's such a relief to know that my kids will have the same sized stockings as their cousins so they won't think Santa is playing favorites or something. ;)
I guess, they look done enough, anyway . . .
I also bought some fun jeweled trim to add to the top of each stocking but Kate has used her amazing toddler skills to make all of my trim magically disappear . . . . Maybe someday she'll be a magician.
I think they look okay without the trim though . . . It's just kind of annoying because if I'm not going to use it, why on earth did I buy it?
Hope you all have a very lovely Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Journey as a Truth Seeker

It is not uncommon for me to post or share articles or opinions on my blog or Facebook that can be considered controversial topics.  From my support of home birthing to alternative health care and anti-drug healing, I realize that most of my current views are not popular among the mainstream media- watching public.

However, I have found that usually such posts are all but completely ignored.  Until recently.
I have gone through numerous paradigm shifts and changes in my beliefs for the past five years and the influx of these shifts, new ideas and knowledge have greatly accelerated in the past two years or so.

It all started with my first pregnancy.  Being completely new to parenting, I of course felt like a stranger in a foreign land and was willing to go with whatever people told me was normal and the thing to do in regard to my health care and the birthing of my baby.  The one exception being my choice to use nurse midwives as opposed to a typical OBGYN (A decision I made for myself at a very young age, and which I have inexplicably always felt very strongly about.)
At any rate, I was ready to have my baby in a regular hospital and the choice of getting an epidural seemed like my only real option since everyone I knew seemed to think that it was the only sane thing to do.

Then my dear sister who'd had her first baby only a couple of years before and hadn't had the option of an epidural due to having rods in her back from a previous surgery presented me with the idea of hypno-birthing.  She wondered if I would be willing to consider it for my own birthing since she wished she had known about it before her own.  I read up on the idea which lead me to doing a lot of research and for the first time in my life, my eyes were opened to the danger of blindly following what the mainstream consensus is without doing one's own research.

For those of you who care, I also received strong spiritual confirmation that hypno-birthing was right for me.  So I bought a study course and practiced the system so much that when I was in the throws of birthing waves the midwife who had just come in to replace my midwife from the night before, marveled to my husband, "Woah, she is textbook."

After an amazing birthing experience I received less than perfect postpartum treatment from nurses who, in retrospect, seemed rather hostile to be allowed to tend to a weak and exhausted young mother who had just had her first baby naturally.
I mention this only because it contributed later to my decision to have my second baby in the comfort and safety of my own home, an idea that I would never have imagined I could be okay with, but once again I opened my mind to the idea that I ought to do my own research before completely discounting an idea.
Once again, the research not only rang true and changed my paradigms, but that choice is continuing to be confirmed by both personal experience as well as new scientific study.  Having said that, let me emphasize that these decisions are based solely on my own choices and what I know to be right for me. I completely acknowledge the important role that the medical system plays in millions of lives.  I am not telling anyone that they should consider natural home birth as the only right option.  I knew it was right for me as a fairly healthy, low risk, young mother with no pre-existing conditions.

Back to the story of my first child, she had all her regular pediatric visits and we followed the book as far as getting all her shots and having her immunized by two.  You have to understand that she was an extremely healthy, even robust baby, (being born an ounce under eight pounds, and never dropping below her birth weight, as well as continuing to this day to range in the 90th percentile for her age.) but over time I began to notice more and more health problems cropping up in her.  She is very prone to both skin problems as well as getting sick easily.  She also has an extremely short attention span and there have been random acts of uncontrolled aggression in the past, as well as other behavioral problems.
I would not be sharing this if I did not feel it relevant to the issue at hand.  It has been painful for me to have many other mother's talk to me about my daughter as if they are trying to say that they think she is mentally not right. Most recently another Mom basically told me that my child has ASD.  I was shocked and hurt that someone who doesn't even know my child would try to diagnose her.   Still, it got my mind working and I began to wonder and pray a little to understand if I should even consider such ideas enough to research and find out if it could be true, which honestly, I felt reluctant to do at first. I mean what Mom in their right mind wants to be told her child has a mental disorder?  

