I come from a family that celebrates strong women. My great aunt Hannah lived on her own well into her nineties, regularly taking baked goods by bike to what she called “the old folks’ home” in her small town. Great aunt Vera, now in her late 80s, still travels around the country visiting loved ones. … Continue reading Celebrating Strong Women
This post is a slightly modified excerpt of Woodland Manitou: To Be on Earth.
It’s Halloween in America. If you’ve gone into any commercial establishment in the last few weeks, you’ve been bombarded with pumpkins of all sizes and materials, plastic decor of infinite variety, mountains of orange and black wrapped candy, and enough cheap costuming to clothe the entire country for a year. The holiday season is about to begin in earnest as October gives way to the season of shopping, otherwise known as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Commercialism abounds, we get sucked into the frenzy even if we don’t like to shop, and good deals take our attention from being content with what we already have. We eat too much too quickly and have more excuses than usual for why we can’t exercise. For many of us, the holidays mean putting on weight, being stressed out, spending too much money and throwing in the towel until January. Often times we are multi-tasking, working late to prepare for a few extra days off or packing frantically to visit the in-laws. We get snippy with our children, our neighbors put up lights that are too bright and we hope the time goes quickly. It doesn’t feel like a time of celebration when culture calls the shots. We forget to be mindful and live in the present. Even in this season that’s supposed to be about thanksgiving, we forget to practice gratitude. Continue reading “Palpable Joy: A November Gratitude Challenge”
It was the stuff of childhood lore, really, those few years when garter snakes declared the low area just behind the house their territory. We’d lead unsuspecting friends over to the barrel with the mesh lid on it and they’d run away shrieking at the sight of that day’s capture writhing up the sides, looking … Continue reading Snake Bucket
I really wanted to wear a green dress for my wedding. I found one in the sundress section of a catalogue shortly after we set the date, (September 8, 2007) and I was determined to be different. It was from a catalogue because I don’t care for shopping in any form, and wearing green seemed like a fun way make a statement. To be contrarian. To be different from America’s typical run of the mill wedding detail. To damn the wedding culture man, as it were. A way to make sure people understood I was doing it my way. Etcetera.
The green dress was a no-go. My mom and I visited a few wedding dress shops, and I ended up getting a white one instead, still simple, still from a catalogue. But it was white, and from the “wedding dress” section.
I also wanted Nick and I to say our vows in a field down by the Big Sioux River. I love nature, the prairie, feeling the wind on my face, looking at the sky. I wanted to step into marriage on my own terms, and at the time, one of the ideas that made me feel like things were on my terms was having the wedding in a field of prairie grass down by the river. We didn’t do that either, and thinking back I’m not sure I ever actually suggested this idea out loud. The ceremony was held in the church I grew up attending, with my future father in law presiding. So, at the end of the day, I wore the white dress and had the church wedding. And I’m glad I did, because my wedding wasn’t just about what I, the bride, wanted at that point in my young adulthood. It was about grafting a new branch onto the family tree. It was about public commitment to a new way of being in partnership with another human. And it was a commitment to a new way of being in relationship with a new group of people – an extended family. Continue reading “On Family”