Tag Archives: Parenting

A Mother’s Truth (Sally’s)

One might say that I am a hoarder.  There is a slight truth to this.  I listened very carefully to my grandmother’s stories of deprivation during the Great Depression.  Laura Ingalls Wilder’s stories of scarcity also impacted my worldview, not to mention Apocalyptic fiction.

Readers may, however, recall that one of my memory verses for my pilgrimage in 2014 was to “travel lightly”.  I STILL have not achieved this but continue to work at it.  The garage cleaning in Arkansas, my home/not home, is underway and the pile for the Salvation Army is growing.  I am channeling my mother and taking no prisoners.  Out it goes!

Having said that, I have toted around the globe lots of old correspondence.   Whilst rifling through a box of letters, I came across these concluding paragraphs in a letter from my mother Sally, written July 29, 1992 to me and my sisters.   I am sharing it with you so you can share with your daughters too.  I am almost the age my mother was when she wrote this letter.  I don’t think I’ll be able to catch up to her on the wisdom front.

“I would like to say that I have found the secret of getting my act together.  But I have always found that just when I smell the sweet smell of success, splat the rules have changed.  LIfe is a quilt of patches and they all go into the whole.  I am not looking forward to the patches of elderly poor health or widowhood.  I guess you will have to help me with that.

My little piece of advice:

Cook dinner, pick up the living room, have a spiritual life (you girls are probably praying more than you think you are, have a sense of humor, don’t nag, forget trying to change your spouse, don’t let your spouse brow beat you.  Slovenliness is bad.  Talk [during] your dinner.  Do something creative.  Exercise.  If your spouse balances the check book, leave the house.  Shit will happen.  Big shit will happen.  If you feel too bad call a friend and ask  for help.  Call a sister and ask for help.  Know that the shit will more than likely make you stronger.  Remember you are special, but you are no better than anyone else. Also remember that getting through hard times together does strengthen your marital relationship.  Don’t forget the good things husbands do for you.  Find your own friends.  I think that Is it.  Oh yes, eat five vegetables and fruits daily.

I love you girls so much.

Good bye dear hearts,



Now it that isn’t the truth, I don’t know what is.







Filed under Family, Life, Parenting, Uncluttering

Mother’s Day – Good Gifts #3


The above painting is one I had commissioned by Charleston, SC artist Joyce Harvey as a gift to myself.  I was not expecting it to be finished in time for Mother’s Day!  (More on Joyce in a future post).  It represents me and my sisters.  It was inspired by a painting called “The Happy Tomato” done by my sister in law, Dr. Skin.

I know you are all thinking that today will be hard for me.  It will be.  Today is my first motherless Mother’s Day.  It is also the 4 month anniversary of my mother’s passing.

In spite of that, today I choose to REJOICE! that I had such a fine mother, who gave me, along with my father, two wonderful sisters.  They have sustained me mightily during this period.  It is a shared grief and that makes it more tolerable.  I also have a wonderful mother-in-law, Winnie, who gave me by ever-patient husband Mr. Understanding (he lives up to his name) and whose gentle presence has helped me heal.   When I go to church today with my father Big Mike, I will REJOICE in his excellent taste in women; without him, there would be no mother.   He too has been instrumental in my healing.

Finally, I give thanks today for the lumpy, bumpy, large and mugwumpy body that gave me three beautiful Things.  They are glorious.  Without a whole lot of loving Understanding, I would not be a mother.

The grieving for today was done earlier in the week and I am looking forward to homemade lemon blueberry buttermilk ricotta pancakes  and an afternoon reading on the beach.  It is a beautiful day and this is exactly what I want to do.  May yours be equally satisfying, joyful, and glorious.



Filed under #Art, Family, Fine Dining, Folkart, Friends, Life, Parenting, Reading

Lost and Found


The day I was supposed to drive from Northern California to Washington to study for the bar exam, I lost my car keys.  It was the summer of 1991.  The 1977 Buick Skylark that was my wheels (and perforce humility) only had one set of car keys when I bought it 5 years earlier from the elderly neighbor lady.  One minute, I was loading my car and then the next I was searching frantically for the keys.  Which were not found that day.  By the time the locksmith came and cut me a new key, it was late in the afternoon.   My mother convinced me to start my journey the next morning, rather than drive at night through the redwoods and isolated parts of Oregon to Eugene.

“Never drive when you are upset,” Sally proclaimed, an admonition I have endeavored to pass on to my children.

“Maybe,” she opined, “this is God’s way of telling you to spend another night.”

For every time I listened to my mother, there were probably ten that I did not.  That time I did.

The keys were found almost a decade later, when my parents were moving from the house, my Cal Bear keychain a tad rusted, still grasping tightly to the keys of a car I no longer owned.  They had fallen through a crack in the deck.  How and why they were ever found remains a mystery.

A lot of things have fallen through the cracks of my life over that past two years.  When Sh*t Happens, this is to be expected.  There are peripheral casualties.  It is impossible to hold the center at all times, just impossible.    This is painful.  Between the illnesses, a heart surgery, the death of a parent and the loss of a job, Thing 3’s nascent college career slipped through the cracks.   This is partly her fault, partly her parents, and partly the natural order of things.  Even when you are getting straight A’s, life sometimes just falls apart.

“Maybe, ” I opined, “This is God’s way of telling you to spend another year at home.”

I do not know what might have met me on that road on a dark summer night.  I can only tell you that my mother was right.  Never drive when you are upset; take the extra time.

So, the prodigal daughter is home.  My arms are wide open, even if I don’t have a fancy dress and honking ring with which to welcome her but Big Mike is fixing her dinner.  Perhaps she will do me one better and listen to her mother two out of ten times.  Perhaps.






Filed under Family, Life, Parenting, Religion