Sex sells (and that makes me sad)


You don’t have to know me very well at all to know that I am an advocate for real beauty. I think women are innately gorgeous and that people place far too great a value on the size clothing they wear or the number they see on the scale. It’s a tricky position to hold for someone like myself, for example, who is in the midst of trying to lose weight after having 2 babies. It took me a while to realize that my body is not ruined, and that if I wanted to lose weight that is was fine, but that my reasons for losing it needed to be good. In my case, I’m 25 pounds past the weight that I would like to be but I don’t feel ruined by this. I just know I have some work to do. I do not feel pressured to look a certain way or wear a certain size, because I all ready know and believe that I am beautiful, and so are you.

Here’s the problem that I am now facing as someone who wants to advocate this beauty. Sometimes I see images like this:and I immediately agree. In fact, I briefly posted this same photo on Facebook earlier today after seeing it on another friend’s profile. The reason I removed it is that I realized once I clicked on the photo it took me to a Facebook page that celebrates “thick girls.” I have no problem with that but on this particular page they were posting pictures of girls barely dressed and people were commenting on how “sexy” those girls were. They were also posting pictures like that one above and then really going overboard describing the woman on the right in a negative light.

Um… hello? Really?! LADIES – YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TAKE YOUR CLOTHES OFF TO BE BEAUTIFUL – NO MATTER YOUR SIZE! And no one body type is better than the other. That’s my point! Everyone is beautiful. Curvy girls, you don’t hold the market on beauty any more than thin girls do. This is the same debate that women have over everything! Which is better – homebirth or hospital? breastfeeding or formula? stay-at-home moms or working moms? home-made or store-bought? And it makes me sick.

Women, we should be supporting each other and applauding our uniqueness. Men can only be blamed so much for the stereotypes of what is or isn’t beautiful at the moment. Please, I beg you, start first by valuing your own beauty and then go out and value someone elses.

And then there was you


Sweet Charlotte Jane,

The story of you and how you came to be is so miraculous. You already know by now that Mommy and Daddy waited a long time to get pregnant, that we lost a baby before your brother Jack burst into the world with wildness and glee. What you might not know is that even when Jack was very small I had a dream of you in my heart. I heard other Mommy’s saying things like “I never want to do that again” about pregnancy and giving birth, but I didn’t understand that then, I only knew, without knowing you, that you were missing from our family.

I wanted to have you as soon as possible and since it had taken a long time to get pregnant before, your Daddy and I decided to not use any birth control and just see what happened. When Jack was 4 months old I remember crying to Levi and Wesley’s mommy and Sophia’s mommy and saying I wished I were pregnant. They loved me, but they thought I was insane, as they themselves had very young babies. There hearts weren’t ready for their new babies, yet, all though they became ready later in the year.

When Jack was 5 months old, your Daddy and I had a very rough weekend. We got in a humongous fight over a parking spot and Daddy said that I was acting like a lunatic. Something about the fight made me remember how mean I was to Daddy the weekend before we realized I was pregnant with Jack. I decided to take a pregnancy test, just incase, even though I was pretty sure it would be negative. I was on the phone with your Aunt Jess when I came back and remembered to check it… there was a pink plus sign! I shrieked. I said “JESS! I’M PREGNANT!” then I said a bad word because I realized that I hadn’t told Daddy yet. I said “Oh, my gosh, I have to go, I haven’t told Matt. Don’t say anything!” And hung up. Daddy wasn’t home yet, but he was going to be home in a few minutes so I quickly ran and got one of Jack’s white shirts and wrote “Big Brother” on it. Then when Daddy came home, we ran outside to meet him and let him read Jack’s shirt. It took him a minute to understand what we were saying.  We laughed and cried in stunned disbelief. I couldn’t believe that God would bless me enough to give me both of you precious babies in such a short amount of time.

During my pregnancy, a lot of great things happened. First, we found out you were a girl. I didn’t want to admit even to myself that I was hoping that you would be. There was something very precious about carrying you, and knowing that you were growing in me. We also found out that we had the all clear to have another home birth with you. I was so happy that you would be born in the same beautiful way that your brother was and that our dearly loved midwife would be the one to help me with your birth.

Being pregnant with you with a little tricky, though, because I was still nursing your brother. In fact, I nursed him until 2 months before you were born, and as you’ve already seen, Mommy got quite large with you, so that was quite the feat. Sometimes if Jack laid across my stomach in a way that you didn’t like, you would kick him. It was pretty sunny to everyone but Jack. By the way, you have very awesome and strong legs.

