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All Nature Sings: A Spiritual Journey of Place Hardcover – May 15, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

In the tradition of Annie Dillard, as a "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" and Aldo Leopold's monthly notes in "The Sand County Almanac" Carol Rottman has discovered a sense of place on a once pristine acreage in Michigan. She and her husband Fritz settled on the edge of Flat Iron Lake and let the land take hold of them. Carol's daily habit of traversing the land became a spiritual pilgrimage through seasonal changes in the natural world. Fritz recorded images of a constantly transforming landscape as he worked to restore seventeen acres to its native prairie state. Together they care for this small piece of creation in Western Michigan to preserve it for generations to come. "Carol Rottman invites us on a pilgrimage, not to exotic elsewheres but to the landscape she's come to love. You'll love it, too. Her unexpected revelations will challenge readers to find God's grace wherever they reside. The pleasure of the journey with Carol is deepened by the elegance of her reflections." Arthur Paul Boers author of "The Way is Made for Walking: A Pilgrimage Along the Camino de Santiago"

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Credo House Publishers; 1st edition (May 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935391402
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935391401
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,962,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

As legend has it, I arrived in utero to Denver by train from Chicago with my parents Doc and Casey (Vanden Bosch) and my sister, Mary in the spring of 1938. Depression poor, my Dad had taken a $50 a month internship at Denver General Hospital where I was born in August. Having been raised on farms in Western Michigan, neither parent had seen mountains or been farther west than the Windy City. They were dazzled by the Rocky Mountains as well as western hospitality and decided to settle permanently. Dad hung out his first "shingle" near Denver University and prayed for the best.

I grew up among other transplanted Dutch folks in South Denver, with churches, Christian schools and businesses in a small radius. For seventeen years, Denver was my home; the mountains, standing close and tall on the west were my first love. We took short forays into the mountains as Dad's now busy OB practice allowed but in 1953, our family, now numbering seven, found an unimproved old clapboard house in the ghost town of Marble, Colorado, which was home for a month each summer.

Dad loved his alma mater, Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Michigan) and his chosen profession of medicine. He was determined that his five children should attend Calvin and go into some branch of medicine. We all complied on the first count, but only three on the second. Only one sibling came back to Colorado to live. I met and married a man from Michigan; our enduring link with Colorado was and is through the mountain cabin located in the Crystal River Valley.

Looking back over my career, it has three distinct pieces. My chosen profession was teaching, which I did mainly with very young children, disabled by visual impairment in a preschool and home-visiting program in Lansing, Michigan. When we made a decision to move to Cleveland I eagerly continued my studies at Case Western Reserve University, eventually doing a dissertation on Ethics and Low-birthweight Infants. A new program with the aim of reducing low-birthweight and infant mortality among Cleveland's poor, hired me as director. We piloted a program using indigenous community workers as heath-aids to get women into pre-natal care. As the program expanded I continued to write grants for support and citywide coverage.

From there I began First Draft Consulting, helping other non-profit groups apply for funds for projects to combat problems such as teen-pregnancy, youth violence, lack of medical care for the underserved. One project touched me like none other: writing with incarcerated women in Ohio's women's prisons.

Working from my home and on my own clock, allowed time to learn to do other kinds of writing. Continuing education classes and many years at the Iowa Summer Writing Workshop encouraged my writing efforts and took away my fear of empty retirement years. I love the workshop setting and have gone on to lead them with older adults, East African development workers, women in treatment for addiction, writer's groups and church groups.

Now I live with my husband Fritz on an acreage in Western Michigan within a 20-mile radius of our three children, their spouses and eight grandchildren. Our passion is to preserve the tall-grass prairie, encourage native wildflowers and record creation's bounty with his photographs and my writing. Teaching continues to nourish me, especially with mature adults who are eager to write the stories of their long and colorful lives.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Van Loon on June 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
At first glance, you might think that Carol Rottman's All Nature Sings: A Spiritual Journey of Place (Credo House, 2010) is a pretty coffee table book. Leaf through the 160 pages, and you'll see dozens of arresting images of the flora and fauna (and occasional critter) surrounding her rural western Michigan property.

But settle into a cozy chair, and read a chapter or two of this lovely book. It is both exploration and reminiscence, written by someone deeply rooted in the land on which she and her husband live.
It is part spiritual memoir, part conservationist's diary, with a dash of poetry, a splash of environmental resource, gently blended together into a shimmering whole.

Rottman invites us to savor a year at her homestead month by month. Explaining her decision to start her book in November, she writes:

"So why does someone like me decide to begin a nature journal just when plants die back and most living creatures hibernate or go south? Or to write of blooms long gone? Simply because every day of the year I see or remember something remarkable as I walk the driveway or the trail through the woods or along the mowed path around the perimeter of our land. During the growing season I gather mental notes to hang in my storehouse, waiting for inspection. Winter's short days are a perfect time to dredge my reserves for sightings of glory."

Rottman's writing engages all the senses - as well as the soul. Whether it is the bleak, sloppy days of an upper-midwest March or the "prairie pinnacle" of July, each chapter blends description of nature with a sampling of Rottman's rich past and present life, along with bits of informative nature resource information, and beautiful photos.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Colorado Carol on June 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
She happens to be one of the best/epic grandmas in the world. I really like her book because it talks all about the wonderful and amazing things at her house, for example the GRANDKIDS!!!! This was the place where I first learned how to drive tractors and golf carts. And although it is not in the book this is the place where I first sunk the blade of my Bowie knife in to the rotting flesh of an oak tree's stump. This is the place of learning where I have gained the knowledge to put strawberries in my Cheerios. I have also learned how to catch my first fish in this wonderful place. Did I mention that she is one of the best cooks around!!! Perhaps one of the most spellbinding events i have ever witnessed in this prairie is THE BURN. But it's not the events that spark places in my mind, but the wonderful people who live there:my grandparents.
Brian Rottman
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on September 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Nature will go on without us, forever blooming, but it doesn't mean we can't help it along the way. "All Nature Sings: A Spiritual Journey of Place" is a collection of full color photos and natural memoir from Carol J. Rottman as she reflects on her own little patch in nature, and how it taught her much about life and spirituality. Blending spirituality with memoir and environmentalism, "All Nature Sings" comes to readers with a lot and leaves them with a lot to think about, highly recommended.
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