Sunday, March 22, 2015

Being sick

My entire family has the flu.
I mean everyone.
Including me. Which is unusual, because Moms aren't allowed to get sick. If we do, it has to be while everyone is at school and we have to be done before they get home, also making sure the laundry still gets done and there is some kind of edible product in the house.
This time I feel like a zombie, and am thankful that last week I actually got the laundry washed and folded because we are currently living out of the baskets of folded clothes.
And I feel a little guilty that we are all sick, because it might be my fault.
See, a few weeks ago everyone we knew was sick and my friends were making comments about losing anywhere from 8-10lbs. And I made the mistake of briefly thinking "I should get the flu, it would be a whole lot easier than actually practicing self control." But that was the ever briefest thought, because I am the mother of  4 children and I know what the consequences are of fevers and hacking up lungs and such. Not fun, and very tiring!
I had also made the mistake of telling a friend that we don't get flu shots, because "they don't usually prevent the strain that is going around at the time".
So, I pretty much jinxed us!
But, I have to say that Garrett did a super great job of taking care of me at my worst. Bringing me medication and cool cloths for my fever. Getting me cool drinks and blankets. What a comfort it is when one of your own children takes it upon themselves to take care of you! It also helped to know that he does still love me. It's tough sometimes raising a teenager, but he showed me by his tender care that in spite of the oft seen surliness, he does care.
Kinda makes it worth being sick.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

What a Little Week!

I don't know about you, but in moments, this week was amazing.
Truthfully most of it was ordinary.
Taking the kids where they needed to be, helping with homework, teaching a class, etc.

It was a week of the absolute ordinary that our lives are made up of, the daily minutia that somehow becomes a life.

Yet, there were those moments, you know, the little ones. It came in saying "thank you", or just acknowledging someone by name, or teaching my little ones to look in the person's eye and say "Thanks for the sticker."

It came in hearing the voices of friends rarely spoken to but loved just the same.

It came in emails sent and received.

It came in the loving thoughts of those women who have made a difference in my life.
It came in prayers of thanks for and blessings to be poured out on those women.

Do you know Mother Teresa's mom's name? Offhand I don't, but how many thousands of people have been thankful for what she taught her daughter.

I don't know who sparked Marie Curie's love of science but ---Thank you!

In his song "Do Everything" Steven Curtis Chapman reminds us that it really doesn't matter if our days are spent sweeping up lost cheerios or feeding the poor as long as we do it for the glory of The One Who made us.

I believe that ultimately God has made us to be amazing in big and small ways. But He will never force us to be kind, teach our kids, choose modesty, speak cleanly, or anything else. He leaves it up to us to listen to His Spirit and act on promptings.

I know that with each choice to do as He would have us do adds to our "amazingness".
To have others thanking God that we were there with a hug, pushed us to do what we thought we couldn't, smiled at us, encouraged us, and sometimes told us what we didn't want to hear, brings Him glory.

As Francesca Batistelli says in her song "He Knows My Name," We don't need our names in lights, we are famous in Our Father's eyes. He does know our name, he knows each and every time we act on a prompting from Him.

He also gives us lots of opportunities each day, so if we blow it once, twice or a bunch, He will give us lots more chances. Yay!

I certainly didn't have time this week to do all the recognizing and thanking that I need to do. But it was a good start of a habit I hope will stick with me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Keep Going!

What is this challenge doing for you?

Are you noticing more and more the amazing women in your life?

If you are a woman are you recognizing how powerful it is to others as you appreciate and honor true womanhood?

Isn't it interesting what showing gratitude does to your heart and your mental state?

This may not be a real comfortable challenge for some people. Sometimes it is hard to express our feelings, especially when they are deep.

We may even be frustrated by not being able to express those feelings to that specific person. Maybe we can't find them, remember their name, or perhaps they have passed on. Whatever the reason we may not be able to express it to them personally, we can thank God for putting them in our lives.
And we can thank Him for putting a woman who would glorify Him by doing good, in our life.

Continue on with your effort to thank good women! Don't give up! I know that it is making a powerful difference for even a few women!

For myself, there are a few women I would love to thank and have no idea where to find them.

Denise Scripzinski. You made a big impact on my life when I was about 10. You were a young married woman teaching school. You let me come over that summer and made homemade playdough, and we made cutouts with it. You introduced me to the book Peter Potts which my kids now love. Thank you!

