1) I don’t know how many times she picked me up from a sleepover in the middle of the night because I was scared. But it was a lot.
2) We both watched Dirty Dancing twice in a row the first time we saw it, years apart.
3) Her generosity gets her into trouble sometimes, and I’m proud to have been passed that gene. Our givers are bigger than our receivers, and that’s the way life should always be.
4) I know she is the first to cry with me or laugh with me any time I need her.
5) Her appreciation for family-cherished inside jokes is second to none.
6) She pours grace all over bad situations.
7) She has a big love for adventure and travel – gypsies, we are.
8) She sends me text messages of meals she thinks I would like.
9) She is the queen of analyzing people’s behaviors, which taught me to never assume the worst in people.
10) I admire so much the way she respects my dad and is teaching me still to be a good wife.
11) She dug through spider webs, dead bugs, and all sorts of ick to pick out antiques she thought I’d like from my great-grandma’s house and surprised me with several huge piles of treasures.
12) She not only taught us, but daily showed all of us how faith and family are the most important things in the world.
13) She never hesitated to be a second mother to a friend who was hurting, reaching her compassion past our family’s walls and into the lives of others.
14) Mutual love for popcorn, Auntie Ann’s pretzels, and chips and dip.
15) When I asked her what her favorite song was when I was in high school, she said, “Silver and Gold from the Rudolf movie and that Kryptonite song.” It was nowhere near Christmas. It was the best possible answer I could have received. Hilarious and quirky and true.
16) The older I get, the closer we become.
17) Her love for family history is inspiring.
18) She always has a fun idea for something. A trip, a project, an activity.
18) Organizational master.
19) She deserves an award for the hours she spent following my teen-angsty self around the mall looking for prom dresses that were exactly what I had imagined in my mind, but never actually existed in real life.
20) She is the most invested-in-her-children’s happiness mother I’ve ever met. It’s her mission to see her kids love life.
21) Not long after Dave and I got married, I got to join in on a Sunday School class my mama was teaching and learned so much from her in those 2 months. I’ll always appreciate that slice of our relationship, brief as it was.
22) When the day of grandbabies I have given her comes, I know, without a doubt, that she’s going to love those babies with all her heart. Whether they are black or white, natural or adopted, whoever they are, they will be loved deeply by their grandma.
23) She taught me how to be married to a musician. This is a real. live. life. lesson.
24) Watching her raise us, all 4, was (and still is) a treat. She is always making sure we are all loved well, just the way we need love individually.
25) She loves giving gifts.
26) She always took us to theme parks because we loved them, even though she didn’t like roller coasters.
27) We always had a big 4th of July and Halloween celebration because we loved it, even though she hated fireworks and Halloween.
28) Moral of the story: she is selfless like no other.
29) She always knows when something is wrong with me emotionally, often before I even realize it myself.
30) She makes the bed every day, without fail. I don’t know why I love this about her, but I do. Maybe it’s just the predictability of her routine that I love.
31) She never stops being mama bear. If someone crosses her kids, she will be fierce.
32) A true woman of God is hard to find, to be raised by one is a precious gift.
33) She’s really funny and kind and smart. The trifecta of a good woman.
34) She’s a great encourager. If it weren’t for her encouragement to me to follow my love of creativity, I’d still be doubting that I could pick up a brush or type out a blog post.
35) She never once second guessed my desire to adopt, be a foster mama, or work in an orphanage. She gets me like few people do.
36) We are both night owls through and through. Publishing this post at midnight of her 50th birthday in honor of our nocturnal lives.
37) Math genius. I got not an ounce of that gene, so I can appreciate it better from way over here in the right brain.
38) Plays the piano beautifully.
39) She instilled a great deal of truth-seeking into our hearts.
40) Her motherly instincts are almost always right on.
41) I learned a lot about patience from her.
42) She is 1/2 of the people in my life who taught me that loving other people well means sacrifice, grace, listening well and holding your tongue, but sometimes means speaking love and truth into a life that needs it.
43) The “homeless” year (as I like to call it) could have been really hard on our family, but ended up being one of the most special years of my life. I am convinced that her and my dad’s ability to turn a bad situation into an adventure taught me lessons that I use daily still. I learned them that year we moved around so many times and I didn’t once see defeat in her.
44) Ritz chicken
45) She never ever gives up.
46) She loves the beach like every time she goes is her first time. Such fun to be a part of that.
47) She cares about how I feel about things, what I think (even when I’m being foolish), how I’m doing every day, and genuinely wants the best for me.
48) We have so many more adventures and reasons to love ahead of us. I’m thankful for knowing you’ll always be a huge part of my life.
49) This list was easy to make. For a woman to have this many great qualities that are easy to think of is impressive.
50) We share an intense and insatiable love for birthday celebrations. Wish we could have celebrated together today. Love you so much!