Thursday, July 21, 2011

This is my mom

I had the privilege of writing the eulogy for my mom's memorial, which is this Saturday. For those of you who didn't know her, or those of you who knew her and can not be at the memorial, here is a glimpse at my mom's life on this earth...

Vivian Annette Gow was born on September 29, 1936, in St. Louis, Missouri. She was sandwiched right in the middle of two older brothers and two younger sisters. At a young age, Vivian became a Christian. After finishing high school, she attended Midwest Bible Institute, studying Bible and accounting. She also taught Sunday School at her church in St. Louis. In fact, that is how she met her husband, George. He was a single dad and she was his children's Sunday School teacher. How convenient!

Back then, the Sunday School teachers would visit the homes of their students. Vivian visited George's house more often than any other. Of course, she would never admit it, but then again, she's not here to deny it.

Vivian's mom told her that she thought George was looking for a wife. Vivian's retort was that she was looking for a husband.

Six weeks later, they were married. That was almost 43 years ago.

Romance notwithstanding, you could say that the two combined forces to raise their five children. One year later, child number six was born.

In 1971, the family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where they finished raising their children. They attended Bethany Bible Church, where George and Vivian became volunteer youth leaders.

Vivian liked working with the teen-age girls, and there's a funny story about the time she volunteered to be a chaperon for the youth group's inner tube trip down the Salt River.

Vivian had a fear of water. She never learned to swim. She reluctantly agreed to being a chaperon because if she didn't go, the teen-age girls wouldn't be able to go. There she was, scared to death of water and floating in an inner tube down the river. But wouldn't you believe it, there was a bend in the river, and a tree branch knocked her out of her tube. Out of all the people on the trip, she was the only one who needed to be rescued.

Besides working with the youth, Vivian's passions included gardening, making cards and crafts, motorcycle-riding (as a passenger only) and camping. She was a charter member of the Christian Motorcyclist Association.

One of her bike buddies, Kim Looper, said Vivian made camping on the motorcycle look very easy.

Susan Harty, who lived across the street from the Gows for most of her childhood, also remembers the good-old-days of camping with the family. And then there was the Friday pizza nights, where Susan and her sister were always welcomed. Susan remembers laughing so hard that soda would sometimes come out through her nose. She especially remembers coming home from school and Vivian always having the best snacks in the freezer--stuff her mom never let her have.

Vivian sure did enjoy cooking, and--of course--feeding people. Entertaining was her specialty.

Her daughter, Deborah, said that her mom passed down to her the art of entertaining. Family gatherings were important to her mom.

Her daughter, Christine, said that her mom could throw a party like no one else. The food was always great. The table always set perfectly. The house always looked beautiful.

Vivian had an open heart and open home for those in need. Growing up, there was always an extra person in the house, whether it was a relative, friend or stranger.

One of the people Vivian reached out to was Dawn Luptak and her family. Dawn said that Vivian was a godsend to her because she watched her two toddlers, just to give Dawn some "mommy time." Eventually, the children called Vivian and George, 'Mommy & Daddy Dow.'

George said that his wife wanted to be remembered for being caring and giving and helpful to people.

He said that when the two of them went shopping, there were always extra items in the basket. He would ask, "Why are you buying that?" and she wouldn't respond. But he knew that she was storing things away for other people. She would buy something for someone, even if their birthday was a year away. Then she wouldn't be able to stand waiting to give it to them. That was just the way she was. She was a very giving person.

One gift that she left her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren was her positive attitude about dying.

When she was diagnosed with mesothelioma, she accepted it as part of God's plan for her life. She never complained, even when she became bed-ridden. She accepted it.

Vivian's positive attitude had an affect on everyone who came to visit, including the caregivers. They loved to come to her home because Vivian was so positive. She wasn't bitter. She wasn't bitter because she had hope. She knew she was going to be with Jesus.

Vivian's favorite verse in the Bible was Philippians 4:8, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Mom

Vivian Annette Gow
September 29, 1936 - July 19, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Teeth, Fish, Chickens, Horses

I would love to accompany these little posts with pictures, but my computer has been down for weeks and I don't have the energy to try to figure out how to get my photos on Eric's laptop. Someday I will add pictures (they are adorable). Meanwhile...

