Thursday, May 9, 2019

Celebrating Women in My Life

On this Mother's Day weekend, my mother (aka The Cook on Fifth Street on this blog) is celebrating her 94th birthday. That means over the past ten years of blogging, I've written a lot of tributes to her on this special weekend. 

So to change things up a bit, I'm going to feature some of the many women in my life who have influenced me positively. Of course, there is no way I can include every woman who has blessed me, but here are the ones I know the best and who have put up with me "warts and all", to quote actress Sally Field. 

Starting with my mother and Sister ...

The Cook on Fifth Street and Sister

My mother learned how to be a mom with me, and then had it pretty well figured out by the time my sister was born. My mother led me to Jesus Christ when I was a little girl, taught me to sew and how to be organized, as well as a host of other life skills.

old photos: Sister in the green; me in first grade

Sister has been my constant companion since I was two years old. We played Barbie and Ken together, rode our bikes, argued, and one notable time  during our grade school years, she slugged me in the stomach, knocking the wind right out of me. Our family moved a lot during our childhood, so if nobody else was around to be my friend, I always had Sister. We learned together how to cope with change.

Surfer Girl
My one and only daughter was born into my life at the Air Force Academy Hospital when I was twenty-something. I had learned the basics of baby and toddler-care from her two older brothers, so her infancy was a little easier for me. She has an independent spirit that has turned out to serve her well, eventually getting her every little girl's dream job at Disney World. She is faithful and true to me and her dad and always there for us in spite of her own full life as a wife, mother, and fitness instructor. She has held onto her faith in God when times got tough.

Blondie is my first daughter-in-law and she is amazing. She has birthed to us nine of our eleven grandchildren and is homeschooling all but the ones who are now taking college courses. Blond jokes aside, this gal wanted to educate her kids from the very beginning and has done a remarkable job of it. She also does her best to keep in touch with all the grandparents, none of whom live near her. AND she survived twenty years as the wife of a military officer.

the Lil' Red-Haired Girl
My second daughter-in-law does not have human children, but she does have a great love for animals, particularly horses and cats. She is very smart, working very successfully from home with her computer on many projects for a number of companies. You know those little wiggly animated advertisements that pop up in the corner or bottom of the TV screen when you're watching a favorite show? The Lil' Red-Haired Girl has designed some of those, as well as done the advertising photography for Lara Bars and Pangea Organics.

So named by me for this blog because she is one of the most cheerful people I could ever hope to meet, Parakeet has a wonderful singing voice that has blessed people for decades. I met her in church youth group, the same time I met my husband. Her sense of humor is refreshing and clean. Life has dealt her some big challenges but she's continued to put one foot in front of the other as she trusts the Lord to take care of her. Those of us in her personal fan base perhaps love best her rendition of "In the Twinkling of An Eye."

Sue and Mary
Sue's husband was higher in rank than Beloved when we got transferred in 1988 from Washington DC back to Denver. He had a part in getting Beloved into a new position. But then we were blessed additionally when we encountered him and his wife Sue, at church! A long friendship has resulted from that time, and brought in Mary, too. Both of these ladies have mentored me in our shared faith and are some of my most faithful prayer partners via text messaging, now that we each live in different parts of the country.

left to right: me, The Nanny, Texas Barb and Sister D
The Nanny and I met in church around 2000, then Sister D came along, and then Texas Barb. The four of us, plus one more, Sandy, were a formidable group when it came to celebrating birthdays. We laughed till we .... Well, we laughed real hard and you now how that is with aging women's bodies. We were known to decorate the car of the birthday person in the middle of the night, leave anonymous goodies at their doorstep, and even bring in an Elvis impersonator to one of our small parties! We weathered through some significant deaths in our families, including one of our own (not pictured because she is with Jesus now). Those who remain even went to the time and expense to come visit Beloved and me after we moved to Florida (that visit, pictured above).

me 'n Pam with her baby doll
Blogging friends have become highly influential to me over recent years. As Beloved and I made numerous trips between Jacksonville and Ocala while our house was under construction, we stopped to meet in person one of my newer blogging buds, Pam and her husband John. Those of us who know the Lord are often drawn to each other with a most special bond that we don't devise on our own. Pam is one of those for me, and there are more ...

See Pam's blog at Closed Doors, Open Windows.

Beloved and me with Terri and Joe
I was commenting back and forth with Terri on her blog, Your Friend From Florida for a year or more before I ever dreamed we would be moving to Florida. So when we got here, we found time to meet somewhere sort of in the middle between our homes for lunch. With that meeting it was confirmed that we had indeed found good friends via the Internet. (!!) Terri is so sensible, kind, and real. I love reading about the dailyness of her life with family, neighbors, work, and church. She and Joe are just "good people" who help me to go a little easier on myself and to let go of the hard things and people.

