{ Happy Mother’s Day }

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God gave Minnesota moms a beautiful day on Mother’s Day 2019. Just because it was my day, I got to bring everyone along on a double trail walk. Then we came home and ate turtle tracks ice cream. Watch my son cringe as I say, “Noice…very noice.”

Mother’s Day is kind of like the Superbowl or Academy Awards for moms. And, the week before Mother’s Day can resemble an extended pre-game show — at our house, at least.

This predictable, annual phenomenon may include:

  • Family members choosing sporadic sociability over phone use. By this I mean that when I come into a room, they look up and smile. They pause a moment and cheerfully answer my “What was the highlight of your day?” and perhaps two other questions before glancing down at their phones again. They may look up again at me and smile yet again if I loiter.
  • My older daughters peppering me with questions the Sunday before Mother’s Day:
    • Mama, what do you want to do for Mother’s Day?
    • What do you want to eat?
    • If it rains and we can’t go for a walk, then what do you want to do?
    • What’s your favorite store?
  • My youngest boys showering me with gushing, matriarchal flattery. Their compliments and gift-giving escalate in intensity throughout the week:
    • Monday: Here’s a picture I made for you — You’re the best mom ever.
    • Tuesday: I’ll open the door for you, most excellent mother!
    • Wednesday: You’re the best mom that anyone in the whole world ever had.
    • Thursday: You’re the greatest person ever. Except for God.

When asked, “What do you want for Mother’s Day?”  there’s a teeny, tiny, selfish part of me that wants to spend *my day*  alone on a remote, sunny beach inhaling an entire bag of salt and vinegar ripple chips all by myself, choosing drinks from a cooler packed with my favorite kombuchas, and soaking in the sun where no will talk to me for 24 hours.

But that would feel empty, and it would be as silly as Superbowl athletes hiding from the crowds inside the locker room, or movie stars heading to the Oscars, makeup-less in their sweats.

This is Mother’s Day — a day to shine; embrace my precious, living gifts; receive a million hugs; and absorb the fleeting moments that God has given!

 

 

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord…
 Psalm 127:3

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My sister and I with our dear mother!

 

 

 

 

 

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{ Undeserved & Basking In It}

On Mother’s Day–

My son got up in church (as other sons and daughters did)

He grabbed the microphone to speak of me, his mother.

There were so many things he could have said, like:

  • She doesn’t share her water bottle
  • She closes her door and tapes on a note on it that says, “Come back in 30 minutes.”
  • She’s got a mending basket full of clothes that have been there so long I’ve outgrown them
  • Her patience runs thin when she’s trying to get out the door to go somewhere
  • She makes oatmeal every day for breakfast

But he didn’t. 😊

I am still basking in the overflow of Mother’s Day love and chocolates and undeserved adoration.

And, I’m basking in the mystery that God entrusts living souls to imperfect Mothers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ Tribute to the Homeschooling Mother }

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The homeschooling mother has no paycheck, union, or prep hour

     She wears a comfortable uniform and decorates with toddler art

She doesn’t weave her way through crowded hallways

     She treads a path littered with laundry and Legos

She doesn’t eat her lunch in the Teacher’s Lounge

    She nibbles between dish-doing and question-answering

When a stranger asks her daughter,

     “What’s 3 x 4?”

And her daughter looks at the ceiling

     And her son doesn’t seem to know his countries from his states

The homeschooling mother never says,

“What are they teaching you at school?”

     She just blushes

and vows to get out the flashcards.

But the homeschooling mother’s students:

Can divide the last cookie into perfect thirds

Know how to survive in the Arctic

Translate Latin phrases

Play Bach on a violin

Have stepped into the Middle Ages — in costume

Know where to find the beginning of wisdom

Have looked at the Civil War from the eyes of South, North and the Native American

(And can tell you what else was going on in the world at the same time)

Perform chemistry magic using home ingredients

Talk to nursing home residents without flinching

And, they can tell you in which episode Eugene went missing from the town of Odyssey.

