Finding Courage in History: An Introduction

By Lenora Bendall

“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”

-John Wayne

Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, Joan of Arc, Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Edmund Hillary…If you were asked to name a historical figure who was the epitome of courage, these are some of the
names you would think of. Finding courage in history isn’t hard. History is filled with inspirational stories of extraordinary people overcoming extraordinary circumstances. People who were leaders or groundbreakers or glass ceiling breakers. We hear about them all the time.

In my time studying history I have discovered that the most inspiring stories and courageous figures in history come from those we don’t always hear about. Yes, it takes great courage to lead a movement or fight against oppressors, but it takes a different kind of courage to live through the Blitzkrieg or take your fishing boat into a warzone. It takes a different kind of courage to overcome a disability to become a leader. It is a special kind of courage to face your personal demons to bring joy and inspiration into the world.

This series will tell you the stories of the everyday people who were, as John Wayne once famously said, “scared to death but saddled up anyway.” Being brave or having courage isn’t about facing down your enemies or personal demons without fear but doing it in spite of the fear. History is filled with people doing amazing things despite the pressures and fears, and we hear about so many amazing people, but we are here to pull inspiration from the everyday and that is something that history can teach us as well.

Courage to Listen to Meaningful Music

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. ” (Colossians 3:16)

“…teaching and admonishing one another…” Songs of worship should be teaching and admonishing. We have so many beautiful and meaningful songs that have been written and loved over the years. Unfortunately, today’s songs of worship are meaningless repetitive phrases teaching and admonishing nothing. There is a generation of children that have not been moved emotionally or spiritually by loving sermons in the form of songs. I have heard MANY people complain about this switch in the music of the church. What I mostly see are songs that are have gone away from teaching and admonishing because they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. It’s hard to learn the gospel and to confirm it within one’s soul and life experiences. It’s hard to walk away from the temptations of the world, and some songs of the past teach of us how to do that.

I’ve listed some of the songs that have touched my heart deeply over the years, and I am so glad that I had that foundation to build on instead of the repetitive phrases used today.

“Only Trust Him” is a song that has resonated to me for almost my entire life. Followed closely behind that is “Just As I Am”. Two songs that can uplift and give hope to anyone in need of the extra boost to make it through the week ahead.

“Onward Christian Soldiers” always let me know I wasn’t in this battle alone, I had many other ‘soldiers’ in the same battle to make it day by day.

Perhaps the sermon that is one of the most beautiful of all is the touching “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief”. This song teaches a strong lesson in helping others. The much shorter song, “Love One Another, As I Have Loved You” teaches the same lesson. Both songs have such a powerful message.

The children’s song “I Am A Child of God” pleads with parents to teach their children about God. Such a beautiful message for us in the day when many parents feel they are in a daily battle to keep their children close to God.

“I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go” is one of the most beautiful songs of complete submission to the gospel, and the earthly mission in which each of us are participating. “I Stand All Amazed” is the confirmation of how we actually can follow the gospel of Christ, and see the wonders in our lives.

The sermon, “How Great Thou Art” and “Oh My Father” teach of the divineness of Heavenly Father, and our testimony of His truly wonderful creations.

I can’t imagine my life without these touching, beautiful psalms. They each require looking at the real teachings of the Gospel, and, the admonishing of the Gospel. They allow the Spirit to touch the heart with full testimony. They bring us closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ through the beautiful teaching lyrics. I pray that we each look further into the sermons that encompass the songs of faith. Find the sermon, lesson, or admonishment; if it isn’t there, it isn’t a hymn of praise or worship.

Duluth Trading for Women

What?! The beaver proof clothing has women’s clothing?? Yes, it does. It reminds me of L. L. Bean,

Shoes by Skechers, trouser socks by Hanes, pants by Duluth Trading Co., tunic and vest by Bryn Walker.

however a bit more fashionable. Did I say fashionable? It is basically very classic styling with a hint of up to date thrown in. I got a basic cotton shirt, a scarf, and a pair of career pants. The shirt is awesome, and does require a bit of ironing, some might not iron it, but I don’t like any wrinkles, so I iron it.

The scarf I do love. It is soft, and I wash it each time I wear it. (Since the pandemic, I wash all scarves and jackets or sweaters each time I wear them.) It doesn’t wrinkle, so that is a big plus!!

