Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Book List!

This is really only meant for my own personal reference, but I thought I'd put it into a post anyway in case anyone else cares. I really should have linked to the books and to the ones that I reviewed myself. But, I didn't. In 2012, I'm going to keep my running list of read books as usual, but I'm going to keep it in a more "blog ready" format--i.e. if I review it, I'm going to include the link on my list right then, rather than try to go back later.

You'll notice the dates aren't in order--that's because I updated the list on only a semi-regular basis and would go backwards through my FB postings from Kindle in order to update the list. I also kept a list of non-Kindle books in my phone and added those to the very end of this list (though, not all of the books on the main list were read on Kindle either, it just depended on when/what was available when I finished reading it and was ready to record it). The format of how I kept the list jumps back and forth depending on what I was copying and pasting from.

So, FWIW, this is my year-end list of books read in 2011. I read a total of 119 books. Some were somewhat short--novellas of about 120-150 pages. Some were long (like 400+ pages). I only included books I read out loud to the kids if they were over 200 pages, because then I definitely think that still counts as a book I read--out loud no less, that is MORE work than reading it to myself for sure!

Happy New Year! I look forward to many more wonderful reads in 2012!
  1. 1/2/2011—Simply Give Birth (second reading, read for birth inspiration. Book of birth stories, mostly rapid and UC. Very inspiring and good and also funny—has cartoons J)
  2. 1/2/2011—Motherhood Confidential (finished, second reading. Kind of wildy written—makes you feel a little crazy. Funny).
  3. 1/9/2011—Living in the Lap of the Goddess: The Feminist Spirituality Movement in America.
  4. 1/10/2011—Gentle Birth Companions: Doulas Serving Humanity (UK perspective, interesting)
  5. 1/12/2011—Labyrinth of Birth (second reading. Good!)
  6. 1/17/2011—The Handmaid’s Tale (first full-length Kindle read!)
  7. 1/23/2011—New Lives (nurses stories from NICU, Kindle)
  8. 1/26/2011—The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries (too witchy for my taste)
  9. 1/27/2011—Summer at Willow Lake (lightweight romance story free on Kindle)
  10. 2/2/2011--Wicca 404: Advanced Goddess Thealogy (Kindle)
  11. 2/5/2011—Rebirth of the Goddess (feminist thealogy)
  12. 2/8/2011—The Apothecary’s Daughter (free Kindle historical fiction)
  13. 2/10/2011—Candle in the Darkness (free Kindle Christian historical fiction)
  14. 2/11/2011—Soul Identity (free Kindle fiction)
  15. 2/15/2011—Goddess Spirituality at the Crossroads (second read, first Kindle purchase)
  16. 2/16/2011—Letters from a Woman Homesteader (free Kindle classic)
  17. 2/19/2011—The Spiral Dance (more Wiccan-oriented than I am)
  18. 2/23/2011—Talk of the Town (free Kindle Christian fiction—light on Christian. Reality TV producer goes to small town).
  19. 2/26/2011—Daughters of the Goddess (anthology of essays)
  20. 2/27/2011—A Time to Love (free Kindle Christian fiction about Amish people)
  21. 2/28/1010—She is Everywhere (anthology of Goddess writings, focusing on the Dark Mother/Black Madonna. Very uneven).
  22. 3/2/2011—Medicus: A Novel of the Roman Empire (good, free for Kindle)
  23. 3/4/2011—A Bed of Spices (historical romance fiction, free for Kindle. Set in Europe during Black Death)
  24. 3/2011—Focus (free ebook on Zen in the age of distraction. About time management with computer/online use. Very good!)
  25. 3/11/2011—Leaving Mother Lake (memoir about the Moso people, a matrilineal group a the border of Tibet/China. Very good and interesting!)
  26. 3/22/2011—No Impact Man (book club. Very good).
  27. 3/28/2011—Millie’s Fling (lightweight, funny, Bridget Jones-esque)
  28. 3/29/2011--What’s the Least You Can Believe & Still Be a Christian (free, Kindle. Interesting)
  29. 4/6/2011—Wings (free Kindle fiction about faeries. Liked it!)
  30. 4/15/2011—Home/Birth: a poemic (interesting. Took time to get rhythm, but then loved it. Felt like eavesdropping ;)).
  31. 4/16/2011-- Kiss Me, Stranger: An Illustrated Novel -- --Pretty weird, but also very interesting (and was free). Post-economic collapse setting and about a mother with 14 children who ends up living in a landfill (scavenging waste metal and other usable items). War going on all around between revolutionary faction and "Presidential Militia" (from nutty totalitarian President who took over and ruined the country).
  32. 4/18/2011 Cosmic Conversations: Dialogues on the Nature of the Universe and the Search for Reality 4 stars, because it was a little too uneven in quality to be a five star! Very interesting and thought-provoking collection of interviews with prominent thinkers/writers/scientists/spiritual leaders about cosmology.
  33. 4/26/2011--Photographs & Phantoms, free Kindle fiction. short and light.
  34. 4/23/2011—Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People who are Poking the Box and Making a Difference
  35. 4/20/2011--Do the Work
  36. 5/1/2011—The Possibility of Everything (for book club)
  37. 5/8/2011-- Sparks Fly (forgettable, free Kindle romance)
  38. 5/9/2011-- She Who Changes: Re-imagining the Divine in the World
  39. 5/13/2011-- Songs for a Teenage Nomad (free Kindle fiction)
  40. 5/15/2011—Practicing the Presence of the Goddess
