A Morning with Mother in the 21st Century

I was thrilled. Mother was finally getting a new cell phone and she’d acted a tiny bit interested in a computer. Maybe even an iPad. But there was one problem.

I’d be teaching her.

A few weeks ago…

“I’m not sure if you need wireless–”

“Wallace? I don’t know anyone named Wallace,” she said.

Wire-less, Mother. You may need a router.”

“What kind of rider?”

I took a long, deep breath.

Yesterday I made a house call.

“This is how I write. See my thesaurus?”

(We write for Daily Guideposts and edit each other’s devotionals.)

I moved her Easter centerpiece and set up my workspace. Neat. Tidy. Efficient.

“Doesn’t this look simpler?”

She didn’t respond.

She handed me one of her marked-up devotionals to read.

I felt tired just looking at it.

I typed a few sentences on my laptop. “If you got a computer, look, no more Whiteout. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”

“I love the smell of Whiteout. This is how I edit.”

I tried my best to keep a straight face.

To keep her on task.

I was there for a purpose.

To give iPhone lessons.

She’d already mastered phone calls.  I took a selfie and showed her how to send a picture.

Next we sent a practice text.

“This sure is a lot of work. Why not just call someone?”

“Texting saves times. Write short texts. Like shorthand.”

“I don’t see the benefits.”

I felt like I was shoving a load of bricks, but she was smiling, so proud of her red cell phone. “At least I’ve gotten started,” she said.

“True. I think that’s enough work for today.”

She fixed us a Pepsi. Laughing with her, an old truth came to me.

You can’t change someone.

And you can wear yourself out trying.

I hugged her and replaced her Easter centerpiece.

Can you relate?







  1. This made me smile … maybe because I’m so much like your mother!!!!!

    • Lynne, you both have a wicked sense of humor. That’s for sure. But you, my friend, are a time travel author. And you’re well-grounded in this century and all past and future ones too! xo

  2. Patricia Martin says:

    That is such a pretty picture of you both, Julie! Ah, I can certainly relate, a few years ago my aunt gave my Gram an Apple iPad and we all had to show her how to use it-like teaching a salmon how swim down stream but she loves her iPad and uses it every day and I am using it right now to write to you.(((: I hope you have a blessed Easter.
    Patricia. (;

    • Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Patricia….if only she’d agree to get an iPad. I know she’d love it–after a few days of getting used to it. But I’m letting go. Can’t push her. It doesn’t work.
      Happy Easter to you and yours too!

  3. Anna Haney says:

    Love this. My mom has bunnies like your does. While I am not trying to get my mom to use an iphone, I can remember when she and my aunt were trying, without success, to get my grandmother to use the new microwave to biol water for her instant coffee. Wasn’t an easy thing to do. Finally, Momma gave in and figured if Mamaw was happy boiling water on the stove, what did it really matter. Meanwhile, I am trying to get my spouse to stop cluttering up the table, but that may be harder.

    • Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, Anna, maybe there’s hope. I remember how people were afraid to use microwaves. I’ll remind her of that. And of things she uses every day like her washing machine, dryer, dish washer……

      Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. But I can’t push.

  4. Mary says:

    Viva la difference! My 95 year old father asked me one day, “Just what exactly is Twitter?” When I explained it to him, he gave me a long look over the top of his glasses and said, “Why exactly would someone want to do that?” And I thought about his lifetime… he lived through the depression, fought in a world war and worked hard – really hard – his whole life. And all of a sudden I could see things from his perspective, and I realized, a lot of these trendy things are pretty silly, aren’t theyI? The important things are not the techie things, but the things that last, like family, and love and togetherness. I think if you’re all together on THAT page, it’s the best thing there is.

    • Beautiful, Mary! Just beautiful!!!

      Some times I wonder those same things. Your dad is a wise man. He makes me stop and think, “What’s REALLY important?”

      Thank you.

  5. My hubby just set up a computer on his desk. Questions abound: How do I turn it on? How do I turn it off? How do I get where I want to go? Why won’t it do what I want it to do?

    Ahhh….patience. For me…and for him. It’s hard to learn new things. I have trouble with it, too, and try to get there faster than I should. I need to slow down, breathe, and take it one baby step at a time. Yup, I can relate.

    • 🙂 I thought about you when I wrote this, B.J.


      MaBWA doesn’t want to learn but she wants to know how to use it. :/

  6. I can relate. Hubs is a step or two ahead of your mother, but he gets frustrated when the laptop or iPad doesn’t respond like he thinks it should. He wants it to be totally intuitive, know what he wants to do and then do it. lol

    But he’s moving forward all the time. 😉 He texts and checks email … sometimes.

    • This gives me hope, Ane. She IS making progress. She still refuses to have an email acct.

      If only technical stuff could be just as he wishes. Totally intuitive.

  7. Rebecca Wilhite says:

    This is like me and my daughter. She is always telling me you can text me and I say why would you want to write someone and you can call them? She just does not get it I am 70 soon well be 71 and I am too old to start writing someone I can call. I do write and I have sold one story to Guideposts magazine I am working on a Christian romance novel now. I took care of my mother for ten years who was bedfast. She went to heaven two years ago. I miss her every day and I just set in her little house and write for God’s Glory. Enjoyed this because I can relate.

    • Rebecca, thank you so much for commenting! And a great big congrats on your GP acceptance and your novel. Boy….novels are incredible hard work. At least for me.

      I loved reading your comment. Sounds like you were an amazing daughter. I can feel the love.


  8. Hilarious! I’ve had very similar interactions with my mother, too. Glad you could find the humor and accept the fact that technology may not be for her. Not having it certainly hasn’t limited her writing success.

    Hmmm…looks like she’s doing just fine without technology. 🙂

  9. Shelley Elaine says:

    Absolutely! Such a cute post-I have read your mother’s devotions for years…she is actually how I discovered YOUR inspirational writing and I just thank God for you both…whichever way you prefer to write! 😉

  10. Kathryn says:

    Oh I just have to smile too. There’s a lot of things that don’t make sense to people like your mother and myself. I do use a computer, but, texting makes no sense, and, Twitter doesn’t either. Lots of times the old ways are better. Life was a little slower, and, more interesting, I think.

    • I’m smiling with your comment too. Such fun comments on this post, Kathryn.

      Texting…….when is it a good thing? Let’s see. If you’re somewhere and you can’t make a phone call, it’s useful. Or if you’re in the doctor’s office and want to tell someone just one quick thing.

      But slow sure does sound good. Like you said. XOXOXOXOXO

  11. Your mama sounds fun!

  12. Roberta Messner says:

    Her mama is fun!

  13. I got such a chuckle from this! I love how God uses all our relationships to stretch and grow us- and ultimately teach us love and acceptance! Great perspective <3

    • It was funny too when it happened, Cindy. If I knew she didn’t have to learn how to use the new phone she just got, it would have been downright hilarious.

      I have a feeling this post will stay in my heart forever, though….


  14. Brenda E. Greene says:

    Love, love, love this one Julie Girl…made me “grin out loud!” Think the thing I loved the most is seeing how much laughter (and silliness) you two can generate! Having read everything your Mama has written, I understood her to be reserved and more serious…but time has certainly mellowed her! (Whoever heard of loving the smell of whiteout!…except someone who has opportunity to smell it often?!!)

    As I type this on my iPad I certainly understand her hesitation. I love texting with our daughters, however, I can quickly share a thought without disrupting their busy lives that is crowded with growing children and careers. They respond at their convenience and often with a phone call of “I just needed to hear your voice, Mama”. Receiving random texts from the grandchildren are the best, also! Oh and Hubby takes no part in modern technology other than his beloved TV remote!!

    One last thing I love about my technology has been the fellow who reads scripture to me on my Holy Bible app! Certainly makes my daily two-mile walk go by swiftly!

    Thanks for this fun post Sweet Julie, you brighten so many of our days! Keep writing and we’ll keep reading!! Much love to you on this somber Maundy Thursday…He didn’t have to do it but He did…humbles me.

    • Hey Dear Brenda,

      You know, you’re absolutely right. My mother HAS mellowed. We talk about it a lot. And I don’t think she loves the smell of whiteout. She just wanted to argue with me. :/

      Even my husband is texting me back these days! Something I never thought would happen. And since I worked with Mother on Monday, she’s responded to my texts. Not sure if she can send one for herself, but she’s getting there. I just have to lay low–wait for her to be interested. I’m learning how this works…after 53 years. I’ll remind her about the Bible app when the conversation opens that way.

      I’m once again tearing up with your precious last paragraph. Each week, after I post, I have an itty bitty amount of concern….what will I write about next week. Then I remember that God’s in charge, and He can lead my mind and my heart–if I listen.

      Yes, He didn’t have to do it, but He did. Have a blessed rest of the Maundy Thursday, my friend.

  15. I can definitely relate, Julie! When my Dad passed away a few years ago (he was the one who operated the computer), I tried to teach my Mom. She was very resistant to it and it did not work out very well. Next, I bought her a Nook HD to read books on and check email. I thought it might be easier but she again was resistant to my teaching. I believe she was making it out to be harder than it actually was. She kept telling me that she was from a different generation and she couldn’t understand why people couldn’t just use the post office or telephone. 🙂 So, I have come to realize just what you said,. You can’t change someone. If my Mom is happy with the “old” ways, then I will let her continue in that way unless she decides she really does want to learn these new “contraptions”. xxoo

    • Soooo wise, Eileen. I finally came to that conclusion too. I’m letting to and letting her “continue in that way unless she decides she’s ready.” Just like you said.

      Thank you for reading and writing to me!!! Wish our moms could meet. 🙂

  16. Mary Wilkins says:

    This is so great! I only try new technology when my son is around. Tell Marion she may change her mind about texting if her hearing gets as bad as mine and the phone is impossible to use. On the other hand, I still print out anything lengthy I need to read and discuss so I can mark it up and take it with me. Everyone else in one of the groups I go to brings their laptop!

    • Mary, she is losing a bit of her hearing. And guess what?! Sunday morning, her pastor texted her, “He is alive!” She was able to text back, “Amen!”

      She’s taking baby steps, but she’s moving forward.

      If she wants to take another step, we may try an iPad. But I’m not suggesting it. 🙂


  17. Laughing!!!! I can hear Marion and that delicious southern drawl…”I love the smell of whiteout…that’s how I edit” ohhhhh, I love her! (And pushing bricks! so funny!) xo Ummm, and what a great lesson.

    • Wish you could’ve been there with me that day, Rob. But I think you’ve got a pretty good idea of how it went. Finally, I just left “the bricks” sitting there and stopped pushing so hard. 🙂 No. Other. Way.

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