Category Archives: Mombassadors

MOMbassadors interview: Ruth of Gracelaced

Well, I’m not here this morning. I mean, yes, existentially, I’m here on Planet Earth still…

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…but only just, I think.

(Anyone know where this enchanted spot is just from this picture?)

After two very long days of travel that included 4 flights and lots of layovers, we have arrived in heaven, or somewhere close enough not to quibble.

And since I’m not “here” this morning, I invited Ruth from Gracelaced over to talk about motherhood, since it’s been far too long since we’ve talked to another wise mama about this!

Normally, I would be a little more detailed in my introduction, but in the interest of not annoying my husband (who’s hungry), I will simply say that I find Ruth’s Instagram feed inspiring, her blog uplifting, and her pictures and art absolutely stunning. I hope you will take the time to check her out yourself because this self-described, “unlikely mama to six boys” (!!!) has so much to offer.

So, let’s just dive right in, shall we?

Out of the possible matriarchal titles (Mother, Mom, Mommy etc.), which do you prefer? Any particular reason?

My children call me Ma Ma, which is the Chinese Mandarin title I grew up using with my mom. I was born in Taiwan, and am mostly still fluent in speaking, but my children only know particular words and phrases, so I love when they call me Ma Ma.

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You’re an artist (and a talented one at that!). Do you feel like your art is affected by (or even flows out of) your mothering process? If so, how?

Because I so often paint and create my artwork with my children with me, at the table, or looking over my shoulder, I’ve really learned to express and model the process for them– not so much the process of painting technically, but the process of letting go of perfection and enjoying the exploration of creating and imitating the Master Artist, God himself.

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You have 6 kids–all boys. Are you a born “boy-mom,” or was that a big adjustment? 

I always pictured myself with girls, because of my interests and personality. However, God, in his gracious sovereignty, gave me the perfect family. I have grown into enjoying the noise, the physicality, and the amount of LEGOS and sound effects that come with raising boys. And yet, I do not resign myself to being simply a “boy-mom” as there are so many virtues and attributes that are for boys and girls, and I’m seeking to raise these boys to appreciate much more than dirt and guns!

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What did you want to be “when you grew up?” Where did motherhood factor into that?

I never aspired to being a mother. I was too obsessed with graduating at the top of my class and working in the medical field. I pursued everything BUT art and motherhood. But, somewhere in my second year of college, the Lord humbled my heart and revealed much about my pride, my true desires, and my need to look to him for direction in my life. I still was not a natural mama early in my married life; however, the Lord was so kind to grow that desire in me, and truly…I simply fell in love with motherhood.

Care to share your most recent best/worst Mom-ment? (ha! see how I did that? totally cheesy!)

That’s a tough question. I have had so many in both areas! I suppose my best Mom-ment would be a recent conversation I had with my five year old, alone in my room on a “date,” as we talked through his anger that sometimes feels simply annoying or childish. I was so blessed to see the fruit of what can come when we squeeze in imperfect, but deliberate time with our children. With him on my lap, in private, and having tender time to ourselves, made all the difference with that little one. As for worst Mom-ment, I would say that it is more like many moments strung together. In our current season of a deadline for getting our house on the market and losing houses we hoped to buy, the stress level can be high, and my attitude is often impatient and unkind. I overheard my oldest correcting his brothers the other day in a tone that was so clearly mine. It was harsh and ungracious. Praise God for those moments when we clearly see our sinful tendencies as moms– rather than cause us to despair, they push us to remembering that we are broken, just like our children, and need our Redeemer to transform us from the inside out.

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What’s your best piece of advice for mamas everywhere? (i.e. the one thing that helps you stay the sanest). 

I think one very practical piece of advice I would give is to always try and lower your voice and get down on your children’s level, physically, when correcting or giving them directions. I think we are so quick to shout orders, say things in passing, or throw words out into the air, and expect our kids to absorb them all. When we deliberately look them in the eye, put their faces in the palm our our hand, and speak sternly but softly, we do more to win their trust and capture their attention for what we have to say. It’s also a safeguard for my own heart as well, when anger or impatience rages in the midst of the chaos.

Do you have a life verse or one that’s become especially precious since becoming a mom?

I think Ephesians 3:20 has been that verse for me…and why I included it in my shoppe! That the Lord is able to do more than we ask or imagine is evident in his gracious provision of my boys, and in my role as a mom. He has indeed given more and made more of my life than I knew to even hope for.

