Being originally from Wisconsin, which boasts being The Dairy State, I have alway loved cooking, baking and eating foods made with real butter. (I’m actually a butter snob, truth be told.) So when this sunny looking, smallish paperback came across my desk, touting that life is better with butter, I just had to pick it up and start reading.
Of her reasons for writing the book, author Heidi Herman says, “This book was inspired by my other, who lived her life to the fullest. After my mom’s recovery from a stroke in 2016 at the age of 92, my mom began promoting the message of living life with vitality no matter what your age. I helped her achieve and log 93 new activities between her 93rd and 94th birthdays, just to show you’r never too old to have fun.
“‘On with the Butter’ is one of the countless things I learned from my vivacious Icelandic mother. “Just keep moving” was her favorite mantra. She taught me by example to embrace life and live in the moment.” I thought of Mom as a life adventurer. She taught me to embrace life with exuberance. Well into her nineties, she inspired those around her simply by the way she lived.
“She was constantly active: writing books, traveling, visiting friends and family, and living each day to the fullest. And she was just one of the great role models I’ve been blessed to have.”
In just under 250 pages and 15 chapters, the author urges readers to embrace life and live in the moment. Chapter titles urge readers to “Just Say Yes,” “Use Innovation,” “Walk on the Wild Side,” “Take the Scenic Route,” “Taste Life,” “Give Time,” “Explore Nature,” “Be Bold,” “Try Something New.”
I like that each chapter offers readers a challenge and a challenge checklist. It’s a great way to encourage the reader to not just read the book, but take action. Likewise, there are significant chapters at the end of the book offer resources and references. Again, Herman goes the extra mile to make it easy for the reader to internalize the advice and immediately translate it into action.
I also liked that the author uses personal stories to help make the book a reading delight. For example, in the chapter titled “Be A Hometown Tourist,” she tells us the story of how she and her husband moved to Lake Preston, South Dakota, without knowing anything about the area and its historical significance.
Shortly after her arrival, she read a placard outside a grocery store in De Smet, a nearby town, which advised her that the store had once been the feed store where Almanzo Wilder worked. Almanzo, of course, being the husband of author Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of all those “Little House” books many of us read as kids. Herman relates that she soon discovered that Wilder’s last five books are set in South Dakota. More fascinating: most of the landmarks mentioned in those books – the Ingalls family homestead, Silver Lake, the schoolhouse and the surveyor’s house – are real and open for tourist visits. Not to mention she discovered there are several fascinating and unique museums within 100 miles of the area.
Meanwhile, I have to confess that I have lived in Galena, Illinois, an historic town which claims to have been the home of nine Civil War generals, for over ten years and while I have twice visited the U.S. Grant home, I have never visited the local historical museum, or any of the historic homes in the area which often hold open houses for tourists. While I often suggest visitors visit these sites, I have actually never considered becoming a tourist in my own town! And why not?
I highly recommend this book.