My Mom Always Had Positive Words For The Graduates…But This Applies To EVERYONE!

I posted this on Facebook a few weeks ago. Wanted to share these words with a few more folks. 

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This is long so bear with me. For the last couple of weeks I have TRULY enjoyed seeing all of the pictures on Facebook and hearing about all of the accomplishments of the kids of my friends. From pre-k to med school, there have been so many reasons to celebrate. Those kids who made honor roll and graduated with honors and those who have a gazillion scholarships to any college they want…absolutely amazing! I love it and I am in awe. I say congrats to not just the kids, but to the parents as well. Good job!

For those of you who knew my mom, you know she was frequently asked to speak to the graduates at church (St. John Missionary Baptist in the “big city” of Bastrop, Louisiana) or speak to her students at Delta High School.  For those who don’t know my mom, she spent 38 years as a biology teacher and guidance counselor at the SAME rural, north Louisiana school.  And she ALWAYS had something positive to say to everyone.  I have numerous folders of her handwritten speeches that I will always cherish. She was fond of a lot of writings by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale because of his positive thinking. In 2003, she gave a short tribute at church to the 2003 graduates who were members of St. John. She credited Dr. Peale and used some of his thoughts from “Be A Positive Thinker” and combined it with some of her thoughts. I decided to share it with you below. I think this applies to all of us, not just graduates.

Mom was always hosting or emceeing some kind of event or activity.

Mom was always hosting or emceeing some kind of event or activity.

USE CHRISTIAN VALUES TO BE A POSITIVE THINKER

STOP SPEAKING IN NEGATIVES.  Begin to speak positively. How you speak determines how you think. Do not say it is going to rain and be a BAD day. Instead say, we are going to have a WONDERFUL rain today. There is no such thing as a bad day. It is going to be a good day. Repeat the affirmation three times every day: “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. [Psalm 118:24]. Every day say it aloud. I have two choices for this day; to be happy or to be unhappy. I choose to be happy. Look for every opportunity to speak the good word. Say something hopeful and optimistic to every you come in contact.

SPEAK ALWAYS IN POSITIVE TERMS ABOUT EVERYTHING, ABOUT EVERYONE AND ABOUT YOURSELF. With use of the Christian values you can take charge of your thoughts (and of your life). Fill your mind full of God and there will not be room for negative thoughts. Every day say, “By God’s grace and through HIS help…I am greater than ANYTHING that can happen to me. And remember always “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” “If God be for us, who can be against us?” God controls, God is in me. God is guiding me, God is giving me victory.

And then mom ended it by saying: “We salute you the class of 2003 (2015)–we are proud of you and we wish you continued success.”

Mother’s Day Is More Than A Card

I didn’t buy a Mother’s Day card this year. I haven’t bought one since 2012. Mom died from lung cancer five days after Mother’s Day in 2012. And even though she was essentially a shell of herself and had no idea what was going on, I still bought a card and flowers because that’s what you do, right? I knew she couldn’t read the card or smell the flowers, but I knew she heard my voice when I told her “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY”! Mom in the hospital on Mother’s Day, a week before her death, wasn’t an ideal situation, but she was still with us. So I talked to her and told her I loved her. But I knew it would be her last Mother’s Day with us. Just a few days before mom was admitted to the hospital for the last time, I took her shopping to buy clothes to wear to church on Mother’s Day. She sat there in her cute, little red walker and pointed to all of the pretty spring skirts and tops. One of mom’s former students was the manager of this particular store and this manager hunted high and low for the sizes and colors mom wanted. This made mom so happy. We bought a LOT of stuff, took the clothes home and hung them on her closet door. She was so excited that she just couldn’t decide what she was going to wear that Sunday. Going shopping was such a small gesture and one we normally take for granted, but it meant so much to her. One of the hardest things I had to do was return those clothes. I can’t even explain the pain I felt in my chest as I returned the skirts and tops, never worn with the tags still on them.

Mother's Day program at school, 1978. I made that 'gift'.

Mother’s Day program at school, 1978. I made that ‘gift’.

For those who have lost their mom, Mother’s Day seems so “in your face” and “over the top”. But that’s all about advertising and selling stuff. They aren’t concerned about those of us who don’t have moms to buy that stuff for so don’t let the commercials and the sales and the flowers and perfume sets get you down. Don’t get caught up in the hype. Oh, it is very hard. Make no mistake about it. Restaurants telling you to bring mom in for a steak dinner or salons telling you to treat mom to the ultimate spa day. Ha! I turn the channel every time I see something touted as “Mother’s Day Specials”. That first year after mom’s death I hated the retail industry and I still do. But, I know that they aren’t talking to me so I try not to take it personally. Besides, before mom died I was one of those who bought stuff to make her happy. But now? It hurts something fierce to not be able to buy something for my mom.

Mom isn’t here physically, but I still talk to her and I still tell her that I love her. Every day. That will never change and I don’t need the retail industry to make me think that buying something is the best way to show love your love for mom. You know what your mom really wants? To FEEL and HEAR the love and to know that you appreciate everything she’s done for you. Yeah, she probably likes the “bling and the things”, but I think the words mean more. I reflect on what she taught me and the love the showed me. I think about her sacrifices and the opportunities she missed because she was doing more for me than she did for herself. Just because she is not here doesn’t change what she did for me. I was almost 43 when she died and I think that is far too young to lose a mom. You always need your mom, no matter how old you are. A daughter should NEVER have to lose her mom right? Even if the daughter was 85 years old, when her mom died, it would still seem too young.

Six Flags Houston 1976  - Mom trying to console me after dad told me I couldn't get on a particular ride. Look at my face.  Sad.

Six Flags Houston 1976 – Mom trying to console me after dad told me I couldn’t get on a particular ride. Look at my face. Sad.

When I talk to mom, I know she hears me. She still helps me make decisions, because I know exactly what she would say. Mom is always guiding me. I also know that she never, ever wanted me to hurt or to be in pain. She would want me to keep moving, to get up every day and try to make a difference. I am still trying to get my life back together after losing her three years ago. EVERYTHING is different and NOTHING is the same. I mean NOTHING. It is a sad and painful existence sometimes, but I am hopeful. Mainly because mom taught me that nothing is ever as bad as it seems and that I should never give up on what I want. One of the last things she told me was to “live your life and don’t let anyone stop you from doing that”. For those of you without your mom, live your life and don’t stop. She would want you to keep moving. Do it for her. Don’t let all of her sacrifices be in vain. She is and will always be proud of you. For those of you who still have you mom, please know how extremely blessed you are to be able to do for her. Don’t EVER take that for granted. And don’t wait until Mother’s Day to let her know how much she means to you. Mother’s Day is more than a card. 

My 6th grade graduation, May 1981. Yeah, it's a tad blurry.

My 6th grade graduation, May 1981. Yeah, it’s a tad blurry.