Gun-Totin’ Liberal: Whether The Media Wants Us To or Not, Some of Us CAN See Both Sides

First things first. I have a label that needs cleared up. By Webster’s definition of the word: I am a feminist. I agree; proudly.

Definition of feminism

1:  the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes


But by the internet’s definition of the word, as of late; being a feminist also makes me: a man-hater, a psychopath, disrespectful, a fear-mongerer, a “sheep,” a crazy lib, a baby-killer, vulgar, and a Trump-hater.

Hmmmmm. Now wait a minute. When did a peaceful movement for women’s rights around the globe become such a grounds for attack? (NOTE–I did not call it a *protest* because it was not a protest, as so many of its critics have mislabeled it.)

And why are the biggest opponents of it, mostly WOMEN?

Why are so many women so pissed off that the rest of us felt like celebrating how far we have come, while standing in solidarity on how far we also have left to go?

I have read their points. Is life in America pretty great? You bet. But are there still factual inequalities, and marginalized groups still needing attention, both in our country and abroad? You bet. Pretty sure phrases like “Glass Ceiling” wouldn’t be in our vocabulary if there wasn’t one. 

Are there women in positions of power in major corporations today? 

Absolutely. I acknowledge that yes, there sure are. It IS possible. Should there be more? YEP.

There is no need for me to rattle off all the myriad ways women STILL aren’t quite on a level playing field, because that has been done beautifully by many other writers over the past few weeks. You can search for about two seconds on the Internet and find those lists, if you really want to read them. 

You can also find some rather lengthy and poorly-written rants floating around too, admonishing those of us who are proud of the peaceful movement the Women’s March represented. Even if we didn’t agree with 100% of what went on in it. (Was Madonna inappropriate? Um, hello, she’s MADONNA. Would I have worn a full vagina costume to the March? Nope, but that lady had the right to, and I am not about to judge her for it! You do you, lady!)

However.

Where am I going with this, you ask?

Well–I am going to a place nobody ever wants to talk about, because it doesn’t cause any flame-fanning or insult-wars or un-friending or viral-sharing on facebook, and it certainly doesn’t make the media any money.

I am going to a place called THE MIDDLE.

Why?  One reason:

I am so tired of everything being either Left or Right.

You marched, so you are a MAN-HATER.

You are pro-choice, so you want to KILL BABIES. 

You watch FOX News, so you are obviously the FAR RIGHT.

You read the Huffington Post, so you are obviously the FAR LEFT.

Well I can’t speak for the rest of you, my friends, but I would argue that no, I am actually pretty much smack dab in the MIDDLE.

I am proud to call myself a Gun Totin’ Liberal. Here’s why:

-I LOVE my guns. 🐘

-I LOVE hunting and shooting clays, heck even just shooting for the sake of shooting. I have a loaded 38 special in a locked case in my bedroom, because my husband travels a lot, and I want a backup in case my security system doesn’t keep the bad guys away. (And I am a good shot, too!) 🐘

-I am ALL for capitalism. 🐘

-Property rights are HUGE (read:YUGE) to me as a member of a family farm/ranch. 🐘

-I believe global warming is a valid concern that we should give a damn about. 🐴

-I drive a big gas-guzzling Tahoe to haul our huge family around, so I definitely rely on the petroleum industry. 🐘

-I am a very proud feminist. 🐴 (Which my husband SUPPORTS, btw. Because men of quality truly do support equality. Even republican men who support Trump 100%, while their wives respectfully disagree and vote for the opposing candidate. My amazing husband and I are a team, and he doesn’t WANT me to “obey” him, he wants me as a willing partner in our marriage, our family, and our household. I don’t have to “let him lead” and he doesn’t have to let me “raise the kids.” We split everything pretty much 50/50. Really. We do.) 

