By Kerrie Nygard

Kerrie bio pic new

She gave birth to her 12th child and 10th biological baby at 40-years old. That final baby was ME! This week my mother turned 80-years old! She isn’t perfect, like all of us, BUT she is the perfect mother for me and has taught me a lot of life lessons. I am convinced that her being my mother is by divine design. Her words and example have guided me consistently for almost 40 years.

Following are 6 Grand Life Lessons taught to me by my mother, shared in the hopes that they will inspire you as they have me.

life lessons

Lesson One

When I was pregnant with my first child I was miserable, very sick and fatigued. I was going to school and working, all the while trying not to throw up all day. It was so tough. I was convinced that I could only have one child because I could never go through another pregnancy EVER again. 

I asked my mother how she managed to have so many babies and be pregnant so many times. Her response was “Well, Kerrie, I didn’t have them all at once, they came one at a time.” By this she meant that I didn’t have to think about the future, I only needed to deal with the here and now and the future I can deal with in the future.  

Many, many times this bit of advice has encouraged me to keep going and not to worry about the future but to only focus on the task at hand.  

Lesson Two

During my freshman year in college I called my mother in tears. I felt overwhelmed with all that I needed to accomplish. I didn’t know how I was going to survive all the final projects and tests.

life lessons

On the other side of the phone her wise words were, “You can only do what you can do. Make a list. Go to work. Give the rest to the Lord”

I took that advice and not only survived but I did well that semester. From that day forward anytime I feel the beginning of overwhelm or anxiety I remember those wise words. They calm me. I pull out paper and make my list, I do my part and the Lord helps me accept all the rest, come what may.

Lesson Three

When I was about 7-yrs old my older sister Wendy asked to use my mother’s drinking glasses for an event she was in charge of organizing. These glasses were kept on the very top shelf in the cupboard and only came down when company came over or at a special holiday meal.  

After her event Wendy accidentally dropped the box and they broke. I thought Mom would be upset but instead she hugged Wendy, who was very sad and said “You are more important than those glasses.” 

This taught me that people are always more important than any problem or mess. 

Lesson Four

My mother always made homemade bread every Wednesday. She did laundry every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She always packed our lunches in brown paper bags. She was up early every morning and fed us and sent us on our way for the day. We always said family prayer in the morning.

Every year she planted a garden. We were expected to help. Every fall we canned and tilled the garden under. 

The first thing I would do when coming home from school was to call out to my mom. She was always there. I didn’t need anything. I just wanted to confirm her presence.

The lesson here in citing these behaviors is not in the virtue of these specific habits but in the realized lesson that came as an adult looking back. I was free as a child. Free because I felt safe and secure. This security came in great part from the consistency of these behaviors.

I don’t do it all the same way my mother did it. I do it my own way but the effect is the same.  I have consistent routines and behaviors that create security in my home for my family. That is the power of a mother, to free their child their whole life by providing consistency, security, and love in their childhood. 

Lesson Five

While in high school, I came home complaining regularly about a girl in my class by whom I was annoyed. I’d tell my mom all about it. How this girl was pompous and rude. How she would definitely talk back to and question the teacher. This girl thought she was really smart and knew a lot but really it was so obvious how wrong she was and her behavior was condemning.  

After a couple weeks of this my mother said “Kerrie, it sounds like you really have a problem. Perhaps you should pray about it.”   

I was exasperated. Hasn’t she been listening? I didn’t have a problem. This girl had the problem. But I stopped complaining, exasperated at first but then I took her advice. 

Starting on my knees in prayer I learned first hand, how God works in our hearts. After that I naturally became good friends with that girl. Not because she stopped being pompous or rude but because God changed my heart. Mom showed me how to allow God into my heart and that love isn’t conditional upon “acceptable behavior”. 

Lesson Six

Yelling “Mom”, while searching the house was not an uncommon occurrence. Sometimes she would not answer, no matter how loud or pressing I made my voice. The reason for her not answering was only discovered by finding her on her knees praying.  

She would not be hurried to finish praying. Sometimes it felt like f-o-r-e-v-e-r! It was annoying as a child but taught me priorities. God was my mother’s priority.  Above all else. 

Thank God for my mother! Louise Folsom.

This year as she marks her 80th year on this planet, still a consistent mother to 12, grandmother to 46 grandchildren, and great grandmother, I send her my deep thanks. Thank you for these grand life lessons and the many other unmentioned lessons that continue to support me in my life’s journey.  

Thank you Mom! And I Love You!


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