Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mom's Arrival!

The past few days I have been really relaxing and looking through pictures because I am winding down from a crazy two adventure.  It started on March 7th when my fantastic mama flew into to Venice to spend some quality mother-daughter time before my brother and dad arrived on the 11th.  It was awesome!  As most of you know I have been living in Europe since October and loving it.  The only downsides are not being around my family or being able to pick up a phone whenever I want to call my best friends.  Needless to say I was ecstatic to see my mama!

My friend Gretchen went with me to pick her up from the airport, then we went to Murano Island to watch the artisans make the famous glass, buying Murano glass stemware for me with platinum detailing on the rims, and ended our day walking around Venice.  

It was an awesome day!  My next post will be our 3 day trip to Spain before Dad and Jared arrived. :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines resilience as 1) the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress 2) an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.  I started thinking about this word often since reading the late Elizabeth Edwards' book which is coincidentally titled, ResilienceIt struck me that this word, this profound word, can conjure great emotion from all who have witnessed it in action.  I am not talking about the physical act of the body returning to its previous glory after a horrific accident but of the spirit and soul returning or surpassing its former state by overcoming great strife.  
I realize most people label themselves as either a democrat or republican, conservative or liberal, believer or non-believer, leader or follower; but this entry is not to promote any of the "either/or/and/but/nor/yets."  If you know me you know my heart lies within the advocacy for children (all children not just special needs) and for what is just.  I love my earthly father and my Heavenly Father.  I stand for the constitution not a party and ideology of moral and fiscal fairness.  All this being said it is easy to gather I love to read.  I read books, magazines, online articles, political blogs, name it.  This love for and need for understanding led me to read Resilience.  My husband gave it to me for Christmas along with 12 other books and for some reason I kept putting it to the side while reading everything else first.  Maybe it is because we all know her ending.  Maybe it is because thinking about how a woman who lost her teenage son in a car accident, had cancer not once but twice, stood by her husband and even encouraged him to stay in the race for President while she was literally battling for her life, and then watched her marriage fall apart in front of the world because of her husbands infidelity makes me hurt and sickened.  Maybe it is because through all the disgusting coverage from the media she stayed strong in her faith and strong in her dedication to rising above the smut.  Whatever the reason was for shelving this book I did not pick it up until recently.  
Upon reading through each tragedy, hearing her descriptions which grip your soul, and being amazed how she pushes forward no matter the circumstance I began to reflect.  Who are the people in my life who have shaped me? defined strength, faith, courage, and resilience? loved even when it was impossible to love?  Of course my one true north is the Lord whom I can never thank enough or give high enough praise.  My questions are directed more towards the women I hold in regard. 
The answers lie within the strong women in which I am surrounded whether they are family members, friends, or even a leader whom I greatly respect and have followed in their career and lives.  My list is:
1) Faye Grogan Adams, my great-grandmother (ie "Memaw Faye")
2) Frances Boozer Wallace, my precious grandmother (ie "Memaw")
3) Bethany Boozer Ferguson, my mama
4) Ashleigh Hunsberger Greenhaw, my best friend since the 1st day of college/rush
5) Sarah Virginia Smith, one of my closest friends since day 1 of college
6) Amanda Riddle Gertig, the kindest woman I have ever known & the older sister I never had
7) Laura Bush, Elizabeth Edwards, Maya Angelou, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Eunice Shriver Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, Susan B. Anthony, Mother Theresa, Margaret Thatcher
These women are people who have seen great obstacles in their lifetime and some how managed to not only overcome them, but also use them as stepping stones to greater things.  The situations for each woman are as different as their time period for living and as their social standing in society but all share the common thread of resilience.  I have observed firsthand, heard about, watched on the news, shared in the pain, reaped the benefits, or just admired these women for the following actions (won't link with who but the list is just a summary): overcoming polio as a baby to live a life without use of her legs and with NO complaints-EVER; stood by their husbands with dignity and class as they overcame sickness/loss/betrayal or their husband led the free with unyielding criticism while the world capitalized and exploited their pain; started the Special Olympics and advocated until her death for adults and children with mental and physical disabilities; fought in a male dominated profession to become the first woman Supreme Court Justice while another became  the Prime Minister of England; was one of the leaders in the Women's Suffrage Movement; overcame parental disappointment and a devastating personal loss in her family to become a living testament for joy and a light for so many that love her (and there are-oh-so-many); shares her love for life-gratitude for her Saviour-and total excitement for His plan for her journey daily even sometimes she feels alone or as if in waiting; suffered an injury that produced constant pain with no relief for 2 years and yet managed to support and show love for her family and friends without fail; dedicated her life to the poor/suffering/down-trodden/dying/and diseased unselfishly with every ounce of her being and made the world pay attention; has provided peace through writing/speaking/and her actions since before the Civil Rights Movement; and finally two women on this list showed me what it meant to work hard/dream huge dreams/never give up/love even when you feel like it is pointless/life with grace and dignity/take an obstacle and make it a blessing/ and become the most loyal and honest version of yourself.

I am so humbled to know some of these women and to have been able to benefit/learn from the stances the women I do not personally know took on each issue.  The ability to recover from great loss or adjust to monumental change is something I think everyone hopes they have and possess.  I know I pray I do.  I wrote this post basically to thank the Lord for putting amazing life examples in MY LIFE.  So think about it...who are the people who have inspired your soul through being living examples of resiliency??
This is for my Memaw & Mama.