89 Years of Love on Halloween

by Tess on October 30, 2009

89 Years of Love

89 Years of Love

Halloween is my mom’s 89th birthday. The holiday was never about candy for my family it was about celebrating her love.

My daughter and I sent the sweater she’s holding as a gift. My sister sent her a pumpkin hat. Is that a hoot or what?

With 10 children, dozens of grandchildren and great grandchildren she has more visitors, flowers and gifts than everyone else in her community put together. And she shares them all! The nurses and aides call her the candy and flower lady.

Mom’s 9 most valuable lessons.

1. Turn the other cheek. Mom doesn’t like conflict. She didn’t like it when my siblings and I fought or held a grudge.  She was a promoter of forgiveness.

When I first met Roger (my hubby) I was nearly sixteen. When I got ”so mad I couldn’t see straight” over some ridiculous thing she would tell me, “He’s a good guy, give him another chance.”  I listened!

2. When you’re upset do something physical. We had an 88 acre produce farm and grew ton’s of fruits and vegetables. As a kid, when my mom was upset, mad or furious at someone instinct told me where to find her. She’d be in the biggest field of weeds hoeing her heart out. She wouldn’t quit until there wasn’t a trace of anger left.

As a young mother I learned how to defuse my anger by running. I would run until the feelings passed, sometimes up to eleven miles. I’d return home with a new attitude, exhausted but free, a gift that continues today.

3. Enjoy your work. We worked in the fields from sun up until sun down. Harvesting summer crops was a back-breaking job. We’d go from field to field picking beans, tomatoes, pickles and more. My mom was right there with us doing what ever it took to keep our minds off our work.

She’d make up contests involving who could pick the fastest, find the biggest and finish the quickest.

Under the hot sun she taught us the same songs her mother sang to her as a child. The same songs that her grandchildren are singing to her great grandchildren today. She magically made our work playful and even enjoyable (at times)!

4. Be generous. She shares everything. If you give my mother a gift her next visitor will take it home (except her new sweater, she wore it all month). Her biggest joy in life is making someone else happy. She will give you the clothes off her back even if you don’t need them.

Any “troubled” cousins in the family were dropped off at “the farm” with hopes of their lives being turned around in a few months. My mom welcomed them, fed them and treated them like royalty. Not an easy thing to do in my opinion!

Because of her heart of gold she can’t keep abundance from raining down on her, even today!

5. Have faith! The farm profits were spend on our parochial education. My mom taught us how to pray, how to keep on keepin’ on no matter what the circumstances. A sign in our kitchen read, “The family that prays together stays together.”

We prayed for good weather, good sales, that a cousin would overcome cancer and that grandfather would go to heaven. Her answer to everything was prayer and faith. It still is. A day hasn’t gone by where she hasn’t had a rosary in her hands.

If you have a prayer request call my mom! Prayer has given her a life long purpose.

6. Eat dinner together daily. We learned to take interest in each others lives. We talked, argued, and laughed at the kitchen and dining room table. When my sisters started dating our boyfriends would say their ears hurt due the loud laughter and noise!

My mom loved to cook. This trait I did not inherit!

My family ate dinner together as well every evening. I believe it’s the glue that holds families together. My oldest daughter has the same dining room table and chairs in her kitchen today.

7. Flowers are beautiful. We had a large flower garden in front of our home. The colors were stunning and the fragrances divine. It was a peaceful place in an otherwise drama filled life. It was my mom’s pride and joy.

I had a successful flower business for fifteen years while raising the girls.

Prior to moving to Arizona I always had plants and flowers in my home. In the summer months I bought several bouquets twice a week at the Farmer’s Market. I think I was a bee in another life time!

8. Never give up. When our youngest girls, the twins went to kindergarten I went back to school part time. I spent nine and a half years getting my bachelors degree. It was the same strength and determination I witnessed growing up that kept me moving forward.

I would say it’s the same qualities that make me determined to continue learning today’s technology. On my worst days I joke I want to give my computer away and forget I ever owned one!

9. Love. When I think of  how to describe the love my mom has for the world and other people I’m reminded of 2 quotes from Anne Frank:

“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

“I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.”

Happy 89th Birthday, Mom..I love you!

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    { 36 comments… read them below or add one }

    Lori October 30, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Hey Tess, what an awesome post!
    I love, love, love words of wisdom sources from those important in our lives, especially parents.

