b-blog

Lessons from the 1940s Woman – Woman’s Work Is Good Work

She’s canning. In a frilly apron. And she’s smiling.

To the 2010 woman, this image looks hokey. Doesn’t she know that kind of work is drudgery? A waste of her potential? Beneath her?
While the women’s movement opened up traditional men’s work to women, somehow in the process, traditional women’s work was demeaned. Child care, cleaning, laundry, and routine cooking are now seen by most women as drudge work. When I gave up a promising full-time career in pharmacy to stay home with my children, I was told I was wasting my education and intellect, and I’d be bored out of my skull.
In the 1940s, women saw all work as good work. They knew raising children was an honor and privilege. They knew their labor in the home benefitted the family and society. Because they saw the inherent value of their work, most women found it fulfilling. For further fulfillment, women volunteered with civic and church organizations, or engaged in arts and hobbies.
Women can now work outside the home in traditional men’s jobs. That is a good thing. Single women don’t need to marry in order to eat, and married couples have options, especially welcome in a tough economy.
But why must we demean housework to gain that option? Why is traditional women’s work of less value than traditional men’s work? Isn’t that attitude, in its essence….sexist?
I’m as guilty of that attitude as most people in my generation. Perhaps it’s time to recognize that all work has an element of drudgery to it, whether it’s scrubbing toilets or passing paperwork from the inbox to the outbox. Perhaps it’s time to recognize that all work has value and benefits the family and society as a whole. If we cling to this, maybe we can find joy and fulfillment in our labor, whether paid or not.
I’m off to fold laundry. With a smile. But I’m not doing the frilly apron.

Better Than Sheep?

Sheep, sheep, sheep. What can I say about sheep?

1) Sheep need water to survive, but they can’t tell clean water from dirty water.
2) Sheep need food, but can’t tell good grass from poisonous plants.
3) Sheep will graze the same land over and over until it becomes eroded.
4) When sheep are attacked, they often freeze instead of running or crying out.
5) Conversely, sheep can panic at sudden noise and run straight into danger.
6) Sheep can drown in swift water when their wool becomes waterlogged.
7) When sheep fall over onto their backs, they can’t get up!

In short, sheep need help. They need a shepherd.

We think we’re so much better than sheep. We build tall buildings. We read and write and speak. We have thumbs.

But how many times have you:

1) Chosen something dirty over something clean?
2) Chosen something poisonous over something nourishing?
3) Repeated the same action over and over without benefit?
4) Frozen when you should have fled?
5) Fled when you should have frozen?
6) Felt drowned by all life’s troubles weighing you down?
7) Fallen and couldn’t get up?

In short, we need a shepherd too. And Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who guides us along the right paths to what is good and beneficial, protects us from danger, and helps us up when we fall.

“’I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep’” John 10:11.

How have you benefitted from Jesus’ shepherding?

Taste and See!

Flour. Water. Yeast. Salt.

Bread is simple stuff, but tasty and nourishing. When bread is digested, the complex carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars, which provide the energy we need to survive and perform the day’s activities.

Jesus is the Bread of Life. His body was broken and crushed for us. Through Him we can have eternal life and the power to accomplish His purposes.

What more could we ask?

“Taste and see that the Lord is good” Psalm 34:8.

Lessons from the 1940s Woman – Support Your Man!

Here’s a poster that would never be printed today. To the eye of the 2010 woman, this girl looks a bit…daft. The doting little woman fawning over her man’s accomplishments. Doesn’t she have a life of her own?

Maybe she’s not as stupid as we think.

Though our culture has undergone a gigantic shift, the basic nature of a man has not. According to Dr. Emerson Eggerichs in Love and Respect (Thomas Nelson, 2004), while the primary need of a woman is to be loved, the primary need of a man is to be respected. Eggerichs conducted a poll of four hundred men, asking, “If they were forced to choose one of the following, which would they prefer to endure? (a) to be left alone and unloved in the world (b) to feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone. Seventy-four percent of these men said…they would prefer being alone and unloved” (p. 49).

Whoa.

