Mothers’ Day 2013

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.  ~Tenneva Jordan
Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.  ~Marion C. Garretty, quoted in A Little Spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul
Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
But only one mother the wide world over.
~George Cooper
Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs... since the payment is pure love.  ~Mildred B. Vermont

The sweetest sounds to mortals given
Are heard in Mother, Home, and Heaven.
~William Goldsmith Brown
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.  ~William Makepeace Thackeray
A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest.  ~Irish Proverb
A baby asked God, "They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?"
"Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you."
The child further inquired, "But tell me, here in heaven I don't have to do anything but sing and smile to be happy."
God said, "Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you. And you will feel your angel's love and be very happy."
Again the child asked, "And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don't know the language?"
God said, "Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak."
"And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?"
God said, "Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray."
"Who will protect me?"
God said, "Your angel will defend you even if it means risking it's life."
"But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore."
God said, "Your angel will always talk to you about Me and will teach you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you."
At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from Earth could be heard and the child hurriedly asked, "God, if I am to leave now, please tell me my angel's name."
"You will simply call her, 'Mom.'"
"M" is for the million things she gave me,
"O" means only that she's growing old,
"T" is for the tears she shed to save me,
"H" is for her heart of purest gold;
"E" is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
"R" means right, and right she'll always be,
Put them all together, they spell "MOTHER,"
A word that means the world to me.

God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers. - Jewish Proverb

A young boy said to his mother, 'How old were you when I was born?' His mother replied, '23.' 'Wow, that's a lot of time we missed spending together.'
I am going to read a quote to you first and then tell you who said it: A small child waits with impatience the arrival home of a parent. She wishes to relate some sandbox experience. She is excited to share the thrill that she has known that day. The time comes; the parent arrives. Beaten down by the stresses of the workplace the parent often replies: "Not now, honey, I'm busy, go watch television." The most often spoken words in the American household today are the words: go watch television. If not now, when? Later. But later never comes for many and the parent fails to communicate at the very earliest of ages. We give her designer clothes and computer toys, but we do not give her what she wants the most, which is our time. Now, she is fifteen and has a glassy look in her eyes. Honey, do we need to sit down and talk? Too late. Love has passed by.

The person who wrote these words was Robert Keeshan, better known to America as Captain Kangaroo. I think Keeshan was on to something. There are many things in life that cause stress. But there are few that can break the heart like the loss of a child. To be sure there are many ways to lose children. We can lose them by a tragic death. We can lose them by ignoring them. We can lose them due to broken relationships. And, we can lose them by failing to develop the strength of character in them that they will need to resist evil. In our Scripture reading, Elisha did not know what had happened but he guessed something was not right; otherwise, this mother, this Shunammite woman would not be traveling to find him. Elisha sent his servant out to greet this well-to-do-woman with three questions: Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with your child?

Since today is Mother's Day, I thought I would begin with a list someone has made which they have called "Murphy's Laws of Parenting." See if you can identify with any of these:

1. The later you stay up, the earlier your child will wake up the next morning.
2. The gooier the food, the more likely it is to end up on the carpet.
3. The longer it takes you to make a meal, the less your child will like it.
4. A sure way to get something done is to tell a child not to do it.
5. For a child to become clean, something else must become dirty.
6. Toys multiply to fill any space available.
7. Yours is always the only child who doesn't behave.
8. If the shoe fits . . . it's expensive.
9. Backing the car out of the driveway causes your child to have to go to the bathroom.

Do any of these strike home?

It isn't easy being a Mom. I chuckled when I read a story by a Mom named Mary Jane Kurtz. Mary Jane says that when she was a young, single mom with four children, it was difficult to get them all ready for church on Sunday. One particular Sunday morning as the children started to complain and squabble, Mary Jane stomped from one room to the other, saying out loud why it was important they go to church as a family and have a good attitude. Suddenly, she noticed all four children huddled together and laughing.

"What's so funny?" Mary Jane asked.

