The types of books I think about writing

I think almost everyone has a book idea or two in the back of their brain.  It’s the rare person I find who doesn’t have something they’d like to communicate in  longform – whether it’s in words, pictures, or recipes.

Although I had to wade through years of psychological ennui to admit (aloud) that I only think about writing non-fiction, the times – friends – are changing in this regard.  Of course there’s been William Zinsser’s “On Writing Well” for several decades now, pointing in the direction of beautiful non-fiction writers, but it was somewhat subversive.  Now there’s the stamping and marching feet of the Common Core school standards which are sweeping children along to read more (as they so dryly dub them) “informational texts.”

I dream of writing books, but never fiction.

The types of books I think about writing:

– A year-long project, where the reader is pulled into my escapades as I oh – work on organic farms in England, or attempt to break into a totally new career field, or cook all of Julia Child’s recipes. (Wait… you say that’s been done already?)

– A book which posits a third way between two accepted ways of thinking for example – such as the foolish working/non-working mother debate.

– The type of popular psychology books I adore reading, explaining common concepts in a readable format.  Think of Sam Gosling’s Snoop, or Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink.


Hey! Check this out! I was interviewed over at TerraBluTeams!


Talking Trash with Beth*

I met Beth last week at Zumi’s, a lively café in Ipswich, MA., owned by sustainable practitioner, Umesh. Beth, who lives in Salem, was one of our first website subscriber’s a year ago, when we founded

In her late twenties, a wife, mother and graduate student, Beth proclaims herself a sustainability “beginner” because her upbringing was not very “eco-conscious”. Beth’s passion for a sustainable lifestyle was inspired by her first trip at age 21 after graduation from Gordon College to “wwoof”. This adventure allows volunteers a hands-on opportunity to live/work on an organic farm, either in the USA or abroad.

It was Beth’s first trip alone, outside the USA, to a strange land to meet new people and learn about sustainable living. When Beth arrived in New Zealand at her chosen organic farm, four hours outside Auckland, she was immediately put…

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2013 – As Usual the year started with a List of “To-Dos”

2012 – You were good to us.

Overall, the road was slow and steady, a plodding foot followed by another month after month.  There was joy and beauty in the small things, and for that, I was very grateful.  After all –  in 2011 we were homeless, jobless, changing directions, and sleepless.  So, in 2012 it was a great good thing to welcome all of those items (homes, jobs, purpose, and sleep) back into our life in abundance, mostly.


I settled into this new role as a parent, started grad school, got more involved in my church, started a new blog with friends, and took up running again just to mention a few highlights.

There were a lot of things to list on our Thanksgiving Tree this year.

As I already said in this post – I don’t intend to post as much at All Growing Up this year as I did last year (102 posts!).  I can’t speak for other bloggers – but I am always baffled by how much time it takes to craft and create a post I’m really proud of.  It’s days of ruminating on an idea, then a rough draft, and several others.  Then the frustrating detail work of formatting the whole thing – which I usually half-ass my way through.  (Which is why there aren’t that many pictures on this thing.) I’m completely in awe of those who present such polished work week after week like Domestocrat, Streets of Salem, Relishments – and I know these you are people with full time jobs.  I can only assume that you all have much better time-management skills than I do, and who knows, I might get there one day too.

But of course! I have Resolutions!  (the aforementioned list) And I want to share them desperately – and quite possibly check in on them throughout the year as I see fit. (You will see, there are no blogging resolutions for this space though.)

2013 New Years Resolutions.

  1. Decrease mile time to 9:20/mile – do 25 consecutive pushups, and Get a Running Buddy again! (Donald Miller says – if you want your resolutions to stick – do them with someone else.)
  2. Teach a Sunday School course (about Food! and Eating!) this Fall (also as part of my larger goal to Seek out Public Speaking opportunities.)
  3. Pay off 1/3rd of husband’s student loan.
  4. Eliminate the words “Always” and “Never” and “Should” from my vocabulary (particularly when preceded by the word “you.”)
  5. Memorize one Bible scripture passage per month.
  6. Write a short memoir.  (I’ve wanted to do this for three years now…)
  7. Create at least 52 collages in order to practice more artful living, and recycled art, on an ongoing basis.
First Collage of the Year
First Collage of the Year

And you? Did you resolve anything? (Or are you more of the Word-of-the-Year type person?)