Within a matter of days I find this article which rings completely true for me and aligns with all of the other eye opening truths that I have been discovering in the past year or so.  It also seems blatantly obvious after reading the article, that my oldest daughter could very well be suffering from the effects of toxins administered to her as a baby through the needles of vaccines that where meant to protect her.

My second daughter, as I mentioned, was born at home and has never been vaccinated.  This is not actually because I actively chose not to.  (Though I knew of others who had chosen not to, and sometimes vaguely wondered if there was something to that.) Our financial circumstances at the time of her approaching birth were such that they largely contributed to our choice to look into the possibility of birthing at home.  These same circumstances made birthing at home also appealing because we didn't have a car seat, couldn't immediately afford one and knew we would not be allowed to take out baby home without one, so having her at home in the first place made a lot of sense.  (For those of you who are wondering, yes, we did have medical insurance at this time.)
These of course were not the only reasons we chose this route but I will not deny that they were contributing factors.

I bring up the financial point only because this also contributed as to why we never got around to vaccinating our baby.  I wasn't against it, but after our regular pediatrician moved away immediately after our eldest's final immunization, and we had trouble finding a new pediatrician (the one recommended to us was no longer taking new patients.)  combined with the fact that suddenly having two children instead of one changed things enough that while we often mentioned that we really ought to go in and get her shots taken care of, it was repeatedly put on the back burner, and what do you know?  Two years have passed.

At the age of two our second daughter is remarkably different than her older sister, and I'm not talking about the obvious age difference.  She has never had the skin problems her sister is still dealing with or been as prone to getting sick.  She has an amazingly long attention span even for a child older than her, and she has no apparent behavioral problems.  I grant that this may be pure coincidence.  It may be simply that the two girls have different personalities.  The thing is, if I really think about it, their actual personalities really aren't that different, only the maturity with which they handle the same situations. I may be completely up in the night, but I feel that I cannot completely ignore the evidence that my own experience has provided.  As you can see by the evidence I am currently living with, perhaps you too can see why I feel justified in leaning toward the side of this issue that I am leaning.

Oh, I guess it's also relevant that during my second pregnancy a friend of mine shared this article which led me to the decision to refuse the flu vaccine despite the then current swine flu paranoia and the fact that I was offered the vaccine at every single prenatal visit until I switched to my home birthing midwife. I know you can get vaccines at an affordable rate, in this case, money has not been a contributing factor in my not getting vaccinated. After reading this article I decided to forego the flu vaccine and instead try supplementing with vitamin D to see if that would prevent the flu.  It has been two years and I have not had the flu since.

So, with all this in mind I shared a link to this article about vaccines on Facebook. That was on Friday, December 9, 2011 at 11:25 AM.  By Friday night I had not only received 17 comments on the post but I was approached by at least three people at my ward Christmas party who all had something to say about it.  One of whom told me to delete the post and never post anything so controversial again.
To this I say, I am not afraid to state opinions or ideas that I am considering anymore than I am afraid to consider other peoples ideas and opinions. Bring it on!

It is now Monday December 12, 2:44 PM I myself have not yet commented on the post but I already have 27 comments (some from repeated commentators) and at the current rate there may be more to come.  This probably shouldn't have surprised me due to the controversial nature of such a topic, but it did surprise me, mainly I guess, because of the lack of attention given to my controversial posts of the past.  I figured that if people don't like what I've shared they simply won't comment on it, they are welcome to roll there eyes and proceed down their news feed.  Maybe that's just me though. :}

Yet, what surprises me more is how obvious it is which of the commentators actually read the whole article and which simply assumed they knew what it was about based solely on the title.
Please friends, let's not insult both my intelligence and yours by ever commenting on an article you have not fully read.
It is insulting to my intelligence for you to assume what I share is not even worth reading before you try to contradict it.
It further makes your own intelligence look rather lacking to post a comment which blatantly shows that you did not read the posted article, yet are accusing others of ignorance and closed mindedness.  If you can't bother to read the whole article, please do not bother leaving a comment.  Thank you.

That being said, I will now respond more directly to the comments I received.  I apologize that it has taken me three days to respond, but I wanted to read all of the responding articles that my commentators posted (and then some) before responding.  I would like to think that others would offer me the same courtesy when responding to any related links that I post.

