Who says what?

Novelist, mother, minister, and yoga teacher muses on books, babies, motherhood, and what matters with reverent humor.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Best Reads of 2012

Hello dear readers! Can I tell you how it fills my heart with joy to know that I have an above average number of blog readers? According to my stepfather who read it somewhere reliable (he doesn't read anything that isn't reliable), the average blog has fewer than ten readers. That was some of the best news I've heard in all of December. I feel so totally POPULAR now!

It's almost like spending lots of time with small children and thinking, "hey, I'm the smartest one here!"

At any rate, in my continual effort to give back to the teeming masses of my fans, I want to share with you my absolute favorite reads from 2012. This year has been a good reading year for me. I've loved nearly everything I've read. (I probably average a book a week so that might actually be saying something.) Without any further literary foreplay, here's my list.

BEST PARENTING BOOK: John Gray, Children Are From Heaven
One of the all around best books on parenting I've read in nearly seven years of obsessively reading everything. I wish I'd read this one first. Compassionate, original, loving.

BEST CAN'T PUT DOWN READ ALL NIGHT NOVEL: Kamala Nair, The Girl in the Garden
I actually could not put this book down. I read it on the toilet and while brushing my teeth and while driving...

BEST FUNNY BOOK: Valerie Frankel, It's Hard Not to Hate You
This book is so good and so funny, everyone I know should read it. It's a searingly honest self-exploration of the author's hater-side. Brilliant about envy for other writers. I can't think of a person who wouldn't identify or laugh through most of it--if they're honest with themselves!

BEST SPIRITUAL MEMOIR: Joanna Brooks, Book of Mormon Girl
I read tons of spiritual memoirs. This may be one area where I actually know what I'm talking about (though maybe not, it's been awhile since I had a full night's sleep), and I raced through this book. It's compelling and fascinating and amazingly truthful. You do NOT need to be a Mormon to like this book. Anyone who grew up with a strong faith tradition will identify with her journey.

Every Christian should read this book. And all the ex-Christians who can't stand what modern Christians say, do and think. It's an enlightened, progressive, stimulating look at some of the deepest held and most toxic beliefs and most amazingly of all, it's written by an evangelical minister (which gives me such hope for the future).

BEST FUNNY NOVEL: Maria Semple, Where'd You Go Bernadette
A clever, inventive, original, witty, hilarious novel. This is the kind of book you sneak off and read and when people ask what you've been doing, you say, "I've been having fun!"

BEST BOOK BEYOND CATEGORY:  Christian McEwan, World Enough & Time
Lush, lovely, inspiring, moving, important. A look at our cultural "hurry sickness" with poetic, creative, literary and though-provoking ruminations on "the cure." Each page, each chapter like a chocolate. I read it slowly and it has helped me.

BEST DRAMATIC NOVEL: Emily Giffin, The Heart of the Matter
The book's take on infidelity I found fresh, poignant, satisfying and real.
Not that Emily Giffin needs me to sell her books. Compared to her, I'm a total LOSER, super unpopular, basically read by NO ONE. But I did love the book.

So stop reading this stuff and go enjoy a good book!

Friday, December 21, 2012

One Weak

It has been one week since the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. And have we been weak or strong in our response?

My internet presence is primarily as a novelist. I started this blog before my debut novel came out to help promote my novel and I joined Facebook recently in order to do the same thing. I have a website as novelist Samantha Wilde, my pen name. I am not skilled at social media or too much taken with it (and I think it feels the same about me). I have been moved, however, by those who have responded to the death of all those children and educators in a social media context and acted strongly in response.

On the other hand? There have been a lot of weak responses. In the time it takes you to send an email or post to Facebook, you could sign a petition, write a representative, or join a group to make a change for peace on this planet. For those who cannot take the time, what will it take? Will it need to be your child who dies? Or your neighbor at the mall, your family member, spouse--it can't be you. If it's you, it's too late to make a difference.

I have written novels because I love to write. I believe writing well is a gift I was given (and one that requires work and editing and effort, of course) and it gives me a sense of purpose to use any of my gifts for the good of the world, of others, their children and mine. Why would other writers, professional users of social media, or any user of social media, shy away from--not speaking out--but ACTING? I understand the fear of disagreement or upsetting someone with a different view, but how insignificant is this fear in the face of what those teachers did one week ago today?

