Gloria Gay Neves Garrard

I wrote about my mother-in-law, Maurine, in this post last week.  Today, I need to talk about my own mother and how her greatest strengths have influenced the person I have become.

Mom & Grandpa Bob
Here's my mom, Gay Garrard, with her husband, Bob.  My mother is amazingly talented and creative.  My memories are packed with vivid images of art she has created, songs she has composed, poems she has penned, clothes she has designed, houses she has decorated, photos she has taken and words she has written.  It seems there is nothing that my mom can't do and do well.

My mom is currently working on a fabulous Book of Mormon novel about the People of Ammon and the 2000 Stripling Warriors.  It's amazing.  The work is scholarly, enlightening, spiritual, and engaging all at once, which, in a nutshell, is my mom.  I truly hope she gets it published and doesn't give up on it.  It's something that needs to see the light of day.

My mom is very giving.  She loves to give gifts.  This is why she has next to nothing of her own work in her house.  It's all gracing the homes of others.  Most of all, she gives of herself, her time, energy and talents, to uplift others and provide service where and when it is needed.  Whether is was her community, her family, friends, neighbors, ward members, foster children, or refugees from war-torn foreign lands, her home and her arms have always been open, warm, and welcoming, her resources theirs to expend.  She has been a tremendous example to me in that regard.

Her great joy is her progeny.  It's difficult to find a photo of just her.  Usually, she's surrounded by a great herd of grandchildren or great-grandchildren.  If I'm counting correctly, she has twelve children, ten children-in-law, 44 grandchildren and 42 great-grandchildren (and counting).  Her family has been the center of her life and always will be.

Mom [center] with just some of her descendants
Finally (for this post, at least), my mom is stalwart, faithful, long-suffering and eternally optimistic.  Her greatest gift to me has been her faith in the Lord, her amazing testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and her hope for the eternities.  She raised me in the Gospel and gave me a firm foundation upon which to gain my own testimony.  It has always been my greatest desire to provide my children with the same amazing gift.  That, to me, is the greatest responsibility of a mother.

—A Chaotic Mind

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