A Mother’s Birthday Gift

“Why don’t you write on your blog anymore? someone asked me today, and I had to pause and reflect for a moment, before answering, “I’m too busy.”

Hadn’t I told a room full of homeschooling mothers just a few days ago that “I don’t have time” was just an excuse; that we all have to take the time for the things we want?  Television, Facebook, excessive shopping or ‘going’ were some of the time suckers I warned against.

That speaking engagement was particularly enjoyable because I was talking to a room full of women who are the ones I want to reach the most; moms with children, moms who might be putting off using their own talents while they raise children and homeschool.

Don’t wait, I advised, and then I shared with them, through a power point presentation, the creative endeavors of a woman who had been raising ten children in poverty; a woman who made rag rugs for the peeling linoleum floors where her children walked with bare feet. She made little jumpers from her old skirts, teddy bears and Raggedy Ann dolls from scraps. Later, this same woman drew pastel portraits of her husband and herself, her children playing in an alley, her daughter sitting with her back to her. This woman made beautiful quilts, lovely paintings on barn boards, and wood carvings.

This woman was my mother, and I can think of no better example of a mother who utilized her talents in her everyday life. “Nourishing the Creative You,” I’ve titled a similar presentation for a women’s retreat and luncheon in April.

(an early pastel by my mother, Irma Potter)

(more recent work, painting by my mother, hanging in the Breitbach’s restaraunt in Balltown Iowa)

In between my regular couponing column and an article for the local newspaper, I’ve been working on an article that I thought would be easy to write; a piece for a contest with the topic “The Most Quotable Woman I Know.”  I’ve spent hours rifling through my mother’s papers, looking for a direct quote to use in the piece. She hinted and implied many times in her notebooks of her desire that her children use their talents. It is no coincidence I now impart that same advice upon young mothers.

My mother died sixteen months ago.  In the ensuing months, I have begun writing for the local newspaper, attending Chrsitian writer’s conferences, conducting couponing workshops, writing a weekly column on couponing, been published in three Chicken Soup books, and soon, will have portions of my blog detailing the months of grief (and creativity) following her death published in an anthology.  I’m now doing public speaking (and loving it!) and will soon be holding an all-day writing workshop for the local community college.  And all this, I attribute to the muse and the memory of my creative mother.

Still, to write about her for this contest entry, I wanted her exact words.  A few days ago, I found this written in her Memory book: “Our main purpose on earth is to save our soul and try to do the will of God in all things. That also means using the talents that God gives us and using them for good.” 

Tomorrow would have been my mother’s 82nd birthday. I often brought Mom a can of coffee and some chocolate for her birthday.  A pan of lasagna, and once in awhile a cake. My gift to her this year?

I will continue to follow her footsteps, in all things creative, and hopefully, all the way to Heaven.

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