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Mother’s Day

Blog, Faith, Parenting, prayer

The Gift of Motherhood

Happy Mother's Day

Today, Sunday, May 10, marks Mother’s Day of 2020. It is one of the most special days of the year and is the most popular holiday of the entire year to dine out, with nearly half of all Americans hitting a restaurant, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Mother’s Day started as an anti-war movement, with Anna Jarvis credited with founding it in the U.S. to promote global unity after the horrors of the American Civil War and Europe’s Franco-Prussian War. I can see why it was started that way–after all, we as moms are in a war with the enemy satan over our children! That’s why it is so important to pray every day over them!

Our three beautiful daughters Eden, Leah, and Heather

Our three beautiful daughters Eden, Leah, and Heather

When I was a child, all I wanted to be when I grew up was a mom and a writer. That’s exactly what happened. Today I am the mom of three beautiful, precious daughters, Heather, Eden, and Leah. I’m also the author of 20 books. I believe that being a mom is the most important, sacred job in the world.

mom and her baby

A mom and her baby

No worldly success that I could ever achieve as a speaker and a writer would matter if I didn’t have a close relationship with my children. Next to my salvation through Jesus Christ, my children are the greatest gifts God has ever given me. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis said, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” I so agree with this!

Jesus Christ oil painting

Jesus Christ oil painting

I’m 110% positive that I’ve made lots of mistakes as a mom. Our daughters are grown now and on their own. Since they moved out, I repented to God and our kids for any sins I committed as a mother as Ray and I raised them. I think it’s important to let your kids know that you’re so not perfect and you mess up, too, and that is why we need Jesus as our Savior and the Holy Spirit as our Helper. As I saw on a T-shirt on Etsy, it’s often a“Messy mom bun, Coffee Run, Get it done” kind of day!

Our beautiful daughter Eden with her "mom bun"

Our beautiful daughter Eden with her “mom bun” & her daughter Piper

But I also let our daughters know how very much I love them and how important they are to God and me, and that He has a great plan for their lives (Jeremiah 29:11). They may be grown now, but they’re forever on my mind. Sophia Loren said, “When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”

My precious daughter Leah and me and flowers for Mother's Day

My precious daughter Leah and me and the flowers she bought me for Mother’s Day

One of the hardest things about the Coronavirus and the Shelter in Place orders has been that I haven’t been able to see my kids and my grandkids for over a month now. It’s been so hard! With the curve flattening, Missouri’s governor has begun to re-open the state for business. Yesterday I was able to see and hug our youngest daughter Leah! I picked up cheeseburgers and fries at Freddy’s and we went to the park, eating at a picnic table in the sunshine and fresh air. I was so happy to finally be able to hug her! To my surprise, she bought me some beautiful, fresh Azaleas flowers. 

I was so blessed she did this for me, but I told her the best gift was seeing her! I wasn’t able to see Heather and Eden too, but hope to see them and my grandkids very soon.

Ray also bought me some nice gifts: long-stemmed red roses, a Dove chocolate bar, Ghirardelli Chocolate Caramel squares, a pretty coffee mug, and a sweet card. 

Gifts that Ray bought me for Mother's Day

Gifts that Ray bought me for Mother’s Day

Washington Irving said, “A mother’s love endures through all.” This is so true. It’s not always easy being a mom. It is both the greatest and hardest thing in the world.

When they’re sick, all you want is your child to be well. When they hurt, your heart hurts. If they’re stressed out and worried about a relationship, their job, their finances, or the Coronavirus, then you’re worried for them, too. And if they get mad at you over something and stop speaking to you for awhile, you feel as if you’re going to literally die. Yes, this has happened to me with each of our kids at times when they got upset with me over something!

As their mom, I can get on their last nerve sometimes, especially when I’m being a “helicopter mom,” hovering over them and being overprotective. One way I know that I’m irritating them is they will say, “Oh, mother!” (They only call me mother when they’re annoyed; otherwise, I am just “mom” to them!) I’m still very much in process with this, learning to let go and let God, entrusting them into His tender care. He loves them even more than I do!

I’m so glad and grateful that we are closer now and that God reconciled us from past hurts. My children are my very heartbeat and I don’t know what I’d do without them in my life. I praise God for them!

