Wednesday Wonderful Women: Mary

There is no particular order to the women I choose each week.  Every week I have chosen someone totally at random!  Today I am thinking of one of the MOST important women in all of history: the mother of Jesus Christ.

Foreordained to bear the Son of God, Mary was chosen to fulfill the role of Jesus’ mother in His mortal mission to bring about the monumental, fundamental, and pivotal purpose of the Plan of Salvation: the Atonement.  Nephi saw Mary’s great mission in vision six hundred years before the birth of Christ in 1 Nephi 11

And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of aNazareth I beheld a bvirgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.  And it came to pass that I saw the aheavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou?  And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins. And he said unto me: Knowest thou the acondescension of God?  And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.  And he said unto me: Behold, the avirgin whom thou seest is the bmother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.  And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the aSpirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!  And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a achild in her arms.  And the angel said unto me: Behold the aLamb of God, yea, even the bSon of the Eternal cFather! Knowest thou the meaning of the dtree which thy father saw?  And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the alove of God, which bsheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the cmost desirable above all things.

It was CRUCIAL that Jesus condescend to take upon himself flesh that He would fulfill His mission to the fullest.  The prophets of the Book of Mormon foretold of His purpose for becoming mortal and what it would mean to us.  In each prophecy, Mary is mentioned by name as the mother of the Son of God – the chosen vessel that who would fulfill this infinitely important mission:

And behold, he shall be aborn of Mary, at bJerusalem which is the cland of our forefathers, she being a dvirgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and econceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.  And he shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions and btemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.  And he will take upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccor his people according to their infirmities.  Now the Spirit aknoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the bflesh that he might ctake upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me” (Alma 7:10-13; 83 B.C.).

“For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the aLord bOmnipotent who creigneth, who was, and is from all deternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a etabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty fmiracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the gblind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.  And he shall cast out adevils, or the bevil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.  And lo, he shall asuffer btemptations, and pain of body, chunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can dsuffer, except it be unto death; for behold, eblood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his fanguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.  And he shall be called aJesus bChrist, the cSon of God, the dFather of heaven and earth, the eCreator of all things from the beginning; and his fmother shall be called Mary” (Mosiah 3:5-8; 124 B.C.).

Mary, who was addressed by an angel of God as “highly favored” and “blessed…among women” (Luke 1:28) and when the angel explained her mission, her response showed immense faith: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38) despite knowing that she might be condemned in her culture for conceiving before marriage.  She understood the magnitude of her mission and what it would mean to her people.  She said,

My soul doth bmagnify the Lord, And my spirit hath arejoiced in God my bSaviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his ahandmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me bblessed.  For he that is mighty hath done to me great athings; and bholy is his name.  And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.  He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the aproud in the imagination of their hearts.  He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of alow degree.  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.  He hath aholpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy” (Luke 1:46-54).

Mary understood that her mission was to bring about the prophecy of the condescension of Jehovah to bring about the salvation of her people – and the world.  Although Mary and Joseph were technically of the lineage of David – king of Israel, Mary considered herself of “low estate” and acknowledged the strength and mercy of God in her mission.  She was humble and submissive, and accepted her important mission to give glory to God.

Watch video of the birth of Christ: Luke II:

Wednesday Wonderful Women: Janis Joplin

I think this is one of my favorite images of Janis Joplin.  She looks so innocent and young.  Over the years, I have had many thoughts about this woman – her confusing life, her rise to fame, her humble beginnings, her tragic death…

I discovered Janis Joplin in high school when my frustrated band teacher made our class write a report for bad behavior.  I picked up a Rolling Stones encyclopedia of rock book and sort of stumbled on her.  When it comes to music, I’m pretty naive, I’ll admit.  I didn’t really know anything about classic rock, and now I know even less.  Still, Janis stood out to me as a stunning women who had made it in a predominantly male industry at that time.  I asked my parents if they could tell me something about her.  They said I wouldn’t like her style because she was loud.  I had the impression that she had a nasty voice.  Some could argue this.  I still wanted to know what she was all about.  I read “The Scars of Paradise” to learn more.  Soon, she became a favorite.  A friend gave me one of her box sets and I got her 18 Essential Songs album for Christmas.  I listened to it over and over!  I knew she had a troubled life.  I knew that she experienced some of the same coming-of-age things I was, namely, unrequited love.  I was impressed that she rose to popularity amongst great artists like Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison.  I loved that you could feel her emotions when she sang, like you were feeling it yourself.  To me, she was beautiful because she was real and totally authentic.  I taught myself to sing like her.  I would belt out “Piece of my heart” and ” Me and Bobby McGee” in the car where ever I drove.  It’s actually a great way to warm up my voice!  My favorite Christmas gift ever was the time my brother found a Janis action figure!  That was a great surprise! 

Janis Joplin was a woman who was naive in her own way.  You listen to her talk and you can’t help but feel sorry for her and want to sympathize with her.  Whether that sympathy is because of her story or the obvious influence drugs and alcohol had over her, there is a thin line to distinguish which was the culprit.  Perhaps she was better later in life, but she was cut off too early to find out.  She pushed the limits of her addiction and it ended her too young.

Still, it was a life that she had chosen.  I’m not sure that she started out troubled.  She would sing in church, and her family seemed like a typical conservative family of the 60’s.  She had even gone to college at the University of Texas.  Even her raspy sound was intentional.  The beatnik movement had a powerful hold on her.

Janis died at 27 years old.  I can only imagine how great she would have been if she’d only made better choices.  In my mind, her experience reenforces that there is a time and a place and a season for everything and that there is a counterfeit for everything.  There are snares to catch us when we give in to the counterfeits of happiness and success.  Such a beautiful woman who gave everything she had to anyone and everyone.  To me, she represents a woman who gave it all and only wanted to be loved in return.  She was strong.  She was bold.  She loved the stage.  She was great.

“Piece of My Hearth”

“Cry Baby”

Check out Janis Official website & bio:

Wednesday Wonderful Women: Harriet Tubman

I read a biography of Harriet Tubman on this website for Women in History.  Harriet was an amazing woman!  She was born into slavery, but was determined to gain her freedom.  Once she was free, she led twenty missions to retrieve other slaves from bondage.  Later, she joined John Brown to plot an attack on Harper’s Ferry, Virginia and served the Union Army as a cook, laundress, nurse, scout, and spy during the Civil War.  Harriet was determined to serve her people all her life.  She was brave and strong.  “Despite the hardships inflicted upon her and the unfairness of them, Harriet used her labors for self discipline and set for herself the goal of escaping to the North.”  She used that same self discipline to demonstrate confidence in her capacities and worked hard to raise funds for her cause. 

She believed she had been called by God to help her people, and once told an interviewer:

“Now do you suppose he wanted me to do this just for a day, or a week? No! the Lord who told me to take care of my people meant me to do it just so long as I live, and so I do what he told me to do.”

Later in life she took up a cause in suffrage and was a delegate to the National Association of Colored Women’s first annual convention.  She made her home a Home for “Aged and Indigent Colored People”.  She truly did serve her people her entire life.  She is a true example of selflessness and discipline to accomplish great things.

Wednesday Wonderful Women: Julie B. Beck

Julie B. Beck is the current General Relief Society President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The Relief Society is the worldwide women’s organization of the church.  Organized by Joseph Smith March 17, 1842 for “All women in the ward ages 18 and older, as well as women younger than 18 who are married or are single mothers, belong to the Relief Society organization. The purpose of Relief Society is to organize, teach, and inspire women to prepare them for the blessings of eternal life. Members of the Relief Society fulfill this purpose by increasing faith and personal righteousness, strengthening families and homes, and seeking out and helping those in need…The Relief Society organization also provides an individualized support network that gives women the opportunity to care for, strengthen, and teach one another” (

Quotes from Sister Beck:

“It is not possible to make real change all by ourselves. Our own willpower and our own good intentions are not enough. When we make mistakes or choose poorly, we must have the help of our Savior to get back on track. We partake of the sacrament week after week to show our faith in His power to change us. We confess our sins and promise to forsake them (see D&C 58:43)” (“Remembering, Repenting, and Changing,” Ensign, May 2007, 111).

