Inspired by Kit Kittredge~seriously

Ok, it may sound lame but I am inspired by Kit Kittredge.  For those of you who have no idea who Kit is, I will tell you.  There is a series of books called the American Girls Collection(published by Pleasant Company).  These books focus on many different main girl characters.  One of these girls happens to be Kit Kittredge.  Kit is a 10 year old girl in the year 1934.  Living in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kit, her family and neighbors are starting to feel the effects of the Depression.

{This afternoon the kids and I watched the movie, Kit Kittredge(made by New Line Cinema Picturehouse Holdings).}

I am impressed by many Depression era stories.  Although Kit Kittredge is fiction there is truth to the historical aspect of this book and movie.

At the beginning of the movie Kit and her girlfriends are approached by two “hobo” kids.  The kids want to do house/yard work in exchange for food.  I love that Kit doesn’t hesitate and brings them to her Mom because she knows her Mom will give them something.  And she did.  Her Mom’s comment after the “hobos” leave is, “I can’t help but think they are someone’s children.”

I wonder what if more of us thought this way.   We are all someone’s children.

Kit’s father is dealing with a failed business and heading to Chicago to find work and as he is breaking the news to Kit, she has a bit of a breakdown.  Her dad, being a loving dad reminds Kit of something his dad once told him.  The poignant phrase is “don’t let it get ya.”

Don’t we all need to hear that~sometimes daily.  “Don’t let it get ya.”  It’s not just a band-aid, it is truly a mind-set.

The Depression was a unique time.  Many people displayed care for others like Mrs. Kittredge, many people like Mr. Kittredge, didn’t give up and reminded others to do the same.

May these two things be our daily focus for ourselves~and may we be the inspiration for others to follow.


Inspired by Jan Matzeliger

I came upon a treasure of a story today as I read to the kiddos.  The story of Jan Matzeliger.  I am convinced more people would be able to say they like history if they knew stories such as Jan’s.

Jan was born 1852 in Paramaribo, Suriname(previously called, Dutch Guiana).  Jan’s Papa was Dutch and his Mama was a black Surinamese.  This is important to know for later.

As a young teen Jan proves himself to be an excellent machinist and longs to see the world.  He does just that while working for the Dutch East Indies Company.  After two years with the company he decides to give  North America a try.  He had once been docked in Philadelphia and it seemed to show much potential for a machinist.

What Jan didn’t know that although Philadelphia was known as the city of love they were still dealing with the issues of the Civil War and not so eager to hire a black man for the trades type jobs.  Black men were hired but for the menial jobs.  Jan wanted to do what he was good at, what he longed for, dreamed about. 

One day while strolling along the streets of Philly he came upon a shoe shop that had the most interesting machine.  As the owner noticed the focus of this young man he asked some questions.  In Dutch English Jan explained his knowledge of machines.  He left the shop with the job of apprentice.  Working for a couple of years Jan was then encouraged if he wanted to learn more about shoe making to head to Lynn, Massachusetts(the shoe capital of the United States).

To make a great story short, Jan had many a cold day in Massachusetts, and not just because of the weather.  Despite hardship, rejection and ridicule Jan did what thought could not be done.  Jan worked intensely and earnestly to create a machine that could save many hours, create many more shoes as well as jobs.  He created the Lasting Machine(Patent No. 274,207). This machine was a phenomenon in the shoe industry.

Jan never received much money from his invention as it mostly went to investors yet he managed to fully school a young man who desired to become a minister.  Jan paid for young Augustine Manwell’s Amherst College schooling as well as Seminary.

Unfortunately Jan’s life then ended early at the age of 37 from the fight against tuberculosis, otherwise known as the “shoemakers disease”. In Jan’s will he left a third of his money to the church he attended so they could “support and comfort” the poor of Lynn, Massachusetts.  Despite the coldness he felt many a days there in Lynn, he certainly left it with warmth.

Some days I don’t feel so determined and driven and need a reminder like Jan. Most days I need a reminder to leave some warmth.  In this world were coldness can blow hard may warmth be the focus.

Inspired by Unity

Last week I spent a lot of time reading about the Civil War.  As my eyes started going cross-eyed I decided to put the books down and watch, Gone With the Wind.  That didn’t last too long, as the main character Scarlet O’Hara was getting on my nerves and I was feeling so depressed at the reality of this War between the States.  Back to the books I went~and it really worked better for me.  The books didn’t offer true release from the sadness of this war, but it got me thinking.

As I was reading about Abraham Lincoln as well as Ulysses S. Grant I was struck by their determination for “unity”.  It was said that both men did not acknowledge the “Confederate States of America”, but would call them, “the so-called Confederate States, or even the “States in rebellion”.  In a speech Lincoln made for the Senate race, he said, “a house divided against itself will not stand”.  His goal, his hope, was to keep the United States of America just that~ “UNITED”.  I think that is such a beautiful word.

As we go about our day today may we think of unity.  May we think of family and friends that we may need to be more united with~even if it seems impossible or even if  we are already “at war” with them.  There are marriages that need some unity.  We all have “battles” but may we remember there is hope.  Unity is possible.  May we “fight” for it and yet at the same time remember God Himself will fight for us~and may we remind each other of this.

~Psalm 133:1 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.

~Colossians 3:14 Above all, put on love, the perfect bond of unity. 

Inspired by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Well it is still raining in the Great Northwest and I am still reading and drinking tea( I added Hot-Cross buns to the menu also).

Despite the dismal weather, the kids and I made a quick jaunt to the library to pick up “just a few books”.  Aaahh, that is just so impossible for me and I am noticing for the kids too.  I picked up a little book on the great author of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’.  I am embarrassed to say I have never read this classic book~but sure do plan on it.

What struck me in the reading of this book was the following quote~

“For some secret reason, Harriet knew what it was like to feel trapped and not able to call her life her own.  She knew the need to run away.  And so she was able to write a book that made people feel what it was like to be a slave, wanting just one thing-freedom.”

Everyone has had or still has chains of one thing or another.  Mrs. Beecher knew her chains as well as the chains of her fellow man and sought to make a difference.  This is inspiring!!

As we enter Easter week may we recognize who truly has broken the chains that bind~and if there are still chains to be broken may we ask.  If we can help another be free of their chains may we rise to the occasion.

As the Hot Cross-buns are being eaten I thank God for His Son and I thank Him for people that inspire~like Harriet Beecher Stowe

Inspired by Resilience

I say, a Sunday afternoon is meant for tea and reading~at least when it is raining in the great Northwest.

As I am still reading The Cinderella Man, finished(for the second time), The Children of Willesden Lane, and picking at Civil War books~I asked myself what is it that truly stands out as the common point of inspiration in these reads.

Resilience!!   That’s it!  I am inspired to read about people that even when they wanted to give up~almost did give up~or just had the odds against them~did not give in.  They kept going and so often went on going stronger than ever.

James Braddock (I do love the Irish)~at this point in the book is ready to throw in the towel~claim his life as a knockout.Yet I already know the ending~he comes back fighting.  He comes back in the ring with more character, more strength, more focus, and more thanks.

Lisa Jura, when ready to end a dream come true~since she does not know the whereabouts of her parents at the end of WWII~gets the encouragement from a loved one~just enough to press on and indeed make that dream a reality(a dream her parents had had for her).

The “conductors” and “freight” of the Underground Railroad, many having been beaten physically and mentally continued to travel~not just to free themselves but many, many others~INSPIRING.

I hope your Sunday has had some inspiration~whether rain or shine there is always a glimmer of hope and resilience.


Inspired by the Race

Today in 1668 the first horse race in America took place~

Tonight our family watched the movie ‘Secretariat’~actually we are still watching it.  I can’t help it~I am more than inspired.  Penny Tweedy, played by Diane Lane was the answer to my request for inspiration today.  I am oh so thankful we stayed home this evening for pizza and a movie.

Mrs. Tweedy was given a family history of character~of never giving up~of endurance~and of victory.  When asked to give in to the almighty dollar or choose to take “a chance”~she did not flinch.  Willing to take a risk towards victory was what made Mrs. Penny Tweedy a true “champion”. 

The horse ‘Secretariat’ had a race to run by force.  Penny Tweedy chose her race and she did it with class and style. May we all be inspired to do the same.

Today in 2011 I am inspired by the race~Karla

Inspired by Dr. Paul Brand

I love history!  There is a history for everything, right?  History of sports, history of education, history of religion, history of medicine, and so on and so forth.

As I read a book, entitiled, ‘Ten Fingers for God’ about the life of Paul Brand, I was inspired by  many parts of his life and the life of his family.  Something that I was more thoughtful towards was his willingness to try.

Paul Brand had seen his father doctor many people in the hills of India(he was a missionary with basic medical skills). Paul decided at a young age he was not interested in anything medical.  He basically said “never”. 

We’ve all done it~ I’ll never do…., I can’t do….., I don’t want to try….., That’s not my talent, etc..

Mr. Brand did not realize even at the age of 21 that he would come to love medicine, that it would become almost an obsession, and that he would be one of the world’s experts in the treatment for leprosy.  Thankfully shortly after 21, was when Paul decided to take a medical course.  Hmmm, just a try can change a life~and in this case many lives. 

I’m sure if Dr. Brand had known before hand how successful his life would be in the medical realm he would have started schooling sooner.  That’s just it~we don’t know the future~we don’t know the future history.  We all have history to make.  We all have our I’ll nevers to look at and decide if it really must remain that way.

There could be more to us than we know if we give it a “try”.  

Let us look to history to inspire~and let us be inspired to make some wonderful history.