It begins...

A friend recently forwarded an email to me titled "The Invisible Mother," a short essay comparing the tireless and often thankless job of a mother to the builders of Europe's great cathedrals. Both give their whole lives for a work they will never see finished, both make sacrifices and expect no credit, and both are fueled in their passion by the faith that the eyes of God see every detail. The writer of the essay was inspired by the thought that our endless efforts in motherhood, invisible as they may seem, are worth it and can make an enriching life.

For many of us, the way we choose to hold our invisibility at bay is by creating something tangible. For me, my days often end with knitting - my love of fiber and the need to do something relaxing end up producing something I can hold and look at. Nobody will know how many times I swept under the high chair that day, or how many toys I picked up, or how many times I tried to coax a "please" or "more" or "sorry" out of my 5 year old. But a darling, handmade infant hat? That you can see.

I start new projects every day, and my 10 year old does the same. In this process of creating (and yes, often not finishing our projects!) we connect with each other and a bigger picture of ourselves in the process. My plan for this blog is to share the projects that excite me and bring some accessible proof of my existence in this invisible world of mothering!

So, this blog is dedicated to the mothers out there whose days are filled with the minutia of tasks that build our children and our families. I often tell people that I haven't decided what I want to be when I grow up. But for now, I am the builder of a great cathedral. With every shoelace tied, lunch packed, and forehead kissed, I build.

And I can hardly wait to create something new...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stupid Mexico

So, apparently my sister thinks I can be funny and has challenged me to add more "yuk yuk" factor to my blog. Challenge accepted, woman! Having said that...have you ever tried to draw Mexico?  Let me backtrack...

Girl Scouts celebrates "World Thinking Day" in February and I came up with the brainiac idea to do an activity with my scouts on Monday that gets them thinking about the world in terms of their own heritage. "I'll just create a world map on poster board," I say to myself.  "Then I'll have the girls put stickers on a couple of countries where they have ancestors." My Daisy parents came through with all the info I needed, and we've got a lot of countries represented by my 17 girls. But now to create the map.

I imported a colorful map off the Internet into PowerPoint and then drew a grid over it to divide it into easier "drawing" sections. Then I took a large piece of poster board, left room for the title (which meant no Antarctica, but oh well), and drew a corresponding grid on that. Now comes the freehand drawing bit. I started with Australia - no worries, mate!  Then I took one look at Indonesia and the Philippines and knew I was in WAY over my head. Yeah, I pretty much threw some blobs in there, added some dots to fancy it up, and called it done. I worked my way up into Russia and across to Norway then decided Europe looked way hard, so backtracked down India way and then into Africa first. Of course 95% of the countries represented by my scouts' ancestors are in Europe, so I spent a lot of time doing it justice once I'd worked back up to it. The British Isles had to be penciled in several times, but not too shabby in the end.

Then came the Americas. South America, easy. Canada - good grief! Who put all those blotchy island looking thingies floating up there? I took some liberties. The U.S. took me several tries - dude, even with the grid it's harder than it looks to draw, and I didn't want our own country to look like crap! Finally, got it as close as I was going to get it, and was down to Central America. (And I will admit, in this journey, that I was amazed how much of my geography had totally gotten lost since junior high. I had many, many moments of "whoa, that's where Thailand is?") But I digress. Central America. Yeah, I penciled and erased and penciled and finessed and I'll be darned if that stupid Mexico just would not cooperate! Being so close to home, and having a couple girls that will put stickers there, I wanted to get it right. But it just would not be nice and hold still so that I could draw it right! At this point I am expecting Brad home any minute, and dinner is not even remotely planned. I could have walked away, but Mexico kept taunting me to try again. :P

And of course I tell myself, "The girls won't care!  This activity will only take 10 minutes for them to do anyway. Just finish the dang thing and be done!" But no, 15 minutes later I am still drawing Mexico and now my children are very hungry. So I take a break and whip up some dinner, all the while itching to beat Mexico into submission.

I eventually decided done was done and penned in the outlines with permanent marker. (Of course I did Mexico last and held my breath the whole time, hoping divine intervention would let Mexico simply flow perfectly from my fingertips. Mmmm, not so much.) But, the map is done, the countries where our troop comes from are colored in and labeled, and it's ready for some shiny star stickers to map out our past.  But I still squint and make a face at Mexico every time I walk by.


  1. Mexico looks... just fine!? Now you make me wanna look at a map! You had me stifling my very loud giggles here at work. I'm trying not to get fired. And better not let Rowan see you used the word 'stupid' so many times. She might throw her hand on her hip and get sassy with you :)

  2. I think you did an ADMIRABLE job, not only on Mexico (which only looks a little like an elephant's trunk) but ALL the world's nations!

    That's a heck of a lot of work for a 10 minute activity. Reminds me of my early days of teaching. So much energy, so much drive, so many ideas, so much desire to get it right/perfect/awesome-looking. You've inspired me to recapture a little of that feeling and stop letting laziness get the better of me sometimes. :)