The Mother’s Day Dreamer

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There’s plenty of days in the year, but only one has been set aside to honor that one person in each of our lives who did the most and had the greatest impact: the ladies who carried us and nurtured us; who encouraged us to succeed, and who wiped away our tears when we failed; the women who are lovingly called MOM! That day is Mother’s Day, and since it’s this Sunday, we wanted to do a special Diet for Dreamers about the lady who helped establish it as a nationally recognized holiday.

Anna Jarvis’ campaign to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her own beloved mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, passed away. Anna’s dream was to honor her mother: first, by continuing her mom’s work as a peace activist — Anna’s mom had cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War; and secondly, by creating “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” to address public health issues. Anna also had a goal to establish a national holiday paying tribute to mothers throughout the country.

The FIRST modern American celebration of Mother’s Day was in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial service for her mother in Grafton, West Virginia. Afterwards, due to Anna’s tireless campaigning, several states officially recognized Mother’s Day, West Virginia officially recognized the holiday in 1910. Several more states quickly followed. Ultimately, in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making Mother’s Day — always to be on the second Sunday in May — a national holiday honoring mothers.

Anna had achieved her goal. Her dream to recognize and celebrate “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world” had become a reality.

Anna Jarvis hoped the holiday would become an ocassion for people to honor their own mothers and demonstrate their appreciation by writing personal letters expressing their love and gratitude. So she was actually saddened when Hallmark started marketing pre-made Mother’s Day cards in early 1920. She felt the commemorative holiday she’d worked so hard to establish, was being commercialized. Perhaps. But today it’s easier to be on Hallmark’s side: not everyone’s gifted with beautiful handwriting or the creativity to produce homemade gifts. Some of us want and need other ways to express our feelings; and besides, giving pretty cards has become as much a tradition as Mother’s Day itself.

Mother’s Day has since been adopted by other countries and is now celebrated all over the world. What a wonderful idea — because our moms are wonderful people!

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” (George Washington)

“She is clothed with strength and dignity…. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her.” (Proverbs 31:25-28 NLT)

(Happy Mother’s Day to our very own Mamita!)

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No Fear! (Diet for Dreamers)

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One of the biggest hindrances to success is the fear of failure. While certain natural fears are healthy and beneficial — the ones that keep us out of trouble by warning us NOT to do something really stupid — this particular fear can be paralyzing. It can keep us from taking the next big step in the pursuit of our goals. It prompts us NOT to take chances, and instead, to make excuses, to be complacent, and to accept defeat before we even try!

In his daily devotional, The Word for You Today, evangelist Bob Gass once stated that researchers conducted an experiment in which “frogs were placed in separate glass jars covered with lids to prevent them from escaping. At first the frogs kept jumping, trying to escape, but each time they’d hit their heads on the lid. After thirty days of doing this, something amazing happened. When the lids were removed … the frogs never jumped out even though they could easily have done so. Why? Because they had formed a belief system that the top of the jar was as high as they could go….”

That describes a lot of us. At some level, we tried to go higher but we failed. And now we’ve stopped trying. We’ve stalled in the pursuit of goals, believing we can’t go any further. We’re reluctant to even try, because the taste of defeat  is bitter, indeed, and we don’t want to experience it again. So we tell ourselves, “I’m satisfied where I am. I’ve climbed high enough. I don’t need to rise any higher. Maybe I don’t deserve any better than this. Besides, I wouldn’t succeed anyway.”

If we allow this fear to rule our lives, we grow stagnant in every area. Playing it safe becomes our guiding principle in life. We’ll only do the right thing as long as it’s SAFE to do so. We’ll stop investing our money, our time, our talents, our love — because there’s a risk to every endeavor. There’s always a chance we can be hurt or suffer a loss.

No risks, no deep relationships, no chances on anything except the tried and true. Is this playing it safe? Or is it bondage? Are we free to take chances, or slaves to our fear?

Jesus Christ repeatedly admonishes us “to not be afraid.” In the Gospels alone there are dozens of warnings concerning FEAR. Our Lord came to free us — especially from bondage to fear: fear of not being worthy; fear of being rejected; fear of saying “No!” to unreasonable requests; fear of not living up to expectations; fear of failure; fear of being too young or too old or not qualified or over-qualified or too late or too early or not the right gender or ethnicity. To quote U.S. President Harry Truman, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” And we needn’t fear that one either, because “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (John 4:18 ESV) God’s love is perfect. So be FREE! Take confidence, strength and joy from the love, acceptance, and grace of God.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)

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