In church, we are beginning a sermon series stemming from the movie, Courageous, we watched a couple weeks back. Today, the men were addressed as leaders in the home. Pastor spoke about how men can be courageous in their homes -- by serving their families, taking initiative, taking risks, etc. Next week -- Mother's Day -- he will speak about courageous women.
I began considering the women who surround me in life and who have inspired me at some point (or many times) along the way. I decided I want to share a little about these women here. But instead of making one long post, I think I'll try splitting things up into several posts -- for easier reading.
I've been feeling pretty helpless lately to do anything to help J and it's easy to start feeling guilty that I'm not doing enough with the other kids or with the house or whatever, while so much time is consumed with caring for J and getting her to appointments and whatever ... so I think it's helpful for me to remind myself about all these courageous women I know and how inspiring they are! I hope you find some inspiration in reading about them.
For my first Courageous Woman post, I think it's only right that I tell you a little about my mom. First of all, she's not just my mom -- I share her with my two younger sisters. So our mom is a wonderful lady who taught me so much about how to be a wife and mother. Trust me when I tell you that at least a couple of us daughters put her through so much over the years ... I'm certain it took a lot of courage, for sure, to not run screaming into the night never to look back. Thanks for sticking around, Mom.
Mom helped me stop to appreciate a lot of little surprises in nature. She pointed out sunsets and the way the moon looked at night, she talked about wildflowers and how green the grass looked. She still does it with her grandchildren on visits.
I like to think I do my part to teach appreciation of these things to our children. I'm constantly in awe of the mountains that tower to the east over Albuquerque and the way light snow blows across the roads in the wintertime, making it look surreal. I love all kinds of weather varieties (though I could do without the sand piercing my body in high winds). This is all stuff I know I got from Mom.
The courageous part about our mom is that when I reflect back on the growing up years, it seems like we struggled financially quite a bit. I remember hearing her on calls with bill collectors, negotiating payments. I remember how hard she worked doing just about any job she could find, to help our dad support the family. I remember how many times we moved around to follow the jobs available to our parents. I have been back to visit a few of the neighborhoods where we lived when I was a child, and these aren't the nicest places in town. We visited flea markets and yard sales more often than the mall. We never owned any name brand clothing that I recall and we ate a lot of "over toast" meals -- especially when our dad was out of town on business. But the funny part is that I never felt like we suffered because of our poverty.
I remember running out of gas one time and having to walk what seemed like forever to get some. She made it an adventure! These were the days before cell phones and I'm certain, we wouldn't have had one even if they existed. But probably, even if she'd found a pay phone, we couldn't have afforded a tow truck or some other assistance, so we had to solve the problem on our own. I don't remember her flinching or complaining -- she just took care of things because she knew she had to. She was brave, so we wouldn't know that maybe she ran out of gas because she was trying to make a tank stretch till the next payday (I really don't know).
Things got better for us in my teen years, financially, because Dad moved up at his company and so did Mom. We stayed in one house for about eight years, which is the longest I've ever lived in one place. But for me, I didn't really notice a big difference in our way of life. It's only in retrospect that I can see what our parents did for us.
Mom did such an awesome job being optimistic and creating lavish meals out of whatever leftovers were in the fridge, I didn't know that we had less than others or that we didn't live in the best neighborhoods. Mom helped make our house a home. She covered a multitude of things we lacked by using creativity and ingenuity. Her personality has always been warm and loving and with that in abundance, who needs stuff?
She was courageous because she didn't want to let us down. She didn't want us worrying about the bills or what was overdue. We were children. She kept our entertainment within a budget because she had to ... so our fun was walking to the park, feeding ducks in the town pond, baking cookies, watching shooting stars and on occasion, we got to go see a drive-in movie -- because in those days, that was the most affordable way to treat the family to the movies.
To my mom, who reads this blog regularly, thank you for your courage when times were tight and for teaching me to appreciate subtle nuances in nature and all of God's mysteries more than the stuff we purchase. Thank you for being the kind of mother you were -- loving, but firm; fun and funny; honest, but protective of my child-mind. Thank you for your positivity over the years and the way you still encourage and inspire me all the time. I love you.