Sunday, July 27, 2008

Let's Go Fly a Kite Luncheon

This one is from the great luncheon we had for American Mothers, Inc. (AMI)!

I have posted before how much the organization American Mothers has meant in my life. It continues to do so and I'm sure it always will. We had an awesome event (go here) held at the Maddox Lodge for mother's of all ages. The turnout was incredible with 178 women in attendance! The theme was "Let's Go Fly A Kite" and our cute Lisa Ellis dressed up as Mary Poppins. She really is practically perfect in every way! I was on the planning committee, though I didn't feel like I did much. Diane Weese and Lisa Stevenson deserve all the Kudos! Everything they do is always spectacular! The main speaker was Karen Ashton - co-founder of Thanksgiving Point and wife of Word Perfect founder Alan Ashton. She was fabulous! What an honor it was to meet them both.

*Photo with the Ashtons. *Cecelia Benson talking to us about motherhood. She is one of my favorite people *Shots of the event (middle -middle is Karen Ashton speaking) *Posing with family and friends that attended. *The bottom middle photo is one taken of some of my most cherished friends. These woman are the cream of the crop and I have had the privilege of working with them all for about 17 years in AMI. Women do not get any better than these ones! I think that is the main reason I love AMI...because of the caliber of women that are in it. They are amazing...every single one of them!
Click to enlarge

Karen Ashton's talk was really inspiring. She has such a fun way of relating her life experiences that makes you feel so connected to her. A few of my notes and some of the things she said that stuck with me:

She began by telling us she was going to invent a new appliance and call it the Food Separator. It will automatically separate each and every ingredient in casseroles for those picky eaters who don't want any of their food touching. Wouldn't that be great!

Mothers really control the CLIMATE of the home.

LOVE is the biggest factor in that climate. Our children need to hear someone cheering for them. They NEED to be hugged. Especially teens...the ones that resist it the most!

FOOD is the fastest way we connect with home. The smells that bring us back to a certain time and place. Food is a nurturer in it's own way. Mother's need to get back to cooking and bringing in those smells that permeate the home with goodness.

MEMORIES~ She said she was watching videos of some of their Christmases and noticed how much "stuff" their kids got each year and how almost all of that "stuff" was now in the dump. She decided then and there that they were going to stop giving "stuff" and give memories for Christmas instead. So now instead of a bunch of gifts, they take a trip somewhere fun. Mothers are in charge of the Memories AND the recovery of the Memories. We need to tell stories of the things our children did when they were growing up and keep them alive through the generations. We must keep track of the things they do and say.

HUMOR~ We MUST have humor in the home.

GUILT~ We all think we need to be Superwoman. She doesn't exist. Being a mother is the hardest job in the whole world, but it is the ONLY job worth giving your life for. You may feel you are never enough and never doing enough, but you make a profound difference to each child.

HOME~ The sweetest peace is within the walls of your own home. You carry a piece of home with you wherever you a kite that can fly high because someone anchored you long ago.

To join American Mothers or to find out how to get involved in your state, go here and click on State Associations. For those of you in Utah go here. You will be glad you did!!!

Here is a great story we handed out at the luncheon. Enjoy! I know it's a bit long, but trust me, you won't regret reading it. It's the kind of story that we moms (and maybe even more so dads) need to hear over and over again.

~The Day We Flew the Kites~

String!" shouted Brother, bursting into the kitchen. "We need lots more string."
It was Saturday. As always, it was a busy one, for "Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work" was taken seriously then. Outside, Father and Mr. Patrick next door were doing chores.

Inside the two houses, Mother and Mrs. Patrick were engaged in spring cleaning. Such a windy March day was ideal for "turning out" clothes closets. Already woolens flapped on backyard clotheslines.

Somehow the boys had slipped away to the back lot with their kites. Now, even at the risk of having Brother impounded to beat carpets, they had sent him for more string. Apparently there was no limit to the heights to which kites would soar today.

My mother looked out the window. They sky was piercingly blue: the breeze fresh and exciting. Up in all that blueness sailed puffy billows of clouds. It had been a long, hard winter, but today was Spring.

