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Spinning Straw, Weaving Gold: A Tapestry of Mother-Daughter Wisdom Paperback – June 16, 2012
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About the Author
More About the Author
Phyllis Tickle said in her Foreword to Becoming Flame: "What is here is the eternal feminine in its most sacred presentations; and all people, regardless of gender, yearn to know and be embraced by that hallowed fullness."
Lyn Sedmina, Christian Literature Editor of BellaOnline, calls the series: "A poetic perfection of biblically inspired values with a folklore feel."
"Isabel's dialogues are arranged in conversational form and embrace the collective wisdom of the feminine in short responses that approach Christian parables as well as Socratic dialogue in form and context. The author has included dialogues with questions at the end of the book for individual and group study." --Diane Marquart Moore.
The Daughter asked, "How do you spin all day, and see so little for your effort, and keep from discouragement?"
The Mother answered: "See this little square of texture and design? It is enough to wrap the universe in comfort and warmth."
The Daughter was perplexed. "How can this be?"
The Mother replied: "Even a few inches of loving intent can spread to span continents. Ask a ray of sun."
In Spinning Straw, Weaving Gold, Isabel writes of women, work, and wisdom, as "Woman's work and woman's wisdom come to us in literature, as in life, as two inseparable strands, braided within her very person."
Why do I write mother-daughter dialogues, and not mother-child? Most of the wisdom dialogues of old, after all, were between men: rabbis, abbots, masters of various traditions teaching male disciples one-on-one. There were reasons for this in their historical contexts. Though there are some writings by desert Mothers in the Christian tradition, they are few compared to their male counterparts.
First, I am a mother of daughters; I write about what I know. Second, I found that using a time-tested form of question and answer but between daughter and mother allows for open-ended responses by the readers themselves.
My emphasis in these writings is on exercising our gift of inner perception or intuition in concert with God's guidance, wise counsel, and the assent of our own heart. Mother-daughter dialogues are also an encouragement to readers to trust this process--that we too can knead reality and "make" wisdom between us like bread.
The Daughter loved the Spinning and Sewing Room, where the rough, carded wool was transformed into shimmering, useful thread.
"See," she said one morning to her Mother, pointing to the results of her effort, "our spinning teaches the wool to connect!"
"Yes," acknowledged her mother, "and it is our most basic lesson in life, as well, to learn how to Connect."
--From Spinning Straw, Weaving Gold.
Top Customer Reviews
As a daughter, I read Anders' words and am reminded of the wealth my mother passed on to me. In her mothering days she was orderly, precise, a model of doing things well. Words were not her strength, but she wove into her children faithfulness and diligence, "building her house." Her legacy remains and weaving gold becomes an on-going process. "Savor the journey, my Child," Anders writes, "learn and grow along with those you love."
As a mother, my own mortality becomes part of that journey's realities. My college-age Isabel commented one day: "Mom, when I was little you were so tall and you could do anything." Now she knows better, but the weaving has been true and "our souls remain connected regardless of dimensions of physical space." Anders touches on a breadth of Truth defied by the brevity of the book. With the pithy focus of Brother Lawrence, she uses a macro lens to bring home the details that remind us of our interconnectedness.
Beginning with the introduction, Anders talks about spinning and weaving, the evolution of wise crone-words, and the nature of this theme in the lives of women. She also addresses the all-too-often belittled value of the stories of women ("old wives' tales" told by "spinsters") and the desire to not only express the worth, but also the innate beauty, wisdom, and power of feminine thoughts. As Anders states, "Can we then propose that the blended elements of women, work and wisdom--and even of age and endurance--be reconsidered for our time in new and fresh lights?"
In each segment of this book, a dialog between the daughter and the mother (who are seen not only in their relationship to one another but also in the light of crone-to-maiden conversations, which enrich all the lives they touch), the daughter questions or seeks enlightenment on mundane yet worthy questions. "How will I know what Work I am to do in the world when I leave our Home?" "Where is the Center of things, and how can I get there?" "Does life become easier as you increase in years?"
The mother interacts, replies thoughtfully, and teaches her daughter the nature of spinning our lives into form and shape. "The strands of your adult life are being gathered together, day by day..." "It is where love resides..." "...each day she must still sweep the rooms, tend the fire, and spread the board." The book is rich with metaphor and parable, wisdom that reaches beyond mere words, into the realm of heart-felt answers to questions that have unsettled women for millennia.Read more ›
The Mother reflected aloud as they worked: 'It is said in a mystery that `You did knit me together in my mother's womb...--that God too `spins' and weaves us of the stuff of life."
"I am thankful that I was `spun' near your heart," the Daughter acknowledged quietly. (Pg 11)
The dialogues progress into deeper and deeper questions about life. The Mother tells the daughter that our lives are woven together as the spinning and weaving of our practical work. We weave the straw of our lives into meaning. This connection between the work women do and the unfolding of the Pattern of their lives, Ms. Andrews says, is something women do best. It as waiting and learning and doing; not a grasping and taking. This is a feminist book in its own quiet, strong way. I loved it.