Friday, December 22, 2017

Memories from Mom's Service

I knew from burying Mom G in February 2017, that I would feel unprepared for the day to arrive, but that it would bring a sense of completion to the season. Before we knew it, it was the 22nd and we were getting ready to head to the church.  I think Nate is sporting a winning combination!

I can't enough times how wonderful it was to see Nate and Heather. Another friend I was able to reconnect with at the hospital and at Mom's service was Becky. We've been friends since we were 2 year old and neighbors. She came from a nearby town and it was priceless to have her both at the hospital and at the service. Her mom is in a couple of pictures I've posted - Moms friend of more than 50 years.

Mom's service was wonderful. She wanted worship - and we had it. She wanted a few hymns sung and they were.  Joneile, a dear friend, sang "Thank you for giving to the Lord," while a slide show played of Mom's life. Many of those photos are in the blog post of Mom's Life Story.  Here is  the link to the stream of Mom's service.  I'm not sure how long it will be there.  It was amazing to see so many people who we have known through the years. Dad has an amazing support system in the area. He and Mom are well-loved.  Will had suggested we open the mic for memories at the ICE CREAM reception, rather than the service. I think that worked well. Folks who wouldn't have talked at the service were comfortable at the reception and those who needed to leave, were free to do so. 

As wonderful as it all was, I was drained and ready to go home and cocoon - though cocooning is not exactly what happened. 

Mom's Life Story

Janice was born in Hardin, MT on Feb 10, 1941. She joined two brothers Bill and Jim - 9 and 17 years older than she. 
Mom, Bill (L), Jim (R)

Hardin, MT is directly outside the Crow Indian reservation. Growing up in a diverse culture played a part in awakening her heart to the needs of other cultures.  Across the street from her home was Dick's Drive-In - which featured a walk up window which served ice cream. Her mom would save the spare change and allow Janice to walk across the street for a daily treat. Thus began  mom's life-long craving for ice cream and other sweets. 

Her father died when she was 16, a heartache mom carried all her life. It also contributed to her certainty of the importance of investing in family. A heart for the nations, an insatiable sweet tooth and a love of family were to characterize Mom throughout her life.  
Mabel (Grams), Mom, Sim (Grandpa)
1944 - Hardin, MT
 From an early age Janice was "spunky."  Part of her early years were spent living in a hospital  where her mother, Mabel Simmons, served as hospital manager and head nurse. Mabel loved to tell a story of Mom at 3 years old. They heard clomping down the stairs. Mom entered the room, put her hands on her hips, and declared, "When you hear me coming down those stairs, I want my breakfast on the table!"

Gram's replied, "You don't say? Who says this?"

To which mom replied, "I AM!" As you can imagine, this exchange did not end quite the way Mom had intended. 

Mom eventually grew up and headed to Eugene, OR where she attended Eugene Bible College and met and married, Dad, Paul Townsend. The rumors "we" hear is they were known for pulling pranks in those years. They made life-long friends during this season in their life, many are here today, and we thank you for the parts you've played in Mom's life and in our family's history. One man, Walt Olinger was driving a car one night in 1961 while Mom and Dad rode in the back. Dad mustered up his courage to propose to Mom. She didn't answer... He asked again; she sort of mumbled and WOKE UP! Yes, she'd fallen asleep during her marriage proposal - or maybe she just wanted a couple of proposals.  Friends like these were treasured by Mom throughout her life.