Your due date was December 23rd but your mommy pulled a fast one on everyone and told them that you weren’t due until December 31st so that there would be less pressure on me when you were late. That was nice. Everyone trusted my body and homebirth more this time around, anyway, and they would have been okay if they had known the real date.

You know that at 16 days overdue we had gone to dinner with Glenn’s mommy and Daddy and that I had resigned myself to being pregnant forever. What had also happened that morning was that your outer sack of water had broken. I called my midwife and told her but then decided not to tell anyone else because that doesn’t always mean that labor is going to come quickly. We just went about our day like normal. After dinner we came home, put your brother to bed and then we put together your crib. It had been bothering me for a while that it wasn’t ready, even though I knew you wouldn’t be sleeping in it for the first few months. Then your Daddy and I went to bed. Or rather, your Daddy went to bed. I couldn’t get comfortable and I felt like I had a stomach ache. I had two rather mysterious contractions a few hours before, but nothing since then. I decided to get into the bubble bath and read for a bit. While laying in the bath all of a sudden I had a very hard contraction and had to get out immediately, there was no way to lay down with a contraction that strong. I looked at the clock, it was 2:30 a.m.

Our very wise midwife had made me promise to call her as soon as I starting contracting because she thought that my labor with you was going to be, in her words, “lightning quick!” Still, I hesitated, because I really didn’t want to wake her up for a false alarm. I decided to time a few contractions. The first two were 10 minutes apart, but then the next 4 were 5 minutes apart and about a minute long. After half an hour I called our midwife and told her, it was nothing bad, I hadn’t even woken Daddy yet, and that she could go back to bed if she wanted, I would just call her when it started to really hurt. But our midwife is very smart and she decided it would be better to come right away. I am so glad she did!

It took her about 45 minutes to arrive, at which point I had been in labor for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. The minute she saw me she called her apprentice and asked her to come right away. 10 minutes later I told her I felt like I needed to push a little. She told me to do whatever felt right, and I noticed that she started laying out her medical equipment and other supplies more quickly.

You have to understand, Charlotte, that at this point, I thought that I was crazy for wanting to push a little. I thought that when Stephanie said “lightning quick” that she meant 6 – 7 hours. I mean, that’s a crazy short labor! I pushed a little as I walked around, swaying my hips from side to side felt like a good idea, so I did it. I remember daddy asked me if I wanted to do lunges. I wanted to laugh but the contractions were very intense at the point so I just said “um, no.” It was the nicest thing I could say to a suggestion like that. I felt the urge to push really strongly right after I started swaying my hips, and still under the assumption that I was going to be laboring for another 5 hours or so, I assumed I needed to use the rest room. I ran (read: waddled) into the bathroom and pushed a little from the toilet. I noticed Stephanie watching me from the other room and felt embarrassed. I said “the amount of people who have pooped in front of you must be staggering” to break the ice. You must know by now that Mommy makes awkward jokes, right? As I finished that sentence I felt this INSANE urge to push and could do nothing but that. My water didn’t just break – it exploded! I remember the sound of the amniotic fluid hitting the water in the toilet and being terrified that it was you that made that noise and that you had fallen in the toilet.

Have no fear, my love, it wasn’t you. But you were coming fast! I now knew I wasn’t in control anymore, you were. Even when I wasn’t pushing, you were. You had decided that 17 days past your due date was quite enough, thank you very much, and you wanted to be born that very moment. And you practically were! 9 minutes after I felt like I needed to push, and 1 hour and 42 minutes after I had my first contraction, you were born.

Angel, how do I describe that moment? You were perfect. You were very tan, like a little Eskimo baby, but besides that you looked just like Jack. You had beautiful black hair and you were chubby! Oh, you were so chubby! You must know that your Mommy goes to pieces for a chubby baby and you were the best of them all. You were much shorter than Jack so I assumed you weighed less. I called your Grammy and guessed that you were in the 9 pound range. Boy, honey, I was wrong! You beat even your brother, weighing an astounding 11 pounds and 8 ounces! Those extra 2 ounces looked good on you, darling.

Charlotte, your sweetness and gentleness have forever changed this family. You are everything that I never knew to ask for in a daughter. It’s impossible for me to even describe what a fulfillment you are to the dream that I held in my heart for so long. I love, sweet girl, and I always will.