The pants, saying I love the pants is an understatement! These pants are awesome. First of all, they are dress pants, and they…have….pockets! The only drawback is that there are no belt loops, it is a banded waist that fits comfortably. However, if I go down a size, I can’t use a belt. The pants also come in different inseam sizes, not petite, inseam sizes. This is good for people like me who are short enough to wear the petite, but, my torso is long. Petite sizes have shorter torsos. They do not fit me well at all, they make me crazy! This has the regular torso, and the legs are shorter, awesomeness!! They wash well, and I do not dry them. I’m terrified of them shrinking, and they are too perfect to shrink! They dry nicely, and have absolutely no wrinkles.

So, they may be made to be beaver-proof…but they are also a great clothing line!

http://www.duluthtrading.com

Courage to Say “Why Me Lord”, Part 2

Try me lord,
If you think there’s a way,
I can try to repay,
All I’ve taken from you,
Maybe Lord,
I can show someone else,
What I’ve been through myself,
On my way back to you,

Jesus, my soul’s in your hands.

Last week we challenged you to find those things for which you are grateful, and where you have ‘wasted’ talents or other traits or material items you have. This week it’s the rest of the song, where one asks how to repay for that that has been wasted. Our first step on that road is repentance. Repenting of wasting precious time or situations, and then, just as the song says, encourage others to see those things in their lives that need to be changed.

This one can be tricky. I do not think this means go to those who in your eyes have wasted talents or situations and tell them what they need to do with their life from this point forward. It means, if the situation comes forward, don’t walk away from it. It means, by your example teach others how to change.

Recently I lost enough weight that it was noticeable. Several have come to me to ask what I have done to lose that weight. One even asked at what point did go down a size in clothing, and shared her own frustration in not going down in clothing size. We discussed body type and how her particular body type doesn’t lose weight in the areas that would move her down a size. However, I pointed out that her pants legs and blouse arms were not tight any longer. She began to understand and felt better about not losing clothing sizes. Now, those that asked what I was doing didn’t really make those changes; however, one has tried, taking baby steps toward those changes needed.

We can definitely share our own personal victories in change with others, however, also realizing that they may not really be ready for the effort it takes to change.

The repentance part seems a bit extreme for most things; however, if it is something that is holding you back, turn it over Jesus. Put it on His shoulders. No matter the situation, breaking a bad habit is not beyond placing it on the Atonement. He suffered in Gethsemane all that we can and would suffer in our bad choices, not to mention things that just happen. So, saying it isn’t big enough to get down on your knees and ask for assistance to make this change, just isn’t a true statement. Otherwise, most of us would never know what the Atonement is about. If we save the Atonement for that day in our lives when we break one of the 10 Commandments, that day may never come! Probably the one that we could definitely have the broadest need for would be keeping the Sabbath day holy. Truly, even in this world where Sunday is just another day, we can keep the Sabbath day holy. How many Sabbath’s have you wasted? Is it time to give back? Set that as your goal.

Courage to Ask “Why Me Lord?”

Why me Lord, what have I ever done
To deserve even one
Of the pleasures I’ve known
Tell me Lord, what did I ever do
That was worth loving you
Or the kindness you’ve shown.

I’ve loved this song since the first time I heard it quite a while ago. As I was listening to it on Pandora this week I began to think more about what the song really, truly means. Maybe not exactly what Kris Kristofferson meant when he wrote it, but songs affect each of differently. They tend to touch a part of us just when we need it. Today’s world has pundits that will tell you that the Lord has given us nothing but grief and hardships, He doesn’t intervene when people do bad things to innocent people. We can focus on that part of the world, which is Satan’s plan; or we can find gratitude in all that we do have.

I love to listen to those who have gone to Africa to teach about the gospel, or in remote South American countries. One that has touched me, and still touches me each Sunday that I get in my car and drive a paved road for 10 minutes to get to Church. A young man arrived to Church each Sunday in dirty clothes, they were ‘Sunday’ clothes, but they were dirty. He walked to Church each week, and part of his trek included passing through a small river; yes, I said through a small river. Getting to Church each week was that important to him.

Lord help me Jesus, I’ve wasted it so
Help me Jesus I know what I am
Now that I know that I’ve need you so
Help me Jesus, my soul’s in your hand.

