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The Things We've Learned: A Mother's Day Tribute

Point to ponder:

What's the greatest wisdom you learned from your Mom or Mom-figure?

Today’s journal is a tribute from the iGnite Team and to our Moms and Mom-Figures. It is chalk full of wisdom and so much love. Thank you Moms everywhere & Happy Mother’s Day!

Neissa Springmann- At the age of 39, my Mom had been divorced from my father for five years and was raising my sister and I. When she was 39 my sister was 17 and I was 13. While my Dad was definitely part of our life, he lived 45-minutes from us and my Mom was a struggling single-mom. We didn’t have financial resources and to be honest, we were poor (as were most people where we lived so we didn’t think anything of it ), however, every ounce of our home and life was overflowing with love. Every morning my Mom woke at 4:30 a.m. so she could get herself dressed for work: dress/skirt (never a pant suit), full make-up and hair, panty hose and heels. Then, she’d make any breakfast we wanted. Some days it was cereal while other days it was oatmeal, pancakes, eggs—you name it, she made it. She ironed whatever clothes we wanted to wear and was always eager to help fix our hair. In addition, she never missed any extracurricular activity, we never missed church on Sundays and she made sure we were dressed to the nine. She sewed most of the dresses we wore to church, school concerts and banquets, even our prom dresses. On Saturdays, she worked as a florist. She was supportive of everything we did and she always had a smile on her face. As an adult, I reflected on my childhood and realized how poor we were and how stressed she really was, however we never knew because she never, ever complained. In fact, laughter was a huge part of our life. She had, and continues to have the greatest sense of humor.

To date, I’m 39 years old and have a 6 and 4 year old. I’m happily married and even though my husband is unemployed we are not financially struggling, I feel that most days as a mother I am swimming upstream and asking my kids for forgiveness. I have absolutely no idea how my Mom did it. She is the strongest, most positive, brave and courageous woman I know. She taught me to laugh at everything (most importantly myself), don’t sweat the small stuff and there is nothing more important than my faith in God. As a result, we dance a lot in our house, allow our kids stay up way too late and let God be our guiding light. Thank you, Elaine Watson Brown Seeber! Jill Watts- My mom showed us to always work hard and never give up… she did this more by her actions instead of her words which was very powerful. I always remember her working hard to make sure her kids had what they needed. She also always taught us to make the best of a situation no matter what, and stay positive. This has truly helped me in every aspect of my life. It's hard sometimes but I always try to live that way.

What I've learned from being a Mom is to be more present and not get so caught up in the small stuff… and also to cherish every special moment with your kids. It’s honestly taken me 18 years to learn this as I now have been a mom for 18 wonderful years and trust me it goes by way too fast!

Sha Klatt- My Mom taught me that attitude is everything. We can’t change what happens but we do have control over how we react. Having a positive attitude is so important! Also, take care of yourself so you can take good care of your family and laugh often.

What I've learned from being a Mom is to "Keep Life Fun!

Kathleen Parker- The best wisdom I learned from my Mom was through her actions. She was always calm, kind, and full of love. Even with 6 kids in 9 years she never wavered from her faith which gave her that peace beyond all understanding. She loved God and that is where it came from. I always tried to be calm like her raising my four girls, but failed tremendously. I wish I could start over now….but I guess that is what grand children are for : )The same holds true for what I have learned from being a Mom. I wish I could start over again. So many things I thought were important were not. I would make our lives simplified and focus more on family instead of the surrounding pressures that are put on parents and kids. We traveled a bunch as a family, but I would travel even MORE. The times spent together as a family are the only times that are truly remembered forever, not the endless volleyball games, cheer competitions and other “distractions” that we feel we must participate in. And most important, love your children unconditionally.

Betty Cunningham- The best advice from my 92 year old Mom is to have a sense of humor, especially in life’s stressful situations. Also, don’t sweat the details. “Nobody goes to kindergarten in a diaper” and “They will figure this out” is the wisdom she shared when my now adult sons would not potty train.

What I have learned from being a mother is that every child is unique and comes with their own life journey. You can love, guide, and influence their decisions, but you can’t change who they are. Love them and their unique gifts. It was always hard for me (a front row personality) to understand why my beautiful daughter Cara did not want to be in the limelight.

Crystal Tidmore- As a mom I've learned that you have to let your children lead. Giving them opportunities to make their own decisions and sometimes mistakes is how they grow into adults and how we grow into better parents.

Amy Younkman- Something that has always stuck with me is what my Mom said many years go to me and my two sisters. She said to "Never look to someone else for your happiness; you need to find it within yourself."

The greatest things I've learned from being a mom is from my three children, as they have been my greatest teachers. They have challenged me to be a better person by working on myself before I can bring the best version of myself to my role as a Mom. By remaining curious and asking God to continually “expand my territory” (Prayer of Jabez), my life has been fuller, richer, and more colorful than I ever could have imagined. Motherhood rocks me wide open on a daily basis and blessed me with faith, gratitude, compassion and tolerance.

