Today my mom would have been 96 years old. Unbelievable. The day never passes without thoughts of her and her influence in my life. And in the lives of my children. She passed away 3 or 4 days after Lindsey and I returned from the first medical mission in Bombo. Those days are still a bit of a blur for me, I was already exhausted. I do remember the kindness of the church family. And I remember the hope of God’s Word in those moments.

It was mom that made sure I was in church growing up. She was born in San Pedro and was married at San Pedro Covenant. A good Swede went to the Covenant church, of course. She had arthritis most all her life, a consequence of Scarlet Fever as a child. When she and my dad moved to Downey, they had just launched a Covenant church in the area, so that’s where we attended. My sister hasn’t left yet. It was a small church with Swedish roots. It’s still small today, but the Swedish roots have mostly disappeared. That’s what happens, adapt or die.

But mom was active in teaching Sunday School and women’s events. I never missed a VBS and I don’t think I ever missed a Sunday morning unless I was sick or we were on vacation. She was loyal and faithful. She didn’t like to lead, but she could follow well.

My mom was an only child, so there were not many of us around at holidays. We would see my dad’s side of the family, but all my grandparents were gone by the time I was 8. So, the holiday were quiet. At least compared to our modern family gatherings.

We camped a lot in the summer while I was growing up. Once mom was baking in our trailer, and the flame must have gone out. When she relit the oven, whoosh…. she had no more eyebrows for a while. I was resting on the couch and felt the explosion. Of course, I thought she was dead, and I was next. But we all survived and laughed to tell the story over and over.

It was my mom that instilled in me a heart for God. Dad didn’t go to church too often (maybe on Easter) while I was young. He worked a lot, and church just wasn’t his priority back then. When I finally had children, she would read to her grandkids for hours. And play games with them even longer. She couldn’t have been very good at games, though, because they always beat her. Always. Even if I objected. That could explain a lot about my children’s penchant to always win. Hmmm… But if they weren’t playing a game, they’d sit in her lap for hours with a book. She didn’t care about anything else when they were around. And she knew how important it was to read.

I still miss her, but appreciate more than ever her influence in my life. When she died, I realized that dementia had taken her so much earlier and I missed those years too. There hasn’t been a real conversation with her in almost 20 years, really. But she was always supportive. Always.  And, always she loved Jesus. Happy birthday, Mom.