I could most definitely give you 71 Reasons why Ora Jane Alligood is one of the greatest women, moms, servants, Christ-followers and an unbelievable example of a Proverbs 31 woman, still going strong at the age of 71, but that would just be rubbing it in at how unfit the rest of you ladies are to wear that title. So I’ll just give you a random sampling of some of my favorite stories/memories. (In no particular order)
1. THOSE INCREDIBLE PECAN PIES – if you don’t know – then you just dang don’t know! I’m sorry if you have not experienced that masterpiece.
2. The countless birthday cakes specially designed and made for Lisa and I growing up. Bonus points for all the wedding cakes you also made throughout the years.
3. Home-made pizza those were some of the best nights when we rolled into the house and saw the ingredients laid out and we knew what was coming! So good that we even had you go public making them to be sold for a fundraiser at Albemarle Academy one year.
4. Pizza & Pepsi & Popcorn (made with the real hot air popper where you melt the butter on top) on Sunday Nights as we got home and watched the VCR tape of America’s Funniest Home Videos!
5. Chocolate pudding in the little tupperware containers – mine was always the ORANGE one – go figure.
6. BEST MEATLOAF EVER!!!
7. HAMBURGER PIE – why yes I think I’ll have another helping.
8. Christmas you say? Break out the sausage balls & grape jelly.
9. Forever being “that mom” who was always willing for every kid in the neighborhood to come over and hang out at the house & even spend the night on short notice – as long as “they don’t mind the mess” (yeah RIGHT like that house ever had a mess – well with the exception of that front study for about a decade! ha ha ha)
10. The seafood fests, the seafood fests, the seafood fests – and for that one winter where EVERYONE got snowed into EC and you and dad invited all of RBC/MACU over after an on campus Sunday service and the students came over and ate lunch at the house. Who does that? Invites an entire small college campus over to the house for lunch in the midst of a small blizzard – oh yeah I know who.
11. For being “that mom” who went out in the yard and pitched baseball so I could hit, threw football so I could catch and played with us even when you probably didn’t feel like it at all OR had a ton of other things you could have or should have been doing – I have probably never said thank you enough.
12. For being “that mom” that didn’t freak out and worry and make us feel guilty when we were out and about. For teaching us how to be honest & reliable & trustworthy. Then trusting us to do the right thing and be home when we were supposed to be. For seeming to be relaxed even when at times you may not have been.
13. For being “that mom” who allowed us to mount a full size basketball hoop to the wall in the den and letting us play full force with a volleyball in there even with all sorts of valuables and ceramic things and decorations that might have gotten messed up. For all the kids thinking that was the coolest thing ever!
14. For being “that mom” that may not have been the most “into sports” but being at EVERYTHING that Lisa & I participated in and supporting us. For also being that mom who at 70+ years of age still walks down the street and comes over to the gym and climbs up in the stands to sit by loud and rambunctious college kids to watch her son coach games and yell at officials and sometimes be silly – just to show your support.
15. For being “that mom” who many wouldn’t think would know much about sports, but one night when I returned home from watching the Bulls in the NBA finals with some friends and you asked about Dennis Rodman being ejected from the game and thinking it was a bogus call. Making me chuckle inside that I’d ever hear you defend Dennis Rodman for anything he had done.
16. For the decades of dedicated service – without fanfare or accolades – to God’s Church – the choirs you have led, hours upon hours of piano playing, children’s programs you have directed. The craziness of kids not wanting to do what they needed to do or the parents who complained (but often rarely helped) – and yet you simply went about serving with a smile on your face and another quality program was performed bringing the story of Jesus to life.
17. VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL – my goodness the direct path to heaven you should receive for the unbelievable amount of years spent leading VBS at various churches.
18. This picture – summing it up – you and dad faithfully outside yet another Sunday Service – smiling and serving and loving Jesus!
19. The many hats worn at MACU – housekeeping to teaching to running the cafeteria to hosting students in your home – an entire volume of books could be written about just these adventures.
20. For being “that mom” who loved her children dearly but also loved them too much to believe they were perfect and always in the right. Who was appreciated by one of her daughter’s friends in college because that young lady knew she could turn to you even in the midst of a difficulty involving your own daughter because you would NOT merely take her side because she was your girl – but instead would be unbiased and stand for truth & what was right. That to me has been one of the most consistently powerful factors of your life. Your ability to stand for what is RIGHT no matter what. Thank you for that example – that you can love your family but still admit when they are the ones in the wrong. I have known many who thought it was most loving to always see their children, their family as perfect little angels – but instead you chose what was MORE LOVING – to recognize faults and failures and to instead love them/us anyway. To me that is to be more truly like Christ.
