Quote of the Week

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Gift of My Mother and a Give Away

This post will remain at the top of my blog until Jan 17th.  Please scroll down for current posts.  Thank you!

It's been so long, I know.  I've had a rough couple of months.  Back in November we had quite a bit of illness that came through our house.  In the midst of trying to get our home up for sale, my husband became very ill and only a few weeks in between, so did I.  We always travel to Michigan to hunt in November.  It's a family tradition.  I became so ill that I wasn't sure I was going to be able to drive my kids up to meet with their dad and grandpa to hunt.  I did though.  I felt better for a few days and was able to go see my Aunt and Mom.  My daughter and I  had planned an overnight stay.  My Mom made the trip from Washington and scheduled it so we could all see each other.  On that Friday, I became very ill again and ended up going to the ER on Saturday because I could not break my fever of 102.5. 

   I ended up with pneumonia.  My husband had to come and bring my son and stay with us.  It was quite cozy.  My Aunt's house is very tiny and we had 6 people and 2 dogs.  I was so sick that I missed my husband being sworn in at his new job as Fire Chief.  I felt like such a burden to my family and so awful that I couldn't be there to support my husband.  We ended up staying 5 days with my Mom, Aunt and her husband.  I remember crying because I just felt so bad and my mom rubbing my face and telling me it was ok.  I kept thinking, "Why is this happening?  Why am I so sick and why did I miss out on seeing my husband start the beginning of his new career?"

Those 5 days ended up being a blessing.  Getting sick gave us 4 extra days with my Mom.

My beautiful, amazing Mom died on December 6th.
She died in her sleep at the age of 59.

I never thought that my pneumonia would be a blessing, but it was.  My kids got to spend time with her, my husband got to see her and I got to feel her rub my face and care for me like she did when I was little.

She got to see her family...the thing that made her most happy.

This is the last picture I have of her.  She didn't want me to take it because she didn't think she looked that great.  I'm so glad I made her. 

My mom was always beautiful.  INSIDE and out.  She always did things for people.  Random Acts of Kindness were part of her everyday life.  I said that she had the gift of making OTHER PEOPLE feel beautiful.  She did.  She was loved by so many.

Before she came home she told me a "story."  
She said, " I made a new friend out here."
"That's good, Mom!"
She then proceeded to tell me about the woman that was living in her neighbors' house for the winter.  This women was "down on her luck" and had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  She had no one to take her to the doctor appts.  My mom ended up driving this woman all over to get the test results and then treatment.  She was the person that helped this woman when she was scared and didn't understand or know what she should do.

I told my Mom that it was so great of her to do this.  She just replied, "It's good for me too.  I have a new friend."
My Mom never wanted any glory for her kindness.  She never said, "Hey!  Guess what I'M doing?"  She just did....quietly.
What makes this even more amazing is that my Mom HATED to drive.  She overlooked her fears to do something for someone else.  That was just her way.

When she died, we found out that my Mom used to buy coats and clothing for little kids that would come into the Elementary School where she was a secretary.  If she noticed that they didn't have adequate clothing she would head out after work and buy them something.  I never knew this.  None of us ever knew this....just her husband.  She was a quiet Angel on Earth.

We are honoring her giving, loving way.  We have set up a fund to continue to buy coats, gloves, hats, clothing for those in need at Elementary Schools.  If you would like to donate to my Mother's Fund you can find the link at the top left sidebar on my blog.

The Debi Johnson Clothing Fund For Children

My mom liked to make cards.  She didn't stamp, but she made some beautiful cards with Sizzix dies.
She called me a the week before she died to sing me, "Happy Anniversary."  She said she had made a card for Dave and I, but hadn't sent it yet.  She never was late with a card.  I told her she was beginning to sound like me.  (I am terrible about sending cards.  It is the one regret I'm trying to live with now.)  I told her it was no big deal.  I appreciated her calling since my hubby wasn't around.

On the day she died, I got her card in the mail.  It is the MOST BEAUTIFUL card she has ever made me.  The inside was so full of loving words.

What a blessing!  A gift from her to me on the day I would need it most!
I'm trying to focus on the blessings!  I have always believed in thinking positive.  Even when I cry everyday and feel my heart may never be whole again, I know she would want me to be positive.  To continue my life in a positive way.  To continue her legacy and live my life giving to others and teaching my children the same.  Random Acts of Kindness.

