Back in my glory days of working in healthcare there was a group of physicians that all had a last name that started with the letter B. Other doctors coined a nickname for them, “The Killer B’s”. Obviously, as a doctor that’s probably not the nickname you want to have pinned on you, and I have no idea if that title was meant tongue-in-cheek or just as a friendly form of lighthearted jesting. But, when I started to work on this blog post, that phrase, “The Killer B’s” popped into my mind so I just decided to roll with it….because I kinda have a thing for the letter “B”.
When you come to visit me you will likely notice that I have “B’s” all over my house, representative, of course, of our last name. I’m not sure when I really decided that I just liked that letter but somewhere along the way I did. I’ve always liked words and quotes and letters in general, long before they became cool and trendy. My family makes a bit of fun at all of the words I have hanging all over our house. But I love them.
Back in my college days, (mind you I’ve taken the scenic route through life and I went to college as an adult rather than right out of high school) I had a bulletin board above my desk that was full of words and quotes. It helped motivate, inspire and focus me when I just wanted to throw in the towel. It took me 8 years just to get my associates degree. But that’s another story for another day. The point is words are important to me. They have an impact on me. Sometimes single letters do too.
I guess in a very real sense the letter B reminds me of who I am and who I belong too. I’ve been a Bodenbach now for longer than I was a Sternberg. I’ll always be a (stubborn) Sternberg and even though I’m not a Bodenbach by blood I’m pretty proud to be a part of this clan. And for the record the Bodenbachs are just as stubborn as the Sternbergs, so you can imagine where my darling daughters land on the scale of stubbornness. But I digress.
I’ve never been a fan of tattoos. So imagine my surprise when I found myself getting a tattoo this past December. Daughters can really be a bad influence!
My girls asked me if I would get a tattoo with them and I kept telling them “NO. I don’t like tattoos.” But then they went and designed “our tattoo” and I found it touched my heart. First of all, I was kind of thrilled that they would even want to have a matching tattoo with their mom who really isn’t all that cool—although I didn’t tell them that when I was resisting the tattoo. Second, they designed a tattoo with the letter B and a bee which visually represents the letter B. As daughters, it’s quite possible that they will eventually get married and take the last name of their husbands (although they might not). Somehow it’s just meaningful to me that they wanted to have the B permanently tattooed on their body as a representation of their family and the roots that ground them, and even more so, that they wanted to share that with me.
So I did it! And being the good mom, or the sucker that I am, I also paid for all of their tattoos. Actually, that might have been their real motive all along.
I love my tattoo and my daughters and the memory we made together that day. Maybe I am just a little bit cooler than I thought.
Interestingly, a few months before I became a tattooed woman, I had a conversation with some colleagues about hiring young people with tattoos and piercings. They suggested that they have to really work to not judge job applicants by their piercings and tattoos. I told them that I honestly used to feel the same way…until I ended up with 3 daughters in their 20’s with piercings and tattoos, and occasionally some wild colored hair. My daughters aren’t a bunch of irresponsible, wild, young women. In fact, I am continually impressed with just how responsible they are all turning out to be….I’m not quite sure how that happened other than by the grace of God.
I’ve come to realize that I really like my daughters. I mean they are my daughters of course, so I love them and like them because they are mine, but this is beyond that. I just really like them as human beings and I’m pretty sure that I would like them just as much even if they weren’t my daughters.
My oldest, my mega monster, Hannah, works in the medical field and plans to eventually go to nursing school. She is also known in some circles as Sergeant Hannah Bodenbach because she has been in the Army National Guard for the past 6+ years. She has the heart of a warrior. She is a collector of people. The strength of her loyalty to those collected people is a trait that she inherited from her dad.
Sophie, my middle monster, has 2 bachelor’s degrees—Social Work and English. I’m pretty sure she is going to save the world at some point. Occasionally our professional lives overlap and I seriously usually think that she is the smartest person in the room. I am always amazed. She is also shares with me a love of resale shops, old junky furniture and books. She has a fun Instagram account where she shares that love of books. You should check her out: @biblisophagist
My mini monster, Molly is working on a degree in psychology. She is my most tattooed daughter. I think she is up to 5…but it might be more. She stops by to see me about once a week or so. Sometimes she stays a while. Sometimes she just “checks on me”, gives me a hug and a kiss and then she’s on her way. She used to be the daughter that would rarely share anything with me, but in the past couple of years we have started to have some really awesome talks. That makes my heart happy. Oh, and she’s the one everyone says looks just like me—my mini me.
I started thinking about tattoos today. I was thinking about how often people are judged by their tattoos. I was thinking about how often we “judge books by their cover”. Even on Sophie’s Instagram account she often talks about the beauty of books before she peeks to see what’s inside but we all know that no matter how beautiful, it’s what’s inside that really counts.
Sometimes we are judged by the color of our skin.
Sometimes we are judged by what is on our skin, such as piercings and tattoos.
Sometimes we are judged by the way we cover, or don’t cover, our skin.
Sometimes we are judged by the products we use, or don’t use, on our skin.
Sometimes we are judged by the age of our skin.
I’m sure there are more judgements that could be added to this list. But really I don’t want to be judged by my skin. Do you?
Often our judgements of people are fairly unconscious. Sometimes we fully recognize them. Often we really do “judge them by their covers”. I can only guess what people might assume about me because I have a tattoo on my skin…but I’d bet many of those assumptions wouldn’t be accurate at all.
Do you know one of the best ways to stop judging someone by their skin?
Wait for it….⬇️⬇️⬇️
Invite them to your table.
Get to know what’s in their heart and in their mind. Get to know their story. Everyone has a story that’s bigger than their skin. Rarely do we know the story of those around us, often we don’t even know the stories of the people closest to us.
To make it really easy on you, I am going to share this SUPER EASY peanut butter cookie recipe that I got from my cousin-in-law (and sometimes twin sister) Angie Bodenbach. Make these cookies and invite someone to eat them with you! It doesn’t get much easier than that.
And by the way, I HATE to make cookies. But I will make these any day.
Angie’s Peanut Butter Cookies
1 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
Hershey’s Kisses (optional but worth the extra effort)
Stir everything together well. I’ve learned that it works best to stir together the egg, sugar and vanilla and then add the peanut butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Plop a kiss on each cookie when you remove them from the oven, if you are adding them. Let cool before transferring them to a plate. That’s it. Easy peasy!
Full disclosure. I make my cookies way too big, so I usually have to bake mine longer. I think I got about 15 cookies from this recipe but it’s probably supposed to make more like 24-30.
Have you ever been unfairly judged? Drop me a comment below and tell me about it. While you’re at it tell me who you are going to share your peanut butter cookies with.
Plus, I’d love it if you’d share my blog on Facebook or other social media. 🤗