A pearl of grace and thinking of Mom.

 

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I got a pill stuck this morning…and it made me think of Mom and her groups of pills she had to take each morning and how she dreaded it and would sit at the table for such a long time, procrastinating the task.

I read a devotion today about letter-writing…and it made me think of Mom and her daily exercise of writing letters – the tradition of the “family letter” that was sent continually through the mail in a large manila envelope, a letter from every brother and sister; the letters to her sextet friends; the monthly/weekly letters or cards she would send to each of her children, and in between those “regular” letters, she would be so thoughtful to send a birthday card to EVERYONE in the family – even all of the nieces and nephews; and to her many friends.

I was reminded yesterday how important it is to inquire, to be nosy, to ask questions, especially this one: “How is _____?” or this one: “How are YOU?”…and it made me think of Mom. She was the glue that kept the family “together,” the string between the cups in the game of family information. I need to ask more questions. I need to take the lesson from Mom, from Sam – I need to not talk so much about myself but ask questions and be interested in others’ lives. It’s another way to show how much I care. And I DO care. I just need to do a better job in inquiring, because it feels good when someone wants to know how I’M doing and responds to MY life, and I should do likewise for others.

I heard a cardinal singing in the cool evening last night…and it made me think of Mom and her love for cardinals and birds, in general.

I made my Grandma Johnson’s pan cinnamon rolls last night/this morning, hoping I got the recipe right since I no longer have my recipe box…and it made me think of Mom and her sometimes unsuccessful substitutions when she made a dish and didn’t have the right ingredients on hand, but she created with what she had and expected us all to be grateful, and if we weren’t “Campbells souping” with “Mmmmm, mmmmm, goods,” she was visibly crushed.  I’ll never forget her ketchup for tomato sauce substitution. Yucky poo. But she was definitely resourceful.

I reflected on the past weekend when three little grandchildren came to our hotel room on Saturday morning and we had some silly moments of jumping on the big bed while chanting, “Three little monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell off and cracked its head! Ama called the doctor and the doctor said, ‘NO MORE MONKEYS JUMPING ON THE BED!’”…and it made me think of Mom and how she would have relished those silly moments and been so proud to show off her granddaughter and her great-grandchildren at the reunion.  

There was a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup on the table in the kitchen here at the office this morning…and it made me think of Mom and the fun Dad had with her when they kept my dog, Natia for several months. Natia would always go outside to “do her thing,” and as a result, always got a treat when she came back inside. So, on occasion when Mom had to use the restroom, Dad would go and get a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup from his stash and put it on her plate or at her chair – her treat for “doing her thing.” And her reaction was always a hearty laugh followed by, “DELmarrrr!”

Sam asks me for suggestions sometimes for catchy slogans to put on the digital sign at his business, and they are usually rhyming phrases, so this morning when he asked for a suggestion…and it made me think of Mom and her Christmas letter that she always turned into a recap of the year in the life of the Ferguson family in poetic form.

So,

I am grateful that every morning I am reminded of Mom when I take my pills, grateful that my pills aren’t prescription drugs like Mom had to take but just vitamins; grateful that mine are vitamins that my daughter and son-in-law introduced us to and grateful that they did; and grateful for Ruth who started me on the daily habit of taking herbs and vitamins many years ago.

 

I am grateful for beautiful emails, cards and letters via snail mail, and text messages that I receive from friends and family who reach out and share their lives with me and inquire as to mine – thank you Valerie, and Erin, and Geri, and Pastor Kristi, and Michelle, and Kathy, and Danny, and Pastor Rick, and Dwight, and Ginny, and Deb, and Aunt Estalene, and Delores, and Aunt Patsy, and Adam, and Lisa, and Karissa, and Katrina, and and and…it takes me awhile to respond, but I’ve been convicted once again to stay on top of it and reach out to touch others.

Which makes me grateful for this devotion from Dad’s devotion book:

It’s no accident that God chose the written form of epistles or letters to convey the teachings of the Christian life to the earliest believers. Paul, Peter, John, Jude, and the others wrote personal letters to churches ad individuals, and this body of correspondence makes up the richest source of our understanding of the Christian way and walk. Paul could have compiled volumes of sermons or books of systematic teachings. But instead the Lord led him to use the medium of letter writing to leave a lasting legacy for all of Christian history. Letters are personal, readable, informal, enduring, and quotable.

Though our correspondence isn’t inspired in the scriptural sense, don’t underestimate the power of the written note. It’s easy to pat someone on the back and say, “good job.” We need to frequently do that. But there is great value in taking time to write encouraging words. They are durable and distance-proof. Rediscover the art of letter writing.

I am grateful that Dwight called me yesterday to fill me in on the news from our family and grateful that he was able to sit in a hospital waiting room all morning, have lunch with Dad, and take the time off to “be there,” and I am grateful that Marlene and Aunt Drula are loved by so many.

I am grateful for the beautiful songs that birds sing.

I am grateful for the recipes that I DO have, for the lesson Mom taught me through her “experiments” that sometimes substitutions are not a good idea and if I’m going to substitute, I shouldn’t be disappointed if the guinea pigs don’t applaud, for homemade ooey-gooey cinnamon rolls, for my mixer (thank you, Sam), and for cooking spray that makes life in the kitchen so much easier.

 

I am grateful for silly giggles in a hotel room and for the freedom to jump on that bed that doesn’t belong to us because life is too short to always be proper and it’s okay to break a rule now and then when it comes to silly giggles in a hotel room.

 

I am grateful that my parents took Natia in and loved her even when she was naughty and made her fat with treats, and I am grateful that my Dad saw the importance of silliness and making Mom laugh in the last couple of years she was with us.

I am grateful that my Mom was creative and wore her heart on her sleeve and shared freely the events and happenings in our family – good and bad – through annual Christmas letters in rhyme. There were no secrets. She loved and expected to be loved in return. She needed and expected to be needed in return. She proudly displayed the Christmas cards and letters they received in the mail and expected each of us to read those 578 cards and letters they received when we visited.

I am grateful for Mom, Pearl Grace, Grandma, Gma, GG, Mrs. Ferguson, that Johnson girl.   She is and was a “pearl of grace.”

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