Shannon Watts the stay-at-home mother of five who began One Million Moms for Gun Control last weekend is a perfect example of using one's abilities to change the world. Compared to most novelists, my reach is microscopic, but I feel blessed that I can use my talents, at they are, to speak out.

The best use of the social media can happen NOW. You can click on a link in this post and add your voice; your voice, your vote, your words, your gifts, your time, your talents, your resources, your despair, your anger, your response COUNTS.

 Every day this week when my children hugged me, showed me what they made at school, looked forward to Christmas, stood in front of me, I thought of the families who cannot do that ever again. The mothers' who have a pile of dirty laundry from a child they will never hold in their arms again. And what will Christmas be for them?

I am not ambivalent. The same day of the Sandy Hook shootings, a man knifed 20 students outside a Chinese primary school. THEY ARE ALL ALIVE. Tell me what the difference is? Mental health? Video games? There's one cause: guns.

What will you do? What will you use? My husband spent part of a demanding work day drafting a serious, heart felt letter to our representative full of educated, significant points and suggestions and he sent it on his letter head.

Let your heart be moved to strong action.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Do Something NOW!

Please listen. Please share. Be convicted to act.

You Can Do Something! my episode on Blogtalkradio.

You will find this a resource no matter your spiritual orientation. These are the days for every mother to make a new world for our children.

And EVERY MOTHER, please join this woman, Shannon Watts, to become One Million Moms for Gun Control.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Mother's Response to the Connecticut Shootings

I write as a mother who brings two of her children to a public elementary school every day and every day leaves them with a passing thought that on that day, they could be swallowed by the mouth of the beast of violence.

I write as a progressive minister who does not believe in a place called "hell," a fiery pit, a devil with a pitch fork, but who does know that hell exists on this planet and it is happening now to the parents of those children and it is the mind of the shooter and it was the time of heart stopping fear when teachers gathered children into corners.

It is unacceptable to send one's "sympathy." Send your sympathy when someone's 98 year old grandmother dies! This is a senseless tragedy, but no tragedy is meaningless. Those children CANNOT have died in vain. Each of us has the opportunity to make meaning from this moment that changes our lives individually and collectively. We must not cry and change the channel. I REFUSE to accept school massacres as the "the way things are." I WILL NOT raise my children with the lurking shadow of disaster invisible in their school rooms.

The folk singer Cheryl Wheeler wrote a song called "If It Were Up To Me," in which she describes a variety of reasons for violence (in response to another tragedy) and her last line: "If it were up to me, I'd take away the guns."

Well, so would I. We CAN redeem this tragedy. Tragedy can be redemptive and I'll tell you how: respond to the loss by loving your children more, loving people more, forgiving and savoring the day as if you might not see tomorrow, rethink your hobbies that promote a culture where violence is so acceptable that for some watching the news of this shooting barely registered--these may be shooting practice, using hand guns for sport, watching violent films, playing violent video games, accepting the violent tendencies of children without conversation or guidance (and there are others). We MUST take care of our boys and men. Has one of these shootings in the past two decades been from the hand of a female? We MUST pay attention and care for the men and boys who are other people's children too.

You and I, this very day, can be transformed for the better by an act that looks like nothing good could EVER come from it. When terrorists strike, the nation stands up and says: Never Again. There is nothing else to say (are you listening, Mr. President?), but NEVER AGAIN. We all must change our hearts, our minds, and our lives. We can look to the countries that do not suffer from this horrific malady of spirit and learn.

I write as a mother whose heart breaks for those parents and who asks herself: what can I do to help? I want to join with others, one by one, to make a world where IT NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN. I want to step away from the sorrow and fear into power and honor--to make meaning out of the senselessness and honor the lives of those children by changing the world now and forever.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How to Write Better

I've put my top 6 best holiday tips for writers up at The Girlfriend's Book Blog.

Now, I shall go take my own advice!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


What can a feminist mother look like?

c. Sam Wilde/ Chrystina Nursing

The other week when three mother-friends of mine came over for a play group for our four year old daughters, we had a provocative, compelling and rich conversation about what it means to be a feminist mother. Next time you're with some mothers, ask to take one of their pictures for the I Am A Feminist Mother Photo Contest and Virtual Exhibit and see what happens!