Charlotte Jane


My sweet little girl will be turn 1 year old tomorrow! I can’t believe how different our life is today than it was a year ago. A year ago today I thought that I would be pregnant forever. We made plans to go to dinner with our precious friends, the Donaladsons, leaving Jack with Matt’s parents. I was 16 days over due at this point and feeling every moment of it. It was hard to be comfortable in any position, making sleep a very frustrating experience to say the least. Even the normal solace that I found in bubble baths was tainted by the ending where I had to figure out how to get my large body out of that little tiny space so low to the ground.

                                                                                                                                      9 days overdue

During out dinner date I had one long, odd contraction and then nothing else for about an hour or so. The next contraction hit in Harris Teeter where we had popped in to get some oranges. The check out clerk saw me coming and said “Oh, honey, you’re STILL pregnant?!?! Maybe you should just go to the hospital and get it over with!” I was sorely tempted and all the way home reminded myself of why it is that I choose homebirth  and believe that it is the best choice for me and my children.

If you have never been pregnant you may not understand this, but in the midst of pregnancy you really do feel like you have been pregnant forever, will be pregnant forever, your life will never be there same. You know logically that the baby will come out at some point, but emotionally your mind can’t wrap itself around that concept. The amazing thing is, once you have that baby in your arms, all those months of suffering really are worth it. I would be pregnant all over again just to have my two wonderful kids.

And now Charlotte is going to be One! I am amazed to see that I must have somehow blinked and she somehow is transitioning from baby to toddler in that short nanosecond. It makes me want to cry for two different reasons. One, somehow, I, Meghan Murray, no longer have a baby in the house… we’ve always had a baby thanks to the fact that our kids are only a short 14 months apart. And two, I wish that I had appreciated it more. I know that this is sort of wishful thinking since all I could do for the first 3 months was survive and the next 3 months after that, adapt. It’s not easy having two kids, and having them so close together is even more difficult but ever since Charlotte could crawl it has steadily gotten easier and sweeter and she and Jack actually play together, freeing me from being needed constantly. It’s beautiful but it’s also shocking to have a little amount of time throughout the day where my presence is not essential to their happiness.

It’s a beautiful gift, to be sure, but it’s also a bit staggering after such a long time of being pregnant, then nursing, then being pregnant while nursing, and then nursing a whole new person. A feel a little confused and overwhelmed by my precious baby turning 1 tomorrow, but overall I just love watching her turn into a little girl. Seeing her gentle and sweet personality develop, marveling at how completely different she is from her big brother, and how similar she is to her gentle and sweet Daddy. Tomorrow I’ll share her birth story, but for today, I’ll just share how completely in love I am with Charlotte Jane.

                                                                                                                                              2 months old

Dinner at the Murray’s


And a cute video of the messy babes in action.❤

Orange Glazed Salmon Kebobs with Yogurt Garlic Dip


So I just got this amazing new cookbook  that was a lot of great new easy recipes for cooking with whole foods. I decided to try it out for the first time by making a meal for our dear friends, the Rogers, who just gave birth to a precious little girl named Leona. They are the perfect family to try out a whole foods recipe on, if you know them, you know what I mean.😉

Friends, it was ridiculous! Very easy to prepare and the salmon was so juicy and delicious. Here’s how I made it:

Mix together:

  • 1/4 cup thawed orange juice concentrate
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 TBSP honey (raw, local is best!)
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TBSP Tamari (which is just gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Cut 1- 1 1/2 lbs of Salmon into 1 inch strips (skin removed) and marinate in the sauce you just made for at least an hour in the fridge.

While marinating your salmon you can quickly make your Garlic Yogurt Dip.

Just mix together:

  • 1/2 large cucumber, grated
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (or squeeze in 1/2 of a fresh lemon)
  • 2 TBSP fresh chopped parsley

And that your dip! It’s so great.


After you salmon is marinated, skewer the pieces on kabob. If you’re using wooden ones, soak the kabob before putting the salmon on. Place the salmon kabob in a baking dish and broil them in the oven for 3 minutes, then turn them and put them in for another 3-4 minutes – and you’re done!

I used the rest of the marinade by reducing it in a saucepan on the stove and then using it as a sauce to cover the grains that went with their meal.

And then I put my poor overworked son to task and had him “do the dishes”. Lots of splashing and hilarity ensued, leaving him slightly dripping for the car ride to the Rogers house. All is well that ends well.🙂

Lamb Stew


Tonight I made Lamb Stew for dinner to much anticipation. The house smelled so freaking good all day as it slow cooked in the crock pot! I have never made Lamb stew before and looked up several recipes. My friend Tania suggested Armenian lamb stew but I did not have fresh mint or red wine so I decided to stick with my heritage and add a ton of potatoes, thus making it Irish. :) It was very good, all though I regret not adding garlic. (No garlic? Who am I?!) Lamb is almost sweet and I felt the stew needed some more pepper and garlic to balance it out. However, this was a good starter recipe and I would recommend you try it, adding your own touches to it!

