Another reminder from up above, making me aware that we are not, in any way, form, or fashion, in control.
A life lesson to be learned...over and over and over again...
Many life lessons have been shared with me by my Momma...as many of you can relate, I'm sure. Over these busy holiday months, she hosted her favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. Used to having a house full of 20-40 people, this year we had 10 around her table. During this season, she also remembered her life mate, whose birthday was the week prior to Christmas. Four birthdays for four of her kids, and her own birthday this last week.
This lady has taught me, by example, just what it takes to be a "Steel Magnolia." A Southern lady with strength, determination, grace, all while looking calm and collected. You know those "Keep Calm and..." signs? That's her lifestyle. The duck gliding smoothly across the pond, with the feet moving constantly to get the job done.
"How does she do this?" you may ask. Does she quote the movie? (no, that's me and my friends) Does she tease her hair to make it look like a brown football helmet? Not anymore.
Might she believe in the power of the ability to accessorize? Of course. Here are some other ways...in list form, of course...how the woman I am blessed to call mom is made of steel but gentle and beautiful as the magnolia.
1) Self-sacrifice. Mom decided to forgo college and raise a family. Let it be known, she is one of the smartest individuals I know. The number of hours this lady has volunteered at schools, churches, nursing homes, at her sewing machine, medical alliance, delivering meals on wheels...the hours are countless.
2) Strength. This lady helped her husband through pharmacy school, and then, with 6 kids (one in diapers), moved to Kansas City, where she knew not a soul, so dad could fulfill his dream to go to medical school. She kept other people's kids, typed notes for the note pool, and did what she needed to do to keep the family going, all while being on the PTA board, of course. Then, she had a 7th kid. (thank goodness!) :)
3) Determination. When this woman puts her mind to something, she gets it done. Don't ever doubt that she won't.
4) Serving with a smile. Mom has a servant's heart. One of her gifts...making magic in the kitchen. That lady can go to her kitchen and whip out an incredible home-cooked meal for 20 in an hour if needed! Everything will taste great and all be warm and done at the same time. I don't know how it happens, but it does. And mom has used this gift to serve at church and on mission trips many times.
5) Grace and humility. Sweet mom will not take recognition. When it is bestowed upon her, she takes it with grace and humility.
6) Superhero. Even now, when I'm desperate and cry for help, mom will come in and with one easy swoop, watch the kids, bake with them, fold the clean laundry, and never once say "look what I did for you".
7) Friend. The fact that I can call my mom a friend, who I can call and share anything with, is an incredible blessing. (and even if what I'm saying is a bit "tacky", she listens with a loving heart)
8) You know how they say "Behind every great man is an even greater woman?" Knowing Dad would agree, mom was always a great support for Dad in their 53 years of marriage. Together their example of a Christ-centered marriage was evident.
9) Devotion. To God, her husband, her children, her parents, God's children...no matter size, age, race...
All of this...even as she has faced struggles and adversities along life's path, as we all do. Bringing home child #5, when her house held already 4 children ages 1, 2, 3, and 4 years old. Facing the doctor telling you that maybe you shouldn't bring your next child into the world...because they may be born handicapped. Watching children ache with broken hearts. Walking alongside a child whose child had cancer. Battling and surviving breast cancer.
This strong, beautiful, Southern steel magnolia of a lady is precious to my heart. Praying that as age continues to grow in number, I am able to give back to her a small part of what she has given me.
Mom with her 7 children, at the dedication of an educational center in Dad's honor at the hospital where he served for almost 30 years. (2009)