Monday, April 20, 2009

Families Matter Mother’s Day Contest

SFC: Families Matter Mother’s Day Contest

Spring is busting out all over and Mother’s Day is right around the corner. These days, there is so much going on with SFC that I don't know where to begin. So I'll just jump right in about the Mother's Day Contest we’re doing for our SFC: Families Matter Readers.

It's time to begin thinking about how we can celebrate your wonderful mothers this year. This year you can give something different. Show your mother, grandmother, or any mother in your life what she means to you by writing an inspirational story about them for all to see. And the best part is . . . this is a contest with prizes involved!

Submissions are due: April 20, 2009 through May 4, 2009

Who can enter? Anyone

Contest Fees: FREE

Contest Prizes:
1st place MOM Forever Crystal Infinity Circle Necklace - Gift Boxed
2nd place She Wore Emerald Then: Reflections on Motherhood
3rd place Gifts from a Jar: Cookies & Muffins recipe book

Contest Rules:

Post your story about your mom in the comments section of this blog post. Do not exceed 650 words. Winners will be selected based on quality and appeal.

§ No mail-in or email entries will be accepted.

§ SFC staff members will serve as contest judges and are ineligible to enter.

As spring continues to unfold in its full glory, we will continue to make improvements to the new SFC: Families Matter blog and continue to offer cool new stuff to the SFC community. So we hope you'll stay tuned, visit the site often, and tell your friends.

All the best,

The SFC Team


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  1. My Mother
    By Darcy DeMarco

    My mother and I haven't always gotten along. We spent a great amount of time making each other feel bad. Finally, a few years ago, the situation changed. But I wasn't really able to do anything for my mother until recently.

    Despite our differences, I had always wanted to help and be close to my mother. I don't know if she knows this. When she went in for hip replacement surgery this past December 30, I finally felt like I could really help her. This after years of carping, criticizing and making comments. My secret wish forever had been to be nice to her, and finally, I had my chance.

    She was afraid to have the surgery, and it took almost an entire year to decide to have it done. She is 75. She had to have a number of tests, before entering the hospital. To make sure she could take the surgery. Fortunately, she passed all the tests. So, on December 30, she entered the hospital, at 6:30 in the morning. My father and I sat with her in the waiting room until they took her in. We would never leave her alone, to face this ordeal by herself.

    The next time we saw her, this strong, brazen woman was lying unconscious in her bed. She looked so fragile. She slept for a long time. I had seen her like this before, when she entered the hospital a few years ago through the Emergency Room. Both times I was frightened by how she looked. The realization that this no-longer-so-terrible person could actually die knocked me flat. Somehow, through years of arguing, I had never considered this fact.

    In the weeks following my mother's surgery, I helped her in many ways. Both in the hospital and at home, I helped her onto the toilet. And into bed. I put on her socks. I picked up - and continue to pick up - things on the floor for her. I took over the cooking and dish washing. I sat quietly in the afternoons, when she took her naps. I did my best to quell the impatience, and to help her with her walker, and then her cane. I took a few days off from work to do this. I did not really miss the lost income.

    Other than a repaired hip, the best thing that has come out of this is that now my mother is my friend. I enjoy just sitting with her, talking about whatever. Whatever I was angry about doesn't matter as much anymore. I am able to discuss subjects with her now without an angry tone. I can tell her how I feel, and what I think. So much time for us was spent in anger and misunderstanding. And power plays. We're both to blame. But all that seems wasteful now. Suddenly, my mother is old and could die. At any time. That means that some day I will have to do without her. And to tell the truth, I don't really want to. Regardless of what transpired during our relationship, my dependency on my mother, and hers on me, has grown in the past few weeks. And neither of us wants to mess it up! We are so much closer now, because we both realize that there just isn't time for all that stuff anymore. . We'd much rather watch Emeril or Rachel Ray, or take in a Padres game on TV. Through no one's doing, a bad situation - my moving to Las Vegas and in with my parents - has turned out well. My mother needs me! Hallelujah! And I am happy to "step up to the plate" and do what is required. In fact, it is an honor to.

