Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘parents’

Mom Was an Okie


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.

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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.

Wrong Assumption

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!

Mirror Images

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.

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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.

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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?

 

Are You Baptized?


Baptism in Christ
A choice you can always make
It’s never too late

loleta & cake

Are you baptized? Or did you miss that ceremony as a child?

If it was like my baptism, you were an infant and don’t remember it. Does that make a “dedication” by your parents rather than a baptism for you into the family of God? Does it make a difference?

If you went through confirmation classes as a pre-teen and received your Holy Baptism at 12 or 13, you remember the occasion. But, was your confession of faith then done with the same understanding you would have if you confessed your faith and were baptized today?

My friend, Loleta, has always been a loving person. She has identified herself as a Christian for many years. But, she did not recall ever being baptized. She knows it was unlikely her parents had her “sprinkled” as an infant. So, in her enlightened “senior years,” God put it upon her heart to be baptized.

When my husband and I learned of her decision, we were thrilled. We asked her if we could attend the baptism ceremony.

“Why?” she asked. “Why would you want to travel so far to be here when I am baptized? Isn’t it just a private thing between God and me?”

“Because we love you!” we told her. “It is your PUBLIC acknowledgement of your faith. We are thrilled that you have decided to do this – and we want to be there to support you.”

We were not alone in our presence. Loleta had people from three states come to witness her baptism… and then we all celebrated together at a rental house in a lovely spot in southern California where we are sharing the time for awhile. The Holy Spirit is alive and well in this place!

Here are a few of the celebrants.

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Do you remember your baptism?
Mine was a sprinkling as an infant.
I wonder if I would have the courage
to be “dunked” if the Holy Spirit nudged me
to do so today.

How about you?

Family


Family Haiku

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Family’s Blood and Love

Sent to us from God above

We are so grateful

What’s Your Image of Afghanistan?


Last night Bob & I attended a documentary at the Emerson Theater in Bozeman, MT. The topic: “Angels Are Made of Light.”

What is your perception of the people of Afghanistan?

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Photo by Somchai Kongkamsri on Pexels.com

Before the documentary, our response to that question was, “War-torn, depressed, aggressive, beaten-down, varied, down-trodden and fearful.”

 

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After seeing the documentary, our response is, “Resourceful, hopeful in the midst of what might look hopeless, tenacious, clean, basically healthy looking, and respectful of their elders.”

The newspaper review that prompted us to attend was glowing. We met Jason, the reviewer last night. Sorry I didn’t catch his last name. The newspaper page we have doesn’t list it. I’ll edit this and include it when I find out, because I will quote him:

“It is not a complete and objective telling of the country’s history, but rather a series of powerful semblances from those who lived through it. The imagery is vivid, and the contrast between the historic images of the city (Kabul), in times of greater prosperity, and those of the present day are stark reminders of how much the country has changed.”

Jason’s review hooked us in when he wrote, “The cinematography is simply exceptional. Langley is a true craftsman, and he works brilliantly with natural light.”

We were intrigued by the opportunity to  “linger up close with the film’s subjects for long moments… ”  The concentration of subjects was on the school children – – – especially a group of Afghani boys of about 10 -14 years of age. We wanted to “feel their breathing, see them thinking, working, watching the world go by.” And we did!

grayscale photo of group of children

“Over the course of the film,” Jason, the reviewer promised we would “accompany the students through lessons in history, poetry, social studies, and math.” And we did!

He wrote, “In the end, the film itself is a lesson in humanity, found right there, on the streets, in broad daylight.” And it was!

The documentary promised to “narrow the gap in our minds between us and them.” And it did!

It was indeed eye-opening.

We all are God’s children. Let’s do whatever we can to:

JUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

It begins with trying to understand one another. Set aside those prior perceptions, and get the real picture! I’m grateful for “Angels Are Made of Light” and the Bozeman Doc Series for bringing documentaries such as this one to our community.

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Photo by Sandy Negative on Pexels.com

True Awakening


A Selection of True Awakening Experiences Part III

Originating at:

http://www.memymagnificentself.wordpress.com

http://memymagnificentself.com/2018/09/17/a-selection-of-true-awakening-stories-part-iii/

Vibrancy After the Awakening

Awakening to the coming of death
Is a True Awakening experience.
Much as I love the colors of autumn,
I realize these leaves are on their way out.

The vibrancy of fall leaves
Reminds me of the sudden, unexpected
Alertness of both my parents
Just before they left this earth.

Dad was unable to speak,
But his face shone and a tear
Trickled down his cheek as
He blinked in response to my question.

He squeezed my hand and blinked
When I asked him, “Will I see you
When I get to Heaven someday?”
That affirmation fills my heart always.

Mom was aware that she was breathing
Her last earthly breaths when she whispered,
“Go home. You have a big day tomorrow.
You need your rest. I am ready to go!”

Even though I tried to convince her
That it doesn’t work that way,
That God doesn’t take orders, and she
Can’t tell him, “Get my room ready!”

She knew. She was ready. And He better
Come now  – – – and have that spot for her
Next to her beloved husband of 60 years
Ready for her heavenly occupancy.

Sure enough. I received a call saying
She had breathed her last breath
That night – and her True Awakening
Was in that room – ready and waiting.

Mom and Dad are as vibrant today
As the bright orange aspen in autumn.
The blink, the squeeze, and the last of
The Mother-Daughter instructions live on!

Go home! You have a big day tomorrow.
You need your rest, so be prepared.
Get the room ready… guests are coming.
And you must be prepared for their

True Awakening!

http://memymagnificentself.com/2018/09/17/a-selection-of-true-awakening-stories-part-iii/

Morning Prayer


Lord, thank You for the morning –
For the quiet of the night –
For the stillness of the dawning –
For the promise of the light.

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Thank You for the candles
Which flicker in the room,
Twinkling in the starlight,
Eliminating gloom.

Their gentle light reminds me
There’s strength contained in fire;
So manage and and maintain it.
Unchecked, its results are dire.

Like candle flames, my life is
A flicker on the earth.
I thank You for my parents
Who loved and gave me birth.

Work in and through me, Jesus;
Let Your Light shine intense.
With God all things are possible.
His outreach is immense.

I pray for all my children –
And each grandchild as well.
I thank You for their presence.
Give them peace and patience – Make it swell!

Thank You for the promise
Of each new, unlived day.
Help me make the most of it
By walking in Your Way.

In Christ’s Name I pray,
Amen

 

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