Women’s History Month

Woman quote

Oh boy! I almost missed Women’s History Month. But it’s not too late. Technically, it doesn’t end until midnight tonight, March 31st.

There are so many women who have made enormous steps forward in making women matter in society. That being said, each of us matters.

Every. Single. One.

But there are women I’d like to mention who have blazed trails in my life. There are by far too many to name so here are a few that made a difference to me:

Mary, Mother of Jesus – The perfect woman to have as a role model. Obedient, hard working, brave, and endured the most horrendous heartbreak with such grace and dignity.

Jane Austen – A literary genius. She has six major novels – Pride and Prejudice; Sense and Sensibility; Persuasion; Mansfield Park; Northanger Abbey, and Emma, are classics. Female writers weren’t encouraged during the time Jane Austen wrote. Her dedication helped pave the way for future women writers. With Jane Austen listed as one of the women who made a difference to me, it’s not wonder that the movie The Jane Austen Book Club is one of my very favorites.

Malala Yousafzai – Malala battled for girls’ rights after the Taliban attempted to assassinate her for trying to get education for herself and other girls. She was just 15 years old at the time. She’s published a books, among them, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban and continues to advocate for equal rights. I don’t know about you, but at 15 years of age, I was still too worried about me to stand up for anything or anyone! What an impressive young lady!

Mother Teresa – She was an Albanian nun who devoted her life to serving the poor and dying. She personally cared for thousands of sick and dying people in Calcutta and was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1979. Mother Teresa was all about love and being the hands and feet of Jesus on earth.

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Kathryn Stockett – An American novelist who’s journey continues to give me hope in my own writing. Her debut novel, The Help, was rejected by 60 literary agents before one finally accepted! It’s a phenomenal book and I would highly recommend it. Her tenacity is beyond admirable.

Barbara Bush – Wife of George H.W. Bush and First Lady from 1989 to 1993. She involved herself with literacy issues and worked with several different literacy organizations. After researching about the factors that contributed to illiteracy, she believed homelessness may have been connected and she strove to combat both. I always admired her for the roles she played as advocate, mother, and wife.

My Mother, Bev Cielinski – This photo I took one evening, unbeknownst to her, as I walked past her bedroom door, says it all. She raised me with the values of faith and family, and taught me the value of hard, honest work. She taught me that when life was too hard to stand, to fall on my knees.

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Here’s to strong women: may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them. Unknown

Women’s History Month Spotlight – Ruth Bell Graham

Ruth & Billy

As far back as I can remember I’ve admired Ruth Bell Graham’s devotion to her husband and family. She’s always reminded me of the woman in Proverbs 31 – the woman I’ve always hoped to be.

Since I’ve gone through a divorce, I appreciate her strength and stamina even more. (This isn’t one of those “it was all his fault” stories, much as I wish it were. I fully claim my responsibility.) But even during those tumultuous times, when I was failing miserably at marriage, Ruth Bell Graham remained my mentor. It just takes me a while to learn. 🙂

I looked to her as a role model, as a woman who loved her husband, even when I’m sure she didn’t feel like it, (we all have those times, don’t we?) and yet she soldiered on with beauty and grace. Through her life, I’ve come to know that love is not just a feeling. It’s a choice. And learning that has made me one extremely happy, grateful, and blessed wife today.  Thank you Ruth.

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“The fact is that both husband and wife are rough when the marriage begins. They shape each other through the trials and struggles they face together. When a couple falls to their knees and prays together, that is where true shaping takes place. Those who abandon ship the first time it enters a storm miss the calm beyond. And the rougher the storms weathered together, the deeper and stronger real love grows.”  -Ruth Bell Graham

 

 

 

 

Women’s History Month

There are countless people who deserve recognition, but since March is women’s history month in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, I’ve decided to spotlight one historical woman each week that has made a difference in my life in one way or another. Until I mention the first of four next week, following is a list of the top ten women, past and present, who have made, or continue to make, a difference in my life.

  1.  My Mom
  2. My Grandma Cielinski
  3. My Sponsors
  4. Mother Teresa
  5. Maya Angelou
  6. Mary, Mother of Jesus
  7. Ruth Bell Graham
  8. Barbara Bush
  9. Rahab (From the Old Testament)
  10. Ruth (Also from the Old Testament)

Women's Month

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who is the woman who has made the greatest impact in your life?

A Mother’s Day Thanksgiving

English: BBQ - Self Designed.

English: BBQ – Self Designed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been a lazy blogger the past week. That being said, I’ve been breathing new life into revising my novel, The Inheritance, and I’m seeing the final touches being completed in the very near future. Near, as in by mid-June. 🙂

My husband and I are taking a much needed vacation this next week–leaving in the morning–so I will resume blogging after we get back home.

In the meantime, I’m re-posting what I wrote for last Mother’s Day, a day that was so spiritually lifting it took my breath away.

I would like to wish all mothers, wanna-be mothers, aunts, grandmas, moms to pets, and any woman who cares for a child, regardless of whether you gave birth to them or not, a very happy Mother’s Day. Celebrate YOU, the LOVE you give, and the DIFFERENCE you make in the life a child.

And here’s the re-blog:

True to form, my husband agreed to do whatever I wanted to do for Mother’s Day, wanting to be sure my day was perfect.  My list consisted of two things: our first bike ride of the season, 30 miles round trip along the Platte River Trail to Confluence Park in Denver, enhanced by getting a treat from Starbucks, of course, followed by a BBQ in our backyard with my kids. We were on the bike path by 9:00 a.m., the slightest breeze, sun shining bright, trees budding like crazy, grass green as  be. I was in a state of awe as I breezed along the path, all of my senses aroused and drinking in the beauty that surrounded me. And all I could do was pray, giving thanks to a God who is so amazing to care about the most insignificant parts of my life, making them so significant.I saw the wild flowers sprinkled throughout the open fields, like paint on a canvas, and gave thanks for the blessings, too numerous to count, sprinkled throughout each of my days.

English: Wild Flowers in the Crop The rapeseed...

English: Wild Flowers in the Crop The rapeseed crop was dotted with a selection of wild flowers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I saw three small children lined up on a fallen log like baby birds in a nest, reaching up to the man standing before them patiently providing water and nourishment for the next leg of their journey. I gave thanks for the supply of living water and spiritual nourishment He provides me to sustain me on my journey of life.In the river below the bank I saw the flowing ripples from a duck that had taken flight. I gave thanks for a God who flows through my veins with love and grace to create the ripple effect to those He brings me to.

A woman in fragile health, wearing a mask protecting her mouth and nose from breathing the dust in the air, yet not afraid to go out and breathe in the beauty of the earth, smiled at me, the gentle crinkling at the corner of her eyes,  as she walked past. I thanked Him for my health and for his loving Spirit flowing to me through others.

I heard a baby crying in a meshed carriage being pulled behind a bike, and I watched the mother stop to comfort her child.  I thought of Mary on this blessed Mother’s Day, the perfect example of obedience and motherhood, bearing and raising a son that became my savior. And I gave thanks for the privilege of being a mother.

In the heat and stillness of mid-summer, with a not-distant-enough sewage treatment plant along one portion of the river, where I usually strengthen my breath holding skills, this particular day I inhaled the sweet fragrance of crab apple blossoms in the gentle spring breeze. And I gave thanks for the ability to smell such sweetness.

Martin Johnson Heade - Apple Blossoms CGF

Martin Johnson Heade – Apple Blossoms CGF (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we walked in the park and I saw a disheveled man, sleeping soundly through the activity happening around him, back pack askew, I thanked God for my home and for the strength to get off the elevator of alcoholism before it hit the bottom floor. And I prayed for this man. That he would find the loving God that has blessed me beyond what I can possibly begin to comprehend.His goodness is everywhere, in everything, and in everyone. I’ve come to believe that what I look for, I will find. If I look for His blessings and His goodness, I will see it. Each morning upon waking, I have a choice whether I will see goodness. And I pray each day I choose wisely.

Share with me what you are grateful for today at this very moment.

Women’s History Month

I could hardly believe it when I realized this is my 100th post.  Amazing!  🙂

I spent some time trying to think of some wise, witty, memorable ideas, wanting to make it a huge celebration.  But then in the back of my mind, I thought since March is Women’s History Month, why not pay tribute to women who have changed the course of history.  The women who have paved the way to where I am today.  The women who’s courage amazes and captivates the attention of other women who are trying to make it in today’s world.

I’ve decided to list my top ten, and encourage and invite you to list some of yours in the comments.  Maybe there’s a woman who has made a difference in your life that others haven’t heard of and by learning more about that person, could make a difference in someone else’s life as well.

So here’s my top ten:

10.) Marilyn Monroe – She was such a beautiful, talented woman, and yet so conflicted.  Sadly, Marilyn Monroe has proven that beauty truly is only skin deep and cannot buy happiness.

9.)   Amelia Earhart – Aviation pioneer – She has demonstrated that being a woman should never stop one from doing what one truly wants to do.  If anything, she has shown that one should try even harder, pursuing passion with gusto.

8.)   Oprah Winfrey – She has shown that no matter what we’re born with and what our past holds, it does not have to define and shape our future.  We have the power within us to do and be whatever we choose to be.  And, as with Amelia Earhart, passion and perseverance can move mountains.

7.)   Katie Davis – Katie has shown that we’re never too young to make a difference.  At 18 she moved to Uganda to work with the poor and has adopted 14 girls and made a difference to an abundance of people.  She radiates joy, love, hope, and the Spirit of Jesus.

Katie Davis2

6.)   Anne Frank – Her statement, “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart,” is astounding to me. She has shown that attitude really is 99% of what we become.

5.)   Kathryn Stockett – Wow! Talk about perseverance! After five years of trying to secure a literary agent and approximately 60 rejections, the author of the bestseller, The Help, never quit.  Thank goodness she finally caught the attention of just one, because it’s a book I would recommend to anyone and everyone.

4.)   Jane Pauley – I grew up watching her on NBC’s The Today Show, and her simple beauty and love of being a journalist fed my love of words. Recently she has spoken openly about her bipolar disorder, helping to overcome some of the stigma surrounding the illness.

3.)   Maya Angelou – A woman who has overcome childhood trauma and used it to help others overcome through words.  And the poem Phenomenal Woman? I need say no more. Simply phenomenal.

2.)   Mother Teresa – I don’t even know where to begin with explaining what this amazing Godly woman has taught me.  She was the most perfect role model of grace, humility, and demonstration of love. Her simplicity and selfless service to others knew no bounds.

1.)   The first and most influential woman in my life would be my mother.  She has taught me that hard work, faith, and dedication are the keys to success.  She has taught me that taking care of and being present for my own family is the greatest gift I can give, and that to serve and follow Christ, I need not travel to another country to do so, but it starts in my own home.  And she has taught me that laughter and joy are key to aging gracefully.

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