Crossing Stones, by Helen Frost, is a historical fiction novel that follows the lives of two families for nine months during World War I. The Jorgensens and the Normans live in a rural community named Crabapple Creek. Between the two families, they have five children all under the age of 18.
The story is told through the eyes of the children in a poetry format that I found cumbersome to follow.
Two of the sons, one from each family, enlist in the service. One boy dies in battle, and the other loses an arm...returning home disillusioned and haunted by the experiences he had in Europe.
I don’t need any fictional sadness in my life right now. I have the real deal going on as I continue to work through the grief of my father's death.
But this book was not a total waste of time. The author included a storyline of a teenage girl traveling to Washington D.C to visit her aunt. While there, the girl becomes involved in the women’s suffrage movement.
How did I live this long and not know women were publicly harassed and harshly thrown in jail as they picketed the White House for the right to vote? It was incredibly eye opening for me.
On January 10, 1918 the House of Representatives passed the 19th Amendment. The Amendment was signed into law, granting women the right to vote, on August 26, 1920.
American women have had the right to vote for less than 100 years. It’s most definitely something we should not take for granted.
Along those same lines…
Last week my 10 year-old asked me about the Martin Luther King Jr Day holiday.
She asked, “Is Martin Luther King the man who helped the black people?”
I took a couple of minutes to explain Dr. King fought for the civil liberties of all minorities, including women. I want my girls to understand they are fortunate to live in a time and place that treats women and girls fairly.
Wednesday evening I was talking to the girls about their day at school. Lauren said her teacher talked to the students about MLK Day and how he helped black people.
Lauren raised her hand and told the entire class Dr. King also helped women have more rights.
A big smile crossed my face and I asked her, “And what did your teacher say?”
“My teacher said ‘That’s right Lauren.’”
(Proud mommy moment!)
I'm grateful to the women and men who have paved the way for the privileges and opportunties I have not only for myself, but also for my daughters.
I stumbled upon a great online article the other day in Credit Union Magazine titled “The Myth of Work/Life Balance.” Just in case you misplaced your copy of this must-read publication, here’s a link.
It was like the very corners of my world coming together in one. I’m employed in credit union management and I just so happen to write a personal blog about work/life balance. What are the chances???
Best selling author Jon Gordon compares the rhythms of work and life to the rhythms of nature…there is a time and season for everything.
(Hmmm…where have I heard that before? Oh yes, The Holy Bible Ecclesiastes 3:1 "For everything there is a season, and time to every purpose under heaven.")
Gordon gives advice for rethinking the concept of work/life balance and finding passion and purpose in both arenas. His recommendations:
1) First, let go of the work/life balance notion. Instead, think purpose and passion.
Diana’s Comments: Knowing my life’s purpose keeps me grounded and focused. And if I didn’t love what I do, both at home and the office, I wouldn’t do it. My dad used to tell me “Life is too short to spend it doing something you don’t enjoy.” 2) Look at your work/life blend over the past year as a whole, rather than day to day.
Diana’s Comments: Let’s face it. Some days we’re super mom, and other days we’re pretty sure DCFS is going to come knocking on our door. But if take a look back at the last 365 days, you’ll probably find that you’re doing a pretty darn good job with the kiddos and spouse.
3) Identify the seasons in your company’s work flow.
Diana’s Comments: Prep your family if it’s going to be a busy week at the office. And then plan something fun when it’s over. “Mom’s got a crazy week, but if you can do your part to help me get through it then we’ll go out to a celebration dinner on Friday night.”
4) Keep in mind your family’s seasons too. There are times when your family needs you more than others.
Diana’s Comments: The recent holidays were that time for me. Between the two girls, there were 8 choir performances to attend…plus rehearsals. Throw in school activities…an All-Star presentation, Christmas program and meeting with the speech teacher. Not to mention a birthday…on the same day as Christmas!
5) Build up a hard work bank account with your company.
Diana’s comments: I received tremendous support from my supervisors and colleagues during the weeks my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, his 5-week hospital stay, passing and funeral. My co-workers were understanding, supportive and compassionate. I believe a 7+ year track record of hard work and loyalty to my company were indeed paid back to me during that time.
6) When you’re at work, really engage.
Diana’s comments: Work can also be a great escape from personal worries and stress. Leave them at the door when you walk into the office. Give your employer 100%!
7) When you’re at home, really BE at home.
Diana’s comments: I really try to avoid coming home and re-hashing the work day with my spouse. I need a break, and we have better things to talk about.
One last quote by Gordon:
“What I’m really talking about is making the most of your time however you spend it – of making each and every moment count. By doing so, you will create a life that is more passionate, more productive, and happier in every way.”