“The reason one writes isn’t the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald


"But how could you live and have no story to tell?" ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky


"Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph" ~Matt Hardy


“A mother keeps a garden of the heart, planting the seeds of faith and character that give her children hope and purpose for the years ahead.” ~Anonymous


“If your story is never told, it becomes something else...forgotten.” ~Anonymous

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Tribute to My Mom

My mom is amazing, but I didn’t realize just how strong, determined and dependable she was  until I had my own children. One day during a visit shortly after I gave birth, I was exhausted and my husband jumped up to change our firstborn son’s diaper. My mother, watching all this taking place, turned to me and said “You have no idea what you have.” With tears in her eyes, she went on to tell me (which I already knew but had a much bigger impact on my life now that I was a mom), how she raised 3 small children as a single mom. Changing every diaper, feeding every mouth, cleaning every mess, working and carrying the weight of those lives in her hands in our early years.

My mom remarried when I was ten.  She married a wonderful hard-working farmer from North Dakota.  As a young girl, it was a bit scary having a big man in the home. That masculine roughness was something very foreign to three young lives.  We'd never experienced that before.  My wonderful mom juggled the new act of wife, mom and go-between, as she helped us become accustomed to a "dad".  There were good times and there were harder times. Yes, she made mistakes...and every mom out there yells a resounding  "Amen"...what mother doesn't  fall short and wished she'd done it different.  But through it all, she was mom....and we all knew her love was unconditional and she would always be there for us.  I had someone recently say no human could have "unconditional" love for someone else.  I disagree....I have unconditional love for my four children.  Because no matter what they do...they can disappoint, they can anger, they can deeply move me, but I will NEVER STOP LOVING them!  (Another "Amen" ladies!)   My mom is now in her latter years...she still carries that unconditional love in her heart for me and my siblings as our lives have taken very different routes.

My husband and I have raised four wonderful children.  There have been adventures; rough times, good times - thick and thin times. Times when all you could do was laugh....times when only tears would bring comfort.   Most lessons in my life have been deeply imprinted on my soul through the years of mothering.  Aside from my constant need for God and His wisdom, there have been several women through the years who have inspired me in my mothering.  But one lady, who turns 85 this coming July, stands above the rest...

26 years ago, I stood watching my husband hold and sing to our first-born son and I was overwhelmed with love for the woman who “did it all alone” and the man “who was doing it with me”. That moment I believe, I loved my mom more than I ever had and more than words could ever express. She deserves more than I could ever give back to her!


Monday, May 6, 2013

MOM is WOW Upside Down :)

Today is a guest post from a friend of mine, Erin.  Her mom's story is one not so different from many moms today....single and doing it on her own.  A tough job, but one you cannot walk away from.  One that if you stick with it, will reap wonderful rewards as you watch your hard work, years of tears...and joy....be worth it all.

My mom raised my two younger sisters and I, all by herself. She taught me to be tough. To agree to disagree. To work hard for what we wanted. She made us pull a bucket of weeds, every day, in the summer, before we could go swimming. We had daily chore lists to be accomplished. She homeschooled us, off and on. She taught me how to replace a toilet. She taught me how to drive. Because of her, I love to garden and feed birds. We always had pets – dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, bunnies, ducks and chickens. If we didn’t clean our rooms well, the toys we left out got taken away. We got spankings! We got grounded! I remember having to write sentences, and apology letters . . . and thank you letters. As soon as I started earning money, she required a ‘room and board’ monthly payment. She taught me how to cook. She raised my sisters and I to be responsible, and respectful.

The biggest things that have always been a part of our lives, as mother - daughters, was humor, fun, and spontaneity! Somehow, as a single mom with three, whiney little girls, and very little money, my mom still managed to provide for our needs, ....and teach us to enjoy life.

We had fun. My mom would take us camping, for weeks in a row, every summer. In a tent. With a rat terrier dog, and a hatchet under her pillow at night. We bathed in the river. We went to the beach. We drove down dirt roads, up the sides of mountains, to go exploring or picnicking! We hiked at Silver Falls. We swam in creeks. We slid down huge rock query piles! She let us play in the rain in our swim suits! She spray painted poison oak, so we wouldn’t accidentally walk through it. We jumped in puddles in parking lots. We sang in the car. Twice during my childhood I remember seeing my mom run – once, to rescue my three year old sister who almost drowned at Siletz Bay. The other time, was to jump in the Brightenbush River to save a Frisbee.