-I am PRO-CHOICE. (As well as anti-abortion. Hear me on this: No one likes abortion. But we do like ALL options to be on the table, and for those options to be OUR choice for our own bodies.) 🐴

-I think our country ought to be able to figure out a better fix for managing immigration than just walling ourselves in. If we can fly to the moon, can’t we figure out how to get people from other countries in safely (and appropriately) and then back home, if their paperwork expires? 🐴 🐘

-I realize we need some amount of *gasp* socialism (yes I really did mean to type that word) to keep our country working smoothly. We need Medicaid. We need some unemployment. We farmers and ranchers love our programs and subsidies, such as CRP, crop insurance, or other programs in the Farm Bill. I love the idea of a one pay health insurance, or at very least an open marketplace like so many presidents worked tirelessly on right up until Obama finally got it pushed through. Can we improve on it? Surely. But do we need it? Hell yes we do! 🐴 🐘

So these are just a small sample set of the many ways I cannot be put in a box with a label on it under LEFT or RIGHT. Under Democrat or Republican. And I think my views probably represent, at least in part, views of many other Americans. 

So why then, do we keep drawing the hard line? I am tired of hearing all the things “I AM” or “I AM NOT” because I didn’t vote for Trump. I am just another American.

I want him to succeed as our president every bit as much as I would have wanted Hillary to succeed as our president.

I may not have supported him as my candidate of choice in the election, but I considered him. Even so, I was proud as punch watching the beautiful celebration that was our Presidential Inauguration. Regardless of my vote, 

I am Patriotic AF

(Ok, sorry, I had to.) I have voted for both Democrats and Republicans, in every single election I could, based on the research I did on issues and who I thought would do a better job.

I CAN have liberal views mixed in with some conservative ones.

I CAN support Planned Parenthood for all its many positives, and still not support abortions without cause.

I CAN be Catholic and still choose to be on birth control because I don’t want ten kids. (Thankyouverymuch.)

I CAN respectfully listen to your views, and you can respectfully listen to mine, and even if we don’t agree on all of them, we can both still be good Americans and good neighbors.

And I WILL wear pink proudly, because whether you are or not, I am proud of the great strides we are making in the world of equality. EVERYONE SHOULD WANT EQUALITY FOR EVERYONE. 

Shouldn’t we?

I suggest we all just sit back, take a big deep breath, and thank God (whoever your God may happen to be) for the blessing that is Freedom and Free Speech.

Love thy neighbor, even if you don’t agree with him. (or HER!)

Please. 

Let’s all try to be just a little bit nicer to each other.

Thank you.

Amen.

Don’t Put Me In A Box (Unless I Am Hank, Then Please Put Me In a Box)

Some Days Are, Well, Sh—Shambala

Ahhh, motherhood. Literally there is no aspect of my life that I am more grateful for, than being a mama. 

But oh, does motherhood test our patience.

Toddlerdom, especially. And I have landed right smack dab in the thick of it. 

This morning, I woke up with my uterus HATING me. I would have given anything to stay home on the couch with a heating pad and a cup of coffee, but nope–this mama had a busy work day planned!

As I scrambled to get myself organized for work, I snuck upstairs to use the bathroom without a little helper. (When we have my stepsons home with us, I can’t use the main level bathroom at all, because our darling Hank loses his mind whenever I lock him out. We have a temporary open-door policy right now, simply because I have learned to pick my battles.)

Well. As soon as I got up there, peacefully seated; Hank the wonder toddler runs in, full-speed for the bathtub, and turns on the hot water full blast! Then he starts reaching for the water to splash in! 

So what’s a mama to do? I jumped up immediately and hopped–gunny-sack-race-style–over to the tub and turned the water back off, right as it was getting hot. I then hop-hop-hopped my way back over to the “potty”, so I could actually use it

But now I had a helper again, who was really intrigued by that whole hilarious exchange! I performed all the toilet paper tricks I could think of, to keep my little water-boy away from the tub for another minute or two. Thankfully, it worked.

