Sunday, January 21, 2018

Women of Class

Hello, my dear friends. Last week I shared my heart with you regarding chivalry, and our desire for men to behave as gentlemen. Well, today I'd like to take a look at the other side of the coin. My dear beautiful ladies, it's our turn. Let's talk about class. And I hope you still love me by the end of this post.

Class:  Showing stylish excellence. A person who is poised, graceful, mature, or portrays any of these qualities in dress, mannerism, language, and everyday life. A person who possesses excellent self-control; is gentle, soothing and inoffensive. Classy. Elegant.

Elegant:  Gracefully refined and dignified; showing good taste; simple and clever. Graceful and attractive in appearance and behavior.

Grace:  Simple elegance, refined; poise, finesse; polite and thoughtful way of behaving; courteous good will.
This weekend, thousands of women in cities all across America are marching and taking a stand for equal rights. And yes, our voices need to be heard. There is power in our words. It's just so unfortunate, though, that the women's movement that was, and still is, intended to bring equality to women - including equal pay for equal work - has gone so much further than that and is taking away something that is precious and priceless. If we're not careful, this "movement" can take away our beauty as women. Our femininity. Our elegance. Our grace. Our charm. Our class. Equality does not mean that we should lose our identity as women and start acting like men:  becoming bra-less, cigarette-smoking, liquor-drinking, foul-mouthed, belching, slap-you-on-the-back, promiscuous 'bros. I'm sorry, but it's not pretty. It's not classy.

God created us as male and female, and we are different. It's ok. In this upside-down day we're living in, men are behaving as women, and women are behaving as men. Let's stop it. If we expect men to behave as gentlemen, well then ladies, let's start behaving as women.

Today I'm proposing a new challenge. If we really want to be heard and make a difference, let's embrace our femininity and be #WomenOfClass. There are thousands of powerful Women Of Class who have used their voices, skills, and influence to change a world that is hurting, and they should be celebrated.

Women Of Class are women who:
Love and honor God first and foremost, and look to Him daily for help.
Live their lives, privately and publicly, with honesty, integrity, humility, and self-respect.
Honor and respect men - starting in their own home - realizing that they are not in a competition for power.
Commit to loving their husband for a lifetime.
Commit to loving, nurturing and protecting their children.
Teach their sons to be gentlemen and their daughters to be feminine.

Are strong in spirit and courageous when facing challenges.
Are polite, kind and honest in their speech, not tearing others down with their words.
Are self-controlled - with their words and the way they live.
Are hard-working, both at home and in their careers.
Are creative trailblazers when pursuing their heart desires and dreams.
Are generous and help the needy.
Are stylish - poised, graceful, mature; elegant.
Are compassionate, gentle, soothing and inoffensive.
Tell the truth and speak up when injustices are present - defending the defenseless.
Do the right things, for the right reasons, in the right ways, at the right times.

Simply put, class is . . .
Always, with
Style and

Class is beauty, grace, charm, brains, and kindness extended to everyone we meet. And ladies, it all starts in the heart. When we recognize that God has created us to be kind, forgiving, gentle-spirited, and self-controlled, then we also recognize that we need His help daily, especially today in a society that tells us when we are embracing our femininity that we are weak. Nope - exactly the opposite. Ask any woman with class - is it really "weak" to live a self-controlled, kind, thoughtful, modest, respectable life? I think not. It takes a tremendous amount of strength and courage. So let's talk about that for a minute.

Ladies, you are more than just a beautiful face and a desirable body.

First, beauty is given by God, fades with time, and can be gone in an instant. Beauty is not determined by the color of your skin, the features of your face, the shine of your hair, or the shape of your body. True beauty oozes out of your innermost being through your eyes for all the world to see. Never forget that.