  2. I use to find myself wondering if I had glamorized the memory of my parents. In my memory my dad was a superhero, and mom was the epitome of love, care, service, and sacrifice. Two years ago my question was answered. A botched surgery left my father in the ICU for six months. Every day my mother drove 45 minutes to sit by his bedside. Many days dad was unconscious, or could not speak to her. She would read to him, massage his legs, and whisper affections. The doctors gave no hope of recovery, but he did recover and returned home. He lived with the help of my mother, who bathed, feed, and cared for him. He was able to live for nine more months, before he passed away holding my mother’s hand. He attributed his recovery to her constant love and care. I learned that my father really was a superhero. He didn’t give up his life easily, and my mother really is the angel I remember from my childhood.

  3. "The Greatest Teacher of All"

    By: Mara

    My mother is my teacher. She has taught my school since I was in kindergarten. I'm homeschooled, so she now teaches sixth grade. My sister is now a second grader, so she teaches two grades while taking care of a baby less than one year old. She does the majority of the housework and never asks for anything in return, except love.

    My mom likes to write, but since she says her family comes first, she waits until me, my father, and sisters are in bed. Then she tiptoes to the computer and pours her whole heart out into her stories. She is often awake until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning writing new stories or making changes to her old stories. She then goes to bed, but she has to get up several times when the baby needs to be fed. She gives the money earned from her stories to my sisters and me, keeping none for herself.

    Mom is very patient. I never hear her yell, and she rarely raises her voice. She is very kind, caring for me and my sisters when we are sick. She loves all animals and wishes she could take care of them all- except for frogs and spiders! If I can be half as caring as she is, I will feel as if my life has been well spent.

  4. My mom was born in Germany and lived through the war. She was only a small child, but she has vivid memories. She tell us stories of how war planes would chase after her and her siblings on their way to school, and how they needed to jump into trenches in order to avoid being shot at. Of her uncle, who showed up at her door one day, after walking home from a Russian gulag. Of a bomb that fell next to their house and burst a hole in her eardrum. How her family was number five on an execution list found at the end of the war because her father refused to give up his religion and follow the Nazi party. She appreciates everything we have here in the USA, and always taught us tolerance, to value the differences in others, and to help those who need it. My mom is an amazing woman, and I'm so proud of her.

    I could go on and on, I admire my mom so much, but I'll stop here.

  5. Kathryn RobinsonMay 1, 2009 at 1:30 PM

    I thought first of my Grandmothers and all they had gone through. They were strong resourceful women who lived in a time of very little. I couldn’t nominate my mothers mother (Florence) because she has passed away at the age of 99 years and 9 month. My grandfather died when my mother was five years old. My mother was the middle child. There were two younger. That grandmother never remarried and went on to raise all five of her children alone. I remember at the age of seventy she was still making and taking meals in to these poor elderly people who did not have much in life. Most of them were years younger than her! What an outlook to have….do we really ever grow old unless we want to.
    My other grandmother, Leora, who is 98 years now and though she cannot hardly walk or get out of a chair she still smiles with the snap in her eyes. She gave me years of patience, teaching me sewing, from the time I was twelve until I went to College. She was an accomplished seamstress who sewed many of her grandchildren’s clothes.
    These generations, my grandmothers, where in the time of depression, when little was available. They grew what they ate and they stitched what they wore. And still they gave to others. If only I live up to their leadership in life that would be enough on its own.
    But then there is my mother. How can a daughter explain what a miracle a mother is? It’s not just the motherly way she is. It’s the faith and quiet stillness of knowing, that she has. It’s the nightly prayers never forgotten, the food always prepared with love. It’s the thump when we done wrong and the hugs and kiss when we did right.
    My mother’s whole life story is filled with miracles. She had Rheumatic Fever as a child for five years. Remember this is just after the depression. There was little to help these children to survive and in fact she was the only one in three that did. (And yes her mother (Florence) raised her alone with four other children. What diligence this must have taken.
    She has an unhealthy heart and was never supposed to have children. None of which stopped her. She did not only have me but seven others as well! How much faith she put into God’s hands!! She will be eighty on the 14th of June. (Flag Day). Her maiden name initials are U.S. and she was named for the state of Utah. (Utahna) Her parents being so grateful to be back to Utah from Nevada three days before her birth.
    She has taught us love. She still teaches us. To live with diligence, patience, and the faith it takes to be successful. Success so well defined by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