    Yes, I think you were a bee in another life, too!

    You mom looks very happy with the things you, your daughter, and your sister sent. You are great kids! :)

    I really liked number two; I used to employ that strategy all the time before things went a bit haywire for me. But, I’m figuring out other ways to blow off steam if I need to.

    Thanks for a great post today, and for being you. Congrats on your degree, too! That takes a lot of drive and passion, Tess, two thumbs up!
    .-= Lori´s last post…Jane Makes Me Feel Warm and Loving =-.


    Tess October 30, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Thanks for all of the lovely compliments. Have you heard that line “if you spot it you got it?” So all back at you, friend.

    You’re a great example of how to overcome obstacles and thrive no matter what happens in life. I think the world especially whiners should come to your blog and take notice. Have a great Halloween and weekend.


    Jannie Funster October 30, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    She must’ve heard my prayers, Tess — today I got my iPhone!

    I LOVE this woman who bore you and brung you up so good. Beautiful post.

    I probably would’ve been one of the “troubled cousins” who got dropped off on the farm. :)
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last post…One Blogging Buddy Down, 758 To Go =-.


    Tess October 30, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Congrats on your new iphone! You have to tell me all about it. Keep us old people up on the latest gadgets. Oops did I just swear calling the iphone a gadget.
    Ha I was the kid smokin’ with the troubled cousins out behind the barn! Just call us those twisted sisters! Happy weekend.


    Patty - Why Not Start Now? October 30, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Oh, Tess, this really made me smile. Sounds like there’s a long line of bold women in your family! It also reminded me of both my mom and grandma. I lost my mom early in life, but she too taught me to never give up. (BTW, it took me 13 years, off and on, to get my BA; and 5 years to get my M.S. So I think we’re kindred spirits!) And my grandma took in all the troubled cousins in the family. Thanks for this today.
    .-= Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s last post…Imagination Quiz =-.


    Bern ~ Walking in Stillness October 30, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    This is a wonderful list. Your Mom is a miraculous and magical woman.
    Send her birthday wishes from someone who has the same birthday.
    My birthday is tomorrow too.

    1) When we are unconscious, we don’t know what we are doing. If we respond to negativity it strengthens. Therefore, we turn the cheek.

    2) I used to run too to let out anxiety or extra energy. Its a great pressure release valve.

    3) The fun contests allow us to engage fully in the moment without our mind wandering into the past or future.

    4) Respect everyone and everything. They are aspects of our greater self.

    5) Believe in your Words and your positive intentions. They will certainly take care of us.

    6) We can digest and take in each others lives, accepting each others lessons as our own.

    7) We are all blossoming. We can see beauty in all that unfolds and exposes its inner self fully to the world.

    8-9) Surrender to Love and one need not try to do anything. You become One with All.
    .-= Bern ~ Walking in Stillness´s last post…Resurrecting Liberty =-.


    Wilma Ham October 30, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    You might not have inherited her love for cooking, but you obviously have inherited a lot of other very valuable things.
    Oh, what a wonderful tribute to your mom AND your own life as well as you are all one.
    What you say here stands out for me; “Because of her heart of gold she can’t keep abundance from raining down on her, even today!”
    She is harvesting her love and she obviously deserves every thing that is coming to her.
    Thanks Tess for sharing your mom, now even more people can learn from her greatness.
    Love to you both, Wilma
    PS by the time you are 89 you will know all about computers and iphones and you are the most knowledgeable 89 we know. We will still be proud to know you!!!
    .-= Wilma Ham´s last post…Ann-Marie on saying NO to requests. =-.


    Kimm October 30, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Happy birthday to your mom. She sounds like an amazing lady and anyone she touches as a smile from ear to ear.

    Have a great weekend.
    .-= Kimm´s last post…Halloween Movie Night =-.


    Daphne @ Joyful Days October 30, 2009 at 4:08 pm


    The hat is the tops! And your mum was so wise to share those lessons with you. Thanks for sharing, and happy Halloween!
    .-= Daphne @ Joyful Days´s last post…Is 85 the New 65? =-.


    Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord October 30, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    That is such a beautiful, moving tribute to your mom, and I’m honored to have read it. It made me smile, Tess, and not just any smile. It was a heart smile — I saw everything you described. I was in the field watching your mom hoe, I was hearing her sing songs as I tirelessly picked more vegetables, I was laughing at the table, and I was in her room when that picture was taken. What a woman!
    And what a great daughter she raised. (smile)
    You’re one of a kind, Tess, and that’s a testament to your mother’s ability to cultivate your uniqueness amongst nine other kids!
    Happy Halloween!
    .-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s last post…Love Leaves Again =-.


    Shelly October 30, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Great post MOM! Grandma sure has brought us sooooo much JOY and LOVE!


    Walter October 30, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    At such an age, your mother has gained all the important wisdoms any one could learn in her lifetime and it ends in the most important: love. After we experience everything in this life we will all come back to the complex yet infinite virtue of love.

    I always believe in the wisdom of the old. :-)


    Linda Freed October 31, 2009 at 6:55 am

    Glumping around on a Friday evening, rainy, windy outside. The forecast is colder, windier. Shortage of daylight will make my days seem shorter starting Sunday. So as I drift over to my computer, old raincoat still on because of a slight chill in the air, I open and find a picture that made me smile and laugh out loud. Then I looked again at your mom’s wonderful smile and that outrageously cute hat. What had I pictured that she would look like? I understand now about the stamina and lessons from the mother that I now know and love as you.
    That ability to never give up, your joy for life, the ablilty to motivate, prayers, prayers, and more prayers.
    Well she’s a delight. How could I not know that you had to be from special lineage. Thank you for sharing.
    Love you! Linda


    Stacey Shipman October 31, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Happy Birthday to your mom. Wow a week of celebration for you!

    #6 really resonated with me – as a kid my mom cooked daily and the 4 of us ate dinner at the table every night. That is one thing from my childhood I do miss. Thanks for the reminder!!

    And great lessons from mom…we have so much to learn from our parents!
    .-= Stacey Shipman´s last post…Forget the Gym and Think Options =-.


    Julie October 31, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    What a beautiful post, Tess. This needs to go in a family scrapbook, to be passed on. Your mom’s beautiful outlook on life, her generous spirit surely are the reasons she is beaming so brightly from a face that certainly belies her age!
    .-= Julie´s last post…More in Love Than Usual: Celebrating Fall =-.


    Jannie Funster October 31, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    There is an old song that goes something like “I got my education out behind the barn.” You ever hear it? Or maybe it was just a family fiction of ours?

    My iPhone is lovely and shiny. It does the dishes and walks the dog. :)
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last post…Kelly’s First Halloween =-.


    Evita October 31, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Oh my goodness Tess, what a beautiful token this post is for your mom – for you and for all of us!

    She is a beautiful woman, you can see the energy of light and love come right through her. And I love the outfit you guys got her – how sweet! :)

    What amazing lessons she was able to pass on too. I love especially the idea of when someone is upset go do something physical. It is so true! I think our society would be much more peaceful if people still had a chance to “work” like you described in real labor on a farm or heck just go exercise – as it really does promote a different chemical balance within us – one of more peace as all that free energy got used up physically and is not festering around mentally or emotionally.

    Well Happy B-day to your mom – what a great way to celebrate Halloween!
    .-= Evita´s last post…Choice Point 2012 – Boston 2009 Conference – Bruce Lipton =-.


    Ann-Marie October 31, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Hey Tess
    This photo is classic, love the look on your Mom’s face.
    I hear your tremendous love, respect and admiration for your Mom. As you said in your book she is one of the people who empowers you. What an amazing woman, it is in her being that she has provided such valuable lessons to her family. And her wisdom and love lives on through the generations which is so powerful.
    What a beautiful acknowledgement, Tess.
    Like mother, like daughter eh! except for the cooking ;0)
    Happy Halloween and Happy Birthday to your Mom x
    .-= Ann-Marie´s last post…Ann-Marie on saying NO to requests. =-.


    Tess October 31, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Wow we are kindred spirits! What a cool grandma. I’ve had such insights into the human psyche and spirit due to my two degrees. Useful for a life time.
    Thanks for stopping by, soul sister!

    What a lovely response to each lesson. I went to your blog and thouroughly enjoy your photography and writing but couldn’t figure out how to leave a comment. Maybe there isn’t a way. I love your lifestyle!

    I sure hope I continue growing with technology up until I’m 89. My issue is I get so stressed out and frustrated with it. My kids and grandkids are so eager to learn and to them it’s like a puzzle and fun. I need that perspective. I have some growing and changing to do around this issue.