Jessie D'Andrea- The best wisdom I have received and continue to receive from my mom is through her actions and how she loves her family. My mother loves her mom, children and husband more than anything. When we can’t be strong for ourselves, she knows exactly when to be strong for us. She is the best caretaker. I hope that one day I can love and take care of my family the way she does for us—she has a true gift. Alli Phillips- Being “in love” is feeling an emotional response to finding pleasure or connection with someone or something. As a mother I have been, and thank goodness most days, continue to be in love with my kids. “To love” someone, however is different, bigger, harder. As a mother I have learned that “to love” my children I have to choose to commit to speak and act with and “in love” every single day. Even when I’m angry, disappointed, frustrated or feeling disconnected and far from “in love” with my kids. True love means showing love, acting in love and being love for them, despite or in spite of my own feelings or emotions. It is a conscious, deliberate effort made every day, sometimes numerous times a day. To love my children despite circumstances, (mis) behavior, and their and my own emotional state. Ironically, when I’m not feeling “in love” yet still choose to “be love” and “show love”, the “in love” emotions returns. Loves is a choice to respond to and engage with our “loved ones” in a loving way, even when we don’t love what’s going on with them or us. Mothering means showing and being love, unconditionally, no matter how we “feel”. Kaye Eichler- I am still constantly learning to be a mother, as that role changes with each stage of life. The best wisdom I have is to not look back with regret. You have done the best you can do, and the best think you can give your children is time. Jenni Thurow- The best wisdom my mom has given me is a Bible verse “God works everything out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” Even if we don’t think a certain circumstance or situation in our life is good at the time—whether it is a life challenge or an inner struggle, God knows the big picture and what we need. He is working everything out to bring Himself glory and ultimate good for us. As a teenager I remember rolling my eyes when she would tell me this, but as an adult it makes me happy to think that even in all of life’s challenges, God knows us better than anyone else and is working out His plan in our lives.

Amy Chibib- A woman I adore, admire and have learned so much from was Nancy Hodgins - She was my next door neighbor when I was about 12 when she had her first baby girl Jacqueline - I would babysit but more often she would just have me over to hang out and bake and cook. My Mom wasn't always available and she knew I needed it and I soaked up every bit of time she spent with me. She went on to have 2 more children and they moved back to New Orleans. We stayed close and I would go stay for weeks over the summers. She is a like a Mother to me and best friend - she was at my wedding and I have seen her children get married and now she is a Grandmother. Her love and grace is steadfast and she always stays true to her values and beliefs. Even in her most angered, challenged moments her sweet southern voice would ring with love and boundaries. Often when I am faced with parenting challenges I ask myself to envision and ask - What would Nancy do? She taught me in a profound way by just being herself and sharing her time. I am forever grateful for she has truly been an Angel in my life! Look around and stay present - You never know whose Angel you may be!

What I've learned on my 18-year Mom journey with two boys- 10 of which as a single mom and most often learned the hard way. I have no doubts - it has been with God's Grace that we have come this far. I am faithful and filled with joy anticipating the lessons in the next 18 yrs:

  • Stay present - Stay connected - Keep open communication.

  • Faith is your friend!

  • Trust your instinct - Trust yourself - don't be swayed by the pack against your belief and values.

  • Be quick to admit and own your mistakes - It helps them understand how to recover when we all mess up

  • Whenever you feel despair or overwhelmed in parenting - remind yourself it won't always be this way - "this too will pass" I promise!

  • Buckle up and know that this IS a wild ride of life - we chose! And you always have choices.

  • If you have moments of calm appreciate the heck out of the simple pleasuresIf

  • Be clear on your values & boundaries - let these be your guide and "safety belt" along the journey

  • Just when you think you have a part of parenting figured out - rest assured your little angels will throw you a new lesson

  • I believe that our spirits choose this life and thus our children choose us - That has given me more hope and comfort on many a day when I had no clue what I was doing!

  • We get the honor to be their Mom - that is a gift for how ever long that may be. We have but a short time to care for them daily and then they must fly - They have their own lives to live and paths to find. The hardest part is knowing along the way when to let go and when to pull closer. It is a delicate balance of giving them enough "rope" to learn lessons and grow into healthy, loving, independent citizens that will share their gifts and give back to our world and when they aren't ready for so much "rope"!

  • Don't Let go too soon - I believe our teens need boundaries even more when they are screaming for freedom and want to experiment with drugs & alcohol. Stay courageous in your stance with this and keep the conversations going. If you think its hard for us to say NO - just imagine the pressure they feel.

  • Never Forget that LOVE NEVER FAILS! - When I don't know what to do I can trust in acting in love will prevail. Its ok to be vulnerable and Love also means being firm.

As I woke this morning after a nearly sleepless night from my Seniors Prom adventures. I can happily say everyone made it home safe and a hard lesson was hopefully learned by my son, in knowing his limits. The silver linings are always shining - stay focused on those and trust in the open conversations about what kind of person they want to be and treasure time together.


Action Item:

Share the wisdom you have gained from your Mom or a Mom-figure in your life.


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