Wonder Women: Meet Mandy

Have you ever met a champion fighter? I have. Meet Mandy.

Mandy M

Mandy fights for her daughter Makayla by making sure she gets the experiences at home and in school that will help her grow and learn. Mandy is teaching her daughter how to be strong herself so she can be her own fighter someday. Mandy is a fighter for the sick and lonely by working as a caregiver.

These battles alone would warrant the title of champion fighter and a seat with the great Wonder Women of the world. However, Mandy is also a fighter because she fights for herself. She fights for her own health and happiness. And that is the greatest fight one can fight.

Mandy is a Wonder Woman.

 

 

Wonder Woman: Meet Sarah

Have you ever met a guardian?  I have. Meet Sarah.

Sarah is a guardian of nature. She loves the woods. Her passion for the great pines has inspired her to share that love with her family and friends.  She takes her kids on nature walks, introduces them to snow and loves to spend time outside in the wild. Sarah is a guardian in other ways. She is a person who guards, protects and preserves what she feels is true and beautiful.

sarah-s-picture

Like many of the Wonder Woman I’ve spotlighted, Sarah’s first response to an invitation to be recognized was a statement of not having done anything really spectacular in her life.

Sarah, you ARE doing something spectacular. You are taking what you love and sharing it with others.  That’s something beautiful, noble and long lasting.

sarah-s-picture-2

Sarah is a Wonder Woman.

 

 

 

Wonder Woman: Meet Stephanie

We live in a divided world. It’s a world where people pick a side, set up a tent and start throwing oranges at anyone who picks a different camp site.  It’s a world where name calling has replaced discussion. That’s why this week’s Wonder Woman is so important. She has found a way to maintain her own thoughts and beliefs without trampling on the right of others to disagree with her.

Have you ever met such a person? I have. Meet Stephanie. She’s a diplomat.

Steph

I met Stephanie at work. I was in the break room waiting for my food to cook in the microwave. It’s amazing what you can see in 5 minutes. Two of my co-workers sat at a nearby table debating a controversial political topic. I could tell they had been at the debate for a while. Voices were loud and words were filled with sarcastic personal attacks. The frustration was just dripping off both of their bodies and the cynicism could be felt throughout the break room. The debate was no longer a healthy dialogue with thoughtful questions. It had turned into war. Then Stephanie walked into the room. I watched in amazement as she engaged her co-workers in a short conversation about the same topic. It was like watching a conductor bring the strengths of the various instruments together to create a beautiful symphony. Stephanie found a way to validate the feelings of the two co-workers and interject her own thoughts without criticizing either person. The entire tone of the conversation changed. The co-workers lowered their voices, their language switched to dialogue instead of attacks. They decided that although they could never agree about the topic that they could agree to not call each other names. The feeling in the room went from frustration to peace.  The words of the prayer by St. Francis of Assisi came into my mind . “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love”.

That’s what Stephanie did that day. She was an instrument of peace and restored love to the lunch room. Since that time, I’ve observed these two co-workers. They still talk about all kinds of political, religious and social issues. They still have very differing views on many issues and will probably never vote the same way. That’s not the point.  The point is that they have found a way to talk about hard things without throwing attacks at each other. I don’t think this happened by accident. I believe that Stephanie started that for them. She mediated the conversation and helped everyone put down their oranges.

And for that, Stephanie is a Wonder Woman.

Stephanie

 

Wonder Woman: Meet SJ

Have you ever met a mermaid? I have. Meet SJ.

SJ and guitar

You might be wondering how I know SJ is a mermaid. Well, she meets all the characteristics of the mystical ocean creature.  Mermaids are natural beauties. They have kind, generous personalities with a flair for love, beauty, music and romance. They have passion for living life by their own design. Mermaids can live in the water or on the land. Home is based on who and what they love. Their love isn’t defined by geographic or cultural boundaries. SJ  loves greatly. She’s kind, thoughtful, intelligent and creates a joyful atmosphere wherever she goes. SJ is an artist as she crafts intricate hairstyles in her career as a cosmetologist. She sings and plays instruments. She’s also a romantic soul, because she and her boyfriend write telegrams to each other. (That’s got to be the coolest, retro thing I’ve heard of in a long time.)

Telegram

SJ is a Mermaid. She’s also a Wonder Woman because she is herself.

 

SJ the Mermaid

Be a Wonder Woman. Be yourself.

 

 

 

Wonder Women: Meet Teresa

Teresa

Have you ever met someone who is really rich?  I have. Her name is Teresa.

I met Teresa when I was a little kid. She happens to be my aunt. I know what you are thinking. “Amee, that’s great that your aunt is well off. Why aren’t you trying to get her to give you some of her lovely money to fix up your old car? ”

Guess What?  Teresa has a beat up car too. Teresa’s wealth is found in her positive and thankful heart. Like many people, Teresa has struggled with health challenges, unemployment and the disappointments that come in life. Unlike most folks, Teresa has found a way to look on the bright side while still dealing with the reality of the present moment. Let me tell you a story that proves my point about Teresa’s gift for gratitude.  Once upon a time Aunt Teresa and her kids decided to take a road trip to visit my family.  During the 14 hour drive to see us, the air conditioner in Teresa’s car broke, two of her kids got sick and she received some news that her husband’s company was going to lay him off.  I overheard Teresa on the phone talking with my uncle about how they were going to pay the bills. After Teresa got off the phone, I asked her what was going on. She told me about the crazy events that had occurred on their drive to see us. After the explanation, I was expecting to hear Teresa lament her life or at least say she was really mad. I’d want to throw something if all those things happened to me in one day. She didn’t do that though. Teresa told me she was still one of the richest people in the world because she got to see all of us.

It was a simple conversation with a 15-year-old niece. I don’t know if Teresa even remembers it after all these years. It left an impression on me though. Teresa is a really rich person. She’s grateful.

In addition to raising some awesome kids, (I’m biased. Hi cousins.) Teresa teaches preschool and sings in a church choir. She and her husband Rick feel strongly that being grateful and positive have made their life easier. They just started their own blog all about living a grateful and positive life.

Teresa is a Wonder Woman!

Wonder Woman: Meet Anita

Have you ever met an accountant? I have. Her name is Anita.

Anita

As a girl, Anita enjoyed math. Her love for math eventually led her to college where she studied accounting. Anita has worked for both private and government organizations. Her ability to collect, organize and analyze data to find out what really counts has earned her recognition and respect.  I could end this Wonder Woman post right here. Anita’s professional success as a Certified Public Accountant has been noteworthy.

Anita is not just any Wonder Woman though. She’s my Wonder Woman. She taught me what counts.

I met Anita when I was a teen. She was a volunteer youth mentor at my church. One day we had an activity where a painting instructor came to help the girls make cute decorations for their bedrooms. There were many oohs and ahhs as the instructor held up a wooden  heart washed in white paint. In the middle of the white heart, red calligraphy said “Love One Another”.  The other girls quickly started following the instructor’s directions and their hearts were soon bathing in white paint. I had a problem though. I didn’t want a white heart. I wanted a red heart with white polka dots. The instructor wasn’t very happy with me. My heart wasn’t going to look like the other hearts. It didn’t match the example and would look horrible on my bedroom wall.

I’ll never forgot what Anita said to the painting instructor.  “Amee can paint her heart whatever color she wants. It’s her heart”.  I painted the heart red. After I made the white polka dots, I kept going with the color theme. I added blue boxes, rainbows, green fishes and smiley faces to my heart creation. The poor painting instructor looked a little stressed as I wrote “Love One Another” in black paint at the center of my little heart and then flipped the heart over and wrote “Live Long and Prosper” on the other side.  My heart didn’t look at all like the other girl’s hearts.  My heart would never be held up as the example to follow for future artists to copy and I didn’t care. It was my heart and I loved it.  And I loved Anita for letting me be myself.

Anita taught me something that day. She taught me what really counts.

Anita is a Wonder Woman.

 

Wonder Woman: Meet Brooke

Have you ever met a lighthouse keeper? I have. Her name is Brooke.

Brooke

I met Brooke in high school. We were in choir together. I remember being impressed with Brooke’s enthusiasm for life and the happy, positive light she carried with her. Some people lose their light when they grow up and have to face the real world with all of its harsh critics and responsibilities. This wasn’t Brooke. Brooke’s light just grew more when faced with the trials of adulthood.

Brooke inspires others with her attitude and wise words. Here is one of Brooke’s words of wisdom. “It’s so easy to get caught up in the virtual world instead of the real world. It doesn’t even come close to comparison. Yet how many times do we choose a movie over playing with our children?” I’ve learned a lot from Brooke. After I read those words from her, I decided to take a Facebook fast for a week. I want to be in the real world.

Brooke will probably tell you she’s an ordinary person raising five children and teaching music lessons to a few neighborhood kids. That’s not the whole truth though. Brooke is a lighthouse keeper. She is a Mom to five children who each have their own little lights. A lighthouse keeper is the person responsible for tending and caring for the lights in the lighthouse. The lighthouse keeper has to have her own light in order to shine and organize all of the other lights in her care. I’m glad I know her. Her light has helped me.

Wonder Women may think they are ordinary but the truth is that ordinary lives are made amazing by wonderful people.

Brooke is a Wonder Woman.