May 7, 2011

One of the last pictures of Mom and I

No doubt most Moms have a variety of favorite phrases and special bits of advice that are frequently repeated during their children’s growing-up years. These are “catchphrases”. According to Wikipedia, “A catchphrase (or catch-phrase) is a phrase or expression recognized by its repeated utterance.”…. . If we liked them or not, we heard Mom’s catchphrases often…and little did we realize that they would play an important part in molding us into who we are as adults, and be engrained in our memories forever.
In our case, Mom relied heavily on the wisdom of King Salomon, and repeated certain Proverbs so often that we almost knew beforehand which one she would shoot at us in any given situation. Here are a few of those Proverbs:
“He who diggeth a pit falleth in”…she knew very well that sometimes siblings can be very conniving!
“A soft answer turneth away wrath”…that one was a handy one with 6 kids in the house!
“Pride cometh before a fall”…all we can say to that one is “Ouch!”
Mom also had some other favorite catchphrases:
“Now say 10 nice things about him (or her)”…that was hard to do after complaining about someone!!
“Be good”…EVERY time we walked out the door.
It’s easy to serve the Lord when you’re not worried about getting the credit”…and Mom joyfully served Him till she was 90+ years old!
I can’t thank God enough for having given me a Mom who worked hard at reiterating her catchphrases, diligently instilling Biblical principles in my life through them….yet what I’m even more thankful for is that she not only repeated them, she lived them! Happy Mother’s Day!


“Life is Short, But Beautiful”

May 8, 2010

"Life is Short, But Beautiful"

For many years, when we lived in Argentina, my Mom – being a very avid reader all her life – would send us “book boxes”. She would send goodies like Reader’s Digest, Good Housekeeping and other magazines for me, and a variety of children’s books for our three kids. We spent countless hours reading and re-reading the content of those boxes! One day in 1984, among the Dr. Seuss books and other treasures, I found a short, very meaningful article in a ladies’ magazine. It was titled “Life Is Short, But Beautiful”. With tear-filled eyes I very carefully cut the page out and place it in one of our children’s baby books. Throughout the years, each time I re-read it, my eyes bleared over with tears. Because this article is so meaningful, I decided not to keep it hidden in a baby book, but to share it with you. Not wanting to post something I hadn’t written, I looked up the author, Linda Andersen, on I finally found her, and explained my intention. Very graciously, Linda consented to my sharing this life-changing article that she wrote so many years ago, and I am very grateful to her for that. Here is what she wrote:

“It was summer, and the morning was sprinkled with sunshine and dew. But as the day wore on, the incessant bickering of my three children began to gnaw at my already limited patience.

By 11 a.m. they had annoyed me to the point that I had to get away. Since driving has always soothed me, I went for a drive, and ended up in a tiny, shaded graveyard just a few miles from home.

A slight breeze stirred through the pines, and my edginess subsided as I strolled around the aging tombstones. I had asked the Lord to “Please do something” as I left the house, but I really didn’t think He would. I wasn’t even sure He cared.

I walked aimlessly at first. Then one of the tombstones caught my eye. The stone was so old and weather-beaten I could hardly make out the engraving. I knelt down for a close look, tracing the words with my finger.

“Children of C. and A. Arndt,” I read.

Stepping to the side, I read, “Charley, Died June 6, 1883, aged 5 years.”

Another side of the stone read, “Ricke, Died May 22,1883, aged 6 years, 19 ds.” Two children in a month! I exclaimed. Those poor parents.

I was in for yet another surprise as I walked to the fourth side of the simple tombstone and read:

 “Francis, Died May 18, 1883, aged 3 years, 4 mos. 15 ds.”

At this I sat down in the solitary place and sorrowed for the unknown parents of 100 years ago. They had tasted death three times in 1 month. An epidemic, no doubt.

I wondered if the parents of those children had ever had days like mine. I wondered if they’d regretted every impatient, angry word they’d ever said once their children died. I would, I knew, and I was sure they had.

I felt that if these parents were alive and able to talk with me now, they would urge me to go back home and love my kids. I imagined them saying, “Learn to laugh with your children.” They would no doubt remind me, too, that life on earth is so short that It must be lived abundantly.

And I’m sure they would point out God’s commands to give thanks in everything – and to rejoice. Perhaps they would even tell me to live each day with my family as if it were my last. Some day, I knew, indeed would be the last.

But those parents didn’t need to come back to tell me such things. Their children’s tombstone had already done so. And all of a sudden, I couldn’t get home soon enough.”


May 5, 2010

For Mother’s Day, our country’s retailers are prodding both children and Dads to buy the very best for that wonderful woman in their life who deserves so much more than anything they could ever wrap up and put a bow on. Flowers, gifts, cards, or family gatherings all show their appreciation for that one most important and influential person: MOM. For most of my life, I assumed that Mother’s Day was an occasion for happy celebration in every family circle as it was in ours…then slowly, I began to realize the real truth: it isn’t always so. Anticipating Mother’s Day, I was thinking about various circumstances other mothers might be living: there are those who will feel loved and honored, and those who wish their Mother’s Day would be different, not having much reason to celebrate.