“It would be impossible to learn the lessons the scriptures contain by reading them only one time through or studying selected verses in a class. . . . The Lord has told us that our time should ‘be devoted to the studying of the scriptures’ (D&C 26:1) and that ‘the Book of Mormon and the holy scriptures are given. . . for [our] instruction’ (D&C 33:16)” (“My Soul Delighteth in the Scriptures,” Ensign, May 2004, 107).

“Just as the Savior invited Mary and Martha of New Testament times to participate in His work, women of this dispensation have an official commission to participate in the Lord’s work. . . . The organization of Relief Society in 1842 mobilized the collective power of the women and their specific assignments to build the Lord’s kingdom, just as the organization of priesthood quorums gave men specific responsibilities. . . .

“Through Relief Society, women have an official role in the Church with great responsibilities, ‘including working in the temple and teaching the gospel’ (Dallin H. Oaks, ‘The Priesthood and the Auxiliaries,’ Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 10, 2004, 17). Further, Relief Society is to help women ‘plant and make grow . . . a testimony of [Jesus] Christ and of the Gospel’ (The First Presidency, ‘Memorandum of Suggestions,’ Mar. 29, 1940, 2), ‘strengthen the family and the home’ (Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 10, 2004, 17), and ‘attend to all family duties’ (D&C 20:47)” (“Fulfilling the Purpose of Relief Society,” Ensign, Nov. 2008, 108–9).


Forgive me for just writing a quick highlight about Sister Beck today.  I had an interesting weekend filled with major ups and downs.  Dear friends were in town for a visit.  We toured the city together and had great company and conversation.  Their children were sweethearts and my children loved having them around!  Each time they pulled up next to us or arrived at our home, my daughter shouted with sheer, innocent delight, “friends!!  Friends, mommy!!”  It was so sweet.  They have been good friends of ours since shortly after we were married.  They are a fulfillment of a blessing I was given that I would meet dear friends who would remain our friends throughout our lives.  They are as dear to us as family!

Unfortunately, our visit was tainted by a car accident.  The front end of our car was met by some oncoming traffic while I was driving, and I broke my finger.  Everyone else involved was ok.  The other cars involved were totaled and we have other repercussions and costs as a result as well, even though we were able to drive our car away from the scene.  Some of the repercussions are emotional.  I feel terrible, as anyone would for being involved in a car accident.  I know there are more tragic things than a nonfatal accident, but that doesn’t make it easier.

There is a thought I had the other day as I was contemplating the trials that my husband and I are experiencing.  Some days feel like we are sort of being tested beyond our capacity to handle, and we wonder why when we exist on this earth that we might have joy.  So where is that joy?  Why does it feel so very far out of reach?  Why would the Lord kick us when we’re already down like this?  I struggle to understand when in the midst of my trial there is so little hope.

The truth is (and here is my thought), our joy is in the Lord Jesus Christ.  “[For] he [has gone] forth, suffering pains and aafflictions and btemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.  And he [has taken] upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccor his people according to their infirmities.  Now the Spirit aknoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the bflesh that he might ctake upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me” (Alma 7:11-13).

Our joy comes through our faith in Christ and in His Atonement in spite of our trials.  Our trials are designed to heighten our understanding of the sacrifice the Savior made, or to stand as His disciples in all times and places.  The trials are the test to see if we are truly His disciples or if we are only offering lip service.  Our trials are designed to refine us and to temper us that we might be prepared to stand in the presence of the Father.

I think I could go on and on about the purpose of our trials.  There are many reasons and many outcomes.  I know it is possible to be grateful for our trials as we learn and grow and develop wisdom and experience.  The important thing is to be grateful for all the little blessings we have, and that we keep doing the things that will bring balance and consistency and faithfulness.

