Life Lessons From Mama

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.

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.

You can download a free sample of my new Bible study, Stronger, here



  1. Carla Lake October 16, 2014 at 10:03 am - Reply

    Hey Angie,
    I just went back to read this post again, over a year later. It’s still hard for me to realize that your mom isn’t here. I can still hear her voice saying all of the things you posted above. She was so good at giving simple, wise advice and I loved sitting and talking to her. I’m so glad that I had that time when she was staying with you. We had some good conversations. I miss her and can only imagine how you do. I’m so thankful to your parents for raising such a wonderful person and I’m very thankful to be able to call you my friend. I love you. Carla

  2. Gail Wright Lawrence August 18, 2014 at 11:21 am - Reply

    Saw your Dad this past weekend and he was singing your praises. He is so very proud of you. We had our 55 High School Reunion and we all had such a good time. Your Dad and I go back a long way as young children around 5 and 6 years of age. It was good to see him and have him share his blessings with me. Hear you are getting ready to celebrate a Birthday so pray you have a very special day. Would love to be on your blog and hear more about your special work.

  3. Larissa Freeman August 23, 2013 at 9:50 am - Reply

    I love you & your books! I own a Christian-based women’s boutique in Kansas & would love to sell your books in my store. Is that possible?

    Thank you,
    Larissa Freeman

  4. Cara Blackmore August 11, 2013 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    I was a nurse living in Denver when my dad called to say my mother was fast losing her battle with cancer. My husband and I drove top speed 750 miles to the hospital. When we got there Daddy told me she wouldn’t know me. He and my sister still lived there and had spent long days with her while I was gone. Now they were not prepared to deal with the end, but my medical training gave me the great privilege of being with her to the end. I just crawled up in the bed with her — a nurse looked in with a stern look, but when I didn’t budge she just nodded and partially closed the door.
    When I told mother I was there she squeezed my hand and a tear ran down her cheek. She knew me!! told her all the things I hadn’t said. How much I loved her and how thankful for how she had taught me about Jesus so that my dad, my sister and I were all saved and so were our children. That she had never been a burden, but now she was suffering so that when He came for her it was okay to go. She smiled. Tthen I started to say her favorite scripture. When I got to “yea thought I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for He is with me” she responded — “UH-HUH!!” She fell asleep then, and soon she raised her arms, and a huge smile spread across her face — and she was gone. I stayed with her quietly for a little while marveling at the light and peace lingering on
    her face — there because of Someone I could not see.
    We had enjoyed many times together as mother and daughter, but this was a time of two adult Christian women enjoying together her arrival in Glory. I would not have missed it for the world.

  5. Ellen Day August 8, 2013 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    Hi Angela,
    Your post today made me remember my grandmother, who taught me so much and every summer she shared her vegetables and we always had to taste everything before saying we did not like it…..She went home to be with the Lord 30 years ago and I still miss my “mama Zach”… but I always remember how she loved the Lord and shared that with others….my prayer has always been to be the same way.
    Hope you enjoyed the “Sunshine” plaque I brought by your home last week. Sorry it took me so long to get over there. It was good to meet Grayson at the front door, such a good guy!! Praying for you and your family as you remember and carry on…ellen

  6. Christina Hall August 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    Dear Sweet Angela,
    Though I’ve not yet had to deal with the loss of my mom, just 2 years ago my grandmother went to her mansion in heaven. I’m sure she knows your mom by now because she never met a stranger and truly loved e simple things in life like your mom. My grandmother was my mentor and the reason for my strong belief in God! She, too loved fresh sliced tomatoes and garden vegetables. But more than anything she loved The Lord! I am so thankful for having had her in my life and seeing her strength in The Lord throughout the years.

  7. Phyllis Nichols Gutierrez August 6, 2013 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    Angela, thank you for sharing this. It so reminds me of some of the dear and wonderful ladies in my life who have gone on to their heavenly home.

    Thank you for being the God filled and loving woman you are. You are your mother’s legacy on this earth and I know she lives on in memories and the stories that you and your family share with each other. Precious Memories! Love that hymn and your post brought it to mind.

    Believing God makes the year of firsts and seconds easier for anyone who is missing someone who has gone home.

    You are a blessing! Thank you!

  8. Debbie Jones August 6, 2013 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    Oh my. Thought half-runners was the only bean in the world growing up. Your sweet Mama raised you right. Continue being the SUNSHINE. Loving life in SC

  9. Angie Korzenewski August 6, 2013 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    Angela, Thanks for sharing your heart your personal Mom stories blessed me. And your study When Wallflowers Dance has been blessing 15 other ladies in my house this summer. This past week was resist bitterness in the study and it was, of course, right on God’s time!
    I have tasted that The Lord is good! Growing up in salvation!
    Angie K.

  10. Susan Stilwell August 6, 2013 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Oh gracious, Angela — so much wisdom in this post. Even though this year of “firsts” is hard, we don’t grieve as those who have no hope. What a wonderful legacy your mama left.

    Enjoy a big mess of beans in her honor! And don’t forget the fatback 🙂 and the silver queen corn and fresh tomatoes. Might as well do it right and make some banana pudding while you’re at it.
    Susan in VA 🙂

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