You should listen to MY mother

you should listen to MY mother


Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…


I can’t remember exactly what the email said, but the rejection was polite.



Thank you for auditioning…. We had a lot of great entries….It’s not a reflection of your writing or reading…

Your piece was not selected….


I am surprisingly unaffected by rejection of my writing. I realize it’s the nature of the beast. Besides, since I reached middle-age I don’t take things too personally. Interacting with my readers is absolutely fulfilling. It’s worth the effort it even if I never get published or no one shares my posts. About the time I feel a bit discouraged, someone says, “I never comment or share but your words really spoke to me.” Thanks, but seriously, why don’t you?

I wish you would.

Anyway,  I’ll keep writing.

Proverbs 16:3, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” ESV


My GPS had no clue most of the roads were blocked off for the marathon. I finally parked and walked across the street to the library. I pushed open the door while carrying on a not-in-my-quiet-voice conversation. Librarians no longer wear glasses and buns but trust me, they still frown on noise echoing off the ceiling. Behind the closed doors of the conference room the judges laughed in all the right places as I read my tribute to my mom, “My Slip Up.” It’s a little silly, but every word is true.

As the wind whipped, papers blew across campus. Hours of effort were carried away in winter’s grip. I snugged my books against my tightly buttoned coat as my short legs raced the five minutes left on the clock until microbiology class began. That’s when I felt it. At first I didn’t know what was moving on my left hip. I was alarmed when I smoothed my hand and felt the ridge. Horrified, I looked down and saw the white lace trim inching toward my ankles. Instantly I knew, it was my mother’s fault. She insisted I always wear a slip.

Though I was grown and married, I still tried to follow all of the rules. I believed my mother knew best, so I listened. But I had on a corduroy skirt for crying out loud. Who wears a slip with corduroy? Well yes, me, I guess. I wore it every day in fact, until it was worn out. The elastic just happened to give way on this wintry day. I’m lucky it wasn’t swept away with the slips of white paper.

The science building was visible in the distance but shortening my steps to only a couple of inches made the prospect seem like miles. I darted into the business building, where they study markets and trends and, well, I don’t know, but not the Krebs’s cycle and glycosaminoglycans, and subjects I understood.

I blame my mother. I blame her for my successes and I blame her for my failures. Most of all, I blame her for the most embarrassing moment in my life. She always insisted I wear a slip. I didn’t think it was important, but she did. And she is important to me. So I listened to my mother.

Praying no one would be there, I ducked into the stairwell. I looked up and down the stairs and when I was assured the coast was clear, I slipped out of my slip. What would my mother think now? I stuffed it into my purse, because my mother taught me to be frugal. Perhaps the elastic could be replaced, I reasoned.

She views everything in black and white, I mean, they don’t make slips in gray do they? The pearls of wisdom I gleaned from her are invaluable to me now. Until I was in medical school and a mother to my own daughter, she continued to lecture me on the dangers of drugs. I am glad I listened to my mother.

She always thinks she is right too, and, she usually is. When I was in high school she wagged her index finger an inch from my nose and told me, “No matter how much you resent it, I am always right.” I suppose that is where I learned confidence.

She taught me to believe in my goals with her mantra, “Anything worth having is worth working for.” I learned to deal with people by her philosophy, “You catch more flies with honey than with a flyswatter.” She trained me to love fiercely and care about family I barely knew. From her I learned to hold traditions tightly, both old and new. She taught me to believe in God and love Jesus.

I listened with my eyes too. I watched her bake chocolate pies for the sick and volunteer for every need that arose. Though we didn’t have much money, I watched her buy dresses and shoes for the little girls in the trailer park who couldn’t afford new clothes. When anyone had a death in the family, she swept the front porch before the mourners arrived. But do not misunderstand; she is not all work and no play. My mother is a blast. The woman knows how to laugh until she can hardly breathe. 

Most importantly, she taught me how to be a mom to my own children: convince them you are right and make them listen! If you wonder where she got all that wisdom, it is her generational heritage. She loved her mom. They talked every day, sometimes twice. They traveled together and shopped together and celebrated life together. She respected her mother and listened to her every word. My grandmother was one wise lady.

The first of my family to graduate from college, my dad was beaming with pride as I walked across the stage. But my mom? Well, she greeted me with a wry smile and a card. The front pictured a dreamy, ambitious-looking young woman with her dress fluttering in the breeze as she reached for the sky. The caption read, “Whatever you do always remember to stand on the sunny side of the street.” I flipped it open to find her familiar signature below the punch line, “And never leave home without wearing a slip.

Proverbs 31:28, “Her children arise and call her blessed.” NIV

We call her a lot of other things too. Especially when she accidentally face-times her best friend getting out of the tub. At least it was her best friend, she was waiting on a call from the plumber.


Psalm 126:2, “Our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with shouts of joy. Then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.'” HCSB


Check out my friend Dorothy Hill; she read her poignant story in “Listen to Your Mother 2016.”

Enjoy every moment and may your mother be as much fun as mine!

Happy Mother’s Day

Celebrate the one who gave you life; celebrate the one who gave you everything #Mother'sDay… Click To Tweet

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22 thoughts on “You should listen to MY mother

  1. What wonderful words. I know your Mother and all these words are true. She loves you deeply.

    My Mother is with our Heavenly Father and I miss her dearly, she too insisted on slips. Guess what? So do I. My daughters will attest to many of my old fashioned “musts”. I would not change a thing. God Bless you and Happy Mother’s Day to you.

  2. I agree about comments being an encouragement. I find I go back and forth in my confidence but the Lord has bringing encouragement just when i need it. I enjoyed your story.

  3. Your mother—she’s such a hoot! It seems like I’ve known her forever. I’ve always respected her insight and her practicality. She offers such valuable—and sometimes painful—honesty in her advice. Love Ella.

  4. I enjoy your writings filled with wisdom and God’s truths even though I don’t usually comment. Keep them coming. God bless!

  5. Lost a slip in the choir room one time (thank goodness it was after we sang!) it was too stretched out from my pregnancies!! Threw it away after that!! So glad God Gave me a Great Godly Mom who taught me to wear a slip….and many more important things!!

  6. I am so glad you shared this! My connection to this article is slightly different than others, as I needed the encouragement to enter next year in Listen to Your Mother 2017. I didn’t find out about it this year until it was too late. Also, your relationship with your mother and her advice is strengthening to all of us! Thank you!

  7. Your blog is always a blessing to me. I think you should be published, but sometimes people don’t know what they are missing. I just know you always say something I need. Thanks Vickie

  8. Amen to your comments! My mother became my mother when I was 2 years old. What a blessing she is to me loving me as if I was born from her. I could never have asked for a more godly mother than she has been to me!

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