Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day! Even though mothers around the world celebrate on different dates in different countries, we all know how important it is to honor moms for everything they do all year long.   Please take the time to express your love to your moms and to all women you know who are moms. No matter what language, the sentiment is the same: Happy Mother's Day.  We love you!
I am grateful for two wonderful moms: my mother, Harriet Anita Harris and Clea Judd, my mother-in-law.  My mother was born in Canada and was the oldest of six girls.  The photo below shows her with 4 of her 5 sisters.
1918 - Boise, Idaho
J. Emer Harris family, 1938.  My mother is in the back row, 
far right.  My brother is the child on G'pa's lap (far right). Honolulu, Hawaii, 1941, with my brother at age 3.

Because my mother died in 1965, I have only a few photos of her and only one of us together.  This photo was taken in 1944 in Honolulu where I was born.  

Kathleen Kuuleilani Wood in Hawaii, 1944, with brother,
Sylvan Emer and mother, Harriet Anita Harris Wood.

I was privileged to have my mom for 21 years of my life. When I was returning to BYU my senior year, our family was in a tragic car accident and my mother died.  
My mother was an extremely hard worker and proficient in secretarial skills. She worked full time at the City Hall in Boise, Idaho, from the time I was a small child until her death. Because of her efforts, I was able to obtain my college education. I will always be grateful for her encouraging me musically and for supporting me during my first three years of college. She taught me the value of hard work, to be on time, and as long as I always did my very best, I should never regret anything in life. She also taught me to never let one day pass without doing a good deed.   
Mother was a wonderful cook and  I learned to bake many family favorites. She was famous in our family for her homemade bread, potato and cinnamon rolls!  She was a great seamstress and sewed many of my clothes, even my formal gowns in high school and college. She also upholstered furniture and I doubt that wasn't anything she couldn't do if she put her mind to it. She was the one in the family who gathered everyone together for family dinners every month. She was talented musically and because of her, I took an interest in music.  I have heard it said that whatever is recorded on earth is also in Heaven. So, Mother dear, please know how much I love you for giving me life, purpose and and for teaching me life skills I needed in my adult years.  I never dreamed I would lose you at such a young age and wish I had been more expressive of my love and appreciation while you were alive.
When my mother died, I was dating Garth, whom I married in 1966. Garth's mother (Clea Holyoak) stepped immediately into my life and for the next 46 years became my "other mother." I knew her twice as long as I knew my own and eventually wrote a country song entitled "Looking Back" which was included on one of my first albums, "Angels on Tiptoe." Writing music has brought me closure to some tragedies in my life.  
Garth's mother was such a wonderful role model. She was beautiful in every way and taught me so many things during my married life. She took great pride in her appearance and never left her house without looking her best.  She loved beautiful dishes and that definitely rubbed off on me! She loved hand-made linens (particularly tablecloths) and we shopped together for special linens whenever we traveled together in foreign countries.  She loved everything I loved and vice-versa. We took many trips together and even took a girls' trip to the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, Jersey, when my cousin was crowned Miss Idaho. We laughed and cried together. We shared so many memories and after my father died in 1980, she became my rock and only living parent. What a blessing!
She loved to teach English and became an icon in Burley, Idaho. She substitute taught years after retirement and until she was 90! I doubt any of her English students will every forget her famous jingle: "is, am, be . . . are, was, were, been . . have, has, had."
She loved to garden and everyone who passed by her home admired her many flowers. Her motto in life was "When life gets tough, plant more flowers." For Mother's Day in 2004, I wrote the music for "Flowers in Heaven"  and in our church service yesterday, (our Sabbath is Saturday in Israel) children sang that song.  It is published at and you can listen to a recording on the website. After Mom Holyoak's death, my best friend (Sherry Summers) and I wrote a storybook for children entitled "Flowers in Heaven" in tribute to her.

Flowers in Heaven
Lyrics:  Lawrence Lee    Music:  Kathleen Holyoak
There are gardens up in Heaven that are planted with our seeds.They grow in hills and valleys that are free from thorns and weeds.Every little act of kindness, happy thoughts and cheerful deedsWill blossom in the gardens if we send the Lord the seeds.
We can plant flowers in Heaven;Seeds that grow in colors of the rainbow.We can plant flowers in Heaven by the love we show.
We are like the blooms of springtime and the colored autumn leaves.We fill the fields and valleys and become God’s golden sheaves.As we grow up in life’s garden, we can harvest many seedsBy reaching out to others with our joyful thoughts and deeds.
Refraincopyright  2004

John and Clea Holyoak - 50th wedding anniversary photo.
Other women who had a great influence in my life were my grandmothers:  Maudell Woolsey and Fern Bigelow. 
Fern Bigelow at marriage. Both were wonderful cooks and I have many fond memories of them during my  growing years.  

Maudell Woolsey

G'ma Harris had 6 daughters and G'ma Wood had 4 sons!  Harris girls
My father was born into a family of all boys.
Benjamin and Fern Bigelow Wood and boys.G'ma Wood had a beautiful contralto voice and was a professional seamstress. She was an amazing cook and even though my grandparents lived in Canada, we would visit them every summer or they would visit us.
in Boise, Idaho, where I grew up.  

Fern and Benjamin Wood in front of their home in Cardston, Alberta, Canada.Both my grandmothers have been gone for many years but had a great influence upon my life as I was growing up.  I look forward to the day when I will see them again in another life.

When I was a little girl, I always wondered what my life would be like as a mother.  Garth and I were privileged to raise four beautiful daughters whom we are extremely proud of.  

November, 1980Fishing in Idaho - 1983



December, 2015
Mother's Day is a day I consider sacred. It is a day that comes only once each year in honor of women who gave us life. If your mothers are still alive, never end a conversation without expressing your love because you never know what the next day will bring.  I certainly didn't.  

A Motherby Anonymous

Mom Holyoak's roses.
 I am grateful I have photos of roses from Mom's rose garden in Burley, Idaho - 2007.
Mother's Day - Jerusalem - 2017.Whenever I look at a rose, I think of both my wonderful mothers.  Each loved roses and each took pride in their rose gardens.  I think roses are God's way of reminding me of two beautiful women who helped shape my life.  I will always be grateful for that blessing.
I must make mention that after the death of my mothers, other wonderful role models stepped into my life just when I needed them. There is a saying I love:  "Friends are God's way of taking really good care of us."  I appreciate that quote and love my dear friends whom I've adopted along the way . . . you know who you are!

Happy Mother's Day to all dear mothers from our house to yours.  The Holyoaks