Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

#CoverCrush: The Hundred Gifts

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.

I love stacked packages about as much as I love stacked tea cups. And these are wrapped in brown string. How charming is that? The colors are muted but happy and there are flowers in the background. What are the gifts? Are they tangible gifts you could unwrap or are they gifts from the heart? What is the story?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's CourtFlashlight CommentaryA Bookaholic SwedeLayered PagesA Literary Vacation, Of Quills and Vellum.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Daughters of the Night Sky...Spotlight

About the book:
A novel—inspired by the most celebrated regiment in the Red Army—about a woman’s sacrifice, courage, and love in a time of war.

Russia, 1941. Katya Ivanova is a young pilot in a far-flung military academy in the Ural Mountains. From childhood, she’s dreamed of taking to the skies to escape her bleak mountain life. With the Nazis on the march across Europe, she is called on to use her wings to serve her country in its darkest hour. Not even the entreaties of her new husband—a sensitive artist who fears for her safety—can dissuade her from doing her part as a proud daughter of Russia.

After years of arduous training, Katya is assigned to the 588th Night Bomber Regiment—one of the only Soviet air units comprised entirely of women. The Germans quickly learn to fear nocturnal raids by the daring fliers they call “Night Witches.” But the brutal campaign will exact a bitter toll on Katya and her sisters-in-arms. When the smoke of war clears, nothing will ever be the same—and one of Russia’s most decorated military heroines will face the most agonizing choice of all.

About the author:
Aimie K. Runyan writes to celebrate history’s unsung heroines. She is the author of two previous historical novels: Promised to the Crown and Duty to the Crown, and hard at work on novel #4. She is active as an educator and a speaker in the writing community and beyond. She lives in Colorado with her wonderful husband and two (usually) adorable children. To learn more about Aimie and her work, please visit her website or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks to Novel Expressions for the opportunity to spotlight this novel. Look for my review later this week.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Weekend Reflections 3/10

Looking outside...it's sunny and about 52. It's gorgeous and warm with a clear blue sky.

Listening...to the distiller. The Artist is on his computer. The Boy and the Doctor are working on the car.

Loving...blue sky and sunshine.

Thinking...that I need to transfer laundry.

In my kitchen...Chick-Fil-A at the moment, because The Boy and I had to go out to Harbor Freight to get a tool needed to fix the car. 

Can I just say how much I hate the smell of Harbor Freight? It's the same smell as in the tire place and it makes me nauseous. The Boy could have stayed all day. I don't get it.

Wearing...denim skirt, short sleeved white t-shirt and green cardigan, but I was too warm with the cardigan, so I took it off.

Reading...I need to finish Daughters of the Night Sky by Aimie Runyan for a post that will go up on Monday.

Today...this is The Artist's final play performance. So we are all going.

Quoting..."Amazing things happen when women help other women." -- Kasia Gospos 

Feeling...thoughtful. I saw an article yesterday about a young woman at BYU who had an assignment to do a guerrilla art project (public) and chose to do something that highlighted the fact that women are underrepresented on the BYU campus (for example, of 110 buildings, only 3 are named after women). The one statue that features a woman, is part of a family unit with a father and child.

I found her project fantastic and her comments thoughtful. The goal was to get people to ask questions and boy did they. But more than that, many were vitriolic and critical and assuming that she was criticizing motherhood, because the sign on the statue said, "women are more than mothers". Other signs said, "Where is the building named after me?"

In an interview, this girl dared to say, "'When you are acknowledging that women do other things aside from motherhood, you're not degrading motherhood. You're saying women can be more than one thing. They can wear many hats,' said Adams." I absolutely agree with her statement.

But like we tend to do in the church, we get judgmental and defensive. And so, in comments on FB, she was being criticized and lectured about the important role that mothers play. A role that she never put down or disagreed with.

No where in this girl's statements or signs did she put down any woman or any role taken by a woman. She just pointed out that women have not been recognized for the influence they have had on BYU, where so many men had. She pointed out that women are accomplished and deserve recognition. She didn't leave out the women who stay home to raise their children.

