The Great Mother

reflecting on life: stories, wisdom, inspiration, aggravation

A Still Life November 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — emlott @ 5:25 pm

I’ve been at it for a while but have not completely set up the new site.  The writing is come-and-go, and one section remains blank with “coming soon” holding lines.  I always hate when blogs and web sites get started but never fill in. I promise I won’t be one of those!  Instead, I’m a mom at home with her kids while also trying to be a preacher and a writer and a wife and friend and sane woman.  Whew.  

If you haven’t found your way there already, please do explore

A friend helped create the title, and I think it does capture my life and my writing.  I’ve struggled with vocational identity and calling since becoming a mother, and moments this year have helped me to recognize that I am still Elizabeth-the-person while being Mommy-the-mommy.  It’s still my life.  

Life with little ones is fast and wild. It’s hard to even potty alone (that’s Mommy-the-mommy) much less find time for quiet. Somehow, in the midst of it, I seek to be still and to make a home that is still.  It’s our still life.  

I want to capture moments of beauty, of chaos, of grace, of humor, of love. I want to save them in my memory as glimpses when Divine and Human merged for one swooning moment. They are still life snapshots.

“Still, still, still,” as that favorite Christmas song goes.  The possibilities are myriad, really.  More to come. Hope you’ll follow along.


Coming Soon August 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — emlott @ 2:20 pm

If you’re still checking in, know that my writing has not ended. I have enjoyed a full summer with my family, enjoyed preaching and writing, and dreamt of ministering ways partnered with mothering ways. How can those parts of me live well together?

New ideas are brewing, and I will announce a new web site by Labor Day. This site will contain a new blog but also a new step in ministry and writing to serve ministers and churches whose schedules are overflowing. I am excited about that! As more details are unveiled, I will welcome ideas as I seek to become a resource for so many dear friends (and friends-to-be!) in ministry.

These last weeks of summer (Virginia honors the WHOLE month of August as summertime) will still be spent at the botanical garden, enjoying our backyard sunflowers and veggies, chatting with neighbors out on the porch, and making lemonade popsicles. But the next weeks will also hold early morning and late night work sessions as some new thing is birthed. (It’s all so exciting, and this new thing won’t require any mid-night feedings or diaper changes, so it’s the perfect companion to this crazy life of mine!)


Pausing Before Moving On July 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — emlott @ 7:47 pm

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for and the most you can do is live inside that hope.”
-Barbara Kingsolver

I am taking these words to heart as I ponder how a blog, well-done and kept properly, fits into the rhythm of my life. With the help of a thinking buddy for intentional reflection and planning, I am trying to organize my thoughts as well as some vocational aspirations. More to follow. Hope you are finding moments for similar pondering. It’s quite an undertaking when we seek to live in that hope.


I’m a Grown-Up June 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — emlott @ 9:47 am

I will be 32-years-old at the end of the summer.  Some friends will say this is terribly young, and I know they are right.  But sometimes I am caught off guard by the grey hair that is becoming more common in my tresses or an exchange with a younger adult that reveals I am no longer a college girl.  For example, when my husband and I took our son to see Dan Zanes at a local university, I fell into a conversation after the show with a college sophomore.  I told her I’d visited the university when I was in high school and briefly considered attending the school.  “But that was a long time ago,” I added.  “Yeah,” she said, nodding.  YEAH?!  I told the husband all about this remark still genuinely stunned to hear that I clearly did not look like I was close to this girl’s age (forget the fact that I was at a family concert at 11:00 on a Saturday morning for hundreds of preschoolers and their families!)  He laughed and replied, “She probably thought you were in your 30s!”  Hmph.

Another concert, this time for just the adults of the house, was a couple of weeks ago.  The darling dear surprised me with tickets to see the Indigo Girls as a Mother’s Day treat (not exactly Lady GaGa or some hot new band), and the stars aligned in such a way that we actually had a baby-sitter and got out of the house for an evening.  The opening act, however, was some young guy with quite a following of young girls, probably sophomores in college.  They knew all the songs by heart, screamed when he made his little singer-man faces, laughed at all his jokes.  But I complained that it was too loud while my beloved scrolled through updates on his BlackBerry.  Hmph.  (The Indigo Girls were fantastic, though.)

By becoming a mother, my understanding of my parents has changed.  I realize all of those good things like how deeply they have always loved me, how imperfect the art of parenting is, how tired my incessant chatter must have made them.  But I also wish I could freeze time in some way so that we could shrink the age distance between us.  I am not ready to accept that my aging means their aging, too.  Having children means I have been pushed into a next stage of adulthood, and I still don’t have my head wrapped around that fact.  I’m not so much a “young adult” now as I am just an adult.  Hmph.

Aside from my two little ones, there are some little things in daily life that heighten my age awareness, and I laugh whenever I notice them.  It’s been happening so often lately that I started running a little list in my head.  For whatever reason, these things spontaneously and unintentionally remind me that I’m a grown-up; I am smack-dab in the middle of a life that I once dreamt about.

