This past weekend my mom celebrated another birthday! Twenty five! ( We are actually going to be the same age! Who woulda thunk it!) I was able to go home for the weekend to be with my family, and we had a wonderful weekend at home where we got to go kayaking and hot-tubing and eat wonderful food on our deck and at Olive Garden and play some crazy card games with cousins. It was some wonderful family time and I could not have imagined a greater or more relaxing and fun weekend, and we even bought the dog a tiny cowboy hat! What more could one want?!
I realized though, that after all the presents were given and the day was coming to a close, I had forgotten to include a card or even write anything on Facebook! This is unusual for me since I always love to write something special down for my friends and family to try to communicate what they mean to me, though I always fall short! And with my own mother, I could never write down all the ways that she is amazing or everything she has done for me in my life! BUT! I am going to try and write SOME things down so that others might get a small glimpse of the amazing woman that I am ever so blessed to call Mom.
“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:” Proverbs 31:28
Where to even start! Well first I think my mother has an amazing testimony. As a child her father suffered of a mental illness and was abusive towards her mother or not present in the home. He ended up leaving when my mom was young, and so her own mother became a single parent. At a very young age, my mom embraced the idea of God as her father, and clung to that promise with all her strength. I have never seen another person with such an unwavering, trusting, childlike faith as my mom has displayed her whole life. Not once have I ever seen her doubt God or question that He would provide, and indeed throughout her life God HAS provided over and over again. When she was 16, living with just her and her mother and in high-school while also balancing a job, she left her mother one day to go to work, making sure she was comfortable in bed and cared for as her mom had the flu. A few hours later when she returned, she found her own mother dead in her bed. Her mom, my grandma, had been fragile and somewhat sickly for most of her life, yet no one expected something simple like the flu to take her life. Once again my mom clung to God as her life was thrown in to turmoil and she went to live with her grandparents. Yet still she pressed on, finishing high-school, then going on to finish college! After college she did ministry in and out of the states, from teaching with Child Evangelism Fellowship, to going on a long term trip to the Philippines. She served the Lord for nearly 10 years before moving to California and meeting my Dad. After hardly a year of marriage I arrived, and brought the party with me of course, and after that everything was awesome. Well… almost. My mom became a stay home mom, and I am pretty sure that I was a full time job. Which is why I have NO idea why they decided to have ANOTHER kid, but a few years later along came Michaela to RUIN the party. If I was a full time job, I am pretty sure Michaela was THREE! Yet somehow mom still had the energy to start a daycare for other kids, home-school us, AND take care of my father! (My hat goes off to you mom! I have no clue how you did it!) Yet she did do it, and somehow with a smile always on her face and a cheery disposition. If ever there was a woman that portrayed the Proverbs 31 woman, it was my mother. She worked from morning to night to care for us. We always had nice homes that were kept (reasonably) clean, despite mine and my sisters best efforts… She cooked delicious dinners and was always looking for little ways and side businesses to bring in a little more money for her family.
She has the gift of being not only a wonderful and gracious hostess, but also of making anyone feel comfortable and special. To this day we still all stand in confusion as we leave mom somewhere for not even ONE MINUTE and SOMEHOW she is talking to them like they are her best friend!?! Like, I left you in the grocery line for 10 seconds to grab this coke! Why are they telling you their life story!?!?! I have always sworn that mom should have been the counselor (not dad), because she can get anyone to open up and start talking about their life and problems in mere minutes. Indeed, I have seen my mom comfort and be a sympathetic shoulder to many of her friends over the years, always available to talk or simply listen whenever a person was in need. And of course she was always there for me when I needed to vent or needed advice. Both my parents made SURE to be present in the home and involved in our lives. They chose to not only home-school us, but to consciously raise us up in the Word of God and “the way we should go”. They worked hard to provide for our needs, yet were careful not to spoil us and instead to teach us good work ethics. God was good and provided a family business for us that meant my mom could not only work alongside my dad, but my sister and I could also work with them and learn from them. Nothing like your dad also being your principle AND boss am I right!!? Woot woot! (Yes, that was some serious sarcasm there…) But back to mom! This meant that our family was ALWAYS around each-other, which meant we certainly had our fair share of arguments and “disagreements” (NOT fights our parents would inform us). Now mom was always pretty slow to anger, though when she did finally get angry is was about the scariest thing in the entire world! It was run for cover, smoke everywhere, crouch in the corner, bomb sirens going off scary, because you must have done something REALLY terrible to finally make mom blow up! Haha. But those times were extremely rare and probably well deserved, and most of the time mom was an expert at keeping her cool and knowing when to shut her mouth. Watching her navigate “disagreements” with my father was rather fascinating sometimes, but she knew how to diffuse most situations gracefully, and when to walk away from a subject or leave it to be discussed for another day. She was an amazing example of a woman who was strong, yet who chose to submit to her husband even when she did not agree, and I think God truly blessed her for that.
Like every woman, mom desired to be fit and beautiful. Our Scandinavian heritage has meant that we are bountifully blessed in the curves department, yet mom always worked hard to strive for good health and to teach our family how to be healthier. She was and still is always looking for new ways to make food healthy and delicious! She also makes sure that she is always classy and presentable, from wearing stylish yet age appropriate clothes, to trying out fun cuts and colors with her hair. She also taught my sister and I how to do nice and natural looking makeup without looking like we had joined the circus. She was a wonderful model of beauty mixed with modesty. She had her struggles with insecurity about her appearance, yet never once wavered on her self worth because of it. My mother taught me that my worth and confidence lie not in my looks, but in God who chose me and loves me unconditionally. I would not be the independent and confident person I am today if I had not been blessed with such an amazing person as my mother.
To this day I will sit and watch as mom puts on her makeup and fusses with her hair, and laugh as she comments on the growing wrinkles or the gray hair poking out. Yet I honestly mean it when I say, “Oh mom, you still look beautiful though! You don’t even need that makeup!” For I don’t hardly notice the wrinkles or the gray hairs. I simply see my mother, the kindest, sweetest, most caring, giving, loving and Godly woman I know. A woman who has blessed the life of each and every person she has ever known and who has had the honor to know her. I have never met a single person who did not love my mom, but none could ever know or lover her like I do.
Thank you mom for being who you are and for being such a wonderful example of a woman/mother/wife to me, and for your unconditional love you have always shown me. I hope to one day be half the person you are, or to have even half the faith in God that you do. “Many women do noble things,but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31:29
I love you mom, and happy birthday!