  41. 5/17/2011—Arms Wide Open (midwifery memoir)
  42. 6/7/2011—In Her Name: Empire (sci-fi Kindle novel)
  43. 6/2/2011 finished Mind Cafe by Lizzy Ford and gave it 4 stars (interesting short)
  44. 6/1/2011--finished A Fool Again: A Novella and gave it 3 stars (engaging, predictable short romance)
  45. 5/30/2011--I actually LOL'ed at this quick, funny little book. 4 stars Stingray Bit My Nipple!: True Stories from Real Travelers
  46. 5/30/2011--finished What the Dead Fear by Lea Ryan and gave it 4 stars (interesting short)
  47. 5/30/2011--cheesy, simplistic, & cliche, but also fun (save eaten by rats & squashed by a hog incidents) 3 stars Bring on the Blessings with Bonus Material
  48. 5/27/2011--finished Heart of the Witch and gave it 3.5 stars (mystery/romance. sort of cheap, sort of good)
  49. 5/25/2011--another bizarre reading choice based solely on freeness. It was actually pretty funny though. The Twelve Sacred Traditions of Magnificent Mothers-in-Law
  50. 5/23/2011--finished Write Good or Die by Scott Nicholson, Gayle Lynds et al. and gave it 3 stars
  51. 5/18/2011--finished Matchmakers 2.0 (A Novel Nibbles title) by Debora Geary and gave it 3 stars. This was actually a pretty fun little book. And, a minor character was a midwife! Presented very normally and talked about knitting baby blankets at births or needing to leave if one of "her mamas is having a baby." :)
  52. 6/2011--Tales of Ancient Wisdom (Zen parable/story thingies)
  53. 7/15/2011—Burnt Toast (Teri Hatcher memoir on life, love, and motherhood. Book club read).
  54. 7/22/2011—Ben Behind His Voices—schizophrenia memoir
  55. October 16-- finished Jenny Pox (The Paranormals, Book 1) by JL Bryan and gave it 4 stars
  56. October 11 finished Wings with Bonus Material by Aprilynne Pike and gave it 4 stars (Read this to the boys with slight edits due to teen content. Lann voted 5 stars on it. I'd previously read it to myself and gave it 4. Interesting fairy read!)
  57. October 8 finished Anathema (The Causal Enchantment Series) by K.A. Tucker and gave it 3.5 stars
  58. October 6 finished Awkward Memoirs From Actual India by Romi Moondi and gave it 4 stars--bizarrely amusing!
  59. October 4 finished Lady in the Mist (The Midwives) by Laurie Alice Eakes and gave it 3 stars
  60. Sept. 29 finished Lux 1.1 Seeds by Jalex Hansen and gave it 4 stars
  61. Sept 27 finished Love's Magic by Traci E. Hall and gave it 3 stars (Cheesy free romance. I kept wanting to stop reading it, but there was just enough intrigue to keep me hanging on until the end. I've been reading the crappiest books lately. Things I never even would have dignified with a glance pre-Kindle)
  62. Sept. 20 finished Impulse Control (Talent Chronicles) and gave it 4 stars--engaging X-Men-ish YA novella.
  63. Sept 13 finished Thirst (Ava Delaney #1) by Claire Farrell and gave it 3 stars
  64. Sept 11 finished Angela of Troy and gave it 3 stars--novella about necromancer & werewolves. Abrupt end.
  65. Sept 8 finished Please Stop Laughing at Me and gave it 3.5 stars--book club read.
  66. Sept. 7 finished George & the Virgin. 3.5 stars-yes, I read this & it was pretty cute & creative (if trashy)
  67. Sept 5 finished Anathema (Cloud Prophet series, not the same book as the other Anathema on my list) and gave it 4 stars--intriguing first half, became weaker by end.
  68. Sept 4 finished Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise & gave it 3.5 stars--light, engaging Christian fiction. (Pregnant woman has baby on second base and another player says they should take her to the hospital. The reply--"its okay, she was planning to have the baby at home anyway." :) Also, had a nursing mother on the team, who frequently had to take breaks to nurse the baby :) Baby was over 6 months old too. Woot!
  69. Aug 30 finished Elliot and the Goblin War by Jennifer A. Nielsen et al. and Lann gave it 5 stars
  70. Aug 28 finished The Trouble With Green by Liv James and gave it 3 stars--lightweight and semi-crappy.
  71. Aug 24 finished Zarrella's Hierarchy of Contagiousness by Dan Zarrella and gave it 3 stars
  72. Aug 24 finished The Witch of Agnesi (Bonnie Pinkwater series) by Robert Spiller and gave it 3 stars (Engaging enough to keep me going to find out whodunnit, but not good enough to keep me from skimming a lot (I rarely skim!).
  73. Aug 23 finished The Hawk And His Boy (The Tormay Trilogy #1) by Christopher Bunn and gave it 5 stars
  74. Aug 17 read The Year We Finally Solved Everything and gave it 4 stars--really odd, but quite good/absorbing (A lot of the book was spent in his head, so I think you'll like it. It was a weird, interesting, dark, offbeat, semi-depressing story with mucho use of the f-word.)
  75. Aug 14 finished Alice At Heart by Deborah Smith and gave it 5 stars.