Why is it that if a woman has a career in addition to being a mother, she is looked at as not being a good mother, by people in the church? Why is it that if a woman has only ever been a mother who stays home, she is often defensive about her role?

I don't get it. Truly, I don't. Women being recognized or acknowledged takes nothing away from motherhood. We can have more than one role or title. One woman's accomplishments don't diminish another's. A woman who has been a stay at home mom for 30 years is no less than the woman who has had a business career for 30 years.

I am so tired of the whole right and wrong thing. There is no true right or wrong in politics. There are differences of belief and opinion. There is no right or wrong in what role a woman takes in life. I have had a career. I have been a stay at home mom. I have worked outside my home and sent my kids to daycare. I've been there for all of it. I don't look at any one of those seasons as better than the others. I certainly don't think I am better than someone who has had different experiences than mine.

Why are we threatened by outspoken women? Especially from a religious standpoint? Seriously? Why? I see it at church so often. With too many men in leadership, they just want you to do your jobs and not rock any boats. Others might ask for your opinion, but what they really want is for you to just agree with them. They don't know how to take a woman who is assertive and not afraid to speak up for herself or her organization. Other men get it and I have appreciated the times I have worked with those men and was never made to feel less or that I should keep silent.

And then, we have the catfighting. The mom wars that cross all lines, religious or otherwise. We are patronizing to the woman who isn't married, or who can't have children. We judge the woman who works outside her home and feel so superior because we stay at home with our children and are raising better children than she is. We work outside our homes and feel so much more enlightened than the poor woman who has never gotten her education or had a job.

We are women. We are women who are marching against misogyny and who are standing up to sexual harassment, but who can't find it in ourselves to support each other in the day to day.

Seriously. Get off your high horses. You're going to fall off at some point anyway. You're no better than I am and I'm no better than you are. We just live different lives and have different views. You're not wrong and I'm not wrong. But, we are women. We need to support each other instead of judging. We need to look at a situation and say, "Hmmm. Interesting. I'm not sure I completely agree with that statement, but IT'S NOT A JUDGMENT AGAINST ME, it's just someone else's opinion" and leave it.

I am so grateful to have been raised by parents who taught me that I could be and do anything I wanted. That I was responsible for my own happiness. My father raised me and my sisters to be independent. He encouraged and supported my mother in her endeavors and choices. I married a man who is the same way. Who treats me as his equal, his partner. Who encourages me and finds joy in my accomplishments and successes and doesn't feel threatened because of them. I find joy in motherhood. I find joy in womanhood. I find joy in working with my husband to build our practice and I find joy in being with my children. I found joy in my life when I was single and nearly 30 and not sure that I would ever marry.

I have struggled with jealousy. I think we all do. I have struggled with my own self-worth. I think we all do. I struggle daily with comparing myself to others and believing I come up short. I am working on all of these things. I am also trying to be better at showing happiness and enthusiasm for the successes of the women around me. I am working at being supportive and encouraging when I can and helpful if necessary.

It was International Woman's Day this week. There is so much out there about awareness and recognizing women. How about we start right where we are? Are you on Facebook or sitting in front of a keyboard? Drop a comment of encouragement to another woman. Give a kudos or a congratulations if someone has something to celebrate or has accomplished? Ignore a post that might make you feel threatened. I guarantee that it is not directed at you.

Be these women, all of whom were sitting in LAX waiting for a plane. And instead of judging a young mother, they all helped her. As the author of the post said, "It occurred to me that a circle of women, with a mission, can save the world. I will never forget that moment." Let your mission be to help and encourage other women. It's going to be mine.

Be kind. Do good. Love is a verb.

Planning...this week. I get to have the delightful opportunity for a colonoscopy. Not looking forward to it, honestly.

Gratitude...for a father who wasn't afraid of strong women, who recognized their strength and contributions to the world. For my husband, who thinks I'm better than I do and who appreciates my strengths instead of being threatened by then.

From my world... 

My favorite way to use essential oils is by roller bottle. I had a mess of roller bottles floating around my purse and I found this awesome case. It holds 12 and is small enough to fit in my purse. Is it the cutest?

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?