Monday 17 January 2011

Women of Inspiration

When I think down through the years of my life, I can clearly see where there have been many women throughout the years that have influenced and inspired me. I thought it would be fun to start a new feature on here, where, once a week, I will write about one such woman. I do hope you will enjoy and that you may want to do this on your own blogs. I tried to figure out a way to get a Mr Linky thing, but I just couldn't figure it out. They wanted money and all sorts and that is not what this is all about. If you do write about a woman who has inspired you, please do leave a link in the comments section so that we can come and read all about her too!

The first woman I want to write about here is a woman named Mary. I won't use her real name because I don't want to embarrass her and I know she wouldn't like that. Mary was a woman that I became acquainted with back in the 1990's. She was a member of my church, but I was not a member myself at the time. I didn't meet her through the church either, but through another good friend of mine, named Leona, who introduced us. They had met through an Alzheimer's Support Group, and Leona thought I would really enjoy meeting Mary.

Mary's mother had recently died after having suffered with Alzheimer's and Mary had taken care of her in her own home right through the whole process. Mary also had a husband, George, and three children. These children were not her own, but adopted. They each had learning disabilities and challenges of one kind or another, ranging from mild to quite severe. Mary and George were devoted to these children and you couldn't find any three more loved children if you tried.

I was so pleased when I met Mary. She was a lovely woman and I always really enjoyed her company. We became great friends, and we often got together for lunch or even just for a couple of hours of friendly companionship. We talked about the gospel from time to time and she knew just how sad and heart broken I was that I was not allowed to join the church at that time. She was my friend no matter what. I was always so impressed with her cheerful attitude about things, despite what might have seemed to others to have been some really serious and discouraging challenges in her life. Her daughter had real behavioural problems and was always getting into one scrape or another. One of her sons was severely mentally retarded and could not even speak. He needed a great deal of care in every way, yet Mary always cared for him with love and compassion and with joy. Her eldest son was the most normal of the three, but I believe even he had some problems.

George was a salesman and was on the road a lot of the time, travelling here and there throughout the province. It was on one such of these travels back in the mid 90's that he ran into a severe snow storm. Driving was horrendous and quite dangerous. He came upon a bad accident which had involved a number of vehicles and he stopped to see what he could do to help out. NO accident vehicles had been called for at the time. He went to every vehicle to see if anyone in them needed help and to assist where he could. When he came to the last one he happened upon a woman who clearly needed an ambulance and after talking to her for a time, he told her he was going back to his vehicle to call for assistance. The woman didn't want him to leave, but he told her he must. He went back to his car, where he had a car phone. (Quite something in those days and most unusual) He was able to call for help and it was afterwards when he was on his way back to the car that the worst thing you could imagine happened. He was hit by a transport truck and flung over into a field, where the fast falling snow began to cover him.

The ambulances and emergency people came, but nobody could account for the person who should have been in George's car. The woman he had spoken to clearly remembered a man coming to speak to her and going for help, but he could not be found. The search was on, and after spending a full 2 days in the field at the side of the highway, and covered in snow, George was finally found. He was alive, but paralyzed completely from the neck down. If not for the cold temperatures of the snow, he would have died. He lost some of his toes and fingers to frost bite and was in the hospital for a very long time, and never did regain any of his mobility.

This couple were amazing. Mary never faltered in her faith, nor did George. There are some people who might have turned against God had something as devastating as this happened to them, but not them. They were an inspiration to everyone who knew them or had the opportunity to work with them . . . hospital personnel, friends, acquaintances, etc. George went through the many, many months of recuperation in hospital with Mary at his side and eventually was able to return to his home, where Mary cared for him with devotion and love until his eventual death some years later. I know that she cherished every moment she was given with him, and he with her, despite the difficulties and challenges they faced.

One might wonder why some people are seemingly given more challenges than it seems humanly possible to bear . . . and there is no real answer to that question . . . this life we are given here on earth is a time of trial and testing for each of us. Some of us face deeper trials than others, whilst some of us seemingly live charmed lives where very little seems to go wrong. All of us will face problems from time to time. It is inevitable. The difference lies in how we cope with them. You can lie down and let them beat you of course . . . but what will have been accomplished, what is the purpose of that. Or you can gird up your loins and cling to the Saviour and His example . . . He who suffered more than any of us can imagine and who knows first hand all of our suffering and pain, and who can carry us through anything life can throw at us, His strength helping us to endure to the end.

This was the inspiration and example Mary set for me. There have been many times in the ensuing years, when faced with difficulties of my own, I have thought of Mary and her fine example of faith, and it has helped me to go on, and to cling to the Saviour when many times I may have wanted to let go. So, today I want to thank Mary for her gift to me. Her inspiration and influence have helped me greatly in my life. She is a true woman of inspiration and courage.

Does your burden seem too heavy for your back to bear?
Do you ever think that life is cruel and unfair?
Do not yield to bitterness for that way lies defeat.
Things will take a turn someday and life be good and sweet . . .
You will find that all the trials that put you to the test,
Spurred you on and made you stronger, bringing out the best.
The troubles of the present you will view with different eyes,
and someday you will see that they were blessings in disguise.
~Patience Strong

Here's a quick and easy supper dish that is also tasty and quite delicious. You can just use ordinary sliced sandwich ham, or leftover ham from a roast dinner. I have even used bologna which is also very good.

*Cheese and Ham Baked Eggs*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

A speedy lunch or light supper. Serve with some salad on the side.

4 sliced baked ham
Dijon mustard to taste
4 large free range eggs
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 1/2 ounces of cheddar or Gruyere cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5. Butter 4 glass ramekins. Line each with a slice of ham. It doesn't matter if it overlaps a bit as this only adds to the attractiveness of the dish. Dot each with some mustard. Break an egg over top of the mustard in each dish. Season to taste with some salt and pepper. Divide the grated cheese eveny amongst the 4 dishes, sprinkling it on top of the seasoned eggs.

Place the ramekins into a deep baking tin large enough to hold all the ramekins. Add boiling water to the tin to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 15 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the eggs are lightly set. Serve hot.

Variation: You can add a slice of tomato to the bottom of each dish or a few spinach leaves, or both. Delicious!

This is a picture of the Trifle I made at Christmas using my new Pampered Chef Trifle Bowl. There's no recipe today on The English Kitchen, but there is the chance to participate in my online Pampered Chef Party! I'm really excited about it. There's also a giveaway, so hop on over to The English Kitchen to find out all about it!


  1. this was a lovely post Marie.. thank you for sharing..

  2. I'm sure most people are probably aware of Stephanie Nielson who survived horrific burns after a plane crash. She has so much grace and humility that it puts me to shame. If ever I'm feeling sorry for myself, a glance at 'Nienie's' blog shows me the path I know I should be heading.

  3. I think we all know someone like your Mary that has overcome horrendous difficulties. They do give us encouragement to go on. My grandmother was the one that I look to as my hero. She was a wonderful faith filled woman and endured many things yet always had a positive outlook and never an unkind word for anyone. I have one of those trifle bowls that I've yet to use so I must check out your recipe for that today.
    I hope your Monday is a wonderful one!

  4. Hi Marie,

    I thinking that your lesson on Mary and the person she was in spite of her trmendous trials is very inspiring.

    Once again we are on the same wave length. I was thinking of doing series about women that have uplifted me or mentored me or influenced me in some special way just this last week.

    What made me think of it was I was thinking about my grandmother, some of my aunts, and my mom and daughters and friends and how much they all mean to me in connection with Family History and our new callings. There are lessons of faith and hope and incredible accomplishments all around us.

    Thanks for sharing this! XOXO Bon

  5. oh my gosh- that story about your friend mary and her sweet husband is so so sad. it does make you wonder why some people go through so much more than others seem too. i know its part of the plan. but wow. that is so sad:( what amazing people to have endured so much and to have still remained so strong. what an inspiration that couple is and what a blessing that you were able to know them.

  6. What an amazing women your Mary is. Just reading about her is an inspiration to me. Like you, I wonder why some are given such hard loads to bear and yet can remain so faithful and others, who seem to have relatively easy lives, fall apart at the smallest things. I have faced some difficult times in my life but never that hard. I can't imagine how difficult it was for Mary and George. I hope that her life is easier and full of joy now. Thank you for sharing her story with us. I look forward to reading more of your amazing women posts.

    You are an inspiration to me. Your posts always lift my spirits. Thank you dear. Hugs, Lura

  7. p.s. How did you know that we had baked ham for dinner last night and I was trying to think of a different way to serve ham for breakfast?? I am off to make your ham and eggs bake right now. Marie to the rescue once again. Yeah!


Your comments mean the world to me, and while I may not be able to address each one individually, each one is important to me and each one counts. Thanks so much!