"Mom," they said, "every time you slam down your foot, smoke comes out. It must be the wrath of God!"

In reality, it was the powder Mary Jane had sprinkled in her shoes. But it worked. She says they made it to church on time that morning and practically every Sunday thereafter.

I'm not suggesting that any of you busy Moms sprinkle powder in your shoes. I'm just reporting on Mary Jane's experience.

What we don't want to do on this Mother's Day, 2013 is take our Moms for granted. I've cited it before, but the best example I know of that is the Mother's Day card that reads like this: "Forget the housework, Mom. It's your day. Besides, you can always do double duty and catch up on Monday!"

I suspect some of you Moms can relate to that. Since this is Mother's Day, I want to draw your attention to our lesson from the Epistle, particularly the twenty-second verse, where we read these words, "Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart." What a perfect text for a day when we honor our Moms. "Love one another deeply, from the heart."...
All Those Preliminaries 

In an old Peanuts strip, Peppermint Patty and Violet are reflecting on being a grandmother. After Patty declares that she would like to be a grandmother, Violet agrees and says it would be nice because all they have to do is "sit and rock" (not quite the case, is it?) The girls then decide that the trouble with being a grandmother is that first you have to be a wife and then a mother...and Violet sighs, "I know's all those preliminaries that get me!"

Adapted from Peanuts. Original strip run March 13, 1950. Reprinted in 2004 in The Complete Peanuts: The Definitive Collection of Charles M. Schulz's Comic Strip Masterpiece 1950-1952.

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.

Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty
Who Am I? - Mother

A teacher gave her class of second graders a lesson on the magnet and what it does. The next day in a written test, she included this question: "My full name has six letters. The first one is M. I pick up things. What am I?" When the test papers were turned in, the teacher was astonished to find that almost 50 percent of the students answered the question with the word Mother.

The Most Important Job in the World 

Dr. Tony Campolo is a well-known and highly-respected, inspirational speaker. Over the last several years, Tony Campolo has spent much of his time traveling around the world on speaking tours.

Meanwhile, his wife, Peggy, has chosen to stay home and give herself and all that she has to the "Bringing Up" of their two children, Bart and Lisa. On those rare occasions when Peggy does travel with Tony, she finds herself engaged in conversations with some of the most accomplished, impressive, influential, sophisticated people in the world.

After one such trip, Peggy told Tony that sometimes as she visits with these powerful people... she finds herself feeling intimidated and sometimes even questioning her own self-worth. Tony said to her: "Well, honey, why don't you come up with something you could say when you meet people that will let them know that you strongly value what you do and you feel that it is dramatically, urgent and crucial and important.

Well, not long after that, Tony and Peggy Campolo were at a party... when a woman said to Peggy in a rather condescending tone, "Well, my dear, what do you do?" Tony Campolo heard his wife say:

"I am nurturing two Homo Sapiens into the dominant values of the Judaeo-Christian tradition in order that they might become instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia God envisioned from the beginning of time."

And the other woman said:

"O, my, I'm just a lawyer."

I like that story because it reminds us that there are a lot of important jobs in the world today but not one of them is more important than the job of being a mother.

Tony Campolo adapted by James Moore, Collected Sermons,
What's a Good Mother Like? 

Judith Viorst once wrote an essay based on interviews she had with children. The subject was "What's a good mother like?"

Viorst reports that the children expected their mother to get angry from time to time. "She has to," said Ted, "or she'll faint from holding it in."

"But it's best to remember," said Randy, "that when your mother starts to act real weird, you have to look scared and serious. Don't giggle. When mommies are mad, they get madder if you giggle."

"My mommy got so mad," said Megan, "that she yanked the plate off the table and all the mashed potatoes flew into the air." "And why," Viorst asked, pretending she'd never heard of such shocking behavior, "why would a mother do a thing like that?"

