The Women Who Inspire Me
There are so many inspirational women today…
some in the headlines…
others who have books written about them…
and then there are the ones who personally touch our lives.
These are the women I’m writing about today…
Let’s start with my 3 daughters…Alex, Sam and Gabi:
Alex, who graduated with honors and a double major from the University of St. Thomas. She was offered a great job at a really cool firm (they canceled every other interview after hers) and she just received a big raise! It’s amazing to be a Mom of an adult on her own. She is a self-proclaimed nerd and by far the most beautiful nerd I’ve ever seen. I’m inspired by her drive and her strength.
Sam, who is attending the University of MN and would like to major in Studio Art with a minor in teaching. She is a strong Christian, celebrating life’s blessings along the way. Another beauty, she decided after high school to rebel a little and dyed the bottom of her hair bright pink. Of course, it looked beautiful…and I’ll be forever grateful if that’s the extent of her rebellion! I’m inspired by her positive outlook on life and her capacity to love.
Gabi, who is all of 12 going on teenager, just received all A’s on her report card! She’s my… “Mom, I’m not a girly girl”. (sigh). She’s much more like her Dad, the basketball coach and math instructor. Smart as a whip and would rather live in exercise pants and t-shirts than have fun with fashion like her Mother. I’m inspired by her individuality.
Then there’s my mother-in-law Barbara, who is a cancer survivor. She is an incredibly strong and stoic woman…and has become very dear to me as we blunder through our stressors together. This woman has become a Mom, a dear friend, and a partner-in-crime as we hit the local garbage dump for treasures! She inspires me in countless ways…sometimes to speak up and at other times to shut up (she’ll laugh at this)!
My big sister Carol, who has been there for me when others weren’t. A beautiful and funny woman who carries her positive outlook throughout her day whether she’s delivering your mail (walking 7 miles a day), making her infamous Wild Rice Hot Dish and Mom’s chocolate chip cookies, or shooting her own deer or moose. She is the Mother of two boys, raising them on her own into wonderful young men. They are my nephews Kris and Eric…inspirations in their own right as they venture into business ownership and advanced education. Carol has inspired me to stand up for myself, to enjoy the little things in life, and to be silly with little ones – there is great joy in allowing yourself to play, be silly and enjoy children.
My dearest friend and soul sister Lori…TJ Maxx beware – or should I say TJ Maxx rejoice and credit card beware? We are shopping friends, there for each other for everything friends, and we seem to be sisters from other Mothers. Lori is my person. If you’ve seen Grey’s Anatomy you’ll understand…just as Christina is Meredith’s person, Lori is my person. She’s a no-holds bar say it like it is – we need a coffee break – or a glass of wine kind of friend. She inspires me, period.
My business partners Autumn and Marcia…both power-houses in their own right. Autumn is a retired therapist and now a winning racer running in marathons and triathlons. Marcia works for our local college helping non-traditional students navigate their way through their advanced education. Together we each bring our own special gifts to our store. I think we inspire each other to be better business partners and sometimes better people.
Then there’s my friend Jan, whom I’ve already told you about…the inspiration that brought me to this wordy venue.
And my dear friend Marlene. Marlene passed away last year. She was the rock who helped get through my divorce and the stress that followed. I’ll never forget how Marlene told me “Don’t let them steal your power…you have the power inside of you…hold onto it and be strong.” “They can’t take it unless you let them.” She hugged me when I needed it and gave me ‘that look’ when I needed it. I’d stop to see her every week while I was in my sales job – even though she hardly ever bought from me. At her funeral it became evident just what a special woman she was. There were so many people that she had helped through the years who couldn’t wait to share their stories. There were her beautiful daughters who were raised to be strong yet loving, showing empathy and sharing happiness, just like their Mom. Heaven gained one beautiful angel when He called her Home. Marlene gave me a beautiful teacup and saucer with forget-me-not flowers on them…they sit in a place of honor in my kitchen as a beautiful reminder of her strength, her love and her empathy towards others. Everything about this woman inspired me.
There are my friends from high school…Karen, Jeryl, and Barb. Who I still laugh with on the rare occasion when we can get together. And their Moms – the other Mothers in high school. Wonderful, patient, caring women who put up with our shenanigans! These women all inspire me to remember, to grow and to laugh.
Jen, who I do daycare for…and who Gabi thinks is amazing! Jen is not only a Mother of two beautiful little babies, but a veterinarian, and runs a kennel with 80+ sled dogs. This woman has more energy than anyone I know. She inspires me to think outside the box, to be strong, to love life…and I sure love her babies!
Then there’s Maggie…and Cheri…both incredibly strong women who deal with their illnesses with grace, honesty and perseverence. The inspire me to keep moving forward and fight for answers. We laugh, we cry, sometimes we bitch (excuse the language), and sometimes we just give each other a hug.
Then there’s my Mom.
Mom passed away 8 years ago.
She was a hardworking, patient, loving woman who kept her house in order along with her 6 children.
She would work outside the home at the tree nursery planting trees or picking pine boughs for extra Christmas money.
Come deer season she’d be out there getting meat for our family to eat. And yes, sat on her deer stand the morning I was born.
She was an incredible cook, feeding the masses and making sure Dad had his iced tea (with 7 ice cubes) and his dinner when he’d get home from shiftwork at the mine.
She was beautiful. Always making sure she had her “face on” for Dad…she’d make sure she was all spruced up when he got home from work. She always, ALWAYS wore red lipstick. I may have to adopt this habit yet…
She had her faults…through which we grew…sometimes because of them, sometimes in spite of them. She taught me that we all have faults and we need to learn from them.
We always knew she loved us. And we always knew she loved Dad. They both said their love for God was #1, then came their love for each other, then us kids. And Dad made it very clear that we were NEVER to disrespect Mom. And Mom always showed respect for Dad.
We laughed together, we cried together, and we loved each other.
She battled illnesses with great strength and a few moments of weakness. I think of her in my own battles.
She was an incredible woman. And I miss her. But she and Dad are undoubtedly dancing a polka together up in Heaven.
She inspired me to do more, love more, have a strong faith, and to care for others with empathy.
These are the women who inspire me.
And I treasure every one of them.
Who inspires you?