Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
From the Editor, December 2017

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Hands of Love by Renee Thompson. See more of Renee's work at

I've started wearing my mother's and my grandmother's wedding rings whenever I want to channel their patient, open arms of welcome. Both were known for welcoming the stranger, for pitching in when needed, and for putting aside personal needs for the good of the community. The rings are too big for my fingers—a constant reminder that I have big shoes to fill—but I've wrapped enough tape around the bands to ensure that neither slide off and that I remain focused on the task at hand.

Do you have something similar? A talisman you turn to for comfort? A mantra you repeat or an image you study that helps you find your center? Or maybe you've discovered a cause or activity in which to emerge yourself in honor of another.

May you find something to embrace this holiday season, and may that something sustain you through the coming year.

Welcome to our December issue.

P.S. Stay connected between monthly issues by subscribing to our blog or by following us on social media. See you there!


Transformation: The Return of Gandalf the Wizard by Katrin Grace
The Sound of a Calling: Annabelle by Julianne Palumbo

Natural Tan by Sejal Patel

This Last Thread by Erin O'Shea

Literary Reflections
A Box Labeled "Tinsel and Lights" by Leeny Sullivan
Essential Reading: Audiobooks compiled by Nerys Copelovitz

To Ansel on his 1st Birthday by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
Flower Stalk by Ann Tweedy
The Akedah by Joan Manheimer
the wine I have drunk by Heather Wheat
Pink by Shannon Connor Winward

A Conversation with Laura McBride by Marianne Lonsdale

A Review of Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays from a Nervous System by Leslie Contreras Schwartz
Women Bear the Secrets: A Review of 'Round Midnight by Whitney Archer

Photos by Begumia Studio, Twyla Burger, Elisabeth Liddell, Lisa Jacobson, Rudri Bhatt Patel, Renee Thompson, and Heather Vrattos

Karna Converse is a freelance writer who’s written everything from technical documentation and price proposals to newsletter articles, devotionals, personal profiles and essays. Her essays have been published in a variety of regional and national publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, Notre Dame Magazine, the Cup of Comfort and Chicken Soup anthologies, Our Iowa, and on Iowa Public Radio. She’s serving as Literary Mama‘s Editor-in-Chief from her home in Storm Lake, Iowa. She and her husband are parents to three young adults.


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As long as Renee can remember, she has loved to paint. Her art is often a personal expression of what she is going through in life. Whether being inspired by the flowers in her garden or the children in her life, she enjoys capturing that inspiration on canvas or paper.

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