dreams of asheville

Earlier this week I mentioned a mystery city we are thinking of moving to, probably in a year or two, depending on when we can sell our condo and when we conceive. That mystery city is Asheville, North Carolina. Hubby and I are thinking of moving to Asheville because it will be equidistant to our families’ homes in metro Atlanta and Raleigh, about three hours (give or take) to each. We both like Asheville, although I have only been once last year. We’ll see how it works out, but we are both pretty excited about the possibility and are busily dreaming away.

Asheville is artsy and generally liberal-ish (a plus to us), with cute shops, art galleries, and a coffee shop in an old double-decker bus. Although it’s in the western North Carolina mountains, Asheville has a more temperate climate than you may think (although undoubtedly we’d be purchasing some more sweaters and such.) We’d live at the foot of the Blue Ridge Parkway, where hubby could enjoy some of the best cycling in the country. Together we are imagining our house there, and wondering if we could find a four-bedroom home with character just right for us. We picture a home with a large yard, room for a garden, and a space for outdoor entertaining.  This morning we daydreamed about that backyard, about laying a stone patio, putting in a fire pit. I gushed about how I’ve always wanted a walkway through a garden, meandering past lush landscaping and ending, perhaps, at a bench beside a pond with a fountain.

There are lots of unique restaurants there, along with yoga and belly dance studios. Not only religion but also a wide variety of spiritual practices are an important part of the Asheville landscape, and we love the latter too. We’re going to North Carolina in June for a wedding, and we’ve decided to stop by Asheville the night before to do some scouting. Hubby has lived in Atlanta for about 10 years now, and I have lived here since I was two years old. I’m ready to move, and hubby is getting excited about the idea as well. I love a good adventure.

Me on another adventure

me on another adventure last year


swagger wagon

Okay, maybe I am totally lame and this video is old news, but my sister-in-law just sent the video above to us and we thought it was hilarious so I thought I’d share. For the first twenty seconds or so I didn’t laugh much but then I totally got into it.

Favorite line: “Straight owning bake sales with my cupcake skills”

the cat’s out of the bag

Hubby and I went to visit his side of the family for a long Mother’s Day weekend, which was great except I am now sick. I’m wondering if perhaps it’s from being in the airport and around all those people and germs. Usually we drive the six hours, and it was worth it to have the shorter trip, but I do have a tendency to get sick after plane trips. I’m starting to feel better, but the last couple days haven’t been too fun.

Other than that, the weekend was great. Hubby’s sister and her hubby have two kids, our nieces. One is eight and the other will be two in August. We hadn’t seen them since the winter holidays so that, of course, was wonderful. They’re the sweetest girls, and it’s so interesting in particular to see how much a baby/toddler changes in six months.

Now on to the important stuff, as in…why did I title this post “the cat’s out of the bag”?

Hmm, well, it’s probably pretty obvious. On Saturday afternoon (before all the adults were planning on going to dinner together — this included hubby’s sis, her hubby, and my in-laws) I asked hubby if it would be okay if we told them we are trying to conceive. We talked about it and decided to go for it.

Hubby made the announcement over chips and salsa — the big margarita in front of me quickly gave away the fact that we are still TRYING — and the family seemed very excited, although thrown for a bit of a loop. We had an awkward but laugh-filled toast to sex (in which I nervously blurted out that we weren’t trying to conceive — aka have sex — in their house, and his mom said she didn’t care; ahh, the things I say sometimes), and his mom quickly starting running through her immediate thoughts aloud. Things like, will we ever move from Atlanta (closer to them)? And…”well, I’ll keep the crib after the baby grows out of it for you guys to use next.”

I am happy to have finally shared the secret, although I do feel kind of feel silly, like we told them a non announcement, or an announcement about an announcement that may come should we be able to conceive. [scratches head] Might as well have said, “Hey, Mom and Dad — just wanted to let you know, your son is having unprotected sex with me!” Giggle.

I think we’ll tell my family now too, just because I don’t want anyone’s feelings hurt whenever/if ever we do become pregnant. If they find out the other side of the family knew we were trying while they were in the dark I think it could be kind of awkward. We’re going over to my parents’ house this weekend for my mom’s birthday, so I suppose it will be time for another non announcement then.


anything but a gemini baby?

I don’t really believe in astrology, but when I occasion to read about the classic qualities of a Virgo, the description always seems to fit me pretty well. Fits hubby (another Virgo) well too, I think. I’ve also met many other people who appear to fit the descriptions of their signs extremely well. In particular I think of my mother, who I love dearly and who (in the good and bad ways) might be seen as the quintessential Taurus, and an ex-boyfriend who encapsulated (when I knew him at least) the very worst qualities of a Gemini.

So although I always say I don’t believe in horoscopes, I recently announced to hubby that I will be happy having a baby under any zodiac sign other than Gemini or Taurus. (Hubby thinks that’s silly, but he’s much more level headed than I am…another Virgo trait! Whaddya know?) Even I know that’s completely silly, deep down. I was glad to be reminded of how silly it really is today while reading a friend’s blog.