I wanted to capture how my friend Chrystina as I see her. She is a mother who radiates kindness, who continually sows good deeds in to the lives of all those around her. She's a woman who brought gifts for others at her baby shower. Everything she cooks is bliss. Her house is a place you never want to leave. The way she infuses care, love, patience, and attention into her home and her children, is an art.

When I asked her about posing for the picture, she wasn't sure about the term "feminist mother" and connected feminism first with anger. This opened a door for a meaningful conversation about what it means to value the rights of women and the equality of the sexes. That day my friends recommended a new term for "feminist mother" (as well as for feminist, but this new word is specifically for the concept of the mother a feminist). I coined the term Mamanist (so it's MY word!). Here's a word to capture the fundamental dedication to enriching, supporting and valuing the lives of women who are mothers, acts that will improve the lives of all people necessarily.

And where's YOUR picture? 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Do you know a new mother in need of a care package?

Two years back I posted about wanting to help some new mothers and I heard back from a woman whose sister recently became the first time mother to a baby girl which allowed me the opportunity to send along a package to a stranger--but a sister in the motherhood.

Well, I want to do it again.
New mothers have the best, hardest time, and I love them.
 If you know a new, first-time mother who could benefit from a care package of gifts, I want to know about her. I'll send along a copy of THIS LITTLE MOMMY STAYED HOME, probably some chocolates, and maybe another thing or two she might need.

Please leave a comment and tell me about this new mother. Tell me what she needs and why she came to your mind and heart. If I get a few replies, I'll pick one or two and go from there to get the care package to this new mama in time for the holidays.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Yoga Rant

Recently reading two yoga memoirs woke me up to a terrible thought: some people go to the WRONG yoga classes!

This is a national calamity.

I thought Dederer's yoga memoir was lovely, moving, interesting and a beautiful patchwork of yoga, identity and motherhood. But the poor woman kept going to the wrong classes where teachers lacked any sense of humor and fellow yogis maintained the grim look of jilted lovers except wearing special hundred dollar yoga pants and hanging out on a squishy plastic mat!


 My friend, Brian Leaf, wrote this book. It's honestly funny (in other words, honest and funny). I love how he shares about Kripalu yoga. I think everyone should go to a Kripalu yoga class. No one is going to tell you you're "wrong" or a pose is "bad" or that some incredible, permanent rules of yogic alignment exist and you CAN'T FIGURE THEM OUT! He tells the story of healing, in all its forms, AND he was blessed with going to the right yoga classes.

My attitude to yoga is one of love and humor. I just can't see what everyone has their panties in a bundle about! Breathe and stretch, people! It may be both an art and a science (I think it is), and it may also be both a prayer and a meditation (I think it is), but it is also a release and joy.

So here's my contribution. Have FUN!

Friday, November 23, 2012

My Mother Is A Feminist Mother

She is. She really is. She always has been.

c. Sam Wilde/ Mom With Books, Chocolate, Champagne
I grew up in a house full of books. My mother, Nancy Thayer constantly reads (and constantly writes). Her house spills books. And in every book a new world. As a child, I'd sit in the library, surrounded by the names of women writers: Godwin, Rich, Wolf, Greer, French, Friedan, Robinson, Tyler, Chopin, and countless others. Of course, she had men, too. She has everything. She started writing before the days of walking into a Barnes and Noble and finding a novel about a mother's life, a widow's life, a step-mother's life, a grandmother's life. The proliferation of novels that tell the true story of women's lives did not exist when she began writing on a yellow legal pad. She taught me feminism by word, deed, and book--a broad, encompassing, empowering feminism (and never to the exclusion of style, flair or indulgence), but when I think of her as a writer, I realize that she wrote feminism by always telling the honest truth of women's lives. For 22 novels she has done this and it is what she does best. I love all her books. A recent favorite: Summer House. Her first three, in the era before all this chick lit, blazed a trail for the stories that have followed: Stepping, Three Women at the Water's Edge, Bodies and Souls.

