So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

September 11, 2001: I was a junior in college, walking to my first education class of the day. Somewhere between 8-9 a.m. A seemingly ordinary Tuesday. A seemingly ordinary steamy, mid-September walk with a group of friends. A seemingly ordinary everything.

Until we passed another group of friends, returning to their dorms instead of heading to class as well.

 “Have you heard the news?” they asked.

“What news?”

Their words left me, and all of us, completely breathless.

Unsure of what to do, we continued to class.

We sat in awe of the information leaving our teacher’s lips.

We were quiet. We were scared. We were unsure of anything.

We were told class was canceled for the day and to return to our housing.

I will never in my life forget the moments of that sorrowful day.

RELATED: When 9/11 Became More Than a News Story

I will never in my life forget the tearful call home to my parents. Two-and-a-half hours away. On a sunlit stairwell. In my college housing. 

I will never in my life forget the images.

The smoke.

The black and white.

The fear.

The screams and tears.

The blood.

So much blood.

The ashes.

So many ashes.

And above all, the heroes.

So many incredible heroes.

RELATED: 9/11 Took Their Fathers, Then Gave Them Each Other

Almost two decades have passed now. But the day will remain forever embedded deep within the hearts, minds, and souls of those who witnessed the events even as the memories of the day seem to fade a bit more each year.

But, we will remember.

We will recognize.

We will not forget.

And, we will honor.

The selfless, beautiful heroes, who rose from ashes. 

Our children have learned some of the details of the day, but they will never know it in the same way those who lived through it know it. And as parents and teachers, it is now more important than ever before to teach our generations to come the historical importance of what occurred that heartbreaking, yet courage-filled day. As well as the bravery, courage, community, and togetherness as a nation that emerged from the events. And most importantly of all, to recognize the true definition of a hero. All for generations to come.

This year has brought forth so many unsung heroes in such a bittersweet way as did the heartbreaking day now known as 9-11.

This year has provided such unexpected opportunities to honor those quiet, day-to-day, unsung heroes, in some incredibly touching and special ways. To teach our youth that a hero can be as simple as someone who delivers baby diapers to your front porch in the midst of a pandemic. A hero is the person they see each week, stocking the grocery shelves, but now, in the midst of the greatest uncertainty in life, to keep a community fed. Heroes include our teachers. Our healthcare workers. Our firefighters. Our police officers. Our postal workers.

RELATED: To the Unsung Heroes Who Keep the Country Running: Thank You

A hero can be tiny. A hero can be big. A hero can be young. A hero can be old.

A seemingly ordinary someone who makes a very extraordinary choice. Anyone who sacrifices anything, and sometimes everything, for another of God’s children, running toward the danger when the normal human response is to run far away. 

Selfless.

Noble.

Chivalrous.

Sacrificial.

Although slowly fading, the events of this day 19 years ago will never be forgotten. And this 9-11, we will pause. We will reflect with our children. And they will learn a little bit more.

And most importantly of all, we will pray.

Over our country. 

Over lives lost.

Over lives saved.

Over everyday heroes.

Over our blessings.

Over the beauty brought forth from the ashes.

And over hope.

The hope our children carry for our future.

RELATED: Our Children Are Heroes Too

It’s our responsibility to help our children learn. The promise they carry. The potential that grows deep within each of them. Because, as young as they might be, our children are our future heroes. Our hope and promise for tomorrow, and for many, many years to come.

They might not fully understand.

But they will learn.

What we take the time to teach them.

And today is a perfect day to begin teaching.

Liz Spenner

Liz is a former elementary teacher and now a stay-at-home mama to six little ones. She writes as an inspiration and encouragement to other women, and most especially mothers on her blog, www.gracefullywoven.net (where you can subscribe and receive her free Five-Day Mini-Motherhood Devotional!). Liz loves spending with her family, outside as often as possible, as well as sneaking a few moments to herself with a run, dark chocolate and writing, with her faith as her greatest motivation.

Here’s to the Strong Ones Living with Type 1 Diabetes

In: Living
Pregnant mom on beach, black-and-white photo

This is a shout-out to all the sweet girls. The ones hustling so hard to live like normal. The ones with type 1 diabetes. Some of you have been living with diabetes as long as you have been breathing. Some of you are newly diagnosed and need to know someone who has been managing diabetes for years. I have been living with type 1 diabetes for 17 years, and I see you. Whether you have been diagnosed for 17 hours or 17 years, chances are I’ve felt what you feel too.  I’m here to tell you that type 1 diabetes...

Keep Reading

You Don’t Have to Lose Yourself to Be a Good Mom

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman brushing wet hair

There is nothing wrong with losing yourself in motherhood. Diving in head first, serving your kids and spouse endlessly, never asking for a break, being proud for providing an amazing childhood for your kids, and allowing mom to become your entire identity. But what if you don’t want that?  When did this become the standard of motherhood we are all expected to achieve? Why does society say the best mom is the one that’s 110% physically and emotionally available for her kids all the time and never does anything for herself? Why are you less of a mom if you...

Keep Reading

No Screens Before 7: How Our Family Broke Free of the Screentime Habit

In: Living, Motherhood
Kids using smartphones

“We still have three more minutes!” my 7-year-old says, bouncing with Christmas-like anticipation and excitement. “Well,” I say, looking from him to his 9-year-old sister, “what could you do for three minutes?” “Leg wrestle!” they exclaim and run to the carpeted living room. This life-filled exchange was not happening in my home just a couple of months ago.  In spite of my best efforts, screen time had taken over. Both the kids and I would slip into this zombie-like, space-time vortex. I would look up and know it wasn’t healthy, but it was just so easy to just keep on...

Keep Reading

Witch, Please! Hocus Pocus 2 Release Date Means the Sanderson Sisters Countdown Is ON

In: Living
Bette Middler in Hocus Pocus 2 on Disney+

“Lock up your children!” screeches Winifred Sanderson (played by Bette Midler) in the teaser trailer for Disney’s long-awaited Hocus Pocus 2 movie. But I say, “Mark your calendars!” Disney revealed the release date for this much-anticipated sequel and I’m happy to report that the Sanderson sisters will be flying above Salem and to your Disney+ stream on September 30th! The countdown is ON! Check out the trailer and get excited! But first, a confession:  I have to be honest, I was 16 when the original Hocus Pocus came out, but for some reason I never saw it until I was...

Keep Reading

Good Dads Make Great Grandpas

In: Grown Children, Living
Grandpa walking with two grandsons, color photo

This is not only written for my dad, but for all the dads out there who aren’t the typical, everyday dads. The hands-on dad, the dad who goes on bike rides, the dad who watches his grandbabies. The dad who creates a legacy whether he realizes it or not. The world needs more of you.  It’s not every day you get a dad who enters a diaper changing contest and comes in second place. Yes, that happened to my dad. He would take me up to the local mall to walk around and one of the stores was holding a...

Keep Reading

Dear Friend, I Don’t Want To Lose You

In: Friendship
Two women smiling, color photo

I’m sorry I don’t text you like I should. I’m sorry I don’t call you like I should. I’m sorry I don’t check in to see how you are. I’m sorry this friendship can feel one-sided at times. I’m sorry I’m so distant. The truth is I’m struggling. I’m struggling with life. I’m struggling with finances. I’m struggling with trying to please everyone and do everything. RELATED: Check on Your “Strong” Friend, She’s Faking it The problem is I try to please everyone—everyone who doesn’t matter. My problem is I’ve gotten so content with our friendship that I know you’ll...

Keep Reading

I Want You To Miss Your Childhood One Day Too

In: Kids, Living
Kids jumping off dock into lake

What I miss the most about childhood is owning my whole heart. Before I gave pieces of it away to others who weren’t always careful with it. And some, who never gave the pieces back. I miss my knowing. My absolute faith that my mother’s arms could fix just about everything and what her arms couldn’t, her cookies could. When my biggest grievance was not getting my way. I miss feeling whole, unblemished. Before words cut me. Before people had taken up space in my mind, created permanent movies that were ugly and still play on repeat at times. Before...

Keep Reading

I Traded My Body for This Full Life

In: Living, Motherhood
Happy family smiling

It was supposed to be the happiest time of my life. I was cradling my firstborn child—my rainbow baby—tenderly in my arms as she contentedly nursed. I looked down at this beautiful miracle, unable to mirror her blissful content. Six weeks after the birth, I was still feeling like garbage. Being a first-time mom, I figured the fatigue was par for the course. My other symptoms, however, were suspect. Will I see my daughter grow up? were my thoughts as the streams of grief flowed, pooling on her swaddle. At my medical check-up, I brought my concerns to my doctor...

Keep Reading

The Truth is I’m Drowning

In: Living
Woman with hand on face sad

I find myself sinking. Really disappearing. Everyone around me sees me. They see my smile, my involvement, my willingness to please and participate. No one notices how easily I shift between despair and real tears and conforming to what the situation requires of me. Sometimes this shift happens within the matter of minutes.  Not waving, but drowning. I’m on a weight loss journey. The scale told me I am down just over four pounds. And I feel really good about that. I know I have another 15 to 20 to go, but I am four down. I made a promise...

Keep Reading

Older Kids with Special Needs Can Get Overlooked, and it’s Lonely

In: Living, Motherhood
Two hands held together next to a wheelchair, black-and-white photo

Middle school is tough. I have three girls—two of them now teenagers—so I know firsthand how tween insecurities can quickly spiral into friend drama and subtle bullying. I’ve watched my girls get left out and left behind, and we’ve had lots and lots of talks about what it means to be a good friend. And as much as I want to tell you it doesn’t hit differently with my third daughter, I can’t. Because it does. When your tween daughter is in a wheelchair and has endured—and is still enduring—health and physical challenges that would destroy an adult, a mama’s...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime