I wrote this blog in 2012…
It is sooo pertinent to what I wrote today!
Check it out: via Increased LOVE, like FAITH, takes EFFORT
Let me take a break this Mother’s Day weekend from my A-Z series and talk instead about moms. Okay?
How would you describe your mom?
My mom was an Okie.
Hmmm… How dare I?!
How dare I use such a derogatory term! “Okie” was a term used by those who thought they were better than those Dust Bowl transplants who moved to the west coast from Oklahoma to find a way to make a living when years of drought forced them from their homes there.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is a classic book that told the story of Tom Joad, the father of a migrant family. Tom left the Oklahoma dust bowl for promised land in California, only to face new and daunting challenges. It was made into an award-winning movie starring Henry Fonda.
My father’s sisters erroneously decided Mom was a west-coast migrant from Oklahoma. Unlike those Dust Bowl transplants from Oklahoma, my mother, Elizabeth Totten, had ancestors who migrated in the late 1800s from Ireland and Scotland to Iowa and then to the state of Washington at the turn of the century. Mom’s family owned a farm in Fall City, Washington. Her dad died when she was in her early teens. My grandmother guided her six children to work hard to keep the farm operating without my grandpa to lead the way.
After Elizabeth graduated from high school in 1933, she worked in Fall City at a creamery to help the family survive and retain the farm. She moved to California after she met my dad, Sal DeAngeles, a handsome, suave, dark-haired young man, 4 years her senior.
Early Days in Mom’ & Dad’s Marriage
Elizabeth and Sal eloped to Reno, NV in 1937 and kept their marriage a secret for awhile. They were aware that his family might have trouble accepting her.
Many times Mom told me the story of how Dad’s Italian sisters (he had 5 of ’em) were resentful of her intrusion. She said they called her an Okie. (To her face? I hope not!) She was not Italian. And worse yet, she was not Catholic! And to add insult to injury, Dad’s mother (my Grandma DeAngeles) loved Mom as if she were one of her own daughters. There may have been some jealousy at work there.
Mom thought Dad’s sisters had a friend, a local Italian, Catholic girl picked out for their brother. Mom said she believed they were shocked and rather put-off by his decision to marry this outsider.
Whether her perception of their non-acceptance was true or not, it colored our family’s relationship with my dear aunts forever! It may have been one of the reasons I recall our family going on Sunday afternoons to visit Dad’s sisters at their homes, but rarely inviting them to come to ours. What a shame!
Who was Mom – – – really?
Elizabeth (later nick-named Betty) was the fourth in a family of five children born to Laura & Ralph Valentine (RV) Totten. She was a slightly built, blond, blue-eyed girl with three older sisters, one brother, and a younger sister. She adored her father, whose untimely death (he fell off a barn roof and died of a brain injury), left her devastated.
She was a good student, particularly talented as an “elocutionist” (public speaker), and would have loved to attend college. Financially it just was not an option. She was good at math as well, and eventually became Dad’s secretary/treasurer in his business. In her retirement years, she kept herself busy playing Bridge and participating in the women’s organizations of Eastern Star and Rebekahs.
What do I Remember Fondly About My Mom?
Mom always told me I could do and be whomever I decided I wanted to be. She believed in me. She gave me confidence, and encouraged all my various endeavors. She made sure I got accordion lessons when I showed an interest in that instrument. She helped me get a clarinet when I wanted to join the elementary school band, and she drove me to weekly accordion and clarinet lessons fifty miles away.
Mom helped me develop my writing skills and encouraged my ventures into art and school leadership. She convinced Dad that I should be able to go to college – and made sure they managed to finance my college expenses so that I could concentrate on my studies. “Your school work is your job,” she explained when I was contemplating a job to help with college costs. Unlike most college students today, I graduated with a BA of education in four years – and was debt free. What a gift!
Mom’s spit-fire personality sometimes caused us to be at odds with one another. I see her in me now and blame her for all the parts of my personality that annoy me. I look in the mirror and see her arms hanging from my shoulders (when did that happen?). I see her impatience in me when I am being less than kind. I look up and shake my finger at her when i am too outspoken.
Thank You, Mom
But at the same time, I thank my mom for all the ways she helped me become the “Child of God” I am today. She made sure my sister, Sally, and I got to church each Sunday. She was 100% honest and she taught Sally and me to be morally responsible, dependable, hard-working young ladies. I am grateful to my mom for her role modeling, her work ethic, and her unconditional love.
Family is So Precious!
The picture below is 53 years old!! That’s me on the left, pregnant with our first child. My husband, Bob, is standing next to me. Next is my sister, Sally, with her husband, Dave, holding their eldest daughter, Denise (both of whom are now deceased). I thank God every day for life – and for the life of my children – and count my blessings that they are alive and healthy, productive adults today. I never take that for granted.
My mom and dad (Sal & Betty) are in the foreground. The best gift they gave to me was their love for one another – and their love for our family.
Happy Mother’s Day
to all those wonderful moms out there
who have impacted their children
in such important ways –
and continue to do so everyday…
some up close and personal,
and others as they lean over the
Heavenly railings and watch over us from above.
What do you remember most about your Mom?
And what do you want to thank her for?
Thanks for joining me on our A-Z journey
to find ways to
Add More Meaning
Discover Clearer Purpose
Today we’ll explore the letters “O” and “P”
Optimism and Positivity
Optimism Brings Positivity!
Or, is it the other way around?
Does Positivity bring Optimism?
I couldn’t separate these two!
Like so many of the concepts we’ve explored in this A-Z series, these two (optimism and positivity) go hand-in-hand.
