Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Professional Mothers - Bev

Meet Bev. Wife of Tom, mother of Melissa and Margaret. Homeschool teacher for 15 years.

In the course of her stay-at-home career, she has worked for
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's Urbana conventions, organizing small group Bible studies, seminars and exhibits for 18,000+ attendees. She has won so many cooking, sewing, canning, and arts awards, that they finally gave up and made her Superintendent of Arts & Crafts at the Eastern NM State Fair. Bev served on the Republican Party of NM State Central Committee, and was precinct chair of Chaves County Republican Party Central Committee. Citizen lobbyist and invited advocate for home school and family issues at the NM Legislature and at Leadership Roswell for 10 years. She is the National Christian Forensics & Communication Association's State Representative for NM, and has run more high school tournaments than you can shake a stick at. As a local speech & debate coach, she has worked with middle schoolers, high schoolers, the Optimist Club, Communicators for Christ, and has assisted forensics programs in Texas, Arizona and Colorado.

Bev is currently the Republican Party's best hope for winning state office - but NOT, she says to Party officials who come, hat in hand, to her door, until Margaret, her youngest, graduates.

Lest you dismiss her as just another financially fortunate Type-A show-off, realize that Bev accomplishes all this on Tom's modest public-defender's income, while living with
Fibromyalgia (a debilitating chronic fatigue syndrome).

If you came to her door, she'd invite you in for tea and something astonishingly scrumptious from her gluten-free kitchen. So if you'd like to join us, grab your tea-cup.

Mother-Lode: Did you purpose to become a mother? Why or why not?

Overall, I can’t say I “purposed” to become a mother. Being a wife and mother has always seemed to me to be the highest calling for a Christian woman. I’m greatly blessed to have multiple generations of strong Christians in both my parents’ families, and even in times of great extremity, these women managed to stay home to care for their families and raise their children.

I do remember in high school purposing to be a stay-at-home mother. This happened as I looked at the lives of several friends whose mothers worked outside the home. Almost without exception, those girls faced difficulties I didn't because my mom was home, problems that seemed directly attributable to the fact that their mothers weren’t home when they were. Watching them, I promised myself that, short of death, my children wouldn’t be put in the situation of having to manage without me.

Before Tom and I were married, we had long talks about having children. One of the things that had impressed me about him one of the first times we did something together was watching him get down on the floor and spend a long time playing with the children who were there, children he hadn’t previously met. So I knew that when we married, motherhood was part of the plan. If Tom and I hadn’t been in agreement before marriage about wanting children, I wouldn’t have married him, because it was far too important an issue to me.

Mother-Lode: When and how did you begin to prepare yourself for this life's work?

I haven’t ever thought of it as intentionally preparing myself, but instead that I was prepared by others for being a professional mother.

My mother did an outstanding job of training my sister and I to be mothers. From the time we were little, she began teaching us the things we would need to run a home – dusting, ironing (a penny for each of Dad’s handkerchiefs and a nickel for every pillowcase), cleaning a bathroom and how to cook. She always made cooking look like so much fun; I remember particularly being fascinated by watching her make crabapple jelly after dragging us all down the street to pick a neighbor’s tree. (Making good jelly is something I still haven’t mastered.) Mom also taught us to sew and do all kinds of needlework, not just because it was frugal, but because those skills help us bring beauty into our homes.

Now, quite honestly, I don’t know that she always thought of it as training us for motherhood! She has lived with severe pain most of her life, and we needed to be able to do things such as clean the house and cook meals because many times they simply wouldn’t have been done any other way. As I’ve thought about that over the years, though, I think God used her pain to force her to pass on these skills. It’s tough teaching kids to clean a bathroom properly or to cook a meal, and if it weren’t for necessity, she might have been tempted to just do them all herself.

Most of all though, she instilled in us the idea that doing these things brings glory to God. She would often talk about reading A.W. Tozer, who first opened her eyes to the idea that God doesn’t just call us to “ministry”. He calls us to be homemakers, and realtors, and carpenters and truck-drivers, and in each of those we should do our work in a way that brings glory to Him.

Dad made sure I knew how to make household repairs. He and I often worked together on projects, partly because his vision is poor and I could help him see, but also so that I wouldn’t always have to call a repairman. He taught me to change a light switch and an electric outlet, and when I went away to college, he gave me a toolbox with the basic tools I would need. A family joke is that I learned to repair extension cords because I kept running the lawnmower over its extension cord, until the cord began to look like a python! Dad didn’t let me get out of jobs because I had difficulties like mowing over the cord, he simply taught me to fix the cord, and go on and finish the job. He also set a standard for things like a well-tended lawn, including trimming hedges and bushes, that sticks with me today.

Dad also made sure that we all were skilled and knowledgeable in music. I am adequate on piano and played bassoon very well. As a friend of my mom’s used to say, I think of music as “a pearl in my apron pocket”. A band director I had in 5th – 8th grade expected excellence from us. We played music in his band that I didn’t play again until UNM, and I learned from him that children will rise to the challenge of excellence if only the adults in their lives will give them that challenge.

I also have a college degree, one of those rather eclectic “University Program” types, but the major emphasis was in small business management. I’ve always been good at organizing things, and this degree gave me a number of skills that I’ve continued to use, including accounting and marketing. After college, I worked for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on the Urbana Missions Conventions. That work taught me to stick with things through exhaustion, the necessity of good organization, and the great personal satisfaction of work well done.

Next time: More Bev...

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