Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

Getting to know my mother is one of the greatest joys of my adult life. Adulthood has peeled back the layers of “Mom” and revealed her deeper spirit.

For as long as I can remember, when I close my eyes and conjure a picture of her, I see what I consider her iconic photograph. She is perhaps age 25 at the time. The backdrop is a surf-pounding Pacific Ocean. She’s perched on a rock that required climbing. Her red hair is flowing away from her face, only contained by a felt, wide-brimmed hat. She’s relaxed, beautiful and fully alive. As a little girl, it became the freeze-frame of what I hoped to become.

She and my father gave up the Midwest for California in the 70’s to chase a dream. My mother would be the first in her family to pursue a college degree. She speaks of attending Berkeley, working her way through tuition and exams with a gleam in her eye even today. They left their hearts in San Francisco before I was born. But that story became the framework from which I began my earliest contextualization of my mother. Its defined by her determination, the adventure she embraced, the love story she and my father shared.

Most of my childhood, I felt different than my mother. I wasn’t able to connect the dots between her spirit and my own. Perhaps it’s because our childhoods were so dissimilar; she reminded me of that fact often. My mother was born in the middle of a brood of nine; love was plentiful but not material things. I am the older of two daughters. My mother doted on us with artfully planned birthday parties and amazing cultural experiences. I know she felt fortunate to provide us with all that we received, but I also sensed that my gratitude didn’t measure up to enough. Spoiled by love and excess possessions, as a child I never felt I did enough to make her feel I appreciated it. I didn’t understand until today the turmoil she may have felt raising daughters in such a different lifestyle than her own. 

During my teen years, I saw my mother through the fiery lens of a daughter determined to make her own way. There were daily clashes over clothing, boys and school. Similar personalities fight harsh battles. But despite my teenage angst, Mom always opened our home to my friends. Teenage girl sleepovers filled our basement the majority of my high school tenure. I’m convinced that most of my dearest friendships were solidified over my mom’s Saturday morning pancakes. Although we disagreed on many accounts, I admired, even then, the love that emanated from my mom’s kitchen. She is the consummate hostess. She encourages and embraces a household filled with guests, stories and laughter. She stitched together broken hearts with her pasta sauce and cast wanderlust with her bouillabaisse. Today, food is my greatest love language also. My passion for cooking is directly linked to the nourishment she provided, both systemic and soul-satisfying, throughout my life. 

The day of my wedding, I removed the veil from my vision of my mother. In a private moment before the ceremony, she gave me a sentimental gift, looked at me in the mirror and gave me advice that came straight from her heart – not so much as my mom, but as a friend. And in that moment I saw her. I saw her tender hands and deep green eyes as separate from that of my mom, but that of a treasured confident. It was a transcendent day on many accounts; that pivotal moment between me and Mom opened the gates for what has become a deeply connected relationship. 

Just weeks after my wedding, my husband and I moved to New Zealand. We have a treasure trove of photographs from that experience. But the keepsake that most touches my heart is a photo that my husband captured of me peacefully perched on a boulder overlooking a surf-pounding Pacific Ocean with my hair blowing in the wind. I looked like my mother in the photo taken so many years before. I only hope my character is as reflective of my mother as the photo; it would be my greatest joy to pass along her spirit.

Today, there are more similarities than differences between me and my mom. Perhaps becoming a mother myself has unlocked those tendencies. I chuckle as I taste my pasta sauce, remembering her gesture doing the same as a child. I find myself cleaning the house on hands and knees the night before leaving on a trip and feel equal parts astonishment and bemusement that you can inherit those types of traits.

Knowing my mother more deeply also has meant finding myself. She is the vase of flowers I carefully arranged on a shelf vignette. She is my decision to leave the house with less makeup because she showed me by example that less is more and beauty is within. She is in the courage I use to chase my dreams, with the wings she bestowed and still bolsters. She is the voice in my head telling me to turn to God, to let my faith carry me on this journey of life and to find what makes me feel fully alive.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Megan Leanderson

Megan Leanderson grew up in the Midwest, but has since collected various addresses including New Zealand and Charlotte, NC (which will always feel like home). Currently, Megan and her husband are raising their family in Toronto, ON; they have one son and are expecting another baby in June. Megan is fond of creative projects, particularly writing and cooking. Passionate about celebrating life’s joys and adventures (both big and little), Megan blogs about both at

My Baby Had Laryngomalacia

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding baby on her shoulder

Life’s funny, isn’t it? Just when you think you’ve got the whole motherhood thing figured out, the universe throws a curveball. And, oh boy, did it throw me one with my second baby. There I was, feeling like a seasoned mom with my firstborn—a healthy, vivacious toddler who was 16 months old. Our breastfeeding journey had its hiccups, an early tongue-tie diagnosis that did little to deter our bond. Fourteen months of nurturing, nighttime cuddles, and feeling powerful, like my body was doing exactly what it was meant to do. Enter my second baby. A fresh chapter, a new story....

