Eye on the Sparrow

For the last 7 months, I’ve been at home with Lucia. Both she and Jakob (7yo) were born at home. Both times we were attended by the loving and medically thorough midwives of MAMAS . For Luci’s arrival, we had the pleasure of meeting the gentle and efficient Story Jones of Fairfax Homebirth. What we did not know at the time is that Story was cooking up her own bundle of goodness.  

                     Lucia in March 2016

                     Lucia in March 2016

Sparrow Ann Jones was born in August of this year. When I heard, I felt inspired to send a recording of this hymn I learned and used to love as a little girl. Incidentally, our big girl, Laela’s (16yo) middle name is Sequoia which means Sparrow in Cherokee. I used to sing that song to her as a baby even more than Clapton’s Layla.

Story’s photographer, Caren Louise,  made this beautiful (and not at all graphic :) video. She used “His Eye is on the Sparrow” as the background music. This is precisely the kind of elevating celebration of Life that I always want my art to be. It is such an honor to be able to share this with you.

as well as a few words my experiences with birthing at home:

The OB/GYN at Kaiser asked why I would choose to give birth at home. The first reason is because I see pregnancy and birth as a natural process. I trust that process and my body. The second reason was for the autonomy and intimacy that we were able to experience. The midwives asked for and respected my birth plan as their guide for how to treat me. 

My association with hospitals is sickness, medical interventions and turning over results to the physicians and nurses. While I totally respect the choice of each mother and family to decide how to bring their baby in the world, I am so grateful to have been in the comfort of my own bedroom (living room in a tub with Jake), allowing the process to happen at its own pace.

Laela is sitting next to me as I type this and asked (with a little disappointment) why she wasn’t born at home. I told her, it’s because she was in such a rush to get here. At the time, my plan had been to deliver her at the birthing center. She was born at 34 weeks in the hospital. Perfectly healthy baby without any fat under her skin :). I’m actually grateful to have had that experience, too. If my baby girl or I had needed help, it was available. At the same time, the attending obstetrician wore a welder’s mask. Bedside manner, not so much. The nurses were shouting at me to push. I was strapped to a monitor and kept on my back. Suffice it to say, when I planned my own births, none of those elements were present. 

I had full confidence that no intervention would be necessary, because my body knew what she was doing. Tobi had full confidence that if any assistance was needed, the midwives have the training, expertise and wisdom to support. I truly believe that having that internal and external peace and patience facilitated nature’s way and helped make my birthing experiences as beautiful as they could be. 

Let me know if you have any questions about my home births. It’s a topic I never get enough of!

Love, Lea

LINKS

Welcome Sparrow Video: https://vimeo.com/185688186?ref=fb-share&1

www.CarenLouisePhotographs.com

NOVA: FairfaxHomeBirth - Story Jones 

Takoma Park, MD: MAMAs www.http://mamasmidwives.com

 

Sweet Summer days!

So, tomorrow, officially, my rising first grader gets a sweet taste of summertime. It's been a couple of months now that he has been arbitrarily begging to stay home. The weather is beautiful. Why should I sit around in a building all day, at a desk, bored out of my mind, listening to this lady? He hasn't asked that precisely, but that's the tone of voice. 
I almost hopes he asks me on Monday if he can stay home from school, so I can raise my arms to the sky and sing, "YES! Yes, my boy, you can."

Then, the question becomes, "So, what are we going to do?"

I can only be grateful for the flexibility of my schedule. There is some work this summer, but much more time with him (and his big sister who is 15 and far less interested in hanging out with me). I've started registering him for very cool events at the library and planning a fun campout with a friend's family. You know, we got to keep it fun.

But today, I heard something so beautiful that it puts a new (sun)light on everything we do this summer. An artist in residence at a school shouted to the parents in the audience, "Remember. Your child's imagination is in your care."

That reminded me that the foundation on which every activity and each quiet moment is built is preserving and celebrating his (and my own) innate joy and creativity. We're going to listen to ourselves this summer and see what kind of awesomeness we can cook up. I really like the sound of that.

Here's a song for all of my students and teachers and people for whom summer means a chance to just be.

Working Out

No. Not me. Not today.

To be clear, I actually love working out and usually do a little something every day. But this weekend, the body sent me a nice clear message that the only thing it wanted to do was chill out. So, until I get an equally clear message to get back out there, I'm following instructions.

What's working out, is things. Ah. It is an incredibly gratifying feeling when things just work out. For example, the recent trip to Germany could not have been more awesome. I saw some old friends, heard some incredible music, got to share what I do and am getting the very real feeling of moving forward in my intention to play more often there.

This coming weekend, I'll be performing for this conference called Building the New World. That definitely sounds right up my alley, but I never gave a lot of thought to it. A friend just pointed out that the keynote speaker, Barbara Marx Hubbard, is a pretty big deal in another world where I intend to share my music more: the New Thought realm. The fun thing about this opportunity is that I just kind of happened to be at another gathering right next to a woman who was talking about having a dream that Tracy Chapman would come perform at her conference. My friend Tamara said, "Well, if you can't get her, Lea's just as good."

I honestly would not compare myself to Tracy Chapman if no one else did. I don't think our music is all that similar at all, but there are definitely times when it us of benefit. Turns out, the lady didn't get Tracy Chapman. She invited me.

It will be interesting to see what the next steps forward are. Today, I'm just dreaming up the set list for the performance. But the whole thing, it doesn't feel like coincidence. It feels like things working out.

Hold On

Yes yes folks. I am taking my own advice.

Last year, I got the announcement that one of my favorite singer/songwriters had thrown in the towel and gotten her realtors license. I'm sure she's serving people well in that arena, but her talent as a musician is so astounding that it hurt me. I literally cried. I mean, watch this. This woman is... everything. Brooke Miller Video

And it made me think, hell, if she doesn't feel like she can "make it", what am I doing?

It is my good fortune that I am learning, day by day, what I'm doing. I'm holding on. Inch by by inch. Day by day. Keeping my eyes on the prize. And getting more clear about what the prize is to me. Starting here and now, I am so utterly grateful for every opportunity I get to sing with and for the young, the old and every one in between. It helps me to know that each step on my path is getting me where I'm going.

Lea performs her inspirational song "Hold On" at the Franklin Park Arts Center on March 20, 2010. This version of the video includes the full animation from the Goose Creek Live television show.

Song of the Month - April 2015

"All You Need Is Love" by the Beatles

I open at least half of my shows with this song. If you've heard me play, chances are you've heard me sing it. Part of the reason is that people know it, they like it and we can sing it together. It's mellow and it gets me in the mood, you might say :)

But what I love most about the song is the message. I am a believer. I believe that love is the answer to any question or challenge facing an individual or the lot of us. Ask Mandela, King, Ghandi. Try it on anything.

For me, these days, the biggest love I'm learning is for my own body. My best and closest friend, who I've been treating kind of like shit for more than 20 years.  Everybody knows I don't smoke or drink anything harder than tea. But I have starved, insulted, hated and abused this body in ways I would never do anyone else. What I am learning to do differently is to make my choices for what I eat, how I move, dress and just AM in this body from a place of LOVE LOVE LOVE.

I'd be willing to bet that for a lot of people, just looking in the mirror and saying, "Hey gorgeous. I love you." (the way I tell my pre-schoolers to do) would be the most difficult thing in the world. But if we could do it, every day and mean it, what or who could possibly stand against us?


CLICK HERE to hear me singing "All You Need Is Love."

Love Lea

PS: And now, to go finish my taxes.