Our family, Ray's 50th bday Left to right: Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me

Our family
Left to right:
Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me

Each of our daughters is so beautiful, spiritually gifted, highly intelligent, talented, funny, wise, and their own person. God made them “wonderfully and fearfully.” (Psalm 139:14) Heather being the wise, kind person she is, the adventure gal, and a leader. Eden with her Sanguine, zany, funny personality and her amazing singing voice. Leah with her quiet, peaceful ways, her love for her cat Jax and all animals, and her incredible artistic and musical gifts. I admire and enjoy our daughters. They are unique people, and I love how different they are, made in the image of God. 

Today on Mother’s Day, my prayer for our daughters are these verses:

3 John 4:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

Ephesians 3:20, The Message: “God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”

Heart on beach  Source: Unsplash

Heart on beach
Image Source: Unsplash

Thank you so much, Heather, Eden, and Leah, for the beautiful gift of motherhood. I love you with all my heart!

For all moms, whether biological, stepmom, adoptive, foster, or mentor to children, I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day, one that is relaxing and fun. You deserve it! Your influence and your unconditional love are so important to your children. 

You can listen to my podcast, Nothing Like a Mom, by clicking here

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Blog, Faith, Marriage, Parenting, prayer

Mothers’ Day with our beautiful daughters and my flower garden

Abraham Lincoln quote on mother

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”–Abraham Lincoln

I had a great Mother’s Day weekend and hope you did, too. The best part for me was seeing our precious, beautiful daughters Heather and Leah. I went by to see our middle daughter Eden, but she was working late until that night. Hopefully I can see her this week when she is off work. 

Heather bought me a sweet card and beautiful fresh red roses, my favorite flowers–so thoughtful of her!

card & roses from Heather

card & roses from Heather

Heather works full-time, stays constantly busy and on the go, and lives almost an hour away from me here in Butler. So it was a real treat for her to drive here with her girls Annabelle and Violet and take me out to lunch at the Mexican restaurant, El Charro. 

Me & our beautiful daughter, Heather Mothers' Day 2018

Me & our beautiful daughter, Heather
Mothers’ Day 2018

 

Heather opening her card & gift from me The girls watching her Mothers' Day 2018

Heather opening her card & gift from me
The girls watching her
Mothers’ Day 2018

Heather and the girls then stopped by our house to see our black cat with green eyes, Natalya, for the first time. Violet loved her! Natalya is shy, so I was really glad she allowed them to pet and even hold her!

Heather seeing our cat Natalya the first time

Heather seeing our cat Natalya for the first time here

 

Our granddaughters Violet & Annabelle seeing Natalya the 1st time

Our granddaughters Violet and Annabelle seeing Natalya for the 1st time here at our house

Their visit was very short and sweet, because Heather had an errand to run, but I’m so thankful that I was able to see them and spend time with them for this special holiday!

On actual Mother’s Day Sunday, our youngest daughter Leah treated me to lunch at El Charro, too (we both love Mexican and I can never have too much chips and salsa!). Seeing our daughters made my whole weekend!

Me & our precious, beautiful daughter Leah on Mothers' Day 2018

Me & our precious, beautiful daughter Leah on Mothers’ Day 2018

 

Mexican lunch

Mexican lunch

 

I'm addicted to chips & salsa!

I’m addicted to chips & salsa!

The restaurant staff also blessed me with a free dessert for Mothers’ Day: it was a creamy, yummy cake with strawberries!

the yummy dessert: Leah & I shared it!

the yummy cake with chocolate & strawberries: Leah and I shared it!

I’m so thankful that I was able to do this with Leah. It made my whole day.

My husband Ray bought me a beautiful butterfly card (I love butterflies!) and a Chicken Soup for the Soul book, The Empowered Woman. What the card read inside about me being beautiful and what he wrote about me as a mom meant the most to me and deeply touched me.

butterfly card & book

butterfly card & book

To treat myself afterward, I planted some flowers in my flower bed that I’d bought at the Mennonite store in town, the Stoplight Market, where I purchased them last year. All this is a lot of hard work, and I was very sore the next day! I posted a meme on Facebook which read, “My glutes are on FIYAH!”

 

flower bed

my flower bed. I started gardening last year and am happy to have fresh flowers again!

