After my nephew’s recent baseball tournament win (Go Armour! of Parker, CO), I saw some teamwork exercises that made it obvious they were not just winning baseball, (nationally ranked 3rd!) but raising winners who understand teams. Among other exercises, they had a “shout-out!” time where they sat in front of the coach, and each boy enthusiastically raised his hand for the pure enjoyment of telling what he noticed one of his teammates doing right.
“Lance pitched great.”
“Geno had a great play at second.”
“Jo Jo kept a good attitude even when the ump made a bad call.”
What a great idea! That coach is teaching a life-skill I wish I had known at that age! It is called edification. “Therefore encourage one another and edify one another, just as in fact you are doing.” (1Thes 5:11) Giving credit where credit is due is a trait often forgotten in this dog-eat-dog world. As a child, and unfortunately into adulthood, I remember feeling that if I lifted someone else, it made them think that I was less in comparison. But edifying others is quite the opposite: the more we lift, the more we are lifted!
I love audience participation, so in this week of Mothers’ Day, I would love to SHOUT-OUT to some moms and ask you to do the same! It doesn’t have to be your own mom; it can be any mom in whom you see something to admire. Specific stories that illustrate why someone is great always inspire others and help us remember how to apply it!
Before shouting-out praise for moms, I really want to lift up prayers: Mothers’ Day can be a time of sadness for so many – those who wish to be mothers and are not, and those who miss their mothers dearly. Please take a moment and send prayers their way–every day this week! Our prayers are with you, girlfriends! Please feel free to participate in our shout-out and I hope it helps uplift your day.
A few rules for shouting-out about a mom:
- No jealousy allowed. If you see someone singing the praise of someone you know, quietly tell God thank you for those two women lifting each other, and get your mind off yourself! God knows 🙂 .
- Comments on this blog stay with this letter and increase page ranking (Comments count like votes for online searches on the topic.)– which is nice for future onlookers, so they can see some positive things you say about a mom. Comments about this blog put onto Facebook, Twitter, etc disappear within days and are not connected here for others to read. (I learned this when I did the letter on Family Traditions; all of the comments on FB were fantastic, but were gone into the depths of archives before Christmas.)
- No negative. This is a general rule for shout-outs. You can’t start with “She drives me crazy, but…” No buts about it, shout-outs are positive! Write the negative in sand, and write the positive in stone – on a comment. You may have nothing positive to say about a mom except, “She didn’t abort me,” and that is a perfectly acceptable, wonderful shout-out!! Life is a gift, and God gave it to you through her.
- I don’t mind long shout-outs, so say it like you mean it!! You can copy this link and send it to the mom on Mothers’ Day as a special blessing.
Here goes! I am writing about a different mom each night this week, hence the different color fonts.
I want to SHOUT-OUT about Kerri Bosma of Michigan. This mom took the letter, “Sunrise, Sunset, Fishing for Memories” to heart and then sent a photo of her son, Kayson, whom she took “early morning fishing.” What a catch of a mom! Maybe I should have mentioned that I meant fishing in Florida winter or Michigan summer, but not necessarily early morning Michigan winter!! Two thumbs up for that mom!!
Attach a comment of your own shout-out to a mom and check back tomorrow to see my next mom shout-out.
I want to SHOUT-OUT about this “unknown” mom I saw on a street in Colorado last week. Of course, to her, it may have been a “normal” morning exercise routine, but to me it was worthy of SHOUTING because I think she was seeking excellence in family, fitness and faith (LOL) all at the same time. Not only is she pulling her own weight, but the weight of Superman (complete with cape) and his sibling (or two!- I can’t see inside the trailer). Go, Mom, Go!!
This shout-out goes to the special moms of children with special needs. Although I do not know her personally, according to the comment below from 5/9/12, Michele Lewis’s sister, Kim, is a foster mom who chooses specifically those children with special needs. What a special lady! I want to shout-out to moms who may never hear their child say, “Mom,” but God knows her name. These moms may have more doctors’ appointments than playdates, and have embarrassing moments in public, with intensely tearful moments in private. These moms may wish others would stop complaining about “Italy” when they are trying to stay focused on “looking for tulips in Holland.” These moms may have their brains stretched further than they thought they could go, and their hearts stretched to equal capacity, as they celebrate the simple things that moms who don’t have a special needs child would never know. Shout out to you, Mom! Your child is blessed that God gave him/her to you!
