The Influence of Mothers

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Be a Mother Who is Committed to Loving Her Children into Standing on Higher Ground…

be-a-mother-who-is-committed-teddy-1364124I have come to believe in the power and influence of mothers. What we teach (or don’t teach) our children determines the welfare of our nation and of our world. Holding a child who needs comforted, protecting a young child from dangerous actions, changing dirty diapers; being there through thick and thin communicates more to the development of that child than any mortal can fully comprehend. In that light, I want to share an article written by Erma Bombeck about mothers that I truly love. I hope all of the mothers (biological and otherwise) out there have a wonderful day!

“When God Created Mothers”

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of “overtime” when the angel appeared and said. “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”

And God said, “Have you read the specs on this order?” She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts…all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said. “Six pairs of hands…. no way.”

It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” God remarked, “it’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”

That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. God nodded.

One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”

God,” said the angel touching his sleeve gently, “Get some rest tomorrow….”

I can’t,” said God, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick…can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger…and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower.”

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.

But tough!” said God excitedly. “You can imagine what this mother can do or endure.”

Can it think?”

Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.

There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model.”

It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “It’s a tear.”

What’s it for?”

It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”

You are a genius, ” said the angel.

Somberly, God said, “I didn’t put it there.”
Erma Bombeck, When God Created Mothers

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Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Mother's Day 2014Happy Mother’s Day and a huge heartfelt thanks to all mother’s of every kind who sincerely seek to improve the world and make it a better place by loving and nurturing the children of our world!

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What Shaving My Legs has to do with Living a Great Life! A Glimpse of Heaven

It is summer time and its shorts season and that means I have to shave my legs more frequently (unless I want to gross out a lot of people). I have this habit of looking for the symbolism in the ordinary events of life. Believe it or not – I believe that there is some profound symbolism to be learned from shaving my legs!

The other day, I was sitting at the lake with my family and I looked down to see a tiny little forest of hair on one of my legs right behind my ankle bone. I was so grateful that only family was around and horrified by what I was seeing! My little forest was not just a few nubs of hair – every hair in the grouping was at least ¼ inch long (long by leg shaving standards!). It was obvious that although I shaved my legs almost every day that I was consistently missing that certain area of my leg.

Now the reason for this story is not to horrify you with what you might be picturing in your mind (of my leg) but to explain the symbolism I see in this event. In analyzing how my forest of hair came to be – it is obvious that way too often I shave my legs on autopilot. In other words, I shave the same places in the same order without really looking at the “Big Picture” or taking the time to really see what I am doing.

I think life is too often lived on autopilot too. But life is too precious to be lived on autopilot. If we don’t make the effort to really see what is going on around us and to recognize our blessings we miss out on sooo much!

Let me share an example with you. Not long ago I was at a water complex with all of my grandchildren and their mothers. It was a fun for me just sitting on the side of a pool and talking to my daughters and daughter-in-laws. Then it occurred to me that I was missing some great photo opportunities and I took my camera and went searching for my grandchildren.

It was not long before I came across one of my four year old granddaughters. She was in a part of the complex called the river all by herself. She had a life jacket on so she was not in any danger but she was surrounded on all sides by large numbers of people who were much bigger than she was and I could see in her face that she was feeling really overwhelmed.

I called out to her and she reached out to me. She quickly asked me if I would stay with her. I did stay with her and what a learning experience that was for me. Her little four year old self wanted to be both independent and to have safety and security. She would hold onto me for several minutes and then she would let go when she started feeling secure. That process repeated itself many times over and it was such a teaching experience for me. I already knew her well enough to know that she had a strong desire to exert her independence but I learned how important it is to her for me to be a support to her – even when she is trying to “do it myself”. My time with her in the river became a really special bonding time. She may be only 4 but eventually she will be 14 and when she is, I believe my influence with her will be much greater because of the time that I am spending with her now.

Had I continued on “autopilot” at the water complex, I would have still had a great time with my family members but I would have missed out on a really precious moment in my life.
Who would have thought shaving my legs could teach me so much! …What a reminder for me to be on the lookout for more precious opportunities and to be more aware of what is going on around me!