And let's talk about your body. You are beautifully made, but you do not have the right to do whatever you want with your body. Women Of Class have boundaries - God-given limits - on how they show respect for themselves and their bodies. Women Of Class understand that while their body may be a "wonderland" - it's not a "playground."
Your body is not an open attraction with a "come one, come all" mentality. Just because the world is screaming that you have the "right" to do whatever you want with your body doesn't mean that you should. It's beautiful and freeing to know that sharing the "secrets" of your body is meant for one man - your husband - for a lifetime. There, I said it. And I know that this is very controversial in today's way of thinking. But God set the standard. God loves you, and He knows that this adds value, respect, self-esteem and class to your life. Don't settle for anything less.

And speaking of self-control, I really don't think men like it or think it's pretty or classy when they see ladies falling down drunk and then crawling into bed with them. Oh, they will at times happily oblige, but they really don't think it's cool. Just ask them. If we want to demand respect, then we need to act respectfully.

While we're on the topic of bodies, let's also talk about how Women Of Class dress. The current styles of hemlines up to here, and necklines down to there have taken away the magic and the beauty of classy women. The trend today is that we're paying more-and-more money for less-and-less fabric, and it's even impacted the clothing styles of little girls. It's sad. I'm not saying that you should cover up from your chin to ankles, but I am saying that you don't need to show every nook and cranny of your body to be attractive. Let there be some mystery. Get up in the morning, shower, fix your hair and makeup, put on a bra, panties and a cute outfit, and face the world with class.

And while you're at it, teach your daughters that beauty starts on the inside. Teach them that class is beautiful. Changing course and turning this ship around starts in the home with moms training daughters, and daughters training daughters...from generation to generation. It looks something like this.
A Woman Of Class starts as a little girl,
Jovi - Future #WomanOfClass
And grows into a teenager,

Olivia - Becoming a #WomanOfClass
And becomes a young woman.
Heidi - #WomanOfClass
Little girls learning to love their siblings/brothers,
Jovi - #WomanOfClass
Become teenagers who love their siblings/brothers,
Olivia - #WomanOfClass
Who become young women who love their siblings/brothers.
Heidi - #WomanOfClass
Young women who love their siblings/brothers grow to love their future husband,
Heidi - #WomanOfClass
Become young married women who love their husbands and children,
Cortnie and Olivia - #WomenOfClass

Brittanica and Jovi - #WomenOfClass
Who become grandmamas and great-grandmamas who love their kids/grandkids.
Me and My 94-year old Mama - #WomenOfClass
The cycle of life. It is a beautiful picture of grace - passing the baton of beauty and class from one generation to the next. One woman at a time - one choice at a time.

As I am wrapping up this post, I want to tell you all that I love you. I want to honor all the women in my life who live with strength, dignity, respect, honor, courage, wisdom, and class. You are my friends and my family. You are God's medal-of-honor beauties, and I don't know where I would be without you. To my older friends, thank you for your love and encouragement, and for showing me perfect pictures of Women Of Class. To my younger friends - I know that I sound like a mom with old-fashioned thoughts and morals. Yep, I'm guilty - but I am fighting for these values because they are true and needed. Younger Women Of Class, I admire you. I know it's not easy today to live up to a high standard of dignity and respect. Keep it up - we need you. And just remember - class is timeless!

Just as we did last week with #MenOfValor, let's tell the stories of Women Of Class that you know. Use #WomenOfClass, and share/tweet your stories and pictures. We want to hear stories of your moms, grandmas, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, cousins, wives, coworkers, neighbors, and friends. We will all be inspired by these beautiful women and encouraged to do better. As iron sharpens iron!