In 2010, male bashing is hip. Homer Simpson is considered the typical male, dumb and useless without his smart, long-suffering wife. College enrollment for young men is actually decreasing. And recently, my teenage son was told he isn’t supposed to be smart because he’s a white boy! It appears that society is trying to force men into the same second-class citizen role women fought to escape.

Now that women have earned respect, isn’t it time we gave some back? Men are more successful when they know their wives support them and take pride in them. Men who feel respected respond in a loving manner (just look at that sailor’s face in the poster!), so ironically, when we deprive our men of respect, we end up depriving ourselves of the love we most crave.

Modern marriages would benefit from some old-fashioned doting and fawning, and our entire society would benefit if both men and women lived up to full potential.

OK, ladies – bragging time! What do you admire about your man? And be sure to share this with him! I’ll start…my husband is a steady rock for me. He makes sound and prayerful decisions, he’s a man of integrity, and he has a generous heart. Your turn!

A Name and a Winner!

Thanks to everyone for your clever ideas for names for my blog! I’ve chosen the suggestion of my sister, Martha Groeber. No, this is not nepotism!! Her suggestion, Under His Wings, was the working title for Book 2 in my series, now officially A Memory Between Us. When I chose the title for the novel, I loved the double imagery – wings for the planes and for coming to trust under the Lord’s wings – and it fits the blog just as well.

I received suggestions from fourteen wonderful people, both on my blog and on Facebook. In a random drawing, my son pulled the name of Brigitte Peters. Brigitte, you’ve won a copy of A Distant Melody! Makes a lovely doorstop. Brigitte, I know where to find you 🙂

Happy Blogoversary!

My little blog is a year old today, and still doesn’t have a name! What kind of horrible mother am I?

To celebrate – and to name this poor child – I’m holding a drawing for a copy of my novel, A Distant Melody. Suggest a name for my blog in the comments and I’ll enter you in the drawing. Please also leave a way for me to get ahold of you – unless we’re already Facebook friends. Then I’ve got you! I’ll hold the drawing on Saturday, March 6.
No purchase necessary, United States only please, void wherever prohibited by law, yada, yada, yada.
Please. Help me. Help my poor blog. Suggest a name.

Lessons from the 1940s Woman – Make It Do!

In our green times, we say, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” but the 1940s woman puts us to shame. For her, “Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do” was more than a slogan, it was a necessary, patriotic lifestyle.

Many consumer goods, such as rubber goods and some spices, were scarce because they were produced by Japanese-occupied countries. Metal goods, clothing, and leather were rationed to take care of higher needs in the military or to allow factories to convert from civilian to military production. Coffee and sugar were rationed to save shipping capacity for military purposes. Canned goods were rationed to reduce metal packaging. The famous stocking shortage was caused by the need to save silk and nylon for parachutes. And gasoline was rationed primarily to save rubber – the less you drove, the fewer tires you wore out.
These shortages and a complicated rationing system led women to creative ways of meeting their families’ needs. Women adopted fashions with knee-length, gently flared skirts, with few fabric-wasting ruffles, pockets, and pleats. Cloth espadrilles became fashionable since women were limited to two to three pairs of leather shoes each year. Women shared recipes for meatless meals and reduced-sugar desserts, and found creative uses for Spam. They planted Victory Gardens to supplement their rations. And – like my grandmother – they washed diapers by hand and line-dried them when they couldn’t buy new appliances.
This generation knew how to recycle! They collected leftover cooking fats, which provided crucial ingredients for explosives. They peeled tin foil off the back of chewing gum wrappers. They turned in old toothpaste tubes in order to get new ones. Paper drives, rubber drives, and scrap metal drives brought in tons of materials for the war effort. Their hard work helped win the war.
How about you? Whether you’re motivated by a desire to conserve resources or to save money, what are some new ways you could “Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do?”

Lessons from the 1940s Woman – Work Is Fulfilling

World War II was a turning point for women. Before the war, few married women had jobs – in fact, most men considered a working wife a shameful sign that he couldn’t provide for his family. Unmarried women found few careers open to them, namely in nursing, teaching, and as secretaries.

The war changed that. In 1940, 132 million people lived in the US. and during the war 11 million men and women served in the armed forces. Even if the economy had continued at pre-war levels, this would have represented a significant drop in the workforce. But US production skyrocketed to supply planes, ships, guns, ammunition, uniforms, and food for the Allies. Women needed to work for the sake of their country.
More nurses were required, and 67,000 women joined the Army Nurse Corps and the Navy Nurse Corps. Nurses also expanded their traditional roles. Five hundred women served as flight nurses when the Army Air Force pioneered medical air evacuation. Each evacuation flight was staffed by a nurse (an officer) and a male surgical technician (a technical sergeant). She outranked him. She gave him orders. And without a physician on board, she made the decisions in flight. These were revolutionary roles for women.
Women were also recruited into the military. Two hundred thousand American women served as WAVEs (Navy), WAACs (Army), Spars (Coast Guard), or in the Marines. By placing women in noncombat positions, more men were available for combat duty. “Free a man to fight” was the slogan.
Also, 19 million women in the United States followed Rosie the Riveter’s example and took jobs, a third of them in factory work. By 1943, women formed one-third of the civilian workforce. While they faced opposition on the job site and in society, they proved themselves able workers. In fact, some jobs benefitted from women’s smaller fingers and attention to fine detail.
While the 1940s woman went to work for the sake of her country, she found unexpected personal benefits. She learned she could do things she never thought she could do. She earned her own money and discovered the freedom that gave her. She found satisfaction in her work.
This is a lesson today’s woman has learned well. All of us who have a career outside the home – full-time, part-time, or for a season of life – owe a lot to the nurses, WAVEs, and Rosies of World War II.

My Second Book Cover!


It’s official! Here’s the cover for the second book in the Wings of Glory series, which will be available September 2010. A Memory Between Us is now featured on Revell’s website at http://www.revellbooks.com/

Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge–until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth’s heart a top priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him. Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she carries a shameful secret that keeps her from giving her heart to any man. Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways?

A Memory Between Us is the second book in the Wings of Glory series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.

This has been an exciting week for me, with A Distant Melody now in stores, and now the cover for A Memory Between Us. I thank all of you – family, friends, and new e-buddies, for your support, encouragment, and prayers. There needs to be an asterisk after my name on the cover to include all of you, because I couldn’t do it without you!

Lessons from the 1940s Woman – Be Involved!

When World War II began, women sprang to action as volunteers. This was an area in which women already excelled. For example, my hometown’s Women’s Club was founded in 1902. In the early years, they were responsible for raising funds and spearing drives to establish the town’s library, high school, street signs, house numbering, street paving, water delivery and sewage systems, and the planting of shade trees!
Nowadays, we glorify the wartime woman who went to work outside the home, but in reality, far more women served as volunteers, and their work was crucial to the war effort.
Church groups, women’s clubs, the PTA, the USO, and the Red Cross all performed important services for the country. Women raised funds, bought war bonds, planted Victory Gardens, gave blood, ran recreational centers, and even knitted socks for the troops.
The American Red Cross, for example, had 37 million members during the war, and raised $785 million. In addition, 20 million youth joined the Junior Red Cross. They shipped 13 million pints of blood to the military and shipped 300,000 tons of supplies overseas, both for the troops, and for civilian wartime relief.
Red Cross volunteers rolled bandages, ran blood drives, and made clothes for refugees and kit bags for soldiers. They served in hospitals as “Gray Ladies,” reading to the wounded, writing letters, and serving in the recreation rooms. They operated canteens to serve meals at train stations, docks, and military posts at home and abroad. They served as nurse’s aides and dietitian’s aides.
To the 1940s women, community mattered. She willingly gave up her time to volunteer for the sake of her country. And she accomplished amazing things.
In 2010 we live in a self-oriented culture rather than the civic-minded culture of the past. Despite political talk about a return to volunteerism, most civic organizations and churches struggle to find people willing to commit time to serve, and most of the functions they once performed have shifted to government.
These women inspire me, and I hope they inspire you too. What can you learn from them? How can you contribute?