Today is my BFF’s birthday! (For your information, “BFF” means “Best Friend Forever.”)
I’m so excited to introduce my blog readers to this lovely individual; she has my highest respect and love, she’s been patient with me through many trials and tribulations, and she is a stellar example to me of Christian womanhood.
Outside-the-family friends may come and go, but I know that this friend is a forever-friend.
Allow me to introduce you to my mom.
She is a servant of the Most High, a beautiful example of a devoted wife, and the much-loved mother of nine. She’s also a Southern gal through and through, born and raised in the Bayou State with plenty of Appropriate Loyalty to the South.
(In other words, don’t get her started on the whole Union vs. Confederacy subject )
A few tidbits about my bestie:
1) She’s the most beautiful lady in the world. See above photos. I hear People Magazine recently declared Gwyneth Paltrow “the most beautiful woman in the world,” but I give that news a rather dismissive sniff. I prefer real-life beauty that I know is on the inside as well as the outside.
Few women can rock a pair of overalls and a graceful skirt with as much ease as my mom. Few women can take care of themselves without constantly obsessing over their appearance, either. I know I still have a lot to learn from my mom as far as that last principle is concerned!
2) She’s an industrious country homemaker.
Mom and Pawpaw went fishing last week and caught this 30 pound-or-so catfish (see bottom of the picture). While Pawpaw had the fish on the line, Mom scooped the fish out of the pond with that big net, risking her skirt and shoes in the process. She’s a fine sportswoman!
Mom is always looking for ways to make her hobby farm run in a calm, organized fashion. This has always been her dream. I remember recording in a now-neglected diary Mom’s desire to have a cow. I was six or seven, and we still lived in a sleepy little city neighborhood. According to my diary, Daddy reacted with strong skepticism. We still don’t have a cow, but we’ve come a long way with our 57 chickens (44 babies, 13 adults), 13 goats (5 adults, 8 babies), a hyperactive 9-year-old terrier, and two aristo-cats.
Let me tell you something else about my mom. She went to beauty school before she and Daddy married; her brief time in cosmetology providentially prepared her for a large family. She cuts our hair–and not just the girls’ hair, but the guys’, too! She’s a lot more fun to talk to than a stranger while you’re waiting for your new “do.”
Mom also makes soap now. She makes her own yogurt. She’s assigned bread making to her daughters. She makes sure we’re eating good nutritious food, and when we’re ill, she makes sure we’re getting powerful natural remedies into our systems. She looks well to the ways of her household!
3) She is a woman of courage.
Two years stand out to me: 2006, and 2009.
In 2006, my little brother Benjamin had a cancerous tumor in his stomach. My grandmother had breast cancer. My grandfather (Daddy’s father) died after several months of terrible health. In the midst of all this, Mom was going through a tough pregnancy with Lillie (Baby #8), who was born six weeks premature in January 2007.
In 2009, we left our old church under extremely tense circumstances. Mom was eight months pregnant again with Joy (Baby #9) when Mimi fell off the pool ladder, breaking four ribs (and sustaining even worse damage than we realized for at the time). I remember standing on the porch watching Mom half-run down the driveway to the pool, where she battled off our nasty goose Albert with a broom while Pawpaw and TJ tried to help Mimi get to her feet.
A month later, Mom was in the hospital with Baby Joy, while Mimi was still in another hospital across town. Joy was born in August; Mimi didn’t get to come home until October!
During both of those difficult times, the Lord sustained my mom in amazing ways. To this day she says (half-joking) that she doesn’t know how we survived. I do know that both she and Daddy showed exemplary courage, leading us kids through traumatic events that rocked our peaceful little world. Neither of our parents fell apart–though they had their tough moments!–and neither of them gave up. They continued down the path they knew God had set them on. I know we’re a stronger family for those years (and others I don’t have time to mention).
Mom has been deeply impacted by Ann Voskamp’s ministry over the past few years. She’s learned to give thanks, to practice eucharisteo, and as Mrs. Voskamp says, “to do doxology, or do destruction.” It takes courage to give thanks in the tough times. I’m so thankful to have a friend who reminds me to give thanks in the good times and the bad.
“Her children rise up and call her blessed.” (Proverbs 31:28)
Happy Birthday, Mommy. I love you so very, very much!!!