First of all, Rob, the Lancet article you mentioned may have been debunked and it is pretty pathetic that some guy fudged his facts.  However, I cannot find any relation other than the topic at hand that relates the article I posted with the Lancet's 1998 article.  As far as I can see everything linked in the article I posted was based on new research publish this year.
I do appreciate the information you've shared, especially the second article about how the reality is, there needs to be more research done. Like the writer of the article, I am not about to claim that I am completely "Anti-Vaccine."  In fact, I would encourage everyone to read this article.

I am certainly not about to discount anyone's views as irrelevant.  I will not deny what vaccines have done for people in the past. I acknowledge the importance they have played in all but eradicating horrible diseases as well as the fact that God surely revealed such knowledge to men in order to benefit us on our journey to improve our lives.

Conversely, I do not trust the FDA any further than I could throw them.  As they already allow horrible toxins and carcinogens into our food, cosmetics and cleaning products, not to mention pushing drugs with terrible side effects through the system (without testing) for public use; only retracting them when people start to die or become debilitated enough that they can no longer get away with offering with it.

Even products that are marketed as "healthy" and are fully approved by the FDA have been found to be laced with known poisons such as arsenic, mercury, lead and cadmium.

Honestly, does it really seem like such a stretch that they wouldn't refrain from allowing dreadful, mentally debilitating toxins into otherwise helpful vaccines?

I understand the concept behind using a small dose of a given disease to build up the bodies immunity, but if they're going to add toxic ingredients which may alter my babies still developing brain, which in turn my cause both her and her parents grief for the rest of her life, am I really being a responsible parent (in being informed of the risks) to allow that to happen to her?

Of course I know that my children are dependent on me for protection and as such it is my right to use my intelligence to question anything that could potentially harm my children, whether the threat be immediate or otherwise. I will do whatever it takes to ensure that my children have the best life experience I can possibly offer them.  If ASD or ADD are a more immediate threat than polio, I may choose to avoid the one and trust to God to help us avoid the other. Yes, Autism might be the lesser of two evils, but I'd rather avoid all evils rather than willfully pressing even a lesser evil on a helpless child who has no say in the matter and is looking to me for protection.

As Marcus pointed out, vaccines may not effect all children the same way, so it makes sense to me that in cases such as this, each parent ought to be prayerful and find out what the Lord's will is concerning them regardless of what another righteous parent may have received. (D&C 62:8)
Some commandments are given to all, but where the Lord has not given specific commandments it is probably because the answers would vary between differing circumstances.  The only one who knows if one child would suffer adverse effects from a vaccine as opposed to another child, is God.
How many of us can actually claim that you have studied out this matter and considered both sides AND prayed to know the truth concerning our own family?  My guess is not many, not because we aren't good prayerful people, but because it is so easy to passively trust what the mainstream opinions of the world dictate to us.  No one is above being deceived so I beg that instead of arguing with each other over differing views, that we instead unite in seeking the truth, considering all sides and evidences and praying for the spirit to manifest truth to us when and wherever we find it so that none of us may be deceived.  I strongly feel that now is not the time to sit idly and blindly and unquestioningly following what the world has told us is normal and what everyone else is doing.  If everyone is doing it and a government which no longer seeks to protect us strongly condones it: Absolutely will I question it!

There are times to follow and there are times to seek your own path. While I would certainly want my children vaccinated if they were to visit a foreign country where such horrible diseases are still prevalent; as my current living conditions do not immediately threaten us with small pox, I will thank my Father in Heaven for this time and the opportunity I have been given to search out the truth and if necessary, demand higher standards (new and better, non-toxic vaccines) be put into place before I allow some stranger to stick a needle into my baby for the sake of a fear fed paycheck.

I am truly appreciative of all who read through the article before commenting as well a those who posted further information. I will continue to research and consider all evidence before I make an absolute decision.  Of course relying on the spirit to guide me.

These are contentious times and it is so easy to get angry, I thank you all for striving to be civil despite differing feelings about this controversial topic.  Thank you again for the shared information and concern. I am perfectly open to receiving more evidence as to the truth behind vaccines. Especially if you can answer any of the questions in this article I found today.  I'm not a medical scientist and really would like to know if anyone out there can help me find the answers to these questions.  Thank you all so much for your help!

May the truth set us free.

~Julie :}