Monday, September 7, 2009

This one is for my mom

My mother turns one year older today. This past year has been a rough one for her. A year ago she was healthy, strong and walking all over Israel, but this past winter we almost lost her and now she is in the slow process of getting strong again. We are so grateful to have her still with us, and in honor of that, this post is for her.

Jerusalem, 2008
My mom grew up on a farm in Mt. Pleasant, Utah with one sister and two brothers. She left home at 17, immediately following high school graduation, and moved to the big city-- Salt Lake. At the age of 20 she met my dad, a father of three and a recent widower. After dating two years, they were married in the Salt Lake Temple, and she became an instant mother to Terri (7), Randy (5) and Ruth (3). Being the only active member of the Mormon Church in her family, (at that time) her wedding day was a difficult one for her, as her parents were excluded from the temple ceremony. I was her first born, followed by four other children, for a grand total of 8 kids, 5 girls and 3 boys.

My mother on her wedding day

When my mother was only 32, my dad was called to preside over the Central American Mission which included the countries of Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras. Although I never heard my mother complain about the time my father spent away from home on church callings, I am sure these three years were very difficult for her. Not only did she have to care for her family in a foreign country where she did not speak the language, but she had the shared responsibility of over 100 missionaries as well. Dad traveled the entire mission every six weeks and my mother usually went with him every other time. On her very first mission tour, she returned home to discover my younger brother and sister had been hit by a car while riding a bike and had just been rushed to the hospital. Luckily their injuries were nothing stitches could not repair, but I am sure she was always a little nervous to leave us again after that.

Costa Rica.
My older sister and brother had gone off to college by the time this picture was taken. My youngest brother (on my mother's lap) was born in Costa Rica and my youngest sister was born after we returned to the states.

On my mother’s 65th birthday my parents received a telephone call from President Gordon B. Hinckley, then president of our church, asking how their health was. Now you know the prophet does not call people randomly to ask about their health, so with some degree of nervousness (as in a TON) my dad told him about some minor heart problems he had, and then listed my mother’s more serious ailments. President Hinckley thanked my dad, and hung up the phone. Later he called back and called my father to preside over the Guatemala Temple in Guatemala City. My mom later said to me, “He didn’t even care I had health problems!” We laughed at that. I guess with him being much older and having so many health problems of his own, my mother’s didn’t seem like much.

And so once again my mother packed up her life and with my father journeyed off to a foreign country to serve the Lord.

In front of the Guatemala City Temple

I think the word “serve” describes her life well. She not only served alongside my father in his many church callings, but had many of her own. And she was frequently serving the neighbors through meals and other assistance. She has always been an excellent cook, seamstress and gardener, and shared her talents with many.

She also has a tender heart for animals. While in Costa Rica, stray cats always seemed to find their way to our home. After returning to Utah, a door to door salesman was traveling through the neighborhood followed by a stray dog. When he reached our house, the dog stayed. Instinctively, I suppose, she knew mom would give her a home.
Mom opened our house to people a well. In addition to the sister missionaries who lived with us while we were in Costa Rica, we also served host for several months to two young girls from Mexico City, a year to a college student from Tonga, and to her own mother during the last several weeks of her life.

One of my favorite pictures of my parents.

This picture was taken at my parent's 50th wedding anniversary party in 2008 and includes my parents, and seven of their children and spouses. One of my kids took several pictures of us while we were waiting for the official photographer to take the real picture--so we really weren't posing for this one.
Mom turned our house into a home, taught me to pray and pay my tithing, showed me how to serve those in need and how to support my husband—without complaint—now that he is the one frequently gone for church callings.

I will forever be grateful for her love and influence.

Happy Birthday Mom! And thanks for bringing so much . . . joy to our journey!

We love you!


GRAMEE said...

wow! what a tribute to your mom{parents}
you really had me with tears by the end.
i can see why you are so proud of your mom. a wonderful and beautiful woman.
i also love the picture you say is your favorite.

Carolyn said...

This is so much better than reading some movie star's life story. What an amazing woman!

The Lindseys said...

I learned some stuff about Grandma that I didn't even know! Those pictures are priceless. Thank you so much for sharing!

Shannon said...

What an amazing family and legacy you have been given. Thanks for sharing.

Jenny-Jenny said...

Beautiful tribute. Your Mom sounds like a truly amazing woman. Hmmm. Alot like you!

MissKris said...

Grandma really is amazing. Thanks for posting all those pics- i'm going to save them so I have them :)

JUST ME, THE MOM said...

You come from such an awesome legacy, no wonder you just continue to amaze me all the time, it's in the gene pool.



Dave and Camille said...

Yay for Grandma! I learned a lot about her too - and after hearing her birth story with Mark in Costa Rica, I sincerely hope I never have to do that. That was very sweet :)

Momza said...

Beautiful tribute. What a lagacy your parents have created for their family. You are all so very blessed.

NatureGirl said...

She sounds are blessed, and thank you for sharing her even if for a moment with the rest of us!

Christina said...

What a life your mother has led. Thanks for sharing; it makes me want to complain a bit less and serve a bit more.

Terri said...

That was a very nice post. Thanks for doing that!

Brooke G said...

Wow. That was so great about grandma! I am so glad you posted it all. I am catching up on all your was cute to see the photos of Camille and baby! She is sure cute!