You Have Left An Awesome Legacy


This was a letter that Gina Englud wrote to her mother when she died earlier this year. For some this might bring back your own fond memories with your mom. For others it may be an opportunity to think back on another woman who influenced your life in your early years. And yet for some it may inspire you to be this kind of mom to your children. We take a moment to celebrate the women who influence and shaped our lives this Mother’s Day!



It’s far easier to write the things that are in my heart than to say them. So, I’m writing this to you, as we gather for your final farewell on earth. However, it’s probably more for me than you.

I’ve been thinking about my childhood and the memories that are stacked up in the number of my years. Most of my early memories include the extended family, my aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and a few neighbors. I can still hear the toe tapping music and the hillbilly harmonies of both country and gospel songs. I hear the laughter and harassment over endless table games! There were many good times with ice cream socials, watermelon busts, and taffy pulls. Many summer days were spent in the park with a picnic and a game of horseshoes.

I remember summer mornings, waking up to the smell of laundry soup and hearing you humming a hymn that we sang at church on Sunday. Summer afternoons were spent snapping beans, shucking corn or pealing peaches for canning that would insure delicious meals for the winter. I can still hear the sound of your little Singer sewing machine, as you made a new dress for me, or a shirt for Wayne. If there were hard times, I was unaware in those years of my life. After I reached adulthood, I realized that those years were financially lean, but to me they were good years!

There were many, many times when the family would gather, and you would cook up a huge feast. Then we would finish off with raucous games of Sorry or Aggravation. If weather permitted, it was croquet, or volleyball in the front yard. Everyone was welcome in our home. Hospitality was the normal in my life!

Throughout those early years you taught us about the Bible truths that guided your life. Church and Sunday school were as much a part of our lives as breathing. It is what we did! You taught us to be hones and kind, to be hardworking, to be hospitable, and respectful of others.

I remember those time when you would pack a lunch, gather some of our friends, and take off to the San Diego zoo, Knott’s Berry Farm, Calico ghost town, or wherever, for a day of fun. You always included others to join with the family. There I learned more about hospitality.

As I got to the 8th grade, you were determined to protect me from the evil influences of our culture, so you sent me to Mt Zion Bible boarding school in Ava Missouri. There I learned to take care of myself and be independent and strong, using the things you had taught me in the early years. However, the angst of separation got to you and at Christmas break you brought me home. Then in 10th grade I went to live with grandma in Arkansas for the year. Both times when I was away, it was very difficult for you, but you did what you thought was best for me. Thank you for those wonderful times in my youth!

Then I married and moved to Livermore, and the distance separated us a bit, but you came to help me anytime I needed you to care for the kids for a weekend or a seminar that was out of state. However, when we moved to the ranch in Oroville things changed! You and Dad moved on to the property, Uncle Bill and Aunt Fran, Wayne and his family all joined us there. A new series of memories began to form. There, the kids could experience a different kind of life, and you and Dad were smack in the middle of them. You helped to create so many special memories for the grandkids, continuing the legacy that started when Wayne and I were kids! You allowed us to learn from you about the country life on a farm. You taught me to garden and can the fruit and veggies that would feed us in the winter. You taught us to invest time with our kids in the ordinary labor of farm work. There are more memories than I can count, but I am ever so grateful for you and the legacy you have left on our sons and their cousins!

The memories that are stacked up in my 69 years are more precious than you know. Only God knew that you would love us so much, and be so willing to sacrifice so much, in order to give Wayne and me the best life possible. Thank you, Mom, for a life time of memories and experiences. You have left an awesome legacy, and I thank God for letting me be your daughter! I love you Mom, and I certainly miss you!

I thank God for letting me be your daughter!

Gina Englund