On Being Green

Not only do I have a wonderful husband whom I really enjoy and love, I also have three beautiful daughters.  They are the joy of my life, and they devastate me at the same time.  Each is so stunningly beautiful, so amazing, and so unique.  It is a privilege to raise children, and it is also a challenge like no other.  Even though mine are grown women now, I marvel at them every day.  I root for them.  I want them to triumph over all evil and win!  You know, when Sarah Palin gives speeches, she uses analogies about pit bulls with lipstick and mama grizzlies defending their young, but she is missing the point.  There is nothing stronger, deeper or more fierce than the love of a woman for her child. 
Today, I would like to introduce you to one of my daughters.  Please meet Natalie.  She’s a writer, an adventuress, a Red Cross volunteer, a photographer, and a Fulbright scholar.  She is a librarian,  a collector of rare books and a grad student specializing in digital librarianship at FSU (visit her at www.theplaintree.com).  She is my hero, because she is so confidently herself, and she does not give a darn what people think of her.  She has her own style, her own values, and her own dreams, which she methodically turns into realities.  Go to college at 16 a thousand miles away from home?  Check.  Travel to Indonesia and live in a madrassa for a year?  Check.  Rescue hurricane victims in Houston?  Check.  Get a JOB in the midst of the recession?  Check.  You get the idea?

Ms. Natalie VanLandingham Binder at FSU

One of my favorite qualities about this girl is the way she relates to things.  When she was really little, she would walk around with a bee in the palm of her hand, totally delighted and fascinated by it.  She never got stung.  It seemed like the bee was fascinated, too.  She has a really unique perspective, and she sees things that most never see.  For example, here’s a cool picture that Natalie took in our own backyard.  Gorgeous.  I have probably walked by that walnut a hundred times and never noticed it.  Most of us hope to see the forest through the trees.  She sees the walnut through the trees. 
Walnut by Natalie

Natalie recently discovered that she has mild Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism.  She thinks of it as “being green” on the autism spectrum.  Coming from a family of eccentrics, her “Aspie-ness” didn’t raise a flag for us.  Besides, it wasn’t even available as a diagnosis when she was little.  An early and voracious reader, she usually preferred books, her dog, and nature over playing with a bunch of other kids.  When she filled out her “About Me” paperwork at the beginning of second grade, she listed her favorite activity to do on the playground as “imagine” and the thing that bothered her most in the world as “injustice”.  When the school called us in because they were concerned by her unusual responses, we simply moved her to a new school.  We thought her responses were perfect.  Natalie didn’t have a ton of friends when she was little, but that didn’t seem to bother her much.  Obviously, Natalie never lets being Green interfere with achieving her goals and dreams.  If you are interested in learning more about Asperger’s, or if you love an Aspie (or anyone… unusual!), take a minute and watch Natalie’s video, Being Green, and please share it with the ones you love.   You may access it on the left sidebar.
One other thing I love about Natalie?  She doesn’t mind putting the chickens in their coop at night.  Thanks, Natalie. 

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Cowlick Cottage Farm Welcome to CCF. I’m Carolyn Binder, a passionate writer, avid photographer, cook and gardener. My love of gardening and writing have transformed my cooking and our lifestyle (...more)

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