Life Lessons from Mama

Today’s post is from our dear friend, Angela Thomas. Angela shares some of the lessons she learned from her sweet mama before she passed away last year. You can download a free sample of Angela’s new Bible study, Stronger here.

White, half-runner beans.

Not pole beans. Not wax beans. And for goodness sake, not those skinny, little French beans. According to my mama, the only bean worth an afternoon of stringing and snapping are the locally grown, white half-runner beans. As far as I can tell, mama was right. I guess I’ve eaten green beans all over this world, and not one of them has ever tasted as good as the half-runners mama cooked and canned for our family. Course, mama was right about a lot of other things too. I can still hear her talking to me as clear as day:

  • Always look for white silver queen corn at the farmer’s market.
  • Messing with that dough too long is gonna make your biscuits tough.
  • Dress that baby like a sweet little baby. She has the rest of her life to dress like a grown up.
  • Don’t let your husband leave the house in a wrinkled shirt. You want him to look like he’s loved when he goes into that meeting.
  • Dry your clothes in the sun and the whole house will smell better.
  • Wait ‘til the first of May to set your flowers out. Anytime before that and sure enough, it’ll come a frost.
  • Make your red velvet cake the day before you’re going to serve it. Store it somewhere cool and the next day it’ll be perfectly moist and delicious.
  • At the first sign of a sore throat, gargle with warm salt water. And do it often.
  • Get your ironing caught up so you can rest awhile.
Angela & her parents
Angela & her parents at the taping of “Brave”

Mama went to heaven last November and this summer all I can think about is how much I miss her. Mama was an amazing care-giver and home-keeper all year round, but she really shined in the summer. Fresh flowers from her yard. Fresh veggies from her “little patch.” Fresh canned beans and tomatoes and chow-chow.

Nothing made mama happier than a breeze through the window, clean sheets on the beds and dinner on the stove. She kept several snap-on aprons at my house and hers. Better coverage. Easier to slip on. I can vividly see her in that apron standing beside the oven, watching the bread and waiting for the family and friends she loved to bless.

I am one of the lavishly blessed.

When mama and daddy came to live down the street from my family, we didn’t know her time left on this earth was so short. We thought the new chemo and the new doctor could make her stronger. And sure enough, the last night we talked it seemed like she was taking a turn for the better. She laughed when I told her a story about one of the kids. She said I should find her jambalaya recipe because it was a good one. She seemed stronger that night and so very much at peace. Daddy and I were thankful and glad.

The next morning mama was barely able to respond and we couldn’t understand the drastic change. A very kind doctor explained that many times a new strength comes just before God calls His beloved home.

God was calling mama home.

I’ve had several months to think about it and I’ve decided that a believer’s weary soul must fill with new strength to hear the Father say, It’s time to come home. I am keeping my promise. You are mine. I have not left you. I have not forsaken you. Come and be with me always.

Looking back to that night in the hospital, I believe daddy and I witnessed the strength of God’s promise being kept. Her Father came to take her home, so our sweet mama said goodbyes to all of us and hello to heaven.

Today she sees fully what we still live by faith. God is stronger than every weakness. He is stronger than our fears. He is stronger than ovarian cancer. And hallelujah, Our God Almighty is stronger than death.

All of us miss mama so much, especially when we’re gathered around a table, but it comforts us to think of her now. The suffering is over. She is healed and rejoicing in the presence of God. She sits at the feast of His goodness and I have to believe somewhere on that table, there are half-runner beans and homegrown tomatoes. And mama is smiling.


  1. patty says

    Boy this brings back memories when you talk about white half runners!!! That was the only green bean my mom and dad would grow. I remember the summers growing up when their back yard was transformed into this hugh garden!!!
    We would work all summer!!! I really miss it and would love to have some of those beans!!!

  2. Deborah Berg says

    This was so refreshing to read. My Mom went to be the Lord last September. She suffered with Alzheimer’s and had quickly took a turn for the worse by not eating. She was still mobile and could have a conversation even if part of it concerned the past as present. I had promised to take care of her even though most people thought I was out of my mind also! My plan was she would be with me for years to come and I would be there at the time of passing. God’s plan was different. She told me about a week before her death that she loved me. We always said love you to each other and I responded, ” Love you too.” She took my hand and shook it! We were driving down the road and I glanced over at her somewhat bothered but her next words will stay with me forever! “NO, I REALLY love you!” What a blessing from my Mom God gave me! Strength before the end… She died with a heart attack about a week later when my niece was keeping her at her home in her favorite room while walking across the floor. Yes, God was in control and her prayers were answered!

  3. says

    Amen and Amen Angela!!! What beautiful and comforting words about such a sweet and Godly woman. It is so nice to look out in the congregation at Rehobeth on Sunday mornings and see your sweet Dad there. Blessings to all of you.

  4. Janice Bettis says

    Angela, thank you for sharing. Your mama was such a blessing. She and your dad were in our Sunday School class and we love them dearly. We prayed for her every day from the first time we heard of her illness until God took her home. We continue to pray for your dad We know how lonely he is. One of my favorite memories is when Joe & Novie invited us to their home for an extended Bible study. We met one night a week for several weeks and my husband wrote the study and shared with us each week. Loved spending time there. We miss Novie so much but she will always be with us – in our hearts. I loved hearing her pray and talking about “crawling up in the lap of Jesus”.
    God bless you and your ministry. She was so proud of you.

  5. Betty M says

    It would have been my mom’s 88 th birthday today and seems like a “kiss from the King” that it is the second time I have had bloggers send out blogs on mothers today! My mom died at age 69 way too young. She had a particularily lethal form of colon cancer. I still miss her and it has been 18 yrs ago since she died. It makes no difference what your age is when Mom goes you still feel like an orphan! My Mom was a godly woman and I know I will see her again. Her parting words to me were not that I keep a spotless house or make sure I get alot of earthly posessions but that we all stay in the Lord. We work so hard to get and achieve so much in this world and we leave it all to someone else when we go. I am grateful to God that He gave me a Christian mother and today as my thoughts turn to her I am blessed with many rich memories as well as a longing for time to come when we will all be reunited around His glorious throne!

  6. Ruth Lamb says

    My mom always canned at least 60 quarts of white half runners every year. It was such a delight to hear you speak of your mother and reminded me so much of mine who was such a wonderful homemaker and caregiver. I know she is with the Lord and free from pain that so racked her body before she went home to be with her God. Again, thanks for sharing.

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