With all my love and a heart full of gratitude,

May The Lord bless you and protect you.
May The Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May The Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.
Class is alive and well in 2018. Pearls of beautiful lives - #WomenOfClass

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Men of Valor

Hello, my dear friends. I have had something burning inside of me for weeks, and today - on this cold and snowy Sunday evening in January - I'd like to share my heart with you regarding a topic that seems all but dead:  chivalry.
Chivalry - men behaving courteously toward women.
While today we may not expect men to truly lay down their coats over mud puddles to protect the feet of lovely ladies, there is still a place for courtesy, respect, and gentlemanly kindness in 2018.
Thoughtful gestures such as opening doors for women back in yesteryear are still appreciated today.
Chivalry:  Men being brave and honest; having courage, enforcing justice, having a devotion to God; being generous, polite, kind; having a readiness to help the weak; being courteous and respectful toward women.
But chivalry goes far beyond just how men treat women. It's the way men treat everyone. Gentlemen never knowingly insult, demean or disrespect anyone, including women, and they live their lives with honor.
Chivalry is simply a choice - the choice to do the right things, for the right reasons, in the right ways, at the right times. Gentlemen should experience the internal joy and satisfaction of knowing that they have stood behind the right causes and embraced right principles not because anyone has told them to do so, but simply because they have chosen that path. Chivalry and gentlemanly behavior is a good thing, and it goes far beyond simply opening doors for women - it's an internal code of valor.
Valor:  Having boldness and determination when facing great danger; heroic courage; having the strength of mind and spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness; having personal bravery and strength. Valor is honor plus dignity - traits fit for a hero.
Let's bring back chivalry, decency, gentlemanly courtesy, and respect in 2018!
The year 2017 was turned upside down as the eyes of the world were transfixed on the online campaign of the #MeToo movement. Courageous women by the thousands came out of the woodwork and told their stories of sexual assault and harassment. Every day new stories were exposed. So many stories, in fact, that it seemed like every woman alive had somehow been affected - either directly or indirectly. It was hard to take. Nevertheless - keep telling your stories. While there may be some women who are embellishing the truth of their experience (and trust me, God is watching), by and large women are telling their stories because they want to know that they have a voice, that it matters, that they were hurt, and that they now want to be treated with respect. It's hard to admit, but almost every woman has a #MeToo story, including me (which will be told in a future post), and I want you to know that YOU matter. I'm sorry for the pain you endured, and I want you to know that God sees you and wants to heal you. The heartache that you suffered can be transformed into a beautiful testimony of grace.
And so today, in spite of the pain of the tragic stories of abuse that were being told in 2017, I'd like to offer a new campaign for 2018 . . . #MenOfValor. In a day when the reputations of men are suffering tremendously, we all know Men of Valor. In spite of the reckless behavior of some men who have acted inappropriately, there are thousands of men who are gentlemen - not perfect, but true Men Of Valor.
Men Of Valor are men who:
Love and honor God first and foremost.
Live their lives, privately and publicly, with honesty, integrity, and self-respect.
Honor, respect, and protect all women - starting in their own home.
Guard their eyes and control their hands with regard to the opposite sex.
Look at women's eyes when they talk, not their breasts.
Commit to loving their wife for a lifetime.
Love, protect and defend their daughters.
Teach their sons to live honorably, and encourage their male friends to live with respect.
Protect the innocence of children.
Are honest, humble, kind, brave, hard-working, responsible, and respectful.
Face challenges with integrity, humility, courage, and determination.
Are generous and help the needy.
Enforce justice and stand up for what is right, no matter what the cost.
Defend those who have been victims of abuse, and listen intently to their stories.
Do the right things, for the right reasons, in the right ways, at the right times.
