Wednesday, March 9, 2016

sister tomberlin

Yesterday, I met Mary Ann for lunch, then raced home to get ready for the YM/YW activity,  performing baptisms at the Logan Temple. What a joy to watch my own daughter performing this sacred ordinance.  (Quayd and Grace were at school events and work, so they had to miss out.)  I was watching Zee and she saw my tears falling.  She asked later, "Mom, why were you crying?"  The answer... because I'm me and that's what I do.  BECAUSE I love my life!

We raced home from that and I was off to the YSA Stake Center for the Face to Face with Elder Holland.  In the middle of that, I slipped out, ran to Smithfield and picked Grace up from rehearsals and we slipped back into the chapel to hear the last 40 minutes of it. The internet is amazing when it's used for such good.  Elder Holland is incredible!  I was happy to watch it in the chapel with the YSA.  There was such a good spirit and when it ended, we all stood up and everyone just said, "WOW!"  We will watch it with the kids at home sometime this weekend. We were home at 8:30 and I made some scrambled egg sandwiches for Doug and I.  Everyone else took care of their own dinner before then. It was a harried day! 

Just as we sat down together for scriptures, the doorbell rang and Eric had popped in with a gift for Grace and one for ZJ.  Doug invited him to join us again for scriptures, which I found interesting.  He showed up right at 9, gave the gifts and asked "Are you reading scriptures?"  Doug said that we were just about to.  I think he wanted to join us.  Which of course, he was welcome to. Doug invited him and Grace was totally unaware.  She didn't mind at all. ;)  

Yesterday was just one of those days where I had so much on my mind.  In between runnings, I spent a lot of time pondering the things that I'll be speaking about on Sunday...our own divinity, being a child of God.  I think that when we are so busy, involved, frustrated, discouraged, overwhelmed, sometimes, it's easy to forget that we are children of God.  We have a loving Father in Heaven who loves us and wants us to succeed and wants us to be happy!  How grateful I am for the little reminders of this, in the midst of life's daily ups and downs...whether it be overdoses of laundry or teenage disagreements or who our nation will end up with as president!  Just sayin'.

I have been responding to a photo a day challenge on Instagram, related to National Craft Month.  Not that I consider myself any kind of crafter any more.  But, I liked the challenge.  I'm not doing it every day because, quite frankly, some days I don't have time to worry about it or care.  But, it's been fun to have something to think about. 

Last night, the prompt was for "Women who Inspire Me".  I immediately thought of Sister Nora Tomberlin.  I shared the photo of this wonderful sister who lived in our ward in Florida when I had just been baptized into the church.  I was this young 14 year old girl who's parents had just gone through an ugly divorce.  I had lost all of my connection to my dad's family who I'd known and loved and missed...who had a been such an important part of my life.  I had not been raised in the church, who didn't know what was right or wrong or acceptable or expected. I dressed completely improper and immodestly.  I was loud and bold and wild and always looking for fun! Quite honestly, I didn't know what a testimony of Christ even was.  I just knew that it was "fun" to go to this church where I met lots of new friends and cute boys and we had fun activities and frankly, it was a way to get away from home more often.

Sister Tomberlin became my hero the first day that I met her.  She was a very busy mother who was probably in her mid thirties.  She had, I believe, ten children.  It might have been nine.  She drove me to and from the church (and went miles out of her way to do so) every single time the church doors opened.  I spent hours and hours with her in her old Suburban (I think) with her other kids.

One of her sons was my age.  My best friend and I were relentless to him, teasing him, breaking his heart, just being a plain "mean girls" to him.   We were awful to him!  Years and years after I was married, I thought about this son often and felt so much guilt over how I'd treated him.  (Mostly, it was teasing him and playing with his heartstrings.)  I made it a goal to locate him.  They had long before moved from Florida and all I knew was that the family was from North Carolina or somewhere in the deep south.  I can't even remember how I did it, but after almost a year, I found him.  This was long before Facebook or even the internet existed!  I found him, called him and apologized profusely to him for being such an awful teenage tease to him.  We had a wonderful visit.  He was totally forgiving and kind.  It was also a gift to find him because I was able to hear that his mother was still doing wonderfully in life. 

Sister Tomberlin was such an example and had made a huuuuuuge impact on my life to this very day.  She was the first woman I'd ever seen nurse a baby.  I wanted to nurse my babies because Sister Tomberlin did and she said it was a wonderful experience.  It was!  I've never been much of a baby person, especially as a teen. I never enjoyed babysitting or holding other people's baby.  Sister Tomberlin would hand me her baby and, having no idea what to do with it, I'd let it suck on my finger.  I loved that feeling.  (Today, germaphobe that I am, I would die if a teenager stuck their finger in my baby's mouth!  Sister Tomberlin never said a word.)  She also never said a word to me as she knew how mean I was to her son.  She saw him hurt.  But she never once chastised me or told me to "knock it off!"  She just loved and accepted me. When others were critical of my short skirts and skimpy bikinis, she would just smile and tell me that I was beautiful.  I cried on her shoulder many times and she always listened without judging. And she never said a negative word about anyone. She answered my questions about everything from the gospel to being a mom to being a homemaker.  I don't even remember her home. I'm sure that I was there but I mostly recall the time driving to and from the church for over a full year and a half.  I love this woman.

Fast Forward to a few years ago when I was able to reconnect with his Sister Tomberlin on Facebook. I'm so thrilled to "know" her again.  I'm so thrilled to be able to share my family with her and to have her know that she made such an impact on my life.  I'm so thrilled to have her know that I've stayed close to the gospel and live to keep the commandments and that her example was a part of that!  So, last night, at midnight, I couldn't sleep and thought about this prompt.  I decided to share this on Instagram, but feel even more strongly that I should write a bit more about it here on my blog today.  Isn't she beautiful!  She just radiates light and love!

sophiacorbridgeI believe that this wonderful lady was the first woman who truly inspired me. Nora Tomberlin, mother of nine or ten, as I remember, amazing wife, homemaker, teacher, friend, sister in the gospel. She taught me the meaning of genuine, unconditional love for everyone...even a wild, impulsive teenage girl who was new to the gospel and learning what was "acceptable" and what was not. She never once allowed me to feel anything but love and acceptance. 44 years later, I could not love this woman any more. She is truly an inspiration to all who have ever had the pleasure of knowing her. #nationalcraftmonth @sizzix #womenwhoinspire #isntshelovely

This morning, she saw my post and responded:

 I'm blown away! Thanks for all the wonderful, kind words. I am just so very happy for the way Sophia's life has turned out. Thank you Sophia for remembering me.

 And following my post, there have been many others who agreed and spoke just as kind words about this amazing woman and couple.  What a blessing to have had this wonderful woman in my life!  And what a gift to live a life that is so full of love from those around you.  Again, she sets an example... I remember thinking, "When I grow up, I want to be like Sister Tomberlin."  Guess what.  I still do!

 Life is good!

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