Keep Reading

Please Stop Comparing Kids

In: Motherhood
Mom and kids in sunlight

Let me begin with this important message: Please refrain from comparing children, especially when it pertains to their growth and development. If you happen to notice differences in a child’s height, weight, or appetite compared to another, that’s perfectly fine. Your observations are appreciated. However, I kindly request that you avoid openly discussing these comparisons as such conversations can inadvertently distress a parent who may already be grappling with concerns about their child’s growth trajectory. Trust me, I say this from personal experience. Recently, at a dinner gathering, a couple casually remarked that someone’s 1-year-old child appeared larger both in...

Keep Reading

This Will Not Last Forever

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman looking at sunset

“This will not last forever,” I wrote those words on the unfinished walls above my daughter’s changing table. For some reason, it got very tiring to change her diapers. Nearly three years later, the words are still there though the changing table no longer is under them. While my house is still unfinished so I occasionally see those words, that stage of changing diapers for her has moved on. She did grow up, and I got a break. Now I do it for her baby brother. I have been reminding myself of the seasons of life again. Everything comes and...

Keep Reading

She is an Anonymom

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother standing at sink holding a baby on her hip

She stands alone in the church kitchen, frantically scrubbing pots and pans while the grieving huddle around the fellowship hall, and she slips out the back door before anyone comes in. She is an anonymom. She gets out of her car and picks up the trash thrown into the ditch alongside the country road. She is an anonymom. She sits on the park bench, watching her children play. In the meantime, she continually scans the whole playground, keeping track of everyone’s littles, because that is what moms do. She is an anonymom. RELATED: Can We Restore “the Village” Our Parents...

Keep Reading

You Made Me Love Christmas

In: Motherhood
Family in pajamas near Christmas tree, color photo

Hi kids, this is a thank you note of sorts . . . I’m about to tell you something strange. Something you may not “get” yet, but I hope you do eventually. I used to dread Christmas. I know, isn’t that weird? Most kids and a lot of adults have countdowns and decorations and music, but I had a countdown in my mind of when it would be over. To me, it wasn’t a happy time. From the age of about eight (right about where you all are now) Christmas, for me, became like a job of sorts. Long before...

Keep Reading

I Come Alive at Christmas

In: Motherhood
Kitchen decorated for Christmas

It’s time again. Time for the lights and the trees and candy canes and tiny porcelain village homes. It’s time to shake off all that this year has thrown at me and come alive again. My favorite time of year is here and it’s time to make some magic. My mom started the magic of Christmas for me when I was little, and I was infatuated with the joy that it brought to so many people. Loved ones come together and everything sparkles and people who don’t normally come to church are willing to join us in the pews. Everything...

Keep Reading

Brothers Fight Hard and Love Harder

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys play outside, one lifting the other on his back

The last few years have been a whirlwind. My head has sometimes been left spinning; we have moved continents with three boys, three and under at the time. Set up home and remained sufficiently organized despite the complete chaos to ensure everyone was where they were meant to be on most days. Living in a primarily hockey town, the winters are filled with coffee catch-ups at the arena, so it was no surprise when my youngest declared his intention to play hockey like his school friends. Fully aware that he had never held a hockey stick or slapped a puck,...

Keep Reading

Stop Putting an Expiration Date on Making Memories

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and son in small train ride

We get 12 times to play Santa (if we’re lucky). This phrase stopped my scroll on a Sunday evening. I had an idea of the direction this post was going but I continued on reading. 12 spring breaks 12 easter baskets 20 tooth fairy visits 13 first days of school 1 first date 1-2 proms 1-2 times of seeing them in their graduation cap and gown 18 summers under the same roof And so on and so on. It was essentially another post listing the number of all the monumental moments that we, Lord willing, will get to experience with our...

Keep Reading

Connecting with My Teen Son Will Always Be Worth the Wait

In: Motherhood, Teen
Teen boy standing near lamppost, color photo

So much of parenting teens is just waiting around, whether it’s in the car picking them up, reading in waiting rooms now that they are old enough to visit the dentist alone, and quite honestly, a lot of sitting around at home while they cocoon in their rooms or spend hours FaceTiming friends. Sure, you have your own life. You work, run a household, have your own friends, and plan solo adventures to show your teen that you’re not just waiting around for them all the time. That you are cool with them not needing you so much. But deep...

Keep Reading

This Is Why Moms Ask for Experience Gifts

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter under Christmas lights wearing red sweaters

When a mama asks for experience gifts for her kids for Christmas, please don’t take it as she’s ungrateful or a Scrooge. She appreciates the love her children get, she really does. But she’s tired. She’s tired of the endless number of toys that sit in the bottom of a toy bin and never see the light of day. She’s tired of tripping over the hundreds of LEGOs and reminding her son to pick them up so the baby doesn’t find them and choke. She’s tired of having four Elsa dolls (we have baby Elsa, Barbie Elsa, a mini Elsa,...

Keep Reading