  76. Aug 13 finished The Awakening and Selected Short Stories by Kate Chopin and gave it 2 stars (Styles of writing have changed/evolved so much since "classics" were written that it is hard to appreciate them--I found this to be painfully slow going as well as confusing (it was really not straightforward or clear about what was actually happening and I could barely focus on it while reading!) The only silver lining is that you found the free version for us!) I continued to find it difficult to discern the plot throughout the book, so I don't know that you're missing anything! It was hard to figure out WHAT she was feeling or thinking and it took me quite a while to even figure out that she was in love with the Robert guy--it was very "subtle" I guess (too many other free Kindle books recently have me expecting torrid love scenes to clarify the love interests!). I read a variety of criticisms of the book saying they couldn't believe how badly she treated her husband, but I thought he was pretty jerky. And, during this time period, children of the social class they belonged to were primarily with nannies (like hers were), so I actually didn't really look at the story as her leaving her children--they were still being cared for in the same way with or without her actually in the house. That was part of the culture--the part of her life (her "woman's duty") that she abandoned was the pointless socializing and entertaining and keeping up of appearances. I also wonder how her leaving to live in her own house is any different than the husband being gone all the time and then going to his "club" until long after the kids were in bed--no "what a horrible husband and father" statements are made in the Amazon reviews at least! Apparently was so subtle that I missed that she committed suicide at the end of the book until one of my book clubmates pointed it out to me.
  77. Aug 9 finished The Walled Garden and gave it 3 stars--interesting, but abruptly over, novella
  78. Aug 7 finished The Turtle Boy (The Timmy Quinn Series) and gave it 4 stars--totally creepy novella.
  79. Dec. 9 finished Will Allen and the Great Monster Detective by Jason Edwards et al. and Lann gave it 4 stars
  80. Nov. 27 finished Guardian of Eden by Leslie DuBois and gave it 4 stars--erratic quality, but interesting
  81. Nov. 26 finished Moonstone by Marilee Brothers and gave it 4 stars--fun YA read.
  82. Nov. 20 finished Skulduggery Pleasant: Scepter of the Ancients by Derek Landy and Lann gave it 5 stars. One surprise about this piece of free kids kindle fiction is that it was 416 pages long! I had no idea when I started reading it to the kids (one of the only things that makes the kindle book experience different than a "real" book--you'd never get halfway through a hard copy book and say, hmm. I wonder how long this book is anyway?) It was very violent in places and I had to edit slightly for mild language and some excess gore, but overall Lann and I both really enjoyed it and will probably get more books in the series (print copies are like one cent on amazon!). It was too old for Z and he would fall asleep during it.
  83. Nov. 22 finished Best Friends by Consuelo Saah Baehr and gave it 5 stars--Cover makes it look lightweight and casual. It isn't. Disturbing in places, sad and depressing in others. Somewhat uneven at times--jumpy or confusing--but overall engrossing and very good. Good, deep free kindle fiction is possible!
  84. Nov. 13 finished Ghost in Her Heart (Dark Lands) by Autumn Dawn and gave it 3 stars. Quote: “Men might rule the world, but women created life, made it grow within them. Without the womb there was no kingdom to govern, and a king was as useless as the next man.”
  85. Nov. 12 finished Signs and Wonders by Alex Adena, Ronnell Porter and Arturo Fernandez and gave it 3.5 stars
  86. Nov. 6 finished Commune of Women by Suzan Still and gave it 5 stars
  87. Nov. 3 finished Yesterday's Gone: Episode 1 and gave it 4 stars--serial thriller/post-apocalyptic
  88. Oct 28 finished Hollowland and gave it 4 stars--semi-gruesome YA zombie apocalypse tale
  89. 7/14/2011 The Friend Request 4 stars (if free)--creepy novel about sociopath using Facebook to ruin lives. B/c choppy toward end
  90. 7/12/2011--finished Wild Child by Mike Wells and gave it 3 stars--dd but also interesting YA story. Ended abruptly/lacked resolution.
  91. 7/11/2011--finished Delightfully Twisted Tales by and gave it 3 stars (super strange little shorts)
  92. 7/10/2011--finished Fire Lord's Lover and gave it 4 stars (if free)--engaging/somewhat trashy romance novel
  93. 7/5/2011--finished Too Big To Miss by Sue Ann Jaffarian and gave it 4 stars--light & fairly engaging mystery.
  94. 7/3/2011--finished Dear Cupid by Julie Ortolon and gave it 3 stars--uber-cheesy romance.
  95. 6/29/2011--finished Kali and gave it 3 stars--some good recipes. Basically a collection of foodie blog posts.
  96. 6/28/2011--finished Life From Scratch by Melissa Ford and gave it 4 stars. While it wasn't what I expected and was lightweight, it was definitely of higher caliber than a romance novel (and much less nakedness than those have!) and surprised me a couple of times (ending was a little trite though).
  97. 6/24/2011--finished Ravenous by Dayna Macy and gave it 4 stars--interesting & well-written!
  98. 6/21/2011--finished The Fox by Arlene Radasky and gave it 4 stars. This was a pretty good about the ancient Picts (Celts) in Scotland during the approaching Roman invasion. Somewhat uneven/rough in places and seemed like it could use some additional editing work, but really hooked my interest and drew me in. Labyrinth imagery throughout.
  99. 6/18/2011--finished Breakthrough! by Jon Queijo and gave it 4 stars--interesting book!
  100. 6/13/2011--Listen, 4 stars (free=good; pay=probably no. Intriguing idea, sometimes heavy handed with the moralizing)
  101. 6/11/2011--finished Their Last Suppers by Andrew Caldwell and gave it 3 stars (morbidly interesting)
  102. 6/12/2011--read Don't Make Me Come Up There! Quiet Moments for Busy Moms, 2 stars(some funny "bad mom" stories)
  103. 7/19/2011 read Silken Threads, 4 stars--historical fiction romance that pays homage to Hitchcock's Rear Window