My friend Stephanie urged me to buy mulch for the flower bed, so the rains wouldn’t wash away the petunias. I went the next day to buy the mulch and put it down to protect the flowers.

mulch

mulch

 

petunias

petunias in a variety of colors

 

cute little sign-fairy

cute little sign: fairy crossing

 

yellow daisies

friendly daisies for our back steps

 

purple potted petunias

purple potted petunias

 

gardenias

red gardenias for my sunroom

I love having creamy coffee and drinking it in our sunroom in the morning. It’s a great place to just pray to God and watch the birds, squirrels, butterflies, and bunny rabbits.

coffee in the sunroom

coffee in the sunroom

My mother-in-law Judy bought me this beautiful, little glass table for the sunroom. I love it! It is perfect for my coffee, flowered cactus, and aloe vera plant.

glass table

glass table

Our cat Natalya loves our sunroom as much as I do, but for different reasons. She intently watches the birds and the squirrels, anticipating a kill if she could only get outside (she’s an indoor-only house cat!). 

Natalya watching the birds

Natalya watching the birds

 

Natalya by the sunroom screen

Natalya by the sunroom screen

 

Natalya in the sunroom

Natalya in the sunroom

I bought a few herbs for my sunroom: wonderful-smelling lavender, oregano to use in cooking dishes like spaghetti, and beautiful purple Salvia. I never leave our cat alone in the sunroom with the plants, as some can be toxic. The door stays locked when I’m not in there.

I have the herbs in a big, white crate that was filled with goodies the attendees blessed me with last year, when I spoke at a retreat in Liberty, MO.

herbs: lavender, oregano, and Salvia

herbs: lavender, oregano, and Salvia

 

faith deco in sunroom

faith deco in sunroom

Last year I planted a big butterfly bush to entice butterflies, which I love. It blossomed well, and drew butterflies in my garden. But Missouri can have harsh, cold winters and it’s likely the ice and the snow killed the poor, little plant. I wasn’t able to find a big plant I really liked for that corner, so I bought a Celtic Cross.

I am proclaiming it is a prophetic declaration for me visiting Ireland, one of the things on my bucket list! Irish legend says that Saint Patrick was trying to convert the pagans to Christianity. Some of these pagans worshiped the sun, so it is said that he combined the cross with the circular pattern of the sun as a way to associate light and life with the Christian cross in the mind of his converts. I think it adds a unique touch to the garden.

Celtic Cross

Celtic Cross

I also put new bark mulch around my roses. Last year I planted my first rose garden. Two of the rose bushes look somewhat sad this spring, so they may have to be uprooted and replaced. I’m not sure they survived the winter. The other two rose bushes are doing well, and one is already blooming beautifully.

rose garden

rose garden with stones

 

my roses from this year's garden

my roses from this year’s garden

I bought bags of black sunflower and other little seeds to draw the red cardinals, sparrows, purple finches, blue jays, and other beautiful birds in our yard. I’ve already seen the male and female red cardinals in our yard. The red male cardinal is my special sign of love from God, and it makes me so happy to see one!

I’ve also seen purple finches and mourning doves. Doves make beautiful sounds in the morning and are among my other favorite birds. An interesting fact about doves is that they mate for life. 

red male cardinal Image source: Pinterest

red male cardinal
Image source: Pinterest

 

purple finch

purple finch

Last year my mother-in-law Judy bought me the squirrel-proof feeder on the left in the pic below. The squirrels are greedy, and practically do acrobatics on the feeders, even going upside down, to try to get to the seeds and eat them. 

bird feeders

bird feeders

I also put back out the hummingbird feeder with sugar water, and have already seen hummingbirds at them. I love the hummingbirds; they are so little and cute!

To make safe hummingbird food (there is controversy whether the red dye is safe or toxic to hummingbirds),  mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts water and bring to a boil to kill any bacteria or mold that is present. Cool and fill your feeder. They love it! This morning I saw a big black and yellow bumblebee at the feeder; they like it, too, so be careful. I was stung by a bee on my foot as a child, and my foot was swollen to twice its size, so I’m allergic to bees. 

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”–Ashley Smith

hummingbird feeder

hummingbird feeder

The previous owners of this house had planted two pink peony bushes on the side yard. They are now blooming beautifully. My friend Stephanie said these are her favorite flowers, and that if I take care of them, they can grow as big as saucers.

pink peonies bush

pink peonies bush

 

pink peony

pink peony

I have a few more goals for our yard. One is to get a white trellis for the Wisteria tree, that Ray suggested I buy and plant last year. We put it in the front of our house by the little porch. It is now taking over our house, and friends of mine advised to get a trellis to train its growing “arms,” so it won’t destroy the siding on our home.

