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  • A Letter To My Mom: Clean Counters and Ratty Underwear

    Dear Mom,

    It’s been a busy day, and I’m here marveling at how you did it the way you did–juggling two kids and three jobs like a pro. If I could go back and wipe a few more counters, vacuum voluntarily instead of under duress, I would, you know. Instead, I let  karma flow through the generations and bite my tongue when the kids “don’t feel like” helping.

    I know they’ll pull through when their time comes.

    It surprises me how often my thoughts are drawn to you. I hear your words and watch myself go through the motions–your motions.

    I watch myself shop for them, just like you did. I don’t want them to feel barriers or obstacles. We don’t buy EVERYTHING they want, but the clothes, the shoes, the swimming lessons will never be questioned on the budget.

    I watch myself wipe fridge handles and clean up spills and I hear your words escape my lips:

    “Put your dishes in the sink, please.”

    “If you put your clothes in the dirty laundry basket, right when you get dressed, it won’t make a big mess in your room.”

    I see myself in the late night moments of making life work, of packing lunches and planning meals and it looked so easy the way you made it all fit. Maybe it was Alan Parson’s Project or Eddie Rabbit spinning vinyl that inspired your candle to keep on burning. For me, it’s thoughts of your clean counters.

    I promised myself I’d come here.. a weekly dedication to the raisin-soaked fingers of mothers everywhere–an ode to clean counters and candle-burning women. So here I am.

    I looked at my underwear and thought of you today, too, Mom.

    I remember you prioritizing hockey equipment, new school clothes, piano lessons and hair cuts before you’d invest a dime in a nice, new pair of panties for yourself. When you did finally get yourself new ones, it was like Christmas!

    I noticed it’s been a while since I’d dropped a dollar or two on some frillies to put ’round my own cozy zones. Makes me smile. I almost wear my old ones with a sort of pride–proof I love my kids, or something.

    The kids started piano lesssons a couple weeks ago. I can’t wait for you to see how adorable they are tapping away at the keys. Feels like yesterday that it was me sitting at the piano bench and you on the phone with your mom talking about my piano lessons.

    Clean counters and ratty underwear may not be everyone’s thing, but for me they’re the trademark of a hard working mom, who loves her kids and is on the track, with all the right priorities in her pocket.

    I love you.


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    To My Grown-Up Mom

    Dear Reader,

    I must admit that Tuesday’s posts “Moments in Thyme” by Joyce have been getting me thinking. Thinking about how my mother reflects back at me when I look in the mirror these days. Then watching my grandmother reflect back at me when I look at my mom, well, that’s done something to me.

    I wonder how fast it will go, since I already hear myself saying the things my mom said to me.

    I decided that in the hustle and bustle of a week in the life of a diva, that I would take one day and dedicate it to my mom. But, it’s not JUST my mom, you see. It’s every mom. You’ll see what I mean…

    Dear Mom,

    Remember that poem you used to have taped to the fridge? (I’m pretty sure it was taped.) Anyway, I remember it on a creamy colored paper. It was probably one of the first things I learned to read:

    To My Grown-Up Son or Daughter
    by Alice E. Chase

    My hands were busy through the day,
    I didn’t have much time to play
    The little games you asked me to,
    I didn’t have much time for you.

    I’d wash your clothes; I’d sew and cook,
    But when you’d bring your picture book
    And ask me, please, to share your fun,
    I’d say, “A little later, hon.”

    I’d tuck you in all safe at night,
    And hear your prayers, turn out the light,
    Then tiptoe softly to the door,
    I wish I’d stayed a minute more.

    For life is short, and years rush past,
    A little boy grows up so fast,
    No longer is he at your side,
    His precious secrets to confide.

    The picture books are put away,
    There are no children’s games to play,
    No goodnight kiss, no prayers to hear,
    That all belongs to yesteryear.

    My hands once busy, now lie still,
    The days are long and hard to fill,
    I wish I could go back and do,
    The little things you asked me to.

    It would be impossible for me to identify the impact that thing had on my life. I just printed it off and realized it would be a good idea for me to stick it on my own fridge with the hope that it infiltrates a message in the minds of my own children.

    I don’t always take or make the time to connect with you. I don’t always let you know how I’m doing or phone to find out what’s new in your neck of the woods. But today I was feeling like it’s about time I do something to correct that and this poem came to mind, so I thought I’d share it again.

    I figure the message might inspire a few other women in this community to reach out to their moms, too, so I decided to write this letter here.

    I took some poetic liberties to express a few thoughts. Here’s hoping the message reaches you smiling.