The chorus is what hit me harder than I have ever thought about when singing along with the song. “I’ve wasted it so”…What have we wasted? Time? Talents? Opportunities to serve others? Money? Perhaps, in most of our lives, it is time. Time. We need ‘time’ to unwind. We need ‘time’ to ourselves. We need ‘time’ to refocus. We need ‘time’ to ………

As this week progresses, first, think about what you have in your life that is precious. It doesn’t need to be material items, those are what the world focuses on and that is where so many lose their way. We can say, however, ‘I have a car that gets me to where I need to go, when I need to be there.’ That car may not be a luxury car, and it may not be the latest model, but it gets over the river rather walking through the river. Then, we can focus on the other precious things that we have, family, friends, the gospel, the scriptures, and joy. So, write down in your journal those things that you have that are precious.

Then, where have you wasted what Heavenly Father has blessed you with? And, this one, I will leave to you and your moments in prayer to decide. And, as always, write it down in your journal.

These are your goals for this week. Next week we will finish the song.

Courage to Not Get on the Bandwagon

With the hyper information from social media one subject can become fact immediately without the little bit of research that could disprove that fact. One brief example is the hyper ignorance bebopping around about ivermectin. Regardless of how you feel about political situations, the mean posts, misleading memes and people just not being nice to each other one needs to do some research first. Indeed, Ivermectin IS used on animals. However, it is also used for humans. I’m not here saying use it for this or for that, I’m here saying I saw MANY posts and meme’s that strictly said Ivermectin was a horse medication not to be used by humans. Here’s an amazing fact, most medications that are used on animals, are used on humans, too. Something as simple as Benadryl is used on animals for allergies. Wow! So, does this mean we can never use Benadryl again on humans? Because that is what the social media posters are trying to get you to think. Now, main stream media causes a lot of these half truths, and then people jump on that bandwagon and run with it without even thinking it through. I used the Ivermectin just as an example, but there are so many other things out there. The most hurtful are the half truths or actual lies that are created about people just for political gain. The one that made me so angry was when a senator said that a certain presidential candidate had not paid his taxes in years. When, indeed that candidate had paid his taxes each and every year. when confronted on this, AFTER all of the damage was done, the sitting senator said, “Well its for you to prove it wrong.”

No, it’s for you to tell the truth. Why would someone even think of creating a lie just to destroy another person We have become a very harsh and critical society. We need to do better.

The goal for this week is to hesitate before spreading a meme, story, or post that is inflammatory towards someone either directly or indirectly. Don’t be involved in spreading the hate that is so prevalent today. Social media gives everyone a sort of an imagined anonymity so it enables them to imagine that there is a wall between them and the person they are spreading hurtful statements about. Instead it just engages others who feel they have the same anonymity until it has become so big that the person’s reputation is destroyed, not to mention their emotional well-being. We need to be better.

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Sock Secrets Under Boots

Amber in her cool outfit with completely not matching socks!
Boots from Torrid, leggings from Fabletics, skirt from Bryn Walker, socks from Walmart.

I’m a boot person. I live for the first day that I can actually wear boots. I have chukka boots, mid-calf boots, suede boots (that are harder to wear because it has to be cold and NOT rainy), and knee high boots. The best part of boots is that you don’t have to think about the socks you grab that morning! They don’t even have to match! And, recently, I found out that a co-worker also wears whatever socks she wants under boots!

In my work, the exception is the chukka boots, and the mid-calf boots that I can actually put matching socks on and have them barely showing scrunched down, or pulled up if I’m not wearing leggings.

But, all others, including those mid-calf boots, socks are free game! Admit it….you do the same thing!

Fashion Purchase Off of Facebook

Shoes by Amazon and pants from Bryn Walker

I kept seeing the same posts over and over, Betabrand pants. I have a difficult time finding pants that fit well. I have a long torso, and I am the tallest for petite and the shortest for regular. I always have to hem pants. Hemming is not really a problem, the problem comes when the pants are too short waisted. I have not liked the style of the shorter waistline because it hits me lower than where it is supposed to hit. So, I am always on the lookout for the pants that come to the waist, especially if they have a longer crotch to waist measurement. I have several pairs of pants from Bryn Walker, and some from Chico’s. And, before I knew it, I was ordering a pair of Betabrand pants. They arrived and I put them on immediately. The fit was fantastic, except they are made for giants. I cut off more from those pants than any other pant I have had to hem! But, they also fit me very well in the waist. I was very pleased.

They were made of a heavy knit, and so I washed them and then dried them on delicate. And, then I put them on. Oh my! They were a bit more tight, and they didn’t quit reach my waist anymore. I thought, “They seemed to fit better than this…was I imagining how they fit??” Then. I. Had. A. Thought. I looked at the tag….’Hang to dry’. Well…they mean that.

The pants are not noticeably shorter. They are noticeably tighter, and noticeably shorter in the waist. However, I am hoping that as I lose weight they will bounce back up to where they belong. I’m thinking that they have actually shrunk width wise, not length wise because they are not shorter. So, I’m thinking that as I loose some weight in my stomach and behind, they will adjust themselves. Right? I can believe this….

End result…as long as you realize that they are made for tall people, and be prepared to hem them, they are a great pant. Oh…and do not introduce them to the dryer.

Suede Boots

Why is there a thing as Suede Boots?  Think about this for a minute.  My sister and I had this

Suede Boots from a place I have forgotten I’ve had them so long, LulaRoe leggings, Bryn Walker dress, leaves courtesy of Autumn trees.

conversation just a couple of weeks ago.  I have a pair of suede boots that I can wear within a short span of time.  They are too hot for half of the year, here in the South.  And, they are impracticable most of the rest of the year.  It is cold, and rainy in the winter time; if it does snow it is really ice and melts quickly and turns to slush.  Suede doesn’t like wet.  In fact, it despises it.  For one thing, if suede boots get wet, then your feet are going to get wet.  For a second thing, if suede boots get wet, then in many cases, they are ruined.  Sure, you can ‘brush it out’, but can you really?  The spot will still be visible in 99% of the cases.  So, why is there a such thing as Suede Boots?

Who looked at cold, wet weather and said, “Hey, you know what will go great with that!  Suede!”

For a long time I had suede pumps, and they were great.  However, I did have to check the weather report before wearing them!

Which now brings me to another question, when did rain cover ups for shoes go out of style?  And, why?  They were the most practical item that could be purchased to maintain your leather and suede shoes!  I had a pair of patent leather shoes in high school, and I wanted those shoes protected because they were so pretty and shiny!

Sometime in the 80’s it became ‘not cool’ to protect your shoes.  Hmmm, was this a ploy by the shoe industry to keep us buying shoes more often because they would get ruined?

A few years ago ‘rain boots’ became all the rage.  However, they are not coverups, they fit your foot.  So, you have to carry your shoes.  Oh, well.  At least those Suede Boots won’t get ruined while they are in your bag!

What is Joy? And, Why is it Important?

We have discussed joy. But, what is joy? Is it physical? Is it ignoring the woes of the world?

Joy is a state of being, derived from knowing the pure love of Christ, and exhibiting that in one’s life. This is why it is important. We are here on Earth to have joy, we are not meant to live an existence of unhappiness. There is unhappiness all around us, each and every day. How and why should we not let it affect us? For one, it should affect us. But, not to bring us down to the level of unhappiness. It should bring us up to action within our sphere of influence. The world will make us think that we cannot solve the world’s problems, then we have failed. The world wants us to emulate the depression ensnaring so many. However, even in the areas of the world with the highest levels of poverty there are people who are joyful, because they are not focusing on the negative of their world. Instead, they focus on family, faith, and the world that they can touch.

That is the key, touching the world within your reach. Knowing that you can influence those around you will bring joy to your life. We all have different talents, so we also cannot measure ourselves against someone else’s influence. If your influence if simple a smile to the discouraged, then that is your realm of influence. I have seen someone’s face light up when I have given them a compliment on their outfit, or shoes, or jewelry, or hair style. Simple things can go beyond measure, you will never know how you changed that person’s day, week, month, year.

During one of our makeovers I did for the newspaper, our adorable nominee was grinning so big the makeup artist was having a difficult time doing her makeup. A customer in the store walked by and commented, “You are so beautiful!” Our sweet lady then broke down in tears, sobbing. She looked up at us and said, “No one has told me that in years.” The simplest thing can change the world around you and bring you joy.

What is joy to you? Joy to me is my family; studying the scriptures; and prayer. These things bring me joy, and help me to overcome the world’s unhappiness, and hate. I touch my portion of the world through the avenues, and by listening to the Holy Ghost as he directs me to those that need uplifting.