What do you do to maintain balance and consistency from day-to-day?

Wednesday Wonderful Women: Mother Teresa

Well, I actually didn’t know very much about Mother Teresa but that she was a force for good in the Christian world and won the Nobel Peace prize for her accomplishments (in 1979).  I chose her because I wanted to learn more about what she’d done, and I am impressed by her faith and perseverance.  Her efforts to serve people were truly Christlike and she was a great example of a disciple of Christ.

“Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia, on August 26, 1910. Her family was of Albanian descent. At the age of twelve, she felt strongly the call of God. She knew she had to be a missionary to spread the love of Christ. At the age of eighteen she left her parental home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with missions in India. After a few months’ training in Dublin she was sent to India, where on May 24, 1931, she took her initial vows as a nun. From 1931 to 1948 Mother Teresa taught at St. Mary’s High School in Calcutta, but the suffering and poverty she glimpsed outside the convent walls made such a deep impression on her that in 1948 she received permission from her superiors to leave the convent school and devote herself to working among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. Although she had no funds, she depended on Divine Providence, and started an open-air school for slum children. Soon she was joined by voluntary helpers, and financial support was also forthcoming. This made it possible for her to extend the scope of her work. On October 7, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission from the Holy See to start her own order, “The Missionaries of Charity”, whose primary task was to love and care for those persons nobody was prepared to look after. In 1965 the Society became an International Religious Family by a decree of Pope Paul VI” (

The Missionaries of Charity became a worldwide organization and “By the 1990s there were over one million Co-Workers in more than 40 countries” (  “Missionaries care for those who include refugees, ex-prostitutes, the mentally ill, sick children, abandoned children, lepers, AIDS victims, the aged, and convalescent. They have schools run by volunteers to educate street children, they run soup kitchens, as many other services as per the communities’ needs. They have 19 homes in Kolkata (Calcutta) alone which include homes for women, for orphaned children, and for the dying; an AIDS hospice, a school for street children, and a leper colony. These services are provided to people regardless of their religion or social caste” (Wikipedia).

Mother Teresa quotes:

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

“I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No, I wouldn’t touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly cure him for the love of God.”

“I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?”

“If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.”

“Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.”

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.”

“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted.”

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”

“Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness” (

Wednesday Wonderful Women: Lucy Mack Smith

Lucy Mack Smith was born July 8, 1775 and was married to Joseph Smith Sr. January 1796 and had eleven children. Lucy was the mother of the Prophet and founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith, Jr.
The following are excerpts from Lucy Mack Smith: Woman of Great Faith By Jaynann Payne
“Lucy Mack Smith had faith in herself as a woman and as a homemaker. Her unique combination of traits seemed paradoxical; she was impulsive and determined, yet she relied upon the promptings of the Spirit to temper and give authority to what she did and said.”
“Lucy Mack Smith was a woman for all seasons. Through sunlight and shadow her faith in the family was of eternal scope. It showed itself in the trusting love she had for her parents and brothers and sisters; in the respect and honor she showed her beloved husband; in the inspiring way in which she nurtured the tender faith of her own children, especially young Joseph; in her faith in herself as a capable homemaker and mother; in the faith to hold family nights that were unforgettable; in her compassionate service to the Saints and her fellowmen; in the powerful testimony she bore of the truth of the Book of Mormon; and finally in her faith in her eternal family, which brought the only comfort possible in that darkest hour as she leaned over the biers of her dearest ones hewn down as martyrs. Her faith verified that they had indeed “overcome the world by love” and that a loving and merciful Father had taken them to himself that they might have rest.”
“Lucy was not tall, but she straightened up regally and with fire in her icy blue eyes walked right into the noise and confusion. Her voice rang out with authority:’Brethren and sisters, we call ourselves Saints, and profess to have come out from the world for the purpose of serving God at the expense of all earthly things; and will you, at the very onset, subject the cause of Christ to ridicule by your own unwise and improper conduct? You profess to put your trust in God, then how can you feel to murmur and complain as you do! You are even more unreasonable than the children of Israel were; for here are my sisters pining for their rocking chairs, and brethren from whom I expected firmness and energy, declare that they positively believe they shall starve to death before they get to the end of their journey. And why is it so? Have any of you lacked? Have not I set food before you every day, and made you, who had not provided for yourselves, as welcome as my own children? Where is your faith? Where is your confidence in God? … Now brethren and sisters, if you will all of you raise your desires to heaven, that the ice may be broken up, and we be set at liberty, as sure as the Lord lives, it will be done.'”

Wednesday Wonderful Women: Abigail Adams

I am somewhat smitten by Abigail Adams.  I am impressed by her involvement in the government and her strong opinions around rights, civic duty, and womanhood.  Her life is well-documented because of rich written correspondences.

Though she believed her main role in life to be wife and mother, Abigail Adams also was a behind-the-scenes stateswoman. She used her talents to maintain her family during the many absences of her husband, John Adams, the second president of the United States, and to advise her husband about women’s rights and slavery. Her detailed letters with her husband, family, and friends provide a historical record of the times and show her to have been a woman ahead of her time.”

Abigail did not receive formal education due to her health as a child.  She was taught to read and write at home.  Her father was a Congregationalist minister, and her mother was the daughter of John Quincy, a member of the colonial Governor’s council and colonel of the militia.  Abigail married John Adams, (later the second President of the United States) on October 25, 1764 when she was 19.  They had five children and one still born baby.  She was the mother of John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States.

Abigail on adversity:
May justice and righteousness be the stability of our times, and order arise out of confusion. Great difficulties may be surmounted by patience and perseverance.”These are times in which a Genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. Would Cicero have shone so distinguished an orator, if he had not been roused, kindled and enflamed by the Tyranny of Catiline, Millo, Verres and Mark Anthony? The Habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. All History will convince you of this, and that wisdom and penetration are the fruits of experience, not the Lessons of retirement and leisure. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the Heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into Life, and form the Character of the Hero and the Statesman.””Great necessities call out great virtues.”

Abigail on service:

If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?

“I consider it as a sacrifice to my Country and one of my greatest misfortunes (for my husband) to be separated from my children at a time of life when the joint instructions and admonition of parents sink deeper than in more mature years.

“How difficult the task to quench the fire and the pride of private ambition, and to sacrifice ourselves and all our hopes and expectations to the public weal! How few have souls capable of so noble an undertaking! How often are the laurels worn by those who have had no share in earning them! But there is a future recompense of reward, to which the upright man looks, and which he will most assuredly obtain, provided he perseveres unto the end.”

Abigail on womanhood & education:

If we mean to have Heroes, Statesmen and Philosophers, we should have learned women. The world perhaps would laugh at me, and accuse me of vanity, but you I know have a mind too enlarged and liberal to disregard the Sentiment. If much depends as is allowed upon the early Education of youth and the first principals which are instill’d take the deepest root, great benefit must arise from literary accomplishments in women.

“Patriotism in the female sex is the most disinterested of all virtues. Excluded from honours and from offices, we cannot attach ourselves to the State or Government from having held a place of eminence. Even in the freest countries our property is subject to the control and disposal of our partners, to whom the laws have given a sovereign authority. Deprived of a voice in legislation, obliged to submit to those laws which are imposed upon us, is it not sufficient to make us indifferent to the public welfare? Yet all history and every age exhibit instances of patriotic virtue in the female sex; which considering our situation equals the most heroic of yours.

“I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And by the way, in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors (were). Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why, then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity? Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your sex; regard us then as Beings placed by Providence under your protection, and in imitation of the Supreme Being, make use of that power only for our happiness.”

“Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”

Abigail on patriotism:

A people fired … with love of their country and of liberty, a zeal for the public good, and a noble emulation of glory, will not be disheartened or dispirited by a succession of unfortunate events. But like them, may we learn by defeat the power of becoming invincible.”