© jb katke

My assignment is nearly complete. I will confess it wasn’t an easy one.

My son requested I write about my mother. She died when he was a young boy. The task brings up memories, some that had been long forgotten. Others tended to be painful, only because it put me in a bad light. I suppose that cannot be helped, and chose not to add those to her memoir.

As a daughter, everything is written through my eyes. The memories bring twenty-twenty hindsight of an immature child. Today I know better than to say and do what I did then.

Mom did the best she could without access to child psychologists or You Tube to come to her aid. She never held an infant in her arms until my brother was born. Being the firstborn, he broke the ice of motherhood. Although, probably nothing could have probably prepared her for me. Don’t you find it interesting how different siblings can be while having the same parents, growing up with the same experiences together?  

As I wrote, my mind traveled back to those last days of her life. Reliving them, watching her weaken as time went by. Mom passed away at the ripe old age of sixty-one. By todays standard, that’s young.

We are about to celebrate the mothers in our life. It used to be we only had one, and in some cases, still is. But the adopted child is doubly blessed; born in the womb by one, and in the heart of another. Both equally vital. Then there are step mothers that have to outlive the stigma of being evil. Not all of them are you know.

Let’s not forget our mother-in-law. Mine was a keeper. She raised the man I fell in love with and married. Have you ever thanked yours for your man? I did and would recommend doing it, your words will be much appreciated. It’s not easy building a little boy into a loving, responsible husband. Particularly if yours is a single mom, trying to fill the role of two parents. I haven’t forgotten we are honoring mothers today, but there is much to be said for a dad in the house too; setting a manly example.

All this to say I salute you mothers. Wear you badge proudly. It’s unfortunate that with our badges come tired eyes, thunder thighs, saggy breasts, and varicose veins. Oh yes, wrinkles too. It’s okay, you have earned them all through years of service and self-sacrifice.

Keep in mind, Jesus doesn’t make mistakes, not with the children under your roof, not your appearance. Both of them give us something to work with. Yes?

Almost Gone

© jb katke

This bottle of dish soap has been sitting on my counter for what seems like forever. I wash dishes a couple times a day, but the bottle just doesn’t seem to empty. While it frustrates me, it also brings a story to mind.

A true one.

Long ago, Elisha would pass on messages he got from our Creator to his people. “Y’all are going to experience a time of no rain.”  Because the people were big into idolizing fake gods, and would not pay any attention to him, the Creator told him to leave the area so that they would also experience a lack of encouraging words. (Wait what, the Creator lets us experience life without him?)

Where he was directed to go was the darndest thing. Smack into the country where this false god started from. Elisha hid in a remote part, where getting food would be an impossibility. Here is another amazing fact, birds brought food to him so he would not starve to death.

Sure enough, a drought took place. When the brook where Elisha was staying dried up, the Creator told him to move on to a place where currently a widow was living. Don’t let your imagination run away, it’s not at all what you might be thinking.

When Elisha arrived, he found the widow out gathering some firewood. She aimed to fix herself and her son their last meal, as her pantry was empty. They were gearing up to die. It was a bleak time for everyone.

Elisha asked the widow for a drink of water and thinking further hollered out that some bread would be nice too. At that, she explained her situation. “I have nothing to give you.”

Elisha assured her everything would be ok and not to be afraid. “Give me what I asked for first, then you & the boy can eat.  The Creator said that you won’t run out of food.”

Surprisingly, she did as he asked. Even though she lived in an evil place, the widow sensed Elisha was different; this guy seemed full of hope. Furthermore, Elisha was right on, she never lacked food in her pantry.

I’m not making this up, the story has all the feels of a fairytale where everyone lives happily ever after. You can find it and read even more in the Good Book, I Kings chapter 17. Did you pick up on the same thing I did? Our Creator knows what is going on, sees how we are living, and provides a way to live. That is a fact enough to boggle the mind of anyone.

As is often the case, one thought leads to another. Am I willing to admit I’m not living right? As far as Elisha is concerned, he had to wonder what the Creator was thinking sending him to an evil place. Do you ever wonder how on earth you got in the place you’re in?  And birds bringing him food…come on. Until we remember the Creator can do anything.

As yet, I have not experienced an empty pantry. Could I be as level-headed as this widow if I thought I was about to die; to trust the fact that he cares for me?

The closest we have to the likes of Elisha are ministers that preach truth. I better make sure I place myself within hearing distance of them and heed their words. What they share comes directly from our Creator…and he knows what he’s talkin’ about.

All this from a bottle of dish soap.



Today was an exceptional day. I was speechless.

This is how the scene unfolded. Unlike our current situation, a new, normal, school year was approaching.  I joined other mothers bombarding the mall to nail as many clothing bargains as possible.

With my son and daughter in tow we foraged through clothing racks with fellow shoppers. The department was in disarray.  Pint size shoppers were clearly tired of standing in long lines just to go into the fitting room.

A loud voice arose above the crescendo around me.

“Why on earth are you have bringing another child into this world?”

The question was directed to me.  I was noticeably pregnant with our third child,

“You already have a son and daughter, there is no reason you should have a third child.”

I wonder what she would have to say if she learned that at one time, we talked of having four kids?

I was speechless. Those that know me can appreciate that.

What can you say to an obviously irate woman? She had taken it upon herself to confront me over something that was none of her business.  There was some talk of zero population growth in the news.  Apparently, this woman was of that mindset.

If she only knew.  Some women can get pregnant easily. Not I.  When I was a child playing outside I had an accident.  My self-entertainment was climbing on the trunk of dad’s car and sliding down.  Automobiles of the 50’s with the bumper guards weren’t good for that kind of play.

Had I been more alert to the harm they could inflict, I would have been mindful of where exactly I was sliding down.  But I wasn’t.  It wasn’t until I came in the house that I realized I was bleeding profusely. I can recall no pain, but marveled that mom had something on hand to address my issue.

Before the day was out I found myself in the doctor’s office getting stitches.  It has been my self-diagnosis that explains why I’ve had trouble getting pregnant.  All that to say, every one of our children took work and are treasured.

That happened many years ago, yet I’m still amazed at the encounter at the store.

My take-away from the experience is I can’t understand where people are coming from until I have walked in their shoes.  Maybe she would like more children but for whatever reason can’t.

Each of my children has been a learning and growing experience for me.  Without them I would have missed that.

They are no longer children, but the joy they continue to bring me is priceless.  I’m convinced our experiences are opportunities to become what the good Lord has in mind for our life.