Ms. Schlater. You were my 6th,7th, and 8th grade English teacher. You worked two jobs because you loved to teach, but it just didn't pay well. I will never forget how you took a popular book of the time and pointed out just by reading a bit of it aloud to the class that there were some books that were more like reading garbage than reading gourmet and that no matter how young we were we should read the good.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Let Me Be Gracious

I was teaching Preston how to do laundry when one of my other kids came running in with a pool noodle. He wanted to hit Preston with it. I told him not to throw it, but of course he insisted that he had good aim. I asked him to go away, and he again proclaimed his ability to hit his mark. I told him that I was pretty sure he would get me with it and asked him not to throw it. Once more, I told him not to throw it, and sure enough, he did.

And as you can guess, he got me.

 Right in the face.

I would love to report that I handled it well and laughed, but I would be lying. Instead, I scolded with "I told you you would get me."
He left the room, head hanging and me following.

When we got up to his room. I told him that I had asked him several times not to do that.
 I had even explained why I didn't want him to do it. Then he chose to do it anyway.

Then I told him that I forgave him.

 At that moment, he didn't "deserve" to be forgiven.

 He was told repeatedly not to do something, he was even told why and he did it anyway. But it gave me a great opportunity to teach him about grace.

Every single one of us makes mistakes, we do what we have been asked not to do, or told not to do.  Sometimes, not always, we don't know why. Then we realize our mistake, and we hope to receive grace. That forgiveness that comes from a loving God, when we don't deserve it.

I am now glad he made that mistake. It gave me a chance to teach him and learn for myself, again, about this amazing gift.
I am a big believer in grace, because I find myself needing it all the time.
I really hope that I will learn to always be gracious.


Today is the BIG Day!
Have you thought of the women throughout your life that have honored womanhood just by who they are?
Have you looked anyone up?
Have you already put something on your Facebook feed?
You are now ready to text, message, post, call, write, and do something small to say thanks.
As I was getting crazy excited about this by the end of last week I noticed something interesting.
I realized that I was becoming more aware of the little things.
The woman at the store giving stickers to my kids.
The woman who offered to give my kids her lemons for their lemon juice money making project.
The 3 women who let me go ahead of them in line because I only had 1 item.
As you look around this week, I am sure you will find yourself seeing the same thing.
Go with it! A simple thanks or just acknowledgement of an act will make a difference.
Even if that difference is only in you!
Make it a great day ladies!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Ready, set....

Yup, I'm at it again. Need some more amazing women?

 Malala Yousafzai
A very young woman fighting for the rights of girls to be educated in a country where girls were not allowed to be educated. She doesn't describe herself as a "feminist" and I think it is because she was just doing what is right, not promoting an agenda.
 If you are a young woman, do not underestimate your power for good! You might be the one who stops the bullying of another (possibly saving a life).

Marie Curie.
What a scientist!! An incurable curiosity and an amazing intellect. She did great things, because she used the intelligence she was blessed with and I don't think it ever occurred to her to do any different. She was a wife and a mother as well.

Grandma Moses.
 Her art "career" didn't really begin until she was in her late 70's! Her pictures make people think of good and simple times. Before she really started painting, she used what she had to create pictures. She did needlework first and then painted.

These women weren't trying to prove anything. They were simply using the gifts they were given to do good in the world.

There is a lady at our grocery store that works in the floral department who is just amazing! Her cheerful attitude and desire to help customers is astounding! I actually enjoy going into the store when she is there because I know that she will be making someone smile!

I don't know how many people have read the Womanhood Challenge, but I imagine it is somewhere near 100. If each of us really do say something to one woman each day about how we appreciate them for what they do, and how it honors womanhood, we can bless the lives of 500 women!!!

Doesn't that excite you? Oh, it does me!!

Today is the perfect day to think of the women in our lives and prepare to thank them.

Today is also the perfect day to take a minute and thank our Father in Heaven for putting them in our lives, giving them talents they use, and allowing us to be blessed.

I have often thought about Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" and wondered how I can "glorify"?
I have decided that I can do that by recognizing the blessings He has placed in my life.
Many of those blessings have been in the form of countless women who have honored Womanhood.

So today I thank Him for putting so many amazing women in my life and giving them talents and abilities that have blessed me.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Oh I just can't let this go!
Look at Mother Teresa.
 She never had a child and look at what she did for the poorest of people of India. She was too busy rocking poor babies to worry about rockin' a bikini!
Rosa Parks did her best work when she was tired and spent and stood up for what was right, by sitting down.
L.M. Momtgomery gave generations of young women a view of sweet childhood and a joy of beauty. Sacagewea helped the Lewis and Clark expedition because her husband was chosen to come along and her value became evident because she could speak with the Natives. There is no telling what would have happened to them without her.

These women didn't change the world because of their looks, what they wore, how much money they made, what magazine they were in, or who knew them.
They made a difference because they were amazing women who chose to do good. They chose to do what is right even when it was not popular. They chose to use their talents. They made the best of the circumstances they were in. These women weren't perfect, but what a tribute they are to women!
What about the unknowns?
The girl at school who was nice to you.
Your neighbor who fosters handicapped children?
 The woman at church that is always doing things for others and never says anything, but you know because she has done for you.
The lady that works at the library and saves the cards from the books for your kids, because she knows they like them.
The woman your daughter looks up to, who kindly told her she was too good to dress like that, and your daughter listened.
The young woman who sits by you in church to help with your kids.
The nurse in the hospital who took care of you like she was your best friend.

I'm sure you don't need any ideas, but now that I am thinking about it I just can't stop. Today I am going to write my first note so I can mail it Monday.

Please share this!
Can you imagine what it will be like for the women who hear from you next week?
Can you imagine what it will do to their hearts?

We have so much power for good!! Let' show the world true power, by honoring true womanhood!

Monday, March 2, 2015


I think a lot about the women who have been in my life, because so many of them have been mentors to me. When I make certain recipes, I think of their hands showing me how to do it and taking the time to teach me.

When I think of certain beliefs, I think of those who have testified of those beliefs which upheld me until I had my own testimony.

There are those that I admire deeply because they live their beliefs. They are paragons of virtue. That doesn't mean they are perfect, but they sure try hard to live what they believe. And they teach those beliefs to their children, or share those beliefs with others.

I have been so blessed to know women who have given up so much to have and raise kids. Some of them gave up work they adored, paychecks to be envious of, names in journals and on glass doors.

 Most women give up bodies that they liked for stretch marks and pooches, only to discover that having a child shows them what their bodies can really do.

Some women suffer over not having those babies themselves and sacrifice a lot of time and tons of money to adopt, so they can be an influence on a child.

Others hope and pray that opportunity will come to them and go on making a difference in the world in all their significant ways that probably seem insignificant to them.

Women can bear and raise children or influence others'. We provide a spiritual and moral compass in homes and communities. We take care of, nurture, support, direct, and provide.

So why are we so busy applauding and glamorizing women who do the exact opposite? I am so sick of seeing women devalue us by being sex symbols, or glorifying depravity. Why would we do this to our gender? Why are we allowing our womanhood to be raked into the mud?

Lately, I have seen a lot of articles telling males to "man up." To be the men that they should be, taking responsibility, providing for the children they have fathered, learning to work hard, putting aside their video games for a good days work, putting away their porn to find real relationships, etc.

Well, ladies, I say it is time to "woman up". Let's give men a reason to man up. Let's stop trying to show them we can do everything they can do. We don't need to take on men's roles. Let's let them do what they were designed to do. Let's give them a reason to want to protect us, whether it is from unclean jokes or unclean thoughts, or a real enemy.

We have shown the world we can do so many things men can do, unfortunately, we have forgotten to glorify the work we were, by divine design, made to do. Be women.

I am not in any way suggesting that women quit their jobs or dress in potato sacks. Nor am I suggesting that we dumb ourselves down, or become helpless. I can't imagine our world without the contributions of intelligent, capable, strong women.  I am suggesting that we dress, talk, and act in feminine ways. What does that mean?

Let's keep our language clean. I have seen article after article with bad language in it. It is so distasteful. We shouldn't be telling raunchy jokes or pretending they are acceptable in our company.

Let's dress modestly. The men I most trust and admire are those who wish more girls and women would cover up a little more. We are so much more attractive when we have something intelligent to say, or act gently, laugh genuinely and when we embrace our spirituality.

Let's value virtue and teach that to our children. Time and time again as I read classic literature I am reminded that there was a time when people noticed each others' character and placed value on those characters and decided whether or not they wanted to be associated. Maybe we need to check our values. After all, there is a reason they are called "values", because those attributes are worth having.

Do we watch, read, listen to, or glorify women who are muddying us up?

Let's stand up for what is right and good, no matter what others might say. We have for so many years let the world tell us what causes we need to champion. It is time for us to be the champions of being women. It is time for us to be spiritual, feminine, strong, intelligent, and capable in our womanhood.

My husband has told me on more than one occasion in the past how it seemed that the women he worked with were trying to tell the dirtiest jokes, or were flippant with morality. Does this do anything positive for womanhood? Does flaunting our bodies make anyone think highly of us, or does it just make us targets for abuse? Does using filthy language or telling dirty jokes in any way make us look good?

Let's look around for the women that we admire because they honor womanhood and point them out to our kids as role models.
Let's start giving girls a reason to want to be women and give our boys a reason to want to protect us, admire us, and honor us.

So ladies, let's be women.