The Arrival of Emmanuel Josiah

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So, after weeks of waiting on my baby to arrive I was finally at my breaking point. On May 11, I laid down and spoke with Peanut and God to please come soon. I just couldn’t see myself going another three weeks.

Sure enough, at 6:15am I got out of bed to go to the restroom and there goes my water…right down my legs. I was pretty surprised because only 12% of women actually have their water break before labor. It was a moment of complete relief and joy because I knew then that I was going to see my peanut sooner rather than later. I did not have to wait another 1-3 weeks! The look on Ramons face was priceless. You could tell he was excited. It was a refining moment for our family. We are now two on the verge of becoming three. I sent my midwife Laura Cochran  and her assistant Amy Berrelli a text letting them know what was going on. Laura was calm cool and collective. I just continued to keep her updated.

I did not immediately go into labor. In fact I was feeling cramps but I didn’t recognize them as labor pains until 11:45am when they got more intense. At that point Ramon began timing them. They fluctuated between 4-22 minutes apart for 25hrs averaging at times between 4-10minutes apart. During this time Ramon and I labored on our own. In fact it was really amazing. I baked chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies and had the most amazing cheese steak w/cheese wiz for dinner and we went to bed. The contractions at this point were strong enough that I could not sleep throughout the night. I slept in between contractions and while a contraction was in effect I would moan or vocalize to get through them. I constantly kept Laura updated and she would continue to encourage me and tell me to be sure to sleep because I was going to need it later. She also wanted me to call her when I needed her presence.  Well, I felt pretty darn good on my own. With Ramons help it was painful but manageable so I just kept on laboring. It wasn’t until 5ish am that things started getting a bit more intense and Laura suggest Ramon fill up the tub. I tell ya, when I got in the tub the pain decreased by 50%. It was amazing!!!!!!

Amy arrived first then Laura shortly after around 8ish that morning on May 13. Around 10:30am Laura checked me and then told me that she would like to give me on some herbal remedies to try to speed along the process, she asked me if I would like some benedryl too so that I can get a few hours of sleep. Of course I said yes to that. I ended up getting about 2 1/2 hrs of sleep and boy did I need it. About an hour later she checked me again and at this point she gave me two options. #1 to continue laboring like I was which I could do however it was unproductive or #2 enjoy a delicious peanut butter, chocolate and castor oil milk shake 🙂 Oh joy…No seriously…That shake was DELICIOUS! Obviously, you know what option I chose. As I sipped on my castor oil shake Ramon and I went on a walk around the neighborhood. Did that shake work or what because soon enough I was having contractions every 10-15 steps! We only walked around the block and we went back into the house. At this point I was on fire and I felt like I needed to go poo really really bad…but I couldn’t. That’s when Laura told me that its my baby descending and that’s how it will make me feel. I hopped in the shower to cool off and deal with the pain.

(Did I mention that during the 25hrs of early labor I hadn’t dialated past a 2. In fact I was barely a two and boy am I glad Laura never told me.)

Ramon wanted me to rest seeing as that I was wiped out. The moment I had a contraction I hopped up and said “Get me in the pool now!” I literally could not stand another contraction outside of water.

I got into the pool around 2:30 and this is when my “active labor” began. I labored for 6 intense hours. I remember at some point asking Amy and Laura when it was going to be over. I remember Laura saying “Cessilye, now this is labor”. Those 25hrs prior to this moment was a breeze compared to the real deal. Ya wanna know my secret to getting my mind off that pain….lol. I just had a Major Pain flashback. Ok, seriously. I stopped vocalizing and began internalizing all of my pain directly to my uterus. I remember the first time I did this I was in the bathroom with Ramon and I envisioned my uterus pushing my baby out, Ramon catching Peanut and then handing me our baby. It brought such a huge smile to my face and I was able to cope with the contractions much better after that. I also, spoke to my uterus. I know it sounds weird but towards the end of labor you just simply want your baby!!!! So, I would mentally tell my uterus to give me my baby. I was yelling in my mind.

The wonderful thing about my labor is that I didn’t have any distractions. I did not have anyone directing me. I had my husband who continued to encourage me when he felt I needed to hear it and rub my back with olive oil. I can remember like it was yesterday my husband telling me “You’re a G”. I had Amy Berrelli who would look at me genuinely and tell me how wonderful I am doing and Laura Cochran who would offer guidance whenever I needed it. I had a birth mix cd my husband hooked up for me that had various artist on it such as Kari Jobe, Lauren Hill, Chrisette Michelle, Maxwell and Tre Nelson and many others. I had silence, peacefulness and most of all I had Jesus.

There were just a few times where my mind would wonder if I could compete this task but those moments were literally seconds. I knew that God created my body to do what it was designed to do and that was carry and bear a child. I could do this.

