Last week I had a mixture of two of of the best things: my favorite mother’s group: “mfme,” and “Gift from the Sea.” A book that is quite fabulous that my mother had us read before we gathered.

What is MFME?

Let’s back up though to explain MFME to those who are wondering what in the world it is.

I have fifteen sisters. When you and your husband both come from families with nine kids that makes for a lot of sisters. Especially when you include all the in-laws.  And of course I include the in-laws, because man alive, I got some serious great ones. I’m lucky to live by a bunch of Dave’s sisters and in-laws here in the desert.  We get to see quite a bit of each other, and man oh man do I ever learn from each of them. I’m so grateful for them and their examples.

And I’m also very lucky that my mom has saved up money from the sale of her Dad’s farm. She uses that each year to gather us together on my side of the family sisters.

When we get together we call it “MFME” which stands for “Mothers and Future Mothers of Eyrealm.”  It’s kind of a funny name, but boy am I grateful for this little “club” I belong to and all that I learn from these amazing ladies I get to be related to.

MFME in California

Back in February we met up for a weekend in California.  2013-02-28 iPhone 705412013-02-28 iPhone 70549 I looked forward to it with all my heart…because I love to discuss the world with these wise women.2013-02-28 MFME 70608 …and because I got to meet my new little niece (6)As you can see, she was equally excited to meet me…ha.  Oh boy I sure love that girl though.  She got welcomed to the world quite miraculously.  Their story is here. 2013-02-28 iPhone 70556 We started right out discussing the world as a whole as well as all the minutia of life and mothering and pretty much didn’t stop the whole time we were together.  2013-02-28 MFME 70603

Some articles we read and listened to

Before we gathered we all group-emailed each other interesting articles we wanted to discuss while we were together.  I could do a blog post on each one of them because they spurred so many thoughts.

Here is an incomplete list of some of the articles:

As you can see, so many different topics!

The book we read this year: Gift from the Sea

We also had our own little “book club” with the book we read before we got there:

Gift From The Sea2013-03-26 misc 71501 Mine had extra significance to me because it was my mothers before it somehow came into my possession (I must have “borrowed” it at some point).

I loved reading through that thing and seeing her notes and what she underlined. Things she obviously read it over and over again.  It made those soft, velvety words wash over me that much more powerfully.

I loved that it was already threadbare from her use when she was in the throes of mothering me.2013-03-26 misc 71502 (Nothing is attached to the spine anymore.)2013-03-26 misc 71503 I added all my ripped-page-turn things I do when I’m inspired, so in the end the poor thing looks like this:2013-03-26 misc 71507 I hope my own girls will be able to borrow that very copy some day when they are mothers themselves.

Some favorite quotes

I hope the parts of it like this will speak to them as they spoke to me:

Not knowing how to feed the spirit, we try to muffle it’s demands in distractions.  Instead of stilling the center, the axis of the wheel, we add more centrifugal activities to our lives—which tend to throw us off balance.”

And this:

For it is only framed in space that beauty blooms.  Only in space are events and objects and people unique and significant—and therefore beautiful.  A tree has significance if one sees it against the empty face of sky.  A note in music gains significance from the silences of either side.  A candle flowers in the space of night.”

Isn’t that so beautifully said?  It has inspired me so much to try to simplify more than ever.  To take some time to meditate and think during the day.  2013-02-28 MFME 70613

What we did

We visited an art museum (we always try to work that in).  These were some of my favorites:2013-03-01 iPhone 705642013-03-01 iPhone 705672013-03-01 iPhone 705682013-03-01 iPhone 705822013-03-01 iPhone 705852013-03-01 Kristi's MFME 703482013-03-01 Kristi's MFME 703502013-03-01 MFME 706252013-03-01 MFME 706332013-03-01 MFME 706422013-03-01 MFME 706432013-03-02 iPhone 705932013-03-02 Saren's MFME 707082013-03-01 MFME 706482013-03-01 MFME 706532013-03-01 MFME 70659 We all took turns getting to hold little gem Zara.2013-03-02 iPhone 70588 …and not surprisingly, my Dad could NOT miss out so he surprised us at breakfast one morning.  Here he is face-timing my brother with his initial meeting of baby Zara.2013-03-02 iPhone 70589 He joined in for one of our beach discussions before he had to take off.2013-03-02 MFME 706732013-03-02 Kristi's MFME 703772013-03-02 MFME 706852013-03-02 MFME 70689 …then whoops, he missed his flight so he joined us again for dinner.  Oh man I love my Dad.  And I love these ladies enough to cram into that tiny booth with all ten of us.2013-03-02 MFME 706902013-03-02 Saren's MFME 70729 That last day we went to church together…2013-03-03 Saren's MFME 70758 …and headed back to our own little pockets of the world.