    To laugh often and much,
    To win the respect of intelligent people
    and the affection of children,
    Te earn the appreciation of honest critics
    and endure the betrayal of false friends.
    To appreciate beauty,
    and to find the best in others!
    To leave this world a bit better,
    whether by a healthy child,
    a garden patch,
    or a redeemed social condition.
    To know even one life has breathed easier-
    Because you have lived.
    This is to have Succeeded!

    I know I can not nominate all three of these women. Therefore it must be my mother. And also a generation of women are dedicated to the pursuit of passing on a legacy of what it means to truly be a mother. What more important calling of God can there be. We must all be truly diligent with our oath of motherhood. It is not a side line, it is not just something that happens and we live through it. It is a choice, from the moment that child in laid in our hands. It is those minute by minute choices that we as mothers make.

  6. Stepping In Today with Thanks

    By: Laura Vomvos

    May is a very special month because it is the month we celebrate Mothers Day. This is the month to recognize and pay tribute to all of the woman that enhance our lives just by being in it. I would like to take this months column and thank all of the moms that impact my life so greatly, and in essence help me do all that I do, just by being who they are;

    My Mom. This is the greatest woman on earth- to me, of course. She paved the road for me to be the strong independent single mom that I was when I had to endure that period of my life. Now that I’m re-married with seven kids total she is the one who runs for me whenever I need her. She adores all of her grandchildren, and treats them equally as her own. This is priceless in a blended family. Every year I celebrate the beauty of her, for all she is and all she gave and continues to give each day. For this, I thank her.

    My Childrens Stepmom - Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our moments, but one thing remains, and that is that she genuinely loves my daughters. To share your children is one of the hardest tasks I’ve been dealt. There isn’t anything more important in a mothers life than her children, and to know that while they are not with you they are still being loved and cared for in another home. This is a gift in and of itself. For this, I thank her.

    My Stepchildrens Mom – I have three of the most wonderful stepchildren. That didn’t come from their dad alone. We are a family that enjoys one another, we all get along, and undoubtedly really love one another. This couldn’t happen if relationships were strained between families. For sharing your children and allowing them to love me, for being secure enough to allow them to form a bond with another woman and know it will never replace her . For this, I thank her.

    My Stepmom – My father is my dear friend. We have a relationship built over time. It isn’t easy having grown children that still need and want their dad. It isn’t easy sharing the love and attention of the man you’ve married with these
    grown children throughout your lives, but you do it, and you make room, because we matter. For this, I thank her.

    My Super Mom Helpers – In this category are my dear friends and family lend a hand. When days meet night and I’m still running the real estate office, at a fundraising event, a charity outing, late with grocery shopping, meeting a deadline, or getting to the bus, you are there for me. In this category are my dear neighbors Felicia and Christine, who give rides to school and cover in time lapse. My PTA pals who call to remind me when there is a function I should attend at school and my team at the office who keep me on my toes, on time for appointments and is an all around great support system of professionals and parents all in one.

    Now, a special thank you to my children. I could not be all that I am without the cooperation that I get from them. We live as a team, and in that , they all pitch in and make my job as Mom more rewarding. Tinamarie, Amanda, Marisa and Joey, for watching your little brother on a whims notice and enjoying it all the while. Matthew and Madison for playing endless hours of superhero guys, coloring, and wrestling matches on the den floor. Lastly, for my wonderful husband who’s Dad efforts are endless, and make my Mom efforts that much easier.

