Great minds think for themselves.
It’s becoming somewhat of a lost art. Yesterdays ago, history’s most influential ladies pondered on the page. They knew why they believed what they believed. So should I. So should you.
What you’ll find here isn’t a list of rapid-fire questions but anecdotes. Each journal prompt shares a life lesson from the likes of a princess bride, Holocaust survivor, or children’s book author to name a few. You now have three weeks of reflection.
I hope you have a good pen!
Children’s book author and illustrator Beatrix Potter held “an old-fashioned notion that a happy marriage is the crown of a woman’s life.”
What do you believe is the crown of a woman’s life? And how does this impact your priorities?
Sketch or describe your dream home. . . and give it a name.
Take a photo tour of High Point Mansion.
How is submission a strength?
On a boat named for her, Edith Carow spent the summer of 1878 with a grieving Theodore Roosevelt. She longed to comfort him but couldn’t accept his hasty proposal. When he proposed to someone else, Edith added Splendid Misery to her reading list.
How do you comfort? What comforts you?
Corrie ten Boom understood time. She held it in her hands as a watchmaker and felt it slip through her fingers inside a concentration camp. She understood evil and so cautioned: “If the devil cannot make us bad, he will make us busy.”
Define your priorities and reconcile your calendar.
Name a trait you’d most like to emulate. What steps will you take to become the Great _____?
There is no rest for geniuses. . . or those who marry them. Mabel Hubbard struggled to break Alexander Graham Bell‘s poor sleeping habits for decades of marriage. She encouraged, bribed, and even teased him by painting a “portrait” of him as a night owl.
Do you bemoan expectations or show acceptance?
Read their courtship story in Why A Great Woman Says “I Do” To The Man She Does
It came down to one breath. Barbara Bush watched her baby girl’s soul leave with a final exhale. Twenty-seven years later, she journaled the first question of abortion should be of when the soul enters, not of when life begins.
When matters? When the soul enters or when life begins?
Opposites attract and, in the Gilbreths’ case, achieve. Aboard their honeymoon train, engineer Frank requested a list of qualifications that romantic Lillian brought to the new partnership. Their accomplishments outnumber their children. . . and they had a dozen.
Make a list of your own qualifications, experiences, and interests.
To be perfectly candid, Betty Ford was just that. The First Lady memorably spoke her mind, much to the delight of the press and, occasionally, the dismay of the polls.
What is the cost of living transparently? What is the price of not?
Investigative reporter Nellie Bly knew how to write front-page news. She often was front-page news. In 1889 she took inspiration from the bestseller Around the World in 80 Days, set her own itinerary, and arrived home in 72.
Draft a dozen adventures for yourself as bold headlines.
View Nellie Bly’s modest packing list for her trip
“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” This from The Iron Lady herself, Margaret Thatcher.
How can you tell a woman is a lady? How can people tell you are?
Not all gardeners work with earth and seeds. Tiffany girl Clara Driscoll grew a garden of glass and light. Her stained-glass Dragonfly lamp received a gold medal at the 1900 Paris Exposition. Grand success, yet she resigned in order to marry.
When should women sacrifice a career for marriage? . . . motherhood?
View Driscoll’s Dragonfly lamp
No tabloid even rumored the homely Anne Morrow would wed the rugged hero of the skies, transatlantic pilot, and incidental global celebrity Charles Lindbergh. She seemed so unlikely a choice that newspapers printed Charles’ engagement to the wrong Morrow—her prettier sister.
How do the people who love you see you?
Equal rights are unequivocally wrong. Wife, mother, and activist Phyllis Schlafly campaigned against the feminist agenda. She recognized the movement limited the women it supposedly liberated, saying, “Self-imposed victimhood is not a recipe for happiness.”
Which feminist lies are you most susceptible to? What truths ratify the victim-mindset they promote?
What qualities make a good forgiver? Are you one?
Lists everyday and grand gestures of how you might better cherish the one you love.
Shadows, though frightening, bring depth. Poet Joy Davidman fought many demons the night she could not reach her suicidal husband. In her helplessness, she experienced God and His peace. The encounter sparked a faith journey that led her to become a pen-pal to C.S. Lewis.
Share your faith journey.
When reminded of a hateful wrong done to her, Clara Barton dismissed the story as if it had never happened. She said, “I distinctly remember forgetting that.”
What do you distinctly need to forget?
On the evening of her wedding, Maria Feodorovna received a letter from her mother. It warned of the physical tortures “Minnie” would experience within the marriage bed and reminded the young bride of her duty as a wife.
Write to Minnie preparing her for marital intimacy.
Read the letter in Advice From Great Women With Anxieties
On matters of homemaking, Audrey Hepburn stated, “You can’t just buy an apartment and furnish it and walk away. It’s the flowers you choose, the music you play, the smile you have waiting. I want it to be. . . a haven in this troubled world.”
How do you create a haven?
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.