Before I share with you some of what my mom’s taught me, I need to give you a little history on her. She was born in 1930 in Austria. She was an only child with a German dad and an Italian mom. When she was very young her dad suddenly passed away. Her mom had to move to a big city to get work so my mom stayed with her grandparents during the week. Sadly, her grandmother was an alcoholic and at times abusive but she LOVED her grandfather.
Each day she would ride her tricycle to the bus stop and wait for her grandfather to come home from work. One afternoon he didn’t come off the bus. Her lovable grandfather had been hit by a train and he too was dead.
During the war my mom was shot at, narrowly escaped to bomb shelters and was forced to shake hands with Hitler and give him flowers. They had no money and very little food.
After the war, when she was 18 she moved to Switzerland and was a nanny and worked at the Red Cross Hospital. She then moved to London at 24. It was there that she met my dad. They married when they were 26 and soon moved to the US. They quickly had 3 children (me being the last)
When I was 3 and my parents were 36 my dad died. He shouldn’t have, but he did. When I was 16 my doctor, who knew my dad, told me he had some heart issues caused by Rheumatic Fever but, “He shouldn’t have died, the hospital messed up”.
My mom, had no family in the country, spoke English (but not fluently), didn’t know God, and didn’t have a job but she didn’t curl up and give up. She kept going. Not only did she keep going she was an awesome mom!
She married a wonderful man about 7 years later and I am thankful they are still married! My mom came to know the love and truth of Jesus when she was 78 years old and has been following Him ever since.
So here are some things I’ve learned from this courageous women!
- You, and those you care about, are never too old to discover the truth and love of God. Don’t give up on someone. don’t think they’re too old to ever believe. Pray without ceasing and ask God to give you the words for them.
- We’re stronger then we think. Did my mom have days when she was alone with 3 little kids in a foreign country that she wanted to run from it all - yep. But she didn’t. Even though she hadn’t acknowledged God, we now know He was there helping her every day.
- Let your kids know you believe in them. If I had to pick one thing I remember my mom saying to me it was this, “If anyone can do it Michelle, you can do it” (I’m 52 and she still encourages me this way)
- OK, now to the more practical - she would tell me that pretty much everything in my house could be cleaned with vinegar and baking soda. Windows: Water, vinegar and newspaper. Toilets: baking soda. Floors: Vinegar and water……
- Most aliments can be treated with salt, baking soda, honey and lemon. Sore throat: Gargle with salt water (I so believe this that I told my kids if they don’t gargle with salt water they have to pay the dr. bill). Bee Sting: rub salt over it to get the stinger out. Bug bites: make a paste out of baking soda and water and apply to the bite. Cough: hot tea, honey and lemon (only food I can’t eat is honey so we had some battles over this remedy) Cut that isn’t healing: soak in salt water.
- Shock your body. If we were ever in an outdoor hot tub that was surrounded by snow my mom would tell us to get really hot and then roll in the snow. “Good for the circulation” she’d say as she rolled around. So …. last month I took my son to a great naturopathic dr - guess what she told him to do, “Take a very hot shower, once the body is really heated, turn the water to cold and let it splash on your body - good for your circulation”. Once again, mom was right
- Cook, don’t open packages and warm. She always cooked us a home made dinner.
- Be active. My mom did not participate in any organized sports growing up but when she was 41 she decided it was time to start. She joined the tennis, golf and bowling leagues (and in no time won all the tournaments!), she biked, swam, cross country skied, water skied, down hill skied (which she did until she was 76) and started wind surfing at 65. In my 20’s I was visiting my parents with some friends. I remember my friend saying, “My goal is to be in as good as shape as your mom. I’m not talking when I’m in my 60’s but right now” He had watched my mom start her day with a bike ride, then swim across the lake while pulling her dog (I’m serious, her 120 lb lab “Oliver” sat in the middle of a 5’ circular float and she put the rope around her chest and swam - quite the sight), She then wind surfed and finished the day water skiing. Mind you she was in her 60’s.
- There is always a way that you can give back. My mom’s back started to give out on her and she has endured 4 surgeries and horrible pain. At 84, she has a difficult time walking across the room. She also has a severe tremor in her hand that won’t let up. But she can still write. She has always had beautiful penmanship and even with her tremor she still writes beautifully. When someone makes a donation to Faithful Workouts I send my mom their address and she writes them a hand written note. She finds just the right card, chooses words she hopes will encourage them and sends off a hand written note.
Pretty amazing, is she not. She’s be the first to admit she’s far from perfect but my hope is that I can leave behind lessons for my children like this! Your kids, no matter what their age, are watching you. What lessons will you leave then with.