Through the years my mom has been mommy, discipliner, friend, confidant, mom and dad, teacher, enemy, boss,  . . . yet always Mom. Always Wow. I don’t think I could ever do what she has done. She’s raised three girls. She’s experienced love, life, loss, sickness, health, pain, hurt, laughter . . . and she’s lived. And she taught her daughters how to live. She raised me. She taught me how to be responsible, respectful, and have fun and enjoy life!

WOW, Mom! You amaze me! Thank you for teaching me how to live AND love life! 

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!
I love you!

Erin Fern

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Mother Worthy of Honor

Our third mother in the line of mothers we are honoring is another lady in Scripture.  Her name means "grace" or "favor..He has favored me".  


For those not familiar with her story, you can read it in the Old Testament, 1 Samuel 1 & 2.  I've always been inspired reading about Hannah.  A woman who lived in anguish every day, hoping, wanting and being taunted because she could not have what most other women around her had.  A child.  Two other women in Scripture also grieved over not having children.  Sarah and Rachel.  But unlike them, Hannah didn't take matters into her own hands....she took her anguish and sorrow directly to God.   Even in the place of prayer, she was misunderstood (1 Samuel 1:12-16).  Despite this, her place of comfort and consolation was on her knees and on her face before God.  When Eli speaks a blessing over her, she leaves her place of sacrifice "her face no longer being downcast".    Scripture doesn't say she want away confident she would have a child, but that she was comforted.   

Who else can give a woman (or a mother) the comfort she needs in times of deep pain and anguish.  In times of desperate wanting.  In times when we feel there is not a soul on earth who can identify with our pain, or our longing?  No human can give us what we need....no husband, no friend, no false comfort, only the Father who knows, sees and understands all.  Sometimes, I feel like us moms carry the burden of those we love and have cared for so deeply, far deeper and heavier than any burden we have ever experienced.  When those we love, hurt.....we hurt.  When those we brought into life cry deeply, we cry deeper still.  I think there is a large portion of our heart implanted in their hearts.  That will never change.  Hannah inspires me.....she knew where to go for her comfort.

And amidst the ongoing days of our lives, God shows up.  Maybe not always in the way we wished, but He does show up.  When Hannah finally bore that son she desperately hoped for, she had words of praise that echoed down through history, so far down that Mary the mother of Jesus poured them forth from her soul as well (1 Samuel 2 and Luke 1:46-55).  We join the multitudes of women and mothers through the centuries as we praise Him for showing up.  

And then, she gave her son to God.  She didn't hang onto her blessing selfishly, she did what she had promised.  Her son, Samuel, would belong to God all the days of his life.  Once she had weaned him, she took him to the priest, Eli, and he lived and served Eli and God as a boy.  He grew up in a place of serving, worship and sacrifice.  He was the last of the judges of Israel and he anointed the first two kings, Saul and David.  Samuel, the much wanted and prayed for son of Hannah, lived out God's purpose for his life because of a mother who loved him deeply, but loved God deeper still.  A woman of faith....a woman of prayer....a women of obedience.  And God gave her more children (1 Samuel 2:20-21).   

Hannah is not a woman of faith because she bore a son.  She is a woman of faith because she sought God.  She trusted God.  In her deepest distress.  Only HE could answer.  Only HE could bring the consolation and purpose in life she desperately prayed for day and night.  And HE had far bigger plans for her son than she could have even imagined.  

Hannah, a woman of faith, a mom of prayer, a woman of obedience, a mom who loved and cared for her son from afar.  And a mom we honor today, nearly 3,200 years later, her faith, her trust, her obedience, her prayer life....still speaks.  Thank you, Hannah. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Remembering Mom... and Knickers

Today I'm sharing a guest post from JOANIE, a dear friend of mine.  We have journeyed many years together, and during our friendship she shared her mom with me.  I am honored to share her memory in remembering a woman loved by many.....

A new longing has surfaced, developing into a little nagging regret.

I would very much like to thank my mom for the wool knickers she made me.  I so wish this seemingly novel desire would have gripped me before she died ten years ago.

I was 10 years old and the only one in our family learning how to ski.  Even though I was quite fond of my wool knickers, I just took it for granted that my mom made them for me.  Didn’t everyone’s mother know how to sew that well?  Making wool knickers for  me to wear skiing, wasn’t that just a normal duty for a mother?  I can still feel how much I adored my knickers.  The fabric, the style, the colors still so tangible, but mostly I remember that I just felt really good whenever I wore them.  Without realizing it at that time, I think I just felt so loved in those knickers - specially and uniquely cared for.  Amazingly, I can experience those same securing emotions now all over again, 47 years later, by just seeing those knickers in my memory’s vivid view.