I knew something was up because when I would briefly open my eyes I would see Laura and Amy doing things. Putting gloves on, Amy would have a flashlight aimed and the GRAND EXIT and I remember hearing Laura whisper to Amy and Ramon to switch places so that Ramon could catch the baby.

There came a point where my back was killing me. Laura suggested I get on my hands and knees. I leaned over the pool and thus began the pushing phase. I did not have anyone tell me to push. My body just knew what to do. With each contraction I found myself pushing with it. It wasn’t intentional I just had to. After a while Laura said, “Cessilye reach down and feel your progress”. I reached down and felt the top of my baby’s head. It was amazing. Here I am doing the very thing that I have witnessed in a multitude of home birth videos. “Thats my baby, I said.” I knew then that the end was literally around the corner. Lets get this done is what was going on in my mind. The funny thing is prior to her telling me to feel by baby, I had no idea just how far along I was.

I kept at it and soon enough my babies head was out. Another contraction went by however it didn’t seem as strong. Laura asked me “Cessilye are you going to push your baby out during the next contraction?” I said, “Im gonna try”. It came the most important contraction of them all, the one to bring by baby’s entire body into this world. It was HARD!! Laura told me I had to push harder than I was and I did. I pushed well beyond the contraction and finally gave birth to Emmanuel Josiah Smith at 8:37pm May 13, 2011.

My husband Ramon and Laura caught Emmanuel and Ramon handed me our son.  The first tears of this entire event were tears at the arrival of our son. As we held our son Ramon prayed over our family. It was the most special moment that our family of three will ever experience. One that I would experience all over again in a heart beat and not change a single thing.

Emmanuel =The Lord is with us

Josiah=The Lord Heals (Read blog entitled “Making a Baby”)

8:37 – the time Emmanuel was born

8=New Beginnings

3=Trinity

7=Completion

So as we begin this new journey, I now know that my family of three is now complete. All thanks to Jesus Christ our Lord and our Savior.

P.S. HE HAD A KNOT IN HIS CORD AND WE NEVER KNEW.

Identity Crisis

activism, blacklivesmatter, feminism, pro-life, racism

Who am I? My name is Cessilye Smith. I am a black woman who grew up in an amazing two parent household with a younger sister and a dog. My life as a child was pretty much drama free. My parents are two beautiful human beings who are still married and very much in love. My mother was my most spiritual influence and my father was present and affirmed that I was both black and beautiful.  My sister and I fought a lot but now we are closer than we have ever been. I am now married to an amazing man and we have three children.

The uncomfortable stuff

Growing up I was surrounded by white people. There are only a few instances of racism that I recall in my life but my first was when I was in kindergarten. A little red head girl did not want to hold my hand on a field trip because she thought I would rub off on her. My parents handled that. No doubt.

I remember going to a convenience store when I was in middle school in Sulphur Springs, TX. and the cashier didn’t want to touch me so I was forced to put my cash on the counter. No one had to tell me what happened was racist. In fact, I don’t know if anyone knew what had just happened. But what I do know is that I felt it…and it felt horrible.

My sister from another mother, father and culture lives outside of San Antonio. I met her at track camp at UT in Austin when we were teens. We hit it off and we have always called each other sisters. Not friends, but sisters. We were so innocent about things such as race. I remember us putting on each others makeup to see what we would look like(that evidence will never go public;). I would go visit her and vice versa about once a year. Well, in 1998 I went to visit her and I found myself terrified. You see, my sister friend is from a small Polish town and although I grew up very comfortable around white people I was actually scared of them for the first time in my life.

Why all of a sudden?…..

James Byrd Jr.(Jasper,TX)

I’m actually in tears typing this.  I’m thinking about my sons. I’m thinking about the loss of innocence and the current reality of not going a day without thinking about the color of my skin and how it affects so much around me. From the way I raise my sons and my daughter, to activism.

In my early twenties I dated this white man about 16yrs older than me. I managed a store in Granbury, TX and we were hanging outside the Walmart there when a group of white men in their car yelled out “Nigger Lover!” to my then boyfriend.  I was terrified to drive back home that night…..so I didn’t.

I grew up protected from the world around me, completely unaware of the realities that people of color (POC) face every single day. Due to the “protection” that I received from my parents I believe it contributed to the happy, healthy, relatively uneventful pregnancies and fat babies that I birthed at home….for that I am incredibly thankful.

Protection=ignorance

Ignorance regarding my culture. Black American Culture.

I was teased a lot. I “talked white” did not understand slang or much about my history beyond MLK, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman….slavery.

“What school do/did you go to?”…private school…”Oh!…..THAT explains it”…yeah…it did.

*Side note. Have you ever researched the history of private schools? I’m not saying they are all like they use to be, but private education was a way to defy integration. It was a way to keep us brown people away and to some extent it still is. They let us in if we have the money to attend and/or the athletic ability to make their schools look good(it’s so obvious). This goes into the inequalities of education based on socio-economic status which ties into racism. That’s a rabbit trail I’m not going to lead you on right now.

