Feb 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom

How adorable is tiny mom?I’m at a place in my life where I just can’t stop thinking about how blessed I am. I keep going over what it took to get me here. I go back through the different jobs I’ve had and what I’ve learned at each of them. I think about my time at Moody, and how that shaped my character and proved to me that I really did want to work in publishing. I go back through high school, and think about my different English teachers and about the hours I spent on the literary magazine. I go back just a bit further, and think about the hundred and hundreds of books I read in grade school, and how so many of my favorite friends were actually fictional.

I go back so far that I reach the very beginning of my relationship with the written word. It was the summer after Kindergarten. Mom and I were sitting on the floor in the living room with her sewing basket between us as a table.  Mom was going over phonics flashcards with me. It was so. Boring. Did I seriously need to learn all of these letters before I could get to words? Couldn’t we just read stories already? But Mom kept telling me to be patient and keep working. If I wanted to be a good reader, I was going to have to get past the boring part.

That’s when I realize: she’s been doing the same thing my whole life. In grade school, she was the one taking me to bookstores and antique malls to find the best books. She let me read for hours and hours and hours on end. She was the one who told me when it was time to switch to “grown up” books. (Her main argument there was that I was reading the kids books too quickly, and I was getting expensive.)

She was the one who proof-read all my high school English papers and who picked me up from my literary magazine meetings. When I graduated and still didn’t know what to do with my life, she (with my dad) was the one to remind me of how much I liked putting books together. She was the one who suggested publishing in the first place. She was the one who listened to me go on ad infinitum about my college yearbook and made sure the staff always had a full candy jar. When I lost focus, she corrected me.

She encouraged me when I left college and didn’t think I’d ever find a job. When I was interviewing at Tyndale, she prayed harder than I think anyone ever has.

I don’t want to minimize God’s hand on my life, or the part that my dad’s played in all of this. But I do want to thank my mom for everything she’s done. She raised my sisters and I to love words, and to love books, and to love each other, and to love the Lord. It sounds trite to say I wouldn’t be where I am without her, but it’s true.  I’ve always been told that I’m just like my mother, so I’ve got a lot to live up to.



  • You can never underestimate the influence of a good and godly mother.

  • Well said…(written) It is an awesome responsibility when God chooses to place little ones in our care. If only every child were able to have a godly mother in their lives. For it is not on our own that we raise these little ones, we have to be sure to follow His “instruction manual” daily, as all (mother and child) of our needs and situations change daily.

  • Beautiful, Jesse. You have surely been blessed with a wonderful mom (and dad!). Seeing grateful (adult) kids makes every mom’s heart happy…I know it did mine.

  • Aww, Jesse. This post reminded me of all the trips my mom and I took to Barnes and Noble together when I was a youngster. Developing literacy skills at a young age is such an important part of life. I’m so glad that you had someone who motivated you to be the reader/writer that you are today. This post is definitely inspiring. I hope when I’m a teacher and maybe a mom that I can do this for my kids too.

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