Category Archives: Mothers

A Life Well Lived


To say that someone got their money’s worth is an understatement when it comes to my mother-in-law. There has never been a woman more motivated or curious in life as her. The whole concept of “let’s chill!” was never in her wheelhouse. She “got her money’s worth” out of the life she lived, and at age ninety-two, she remained vigilant until the end.

We were fortunate to have the last four months with her in our home (not without a battle mind you , it only took us nine years to convince her to come). She knew when she was ready, she would come. And near the end of December 2020, she was finally willing to move in with us. We were blessed to be able to minister to her with love and compassion, as she taught us about life and death, which is still a great mystery to me (the death part, I mean). As I sat there watching her only son cry and pray, sing and worship, even during his loss, and her only granddaughter take such sweet care of her, I ponder this great mystery. It’s just a faint breath between the two – life and death, earth and heaven – but it gives me hope to know we will meet again.

We spoke words of comfort, and thankfulness, appreciative of all the lessons she taught us. I’m reminded of those last moments I was with my own Mom, nothing more precious. Watching my husband’s heart full of sadness is harder. He was a fine son, and he did his best to honor her, which he did. I feel confident when I’m at that point he will love me with as much warmth and kindness as he did his Mom.

I am honored to love a man with so much sweetness in his heart. He treasured his parents so much, and he was the best son. He gave honor to his parents, and to the Lord, for them adopting him. Now for a season, like me, he is parentless. But he is not alone; we have each other and we have Jesus. I’m good with that.

His Mom was a world traveler (seriously, she was), from Paris to Kenya, and all parts inbetween. She was an amazing quilter, embroider, and crafter. She was a good cook. She taught me the whole Thanksgiving meal, which was the first meal I had eaten with her. I was impressed! The best Angel biscuits, Swiss steak, okra and coconut cake. All my favorites! And most of all, she had the gift of hospitality. One of the fruit of the Spirit, by the way, that has been lost in the shuffle these days. She taught me that, too, but way better than me. Never a person who entered the doors of her church that did not get an invitation to her home…that day even… what?! Yes, she had the immeasurable gift to welcome strangers, and maybe even angels unaware? She is known for her commitment for people to be wanted and cared for. Her heart was for world missions, and she worked hard to support missionaries near and far. She had them to her home for meals or to stay over for the night. All guest preachers who passed through, as well as the random people she met along the way, sat around her table. Endurance was her middle name. This, all while raising two children and working as an educator to grammar school-age-kids for forty-two years! (what?) Yes, she was a go getter. She told me that she nearly died as a baby, and only after they removed her tonsils did she even start to gain normal weight. Yet she forged on and never stopped. She knew life was but just a vapor and she wanted to live the best she could.

I write this in honor of her, thanking her for the impact she had on my life. She was one of the first to plant the seed of Jesus in my mind and eventually to my heart. She was a good mother-in-law to me. And she gave a good man to love me. I pray that her influence lives on through her grandchildren and great grandchildren. If you knew her, you can appreciate the remarkably strong, vibrant woman she was – even when it wasn’t cool for us girls to be so independent. She ran that pop stand and told you your job too. She was invincible! But she always honored her husband and her Lord. She was reverent to what deserved to have reverence. Her joy was in people. She was filled with that joy until the end.

Now she is home, with her beloved Jesus, husband and the rest of her people. I’m sure she will have something to add to that big supper we all will have someday. She will at least help get it organized! God Bless her heart.

Hands extended


My Mom looks at her hands constantly….she touches them, rubs and worries over them, she will even comment that her hands look so bad. I beg to differ with her…I consider them the strong symbols for a life lived, proof of her endurance.

wpid-photo-2.jpgYet she, seems surprised by the look of them….I know why, it is a daily reminder of the days lived, her age can’t  be hidden from her hands. All the beauty products in the world can’t conceal the well worn years, lipstick and blush can paint in our youth but, our hands reveal our true self.