I was a conservative, right winged, Bible thumping, Obama hating(not quite hate, just dislike) woman. I talked about the black community negatively. “They only vote democrat because mama did and granny did, so on and so forth.” It was a lot of “they” talk. There was such a disconnect.  I was pro-life because why wouldn’t a Bible believing Christian be? Funny how I attributed the behaviors of a specific community based on how they were raised without looking at myself.  This is in no way intended to paint my parents in a negative light. I will to this day attest that they are the most incredible parents I could have ever had. Flawed? yes, and so am I. I apologize to my children almost daily.

The thing is…..it has taken me becoming a parent for my eyes to be opened. I believe we are products of our environment. Our parents influence us in so many ways. I still do believe that often times people vote (among many things)based on what their mama did and their granny did and it does not matter what socio-economic environment or political affiliation you come from.

Open eyes create relief and heartache. 

My season of infertility was the beginning of my birth work/activism journey.  You can read that here  https://xrossxulture.wordpress.com

But let’s go back a little. The very beginning was Project M.I.C.A.H.(Molding Identities in Children through Art and History). The mission…”Project MICAH  is dedicated to enhancing the lives of low income and under privileged youth by providing quality education in the area of dance and various art disciplines while promoting creativity and spiritual growth”

You can see the old site here http://projectmicah.blogspot.com/

I founded a non-profit….WHAAAT! I truly had a passion for dance and I LOVED youth that looked like me. I wanted them to have the same opportunities that my parents offered me. Project MICAH was my first child and I believe it provided me a door into the realities of black life and essentially parenting. Looking back, it also revealed a “savior” complex that I was unaware I had until I began reflecting.  You ever hear the term “white savior”? Well, obviously I’m not white but what did I really know about the community aside from how “under privileged” it was?….nothing. But I say that not to discredit the work that was done. It was beautiful and I believe there was purpose behind the organization and it’s telling by how far I have come today.

I can write about this stuff because I am not the person I once was. In fact I can say with confidence that my intentions were pure.  I just didn’t know much. Through years of my husband working in youth ministry, living in the hood, witnessing the gentrification of our communities, learning of the preschool to prison pipeline, the prison industrial complex, having children of our own and learning of the disparities in maternal and infant mortality of POC…. I was forced awake!

With this new found wokeness came relief and heartache.  Relief because I now know who I am. I am confident in myself as a black woman and I am continually empowered by the long lineage of black women and men that made it possible for me to be who I am today. The #hiddenfigures in my ancestry. The black bodies that literally built this country. This is exciting because I’m learning daily and my children will know their history and will be part of it.

#thatheartachetho

It’s awful. The more I learn the more pain I feel because of what I see around me. My community is riddled of generational poverty and oppression. I see how the past affects us. Just as in feminism we fight against the view of holding the male body as normative, we as POC are fighting against whiteness as being viewed and held as normative. I feel like screaming! Some days I just want to go outside and scream until the whole world FEELS not only my pain but the pain of every oppressed person in this country. Every dead black mother and child due to systematic inequalities that span generations.

I want people to understand that “There is neither shame nor glory in being among the privileged/powerful (who can do great things when they become accountable stewards of their power/privilege) or among the oppressed/marginalized (who are a prophetic witness to injustice in the world, as well as the justice and mercy of God)” – Judy Wu Dominick

Who am I now?

I’m still trying to figure that out. I know that Christ is continually pruning me and making me new. I know that I don’t quite fit in anywhere and I suppose that is ok. For many I’m a bit TOO BLACK and for some I am not BLACK ENOUGH. I’m behind the ball and there is still so much that I have yet to learn.

Because I identify as a pro-life feminists with a consistent life ethic, people aren’t sure what to do with that. But the cool thing is that people are a beginning to at least listen to me….which is weird.

You CAN be both Pro-life and Pro-black….in fact you should be. In other words you can be both Pro-life and have a clear understanding of the oppression of people of color, marginalized people groups and see how things intersect.  You CANNOT be Pro-life and ignore the very laws that make it impossible for people to choose life to begin with. You CANNOT be pro-life and not be actively dismantling the structures of white supremacy that essentially kill black babies whether that be through abortion or through food desserts, gentrification and institutional racism. We have a national crisis at hand within the black community. Infant mortality, maternal mortality and abortion are linked in more ways than many care to realize and I believe we all can choose to be part of the solution or be part of the problem.

What am I saying?

I mentioned above that I’m not quite sure who I am…Well, I’m learning. I know that I’m not the person I once was. I know that I can generally bounce between heavily saturated black and white environments with ease and I have my upbringing and life experiences to thank for that.  I know that my life’s purpose goes beyond being a wife and mother. I know that part of my purpose it to leave a legacy of truth, freedom, justice and mercy.  I know that I am a sponge and I want to surround myself with empathetic, compassionate and most of all transparent people who seek to be consistent in their life and the lives of others. I know that I love to garden and I have this backyard that keeps growing weeds. And I believe these weeds are symbolic of the work that still must be done. That…

“In order to get rig of the weed you must pull it up by the root. Let’s uproot the system and plant a seed that bears fruit.”

I pray my seed (children) see my rooted faith along with the efforts that have been made and choose to be fruit bearers for future generations.

But most importantly……I pray that my children live.

#blacklivesmatter #representationmatters #prolife #prochoice #prowoman #newwavefeminist #doulaforlife #consistentlifeethic #trueprolifefeminist #rehumanize

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Home Water Birth of Ezra Jeremiah

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Today last year my #3, sweet Ezra, was born and it was a phenomenal day. I would do it all over in a heartbeat.

Xross

Where do I start….

Each of my childrens births have been special in their own right. However this one was special because we finally have roots. We have been a family on the move ever since Ramon and I said “I do”. Constantly moving nearly every year. Well, with the help and prayers of many friends and relatives, we purchased our first home in Oct. Because of this I was determined to have our baby at home.

If you read our previous blog entries you will see the history of how the Lord has been in every aspect of our fertility. Every single child we have has been a “surprise” and every child has been knit and woven in my womb by the Lord above, even when the doctors said it would never happen. There is no denying what the Lord has done in my family and I will always…

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When the Women’s March on Washington, March for Life and Intersectionality Meet

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Where do I begin?

First of all I never believed I would be put in a position where anyone would actually listen to me. I mean, I don’t feel I’m doing anything that any normal person with a half a brain would do.

Let me tell you about my experiences at the Women’s March on Washington and The March for Life.

The WMoW was amazing. I felt out of place in a way because there was much going on around me that made my “ultra-conservative” roots shake its head.  But then there was this absolute amazement that we all were so darn different and yet we could march in solidarity with each other. So many are living under the delusion that the WMoW was about abortion.

Let me make some things clear here. Yes, I marched with New Wave Feminists. Yes, we applied to be partners with the WMOW and were listed as a partner. Yes, they rescinded on that partnership once leaders within the feminist movement complained about it. Were we banned from marching? NO.

Indigenous tribes were marching to protect their land and for clean water, FLINT(without clean water for over 1000 days btw) trans lives, women’s healthcare, black lives, refugees, equal pay,  and the list goes and on and on. Just a couple on this list should move you right?

Initially,  I was a little nervous about pulling out our “I am a pro-life feminist” signs. Why? Because we were surrounded by Planned Parenthood supporters and I know that hurt comes packaged in anger. But you know what? We did it anyway. I had one person tell me that I didn’t exist and I kept smiling.  I had many many women staring at me out of curiosity, I knew they wanted to talk to me but they hesitated. After a while of hanging with the rest of the pro-life advocates who maintain a consistent life ethic I decided to separate myself from the crew.  I heard whispers… “those are the pro-lifers” ….”ugh, I don’t want to be anywhere near them”……As much as there seems to be safety in numbers I felt the only way I was going to actually engage with people was by maintaining a smile,  a welcoming persona and separating myself a bit from the intimidating nature of a pro-life group.

This is when something amazing happened…..

A woman, who had been hanging near me for a while approached me. She looked like she had a very hard life, I rubbed her the wrong way and most of all she was pissed.

She asked me “What is this all about?” (meaning my sign). I then explained to her what we were all about. That we have much more in common than we do apart. That we believe in the consistent life ethic, that all people are valuable from the womb to the tomb. That we must first see to the needs of the mother (that being psychological, financial, physical, emotional etc). Once we see to these needs our hope is that they will choose life for their babies. She asked me if I believe in birth control. I said yes and did not get a chance to elaborate. She was still pissed. Btw I believe she was post-abortive. I continued and explained the Help Assist Her app. and ended by sharing that we are trying to make abortion unthinkable not illegal. That we must unpack the reasons why women choose to abort in the first place. We must change the culture.  She paused then said……”I can get behind that” then walked off.

This was the highlight of my day. Nevermind hearing the legend Angela Davis speak, the heartfelt chants led by Janelle Monet leading the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner. No, someone who had her guard up heard me and although we walk on two different paths of advocacy we found common ground. It’s that common ground that will change lives.

 

The March for Life

The MFL was great! I was surrounded by people who maintain the consistent life ethic that I am so passionate about. It was beautiful to see so many people that are passionate about the unborn and marching on their behalf. I feel I must make things clear before my words are twisted. These are my personal thoughts on the differences in the marches and my PERSONAL opinions on how I felt at each march. Please don’t pick me apart and please do not assume that whatever is written is about you.

