Motherly Musings

Summer is winding down. Many of my friends have already waved goodbye at the bus stop, the school, or the dorm room. As the end of the summer approaches, I find myself reflecting over the summer, the year, the many years. I certainly don’t know everything, and I’ve got so much more to learn, but there are things that strike me as some of the things I’ve learned as a mother… Read more

A Season for Changes

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to give birth, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.     Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

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We’ve all read the verses or at least heard the song.  Every school choir seems to sing it at some point.  It has been featured in movies and in books.  Many reflections have been written about the words attributed to Solomon (although the author is not actually identified).  But I believe there is a line that is missing, something that each of us experiences over and over throughout our lives – a time for change.

One could argue that every line in the passage is about change, and that is very true.  Birth and death bring change as do tearing down and building up.  Scattering and gathering can be catalysts for change as can seeking, losing, keeping, casting, rending, sewing, speaking, loving, etc.  We are faced with changes, both large and small, time and time again, every day.  I am reminded of this more and more each spring as graduation time is thrust upon us, whether we are ready or not.

My oldest, Rebecca, returned home from school yesterday after an emotional farewell to her roommates and her boyfriend who are graduating.  They are moving on to the next stage of their lives, catapulting change not only on themselves but those around them.  What will the future bring for them and for their loved ones?  We can only guess.  Jobs, graduate school, families, mortgages, and all that comes with moving into adulthood will now become reality for the Class of 2016.  At every level – high school, college, and beyond, commencement brings change.  Leaving home for the first time, leaving the comfort and safety of your school and friends, entering “the real world,” and saying goodbye are experienced by some for the very first time.  For parents, whether it is your first child or your last, letting go is often accompanied by great heartache.

Though Rebecca has another year to go in college, the reality of change has really hit me this week.  She will be entering her senior year at Mount St. Mary’s the same time that her sister, Katie, enters her senior year of high school.  While one is looking at colleges, the other is looking at her future and trying to decide what it will hold.  Both are eagerly planning and thinking about the next step while I hold my breath and close my eyes and still hear them cooing in their cribs, see them taking their first steps, feel them curled in my arms, so small and delicate and new.  How has time passed so quickly?  When did they get so big?  

I think journalist Sydney Harris summed it up best when he said, “Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.”  We know that change is good and that with each change, we grow as a person and experience life more deeply, but we long for things to stay the same or to return to a time in the past.  At least, I know I do.  I have loved every minute of being a mom.  I have laughed and cried at every stage of my daughters’ lives, and I know I will continue to do so as they leave home, go to school, get jobs, marry, have children, and become the people God intended them to be.  But there will always be a part of me who wants to turn back the hands of time and just enjoy those moments that I see now were so fleeting.  

Change is inevitable, and the only thing we can really do is embrace it.  Let change help us to grow, at every age and at every stage.  There is always something to reach for.  Even changes that are bad, ones that rip us apart, can lead us to a new understanding, perhaps a new friend, a new way to look at life.  No matter how hard the next few years will be for me as a parent, I ask that I have the courage to both accept and embrace the changes that are coming and to see each change as a blessing, a chance to learn and grow, and a new season to be welcomed. 

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

–Alexander Pope

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages.  She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her latest book, Picture Me, is the recipient of an Illumination Award, placing it among the top three eBooks of 2015. Her next book, Whispering Vines, is now available for pre-order.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books:  Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015)

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Blessed With Mothers

I have been so very blessed in my life when it comes to mothers.  I have the best mother any girl could ever want.  When I was growing up, I knew that my mother was an authority who needed to be respected and obeyed, but I also knew that she was my friend.  From an early6893 age, my mother included me on her girls only weekends and day trips with the ladies.  I suppose it was because it was just the two of us in a house full of men, but I always looked at it as our time as friends and not as mother and daughter.  I called Mom’s friends by name, and they treated me like one of them.  In my teen years,I knew that I could talk to my mother about everything and that somehow she would understand.  As a wife and mother, my Mom is my rock, my go-to, my wise sage.  I don’t know how I could have gotten this far in life without her.

Add into the mix my wonderful aunts who have always treated me more like a sister than a niece.  I still remember going to DSC08911work with Aunt Pinky on Take Your Daughter To Work Day when I was very little.  And I’ll never forget the road trip to the Pennsylvania outlets with Aunt Debbie when I was about 13.  On those rare occasions when I needed advice from someone other than my mother, Aunt Debbie was my confidant.  Even when she told me things I didn’t want to hear, I valued her opinion and still do.  When I was younger, I always knew that if, heaven forbid, something happened to my own mother, I had wonderful aunts who would be the mothers I needed.

Mike and Ashley's wedding5 (21)-001Of course, I know that all of those women are the amazing mothers, friends, and women they are because of my most beloved and cherished grandmother.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her.  She was everything a woman should be.  She was kind, nurturing, smart, courageous, and spent most of her life taking care of others.  I was so blessed to have her in my life for 37 years and for my children to have known her.  I still say that when I grow up, I want to be just like Gram.

