Last week was International Women’s Day and our newspaper talked about pregnant women in the work place finding themselves victims of “medieval discrimination”, the need for pay equity, and how many women in Niger confront hardships with dignity and resilience. In my post today I want to honour the many women who have quietly blessed my life and the lives of countless others.

A month or so ago Shirley and I were at an uncle’s 88th birthday. He is suffering from dementia, can’t hear very well and is nearly blind. He is a quiet man and deals with life as best he can, but what I remember most from the party were the two women in his life – his wife and daughter. As he sat on the sofa between his wife and Shirley, his wife smiled at him, held his hand and helped him open his birthday presents. She graciously helped him when he went to eat his birthday cake and I was impressed with the tender way she helped him enjoy his day with dignity. When it was time to leave his daughter hugged him and said, “thank you Daddy for supporting me when I was growing up.”  And so I honour the older women and middle-aged daughters who remember the good times with pleasure and provide support with kindness in more difficult times.

In January we watched the Superintendent of Education for the area in which we were building classrooms in Mexico present a plaque to Patty Jacobs Kunkle for the work she had done in raising funds, working with local authorities, ordering materials and seeing that the classrooms were completed on time. Her husband and many others have participated in building a number of schools in that area, but she is the one that makes it happen and so to the women of our country who see the needs in other places and give their time and energy to bless the children there I honour you.

One of the people helping to build the two classrooms in Ojos Negros was a single mom with three children. She wore steel toed boots and had a framing hammer hanging from her tool belt. She was assigned to oversee the building of the roof trusses and did whatever else needed to be done. I also watched as she parented her children, taught them about finishing a project and mothered a child who had been sick during the night. I listened as she led a morning prayer of thanksgiving and asked God’s blessings on the day’s work. And I want to honour the women who multi-task, deals with life’s challenges and happily assists others to have a better way of life.

So thank you mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and granddaughters that help to shape our homes, our churches, communities and yes, the world.

*** posted by David

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