I knew that when I went to the MFL that my goal was to engage. The march was great but in order for people to listen to you, you have to get to a place where they can hear you. I tried. It was hard.  Between the police barricade and the lack of eye contact from the “other side” it was difficult. There was a moment where I felt like time stood still and I just cried. I was witnessing very large white men holding up a huge Students for Life(I give them cool points fo zeal but that’s it) banner squeezing in behind the protestors. From my vantage point it looked like they were bulldozing them. My internal thoughts where “how is this helping anyone?”. Same goes for all the aborted baby imagery. That was disgusting and shameful in my opinion.

I squeezed my way through their “wall” seeking to find someone from the “other side” to talk to. The only one I could safely speak with was a man who was boldly standing in front of them with his sign of opposition. He listened to me and he agreed with our message and in return he thanked me.

Now I say all of this because it’s clear I had two very different experiences and both were wonderful but I do strongly believe that if our pro-life brothers and sisters went in a direction of understanding the reasons why women choose abortion to begin with we would make some major steps toward change. Criminalizing women instead of meeting their needs will only add to the problem. Bulldozing hurting women to prove a point does nothing but infuriate them.

I’m thankful that Life Matters Journal granted me an opportunity to share my heart on the matter of intersectionality within the pro-life movement. If the pro-life movement wants to break through to the opposition then we must, let me repeat WE MUST recognize that to be pro-life we must first be human. Humans care about women and their ability to care for their families. Humans care about equality, humans care about the marginalized and humans care about the refugee crisis going on RIGHT NOW. We must get past the signs and the movement and feel the other person’s plight. Only then will there be a bridge built between two very different platforms. Until then all the opposition will see are pro-birthers who, bulldoze hurting women, force you to see aborted babies and don’t really care about the many additional lives that are affected by abortion.

 

In Conclusion

So with all that said. I did have a better time at the WMoW because it was clearly intersectional.  They may have held a pro-choice platform but I can work with that because when it’s all said and done, common ground is where change happens.

Last note, to all my pro-life advocates who are hitting the pavements and are doing what needs to be done in this movement….kudos to you. Just remember that on the outside all they see is the stereotype. You must work diligently to break it.

 

 

 

 

 

RE-A-CESS

advocacy, Birth, corruption, Faith, feminism, Focus, God, health, hope, hurt, pro-life

When I came up with the title of this blog I did not notice my nick name in it (Cess), or how in this current season of life I would be re-assessing how I do…life. I truly was blind to it and went way deeper into the definition of what a recess is and how each letter represents each member of my family.

Well, here I am. Re-assessing so much. Shall I begin?

I took a random break from that place my friend Brianna calls facey-space and it has been AMAZING. In a way I’m dreading getting back on but I’m also excited about how I will utilize my time on social media and how I can better the world around me through my words.

Through this time I realized I allowed the burdens of this world to cloud my vision. Now you may be wondering what my vision is. Well…..I envision creating a better world. Most specifically a better world for not only my children but for women and children. Yeah, I also have a bent towards women and children of color. As a chocolate skinned woman I am well aware of what is going on around me. I see, feel, taste and smell the poison that this world is pouring into our lives. I’m especially sensitive to racial inequality, systematic racism, and anything that places people of color(of any color I might add) as secondary to our white brothers and sisters.

Anyways, I’m re-assessing so much. Like for instance. How much negativity do I allow in? “Protect your space” is something I hold dear and I encourage you to do the same.  We could never abolish all of the corrupt sinfulness of the world but we can limit how much we allow in our sacred space. We could allow it to drown our thoughts to the point of self devaluation and hatred toward others or we can tighten the knob on the faucet and just let a few drops in every now and then. This allows you to process it all and then decide what you will do with it. You might let it sit there for a grip. But it’s a slow fill.  When the knob is loose the faucet is wide open. You then run the risk of a flood. Let that $hit drip.

Focus. When I allowed the faucet to remain open I then lost my focus. I wanted to do everything to make a difference all while doing nothing.  So, now that I’ve got that faucet dripping and darn near closed I am able to focus on things that matter.  What are the things that matter to you and what are you doing about it?

Well currently the focus has been on self-care, marriage and children. Through my work as a doula I have become more vocal about my pro-life stance and have since been pushed into this wold of advocacy. During my time away I finally opened the drain and let the problems of the world flow down through the pipes all while stopping up the plug and leaving the few things that I can manage in the sink of my heart and mind.  What am I going to do with it? Well…. a lot.

I’m kind of nervous but I’m overwhelmed with so much anticipation for what the Lord has in store. I see change. Change in feminism. Change in healthcare. Change in what pro-life means. I see structures that lead to the oppression of people torn down. I see women being helped through the crisis so that they have hope during their pregnancy and beyond. I see empowerment and a change of heart. I see woman and children saved. I see many more advocates. I see a NEW WAVE of empowering women and understanding what that means.