And when her children finally graduate

     Strong, able and kind

Generous and grateful

They know how to work hard

And they know where to find what they don’t know

Fueled by faith,

They stand on conviction

The homeschooling mother

Senses that her gain is good

And she truly is…A REAL TEACHER.

(c) Lisa M. Luciano

In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week & Mother’s Day 2018

Daily Writing Prompt:  Laughter

{ Fierce Women }

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Ugly Fierce incubates bitterness

   Beautifully Fierce assaults offenders with forgiveness

Ugly Fierce battles with her double-edged tongue

   Beautifully Fierce uses the element of surprise:

She aims

         then fires fearless love

Ugly Fierce buries herself in self-pity

 Beautifully Fierce hunts down gratefulness

Ugly Fierce fakes, flaunts, frowns

Beautifully Fierce is sincere, stately, and smiling

Ugly Fierce lashes out at God

Beautifully Fierce grabs hold of God’s garment and never lets go

 

Random thoughts inspired by the book I’m reading:

Fierce Women: the Power of a Soft Warrior by Kimberly Wagner

Photo Credit:Stas Ovsky

{ Jello & My Mother-in-Law }

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Multi-colored, layered jello.  One of my amazing Mother-in-Law’s edible specialties.

A few days ago, I wrote the post Moxie & My Mother-in-Law.

I promised some ideas for sweetening your relationship with your mother-in-law. They are listed below. Sometimes it helps to have a new perspective. Please add your excellent ideas in the comment section 🙂

So, if you’re wondering how to love your mother-in-law (or maybe just start liking her), here are some ideas:

  1. Do you know what pushes your buttons? Plan for the encounter before she walks in the door.  Practice receiving her ideas. Make it clear when you have a different way of doing things, but say it kindly.
  2. If you occasionally seek her advice on issues and follow it appreciatively, it may give you more space when your way isn’t Mom’s way.
  3. Set boundaries as graciously as possible, such as: “We want to spend time with you; let us know you’re coming so we can plan ahead.”
  4. Attack any problem issues when you and your husband are alone. As a team, work out a plan to improve things for the future.
  5. Mention what you like about your mother-in-law — to your husband. Complaining about his mother may only motivate your husband to defend her.
  6. Praise her sincerely. Praise her often.  Tell her what you like about her as a mother-in-law or a grandmother.  Speak of the excellent habits or qualities that she taught your husband when he was young. Show gratefulness for the sacrifices she made.
  7. Love her, forgive her, speak of her strengths and overlook her offenses. Don’t ever criticize her in front of your children. Extend understanding to your mother-in-law and speak the truth graciously. She will see your love for her…. as well as your firm resolve to create an entirely new household.

Finally, treat your mother-in-law with love, honor and respect – just like you would want a future daughter-in-law to treat you.

(c) Lisa M. Luciano 🙂

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/edible/

Edible“>

{ Moxie & My Mother-In-Law }

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The Hibiscus: one of Mom Z’s favorites

I was hired recently to write a short article for a family blog.

I was given the topic, “How to Deal With Your Mother-In-Law.”

And, wouldn’t you know it — the day after I submitted my lofty, theoretical essay on “how to interact harmoniously with your mother-in-law,” she arrived for a rare visit. And, she didn’t just pop in; she stayed overnight.

This was not an accident; it was God’s way of allowing me to practice my written theories.

Mom Z has faith and moxie.

She grew up in another culture; oceans away from my stoic Scandinavian-German upbringing. She is a feisty, persistent gal, which is fortunate, considering her amazing life story and widowhood. She is also a terrifically thorough housekeeper and talented seamstress.

When she arrived last week, she pulled out a tiny mountain of post-season baseball shirts with patches. Nobody wants 2016 promo sport shirts in 2017, but Mom’s friend gave her a bunch free. So, while holding a blue shirt in her always-beautifully-orange-polished fingernails, she whispered:

“You just take the patch off and put something else there – whatever you want. Turn it over – see? And, stitch by stitch you can pull it out. Have a little patience.”

I nodded and smiled, inwardly knowing that I would never attempt this.

