Friday, May 6, 2016

Wisdom of Our Mothers

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Sylvia at Poetry for Children for Roundup.

Today, on the Friday before Mother's Day, I am excited to share with you a bit of mother-love.

It came to me by way of quilter who read LEAVING GEE'S BEND.

LEAVING GEE'S BEND is a book about a girl who loves her mother more than anything. When she embarks on a journey to find medical help for her mom, it's her mother's voice in her head that guides her. Mama is full of wisdom, and Ludelphia tries to listen.

This part of the book was inspired by MY mother's words of wisdom to me: "Err on the side of Love."

So, last year, when I spoke to Birmingham Quilters Guild, one of the amazing quilters Ann Griffin presented me with this quilt piece, with the instructions to take it with me on my travels and add bits of wisdom. Here's what it looks like right now:

Wisdom of Our Mothers

If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all.

There are seasons in your life. Don't worry if you can't do it now. You will.

What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

Read the Bible.

If you make your bed hard, don't forget you've got to lay in it.

Before you speak: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?

Pray about it.

Don't put your elbows on the table.

Love one another.

Wherever you are keep you're peace shoes on.

A stitch in time saves nine.

Wipe from the front to the back.

Nice girls do NOT fight!

If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

You look good in pink.

Act well your part, for there all honour lies.

Pretty is as pretty does.

The best way to cure the "blues" is to do something nice for someone.

Be the best that you can be.

You must have passion! If there's anything I'd like to pass on to you, it's that passion will energize you.

Learn to enjoy your own company.

Be kind.

There's still room for more... a poem of sorts! If you  have some mother-wisdom you'd like to share, please put it in comments. Thank you! 


  1. The quilt piece is a wonderfully thoughtful gift, Irene. You must feel very good when you pack it to take along with you, a folded "scrap" book! words of wisdom from my mom included many of those you share too, "Be kind" tops the list. Thanks for sharing these wise words in honor of your mom.

  2. Love this post. The quilt piece is beautiful and such a lovely gesture. "Err on the side of love" are truly words I try to live by. I smiled at all the bits of mother wisdom, so universal and most basically a form of the golden rule, which so many today seem to have forgotten.

  3. Irene, the quilt is such a great way to hold thoughts through the ages close to your heart. This line resonates with me: "There are seasons in your life. Don't worry if you can't do it now. You will." That is a great piece of advice.

  4. What a lovely gift to complete and wrap yourself in one day. Maybe even hand down to a granddaughter down the road. It's funny, I was trying to think of words of wisdom from my own mom (who I have a wonderful relationship with), but all I'm coming up with is feelings and memories, no words.

  5. That is such a thoughtful gift! Yay for quilters :-) My mom would say, Don't let the turkeys get you down!

  6. So happy to see Leaving Gee's Bend at the top of this post! And I love the quilt with mother wisdom. I'd have to echo one that's already on your quilt, but my mother put it this way, "Don't forget to pray." I count myself lucky that my mother was a praying mother, who then rolled up her sleeves to provide service for others.

  7. Love-ly, Irene.
    You have two versions of "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." in this list. It must be important. I remember the lines coming from the lines coming from Thumper in the movie Bambi. His mother chastises him and asks, "What did your father tell you?" And Thumper replies with this line.
    Of course many others may have said it first, and Disney may have stolen this common knowledge, but I enjoy thinking of Thumper's Dad trying to raise him right.

  8. Love this Irene! One thing my mom used to say when I tried to slough off was: First you work and then you play.

  9. Hi, again, Irene, and thank you for joining the Poetry Friday gathering at my place. I love this idea of a quilt "scrap" book and your collection of sayings is so thought-provoking. Thanks for sharing!

  10. What a wonderful quilt!!

    Every day when we left for school, Mom would say, "Work hard, have fun, and have a good day!"

  11. What a wonderful collection of awesome mother wisdom. I particularly enjoyed how this injunction was repeated twice:
    If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.
    So true.

  12. "There's nothing that can't be solved with a deep breath and a hug."

  13. "There's nothing that can't be solved with a deep breath and a hug."


Your thoughts?