My Beloved Mom (& Mother’s Day Gift Ideas)

Beautiful River

Beautiful River; 2014; 12″ x 9″; mixed media: watercolor, ink, acrylic. Painted in honor of my mom.

In 2007, I stood on the banks of the Nile River with my mother. It was a magic life moment that came to symbolize so much of my admiration for her. She is one of the bravest people I know. I wrote about the experience in this post: A Beautiful River in Uganda, excerpt below:

“It felt somehow significant to visit the source of a mighty, world-traversing, and history-changing body of water with my mother.

During my childhood, she was the calm and gentle water flowing steadily through sunflower meadows. Sometimes she was the sandy haven-depths, far below icy winter’s angry grasp. When it came time to launch me into the sea, she sang a second-birth song and blessed me with all her strength. Once my mother was the river surrounding me, now she is the powerful ebb and flow within my heart, currents of courage and inspiration.

During our trip to Kenya and Uganda, and always, she is the beautiful river who carries me.”

In my previous post, I wrote about my mom in relation to me; but what I didn’t describe is her love for my father.

They married young. She was 18, and he was 20. They scoffed at the warnings of those older and “wiser;” and then they defied the odds. Forty-four years later, they were more in love than ever.

But, their journey was not without suffering. At age 54, my Dad, healthy and strong as a man half his age, suddenly suffered a severe, life-threatening stroke. I’ve written extensively in this blog about my own journey through grief (entries accessible through the tag “grief” and “a father’s love”).

During the decade after that traumatic event, my mom waged a mighty war of love. Thrust into care-giving far too early, with all its shattering demands, she daily walked it out with courage and unwavering devotion. When my dad died ten years after his stroke at age 64, after 44 years of marriage, she handed me, my husband, and my children a legacy.

We know what real love looks like.

She is a force quiet and unassuming as the start of the Nile. Standing on its banks during that 2007 trip to Uganda, she and I watched a peaceful flow of water, completely devoid of any indication of its power to shape the world.

And likewise is she.


In case you are searching for a unique and meaningful gift to honor a special woman for Mother’s Day, Perhaps these prints will express the language of your heart to a loved one.

All prints listed are limited editions of 100 or less, signed and numbered, include a 1” deckle-edge border and a certificate of authenticity, and are sized to fit standard-sized frames when mounted on a background mat. Please allow 2 weeks processing time.

Visit Pamba Toto to order, or click the print title. And if you are interested in beautiful hand-crafted items made by Kenyan artisans, check out Pamba Toto’s other products! Pamba Toto profits benefit Hope’s Promise’s Sanctuary of Hope family-style homes for orphans in Kenya.

You can also visit my Etsy shop where I’ve included some originals in the inventory.

Links to the original blog entry for each painting are included in the photo captions.   


celebrate someone in “flower language”: a tulip bouquet represents elegance and grace


Tulips; 2014; 15″ x 22″; watercolor. Privately owned.

Joyful Surrender

celebrate someone who spreads joy wherever she goes

joyful surrender lo res

Joyful Surrender; 2014; 29″ x 21″; mixed media: watercolor, acrylic, pastel. Privately owned.


honor someone who lays down her life for others

Offering final lo res

Offering; 2016; 16″ x 20″; mixed media: oil-based ink, watercolor, and acrylic.

A Tree Planted By Water

affirm someone whose life evidences roots growing deep, or perhaps encourage someone that her trust in the Lord is not in vain

A Tree Planted by Water 2

A Tree Planted By Water; 2015; 20″ x 28″; watercolor.

Holy Ground

express gratitude to someone who changes the world through her faithful relationship with God

holy ground

Holy Ground; 2014; 22″ x 30″; watercolor. Privately owned.

Safe Passage

encourage a mother who longs for her child’s safe passage in life, or perhaps honor someone who has helped you find safe passage

Safe Passage

Safe Passage; 2013; 11″ x 17″; mixed media: ink, watercolor, pastel.

Sifted Into Gold

reassure someone that her sufferings for another for the sake of love are never wasted

sifted into gold 2 lo res

Sifted Into Gold; 2014, re-worked 2015; 21″ x 29″; mixed media: ink, pastel, watercolor.

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