Now that she has been overcome by the perils of Alzheimer’s, her life has shifted, she no longer is …”I am woman, hear me roar!”, a pseudo strength that propelled her to raise kids and work after divorce when not everyone was so understanding of her independence…she is although, still somewhat the master of her domain even within the realm of her small world now, it is baffling and yet touching to see these hardworking hands lend comfort to her new friends.

She extends kind words and a soft touch, holding the hands of those precious souls who have her same disease, maybe a little farther gone but, still in need of a friend. I witness hands that once cooked great food and that held my hands across my life, now helpful in the lives of others. She is showing kindness and love and actually ministering there in this home where she lives. I asked her once about her relationship with God, she quickly set me straight….”……..how do you think I ever got through my life without trusting in God!!!!!!!!” Special emphasis on the exclamation marks….she set me in my place! I will forever have hope that was her testimony and now her hands are His hands extended there in her world.

Although she frets the aged-ness revealed in her hands, I enjoy the touch of her gentle hands, the mother’s love that I long for, for which i felt I didn’t always get as much as I wanted, I am blessed to receive now. I find myself noticing my hands more, a few age spots….dang Sun worship.…now I know why Southern Belles wore those cute white gloves….should have thought that one out…oops. I am learning how important it is to connect with people, be present at the moment, especially now when the few moments I get to sit with her are running low.

Life is a gift…..our parents are gifts…..our children and grandchildren are our joy…..Life goes full circle. (I feel like I am about to break out singing The Lion King …….and no one wants that to happen!!!!)
But, I will say one line from an old song…..”put your hand in the hand of man that stilled the water…” and in the hand of someone who needs it. Thanks Mom for holding mine….still.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Put_Your_Hand_in_the_Hand

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Macklemore….what?


Over the past few months I have been entertained by an artist that would not be my usual choice. Let me preference this by saying I also have a seventeen year old so this was my avenue of introductiImageon to Sir Macklemore.

Beside the fact his music, along with Ryan Lewis, is some of the most catchy of tunes and to remember my Dick Clark Band Stand Days(ugh, I am soooo old) I would say it is easy to dance to also. That is if I could….ugh again! Back to the point, this music is very fun and easy to smile to. Mind you, I hear the radio versions usually which are minus the “expletives” thank you very much, not so much wincing! That being said, I had discerned there is more to this man, and I was right.

English: Publicity photo of Dick Clark from hi...
English: Publicity photo of Dick Clark from his ABC radio show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His independent thinking and hard work is evident in his over the top yet mind stirring lyrics and his inate charisma. The moral of the story, so to speak, is what draws me in. The next thing that got me was while at my local Kroger, I spied a copy of Rolling Stone Magazine for which our young artist was the cover. On further skimming of article my heart sank. I felt his

Kroger logo
Kroger logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

pain and it is a familiar story. This mom could relate.

mack cover

This kid has been there…in the real world…..he has earned his stripes and quick to acknowledge his need for help along the way. He is independent and amazingly crisp in his view of the world he lives but he also is only one wrong step way from destruction and knows it. I find this makes me love him even more, in the son way I mean, as the mother of four I know the life on the mean streets is tempting and always ready to welcome a lost soul.

When I read about a person who has and is overcoming their destructive “bents” I am encouraged, even enamored by his grit. I know how hard it is and I do not know if his strength is God Centered or not. I assume there had been some influence since he was raised Catholic, maybe a inner peace that God is there to help. I don’t know nor is it my place to judge. He was raised with a lot of diversity in his life and in saying this I am reminded of songs by one of my favorite “Christian artistsDC Talk (Toby Mack)….. for which my kids loved way back when, as well as I did too. They were standing for God and equality and diversity and every one of us allowing people to find their way. God is working on me and everyone else, none of us are at the same place at the same time….until we get to heaven!

My admiration for this young man may seem silly, I am not his demographic but I am the mother of his peers and I am impressed with his rise and fall and rise again, with his weaknesses as well as his strengths and most of all with his decisions to go forward, clean, free from the things that pull him away from his calling……. Speaking truth to a generation who so badly yearns for it. I respect his love for people, same or otherwise and his confidence that we are all in this together and we might as well get along.

