JANA: Thanks for coming. Lana and I want to say a few words today about our mom. We’re doing it together because Mom always quoted that Ecclesiastes verse “two are better than one for if either falls down or starts bawling, the other can keep talking…”
come as no surprise when I say we come from a long line of straight talkers. So today, Lana and I have gathered some
stories to share about the real Wilma – our mom was a piece of work! She could get under your skin like no one
else. She never met an argument she didn’t like. But she was also a true
partner in marriage, a mother of high caliber and expectation and a really loving
and loyal grandmother and great grandmother.
LANA: Our mother was nothing if not fun. She embraced all the beauty and joy that life had to offer and was the first one to suggest a party. Despite a mediocre voice, Mom welcomed each day with a song, and that created the soundtrack for our lives. I always thought everyone lived in a musical because we did. Our house was full of laughter, music, emotion and love. Later we would realize it was a bubble, far from the norm; however for us, there was no moment that didn’t deserve a song or a belly laugh.
JANA: We don’t have time to share all the lessons she taught us -- but we want to hit a few high points today in celebration of the beauty that was our mom.
1) Tell the truth. Sadly for us we got this trait from
both gene pools. Truth telling is a
family value…but more sadly for our friends and family, tact is not. Mom
told people the truth. Sometimes you asked for it. Often, you did not. Either
way, Mom was willing to risk comfort for the sake of honesty. And if you’ve
ever been on the other side of her honesty, it packed a punch.
2) Read a book. Mom was an avid reader and she nurtured that
in us. Mom understood the pure magic of reading. A small town girl, Mom was never small-minded
because she had books to teach her, to transport her, to change her, to expand
her. When Lana and I were little and we
were living in Kansas far from family, Mom would hire babysitters so she could
go home to curl up with a good book.
That love of knowledge made mom relentless in her quest for new
things. Not only was she was the first
adult in our family to have a myspace page and join Facebook, Mom had the first
laptop and Kindle.
3) Serve other people. Mom was a Christ follower who used her personality and compassion to notice
other people’s needs and meet them. Early memories involve a long roster of
foster children who flowed in and out of our house for years. And even when the foster children stopped,
the philosophy of bringing broken people into our home never did. Imagine the horror of two teen girls when they
open the door on Christmas Eve to see a crew from the Mental Health Mental
Retardation Center’s Halfway House that Mom had invited over. I cannot begin to
count the number of bachelors and single gals from our childhood church who
received free haircuts in our kitchen – one girl even moved into Lana’s room. Often we would call home to lament over a
tragic episode but Mom would offer just a bit of sympathy before recommending
we go volunteer somewhere. During her
first bout with cancer, Mom gave her nurses facials. And a few years ago, Mom
eliminated Christmas gifts so she and Dad could support children in
international missions… but true to her nature, she still gave everyone a book.
4) Don’t waste passion. If something matters, you try and fix it. This character was so innate I don’t know that Mom ever saw how unique and rare she was. When she dropped me off at elementary school in Kansas and saw children sitting in the halls, she immediately set out to help get a bond passed to pay for buildings. I doubt there was a newspaper editor that didn’t know Mom. When we were in high school, we wished we didn’t know Mom. She always signed her letters to the editor, Mrs. Wendell G. Hogan and people all over town would say, do you know that Mrs. Wendell G. Hogan that’s always in the paper? And we would say, no! Our dad’s name is Bud. In Plainview when she had issues with the high school curriculum and the School Board disagreed with her position, she and Uncle James established a community group, F.Y.I., to run against several board members. Ultimately, three school board members went down in defeat. When she didn’t feel she had a voice with her local representation, she ran for state representative because she believed people should be represented by their local officials. Ironically, she lost more battles than she won, but she never quit, she was never defeated for long and she never stopped trying to make a difference where she saw a need. And now, of course, instead of being embarrassed, we are both in awe of her fearlessness and hope to be more like her.
5) Give grace. Mom had the ability to give grace where it was needed most. To be quite honest, we would say that most of that grace was lavished on those outside our immediate family. Of course, you guys might not say that! For those she loved she reserved a high set of expectations that could knock the breath out of you. Mom’s personal beliefs were so clearly defined, so black and white – yet it was almost uncanny how she could slather grace over people’s messes. She understood that we’re all broken and in need of a savior, herself most of all. She knew we’re the only Jesus some people ever experience and she was so good at being Jesus to broken people -- embracing them where they were, loving them in spite of their failings, letting God do the work, and pointing them in the right direction. And after a time she would default back to truth-telling and her delivery would become a little more direct.
6) Choose joy. Mom’s life was not without pain…no one’s is. But the gift she passed onto us was that happiness is a choice. She actually gave me a book named, Happiness is a Choice. Perhaps I’d called home whining once too often? Bad things happen to everyone. This is a fallen world, but it is up to us to make a conscious decision to choose joy no matter what comes our way. Mom knew that each day of her life was gift not to be wasted. She knew that Jesus had redeemed her and so no matter what she faced, inside or outside, she had cause to rejoice…and she did.
7) Sacrificial love. Mom’s expectations may have been high for her children and really, all of
those she adopted and embraced, but she was determined to drag us all across
the finish line if need be. In addition to books and admonitions, she was a
prayer warrior for all the people she loved.
She would often wake in the middle of the night with one of us on her
heart. She’d immediately intercede at the throne of Christ on our behalf. Even this past year when she was so sick, Mom acknowledged
that God might be using her cancer journey to impact other people because He
works everything to good for those who love the Lord. She told me last summer,
“If this journey is necessary for God to reach for one of my grandkids or
great-grandkids, I’ll take it for them.” That’s the way she loved us.
LANA: Mom would also want you to know that one of the main reasons she had the freedom and courage to be the woman God created her to be was because Bud Hogan was always right behind her telling her she could do anything. On this day, Daddy’s 76th birthday, it should not go without saying that Dad is part of what made Mom special.
What we must do next is honor her by following her example. When you stumble, get up. Speak the truth with love to those who need to hear it, always be willing to learn something new, spread joy and laughter whenever you have the opportunity, serve others in need, be fearless when you see something that needs doing, have grace for those who are struggling. And most of all, love unconditionally as Christ loves us.
JANA: As we leave today, we want you to know the last thing Mom said before she died. She called Dad over to her bedside, grabbed his hand, and said, “Don’t screw up!” So, that’s the charge -- our marching orders. This life is fleeting – don’t screw up.