Why I'm not participating in A Day Without a Woman
I come from a long line of strong women. Women who run businesses, travel, volunteer, march and donate. Women who advocate and educate. When I think about their impact on my life though, smaller things stand out.
My Grandma Lorenia poured out love in crystal goblets filled with root beer and hours of card games. She believed that every person was valuable. She served through cancer and poverty and unending demands. Her laughter was contagious. Her legacy was joy.
My Grandma Viola sewed love into packages and prayers. She saved, she served, she perservered. She loved tight hugs, warm cookies and weddings. Her legacy was faithfulness.
My mother-in-law Carleen ran courage into everyone she met. She was fully supportive and passionate about art and flowers and children. She made everyone she met feel welcome. Her legacy is kindness.
My mother Sue is a bright and fierce force of a person. She's got a twinkle in her eye and she has the ability to make me laugh better than any one. This photo is an excerpt of a letter she wrote me when I turned two years old.
I have letters from aunties and cousins. Sisters and friends. Beautiful women who wrote on my soul and call me to be present. To be faithful.
Walking out to prove a point seems dishonest to their steadfast love.
Earlier today I had to make a tough decision. I've been working long hours lobbying for a bill in the upcoming legislaive session. Couple of trips to the state capitol to meet with various governmental types. I received news today that I'd been invited to a dinner with a senator. Great opportunity for professional development. Problem is the dinner is on the same night as my daughter's choir concert. I'd already promised her I'd go.
As I sat and mulled my options I thought about the Day without a Woman. I am quite certain I'm not necessary at the dinner meeting. My colleagues can handle it without me. But my daughter? I don't want her to figure out what it looks like when mom bails. I want her memories to be full of a steadfast mom who showed up when the call was hard. A mom who delivered on promises even when she wasn't being appreciated. A mom who thanked God because He allowed me to be her mother. So I declined the invitation with the Senator and circled my plans for a night with the elementary school choir.
So today I'll wake up my babies. I'll help pick out their clothes and play my part in the daily taxi. I'll go to work. Not because I'm special or different or better than the hundreds of thousands of women who do the same thing every day. But because this investment in our future has more potential to affect change than any strike, any meeting, any lobbying effort. The legacy is love. And the power of love has nothing to do with protests or demands but everything to do with gratitude, service, peace and patience. Should we ignore injustice? Of course not. But love is the only weapon strong enough to win.
Today I'd like to invite you to write on someone else's heart. Those words have eternal weight. Rather than making someone notice you are gone, how about making someone else feel seen? Those are not small actions.
ENTER TO WIN
I've got a new set of note cards, envelopes and gel pens to get you started on your legacy notes. Write your kids, your friends, your parents, your spouse. Tell them you love them. I'll be giving this set to a winner randomly drawn from anyone who comments on this post or shares the post. Winner will be drawn Friday March 10, 2017. No purchase necessary. Prize mailed in the contenintal US only.
Oh Goodness. I'm a proud, happy blog mom. Have you read Jill's Wall of Faith post? If you haven't read it yet, you really should. Here. The comments on various facebook pages made me smile. This one got me.
"Gratitude is the best medicine on Earth, and the pit of despair is terribly deep. We must stay away from its edge."
Anyway. I'm a proud, happy, tired, crazy blog mom. Quirky Faith is officially three months old today.
I remember when my eldest turned three months old. If you have kids you probably remember that stage as well. By three months old you have survived the sleepless nights, the frustration of inexplicable crying, the worry that your baby isn't eating. You've been puked on. Pooped on. You are exhausted and emotional. By now you've figured out that while you thought you knew everything about parenting, you know absolutely nothing. You are praying deep gutteral one word prayers. Help. Please.
And then three months arrives and your baby smiles. Or holds your hand. Or does any manner of precious, talented, amazing things that most every baby on the planet does and you go from crazy messed up mom to deeply madly in love. You take a deep breath.
This is my eldest at three months. See that little grin? I love her confident kicked back attitude. This was the photo which told me we were going to be okay. I recognize that to everyone else this is probably just a photo of a baby. Nothing special. But to a mom these little milestones matter. They show growth and progress. It's a way to count the list of gratitudes one more time. What milestones did you celebrate with your kids?
The last three months with Quirky Faith have been much like that newborn stage. Exhausting. Humbling. Fun. Painful. The three month milestone is causing me to pause. To look up from the keyboard and smile. Thank you to the Wall of Faith writers. I'm grateful for your stories. Thank you to everyone for reading and sharing and commenting. You encourage me. Here is a little Saturday morning encouragement back to you. If you have a dream rolling around in the back of your head go for it. Give birth. You'll survive the newborn stage. You can do it. We will cheer you on.
Quirky Faith is three months old. She's getting some traction. Kicking back with a confident grin. Come along.
My husband and I were just talking about the sad events of the last week. I mentioned that somone was in custody from the shootings in Dallas. My ten-year-old overheard the word custody.
Mom, did they catch the guy who burnt the churches?
No, not yet.
Oh, was it the terrorists? Did they catch the terrorists?
Um. No, that was something else.
Wow. There are a lot of them running around loose right now.
And she went back to reading her book.
Yes. Yes my dear. There are lots of people right now caught up in all kinds of anger and hate.
Honestly part of me wants to rail and yell and kick and write snarky comments on posts that don't line up with my personal talking points. I am mad that my children know about arson and terror and snipers and racism. I'm depressed that my daughter took it all in stride. What kind of world are we living in that a ten-year-old is momentarily sad but not at all shocked at the news?
Mostly I'm heartbroken for the moms this week having to tell childen that their father is not coming home. I do not presume to know what those mother's are going through. I don't know what it is like to send my spouse to work in a uniform that could get him killed. And I have never had to talk to my girls about how to deal with the people who judge them based on the color of their skin. Since I do not know I am not going to say how they should respond.
However. I do know that in total my anger makes the world worse. When I yell or honk or snap - others around me spiral that direction. I really don't want to raise kids that make the world worse. And so as simplistic as it sounds I choose love.
I am going to hug my children. I am going to tell them about Martin Luther King Jr. and Ghandi and Mother Theresa. About how the world changed because they refused to hate. I am going to read them the words of Jesus about loving your enemies and visiting those in jail and respecting the authorities. I am going to deliver cookies. Never underestimate the power of cookies. I am going to thank anyone I see in uniform. I am going to forgive those who hurt me even when its repeated. I am going to pray. I am going to stand in my neighborhood and speak up when people are hurt or hurting. I am going to listen respectfully when I don't agree. I am going to assume the best and smile at strangers.
What about you? Better or worse? The ten-year-olds are listening.
My three year old is taking swimming lessons at the local YMCA. I love this pool. All kinds of people. All levels of skill. The past two Saturday mornings I’ve hauled out of bed earlier than I like on Saturdays and my girls and I have gone down to the Y.
The little one is learning how to blow bubbles in the water and alligator crawl across the pool. She’s holding onto floating barbells and kicking on the side of the pool. She keeps giving strange looks to the one little boy who is crying on the sideline. The little miss is easy to read. Hope his parents aren’t watching. She’s not subtle.
Her big sister is swimming laps over in the lap pool. She had to take a test to qualify to swim in the deep water. She was nervous. She passed. Down and back. Kick. Straight. Down and back.
This week I sat on the sideline in one of those plastic stackable chairs. The chair had a crack along the back. Whenever I leaned back I fell slowly back through the chair. I would try for good posture sitting. I’d forget. Fall back though the back of the chair. Disconcerting.
My baby was kicking and splashing. My big one was tunneling through laps. Down and Back. I was watching both of them and surprising myself repeatedly with the strange bendable plastic chair. Good way to spend 30 minutes on a Saturday morning.
Made me think. Swimming lessons are fun. Splashing around in the shallow end certainly gets us used to the water. Get the feel for things. Safe and secure. Lots of eyes watching. Minimal risk. Lap swimming in the deep water lanes is harder. Better at building muscle though. Still plenty of life guards.
Some of you know that I’m working on a new venture. I’m launching a new blog called Quirky Faith. I’ve got a new website, email subscription software, photo shoot and a PO Box all lined up. I’ve got some guest bloggers and some give aways. I’m calendered up.
Right this very second I feel like I’ve graduated from the kiddie pool and swum past the lap pool. I feel like I’m standing on the cliff above the ocean like one of those deep water ocean divers. Peering down 100 feet to deep water. Wondering what is under the water and what is out past the horizon. The ocean is deep.
Mark Batterson says that if your dream doesn’t scare you it isn’t big enough. I’m terrified. And very excited. Scarecited.
www.QuirkyFaith.com launches on July 1st. Twenty Days. Swim Baby.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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