It makes me want to SHOUT when I think of my late grandmother, Annie Pearl (Polly) Hodge. Born in 1896, she was a widow before I was born. (Joseph C. Hodge 1884-1967) Although I never saw her as a wife, she planted seeds in me that she never could have known would take root. She lived in Talladega, Alabama, while I grew up in Pennsylvania. At the age of 9, I had a week with her, when my parents let me go by myself to “take care of her” since she was elderly. It was a treat for me to cook meals, because “playing house” was finally feeling like the real thing! I cooked oatmeal for breakfast (despite the fact that I didn’t eat it -it was just fun to use a hot stove), and to this day I make chicken and dumplings, because that is what she taught me that week. We played
dominoes for hours on end- even up to her dying days in her upper nineties in a nursing home. I can almost hear the sound of her voice when I sip her favorite drink, Dr. Pepper, because the taste brings a flood of memories. Her greatest influence on me by far was a devotional book she had. Each morning of that 7 day trip, she would have me read the book aloud to her (because “her eyes were bad”) and it was probably the most Bible I had read outside of a Sunday. I admired that and wanted to do it for myself. God used my grandmother’s 7 days with me to influence me for a lifetime. 7 days!
As I grew, I remember thinking, “If Grandma needed me to read that book to her, how does she read it when I am not there?” and then I would dismiss the thought – because God planted seeds during that time that are still growing today. I love you and miss you, Grandma! and look forward to the day when we shall meet again.
I would love to shout-out about my 95-year-old grandmother who lives on a farm in Kansas, still mows 4 acres of her own grass and grows an annual garden, canning at harvest. She makes her own peanut butter, lye soap, and crafts things from what-would-
be nothing. (She made sewing cards for my daughter last year by drilling holes in the shape of animals out of empty Clorox bottles that she had cut into 4-inch square “cards”. I kind of wish I could have seen the 94-yr-old woman with the drill!) For her 90th birthday, someone gave her a new gun, because she shoots rattlesnakes, and for years, it has been with a crooked-barrel shotgun! She has written poetry that somehow mixes tears with the warm fuzzies of home. She quilts-by-hand at 20 stitches per inch, makes homemade cards for every birthday and has given a full-size quilt to every grandchild and great-grandchild. She has been a hero of mine for most of my life. My earliest memory of admiration was wanting to be “a farmer’s wife when I grow up,” according to my 3rd grade paper. This shout-out goes to Grandma Fern Estes of Kanorado, KS!
My mother-in-law, Gayle Brady, deserves a shout-out…or many! A breast cancer survivor, she leads her life with the love-of-Christ. I never have to wonder if she is “in my court” or not; she would be there for me in a heartbeat. She raised the most wonderful man (or two –I’m sure her other daughter-in-law would say) in the world, and her influence in him shines. She taught me to cross-stitch shortly after marriage, because she could never sit still and “only” watch a movie. She has a rule, “Don’t set it down, unless you are setting it in its final place,” which has tremendously helped my house stay clean, because my husband still lives it and says it to me-lol! I thought she had the most amazing memory, until I visited her house and found post-it notes on the cupboards. I realized that maybe those gifts we admire in others on not all “natural,” but they are traits of someone who is humble enough to identify where help is needed and then use the help! She is so proud of her son (as am I!), yet gives God the glory: “I don’t know where you came from, but I know God did it!” she tells Chris. Her reaching out to me has been a secret to the closeness of our relationship, and truly an example I want to follow with my future daughters-in-law. But wouldn’t it be better to hear the words straight from the one who calls her, “Mom?”
Here is what Chris has to say:
“I would like to leave a shout out to my mom! She has to go down in history as one of the
most flexible, positive, encouraging souls to ever dare to raise two rascally boys. I have many happy memories of her selflessness and service to us, such as a full Sunday dinner arranged and served on the back of a dusty motorcycle trailer at the racetrack, red paint overspray on every surface of our home (it somehow got in from the garage where we were painting my Camaro) for which she didn’t even get angry, chore lists left on our countertop to prevent summer laziness, spectating at all of our sports and musical events (many boring hours, no doubt!), authoring many inside jokes and family giggles, and faithfully demonstrating how marriage is supposed to work through all seasons and situations. Thank you, Mom! I hope I am living my life worthy of how you raised me!”
