Sunday, October 13, 2013

Gestating a Rainbow

I first wrote about my miscarriage the same day it happened.  I was in a whirlwind of hormones, and at the time I felt the need to quickly announce the miscarriage because I couldn’t bear to hear anymore congrats on the pregnancy (we'd announced a week before).  I took as good a care of myself as possible and tried to remain positive.  There was a sense of relief after it happened, not that we weren’t pregnant anymore-that was devastating, but that the bad feelings, signs and sadness that had been there for days meant something, I finally had an answer.  I truly felt in those first moments a strange confidence in my body; I had worked through contractions, alone, and got what was no longer living out of my body.  It was intense and beautiful in its own strange way.  The absence of that pain left me feeling better physically and I thought that must be as intense as it would get.  I assured everyone the worst was over and I trusted the process and had faith in the future, the stats were totally in our favor.

Well if only we could be so in control as we think.  Hormones are a wild thing, and loss is huge.  I waited patiently as I could for my body to cleanse, level out and for my beloved cycle to return.  Josh was unwavering in his love and support, and lack of belief in anything less than wonderful happening, he inspires me everyday.  Every Monday I was sad, my mom supported me in saying I should take time out to just be pissed and sad and frustrated with it-feel it all- and then leave it and move on until I need to take that time again.  Josh would hold me.  Not long after I miscarried three other wonderful couples announced their pregnancies, one a close friend due nearly the same time I was and I found myself in a most uncomfortable position of being truly happy for them, and deeply and painfully jealous.  It became hard for me to face them without imagining what I was missing, and was filled with a sadness so deep.  It was morbidly funny to realize within my little realm we were proving the stats true-1 in 4 pregnancies will result in miscarriage.

After one amazing cycle and a whirlwind of house purchasing, I faced a bottom I had not expected.  My second cycle didn’t arrive, and I felt like I was going crazy-a hormonal imbalance mixed with a pessimistic view.  I wavered between great agitation and wishing to that depth of sadness.  I continued to weep over the loss more and more and felt completely out of whack.  I had everything I wanted, amazing partner, new home, great job, and felt terrible for feeling there was this huge hole within that had only been full for a few weeks.

The healing agent of time seemed to be my only cure, in addition to forceful positive thinking and luckily a partner who was not losing faith in my body.  Soon after I calmed down and regained balance, we decided to begin trying again wouldn’t you know it, my cycle returned immediately.  As if to say, “I was waiting for you” rather than the other way around.  Needless to say I was pregnant within two weeks.

In the natural birth community a birth after a loss is called a "rainbow baby" as it is so healing and a miracle. While I think all babies are miracles, it’s interesting to have another term for the next baby.  Today is the original due date for that first pregnancy, and I am happy to have made peace with that.  While time is the true healer of most losses, of course being four months into a new, healthy pregnancy seals the deal.  I can look to other pregnant women with love rather than longing (our friends who were due near me had a healthy boy last week),  but not a day goes by that I forget to be grateful I only miscarried once, and that as far as we know our ability to have healthy children is still strong.  

I realize I have not written about our wedding yet, but what can I say?!  It was absolutely perfect.  It POURED the day before, and rained much of the day off, but luckily it stopped an hour or so before the wedding and it stayed beautiful.  Our dear friend Randy was the most excellent officiant ever, and the ceremony was wonderful.  We planted a tree rather than exchanging rings and surprised our guests with the news of our new pregnancy.  The pig was smoked to perfection and the food was perfect.  Best of all was having (nearly) all the people we love together, at our home, for an entire evening.  I still can’t believe it came together so perfectly, especially as I was battling early pregnancy 24/7 nausea (which magically held off the day of the wedding :) I truly can’t thank everyone enough, it would take forever.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Beaten when she's already knocked down

A dear friend of ours, Susana, lost her father last week.  Many of you know her well, many of you may have just met her at our wedding, and others may just know her by reputation. Owner of Salamander Springs Farm, she is an incredible farmer and a great source of knowledge and inspiration for not only our farming practices, but for the hundreds of other farmers she’s taught over the years.  She built a dang farm on top of a mountain and grows an unbelievable variety of fruits, fowl, and veggies galore, all without a pinch of poison or tillage.  It’s an astounding utopia.  She also lives incredibly simply; no electricity, spring fed water, composting toilet.  She eats beans and home ground cornbread nearly every day and makes a very modest income from her farm produce.  
While many of us love and respect her dearly, the modern world often treats her, there’s no gentle way to put it, like shit.  Her family is far east of Chicago, a good 12 hours from here and Josh and I had her over before her Mega bus trip there last week, and this morning off to the funeral.  Unfortunately my well meaning advice to rent a car this time turned into a complete disaster.  She used the site Hotwire to make a reservation, and this morning at the airport for pick up was told she could not rent the car due to funds-she had plenty of money to rent the car, but she does not carry a credit card and apparently didn’t have their required astronomical minimum in her debit account to allow for the rental.  The visitation is this evening and with no other option, and overwhelmed by grief, she still hit the road in her farm truck for the long trip, and I’m just sitting here worried sick all day.  Hotwire will not refund her three day rental despite her not being able to get the car, and with no notification prior that her funds would be an issue, and that kind of money means a lot to someone who lives so simply.

I don’t know why exactly I write now; guilt, grief, incredible sorrow for the sad state of the world and how people are treated.  Not only has she just lost her father, but she has been cast off as riff raff and treated so poorly by those whose job is to provide a service.  It’s not a situation anyone can fix and I’m not asking for anything in particular.  But maybe respect for your fellow human being, some loving energy to this deeply sad woman who has the wealth of love and knowledge of the earth that we need so desperately right now.  If you have the means go support her at the market, or if you would like to send a card or gift let me know.  I have been so blessed lately with beautiful happenings and just want to pass some of that loving energy and support to someone who really needs it right now, and pray that she has a safe trip.  She would totally kill me for writing this by the way, and I hope I haven’t overstepped any boundaries, but the boundaries of love you all have are limitless so please share it!  Love love love you all, till the end of time.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Rain or Shine

I never thought a mid-August wedding would be threatened by rain rather than heat, but here we are and it's still on no matter what! If anyone does have an extra canopy-especially you farmer's market goers-that we can set up that day I would be forever grateful. I figure if everyone is prepared for rain with umbrellas and gear it won't actually happen. LOVE you all and can't wait to see you!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Many Pleases

It’s nearly time!  The to-do list is as endless as the excitement.  This is just a reminder that we’re hosting a humble, backyard wedding.  Please arrive before 6pm as we hope to begin our short and sweet ceremony at 6 sharp!  Please dress light and comfy for the heat, though we’re praying this beautifully mild weather continues till then.  We will have benches for the ceremony that can then be moved about for dinner.  Dinner will be picnic style-on blankets or picnic chairs-and without tables.  Please bring your own blankets and chairs if you can, though we will have many available as well.  Obviously many of these pleas don’t apply to west coast folk, that’s a long flight and we’ll be sure you have a seat.  There are a lot of mosquitoes here and I will have many citronella candles around and bug repellant sprays, but if you have a favorite that works please bring it. 
Beginning at 2am the night before Josh and others will be smoking a fine pasture raised pig from Stone Cross Farm for you all.  Other delicious fixins will be provided by a local caterer and Josh’s mom.  We do ask that you bring your own drinks aside from water.  

TheMeadowlarks will be playing after dinner and we hope you’ll join us around the fire and dance late.  Those that wish to camp are more than welcome, just please let me know if you haven’t already.  Parking will be limited so PLEASE carpool if you can. 

If you are available to help out with some simple tasks before or during the wedding please let me know; we can use helpers tending the pig, refilling food, directing parking and managing compost.

Ten days!

