Tag Archives: Mom

“My Mother Was a Daughter of Encouragement”

 

One of the most important leaders, and one of the very finest men, in the early days of the Christian church was a man named Barnabas. This good man’s name meant “son of encouragement,” and he blessed the church by living up to his name.

If Barnabas was the “son of encouragement,” I’m quite sure that encouragement’s daughter was my mother. Mom died twenty-five years ago (hard as that is for me to realize), but her encouragement lives on.

Near my desk sits one of the last birthday cards I received before Mom’s passing. In her uniquely beautiful hand (I’ve never seen more beautiful script) are written these words: “We love you so much! Every day we thank God for you and all you have meant to us and to the family. You are so sweet, so gentle in a manly way, so caring, and just so very special. Every day we pray God to bless you, to guide you, to give you strength, and, always, to be so very close to you. Love, Mom.”

May I hasten to admit that my mother’s opinion of me was much inflated! But that was another of her gifts to me. She looked for the best in me and my siblings, and her praise helped us to reach for the best in ourselves. Every day I thank God for her love and encouragement which are still as real to me as breath.

Mom gave me lots of precious gifts. She gave me life. She taught me to love words. And she nurtured in me faith in the One who gives life direction, purpose, and joy.

From my earliest days, she read to me, immersed me in and taught me to love the great stories from the Bible. She was smart, too. When my younger brother and I were small, she’d read the wonderfully paraphrased stories from books like Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible, rather than bore us out of our minds with words we could not understand. We never thought “The Bible” and “boring” were words that went together. I still have the pictures from A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories indelibly etched in my mind. (Those books and many others are still available. One of the very best more recent children’s Bible story books is The Story for Children (Lucado, Frazee, & Hill).

Mom was sure that since God gave us the capacity to laugh, we ought to use it. She taught me that to be serious about God means to refuse to take ourselves too seriously and that laughter washes away pomposity and repels Pharisees.

Mom taught me that people are more important than issues and that folks ought to be careful about thinking that their molehills are God’s mountains.

She gave me so many good gifts, but surely one of the best was her unfailing encouragement. No matter how long I live, I’ll be “playing to her”—not in a pathetic attempt to measure up, but joyfully sure that, whatever I accomplish, she’d be the first one to say, “Well done!”

I hope you’ve received the gift of encouragement from your parents. More important, moms (and dads), I hope you’re giving this beautiful gift to your own sons and daughters every day.

 

       You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!

 

Copyright 2017 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


“Mom Knew That Love’s Growing Season Is Forever”

planting 01

Mother’s Day is just a few days away, but my memories of my mother don’t need any calendar or greeting card company’s prompting.

Memories rushed in yesterday with particular power because I was doing something Mom would have dearly loved, something she taught me to do, with someone she never met but who she would love with incredible love, someone I can hardly wait for her to meet.

I was planting flowers with our little five-year-old granddaughter Brenley.

We were taking a chance. I know this. To plant anything in our country before Mother’s Day is to walk on the wild side and live dangerously.

But plant we did. Out in the back yard. We dug down into the soil of two whiskey barrel planters, set in our plants, and watered them with water from our rain barrels.

We were standing there, our hands covered with mud, Bren holding the “loppers” as I showed her where to separate our “cuttings.” And we had time to talk.

That’s one of the best things about planting stuff together. You’re working for a common goal, looking forward to what God will do to make the world and your little corner of it more beautiful, and you get to talk while you’re doing it. We dull grownups need to spend all the time we can talking with little people. They know what’s really important.

And that’s when it hit me: “Bren, your MawMaw Shelburne, my mom, would have loved this! She loved to plant things and watch them grow, and she’d REALLY have loved doing this with you!”

Memories flooded in, countless times in my childhood when Mom would take my brother and me out to the back yard, and we’d dig, and plant, and water—and talk. Mom was Rembrandt and her yard was her canvas. I think the only things she loved more than her growing plants were her growing kids and grandkids. So she just grew them all together.

A lot of what Mom knew about growing things, she learned from her parents.  Grandmother Key was always on the lookout for rocks with hollows in them, perfect planters for her little cacti. For larger planting projects, the instrument of choice, both for Mom and Granddaddy Key was a grubbing hoe. I remember setting the plants out and then “grubbing” little dams around them to hold the water in. I remember playing with plastic Army men around those dams, earthen barricades prone to frequent flooding. Drowning was far more a danger to my troops than any enemy action.

Granddaddy was much more rancher than farmer, but he certainly knew how to grow things. And I’m not sure who loved those rare and precious collaborative gardening times more, the father or the daughter. One thing was clear: they loved the time together.

Mom knew that Paradise was a garden, a place to grow love. And love grows forever.

 

        You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!

 

Copyright 2014 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

 


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