We had a wonderful, fun time with this photo shoot. The night before we batted around different ideas. My original idea was to have her sitting on a pile of books fifteen feet high! Reclining on the books conveys what I wanted to without danger of falling (not that it was easy to lounge on stacks of books).

What does YOUR feminist mother look like? Submit your photo for the I Am A Feminist Mother Contest. Get creative. I want to see it all!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What's the matter with you people?

Okay, I made a video. If you don't laugh watching it, I want you to email me. Seriously.

I posted it on Facebook. Then one person who shall remain nameless (my mother) and another person who is anonymous (my brother) told me to take out the part where I change clothes off camera because NO ONE WOULD HAVE THE ATTENTION SPAN TO SIT THROUGH IT.

It takes me 15 seconds.


And, I think it's funny.

So, you tell me, have we all really lost our ability to WAIT for the good stuff? Is 15 seconds too long? I mean, are people everywhere just going straight for the orgasm these days? Does anyone go in for foreplay? Or is it like, "Sorry, honey. I don't have time. I need to go post on FACEBOOK!"

Tell me. I want to know the truth.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I Am A Feminist Mother Photo Contest

Are you a feminist mother?

What does that look like?

In preparation for the launch of my new novel, I'LL TAKE WHAT SHE HAS, a novel about envy, friendship and motherhood--
(One character says: “It’s scary, isn’t it? I’m like Laura Schlessinger 
trapped in a feminist’s body.”)--
I am calling upon every feminist mother to show the world the modern face of feminist mothers. I am inviting mothers from every country, all states, all places of life. Let the world see the wonderful diversity of mothers who claim the feminist title (by whatever definition).

c. Samantha Wilde/ self-portrait with laundry
Please submit your photo for the I Am A Feminist Mother Photo Contest and Virtual Exhibit. Your pictures can be funny, serious, with children, without children, and contain any content that you feel expresses the statement: I Am A Feminist Mother. Get creative!

Each photo MUST have a sign somewhere in the image that is readable and says: I Am A Feminist Mother.

The winner will be chosen by viewers and will receive a signed copy of each one of my books. ALL contributors will make history by participating in the I Am A Feminist Mother Virtual Exhibit.

I am looking for every kind of mother! All ages! All stages of life! Take a picture of yourself, a friend, or your own mother.

When you submit your photograph, please send it by email to sam (at) samanthawilde (dot) com. Send it in the body of the email. The subject line must read: Photo Contest. In the body of the email please include: Your Name, the name of the photographer, contact information (can be an email), title, if the photograph has one, location where picture was taken, and if there is a story to your photograph, you may include that.

All photographs must be received by January 31. The winner will be voted on during the first weeks of February and the winner will be announced on February 28 on this blog.

When you send the photograph, you are giving permission for me to display it on this blog, on my author Facebook site, on my website, and in other online venues, as well as to have it in a video montage on Youtube.

That's right, imagine a video of thousands of feminist mothers! It is almost too awesome! Please be a part of it!

Share this with every feminist mother you know! And with all the mothers in your life; you never know who is a feminist! Let's see what we really look like!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I Have Dropped The F-Bomb

I said the day would never come and probably I will have go to therapy over it.

I joined Facebook as author Samantha Wilde.

I will post the most interesting, enticing, HEART-STOPPING, posts you can imagine. Maybe I will even be naked. Maybe YOU will be naked.

All you have to do is LIKE me. Yes, you, the person reading this. If you go and click on that link (here it is again so you don't have to scroll backward, www.facebook/AuthorSamanthaWilde.com) and LIKE me then maybe, just maybe, I won't have to sit on a therapist's couch every day for a week to process why NO ONE LIKES me!

Geez, did they have to make it so much like junior high school?

(If you really want to understand why this is hard for me you can read my Feminist Amish post.)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Confessions of a Mop Lover

Today, I mopped my floor.

With the mop and bucket I purchased from the Home Shopping Network (one evening, while morose and channel surfing for an uplifting program. Hey! I guess I find infomercials uplifting). For the record, I almost never watch television (unless the Duggar's are on. Yes, that's the kind of feminist I am).

