Hi, this is Faith Wagner, Cathy’s oldest daughter. If you’ve read my mom’s blog before, you’ve read more than a few embarrassing stories about me. Now it’s my turn to embarrass her. Our mom is too modest to post a huge announcement that should be shouted from the rooftops, so I am hacking in to her blog to tell you that she has been named Arizona’s 2012 Mother of the Year!!
That’s right, we all know how wonderful and influential she is and now the world will too! (Or at least Arizona.:) There are several things that are coming up for our mom in this new role. One of which is attending a National Mothers Convention in Washington DC in May. She will give a speech there and they will name the National Mother of the Year, which could very well be her! You can find out more about the convention at http://americanmothers.publishpath.com/Websites/americanmothers/images/AMI_AnnConf12_V8.pdf and more about the National Mothers Organization here: http://www.americanmothers.org/
Also, you can read about and see pictures of our mom at the Arizona Gala where she was honored on Feb. 9, 2012 at http://www.examiner.com/genealogy-in-phoenix/new-arizona-mothers-of-the-year-announced-1 .
Recently our mom was also on TV promoting motherhood in her new role and you can see the interview here: http://www.kpho.com/video?clipId=6761134&autostart=true . She was amazing!
In the interview she offers to come give a free mom and tot or child music and parenting class to any Mothers Groups around the Valley and that is something you and your child don’t want to miss out on!! Our mom is genuinely motivated to help other moms become the best that they can be and we are so excited that she is now in a position to reach out and help even more.
As one last bonus, you can read the Essay I wrote about our mom for the Mothers Organization.
Our Mother’s Garden
By Faith Shepherd Wagner, daughter of Cathy Shepherd
Mothers sacrifice the prime years of their lives to raise children, planting seeds of value, and nurturing them into blossoming adults. This is true in the life of our mother, Cathy Shepherd. With seven grown children and 14+ grandchildren, her garden is in full bloom. The success of her children is the fruit of her labors.
Our parents have cultivated seeds of humility, gratitude, education, spirituality, music, laughter, and love. These values contribute to the way we now raise our children, motivating us to improve when we fall short and to rejoice in the gift that parenting is. In particular, our mother’s influence has taught us creativity, responsibility, and true happiness.
Blossoms of creativity border our mother’s garden. Phrases that decades of children will connect to her are ‘bell choirs’, ‘black light dances’, ‘music lessons’, and ‘singing groups’. Our mother spearheaded many school projects and also composed countless songs and plays, inviting neighbors and friends to share and develop talents. The seeds of frugality and sacrifice mingled with creativity as she turned boxes into houses, sheets into dresses, and trials into blessings. Problems that persisted would be made into songs, sung loudly and proudly several times a day. Although severely underappreciated at the time, her children now continue to nurture these creative seeds she planted.
The seeds of responsibility run throughout our mother’s garden, teaching morals and strengthening values. Earning our own money taught us to distinguish between needs and wants. Working inside and outside the home taught us pride in ownership and the satisfaction that hard work brings. Consequences for good and bad decisions instilled the value of trust and taught the freedom that obedience gives. An inspired ‘Smile and Compliment Club’ helped us to find good in everyone. Service to others brought humility and gratitude to our family. Variety and diversity blossomed through the nurturing of responsibility.
The seed of true happiness is not purposely planted, but it becomes the heart and joy of a mother’s carefully tended garden. It comes in seeing sacrifice and service yield blossoms of the sweetest scent and in realizing tears and trials generate striking, vivid colors. Catching a glimpse of our mother’s flourishing garden gives us hope for our own growing families. Stopping to smell her roses teaches us that watering and weeding can bring forth sweet fruit. If I had not been raised in my mother’s garden, I would not be the person I am today. And I love who I am today. This is true happiness.
Most women stop here and enjoy their lovely gardens, basking in the fruits of their labors. Not so with our mom, who is not content to rest in her own exquisite estate. Whether as a teacher, a parenting blogger, or Mother of the Year, she shares this beauty and labors in countless vineyards, helping other mothers plant seeds that encourage children to blossom. You see, our mother isn’t just our mom raising her own children. She’s a mother for moms, raising a world.