    She is amazing. Simply amazing and no matter how much physical pain she’s in from aging you can find her comforting the people around her who are worse off. Her dream was to be a nurse but she never had an opportunity to pursue it. She doesn’t know it but she is a nurse in disguise.

    Yes the hat makes me smile. Every Halloween we all come up with something for the occasion. Thank you friend for stopping by!

    You are the sweet heart of the internet. You are getting quite a reputation you know. I love the way you experienced the lessons as you went along. You are a gifted woman and I’m happy to be on this journey with you.


    I couldn’t agree with you more. And thank you for stopping by and sharing your wisdom and love with us today.

    Your just as special to me as you speak these wonderful words from your heart. Thanks for commenting and enjoying my mom and my lessons. Little did we know how much we would effect you in such a wonderful way through me. I’ve never thought of it like that before! You?

    Yes dinners together are a lost blessing. I think one good think that will come out of our economic crisis is we have the opportunity to eat togther again. For the ones who take it they will make memories for a life time.
    It’s a blessing in disguise.

    Thanks for stopping by. Yes once you live in the light you can’t help but exude it. I’ve been so blessed to have her as my mom. Of course if she read this she wouldn’t give herself credit like I did.

    I’ve told her a zillion times what a great mom she was, so she knows how I feel.

    OMG I’m having a down day and you have me laughing out loud again. Want to write a book together? I think it would be a best seller.

    Can I borrow your iphone to walk my hubby?

    Ann Marie,
    Yes except for the cooking. I always tease her say I have a missing gene!
    Happy Halloween to you, my friend!

    I never knew how much of an impact that one decision to become a runner would have on my life. Two of my kids sell athletic shoes. One does triathlons. We are all healthy and life is grand!


    Joy October 31, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Your mom is absolutely precious! And has brilliant life lessons for us to remember! Definitely the pick me up I needed this evening.
    Lots of good energy and birthday love to your mom:)


    Lance November 1, 2009 at 3:15 am

    This is such a great post to read…but I’m not surprised at all. Because being here, I’ve seen so much of this in you – so I can see her beautiful influence on you and your life attitude today. And it’s all so great to see! Happy Birthday to your Mom!! Awesomeness!!!
    .-= Lance´s last post…Sunday Thought For The Day =-.


    Keith November 1, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Hello Tess and Happy Birthday Tess’s Mom!!!!!!

    I loved this post Tess. I am love all the things you listed but am really drawn to number eight and nine. Never give up and Love! If you have those two traits, you’ll face life with boldness, wonder, gratitude and perseverance!

    Thanks Tess!
    .-= Keith´s last post…Keep The Faith! =-.


    Tim November 1, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    I loved this post, Tess. I was recently acquainted with my grandmother on my dad’s side of my family after 20 years of accidental separation. I’m beginning to find out that having a mentor and an influence like that on my life is more meaningful and moving than I ever realized.

    Keep up the great work!
    .-= Tim´s last post…Why You Shouldn’t Resort To Revenge—Even On People Who Deserve It =-.


    Barbara Swafford November 1, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Hi Tess,

    What a beautiful tribute to your mom.

    As I was reading the part about doing something physical if you’re mad reminds me of what my grandmother did. If she was mad, she would make bread. When it was time to knead the dough, that’s when she would let loose of her frustrations.

    Happy Birthday to your Mom and wishes for many more.
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last post…How Branding Works In Blogosphere =-.


    Zeenat{Positive Provocations} November 1, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Hi Tess,
    What a beautiful Mum and what lovely children she has :) She reminds me of my mum to an extent…always loving always all encompassing. Welcoming all at any odd hour..something i dont really do myself.
    I love how at peace and how happy and radiant your mum looks in that pic. What a lovely sweater and hat :) Just looking at her pic gives me hope..that life is indeed all about giving, loving and sharing. I hope that when I am her age, I have all the wonderous gifts of life she has. Ohh..me teary now.
    Big Happy Birthday hug to your Mum..and another big hug to you for being such a darling daughter.
    Lots of love.
    p.s. will send you the answered email today :) HUbby came in from out of town..after 10 days, so was very very busy ;)
    .-= Zeenat{Positive Provocations}´s last post…Possibilites&Individualities {Inspirational Quote} =-.