Those two pair of wool knickers always kept me perfectly warm in our Montana winters as I bravely embraced cold snowy mountains.  However, I do think much of that warmth was that of my mother’s deep lovingkindness in which I was always so very comfortable.  One pair was soft medium gray with very thin lines of red, blue & green making a very subtle pattern.  Not garish at all, but rather nicely artistic.  I always wore them with long bright red socks underneath which was pretty much standard for skiers in those days with knickers.  My laced up ski boots also had bright red laces.  My especially tailored just for me knickers gave me a sense of confidence, a clear advantage in persevering during that early struggle of learning to ski.  My mother was a very adventurous person with great athletic ability.  Had she grown up in Montana instead of Ohio, I am sure she would have been an avid and talented skier.   Those knickers were part of her ongoing lifetime message to me, “I am with you all the way, I want you to have fun and enjoy your life.”

I wish I could thank my mom for my wonderful knickers and for all the love she sewed into their seams.  More than that I would very much like to express my gratitude for the deeper, bigger, lifelong gift those cherished knickers have been (and will continue to be) to this middle aged woman who still feels warmly loved by a deeply caring and giving mother. She gave me a strong advantage for life.  Now, I never ski down a mountain without thanking my mom for my knickers.

“My heart is full and I thank you.”

"Graphic by Broken Box Designs, LLC."

Happy Mother's Day, Liz; we love and miss you!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

She Was The First

Her name means "life-giving"  or  "mother of all who have life".   As we launch into the celebration of moms, it is only fitting to remember the first mom ever.  Yes, we think of sin and it's far reaching consequence, the apple, the serpent, the deception and fall of man - all that happened in the garden that day.  But just for a moment, remember Momma Eve.

So much could be written and has been.  Even though her choice brought pain and agony, she was also given the promise of "you will bear children".  Out of Eve, would come mankind.

She was the first MOM.

She was the first to carry a child in her womb.  Did she even grasp what was taking place inside her?

She was the first ever to feel a life growing within her body.  The first woman to outgrow her clothes..or animal skins.

She was the first to have cravings :)  Did Adam have to run out to the local bush and grab her some strawberries in the middle of the night ?

She was the first to have questions....and I wonder, was God right there to answer them?

She was the first to have labor pains.  The first to give birth....without Lamaze classes.   What was Adam like during this time?  Did he look into her eyes to calm her...did he sing softly to her?

She was the first to do the mommy thing without any books or another mom to bring encouragement and assure her she would live through this.

But Eve still knew that God was in control of her life.  "With the HELP of the LORD, I have brought forth a man."  Genesis 4:1

She was the first to nurse.  How did that first snuggle and feed happen?

She was the first to discover she needed diapers....so literally she invented the diaper :)

She was the first to deal with sibling rivalry.

She was the first mom to lose a son.  Both sons.  The first mom to experience the pain and sorrow of her son's wrong choices.

Yet, she was also the first to experience God's promises....out of her pain and sorrow came Seth...out of Seth came Noah.

So many firsts.......

As I think about mothering and the years I have enjoyed this marvelous and incredible privilege, there were older moms who mentored me.  There were women my age where we walked the journey together.  We laughed, shared stories, sometimes cried...and always prayed for our children.  We have had those who "have gone before us" to show us how to do this mommy thing.    For me, as I am sure for many of you, the Word of God, His presence and His encouragement has been our sustaining strength and well of wisdom to draw from.

Honoring Eve....and the mothers who came after.  Each day, hopefully, up to Mother's Day, I will post a story of a mom who has made a difference in our lives.  Some will be the examples in Scripture, some will be stories you send in.  Life can be noisy and very busy about now......especially if you are a "MOM"  :)      A story a day....a mom a day to honor....send me your story.  Let's laugh, maybe cry, but always remember together.

Our Mother's Day Blog-A-Thon

Email me your stories to: DebbyJD@hotmail.com and put in subject line "MY MOM" 

You can attach a photo if you would like :)   This will be fun!  And a unique way to celebrate your mom this year.   Hurry though, ladies, we are on the countdown and there are only 11 days left before the big day!  (If you need a refresher of why we are doing this, read the post before this one :)