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My Grandmother’s Example – A Glimpse of Heaven

I learned the importance of example through my grandmother.  My grandmother didn’t just tell me what she believed – she lived it. Her guidance came backed with the stamp of her example.

I never remember having any conversations about the do’s and don’ts of life with my grandma.  No deep discussions…our interactions were more filled with working together (if you call making cookies and eating strawberries out of her garden work) and play time.

My sweet grandma was shaped like an inverted hour glass with not a lot of distance between her shoes and her head. She made her own butter from the fresh milk grandpa supplied from his cows, canned the proceeds from her large garden, baked her own bread, and my grandpa drove her everywhere because she didn’t drive.

I was only 5 or 6 years old when grandma’s dad passed away. Though I wasn’t very old, I understood the devastation my great grandfather’s death left for my grandma as her mother lost her will to live and the roles of mother and child were reversed.

Watching my grandmother deal with her mother after the loss of my great grandfather created some concerns for me. For years, I worried how my grandma would cope if she ever lost my grandpa. My grandpa and grandpa were true sweethearts and it was easy to imagine my grandma coping with losing my grandpa just the way her own mom had.

I always wondered why my grandma made sure that she attended the funeral of every family and community member in her small community. My grandma was not a stranger to death. She lost 3 children before they reached the age of 2. It took me several years to realize her attendance at so many funerals was not a result of pre-occupation with death but a desire, on her part, to be of comfort to those she knew and loved.

After we lost grandpa – grandma showed me what she was really made of. One of the first things she did was take driving lessons and, from what I understand, grandma’s biggest driving challenge was seeing over the dashboard – no problem with the other essential driving skills! In those months after grandpa died, grandma pulled herself up by her bootstraps and she forged ahead. She had always taught me about eternal families and the way she moved ahead with her life let me know that although she greatly missed her sweetheart – she knew that their parting was temporary and that she needed to step up and take care of business in his absence.

It was less than a year after my grandpa died that grandma had her first stroke. Once again, she showed the mettle she was made of. Instead of giving up, she was fully cooperative with her rehabilitation therapy. Her doctors predicted a full recovery.

The last time I saw my grandma I had one of those rare moments where the exchange we had did not need words but only holding hands. As I looked into her eyes, I knew that she was telling me good-bye. The way that she squeezed my hand, looked into my eyes and smiled at me communicated to my spirit that she knew her time had come and that I needed to know that she would be okay. Grandma had a massive stroke within a few days of my last visit.

I never recognized the example my grandma set for me until she was gone.  In fact, some of the most memorable examples she set for were in the last few months of her life.

At her funeral, it was noted that her last and final church calling (job) had been working with the infants and toddlers in her ward nursery. She served as nursery leader in her ward until she had her stroke. She never complained or said she was too old – she simply embraced and loved the little children that she worked with.

My grandma did not have a lot of material wealth. I still chuckle when I think about the colored tricot underwear my brother and boy cousins received one year for Christmas (well before colored underwear for boys was considered fashionable)! As the grandmother of 30+ grandchildren and 6 living children – my grandmother spent endless hours making gifts for her family. She worked hard to make her gift-giving budget stretch – she worked even harder to show her love through her hand-made gifts.

My grandma was not a perfect woman but she knew that how she lived mattered. She had mortal flaws like anyone but she consistently made an effort to be the kind of person she believed God wanted her to be. Her example taught me that when life hands me difficulties – it’s okay not to have a perfect understanding of how to handle those trials as long as I am trying to do my best and I am utilizing the correct source of help (God). She provided me with an example of can do not give up. She showed me that giving of self is more important than giving of things. She believed in eternal families and when loved ones were lost – she did not question those beliefs she simply confirmed them by her actions. And possibly the greatest example my grandma set for me was in showing me that it is through the small acts, the little courtesies, and the insignificant events that never make news headlines that this world is made a better place and I am made a better person. What a blessing to recognize that by coming to understand what my grandmother has taught me through her example – I have been granted another “Glimpse of Heaven”!

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