Thursday, August 28, 2014

When we strengthen women, we strengthen the world.

Maybe I've listened to too much of the Born Brave CD but I've been thinking a lot lately about the power of women. I think it has a lot to do with being with my immediate family (both Lewises and Doutres) lately and just seeing their examples as women, daughters, mothers, and wives. My sis-in-law, Tiffany, has spurred this thought with her column and mentioning how we gather for family reunions to be rejuvenated and motivated in being better people. We want to be more patient, kind, organized, etc. I guess I never realized that until I got married and since this was my first full fledge Lewis family reunion as a wife, I've seen how that is very true to my life. I know we're not super awesome at everything all the time but we get little snippets here and there of how we want to be better. 

For instance, I've had a greater motivation to run more after only making 2 miles with Seth, Tiffany, and Austin while they went an extra 6. I want to run happy like Tiffany does :)
I've wanted to cut back on sugars and be more conscious of my food intake.
I want to be hanging out with kids more and less screen time like Austin (okay I know I was gearing this towards women but he's my husband so it trumps all ;) but Emily was also a great example of this at the beach. The official fav aunt title has passed on to her ;)
Something I loved that Becca did was as we were driving to the Ogden open house was she was asking Eden in the car, "Do we run real fast in the temple or walk reverently?" "Do we talk really loud or talk really softly?" And of course, being Eden, aka the perfect child :) she answered them all correctly. Kids can teach you sweet things. I especially loved this post that Nathan did on his "daddy blog" after the Open House. But I love how Becca teaches. I should probably be taking notes or something.

I love Dani's wise words that "all things will work out in its own timing." We're still at that point in our life where who knows what and when will happen with almost everything (jobs, families, internships, schooling, etc.) so I was grateful for that little reminder. 
I'm grateful for Mom Doutre's constant encouragement and love. She is always sending us texts of love and keeping tabs on Austin to see how internships are coming. I feel like I need to be a better encourager because of her.

I always look forward to Bree's hugs. They're the best. And she can lip sync to Daft Punk like no other so her cool status is far above everyone else. :) I love her example to choose to follow the Spirit even when she doesn't know why she is doing it. 
I have learned so much from Cami's missionary letters about how living the Gospel really brings about happiness in one's life. I am more enthused to live better because of her zest for life. 
Something that I learned from A-A is that relationships are two sided and you need to put in the effort to help it to grow and stay strong. I've been reflecting on that a lot and how I need to be better about showing interest in people's lives and being a true friend. 
No wonder Viv's kids love her. She's their biggest fan. She is always rootin for them and letting them know what a great job they have done in everything and I know that is so important for them. 

Janelle has so much love and she lets her kids know it. I always saw her hugging and kissing them. I want that kind of love so my kids have no doubt.
Ondalynn's grace through everything with the reunion even with Isaac's broken arm was amazing. I hate being in charge of things so the thought of putting on a reunion stresses me out but she was so easy going and fun that it made the reunion really enjoyable. 
It was fun to talk with Danielle and Crismon who are in Taiwan. I admire Danielle's attitude about everything. Every time I talk with her or am around her, I want to be more kind and optimistic. 
Mere is like a rock in all that she does. The fact that she takes care of all of them while Bryan is gone for extended periods of time is amazing and no easy thing. And she still has time to chat with me on the phone for a good while just to talk. I love that about her.

And Mom, well I could write about a thousand posts about all that I have learned from her. I think one thing lately is: small victories. Don't overdue and don't beat yourself up over every little thing. Believe that you have something good to say and just do it. 

I was flipping through my journal recently and I read a sweet experience I had about a month ago. In our Relief Society lesson we were talking about Pres. Packer's recent talk and the topic of infertility came up. I know of a couple of people who are struggling with it and so it was interesting to hear thoughts from people but one in particular will stand out to me. My friend, Sam Merrell, has two incredibly sweet and cute boys, Aaron and Brigham. They have become almost family to me. I just have so much love for those cute boys and have been around them for a year and a half and see them several times a week. Aaron can actually say my name (3 syllables is hard!) and runs to give me a hug every time he sees me. 
Well anyway, Sam commented and said "Michelle (Sam's cousin) and Julia are my neighbors and they are like mothers to my boys. My boys adore them and it makes me recognize that I'm getting help to raise my kids." I was really touched. Even though we might not have kids of our own at the moment, I felt like a mother just then and hoping that whatever gift God may grant me, I want it to help me be a good mother to my own kids and to other kids. Or maybe those gifts come as I strive to be a good mom...probably both?

I guess the reason I love the Born Brave CD so much is because it's a compilation of songs about women of all types-young and old and varies through different experiences that can happen to women like having kids, adoption, infertility, loving again after a divorce, losing your spouse, battling cancer, and standing strong and asking God for more faith to be brave. 

Here are some of my favorite lyrics from different songs:

We go in the face of fear, drawn swords and souls unfurled. We carry the hope of years. We're soldier girls.

Here's to courageous women out there in shiny shoes and business suits, good for you. But hats off to the women in the kitchen who run the world raising boys and girls. 

What's mine is yours, it's always been. What slips through my hands has your fingerprints on it. I'm letting go remembering though heaven's doors feel shut they're wide open.

Sometimes I lay alone here in the dark so afraid there's not quite enough faith in my heart. Father on High, God of white light, send me daisies that bloom all night. Come what may, this I pray. Lord let me be brave.

I also wanted to share some beautiful paintings that really remind me of the power and blessing of women. All of them are Robert Duncan's...hmmm...but I'm so grateful that I have so many great examples of women in my life. Here's to you. 


  1. I loved this! I really have been blessed with a lot of good women influence and you are right amongst all those women too!! You are such a great example of optimism and faith! Love you!

  2. I loved this post so much! It made me cry. You are an amazing woman and you inspire me. I want to be better because of you. Thanks for blessing my day today. It made my day!

  3. Thanks so much for this post julia, you wrote it really beautifully and made us feel uplifted.

  4. What a wonderful gift to be able to discern others gifts. God bless your goodness!

  5. WOW! Wonderful post Julia! I love all your insights and thoughts. I know you will make a terrific mother! :) Love ya!