Lastly, and of course most importantly to me, I would love to shout about my own mom, Sue Estes. An amazing cook, she defined volunteer work by cooking for 80 children every Wednesday night at the church where I grew up in Carlisle, PA. She knows food is a love language, and she is fluent in it! Famous for her pies, she would make an entire pie for every person who attended our Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
Hospitality was her natural gift. I don’t mean the pinky-in-the-air matching place-settings, (which she had!) but I mean the door was open to whoever walked in, and they would feel welcome to live there, anytime. Her freezer and cupboard were full “just in case” someone stopped in “unexpectedly.” She expected it.
Jesus said, “What you have done for the least of these, my brethren, you have done for me.” My mother served “Jesus” on more than one occasion. Once there was a bad car accident on the highway near our neighborhood. We children heard the collision and ran to the fence to see. My mother followed through with more than rubber-necking. I don’t know if she jumped the fence, or jumped in the car and followed the ambulance, but I do know that the family that was far from home on vacation was hospitalized and released at different times from each other. My mother offered our home to the father and children while they waited for the other children and mother to be released from the hospital. In my memory it was months, but knowing how children’s brains work, I guess it was probably a week that this family “moved in” with us, with bandaged wounds showing, as they awaited the mother’s medical clearance.
Mom had a dream to be a nurse, but when she was a teen, she came upon a bad car accident and fainted. Because of the experience, she “chickened out” from nursing school. The dream never faded, even after her courage had. Years later, when my oldest brother graduated from high school (and her youngest of four was in 4th grade), my mom tenaciously picked herself up by the bootstraps and went to college, 45 minutes from home, full time. She graduated from college as an R.N. the same week as her oldest child.
I don’t know if it is possible to identify, much less quantify someone’s greatest trait, but Mom surpasses the world’s standards when it comes to being flexible and conforming to circumstances that change. She has been babysitting for me and ended up voluntarily taking on other people’s kids when their sitter didn’t show up. Once on family vacation, when our car ran off the road on the way back from a remote fishing lake in Canada, embedding in sand and needing a tow truck, she immediately got all of the fish out and started lining them up on the ground to make a photo shoot out of the time we had to kill. What would have been a stressful, bad memory turned into fun. (Although, we did laugh AT her sometimes, I think she knew deep down we enjoyed it.)
In 2008, when I had to make the call to let my parents know I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, I really think Mom was in the car before I hung up – ready to make the 1600miles drive to be by my side…for a doctor’s appointment. Wild horses had to hold her back until a few weeks after surgery, when I really needed someone flexible enough to let me try some steps back into life, but take over when I got exhausted.
“Shouting out!” about her kids has never been held back by my mom. She would tell a complete stranger in Walmart or Wendys (the two places I specifically remember witnessing!) all about her children and grandchildren’s accomplishments. She is president of 4 adult-children’s and 12 grandchildren’s fan clubs! I love you, Mom!
Thank you so much to all who are shouting-out in the comment section below. Amazing stories about amazing moms! I have so much to learn!
J.R. (at 3-yrs-old) summed it up best when he asked, “Who is God’s mommy?” When I told him God did not have a mommy, he replied, exasperated, “Oh, He must be so sad!” God truly blessed us when He gave us moms to admire.
As mothers advance in age, I see a pattern of ailments that seem inevitable in my own future: Knees grind; a heart needs monitoring; hips that used to shimmy shimmy coco-bop, get stuck on the bop; skin gets speckled and thin enough to tear at a mere thought; bellies malfunction; brains fade; voices get hoarse, and sleep is hard to come by (at night anyway).
It is as though a mother’s body is just …well-used.
If my hips need replacing, may it be because they were first displaced by children.
If my knees get sore, may it be from bending in prayer.
If my belly is torn up, may it be because I took gut-wrenching pain away from my kids.
If my voice gets hoarse, may it be because it was overused encouraging.
If I can’t ever remember what I am going to say, may it be because my memory is full of the gifts of motherhood.
If my skin gets speckled and soft, may it represent my buffalo skin fading away to allow true love to show.
If my heart needs monitoring, may it be found exploding with gratitude.
In love and thankfulness,