March On Women

In between my Beloved’s birthday (Friday, March 1) and Easter (Sunday, March 31), the March calendar for me has been filled with diversions! According to my desk calendar, we’ve observed Super Tuesday (3/5), the beginning of Daylight Saving Time (3/10), St. Patrick’s Day (3/17), and the First Day of Spring (3/19). Still ahead, this being Holy Week), we celebrate Palm Sunday (today), Good Friday (3/29) and the apex of Holy Week (Resurrection Day) on Easter Sunday. Phew! A busy month!

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Imagine my chagrin, then, when I realized the month of March had also been designated (by Congress) as Women’s History Month (WHM) in addition to the United Nations choosing March 8 as International Women’s Day (IWD) … though neither of these designations was deemed significant enough to appear in the notations on my desk calendar! Is it even possible I could be any more verklempt?!

Continue reading “March On Women”

A True Tale of Ricky-Robby

Great news about the recent recovery in Georgia of more than three dozen missing and at-risk children, thanks to the US Marshals Service and Operation Not Forgotten! Parents everywhere can rejoice knowing these children have been released from awful circumstances and returned home. Bravo to law enforcement for their diligence!

As a little girl, I knew children who had suffered neglect and abandonment. Maybe it’s just my impression (due to hazy memories) but in those days, it seemed to me the community took a more hands-on approach to difficult relational problems. Continue reading “A True Tale of Ricky-Robby”

Who She Was

As a tribute to my dear mother, I’ve been compiling certain documents in my possession that add depth to and understanding of her life. A separate section of this blog is titled Blood Type / West and under that heading, I’ve attached a couple related documents. (More documents will follow in time.)

In 2006, we celebrated Mom’s birthday with much more fanfare than usual. We threw a party, Hats Off For Ruthe, and as part of the celebration, I created a book about her life. Given she lived another 14 years, the book is somewhat dated as regards her children and grandchildren. Still, it’s a good record.

Another tab in the Blood Type / West sub-section offers some background information about the boarding school my Mom attended. It was an amazing place for a young girl who came from a modest background and was suddenly bereft (having lost her father) while her mother was thrust into the workforce.

A couple times, I had the privilege (with my Mom) to visit the location of this school (in Newtown Square, PA) which shuttered its doors to students in 1977. The buildings are still there, repurposed. We were able to enter the imposing administration building as well as the inviting stone cottages where students lived under the oversight of a dorm “mother.”

A previously coddled child myself, it was difficult for me to imagine my mother as a six-year-old being brought to this cottage and entrusted (by her own mother) into the care of strangers. It was (no doubt) a crucible for the development of strong character. She could have felt the bitter sting of abandonment; instead, she learned gratefulness for God’s unique provision. She also learned the value of self-reliance.

In large part, the person my mother became reflects the transformation of tragedy (the death of her father) into beauty, as she received an excellent education within a safe environment where multiple benefits (usually reserved for wealthy families) were available to her. Thanks to the generosity of an unknown philanthropist (who’d been dead 20 years when my mom was born), young fatherless girls received a wonderful start in life. Though I wasn’t one of those girls, I’m certainly a beneficiary of aforementioned philanthropy … and how thankful I am.

Leading The Way

With her 92nd birthday approaching (the end of August), my mother Ruthe must contemplate the final days (or years, we hope) of her incredible life on this planet. I’ve shared her stories more than a dozen times in this space, among them Everybody’s FineThe Tale of Bobbie Pringle (in 2 parts), and Safe In His Arms. I’ve also posted poems where she was my subject:  Mother of Mine, Touchstone. Along life’s journey, she has embraced numerous adventures, taken surprising risks and absorbed monumental losses. What a blessing she has been to me (and her other offspring)!

The photo above was taken a couple weeks ago. She needed groceries and I was in town, so we drove to the nearby SuperCenter. Because she lacks the stamina she once had, I suggested she try the motorized shopping cart. I’ve never used one of these devices … nor had she until that day! (Keep in mind, she’s almost totally blind, with only a sliver of cloudy light squeezing into the uppermost corner of her left eye.) Still, I figured the electric cart was worth trying, since I worried her knees might give way during our trek through the massive store.

