I rediscovered a picture of my mom I hadn’t seen in a while. Isn’t she beautiful? I also thought it was time to share more of the lessons she’s taught me over the years. Several years ago, I shared three of them – the importance of obedience, education and service. Those are very similar to what I was remembering this week (before I found that post again), so I guess they are very important lessons to learn. However, let’s take them in a different direction and come up with some new stories and memories to document.

1966 to 1968 – raising three young children

Last week in stake conference we were reminded of the counsel President Kimball gave to parents to have pictures of the temple hanging in their children’s bedrooms to help them keep the temple in their sights. As I recall, it was just a matter of days from the time my mom heard that instruction until we had pictures up on our walls. She even asked us which temple we wanted; I chose the Washington, D.C. Temple and my sister chose the Swiss Temple. It was years later before I realized that the “frame” my mom used was actually a pre-cut mat board. Learning that made me appreciate her willingness to follow the prophet even more; she didn’t bother waiting until time and finances allowed for the “perfect” frame, she made it work with what we had.

So, this year’s Lesson #1 is the importance of following the prophet, or being obedient to a prophet’s counsel, even (and especially) if it takes you out of your comfort zone. Some other instances include participating in the Indian Placement Program, leaving the city and purchasing a home on five acres so we could be self-sufficient, planting flowers by our mailbox to beautify our property, and starting family scripture study.

With Arlene in 1971

 

The week our family size doubled overnight in 1972

Some of these lessons and memories overlap. That just shows how encompassing motherhood is! While education is important, being educated doesn’t do you much good unless you also follow Lesson #2 – the importance of work. That five acre plot of land provided a myriad of opportunities to put that principle into practice. We built a barn. We moved sprinkler pipe. We planted trees and vegetables and a strawberry patch. We took care of horses and rabbits and chickens.

There’s our little gentleman’s farm – complete with a barn, horses and rabbits.

Mom made work fun and enjoyable. On the way to an afternoon of playing at the beach, we’d stop to pick olallieberries or do some research at the genealogy library first. She was always coming up with new charts and systems to put some energy and excitement into the mundane chores of doing dishes and cleaning bathrooms. Scrubbing the shower at home wasn’t necessarily enjoyable, but doing it at Grandmother’s was actually fun.

My favorite line? “Make mom’s bed!”**

And that brings us to a specific subset of service and Lesson #3 – the importance of ministering. As I pondered this subject this morning I realized that a great definition of ministering is “giving aid or service one by one” (as opposed to a group effort). Even in a large family, if we feel our needs are being met individually, ministering is happening. I definitely felt loved for myself, and I hope my brothers and sisters did as well.

Mom’s MiaMaid class – Look at all those Gunne Sax dresses!

Mom ministered to Josephine and Arlene and Richard (our Indian foster students). She ministered to me and my friends as she taught our Merrie Miss and Mia Maid classes. She ministered to me by driving me to piano lessons every week. (Once we moved to that five acre plot just before I started high school, it was a one hour drive each way. That’s a lot of mother-daughter time!) The most impressive example is the daily care she’s given to my younger sister for over 40 years. Being a caregiver is hard work, yet she continues to do it each day with a smile.

Holly at therapy trying to imitate baby Weston
Mom and Holly last summer

I hope I can continually put into practice the lessons I’ve been taught, and that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren can learn from her as well. Thanks for being an awesome example, Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

**One of the gems I found during my visit to Virginia last summer. That trip was followed immediately by a wedding, then hurricane cleanup, then the holidays, then baby blessings and graduations, all while trying to keep on top of the normal, daily stuff. Hopefully, soon, going through the stack of papers and photos will make it to the top of the list!