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I’ve entitled this series Mombassadors because I believe that we have the potential to be ambassadors for Jesus + examples of joy in a profession/calling that’s rife with opportunities for negativity if we let it be. But it takes a very conscious effort/choice on our parts. Because being a mama is hard! What kinds of things do you do to actively choose joy in motherhood?

I guard my heart from bitterness, anger, or negativity by being thankful. Thankful for salvation, thankful for forgiveness, thankful for grace, and thankful for all the blessings I don’t deserve. 

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Quick! Don’t think too hard if you can avoid it. What are the first three “M” words that pop into your head that describe you as a mom?

Memory-maker

Molder (not to be confused with moldy)

Missionary

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Oh, ya’ll. I know I’m the one that wrote the questions, but Ruth’s answers to them were just so great that this interview felt fresh to me all over again. I love her advice about lowering your voice and getting down on your kids’ levels especially. Every. single. time I do this, my discipline is so much better given and received.

And now, Ruth would like to give away TWO things to one lucky reader!

1. This uber-practical and fun veggie slicer.

veggie slicer

and

2. Any 8X10 print of your choice (excluding giclees) from her absolutely gorgeous selection of hand-drawn art in her shoppe.

Side note: Ruth has some awesome prints that would be perfect for Father’s Day, but you need to order by TODAY to ensure delivery by next week.

This one’s my fave:

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All you have to do to enter is answer the following question:

To me, grace in motherhood (either your own or from your mother) means _____________________.

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MOMbassadors Interview: Sasha of Lemonade Makin’ Mama

The internet is an amazing place, y’all. Through the wonder of it, I get to meet all of these other fantastic blogging mamas who inspire me and convict me and make me totes jelly (sorry…my usually well-buried Valley Girl just jumped right out there) of their beautiful, serene kitchens when mine looks like a bomb went off…and I just cleaned it…10 minutes ago. {Dang kids!}

Sasha  is just such a blogger. She takes absolutely gorgeous, peaceful pictures of her beautiful home that make me dream of repainting my entire house in shades of soothing shades of creams, whites, and coffees and decluttering every single surface on a twice-daily basis.

sashakitchen But I don’t just live vicariously through her bright, pretty photos. I’m also inspired by her honest, encouraging words and her creative art.sashahouse

{She painted that fun wild bird egg art, and you can buy it and lots more original art prints and other great little touches for your home from her etsy shop}

She’s also one of the most fun people to follow on Instagram! If her posts don’t show up in my feed, I track her down and catch up on the last few days. They’re that good!

So, without further ado, I’d like to officially introduce you to Sasha from Lemonade Makin’ Mama.

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And now, let’s get on with the interview, shall we?

Out of the possible matriarchal titles (Mother, Mom, Mommy etc.), which do you prefer? Any particular reason?

Mama.  I don’t know why really, I just love when I see grown men call their mother “Mama.” 

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You’re an artist (and a talented one at that!). Do you feel like your art affects (or even flows out of) your mothering process? If so, how?

First of all thank you!  I think art has always been a part of my life and my approach to how I operate in life.  Even as a little girl, I spent so much time drawing and painting and creating and it became my identity all through high school.  I was always that kid in the art room after school making Pep rally posters or Prom flyers and signs, etc.  Creativity has always effected the way I approach life, which I suppose, has in turn had effects on my mothering tendencies especially when it comes to parties and celebrations and holidays.  I like to do a thing thoroughly and I do hope that makes life more fun for my kids.  I think being a creative type makes you want constant beauty around you, and I love encouraging my children in their creative veins.  I’ve got a budding musician and an very talented writer so there always seems to be creative chaos happening.  Most times I’m just fine with it.  Until I’ve heard three stringed instruments being practiced four hours on end, then I can get a little tired of it. Ha!  

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You have two kids–a boy and a girl. What are the biggest challenges you face in raising both a young man and a young woman for Christ?

