Cindy K. Sproles is an author and a speaker, whose dream is to do nothing more than craft words that speak from the heart. God's plan seems to be for her to write and teach the craft.  With God’s guidance, Cindy is expanding her horizons. We'll see how He uses her.

Cindy is a mountain gal. Proud of her heritage, she was born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains where life is simple, words have a deep southern drawl, and colloquialisms like, "well slap my knee and call me corn pone" seem to take precedence over proper speech. Apple Butter, coal mining, the river, pink sunrises, and golden sunsets help you settle into a porch swing and relax. Family, the love of God, and strong morals are embedded into her life in the mountains. Teaching writers, spinning fiction tales about life in the mountains, history, and down-home ideas find their way into all she does. “I love to write devotions, to seek after the deeper side of Christ, and to share the lessons He teaches me from life in the hills of East Tennessee. I am a writer. A speaker. A lover of God's Word and friend to all.” This is Cindy Sproles. Welcome home to the mountains.

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Those Hallmark Holidays

5/12/2024 8:15:00 AM BY Cindy Sproles

I know. I know. I should be thrilled. It’s Mother’s Day again. And I am, to a certain extent. Oh, sure, my boys eventually get around to calling me. I raised them right. On Mother’s Day, you celebrate your mother. The woman who gave birth to you, or, in the case of two of our sons, the woman who helped raise you. But ya know, they’re boys. They don’t rush. GASP! You say. Naw, not really. I’ve never been big on Hallmark holidays or movies, for that fact.

But this is my conclusion. My lack of enthusiasm for the Hallmark holidays goes back—way back. My family lived on the other side of the tracks. Oh, before you get out your little baby violin and start to squeak it, hear me out. My parents provided well for me. Whatever I wanted to attempt a hand at, my mother found a way to help me experience it. My mom was the quintessential mom. She was a super Girl Scout leader, leading our troop to be one of the top two in the nation for twelve years. Kids came to our house because of my mother. She loved them all. Mom loved/s me. But my dad was a laborer. His pay was weak, and his savings were slim.

Here's the thing. I never knew that. Not until I was a teenager. When holidays rolled around, outside of Christmas, there was no big hoopla. I might wake up to a chocolate bunny on Easter and a few colored eggs, but I only remember one fancy, schmancy basket, and I remember it because Mom had a picture. That’s how little I was. I had beautiful clothes. My mother made every stitch of them. I didn’t have a closet full of shoes. I had a pair of patten leather Mary Janes, and a pair of tennies. At one point, I had a pair of saddle oxfords, not for cheerleading, but rather to help me stop walking on the inside of my feet. I experienced so much because my mother was such a creative Girl Scout leader. Our troop earned the money to do amazing things. And, when I wanted to learn to roller skate, I used the skates at the rink for several years before I got a pair of shoe skates for Christmas. I still have those skates, by the way.

My point is I never knew my parents didn’t have a lot of money to spare because they were creative, and they raised me to be grateful for the little things. I learned a lot about how my Father in Heaven provides NEEDS, not wants. I always had everything I needed, and my folks made a big deal about those provisions. Every one was a celebration. Homemade birthday cakes that were cut into shapes of animals or trains, and party hats that were saved from year to year were wonderful memories. Sweet clothes and the perfect amount of toys. I learned to use my imagination. IMAGINE that! I didn’t “draw an allowance.” If I needed money, I had to ask, and if it was there, I could have it. If not…well. It wasn’t there. But I never felt like I had to do without.

I was in the band, and I remember my mother purchased my clarinet “on time.” It took her two years to pay off $8 a month. I know this because when we were cleaning out her house, we found all her old checkbooks and bank statements (I know, she kept them all). Looking through them, I saw that she paid Joseph’s Music Center $8 a month. When I wanted to learn horseback riding, mom made fun frogs from scrap material and filled them with bird seed. They were so cute, but I had to sell them to earn the $3 a week it cost to take riding lessons. You see, I always had what I needed to learn and experience life.

As an adult, and a divorced adult with two babies at home, there was no extra money. I literally saved my quarters so I could buy the boys Pez for special occasions. Pez used to cost 50 cents. To this day, I still buy my boys Pez. They’re in their 40s, but it’s a fun memory of what love is. I never encouraged my kids to buy cards, flowers, or candy because I simply did not have the money as a divorced mom, for them to do so. Hallmark holidays were downplayed. So, why would I expect my boys, as adults, to lavish me with cards and gifts? A phone call warms my heart. Hearing their voices when they live far away is all I need.

Today is Mother’s Day, and I bought my mom, who will be 98 this year, a card. She lives in a tiny two-room assistive living apartment, so she doesn’t have room for junk, nor does she want it. But her walls are covered in pictures. So, I’ll print a photo and put it in her card. I guarantee that will mean more to her than any bouquet of flowers.

I was raised in gratitude. My parents provided well for me. I never did without, and I had everything I needed. I didn’t miss an overabundance of “stuff.” I had toys, but I had big refrigerator boxes that made great sleds and cool houses. I had a bicycle that took its share of beatings as I raced it, jumped it, and rode it like a wild woman down our very steep gravel driveway. I had metal skates with a key that sorta stayed on my shoes as I skated in our basement. I was raised with creativity and joy. And when I turned 16, my Dad got me a car. I found out when we cleaned out Mom’s house that he emptied the tiny savings account he and Mom had saved for me at $2 a month to buy my car. The receipt for the Grand Torino Sport was there, too. $2598.99 from Anderson Ford and the passbook from Kingsport Savings and Loan. I had to get a job to pay the gas and insurance, but jeepers, Dad got me a car at 16. It seems you need one if you’re gonna work—a means to an end. So, I worked at a restaurant three nights a week and Saturdays in between band practices and trips.

Hallmark moments aren’t much in my life—but those little things, man…the little things are cherished. One of my boys brought home a Mother’s Day bear with a Hershey Bar. One will call sometime today. Two will text. And with every response, my heart will be warmed. My kids love me, and that is all I need. Funny, isn’t it? I still have all I need.

To all my MOM friends, I wish you a joyful Mother’s Day. I pray that you will enjoy your children and if there is strife, try to make it right. Forgiveness is an amazing thing. Be grateful for the opportunity to harbor those babies in that special place, to be chosen to rear them, and to be brave enough to watch them soar. And to my Mom. I love you so much. Without you, I wouldn't be the person I am today. Happy Mother's Day.


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