Funny how the world sees "real women. . ."

Evidenced by all the Real Housewives of. . . shows which seem to be overtaking our televisions, it appears that the world believes we should all be wealthy, pampered, enviable, catty, curvaceous, gorgeous, and more. While we may be gorgeous, most of us are not rich or spoiled or even catty. We are ~ simply put ~ real.

The idea for this blog came after watching a few of those real housewives shows and realizing just how skewed the views of everyday life can be through the eyes of these women. Particularly to those of us in the trenches, working day-in-day-out to take care of ourselves, our children, our parents, our spouses/partners. Those of us who are out there earning a living, who may be dealing with catastrophic events or troubled children or medical issues or partner concerns.

This is a call to all women everywhere who live everyday lives and who want to simply do their best as they love all, laugh often, and live fully. Let us unite with our whole heart and soul, with humanity and grace, with vigor and hope. We are women and we are thankful to be so!

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Monday Hero ~ Lovely Lori

Although difficult to admit, when I first met Lori I was not exactly sure how I would feel about her. However, I did fully realize that this came from the emotional place I was in at the time; it had absolutely no direct relation to the woman Lori is. Rather, my psyche decided to be judgmental based on where she was from, not who she was. Truly, my bad!

Once I was able to put that aside, I began to realize just what a sensational woman I was finally befriending. Learning that we had much in common, I started to see Lori as not only a colleague but also as a friend. And to me, the word "friend" has the deepest of meanings; I do not use it randomly.

Lori has the empathy of a Christ-like woman. She is no respecter of persons; she treats all who cross her path as she would treat her closest and dearest friend. She recognizes the good in people as a whole and as individuals. The strength she possesses in this manner is beyond what I hope to achieve in this life, yet I hold it as a beacon for becoming.

Through trials and difficulties, Lori remains steadfast, holding her head high, even barreling through with the knowledge that "this too shall pass." With such a daily demeanor, she moves gracefully through one challenge and readily accepts the next, knowing that her character and spirit will only grow stronger.

Lori, you are my hero ~ thank you for teaching me. Thank you for loving me despite my crazy "friend" idiosyncrasies! I respect what you have shown me and I am indebted to you for the support and care you share! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Monday Hero - Incredible, Captivating KC!

Not only is she beautiful, but KC has the effervescent, magnetic personality to match. She is one of those women we look at and ~ before we even meet her ~ we wonder:  Is she really as nice as she is gorgeous? And then we are introduced and we discover that she is! Indeed, one year, while living in Alaska, KC was the first runner-up in the Mrs. Alaska contest ~ what an awesome honor!

As a U.S. Coast Guard spouse, KC has the unique opportunity to experience many parts of the country every three to four years, exposing her two terrific children to a variety of people, cultures, cities and towns, foods, and all manner of assorted and diverse life experiences. 

And speaking of her children, they are the epitome of cute! They exhibit the looks and traits of both parents, neatly wrapped in packages of fun and mischievousness (just check out their photo!). Just like their parents.

I realized fully how much KC meant to me when she knocked on my door one day several years ago. She had noticed when she saw me earlier in the day that I was not all that happy; she just came by to see what she could do. 

As that was a very difficult time period, I really was almost unbearable to be around. Yet KC had the internal fortitude to talk with me when most everyone else was happily avoiding me. Not only did she go out of her way to check and see how I was and how she could help, she also was not intimidated by my intensity and the questions I felt I needed to ask her. Rather than shrink away and hope I would soon emerge from my nearly vehement mood (as others had done), KC responded with love and compassion and empathy, letting me know just how important I was to her and that she felt nothing but love for me. 

Truthfully, that was the best thing she could have done, and it certainly softened my heart. This small gesture helped pull me from the depression into which I felt myself spiraling. Further, KC's tenderness and love reaffirmed my faith in humanity and instilled a desire to rid myself of the intense anger I had allowed to govern my life for several weeks. 

KC, you are my hero ~ I hold you in high esteem and I admire the good works you do. You have imprinted yourself on my heart. I will always love you and respect you. You represent womanhood well ~ both publicly and privately ~ and for that I will be forever grateful!

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Monday Hero - Amazing Angie!

Honestly, from the first day I met her, I have held Angie in high esteem and had great admiration for her. She is not only a beautiful young mother, but she is also one of the most consistent individuals I know. And in my book, consistency is what shouts out to me as the character trait I am most likely to unequivocally trust.

I am thinking it has to be about four or so years since Angie and her husband of (then) ten years moved to Southeast Alaska from the bone-chilling, seemingly cryogenic arctic northern part of the state where 60° below zero is not uncommon, even on the warm days! Both she and her husband are school teachers by profession and they taught school to Native Alaskans for several years. In that time, I believe they somehow became part Native Alaskan themselves. . .or at the very least, they have successfully adopted many of the customs and traditions of these incredible people of the north. 

And now, a couple of years later, they have the cutest precocious little tow-headed guy running around their house. . .and probably anywhere else he can get to! He is a handful; yet I see Angie ~ in her consistency and patience ~ showing forth the greatest love for her charge. She has a ready smile and radiant eyes. In fact, those eyes speak volumes. Although still a young woman (at least by my estimation), she has experienced portions and remnants and snippets of life which would seem quite foreign to most of us. And from that, Angie exhibits wisdom and a sense of life well beyond the capacity I would attribute to most human beings. She is, in a word, phenomenal.

Not only do I hold Angie in high esteem, but I have had the privilege to observe multiple interactions between her and her husband. In so doing, I see the light in his eyes when he is near her, I see the admiration he has for her when she is in the spotlight ~ such as presenting in front of a group ~ and I see the depth of devotion he has for this woman who agreed to marry him over a decade ago. To me, the opportunity to quietly listen and watch this couple has been a treat and a blessing. 

Angie, you are my hero. I love you, I admire you, I commend your successes in this life and this world. You are one of those rare "unsung heroes" we hear about so often, and secretly wish we could be. Thank you for blessing my life!

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Monday Hero - Sensational Sabra!

My cousin Sabra (who used to spell it Sabre'!), is one of my very favorite people in the world! She is a one-woman show, truly. I have literally known her all of my life, and we've been buds the entire time. Consider that I've pushed past the half-century range. . .that's a very long time ~ in people years! 

I recall visiting Sabra and her family when we were children and hearing her father wish her and her sisters a good-night over the radio where he deejay-ed. Radio was a natural element for this family, as they are the ultimate talent when it comes to music and singing. All they have to do is stand all together and begin a song, a cappella, and the most glorious harmonies appear out of nowhere! Including biology and half-siblings, Sabra's family boasts seven girls and two boys. What an incredibly awesome choir to behold!

Yet, as this week's Monday Hero, Sabra tops the list not because of her melodious forte, but because of her phenomenal strength, leadership, charity, and intense love for her family. Recently Sabra posted on her facebook page that she has found the "language of love; it is Alzheimer's." This simple statement brought tears to my eyes and a deep outpouring of love for this extraordinary cousin. 

Sabra ~ who owns and runs her own mortgage business ~ has taken her mother, diagnosed with Alzheimer's only a few short years ago, into her home to care for her day and night. Somehow she has created the capacity to stretch time and space into whatever is needed. With so many siblings, Sabra certainly has help, yet the most compelling thing. . .she would do the same whether she had siblings or not! 

A comedian, a singer, a businesswoman, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a cousin, and more ~ Sabra is and always will be at the top of my Hero List! She cracks me up without even trying, while at the same time showing forth a tenderness and kindliness beyond compare. She is energy and might and strength in one package who loves deeply and cares fiercely. 

Sabra, you are my family and you are my friend. Having a cousin who has so profoundly become a best friend ~ what a glorious blessing! I adore you, I love you beyond compare, and I strive to become what you exemplify with the strength of character you exhibit. You are my hero!

06.07.2011 - CLARIFICATION:
After posting yesterday, my dear cousin Sabra clarified that her Mom does not actually live with her in her home. In Sabra's words: 

"Mom, thanks to her pension, social security, and part of Ted's pension, lives in a memory care center called Legacy Village. It is five minutes from my house and work. It is about two blocks away from Aunt Fern, and when Ted lived with his son, Donny, it was about five minutes away for him......centrally located, Mom has visits from your sister, Aunt Lucile, Elma Leta and Linda Anne, and Cristi's work is just down the street. So we have been fortunate to find a spot where everyone can visit when they want." 

Thank you for assuring my information is accurate; doing so speaks even more fully to the honorable and extraordinary woman you are! That being said, Sabra, you are and will always remain my hero for the many and multiple things I have listed above. You are awesome, incredible, and wonderful. If I could put you on a plane to Alaska once a month, I would do so, just to get my "Sabra-hit," which is all too rare these days!