Friday, July 19, 2013


As far as I know everyone that needs a hotel has one, so I'm not going to reserve any. If you don't and still need help, please let me know. Also please let me know if you intend to camp out and whether you have a tent or need one. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Invites and RSVPs Please

Invites are arriving as I write, yay!  I would greatly appreciate it if you would participate in the silly RSVP postcard activity even if you’re not coming; I’m hoping to string together a purdy hanging out of them.

Because a few of our dear friends and family will not be able to make it to our awesome wedding, I have already promised a “replay,” including all the same attire, as soon as they can come visit.

I hope you all find our registry as entertaining and honest as my ma does; we truly don’t want a pile of big box store crap.  Used and loved or handmade and heartfelt gifts are the most precious.

Wedding plans are coming along well and I will continue to update here often, so check back or subscribe to the right.  Hold one another close, love you all.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Wedding Update and Our Story

“I’ll tell you how it works,” said Josh. “Out.”  That was the night before we closed on our house, and as I fit myself and computer into some space amid everything we own, the various projects going on, and all the tools for said projects, I try to have faith that this mess will somehow clear, all plans will be set and we will in fact wed not even three months from now.  In essence, that it will all work out.

For those that do not know, it’s been quite an eventful first few months of 2013.  In the time between getting our offer accepted and getting the keys to our first home we got pregnant, got engaged, miscarried, healed, chose a wedding date, kept full time jobs and continued on with daily life.  We closed on Friday, April 19th, just three days shy of our third anniversary together and it’s been pretty hectic but a lot brighter ever since.

I thank you yet again for your support and patience as I have so few answers about our wedding except that it will happen August 10th!  The important stuff is taken care of, but the details are many.  I would love to send out real invitations, but that will have to wait a bit, right now I just hope to be fully moved into this place by the end of the month.

For dear friends and family that know either Josh or me, but not us together, here is how “we” came to be:

In early December 2009, a matter of days after returning home in California after two years in Morocco as a Peace Corps Volunteer I flew half a world away yet again to see about some farming apprenticeship positions.  I met Josh at Moon in the Pond Farm in Sheffield, MA, or rather, I met a very furry faced, heavily layered new farm apprentice leaning cockily against a shovel as he was tending coals for a smokehouse.  I thought, well I guess I won’t be getting distracted by any boys this summer. 

Josh had arrived at Moon in the Pond two months prior after being a summer camp counselor in North Carolina, an outdoor science school teacher in California, an English teacher in Japan, etc. etc., though he is originally from Kentucky. We’d both been away from home for some time.

Over the coming cold months we got to know one another very well and became close friends.  In practice we seemed very much like a married couple; waking up, doing chores, cooking for one another, making plans and executing them, combining ideas and creating new solutions to the many problems that arose at the hectic farm, and we were always too exhausted for any kind of romance. We had similar dreams, goals and now experience about how to live life more sustainably, how to grow vegetables without tilling, how to raise animals with little work and a lot of freedom, and how to treat people we care about.

Come early spring layers were slowly shed and a neighbor and dear friend gave Josh a proper haircut (but only after Josh sheared his beard) and I saw skin on his face for the first time.  In mid-April my ma came out to visit just as a peculiar vibe started between Josh and I.  Upon return to the farm after an overnight away with my mom before her flight home I literally ran the good half mile to the back field, I missed this weird guy terribly, and wanted . . .  something  (those that know Josh know he gives some of the best hugs in the universe so more than once I wondered if I was attracted to him or just his hugs).  Well luckily he had a smile to welcome me that nearly sealed the deal, and we talked (stalled) a long while in the cool evening grass.  A couple hours later he finally kissed me and we’ve only gotten happier ever since.

Romantic eh?  Well it hasn’t been without its difficulties.  That November I bought a car, a few days later Josh taught me how to drive it and a couple weeks later we left our crazy first year of farming for our respective homes.  In Kentucky I met his wonderful family and had a blissful week before we bid goodbye and I continued on to California.  The month we spent broken up and apart was one of the most painful of my life, but made it clear that this was not going to be over till it was over.  With difficulty I moved away from my family, yet again, and arrived in his arms just two days shy of 2011. 

It's been a crazy but wonderful first couple years in Kentucky and I don't see us leaving anytime soon.  Josh is just wrapping up his first year as a middle school math teacher, and I am working as a licensed massage therapist.  Through all the experiences we’ve had, good and bad, our relationship has remained solid and the love continues to multiply.  We look forward to celebrating our union with dear friends and family this summer and building gardens, raising animals and rearing children in the near future in our first home. 

Much love and big hugs,
Bri & Josh

Monday, March 25, 2013

Save the Tentative Date!

Planning a wedding, even one as simple as ours, can be hectic, especially if your venue choice (our future home) is not yet set!  Many of my loved ones get booked so far in advance (residencies, camp counselors, language immersion programs abroad, sheesh) that even a tentative date must be given now if I want a chance of gettin you all here.  So assuming we close on the house "soon" (in quotes because that term has let me down for two months straight) we will wed on Saturday, August 10th, a fine way to spend the day after my birthday :)

I greatly apologize for any inconvenience this should cause should it not happen, but we are hopeful!  Josh's confidence is unwavering, and I am more of the "keep telling yourself something until you're convinced" type.  I am excited however because it is going to be awesome!  I shant be a bridezilla and this will be on the cheap because what's most important is priceless.  I'm planning on being barefoot (maybe even pregnant, haha) and surrounded by those I love and have supported Josh, myself, or us together over the years.  A dear friend of ours will officiate, hopefully with great sarcasm and delight, and we hope to grow a great deal of the food (another reason I want to get into this house ASAP).  Though we are aiming to provide the meal, BYOB will allow you all to bring yours of choice (and allow us to keep that mega expense down). With our acre there will be plenty of room to camp out overnight as well.

Please do email me your addresses because while it's fun to send updates via the internets, most of you know I truly love homemade cards and do plan on sending out actual announcements.

My love to you and yours.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Nature's change of plans

I want to begin by thanking you all so much for being such a wonderful support; full of excitement about our news and eager to help, should we ever need it.  It’s a blessing having you all in our lives.  I know that this will only continue as I share the unfortunate news that at just past nine weeks, and not even one week since sharing the news of our pregnancy with the masses, I have miscarried.  There is good reason many people wait to share the news until after 12 weeks - the odds of this happening after then go way down.  Being healthy and young and excited I decided to just go for it (it’s seriously hard to have real conversations with close friends and family and not mention the most exciting news of your life!) and there’s no sense in being sorry for what’s already happened.  I trust that just as my body was well enough to begin a pregnancy, it was intelligent enough to pass what would not have come full term or been born healthy.  From my research, it seems about 20% of all pregnancies result in miscarriage, so this is not incredibly rare and does not necessarily indicate I will have problems again (80% of women who miscarry once go on to have healthy pregnancies afterwards).  It simply is what it is.

We of course grieve this event, but I beg you to not waste any sorrow on this because I really do trust that my body did what was best, and thank goodness we haven’t figured out how to stop random, early miscarriages; they happen because they need to.  Though it has been emotionally painful, I must say that the physical pain was far, far worse!  Which I certainly didn’t expect.  I hope this mini labor, to pass what had only been gestating nine weeks, combined with my history of intensely painful cycles, is only more preparation for actual childbirth.

I couldn’t imagine anyone I’d rather have by my side at this time (as all times), and I assure you he’s taking fine care of me, as usual.  It has been a wonderful experience to be pregnant together and realize just how excited and ready we are to become parents.  I promise we’ll be attempting to make this thing happen again in the not too distant future, though I may keep my mouth shut about it until we make it to the second trimester.  This in no way dims our excitement about the wedding and all the many other plans we have going at the moment, and I’ll continue to update you, hopefully with brighter news, soon.