Books read not on Kindle:

  1. July--Doulas' Guide to Birthing Your Way
  2. In Search of the Perfect Birth
  3. Leah's Wake (Book Rooster fiction)
  4. The Belly Mapping Workbook
  5. August--Original Self
  6. Daughters of the Goddess (second reading; for school)
  7. Finnegan's Way (book rooster)
  8. Momfulness
  9. September--A Day in the Life of an American Woman (photo journey)
  10. Rebirth of the Goddess (finished re-reading for class)
  11. Altars
  12. October--Shanghai Girls (book club)
  13. December--Introduction to Human Services: through the eyes of practice settings.

Other textbooks this year:

  1. Working with Families
  2. Child Welfare

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Book Year in Review

I kept a running list of books I read in 2010. Did actually end up hitting the 100 book mark, without realizing it until I sat down to type them up! In addition to the books I read, I also listened to at least 15 audio books. My list is not actually in order of how I read them, but in order of how I jotted them on my notepad! In 2010, I read:

1. Small Gods (fiction, book club. Kind of good)
2. The Red Tent (third time I've read it, this time for book club. Like it very much!)
3. The Lacuna (book club. Very disappointing, because I usually love Barbara Kingsolver).
4. Womanspirit: A guide to women's wisdom (second reading, much enjoy)
5. Birth--an anthology of ancient texts, songs, prayers, and stories (disappointing)
6. Simplicity Lessons: 12 Step Guide to Living Simply (we worked through this book month-by-month in 2009 and then finished it in the early part of the year. Pretty good, but nothing new).
7. Women's Spirituality Book
8. Coming to Term (miscarriage and pregnancy-after-loss. Good, interesting)
9. The Grace in Dying (very good!)
10. U is for Undertow (for fun!)
11. My Name is Mary Sutter (very excellent historical fiction about a midwife/Civil War nurse)
12. Dance of the Womb (prenatal belly dance)
13. Brought to Earth by Birth (photo essay/lyrical ode to birth)
14. Wild Feminine (loved it! Very recommended)
15. A Silent Sorrow (miscarriage)
16. Pregnancy Loss
17. Miscarriage: Women's Experiences and Needs
18. Women's Rituals (read twice)
19. Circle Round
20. The Joy of Family Ritual
21. Pregnant Woman's Comfort Book (twice)
22. Avoiding Miscarriage
23. Painless Childbirth
24. The Women's Retreat Book (loved it. Highly recommended)
25. The Woman's Comfort Book
26. A Woman's Book of Rituals and Celebrations (twice. Very good!)
27. Mindful Motherhood
28. Survivor Moms
29. Birthing a Mother
30. Readings for Women's Programs (really enjoyed this. Used it for a class)
31. Your High Risk Pregnancy (read to review, did not enjoy and wish I hadn't read while also pregnant!)
32. Our Seven Principles in Story and Verse (UU)
33. In Nature's Honor (lots of ideas for seasonal celebrations)
34. Seven Times the Sun (so-so. Waldorfy book about creating home rhythms)
35. Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling (some great stuff, some annoying stuff)
36. The Year of Living Biblically (for book club. So-so. Funny).
37. Tending the Flame--The Art of UU Parenting
38. The Dance of the Dissident Daughter (second reading, enjoyed again)
39. FatherBirth
40. The Doctor and the Diva (did not really like. Fiction about early artificial insemination techniques, annoyingly dramatized, supposed to review but it didn't match my audience).
41. Dancing with Goddess (x's two)
42. Childbirth with Insight (an oldie and goodie. I'm getting ready to re-read this one)
43. An Easier Childbirth (third reading)
44. Active Birth (another classic!)
45. Secrets of Confident Childbirth
46. Immaculate Deception II (second reading)
47. Prodigal Summer (book club. Also Barbara Kingsolver and pretty good, though not my favorite one from her).
48. Labyrinth of Birth (new edition from Pam England. Very good. Getting ready to re-read)
49. Goddesses, Witches, and the Paradigm Shift (a collection of dramatic readings. Going to do a presentation from this at church for Women's History Month).
50. Optimal Birth (very long. Good).
51. The Alchemist (barely remember. oops!)
52. Mothervoices (??)
53. I Wish I Had a Read Dress (fiction, book club, second reading. Enjoyed).
54. The Feminine Mistake: Are we giving up too much? (thought-provoking)
55. Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (new edition)
56. Living without Reservations (travel/simple living memoir. Enjoyed).
57. The Queen's Cloak
58. Wild Girls
59. Sacred Dimensions of Women's Experience (interesting)
60. The Wheel of Life and Death (interesting)
61. Birthing Ourselves into Being
62. Birthing from Within (approximately 6th reading. All-time favorite birth book for sure!)
63. Siesta Lane (simple living memoir, not what I expected).
64. The Patron Saint of Liars (fiction, forgettable)
65. The Joy of Pregnancy
66. Having a Baby, Naturally (second reading)
67. Finding Your Own North Star
68. Waiting (journal of pregnancy after loss)
69. The Shallows (book club, so-so).
70. Un-Jobbing (third or so reading, like it).
71. Courageous Parents, Confident Kids
72. Rediscovering Birth (second reading, lots of good pix, good anthropological look at birth culture)
73. The Politics of Women's Spirituality (really enjoyed, very long and dense and took AGES to finish reading. I worked on it for about four months, I think!)
74. Child of the Northern Spring (fiction about Guinevere for book club. Did not really like. Boring).
75. Goddess Spirituality at the Crossroads (first book read on my new Kindle! Really liked it. A collection of columns from a no-longer-published journal of women's spirituality).
76. The Roots of Natural Mothering (so-so)
77. The Goddess Companion (did daily readings from this over course of entire year--it is 365 meditations)
78. Simple Abundance (used this same way as above).
79. Introduction to Human Services textbook for class.
80. Child Welfare textbook for class
81. Effective Group Discussion textbook for class
82. Groups: Process and Practice textbook for class
83. Memoirs of a Singing Birth (e-book)
84. Understanding the Dangers of a Cesarean Birth (for review)
85. Great Gals (book/journal)
86. Understanding Pregnancy and Birth (very basic)
87. Breastfeeding Facts for Fathers (booklet)

These, I can't remember if I actually read in 2010, or just wrote reviews of in 2010:
88. 25 Ways to Joy & Inner Peace for Mothers
89. Pregnant on Prozac
90.She Births
91. Get Me Out
92. L’Mazeltov
93. Birth Day
94. Birth Space, Safe Place

And, these, I found on a separate list and realized I DID read 100 books in 2010 after all!

95. The Geography of Bliss (book club)
96. The Life Organizer (loved it)
97. Listening to Our Bodies
98. The Feminine Face of God
99. YogaFit (for prenatal yoga teacher training)
100. Heart of the Goddess (pictures/painting and accompanying stories)
101. Really, Truly Ruthie (American Girl book)
102. Meet Rebecca (AG)
103. Meet Julie (AG)
104 The Vagina Warriors ($1 Shop find)
105. The Inner Dance (guided meditations. Did not like).

Woot! On to 2011! I have about 15 books in progress right now ;-D

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The 12 Days of X-Files Christmas

I know this is is totally the wrong season, but once upon a time, many years ago Mark and I collaborated with my parents to come up with a lovely rendition of The 12 Days of X-Files Christmas. For some reason, I was prompted to share it here today instead of doing my other work:

12 Days of X-Files Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, Mulder gave Scully
Some parts from a dead body (or: a government conspiracy)

On the second day of Christmas, Mulder gave Scully
Two UFOs and some parts from a dead body

On the third day of Christmas, Mulder gave Scully
Three Lone Gunmen, two UFOs…

On the fourth day of Christmas, Mulder gave Scully
Four abductees, three Lone Gunmen…

On the fifth day of Christmas, Mulder gave Scully
Five cell-phone rings, four abductees…

On the sixth day of Christmas, Mulder gave Scully
Six Chaco chickens, five cell-phone rings…

On the seventh day of Christmas, Mulder gave Scully
Seven swarms of bees, six Chaco chickens…

On the eighth day of Christmas, Mulder gave Scully
Eight Syndicate members, seven swarms of bees…

On the ninth day of Christmas, Mulder gave Scully
Nine black oil victims, eight syndicate members…

On the tenth day of Christmas, Mulder gave Scully
Ten little green men, nine black oil victims…

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Mulder gave Scully
Eleven gross autopsies, ten little green men…

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Mulder gave Scully
Twelve reprimands from Skinner (or: twelve nice big kisses)…

By: Molly, Mark, Barbara, and Tom

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Finishing out 2009

Wanted to finish out 2009 by at least posting a list of the other books I've read this year. If I keep this blog alive at all, it is going to be as just a list/record of what I've read so that I remember :)

