April 14th, 2006

Stewart Not Your Monkey

A Question for People Who Know About Icons

I feel like this is a very silly question. I'm searching some icon tutorial community FAQs, but it's slow going, so I was hoping perhaps one of my knowledgeable friends knows.

When you're finding images to use as icons, what are the legalities of using pics found on the web? I see icons with just about everything, so are icons pretty much public domain? What if I want to use a particular artist's work?

For instance, I'm wanting to make some Easter icons, and I found some lovely pictures of Jesus. Can I just save the pics and use them, or do I really need to try to contact the artist and get permission? Which would suck if they didn't answer right away, especially given it's Easter weekend. And what about pictires of Jesus taken from church's websites or old paintings? Or logos from my church (ie: the Unity dove)?

Thanks in advance for helping!
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Stewart Not Your Monkey

Question #2

Finally! Another question from my invitation for my friends and readers to ask me anything:

Ah - my screen name.

I'll tell you, I'm not 100% sure how to pronounce it. I took both words from the Hebrew Tree of Life. They are two of the names of God. Ahavah means 'Love' and Ehyeh means 'I Am'. I don't speak Hebrew, so I'm probably pronouncing it wrong.

But as for how I personally pronounce it - and I hope this makes sense - is like this:

Ahavah: Uh-HA-vuh

Ehyeh: Ay (as in long 'A') - yuh
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Stewart Not Your Monkey

Question #3: Why Am I a Doula?

I love this question!

In this post, I touched a little on some of the crises that happened around the time I learned I was pregnant. I followed my intuition to the Unity Center, where I really reconnected with Spirit and found a spiritual family.

The preacher likes to go around welcoming all the new folks, learning about them and what brought them to the church. I told a bit about my problems, how I was pregnant and really struggling with nowhere to turn, and how I really hoped to be put on the prayer list.

Well, some moments are just those that change your life on the spot. Becoming a mother and finding my church home are good examples.

A week or two later, a woman at church approached me and asked if I ever considered having a doula. I didn't know what a doula was, but she gave me some information. Apparently she was our local DONA doula trainer and a founding member of our local doula organization.

I'm a reader anyway, and I voraciously read anything that had to do with birth and pregnancy. I literally went straight from the health department, where I got my test results, to the library and - still crying - checked out about half a dozen pregnancy books. ~ LOL ~ The more I read, the more I just knew what I wanted my birth to be like. I learned about doulas and knew I was meant to be one.

People would ask me if I was scared of the birth, and I'd laugh. "Are you kidding?" I'd say. "I'm a birth goddess!" There was never any question in my mind that I could do it. I remember when I was very young, someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I answered, "A mommy." From the day I learned I was pregnant, I visualized and spoke to my unborn baby, walking it through the birth process in exactly the way I wanted it to happen.

I know that I completely and totally manifested my 'perfect' birth experience. I was blessed to have midwives that supported me and my choices (although in retrospect, I was disappointed that they talked me out of having a doula! :P), I had a great hospital - I birthed at the only one locally that will 'let' you have a water birth - and I had a fantastic and supportive birth partner.

I knew that not everyone was that blessed. I'd heard so many horror stories, so many things that could have gone differently if the women had just been educated - or supported! - enough to speak up for themselves. I knew women who had come away from their birth experiences feeling separated, unfulfilled, or even angry and violated.

No woman should feel like that.

No matter what her birth experience, she should come away feeling empowered, knowing that she made her own choices for her birth and that she is beautiful, strong, and capable.

It was one of those things that, when I heard about it, how could I not make it part of my life?

I was supposed to take my doula training the weekend Eden was born - she was born two weeks 'early' (everyone told me first babies came late!). The woman I'd met at church had granted me a scholarship for the training. When I went into labor, she saved my spot for the next training six months later. Until then, I read and gained first hand experience becoming a mother.

I think it's sad that people are awed or congratulate me on my wonderful birth experiences. Yes, I'm very grateful and they were both fantastic - but I really believe every birth should be that way. Why are mine the exceptions and not the norms? Not every birth needs to be like my birth, but every woman deserves to have the perfect birth for her.

I'm a doula because I truly believe that's not only possible, but necessary for the good of humanity.