Marietta

“But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” Ruth 1:16-17 (NLT)

Today a friend on facebook posted something about mother-in-laws. She went on to say that she loved her mother in law and considered her a friend.

This prompted me to think of my mother-in-law. Dale and I dated for three years, and were engaged for eleven more months before getting married. So, we have been together a long time.

At first, his mother was not too fond of me. We always say that was because I was a ‘city’ girl and Dale was a country boy she had her doubts. I know that really made no difference to his mom, but we tried to figure out why I was not liked right away.

Time did improve our relationship and by time that engagement ring was slipped onto my finger his Mom and I were friends. We were young when we got engaged. Young when we married. Yet, this woman accepted me and loved me.

Since she had no daughter and I had no mother, I invited her to be with me on many of the plans for our wedding. She actually picked out my wedding gown, which makes it even more special to me.

Through the years we laughed often. Got in trouble with our husbands a lot. Got lost together as neither of us has/had a keen sense of direction.

My memories of her are rich. I miss her mirthful laughter, it was almost musical. Her tenderness toward the Lord spoke volumes to me. She could not pray or talk about God without tears streaming down her cheeks.

I have often said I had three mothers growing up. My own Mother who brought me into the world and taught me the foundations of life. My older sister who guided me through my teen years (I personally think she had the hardest shift) and my mother in law who taught me how to be a wife and mother. My life is full and complete from these three women.

The verse above is how I felt about my mother in law. She was my own personal Naomi. Most women are blessed to have one mother who has nurtured and guided them, I had three.

The day after Dale and I married, we stopped to pick up our rental truck filled with my belongings and our wedding gifts. As we walked into her kitchen, she asked me to go to the basement with her. She had canned and made jam for us the previous fall and needed help carrying things upstairs. When we were alone in the basement, I hesitantly asked what I should call her as, up until that time she was Mrs.Thomas. Since we were both now Mrs. Thomas, I knew I could not continue to call her that. She looked at me, and said, “you can call me Marietta, or Etta, or (and she paused) you could call me Mom.” It had been almost 9 years since I had called anyone that name. I looked at her and said, “Okay, Mom.”

As we hugged good-bye to leave for our new life in Virginia, she squeezed me extra hard and that mother-daughter bond was formed.

It has been over thirty years since she passed, but today thoughts of her have flooded my mind. My life has been enriched by the woman who gave me her son.

Back to School

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

School started back this morning here in the upstate. My facebook page is filled with first day of school photos of kids either very excited or the middle school and high school kids with sleepy expressions and that first day of school look. I smile with each picture I see, as I remember the feeling of the first day of school and I think of my daughter’s first day of school each year.

It is the feeling on mornings like this that the school year looms ominously ahead. Going back to having to wake up early, starting a schedule again, and the uncertainty of what the year holds. To me, it is a reminder of when to plan my shopping trips so that I don’t end up behind school buses making the thirty minute trip to town more like forty-five minutes.

My Little Man started his school year last week. He is homeschooled, and in the fifth grade. I know his fifth grade teacher is much better than my own. Of course, I also know my youngest is an excellent teacher. Little Miss starts early September. She will head into second grade.

This fall, my younger sister will realize she is a retired teacher. She retired in June, but, like every year previous, she had the summer off. She is now realizing that there are no lesson plans to get ready, no classroom to prepare, that school is out forever. In years past, she said school was a word off limits for the month of July and August. I remember hearing that and still I smile. I can’t help but feel a bit melancholy for her this year. She touched so many lives which in turn will reach future generations. I admire her.

So, as I think of this new school year, all bright and shiny with new pens, pencils and crayons that have points I pray for each teacher, student, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and staff that helps everyone run. May this be a year of joy. A year of learning, not only head knowledge, but heart knowledge. May there be peace and safety on the school grounds and on the bus runs. May our Lord bless those who touch our precious ones with learning.

An Example

“Point your kids in the right direction-when they’re old they won’t be lost.” Proverbs 22:6 the message

My younger sister retired this week. She was a teacher for the greater part of her life. Honestly she has always been a teacher. Teachers are born. There is an innate gifting within teachers that are with them from the time they can talk I believe. I’ve always admired the profession my sister chose and she was good at it.

I was a teacher’s aide for a year and I loved each part of it. At the beginning of the year I considered going back to school so that I could become a teacher. The teacher I work with asked me to give a spelling test and I gladly obliged. But I found that the mom in me was much stronger than the teacher in me. I basically mouthed each letter of each word in the spelling test. None of the students got any of the answers wrong. It was then that I realized I was not a teacher.

Teaching is a gift. As parents we do teach our children. We teach them how to eat, how to walk, how to speak. We reinforce what they learn in schools. But there are those who are chosen to be teachers and I have known a few. I admire them and respect them, especially my younger sister. She has taught many many students over the years. Some she taught for two years as she taught a younger grade and then years later moved to an older grade and had the same round of students. She has touched lives in ways that they will always remember. How often do we think back to our own teachers? I had favorite teachers and I had some teachers that really scared me. The students, the people who the grown ups now who had my sister will fondly remember her. I don’t question that. She instilled in them a truth, faith, and the things that are taught from books. She also, I know, taught them several things that are never found in books. These are the things that these people were carry on in their lives. This will be what they teach their children. She will have inspired a generation. I stand in awe of what she has accomplished with her life.

So, congratulations to my sister. Enjoy your retirement I know now that it is summer and it is like every other year you finish school. Wait until August and September though and there’ll be no more Monday mornings that you have to scramble to get out the door. Have fun in this new adventure.