When you live with the “Positivity Potion” in your life, optimism is a natural by-product!
I am reminded of a story I have read more than once in various places. It’s about an elderly lady who is being guided down the hallway of a nursing home. The CNA (certified nurse’s assistant) says to her, “Your room is at the end of this hallway.”
The lady smiles at her and cheerfully exclaims, “I like it!”
“But you haven’t seen it yet,” the CNA responds.
“Oh, I know, but I like it.”
This lady had more than a sprinkle of acceptance.
She had more than a hint of gratitude.
She lived with more than a feather of hope.
Her positivity potion was overflowing with optimism about life and her future.
She is someone you’d like to have as your roommate
should the day come when you need to move into a nursing home.
These items of advice don’t suddenly become obsolete when you’re retired and don’t have to get up and go to a job every day. In fact, as a person who is aging (aren’t we all?), it is more important than ever that I remain positive in order to be happy.
When I was recovering from a knee replacement and struggling with more pain than I anticipated in the recuperation process, it was more important than ever that I remain positive, keep hope for a better outcome ahead, and work hard to remain happy.
Challenges keep coming.
Life is not a bed of feathery frolicking through the tulips!
It is more important than ever that I continue to work hard
(find meaningful work to maintain a sense of purpose),
and give my days reason to hope.
Not just a feather of hope,
but the whole chirping, red-breasted robin!
I never can let myself become so rigid, and set in my ways, and sure of my own way of doing things that I grow beyond the need to accept criticism. I must always keep learning. With a positive attitude, I can thank the one who offers the criticism – thank him or her for sharing an opinion with me – for caring enough to speak their words of correction. Take it in – try the shoe on and see if it fits! And weigh its merits. Keep learning and looking for ways to improve. Always!
With an attitude of optimism
and a demeanor of positivity,
I will attract happy, warm, and generous people.
And I will be one of them.
What better way to approach my 80th birthday – and the days ahead?
Bring Optimism and Positivity with you into your tomorrows!
Day #7 in the A-Z series: Adding Meaning and Purpose to Life
G = Grace and Gratitude
Are you grateful for God’s chisel?
You know, our lives are filled with things that crowd out what’s really important. Sometimes, we clutter our time with frivolity. (Do you ever feel like your blogging might qualify in that category?) Transforming our lives so that the most significant goes to the top of our to-do list is not an easy task.
The shaping tool that God uses is like a chisel. By His Grace, He chips away at our selfishness, our self-centeredness, our pride, our laziness, and our greed. When we accept His Grace, He replaces those attitudes with generosity, concern for others, diligence, and a far-sightedness that only He can give.
Unlike my SnapChat app that can instantly turn my skin silky, vibrant, and wrinkle-free, and surround me with hearts of love, God’s chisel is not a one-click deal!
I am grateful for the shaping tools God uses to help me slough away the detrimental parts of my being. (I wish it COULD be a one-click deal, don’t you?)
In yesterday’s devotional page in Daily Guideposts, Isabella Yosuico identifies some of those shaping tools:
He sends people to challenge some obstinate defects in me.
He puts me into circumstances beyond my existing skills to control… to compel me to grow.
He allows problems that overwhelm me. They are sometimes so beyond me that I have no choice but to turn to a Higher Power, and surrender to His/Her solution.
By Grace, I have
By Grace, I can exhibit
The Power that lifts me into The Word.
In my eight decades of living on this troubled earth, I have found the wisest and, ultimately, the easiest path to a meaningfulness, purpose-filled, contented life is to submit fully to the Chiseler’s Hands. The Word, my Bible, is my guide. Its guidance directs my attitudes and actions. The Holy Spirit is my constant companion. I am grateful for its presence in the heart of me.
The Grace of the Holy Spirit + Gratitude = HAPPINESS
Tales from the Mama Duck – family5power –
posted this from the image: Medium
on the subject of Gratitude today:
May The Chiseler’s grace continue to shape me.
God Bless You, my “Ideal Reader.” I am grateful for you.
May God’s Shaping Tools continue to chisel away at you, too!
(adapted from The Open Church Foundation’s
prayer by Wallace Fridy)
“This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
God, I am truly grateful for:
Please, God, today, free me from all:
But, O God, please fill me with:
Please, O God,
be with me for another day,
and use me in Your Will.
In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray.
Have you tried your hand at
This post on Facebook inspired me
to try my hand at Senryu
using the human emotion of gratitude.
Great God Gives Gladness
Gracious Goodness-Giving God
Haiku/Senryu Poetry –
Every word in the Haiku must begin with the same letter.
When written in English, it generally follows the syllabic pattern 5-7-5
Haiku/Senryu Poem (also called Human Haiku) is an unrhymed Japanese verse usually written in the present tense and only references to some aspect of human nature or emotions. Senyrus possess no references to the natural world and thus stand out from nature/seasonal Haiku.
(Published with gratitude for the magic of 11:11 am on the 11th of this marvelous month)
Try it, my friends.
Share yours with me!
“Wisdom is better than
all the trappings of wealth;
nothing you could wish for
holds a candle to her.”
Proverbs 8:11 (MSG)
What is wisdom?
It is using Good Common Sense
It is Knowing and Living the Truth
It is using Knowledge with Discretion
It is having the Insight to Recognize Virtue
It is a Life Exhibiting Honor
It is Seeking Justice & Loving Righteousness
It is The Overflow of a Grateful Heart
O nly Our
M aster’s Will.
Love One Another!
Wisdom is the overflow of a grateful heart!
Tell me a conscious way you let your grateful heart overflow today.
To whom did you express your love?