with Michelle Thomas
A round of applause for Susan as she joins us around the fire. Seriously, this women is doing so much to effect change in Vernon County, and she does it with much grace and determination. Susan is a part of the Vernon County Domestic Abuse Project and as part of that project she is helping start the Helping End Abuse Response Team (HEART). We talk about her early work as a therapist and what called her to the work she does today. There is also information on how you can get involved at the end of the show.
Welcome welcome welcome everyone!! It’s good to be back together with you. I’m so excited about this episode because it was just such a fun and sweet and honest conversation to record. In this episode Kaitlyn & Cassandra tell us about their journey to becoming parents. As anyone who has had to try to get pregnant using medical interventions will tell you it can be a long, emotionally draining process. Kaitlyn’s and Cassandra’s sense of humor and candid retelling of their story will make you feel less alone, and honestly, it gives me hope for the next generation that they are out there parenting in the world. This is a long episode and you won’t want to miss any of it, so get comfy and enjoy!
Welcome back to the fire! Since it’s been a few months I think it makes sense to call this a new season of Women’s Fire. Last season included a whopping 25 episodes (what?!?) and this season promises to be just as fruitful. I’m so excited to gather around with you all again. Keep an eye out for new episodes starting this Sunday, September 17. See you at the Fire!
Hi everyone! Quick check-in. I thought since I was on an extended hiatus from the podcast for about 2 months I would do a little check in. If you haven’t checked in with your people in a while, maybe this is a great reminder to do so. In this mini episode I discuss some media I’ve been consuming as well as a check in about work, marriage, and parenting.
Please give a warm welcome to Nora! Nora is a large animal veterinarian here in rural Wisconsin and I wanted to have her on to talk about her experience as a woman in this field. In this episode we talk about what drew her to be a large animal vet, how she came to Wisconsin having grown up in a suburb of NYC, how becoming a mother brought her closer to the emotional life of the animals she works with, and how she and her husband work together to support their careers and be present parents.
Welcome back to Women’s Fire everyone! I’m so glad to be getting back in the studio and making new episodes for you. My guest today is Erin Ford. Erin is an Afro-Indigenous queer woman who spent 20 years doing advocacy work here in rural Wisconsin. She talks about her experience doing this work during contentious times and how it eventually led to her to move out of the region and closer to a city, where she felt she would have more impact. This conversation was recorded in June 2022. Thank you to Erin for letting me re-release it as part of Women’s Fire.
Welcome to another Women’s Fire! I’m very excited about my guest today because it’s not often I get to geek out over relationships with someone. Denise is a relationship coach and today we talk about her work with couples seeking long term relationships and our own experiences with our partners of over 20 years. Denise shares with us some foundational work she does with couples and we discuss why long term relationships can be hard but are totally worth it. I just know that every listener is going to walk away with some nuggets they can use in their own life. You can learn more about Denise and the work she does at www.connectedcouple.com
Dr. Gustafson is here today to talk about her passion for naturopathic medicine and her journey to become a naturopathic doctor. We discuss how her own chronic health issues as a young adult started her on her journey and how she works within a culture of Western medicine. We also talk about how doctors of natural medicine differ from at-home herbalists and why many of her patients start by seeking her out as a last resort for chronic issues traditional medicine hasn’t been able to help.
*Trigger Warning*- In this episode we discuss the topic of sex trafficking and child sexual abuse
Sarah Caldwell reached out to me saying she felt called to tell her story in a more public way and she thought my platform would be a safe space to do so. Sarah has been on a healing journey for over 20 years as a survivor of sex trafficking and child sexual abuse. In this episode Sarah talks about her emotionally abusive home life and how that left her seeking love and affection which made her a target for sexual predators. Sarah also talks about how she removed herself from that traumatic situation and how she’s been finding her way to health and healing along the way. I admire Sarah for telling her story in the hopes others can find healing in the own trauma journeys.
Resources: 888-373-7888 National Human Trafficking Hotline, humantraffickinghotline.org
Celina is here for a follow up conversation about what she’s been up to for the past year and a half. Celina talks about becoming a mother of two, how Harry Potter helped her through her first month post-partum, her years long experience of taking her sex abuser to trial, love & loss, and how the pressure to attachment parent can cause more harm than good. It’s a little bit of everything and a whole lot of love.
I know the term “Unicorn” gets thrown around quite a bit these days, but I don’t throw it around willy nilly. In fact, when I think of unicorns I know in my life I think Celina is the only one. As she’ll tell you herself, Celina can’t help but be honest and authentic at all times. This episode is from when Celina was my guest on Conversations. She was my first guest because I can’t help but feel comfortable around her and I knew she’d be up for whatever the conversation became. In this episode we get to know Celina, how she decided what type of person she wanted to be, and we talk about her work around her relationship with food. This is part one of a two part episode. Stay tuned next week when I talk to Celina about becoming a mom of two and how Harry Potter got her through her first month postpartum.
