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3 Lessons from My Mama

She may not have been the best cook in the world, and she couldn’t sew a button on to save her life, but she shared many valuable lessons with me while she was here on Earth.

Mother and daughter walking at sunset (Thinkstock)

Today is my mama’s 87th birthday, and I have no doubt that she is celebrating in heaven alongside my dad and Jesus. Mama went to heaven on May 3, 2006, and I’ve missed her every single day since “her graduation.”

With her “graduation day” anniversary being last week, and Mother’s Day being yesterday, and today being Mom’s birthday, of course I’ve been thinking about her quite a bit this past week. She was precious, funny, feisty, loyal, encouraging, loving and wise.

She may not have been the best cook in the world (though she could make a mean meatloaf), and she couldn’t sew a button on to save her life, but she shared many valuable lessons with me while she was here on Earth.

So, I thought I’d share just three of those pearls of wisdom that my mama taught me.


1)  Look for the best in every situation.
Mom was definitely a glass half-full person. No matter what happened in life, Mom always put a positive spin on it. When given the grim news that her cancer was inoperable, Mom simply said, “Well, doctor, I appreciate all that you’ve done for me, and I understand that you can’t do anything else…but it was always in God’s hands, and all of my faith is in Him.”

And, over the course of her cancer battle, Mom beat many odds and outlived every prognosis the medical experts gave her. In fact, right after the doctor’s grim diagnosis, she proceeded to order some new hot sandals from QVC, believing she would be going on vacation with us that summer.

I loved that about her.

2)  Be your family’s best cheerleader.
My mama was a constant source of encouragement and support. Looking back on my childhood, I was involved in everything—student council, school plays and musicals, swing choir, dance, drill team, cheerleading, gymnastics, Girls Club basketball and softball, middle school track, Bible quiz team—and Mom encouraged me in every endeavor.

Even though I certainly wasn’t gifted in all of those activities, I never had a second thought about trying out. You know why? Because my mom always said, “You can do it!”

So, I believed I could.

And then I did.

She was the same way with my siblings, too, and also with my dad.

You’ve probably heard the expression that “behind every great man is a great woman”? Well, that perfectly described my parents.

I remember Mom getting up before Daddy every morning, making his coffee and serving it to him while he had his devotions. She loved doing that for him, and though my coffee isn’t very good (Because I don’t drink coffee, I either make it too weak or too strong…I’ve yet to get it perfect), I have tried to emulate her in my marriage. Mom would encourage Dad when he was having a stressful time at work, and he trusted her and confided in her.

They had a beautiful relationship.

Whenever I hear the song, “Wind Beneath My Wings,” I immediately think of Mama. She truly was the wind beneath all of our wings, and I am forever grateful. I may not always get it right, but I have tried to be that same wind for my husband and my daughters.

3)  Sing loudly…even if you don’t know the words.
Mom always had joy in her heart, and she loved to sing. She woke up every morning singing at the top of her lungs, and she pretty much sang all day long. She created little ditties for every situation and occasion, and she often made up her own words to popular songs.

Or, it could be that she just didn’t know the actual words…no matter, Mama sang her way through life because she was so happy to be alive and living life with Jesus and her family.

I find myself doing the same thing these days. In fact, today I was singing along to a Little Big Town song on the radio: “Why don’t we do a little day dreaming?”

“Mom, it’s day DRINKING, not day dreaming,” Ally informed me, laughing.

“Oh,” I said. “Well, I like my version better,” and I continued belting out the wrong chorus.

I have definitely become my mother…and I’m OK with that.

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