  •                     1 pound cubed lamb meat
  •                     Half of 1 onion, finely chopped
  •                     1 pound petite potatoes cut in half
  •                     Q couple of roughly diced carrots
  •                     2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  •                     salt and pepper to taste. I used fresh ground pink Himalayan sea salt and it is very strong! Just add a little
  •                     2 cups beef stock
  •                     A few pinches of fresh italian flat leaf parsley
  •                     A few pinches of fresh thyme

I just added everything raw into my crock pot (including the lamb) and cooked it on low for about 8 hours. Seriously, the smell was out of this world! I served it with a few more sprigs of fresh parsley, a little more sea salt and some fresh home-made bread smeared with rosemary garlic goat cheese.

It really was delicious! Charlotte really loved it, but to get Jack to eat it (He is the world’s pickiest dinner eater) we told him it was sheep soup and made each bite he took say “baaaa!” He loved it but it made me wonder… Are we scarring him? 😉

Hope you enjoy!

A bitter pill to swallow


I’ve been thinking about the phrase “time heals all wounds” and what a half truth it is. Bare with me, as I’m in a very awkward adult age where I am old enough to know a few things but not old enough to be truly wise as our friends who have lived through many more years… but am I seeing a lot of people who are just straight up, no getting around it, bitter deep in their hearts. Their wounds never healed and they seem to have intensified over time.Why is that?

Why is it that some people experience hardships and walk away from it wiser and more whole and others wallow in it and decide to wear it as an identity? I have heard people say totally different words to describe the same situation. “I’m a _______ victim” or “I’m a ________ survivor”. Whatever it is for them. Those are two totally different mindsets and different people. Why? How can two people live through the same tragedy and one be a victim and the other be a survivor?

One way that I experienced this positively in my life is when I miscarried our first precious baby, whom I named “Jordan” in my heart. The loss of that child was so monumental to me. It was more than losing a baby, which is terrible enough, it was losing a dream. Matt and I had been married for 3 years and had never used birth control and that was my first pregnancy. I didn’t think I could ever get pregnant. When it finally happened we were overwhelmed by joy. I did not worry for a moment. I just knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that nothing wrong would happen to us, that the baby would be healthy and perfect, and then… it wasn’t. I didn’t know if that was my only shot of ever being a mother or not.

It took me some time but I resolved to be grateful. Grateful that I was made a mother, if only briefly. Grateful that I got to know the incredible wonder of having a child in my womb. Most of all, grateful that I had a beautiful community that absolutely crushed me with support and held up my hands for me when I was too weak and weary to do it on my own.

I really think that is where bitterness can not get a hold of you. When you actively choose to be healed. I did not want to let people pray for me or come and see me or to even pray because all of those things made me feel very vulnerable and that was the last thing I wanted to feel. I wanted to feel in control. I wanted to not feel. But I made a choice opposite to what I felt, and that has made a huge difference in my life.

What about you? Is there hurt in your heart that you are afraid to share? Please share it now before it turns into bitterness, which is as deadly as any poison. Are you bitter? Cynical? Disenchanted? You can be whole again. You can feel wonder and beauty again. It begins with being honest with yourself and others about the condition of you heart. I’m available to share that with you, I know others are. If you aren’t a part of a healthy community (i.e. others who won’t have pity for you but have compassion and love you enough to want you to be healed) than find someone who is and join it. If you live in Charlotte, I can recommend one. You are worth the time it will take, I promise.


Here is something I wrote on the day that we lost our first baby to miscarriage:

The one thing that I always hate when I hear “He gives and takes away” is that the focus is on the fact that He takes. those are the last words that you hear, the ones that resonate; and we forget about the gift. God gave me a child. He let me nurture and keep this child for 9 weeks. Losing my baby has been so difficult but it doesn’t change the fact that God gave him to me. I am so sad and so lonely for the picture I held of my future, but I am also hopeful for what God has for me and Matt now. I have been through every emotion that there is today, but through it all, Matt and I have trusted God for our future. Whether or not our future has babies in it is for God to decide in His timing… as for me, I love Him more. I want Him more. and I will serve Him and be grateful for what he gives no matter what may come.

Search me and know me, God, I am Yours. Unto You be all glory and power forever and ever. Amen.