My sister Kerra was the first of us four sisters to have a child, several years after Mom died. So when her daughter was born, despite a large support system of in-laws and church friends, she had no mom and no sisters to turn to for support or advice. Unlike me, she did not remember Mom parenting young children either.
I was thirteen when my youngest sister was born. I helped raise her, especially in those early years. Kerra, however, found herself floundering in an unknown realm.
Mom had many interests and talents. She loved to organize. She enjoyed writing. She sewed, cooked and preserved food. She washed the floor on her hands and knees. She painted and sketched. She networked with her sister to create The Basics and More Cookbook, spending hours on the pen and ink divider pages. She always said she couldn’t sing, but ironically, she did compose songs from Scripture to help her memorize. I can still hear her at her desk, singing. “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain; and when he was set, his disciples came unto him. And he opened his mouth and taught them saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for there’s is the kingdom of heaven….” and on through the Beatitudes.
What is a bit uncanny is that each of us sisters ended up spending time developing different of these interests. While I spent hours writing, Kelsie spent hours learning and teaching music. Kristie became an accomplished seamstress and hostess, cooking and preserving food as if the Eastern seaboard were depending on her. (You think I exaggerate? In the early stages of pregnancy, she hosted a meal for 80 people, then went to a social gathering and canned peaches the next day. She always insists that she didn’t do it all herself, but I say: The End.)
Now, before I go on, I hope I’m not presenting Mom as a perfect person. She would most certainly not appreciate that. She was quick to confess that she struggled with selfishness. She often encouraged us to learn to be flexible as young as possible, because she felt weak in that area. Unfortunately- in my case at least- she passed that trait on too.
Back to Kerra, however, who is the one I’m thinking of today. She took up my Mom’s interest in art and organization. She designed and sold signs and stickers and cards, and keeps a house that makes me feel like I’m walking into a magazine. I’m sure she’ll be mad at me for saying that. But from my perspective as someone who currently has almost no clear horizontal spaces in the house, it’s true.
Speaking of magazine. From the gloom of learning to mother without a mother, Kerra has rebounded with the idea to encourage other moms with a magazine called Motherhood. This project may be the perfect blend for her organizational and design skills, along with networking with a number of writers and editors. It strikes me as very similar to Mom’s cookbook project, despite being an entirely different genre. But my favorite thing about it is the redemption it brings to a dark, lonely time in her life. I love when God redeems deserts, using them to bless others. She even wrote an article about her difficulties becoming a mother for this first edition. (Funny story-she has finally joined our family writers critique group!)
Over a year ago, when the idea of the Motherhood magazine came to her, she looked at the date and realized that it was the 10th anniversary of Mom’s death. Even more cool!
Kerra and a group of talented editors and photographers and writers have been working on this magazine since then, and it is finally at the pre-order stage. It will not be a subscription magazine. As a mom with small children, she isn’t sure how often she will be able to produce a magazine, but will email interested persons when the next one is available. The magazine is $10 + shipping, or $9 each if you go together with friends and get ten or more. Order by September 22 to be sure you get a copy. If you don’t wish to use the internet, you can email Kerra for a copy: Stan.email@example.com.
Next week: Hoping to churn out “God in the Immigration Office,” the one that’s been on my mind. But if I can’t get it right, I’ll postpone it again.
Can the boys escape the tunnel?
Times are simpler in the 1980s. Terry, Gary, and Larry love their maple tree, their boat called the London, and the friendly face of the St. Joseph’s River. Gary finds comfort on the river, where he can use his upper body strength to row, and almost forget about his wooden leg and lost dreams.
But nothing is simple when Mom spots suspicious characters in the empty house next door and suggests it may be time to move away. And nothing is easy when Dad and Mom assign the boys a summer project to learn about the fruit of the Spirit.
Terry, Gary, and Larry set out to investigate the strange characters and prove that their neighborhood is safe. But then, the detective work backfires, and the boys are trapped.Trapped in the Tunnel, Book One of the Brady Street Boys Midwest Adventure Series
What is the Brady Street Boys series? Based on the fruit of the Spirit, it is expected to have 9 books. Trapped in the Tunnel is Book One. Here is the series description:
Terry, Gary and Larry Fitzpatrick live in northern Indiana along the St. Joseph River. President Reagan lives in the White House. Gasoline costs 90 cents a gallon. For families like the Fitzpatricks, computers and cell phones are still things of the future. The boys’ Christian parents teach them to pray and give them a project to learn the fruit of the Spirit. They help Gary navigate the pain of losing his leg and his firefighting dreams.
But having a wooden leg doesn’t keep Gary from adventures. With Terry the acrobat, and Larry the brain, Gary begins a quest to find an answer to the most important mystery of all.
What happened to the surgeon who amputated Gary’s leg, and has now disappeared?Brady Street Boys Midwest Adventure Series