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Momma’s Flowers and a Sense of Purpose

My apologies – it’s been a while since my last post. Life has a funny way of pulling you off your game and sending you running in a different direction on a whim. That’s what it’s been like since I last wrote in November. Holiday stresses, illness, and continuing to adjust to life outside the normal 40+ hour work week kept me from doing one of the things I love most – sharing stories.

This story is about how Momma’s Flowers helped me regain a sense of purpose.

This is a little 3 x 4 painting that Nancy (I prefer “Momma”) created in the mid-1970s. Dad framed it using some of the moulding scraps from his shop. She loved to dabble in paints, macrame, and simple crafts and would smear Mod Podge over almost anything she could find.

This little painting ended up with me somehow, and it’s been packed up, moved, and displayed several times throughout my life’s journey.

One of the things I promised to do after “retiring” from my career in education was to become involved with helping raise awareness and support for scleroderma research.

Oh, wait a minute… I’m jumping ahead a bit.
Let me go back a bit and tell you why this is important.

Around 1976, Momma started developing issues with the use of her hands. The skin on her fingers began to tighten and toughen as if they were petrified. Her fingers curled, and cracked at the joints to the point where she had to place Band-Aids on them. Eventually, it became difficult for her to complete daily tasks such as holding a fork or getting dressed.

And it also put an end to her painting.

The disease was extremely rare – the doctors at the time knew little about its origin and whether there was a cure. So she and dad made numerous visits to specialists over the next two years. During that time, the disease had spread from her extremities to her internal organs. She went from an active volunteer in my sixth grade class and an amazing dancer to a captive spirit, depending on a wheelchair to move about the house.

On January 3, 1978, after spending five days in the hospital with two cardiac arrests and failing kidneys, due to complications from systemic sclerosis (scleroderma), Momma passed away.

She was only 35 years old.

Flash forward over 44 years to this moment. Let’s get back to the point I made about wanting to raise awareness about this disease.

After one evening of sitting in my home/office/studio, moping around about how I felt I had “lost my sense of purpose,” it felt as if Momma spoke to me through her little painting. I looked at it, noticing how bright and cheery the little white flowers were and how I could see her initials “NT” in the bottom corner. Then it hit me.

I could take her creative expression and share it with the world… AND I could also use it to help raise awareness about scleroderma and support for a cure.

And so, I did.

I created “Momma’s Flowers” pendants and notecards. And for each one that I sell between now and June 29, 2022 (Rare Disease Awareness Day), I will donate 35% of each item’s price to the National Scleroderma Foundation.

If you’re interested in helping me support this organization, please visit my shop site by clicking on the “SHOP” link at the top of this page. You’ll find them among my collection.

…and, YES. I used Mod Podge on my jewelry. Just like Momma did. 🙂

Momma and I, sometime around 1970.

One thought on “Momma’s Flowers and a Sense of Purpose

  1. This early Sunday, sitting in a SC hotel and waiting to catch up with our daughter and grandchildren, I read again the loving story of your mother’s health journey. So obviously from the heart, it is both sad and inspiring. Your make your mother proud in many ways. “Momma’s Flowers” pendants and note cards are both fitting, creative and beautiful expressions of your love for your mother. Lead on, young lady, lead on! Thank you for your tribute and inspiration.


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