Mission Driven Stories: Grandma Moses

To youth, Grandma Moses gave this advice: “Keep in good company, always try to improve your mind and body in every way. Never lose faith in what is ahead of you.”

These were principles she not only believed in, but lived herself.

A simple farmers wife, Anna Mary Moses never dreamed she would someday become known around the world. She never laid up plans to become rich and famous, she just tried to do her duty–to God, to herself, to her family and community–at every season of her life. 

As she once said about her marriage to Thomas: “I believed, when we started out, that we were a team and I had to do as much as my husband did, not like some girls, they sat down, and then somebody has to throw sugar at them. I was always striving to do my share.”

Like many of us, Anna Mary was a mother very involved in raising her family. However, as she lived correct principles, she developed self-mastery, good character, and artistic gifts that first beautified her own family’s hearth and eventually made their way into the world’s greatest museums. 

Join Audrey this week as she shares compelling stories of a woman who kept life simple, paid attention to what mattered, and developed the gifts God gave her. 

Listener’s Guide:

Use the time stamps below to skip to any part of the podcast. 

3:20      Early Life
9:42      On Her Own at Twelve
15:30    Age Fourteen and School

17:16     A Visit Home
20:32    Thomas Moses and Marriage
23:36    The Water Fight
27:45    Roles, Women, Careers
32:54    Arthritis
34:12    Painting – The Beginning
39:33    Fame Grows
44:10    Advice from Grandma Moses
46:12    Honoring Seasons and Developing Gifts

Quotes from this episode:

“I was proud in those days, could get up such fine dinners for Mr. Whiteside’s friends who came from far off to see him. When the minister came, and I could bring out the fine linen and the china tea set and the heavy silver, then with hot biscuits, home-made butter and honey, with home-cured dried beef, I was proud.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“One day at the dinner table, after Thomas had gone out, someone threw water, then someone else. Then the battle was on, some were running out of doors, out to the pump and commenced to throw it by the bucket-full. Some ran upstairs for protection, and they threw water out of the window, nearly drowning the ones under the window. The battle grew hotter, and they threw the water into the window till it ran down the backstairs into the dining room. Then one of my sisters said she would not stand for it if she was me. I told her to let them have fun while they are young and could, it would be something to laugh about when they were old—and now they do…It was a rollicksome, happy house, and their father would join in with them, he really was one of them.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“He found me a good cook, and I found him of a good family, very temperate and thrifty. In those days we didn’t look for a man with money, but for a good family, good reputation—many of the boys were chicken thieves…Thomas just loved to work. He was handy and could do almost anything. He was a wonderful man, much better than I am, he was a Christian, always trying to do good to fellowmen.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“When my other children were born, I got the other nurse, Aunt Carrie, she took charge of everything. All I had to do was give her $10. She stayed for two weeks and did all the washing, ironing and took care of the other children too. She was a wonderful woman.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“I don’t think I ever lost my temper and got real wild like some folks, even when I was young. When I get angry, I just keep quiet and I think “Ishkabibble”—what the meaning of “Ishkabibble” is I don’t know, but it’s quite a by-word, something like ‘the devil take you.’ If you lose your temper, you do something and say something which you wouldn’t if you waited a few minutes. But a flash of temper is sometimes better than to brood over things and feel revengeful, that kind of pries on your mind when you get like that.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“I never really scolded my children… They were pretty good, mine, always.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“If I didn’t start painting, I would have raised chickens. I could still do it now. I would never sit back in a rocking chair, waiting for someone to help me. I have often said before I would call for help from outsiders, I would rent a room in the city someplace and give pancake suppers, just pancake, and syrup, and they could have water, like a little breakfast. I never dreamed that the pictures would bring in so much, and as for all that publicity, and as for the fame which came to Grandma so late, that I am too old to care for now.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“I voted for the first time before Anna went away from home. I think women should vote, they have to make a living just the same as the men do, so why should they not have a say-so? Some women are more capable of holding office than some men are…since women commenced to vote, they have more freedom. They don’t have the drudgery they used to have, too. With education and voting, they have more to say how the children should go to school. If they are going to have a career, they should have a career, but let the family business alone. They cannot fill both places.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“I believed, when we started out, that we were a team and I had to do as much as my husband did, not like some girls, they sat down, and then somebody has to throw sugar at them. I was always striving to do my share.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“Always wanted to be independent, I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting down and Thomas handing out the money—just like climbing the house in my childhood days, I wanted to be the big toad.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“One time I was papering the parlor, and I ran short of paper for the fireboard. So I took a piece of paper and pasted it over the board, and I painted it a solid color first, then I painted two large trees on each side of it, like butternut trees. And back in it I did a little scene of a lake and painted it a yellow color, really bright, as though you were looking off into the sunlight. In the front, to fill in that space, I brought in big bushes. I daubed it all on with the brush I painted the floor with. Dorothy’s grandfather, when he saw it, he made a great todo-, ‘Oh, isn’t that beautiful, that’s the most wonderful thing I ever see, don’t let anything happen to that!’ That was my first large picture.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“I started to paint in my old age, one might say, though I had painted a few pictures before. My sister Celestia came down one day and saw my worsted pictures and said, ‘I think you could paint better and faster than you could do worsted pictures.’ So, I did, and painted for pleasure, to keep busy and to pass the time away, but I thought of it no more than of doing fancy work.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“I always liked to paint, but only little pictures for Christmas gifts and things like that. Thomas had never talked about my painting, he thought it was foolish. But one night, a few weeks before his death, he came in, it was after candlelight, and he asked, “Who did that painting?” And I thought it was one of my sister’s paintings, so I said, “I don’t know, must be one of my sister’s.” He said, “That’s really good, that behind the stove.” Then I knew that it was the one I had just painted for Edward…“Oh,” I said, “That isn’t much.” “No, that’s real good.” And then he just couldn’t keep away the last few weeks, when I started to do a little painting, he was right there watching and liked it so much… I have always thought ever since, I wonder if he has come back, I wonder if he is watching over me.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“I wonder sometimes if we are progressing. In my childhood days, life was different, in many ways, we were slower, still, we had a good and happy life, I think, people enjoyed life more in their way, at least they seemed to be happier, they don’t take time to be happy nowadays.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“Keep in good company, always try to improve your mind and body in every way. Never lose faith in what is ahead of you.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“If we have faith, we can overcome it.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“I believe in family worship and the Bible.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“Families aren’t as close because they don’t keep together when they’re sent off to kindergarten.” ~Anna Mary Moses

“I have found in after years it is best never to complain of disappointments, they are to be.” ~Anna Mary Moses

Books from this episode:

Links from this episode: