My dad used to tell me about my mom, about her life as a child and how she won his heart to ask for her hand in marriage. My mom was the 2nd eldest in her family. Her eldest brother, being a boy, was spared of household duties and allowed to go out to play all day long. My mom, at a young tender age learn to cook, tend the house and also had to go out to get wood for the kitchen. From a young age, my mom learnt the way to run a household by herself.
My dad was her English Teacher. He says she gave up her studies in Secondary school so that her siblings had a chance for school. There were of course 2 things that my dad loved her for. A generous heart with a beautiful face to go with it. :)
Her mom(my late granny) gave her the authority over all her siblings and even my aunts, uncles use to tell me my mom had a schedule drawn up for each of them. Who was to get up early each day to draw water from the well, who was the last to sleep late at night, ensure all doors, windows are bolted and who was the one to check if elder brother has come home from his adventures outside.
Occasionally as kids even, my uncles will fail in their chores. My mom made it a point to teach them that if they do not do their chores, everyone has suffer for it. Like it when it was Uncle David's turn to collect wood, dry it in the back, he didn't..that would mean no warm meals on the table. And everyone ate leftovers which are cold and unappetizing.
For years, my mom's siblings have a deep respect for her. As they treated her like a second mother who loved them and cared for them. Her words reign over all. My mom spent her entire life like a loyal and faithful servant who waits upon her Master's orders and does all things as instructed, never complaining or whining about the day's work.
As her daughter, I believed she did this out of love, out of passion and out of joy. She does all things with bountiful joy. The food she cooks, the things she did, all evidence of her love for others. My dad used to tell me if I didn't inherit any genes from my mom, at least I should inherit her joy of giving. Everyone knows I looked like my dad, facial wise. My sister looked like my mom. My sister could also sew very well, just like my mom could.
So a decade ago, I told myself, I must learn from my mom. All the things she does, all the wonderful things. And how she loved everyone, strangers too. Even the poor, and sick and strangers to her, she loved them all the same.
My mother never hides her recipes nor minus one or two steps just to keep the recipe authentic to her name. She believes in sharing, in giving..that you bring out the best in everything you do. Through the years of learning to cook and to bake from her, I also pick up these extra 'skills and tips' from her.
Thus whenever I teach cooking or baking, all these extras comes out too. I never hide my recipes nor the way its done.
My mom taught me many life's lessons. One of the most important lessons she taught me was to love everyone. When I was to be married into the Lim family, my mom told me to love my parents in law the same way I would for my own parents. She told me "This is VERY important. If you loved them as much as you loved us, God will find favour in you. And you must do it with a sincere heart. Don't do it superficially. Its when you love unconditionally, its returned to you, unconditionally too."
I am very glad I listened to her. My parents in law loved me as if I was their flesh and blood child. Though my in-laws have their faults, who doesn't? My mom had her faults too. I know I have more to add. But I learnt to look beyond all that.
There are many important people in my life, but only two persons stands out above all.
One is my mother.
One is my dad.
This is the birthday we had for her in Dec 2004. 2 years before she became very ill and almost went to God.
My mother, now, though recovered from her illness which our merciful and loving God healed her. She is in her autumn years now. Taking a step back in everything she use to enjoy doing. Passing on the "Flame" to me. Or so, my dad says... Her love for others is now my love for others too. Her joy of giving is now my joy of giving. Now my mother's joy is my joy.
My mother did passed on her gene to me. Not on beauty though. But the one that brings joy to others by loving the unloved, caring for the forsaken, and feeding the hungry.
May you be blessed to this post. And May you continue to bless everyone you pass each day. Stranger or foe, lover or friend. Loved or unloved.
God Bless you!
This hymn : Thanks to God for my Redeemer is my mom's favourite hymn which she sings every night before bedtime. When my late granny died, my mom sang that again at her late mom's funeral.
Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a mem'ry,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!
Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!
Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heav'nly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity!