|Kendall and Kristin|
A little over a year ago Wednesday’s Woman began when I found out my friend was helping her neighbor, a hoarder, clean out her house. The story astonished me, not because I was surprised by my friend's willingness to help, I knew her to be that way. I was amazed because I could not imagine saying more than a brief “hello” to my neighbors. Actually lending a helping hand seemed huge. I thought it was a story that needed to be told to honor my friend and to help mobilize kindness in our world, in my world.
As the year passed, Wednesday’s Woman grew from the stories shared by guest bloggers. Some women honored were not well-known, some were celebrities. All deserved the light that was shed on their work. All inspired me to keep going, to keep writing. During times when I did not feel I had the emotional energy to write, knowing Wednesday’s Woman was due kept me mobilized.
Today, Kristin, a great writer who blogs at Kristin Has Two Eyes, brings Wednesday’s Woman full circle, back to its beginnings, by honoring her friend. I am grateful for this reminder to stay awake and aware, for a Wednesday’s Woman is always close by. We just have to be willing to acknowledge her presence and her impact on our lives.
Wednesday's Woman: A Creative Life
Growing up, whenever I was asked the traditional essay or interview question, “Who inspires you?” I always had trouble formulating an answer. Perhaps I was too self-centered or overly realistic to spend time idolizing someone in my youth. However, now that I am a parent, I can easily list people and figures I hope my daughters will emulate. My realism remains, though, and so while historic figures and certain celebrities may make the cut, more than anything I long for real life role models for my girls.
As Tamar shared in her post last Wednesday, our parent’s friends can have a huge impact on us. In some cases, they can act as surrogate parents, filling in where our own fall short (or where we refuse to listen). They are also windows to who our mothers and fathers are as women and men in the world and not just in our home. I feel lucky to be surrounded by friends who I know would do anything for my children; including walking with me and my husband as we raise them.
“Significance is found in giving your life away, not in selfishly trying to find personal happiness.” -Betsy Ricucci
This Wednesday’s Woman is someone who embodies this approach to life, my dear friend M. Kendall Ludwig. The first thing you need to know about Kendall is that she is a rock star in my book; an inspiration to me and definitely a real life role model for my daughters (and her own.) Yes, she taught herself to slap the electric bass and was actually in a band for a few years, but she shines for many more reasons than these.
Like any successful rock star, Kendall has a strong sense of self and style. Since high school, she has never been afraid to wear what she likes, showcase her voluminous copper tresses, or articulate her beliefs. I admired this about her then and even more so now. Despite being mostly home with her two young girls, Kendall still looks and acts like Kendall. She has not lost her identity through motherhood or maturity. While I know she only spends a little time and even less money on her appearance, she makes herself a priority at times, and the result is a confidence that benefits everyone around her. She understands the link between looking good, feeling good and doing good things.
This philosophy overflows into her work as the president and principal designer of her own graphic design firm. Rock star that she is, she followed her dreams and began working for herself, on her own terms, as soon as she could. She took a risk to pursue her passion; that everyone deserves to look good, especially small businesses and nonprofits with great vision, but limited resources. With her artistic, creative strengths, Kendall had to step out of her comfort zone to learn the fundamentals of running a successful firm. Her brave ambition did not overtake her common sense. Kendall always asks for the expertise of others when she knows she needs it.
Confident, but far from proud, Kendall does what any music teacher would advise a blossoming musician to do: make mistakes loudly. Whether in reference to her family, friends, future or finances, Kendall never hesitates to ask for prayer and support. In fact, on numerous occasions, her inclination to just stop and listen for direction humbles me. What impresses me most is that her first concern is always for someone else. In rock star terms, she is loyal to her fans and never forgets the people who got her where she is or knew her when. I can’t count how many times I have heard her request thoughts and prayers for her husband, her children, her parents, her siblings, for relationships to be healed, for hearts to be changed, for minds to be opened. Her scope of concern is appropriately focused and yet selflessly large. Just a few months ago she stepped forward and organized a bipartisan night of prayer at our small community church to simply sing and pray over our country and the election.
This is only a snapshot of who Kendall is. I barely touched on all the other ways she demonstrates leadership in her field and in her faith. I hardly mentioned all that she does for her two sweet girls and her devoted husband. I hope that from what you have learned about her you see that she is outstanding (not to mention rocking) in every way. She certainly plays music she likes, but she first and foremost plays it for those that she loves. I feel blessed that my daughters and I are some of those people and I feel inspired to tune up my talents for those in my life. Kendall is proof positive that we can all be real life role models and perhaps even next Wednesday’s Woman.
A huge thank you to Kristin, who, with this post, reminds me to honor my creative-self. I hope she has done the same for you:
Kristin blogs because she loves to write. In addition to dabbling in fiction and sharing stories, she articulates anecdotes she observes in her boring, yet busy, happy little life as a stay-at-home mom. Kristin is still figuring out what else she wants to be when she grows up and hopes, in some ways, she never finds it.
Wednesday's Woman is a weekly feature dedicated to spotlighting women who are role models for our daughters. . . and the world.