My friend’s latest post mentioned that she is a Gemini. Hmm, I didn’t know that. Well, this woman is friendly, creative, bright, loving, and cares very deeply about her family and friends. I would be happy to have a daughter like her someday. In fact, according to this astrology website, some of Gemini’s best traits are that they are adaptable and versatile, communicative and witty, intellectual and eloquent, and youthful and lively. The site says a Taurus’s best traits include being patient and reliable, warmhearted and loving, persistent and determined, and placid and security-loving.  My friend is all those things described of the Gemini, and my wonderful mother is all the things described of the Taurus.

So the truth is, hubby and I will be lucky and blessed to have a baby under any sign.

Besides, horoscope is all poppycock anyway. [wink]

what is shamanism?

It’s not devil worship and it’s not evil, although being raised in a largely Judeo-Christian family I have struggled with accepting my clear interest in allowing shamanism to be my path of spirituality. This year I feel myself finally shrugging off my embarrassment of the topic as my acceptance and understanding that it isn’t something sinful blossoms. And really, I don’t believe in sin anyway.

When hubby and I were married in October of last year, we were married by three shamans who serve as our spiritual mentors. I was terrified many of our guests would have the same preconceptions about shamanism that I have struggled against (read: not a Christ-centered religion, or a religion at all for that matter.) You may be wondering too what this spirituality I am into is all about. Well here’s what it’s about for me.

Shamanism is not a religion but rather a way of being that can be practiced by people from all walks of life and from all backgrounds and religions. In the group I participate in, there are Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and agnostics…I’m sure that list could go on, but those are just the religious backgrounds I know of personally. Shamanism is not a New Age practice, either, although Barnes & Noble puts books on the topic (rather incorrectly) in that section.

In the Native American and Israeli tribes, among others, the shaman was the medicine man (or woman; in fact, check out this article on the discovery of the oldest shaman grave, a 12,000-year-old one found in Israel) and psychologist of the tribe. There would often also be a religious leader of the tribe. From my understanding, these individuals were not the same and their roles were unique.

To me, shamanism is about going within and healing yourself so you can in turn help heal others and the world. It’s about your connection to God, Great Spirit, the Universe, whatever you want to call it. The basic tenent at the core of the practice is unconditional love and acceptance for yourself and all others around you. There’s a lot more to it all, but I hope this basic insight can give you an understanding of my path to spirituality and what it is and is decidedly not.

My spirituality (along with hubby’s) is an important part of our lives and journey of conception, so I want you to understand where we’re coming from. Our love is centered around personal growth and helping others, and that feels really healthy to both of us. One day soon, I hope we’ll have a spiritually-aware family of three.

what’s a conscious conception, anyway?

The Conception Mandala

When hubby and I decided to make a baby, me being the book lover I am I immediately thought: “We need to get a book.”

Fast forward to Barnes & Noble, my nose crinkled up in dismay at the rows of clinical fare, highlighting fertility problems, telling you everything to avoid, and telling you that there is hope for you to stay sane throughout pregnancy (as if we were to imagine that the natural result would, of course, be insanity), and help for those who thinks that, well, pregnancy just sucks.

Now I respect you if one or any of those books worked for you and were or are what you need. However at this point in life they weren’t what I needed. First I ordered The Conception Mandala by Mark Olsen and Samuel Avital. According to the back cover, “this practical guide shows how both men and women can participate actively and with heightened awareness in the supreme mystery of conception.” Sounds a bit hippy dippy and well, I liked it.

Hubby and I both really enjoyed this book. He is going to take an active role (beyond the, erhm, obvious) in this process of conception and transition into fatherhood, so we took turns reading it over the course of a few evenings.  The main takeaways we garnered from this book, which was surprisingly refreshing and relatively “non-New Agey,” were:

  • We purchased a journal together for our future child, and will present him or her with it one day when the time is “right.”
  • In that notebook, we put a combined “Statement of Intent,” which we wrote first individually and then combined together. In other words, this was our account of why we want to have a child. I will share ours later.
  • We also included an “invitation” to our unborn child, which we wrote again individually and then together. Later we had a ceremony of sorts and read the invitation aloud together. I will share ours later.
  • After we conceive we will add a welcome to our child, and will add to the notebook as desired through the process of pregnancy, childbirth (with an account of his or her birth), and on if desired. We may add poems, quotes, or drawings.
  • We are creating a conception mandala. Consider this a spiritual art project. Mandalas are considered by many to be a sacred circle and our conception mandala will be a visual representation of our unformed child and all our hopes and dreams for him or her. We have begun creating ours on a canvas and last week we started painting it. I will share it, too, when we’re done.

If you are actively trying to conceive and are interested in the ideas behind a conscious, spirit-filled conception, I’d recommend either picking up a used copy of The Conception Mandala or giving it a read on Google Books. I found it a great way to begin our journey.