Today is so extremely special.
Today marks another year since a baby girl was born who grew into a woman who became a wife and then a mom.
Jennifer Ann... Jen to her friends (and to me when I'm trying to get her attention sometimes). :-)
Her name means "beautiful and gracious". If a name ever matched a person, it is with her.
Most of you don't know my Mom. Here is a bit about her.
She loves animals. Her home currently has two betta fish (Marvin and Caspian), three dogs (Cooper, Molly, and Ceili), and four finches (Mr. and Mrs. Dash and Mr. and Mrs. Buffin).
My Mom is productive with her animal love and runs her own breeding business with Golden Retrievers. She's made a wonderful name for herself and has people on waiting lists before puppies are even born.
She loves her friends. Whether its talking on the phone, emailing, or getting together, she just pours herself into it. She prays for her friends. She says good things about them. She laughs and cries with them.
As a grown daughter now, she is showing me personally what an amazing friend she is.
She loves books and learning. Her big joke is that after schooling all seven of her children she will definitely know everything by heart. When she's not going through textbooks with her children, she is soaking in a thick book of her own. She doesn't like the mushy, kill-your-brain stuff. She loves books that make you think, consider, broaden, and see more.
Yeah, she's a smart lady. And she has taught her children to love learning and love the feeling of a book in our hands.
She loves smiling and laughing.
She has seven children who are so far from perfect, plus one with unique struggles because of his special needs. She has been through several moves away from family and friends. She has battled through cancer.
And she has never let her joy be stolen. She counts the blessings and tries to see what she can learn through hard things. And when life is so good and there's not a cloud in the sky, she enjoys it to the fullest.
She loves to minister. Whether it's teaching the little ones of VBS, singing on the platform on Sundays (she has a gorgeous voice, by the way), or meeting with people from the community, she is always thinking of others. She always has her home open and her heart is always ready for more people to fill it. She is generous. She just loves to give.
She loves her little children. She has a very counter-cultural life with having her oldest married and her youngest only three! Most women would be long done by now with trying to keep four children near her in a store. But, even though she has already poured so much into her oldest three, she still does all of the fun stuff that little kids love to do... and she takes us older kids along so we can see there are some things you never grow out of... like riding the zoo train!
She loves her older children. When she's not refereeing sword fights, she takes time to go shopping, out for lunch or coffee, or to just sit and talk with her one highschool and two post-school daughters. She encourages us to pursue our dreams, follow the Lord closely, and be the best Rachel, Jessie, and Natalie that we can be. :-)
She loves her husband. My parents have very different personalities. They have both been through health issues. For many couples, it takes much less than that to break apart their marriage. My parents have chosen to only let those things make their love deeper. I was always secure growing up, knowing that my parents adored each other. Now that we are both married women, my Mom and I enjoy talking about our men together and it is so wonderful to see the sparkle in my Mom's eyes when she talks about my Dad.
She loves the Lord. She will be the first person to point you to Him. She will show Him to you in her love and kindness. She prays and walks with Him. She sacrifices for His sake, knowing that nothing will ever match His sacrifice for her. She is humble before Him.
She just loves Him.
That is why today is worth celebrating. It is the day that a baby girl was born a sinner who grew to be a woman who became saved. She has passed on an amazing legacy to her friends and family. I just love her life and how the Lord has used it in so many ways, how she continues to surrender it to Him. She is the most beautiful woman I know.
I love you, Mom. Thank you for being such an amazing example to me of what it means to be a student, friend, wife, and child of God. You are incredible.
Blessings to you, my friends!