Wisteria tree

Wisteria tree

My other planned project is to buy 3 giant rocks at The Grass Pad in Martin City, MO, and make an attractive fairy rock garden on top of it. This is where I bought my stones for my rose garden last year. 

I had a very good Mothers’ Day this year and am so thankful.

Me on Mothers' Day 2018

Me on Mothers’ Day 2018

What did you do for the holiday? Leave your comments below.

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Blog, Faith, Homemaking, Marriage, Parenting, prayer

Our 25th silver wedding anniversary & home purchase party

Ray & me at our party

Ray & me at our party

Ray and I recently had our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary and bought our home. I wanted to celebrate with our children, grandchildren, and a few friends who prayed for us to buy the house.  God answered my prayer and our 3 beautiful daughters were there. Our grandchildren being there were the cherry on top, and I believe it is what God wanted, displaying His glory of what He has done for us. 

Table set for party

Table set for party

I was so happy to have our three beautiful daughters and four precious grandchildren (with one on the way) at the party. This made my whole day and filled me with joy.

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” – Isaiah 55:12, ESV

Our family, from front to back, L to R: our grandson Jacob, granddaughters Annabelle & Violet, our daughter Leah, Our daughter Heather, granddaughter Piper, me, Ray, daughter Eden, Ray's parents Charles & Sue Jones

Our family, from front to back, L to R: our grandson Jacob, granddaughters Annabelle & Violet, our daughter Leah, Our daughter Heather, granddaughter Piper, me, Ray, daughter Eden, Ray’s parents Charles & Sue Jones

 

Since the party was on Mother’s Day, I gave our daughters a hand-written, floral note card and little yellow roses inside a teacup that reads, “Live, laugh, love” to tell them how much I love them and thank them for the honor of being their mom. I’ll post more about Mother’s Day and the gifts they gave me in a separate post.

Me giving our daughters their yellow roses & card

Me giving our daughters their yellow roses & cards

Pretty yellow roses I gave our daughters

Pretty yellow roses I gave our daughters

Ray’s dad and his stepmom Sue Jones drove in from N. Little Rock, Arkansas for the party and to visit us. We enjoyed their stay.  I’m not so sure his dad enjoyed it as much, as he was busy fixing things around our house, like installing an electrical plug by Ray’s work bench in the basement (he’s a licensed electrician) and helping Ray reattach the evaporator to the furnace, which had fallen off last week suddenly (this was quite a job!). Sue blessed me so much with encouraging words to minister to my heart. 

Ray's stepmom Sue & his dad Charles Jones at party

Ray’s stepmom Sue & his dad Charles Jones at party

I bought wedding bells, silver and aqua decorations at Dollar General for our “silver” 25th wedding anniversary. I thought they were really pretty. I still have the original cake couple topper in white and red that was on our wedding cake, and set that out, too. 

cake topper

cake topper

wedding bells

wedding bells

silver plates

silver plates

silver and aqua napkins

silver and aqua napkins

I also set these out as decorations, too, on the bar at the party:

  • my wedding album and original wedding guest book;
  • the blue roses carried by one of my bridesmaids;
  • my black garter (now faded black and purple);
  • the 7 silver, one-dollar coins a friend gave us as a wedding gift;
  • a gorgeous sunset-colored rose I received at church on Mother’s Day with the other women from the pastor;
  • a white candle and anointing oil from Jerusalem, Israel, that Ray’s friend sent us as a house-warming gift;
  • and the Mother’s Day gift Ray gave me, an “Our Home” picture.

I asked our guests to sign the original wedding guest book, and said that if Jesus tarries, guests can sign it again at our 50th anniversary! (Grace, God!) I also bought bubble wands for our grandkids to play with at the party. 

Wedding album, guest book, rose & Our Home picture

Wedding album, guest book, rose & Our Home picture

The rose I received at church for Mother’s Day

Ray's gift to me on Mother's Day

Ray’s gift to me on Mother’s Day

The “Our Home” picture reads:

“God chose this very house for us, to be our special home. A place that we can fill with love and call our very own. This house will hold our memories, our laughter and our tears, and it will be a place that’s safe to talk about our fears. And so we pray that God will make this house into a home, and we will give our praise to Him, Our Cornerstone.”