I have put most of my "to-blog" stack away, so I'm probably forgetting some, but in recent weeks I've read:
  • Twelve books about miscarriage
  • Pregnant on Prozac (book about antidepressant use during pregnancy, had several major critiques of, reviewed for CAPPA)
  • From Diapers to Dating (a guide to raising sexually healthy children from infancy to middle school, liked it pretty well, good information and suggestions, reviewed for LLL)
  • L'Mazeltov (Jewish childbirth education, reviewed for CAPPA, not impressed with the "do whatever the doctor tells you" conventional attitude)
  • Birth Space, Safe Place (book about emotional well being during pregnancy and birth, enjoyed though didn't learn anything new really, reviewed for CAPPA & CfM)
  • 25 Ways to Awaken Your Birth Power (book and CD set, inspirational and relaxing, reviewed for CAPPA & CfM)
  • 25 Ways to Joy & Inner Peace for Mothers (book and CD set, nurturing little book for mothers of newborns, reviewed for CAPPA)
  • The Body of the Goddess (about sacred sites around the world as well as about goddess imagery in landscapes and cultures with am emphais on the body, enjoyed pretty well though felt some of the conclusions/theories were a bit of a stretch, delighted and surprised to find it at $1 Shop)
  • Re-read Birthing from Within, my all time favorite birth book. I re-read it to give myself of dose of inspiration as well as prep for the birth art class I'm taking online this month.
  • Mask of Motherhood--this was a re-read from several years ago. I liked it the second time around too and marked a whole bunch of pages that I'm now not going to actually write about. I think a lot of attachment minded mothers would probably not like this book, but I like it anyway.
  • Joyful Birth--I was reading a segment from this each week during my pregnancy and finished it about a week before my miscarriage :(
  • Simply Give Birth--reviewed this for CAPPA and CfM, LOVED it. Super good and highly recommended, one of my favorite books of 2009, more here.
  • The Power of Women--possibly my favorite birth read of 2009. Really excellent. A true treasure. Reviewed for CfM and CAPPA (see CfM review here)
  • Birth Day--just finished reviewing this one for CAPPA. Quick read. Amusing.
  • My Stroke of Insight--book club read for November.
  • Creating Community Change: Making it Happen in the Real World--textbook for my CC class in October. Read it cover to cover like a good teacher. Really a good book. Highly recommended!
  • Chiseled in Sand: Creating Change in Human Service Organizations--textbook I was considering for class, but didn't end up using as a class book.
  • Life Skills for Homeschooled Teenagers--bought for my homeschool co-op Life Skills class in Sept. Have already re-sold, since I won't have homeschooled teenagers of my own for many years!
I was going to get links set up for all these, but I just don't have time, so tralalala!


Friday, December 18, 2009

UU World Quotes

I know I don't have time for this blog anymore. The best I can do is pop in with quotes every once in a while, with no time really to explain why they struck me.

From UU World magazine in an article titled The Cathedral of the World:

"A twenty-first-century theology based on the concept of one Light and many windows offers to its adherents both breadth and focus. Honoring many different religious approaches, it only excludes the truth-claims of absolutists. That is because fundamentalists claim that the Light shines through their window only. Some go so far as to beseech their followers to throw stones through other people’s windows.

Skeptics draw the opposite conclusion. Seeing the bewildering variety of windows and observing the folly of the worshipers, they conclude that there is no Light. But the windows are not the Light. They are where the Light shines through."

Quotes like this are why I am a UU and why I was drawn so strongly to UUism. I spent approximately 27 years of my life feeling like organized religion "disagreed" with me and I, frankly, wanted very little to do with it. I did not feel like my spiritual beliefs "fit" anywhere. Then, lo and behold, I discovered that I DO have a fit. A very, very good one. I never expected to "get religious" at this point in my life, but what really happened is that I discovered I've actually been a UU all along, I just didn't know there was a name for it. :)

Also in the same issue was a nice prayer to be used a dinner or other gatherings:

"Spirit of Life, we remember...(insert negative things that are relevant--poverty, hunger, etc.), and we are grateful for...(insert food, company, program, other noteworthy positive things.) Blessed be and Amen."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Quote from Ode

Trying to clear out my pile of magazines, etc. and before I pass it along, I wanted to share this quote from Ode Magazine in an article called The Reason of Faith (the article was about "why people need religion" and was a semi-scholarly [instead of theistic] response to recent books about atheism):

"And when you try to mix science and religion you get bad science and bad religion. The two are doing different things....Science can give you a diagnosis of cancer. It can even cure your disease, but it cannot touch your grief and disappointment, nor can it help you to die well."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

And More

Recently I've finished re-reading Shelter for the Spirit: How to Make Your Home a Haven in a Hectic World. I saw the author speak in person at a Speaking of Women's Health conference several years ago. Nice, nurturing simple living read (with additional bonus of a short appendix with sections about homebirth and homeschooling :). It inspired me to change my Facebook profile quote to: "A simplified home feels friendlier. A simplified life seems easier. And remarkable joy comes from simple things--like having work to do that matters, and having people to love who matter a lot."

I also re-read Mother's Intention: How Belief Shapes Birth. Lots of good stuff in this one, though it does get repetitive after a while. She has a particular way with analogies that is just great--all kinds of good examples. She has a very straightforward, matter-of-fact style. I wish I could manage to be so honest/upfront with some of my childbirth education clients about "buying the hospital ticket and taking the hospital ride."

I read The Pocket Doula as well. It has lots of good pictures, no new information for me. Very conventional approach to standard interventions--doesn't question them at all.

I also read Fearless Fourteen and Finger-Lickin' Fifteen. Nothing like a little "dessert" every once in a while! :)

I think there may have been some others also, but I'm not keeping them in a to-blog-about pile anymore so I lose track!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Recent Reads

So, even though I've basically discontinued this blog, I still want to keep it updated periodically as a record of what I've been reading.

In the last couple of weeks, I've read:

Permission to Mother--short little natural mothering vignettes by a doctor and mother of three boys.

The Doula Guide to Birth--enjoyed it. Reviewed it for CfM and for CAPPA.

The Milk Memos--based on a series of notebooks kept by mothers pumping milk in the lactation room at IBM. I bought this at the LLL of MO conference this summer. A section I marked was about having "Etch-a-Sketch brain"--"she'd mentally jot down tasks throughout the day, only to find them suddenly wiped out and gone forever with the slightest 'shake up.'"

Fathers-To-Be Handbook--reviewing for CAPPA. A quick little "road map" for transitioning into fatherhood and a good resource for childbirth educators.

Awakening to the Dream--one of those semi-enlightening, semi-annoying Zen live-in-the-now books.