ALSO: I am always charmed by Pinterest ideas – and then put about 5% into practice.  Here is one that I DO plan on doing this year.

Start the Year with an Empty Jar – fill with hopes, prayer, wishes, and blessings.

Three ways to Get Through Halloween with Sanity Intact

Due to my multiple roles in life – mother, student, graduate assistant – I find that I don’t have time to generate fresh content this week.  But, looking backward to the archives I’ve pulled out two of my favorites for this week, corrected some grammar, edited the pictures and put it here for your enjoyment.  This post below discusses some of the problems with Halloween and the state of Holidays in America.

Vegetables in Disguise

The Hallowing of Holidays (originally published November 2, 2011)

I may have mentioned that I live in Salem, city of the month-long Halloween celebration.  But every celebration must culminate at some point, and Monday was that day. At 6:30 as I was walking around in my “mom” costume, baby strapped firmly to my front in the carrier, the bands were beginning to play, and there were already thousands of people on the streets.

It’s easy to get up on a soapbox about several problems with Halloween.   Two big ones immediately present themselves:

Waste generation: Halloween is second only to Christmas in this regard with it’s single serving candies and costumes.

Feminism:  The hoards of scantily clad women of college age, and unfortunately younger and also older can be found next to their fully covered and often un-costumed male “escorts” (not always the paid kind, luckily.) (ed. note. 2012 – For more reading on this, check out Rebecca Hains’ post on the topic here.)

Vulgar, but accurate.

However, when you are milling about with those thousand other people, it’s hard to keep a grin off your face at the sight of a man in an “Octopi Wall Street’ costume in Salem, and the generally playful attitude.   Furthermore, as evidenced by the reaction to the street preacher with the megaphone reading about fornicators, it’s hard for anyone to take you seriously delivering sermons during festivities (no matter how serious).

But I propose three things thing that should be done between holidays as we look forward to other seasons.

1 – Remember and Rest.

Look at the pictures you took, play with your acquired items, or eat them.  Peruse other people’s facebook albums.  Have everyone over again to remind them what fools they made of themselves.  Send a thank you card to the hostess of the party you attended.  Clean up your house, balance your budget, and sleep in for a few days.  Under no circumstances rush out to buy Christmas gifts.  I know, the merchandise is already in stores, and has been since early October.   I also know that this is the way that most stores make the bulk of their money.  But, this is not okay.  It detracts from the rest that we need, as well as makes holidays everpresent, cheapening them with consumerism.

2 – Make Holidays Short.

Get the gear out of stores until three or four weeks before the event.  Don’t sell Halloween candy before the back to school stuff is put away.  I haven’t seen a store without some holiday sale… well probably in my whole life.  This subtly tells us that the normal state of our lives should be to party.  Wrong.

I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t enjoy life.  However, party state dictates that we live beyond our means constantly.  Party state suggests that we stay up and forego sleep.  Party state suggests that ritual and routine should be avoided.  Party state suggests we should eat far too much and eschew fasting.  Party-state hates balance.  This is sickly living, paying for today with tomorrow’s earnings.

3 – Celebrate Creativity over Consumption.

This is the type of living that champions costumes crafted from clothes you already have, and one or two pieces that you bought.  It’s the type of hilarious outfit dreamed up by a friend of mine who dressed as her sister, borrowing the clothes from her secretly.  At the party her sister came in, complaining that she couldn’t find her favorite sweatshirt, only to see it on the back of my friend.  At Valentine’s day there are homemade cards, and at Christmas, gifts that involve time, not money.  Not everything needs to be homemade, but neither should there be nothing that is.

All of these things should point toward the more important part of holidays, people.  Rather than stuff, competition, and consumerism, relationships should be one of the focal points of all holidays.

Thank you for reading some of my previous thoughts, I find them still timely and accurate.  I also appreciate a look at the sanity that returns to Salem, Ma once Halloween-Town is packed up and put away. 

If you enjoyed this post – you may also enjoy: Transition to Plenitude – A discussion of a New American Dream