Our children bought us beautiful cards and gifts: a card on papyrus paper about the hummingbird, a large flip flop picture, white candle with a shell, and shell picture for my ocean-theme bathroom upstairs. The papyrus paper card was very pretty and unique!

I love the flip flop and shell pictures and candle; they went perfectly with my bathroom colors! The pic reads, “Life is always better in flip flops.” Amen! Although I love high heels (which I wore to this party), I am a sneakers and flip flop, beach kind of gal!

Papyrus paper card

Papyrus paper card

Flip flop pic that our children gave us

Flip flop pic that our children gave us

 

shell picture

shell picture

Shell candle

Shell candle

My in-laws bought us a beautiful silver and purple card with money inside and a lovely glass 25th wedding anniversary picture frame with a picture of Ray and me when we were by the Sea of Galilee on our Israel trip several years ago.

silver purple card

silver purple card

silver anniversary picture frame; Ray & me in Israel

silver anniversary picture frame; Ray & me in Israel

Our friends Dan and Liz bought us a really pretty silver card  with red hearts (I love hearts!), with an Olive Garden gift card inside it. OG – yum! Ray and I will have to go on a date soon! 

silver card

silver card with red hearts

All of these were very thoughtful gifts and I loved them!

Here’s some pics of us with our guests:

Piper feeding her mom Eden at party, haha

Piper feeding her mom Eden at party, haha

Jacob at partry

IOur grandson Jacob at party

Ray with our friend Dan Zacharias

Ray with our friend Dan Zacharias

Our friend Liz Zacharias with Ray's stepmom Sue Jones

Our friend Liz Zacharias with Ray’s stepmom Sue Jones

Dan getting food, me making sure all is ready, Ray

Dan getting food, me making sure all is ready, Ray

Our daughter Eden talking as usual, lol, Ray, our granddaughter Piper handing Ray his pushup handles

Our daughter Eden talking as usual, lol, Ray, our granddaughter Piper handing Ray his pushup handles

Ray holding our granddaughter Piper--precious!

Ray holding our granddaughter Piper–precious!

Us singing happy birthday to our granddaughter Violet & friend Dan

Us singing happy birthday to our granddaughter Violet & friend Dan

Violet opening her birthday gifts

Violet opening her birthday gifts: a pretty summer dress, an anklet & toe rings, and daisy flower hair bands

Violet not knowing what an anklet is, lol

Violet not knowing what an anklet is, lol

Violet in her dress

Violet in her dress

My friend Liz opening a gift from me at the party

My friend Liz opening a gift from me at the party: a decorative box & pretty necklace

Our tall granddaughter Annabelle (standing) and our 3 daughters with Piper

Our tall granddaughter Annabelle (standing) and our 3 daughters with Piper

Our 3 beautiful daughters with their yellow roses in the teacup I gave them

Our 3 beautiful daughters with their yellow roses in the teacup I gave them

Me giving Ray his gift - sterling silver cuff links

Me giving Ray his gift – sterling silver cuff links

Me & Ray opening gifts at the party

Me & Ray opening gifts at the party

Me & Ray - 25 year silver wedding anniversary & home purchase party

Me & Ray – 25 year silver wedding anniversary & home purchase party

Ray & me and our 3 beautiful daughters, Heather, Leah & Eden (and Piper, our granddaughter)

Ray & me and our 3 beautiful daughters, Heather, Leah & Eden (and Piper, our granddaughter)

Our family

Our family: I’m so thankful they all were there! Thank you, Jesus!

The party cake with a silver border & purple flowers. It reads, "25 years & a home. This is God!"

The party cake with a silver border & purple flowers. It reads, “25 years & a home. This is God!”

The cake says it all. It’s been a long, hard journey. But by God’s grace and mercy, Ray and I are still together, married 25 years, and we are now home-owners. This truly was the work and miracles of God!

*******
You can read about our very difficult marriage in my book on our marriage, Stained Glass & Marriage: Reflections of Light & Hope by an Imperfect Wife, at Amazon that is on sale now for just 99 cents, by clicking here:

 

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