Mother’s Words


Going through another day, I still recall many thoughts and ideas my Mother implanted in my mind and heart. I wonder just how long those words and thoughts I remember will continue. They have lasted 91 years now.

 We had several conversations when I came home from college, but this one is precious to me. The evening began to turn dark, and we sat together on the steps at the back door.  “Let’s wait until we see the Evening Star!”  Then she told me of kneeling at her bedroom window watching the stars appearing in the sky.  The first star she saw, The Evening Star, is the one she told all her secrets and dreams to as she grew up.  Her confidante listened and twinkled as she told her tale. 

         After my husband died, I remembered. Now, I often go to the kitchen window and peer out at the star-studded velvet sky, and praise God for the joy the stars give me.  If it is cloudy, I smile and tell God I know the stars are still shining.

         My two brothers and I often picked at each other and argued. Once Mother came outside and asked why we had to fight since she loved all of us. As I grew older, I wondered what God thinks of His people He created fighting, when He loves all of us.

         Mother had many activities and talents. As a child, she found an autoharp in the attic.  My grandmother found her there, with sweat dripping down her face as she had learned to play a melody.  Her love, fostered by her tenor-singing Dad who directed the church choir, followed her all her days. She learned to play the piano so she could accompany her Dad as he directed the choir.  She loved baking bread, making meals, sewing, often without a pattern, crocheting, tatting, and gardening.  She engaged my brothers in the canning process, and the results were jars of vegetables and fruit in the Siemens Cellar. (Gene painted the name on the ledge above the stairs at the entrance with brown shoe polish). 

         She raised flowers, spending much time watering and weeding, so she would have something to give to the ‘older people’ until she was in her 80’s. One day I asked why she loved flowers so much.  Her response stopped me short. “Because God created them.”  Then I began to study the intricate design of flowers and the many-colored smiles of flowers.

         One day I walked into the kitchen, the sink was piled high with dishes, and my chore to wash them. Mom stirred something on the stove.  I turned on the light. Mother commented, “You love the light, don’t you?” Then I read this verse: Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12.

         Mother liked for me to do the dishes her way, and at seventeen, I rebelled, and said, “When I leave, I will do them MY way.”  After Ed and I were married for almost 2 years, I stood at the kitchen sink and remembered my words. Then I noticed, I washed the dishes Mom’s way.  

         One New Year’s Eve, I came home from the youth church party at almost midnight. Mother sat alone in the living room with the Bible in her lap.  When I asked why she was up. “I am trying to find a Bible verse to live by in the next new year!” 

         When we were in the elementary school age, Mother had us memorize Bible verses.  I learned my brother Jim’s memory verse just listening to him. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:21. Then I learned mine, and still know Psalm 121:1-2 – I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

         At some point, Mother must have noticed my affinity for pride.  One evening Mother and I played a piano duet for the prelude for the evening service. Afterward, I slipped on the 3 steps coming down the platform and fell with a loud splat. As I slinked to the front pew, I kept repeating part of Proverbs 16:18… “Pride goeth before a fall…”

         Mother taught piano lessons, beginning with me. Then she began writing poetry, articles, and stories, plus Scripture songs of 42 Scriptures. She self- published three books of poetry. The last one, she wanted to illustrate and took art classes while in her 70’s.  Another book she wrote is the story of her family, The Lines Are Fallen.  My daughter Anna recently republished Mother’s book. She hopes to re-publish the poem book:  Life: Full Measure…Running Over.

         Mother also played for weddings and funerals, and for church services.

         When my Dad endured a heart attack and lay in the hospital. Mother announced to me, I am going home to sleep awhile. Astonished, I asked her how she could. Her answer? In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8.

         Mother taught me songs to sing, I’m a Pilgrim, and I’m a Stranger, I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked, Jesu, Bambino, and my favorite, Goin’ Home. My granddaughter, Jenny, sang this song for my husband’s funeral.  Goin’ home, I’m a goin’ home. Quiet like, some still day, I’m just goin’ home…

One poem she wrote contains Garden SerenityI cannot rightly call it toil, When sprigs are planted into the soil; Although I water, mulch, and hoe, God’s elements will make them grow. The plants, the sun, and even weeds fulfill my very basic needs; For when I kneel upon the sod, I have such lovely talks with God.  

         After my father died, Mother taught me one more thing.  How to grieve. My sister-in-law Barbara and I bought her a spiral notebook.  In it, she wrote

Dear Papa letters about her days.  When I visited her, I read the Papa journal and knew how she missed him. We also bought a copy of the painting of The Guardian Angel to hang in her bedroom that she enjoyed as a child.  An angel guarding two children crossing a bridge.                   
Mother contracted Pulmonary Fibrosis, and she declared this to be her Exit Lane. She told me she wasn’t afraid to die; it was the process of pain she did not like.  Her Exit/Entrance poem ends, “Though things of earth may disappear, I will not fear that final breath to walk through death.”

         Thank you, Mother, for all the things you taught me! 


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