I’ve got a special mini episode here for you today. Check-ins have been an integral part of women’s fires I’ve hosted and attended. It gives a chance for everyone to say a little something about what’s going on in their life so everyone else can offer support, excitement, or feedback depending on what’s coming up for them. In this episode I share with you what’s going on in my life right now. I share how I’m navigating a seasonal shift in family dynamics, how I’m working through a new stage of parenting (teens), and a book I’m really excited to tell you about. I encourage you to check in, too! Comment below if you want to share with the community, or just call up a friend or special person in your life and tell them how you’re doing and ask how they’re doing. We all do better when we share a bit of ourselves and our lives with others.
I’m so excited o have Joeann Tesar and Mary Beth Specht around the fire today. I met these two talented ladies when we performed together in the Viroqua Community Theater production of Chicago in the summer of 2019. As someone who was a theater major for a hot minute I was inspired by their persistence to continue their craft and curate spaces where their talents can be shared. I am so happy to know them and I know you will be so happy to meet them as well. They are pure joy!
Martha Buche (or Ms. Martha as she’s affectionately known in our house) is here today! Oh my goodness could we all use a bit of Martha in our back pocket. Martha is an early childhood educator extraordinaire and she is here to talk about child development and parenting. We talk about what children need to grow and develop but also what parents need to grow and develop. It was such a fun, informative conversation and in many ways we barely scratched the surface. I’m already calling for a Part 2!
Please give a warm welcome to Josefine Jaynes. Josefine is on Women’s Fire to talk about taking her gap year to run for Wisconsin State Assembly in 2020 when she was just 18 years old. This is a very earnest and sincere conversation that had us both in tears a couple of times. Josefine talks about her early interest in politics, what inspired her to run for office, and what she’s up to now as a college student. This conversation left me inspired by the youth who will one day run this country!
You will be so happy to meet Harriet. She is a long time organic farmer advocate, educator, inspector, and farmer. She currently grows and dries organic herbs for culinary and medicinal use and is a supplier to the local co-op and LuSa Organics. Harriet has been in the organic farming community for over 40 years and is one of the first employees of what is now Organic Valley. Harriet doesn’t just see problems, she sees solutions and works to improve the world around her. To learn more about her teachings and organic farming resources you can head to www.wiwic.org
Happy New Year! I am so excited to start the new year with this conversation. Sarah is a delightful human being and also a total badass when it comes to having a vision and following a dream. Sarah talks about her journey from working in a cheese shop to owning/operating her very own. I was very much inspired by her perseverance, willingness to be supported, and how she keep perspective all along the way. https://www.noblerind.com/
Rachel Jepson Wolf almost needs no introduction to many of you listeners. For those of you who don’t know, Rachel is a writer, a photographer, a blogger, a homeschool parent, and the owner and founder of LuSa Organics, and she writes about her life and her family on her blog, Rachel Wolf Clean (rachelwolfclean.com). Since Rachel shares so much of herself and you can go to her blog to read about her experience as a mother, an entrepreneur, and a small business owner, I thought this would be a good opportunity to go beyond her basic story and dig a little deeper. So that’s just what we did!
Mandy Herrick is back to continue our conversation about dance, movement, and being in our bodies. We discuss the fact that it is often easier for children to be in their bodies than adults and how to reclaim that embodiment. If you would like to learn more about Mandy and her dance/movement/art, check out her website http://www.mandyherrick.com/
Yes, you read that right, this is a two-parter! Mandy was one of my first guests on a show I used to host called Conversations. I had Mandy on the show to talk about her life as a dancer and the journey she has taken from in-the-box dancing to movement-as-art dancing. When I asked Mandy if I could use that episode for my podcast she agreed but said that when she thinks about that conversation she thinks she would answer some of those questions differently. Well, I think this is a perfect opportunity for a follow-up! Enjoy our original conversation and stay tuned next week for part 2.
Danielle and her husband, Mat, own and operate Boerson Farm in Green Lake, WI. Danielle is on the podcast today to talk about her journey to becoming a regenerative farmer when she originally went into theater after high school. Danielle and Mat ended up traveling abroad, learning about regenerative agriculture, and eventually settled back in their hometown to start their farming adventure. They are now in their 10th year of farming and have recently settled onto a property that they hope to see farmed responsibly for generations to come.
Harmonie is the owner of Flora’s Feast botanical skincare line and the founder of the Plant Wonder Collective. Harmonie came to Women’s Fire today to talk about how she started her small business and how it has expanded to include online collaboration in an effort to make botanical knowledge more accessible.
Jess is here today to talk about her work as a doula in rural Wisconsin. We talked about her journey to becoming a doula and how the birth landscape has changed over the last 20 years. It has been a while since I’ve gotten to talk about birth work so this we really fun for me.
Asha Myers is an writer who has experience as a blogger, a ghostwriter, and published author. She came into the studio to talk about her experiences traveling the world, how blogging turned into paid writing gigs, and how she enjoys being a vessel for other people’s stories as a ghostwriter.
Do you like to have fun? Do you even know how to have fun? These are questions I’ve been asking myself for the past two years. I’ve come to realize that I have a slightly dysfunctional relationship with fun and I’d like to change it. When I decided to do an episode about this I knew who I wanted as a guest because there is one woman on my social media who seems to be having more fun than the rest of us and wanted to know her secret. Luckily it isn’t a secret and it’s accessible to all of us.