1. Now, my dad may have begged to differ, but my sisters and I would all agree that our good looks and charm indisputably come from our mother. She is one of the most beautiful 63 year olds I have ever met!
2. I have gained the knowledge that happiness is a choice. Growing up, we moved around a lot, leaving behind beloved friends and the comfort of familiar surroundings. My mom taught us through her example that your feelings about a situation are directly related to your perception of a situation. So, you don’t like feeling grumpy and sulky? Then stop it. Cut it out! Stop ruminating on however you felt you were wronged and get out there and CHOOSE to be happy. With my dislike for the unfamiliar and tendency to be reserved, it is a life lesson I come back to often.
3. I have learned the value of being a stay-at-home mom. My mother is a smart woman, an elementary school teacher by training, but with many different marketable gifts and talents. She could have easily chosen to work outside the home, but instead she chose to be fully available to us. Whether it was a piano recital, a forgotten lunch, a sick day at home, or meeting us at the door when we had had a bad day… she was always there and I will always be so grateful for that. In fact, my sisters and I still become easily annoyed and angered when we need our mom for some reason or another we can’t get a hold of her. We have been known to track one another down and demand “Where is mom? I need to talk to her! Why isn’t she answering her cell?” After all of these many decades, we still expect and depend on our stay-at-home-mom!
4. Serve the Lord and grow wherever you are planted.
5. Use material blessings (especially your home and ability to cook) for hospitality and to foster the Lord’s work. These two lessons were always so closely related that in talking about them they simply can’t be separated. I learned that the best way to accomplish these two things is to simply… throw a party at your house. When my parents lived in Muskegon, Michigan they built a beautiful house on the shores of Lake Michigan. We only lived in that house for 4 yrs, but some of my family’s fondest collective memories happened in that home. When I think back on that time, I remember my mom hosting medical staff office parties, numerous church picnics/beach parties, large family holiday gatherings, numerous Bible studies, not to mention all the myriads of strange and random people staying in our home with their families sometimes for weeks at a time. And when my parents moved to Oklahoma, North Carolina, Virginia Beach and then to Norfolk, my mom was the first to welcome herself to the neighborhood by hosting an open house, starting neighborhood Bible studies, and constantly, growing where she was planted, and opening her home in hospitality and service to the Lord.
6. Through all of this partying, I have learned from my mom how to make holidays and celebrations special. Growing up, Mom always took the time to make delicious food, to fill the home and table with beautiful decorations, and most importantly, to involve us in creating traditions with rich meaning. From my gluten-free bunny birthday cake, to pumpkin carving and pumpkin seed roasting, to having my sisters and I draw and color a historically accurate Thanksgiving book (that we still read each year), to making corn husk dolls, and gingerbread ornaments, and Christmas Bready Bears, and ring-a-ling rolls, and to reenacting the Christmas story using a nativity scene that she made herself, or at Easter time throwing a traditional Jewish Seder for our family so that we would understand the meaning of Passover…from all of these special memories I have learned how to create tradition and make holidays special.
7. I have learned how to serve others and the necessity of being a servant to your own family. Over the past decade, my sisters and I have benefited greatly from my mother’s willingness to serve. Mom was there by each of our sides as we learned for the first time how to become mothers ourselves. Being the only daughter who lives far away, I have probably benefited the greatest from my mother’s servitude. When I gave birth to my firstborn and was having so much trouble with the adjustments that come with new parenthood, she was there. She cleaned my house, cooked our meals, and lent me words of encouragement when I most needed them. When I wanted to come home to visit but didn’t feel up to the drive with a newborn, she drove the 10 hours round-trip to get me. When I suffered a miscarriage, gave birth again, hurt my back, when my husband dropped a 25lb weight on his toe, and when I made a move to a new home, as inconvenient as it was for her, she cleared her schedule and she was there to help me.
8. My mom has taught me how to be a bargain hunter and how to spend money wisely. Growing up, I remember feeling annoyed that we couldn’t buy candy at the movies or lunch at the amusement park. Instead, my mom would smuggle in our own treats. I remember feeling the injustice that my mom wouldn’t buy me all of the name brand clothes and shoes I wanted. Instead we were all given an annual budget to work with and once the money was gone, it was gone. This taught me at an early age the importance of delayed gratification and the importance of a sale! And now, I find myself smuggling in popcorn to the movies and bringing my family’s lunch to the amusement park…and I am great at finding a sale!
9. Besides our eyes, looks, and smiles, my sisters and I have benefited from and have inherited our mother’s spiritual gifts of discernment and wisdom. And as we continue to learn, the burden of action that comes with these gifts makes them not particularly fun gifts to possess. You see, my mother has this amazing ability to see into people’s hearts and determine the reasons behind their actions. In any given social situation, she is able to see past any facades and is aware of the larger picture. She is able to really see people. So….watch out. The Lord may use her, as I’m sure in many of your cases He already has, to reveal a truth to you that perhaps you thought you were hiding so well. It is in these times that she may look at you and put on what I like to call her “Mama Bear” voice, a voice I have heard at crucial decision-making times in my life, a voice that resonates with your core and brings tears to your eyes, and she will speak the Lord’s truth into your heart.
10. My mom has taught me what real beauty looks like. She has always been beautiful both inside and out. I will always remember little things about my mother’s appearance growing up… her beautiful necklaces that I always loved to play with, her Charlie perfume and Lilly of the Valley perfume, how beautifully she always did her make-up, and how I loved to watch her get all dressed up for fancy dinner parties with Dad. But even more than all the externals, I will always love how my mom exemplified the beauty that can only come from possessing Christian character. My mom has modeled for us what it looks like to be a Christian wife and mother, a servant of the Most High God and for that we are eternally grateful.
I love you Mom!
Linking today with Amanda’s party. Go see how other women are honoring Motherhood today!