What Mama Did: The Imagining

Our friend, Lisa Jo, has been running a series entitled "What Mama Did." She's asked a few of us to pop in and share memories of our mothers, what they did that made our childhood special. I'm there today writing about my mother, but here's a sneak peek.

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Before the urban sprawl, the popping up of shopping malls, strip centers, mega churches, and big business,we lived in Grapevine, Texas. In those days, Grapevine was a wide open, endless dirt patch, nestled just north of Dallas. On some mornings, we commuted into the heart of town, where my sister attended a Christian school. I was a tender-hearted child, always broken by my sister’s leaving–she, my best friend, and second-best playmate.

After she slid from the back seat, after the obligatory “have a good day,” my mother, resourceful as she was and hoping to assuage my sadness, would point to the water towers and gas tanks that pimple-marked the Texas landscape. “Look! Imperial drones!” she cried. “We’re doomed!”

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Lisa Jo is kind to share her space with me today. You can continue reading the full piece there.  If you happen to visit her site, make sure you peruse her archives. She writes some of the most encouraging stuff on the internet as it relates to motherhood.

Not so Fast: On Slowing Down

This morning, Amber had the opportunity to read Ann Kroeker’s Mother Letter on a local radio station.  Ann’s letter encourages us to “slow down” and take it all in because in just a *blink* or two, these days are gone. You can listen to Amber’s reading HERE.  And, of course, there's still time to get the perfect last minute Mother’s Day present  (links to Kindle and Nook versions available).

I’m taking Ann’s advice.  Amber and I have some things we’d like to accomplish over the next month or so, so I’ll be pretty sparse around here.  But in the meantime, let me encourage you to check out Ann’s book, Not so Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families.  If you’ve ever felt over-programmed, over-scheduled, or just flat overrun, it’s worth your time.  Truly.

As always, thanks for stopping in here.  You’re good people.

Mother Letters - The Uncut Backstory

It's been quite a journey (and hang with me because I'm going to talk about drug use here).*

A few years ago, Amber and I decided to create Christmas presents for each other.  We were looking for simple ways to pare back, to cut through the commercialism of the season. And as I'm sure you can imagine, although this sounds like a terribly fantastic and humble idea, October snuck up on me and I had nothing. No ideas. Nada. Zilch.

That was when God intervened with a hernia.

Yes, you read that right.

Laid up in the bed, high as a kite on pain killers, I had an idea that I thought (in my drug induced state) was brilliant. I would collect letters from mothers to mothers. The letters would tell stories, share narrative wisdom, give some encouragement along the road. It was the perfect gift for Amber, I thought. After all, we had three boys all under the age of four, and if there is anything that a mother living in that kind of chaos needs it's encouragement. And so, I opened a blog and put out the call. And as a gift for participation, I told the mothers that if they submitted, they'd receive their own copies of all of the letters.

Now, drugs make one do weird things, and I'm not proud of this next part. Laid up in bed, my idea became ever more grandiose (and I might have breathed the words "take over the world" at one point). Armed with uninhibited courage, I sent direct emails to some pretty famous people--think Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, a Christian recording artist or two (who shall remain nameless because I'm still holding out hope), and an award-winning poet. Among those individuals, I also sent an email to three of Amber's favorite bloggers--Shannon Lowe, Ann Kroeker, and Ann Voskamp.

Needless to say, I received no response from those tasked with running our country, or the creators of fine and worshipful music. I did, however, receive responses from the three bloggers, each excited to help, each promising to write a letter. What was more, Shannon asked if she could write a post requesting the participation of the blog community. I agreed and we carefully crafted a story that would not give away my identity.

The rest is history.

Over the next month and a half, I would receive between 500 and 600 letters. Each was beautiful. Some were joyful. Some were heart wrenching. Each was unique.

On Christmas day, I presented the letters to Amber (in addition to the over 500 mothers who submitted; yes, it was a logistical nightmare). You can imagine her response. There were leaky eyes.

Amber has been coming back to these letters year after year. They've opperated as a source of encouragement and hope. They've helped her through some dark days. Last year she (and a dear Saint with whom I work) told me, "these letters need to be made more widely available."

Today, is the day that those letters are being made available. Today is the Mother Letters Ebook release date! If you are a mother, you'll want to check it out. If you are a father who'd like to earn a few brownie oints, you'll want to check it out. If you are a college student who needs a bit of perspective (your mom really sacrificed a lot, you know) you should check it out.

"How do i check it out?" you ask. CLICK HERE.

Thank you so much for sharing in our journey. We appreciate you all more than you'll ever know.

*Neither the mothers in the Mother Letters, nor the author of this blog endorses the use of opiates for creative induction.