Five Things Mother Taught Me

With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, of course, I’d be thinking about my mother. But on top of that, I’ve been staying at Mom’s this week to help out Dad while Mom isn’t feeling well. Spending time at her bedside, I’m reminded of all that she has taught me over the years. Here are the most important things I’ve learned:

6893Strength is not about power. As we are told in the Book of Psalms, “She [a woman of worth] is clothed with strength and dignity, and laughs at the days to come.” Clothed in strength, not exhibiting strength, not showing power or aggression or loftiness, but clothed in strength. That’s quite remarkable when you think about it. Strength and dignity should be what we wear, what we exude, what we show others. It’s more than being strong or powerful. It’s letting others see what you’re made of, but in a dignified way. My mother is not only the matriarch of our family, she is the bloodline that gives us life literally and figuratively, the glue that holds us together, the giver of advice, and the pillar on which we lean. Everyone thinks that my father is the strong one, but, like the rest of us, all his strength comes from Mom. It always has.

15732720_10154924178131349_440735058246395734_oLove has no bounds. St Paul tells us that “Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen (1 Corinthians 13: 7-8). No truer words could be spoken about my mom. She loves her family fiercely and would do anything for them. The same can be said for her friends. My love for my family and friends is a direct reflection of the love she has always shown to me and my brothers. It’s a love without end, without restraints, without jealously. I think that the simplest way to describe the love that my mother gives is that it’s a direct reflection of the Father’s love for us.

Every person deserves love and mercy. Everyone has that friend, the one that nobody can figure out exactly why you are friends. They seemingly have nothing offer, and perhaps they aren’t even that good a friend in their treatment of you or others. There have been times when my mother has mentioned one person or another, and I’ve wondered, “Why do you even put up with them?” But I know what her response would be. In life, it matters not what someone can do for you. Sometimes, all that matters, is what you can do for them. There are some people in this world who, through no fault of their own, need you more than you need them. And I’m not talking about handouts or such. Some people have nobody else to talk to, no shoulder to lean on, no one to whom they can vent, nobody to pray for them. Sometimes we need people in our lives to show us that things could be worse or that we shouldn’t take anything for granted or from whom we learn to be merciful. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5: 7).

Move Heaven and Earth for your family. No matter what she has going on, no matter how busy she is, my mother will let nothing stop her from being with her family. Aside from God, family is all that really matters. That’s why there was no question, when I received word that Mom was being admitted to the hospital, that I was going to pack my things and make the two-hour drive to be there for her and for Dad. It’s the least she would have done for me or my brothers or her own siblings. We are told, “if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith” (Timothy 5:8). My mother is the most perfect example of providing for her family, all family, whether they are actually related to us or not. I pray that I am able to follow her example.17884100_589736467897030_5760503867601997137_n

Be the embodiment of Christ’s light. Jesus told us, “You are light for the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in people’s sight, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5: 14-16). My mother is certainly the light of Christ for all to see. She is patient, loving, kind, humble, sincere, honest, and trustworthy. She puts everyone else before herself and gives without asking for anything in return. If I can be half the person my mother is, emit just a single beam of the light she radiates, then I will have become the best person I can be.

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Can’t you see Mom’s glow in this photo with her friends?

DSC_7689.JPGSo to all mothers everywhere, but especially, my own, happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for providing your strength, showering us with your love, showing us how to treat others, being there for your family at all times, and radiating the light of Christ for all to see, an example to us and the world. I love you, Mom.

What I was writing about one year ago this week: The Family that Travels Together.

Things I’ve read this week that are worth sharing:  I Never Wanted to be a Helicopter Parent. But I Am. by blogger, WonderOak; Why kids today are out of shape, disrespectful – and in charge by Leanne Italie in The Wichita Eagle; 18 New Historical Fiction Novels to Read with Your Book Club by  on the BookBub Blog.

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 books, Picture Me  and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy’s most recent novel, Island of Miracles, is now on sale.

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

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me(2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017)

The Smell of Sunshine

DSCN7699Memories are funny things, elusive little pieces of time that slip in and out of the mind on the tails of the spirits of the past.  This time of year, those spirits conjure up so many memories for me.  Mother’s Day always reminds me of my grandmother who I loved so much and miss every day.  The smell of lilacs in the spring brings to mind carefree days reading books in the backyard of my childhood home.  The anticipation of summer reminds me of all of the time I spent in a little town in St. Mary’s County called Bushwood.  How I loved spending long, lazy days at my grandparents’ home in the country.  I crabbed with my grandfather in the Wicomico River in the mornings and walked the tobacco fields next to the house in the afternoons.  I can still close my eyes and remember the sweet scent of the leaves that were so large I could sit under them and shield myself from the sun’s scorching rays.

One of my fondest memories was helping Gram with the wash.  It amazed me that every morning, before most of the world was awake, the first load of the day was already in the washer.  When I wasn’t crabbing with Granddad, I enjoyed wonderful country breakfasts of fresh eggs, scrapple, and sliced peaches in cream while Gram sat with me and said her morning prayers.  Then we would load the laundry into the baskets and take it into the backyard to hang on the clothesline.

Long before anyone spoke about global warming or carbon footprints, Gram knew that a dryer was only to be used when necessary.  Hanging out clothes and linens was much more economical.  It kept the house cooler, used less energy, lowered the utility bills, and best of all in my mind, just made everything smell better, sweeter, and cleaner.

I’ll never forget the feeling of slipping beneath those cool, crisp, line-dried sheets at night.  I would fall asleep to the sounds of the crickets and tree frogs outside of my window and the feel and smell of the country air on my skin.  Even now, there is nothing quite like enveloping myself in a freshly made bed with sheets that smell of country air and sunshine.  If you don’t believe that sunshine has a smell, then you’ve never had the pleasure of laying your head on a pillowcase that has been warmed by sunlight and dried by the gentle breeze of God’s waving hand.

I now live on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in a little town that is similar in many ways to the beloved Bushwood of my youth.  We crab in Grace Creek, take walks through our woods, and enjoy the quiet, country life.  And every sunny day from April through October, you can find our family’s laundry on the clotheslines that are strung up in our backyard.  On breezy days, when the wind gently blows the clothes against my cheek as I hang them, I smile and look up, knowing that Gram has just whispered “hello.”  Always on my mind and in my prayers, I whisper back, “I love you and miss you.”  And I think of her that night when I lay my head on my crisp, clean sheets.

Mike and Ashley's wedding5 (21)-001

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

Blossoming Love

gazebo-of-prayer-thomasLet me start with a disclaimer – I am not a gardener.  Truth be told, I hate gardening.  My parents have the most beautiful gardens, and I always dreamed of having a yard resembling a Thomas Kincaide painting.  Of course, that would require countless hours of planning, planting, weeding, and scolding children and dogs.  I would much rather be reading a book!  But I do have to admit that I love flower gardens.  I love the romance of a vast collection of fragrant blossoms bowing in the breeze.  A fully in-bloom rose trellis makes me practically giddy, and there’s nothing quite as beautiful as a lilac bush bursting with little flowers that tickle one’s nose with their sweetness.  If only I had the patience, skill, and desire to create such a masterpiece.

A couple years ago, just before Mother’s Day, my husband dug out, cobblestoned around, and filled with topsoil two brand new gardens in our front yard.  I kept my mouth shut as I watched him labor all week and wondered who was going to tend them all summer.  That Saturday, Ken proudly pulled down the driveway with the bed of his truck overflowing with flowers, bushes, and plants.  He beamed from ear to ear as he led me out to see his treasure trove of shining greenery and flowering gems.

“Happy Mother’s Day,” he exclaimed.  “I’ve bought you all of your favorite flowers and bushes so that you can plant them and have them in the yard and the house all summer.”

All I could think of was how much money I was going to watch wither away in the dry heat of our Mid-Atlantic summer and how many hours I was going to have to spend weeding around every one of those plants.  With a smile on my face, I helped Ken anIMG_0486d the girls unload the plants, and we spent the rest of the day (okay, the next several days) adding the plants to the gardens, mulching around them, and giving them water.

When we were done, my husband asked me if I liked them.  I forced a smile and said they were beautiful.

I then asked, “Who is going to take care of them?”  I saw the confusion pass over Ken’s face as he looked at me trying to decide whether or not I was kidding.

“You are,” he said.  “I know how much you love gardening.”  Now was the moment of truth.  Did I dare?

I took a deep breath and said “I love gardens, not gardening.”

Ken’s face fell, and he was speechless.  I quickly smiled and grabbed his hand.  “But I’m sure we will all enjoy tending these together.”  It wasn’t a complete save, but he was okay with it, and I avoided having to weed by myself all summer long.

Two years later, our yard is beginning to awaken.  The  forsythia is in full bloom, and the tulips and daffodils that we planted last year and added to this year are beginning to fade; but the rose bushes look promising, and the liriope, day lilies, hydrangea, and irises are filling out nicely.  Soon, the Black-Eyed Susans will begin to emerge.  In tIMG_0484he center of those two gardens are my favorite bushes, lilacs, which were my present last Mother’s Day.  I even planted them myself.  I will never be a world class gardener like my father, and my girls, who take after me, will continue to complain every year when we bring home a new load of mulch and annuals; but someday, I know our yard will be as pretty as a picture.  After all, Ken works hard on them, as do our girls, and I know it’s all done as a labor of love.

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