Trim Healthy Mama – Snake in the Grass

by Calulu

This morning as I was playing my morning interesting Russian roulette (dangerous for my cup of coffee!) of reading through the various Quiverfull ministry sites I came across an update for the ladies of “Trim Healthy Mama”. If you haven’t heard of “Trim Healthy Mama” it is a book published by Above Rubies by Nancy Campbell’s daughters, Pearl and Serene. The book is purported to be dieting, exercise and healthy living.

If anyone here has read their book and wants to do a review of it for NLQ that would be most appreciated. Just let me know.

The sisters and friends were writing about the book yet it suddenly devolved into a discussion of snakes. Which made me laugh, but also wonder why all of their solutions to said snakes involved running to the nearest man. Did no one ever teach them to take a hoe and chop the head off or to scoop the snake up in a shovel and carry it outside to safely release?

Since I neglected to post either a Quoting Quiverfull or a Laughter is Good Medicine yesterday I’m posting their snake stories here, part QQ, part Laughter and part wondering about snakes and gender roles.

Yesterday I was stuck in Union Station in Washington, D.C. and various government buildings researching retirement for my spouse with the worlds most limited internet usage. After thirty minutes, McDonalds ran me off, thirty minutes later Starbucks ran me off and I was unable to post much.

Enjoy and tell me what you think. Is it how you handle pests or another example of silly patriarchy?

How are all my THM Sistahs? Is your summer season shaping up well? Yes, the pun was intended… it thrills us to pieces to hear about how far and wide the message in our book is reaching and of the fantastic shape ups that are happening all over THM Nation.

As we mention in the book, Pearl and I live in rural Tennessee. Our children’s summers are all about creek fishing and swimming. Pearl and I take our children to our local fishing/swimming hole and sit in the shade together. We keep busy praising all their aquatic acrobats, (some more graceful than others) and cheer on the fishing experts as they reel their beauties back to shore. In between this wonderful splashing chaos we try to get our noses back down to our research papers and writing material that we bring to the creek to keep all our sisters at THM in the know.


I have to tell on Pearl though. Yesterday a beautiful balmy breeze blew across the bubbling, cool creek. Earthy scents of mossy rocks and wet river grass and the intoxicating, almost magical fragrance of wild honeysuckle and jasmine vines danced around our happy gathering. I could have stayed all day accept for the fact that “Miss Princess prima donna Pearl” didn’t want to go pee in the bushes and had to go home to her civilized toilet.

But, this is just a good example of how it takes all different types to make the world go around.

Trim Healthy Mama embraces all types of Mamas and approaches to food. There are lots of purists like me but plenty of relaxed short cut queens like my sister Pearl. You don’t have to be a “Granola Mom” to be a THM and it is even more an enjoyable and entertaining journey knowing that we are not all cookie cutters of each other. But, sometimes Pearl can drive me a bit nuts when she decides to leave me at the creek alone just for the loo and the way she uses her dreaded microwave! (Hey Pearl… love you heaps, mate!)


However, I have some more news about my yesterday. I was in my room about to start my “Spew Session.” You know, the quick exercise routine I tell you about on page 558 of our book. I cinched up my vibram five finger shoes and checked for my proper form in our bedroom mirror as I began my set of jump squats for my “spew” session. In the upper corner of the mirror I noticed a reflection of the wall right next to me and a shadowy dark apparition that swung back and forth. The head of a huge snake… (did I mention HUGE) jutted back and forth, slithering down the pictures on my wall. Horror movie worthy!

An unconscious surge of adrenaline catapulted me into the air. I have never jumped higher in any of my spew sessions. If I was participating in the Olympic Games as a high jumper I may have brought home a gold medal and a world record jump.

Snakes are my creepy thing. I mean, I hate snakes! I would rather have seen a crocodile or huge guerrilla in my room than a slithering, slippery, SNAKE.

I screamed and shouted for all the children to run outside. I grabbed the baby, dashed outside and did a head count while dialing my husband’s number and sputtering about the snake.

My husband who was working an hour away told me to get my Dad quick (he lives close by), find the snake and kill it, or we would never sleep soundly again. Good news is that after much searching in my bedroom, the snake was found. It had slithered under my bed… Ahhh!

This summer in our county has been labeled as one of the worst in a long time for snakes. Our children love to run in and out to the trampoline and then in for a snack and then out to play with their puppy and then in again. I suppose with the door left open half the day it was a welcome mat for our snake.

My children who play outdoors so much (we make them wear big leather cowboy boots) and see snakes more than I do, were not as bothered by the whole fiasco. I am still checking behind every door and bed and even behind the toilet before I can relax enough to pee! But all this is just part of the fun of summer in the country and now that the snake is dead I can appreciate the funny side of it.

Love, Serene Allison


Serene does not know this…. but I came home from selling our organic produce at the best Farmer’s Market ever and took the children and cuzzies down to the creek.

Well folks, there swimming in the water over to the rocks where Serene had been was a Copperhead! Being more of a kiwi (New Zealander) than my sisters, I did a “kiwi snake-terror freak-out” and called them all out of the water. The snake went under some rock where most probably millions of them live there!

