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Happy Birthday, Mom!

My mother's beautiful photography, and her favorite trees!

When I was a little girl, and attending church, there was something called fast and testimony meeting. A lot of hungry people standing up and affirming their belief in Jesus Christ, and their belief that the church was true.

Children got up in droves to do this. And like the adults they would recite pretty much rote, "I'd like to bear my testimony, I know the church is true..." This statement was followed by any number of possible parole: stories, swells of appreciation, scripture, etc. etc.

I'll never forget the day when it was my turn to play follow the leader, to get up in front of a large congregation and proclaim my testimony of the gospel. I must have still been in the single digits, one Sunday, when my mother whispered to me, "Only say you know the church is true if you know that it is. Otherwise you can say that you are learning the church is true."

The idea of authenticity behind these words both burned into my experience and ignited something within me that would never be extinguished, even if it has appeared dim at times.

In her simple counsel, there was a quiet power, a knowledge that I did not have to go along with the masses and profess something that I knew wouldn't be honest. She wouldn't make me do that.

After all, I was a child. I had no idea if the church was true, but I already knew the pain of feeling that I had to pretend, and to go along, because fitting in was necessary.

In that moment, my mother gave me a kind of sanctuary.

So, today, on my mother's birthday, I honor her for being the first to give me permission to be authentic, to stand up and say what is true for me, even if it isn't the popular opinion, even if it labels me iconoclastic, or rebellious.

Interestingly enough, I never had to rebel in the ways that I could have, because on some level I must have known that all the abstract parts of myself were already accepted. The journey would become more about finding my own acceptance of those parts.

That a simple whisper could have had so much meaning, set a little one on a path toward freedom...

Thank you mom, for valuing authenticity, when it was so very unpopular to do so. Thank you for passing the torch into my little hands; for trusting me with it. Thank you for having the courage to go against the grain, because compromising your integrity wasn't okay. Thank you for modeling bravery, and for giving me the beginnings of firm-footing in finding my own voice, my own thoughts, my own heart.

Thank you for listening tirelessly to every moment of meaning that I have found, and for sharing your own experiences with me. Thank you for believing in love.

Thank you for always loving me as I am, and returning there again and again, even when it hasn't been easy.

Thank you, mom, for walking this path with me, and sharing your profound wisdom and gentle heart.

I love you! And I know this is true!!!!!


  1. this is beautiful. gorgeous photo as well!

    happy bday to your lovely mother!

  2. I love you Brooke! What a amazing birthday tribute! I honor you and adore you.

    I am always here for you, as you are for me. My greatest joy is walking this life experience together... lifting each other up when needed, stretching our selves in ways we never thought possible.

    Shine on my beautiful Brooke!

  3. This is just pure sweetness. I'm sitting here in my living room, my eyes full of tears, feeling deeply the love you two have for one other.

    Lyn, what an absolute gift those words were to your daughter.

    I love you both.

    I hope your day has been a beautiful one, Lyn.

  4. P.S: Lyn, this photo is just gorgeous...I think I would say that about every one of yours, though. You've got an eye. And a gift.

  5. This post is so moving--and true! It brought tears to my eyes. Happy Birthday to your mother. What a beautiful lineage.

  6. All I can think of is holy shit, what your mom said to you is so wise and profound. And that you got it at such an early age is part of your brilliance that makes me love you so. Plus I love your mom.

  7. Hey Brooke,

    What a beautiful gift to give your mother on her birthday and what a beautiful gift she gave you.; the power of choice; to follow your heart instead of head. Happy birthday Brookes Mum - Thankyou for being a twinkly star.

    Love Nige

  8. My beautiful daughter, your tribute to Lyn was as amazing as you are and she is. There must have been something wrong with my computer screen, because it kept going in and out of focus. I am so grateful that same lady, also taught, inspite of my oft times kicking and screaming, to look outside the box and eventually, not without trepidation, edge myself over the rim. She is, like her daughter, amazing.

  9. Wow Brooke, I haven't had a moment over the past three days to read this, and when I came to read just a few minutes ago, I was floored by the integrity of your mother's words, and the impact that they had on you. I LOVE that you not only heard her, but you chose to LISTEN and to let the wisdom she passed on to you sink deep into your being.

    And the comments rock! So lovely to see your mum and dad write back to you. That is such a gift to have witnessed. I'm with Lori on this one - "holy shit, what your mom said to you is so wise and profound".


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