IMG_0052_6_1You would think that I was blessed enough to have my sainted mother, my heroic grandmother, and my remarkable aunts, but no, God continued to bless me with a wonderful Godmother who has always loved me like I am her own daughter.  Though we don’t see each other often, I know that she is always there for me, and I can’t wait to see her this summer.  And I am further blessed with a mother-in-law upon whom I can always count.  We’ve all heard horror stories, and I DSC00228know  some people who have lived them, about dealing with mothers-in-law.  Well, let me assure you, the reason everyone else complains  about theirs is because I got the best one out there.  I know she is always there for me, and I hope she knows I am there for her as well.

So this Sunday, as you honor your mother, I will honor my mother and all of the women in my life who made me the person I am today.  Happy Mother’s Day to you all.  I love you.

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com

Stretched Thin

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Do you remember Stretch Armstrong?  He was the superhero doll from the 70s who could be pulled and stretched to three times his size just for the fun of it.  I’m not sure why many children from my generation spent so much wasted time stretching this otherwise useless toy to his limits just to see him warp back into himself again.  Sometimes I think we did it just to see how far we could pull until he broke and that gross, gooey, syrupy stuff came oozing out of him.  Looking back, I think whoever made that silly toy must have had a vision of the future. Somehow he knew that GenX was going to live the life of poor Stretch Armstrong every single day.

Let’s take a look at just this week in my life.  On Monday, Ken left for a business trip at 4am, I had yoga at 8 (scratch that – girls were running late, so I had to make do with a yoga video at home), then I wrote the next chapter in the novel I’m currently writing.  Off to take Morgan to the orthodontist at 2:30, then Katie to tennis at 3:30 so she could warm up for her match at 4.  Somehow I managed to do a couple of loads of laundry and wash the dishes.  That was a slow day.  Tuesday saw us leaving on time for school, me on the resistance bike by 8:30, another chapter down, tennis practice at 3:30, and team dinner at 6.  I finished my day folding more laundry.  Today, yoga, blog, tennis match at 4, Morgan’s tennis lesson at 5:30, and then dinner (something, somewhere, somehow, with someone – maybe all of us if we can manage it).  Tomorrow, girls to school, meeting in Annapolis for a board I’m on, at school by 1:30 to set up the desserts for the end of the year Awards Banquet, take Katie to tennis at 3:30, rush home to change for the banquet, pick up Katie, wait at the Y while she changes, be at the school by 5:30 and home by 10.  Friday, well you get the picture.  And guess what, this is an easy week!  It’s the end of the school year, and activities are winding down!

Some days I feel like I have been stretched to my limits, like one more pull and that gross, gooey syrupy stuff will start flowing out of me.  Other days, I feel like I’m already drowning in the gooey stuff.  But here’s the thing, I already have one daughter in college (if you think my days are busy now – try imagining all of this with an extra child thrown into the mix).  In just two years, Katie will be off as well.  And it will go by so quickly!  I can already feel the moments slipping away.  So while I may be stretched to my limits, and my insides may be starting to feel syrupy and out of shape, I know that I wouldn’t trade a single thing I do or have done.  Someday I will actually be able to write multiple chapters in a day, and I’ll wonder how I managed to survive all of those years spent driving children from one location to another while serving on boards and committees, and writing books and blogs, and cheering at games and crying at awards ceremonies. And you know what? It will have been worth every single stretch mark.

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com

A Mother’s Love

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Nineteen years. Sometimes I can’t believe it. Tomorrow, February 12, marks nineteen years since I became a mother. I don’t know where the time went since the doctor first placed my beautiful Rebecca Kathleen into my arms, but they sure have flown by. Now she’s a sophomore in college, and it’s hard to grasp the reality that she’s pretty much all grown up. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without Rebecca or her sisters, Katie Ann and Morgan. They are my daughters, my muses, and yes, as they grow older, my friends. My husband says he sometimes finds it hard to fit into our world, and I can understand that. Though we all try our best to include Ken in everything we do, we are like our own little club, my three daughters and I.

This past week, I made two trips to the emergency room with Katie Ann who was suffering from a bacterial infection that had our entire family and all of our friends very worried. When she came to our room at 3am two nights ago with a fever over 103, Ken asked if I wanted him to take her to the hospital. I think he knew the answer before he even asked it. If anybody was going to be in the ER with Katie Ann, it was going to be me. Not that Ken couldn’t have sat in the chair and nodded his head at the doctor just the same as I did, but I couldn’t have stayed home and waited. I was the one who had to be there to hold her hand when they inserted the IV, and I had to be the one to lay my head next to hers on the pillow and rub her back until she fell asleep. It wasn’t that daddy wasn’t good enough. It’s that a mother’s love must be manifested through action.

In A Place to Call Home, Susan becomes a mother overnight when Cassie and Ellie arrive on her doorstep. It’s her maternal instinct that drives her to discover what secrets they are hiding and protect them from harm at all costs. And in Picture Me, due out in April, it’s Melissa’s mother who makes the ultimate sacrifice so that her daughter can live. This is what we do as mothers: sacrifice, hold hands, pray, and most of all, love. It’s what my mother taught me, and her mother taught her. It’s what I hope my daughters will learn from me.

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon. https://amyschislerauthor.com/amyschislerauthor.com/Books.html 

You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com