Category Archives: Women’s History Month

Stay Overwhelmed.

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who does not have anything to eat. “

-Mother Teresa

Imagine- you have just arrived in a 3rd world country, the heat is unbearable, the stench smothers you and the sight of dirty children and disease and despair is beyond anything you had imagined the world could possess. The sight is overwhelming in more than one aspect, physically you are overcome and wanting to escape while at the same time you desire to see the communities restored in their health and spirit.. yet, you ask yourself what one person can do to affect any of this.

By simply reading about Mother Teresa it’s apparent she is a woman of reputation and respect, yet she spoke with the simplicity of your average woman. I have no doubt that she questioned herself on multiple occasions, “can I change this community”, “what am I doing” or “is this all in vain”… the questions we constantly find ourselves asking. Yet, she pressed on- beyond doubt, questions and criticism and affected an entire world by her work.

The leper slums of India created the scene that she invested her life in. There are stories, recanting of moments and life-altering messages that have come out of her ministry there. There is no doubt that Mother Teresa was one of the most influential women of the past century, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, inspiring millions and bring peace and at times healing to those affected by disease- she has defined the “power of one”.

While there are many days that I am overwhelmed by the needs of the world, or how much I want to change things for the better… there are just as many days that I feel helpless as one person. People such as Mother Teresa who change, develop and impact the world do it over a lifetime. It comes down to making the decision to live beyond themselves and to ignore their fears and questions every day on their way to a lifetime of influence.

Be encouraged. Start today. Stay overwhelmed.


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Filed under Women's History Month

Strength by Way of Grace

I love this family.

Nancy is not just a cousin to me, not just a mentor but a friend who loves and desires to see growth and joy in my journey. This is truly a woman who has changed my life.

Nancy and Corey have 6 beautiful children, all with their own unique and distinct personalities. Zach is the big brother who loves while he tortures his siblings, Heidi is the old soul- I think she’s a middle-aged 12 year old, Lindsay is the princess, Anna is the mischievous one and Silas… he’s the one you can’t resist.

Of course, I’ve only mentioned 5 children and after all, I did say they had 6 beautiful children. Eli would be 15 now, likely the most handsome boy around, full of creative energy and independence….

After thousands of cups of coffee, much laughter, and maybe a few tears too many...  I know of Nancy’s tremendous journey. It’s possible that Nancy has one of the most beautiful and compelling stories that I have ever heard. Her journey has been difficult, but through that the Lord has brought her into love and obedience with Him in a way I rarely see.

It was June 16th when the accident happened. Zach was hurt badly, everyone else has some scrapes and bruises, but blue-eyed Eli didn’t make it. The celebration of life service held over 400 guests, there were so many tears, but much joy too- knowing that Eli was up with the Lord. Salvations resulted and family drew close, the immediate side effects of tragedy.

But it hasn’t always been joyous. The difficult moments are heart wrenching for a family who lost a son and brother, loss brings a sting of pain that aches continually. Corey has pulled his family close and walked on in a God-given strength, Nancy has decided to be resolute in her obedience to the Lord even when it’s fearful and is teaching her kids the same. A marriage didn’t just survive, but it thrived when many marriages fail within the first year after losing a child.

Seven years is a long journey, and I’ve watched and listened to Nancy go through it. I’ve listened as she talks about Eli every day. As she teaches her children here on earth how to love the Lord and how to appreciate the life He gives. I’ve seen her love and support Corey while still being human and vulnerable and I’ve watched her gain strength by way of grace.

I’ve constantly been sharpened by Nancy, whether I wanted it or not. She has always given me the ability to be myself and say just what I think even if it is terrible, and then tells me I’m wrong in a way that is unique to her. The ways that Corey and Nancy have impacted my life are innumerable. I’ve learned many lessons and most of them weren’t even directed at me, they were just apparent because of the way they live their life. The Lord has blessed me with them and given me a woman to look to whose journey is far from average and who’s life is abundantly blessed…

“It’s hard, obedience is hard and people think I’m crazy. But that doesn’t matter because I am seeking the Lord with my family and He… is… blessing us.”

-Nancy Banks

Shout out to Corey for being the best teacher in the world. I probably would have no hope of getting a husband in the future without his lessons on cooking, etiquette and desserts.


Filed under Reflection, Women's History Month

Life in a Jar

Heroes do extraordinary things. What I did was not an extraordinary thing. It was normal.

-Irena Sendler

For an aged woman of 91 at the time of her death, Irena Sendler had seen firsthand more despair, hatred and injustice than most of us can see in a lifetime. A polish woman growing up in Warsaw and the surrounding areas Irena was submerged in the anti-semitic culture of Europe during the Holocaust. Her life was normal from the outside looking in, and she seemed to be the average young polish woman who just wanted to pursue a nursing career so she could follow in her father’s footsteps by being part of the medical field… she was anything but that.

Her father not only passed along his love for medicine but also a deeply rooted belief that all person’s have dignity and that if you see a person drowning, “must try to rescue them, even if you cannot swim.” Irena took that wisdom to heart and as the Holocaust raged more and more inhuman each day she decided she would no longer stand against justice by doing nothing.