21. For your “Switch” hidden on the shelf in the bathroom – Lisa and I both knew where it was and what it represented (I’m sure my memories were quite more painful than Lisa’s ha haha) I remember contemplating taking it on more than one occasion and getting rid of it – only to realize you would just make me go outside and pull another one out of the tree to use – then whoop me for taking it. So I resisted. Thanks to you and dad for being a united front on punishment and helping us to realize that discipline is a necessary part of the loving process.
22. For NOT being “that mom” who makes her children feel guilty for having their own lives and living them. For raising Lisa and I to know that we are on this earth not for YOUR purposes or for OUR purposes but instead GOD’s purposes. That we are to seek HIS will in our lives – no matter where that may lead. We have never been made feel guilty for not living just down the street or having lives that kept us busy and away from home. Instead you encouraged us to accept roles of ministry whether it be just down the street, or in Ohio or Raleigh or Atlanta or heck even Las Vegas! For realizing a higher calling than just what YOU want to see happen. For not limiting us by your own human vision.
23. For being “THAT MOM” who took her first ever flight – to LAS VEGAS – who put fears behind her even in the latter stages of life and put the family first because she wanted to see her grand-daughters!
24. Speaking of travels – let us not forget the countless summers of driving us to Virginia to visit family when dad could not go due to the busy season of his work. Late night driving in the the mountains of Virginia and never complaining about how tired you must have been hauling us all over.
25. For loading up the vehicles and letting us look like the Clampett’s coming to town when headed to the OBX to stay in Unit #3 at the Sandspur! Even hauling the window unit AC’s. For plain and simply letting us have vacations each year through great stewardship of resources – even when times were tight.
26. For taking us to Florida and to Disney – every kid’s dream – even though many cannot afford it – we took for granted the cost and have no idea the sacrifices you all had to make. For Orange Lake and the gift of those travels that absolutely DO NOT MAKE SENSE for a family like the Alligoods.
27. For the financial lessons & wisdom you instilled and inspired in us. For paying the bills and for taking care of things AFTER you had made sure to bring the first fruits & the tithes into the House of the Lord!
28. For the little red ledger book where you taught a little boy how to manage his yard mowing money – how to set aside the Lord’s portion first, then put money away for savings and money away for equipment and resources and that the rest could be spent on things I enjoyed. Those lessons are some of the absolute most valuable that I will have ever learned & my heart aches for the countless millions who never had that shown to them & now it shows in powerfully painful ways.
29. For encouraging me when I got my first job at MACU and was barely making enough money to make ends meet to not live at home but instead get a place of my own so I could learn how to live and be responsible for myself. Yet at the same time allowing me to know that you and dad would help if/when needed. But not making it easy to “run home to mommy & daddy” and that I could survive on my own.
30. For opening your home later in life when I returned back to this area and felt the calling of the Lord’s work which did not include consistent income and allowing me a place to pursue that passion. For trusting that I was not being lazy but being led for a season into something that wasn’t easy.
31. For simply being a rock & foundation – for providing guidance and wisdom – for preparing us for life instead of trying to live it for us. For being an example in more ways than I can ever imagine or ever possibly respond in the kind of thanksgiving necessary and due for what you have done. But for also not expecting it, but merely doing it because it was the “right thing to do”.
32. For the stories at night when we were little – stories straight from scripture and teaching us the power of God’s Word. I will probably never realize this side of heaven how crucial the training and preparation was in those formative years. I will never be able to say thank you enough – even if I called you 3 times a day to utter the phrase “Thanks Mom & I love you” for the rest of your days on this earth.
33. For loving me even when my bull-headed Alligood blood boils up (we’ll blame this one on dad’s side of the family this time) and I say stupid things or make decisions I regret. For calmly calling me down when needed and for taking it up a notch when that might have been the best method of rebuke.
34. For being more funny than many people realize. With the Alligood sense of humor and sharp wit (and often tongue) many don’t realize your comedic qualities because of your more quiet nature – but you can certainly hold your own when it comes to the humorous side of life. Each day that God allows me to see both the good & bad – the beautiful and the ugly things of life with a simple twist of a sense of humor – I know that God blessed me with that from both you and dad.
35. For loving dad & setting an example in the realm of marriage that I can only pray one day that the Lord affords to me.
36. For being Beautiful both Inside & Out!
37. – for the 37 years of life that I have been blessed to call you my earthly mom – my spiritual mother – my encourager – my provider – my disciplinarian – my cheerleader – my pitcher – my cook – my driver – my example – my financial adviser – my teacher – but most importantly my friend!
Happy 71st Birthday Mom – I love you & appreciate you more than you will ever know – here is to many more celebrations of your life of service on this earth!