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Blog 36—THE LOVE SERIES (Part 4) —My Mother Was A Story Teller

“No man is poor who has a Godly mother”—Abraham Lincoln

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

This Sunday, 13th May, we celebrate Mother’s Day.

Mothers across Australia and USA will receive gifts of flowers, chocolates, hand made gifts and cards to say in different ways —I love you, I appreciate you.

It is one day of the year when we get an opportunity to show our appreciation to the woman who gave birth to us … and in many cases, so much more.

It may be one of the few days when families make an effort to get together and catch up, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunties, grandparents or even great-grandparents.

If you’re fortunate, your mother, grandmother or even your great-grandmother is alive. For the rest of us, these ladies are only pictures and memories.

My mother and grandmothers are in Heaven. So when we celebrate Mother’s Day, it’s Hema’s day. Our adult children have the opportunity to spoil their mum.

Today as I look forward to Mother’s Day I pause and think of the four wonderfully, unique women who still impact my life.

My grandmothers: Susie Rees, a bush pioneer from Hill End, Victoria & Fanny Semple, a Limavady colleen, stricken with polio and bed-ridden, yet with an indomitable spirit.

My Mother: Ruby Jean Rees, unassuming, humble, caring and hospitable, Stubborn, self controlled, protective …

My wife: Hema, creative, caring, forthright, stubborn, hospitable, artistic, free spirited … exasperating :-)

Three are in Heaven, waiting for us to join them. That is a reunion I’m looking forward to.


One thing I regret is that I never took the time to ask my mother and grand-mothers more questions. Perhaps I was too young to know what to ask. Come to think of it they never volunteered.

As I reflect I wish I know more about them, where they lived, what was their lives like?

What was it like growing up before motor cars, aeroplanes, radio, television, internet, electricity …

What about their parents?

What was it like growing up in Ireland in the 1800’s?

What was it like to be pioneer farmers in Hill End Victoria?

I’ll never know, all I have are a few sepia-tone photographs of dirt tracks and bullock carts, shoeless children and a few stories. I wish I had more … but I don’t.

What about you?

What do you know about your mother and grandmothers? Have you taken time to find out how interesting they really are?

Sometimes the arrogance of youth prevents us from getting to know… really getting to know about live in a different era, a different country. Do you know your family heritage?

One thing I have learned as I’ve got older is how much I’m like my mother. Her love of reading, her love of people, her need to help others less fortunate. Her need to Make A Difference.

I didn't know that my mother was a writer. She used word to paint pictures and her influence is with me daily. She had taken time to write about her earlier life—but I never knew this until after her death. She never told and I never asked.

Mum's love of God was infectious. She had the ability to reach out and make strangers feel comfortable. That is a skill I have learned too.

Her love for Jesus was transparent and she passed that love on to all her children.

I remember chatting to mum as an adult and mused where my extensive knowledge and love of Scripture stories came from. Mum told me.

It originated in Ireland, when I was three of four years old. The house in which we live had floor boards with had to be polished weekly.

There was no hired help, mum was a housewife—a stay at home mum. She polished the floors, the brass, the silver and anything else that needed polishing.

The floor was polished on hands and knees. As she moved around the hallway I toddled after her. ‘Tell me a story, mummy' And she did—a Bible story.

Week by week I heard stories, Jesus, Adam and Eve, David and Goliath … you get the idea.

I loved those stories and they have stayed with me since childhood.

What's the point?

So what am I saying. Well two things come to mind:

  • Ask you mother to tell you a story. Tell you her story

  • Mothers, grandmothers, take time to share your story.

Personal stories have power to change lives. Just listen to personal testimonies and baptismal stories.

In conclusion

  1. Please take time to ask questions. Even better record the memories. Start making an audio history of your family.

  2. Set specific times to visit—put them in you diary and keep the appointments.

  3. Prepare specific questions.

  4. Be systematic.

  5. Transcribe what you hear.

  6. Edit what you learn.

  7. Ask great questions.

  8. Ask her how she felt when … She first fell in love, first got married, when you were born.

  9. Thank God for the memories.

  10. Learn from her experiences.

To all you mothers out there. I pray you have a blessed day full with wonderful memories.

Until next week,

Have a wonderful Mother’s day

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