I feel this is the time for a shameless plug. Have you heard of Doulas For Life or New Wave Feminists? How about The Guiding Star Project?  Well, if you haven’t you should check them out right now. We are in the aftermath of a storm. Generally a storm brings destruction but in the end it’s up to us to figure out how to pick up the pieces and put everything back together.  So instead of putting them back where they use to be we are making new buildings that are more structurally sound. Instead of everyone re-building their own structure alone, we are building together. We are assessing how and why the buildings were not able to withstand the storm, and our hope is that the new buildings we create will not only withstand future storms, but will provide shelter for those who are in the midst of their own personal struggle.

“If you want to get rid of the weed you must pull it up by the root. Let’s uproot the system and plant a seed that bears fruit.” – Cessilye

#RECESS

https://www.facebook.com/doulasforlife/

https://www.facebook.com/NewWaveFeminists/?fref=ts

http://www.newwavefeminists.com

https://www.facebook.com/TheGuidingStarProject

 http://theguidingstarproject.com/

 

 

 

 

 

2016

Birth, blacklivesmatter, corruption, Faith, Food, God, health, hope, hurt, institutionalracism, Jesus, Motherhood, pain, Parenting, race

What comes to mind when you think of 2016? Is it the Presidential election, Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, senseless deaths….Haiti? Is it social media, bathroom rights, Cosby, Kanye, The Kardashians, and Katherine Jenner? How about mommy wars, breastfeed shaming(to cover or not to cover), GMO’s, Vaccines and all those holistic dr. deaths being suspect.  What about police brutality, riots, Dallas, the New Jim Crow, Flint and …the wall.

I know, I know, some of you are probably thinking….damn.

Some of you are probably wanting to stop reading right now, but wait.

I know that this year has bene rough to say the least.  I personally left tha book(you know what I mean) right before the election. I needed to. As much as I wanted to change the world for my children the world was wrecking me.

I’m an empath.  Google it….With that said this year has been a tough one.

I initially thought that this blog entry would be about how amazing 2016 had been. Because when it’s all said and done there is a laundry list of things that I am so thankful for. It’s been a whirlwind but a good one. The tough times have brought me to a place of self reflection and healing.

The thing is…I want to encourage you. Instead of marinating on the brutality of this past year or wishing for it to be over I want you to close your eyes for a while and peel back all the thick layers of hurt and pain until you come to something…beautiful.

Keep peeling….

Peel it off…

keep on going…

almost there….

Have you found it?

Now once you’ve found it I want you to reflect on it. Go deep. See if anyone else could have possibly been affected in a positive light. After that I want you to go searching for more. It should get easier. Pretty soon you just may be focused solely on just how amazing 2016 has been. Notice I didn’t say “was”. Because 2016 is not over. You still have a few more days to make incredible memories.

Can I share something beautiful with you?

In Oct. I found myself on the verge of a mental breakdown. My husband and I were not speaking each others love language, I was overwhelmed being at home all day with three kids under five. I was always tired, I missed being fit and dancing like I use to, I was sad. Sad because my family life is not how I imagined it would be. Sad because of all the tragedy in the word and my eyes being opened to oppression and institutional racism. People of color feeling hopeless and babies dying in the womb because women feel they have no way out and a government that keeps people trapped into an oppressive mindset and way of life. I could go on and on at the things that were plaguing my mind but let me get to the good stuff.

The good stuff is that I know for sure that I needed help. I’ve suffered with depression on and off for years. And post partum depression can develop anywhere from a few weeks to a year after delivery. Is it possible that if you have your babies every 2-2.5 yrs like me, that you never fully kick it? Maybe, all I know is that with a little help from some natural supplements(I’m not talking about the ganja 😉  Although, that stuff has some amazing properties if you can get it legally(obey the laws of the land ya’ll).

Anyways supplements helped me and dare I say it(to all my agnostic and heathen friends, don’t tune me out) Jesus. I’m serious ya’ll. If there is one thing that has remained constant in my life it is Christ. The one that saved me. The one that listens even when I may not feel He is. The one that keeps me going. The one that I will always and forever give glory to. I’ve joined a local BSF where we study the Word. Not devotional, no….BIBLE STUDY. It’s been amazing. But most importantly, my relationship with God is growing. I’m grounded or shall I say rooted.

I encourage you to give up the desire to be “tha man or woman” and lay your burdens at the cross. Just lay it out. Everything……then wait. Wait for His direction and be prepared for whatever that is. Sometimes it is in line with what you want and then sometimes it reminds you that your desires aren’t His desires. People often misquote Psalm 37:4

“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

They usually take out the first part of that sentence and say “Girl you know God will give you the desires of your heart”…………..WRONG……but right. Who or what do you delight in? If you aren’t delighting in the Lord then……marinate on that for a minute.