    To all of you…be it Mom, Grandma, Stepmom, Sister, Aunt, Neighbor, Childcare Provider, Teacher or Friend, a very special thank you for all you do to make our job of Mom all the better.

  7. A Little of This
    By Adrienne Saldivar

    I’ve missed my mom’s cooking.

    I learned to cook by Mom’s method of approximation. “Put a dollop of butter in the pan,” she instructed me. I cut a square from the stick. “A little bigger dollop, perhaps,” she said. “A white sauce is a good thing to learn. It’s the base for a lot of dishes. If you can make a good white sauce, you can always whip something up for dinner.”

    She taught me how to melt the butter slowly on low heat, and how to be patient while the flour cooks so it won’t taste “too floury.” She showed me how to add the milk a little at a time, always stirring. I still love to watch the mixture turn from paste to mush and finally to a velvety pool.

    Often we had nothing in particular in mind for dinner. “What should we make?” she’d ask, poking around in the refrigerator. “We have chicken. See if there’s a can of mushroom soup in the pantry. Ooh, we have sour cream!” A plan formed; the fun began. What could we add? A dash of Worcestershire sauce, maybe. A pinch of garlic salt. Sliced onions. Mom rarely followed recipes. It was a smidge of this, a dash of that.

    I grew up and moved to the opposite coast. Still, we inspired each other by swapping menu ideas. “What are you cooking these days?” one of us would ask. Often the question was preceded by, “I’m sick of everything!” For Christmas Mom bought me a subscription to Gourmet Magazine. I knew I’d never follow recipes with sixteen steps and hard-to-find ingredients, but I could still dream of new combinations. Recipes were guidelines. I’d improvise, as Mom had taught me.

    When she passed away, I knew I’d miss sharing Mom’s passion for good food. Who would I swap recipes with? My children are my kitchen helpers; I’d pass on what I’ve learned. Still, my favorite dishes would never again be waiting for me when I traveled home. There’d be no more forty minute drives to our favorite Long Island deli to buy the world’s best sausage. Some of Mom’s best secrets were lost.

    A month after she died, I slogged down the grocery store aisles, mechanically filling my cart with the usual items. Milk. Bread. Pasta. I started toward the freezer section to buy juice. I shivered in the air-conditioning. My fingers were as numb as the rest of me.

    Pausing near the frozen spinach, I suddenly remembered a favorite childhood dish – fried egg cutlets. Mom made them to go with pasta. The soft egg and breadcrumb concoctions soaked up tomato sauce like little sponges. They nearly dissolved on your tongue.

    I hadn’t made them in so many years. If I ever had a recipe, it was buried deep in a closet. Could I recreate them? I hurried to buy eggs and parmesan cheese. My mouth watered.

    A couple of hectic days passed; the ingredients stayed untouched. I was at my computer, checking emails. I noticed a message from my aunt. The subject line read: Recipe!

    Strange…my aunt did not share her sister’s enthusiasm for cooking. I clicked it open and began reading:

    I was looking through my old recipe books and I found a letter from your mom…

    Mom’s letter was twelve years old, buried in my aunt’s bookshelves. I hadn’t spoken to my aunt in weeks. I held my breath. I guessed instantly what the letter contained.

    I sat at the computer and read Mom’s recipe for egg cutlets. It called for a “good amount” of grated cheese, and two or three slices of bread. It read as though she were standing over my shoulder, instructing me, “Just add a little of this; a smidge of that. Onion, spinach…whatever you like.”

    I did, and they were as good as I remembered.