Many people want to do something.  I hear each day someone say, "Let me know if there is anything I can do."
My response:
Do something for someone else.  In honor of my mother, look for someone in need.  Give a kind word, a loving gesture, food for someone who is hungry, clothing for someone who is cold.  Do for others.  If everyone in this world were as kind as my Mother, all the world would be a good place.

She lived her life the way we all should.  I will continue to live her legacy.  Please consider donating to her fund.  If you cannot then just go out and do a good deed for someone.

For months now, I have had some BLOG CANDY to give away.

Please spread the word about my Mother's Fund and the blog candy.  Leave me a comment telling me about how you have been blessed in your life and how you will bless someone else this year.
I will draw a name on January 17th. ( Martin Luther King Day)

As for me, I've been blessed with 2 wonderful parents.  Even after divorce, they remained friends and continued to teach their children the greatest lessons in life.  To do for others, to live your life well, to laugh and love and never take your family for granted.

 I have been blessed with the MOST AMAZING FAMILY! God blessed me with a wonderful husband and 2 beautiful children.  They shoveled the neighbors driveway the other day, just to be nice.  Their Grandma Debi would be so proud.  She lives in them.

I will continue to live my life doing as my mother did.  Leading by example and knowing she is there to guide me.  I feel her and know she is smiling at me and cheering me on.  She always did.  She was my biggest fan.

I wish you all a Happy Holiday!
I'd like to leave you with some words that a family friend left on my Momma's Funeral Guestbook.
I imagine these are the words that will help me get through

I do not believe we ever understand the impact people have on us until they are gone. The subtle memories,the fleeting moments that at the time seem like nothing but then flood to your mind when you hear someone you once cared for has passed. Mrs. Johnson was a true blessing. I have more memories of her smile and soft voice than I can count at the moment. Her beautiful smile, her words of encouragement, her genuine love for her children. She was like another mother to me during my high school years. Death is a very difficult thing to understand. You are torn between so many different emotions. Sorrow, anger, frustration, doubt to the point where to no longer feel anything. I want to share these words with the family left behind and any that read this, life was not given for you to achieve, or gain anything. It was given so you could give. I pray you will not focus on the loss the world is showing you but rather rejoice in the blessing God has given you. Debbie did her part, she was not perfect as none of us are but she gave, she loved, and she forever changed the lives of those she met. May you make these days about that blessing and not about loss, may your prayers and energy be focused on the lessons she taught. May you be strengthened by your trust in God, not to question Debbie's passing but rather embrace her life. Death was never designed to be the end, but merely a time of rest until Christ unites His beloved again. Until then my friend, I for one will continue your work of love. I look forward to seeing your beautiful smile and hearing your angelic voice once again.


Claudia @ Die Cuts R Us said...

As I've told you before, I am so very sorry for your loss. Your mom's story is a wonderful inspiration to us all. It is amazing how God works in our lives; and the way He worked in yours is nothing short than A BLESSING.
You can be sure I'll help you spread the word.
Hugs to you and your family.

j,j,andhsmom said...

Nikki, I've been thinking about you every day since I found out. I remember meeting your mom at church once...even in that brief meeting she seemed like a wonderful woman. Sending prayers to your family.

Gwen's Busy Little Hands said...


This was beautiful. As you know, its hitting so close to home with me now. Your words are so accurate and meaningful to me with the loss of my brother just happening too. Thank you for being so eloquent and open about this. You have touched my heart very deeply and I thank you for that blessing. Please know that I have been thinking of you often and keeping you and your lovely mother in my prayes.

Much love to you and your beautiful family, now and always,


Sherissa said...

Not a day goes by where i don't think about you and your family. Your words brought tears to my eyes. She may be gone, but never forgotten. Her legacy will live on forever.
Lots of love,

Sally said...

I am so saddened to hear of your mother's passing. She is truly an example of what we all should strive to be like and I would hope that someday my family could say things like that about me. I am so glad to hear that God blessed you to be able to spend extra time with your mom and to make memories that will get you through the tough times. You asked us to post a blessing about ourselves. Beside the fact that God has blessed me with a wonderful family and precious granddaughter, I feel getting to know you, if only through blogging, has been a blessing to me. You have inspired me in ways that you don't even realize and you have cheered me up so much when I have been down. You are one of my blessings.
I wish you and your family a Blessed Christmas this year and one that is filled with wonderful memories. Hugs to all of you. I am sorry that I don't have money to send to your mother's fund at this time as we have been taking care of our children for most of this year, since our son has been unable to work due to health reasons, however we have been donating to food pantries in order to insure that other families will not go hungry this winter. You and your family are certainly in my thoughts and prayers. I am always at the end of an email if you need to chat. Hugs..

lisa said...

Hello to nikki.I would like to say that I am sorry for your loss.I would like to also say that you and your whole family are in my thought and prayer.I will miss your mom as well.She was a very wonderful lady.I looked up to your mom.She always smiled and laughed.She knew how to put a smile on peoples faces.She knew how to make people laugh.She was a wonderful mom to you kids.You guys are all wonderful kids.Even when people were down she would always find a way to cheer people up.She also would go out of her way to help others out when she saw fit.I would say that your mom would take some kind of clothing give it some one that was in need of clothing,I could go on on about how good your mom was to people and everyone else.She was a BIG part of all of our lives.Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I think this is my favorite post of the year. I don't need the blog candy. Please give it to someone who really needs it. I say that because I don't comment often.

I felt like a burden this month to, having a very quick hysterectomy on the 7th and not being able to "do" for my family at the holidays and travel.

But I have to say - my grandmother was like your mom. To honor her, I do for others silently. No need for show. It's something I am instilling in my son. And it makes me happy.

Thank you for this post. It's beautiful and so is your mom.

Many blessings this Christmas.

Stacie (craft-princess) said...

So sorry for your loss. I posted on my blog and I also sent you an e-mail. http://craft-princess.blogspot.com/2010/12/please-read.html

Big hugs!

terriavidreader (IN-USA) said...

Nikki, what a wonderful tale about your Mom. I'm trying every day to enjoy my Mom while she still knows me. She has Alzheimers. She's been a wonderful Mom and I know the time is coming soon, and I SO don't want it to be here. So I call her every single day, and we chat about everything.
I make cards and I send them out to people for no particular reason, just to let them know I remember or think of them. Hearing your story has made me feel so happy for you - that you have acknowledged the good from the bad and that it allowed you to have that wonderful blessing of those extra days with your Mom. Treasure those memories. I'll spread the word in my blog and hope that others are enriched as well!

bernietom47 said...

Nikki I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Sorry you were so ill but what an amazing blessing to have those extra special days with her. I am sure she is smiling down on you and your family and is so very proud of you for starting the clothing fund for children.
You ask how I’ve been blessed. Gosh that’s hard to answer as I feel I am blessed every day in so very many ways. I guess I would have to say health and family would top the list though.
I can’t afford much but I try to help the homeless shelter and the food banks as I am able.
I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

bernietom47 said...

Your mother's card is beautiful and I know something you will treasure forever.

Karolyn at Paper Therapy said...

Nikki, this is absolutely beautiful. I'm so extremely sorry for your loss, and can only imagine how difficult this all must have been for you. I love that you've taken something positive out of this experience and will carry on your mom's beautiful gestures. You are in inspiration in so many ways. I will happily post this on my blog, and will do my best to spread the word about this wonderful way of paying forward all that your mom was to you and your family. You'll all be in my thoughts and prayers. {{{{HUGS}}}}

Jacilynn said...

I can't even tell you how much this post touched my heart. I love the extra time you got to spend with your mom. God is kind and mindful of us all.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Thank you so much for sharing.
Big Hugs,

Debra said...

I am really sorry for your loss. Your story truly touched me. Thank you for sharing at this difficult time. Your mother truly sounds like she was an angel on earth.

Denise said...

Your mother sounds like an amazing woman who touched so many lives. She really is an inspiration on how we should all live. I'm so sorry that she has moved on. What a blessing to have so many warm beautiful memories of her. Big Hug.

♪♫♥ Charity Crafter ♪♫♥ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
♪♫♥ Charity Crafter ♪♫♥ said...

Hi Nikki x Your blog post about your Mum is exactly what I believe in strongly x My blog is dedicated to spreading the ripple of kindness, which seems your Mum did all by herself and you and your family are carrying on her legacy x I will spread the word on my blog of your lovely post about your Mum and your candy and hope you could stop by my blog @ http://www.charitycrafter.blogspot.com x Leigh x

Kelly Massman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly Massman said...

What a beautiful, tear producing post! I'm so sorry for your unexpected loss! I'd be happy to spread the word about the fun on my blog! Bless you!
http://kmassman-scrapbooks-cards.blogspot.com/2010/12/if-you-need-good-cry-and-its-also.html Also, I hope to bless the students I tutor (English as a 2nd language at the high school level)! I know they have blessed me!

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

i am soooooo sorry for your loss....your mom sounds like an amazing woman....god bless your family!!! :)

connie said...

I am so sorry for your loss and will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. THANK YOU for sharing this post and reminding us that it is the small things we do for others that are remembered. I so glad you got to spend those days with your mom and received the card when she knew you needed it the most.

majsan said...

Nikki! So sorry for your loss. In Norway we say that God take the good ones first...
I was so touched by your words, that I almost started crying. I had a grandma that I imagine had the same big heart as your mother, and I miss her soo. Even though she died 7 1/2 years ago...You never forget...
I`m sending you and your family some warm thoughts your way..
Hugs from majsan in Norway

Rachelle said...

Nikki, I am a newcomer on this blog thing and I saw your blog candy on someone else's blog and also about your mother. I am so sorry to here about your loss. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Sometimes we wonder why things happen the way it does, but the Lord loves us all the same. I didn’t know your mother personally but reading your blog I can see she was a special mom.
I posted your blog candy and your Mother’s Fund on my blog. I hope to see you soon as a follower on my blog.
I wish you all the best for the New Year. I will send you a mail in the New Year.
Rachelle from Crafti

joey said...

Nikki I cannot begin to imagine how you are feeling, and I am so very sorry to read about your Mum passing. Your words about your Mum are truly wonderful, and if more people were like your Mum the world would be a better place, such an inspiration that makes me want to be a better person, a true kind heart.
Big Hugs to you. Joey xxx

Nikki said...

What a wonderful story about your mom very inspiring and so sorry for your loss it's just fantastic how you've decided to do this and share with others.
thanks for sharing it with us

Jennifer said...

Oh, Nikki!

You are so much like your beautiful, loving mother!!! :) She would be so proud! It couldn't have been easy to share your story (it wasn't easy for me to read it), but you are making such a HUGE difference!

I am so sorry for your loss! May the warm memories of your time together help you get through this difficult time.

And I am so happy that you had that extra time together...the pictures are priceless!

Thank you so much for sharing and inspiring me to do more!

I (& a group of my stamping friends) make cards for nursing home residents and hospice patients. I haven't done enough this past year, as I've been busy with a house hunt, move, & home improvement projects. But I can't tell you how much I miss it. Not only do the cards brighten their day (some use them to decorate their rooms), but many in this population don't have the luxury of going to the store. They use the cards to let their loved ones know they are thinking of them. If I can touch even half the lives your mother has, I would feel fulfilled.

Thank you for reminding me what's important!

Hope 2011 is filled with comfort and peace,


Anonymous said...

Nikki, I am so very sorry for your loss. Your mother sounds like a beautiful person inside and out!! I am sending prayers your way.

Chrisd said...

What a blessing your Mom has been throughout her life and your wish to continue her path is so special and will touch so many lives. You are in my prayers.

Nicole said...

Nikki, your post just made me weep with tears. I am sure your mom is so proud of you for continuing her work with blessing others with coats, food or whatever a person's need may be.

As for us, my family (all extended relatives on the Anderson-side) put together money and bless a family (parents and children) who is in need. From groceries to pj's to socks we do what we can to help a family have a Christmas they otherwise would not have had.

I do however see (after reading your post) how we should continue to do this more throughout the year, and not just at Christmas like your mother did. I will take your lead and follow in your footsteps and do more for others as I can. We, as a family, are struggling, too. The economy has hurt my husband's income deeply, but we still have heat and a home and hoods on our heads, so I am sure I can reach out more, without question!

Thank you sincerely for sharing your mom with us. She sounds like she was an amazing lady and she surely knew how blessed she was to have you as her daughter!

I am still praying for you and your family to find comfort at this difficult time. Please know I care! Nicole xo

anne said...

I am sorry about your loss... she was an inspiration to us all...I will help spread the word of the fund you have set up in her honor. I have posted a short blog about your site and fund on my website..
I was blessed in my life by a dear friend for at least 3 years of my life, unfortunately she passed away from stomach cancer last Feb.. she was like mother, a sister and a friend wrapped up in one...I will try to be more like her this year in the fact that she was always helpful and never complained... again i am sorry for your loss..

Wilma und Silvia said...

A really touching report.
We spread your words of your mother's fund.
We personally are sad about the death of our mother in law / grandma, but blessed by the fact that she was allowed to die shortly after the really heavy stroke.
Wilma and Silvia

Chris Olsen, Glowbug said...