Minced garlic in a jar.

Walking around the backyard in the early morning, coffee in hand, peeking in the garden to survey new squash and tomatoes.

Dead-heading flowers, watering ferns, and sweeping the front steps.

Folding my husband’s bazillion white undershirts.

Paying the baby-sitter.

Dry-cleaning still hanging in the bag.

A glass of white wine on a warm day.

The comforting sounds of public radio.  (Similarly: the familar voices of Lehrer, Brooks, and Shields.)

Our electric lawn mower.


Project Get Mom Healthy: Drink Study June 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — emlott @ 9:10 am

I developed quite a Dr. Pepper habit after the second baby was born, and I’ve now kicked the stuff out of the house. I’m still drinking coffee (2, 8 oz. cups/day) but want to slowly drop that as well. Since a friend challenged my coffee consumption, I’m doing some research to compare the nutritional info of each drink.  If you’re interested, I’m adding links below to articles that seem legitimate. Waiting for my nutrition expert brother  to share some info with me, too.

Aside from the list on the side of the can of words I cannot pronounce, my number one concern in the luscious DP is the high fructose corn syrup.  I realize HFCS is in lots of products, and we do try to avoid those along with too many enriched flour and stripped-down grains, but DP was an obvious caloric intake I could quickly control by eliminating.  

My second greatest concern was the physical craving I quickly developed.  I started with one 12-oz. can in the morning but escalated to unmonitored amounts all day; I polished off a 2-liter bottle when my husband was away for a few days.  I could feel an immediate rush after the first sip each day and kept up my energy with more and more DP each day.

The last day came a couple of weeks ago when my three-year-old wanted to share.  I’d given him small amounts of DP in recent days, but this day he screamed for it.  There is no nutritional value at all in soft drinks, and HFCS has proven links to obesity.  Why was I gulping something that I didn’t want my son to have?  So I took the last two bottles (I was up to 24-ouncers) and poured them out.

I want to live in healthy ways: physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  I want to model that for my children and enjoy real food with them, long life with them, and long walks with them.  So my first step was a small one, but it’s a step I’ve made publicly in hopes of finding support and encouragement along the way.  More posts to come on my healthy living ways!


Angelina Jolie, Not My Icon June 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — emlott @ 10:11 am

Naomi Wolf has written a serious girl-crush article on Angelina Jolie for the current Harper’s Bazaar.  It’s weird.  Our culture is far too celeb-obsessed, but I find this piece to be extremely odd.  As Wolf goes on and on about Jolie as the new archetype for bold, liberated, creative women, she points to Jolie’s life as proof that women really can have it all.  I have written about that fallacy before and asked why one’s goal should be to do and have all things.  But what really burned me up was this statement from Wolf on Jolie as the supermom:

She seems, without breaking stride, to care for half a football team of children while the rest of us tread water with our own biological children.

Give me a break.  This woman is a ridiculously wealthy, and her partner is ridiculously wealthy.  Jolie reportedly has one nanny for each child plus a rotating nanny to fill-in as needed.  She has a staff of people who work to feed her, clothe her, clean for her, drive her, shop for her, and to do all the same for her “half a football team of children”.  She is not doing it all and does not have it all, she has a staff of people who are doing it all.  I think it is likely a safe bet that she feels ragged and torn and worn out even with her staff of parents and cooks and managers all around her.  I would not trade places with her and do not envy her, nor to I hold her up as a healthy, wise, centered image of the woman I aspire to be.

Naomi Wolf’s perspective on Jolie is unhealthy for women.  Women, particularly mothers, already look at one another with a slanted view of what the other is accomplishing.  “Her daughter is already potty-trained.  Her son is already walking.  Her twins have been pre-enrolled at Princeton.  She lost all her baby weight in two weeks.  She never loses her temper.  Her  house always looks fantastic.  Her career is flawless.”  It is a sickness, and Wolf’s flawed argument that Angelina Jolie is the women we all desire (or should) to be like is just asinine .


Thinking, Links June 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — emlott @ 1:32 pm

I came across this piece on today about over-parenting.  Interesting article that gets at the anxiety of my generation’s parenting woes.  

In response to the murder of Dr. George Tiller, I have been reading online about mid-term and late-term abortion.  As a mother of two who has relished in the kicks and wiggles of a child inside me, as a woman who lost a baby due to miscarriage, it is hard for me to read about the procedure that Dr. Tiller and colleagues have performed.  I think of myself as pro-choice in that I do not want women dying from illegal procedures in back alleys.  But moving into the third trimester, my support and understanding weaken.  While visiting, I also read this essay from a mother who grieved the news of a baby with irreversible damage and was faced with only choices of loss.  Everything about Tiller’s murder is sad: the protesters, the attacker, the women (and girls) in his care, the grief and loss and anxiety and fear on all sides.  

Let’s end with something fun.  Zack Morris made a guest appearance on the new Late Show last night.  If, like me, you go to bed before late night shows begin, enjoy this link for a clip.