Simply put, Men Of Valor have honor plus dignity.
I am well aware that this blog is read mostly by women. So here is my challenge to women of all ages and backgrounds:  Tell the stories of Men Of Valor that you know. Use #MenOfValor, and share/tweet your stories and pictures. This will give honor to men where honor is due and will inspire us all to do better! With all the ugliness going on in our world today, we need to recognize and talk about men of courage and dignity.
If you are a young girl, teenager, college-age, or woman of any age who has a tremendous father, grandfather, brother, uncle, or cousin who has loved and protected you for as long as you can remember . . . tell the story!
If you have a friend, or a boyfriend or fiancĂ© who loves and protects you, encourages you, and treats you with dignity and respect . . . tell the story!
If you are a married woman, newly married or in your golden years, and you have a wonderful husband who has loved, cherished, and protected you for as long as you've been together . . . tell the story!
If you have a supervisor/employer who is a man that honors, respects, and encourages you . . . tell the story!
If you are a single mama and have received help and protection from men who have also served as incredible role models for your children . . . tell the story!
If you are a mama of any age, or a grandmama who has sons and grandsons who are incredible men of honor, absolutely . . . tell the story!
My 4 sons:  Jason, Danny, Chris, and David. #MenOfValor
This is the future - Train them while they're young. #MenOfValor
Last but not least, and probably most importantly,
If you are a #MeToo survivor, have healed from the unfair abuses you suffered, and are now in a healthy relationship with a chivalrous gentleman who understands you and your past hurts, and stands by you in love and encouragement, by all means . . . tell the story!
I am also well aware that there are many men who read this blog, and many of you are humble, God-fearing gentlemen who are living your lives to the best of your ability as Men Of Valor. So here is my challenge to you:  Use #MenOfValor, and share/tweet your story! Please, don't feel like you're bragging - we need to hear from you! Your lives, and your stories, are encouraging and redeeming in a world that seems to be spiraling out of control and is anything but chivalrous.
If you are a man who lives as honorably as you can to respect and protect women of all ages, living in your home or not - whether it be your mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, wife, daughter, granddaughter, co-worker, neighbor, friend, please . . . tell your story!
If you are a man who at one time had a less-than-stellar reputation in how you treated people, including women - and maybe can see yourself as the abuser in a #MeToo story, but you have since turned your life around and now live with dignity, honor and respect, please . . . tell your story!
And maybe,
You know that you are currently not living an honorable life that you can be proud of, but today you would like to change direction and take the Men Of Valor challenge, that's awesome! Please . . . tell your story!
My deep desire in writing this blog is to bring encouragement and to be a light in a very dark and troubled world. We are a nation on a very slippery slope of ungodlike attitudes and behaviors - we need to change direction and return to old-fashioned morals and values. But how do we turn this ship around? One man, one woman, one family, one church, one community, one city, one state at a time. One choice at a time. We decide to live honorably, and then we do it. We need to repent and ask God to help us live our lives as an honor to Him and each other. Men and women need to equally respect each other. Women should enjoy being a woman and allow men to be gentlemen. Chivalry is still in high demand, and we should celebrate it every chance we get!
Men Of Valor, we applaud you! Thank you for the gracious way you live and how honored you make others feel. You are respected and appreciated.
Thank you so much for reading and for your support - I am forever grateful for your encouragement. As I have been telling the "pearl" stories of our family - including sons who are facing life's challenges and struggles and who are endeavoring to be Men Of Valor - I am excited to see and hear #MenOfValor stories from all over the world. Because chivalry is not dead! 2018 will be the year of mighty Men of Valor. We need you!
All my love,
May The Lord bless you and protect you.
May The Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May The Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.

Chivalry's not dead in 2018 - #MenOfValor

Sunday, January 7, 2018

It's a Wonderful Life

Happy New Year, my dear friends.
There is something very inspiring about "new." Most of us have spent the first few days of this new year taking a look back at 2017 - the ups and downs, joys and sorrows, successes and mistakes - and are thoughtfully processing in our hearts and minds what we desire 2018 to look like. We want to learn from the past and make the upcoming year better. We're making new resolutions and dreaming new dreams.  
Here's a recap of what 2017 looked like for the Womelsdorf clan. It was quite a year!
Jason reports to Drill Instructor school in San Diego, CA and says goodbye to Cortnie (5 months pregnant) for 13 weeks.
Sacrificial love. Undying support.
GrandMamaT with Johnny and Jovi. We started the year with 2 babies.
Love. Joy of a grandma watching babies grow.

David's first Ninja competition in St. Louis, MO.
Strength. Discipline. Grit.
Jason graduates and is officially a United States Marine Corps Drill Instructor.
Honor. Courage. Commitment.
Love. Respect. Pride.
Evan Gabriel Womelsdorf is born to Jason and Cortnie - their firstborn son.
Dreams fulfilled. Hope for the future.

Baby Evan meeting GrandMamaT, aunts, uncles, and cousins. This family loves you, Evan!
A blog is born - "PEARLS FROM A MOM'S HEART"
Courage. Dreams. Vision.

 A Lifetime of Pearls

Pearls - The product of pain.  Precious, tiny jewels conceived through irritation, born of adversity, nursed by adjustment.

David is ordained as an Assemblies of God minister.
The Call of God. Humility. Faith.

Jack Michael is born to David and Brittanica - now a family of 5!
Love. Courage. Faith.
Baby Jack meeting GrandMamaT, siblings Jack and Jovi, and cousins - 5 in all! Such love!
Jason and Cortnie make their new home in San Diego, CA.
Love. Faith. Determination.
Thanksgiving/Christmas with family.
Love. Joy. Full hearts.

Heidi and Tim get engaged.
Love. Commitment. Hope for the future.

We started the year with 2 Womelsdorf babies and ended the year with 4 little ones!
What a Wonderful life!

"It's a Wonderful Life" is by far one of my favorite movies - I watch it several times every Christmas season. It helps put everything in perspective. George Bailey spent his entire life giving to his family as well as the entire community of Bedford Falls. On Christmas Eve, George's Uncle Billy loses $8,000 on his way to deposit it in the bank. George is so discouraged that he wished he had never been born, and an angel was sent to make George's wish come true. In the end, George realized how many lives he had impacted and how different they all would be had he never been born. "No man is a failure who has friends." A great reminder for us all!
Please take another look at the photos above. I believe that our little (yet growing) family is incredibly rich. We have fierce love, joy, courage, strength, faith, character, integrity, work ethic, responsibility, determination, spunk, grit. We have fun. We talk. We share. We help and support each other. We laugh and cry together. We encourage each other. We are loyal. We're friends. We have a faith in God who has been with us in every season. Our family is far from perfect, and we definitely do not have a fairy tale life. Our story is that in the midst of every struggle and challenge, we support one another. And we trust in the One who has always helped us. As I have reflected on the goodness of God in the Womelsdorf family, I am once again reminded that we indeed have a wonderful life

Everyone has a story to tell that could potentially change another person's life forever!  And influencing other's lives has nothing to do with power, prestige or money. Think back on your own life - how you've grown, how you've struggled and then succeeded, how you've helped others in need, how you've been a loyal friend, how you've grown in your faith and have seen the hand of God at work. Your life is important, and you are needed. It may not be perfect, but God has given you a wonderful life. And He wants to use you! Allow God to give you fresh perspective. As you are facing this new year, ask God to use you in a greater way than you ever dreamed possible to be an encouragement to those who may be lost and suffering.
Tomorrow is January 8, 2018 - a day of new beginnings. As I have looked back over the memories of 2017, I have new anticipation and dreams for 2018. Much of this past year was one of change, struggle, questions and fears in addition to God's amazing blessings. I know that God is working all things together for His good. This is a new day in a new year - I have new dreams, new commitment, and fresh vision. My prayer is that God will continue to open new doors of ministry that will enable me and my family to significantly impact others for eternity. 
Thank you for your love and overwhelming support of me and this blog as I share the "pearls" of our life. In weeks where I am quiet, thank you for reaching out to me in love as you understand that I'm discouraged. Your kindness, compassion and friendship is healing. In weeks where I'm able to write and my transparency is evident, your encouragement and support is heart-mending. I started writing this blog several months ago in hopes to be an encouragement, especially to other mamas, that God is with us - no matter what! I commit to increasing faithfulness this year in reaching out to those who are hurting. Because after all, the life we live is indeed worth sharing. It's a wonderful life!
With much love and gratitude. You are forever my heart!
May The Lord bless you and protect you.
May The Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May The Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.
One tiny, precious pearl among many. Everyone has a beautiful story of grace.