Nov 17, 1962

In front of the barn where they had their first date - 2012

 Mom and Dad along with De'Etta and Will served as Open Bible Missionaries in Liberia, West
1968 - family photo 
Africa. The family lived on a compound that included a clinic, school, church, several mission houses and dormitories for students who came to the compound to be educated. Their water supply was collected in barrels, the electricity was supplied by generators, and motorcycles and small airplanes provided their transportation. They had monkeys and raccoons for pets and traveled in canoes on rivers said to be populated by crocodiles. There were also snakes - lots of snakes.  Mom hated snakes. Part of Dad's ministry required him to make overnight trips into the wilderness of Liberia. On one such evening, when mom and the kids, were alone the night erupted with gunshot. Boys and men came running from all corners of the compound to check on us fearing what they'd find. They found mom standing on a chair. She had unloaded 6 rounds of buckshot into an unsuspecting 2 1/2 foot snake. The boys from the dormitory were disgusted she wasted so much shot on such a "small snake."
Cess River, Liberia, West Africa
 After an interval in the states, Mom and Dad moved to the Philippine Islands where they again served as missionaries. They spent the next  22 years ministering in the barrios and jungles of the Philippines."Ma'am Jan "taught Bible college classes, INSTE and Bible studies during these years.  By this time, Nate had joined the family.  They continued to have unique pets. It was during this time Mom, unknowingly, first sampled ground hog, dog and monkey. She was not impressed. She loved to snorkel in the ocean and collected some impressive shells. She continued to love riding her motorcycle around the barrios.
Teaching in Mindanao, Phillippines

Pastors, Dad, Mom and Nate on a trip
 At the end of their missionary career, Mom and Dad settled in Springfield here at Calvary Open Bible. Mom worked as a one-on-one aide at Springfield High School and loved all the kids she met. She was known at the Coffee shop for her love of hot chocolate - with LOTS OF WHIP CREAM. On days when Sherri wasn't in the area, she'd even get refills.

We have many ice cream stories about mom.  All the grandkids remember Grandma's order of two medium vanilla - cherry dipped cones with extra dip on the side from any given Dairy Queen. She explained, "You get more dip with two mediums than with one large." A routine meal included a THICK malt, fries and an ice cream cone. In recent years, Mom was not supposed to drive and was supposed to limit her sugar intake. Her granddaughter, Bre, was out with her family and was surprised to find GRANDMA at Dicky Yo's...with a big dish of ice cream...alone.

"Don't tell your Grandpa or Lorri!"

We didn't tell Grandpa - until we were sharing stories after Mom passed away.

 Mom loved her church family and treasured the friends she had here. Many of them were friends dating from the 1960's.  (Kathy - Mom's friend from college, and Bev - Mom's neighbor after college in 1965, were second mom's to me). 
Mom and Dad on far left, Kathy playing accordian
Mom & Bev at Bre's bridal shower
Mom realized she was "getting close" to aging around 70 and compiled a bucket list. Michael had recently been deployed to the middle east and sent home photos of himself riding on a camel. She decided she HAD TO ride a camel.  Opportunity presented itself when the 49'ers group from Calvary scheduled a trip to the Wildlife Safari. Mom promoted camel rides for our younger kids. As we waited in line, she said, "I'm going to ride a camel today, too." 

 She would not be dissuaded. She tried to talk De'Etta into getting on the camel with her as the operators were allowing two on a camel. 

Also on Mom's bucket list was riding a zip line and sky diving. Mom asked Dad if he would go sky diving with her. He said, "No! Why would I want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane!" Somehow she convinced John Simmons to jump out of a "perfectly good" airplane with her when she was 71 years old. The funny thing is that she took a selfie of herself in front of the building and texted it to her grandsons. The next one they got was a photo of her in the sky with her hair flying...

   Maybe God set up a zip line for her near her mansion in heaven.

Mom loved family. It was a driving passion in her life to have the entire family over, sitting at one table, with fine china and a big meal. This didn't happen nearly often enough for her liking. The last time we all had dinner at her home, the one table morphed into four...I'm sure Mom has already begun planning the big dinner she is going to have one day in heaven with all her family around one very big table.
Entire family (at that date) at Mom and Dad's 50th Wedding Celebration 

 Mom loved CHRISTMAS! Boxes of nativities line her garage wall.  It's fitting  she would finish her race and enter heaven at Christmas time.

Her legacy is her love for others and her willingness to share Jesus and to give to others.  Even at the end of her days while her pain levels were beyond excruciating, her heart's desire was to be a good witness in order that others might know Jesus. She will be greatly missed by family and friends.  

Note: This was read at Mom's memorial service. If you missed the service and would like to view it, it will be archived here for another week or so.  Click "Memorial Service for Jan."