Happy Mother's Day to the 'Other Mothers' in Our Lives

Katrina Shawver and her friend Nancy in 2011
Katrina and Nancy Zguda, 2011.

Happy Mother’s Day to the ‘other mothers’ in our lives. Many women are like mothers to others regardless of family ties, and I think it’s good to recognize and honor those women on Mother’s Day. I know three modest yet special women who play a big role in children’s lives, though they are not mothers themselves: Jo Ann of Colorado, Pam of Indiana, and Hayley Rose from Arizona.

Seeing The Power of One Person to Impact Another’s Life in Action

Katrina Shawver in Ethiopia, April 2017
Ethiopia, April 2017.

I recently traveled to Ethiopia to meet the two young women I sponsor through Compassion International. I did not know my traveling companions until we met at Dulles airport for the same plane ride to Addis Ababa. Twenty-eight amazing people from Hawaii to Guernsey, a small island in the British channel, came together for eight days. We ranged in age from 12 to a couple in their eighties. Every one of us joined on a common mission – to meet our sponsored children and see the program in action. One lasting message I will carry with me always remains the Power of One. I saw it in action. One person. One letter. One hug. One smile. Do we really know how many other lives we impact with each seemingly small act?

People in 26 Countries call Jo Ann of Colorado “Mamma Jo”

"Mamma Jo" of Compassion, April 2017
Mamma Jo and me, April 2017

Jo Ann, our group tour leader, has sponsored more trips than she can remember over a span of twenty-five years. She is still going strong with the energy of a thirty-year-old, although with knees that are stiffer than she would like. She is the queen of encouragement, angel of smiles, a woman of faith, and utterly passionate about reaching out to children in the poorest of poor circumstances. To adults and children alike, she begins every talk with “There is a reason you are here. You are special.” Hundreds of people, in the twenty-six countries served by Compassion, refer to her as Mamma Jo. Ironically, as a young woman, she and her husband yearned for children, but life did not work out that way. For years she had to listen to friends talk about their pregnancies, raising toddlers, school homework, and now their grandchildren. To Jo Ann, Happy Mother’s Day a thousand times over. I’ll never forget you.

Pam from Indiana 

Pam and friends, April 2017

Pam of Indiana personifies that solid, dependable person you can alway rely on to stay calm. I’m sure it’s no coincidence she’s an orthopedic nurse, as I doubt anything would rattle her, from a traumatized patient to traveling in a third-world country. This trip was her tenth Compassion sponsor tour. Pam sponsors twenty-two children. Yes, that’s 22. I couldn’t possibly write enough letters to keep in touch, let alone afford the financial commitment that represents. A sponsor does not replace a parent by any means. Sponsored children all have their own parents. But for the love and support you so freely send around the world, and yes, that special hug you gave me when I needed it most, Happy Mother’s Day to you as well.

Hayley Rose, Children’s Author

Hayley Rose is a best-selling, award-winning author of children’s books through her brand Books by Hayley Rose. She released her first children’s book, Fifo When I Grow Up, in 2002, after writing stories for her nieces and nephews. More books would follow, then a stuffed animal and a coloring book. She loves being in a classroom full of kids. I met Haley through a local writers group, and I love that she supports the idea of authors supporting each other, rather than competing against each other. Though she expresses her passion for children through her books, Hayley found out at a young age that due to medical issues, she would not be able to have children. She also lost her own mother a year ago. To Hayley, I send you extra special thoughts this Mother’s Day.

Happy Mother’s Day to the aunts, cousins, special friends, sponsors, and other women who are like mothers to so many others.  

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Katrina, What a nice tribute for Mothers’ Day. The women you commended are truly remarkable. I wish you told more about your trip to Ethiopia. Where can I find out more?

    • Katrina Shawver
      May 14, 2017 11:24 am

      I haven’t written more than you see yet. I’m still processing the whole experience on many levels and sorting through a few hundred photos. Other travelers have also made their photos available. It will probably be in snippets because it would be impossible to describe in one or two blogs. Stay posted, and have a blessed Mother’s Day yourself.


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