My mother is a very special person. Anyone who knows her will tell you that. Sweet, loving, kind, funny, joyful, supportive, encouraging, and wise are a few words I would use to describe her. I am incredibly thankful for her and her love. In many ways I am who I am because of who she is. It's true that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and in my case that's a good thing!
My mother taught me how to be frugal without being cheap. She doesn't especially enjoy cooking, but her cooking is very enjoyable to eat (except for the Spanish rice and liver and onions--sorry Mom, I never could get used to those two dishes; but you can laugh at me now for having picky eaters too). My mom would be the first to tell you she's not perfect, and she never expected me to be either. She loves God more than anyone else I know, and she loves others unconditionally just like Jesus does. When I was bullied in school, she didn't tell me to fight back or flee; she told me to love my enemies and trust God with the hard things in life.
I think what makes my mother extraordinary is that she lives what she believes. She believes in love. She believes in family. She believes in God's forgiveness, and she is so thankful for all He has done to bless her life. She believes in the good in others. She believes in the silver lining. She always has hope. She never gives up on anyone. She believes in the truth of God's Word. She believes in prayer. She treats others the way she would want to be treated. These are lessons she didn't teach me so much by what she said; she just lives that way, and I got the message.
My mother is an amazing seamstress. She made almost all of my clothes when I was growing up, even the fashionable things I would see in the store that all my friends were wearing. She would say, 'I can make it for much cheaper,' and she could; and she did. She made my wedding dress just the way I wanted it, including the layers and layers of lace that cascaded down the back and into the long train that everyone 'ooohed and ahhhed' over as I walked down the aisle. I didn't inherit her love for sewing, although she did her best to teach me; but through her talent she taught me to do what I loved, not for money or praise, but for the joy of it and the blessing to others it would be. She was the first and only person to read my first novel, and although I knew it needed serious work and never published it, her praise and encouragement inspired me to keep writing. The first novel I did publish was based on her testimony, and it was so satisfying for me to write because it reflected the values she taught me and the message of God's unconditional love: the cornerstone of her unwavering faith, and mine.
Thanks, Mom. Thank you for being who you are and never pretending that you're more than who God has made you to be. For never pretending to be perfect. For never letting me forget about God's constant care, His promises, and His forgiveness. Thank you for all the prayers and life-lessons you lived. I am blessed because of them, and I know many others are too.
Happy 80th Birthday! I love you. Thank you for always loving me. May God continue to bless you. I know He will, and I know you know it too, because you taught me that. You taught me to live-loved. Because we are.