Kudos, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, at least for giving us/we/the thrift store shoppers clout! Love it!!

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Mama’s Perfect Biscuits


EDITORS NOTE: This is pulled from my Sisters Blog: GOOD OLD GIRL–give it a look, you won’t be sorry!!!

Mama's Perfect Biscuits.

Our legacy


In a week of so many highs and lows, it is nearly impossible to put into words the joy and grief. My week began with a great high, a personal success, a soon to be finish of a season of awful pain. By mid-week that joy was made complete, a mother’s heart was made whole again.

My joy came to a screeching heart by the next morning at the news of a horrific crime, someone else is catapulted into the depths of pain and fear and loss. The shock, of so many innocents to fall at the hand of a sick person, who himself was lost in his own pain.

My mind can not contend with this kind of sorrow, I do not allow myself to listen…to watch….to be pulled into the hype of the suffering of so many. A nation is in mourning, families at a loss of the precious children who God himself intrusted them with. What more could parents do…we never know when the last hug will be given.

Children are our legacy. Our very soul lives within the hearts of our children…their heartbeats are what keep us in pace. They give our lives meaning. Weather we have children or we are children, each one of us know the pain of loss when something like this event happens. My limited array of vocabulary can not fully express my heart.

I am a mother full of peace today because I have been given a great gift from God, but I feel the loss of so many who are lost in their sorrow, as if it were my own. Never to compare, I can’t even go there to feel that hurt, even my own losses can not stand up to you and your families emptiness.

My prayers are with you all. The Lord keep you in His embrace, Sandy Hook school families and Newtown, CT.

 

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Tradition


This year my family traveled to visit our family for Thanksgiving in East Tennessee. This is never my first choice, to travel I mean, I am a home body as a rule and especially on a big holiday. I like to be the one doing the cooking. This year though, it worked out for us to go so we did.

My side of the family had a reunion a couple of weeks ago instead of the usual Thanksgiving celebration. We were blessed to have our precious Uncle Leon and Aunt Ornella as well as cousins John and Susan, which is always a special treat for us all. They have always lived far away so when they come home it is always a joy. My Aunt and Uncle are getting up in years and I have to catch myself when I hug them to not hug too hard because the thought always crosses my mind that this may be the last time. Morbid I know. Just trying to be prepared and enjoy them as long as I can.

It is not my intent, but I rarely get to see them and I just can’t bear the thought…..I as well feel this way about a lot of people in my life. We never know when this may be the last hug or laugh or words. Since my Mom has spent the last few years becoming less and less capable of knowing all of us, I am ever mindful of just how short life is.

Energizer Bunny

This became even more relevant to me yesterday during our visit to my mother in laws home. I don’t see here as often now and when I do, it is always shocking at the amount of “slowing down” she has done. If you had asked me if it ever would have happened I would have never believed it, she was the Energizer Bunny before the bunny was….she never knew how to rest, take it easy…..always doing something. Even at a time of relaxation, she would be embroidering.

I learned how to cook for the most part from her. When I married the preacherman and moved to his hometown and was thrust amongst all the good cookin’ church ladies and I was enlightened to the world of casseroles and some of the best in Southern cooking. I mastered the Thanksgiving Dinner from my mother in law, this was the first food of hers I had ever eaten….on a trip there with my room-mate(pre-marriage) to see University of Tennessee vs Vanderbilt. Reason number twenty-eight on why I went…got to see boyfriend and check out his hometown. Mission accomplished and some great food for us hungry college kids!

It was evident this week that she is slowing down, she was more frail and smaller…..just like my own Mom, although my Moms mind is failing her, my Mom in law is still pretty sharp. It is just her body that is tuckering out. But I swear if she still wont hardly let me help her….frustrating. What is it about the

English: at 955 Airport Boulevard, near , in .
English: at 955 Airport Boulevard, near , in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

elderly that makes them not stop or rather allow us to help. I hope I will be different, I hope I allow my kids to do all they can……or maybe that is how I feel now, sorry kids!

