Friday, February 20, 2009

The Healing Power of Words

On Sunday, February 15, 2009, a day after Valentine's Day Miep Gies, the last living survivor, one of Anne Frank's "helpers" when she and her family were in hiding turned 100 years old. This extraordinary woman, who helped provide food and books for the Frank family as they hid celebrated her special day with her son and three grandchildren.

Though Miep humbly denies making a great difference it was she whom gathered up Anne's scattered papers and notebooks after the "hiding place" was raided in 1944. She hid the writings in a desk drawer for safe keeping until Anne's return. After Anne's death Miep gave the collection to Anne's father Otto, who published it in 1947. It became "The Diary of Anne Frank."

These seemingly simple pages written by a young girl survived beyond the horrors of the holocaust becoming a best seller, selling millions of copies and inspiring millions of people. Though her words did not erase the evil actions of the Nazis it did encourage those who survived. Thanks to the courage of one woman a young girl's journal by the name "Kitty" became a light in the midst of a devastating time. Years later Miep protected Anne's writings by defending its validity from those who accused it of forgery. She also answered letters sent from around the world from those who were inspired by Anne's writings.

I remember reading "The Diary of Anne Frank" in high school not wanting to put the book down. Though the writings originated from the hands of a girl who barely reached puberty and never saw womanhood there is wisdom, and an innocence and beauty about it. I remember wishing that my journals would one day be read by someone and I often wrote entries with an invisible audience in mind. I must admit that I still do this at times.

It's amazing what words can do. The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21, that "the tongue holds the power of life and death." Anne's words were a source of hope and healing for many. I recently came across a quote from the film, "Schindler's List," which I found parallel to this notion. "There will be generations because of what you did." Hitler birthed death with his words Anne sowed life with her journals. Our words and actions breed destinies. What kind of legacy are you leaving behind with your words? May the words you speak or write inspire hope like Anne's in a dark and scary world. This is a prayer for me as well.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Words Spoken to a King are a Legacy

She stood up before hundreds and spoke up. A townhall meeting filled with countless people, a planned event for question and answer became the opportunity for one woman to speak to the most important leader in the nation. She simply asked, “Please, help”

In a moment in time Henrietta Hughes, a 60 year-old woman from Fort Myers, Florida became the “face of the financial crisis” after boldly asking the president to help her and her son who found themselves homeless and living in their car. She asked him for a kitchen and a bathroom. The president planted a kiss on her cheek while onlookers gasped and the paparazzi competitively rushed to take the first pictures of this eventful display. In a moment this simple woman became famous and her name and face the topic for countless news services and websites.

Henrietta, a simple, homeless woman stood boldly, in a broken state before a “king” and made a petition. Many questioned her appearance. Was she picked to be there? Was this a planned display to add to the president’s already high approval rates? How did she get to the front of the line anyway? Was it pure determination or was it was it all a con?

I found Henrietta's actions to be parallel to that of many heroic women mentioned in the Bible. From the woman who poured her expensive perfume on Jesus and wiped the tears she wept on him with her hair, to Esther making her request before the king and his men, to the crippled woman who didn’t speak but simply touched the robe of Jesus.

Henrietta Hughes will be remembered in history for her simple boldness. There is currently a website, ( created in Henrietta's honor to highlight the circumstances that many others like her are suffering because of the weary economy. This simple woman will be forever remembered simply for speaking. When was the last time your bold actions earned you recognition before man? Something to think about and perhaps aim for…

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Potential of Life

Do you remember this intense commercial from Super-bowl night? Think back to all the commercials you saw that night. Those who got a glimpse of that random pornographic image you're in on this too. Give up? Don't worry you don't have to scratch your head anymore. This add was not included in the many commercial adds to help fund the eventful Super Bowl night. It was actually plugged by NBC. Why exactly did NBC ban this video from being played? Is it because it uses the image of our new president or because it depicts the importance and potential of a life in the womb?

I don't consider myself a political commentator, although I like to give my opinion here and there on hot topics. But this is something that is dear to my heart and I just couldn't keep my mouth shut or my fingers down. I am one of those people who believes that everyone should have the opportunity to live. It's just my opinion and billions of others. But I have a problem with the notion that because I hold to this belief I am instantly against the freedom of choice.

Pause. I will not get into a debate about "pro-life" and "pro-choice" although you already know where I stand. But I do have some questions that kind of nag at me. We are a nation that is divided about war. Many have made themselves vocal about the fact that we should never have begun a war in the first place. I personally am one that wasn't against the start of war but I'm not a fan of the longevity of it or our seeming lack of success. But I have to wonder why the same people who complain about the death of thousands of innocent soldiers and civilians are the very same people who would not think twice about having or encouraging an abortion.

I think the object of this video is to portray the potential that every life has to become something special. That whether or not it is fully human when inside the womb (this is debatable) it could have been something. So my question to those who oppose war but would check off "pro-choice" (as they like to call it) is, "When does life really count?" When did we begin to reserve the right to decide someone else's fate when many believe life was given to them by a superior being. How does one decide whether one child should live or another should simply be confiscated before it ever has the chance to breath its first breath. I don't know about you, but now I'm scratching my head....


Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Extinction of Barbie

"Our culture, a culture that takes children and makes them grow up too fast, is also to blame. Tweens are bombarded with images of hip and cool--with adult-like images of themselves in movies and on television, and in popular music. Tweens, instead of wanting to be children, want to grow up immediately into little adults. They wear revealing clothing (short, midriff blouses and low rider pants) and makeup, they see PG-13 and R movies, and they listen to edgy music--and, for the most part, their parents let them! Naturally, they no longer see themselves as playing with dolls."

I came across the quote above in an online article titled, "Why do Girls Outgrow Barbie Dolls At Such a Young Age?" and I immediately said, "Exactly." You see after working with children for more than ten years I have personally observed the fact that our little girls are putting Barbie on the shelf a lot faster than my generation. I remember playing Barbies with my sister when we were both 13 years-old, the same year I got my first period mind you. Here we were in junior high school playing Barbie dolls. Today, the thought of playing with a Barbie doll past the age of 8 is unheard of in our society. Why do our little girls feel the need to put away their childhood? What's causing them to want to grow up so quickly? I think that our culture and the lack of positive role models are to blame.

It saddens me that in our culture being childlike is often associated with being dumb or "frail." I believe that this extends to women's femininity. We so often dissuade women from expressing their feminine side as if being a woman or being “girly” is a sign of weakness. I treasure movies like “Legally Blonde” where Elle succeeds while wearing stilettos and a neon pink dress. Why not? Who told our little girls to put down their Barbie doll? Who told them they shouldn’t wear their tutus anymore or have sleepovers? Maybe we’ll decrease the pregnancy rates if we’ll just allow our little girls to hold on to their femininity and purity a little longer. Why are we teaching our young women that to be strong and to succeed in this world they have to shun what naturally makes them who they are? If you are a woman, be proud! And if you want to buy a pretty Barbie doll go ahead! You'll make Mattel happy and you'll also remind yourself that there's nothing wrong with staying in touch with that inner child. Heck, I still own my Barbie dolls!