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'The most important thing I've ever done'

She doesn't claim success, nor to have all the answers; just loves being 'mom'

Debbie Horsley does not claim to "have all the answers" regarding her success as a mother of five sons and one daughter. She doesn't even claim to be successful, although her husband, E. Spence Horsley, and her children say she is.

Sister Horsley spoke with the Church News recently, sharing some of her views on motherhood, and about Mother's Day, which has been observed since 1913 when U.S. Congress passed a resolution making the second Sunday in May an official day to honor mothers."I love being a mother. It hasn't always been easy, but I love everything about it," said Sister Horsley, a counselor in the Young Women presidency in the Malad Idaho Stake. "I've done a lot of things, but being a mother is the most important thing I've ever done."

Sister Horsley's reflections on motherhood were intermittently interrupted by the duties of motherhood. Bryan, 16; Eric, 14; Heidi, 12; and Brad, 10, arrived home from school - with friends in tow - bringing a bustle of activity into the well-kept home.

Added to the usual day-to-day routine was a steady stream of young adult visitors. The Horsleys' eldest son, Brett, 21, had returned only a few days earlier from a mission to Brazil; their second son, Scott, 19, is preparing to enter the Missionary Training Center in late May. With college-age friends dropping by to visit Brett upon his return home or to spend a few hours with Scott before his departure, the family's front room seemed like a dormitory foyer. However, a typical dorm foyer does not radiate the warm welcome felt in the Horsleys' home.

And that warm welcome was provided mostly by Sister Horsley. After expressing her pleasure at having the young people come by and inviting them to help themselves to salad, soda pops, apples and bananas, she returned to her Church News interview.

She spoke of examples set by her mother, Daisy Field, who died in 1980, and her stepmother, Donna, whom her father, Harvey, married a few years ago. "Whenever I have a crisis, a problem or any kind of challenge, I feel my mother so close; her influence continues even now," she said. "And my stepmother is a wonderful woman; my children love her so much and she is so good for them. She hasn't tried to take my mother's place, but she has filled her shoes."

Sister Horsley remembers others who have helped her. "I grew up in Grant, Idaho, where I received the best training in the world from the best people," she said.

She spoke also of the sustaining influence of her husband. Spence and Debbie Horsley have moved 18 times since they were married in 1967 in the Idaho Falls Temple. They have taken the concept of "home" into each house where they have lived.

While Sister Horsely has channeled time, talents and energy into raising her family, she kept in mind a goal she set for herself when she was a teenager. "I promised myself that I would get an education," she said. "I married right after I graduated from high school, but I have taken college classes over the years; a lot have been night classes."

In 1987, she made a heroic effort to commute 50 miles to Idaho State University in Pocatello to finish her undergraduate studies and receive a teaching certificate.

"I taught fifth grade for one year, and loved it," she said. "It seemed the ideal job, but I realized that while I can choose to teach later, I will not have the opportunity to be home with my children later."

Of the day set aside to honor mothers, Sister Horsley said she feels it is generally good to have such recognition. However, she added, "Having a family has given me all the recognition I want or need. When I am sculpting a family, I don't need the praise of the world."

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