We had our lunch at a local, very popular restaurant, The Cracker Barrel. I was amazed at the amount of people who ate out for their Traditional Thanksgiving meal.  Do people not cook anymore? The over whelming part also was the amount of elderly people. I know this restaurant is a favorite of

the elderly as well as the Hardee’s breakfast, but it seemed there was mostly older folks. It actually made me sad and wonder…..where are all the children that go with these people. Did they choose to not be there with the Moms and Dads or maybe just like us went to the other side of the families dinner. I don’t know, it just seemed like of all the people there, ninety percent of them were older.

Maybe they have just “been there done that”, cooked the big meals, had the big house destroying family get together’s, broke the bank on all the pretty foods and accessories……maybe they are happy going out to eat and just driving home, in peace and quiet. I just don’t know. I think I was the only one who even cared, probably because two of my brood were not with us, I missed them and I missed not cooking for them all. My romantic view of life tends to get the best of me when I miss my kids.

On a side note: …..I also do not even want to obsess over the amount of people who play with those little wooden games with the golf tees that are on every table; the ones that have been scattered on the floor a zillion times and put back on the table and never disinfected. Then, while I watched people over and over touch those germ laced games and then pick up their fresh hot biscuits and jelly and eat them with the same dirty fingers……ugh, STOP!   STOP I would think, yelling in my head…..then I notice my own people doing the same thing….just as I had also done before…..ewe, wish I had not remembered that part…….I must have been tired, obsessing about all that. Some days it just doesn’t help to think so much!

So in the end, I chose pork chops for my special holiday meal….seemed to be a good choice, it had to be made fresh and it was good… unlike the big piles of turkey and vats of gravy and pans of mashed potatoes that have been made for hours …there I go obsessing again! I also knew I had a great home cooked meal waiting for me in a few hours when we traveled back home at my own Mom and sisters house. Happy to report is was awesome!

Thanksgiving deems to be getting squished out with all the shopping deals….I have never shopped on this day, truthfully, I have never had a large supply of money to do shopping with and I am also pretty protective of sleep and I have large crows issues…someone always gets trampled…..it ain’t gonna be me, sista! I have great Thanksgiving memories….a day for slowing down, a long weekend, throwing a football. Watching the parades and dreaming of living in New York……oh to be a kid again, the truth is my days are numbered and I know it. Soon I too will be enjoying my meals where everyone knows my name…..not CHEERS!…but my local Cracker Barrel!

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Sister dear


I have found myself remiss!

Not that this is the first time this has happened … tends to be the normal for me these days.  Although, I did do the right thing yesterday on the historic day of my big sister’s birthday, the one thing I forgot … I am busy by the way … I am an important person! LOL Well, maybe just too busy, but, nevertheless, I omitted a very important blog post.

My tradition has been to celebrate, in words, my dear family members that have had an important day … i.e., birthday or whatever. And, I did do this in one fashion by way of her gift. But I forgot to write her a blog post for which I humbly beg forgiveness. Not to her because she would probably rather me NOT … but to myself.

I enjoy so much writing about my V.I.P.’s, and so, here is the make up!

In reference to the birthday gift … I made a lame homemade one! WooHoo, right?

What am I seven? Apparently so! But, there I went, making her a handmade gift. I think it was a hit, though, because it made us both cry! Geez we have gotten old. What goes around comes around.

Back in my younger days when I was in college and was having a “dry spell” so to speak and I would spend my Saturday nights watching “DALLAS” (which I loved, no haters out there, please) (and, yes, I am thrilled to have it make a comeback. Don’t call me at eight o’clock tomorrow night!) anyways … I would make collages.

I recycled back then. My love for magazines and love to create worked together. I would cut out words, like any good kidnapper, that were interesting and/or had a cool font … my graphics mind coming through there … and I made word collages.