    Lori Hoeck November 2, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Wonderfully embracing smile, delightful story of love, and powerful lessons lived amid adversity. Wow. Now THAT’s a mom!
    .-= Lori Hoeck´s last post…What color code are you today? =-.


    Peggy November 2, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Happy Birthday to Tess’ Mom!

    She’s lovely and I Love her life lessons!

    Nine brillant lessons…#2 and #6 really speak to me…I’m an ardent believe in transferring inner anger into a physcial activity – Thai Kickboxing does it for me! And eating dinner together – that one is HUGE for me. I grew up in a family that did not eat ttogether and I made it one of my number one priorities. Arond the table with good food is a great way to connect with friends and family alike!
    .-= Peggy´s last post…Your Moment of Bliss =-.


    Positively Present November 2, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Awww, I love this post!! How lucky to be born on Halloween!!
    .-= Positively Present´s last post…inspired by the opposite of love =-.


    Erin November 2, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Great lessons. Wonderful post. My mother-in-law has passed, but her birthday was Halloween also and she was a tremendous blessing in my life.
    .-= Erin´s last post…Grace =-.


    Karl Staib - Work Happy Now November 2, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    My favorite is number 3 – Enjoy Your Work. I guess you could see it coming. When we make our work playful we stop thinking of the tasks as work. That’s the key. It really is all a mental game.

    I think your mom looks fantastic. She looks really excited to have received gifts from her daughters.
    .-= Karl Staib – Work Happy Now´s last post…Unconventional Guide to Self Acceptance =-.


    Caroline November 2, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Fantastic advice! I do agree about “working out” anger. This is why I love running and spinning. I always feel like any negativity just get blown out of my system (something yoga just can’t do…at least not for me). You Mom sounds like such a wonderful woman. Thank you for sharing her wisdom with us today.
    .-= Caroline´s last post…Mosaic Monday – Halloween edition =-.


    DenzelWS November 3, 2009 at 3:58 am

    Good afternoon, Happy halowen!!


    Tom Volkar / Big Link Rally November 3, 2009 at 5:55 am

    Hi Tess that’s a beautiful post and very fitting for me. My Mom’s 86th is coming up. I love her wisdom in doing something physical. It’s been proven that physical movement and exercise are the swiftest ways to release anger. I like to go into the woods and beat the heck out of stout trees with dead branches. The trees can take it and I’m better off after my “Little John” jousting.
    .-= Tom Volkar / Big Link Rally´s last post…Recognize Your Power For Good =-.


    Tess November 3, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Yes she is! Thanks for stopping by and enjoying my mom.

    You’re the best my friend. I appreciate you comments!

    I see you as having the same traits as well. There’s nothing better is there?

    Good for you. I call that reunion a miracle! I never knew either sets of grandparents. But I think my parents made up for it with their greatness!

    Bread? I love it…I wish the three of us could gather for some hot out of the oven right now.

    I think you already have those traits so let the tears flow! And I’ll get to your questions by the end of the week. Thanks!

    Yes it is…I’ve been so blessed. And that’s cause for celebration:)

    Are we having dinner together in Vegas next year? I can see you and your lovely family around the dinner table. I can smell it as well!

    Pos Pres,
    How do you like that nickname? Yes it is very cool isn’t it. Thanks Dani,
    I appreciate you comments.

    It must be a special day for more than one reason, eh?

    Yoga doesn’t do it for me either. However I need that calm it provides and am looking for lessons. I need to attempt it again. Didn’t work for me the first time.

    That’s funny. Where do you live? I want to join you in this new method sometime!


    Jason of Kim & Jason November 4, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Sounds like your mom is a pretty smart lady. Regarding flowers, my wife and I moved into our first house this year and we made a pledge to always have fresh flowers on our kitchen table. It only costs about $5 every two weeks, but it makes me smile every time I see them!


    janice November 6, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Love the photo, love the post and I think I’d love your mum as much as I love you! Sorry I didn’t find the email link to this post in time to send good wishes.

    So much of what you said about your mum resonated, but today’s bit that jumped out was the part about her working off her anger. My husband always knows when I’ve been bugged by something if he finds the house gleaming for a change.
    .-= janice´s last post…A Patchwork Post: Writing Tips, Christmas Tips and Susan Boyle… =-.


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