On This Mother’s Day

…there are moms who will be anticipating their child’s graduation in the coming weeks. Whether it is from kindergarten or with a doctorate, their hearts will be bursting with pride as their child walks across the stage. They will remember the effort that led up to this moment and know it was all worth it!

…some moms will be celebrating with their child’s new accomplishments; saying his first word, taking his first step, learning to ride a bike, purchasing his first home, getting that well-deserved promotion, or going overseas as a missionary. What could be more fulfilling than being part of that?

…there are moms who will be rejoicing in their child’s wise choices, mature decision making and willingness to hold on to the values she diligently instilled in him.

…there are moms who will thank God for their child’s physical health, spiritual maturity, emotional stability and His blessings on their life.

…there are moms who will feel the richness of their child’s love and appreciation for them, and realize that is one of the most valuable assets they could ever have! These moms are the Proverbs 31 moms whose “children rise up and call her blessed”. 

…These are the moms who will look at their child with awe and think: “What did I ever do to deserve such a wonderful child? He far exceeds my expectations! How God has blessed me!”

On this Mother’s Day, there will be another group of moms. Their situation will be different. They won’t receive bouquets, sticky kisses, bear hugs or gifts. No one will take them to their favorite restaurant, or even acknowledge the multitude of sacrifices they made as a mom. But it will be Mother’s Day for them, too!

…some of them will be sitting next to the window in their room at the nursing home, wondering if their child will remember them, at least today. It will be a very long day for them as they wait in vain. It will be Mother’s Day for them, too!

…others will be scanning the horizon for the return of their precious, yet prodigal child. Their hopeful eyes have done this umpteen times already, but their hope is intact, and even with chronic pain in their heart, they continue to wait. It will be Mother’s Day for them, too!

…another group will be visiting their child in prison. It certainly won’t be the Mother’s Day they would have chosen, knowing that their child turned away from the wholesome values they were taught. Even behind razor wire, and within cold prison walls, it will be Mother’s Day for them, too!

…some will be going to a rehab center to visit their child who is on the road to recovery from an addiction. It’s not where they would prefer to be honored as a mother, but it will be Mother’s Day for them, too!

…many women will be carrying the guilt and shame of having chosen to end the miracle of life that began inside them before that child had a chance to call them “Mom”. Others will be mourning the loss of a miscarriage or a stillborn child, and some moms will meet with the funeral directors to make arrangements for the burial of their child.  It will be Mother’s Day for them, too!

…there are those who will be selflessly caring for their chronically sick or permanently disabled child 24/7, just like they do the other 364 days of the year. Their years of selfless sacrifice may or may not be appreciated, but it will be Mother’s Day for them, too!

…some will be sitting at the bedside of their ill child in the hospital, both of them knowing all too well that this will be the last Mother’s Day they will spend as mother and child. Though their lips be silent, their hearts will be screaming out with searing pain. It will be Mother’s Day for them, too!

            God may have blessed you to be a part of that privileged group of moms who are proud, feel honored and loved, grateful that He allowed you to be part of something beautiful that was planned since before time began. It will be a day of celebration for you and your families; but please don’t forget that there are moms who are bearing unspeakable burdens, whose hearts ache, and have no reason to celebrate. Their pain is real, and disappointment permeates the very core of their being. As you enjoy this Mother’s Day, lifting up a prayer of gratitude to God for being dearly loved, please whisper a prayer for those moms who aren’t so fortunate. Reach out to them. Find a way to make them feel loved and appreciated, because IT WILL BE MOTHER’S DAY FOR THEM, TOO!


May 1, 2010

May Flowers

Here in Ohio, The month of May is special. The threat of snow is (hopefully) behind us, once barren trees show off tender new leaves and multi-colored flowers take over once-seemingly dead landscapes. All of that is wonderful, especially after a long winter! But May is also meaningful because here in the USA it’s the month of Mother’s Day. My Mom’s birthday was on May 11, often falling on Mother’s Day or very close. That, plus the fact that our son Dino was born in May, and so was my husband Jorge, all makes the month of May a time when I think a lot about moms and motherhood.

Actually, along this train of thought, my head is spinning with everything I’ve already written and want to post, or thoughts that haven’t quite been organized yet. I want to share some of the topics I have lined up for this month, and hope to publish, not necessarily in this order: 1st Corinthians 13 for Moms; To My Grownup Sons; “Momisms”; It Will Be Mother’s Day for Them, Too; It Was My Problem, Not His!; A Mother’s Unanswered Prayer; “Follow Me”; My Mom Gave Me Back; How Can You Not Love a Baby?; A Very Important Person.

I hope this month’s readings will encourage all of you who are moms, and everyone who has either had a mom, or still has her. You won’t read any sugary-sweet mother poems that are out of touch with reality. I promise not to glorify moms or motherhood. We all know that moms aren’t perfect (far from it!!) and motherhood isn’t always fun (but it is rewarding). As a daughter first, then a mom, I’ve learned some valuable lessons that I want to share.

You can subscribe to my blog if you wish to do so by signing up on the side where it says “e-mail subscription”, and you’ll get an e-mail every time I post a new one. You won’t want to miss any of these good topics!

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