The children couldn’t care two hoots and went back in after I realized we were not all dead! Now… don’t tell Serene this either, BUT, I just heard from my neighbor down the holler that they released Timber Rattlers into the Natchez Trace–a stone’s throw or two from us!


Once my daughter went to the bathroom with a flashlight and came out saying there was something big and black in there. I went to look and there was this humongous snake doing the dance! Howard was away and I did not know what to do– shoot, stab, or scream! If I shot, I would shoot the plumbing out of the floor, screaming would freak the tiny children all night, and I could only quickly find a broom to hold the thing at bay.

I called Serene’s husband who grew up with snakes and he came a running. He stood there bewildered, as I was, with the huge thing continuing to do its dance.

We decided to stab it with a sword so we would not destroy the plumbing. I held it with the broom and Sam stabbed and stabbed, then I tried stab – stab! Finally, we pierced the thing and I went to sleep safely. But I always, ALWAYS check bathrooms for snakes ever since!

Comments open below

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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About Suzanne Calulu
  • Nightshade

    How do I handle a stray snake?…first take a step or two back just because of the surprise, and not knowing exactly what kind of reptile I’m dealing with. Then once I’ve determined that it is, in fact, a snake, take a careful look and see if it might be venomous. If not, I might take a picture just for giggles ‘n grins, then finally if in my home find something to carry it outside, if already outside I just leave it alone, it’s not hurting anyone or anything, so why destroy it? It’s an animal, not a demon…oh wait, these people think it IS the devil incarnate, right?

  • Theo Darling

    A huge…guerrilla?

  • brbr2424

    They make their lives sound all rainbows and sunshine. That doesn’t square with article about the family from Mother Jones

  • stairway to heaven

    I love the quote from Mother Jones. One of the adopted children said, ”We went from Africa to Africa, “”

  • 12reasons2run

    First time commenter and long-time lurker. I had to comment on this because my mom absolutely loves the book. I can’t really comment on the content because my version of dieting includes calorie counting and a lot of veggies. Basically from what she’s told me the book is a version of carb cycling with a side dish of stevia, splenda, and a lot of slightly exotic flours. I am much too lazy to go to the bother of buying all that stuff and I”m also slightly skeptical of all that stuff. I’ll just run two miles if I want a cookie and eat one with real sugar, thank-you. Anyway, I did not realize that it was Nancy Campbell’s daughters, now I really have a reason to not buy the book and keep giving my mom a hard time.

  • NeaDods

    Is it usual for there to be so many snakes in houses? Or should I be reading a lot more into the idea of a kid who uses a flashlight to get to the bathroom?

  • The_L1985

    …what is a “five-finger shoe?” Is this one of those weird shoes with the separate sections for each toe?

  • The_L1985

    New Zealand is part of Australia, the continent where everything’s trying to kill you. Yes, there are snakes.

  • NeaDods

    We’ve got snakes in America too, but I don’t hear of so many just wandering into houses. That’s the part that made me go O.o.

  • elanoreirlys

    Yes indeed! Vibram FiveFingers are a barefoot shoe designed for barefoot runners and walkers. Each toe has its own little section for maximum foot-to-ground coverage, so that with lots of training, you can better your posture and your running/walking gait to a more natural, relaxed stance.

    …Ahem. Sorry, I work at a camping/outdoor adventure store! Couldn’t resist!

  • Lyn

    Well in my house it’s my job to dispatch any snakes, my husband dispatches spiders. The difference is the snakes are venomous the spiders aren’t.

  • The_L1985

    From what I hear, Aussies have more snakes per capita to worry about.

  • aim2misbehave

    I actually snorted when I read that, because the mental image… lol!

  • Laura

    Um. I’m from New Zealand. We are a separate country, about 3 hours flight from Australia, and have no snakes at all, even in zoos. I was 25 when I saw my first snake (in Japan). Honestly, as a Kiwi, I completely understood the reactions of these women – I get people actually familiar with snakes to help me too (not defending anything else though)

  • The_L1985

    I meant the continent of Australia, not the country of Australia. ;) I probably should have made that more clear, since the continent and the country have the same name but rather different borders.

  • Laura

    Not meaning to be rude, but I think you’re thinking of Australasia. New Zealand isn’t part of any continent, and is quite far from Australia. Our wildlife is completely different – there’s 4000 km of ocean between us.

  • Anita

    The country of Australia is the only thing on the continent of Australia. They have exactly the same borders. Check an atlas :-).

  • The_L1985

    The way I was taught, all landmasses were part of the 7 continents, including all of the islands. NZ and Tasmania were treated as part of the continent of Australia, just like Madagascar = Africa and Greenland = Europe. The various Pacific Islands (except those owned/part of countries in other continents, like Hawaii and Guam) were considered part of Asia.

    …Damn you, A Beka, you’ve screwed up my perceptions of geography, too.

  • The_L1985

    Ah. I could never get past the “it looks kinda funny” part. But then, to me, “barefoot” always meant you were in your home or yard, or on the beach. The idea of running in one’s bare feet on anything other than one’s own driveway is a foreign concept. :)