Category Archives: Family

Mother’s Day Reflection

Mother’s Day is possibly one of the most bizarre holidays.  As a mother of two, I get it, mom’s should be celebrated.  I would like to be celebrated by the simple act of my children making their own bed and not complaining when I make them a healthy, well-rounded dinner.  I do not need flowers and cards with equally bizarre sentiments.  I do not want to be taken to lunch at a restaurant that is so crowded it takes all afternoon and I have to forgo my Sunday nap.

I do enjoy going to church with my family on Mother’s Day but that can be tricky too.  I just want to get up sip a cup of coffee and throw on some church appropriate clothes and go.  Instead, I spend the week before trying to coordinate outfits for the family that look like we jumped off the cover of J. Crew.  The morning of I fight with my boys and insist they wear the sweater vests and church shoes I picked out.  All while trying to appreciate the hodgepodge of carbs they put on a plate and try to serve me in bed and smile while my husband attempts to figure out the camera that he only picks up on Mother’s Day.  Not to mention the mess that is made while creating the breakfast masterpiece that I won’t be allowed to clean up because it is Mother’s Day and it will sit and fester until Monday morning when life resumes as normal and I have a yet bigger mess.  This is not how I want to be celebrated.

We finally get to church and I settle in to hear the sermon, all too often by a man who does not realize that mom’s do not want to cry about another mother’s misfortune and how she found peace after tragedy.  I will never forget the sermon preached on my first Mother’s Day as a mom.  The minister preached about a mom who had a little boy who predicted his own death.  The story went on and on and I was sure that somehow grace and peace would be the end of the story.  No.  He died.  It was awful.  I held my baby and cried.  This is not how I want to be celebrated.

There is a part of me that wants to go full force Anne Lamott on the day.

“But Mother’s Day celebrates a huge lie about the value of women: that mothers are superior beings, that they have done more with their lives and chosen a more difficult path. Ha! Every woman’s path is difficult, and many mothers were as equipped to raise children as wire monkey mothers. I say that without judgment: It is, sadly, true. An unhealthy mother’s love is withering.

The illusion is that mothers are automatically happier, more fulfilled and complete. But the craziest, grimmest people this Sunday will be the mothers themselves, stuck herding their own mothers and weeping children and husbands’ mothers into seats at restaurants. These mothers do not want a box of chocolate. These mothers are on a diet.”

Instead, I will just tell you how I would like to be celebrated as a mother on Mother’s Day and every other day of the year.  I want to  be given a little grace when my boys show up dirty with chocolate on their faces.  I would like to hear a sermon on the unique insight women, with and without children, have to care for the world and have hope for the future.  I would like to be celebrated the way Mother’s Day was intended, recognizing what Ann Jarvis did upon founding the holiday.  Celebrating the reality that mothers, women, but especially mothers, had to work for peace because they could see the ravages of war in their husbands and in their sons, in a way that was so focused and so clear that their voices would be powerful.  As for what I want to eat, I am good with a cup of coffee, two eggs over easy, and some toast with a little extra strawberry preserves.  That is how I want to be celebrated.

Let the Children Come Unto Me

I was asked this weekend to recommend some good children’s books about God.  I made a list and it got me thinking, “what makes a good book about God?”

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Wonder  Great books about God leave room for the imagination of the reader.  They do not define God in a way that eliminates the possibility of wonder and mystery.

Love  Books about God should portray God in a way that reflect God’s unconditional love for God’s people.

Beauty While reading about God, it is important that the beauty of the words and of the pictures and illustrations are consistent.  I prefer a variety of books with images that give a multitude of pictures of God’s creation.

Stories of Hope and Redemption It is crucial for people of all ages to recognize and celebrate the hope and redemption that comes from God.  Scripture is lined with stories of God’s desire for reconciliation of all creation.  These are key themes in a great children’s book.  It is never too early to begin integrating these ideas into how we operate in our world.

My Dear, Emotional Lady

“My dear emotional lady, why should I?” Prince John from Robin Hood

photo7 school days in. People dying too soon.  Children missing their dad. Friends’ kids off to college. Sometimes you just have to stay up a little late in a school night to see the end if the movie!

 

Tea Party with Papa

Today would be my grandfather’s 91st birthday. It is hard to believe that I have spent the last 15+ years without him. It is especially unbelievable because not only do I still think about him regularly I have vivid memories of our daily phone conversations, his bad driving, stealing his chair and even a tea party we had when I was younger than my boys. In fact, it is that one memory that leads me to buy tea sets for all of the important little ladies in my life.

Some times I forget how important these kind of memories are for my own children. I am so thankful for the people in our lives who are willing to invest in time with our family. I am equally thankful for my friends and family who make time to allow me to invest in the lives of their children.

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In honor of my grandfather, Papa, here is a repost of a favorite story I posted in the past.

On Handwork

I have found my center again.  It always seems to come with the change of seasons.  The rhythm seems to be three seasons on and one off.  In the past I have noticed it is summer off, but this year it was winter and I have missed it.  Handwork.  My obsession began around the time I had my first baby. I began with knitting and eventually experimented with spinning and crochet and most recently needlepoint and weaving.

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27March2014Photo3Photos of my Great Grandmother knitting next to her boys.

I remember laying on my mother’s lap at the end of the day while she did her needlepoint just over my head.  I would watch her work from the underside of the canvas.  Eventually I would get lost in the rhythm until I dozed off to sleep.

Recently, I listened to Ann Hamilton recall a similar account.

“I was very close with my grandmother. And you know, I have really distinct bodily memories of sitting next to her on the couch. You know, when you’re little and you kind of get in that space under her arm and her arms were full. And, we would knit, or needlepoint, and she would read. And I think there’s something about the rhythm of the hands being busy and then your body falls open to absorb and concentrate on what you’re listening to, but not completely, because you have two concentrations. And then from that, that sort of cultivates a kind of attention. That is the rhythm of those two things together. So the unfolding of the voice in space, and then the material accreting under your hand, and they have really different satisfactions.”

27March2014My First Weaving Project

I love the thought of my children seeing a hand knitted throw or a needle pointed pillow and feeling comforted and at peace.  Knowing that they watched me almost unconsciously for hours as they grew.  Stitch by stitch creating something out of nothing.

I love this short video by Renate Hiller.  If you have ever wanted to understand why some of us obsess over fiber and handwork, give this a look.