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is my latest article called
|Art by Donald Crew from the book Freight Train|
If I ask you what or who inspires you, do answers immediately come streaming forth or does it make you sit and ponder? Just last night and this morning I felt like I was on the freight train of inspiration. Even just now as the words “freight train of inspiration” appeared in my mind and then on the page I thought hmmmm…I should go google that term and see what images pop up. Well it appears that no one has quite coined that term yet, at least according to google, but I did find this wonderful rainbow image from a children’s book called Freight Train by Donald Crew. Needless to say I am feeling a bit inspired by Donald Crew this very moment. Yet, before I get completely off track (no train pun intended) let us return to the topic of inspiration.
Here is one example of how Inspire is defined: to have an animating effect upon one’s mind or emotions; to stimulate to some creative or effective effort; to elicit or create.
Considering this definition of the inspire what or who has an animating effect upon your mind or emotions? What or who stimulates or elicits your creativity?
It will be a challenge for me to limit myself, because there are so many things that are inspiring me every day, but I’ll try to share a just a few on my list today and will provide links so you can explore more on your own.
I just stumbled upon a very inspirational couple just last night via the posting of an artist friend. The history geek in me is absolutely excited about the work of Maya and Matthew Smith-Gonzalez, who are the co-founders of the Reflection Press and School of the Free Mind.
is a videographer, webmaster, designer, accountant, manager, builder, architect, editor, publisher, and just about anything else needed to keep the Press running. Matthew came from Philly to San Francisco to intern with COLAGE, a non-profit organization for children with one or more LGBT parents. Growing up with a gay father, isolated in the midst of homophobia, taught Matthew the importance of working to include everyone and inspired his activist spirit to take root.
is an artist, author, educator, publisher, maker, freeek, spirit, big thinker, blissfully devoted spouse and parent who thinks kids and anything creative are awesome. She has illustrated over 20 award-winning, multicultural children’s book and written three. She has written three books for their press, including Claiming Face, Gender Now and I See Peace.
They are currently raising funds for their latest project called Everybody’s History. The overall goal for Everybody’s History is for this to be a large collection of chapter books. Each book telling the story of one hero who has impacted our world, despite the fact that they may at times not have fit into what was socially acceptable at the time. The series will include heroes from the United States, and eventually, the world.
This evening I found in my daughter’s backpacks little books and bracelets they had made for me for Mother’s Day at school in their first grade class. The little books had prompts throughout for them to answer questions about me. I giggled and felt my heart melt as I read through both of them. How lucky for me that I have twins and get two I thought. It was also quite eye opening to know how much they observe and know about me. Aubrey shared that I like to paint and go with the cowgirls. That last comment about “go with the cowgirls” made me laugh out loud. Maya also wrote that I like to paint and draw. Both got it right when they stated in their own way that I don’t like to clean up their messes, and that I do like it when they don’t whine. It was sweet to read the things they like me to do for them, as Maya likes it when I read and play with her and Aubrey likes it when I clean up for her and when I brush her hair. Their ending remarks were about why I was special and Aubrey shared it is because I help her and Maya wrote it is because I love her. It just makes your heart melt to be a mama sometimes.
Being a mama can also keep you on your toes and keep your schedule extra full, if you let it. This last weekend happened to be a very full one. It began with me taking Friday off to run a bunch of errands, get the yard in shape and do a few other chores. On the agenda this weekend was my daughters 7th birthday, Mother’s Day and then my hubby’s birthday following up close on this next Tuesday. My twin daughters Aubrey and Maya had requested that in lieu of birthday cakes they wanted pumpkin pies and I had hoped to get those made Friday too. In the end my list ran too long and my husband saved the day and made the pies.
Our weekend festivities began with my sister Wendy arriving early on Saturday, as well as my parents, both in their 70’s with three of their great-grandchildren ages 5, 4 and 1 in tow. How they find the energy amazes me. We let the kids play in the backyard in a sprinkler to stay cool and entertained until it was time to head over to a gymnastic center where our daughters were joined by school friends and they celebrated their 7th birthday very energetically with trampolines, a foam pit, a bounce house, balls and climbing ropes. The pumpkin pies were eventually set aglow with candles as we all sang the birthday song and amazingly many of the children requested pie instead of the more traditional cupcakes we had also brought along.
Our busy weekend continued into Sunday with the hubby hopping out of bed extra early to make our daughters, my visiting sister and me special vegan crepes. Nathan surprised me later that morning, after departing on a secret mission, with supplies to add two new raised garden beds to our back yard. I had been talking about it for quite awhile. He built them and as we finally mixed the different soils and such together, I commented laughingly that it was also a gift to our family and the mother of all mothers, our planet, Mother Earth. Gardening always feels to me like a way of nurturing our planet, giving back and being in greater connection with her. We have a huge yard and we are already so grateful to have a variety fruit trees, including a cherry, pear, plum and pomegranate. I have tried to grow veggies in smaller containers, but I have never been all that successful at it. I am excited for us to grow more food on our very own plot of land.
Motherhood can be incredibly exhausting. So can fatherhood. Yet the lessons it can teach us, the growth it can inspire and the joys and gifts it bestows upon us are remarkable and life changing.
What are your experiences with motherhood?
We all have a mom, though our life experiences with a mom of origin can vary dramatically. What was your experience like with your birth mom?
Sometimes other people come into our life to mother us, nurture us and love us unconditionally. Have you felt mothered and nurtured by other people in your life?
If you are a mother consider how that experience shaped and/or continues to shape your life. What are some of the things motherhood taught you about life and yourself?
Consider writing a letter to your mom or about your mom that could be sent or saved or even burned afterwards. What would you most want to tell her?
Two years ago I helped to plan a party for my mom’s 70th birthday. I created a book for her and a slideshow. The book also included letters, memories and quotes from family and friends. Below was a letter I wrote for her and a page I designed to share my thoughts, feeling and memories. If you were to do something similar for someone or something that mothered and nurtured you what would you write, how would it look and what adjectives might highlight the person, thing or experience?
|Painting by Shiloh Sophia|
|The past can be an anchor holding you back.|
|Painting by Shiloh Sophia McCloud|
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