Heading home, armed with new enthusiasm for motherhood

We left one by one, armed and buoyed up by each other and ready to take on motherhood and life in a whole new way.

I even got extra leg-room on the flight home which I enjoyed as I mulled over all those new-fangled ideas I was going to incorporate into our family and into my own soul.2013-03-03 iPhone 71038 Of course, when you get home from something like that, life hits you smack-dab in the face. Suddenly and suddenly you are running like the wind to try to catch up.

But one of the best epiphanies we all had while we were there was that we need to take more time out to contemplate and pray and meditate.

Even for just a few minutes each day.

Because as much as I want to be like the axle on that wheel Anne Morrow Lindbergh talks about in “Gift from the Sea,” or the “eye of the storm” my mom talks about, it can’t happen without some planning.2013-03-02 MFME 70677 So that’s my goal for this week:

Wake up a little earlier (even if it’s just five minutes).

Write down my priorities: one for my family, one for my spirit, and one for my “work” which is really family and home.

Just two little things. But I’ve had this for my goal for the last three weeks and I’m only three weeks behind. Ha! Maybe posting it for accountability will do the trick.

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  1. Absolutely one of my favorite books and authors. I read Git from the Sea a million years ago- before motherhood- and just knew right then and there that these are lessons I need to learn and teach my own daughters. Thank you for reminding me of what a great recourse it is. Trying the 5 minutes early thing here, too! Lots of luck!

  2. I'm trying to get up earlier as well. I have to say, you are incredibly blessed to have this time together in your family! I have 1 brother and sister in law and I never see them and they live in the same town I do! 🙁 I am trying to create my own close family, and am learning so much from yours.

  3. I went to a power of moms retreat this past weekend and a woman there talked about her "power hour". She gets up an hour early and has a list of 5 things to do. She reads scriptures, prays, reads another book and does her stretching. I am going to do it, maybe not an hour, but 30 minutes would be great too!

  4. Thank you for sharing this wonderful MFME post. I have wonderful sisters (and mother) but we have never done a retreat quite this way. I love the sharing of each other's thoughts & experiences. Sometimes it is difficult to find women who are willing to invest the time to think deeply and purposefully, even though many want those inspirations in their lives. Thank you for the wonderful inspiration. And yes, real-life does smack you in the face sometimes after great moments of inspiration. I feel that way most Sundays when I get home from church with my 5 lovely and loud children. Good luck with the 5 minutes!!

  5. You are truly blessed. Your mom was wise to have the vision to save that money for what would be your future MFME gatherings! I agree with flashlight girl, I think it's hard to get some women to invest their precious time to read and ponder wonderful words and discuss them together, even though they really crave and desire that. My sisters will be coming out here in July and I so want to do this with them- thank you for the links to those articles- all such wonderful things we need to ponder!!

  6. How fun to have such great sisters. I have great sisters too and sometimes the coming home makes me question whether it was worth going away. It always is and I hope I can continue to remember that. Loved that line of "life hits you smack-dab in the face and suddenly you are running like the wind to try to catch up." That is totally how I feel. Glad to know its not just me.

  7. Thanks for sharing your beautiful life with us through this blog. Every time I read is such a treat and I feel such peace and contentment with my life after – your positive spirit and outlook is contagious!
    I will also check out this book, it looks wonderful.

  8. I'm wondering how anyone wrenched that baby away from your arms! 🙂
    And so funny…I have been thinking so much about those few minutes in the morning on how important it is to decide what kind of mother I want to be that day.

  9. What a wonderful thing to do! I would love to hear more about your discussion of the NY times article on unconditional love. It was a very thought provoking article. Would love to hear more about what that group of wise woman thought.

  10. This is my favorite book in the world. I love that it brings other women the sort of peace that it brings me. And now I want a fruit tart on the beach!

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