I couldn't keep my son away from it. He REALLY wanted to mop and so I let him, but it was no small sacrifice because I want you to know, this blog being so deeply confessional, that I truly got a THRILL (for the first time in my life) mopping. (And let's all agree that this could mean something about my life OR it could mean something about this mop.)

Spin Mop Deluxe Cleaning System

Oh, yes, the modern face of feminism--microfiber ecstasy.

I just wanted you to know what kind of person you're dealing with here.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Something is Funny Here

My novel has sold almost twice as many copies in Germany than in America.
Please explain.

Here's the cover of the German book.

This Little Mommy Stayed Home: A NovelAnd the American book.

Would some of my German fans tell me what they thought of the book?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Last Minute Political Advertisement

Hope you don't have a sh***y day!

Well, it's election day so we're all waiting for the sh** to hit the fan.

In my family, the sh** hit my husband.

This is a BEFORE picture.
It was an ordinary day for our family, shopping together at the grocery store and as such included screaming, grabbing, complaining, and arguing. As we went through the checkout line, I saw my two year old sneak off to a corner by the management door. This could only mean one thing.

Does this face make you think of anything?
But right when we needed to leave, I remembered what I had forgotten--wipes! I left my husband with the baby and my daughter and took my eldest to the diaper aisle but instead of hearing the sound of my little son's screams receding as we walked away, I heard them getting LOUDER.

In a matter of seconds, my daughter, my two year old, and my husband rounded the corner of aisle 18 moving at break neck speed. My husband spotted me and screamed:

"I'm covered in poop! I'm covered in poop! I've got poop all over me!"

In case I didn't believe him (and who could doubt such a proclamation), he held up his arm, his navy blue blazer decorated with, you guessed it, sh**!

The baby also had poop in some unusual places.

We double-timed to the bathroom. My husband had been forced to abandon the cart. "There's poop on the floor!" he told me, his eyes tearing with mortification.

My husband and I always argue about having another child. I want one. He doesn't. At that moment, he turned to me and said:

"This is not helping your argument."

Here's hoping that YOU don't have a sh***y day and that for this election day we all get just what we want.

Monday, October 29, 2012

What kind of a minister ARE you?

I get this question all the time.

Here are some of my answers in my weekly online radio broadcast: You Are Loved. 
You can listen to any archived episode. You can also find out more about that part of my life at agapeinterfaith.blogspot.com where I list the weekly episodes.

I like to think that I'm living proof that liberal, intelligent, feminist, spiritual folk walk the planet. I suppose you need to add "zany" to that list.

And here I am, mid-sentence, during a service I led at the North Hadley Congregational Church.

Thanks to Bruce Brewer for the photograph!

I don't know that this picture captures my best moment. Sometimes I think about wearing a sign around my neck: I'm better looking than this. Ever have days like that?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I'll Take What She Has

Here's the cover for I'll Take What She Has!! Tell me what you think.

I love it and I want to know what you think.

Take the poll. Scroll down a bit on your left and you'll find it.

The book will be out a few weeks after Valentine's day. You can PRE-ORDER because it's already on Amazon and that, my friends, is the amazing world of technology for you.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Top Ten Reasons You Think You Aren't a Feminist AND...

10. Wasn't feminism something that happened in the 70s?
9. You haven't slept with a woman and you thought it was a requirement of membership.
8. You like having sex.
7. You like wearing nail polish.
6. You buy pink things, small pink things.
5. You vote Republican.
4. Your mother told you you weren't.
3. Don't you have to cut off a boob or something?* (see below)
2. You're not oppressed.
And the number one reason you think you're not a feminist:
1. You're a mother! And those zany feminists who wrote all the books twenty years ago only talked about ESCAPING motherhood. They forgot to write YOU into their future predictions. Woops! Talk about a major oversight. They also kind of made it a liberal thing and now the term "conservative feminist" is an oxymoron. Woops again! But this is an error that can be fixed by--you guessed it!

The top 2 reasons you ARE a feminist (but never knew it):

2. You're a woman.
1. You're a woman.

Here I am with one of my fav books of all time: Sex and Destiny by Germaine Greer, subtitled, "the politics of human fertility" which is kind of a good theme for the conversations I have with my husband some days!