She tells what is on her mind– I never have to wonder. And, if we don’t have a chance to talk at the end of her visit, I will know what she thinks by the gifts she gives me the next time I see her:

  • She will give me bathroom towels (mine were too ratty?) or
  • Some room freshener (guess our home smelled stinky) or
  • Canned goods (our refrigerator must have looked a little empty.)

 (She is a generous giver.)

In earlier years, I was slightly offended when she:

  • Told me that I “shouldn’t dress like a nun”
  • Cleaned out my crumb-filled toaster with a toothpick
  • Mentioned after cleaning the dirty highchair that it smelled like “parmesan cheese”

Little things like that can either annoy me, or (calling upon my sense of humor) endear me to this mysteriously unique character.

I have a choice.

Just because she loves in her different way, doesn’t mean her different way is wrong.

So, if you’re wondering how to love your mother-in-law (or maybe just start liking her)…

…I will share some ideas in a future post!

(c) Lisa M. Luciano

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/moxie/

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Mothers & Ekdapanao

A few years ago, we went to hear a missionary speak about his work with orphans. He spotlighted this verse:

2 Corinthians 12:15 — “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls…”

He told about his schedule, being totally disposed to a large group of fatherless young boys. This man had NO time to himself, and didn’t have the conveniences of normal American living.  He lived in a hot, Central American climate, in a rustic setting.

Yet, he was glad to expend (ekdapanao – to spend out, completely exhaust) himself for these guys. To him, these young men were souls to love…and win to Jesus.  He looked past “dirty and needy” and saw “valuable.”

That’s true love.  It’s the way God looks at us.

Romans 5:8 – “For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Our sinful selves are not lovable or desirable. Yet, with the covering of Jesus, we are gathered into God’s family – and He loves us.

Insert bridge here to the concept of motherhood…

I have eleven (biological) children to love, nurture and train. Some of them are adults now.

At times, I have felt “spent” as a mother.

(But…ahh… I have had hot showers, cups of coffee and a warm, cozy bed to enjoy — eventually.)

Although it’s tempting, I don’t want to coast on this marathon of motherhood.  I don’t have toddlers anymore, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to put things on autopilot.

Let my teens smile and roll their eyes good-naturedly when I ask them “What are you going to be when you grow up?”

Let them groan when I stumble my way into their technological world, or make a silly parent pun.

I will correct them, confront them, and praise them. I will surprise them with love whenever I can (even when they’re crabby, contrary or cheeky.)

I will press on in the high calling of motherhood, calling upon God’s grace to refresh me when I’m spent.

But, for now I must say farewell —  my fans await me.

It’s Mother’s Day weekend.

I already have a lovely lavender plant, a piece of chocolate and a gift that couldn’t wait to be given sitting on my desk.

Ekdapanao has its rewards. And it’s not even Sunday yet.

 

Hot Gift

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It’s garage sale season.  I load eager children into the monster van. We roll slowly through middle class neighborhoods, seeking signs and cluttered driveways. When we spy a worthy target, we stop, click doors and spill out. Excited fingers jingle and drop quarters while I deliver final instructions.

“We’re not taking home junk.  Just because it’s in the free box doesn’t mean we grab it. Everyone ready?”

Determined little shoppers approach the treasure-filled yard. We nod at the smiling homeowner with one eye on bargains in a corner.

Markie bubbles when he finds something on a sawhorse table. My big-eyed boy approaches, hands behind his back.

“I want to give you this for Mother’s Day.  Will you get it and I’ll pay you back?”

I peer down at a sparkly find on a chain.  The necklace reads “HOT” spelled out in rhinestones.  I nod and smile, suppressing a major giggle.

I remind him that I forget to wear necklaces. My sparse collection of chains sits lonely on a handmade jewelry tree. It’s literally a branch of a tree that my son T.J. mounted on an unfinished wood base.

If I had to choose, I’d pick the branch holder over the jewelry.

“If you don’t want to wear it, you can just let it hang on your branch thing,” he says.

I hug him and smile. “That’s a perfect idea.”

We check out, tote a full bag into the van, ready to attack another driveway.

~ Lisa