Love, Love, LOVE you all,

Monday, March 4, 2013

Gettin hitched and pro-creatin!

So, yea.  As if we weren’t getting a crazy enough start on adult life . . . Josh was halfway through his graduate program, half a year into teaching, and I wasn’t even a licensed massage therapist when we decided to buy a house.  Awesome, totally feasible, completely exciting.  We found a wonderful house, began to fit the motions of buying it into Josh’s tight schedule and I began working as an LMT.  Exactly one month after I began my new career a welcome surprise changed our lives for good.  I’m pregnant!  Wowza!  This may seem like mayhem, but it is in fact bliss, and made for a most special Valentines Day.

We soon decided to get crackin on what we’d been putting off til we had “time.”  What a silly thing to wait for, because it just keeps moving.  I’m speaking, of course, of making the married life we’re living official by celebrating with you all!  To us the event is really for loved ones to come bear witness to a promise we’ve already made, no more valid or real, just shared publicly, and to make merry with good food and booze! (No booze for me of course)  This house we’re aiming to get has a yard fit for hosting such an event, which did not escape our notice, and so long as we close soon and can get the necessary repairs done in time, we plan to get married late this summer.  We’re picturing pig roast, camping, good music, etc.

Though I’m completely aware this provides far off family and friends with the difficult decision to either come to our wedding, or any other time when you could see a beautiful baby, we’re doing it soon anyhow.  I’m due mid-October, which will conveniently, inshallah, place an infant in my arms in time for the holidays.  You are more than welcome to come out for the wedding, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and/or any other stinkin day of the year to celebrate with us.

We just returned from a lecture by Vandana Shiva tonight, and yea it's a pretty crazy world to bring a child into.  I can't say whether the future for this little one will be brighter or darker than ours, but I do believe we'll be giving him or her a great start and hopefully instill values and inspiration to also make the world a better place.  I cannot express my gratitude enough for the incredible family that surrounds Josh and I; with you we know we'll never be an island and always have a community.  We certainly didn’t think new careers, buying a house, getting married and having a kid would all happen in the same year (more like over the span of five years), but shoot we’ll take it, yeaaaa 2013!

Also, unless you are close family that has never moved, PLEASE send me your physical address so I can send you purdy and proper announcements in the neari-sh future.  I’ll send more updates, probably via my blog, soon.

Much love and big hugs

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A year later, still livin and lovin in Kentucky

So I haven’t written in AGES.  The facebook status update trend has acquired me as well as anyone and allows the most minimal connection with the many people dear to me in life.  I don’t know when that got to be normal for everyone, but it has.  In Morocco this blog supported me as an outlet many cold and lonely nights when I couldn’t just pick up the phone and plan a meet up.  Thankfully, friends are bountiful here and we’ve been making an effort to use this “city” habit called “the weekend” to actually hang out, chill and enjoy good people, good food and good brews.  Thanks to Josh those lonely nights are far gone, but I do still have the desire for some connection to you, dear neglected readers; one that’s a better supplement for real life at a time when I’m far from so many.
So how to update?  There’s no point updating everyone on life since my last post; unless you’re new to me you’ll have a decent enough idea.  Right now I’m living and continuously loving life in Louisville, and planning to stay for the foreseeable future.  It’s so crazy to think of where Josh and I were at this time last year, or the year before, or the year before that . . . how our plans seem to have changed so drastically, and yet, they haven’t.  How we went from the country to the city, from temporary digs with long term rural homesteading dreams, to deciding to buy a house in the city!  While Josh had entertained the idea of house-flipping for some time, I was pretty adamantly against it until only recently.  For so long I have wanted to put down roots, but only if it was where I intended to live forever.  But I could not escape two very simple realities, a) we weren’t able to even do the bare minimum of what is important to us in this apartment, i.e.; composting, small plot to grow on, etc b) houses are so cheap and interest rates are so low we realized we could be paying less in mortgage payments than our current rent, and toward some real equity.  Basically, it didn’t even make sense to rent anymore.  