*That's Amazons, not feminists.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Top Ten Reason Motherhood Make You Feel Like a Failure

10. It involves a lot of poop.
9. And cleaning of toilets.
8.Your quarterly reviews come from someone in diapers.
7. Someone else does it better (AND she puts pictures of herself doing it so well online).
6. You missed the motherhood class because you were too busy taking the stupid required math and science courses.
5. It involves late-night training.
4. No one under twenty appreciates a healthy meal.
3. You will hear the words, "Mom, I hate you," often enough to effect your self-esteem (but luckily not your Facebook friend-o-meter. And thank God, you need real friends when you have to live with the enemy!)
2. You can't freeze dry them on that one perfect day to preserve forever, probably on the mantel, or maybe hanging above it.
1. No matter how hard you try, ultimately: THEY HAVE A MIND OF THEIR OWN!

Oh, look, here I am, being the perfect, most successful mother to one of my "kids!"

Monday, October 8, 2012

Top Ten Reasons I Don't Use Facebook

10. My children are too busy using my computer to track the stock market (keenly interested in the future of their college funds).
9. There isn't a single good picture of me ever taken.
8. I already know how many friends I have (6).
7. I can only upload things on the metaphysical plane.
6. I'm technologically anti-social.
5. I'm building my own hype.
4. I don't have any pictures of my children to share. (We only have oil paintings.)
3. Everyone I know lives on an Amish farm
2. I'm too busy looking at myself in the mirror.
1. I don't want to date any of my old lovers.

Here's an updated photo of me! The most recent one taken.
Take that "friends"! I dare you to look as good as I do. I've got the complexion of a newborn!

Oh, whoops. That's my daughter. Isn't she cute?

Oh, wait a minute. That's my daughter's doll.

Sorry. But I think I've proved my point.

Monday, October 1, 2012

This is SOO scary!

Right now, the fear is EEE (fatal disease you get from mosquitoes. My area is now on high alert).

We also went through the swine (I was trying to get pregnant then and pregnant women were at high risk).

One time, my third child actually choked on an apple and my friend, a PA had to smack his back to save his life.

Also, yesterday, my daughter fell in the toilet because my son forgot to put down the seat. Oh, woops! That's not scary after all, because you only die if you fall in HEAD first.
Why is this woman smiling? Because she's not afraid of everything! (She's Lenore Skenazy, that's why.)

People LOVE to scare mothers, because we are so very, very good at neurotic paranoia. I do have friends who are afraid to let their children play outside due to the high rate of suburban kidnapping (which actually doesn't exist but why worry about facts when you get be anxious, right?).

You must read this book: Free-Range Kids, by Lenore Skenazy, apparently, "America's Worst Mom," only I missed all the media attention she got when given that title. This book, in addition to actually having real information about motherly fears (in order to allay them) will make you feel better about everything else in your life to.

She is not paying me to say this either. In fact, I don't know. But I do know that I run towards the anxious, and that motherhood can feel like a landmine of disasters--you never know where they will come from! Watch out, don't go outside or inside or in the bathroom and put down that plastic bag!

This book is like: fear not! We can ALL enjoy childhood once again.

Thanks, Lenore. I love you, you rockin' pioneer woman for the modern age!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

What We Ate

for dinner this week.


Southwestern Scramble (scrambled eggs, black beans, mixed cheeses)
Healthy Homefries (native potatoes fried in a tablespoon of oil with garam masala)
Native Green Beans

(The day I leave early to teach yoga and make dinner before I go so it is historically very simple.)
Trader Joe's tortellini with TJ sauce
Big ol' pile of native broccoli
Kids get yogurt and honey for dessert

Homemade pizza (whole wheat crust topped with Mama's homemade pesto with grown from the garden basil, pizza sauce and mozzarella)
Big ol' pile of cauliflower

Brown Rice
Honeyed Tofu Cutlets (from Saving Dinner the Vegetarian Way)
Our own home grown runner beans
Spinach, arugula salad with sliced almonds and cranberries
Native roasted acorn squash

Potato and leek soup with native veggies and made from scratch (including milk from Mapeline Farm--glass bottles!) recipe from the Kripalu Cookbook
Native roasted beets with lemon juice and feta
Kids cucumber and green pepper slices from our own homegrown veggies
Homemade pumpkin biscuits from a native pumpkin (that I cooked and mushed)

THIS IS A TRUE DOCUMENT. And I had to record it because it makes me look like the vegetarian Donna Reed, like Martha Stuart gone hippie, like the world's perfect mother!!! Wow! I'm awesome and I don't even like to cook. (You ought to see my kitchen when I'm done....)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Go Feminist Amish

There's a little known sect of the Amish called the Radical Feminist Amish.