The Millionth Circle--a lightning quick read about women's circles (and how once we get to the millionth circle, patriarchy will be over and the world will be transformed). Liked two quotes: "Feminism catches fire when it draws upon its inherent spirituality. When it does not, it is just one more form of politics, and politics never fed our deepest hungers." --Carol Lee Flinders


Show up or choose to be present.
Pay attention to what has heart and meaining.
Tell the truth without blame or judgment.
Be open to outcome, not attached to outcome.

--Angela Arrien


Tuesday, August 25, 2009


In June, I went to the LLL of MO conference in Columbia. We had two great keynote speakers who both spoke about discipline. The first was Elizabeth Pantley, best known for her The No-Cry Sleep Solution book. This is one of the most often checked out books in my LLL Group's lending library. She spoke about that book as well as presented material from her No-Cry Discipline Solution book. One of the things I connected with was about your "triggers"--what tends to get you upset/angry with your kids. Here is an excerpt from her book:

What sets you off?
Most parents get angry over issues that are insignificant in the grand scheme of life, yet happen on such a regular basis that they become blown out of proportion. Some of the most common parenting issues that trigger anger are whining, temper tantrums, sibling bickering, and non-cooperation. Determine which behaviors most bother you and set about making a plan to correct each problem that sets off your anger.

Notice your hot spots
In addition to triggers, there are “hot spots” in the day when anger more easily rises to the surface. These are typically times when family members are tired, hungry or stressed. These emotions leave us more vulnerable to anger. This can happen in the early morning, before naptime, before meals, or at bedtime. You may also encounter situations when misbehavior increases, and so does your anger: grocery shopping, playdates, or family visits, for example.

--From The No-Cry Discpline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
My trigger is whining! Oh. My. Goodness. Our "hot spot" is when we're hungry (any of us) and my personal hot spot is when I'm trying to get ready to go somewhere--I have a very short temper when I'm trying to get out the door and feel like people are throwing rocks in my path! (somtimes literally ;-)

The other keynote was Lu Hanessian (of Let the Baby Drive--another very popular book in my LLL Group's library). One of the observations she made about trigger issues is that your specific triggers probably reflect your own personal issues--so, if you have a problem with whining, you probably have an issue with neediness. And if you have a problem with not being listened to, you really have an issue with validation/self-worth. It was very interesting and made a lot of sense.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Media Review: Time 4 Learning

Media Review: Time 4 Learning

Last year marked my first “official” year homeschooling. Over the course of the year, we experimented with a variety of schooling options. I believe in life learning and am comfortable with a relaxed, very informal approach to homeschooling. However, I also discovered that I still have a strong part of me that feels the need for some type of formal “school” each day for my now 6 year old son. We primarily tried worksheets and found those boring, repetitive, and often pointless. We had periodic power struggles about whether he needed to do them or not and I found myself seeking another way to meet my need for a bit of school in every day, but not something oppressive or non-enjoyable.

Enter Time 4 Learning. I took the opportunity for a free trial membership for both of my sons. I discovered that my 3 year old was a little too young still to benefit from it and continued the trial with my soon to be 6 year old only. We discovered that Time 4 Learning fit neatly into the rhythm of our daily lives.

Though, the lessons are easily self-guided/directed even for a Kindergarten aged child, I did discover my son enjoys the program more and seems to benefit more when I sit with him on my lap while he works on it. At the beginning of our trial membership he complained that some of the lessons were boring and I discovered that those were the ones below his level, with me sitting there with him I am able to let him know it is okay to skip ahead or to just take the quiz instead of the complete lesson. After I started this approach, his enjoyment level went up and I don’t get any complaints!

At the Kindergarten level, there are lessons available in Language Arts, Math, and Science. I peeked ahead into the First Grade level and they really are a remarkably complete program/curriculum.

The lessons are self-guided and have a variety of themes—park, under the sea, kitchen/restaurant, etc. I liked the practical content included—for example to learn about measuring and measurement instruments, the child goes (virtually) to a chef’s kitchen and figures out how many cinnamon rolls can fit into different sized pans. For some areas there are supplementary stories or worksheets included. Each series of lessons about a specific topic is followed by a 10 question quiz and then the complete “chapter” of lessons is followed by a 20 question test. The tests are also self-guided and my son shows a high level of comprehension in taking them (higher than I expected, I confess!).

After completing “lesson time” for the day (the duration of which can be altered by the parent, but starts automatically at a minimum of 15 minutes), the child has the opportunity to visit the “playground” (again for a pre-defined amount of time—the default is 15 minutes). I found we spend 30-45 minutes on lessons with Time 4 Learning a day and that feels comfortable to both of us. My son can usually complete 3 or 4 different lessons and quiz during that amount of time.

We’ve spent about 6 weeks with the program now and I’ve noticed an increase in both his math and reading comprehension skills in everyday life—I think this is because we have more fun working together on the Time 4 Learning lessons than we ever did with worksheets!

We had minimal trouble with the audio on some of the language arts segments being difficult to distinguish between letter sounds.

Our only ongoing complaint for both of us is that the lessons do not let you click ahead until the instructions have finished playing—since the instructions are often very repetitive it gets frustrating to have to listen to them multiple times instead of being able to click ahead. On the tests and quizzes, you do have the capacity to click ahead.

Though I do not need to keep formal logs yet, I appreciate that the program offers a “portfolio” with a variety of reports in it for record keeping purposes. This can come in very handy!

We generally do Time 4 Learning in the morning, before the rest of day gets under way. This helps me get my personal need for “formal” school met and tidily out of the way. It makes more sense to me to have him work on a program like this instead of doing worksheets—it is similar content, but the interactive style makes it much more interesting for both of us.

Disclosure notice: The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own (and my son’s). I was compensated for writing the review.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I give up! Letting go...

...of this blog. Or, at least of my old vision for this blog. I do not have time for it any more and it has been more of a chore than anything for quite some time. I still want to keep a log of my yearly readings, so I think I'll keep posting periodically, but almost as more of a list than anything interesting. I do not have very many readers here and my other blog projects feel more important than this one--this was a hobby-blog really, or just for fun, and fun is usually what I let go of! Also, I have that depressing sense of adding to the virtual cacophony of voices with it and where's the value in that? This isn't the only thing I'm going to let go of, I've got to go through my life priorities and make some more cuts. This is just the easy one, because I've felt it kind of draining me for a while.