And so began our rigid search.  What started out a seemingly improbable and undesirable idea to me soon became a mild obsession.  What have I been doing renting?!  What is the point of living in a future that we cannot yet have, when we can create that dream now?!  What is really important?  Work that I enjoy, a beautiful space, living and working with Josh, eating good food, not commuting, experimenting, yada, yada.  We were looking for super simple and small, a fixer upper with a decent yard we could beautify and turn around and sell when we’re ready to move back to the country.  We snuck around a few places, and then we went with a realtor.  We fell in love with the first house we “officially” looked at.  Which is totally not fair.  A quaint and sweet house, on a flippin ACRE.  Two miles from Josh’s school.  We really loved it but took the advice of many and looked at at least ten others.  We also tried to knock the idea out because an acre would be awesome, yes, but not without the help of animals.  We’d known for awhile the Louisville ordinances on chickens agreed with us, four hens and one rooster, we figured anything more would be just wishful thinking.  Then, one of my many long days of internet searching jobs and houses I decided to go all out and do proper research.  I looked up the animal ordinances and, if I was understanding them properly. . . well I called the office to be clear and yes, pigs are allowed in Jefferson County, all you need is at least a half acre, a swine permit, and of course adequate shelter, food, etc.  Seriously?  I called Animal Control for a second opinion and yes, we could in fact have pigs.  It was a very long few hours till Josh got home and I nearly tackled him with excitement.  That basically sold us on the place.  Once the possibility of pigs became real it was hard to turn back to the idea of a modest yard and a couple chickens.  Our temporary project house was quickly becoming an urban homestead. 

Our new realtor, a delight by the way, and a whole other adventure to explain, did wonderful work taking us to a number of places we had picked out according to our original idea of a home to buy.  But we exchanged looks and each house just made the first look better and better.  After only a few minutes at the place she knew it was what we wanted, and soon the process began.  I won’t get into all that here, but if you are thinking of buying in Louisville I have plenty advice to offer, for we really got a quick education in how the real estate business goes-nutty.  As of now our offer is accepted, we’ve had the inspection and are under contract for the place.  The financing of a house in need of seriously modest repairs is proving to be irritatingly slow and irrational, but we’re confident we’ll be under a new roof soonish. 

Amid the house hunting frenzy, I was on a mad job search and went on a multitude of interviews, at wildly different locations and in the end have two wonderful jobs.  One is on call at a very fancy hotel that pays very fancy money, but the work is sporadic. My regular job is at a wonderful therapeutic massage clinic; the pay is not amazing but the atmosphere and the mentorship is amazing and makes up the difference in pay by far.  It was the only place I interviewed that offered only massage, and therefore massage is a primary, and clients expect healing, not an extra station to sit and beautify.  There is an important role for massage to play in many of those other types of businesses, but they were certainly not for me.  This place felt a lot like LHAA, and a lot is expected of me, which makes me a better massage therapist, and more confident about the professions direction.  My personal confidence remains my biggest hurdle, but not one I can’t jump, and I am getting wonderful support and feedback constantly.  And like any new skill, the moments of real change, appreciation from a client, visible and palpable decrease in tension, actually recognizing a release, make each day count. 

Maybe I’m writing for the same reason I’m starting mushrooms; to get my mind off the house while I can’t do anything about it.  I’m salivating like a pig smelling a bucket of whey being carried over with this house now.  Our ideas are growing by the minute and every project is amassing excitement.  Of course every moment closer to spring sets us further and further away from our own food again, but as Josh reminds me, we still have the rest of our lives.  My mind, particularly as I’m trying to fall asleep, isn’t as cooperative.  The ideas swirl like a confined animal and cannot grow without experiencing the first steps, and of course, missteps, before becoming great.  So I’m focusing real hard on what I can do-right now.  Work, cook, clean, and get some indoor projects started.  Vermicomposting and mushroom cultivating for starters.