Sunday, February 19, 2006

Happy Birthday to my Mother

Today, February 19th, is my mother's birthday. She is a remarkable woman. I thought that maybe the way to celebrate her birthday is to make a list of 83 facts about her - 83 is a purely random number I selected:

1. She describes herself as painfully shy as a child.
2. She married my father when she was very young.
3. They had seven children.
4. She made education a priority in our family.
5. She "made do" with very little money, and yet we never felt poor.
6. One Christmas she made matching nightgowns for us girls and our dolls.
7. When I was caught shoplifting as a teenager, she knew how guilty I felt about it and she has never mentioned since then. At the time I begged her not to tell Daddy. I don't know if she ever did. (Update: When Mother read this, she told me that she never told anyone about it - she doesn't believe in discussing negative things about people).
8. She makes the best buttermilk biscuits in the world.
9. When I was a child she made biscuits in a big wooden bread board.
10. She makes the best yeast rolls in the world.
11. When my father died in 1986, the congregation of his small Methodist church asked Mother to take on the responsibilities of being their pastor until the conference could appoint another minister. Mother said yes. Within a few weeks after his death, she preached her first sermon.
12. She felt a strong calling to be a minister, and went back to school to finish her college degree and then her Masters of Divinity degree - all after the age of 63.
13. A few years later she was ordained an elder in the United Methodist Church.
14. She started a career as a Methodist minister at a time when most people her age were retiring.
15. She is an excellent preacher and still is often asked to fill in for other ministers who are sick or who must travel out of town.
16. I've heard her preach many times over the past 20 years. She's phenomenal.
17. In some of the churches where Mother preached, there were church members who were reluctant to accept a woman as their minister. Without exception, she has won them over with her sincerity, her caring and her dedication to preaching God's Word and following God's will.
18. She still scolds me if I say "Oh God!" as slang.
19. She started using a computer in her sixties and became proficient at it.
20. She has a knack for decorating.
21. She has always had pretty legs - and still does.
22. When she was in the hospital a few months ago, the nurses commented on what young looking and pretty legs she has.
23. Each morning she walks down the driveway to get the newspaper.
24. During the walk to get the newspaper, she breathes deeply because that's a healthy thing to do.
25. For my birthday she still bakes me a chocolate pound cake because she knows it's my favorite.
26. Each of her seven children feel special and unique.
27. She loves her sons- and daughters-in laws.
28. She looks on the positive side of issues.
29. She and my father were married for 48 years before his death.
30. She has a green thumb. All the plants in her house thrive.
31. She used to collect elephant figurines until everyone gave her so many that she didn't have a place to put them all.
32. Then she started to collect miniature churches until everyone gave her so many that she didn't have room to display them all.
33. She remembers the birthdays of everyone in the family - and that's over 50 people.
34. She has seven children.
35. She has 2 daughters-in-law.
36. She has six sons-in-law.
37. She has 18 grandchildren.
38. She has 15 great grandchildren.
39. She has 3 grandsons-inlaw.
40. She has 3 granddaughters-in-law.
41. She thinks that preparing a meal for 50 people is no big deal.
42. She lived with trigeminal neuralgia for years before getting some relief through surgery in 2001.
43. She likes to sit in a rocking chair by the fire to read.
44. Her feet get cold, and so she wears socks most of the time.
45. She prefers a bath over a shower.
46. She is a good friend to many people.
47. When she says she will attend a meeting or other activity, she is there - even if she doesn't feel like it.
48. She sings hymns when she is cooking.
49. If I close my eyes, I can see and hear her singing "This is my story, This is my song..." or "Trust and Obey" in the kitchen.
50. Her father died when she was just 9 years old.
51. She tells about how much her mother and father loved each other - how tender they were with each other.
52. When her father died, she slept in the bed with her mother because there was nowhere else for her to sleep in their small house.
52. She is the youngest of 9 children.
53. Until my father died she had never slept by herself.
54. As I sit here typing this blog post, I am in her study, and I can see literally hundreds of books on shelves around me - a testimony to her love of books and reading.
55. She reads a lot.
56. She can quote a lot of scripture.
57. She believes that all Christians should support each other and not have bickering between denominations.
58. My mother has a funny sense of humor.
59. Tonight five of her seven children were at her home - having a meal together and laughing and talking for hours.
60. She is frugal.
61. Although she is frugal, she is incredibly generous.
62. She manages her money very well.
63. She looks 20 years younger than her age.
64. She knows how to dress stylishly. (Update: She wore a gorgeous RED suit to church this morning - looked absolutely fabulous!)
65. She is a lady.
66. She is kind.
67. She has her own blog (Ruthlace).
68. She has written some of the most beautiful poetry I've ever heard.
69. She taught me to sew, and she made many of my clothes when I was growing up.
70. She is consistent - true to her beliefs at all times.
71. She believes the Bible is the word of God. With just a quick glance around her study, I see EIGHT Bibles. I'm absolutely certain there are more in here - I just can't see them from where I'm sitting.
72. She has a book: Recipes, Rhymes and Reflections that has her favorite recipes, some of her poetry, and some of her best sermons. I treasure my copy of it.
72. She has a Bible quiz on the sidebar of her blog - and each day she answers the questions. Usually she gets them all right.
73. She has her own webpage, too.
74. She says she looks better than her pictures.
75. She found some flannel nightgowns on sale and bought two of them, and she says they're the most comfortable things in the world.
76. She prefers wearing dresses over wearing slacks.
77. She still has dial-up internet which is VERY slow.
78. During World War II she took the train to San Diego to be with my father who was in the Marines. She contracted Scarlet Fever and had to be quarantined the whole time she was there. My father brought his buddies to the window of the hospital to wave to her and to show off what a beautiful bride he had.
79. She loves bargains, and finds some great bargains at the Salvation Army store.
80. She made two trips to the Holy Land with my father.
81. There are pictures in her study of her and my father on horses during one of their trips there.
82. She doesn't watch much TV, but when she does it is usually either the news or religious programming.
83. She is loved and respected by everyone in her family and community.
84 (an extra one) I wish her a wonderful birthday and many more to come.

Check my siblings' blogs to read more: Daddy's Roses, Blue Star Chronicles, Alone on a Limb.

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