I opened up Katrina Kenison's "Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry" this afternoon. Despite the title, there's not a lot about the book that focuses on either God or religion. It's a book about mothering. It seems like every chapter was written for me. The author seeks ways to focus on her family, to connect and reconnect on a daily basis, and to slow the clock down long enough to really cherish the moments she has with her children and her spouse.
I wonder about things like that too.
In my adult life, I have met women of different ages and stages who see life from all different angles. Some are wrapped up in the busy-ness of the day to day stuff and seem to let it all rush by; other women seem to really savor each moment and radiate gratitude. As much as I hate to slap a stereotype on the women in that second group, those who savor the moments, who know how to appreciate the here and now, who don't spend too much time thinking ahead and instead enjoy life, themselves, their mate, their children and their grandchildren, I have to say that the ones who can do that have generally been older women. They're grandmas now, or maybe their life experience includes divorce or death, or maybe they took time to sit back and take in the wisdom of the world, and they managed to carve out a peaceful and meaningful place for themselves.
I don't want to have to wait until I'm older to know how to appreciate all that I have. I don't want to watch my girls grow up and wonder where it all went. I don't want to spend my life feeling entitled to this or that, without first feeling grateful to the earth for all that I have.
When I have these kinds of "Big Life" questions, I do what I do naturally. I read and I carve out chunks of alone time to think and feel and process it all. The pages of "Mitten Strings for God" offers me a comforting place to ask some questions.
Speaking of questions, I've been asking a lot of questions lately about the things that have a place in my kitchen. I know what the answers are - I know exactly what they are - but I am not at all ready to hear them. Here's a sampling of what I might ask:
"OK, plastic is bad for food storage and serving. Got it. Glass is okay, so is stainless steel. How about aluminum foil?" Now, the answer is, "Aluminum foil is not so great. There are also health risks and the production of aluminum foil is just so harmful to the earth." Easy enough so far, right? But then my next question is, "So how are we supposed to store things to keep them fresh?" And do you know what the ultimate answer is? I do. The million dollar answer is that humans weren't designed to harvest, process and cook food. We were designed to have a fresh, raw food diet. How many other animals do you know that harvest wheat, grind it up, package it into bags, and use it to bake bread or crackers? How many other animals go up to a lactating mother of another species and take its milk, shake it up really hard all day, and call it cheese?
I don't want to eat a raw food diet, but I know perfectly well that it's the right answer.