Being the oldest sibling, I have had the longest opportunity to view my mother up close. Let me just write a few lines.

She is the glue that holds our family together. Mom is of the persuasion that if you don't have anything good to say, you just keep it to yourself. And that has been something she has always done. I need more of that in my life.

Mom has this killer pork roast. It is salted and baked, then surrounded by sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. That was Sunday dinner growing up. I think it was the sauerkraut that made me want to come to Germany.

That home cooking is the cornerstone of family events. Tables are spread throughout the dining room and into the living room to be able to handle all the kids and grandkids; there are probably only four matched chairs, but there are always enough for anyone coming. Laughter fills the room, soon surplanted by merciless teasing when my brother and I get together. Some things simply don't change even after 40 years have passed. There is something healing about laughter.

The past ten months we have cried alot. One chair is empty now at family gatherings since my kid sister went to live with Jesus. But Mom's head is still held high, even when her heart is heavy. No self-pity. Somehow she goes on.

I never once heard her speak a sharp word to Dad. There was the 'look', but never a public dispute. Somehow I think she understands more about grace that I do.

Mom still lives in the same house - the first they ever purchased. The neighborhood has changed, and not really much for the better. It is not the classy side of town. But Mom doesn't care to move. She is the stable glue that holds us all together.

Her hair turned white - the kind that speaks of wisdom; the wisdom gathered from many years of highs and lows. My mother is a class act.

I love my mother.

Keith Gandy - GermanyKeith Gandy - Germany

Keith, originally from the desert of Phoenix, Arizona, has been planting a church in Aschaffenburg, Germany for over thirty years. Daughter churches have also been started and missionaries have been sent out of the congregation. Annually, he participates in encouraging other European church-planters and frequently travels to visit them in their respective field of service.

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