    To My Grown-Up Mom

    Your hands were busy through the day
    You didn’t have much time to play.
    The little things I’d ask of you,
    You took the time to see, to do…

    You washed my clothes, you’d sew and cook.
    (The best damn Halloween costumes that town had ever seen, I might add!)
    And when I’d bring my picture book,
    your dark, thick outlines and perfect strokes had me mesmerized.

    You tucked me in, all safe at night.
    Ran your fingers across my temple ’til my eyes shut tight.
    I do the same for Mika, now.
    An inherited maternal signature passed on somehow.

    I wonder, sometimes, if life is really as short as we think it is.
    I watch the years rush past and don’t have all the answers, yet.
    But time brings wisdom, wrinkles,
    and opportunities to learn.

    I grew out of goodnight kisses and picture books.
    I can’t hear you creaking across the floor
    when I sleep, anymore.
    No fingers on my temple when I’m tired.

    My hands are pretty busy, now.
    Yours are, too.
    We can’t go back and do
    the things we used to do.

    But in this moment
    I can stop and thank you
    for your water-soaked raisin fingers
    (after doing another stack of dishes!)

    I can thank you for the Halloween costumes
    and picture books,
    the temple rubs
    and time spent investing in love.

    I know sometimes it probably wasn’t easy
    to take and make the time, but every moment counted
    and I wanted you to know
    I couldn’t have done it without you.

    Thanks, Mom.



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    Mighty Warrior Women's Workout

    What do exercise postures, the Hebrew Alphabet (written from right to left), and Proverbs 31 have in common? A mighty warrior workout for women!

    Thanks to the fitness DVD, PraiseMoves® Alphabetics, I have learned to do postures that mirror Hebrew letters. Then, while briefly holding each posture, the voice of Laurette Willis, creator of PraiseMoves Alphabetics®, can be heard reading a verse per posture from verses 10 to 31 of Proverbs 31 about The Virtuous Woman.

    “As you meditate on the qualities of the virtuous woman,” says Willis, “realize that the Hebrew word for virtuousChayil — means capable, strong, valiant; a mighty warrior.” Yes, women, that’s what we are, and a mighty warrior is precisely what I feel like each time I move through the Hebrew alphabet and Proverbs 31 via fitness.

    Although the majority of the Proverbs 31 postures on PraiseMoves® Alphabetics are simple to do, I not only feel my physical body strengthening as I hold the postures, but my mind and Spirit, too. “She girds herself with strength and strengthens her arms.” And, “She extends her hand to the poor. Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy,” are some of the Proverbs 31 verses that are heard throughout the workout.

    For a few of the exercises, Willis offers modifications for those who need to reduce the level of intensity of the posture. For instance, the second to last posture of the series (at the Hebrew letter tav and Willis’ posture The Cross) can be done with the inner knee resting on the floor for support, or off the floor for more of a challenge. Then, how wonderful it feels to transition from the strength of holding “The Cross” back to Willis’ “Altar” posture (known as Plank to some) and then off to relax in her “Little Child’s Pose.” The word “Amen” confirms the conclusion of the workout. Ahhh, at that point the body feels totally balanced, the mind fully renewed, and the soul wonderfully refreshed!

    While not a sweat-dripping kind of workout, the flow of it certainly helps slightly raise the body temperature for me. For those wanting a longer PraiseMoves® Alphabetics workout, however, there is also a 60-minute workout on this DVD — done to the longest Psalm in the Bible, Psalm 119. Like Proverbs 31, Psalm 119 is an acrostic poem. At every 8th verse of Psalm 119, a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet begins the verse. “The last 22 verses of Proverbs 31 (verses 10 – 31) follow the same progression alef through tav,” Willis explains.

    PraiseMoves Alphabetics® also offers the option of doing the workouts with or without detailed instruction. With the “Flow-through” option, participants can simply, as the name implies, flow through the sequences.

    A workout sequence for The Lord’s Prayer — spoken in English and Hebrew — is also a choice on the DVD. (For those more familiar with yoga, The Lord’s Praise sequence may remind you of the flow of “Sun Salutation.”)

    I realized sometime ago that my fitness niche includes flexibility exercises and walking. Add the opportunity to meditate on Scripture in the process, and indeed that’s a perfect way for me to do my daily devotion with a glorious motion!

    Can you tell I’m loving PraiseMoves® Alphabetics? Just lovin’ it!

    Hugs & Blessings,


    P.S. Hebrew Word Pictures (book and CD set) by Dr. Frank Seekins wonderfully complements PraiseMoves® Alphabetics.

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