My mother turned 65 yesterday. We threw her a big surprise party. Family and friends from all over came into town. Aunts and uncles, cousins, small group members, new friends and old.
We ate wedge salad with blue cheese and bacon, steak and pork and oddly colored ravioli. We had cake; chocolate, cream cheese carrot, red velvet and tuxedo. I honestly don’t know what was in the tuxedo cake but it was pretty so we bought it. My mom likes pretty things. We all like cake.
We talked about my mom. She’s incredible. She’s funny and charming and silly and fierce. She is tenacious and intelligent and mischievous and profound. She is a good friend. My dad smiled when he talked about her. My daughter said she loved her grandma really a lot. My sister cried. I quoted Nelson Mandela and said that “a good mind and a good heart are a formidable combination”.
My mom likes to tell me on my birthdays to double my age and think about how much life I have left. I think its supposed to spur me on to appreciate each day and redeem my moments for things that matter. Yesterday I mentally doubled her age and my heart hurt. You see, my mom is 65. She’s not going to double her age. And then I remembered Proverbs 31. Not that bit about a good wife who can cook and keep a house organized (although my mother’s pork chops are lovely and her napkins are always ironed). Not the bit about how her industry makes sure her family is not hungry (although as her business partner I can attest to her talent). I remembered this bit:
She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25 That’s my mama.
My heart is full of lessons from my mom; Wink. Watch your grammar. Take dinner to sick friends. Put butter on your popcorn. Improve your vocabulary. Dance in your kitchen. Read lots of books. Don’t give up on the Seahawks. Say yes more than no. Travel. Use your good crystal often. Read The Hiding Place whenever you have a bad attitude. Take very hot baths. Buy comfy shoes. Invest in people. Stand up against injustice. Laugh often. Hold hands. Date your spouse. Hold your faith.
When my mom stood up at her party last night she thanked her friends and family for coming. She thanked them for their love. And she reminded them that her life is for Christ. We all hope and trust that she has bright years ahead to travel and read and serve and laugh. But beyond that, she has eternity. So her tomorrows are all secure. Corrie Ten Boom said it best “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
Happy Birthday Mom.
My daughter had a big day today. She got her first library card. She filled out the whole library card application all by herself. Well, okay, we told her the letters to write but she did in fact print all the letters herself. We marched into the library and used the copy machine there to take a photo copy of the application. This is not because I’m a crazy mom who keeps everything. No of course not. My sister and brother in law were with us. They commented that both mother and daughter were bouncing we were so excited. The librarian tonight handed over the brand new library card to my daughter and told her it was a big responsibility and privilege. My four year old replied “I’m Ready”
I love books. All kinds. Always have.
My favorite book as a child was Andrew Henry’s Meadow. Great pen and ink illustrations. It went out of print years ago and we couldn’t find a copy. The original stays at my parents house but when I was pregnant I wanted my own copy. Powell’s books in Portland had a copy for $150. I love books but I’m not yet that crazy. I was thrilled when the publisher put out a 25th anniversary edition and now we read it at home too.
Remember reading out loud in class in elementary school? I hated that. When my turn came I was always embarrassed because instead of reading along with the class I was reading ahead. As a result, I never knew what paragraph I was supposed to read. One time I actually got in trouble and had to stay in at recess because I’d read ahead in the literature book we’d been assigned and gave away the ending. Oops.
When I was a teenager, if I ever developed a bad attitude (who me??) my mother would pull out a book from her stack and make me go read. The most effective of these attitude adjustment books is The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. If you’ve never read it and want to be inspired go find a copy. I have one you can borrow.
Books have been involved with most of the important moments in my life. My Rwanda journey was influenced greatly by Kay Warren and her book, Dangerous Surrender. I need to read it again. Like a lot of people in college, I lost my way for a bit. Books helped bring me home. If you are looking for some guidebooks, check out anything by JP Moreland, Lee Strobel or skip on ahead to the master – CS Lewis. When my husband and I met, I knew we had a shot at a long term relationship when I found out he too loved the Narnia series.