  8. Life has dealt my mom some unpleasant hands, she got pregnant at the age of 16 with me, her daughter, my father was seven years older than her, her mother wasn't never home because she had a gambling problem and being at a young age my mom said she was hurting and looking for anybody to atleast show some concern for her or just to comfort her letting her know that things will be alright. my mom saw herself being this young weak little girl that was reaching out for help and found it in all the wrong places. My mother & father stayed together off and on for about six or seven years, and her life was a living hell, my mom said my dad was a real gentleman on the outside but once she really got to know him, he was nothing more than a ticking time bomb ready to explode. she suffered tremendous mental, physical and emotional abuse, I can remember my dad telling my mom that he was gonna get her so fat like miss piggy that nobody would ever want her and she would have to stay with him, I remember my father beating her like she was just some guy that came up to him and stole his wallet, she had black eyes & injuries, My mom was employed with a house cleaning company and she was a team leader, and being a team leader they were able to drive the company car home every night after work, my dad didn't get enough with just beating my mom so he went out and ruined this company car, he bust out the windows, he tore of the passenger side rear view mirror etc. My mom was ashamed to have all this happen but it happened and my mom didn't know i was watching this from afar, my mom had to proceed with calling her boss and telling him the entire event, after explaining this all to him she remember his face being bright red and him calling my mother ever name under the sun, and all I could do was endure the pain, she expressed how sorry she was and none of that was my fault, but who wanted to hear that after looking at something that they work so hard for be destroyed by someone's stupidity. my mom had to attend court with my father and her ex-boss and they showed the pictures of the abuse she went through in court and once her ex-boss saw those pictures it brought him to tears along with the other people in court, he then ask the judge to drop the charges against mey mom and they had mediation and she just ended up paying a small fee and she was then giving the chance to have her job back, but she declined because she was so humiliated and ashamed. I didn't understand why all this was happening to my mom, but my aunt stood behind my mom all the way and she would often encourage her with some form of hope, she prayed and prayed and my mom then began to pray for herself because she loved my dad and after listening to the things he use to say she started to believe them, but it was good for a short time and the abuse started up again when he was intoxicated again and this time it wasn't a so great of an out come because it was like my mom blacked and all I remember hearing her say to herself was" Why do this man continued to hurt me and how she allowed this to keep happening. My mom prayed and prayed and ask God for forgiveness because she never had one bone in her body that said she wish to inflict any kind of harm on anybody, she is now set free from all types of bondage. She began to regain her life back, only to run into several problems when it comes to her trying to establish a new a profound relationship with others, I think my mom mind was so disconcerted that she has put up something like a shield trying to keep herself from any type of harm but she is really hurting herself. mom thinks her life has done a down spiral, but I tell her along with others that the situation looks bad but we serve a higher God and I know he will see her through, we have each other, peace,love, strength, endurance and the will power to strive to change and keep our life intact no matter what curve ball life throws at us. my mom often tell me: don't let your past hinder what blessings God have for you in the future, we all have to go through some things to become who and what God destined us to be, please never look back upon your past as a regret because I don't regret anything that has happen in my life, I'm just sorry that it happened and throughout all of that I was giving the greatest gifts ever and that's a place upon God's throne and a wonder daughter that means the world to me and I wouldn't trade that for nothing in the world. I may be struggling still but through determination I will bring an end upon, my suffering.Prepare to weary your problems out and recognise that they do have a life span. No matter how long, they'll fade away if you don't give up. I have faith that my life will get better, because having faith and faith in God, he will bring all possibilites to physical manifestations. I hope by me submitting this my mother will have a chance at winning but if not she have already won because a massive overflowing burden has been released from her spirit, and hopefully this can be a inspiration to someone who's going through a battle in life, just always remember prayer changes things and there isn't any harm in trying, and if any, it wouldn't be worse than a failure to try. I would rather try and fail at something than to sit back and win life's battle by doing nothing. And if you are afraid it's okay to be that way but God puts no fear in our hearts and if you are feeling that it's okay just go through your situation afraid, you may have went in afraid but it doesn't mean your gonna come out afraid. I love my Mother and she's my queen and I wouldn't have it any other way, she has given me strength, courage, wisdom with a purified heart and mind. I love You Mom!



*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive.