In 1944, God brought an amazing woman into this world. Her name was Gwen Rea. She was born the youngest of her three sisters in a tiny Arkansas town called Caraway.
In the 29 years that they were married, they brought two children into the world - Kevin and LaDawn. In their military travels abroad, they felt compelled to bring 5 more children into their family through adoption - Becca and Dana (from Thailand), John and Daniel (from Alabama) and Me. Also, through the years they provided love and shelter to countless foster children and friends of their children. Through the years, her 7 children have gone on to have 13 children and counting. Who knew that two people could forever help so many?
My Dad went to live with the Lord in 1993. My Mom had never worked (outside the home) when he died but somehow, she managed to always make ends meet. She worked at a restaurant for years and went to school on and off. She also opened a daycare in our home caring for teacher's children. Her sacrifices, though neglected when I was younger, have since shown me what love means.
I could spend a lifetime trying to be the kind of woman that my Mother is, and still never come close. She is by far the epitomy of Proverbs 31, right down to the knitting:
"A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
and brings back exotic surprises.
She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast
for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
diligent in homemaking.
She's quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn't worry about her family when it snows;
their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
"Many women have done wonderful things,
but you've outclassed them all!"
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!"
In her life- she has been a daughter, wife, mother, sister, friend, military wife, Preacher's wife, Aunt, grandmother, and so much more. She wears so many hats. My Mother will never know the effect her life had had on so many, and I will never fully grasp the effect her life has had on mine, she's made sure of it. I love you, Mom, does not seem like nearly enough to say for what she has done for me and continues to do. She really is who I want to be when "I grow up."
Also, I would like to thank the woman who introduced me to crackers at Christmas, showed me Paula Deen, and gave life to the man that I love. I know that without her love, compassion, and understanding - George would not be the husband and father that he is today ( and I mean that in a good way, HA) and my life would not be what it is. Thank you for everything, June. I love you and hope you have a Wonderful Mother's Day.