I really enjoy the book The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal and I get the author's email newsletter. In the most recent issue--titled Do You Love Your Life?--it posed the following questions:

Are you living the life you've always wanted? Do you feel like you're the master of your life or the slave to it? Does how you spend your time reflect where your priorities lie or do you feel like your life is a list of "should's"?

Here are some questions for you (and if applicable, your partner) to consider:

  • What do you value most in life right now (ex: time, relationships, flexibility, a short commute, your community)?
  • Where does the majority of your energy go on a daily basis (work, household management, relationships, parenting, spiritual renewal, your to-do list)?
  • Does your life feel a)overwhelming, b)barely manageable, c)occasionally hectic or d)pretty simple? (Check out these great tips for simplifying.)
  • If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing that would significantly impact your quality of life, what would it be?
  • What are three actions you could take right now to radically simplify your life and create more space, ease and flow in your day-to-day experience?
These are good questions to I answered some of them, I duly noted that "write Molly Reads... blog" wasn't on there! ;-)

I've referenced before how I have kind of a black and white view of my tasks/commitments. If I cannot give something my all, it eats and picks at me until I decided to cut my losses and move on. I can't just leave something and say, "I'll work on this later, when I have more time. I have to make the cut. I have to quit. I have to totally dump it! So, I'm not sure if my only-post-a-list/sentence plan will actually work, or if it will continue to lurk in my brain as an unfinished to-do until I truly shut it down for good.

The Tipping Point

I recently finished reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. I enjoyed it a good deal more than Outliers, which I also read recently. The sections I marked in this one were about personality and core traits vs. environment. I come from a social work background, a field in which I have often explained using the following: psychology deals with the individual person. Sociology deals with society. Social work addresses person in environment. And, so did these section from The Tipping Point:

"All of us, when it comes to personality, naturally think in terms of absolutes: that a person is a certain way or not a certain way...this is a mistake, that when we think only in terms of inherent traits and forget the role of situations, we're deceiving ourselves about the real causes of human behavior..."

"The mistake we make in thinking of character as something unified and all-encompassing is very similar to a blind spot in the way we process information. Psychologists call this tendency the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE), which is a fancy way of saying that when it comes to interpreting other people's behavior, human beings invariably make the mistake of overestimating the importance of fundamental character traits and underestimating the importance of situation and context. We will always reach for a 'dispositional' explanation for events, as opposed to a 'contextual' explanation."

What I think is interesting about this is that my observation is in our OWN behavior though, we use the contextual explanation (sometimes excessively so, particularly when the behavior is out of character for how we'd like to be/believe we are). In short, we quickly assume other people have fundamental character flaws, but we have contextual excuses for ourselves!

I was also interested by the Good Samaritan study he referenced (in which seminary students were told to go make a presentation--some were told they had "extra time" and others were told they were late. Some of them were actually speaking about the Good Samaritan and others about something else. Some were in seminary because of a calling and others for other reasons. They each encountered a [fake] sick person collapsed on the street needing help. The defining factor about who stopped to help was whether they thought they had extra time--those with extra time stopped. Those who though they were late, stepped over him, even if they were going to speak about the Good Samaritan!): "What this study is suggesting, in other words, is that the convictions of your heart and the actual contents of your thoughts are less important, in the end, in guiding your actions than the immediate context of your behavior."

I don't know that I like this idea, but it does seem consistent with reality (for better or worse).

I also noted his conclusion to the book: "Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push--in just the right place--it can be tipped."


Lady of the Snakes

Our August book club read was the fiction book Lady of the Snakes. As you will soon read, I'm changing my approach to this blog and basically "retiring" it, so I will just go ahead and share briefly the quotes I'd marked from it (only two):

"This is what women's lives are like...It had never occurred to her--not really--that women's lives were so deeply different from men's. Now she saw it, and it shocked her."

I recall a similar moment in my own life after my first son was born--my husband went back to work and all of the sudden I was like, my whole WORLD has changed and he is going along basically business as usual. I felt like it was unfair, in a sense, to BOTH of us--me for having to undergo what I experienced as an often painful transition of self from autonomous woman to mother on my own, and for him having his own transition so ignored/unacknowledged by our culture that he was expected to just return to work like nothing had happened.

Quoting from the Russian diarist:

"In moments of despair I have felt each new child like another silken thread binding up my soul. But on happier days I see each one--not so much as a new beginning, but as a new note in a complex harmony, adding depth and resonance to a tapestry that already exists."

"Jane Levitsky sat at her desk thinking of the different moods of motherhood--joyful, oppressive, tedious. Peaceful. Exhausting."

This reminded me of something else I used to say/feel: How is it possible to simultaneously feel so captivated and yet captive, bonded and also bound?


Saturday, August 8, 2009

And some more...

"Be broad-minded,
Whole, without relying
On others."

--Hongzhi Zhengjue

"With gentleness,
Overcome anger.
With generosity,
Overcome meanness.
With truth,
Overcome delusion."

--The Dhannapada

Saturday, August 1, 2009

More Zen

"Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul; we may preserve it in the midst of the bitterest pain, if our will remains firm and submissive. Peace in this life springs from acquiescence, not in an exemption from suffering."

--Francis Fenelon

"Most people believe the mind to be a mirror, more or less accurately reflecting the world outside them, not realizing on the contrary that the mind is itself the principal element of creation."

--Rabindranath Tragore

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I may have mentioned before that I love Ode magazine ("for intelligent optimists"). I sort of accidentally ended up subscribing to it about threeish years ago and I'm a fan. I saved two recent issues (there are 10 a year) and brought them along to read on the plane during our just-completed trip to California. The August issue had a theme of "Laughter" and I really enjoyed it. I marked the following quote to share from the article "In the beginning was the joke: why cheerfulness is next to godliness":

"So what are we here for? Your modern neo-Darwinist is perfectly certain--for no reason. That just doesn't cut it for me...I prefer this take by the composer Aaron Copland (simply replace the word 'music' with the word 'life'): 'The whole problem can be stated quite simply by asking, 'Is there a meaning to music?' My answer would be 'Yes.' And 'Can you state in so many words what the meaning is?' My answer to that would be, 'No.'"

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thoughts on Thinking

Today is our 11th wedding anniversary! There is time only for zen quotes...

"Inner peace is the key: if you have inner peace, the external problems do not affect your deep sense of peace and tranquility...Without this inner peace, no matter how comfortable your life is materially, you may still be worried, disturbed, or unhappy because of circumstances."

