Viewing entries tagged
motherhood wisdom

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Getting to Know Your Child

Laurel, Age 5, Oil on canvas

Laurel, Age 5, Oil on canvas

Some portrait artists work from photographs others have taken, but I don't. Getting to know the child I paint is a very important part of my process, and I couldn't create a portrait without it.

Actually, it's my mission to help children feel loved and valued for who they are by capturing their personality. I can't do that if I haven't met them!

I recently completed this commission for a family in Memphis of their daughter, Laurel. Laurel is five years old and the youngest in her family. She's sweet, thoughtful, and polite. It's clear she was ready to have her portrait hang alongside her brother and sister's:)

My time spent with the children helps make the portrait better. Plus, it's just more fun. When I go back to my studio to paint, I draw on my experience of being with that child plus the pictures I take. It makes for a richer, more life-like portrait. 

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A Young Mom Blossoms at Lifehouse Houston

Blossom and Kimori, charcoal on paper

Blossom and Kimori, charcoal on paper

Recently I was approached by a friend to help raise money for Lifehouse, a Christian ministry in Houston that helps moms in crisis by providing housing for them and their unborn child. Many of the young women at Lifehouse have been victims of abuse and sex trafficing.

This October Lifehouse is celebrating thirty years and I’m excited to be a part of it. When my friend asked me to donate a portrait, I told her I actually don’t donate my work. It wouldn’t be fair to the collectors who’ve paid full-price. I would, however, love to honor one of the moms at Lifehouse with a portrait to raise awareness for this great cause.

That mom’s name is Blossom and her daughter is Kimori. Blossom is the first college graduate from Lifehouse who has a salaried job and is saving for her first car.

Blossom says Lifehouse has helped equip her to be a great mom. The work they do “helps make a big difference in the life of a struggling mom and innocent baby.”

If you’d like to donate to Lifehouse and help moms like blossom, go here.

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Top Three Lessons You Learn as a Mom

Francis Martin, Age 5, Oil on canvas

Francis Martin, Age 5, Oil on canvas

Over the course of my career as a portrait painter of children, I've interviewed the moms I work with about the greatest lessons they've learned as parents. Some are new moms, some are on their third child, but all have the same desires and hopes for their kids. They all strive to be great moms every day. 

 

1. Being a mom isn't a competitive sport. 

Anyone up for a little "mom-petition?" We all know the mom who seems perfect at everything and manages to look great doing it. But there's no perfect way to be a mom, and every child has different needs. One mom says to embrace help when it's offered so you can slow down and enjoy every moment with your kids.

 

2. Give your kids the best of you. 

It's important to take some "me" time. Whether it's a tennis lesson, an hour with a good book, or date night with your husband, happy moms make for happy kids and husbands. You owe it to yourself and your kids to be at the top of your game.

 

3. Stop and enjoy as many moments as you can with them. 

One mom told me how sometimes her kids' thoughts and words can be so powerful, and in that moment she is truly grateful for the precious gifts God gave her. If you're constantly busy or distracted, you'll miss those moments. Everyone says it but they grow up too fast. Savor it. 

 

What's the greatest lesson you've learned as a mom? How has it affect your relationship with your child?

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What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about being a good mother?

Whitney Bricken, Age 3, Charcoal

Whitney Bricken, Age 3, Charcoal

Children grow up fast. One thing I hear consistently from moms is how quickly they see their kids' features changing. Before you know it, they're teenagers (yikes!)

 

There is only so much precious time.

 

There’s stuff that everyone says you “need” to do, but I’m talking about the kind of advice your grandmother gives.

 

Wisdom that stands the test of time.

 

So in honor of Mother’s Day, I’ve put together a list of the top 5 wise words of advice to help you be more present with your kids:

Take care of yourself, embrace any help that is offered and lastly, my Grandmother’s advice to me: “Children are life renewing, slow down and enjoy every moment.
— Sara Madasu, Memphis, TN
Stop and enjoy as many moments as you can with them.
— Micki Martin, Memphis, TN
Have fun and don’t be so hard on yourself.
— Lauren Keras, Memphis, TN
Try to find joy in every stage and embrace the constant change as best you can.
— Kristen Hill, Memphis, TN
When your child grows up, he or she won’t remember if the shelves were dusted. Your child will remember the experiences and feelings that accompany them. Make them good ones.
— Deede Sherman, Memphis, TN

 

Btw, these words and more are in my book, Lessons of Love, which would make the perfect gift for Mother’s Day!

 

So let’s hear it. What’s the best motherhood advice you’ve been given?

 

Leave a comment below.

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Your kids will be who God means for them to be

Molly Keras, Age 3, Oil

Molly Keras, Age 3, Oil

I've painted portraits of all three of Lauren's girls – Molly, Jane and Nellie.

 

I've loved getting to know these girls, watching them change and grow over the years. They were just 3 1/2 when I painted them, and now Jane and Nellie are eight (wow!) and Molly is 4.

 

I'm sure Lauren could tell you how amazingly fast it all goes by.

 

She's says the most important lesson she's learned from motherhood is that "Your kids are going to be who God meant for them to be no matter what you want them to be; you cannot force them to be someone or something they're not."

 

The sooner you embrace that, she says, the happier you AND your kids will be!

 

I really love that, because the reason I do these portraits is to help kids feel loved and valued for who they truly are.

 

Nellie, Age 3, Oil

Nellie, Age 3, Oil

The truth is a lot of kids grow up trying to fit it, to be someone they're not. In my own life I've felt ashamed of who I was and where I came from, and I don't want any child to experience that.

 

So I create portraits that capture the personality of a child, in a special time in their lives, to show them how much they are loved and valued.

 

Now I know that it takes a lot more than a portrait to make a child feel loved, but I truly believe it's a unique expression of love that really makes them feel special. 

 

Jane, Age 3, Oil

Jane, Age 3, Oil

 

I know that through the love of parents and God, a child can move out into the world with confidence, not afraid to be who they are.

 

I'm just happy I can contribute to that in a unique way:)

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