Don’t Quit. You Can Do This!

by Mary Ann on August 5, 2010

This year my mother was 80 years old or maybe 79. We aren’t really sure. She never had a birth certificate until many years after she was born. When my mother came into the world she was very premature. They lived in a small town in Wyoming called Etna. My grandmother had a doctor with her. He was a small town doctor and he was drunk. When he cut my mother free of the umbilical cord he plopped her on top of the dresser and said, “She won’t live.”  He never made out a birth certificate for the doomed baby.

NaVon Gardner Cazier Age 16

I can tell you that made my great grandmother bristle right up. “We’ll see about that”, was her response. She took that tiny little girl and put her in the warming drawer of the old wood burning stove. They laid my mother on newspapers and changed them when they were soiled. Her skin was so fragile that it would rub right off so she stayed naked on the paper for weeks. She has small scars on her ankles from where she was lifted to change the paper. Her grandfather could slip his ring right onto her ankle it was so small.

It took constant watching to keep the stove going night and day for a couple of months so that the warming drawer didn’t get to hot or too cold. It is a testament to my mother’s indomitable spirit that she lived and thrived and to my grandmother’s who believed she would.

Mom the baker

Life wasn’t easy for my mom. She brought nine healthy human beings into the world. She buried two sons, one at just 5 months old. She had to work hard all her life. She  moved many times. When I was 16 years old she worked to put my dad through college. She was a baker at Utah State University for over 20 years. She didn’t get to pursue her own dreams but made sure that we could pursue ours. She was a magnificent singer, even trying out for the Lawrence Welk show but what she decided to do with her life was raise us. I am forever grateful for that.

I want to tell you the most hilarious and moving story about my mom. It happened just last week. We had returned home from our annual family reunion. My Arizona sister stopped to spend a couple of days with mom. Now it’s important to the story that you know something about my mother, she LOVES birds. She has canaries, doves, quail, love birds, cockatiels, finches and more. Someone is always giving my mother a bird or two and she keeps them and raises them. Her back room is a bird Mecca.

She also has chickens. Yup, right off of Main Street in Logan, Utah she has a flock of hens and a couple of roosters. Recently someone asked her to take a BIG red rooster. She was glad to have him until she discovered that he crows all the time.  Not just in the AM but all the time. So she has had to keep him in the garage to keep her neighbors happy until she can find him a “farm” home. My mom named the big red bird Trumpet because he constantly trumpets the fact that he is here and alive! While my sister was there he got out.

My sister and my mom began chasing him around the yard and finally cornered him behind a bunch of bushes. They could just see him back there pacing back and forth, head bobbing on his long neck. My sister yelled, “Get him mom” and our 80 year old mother dove, I mean dove, into the bushes. She hit the ground on her knees and the bushes began shaking violently as my sister watched the bottoms of my mom’s shoes, open mouthed.

Then my mom emerged with that huge red rooster by the neck. She was grinning ear to ear. She tipped that bird over and grabbed him by the feet until he hung limp in her hands. Then she swung him up to her chest and hugged him like a small child, putting her cheek on his beak. He closed his eyes and nestled in. “We are friends” my mom said.

Can you even visualize the scene, my 80 year old mom diving to her knees into a bunch of bushes and wrestling that big rooster down? It is hysterical to think about and amazing at the same time. Here is that tiny baby, destined to die, who didn’t; who at 80 is an accomplished rooster wrestler!

My sister just lost her home. The last couple of years have been pretty tough financially for her family. She has been feeling a bit

80 years and living! June 18,2010

down. After seeing my mom do what she did my sister went out and bought a beautiful carved wooden rooster. “I’m going to put it in my kitchen,” she said. “When ever I think I can’t do something or handle something, I’m going to remember my 80 year old mother wrestling that rooster down. If she can do that I can do anything too.”

I am sharing this story with you because some of you are down. You are discouraged that your family culture isn’t all you would like it to be. You feel inadequate to parent or to educate your children. Maybe you are struggling with your marriage or with getting your own education or with your finances. Maybe your first attempt to create and use The Spark Station has been anything but stellar.

One of the pitfalls of doing anything worthwhile is the temptation to quit when it isn’t going as we planned or when we feel like we are failing. Don’t quit. Keep trying. Keep gaining more education about the family you want to create. Keep reading, talking with others and practicing. When you feel like you just can’t do it I hope you will think about that tiny baby destined to die, who wrestled a rooster down at 80. You can do this!

Post Script – I thought you all might like to know that Trumpet now has a new home, in a petting zoo. He is one happy bird! My mom made the young man who took Trumpet promise not to eat him. “Oh we wouldn’t” he said. “He’s too pretty to eat.” Now Trumpet can crow all he wants. He crows for all those who “keep on keeping on!”

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy August 8, 2010 at 8:10 pm

How did you know I needed to read this today?

Thank You,
Your Sister


Mary Ann August 9, 2010 at 8:54 am

This is wonderful isn’t it and to think it is a story so close to home. I love mom, she is amazing. Glad that you got a shot in the arm from it also. It is invigorating a lot of us! Love you!


Jen Brush_Brannon August 8, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Mary Ann – That is both inspiring and downright Hysterical. I think I’m gonna get me a little “rooster” figurine for my house too.

Thanks for Sharing…I’ll be passing this story on to many family and friends.

Love ya!!



Mary Ann August 9, 2010 at 8:53 am

So glad that it has inspired you. I am also glad that you have been to my website. Thank you! I myself have a little rooster in my kitchen. : )


Jenny Johnson August 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm

I am saturated with gratitude to carry Navon’s genes. Not only does she wrestle roosters at the age of 80…she works full time, tends to her home and all her animals, and is so beautiful! I am so glad to carry those genes! Thanks grandma!!


Jerami Pack August 9, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Well this is a hoot! And, most definitely uplifting. I am really moved and excited to give my best to my stewardships. What a delight of a read! Love, Jerami


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