"Well," said Megan, "she told my older brother, Mike, he's 11 years old, to eat the potatoes on his plate and he said 'Later.' And then she told him again to eat the potatoes and Mike said 'Soon.' And then she told him he had better eat those potatoes right now and he said, 'In a minute.' And then she stood up and Mike finally took a bite and told her, 'How can I eat them? They're cold!'"

It's not easy being a Mom.

King Duncan,, adapting Judith Viorst, All in the Family
Job Description: Mother 

I found this job description circulating on the Internet this past week. Anyone interested? [You may want/need to shorten this.]  


JOB DESCRIPTION: Long term team players needed for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in faraway cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required. 

RESPONSIBILITIES: Must provide on-the-site training in basic life skills, such as nose blowing. Must have strong skills in negotiating, conflict resolution and crisis management. Ability to suture flesh wounds a plus. Must be able to think out of the box but not lose track of the box, because you most likely will need it for a school project. Must reconcile petty cash disbursements and be proficient in managing budgets and resources fairly, unless you want to hear, "He got more than me!" for the rest of your life. Also, must be able to drive motor vehicles safely under loud and adverse conditions while simultaneously practicing above-mentioned skills in conflict resolution. Must be able to choose your battles and stick to your guns. Must be able to withstand criticism, such as "You don't know anything." Must be willing to be hated at least temporarily, until someone needs $5 to go skating. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys and battery operated devices. Also, must have a highly energetic entrepreneurial spirit, because fund-raiser will be your middle name. Must have a diverse knowledge base, so as to answer questions such as "What makes the wind move?" on the fly. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility. 

ADVANCEMENT/PROMOTION POSSIBILITIES: Virtually none. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you. 

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required, unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis. 

WAGES AND COMPENSATION: You pay them, offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

BENEFITS: While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered, job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life if you play your cards right.

Every mother here this morning knows that mothering brings more joy and love and fulfillment than seem possible.

Adapted by Leonard Sweet
Unconventional Mother's Day Gifts 

This Mother's Day take a moment to think of all the mothers in the world who are in need. There are millions of women in the world living on less than a dollar a day. There are women in this country who are wondering how they are going to feed or diaper their children from day to day. There are children who need medical attention that their parents may not be able to afford. Anyone who has ever had to worry about such things can deeply sympathize. For those of us who have escaped such worries, we can only imagine the level of instinctive stress that uncertainty can provoke.

There are many ways to celebrate Mother's Day, but here are a few unconventional suggestions that will prove to your own mother that she did a good job raising you. How about dropping off a box of diapers and/or a case of formula to a local food bank or women's shelter? If you have some baby furniture or clothing that your own children have outgrown, how about donating that stuff to a local charity? Does our local hospital have a fund for children who need care? Are there doctors in our community or city who volunteer in clinics overseas who might need supplies? There are countless ways to help support Moms locally and globally. Let your own Mom know that you were thinking about her and all of the many things she provided for you along the way...and that you did a good deed in honor of her. It will make her proud.
Worse-Case Scenarios 

If moms are to be faulted, it is because they love their children so much that they get irrational about it. For instance, in the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin approaches his mother

Calvin: "Can Hobbes and I go play in the rain, Mom?

Mom: "No."

Calvin: "Why not?"

Mom: "You'll get soaked."

Calvin: "What's wrong with that?"

Mom: "You could catch pneumonia, run up a terrible hospital bill, linger a few months, and die."

Calvin, looking out the window at the rain: "I always forget. If you ask a mom, you get a worse-case scenario."

Hobbes: "I had no idea these little showers were so dangerous."

Bill Watterson, The Essential Calvin & Hobbes, p. 130.

The Truest Friend 

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.

Washington Irving (1783-1859)

Long Over Due 

Mother's Day was declared an annual National Holiday in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson. He directed the Congress to designate the second Sunday of May as a special day for public expression of love and reverence for the mothers of America. Since that time there has been a "Mother's Day," and, I must say that even in 1914, it was long overdue.