This meme is in memory of my sweet mother, who would have been 88 years old on January 9th. She went to heaven in May of 2005, and I think of her every day and still miss her terribly.
1. How to stretch a dollar.
She could make money last longer than anyone else I've ever met - she definitely got that trait from my grandfather. She was forever "hiding" 20 dollar bills from herself and was tickled when she'd "find" them.
2. How to keep a clean house.
You could always be sure that our house was as clean as a whistle, and she was a firm believer in a thorough spring and fall cleaning. I must say that I've fallen down on the job a bit in this regard (especially since last January, when Taylor Hicks came into my living room!), but I've made a resolution to do much better in the "neat and tidy" realm during 2007.
3. Practice good handwriting.
My mother's handwriting was absolutely flawless, and she was schooled at a time when cursive handwriting was a must. I have many of the cards and letters she sent me over the years and I still marvel at her penmanship. I definitely inherited that trait from her, as I pride myself on my handwriting.
4. Study hard in school.
I never had problems in school because she was so encouraging and helpful, especially during my high school years.
5. How to sew.
I learned a great deal from my grandmother on this front, but my mother sewed most of my clothes when I was a child and encouraged me to take Home Economics in high school (EGADS!!!). I am very thankful for that encouragement...I can still make a dress from a pattern (if I only had the time!) and recently made some drapes for a friend.
6. How to bake.
OK, I'm no Julia Child, but I can make bread, biscuits, cakes, pies, cookies, and my mother's fabulous potato rolls. She taught me how to knead the dough, let it rise (correctly), and pinch off just enough to make the perfect size dinner roll.
7. Have a strong work ethic.
My mother grew up during the Great Depression, and she watched firsthand as her parents struggled to make ends meet. Although she did not work outside the home while my siblings and I were growing up, she later became a U.S. Postmaster and continued working well past retirement. I feel fortunate to have been witness to the dedicated work ethic of both of my parents.
8. Be strong in times of adversity.
I have never met a stronger woman in my life. When times were hard, she managed to rise above those difficulties. I so wish I had even one ounce of her strength.
9. Laugh at the silly things in life.
She taught me never to take things too seriously and to see the fun side of life. Hmmm...I think I need to get better at this one...
10. Make a MEAN macaroni and cheese and Thanksgiving dressing.
There's definitely an art to this, and my brothers and sisters and their kids are forever asking me for the recipes. How can I tell them that there's really NO recipe? I watched my mother make these, and she never wrote down how to do it. It was all in her head, and now it's all in MY head.
11. Follow your dreams.
When my mother graduated from high school, she wanted to become a nurse. Her father was (for some reason) very much against this, so my mother went to business school and worked as a secretary until she married. Mother always told me that I could be anything I wanted to be, and encouraged me when I wanted to go to college and enter the health sciences/medical field. I will always be grateful to her for this encouragement.
12. Say your prayers.
From as far back as I can remember, she stood by me as I said my "Now I lay me down to sleep..." Every night, before my head hits the pillow, I still say my prayers. Thanks, Mama.
13. Have strong faith.
My brothers and sisters and I watched as Alzheimer's slowly took our mother away from us. We could not have done it without a strong belief in God and his incredible power and mercy. And we got that from our mother.
I love you Mama...