Lea at Cici's Corner is a blogging friend I've not [yet] met in person but have come to know and love over the many years of mutual blog reading. She is a strong Believer in Jesus as her Savior and lives her faith boldly whether working at her husband's office, mentoring troubled teen girls, visiting her children and grands and overseeing the care of her aging father. She is cutting edge when it comes to new products of all kinds and shares reviews of them on her blog. She also has kind words of wisdom and counsel behind the scenes (via private emails) when I have questions.

just two examples of Sandy's cross stitch
I don't remember how long I've been following Sandy's blog at I Majored in Home Economics, probably no longer than a year. What  initially caught my eye is that she got a degree in Home Economics, which is where I was headed in my college years until Beloved popped the question and I was catapulted into the job without a degree. Again, I could sense she was a woman of faith from how she handled life but then I really became interested when she shared her cross stitch projects. Tired of quilting, I needed to do something with my hands, and her projects lit a fire inside of me that has yet to die out. Cross stitch is a good hobby that calms my frayed nerves. I thank Sandy for helping me return to this creative outlet I had abandoned years ago. 

me, Carol, and Beloved
Speaking of long ago, this week we were blessed to reunite with a lady Beloved knew when he was in Colorado in the twelfth grade, when her husband was his Sunday School teacher. They came to our wedding, then the years and careers led us away from each other. Now we realize we live in the same town(!!!), so we met for lunch. It was such a joy to see how her faith in God has stayed alive and strong, full of service for Him, even through the passing of her dear husband a few years ago. People like Carol teach us by their example, as well as words, what a blessed life we have when we are devoted to the Lord.

My last woman of influence I'm featuring today is younger than all the rest but her faith is blossoming as she is.

my eldest granddaughter
You remember Blondie? (several paragraphs up in this post) She is the mother of Granddaughter #1. Recently our girl was asked to share her personal testimony of how God has met her at the point of her need to understand hard things and how to respond. To quote Sister D, who watched our girl speak, "I love seeing young people who aren't sullen, angry and sassy!" 

We are so happy her Christian upbringing has led her to accept what has been given to her and to use it for His glory.

All of these seventeen women have been blessings in my life in so many ways but most importantly because they have deliberately chosen to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. I celebrate them this weekend, thanking God for their impact on me.


  1. I am truly honored to be among that list. I am grateful for the sisters in Christ I have met through blogging. They have been such a blessing to me at times along the way and you my dear are on the top of that list as well. You may not realize, but your love for Him shines through in every word. Thank you for blogging so that I could follow along. Such a sweet sweet post.

  2. Like Sandy, I too am honored to be among these other amazing women who have touche your life. YOU have touched mine and I am glad we are also "in person" friends! Thank you for your kind words, Barb! I enjoyed learning more about your and your children. I'm pretty sure your Red Haired Girl and I could be great friends and I was very impressed and moved by your granddaughter#1's testimony. Thank you for this post!

  3. Great post!! So thankful for great friends in all the walks of life! Blogging has certainly allowed me to know some wonderful godly women!!

  4. Oh my goodness, Barb, I am so touched by this wonderful blessing have truly made my day. Thank you. I love this whole post, and seeing and hearing about the lovely women who have been such an integral part of your life. You are already such a bright spot in my week each time I read your posts and realize that we are really "friends" in person, and in Christ...and I look forward to continuing this friendship now that you are living almost in "my neck of the woods". Thank you, and God bless you, and have a very blessed Mother's Day!

  5. What wonderful female friends and relatives you have been blessed with, Barbara! I enjoyed reading about each of them and am especially amazed at your daughter-in-law having nine children and homeschooling them all--my hat is off to her!

    Wishing you a very special Mother's Day weekend with your dear mother--and a big Happy 94th to her! My mom turns 92 on Tuesday--aren't we the lucky ones to still have them in our lives? Enjoy your time with your dear mother ♥

  6. You are so blessed with many amazing women in your life...I must see if I can find that beautiful granddaughter of yours!

  7. What a beautiful post and how sweet to mention so many women that have impacted your life. We are blessed...that's for sure! Enjoy your weekend!

  8. What a lovely post honoring many special women in your life. It has always been a special treat to meet fellow bloggers. I've enjoyed every meeting I've been privileged to have. A very happy Mother's day to you!

  9. Wow, how special it must be! Happy Mother's Day to all the special women! It's very sweet of you to lift others up.