--Dalai Lama

"In the root and stem of your own psyche, there is an accumulation of bad habits. If you cannot see through them and act independently of them, you will unavoidably get bogged down along the way."


"We spend most of our time and energy in a kind of horizontal thinking. We move along the surface of things...but there are times when we stop. We sit still. We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or its memory. We listen, and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper."

--James Carroll

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Paradox of Natural Mothering

I'm getting ready to go out of town and prepping a couple of posts to post when I'm away (be prepared for lots more Zen quotes!). I haven't had a lot of time for this blog lately and continue to go back and forth about keeping it going. I always end up returning to the decision to keep it going, because I do enjoy it, in theory. I do not like that it becomes another thing on my to-do list and feels like an obligation, rather than fun. (This is how I work though, I turn everything into a serious "job" instead of "just for fun" and if I don't do something that I've committed to doing--even if only to myself on a hobby basis, like "update blog on Saturdays"--I feel irresponsible and it nags and nags at me mentally until I do it or QUIT for good. Though I laugh a lot in real life, I also tend to be one of those "all work, no play" kind of people who doesn't really know how to "relax and have a good time"--and, am actually kind of irritated by those who blow everything off to relax and have a good time! Note that I have to even put the possibility of "relaxing and having a good time" in quotation marks, because at heart I'm not sure it is actually possible ;-)

Part of my problem with this blog is that I have tons and tons of thoughts about everything I read and many things I'd like to draw out to write about and explore. I rarely have time to post as completely as I'd like though and, in fact, I'm actually trying hard to just post a paragraph or less per book so that I don't end up with a giant backlog in my to-blog-about pile, but I still feel like I'd like to do a lot more analysis than I do here--I always have so many quotes marked to share and then have to quit before I get a chance to share them. My to-blog-about pile is still insane--I move books out of it fairly quickly, but I have masses of magazines and articles I am meaning to write about and they lurk and make me feel guilty (totally and completely self-imposed! What is wrong with me?!)

In other news, this was a good week for publications for me. I've posted several other places about them, but why not here too?!

I had a short article called Centering for Birth published in the International Journal of Childbirth Education (page 20)

My book review of Fathers at Birth was published in The CAPPA Quarterly (page 14).

My film review of Birth as We Know It was in The CAPPA Quarterly (page 15).

And, my piece of creative nonfiction Nursing Johnny Depp was published in Literary Mama. I had more feedback from this essay than I've ever had about any of my other writing, combined! This was my 85th publication (up to 89 total now! Yes, I keep a list!). I think I got so many comments because it was so readily available online. It was also a funny piece, which is not my usual type of writing. The experiences described in it are from over a year ago and they accepted it for publication about 6 months ago, so this was a long time coming. In reading it again, I'm glad I wrote it because it has captured some moments in time that are past now. Z rarely asks me to nurse any toys for him anymore and if I hadn't written the essay, something would have been lost.

Okay, after some complaining and some bragging, I had a few books to post about today:

I re-read The Paradox of Natural Mothering. I really enjoy this book. Lots of food for thought. It is a little uncomfortable to read too because she is so spot-on in her analysis of mothers like me. It is strange to feel "under the microscope." The author herself is a "quasi-natural mother," so the analysis isn't harsh criticism, but it is a critical look at the "cult" (my word, not hers) of natural mothering and has a LOT of excellent discussion about feminism and natural mothering. I've been amassing a lot of things I'd like to share about feminism and birth and motherhood, but this is one of those takes-too-long-to-completely-delve into things that I may never get a chance to do :( She says--and I completely agree--that natural mothering represents the intersection of three ideological frameworks: voluntary simplicity, attachment parenting, and cultural feminism. Anyway, hopefully I will someday share some more of my thoughts about this book. It is definitely worth the read!

I also finished reading Homebirth in the Hospital. I am reviewing it for CfM News and I already wrote a bit about it there yesterday.

See? That's all I can manage for today and the push-pull between enjoying the idea behind this blog/wanting to share my reads and feeling like it is another drag on my time and resources continues...

I guess if I'd wasted less time complaining at the beginning, I would have had more time for book-analyzing!


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Present Moment

"If we could see the miracle
of a single flower clearly,
our whole life would change."


"Our true home is in the present moment.
To live in the present moment is a miracle.
The miracle is not to walk on water.
The miracle is to walk on the green Earth
in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and
beauty that are available now."

--Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering

This week I finished reading a couple of books. I'd looked forward to reading Sarah Buckley's Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering for a long time. It used to only be available from Australia and the shipping was prohibitive. The U.S. edition came out this past edition and I finally bought it for myself. It was a good book, don't get me wrong, but a lot less creative/inspirational/unconventional than I expected. I was expecting one of those phenomenal birth books that really "goes beyond," but much of the content was a review of the literature/research basically and was actually fairly dry. I loved reading her birth story and her placenta story and her breastfeeding story. There was good evidence-based information about several topics--gestational diabetes, GBS, VBAC, cord clamping, for example--that will definitely make it into my birth blog posts. It is definitely a book worth having. It also seems to be written for the first-time mother who perhaps has had little prior exposure to/information about evidence-based maternity care.

I also finished reading Mother Blessings: Honoring Women Becoming Mothers, which was one of my birthday presents this year from my mom. I'm going to a mother blessing tomorrow, so this was a timely read :) It had a couple of new ideas in it for me like making "birth dolls" together (cool!) and also a family mandala project that sounded really neat (I think I will do it with my kids instead of at a mother blessing).

And, I finished reading The Answer: Making Sense of Life, One Question at a Time. Sections were interesting, but overall I found it kind of "shallow." The author made extensive pop-culture references that I found kind of self-conscious and forced--like, "look how hip I am!" or something. You couldn't go more than two pages without the SAME SENTENCE--"as XYZ musician might sing...[lyrics related to the life question at hand]." Lots of references to tv shows, movie dialog, etc. It grated on my nerves. The central idea was cool though--life is a question and you are an answer--and the author had some good insights to share as well. In the section about "am I missing something?" (which I identified with--that urge to stay "caught up" and make sure I'm not missing anything important!) she said after mentioning Schubert's Eighth Symphony (The Unfinished Symphony), "Because you are full of unlimited potential you will always have more music in you, and yet what you have already composed can stand on its own if you're willing to let it." (emphasis mine). As you may recall, one of my favorite quotes is about not dying with you music still in you. I loved this reminder about what I've already composed :)

That's all I have time for today! Time for 4th of July BBQ, cotton candy, and fireworks!