Tuesday, September 23, 2008


PROV. 31:28a

The last six verses of Proverbs 31 are:
26: She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27: She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28: Her children arise and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praises her.
29: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.
30: Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31: Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Dearest mom,

One of my earliest memories is of sitting next to you in church and thinking that you had the most beautiful voice I had ever heard. I suppose I started out sitting on your lap, but as my siblings came along I sat next to you, and I tried so hard, with no success, to imitate your voice. Another of my early memories of singing hymns is of helping with supper dishes in our pink and green kitchen and learning my memory work hymns as you washed and I dried. And always our evening devotions, and often our bedtimes, involved singing a hymn. Thank you for giving me the love of hymns.

Another of my earliest memories is of your long black hair. I thought you were so beautiful, and still do, even though now your hair is white with age and wisdom. I love the fact that you were always in a dress. It was the 1950's, and that's the way life was then, but I think it was so fitting that the pastor's wife was properly dressed. Thank you for being an example of beauty and decency.

All through my grade school years you were home when I got home from school, and were attentive when I talked about my friends, my school work, and my problems, and you always offered advice based on what God would want us to do or say. When you did work outside the home when we moved to Mankato, it was a strange feeling to come home and find you not home yet. The house was lonely when you weren't there. Thank you for always being there when I was growing up.

It is still a mystery to me how you could make a meal for 8 people out of a pound of hamburger or a small chicken or roast. We didn't have much, but we never once went hungry. We seldom had luxuries like bologna or lunch meat, or store bought treats such as Twinkies and donuts, but our school lunch boxes were never empty. And during the summer when we took swimming lessons, I remember coming home to a huge pan of potatoes frying on the back burner, a hot lunch for chilled swimmers. A picnic of soda crackers or peanut butter sandwiches, and a Mason jar filled with orange Watkins drink was a real treat, and we happily trotted off to the cemetery or cow pasture to eat our banquet. Thank you for always taking care of me and for teaching me how to be frugal and thrifty.

I remember once when I was very small that I loved a blue, lavender and purple floral flower sack that we had gotten, so you made me a sun dress out of it. I was supposed to be napping on the iron bed covered with grandma Otto's star quilt of yellow and orange prints and solids in the room we called 'teacher's room' and you were working on my dress, a gathered skirt connected to a bib halter top with ruffles on the straps. I was so excited about the dress that I couldn't sleep, and I kept getting up to see how much progress you had made on the dress. When the dress was finished I modeled it for daddy and probably wore it until I outgrew it. Each Christmas and Easter we had a new dress, either made by you or sent by Nonny with no hem in it, and you would sit up half the night hemming the dresses for us. When I wanted to learn to sew, you helped me get started, and always praised the results. Thank you for keeping us clothed and for helping me develop a hobby that I have enjoyed now for over fifty years.

Thank you for giving me siblings. I love each of them so much and cannot imagine life without any one of them. Thank you for being a wonderful example of a dutiful wife and a loving mother. You always put your husband's needs or your children's wants and desires before your own. Thank you for taking such good care of the old folks in our church. At 85 you still haul the old people, some younger than you, to all the church events, and never complain about the added chores. What a great example of a loving Christian you are to us all. We could do no better than to imitate you.

For these, and for hundreds of other reasons, your children can arise and call you blessed. And my prayer, and all of our prayers, is for you to receive your reward, which you will when the time is right, and you reach the golden gates of Heaven.

Have a wonderful 85th birthday.

You have all my thanks, my love, and my prayers.

I wrote this last year for a memory book that we made for mom's 85th birthday. Today is the 86th anniversary of her birth, which she is celebrating in heaven with Jesus.


Anonymous said...

What a tribute to your mom. What an amazing woman. And what a blessing that you all had her in your lives for so many years. The peace of knowing she is with Jesus is priceless.

Your tribute was so visual, I could imagine you as a little girl, experiencing all those wonderful memories.

Nancy in Iowa

Sage said...

Thank you for your comment, Nancy. The reason you could see it so clearly was because it all took place in Iowa!

I hope your day is wonderful, peaceful, and full of God's blessings.

Robbin with 2 B's! said...

I am so glad you wrote that letter for her last year and she got to read it. I know today has been hard but but what a treasure that you had her so long and that she left her children such a legacy of love. And I know for sure she was smiling down at her family today.
Love you bunches.

Mom in MN said...

What a touching tribute to a great mother! All life's trials and troubles will be worth it if my girls feel that way about me someday! (Gotta get through adolescence first, but we're working on it!
:-) )

And YOU are a great mom, too!

Lisa J said...

Oh and what a birthday party it was! Sorry that I missed reading this yesterday, where did my day go? I feel like I can see your momma in your tribute to her. I see the peace she brought to your home and the happiness that was there. Don't you wish so badly that we had such simplier days now? I am so glad you were able to write and share your feelings with your mother and now us. You have been very blessed. And I to for having you in my life.

Linda up north said...

What a blessing you gave your mom with such a beautiful letter to her. How blessed you are to have a mom you could say such wonderful things about.
Happy Birthday to your Mom! I am sure it is bittersweet for you this year... God's Peace be with you.

Just Joni said...

This is such a beautiful letter and it is such a wonderful thing that you were able to write this and share it with your mother...she sounds like she was a loving role model and I truly understand why you miss her so much. You have many special memories and what an honor to have you share them with us. It must be very comforting knowing she is in the presence of our loving Father. I am particularly fond of these verses in Proverbs...my daughter gifted me with her hand-written version when she was about 13 and they've been tucked in my bible ever since.

blessings to you ~