My husband teaches our children this saying. “I am what I am by the grace of God, by the grace of God”. Now repeat that.  Rap that piece. Add a little shoulder bounce and beat to it. I’m here to remind you that “You are what you are by the grace of God, by the Grace of God”.

So if you don’t take away anything from this year, take away that…and carry it into the new year.

Romans Road – Romans 3:23, 3:10, 5:12, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9-10, 10:13, 10:17

John 3:16

Ashe,

Cessilye

#RECESS

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Motherhood

Faith, God, health, hope, Motherhood, Parenting

When we say we want to be mothers do we see what all that entails? Did you look past the glamorous pregnancy, beautiful baby and sweet children? I know I didn’t.  LOL!

I always knew I wanted children. I wanted five. A part of me still does(did I just type that?).

Motherhood is not for the weak. I say this because it’s truly the hardest thing I have ever done. I mean, loving my children is easy.  It’s the dying to self, remaining patient and self care that is not.

I believe motherhood is one of the most selfless things that you can do. You literally have to die to self daily. What do I mean when I say that? Well, just imagine your children’s lives if you did everything you wanted to do with no regard to what they want or need?  Do you need some examples?…..ok

Think about what you would drink. How about what you would listen to or watch. Want to be spontaneous and go to a concert or movie at midnight? How about sleeping in or staying out as late as you want? Double date anyone? What if you just want to sit in silence and read a book?……….I’m laughing at the thought of silence in the middle of the day.

Get the picture? When you are in the middle of it, it’s easy to get lost, to lose your identity, to be overwhelmed with the privileged responsibility of nurturing the little munchkins until they are mature, responsible adults. It’s a lot of responsibility for just one child yet alone three or six!

But we are capable.

All of this reminds me of the daily battle of crucifying my flesh so that I may live in Christ. Peeling off that sinful nature so that I may live! The struggle is real. Selfishness is real. But I am a new creature and I know that the more I reach for Him the more ammunition I have to fight the flesh. I pray the Lord prunes us all so that we can produce more fruit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Look at that fruit! Every single one of those delicious, nutritious and life giving fruits are detrimental to child rearing. Don’t think of a home where these fruits are absent. Think of a home that is lacking in just one! It’s amazing how just one affects them all.

Motherhood teaches us that just as a child is 100% dependent upon us from the womb. WE are 100% dependent upon our Lord every.single.day.  Even when we think we are doing good, when are we truly ever not in NEED of CHRIST?….NEVER. For it’s in those moments when we think we are good that we may become tempted to be self-righteous. Hence out dependency upon the Savior.

Listen sisters, I am the first to say that this role is tough but let us not lose hope. Let us remember that He has called us for such a time as this(Check out the calling on Esthers life in Esther 4).

Let us remember that….

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17

Lean on Christ, breath and make sure you take care of yourself.  I know that those kiddos can do a number on our mental health so  don’t be afraid to get on some supplements. They have helped me in more ways than I can count. Get up before everyone, workout even if it’s 15min, watch your eating. I guarantee you will feel better when you eat better and sleep more. I know, I know. There is a laundry list and literally laundry to be done but you know what? It will get done….eventually. Close your eyes and realize the treasure that you have been given and always remember that in order to have healthy children mama must first be healthy. How will you commit yourself to good health? Mental, spiritual and physical health. Today’s a new day.

To MOTHERHOOD! Now, grab you sword(bible), supplements, coffee and sometimes wine.

We got this.

#RECESS

my-three

Hurt People, Hurt People

Faith, hope, Racial Reconciliation

As many of you know, I am an advocate. An advocate for women, babies, black lives and above all I am unashamed of The Christ that I follow.

With that said I have taken a step back and observed. I have observed the media highlight what they wish in order to stir up specific responses from people, and it has worked. But let us not minimize the response.

No matter the motive the reaction is real. The racism is real, the shootings are real, the murders are real, the loss of life is real, the fear is real, the good cop is real, the bad cop is real, the black man, woman, boy guilty or not is real, marginalized people are real, institutional racism is real, the families affected are real, residential segregation aka “redlining” is real, the history of black and white people is real, segregation is real, slavery is real, Jim crow is real, lynching is real, black wallstreet is real, Selma is real, white supremacy is real, the preschool to prison pipeline is real, abortion is real, the devastating infant and maternal mortality rates for women and babies of color is real, gentrification is real, white privilege is real, the “elite” is real, classism is real, sexism is real, prejudice is real, color is real, a stripped culture is real, poverty is real, colorism is real, corrupt systems are real, people….flesh and blood, hearts pumping and brains in overdrive are real,             THE PAIN IS REAL, THE HURT IS REAL……..

Does this list make you angry because you feel a finger is being pointed at you? If it does then I urge you to seek  prayer for clarity, understanding, empathy and compassion. Because when it’s all said and done…..it’s not about you, it’s about someone else’s pain. When you fail to see how you can be part of the healing process and live out Romans 12: 15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn”, you then become part of the problem.

