When last I updated, my parents had just arrived for their annual spring visit. We had a great time. Mom made pie and potato salad, Dad gave me advice on how to properly refinish the breakfast table (we’ve rained a lot of abuse over that top in the last 14 years), we talked over long meals with missionary friends from Guatemala who live in the area, and even had time to do some touristy stuff and went for a walk through Duke Gardens.
And then Mom and Dad left and I had to hibernate for a while to get my bearings and so I went to my happy place which involves the couch and my nose in a book and got sucked into a trilogy of all things so life has been on the back burner while I finished the series. I wish I could recommend it to you because the story was good and complicated but OH MY WORD at the profanity and I can’t in good conscience tell you to rush right out and buy it. But the books are done and now I need to focus on the laundry and cook something other than spaghetti for the kids and get strung out on conference planning because we’re kicking off in a couple of months and I need to have some ducks in a row so that I’m not stewing over task lists and can sleep through the 3 a.m. panicked wakeup remembering phone calls to make and letters to write.
Before I get to those calls, though, it’s time for the Five and since I haven’t put Mother’s Day cards in the mail because it snuck up on me
and thank you everyone on Facebook for starting to post pictures of their mom for the reminder, today’s list is Five Little Peeks Into My Mom’s Life.
1. I have never heard my mother swear. One time, ONE TIME, she said “heck” and to this day I could take you to the sidewalk in the alley behind the Pais store in Guatemala City where she said it because it was the strongest word she’d ever said in my brief ten years of living and I stood in stunned silence and thought the universe was about to turn on its axis.
2. She pushes herself to learn new things. Back in 1980, someone gave Mom and Dad a computer to take back to the field to use in their ministry. Up until that point, any writing she did was on an old IBM Selectric typewriter with the letter balls and the correction tape and in those days computers didn’t come with preloaded software. It was all floppy discs and C prompts, baby. My mom huddled up with the two-book thick manual and started from scratch learning how to operate that ding-dang thing because there wasn’t such a thing as tech support in our neck of the jungle and wouldn’t you know it, before too long she was developing macros and shortcuts and typing in K’ek’chi on a keyboard that was built for plain ole American. I’m so proud of her for persevering through that challenge and the myriad of technology changes since then and, even at 80, she’s still tackling new frontiers such as learning how to get off the home page on Facebook, replying to a mention on Twitter, and operating her first iPhone. I’m happy to report she can now successfully attach a picture to an email and if we could just figure out a way to help her, ahem, remember her passwords, there will be no stopping her.
3. She is always prepared. You can drop by her house unannounced and there will be a casserole or a soup in the freezer she will pull out to serve you. Need something during a trip? Her purse always has chewing gum, a comb, pens, cough drops, a little film canister with Advil and Tylenol, measuring tape, a rain hat, and, because she lived for 35 years in a country without a Sheetz every three exits, a small roll of toilet paper for the times that nature calls.
Yes, she’s been back in America for almost 20 years and the toilet paper is still in there. I saw it last week. Some habits die hard.
4. She is tenacious, loyal, committed, and humble. No one knows of the countless hours, the years she has spent tutoring an immigrant family’s young sons, having them in her home weekly for reading and homework sessions, making calls to school on their behalf to get needed services, advocating to judges and social workers when times are tough, giving them a chance to succeed when others have written them off. And if you’re her friend? There’s no walking alone through the valley of the shadow of death when she loves you. She doesn’t fear the hard places in her friends’ lives and quietly supports them through their pain with her time, her presence, and, practically, a pot of potato soup. She does all this without calling attention to herself and without regard for her own personal comfort.
5. She loves the Lord her God with all her heart, mind, soul, and spirit. When I think of my mom, I see her seated in the living room in the early morning dark, a single lamp shining on the open Bible in her lap. She spends time studying her Bible and in prayer every day. The amount of Scripture she’s memorized is astounding, and she’s been known to re-memorize the same verses in different translations, just to keep it interesting.
She is an amazing woman, the glue in our family, and a wonderful example to me.
Oh, to be like her.
I love you, Mom.
Happy Mother’s Day.