Lost Tooth

Autumn lost her tooth last week and got a dollar from the Tooth Fairy, along with a coin from Mexico. Autumn's & Amber's Tooth Fairy is a world traveler. Along with putting the tooth under her pillow, Autumn put a note that read, "What is your name?" The next morning, along with the dollar and peso, the Tooth Fairy replied with a tiny answer. Her name is TRIXIE.

Spearfishing Tourney

Sunday, Eric got 2nd place in the annual Blue Water Hunter Spearfishing Tournament. He weighed in an 8-pound white sea bass and two little calico bass. The fish weren't very big this year, but Eric managed to place in the tourney and received a plaque and a gift certificate. Eric has won this competition several times over the years and so I am running out of wall space for the plaques. I am so proud of him! 

Baby Chicks

We are the proud owners of five baby chickens. They were born in Ojai on the 4th of July. We traded our friends sea bass for chickies. They are adorable! They are in a box in our home, and we are going to trade car repair for a chicken coop to be built in our back yard. We are looking forward to fresh eggs daily. In the meantime, we are enjoying watching them through the plexiglass window on the box. Autumn especially loves the chicks and she sits in front of the box hourly and talks to them in a cute, high-pitched voice. We've named a few of them so far: Sparkles, Rainbow, Smokey... But I am sure the names will change over the months until they are full grown and the titles stick.

Horse Camp

Tomorrow is Amber's last day at Horse Camp. She has thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and has gotten to ride the horses every day. Along with learning about horses and how to ride them and groom them, the kids have studied the Fruit of the Spirit through Bible stories, songs, crafts and skits. While Amber has been gone five hours each day, Autumn and I have been making cards, cooking, reading and snuggling.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Answered prayer

On the way home from church today, my 5-year-old daughter, Autumn, gave her heart to Jesus. She didn't even want to wait the 3 minutes it took us to get home.

I was driving the girls home (Eric is at a spearfishing tournament) and we started talking about being a Christ-follower and some of the things the Bible has to say about believing in Jesus. Amber said, "Autumn is not a Christian yet." I informed her that--Lord-willing--she would be someday. Autumn said, "I want to do that now." I said, "Okay, we'll pray when we get home." (I wanted to concentrate on my driving.) Autumn said, "I don't want to wait until I get home. Can we do it now?"

So, as I was driving, Autumn was praying. She asked Jesus to forgive her for "the bad things she has done" and asked Him to come into her life and she said she would follow Him.

Today God answered my biggest prayer for Autumn. My #1 prayer for my girls is that they would fall in love with Jesus at a young age. Amber gave her life to Jesus at age 5 and I was overjoyed. Today, I am overjoyed again and overwhelmed with gratefulness to God! Both my daughters love God. What more could a parent ask for?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

She is so cute!

My 5-year-old, Autumn, does the cutest things. Sometimes she does them on purpose because she is the comedian of the house. But sometimes she just does the most adorable things, not meaning to, and not knowing that it will make me smile. Take today for instance. She was using the "shark" cordless mini vacuum to sweep up the bits and pieces of tiny paper left over from their craft day. She paused at one point and--leaving the vacuum running--sat down on the tile floor and started working on something. I asked her what she was doing. She got up, walked over to me and showed me two larger pieces of paper. She said, "These are too big for the shark, so I am tearing them in smaller pieces so I can vacuum them up." I chuckled and said,"Wouldn't it be easier to just throw them away." She laughed and said, "Oh yeah, mom, that's a great idea!"

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Flies, not Dalmatians.

Believe it or not, today I killed 101 flies in my house. No joke. No exaggeration. I am sorry if I've grossed you out. Some of you may never want to set foot inside our house again. But they're all dead, so you can rest easy the next time you stop by for a cup of coffee.

How did I kill them? Why so many? How did I keep count?

Well, I think they must have hatched in the window frame because I found them all over the window. They were regular-sized ones, but they were the slowest, stupidest flies I have ever killed. All I had to do was capture them in a kleenix, several kleenixes. That's it. So, I killed them and sprayed my homemade, natural bug spray all over the window frames.

I started keeping count after the first ten. Our friend who had stopped by said, "I don't know what is more disturbing: that many flies in the house or the fact that you kept count." Ha ha ha!

But seriously, have any of you ever encountered that many flies in one place at one time? Just wondering...