Good question.  So far, it’s been interesting because they are so different.  I’ve always had one who is more of a rule bender and one that is a pretty straight forward rule follower.  I think when they were small it was more about behavior and now that they are getting into the tween years (I’ll have a teenager in one month!) I am finding that encouraging them to make faith their own is a bigger thing than how they act because of course our behavior flows from our cornerstone of morals and we get that from figuring out where we stand with Christ.  They are starting to really become individuals influenced by their environments so though I want to give them freedom and I do want them to make their own faith based decisions, I want those decisions to come from a personal faith, not a piggy-backed faith that they carried over from me, or from guilt of making me upset.  I was raised as a preacher’s kid in Montana and though my parents did so much right, the words, “You better not do anything that reflects badly on your father” rang in my ears and served as a bigger influence in my teen years than just wanting to please the Lord with my choices.  I want to push my kiddos gently toward the Truth but trust that God pursues them differently and wants a relationship with them even more than I want that for them.  It’s way harder than I thought it would be.  I seriously do hallway fist pumps whenever I catch them reading their devotional books or bibles because I’ve backed off a bit on telling them to do it, and am letting them build their own relationship as they feel God pulling at them.  (Not to say that we don’t pray together and do family devotions each morning of course.)

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What did you want to be “when you grew up?” Where did motherhood factor into that?

Oh goodness.  Always a mother.  I have all these childish drawings in a school years scrap book of a stick lady in a robe or something, with a baby on her hip and a broom in her hand.  Until about middle school then I still wrote “Mother” in the line where it asked future occupation, but I also wrote artist and writer.  I thought I would write a great American novel about my childhood for years because growing up in the country the way I did with creeks and bikes and horses and forts and free reign of a town and a general store with penny candy is a thing of the past.  Maybe someday I will get around to sharing all my stories. 

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What’s your best piece of advice for mamas everywhere? (i.e. the one thing that helps you stay the sanest).

I am living it right this minute… “Just do today.”  I was the best mother in the whole world.  Then I had kids. 

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I was blessed with a boy who has Asperger’s and ADHD and sensory processing issues, and all that was realized after years of processing issues, fine motor skill issues, speech issues, homeschooling to make it all “work” and trying to spread myself around to deal with a very introverted second child and not leave her out while I slogged through the waters of unknowns.  I worried constantly about my son, how he would handle everything that was going to come, how people were looking at how I handled things of the past, worried about the future and the scars my daughter might carry because she was such an internal processor and then I realized, “Hey, God’s got this.  NO parent is perfect, and nobody knows exactly what to do all of the time- or even most of the time- and will my kids be messed up? Maybe. But will they know they are loved deeply?  Absolutely.  How bad can it all go if that’s the one unchangeable fact their life is based on?”  And then I relaxed a bit, enrolled my kids in public school, started trusting their story with other people and praying over them every day.  One day at a time.  Only today.  We can’t change the past and worrying about tomorrow is a sin so JUST DO TODAY.  And do it to the best of your ability.   

Do you have a life verse or one that’s become especially precious since becoming a mom?

Oh yes.  When I was worrying about my kids and our son and what to do God gave me this verse- Isaiah 40:11 “He will take care of his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs together
and carry them in his arms;
he will gently lead their mothers.”

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I’ve entitled this series Mombassadors because I believe that we have the potential to be ambassadors for Jesus + examples of joy in a profession/calling that’s rife with opportunities for negativity if we let it be. But it takes a very conscious effort/choice on our parts. Because being a mama is hard! What kinds of things do you do to actively choose joy in motherhood?

Practice daily thankfulness.  There is always something to be thankful for in every single circumstance and it always changes your perspective if you just keep counting your blessings and naming them out loud. 

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I love the “practice daily thankfulness” reminder. So simple and yet so essential to for warding off pity-parties and panic attacks!

Also, “I was the best mother in the whole world. And then I had kids.”

Word.

(Isn’t it funny how much we think we know until we actually get some experience with the thing we’re so sure we know so much about?)

Thank you SO much, Sasha for sharing your lovely home and thoughts on motherhood and life with us today.

And as a thank you to all of you awesome folks, Sasha and I have a great giveaway for you too!

She’s giving away a “Just Do Today” print (I already ordered one for me. LOVE it!) to one lucky winner…

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…who will ALSO receive this cute apron!

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…which Sasha says is totally representative of her personality (she loves hospitality, entertaining, and making yummy treats! She even hosted a wedding IN HER HOUSE!)

All you have to do to enter to win both the print and the apron is to answer this question:

When I’m tempted to compare and complain, I try to _________________ instead.

If you’d like extra entries, you can also fill out the easy Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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