Mother looked at the sitting room, its furniture disordered for a Spartan sweeping. Again her eyes wavered toward the window. "Come on, girls! Let's take string to the boys and watch them fly the kites a minute." On the way we met Mrs. Patrick, laughing guiltily, escorted by her girls.

There never was such a day for flying kites! God doesn't make two such days in a century. We played all our fresh twine into the boys' kites and still they soared. We could hardly distinguish the tiny, orange-colored specks. Now and then we slowly reeled it on in, finally bringing it dipping and tugging to earth, for the sheer joy of sending it up again. What a thrill to run with them, to the right, to the left, and see our poor, earth-bound movements reflected minutes later in the majestic sky-dance of the kites! We wrote wishes on slips of paper and slipped them over the string. Slowly, irresistibly, they climbed up until they reached the kites. Surely all such wishes would be granted!

Even our fathers dropped hoe and hammer and joined us. Our mothers took their turn, laughing like school girls. Their hair blew out of their pompadours and curled loose about their cheeks; their gingham aprons whipped about their legs. Mingled with our fun was something akin to awe. The grown-ups were really playing with us! Once I looked at Mother and thought she looked actually pretty. And her over forty!

We never knew where the hours went on that hilltop day. There were no hours, just a golden breezy Now. I think we were all a little beyond ourselves. Parents forgot their duty and their dignity; children forgot their combativeness and small spites. "Perhaps it's like this in the Kingdom of Heaven," I thought confusedly.

It was growing dark before, drunk with sun and air, we all stumbled sleepily back to the houses. I suppose we had some sort of supper. I suppose there must have been a surface tidying-up, for the house on Sunday looked decorous enough.

The strange thing was, we didn't mention that day afterward. I felt a little embarrassed, Surely none of the others had thrilled to it as deeply as I. I locked the memory up in that deepest part of me where we keep "the things that cannot be and yet are."

The years went on, then one day I was scurrying about my own kitchen in a city apartment, trying to get some work out of the way while my three-year-old insistently cried her desire to "go park and see ducks."

"I can't go!," I said. I have this and this to do and when I'm through I'll be too tired to walk that far."

My mother, who was visiting us, looked up from the peas she was shelling.
"It's a wonderful day," she offered; "really warm, yet there's a fine, fresh breeze. It reminds me of that day we flew the kites."

I stopped in my dash between stove and sink. The locked door flew open, and with it a gush of memories. I pulled off my apron. "Come on," I told my little girl. "You're right, it's too good a day to miss."

Another decade passed. We were in the aftermath of a great war. All evening we had been asking our returned soldier, the youngest Patrick boy, about his experiences as a prisoner of war. He had talked freely, but now for a long time he had been silent. What was he thinking of--what dark and dreadful things?

"Say!" A smile twitched his lips. "Do you remember... no, of course you wouldn't. It probably didn't make the impression on you it did on me."

I hardly dared speak. "Remember what?"

"I used to think of that day a lot in PW camp, when things weren't too good. Do you remember the day we flew the kites?"

Winter came, and the sad duty of a call of condolence on Mrs. Patrick, recently widowed. I dreaded the call. I couldn't imagine how Mrs. Patrick would face life alone.

We talked a little of my family and her grandchildren and the changes in the town. Then she was silent, looking down at her lap. I cleared my throat. Now I must say something about her loss, and she would begin to cry.

When she looked up, Mrs. Patrick was smiling. "I was just sitting here thinking," she said. "Henry had such fun that day. Frances, do you remember the day we flew the kites?"
-By Frances Fowler


Yvonne said...

Looks like a great event. Love your recap of her talk--I appreciated her words (thanks for sharing them)

Love the kite story--gosh we all need to stop once in while and make those kinds of memories.

Lori said...

Sounds like a great organization. I will have to check it out in my area.

The story was great. Thanks for sharing!

Jen said...

I can only remember a few DETAILS from that luncheon so thanks for the recap!

Jodi said...

Jen, I was hoping you would refresh my memory! I know I forgot a lot of the things she said!


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