A sweet friend of mine wrote a blog recently and something stuck out to me. I mean, it pierced my heart and made me deeply desire everyone in this world to see and apply it to their lives.

Feel before you act.

Is it possible for us to do this? Is it possible for us to take off the layers of defensiveness and just feel someone else’s pain?

For my brothers and sisters out there who’s heart’s have hardened due to the the current racial climate, I want to remind you of something. Just as all the things listed above are very real today and I understand your heart is so weary with the reality that there is a thin line between love and hate. Please know that there is one more thing that is also very very real …..Jesus.  Jesus is real.

As many will lead you to believe, He is not just the “white mans God”. I urge you to go to the feet of our Father and lay your pain at the throne. Lay it out and seek Him for ways to lead you on to a path of making a radical impact in your community.  This division you see is the enemy working overtime. He sees you are hurting and will use that to inflict hurt even among our ally’s. Let’s allow the Lord to lead us well. Allow Him to use you to bring about racial reconciliation. It starts with us. The church. #therealchurch #wakeupchurch

Hurt people, hurt people. But only Christ can bring true healing.

#Recess

It’s a Date

Motherhood, Parenting

Ramon and I realized a while back that we must have 1 on 1 time with are munchkins, so we make it a point to do that. The thing that Emmanuel(5yr) and I enjoy doing together involves a trip to The Dallas Farmers Market. This is where we pick out local veggies and meat raised humanely along with local honey narrowed down by zip code(gotta stay on those allergies). Emmanuel enjoys every second of our date. There are two things that we most look forward to. Checking out the garden and Pudding On Smiles banana pudding. Support your local #BOB #puddingonsmiles

As we headed out on our journey to the market we pass through a nursery. This nursery is very big and there are lots of areas to explore. Being a mom that is always on the move I had my mind focused on getting to the market, picking out our goodies and leaving. But no.

Emmanuel had a different plan.  He saw something. He saw lot’s of things. Trees, bushes, flowers, archways, beautiful shaded areas and he says “mom can we go down there?”. At first I said, “well we have to go get our veggies”….you know me….eyes on the goal. But then something in me said, STOP. Listen to your son, relax, take your time and enjoy this moment. How often do you find the time to stop rushing so you can see what your passing? Or better yet, how often do you look through your peripheral vision to expand your vision?

I gave in to the pulling, let the control in me go and simply enjoyed my son. I asked him if I could hold his hand. “Yes” he replied and we nearly held hands the entire outing. At one point he says “Mommy, I like it when we have private time”. In fact he said it about five times while we were out and about.

He didn’t have to share me and I didn’t feel pulled in two, three or four different directions. For moments throughout our date it felt as if he were my only child. That is until he insisted on introducing everyone to Ezra who happened to be on my back.

I share this experience with you because parenthood is full of… everything.  But get this. Moments like this are what it’s all about. Take time to follow your child’s lead. Look through your peripheral. You will be amazed by how much of the world you once missed out on. And they will always remember their parents spending time with them.

#RECESS

dateday2

Why R.E.C.E.S.S?

Birth, Faith, Food, Homeschool, Motherhood, Parenting, Uncategorized

Well, R.E.C.E.S.S. consists of every member of my family. Ramon, Emmanuel, Cessilye, Ezra and Sarai Smith. All of us. This blog is not only about my family and all that that encompasses. But in this world we live in, my family, my thoughts, my little space is just that…Space.
A recess is a small space created by building part of a wall further back from the rest. This is my space apart from the rest of the world. This is where I type my views on the rest of the world and invite you (the rest of the world) in.

In this little space there will be a myriad of topics. From Homeschooling, parenting, marriage, natural living and healthy sometimes bad eating, to birth, civil rights, feminism, faith and fitness. Just to name a few.

As most of you know I am passionate about so much. Doula work, Childbirth education, pro-life advocacy, natural everything from vaccines to what we allow in and on our bodies, gardening and family. I enjoy empowering women and encouraging others as they desire to become #woke to the very real problem of systemic oppression facing people of color.

I say all this because although all of the things listed are amazing things, there is nothing that comes close to my roles of servant of Christ, wife of Ramon and mother of Emmanuel, Sarai and Ezra.  I have had to pull back, re-evaluate how I spend my time and figure out how and when the Lord wants me to pursue my passions. Although I cannot possibly be all things to all people(nor do I want to be),  I do believe I can at least have an outlet during this season of mothering. Yes, that’s the season I am in… Mothering. Although I will always be a mother, I believe I have found myself in a season where my focus must be on rearing up little children to grow up with strong ethics, character, morals. The ability to be independent thinkers and learners with the hope that they may some day choose to follow and serve Christ.

In school children get on average 20-30min of recess per day. Not mine.

Welcome to….R.E.C.E.S.S.