Oh Nikki!! I am so sorry about your loss!! It sounds like you have had a real rough couple of months! My thoughts are with you!! I am so glad you were able to spend some time with her as did your family. Treasure those memories my friend!! Your Mom sounds like a beautiful woman inside and out!

Misu said...

Nikki! So sorry for your loss. Big hug.

Samantha J Designs (Wife2TJ) said...

I am so SORRY for your loss. I know it must be hard our mom's are our best friends :-) She sounds like she was such an amazing person.

THERESA said...

I am truly sorry for such a great loss in your and your family and the communitys lives !!
This was one amazing post to read and one seldom see such LOVE and dedication towards others , such as what i have just read !! I think one of the biggest gift's in this world , is to experience love, learn from it and then carry it out to others , one person can make such a huge impact and i think your mother was such a person , lucky for those that got to know her and blessed are you and your family for having her in your lives !! Her memory will always be living in your hearts and others will see her through you , BE BLESSED !!!
I will always think of her when dealing with others, cause making people happy is very close to my heart !! I am smiling as i sit here, thank you for that, lotsa luv, Theresa

stahl said...

Я тоже хочу принять участие в розыгрыше конфеты. Моя ссылка http://stahl-eremeeva.blogspot.com/


I know how you feel. I lost my mother recently. It seems like forever ago. I know I'm blessed because all my life she taught me about God and lived her life for God, which was the greatest gift she could give to me. I know she's up in Heaven watching out for me like she has all my life, and singing with the Angels because she loved angels. Hugs! from Indiana

Yvonne Russell said...

our story about your mother is so touching and inspirational - one of the strength and unconditional love of family, and of the special person your mother was.

I'm blessed with wonderful family and friends and wonderful support.

A key goal I have this year is to make cards to donate to the cancer support group in my area. My hope is that they can use them for fundraising or to give them to volunteers and clients - maybe as a thank you or just a warm hello.

I'm spreading the word and have added your blog candy to my sidebar. Thanks for sharing your story. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Esther said...

Hi Nikki,
We don't know eacother (I was on http://doubledutchchallenges.blogspot.com looking what kind of challenge they had. Then I just klicked on someones name who had already entered the contest. On her weblog I saw a nice picture which eventually linked me to your blog, because I was curious what kind of cards you're making. Phew;) )

I then read your post about your mom. It made me sad and happy both at the same time. And a bit jealous.
Sad because of your loss.
Happy because of the wonderfull times you've had whith her.
And a bit jealous, because I've never had such a bond whith my mom. (she's mentally ill).
However, I've learned from my past.
Am married to the most wonderfull husband. Together we have to kids, whom I love whith all my heart, and enjoy every moment we can have together.
They're called Jeffrey and Lenthe which means Spring.
Spring for me stands for starting something new.
We can all start something new and good everyday. That's what I like to teach my children as well.

For you: I wish you all the best. For yourself, for your family, for your Mothers Fund.

I'll spread the word about your mothers fund. (hopefully someone can tell me how to post a picture with a link in my sidebar LOL)

Love from Holland!

Ps; I'll become a follower of your blog, otherwise I'll never be able to find my way back here;-)

kat.yee said...

Mother's love is forever irreplaceable... but it's etched deep in our heart.. Your mummy's an angel that was sent by god to do good deeds and help people, she's a wonderful friend as well. Although she's in peace now, but she'd inspired many of us. **HUGS**

Ewik21 said...

So sorry for your loss.I can't even tell you how much this post touched my heart. I love the extra time you got to spend with your mom. God is kind and mindful of us all.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Thank you so much for sharing. Hugs from Poland Ewa

TanySol said...

Hi Nikki. I'm so sorry for your loss. Amazing card...
Sometimes I find it hard to appreciate what I have.
For me it was a blessing to see my mom opened her eyes after a difficult operation. This was the moment when I realized how dear to me mum. It was a half years ago, needs another operation, but it is beginning to walk alone! January 1 (in the New Year),she got out of bed - I thought this is the happiest day for me. I can not imagine that it could go ...
Take care of yourself.
Thank you Nikki.

Leanne said...

I'm so glad I found your blog. I'm sorry about your great loss. May the Lord grant you the strength to overcome it, while you carry on doing all that you are doing in her memory. I’m truly blessed and grateful for a very helpful husband and the most understanding children. I'm also grateful to all my blogging friends who by their comments have encouraged me to create more & in the process worry less about all my other problems.

Denise said...

I just found your blog and your lovely post about your Mom. I am very sorry for your loss. But I am so glad you had those extra days with her.