As things turned out, we managed to collect her groceries without inflicting excess damage to the cart or any merchandise lining the aisles … and thankfully, no customers were permanently injured during this endeavor! When she first grasped the forward/reverse lever, the cart unexpectedly shot forward, leaving me far behind. I caught up quickly and decided to set my hand to the “wheel” to control the cart’s speed and direction. It was my chance to walk beside her, guiding her to the k-cups, the oatmeal and her other important purchases. Making our way (slowly) around the store, she depended on my guidance, but strange as it might seem, she was leading the way … as she always has! Continue reading “Leading The Way”

Let Them Be Little

Poor Connor. He is possibly the most infamous little fellow in grade school because almost everyone has heard his mom’s frustrated voice as she speaks into her smart-phone, summoning iPhone’s version of the Shell Answer Man and she asks:  Why is Connor having trouble focusing in school? The question appears to bamboozle Siri who answers:  Having trouble finding Connor’s middle school? The mini-drama goes on for sixty seconds in the video, less in the radio spot.

Yes, it’s part of an ad campaign. Yes, if you follow the link to understood.org, you’ll find a website offering helpful resources and encouragement for parents trying to address the perceived learning disabilities of their offspring. And maybe, I’ll even cede, consulting Siri as a primary resource for professional advice is a clever tongue-in-cheek approach to the issue. Continue reading “Let Them Be Little”

I’ll Be There For You

Twenty years ago, a television show called FRIENDS debuted. The series ran for ten seasons and chronicled the lives of six characters (3 guys, 3 girls), twenty-somethings living in New York City. Billed as a romantic-comedy series, the show aired to generally mixed reviews but quickly built an audience. In many respects, it was SEINFELD for younger adults. (Seinfeld’s primary characters also lived in NYC and were thirty-somethings.)Friends-ImageThough I’ve occasionally caught a clip or two from Friends as I flip through channels, I’ve never actually watched an entire episode. During its initial run, I didn’t exactly fit the age demographic. Now that it’s in syndication, it’s even less appealing to me. But friendship … now that’s something I can get jazzed about! Continue reading “I’ll Be There For You”

A Woman’s Right to Know

One of my dear friends is serving her first term in the Arkansas House of Representatives. This week, she presented a bill that addresses a 2001 Arkansas law entitled The Woman’s Right to Know Act of 2001. After some 14 years, it’s reasonable to think changes in the law are timely and appropriate.Ingraham

My friend’s efforts to advance this bill through both legislative chambers and deliver it to the Governor’s desk were noticed by radio talk host and syndicated columnist Laura Ingraham (see Tweet above) as well as The Washington Times. The bill asserts women who are considering abortion have a right to know and have informed consent about risks associated with abortion. Further, by increasing the waiting period from 24 to 48 hours, the bill provides a greater period of reflection for women to weigh the possible psychological and physical costs of an abortion. Continue reading “A Woman’s Right to Know”

Beauty In The Last Breath

Kara Tippetts died yesterday. She was 38, the mother of four and wife of 17 years to Jason. Though I never had the pleasure to meet her, like scores of others, I “knew” her through a blog, Mundane Faithfulness, where she shared the story of her short life with grace and authenticity.Kara

My first acquaintance with Tippetts came last fall thanks to an open letter she’d written to another woman also suffering from cancer. That woman had decided to proactively end her own life before the cancer could kill her. In November, after that woman died (by her own hand), I posted my thoughts here. Again in January, I posted a second time (with a sonnet) when Kara’s blog announced she’d begun to receive hospice care. Continue reading “Beauty In The Last Breath”

Opening a Door . . . For Closure

Origins matter. Whether your family has lived in the same vicinity for 200 years or you’re part of the broad population that moves around every couple of years, wherever you “come from” is important. My own interest in origins feeds my love for genealogy.

Elfreth's Alley FROM:  http://tiny.cc/zhi5ux
Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia PA FROM: http://tiny.cc/zhi5ux

It’s not just the ancestral names and faces who are fascinating but also the places from which they came. There are questions like, what is it that compels a family to uproot their lives in a certain locale and transport lock, stock and all possessions to another place to establish new roots? On the other hand, what drives other families to stay rooted in the same place over many generations?  Continue reading “Opening a Door . . . For Closure”

The Curse of Super-Mommery

Adult children and the moms who love them … these relationships can be challenging, exasperating and beyond bewildering at times! Speaking as one who experiences life from both perspectives, I have come to understand no matter how old I am, I remain always my mother’s daughter. She does not know how to un-mother me just because I have attained adulthood.Mothers-and-daughters-are-closestOn the other hand, there are times when I’m inclined to mother my mother. As she gets older, she is ever more frail, so I tend to be solicitous – she hates that! She has this incredibly strong will that rejects offers of help, even when needed. For example, she has one of those Lifeline medical alerts (the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” people) but we had difficulty convincing her to actually wear it. (I think she may have believed wearing it was an admission of weakness.) Continue reading “The Curse of Super-Mommery”