Irena’s fight for the Jewish people started in 1939 when she and her tiny army of fighters created fake documents for many Jews living in Poland. Her fight did not end there though, by the end of 1942 Irena had successfully smuggled 2,500 children out of the Warsaw ghetto either by traveling through the sewer systems or hiding the very young ones in her medical bag.

The life of this polish woman is not just a story about doing what is right or even about finding justice for others, it is a story that drips with a desire to see all of humanity live with dignity. She did not see the Jewish people as a lesser race, she did not find them distasteful or deserving of death- she saw people, in need of what she could offer.

Irena speaks about her experiences during World War II as if she were not a hero, many quotes you find from her talk about how she is just the opposite. A person who did not do something extraordinary, but one who did something that should be very ordinary.

How are we, as ordinary people, doing ordinary things… make an extraordinary difference? Irena saved the lives of thousand of children, careful to write down their names, their parents names and where they were going and then protected that information, she buried her jars of thin tissue paper under apple trees. This allows to look back on to see the impact… the lives of thousands and thousands of people are now changed forever… because someone did something ordinary.


Life in a Jar


Filed under Human Interest, Women's History Month

“I wanted to see dignity.”

Today was a great day.

This is true for a number of reasons, least of which was my being 3 hours late to work as a result of very mysterious pains that are still plaguing me. It’s fine, it leaves me with two options… get better or die, I’m not ready for the latter so it’s apparent to me that I’ll just lock it up and eventually the mystery pain will go away.

However, my reasons as to why today was a great day DOES include a certain phone call Suzanne and I had with Becky and Jody from The Adventure Project.

What. Phenomenal. Women.

Continuing our topics revolving around Women’s History Month it’s time to point out what is happening here and now amongst women to shape the face of our futures. Suzanne asked Becky and Jody why and how they decided to step out on their own and start this project that is much bigger than life-size and Becky answered with a very simple phrase that speaks beyond itself.

“I wanted to see dignity…”

Becky and Jody both took some of their time to tell us their journey and how they decided to create something that would impact people around the world. The Adventure Project takes things like coal-burning stoves for people in Haiti and education for well mechanics in India as a way to promote personal dignity. Becky saw the need during her travels and found a way she could change these things and give these people she was encountering a way to not only have a need met but then provide for themselves by creating self-sustainable opportunities. Jody took account of her life and said “Where can I use the talents, time and energy that I’ve been given?” She is a mother to 6 beautiful children, a wife and the founder of an incredible organization. I have no idea how she does it, and I am consistently in awe of her dedication and desire to change the world using her skills.

As I said before, I wanted to write about where I see our generation of women now and where I would love to see us in the future. Here are two women who are inspiring myself and my friends to be not only women that are investing in the future but women who see their purpose and want to honor God through that.

Be inspired. Take action. Transform lives.


Filed under Human Interest, Projects, Women's History Month

Freedom from Fear

It would be difficult to dispel ignorance unless there is freedom to pursue the truth unfettered by fear.

-Aung San Suu Kyi

It could be partly due to the fact that I’ve been to Burma, or that I have a deep connection to the fight against oppression that I consider Aung San Suu Kyi to be one of the most important and influential women to be recognized in the last century. But, I would say beyond my own personal bias there is a deep reverence and respect for this woman who has battled hardship and prejudice for most of her life simply because she has decided to fight for something she believes in.

Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of Aung San who founded the modern Burmese army and is responsible for liberating Burma from the British Empire when Suu Kyi was just 2 years old.  Following in her fathers footsteps she pursued politics after obtaining very reputable degrees and returned to Burma to fight for independence.

Burma is buddhist country that is still enveloped in the darkness of spirituality, political oppression and military rule. Their approach to socialism has been described as  ‘an amalgam of Buddhist and Marxist illogic’ by Newsweek. Overall the country has lived in severe poverty, unrest and a superstitious mentality that rules even their government.

Suu Kyi recognized the oppression that the government placed on its people and she decided that she did not have to remain silent about her desire for a democratic country, but instead speak out for it. One of her most recognized quotes is:

“You should never let your fears prevent you from doing what you know is right.”

While many people will find quaint ways of saying what they believe, rarely will you find a person that puts their life behind their words. Suu Kyi has done just that, spending 15 of the last 21 years under house arrest for speaking out against the governmental powers and asking for democracy and freedom for her people. She is looked to as a national hero by the Burmese people, a model of inspiration for those who still suffer oppression, a picture of dignity who does not use her gender as an excuse for women who don’t have a voice, and an activist that has not stopped in the face of threats, hardships and dangers for those who desire to see change.

A Nobel Peace Prize winner, a daughter, a wife, a mother, a politician, an activist, a woman… she has changed the world through her commitment to action against oppression.

“I don’t believe in people just hoping. We work for what we want. I always say that one has no right to hope without endeavor”



Filed under Causes, Human Interest, Women's History Month