Tribute Week- Remembering Sylvia Maris

Sylvia at age 22
Continuing our Tribute Week in honor of Mother's Day, today my friend Marcie is sharing 5 Things she's glad her mom, Sylvia Maris, did in raising her and her sister.

Marcie grew up in Savannah, Missouri. Her mom, Sylvia, grew up in Helena, Missouri just outside of Savannah. Population 300 MAYBE!! Marcie says her mom's personality was fun-loving and charismatic.

Marcie had just turned 21 when her mom passed away. Sylvia was 45.


5 Things I'm Glad My Mom Did-

1. I appreciate (now) that my mom didn't get me everything I wanted or  thought I "must have". For instance, when I was a kid, Barbie Houses just came out. My Grandmother had purchased a Barbie for both my sister and I, so of course, watching Saturday cartoons we were in awe of all the Barbie additions that were being offered. We begged our mom for Barbie Homes, cars, furniture, etc.

That summer my mom got creative and said, "Why don't you build your own Barbie house?" She gave us several cardboard boxes and sent us downstairs in the unfinished part of the basement. My sister and I spend HOURS down there cutting and taping a cardboard house together. We drew "wall paper" on the wall. We drew Kitchen counters and cabinets in the kitchen and we took our own allowance and bought blow up furniture for dollhouses for our Barbie Home.

It was HUGE when we were finally done. We had built our own Barbie Kingdom!!  We also found a big rubbermaid round tub and filled it with water for our very own Barbie swimming pool.

It struck such a chord with me. I will never forget it. I saw that creativity was a great challenge but I felt we accomplished so much! We played down there all summer long and even sewed some of our very own Barbie clothes. Being that we lived in the country, when our friends from the city came over and saw our creation, I'm sure our Barbies were considered "Redneck Barbies." (but they loved it anyway!)

2. But that would be lesson number 2 that I learned at an early age. Do not care what others think. Do not worry about pleasing man, only God.  My friends had designer clothes and shoes and purses. There was no way we could keep up with all of that and even if we could, my parents were very conservative. My mom taught me scripture that we were to look nothing like the world. That everything turns to dust. My friends had fancy homes, cars, clothes.

Along that line, she taught me (and my dad too) ...the more you have, the more you have to take care of. Learning that lesson in life has helped me so much with "not keeping up with the Jones'!!" When I have entered some houses of friends and have been tempted to desire what they have, that quote has always kept me in check. As mom used to's all gonna burn. Dust to Dust. And you can't take it with you!!

Those quotes have helped me to NOT desire the things of this world and to simplify my life. It's given me more time with family rather than keeping my house a certain way at all times and spending lots of money on myself always trying to look "fit to kill" top to bottom!! Now is that an excuse to let yourself go?? NO!!!!!!!! But you can look nice on a budget without the temptation of having it all or looking a part. Jesus would not want us to caught up in worldly things. Rather, He wants us concerned with souls and our own walk with Him!

I would mention, that although my mom was a "hands on mom", I also suspect that having my sister and I play downstairs sometimes also helped her have time to herself. Time with the Lord. And time to get the household chores going. I'm sure this helped with patience too. My own four boys now are up at the crack of dawn so the house is alive before I ever take a step! 

But I appreciate she allowed us to have a few things like a Barbie doll (mine was such a tom-boy!) but didn't give in to getting us everything. She challenged us to use our minds and work together and we did! 

3.  She always took every opportunity to witness about the Lord and what He was doing in her life...whether it was just in day to day living or later in her life with cancer. I remember my mom witnessing to EVERYBODY. The avon lady, her piano students, people we sold our chicken eggs to...  the crazy guy who escaped from the state hospital. She was always sharing about the Lord.  Mom was never ashamed and that inspired me to share my faith even when it was difficult. I remember leading my friend to the Lord in 6th grade. I know I had learned to be bold because of my mother.

4. My mom LOVED people.  From all walks of life.  Was always trying to figure out how to spread the love of Jesus. She was a Sunday school teacher. Bible Study teacher for both couples and women's bible studies. She was the church organist and sometimes the church pianist! She was the choir director. But one the most impressionable times I remember when she was willing to make a fool of herself and become "Rosie the clown!" for Vacation Bible School. She made her own costume/make-up and we drove from our home in the country into church each day. Oh the looks we received on the way!  She looked like one crazy lady but those kids loved her and by the end of the week the VBS quadrupled!!  She prepared each day, led us in songs that week and many boys and girls came to know Jesus.

5. As she was diagnosed with cancer, she was brave. I know there were moments she was scared. There were moments she was sad. But ultimately, she trusted Him with all her might and with all her soul. She knew that to die was gain. She continued to teach and serve in church through all her treatments and surgeries. I too have battled cancer just recently and because I watched her trust God through it, it encouraged me to walk through my own experience trusting Him all the way.

What I miss the most is that she wasn't there when I graduated college, when I got married or when I had my children. Oh, what I would do to pick up the phone and ask for her godly wise advice. At times, it has hurt.

But through her example and legacy, I turn to the One she turned to. I don't turn away. Only He makes all things new. She always reminded me, HE is our reward. Not this world. He will make ALL things new. We don't deserve Him, but indeed, as promised, He is our prize.

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