Sometimes they were about certain subjects and sometimes just random. It was fun to me and they were very pretty and interesting to look at. Or, at least I thought they were. On the occasion of my Nephews graduation from high school I made him one. He probably thought … how lame!

I thought that with a collage I would say all the things to and about my sister that are sometimes awkward to say face to face. What do you do for a person who nearly raised you, when you got in the way most of the time … moving in and out on her for years? She has always had a soft heart for me, as I have for her. She has ALWAYS BEEN THERE FOR ME! ALWAYS! More than anyone else in my family, before my husband of course. Even as grown-ups she has been my sounding board, protector, and comrade in arms.

Growing up she was the coolest of the cool. She was a true real hippie back in the ’70’s when it was cool to be. These kids these days ain’t got nothing on the gang back then.

With her long auburn hair and big hazel eyes she was gorgeous and seemed to attract many cute guys … which I LOVED. Her group of friends were fun to hang around … on a limited basis for me since I was like eleven-ish and beyond. Great music to be heard and embroidered jeans and jackets … cool drawings and ART. Must be where I got it from!

I could never show her how much I have loved being raised by her. She was a trip for sure and when you are a kid without any strong basis for feeling secure, she was there for me … always.

Happy Birthday sister dear, my friend, and fellow blogger … who is whippin’ my butt in the bloggosphere … Miss-out-do-me! I am happy to relinquish  to her the braggin’ rights. She deserves it all!

Happy Birthday Sharon … and many many more!

I hope she takes a better picture and replaces this one for me … she helps me edit since I am a hopeless failure at it!!!

 

Sister dear


I have found myself remiss!

Not that this is the first time this has happened … tends to be the normal for me these days.  Although, I did do the right thing yesterday on the historic day of my big sister’s birthday, the one thing I forgot … I am busy by the way … I am an important person! LOL Well, maybe just too busy, but, nevertheless, I omitted a very important blog post.

My tradition has been to celebrate, in words, my dear family members that have had an important day … i.e., birthday or whatever. And, I did do this in one fashion by way of her gift. But I forgot to write her a blog post for which I humbly beg forgiveness. Not to her because she would probably rather me NOT … but to myself.

I enjoy so much writing about my V.I.P.’s, and so, here is the make up!

In reference to the birthday gift … I made a lame homemade one! WooHoo, right?

What am I seven? Apparently so! But, there I went, making her a handmade gift. I think it was a hit, though, because it made us both cry! Geez we have gotten old. What goes around comes around.

Back in my younger days when I was in college and was having a “dry spell” so to speak and I would spend my Saturday nights watching “DALLAS” (which I loved, no haters out there, please) (and, yes, I am thrilled to have it make a comeback. Don’t call me at eight o’clock tomorrow night!) anyways … I would make collages.

I recycled back then. My love for magazines and love to create worked together. I would cut out words, like any good kidnapper, that were interesting and/or had a cool font … my graphics mind coming through there … and I made word collages.

Sometimes they were about certain subjects and sometimes just random. It was fun to me and they were very pretty and interesting to look at. Or, at least I thought they were. On the occasion of my Nephews graduation from high school I made him one. He probably thought … how lame!

I thought that with a collage I would say all the things to and about my sister that are sometimes awkward to say face to face. What do you do for a person who nearly raised you, when you got in the way most of the time … moving in and out on her for years? She has always had a soft heart for me, as I have for her. She has ALWAYS BEEN THERE FOR ME! ALWAYS! More than anyone else in my family, before my husband of course. Even as grown-ups she has been my sounding board, protector, and comrade in arms.

Growing up she was the coolest of the cool. She was a true real hippie back in the ’70’s when it was cool to be. These kids these days ain’t got nothing on the gang back then.

With her long auburn hair and big hazel eyes she was gorgeous and seemed to attract many cute guys … which I LOVED. Her group of friends were fun to hang around … on a limited basis for me since I was like eleven-ish and beyond. Great music to be heard and embroidered jeans and jackets … cool drawings and ART. Must be where I got it from!

I could never show her how much I have loved being raised by her. She was a trip for sure and when you are a kid without any strong basis for feeling secure, she was there for me … always.

Happy Birthday sister dear, my friend, and fellow blogger … who is whippin’ my butt in the bloggosphere … Miss-out-do-me! I am happy to relinquish  to her the braggin’ rights. She deserves it all!

Happy Birthday Sharon … and many many more!

I hope she takes a better picture and replaces this one for me … she helps me edit since I am a hopeless failure at it!!!

 

Is this what is has come to?


In my effort to be a good daughter, which by the way, I fail most days…..I went over to my Mom’s this afternoon for a visit. To my joy my sister was there, also and they were in one of their usual Scrabble games. My joy was big because it is easier to be there when she is there too. It is painfully hard to visit with my Mom and it is shameful that I even say this thing. This thing that she would...”jerk a knot in me!” for even saying. My Momma, of before  Alzheimer’s,would have scolded me for such an attitude…but now she is a mere shade of her old self.

It isn’t only the Alzheimer’s to contend with but he is…. hard-a-hearin’ too, as the old folks used to call it. If I am not close by and looking at her straight on she is clueless to what I am saying. This brings up another frustrating subject. About the time my Mom started showing signs of the Alzheimer’s, my sister took her and paid for her a set of hearing aids. Sweetest thing in this world BUT….as I had guessed would happen (because I am younger and smarter!) my Mom would not even wear them! Ugh!

This of course has been a lesson in patience for my dear sister who was doing her best to love our Mom through this act of kindness. But to no avai….l she may have worn them once and no more….the cost was not cheap and at this point down the drain or still in the box, as it were. So during this visit it was me speaking, as loud as I could (and I have a big loud mouth…no comments please!) only to hear HUH????....augh!!!Jesus take the wheel!

The only good part was that every time…I would crack my sister up while saying something funny or smarmy under my breath as to not let my Mom hear me(because somehow she hears that stuff)….my sis would bust up laughing and so would I and our poor Mom siting there saying ……HUH! Bless her heart….in my sick mind it has become a sort of drinking game (without the alcohol!) for me to see how many times I can make my sister laugh after our mom says…HUH!

I am sure there is a special layer of Hell for people like me….and this will come back to haunt me when  I am eighty-three.  The conversation could not get more depressing though…(Mom)…”I have a knot on my head,…(sister) might be a mole?…..(ME)…I can call you Knot-head!…(Mom)……you would have to call me knot-face it’s on my face! Oh geez…the next time she brought it up (ten minutes later) the knot was on the other side of her head/face! Is this what it has come too? Sitting around talking about all the aches and pains we have and to top it off….. also she informed us we need to do sit ups as to lose the weight around our middles and then showed us how!….. for which my response was….”I think sit-ups are out of style now!”

I can honestly say that if what goes around comes around and I know it does (I am living proof) then good luck kids…all four of you can flip a coin to see who is stuck coming to see me on Sunday afternoon! Please know that I don’t blame you a bit….I know how you feel. What is the big deal about getting old? The big deal is we want things to stay the same…some things like our Momma’s. I want chicken and dumplins’ and chocolate pie like she can only make. That I will never get again…..bummer!I want to be able to tell her all my woes and her listen.

So to my crew….I will be with you in my heart…even if you don’t realize it and I have to say I know my Mom would be the first to gripe if this was her Mom…..actually I think she did, less than me of course because I am way more sarcastic than her….like I said, special layer of Hell waiting on me…..ouch!

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Girls are smarter!


I LOVE MY NEW HAIR-DO!

Image
Daisies are our favorite flower….and the happiest one!

Girls are always smarter and when you have a daughter that is smart it feels like you as the Mom are smarter too.

Of course it works on the flip side of that too…but that is not the point today! My girl purchased  me a new hair-do for Mother’s Day and I must say it was my favorite gift! Sorry to my three sons but let’s just be real….

Girls are always SMARTER!

No more just a fact…..thank you daughter dear! I love you BIG!

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