Hmmm, I should go turn that on

I gave up on the idea of a shower. I threw on some clean clothes, ran a brush through my hair, and pulled a ponytail through a ballcap. 

More toddler craziness ensued. Breakfast went from the fried eggs and toast I wanted to yogurt-in-the-car, but I managed to throw together a lovely, balanced little lunch for the adorable monster.

Let’s just say that by the time I got a road-coffee poured, the monster dropped off and headed to work, I was wound up tighter than a corkscrew. I kept thinking over and over in my head how overwhelming this stage can be–at times–especially how I cannot even sneak away to use a bathroom in peace unless my cherub is dead asleep. 

Seriously. 

And the kicker: No one else in our family has that problem! Not daddy! Not the big brothers! Oh no; to everyone else, a bathroom break or a shower or bath is a lovely, private endeavor. With no time limit.

But for mamas–it turns out–it is a spectator sport!

(With a ticking time bomb that resets itself every time, so you better not dawdle, either, mama! Don’t even think about taking your smart phone in there with you–the one time I tried to catch up on my news feed in the bathroom with my toddler helper nearby, he put an end to that plan. How, you ask? By ninja-sneaking a hot wheels corvette right into the toilet. WHILE I WAS SITTING ON IT. Yep, I’ve replayed and replayed that one in my mind, and still wish I’d have seen that coming!)

So. 

I had a good therapeutic stress-cry on the drive in while I guzzled down coffee #2. (The cry was no-doubt related to the hormones that caused the PMS that caused the bathroom incident to make me cry.)

I hammered out a few hours of work, which felt a little bit like a vacation (?) and when I hopped back in the car to head home, my entire perspective suddenly changed at the sound of one strangely familiar guitar riff. 

I cranked the volume up when I recognized the song–Shambala! Three Dog Night. 

I laughed out loud, and immediately thought of my best friend, which put a huge smile on my face for the first time all day! Shambala used to be her ringtone! And it was exactly the uplifting message of love and light I needed to pull myself out of the funk I was in!

Wash away my worries, wash away my pain, with the rain in Shambala. . .

(If you haven’t heard it, listen here. It’s great!)

All afternoon since I heard it, I have been singing the high refrain in my head on repeat (Howwwwwww does your light shine, in the halls of Shambala. . .) and it made me think about my own light. 

Here I was again, letting my light get dimmed by the everyday, totally normal, stress and craziness of motherhood.

I don’t need to run away to some mythical, peaceful paradise (the true meaning of ‘Shambhala’ in sanskrit) for my light to shine. (Even though at times, I would like to!) 

I just need to hum this song in my head, because it is ridiculously joyful and pulls me right back to where I need to be. Smiling and laughing. Right on through, both the sunshine AND the shit-storms.

So even on days that seem (literally!) downright shitty (thank you, toddler bathroom help!), do what I will be doing, and think of Shambala. Hum it in your head, and wear those flowers in your hair–in your mind!–my stressed-out sisters. 

Because this too shall pass. Some day, my husband assures me, toddlers eventually do decide that mama can be in a bathroom with a closed door. Without them in it.

I hope he’s right!

Lastly. If you do have a shit day, you hum that happy, hippy song, but you still aren’t quite feeling that peaceful, mystical paradise? Crack a good wine then, too. Because whenever good music can’t get me out of a funk, a glass of good red can.

You’ve earned it, mama. 

(And some days just call for Shhhh-Shiraz!)

😉

To the moon and back. Even through the shit-storms, little boy 💙

I Could Not Have Been More Wrong About Sleep Training

HANK

I have a hilarious, chubby blonde cherub of a son, who is 19 months old.

Being that little boy’s mama has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. Motherhood has made me more patient, more understanding, exponentially more grateful, and it has simply made life more meaningful.

It has also made me really, REALLY TIRED.

(Hence, the blog.)

The constant tiredness of motherhood surprised me–even though I had been warned! I thought Hank’s daddy and I would be such a great team for this whole parenting thing, that we would just take it all in stride. In marrying him, I had married a boy-dad extraordinaire, who already three amazingly-well-behaved sons on his resume. And while I was new to mamahood, I wasn’t totally clueless–I mean, I do hold a Masters in Elementary Ed so that had to count as somewhat of a prerequisite for parenting, right? I can teach, therefore I can certainly parent. Right? Ha. Not exactly! Teaching taught me a lot about kids, but it definitely didn’t teach me anything about how to get them to sleep well!

For the first year and a half, we had a very sweet, very well-behaved baby who slept well-enough, but not great. I was good with it; I mostly chalked it up to nursing him for over a year, even in the night. Was he using me as a pacifier? Probably. But I loved that middle of the night cuddle time, so I didn’t mind those wake-ups! Once I finally night weaned him, I still got up once or twice with him every night, and cuddled him til he zonked out again, because it worked. It didn’t take too long, and he didn’t cry that way. It worked for him and it worked for us, so that’s what we did. The path of least resistance.

Even though I was constantly tired from all the interrupted sleep, the hubs often reminded me how much worse things could be, since Hank always did go back to sleep pretty easily in the night. He had plenty of memories of almost NEVER sleeping with his first-born (who had acid reflux issues) so I figured he was right. We were simply dealing with normal parenting tiredness, and I just needed to drink more coffee! Suck it up, buttercup!

AND THEN. . . CHAOS

Enter holidays, 2016. Between his big brothers bouncing back and forth every other day to accommodate two households’ holiday/work schedules, discovering the magic of SANTA, and being cooped up inside thanks to two feet of snow and sub-zero temperatures–let’s just say our “normal” schedule went a bit haywire.

Sleep became pretty nonexistent in our household, from before Christmas right on up into 2017. The snuggles in the chair that normally put our little boy right to sleep (or almost to sleep) just quit working. He slept in fitful stretches and only wanted to snuggle, but wouldn’t even fall asleep on us anymore. Getting him in the crib meant a major fight every single time. We tried letting him cry after we were sure all his other needs were met and he had no fever, but without a firm plan we weren’t getting anywhere except more frustrated. I finally broke down and told the hubs I wanted to–at very least–look into some sleep consulting.

Thankfully, he agreed. (He was tired, too!)

Must. Make. Coffee.

CUE THE EXPERT

Well, lucky for me, I have a dear friend from high school who just happens to be a sleep consultant. AND-she happens to be a mama herself, to little ones who SLEEP WELL.

I wanted to get me some of that! So I swallowed my pride and asked for help. And only one week later, I can tell you that it was by far, the BEST parenting decision I have ever made. If you are reading this, and if you are even somewhat considering sleep training your child/children/future children, please keep reading. I want to share some of the most surprising things I discovered when we sleep trained Hank.

  1. My biggest surprise of all: Even after our worst night which included some serious crying, he did not hate me in the morning! Not even a little bit! On the contrary, my morning cuddle-time with Hank has become my very favorite time of day. He wakes up happy, rested, and proud of himself for sleeping well. We definitely make up for those late night snuggles in the daytime now, and I enjoy them so much more now than I did zombie-style at 3 a.m. (Wishing I was asleep in my bed, and then feeling guilty about that!)
  2. I didn’t have to let him “Cry-It-Out” nearly as long as I thought I would. (Or as many times throughout the night as I thought it would take, either.) I think it is somewhat like ripping off a band-aid; once you decide to do it, it hurts most right when you start, but if you just get it over with it is not as bad as you thought it would be! The anxiety I had about letting him Cry-It-Out was worse than actually letting him do it. Once that first difficult night was over, it got much easier, (on all of us) much faster than I expected it would.
  3. His overall mood has improved! I thought I had a pretty well-rested, happy toddler before; but now that I have seen Hank-on-Sleep, I almost don’t even recognize him! Hello, happy Hank!
  4. I still can’t believe how simple bedtime has become. I never dreamed I would be able to lay him down in his crib–completely awake–and cover him up with a blanket, tell him I love him and goodnight, and walk out, without so much as a peep. He actually goes TO SLEEP. Within minutes.  *Amazing*
  5. And lastly: Today, for the first time ever, Hank actually told me he wanted to get in his crib and lie down. During our pre-nap snuggles in the lazy-boy, he pointed at his crib and sighed a sleepy, adorable sound. “You want to lie down in your crib now?” I asked him, and he nodded his head. So? I carried him over, tucked him in, and he napped for over an hour, with NO CRYING. Yep. It was pretty much his idea. For the first time ever. Mind = Blown.

So–I am thrilled to recount our experience and brag up my amazingly helpful sleep consultant, because I know there are so many tired mamas just like me out there, who are too stubborn (sheepishly raising my own hand here) or too scared or too paranoid or too embarrassed or too whatever to give sleep training a try. I know. I read all those scary articles too. I googled everything I heard on the subject, too. I read both sides, and we chose to stay firmly planted on what-we-knew-worked-well-enough, until it just didn’t work any longer. Now that we finally gave it an honest chance, I am kicking myself for not doing it sooner!

I now have my evenings back, for me-time, or hang with the hubs-time, or bubble bath with a good book and a glass of wine-time. Anything but collapse into bed exhausted (because I know he will be up soon) time.

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I even had enough energy at night to stay up and sew Hank some special ‘Digger’ curtains, to make his room dark–as instructed!

Thank goodness we finally consulted with an expert on sleep. And to any of you other tired mamas out there–I hope you do too, if you need some guidance. Don’t go down with the sinking ship. There isn’t enough coffee in the world, when your kid just won’t sleep, believe me. I know firsthand.

Oh and that amazing sleep consultant I keep talking about? You can find her here:

SlumberBaby

Jenni is simply amazing. Like change your life amazing. She is my sleep savior, and my entire family is functioning better than we ever have, thanks to her wisdom and guidance.

(BTW–It doesn’t matter where you live, either, she got us lined out entirely by email! Awesome, right? And amazingly do-able. She found a plan that worked for us and it truly did work for us!)

Sweet dreams, Tired Mamas!

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I can sleep 11 hours straight, can you do that?

 

 

THIS Is The Day The Lord Has Made

Content. 

My mantra for 2017 is just one word: content

Not present, not grateful–I try to practice those two already, every day.

No–this year the intention I realized I need to focus on most is contentment. Why? Because life is short, God’s blessings abound, and it is up to us to receive them gracefully in order to truly appreciate those gifts. 

The season of motherhood I am in right now is tough. It is winter. We are struggling with new sleep issues. I am about to lose my very helpful husband to a whole lot more travel, after a glorious holiday month with him home, and I am already anxious. I have taxes and year-end and empty spaces to get leased all looming ahead these next few months as well, and I find myself stressing over my to-do list.

But my family, my amazing supportive family, loves me right through all of that. My husband helps however he can, whenever he can, and the days when he IS in town seem all the more precious. My sweet baby boy is darling and healthy, whether he sleeps through the night and naps perfectly or not. And his big brothers light up all of our worlds when they are with us!

I am making the choice to shine with God’s grace even on days when I tend more toward anxiety than peace. 

THIS is the day the Lord has made. It is our choice to rejoice, and be glad in it. 

THIS DAY. Today. I learned from some great losses this year–painfully–that I may not have a tomorrow. I cannot squander away my today in worry or in stress or in anxiety or in regret or in if-only’s. None of us can.

I am choosing instead to celebrate small victories, like a toddler feeding himself an entire bowl of noodle-o’s with his spoon, All-By-Himself for the very first time; even though his night was rough and his nap nonexistent. 

I choose a clean-enough house.

I choose to still sport last year’s maternity wardrobe, because it is so ridiculously comfortable, (and paid for!). 

I choose to not beat myself up for going to bed at 9, or for missing my precious hour of writing or reading or whatever crazy inspiration I’m feeling that particular week because I am Just. Too. Tired.

I choose to be ok with seeing my friends less than I’d like to, because it is all I can fit into our crazy life right now.

I choose to enjoy my husband more while he’s home, and hold no grudge when he must be away.

I choose to be content. In everything. And oh, what a lovely privilege it is, to have that choice to make.

Cheers to 2017, my dear family, friends, and readers! And may you find contentment in your own beautiful lives this year as well!

Traveling Husband Survival: Coffee, Wine, and Satire

Well, as the hubs heads off for a few days of work in sunny Austin, I am gearing up to survive my three days of married-single-parenting a cooped-up toddler. (Thank you, freezing Montana winter.)

Good red wine and extra coffee have been purchased. . .and some satire therapy was in order!! 

Here are 5 Ways Traveling Husbands Are The Best Thing Ever When You Have Kids

(In case you were wondering.)

They are. Just ask me. Anyways, go have a quick laugh at my expense, and enjoy the other hilarity on MockMom (the satirical little corner of Sammiches and Psych Meds that I love so much). Now go!

Enjoy!

Hurry home, honey!

Gratitude, Always

This week, I got humbled.

A few days ago, I ran an errand on my way to the office, so I went a different route than I normally would. Heading up 27th meant I had to cross the railroad tracks, and of course, a long train was rumbling through as I pulled into the long line of waiting cars.

As I sat there waiting, I tapped my steering wheel and looked all around me to gauge whether I should peel off and take another route. It has to be nearing the end, I thought; so I stayed in my northbound lane and grew increasingly more antsy and impatient. Increasingly more negative.

I make my own schedule and work for family, so it’s not like I had a boss waiting to scold me for arriving to work late, but I was still stressed out about running behind schedule.

Finally after what felt like an eternity, the tracks cleared, and after two rounds of stoplights, I got to the other side of the tracks. Held up at yet another red light, I felt like pulling my hair out–that is, until I got humbled.

I noticed a tall, lanky, nice-looking man waiting at the crosswalk, carrying a grocery sack. As he started to walk across the street, right in front of me, it was like he let me look right into his soul. He looked kind but troubled, somehow. His hair was long and looked like it hadn’t been washed in days, and his clothes most likely hadn’t been either. He was dressed nicely though, and I got the feeling that he was a genuinely good person.

As he walked right past my windshield, I saw that his plastic grocery sack held a loaf of bread, and sticking out of his jacket pocket was a half pint of milk.

The milk is what got to me.

The milk is what caused hot tears to immediately fill my eyes as that light turned green.

I pulled away from that stoplight, in my nice warm Tahoe with its heated seats, thinking back to my blessed morning in my warm, cozy house.

As I had raced around the kitchen that morning getting a lunch packed for my toddler, I’d mistakenly poured fresh milk into his sippy cup from the night before that was still in the fridge. As his daddy walked into the kitchen with the correct cup, I poured the “old” cup of milk down the sink, threw the sippy in the dishwasher, and topped off today’s cup from our brand new gallon jug of whole milk.

I wanted my son to have a fresh sippy cup of milk.

I also knew there were two more full gallons in the garage.

In our extra fridge.


Now, I don’t know how far that man had walked that cold morning to get that bread and that milk, but he certainly had to work a whole hell of a lot harder to get to his half pint of milk that day than anyone in my family did.

Our cup–literally–runneth over. My blessings and my privilege smacked me right in the face, as I sat there watching that man walking back to who-knows-where with his bread and his milk.

And then it clicked.

I was supposed to go that way to work, and get stuck behind that train, so that I could see that humble man and his half pint of milk. So that I could see that what mattered was not being perfectly on time for my perfectly planned day.

What mattered was that I had a job to go to, in my nice warm car, and a nice warm house to go home to afterwards. What mattered was the privilege of having my healthy family’s company to enjoy when I got home.

What mattered was that I had the luxury of a hot shower this morning.

What mattered was that we almost always have a two gallon box of milk in our garage fridge, because we can.

All of these blessings made me cry big tears, of overwhelming gratitude. I couldn’t stop thinking of my Hank, his amazing daddy, and his sweet big brothers. My biggest blessings.

I cried because I had wasted perfectly good milk, that a hungry man would have walked across blocks of traffic for, and I didn’t even give it a second thought.


Well, I did give it a second thought, all the rest of the way to work. And as soon as my hubby got home, I gave it a third thought when I told him how a half pint of milk in a man’s pocket on a cold morning had humbled me.

We gave it another thought when he and I decided that evening to donate $100 to our local “Flakesgiving” fund, so four families could have Turkey dinners on Thanksgiving, who might not have been able to otherwise.

I gave it another thought waiting in the drive-thru Starbucks line the next day, while running errands with my mom. As we sat there being humbled, yet again by that man and his milk, we decided to buy the coffees for the carload behind us. I hope they did the same for the car behind them.

And still, I haven’t stopped thinking about that man and his milk.

I haven’t wasted a sippy cup of milk, since; either.

I am grateful for that man and my lesson. And I am also grateful for the mantra I have been saying over and over in my head ever since that humbling; a few lines borrowed from one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert:

“Gratitude, always.

Always, gratitude.”

Happy Thanksgiving, my dear friends, family, and readers far and wide. Maybe my lesson can be a lesson to you, too.  

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.

~Luke 14:11

Always.

Jeannette Rankin’s Legacy Lives On In Montana, and Beyond

Regardless of the outcome of the election–2016 has already been a paramount year for women in politics. For the first time in history, a woman earned the honor of being one of the nominees in our presidential election.

It’s about time.

It seems almost too perfect that it has been exactly 100 years since our first great stride for women in politics.

In 1916–exactly 100 years ago–Jeannette Rankin became the first woman to be elected to a federal office when she was voted into the United States House of Representatives by the state of Montana. I am incredibly proud to call that great state home.

Equally noteworthy is the fact that when Jeannette Rankin was voted into Congress, women in our country hadn’t yet earned full voting rights. It wasn’t until four years later, with the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, that women were actually allowed to vote in both state and federal elections. She fought hard for that right as one of the first suffragists in Congress, and women voters have been thanking her and her fellow suffragettes ever since.

Jeannette Rankin is a Montana legend. A role model to all women, both in our state and across the nation; she paved the way for women in politics. Ms. Rankin’s Montana memorial site is featured in an almost-haunting photograph taken and recently shared on Instagram by Kurt Wilson, a photojournalist for the Missoulian. The picture showcases how her headstone (located in the Missoula City Cemetery) got some special visitors on this unprecedented Election Day.  Of course; I can only speculate as to who put their “I Voted” stickers on her headstone, or brought her the lovely fresh flowers, but I do have a hunch.

I choose to believe they were women; women coming directly from their local polling places, proudly celebrating the fact that they had just cast their vote for the first woman to ever have a shot at being President of the United States of America.

Today, I wish more than anything, that Missoula wasn’t a six hour drive away, as I would love nothing more than to add my own tribute to that revolutionary lady. I would love to take my own mason jar of white roses to leave at that significant headstone, to thank her for her hard work. 

A woman didn’t win this election, but a woman ran

Jeannette Rankin, on behalf of women voters everywhere, we thank you for being brave. Thank you for your determination, and thanks for proving to our country that women can be leaders, too. May we carry your torch, and do you proud.

And I sure hope you are looking down on us, so you can see those beautiful stickers on your headstone.

(Photo Credit:  Kurt Wilson on Instagram)