They have one member.


And this is a call for new members. Anyone out there want to join?

When my family visited the Old Order Amish in Pennsylvania a few years ago, I picked up the best book on the Amish I've read to date: The Riddle of Amish Culture. The book is a fascinating exploration of the choices modern Amish people make in order to maintain the form of their life.

I loved the book so much, and it resonated so strongly with me, that I HAD TO STOP READING IT because I got so depressed that I cannot be Amish!

I suppose you think this makes me slightly crazy...and maybe it does, but let's consider that the Amish are not merely "old-fashioned" people. They are people make conscious decisions about HOW they want to live in this mixed-up, fast-paced, digital universe.

I'm reading a parenting book now, The Hurried Child, that touches on some of the same issues: our lust for speed, the pressure-cooker of achievement, success at what cost to our innocence?

So, maybe I am crazy because I think little girls shouldn't wear lipstick and childhood should be saved from the violence of the media (the only reason you don't think it's violent is because you ARE IMMUNE after watching one zillion images of people hitting/killing/destroying one another). If you can sit in front of the nightly news and eat pie, then you are officially desensitized.

All of us are making choices about how we live. The cool thing about the Amish is the incredible thought, prayer, and meditation that goes into the preservation of their traditions. It's not easy to be different in a world where sameness is a sign of success--but, hey, you gotta be who you are! Even if you're a feminist Amish on the inside!

Notice how I am wearing an apron while outside on an Easter egg hunt! Such Amish fashion! (okay, minus the pink color and the length and the shoes....)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Call Me Feminist Duggar

There are some things I just do differently.

Like how I think.

Today, in my free time (the ten minutes of it), I will have a chance to read the non-fiction book I'm absolutely adoring, HOW TO BE A WOMAN, and later, when the children are asleep, watch my favorite television program, the ONLY one I watch on TV, 19 Kids and Counting.

So let's compare and contrast.

Caitlin Moran, the author of HOW TO BE A WOMAN, writes about feminism, pubic hair, Brazilians, her first experiences with masturbation in such a hilarious, profound call to arms that one is left longing to, simply, be her.

Michelle Duggar, with her brood of 19, will not wear a skirt that falls above her knees. None of her daughters wear pants. No one in the entire family dances. They don't want to arouse any desires inappropriately.

Who is the person who can love and admire both these women?

Well, me.

And they do have some things in common.
Here's Caitlin. This is the picture from her book cover. (c. Christ Floyd)
See how she has long hair. And you can't see it in this photo, but she's wearing a dress!

Here's Michelle. Look! She has long hair. And she's wearing a skirt.

And they ARE both mothers. It's like they're practically the same person.

These are the two biggest feminists in my life right now. Michelle doesn't call herself one, but that's okay with me! A powerful woman is a powerful woman no matter what you call her, or what anyone ELSE calls her and tomorrow I'll post a picture of MYSELF so you can see how much we ALL look alike.....

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Do you speak Polish?

I'm thrilled. THIS LITTLE MOMMY STAYED HOME has been bought by a Polish publisher! This makes the third country (not counting America and Canada) of publication.

If you read Polish, you'll have to tell me how it is....

Also, if you have not read the book yet, you really have no more excuses. It's been THREE years since the release. Copies in the warehouse are gathering dust; you can get the thing on ebay for, like, 19 cents. If you wait long enough, you can get a Polish dictionary and a Polish translation of the book and read the two together--but why do things the hard way? Get it from your local bookseller and then, when you email me and say, "I've read your book!" you will not be lying!! (I don't know that this has happened to me yet, but I wouldn't be surprised. Also, I haven't done any promotion in a long time, so I thought this post could count as my marketing plan for the month. For the two people who read my blog.)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Nose (Knows)

I kept walking through my mudroom thinking, it smells like a pile of mildewy wet clothes! I did this for two days over a busy weekend spent mostly outside working on a fence. I looked around the room for the source of the smell, but could not find it.

Today, I opened up the dryer to put in a load of clothes and--!
Someone (probably our terrible cleaning lady--a.k.a. me--...she always gets so distracted by the children!) forgot to push the ON button. There was the culprit of the stink. Just what I smelled, a pile of mildewy wet clothes.

So this morning while in my children's closet I said, it smells like a big pee in here. I had been smelling this for days and had already empited the laundry basket and looked around for what could be causiing the odor. I asked my children if someone had peed in the closet (because, you never know!). My daughter very assertively told me she knew the source of the smell, then she searched through a basket of toys and pulled out a soggy, old pull-up!

Such wisdom have I gleaned! Even if you cannot SEE it, if you SMELL it, believe it! Because it's there somewhere.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Well, I still want to be Michelle Duggar....

Michelle Duggar made big news again, a few weeks ago, when she outrageously, scandalously said: "The world needs more children."

The incredible response to this! The uproar, the anger, the alarm. But how could anyone aware of her enormous family be shocked by this idea? If she DIDN'T feel that way and had nineteen kids, something would be wrong. Of course she doesn't believe in overpopulation; if she did, she'd be like the rest of my friends and have one--maybe two!--children.

Here's how I see it. All kinds of people have children, people who don't want children, people who don't like children, people who don't know what to DO with children. Some children are molested, raped, abused, mistreated, used, maligned, ignored, abandoned, starved, murdered.... Other children simply suffer the usual dramas of childhood and growing up, which always includes some level of benign neglect, even if it's just that Mama can't play with you all the time because she has to do the dishes!

(I should be doing the dishes. But at least I'm blogging while my kids are asleep.)

If you see it from the Duggar perspective, the world does need more children--more children who are seen to be precious, incredible, vital, useful, gifts from God (or you may put in a more meaningful word here that you use). Michelle Duggar may be crazy, but not any more crazy than many parents I know--just differently crazy. She and her husband say that many years ago they prayed to see children they way God sees children, which, to me, is an amazing thing. It means you stop seeing children for what they can do FOR you, stop seeing them as a part OF you, stop feeling like who they are is a mere reflection of you, and see them in their own right, perfect and whole, wanted and necessary in the great world.

The point is not that there are too many children, but that there is too little love--and too little love for children. I don't mean we all need nineteen children. In fact, I am very much in favor of those who don't want children not having any! But to grow in our ability to appreciate children, to welcome them, to treat them kindly, to learn from them, to let their challenges change us into better people? That is what I understand from what the Duggars are doing. And I do believe motherhood is a spiritual practice. (Oh, how I practice, practice, practice every day!)

Sharon Lerner in her book THE WAR ON MOMS, writes, "And children are treated as something akin to puppies--cute little extras we've opted for, perhaps because we find them diverting--rather than as actual people. In what economist Nancy Folbre describes as a children-as-pets mind-set, there's little recognition of the fact that children are essential to society, or that keeping them well and ushering them into the arena of tax-paying, job-holding adulthood is in the public interest."

Two things: "children are essential to society" and "Keeping them well" is in the interest of all.

We do need more children. More children who are beloved, seen as essential, and kept well in the fullness of such an understanding, in body, mind, heart and soul, with value beyond measure, not just OUR children, not YOUR children, not simply MY children, but children of the great I AM.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I haven't blogged in a great long while, mostly because I decided I wanted to do other more fulfilling things with my time, and for whatever reason, I did not find blogging a really satisfying activity (which I know makes me uncool, unpopular and off the radar...alas!). I have always been a Luddite and it seems times haven't changed! In graduate school I refused to get an email account; I often think I might have been better keeping that committment. Real human contact is at the top of my list for what makes life wonderful; as for the written word, nothing beats a letter. If the postal service wanted me to, I'd start the campaign to bring back the letter.

So a brief reading update anyway. I've been really satisfied with some of my recent parenting reads. Here they are:

Still love to read and re-read: Mothering as a Spiritual Practice
How to Behave, So Your Kids Will To!

Children: The Challenge
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother