Celebrating Moms

In honor of Mothers Day this coming weekend, Diane and the 4word team are sharing our moms with you!

blog.2013.05.06.Diane sq1Diane & Sharon. My mom lived her life with total confidence in the Lord’s providence.   And that confidence freed her to live generously, and to love others without reservation.  She worked tirelessly and joyfully alongside Dad, operating the family orchard and raising four kids.  Watching her love so fully, I knew that’s what I wanted for myself and my family someday.

She taught me to tackle life with the same faithful confidence.  My siblings and I were a bunch of scrappy farm kids growing up in the middle of nowhere Oregon.  But Mom never let us see our “disadvantages.” She would say to us, “you can be president if you want to, you can do anything.”

And she didn’t just say it, she really believed it and she helped us to believe it too.  As I got older, I never felt fearful that being a woman, farm kid, lower middle class, etc. might hold me back in life.  Following Mom’s example, I had confidence to meet challenges and take advantage of opportunities God provided.  I knew I could leave everything to study abroad, even though no one I knew had gone before me; I knew I could move across country alone for my first job (from Oregon to New Jersey!); I knew I could survive divorce, even though it hurt.  Thanks to Mom, I knew I could boldly trust in God’s providence, no matter what.

IMG_0437Richelle & Shirley. My mom is beautiful and brilliant. She loves music and dancing and animals. She’s tough and capable and creative and always excited to learn something new. She was one of four kids, and they lived all over the country because my Grandpa was in the army and moved every few years. Mom never really said this, but I don’t think she liked all that upheaval, because once she had kids, she never moved again. Mom and dad still live in the house I grew up in, on a farm in Southern Oregon. She’s a teacher. Technically she retired a few years ago, but she’ll always be a teacher.

Growing up, mom always encouraged my brothers and me to find creative solutions to problems. Way before Tim Gunn became cool, my mom was advising us to “make it work.”

Cardboard boxes make fantastic play houses. An old night gown turns into the perfect princess dress. Want a boat to float across the pond? Build one! We sank many many “boats” before we were successful, but mom let us keep trying until we got it.

Want to learn to draw? Play the piano? Run for student counsel? Build a model train track around the top of your room? Mom’s answer was, “lets try.” And if it didn’t work the first time, there was always another way. Her willingness to let us try, and fail, at the small things helped us to develop the confidence and fortitude to tackle life’s bigger challenges.

blog.2013.05.06..Amanda sqAmanda & Ruth. My mom actually grew up on a small farm. She fed baby goats and tamed wild kittens. If you met her today you wouldn’t believe that at all. She is a business women and entrepreneur. She is really creative and loves to help people. Her love for helping people led her to the recruiting business that she has been engaged in since I was born.

My mom loves to decorate, and our house looks like something out of a shabby chic or Martha Stewart catalogue, but not the kind picturesque house where you feel like real people couldn’t actually live there. My mom has a way of making it feel warm and inviting and wonderfully cozy. She loves to throw a good party (and of course to decorate for them!). She is even known to let the decorations linger for days after the party ends just because they make her smile, especially tulle and frills.

I have many friends, but my mom is my best friend by far.

Growing up, it was just her and I (she’s a single mom). We called our house “girls camp” and she was the mom that was always up for fun. My friends and I spent many long days walking around the mall with mom, just for fun. Actually, I think of us as being a lot like the TV show, Gilmore Girls, except maybe the Southern, conservative Christian version. So, no sleeping around, but lots of fast-talking, restaurant dinners, and craft projects.

I’m so grateful to my mom for all that she taught me about independence, confidence, joy, forgiveness and most of all loving others and loving Christ.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAmy and Ceil.  My mom grew up in the Southeast: in West Virginia, then Louisiana. She is a true Southern woman in all of the best ways: warm, welcoming, kind and always considerate of the needs and feelings those around her (no Scarlett O’Hara-esque diva here!). My mom does PR for Campus Crusade faculty ministry, collecting, writing and promoting stories of students and faculty whose lives have been changed by a Christian professor on their campus. My mom loves music, travel, reading and writing, all traits she has passed down to me.

I think one of the most meaningful things she did for me growing up was to introduce me to the myriad worlds found within the pages of books. I remember taking trips to the library as a little girl with my mom and younger sister when she would recommend new book series to us or help us find our old favorites again. Two of the best gifts she ever gave me growing up were the complete boxed set of the Little House on the Prairie series and the Anne of Green Gables series. The love of reading she passed down to me has opened my mind and let my imagination soar, and it has prepared me well for a career in marketing and PR.

Aside from literature, the most important thing I learned from my mom was that God is (and should be) in every part of my life, not just something I do on Sundays. She never sat down and told this to me, she simply modeled it for me every day. On mornings when I woke up earlier than usual, I would see her sitting on the front porch or in the den with her Bible and journal open. In conversations around the dinner table or when I needed advice, she would always relate scripture or a facet of her own walk with Christ to me. It didn’t stick out to me when I was younger, but now that I have “left the nest,” I can see what an impact her example had on me. When Paul says that “we are ambassadors for Christ,” that makes sense to me, because I have watched my mom live it out every day of my life.


Share your story about how your mom impacted your life in the comments below. How will you honor your mom this year? (We would love some more ideas!)