Tag Archives: Inspiring women

My Inspiration

My Inspiration

This is all Gretchen’s fault. If this post makes you cry (and I am talking to my dear family members), you can blame her.

This week, her prompt for Spin Cycle is to write about a woman who is your role model.

I tried NOT to go with the obvious choice.

There are SO many women to choose from. I have been inspired by women I know and women I don’t know. Women from the past and women from the present.

But there is one woman who made me the woman I am today.

My mom is not my role model because of all the quilts she made, although she inspired me to start quilting.

Mom is not my role model because she took voice lessons on and off her whole life, although people at church have told me I have a voice like hers. (They are being so kind, but it is simply not true!)

She is not even my role model because she survived breast cancer for twenty-six years with such dignity and supported me through my own diagnosis of breast cancer.

All of these things certainly do inspire me. HOWEVER…

…my mom listened to me rambled on and on with my teen-aged thoughts when she came home from work and had to make dinner.

She gave me voice lessons and was my best cheerleader before high school musical auditions.

Mom spoke her mind, and told me when I was not dating the right boy, and as much as I hated to admit it, in my heart I knew she was right.

She told me not to be mad at my new husband, and told me all about her first fight with my dad.

Thrilled to be a grandma, she encouraged me as a new mom. When I was struggling with temper tantrums and potty training, Mom always had words of comfort and advice.

Simply put, Mom is my role model and my inspiration because she is MY MOM.

For more Spins about inspirational role models, visit Gretchen at Second Blooming.

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Three Women, Two Books

When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian AndersonWhen Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Marian Anderson had a beautiful voice. In Austria, the world-famous conductor Arturo Toscanini announced that her voice was such that one was privileged to hear only once in a hundred years. Her singing career in Europe was very successful.

In her homeland of the United State, however, Marian faced rejection time after time because she was black. Understandably, Marian was reluctant to return to the U.S. When she finally did, the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to let her sing to an integrated audience in Constitutional Hall, which they owned. This created such a sense of outrage that thousands of women resigned their membership from the DAR. One of these women was the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.

With the help of Eleanor and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Marian Anderson instead sang to tens of thousands of people — of all races — on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

From a teacher’s perspective, this book is wonderful on many levels. I have used this book in the classroom for teaching about civil rights but have also used it for Women’s History Month in March. Marian Anderson is an inspirational woman, and the illustrations in this book are beautiful.

Reading When Marian Sang renewed my interest in Eleanor Roosevelt. I have also held a fascination with Amelia Earhart. Another wonderful book by author Pam Muñoz Ryan and illustrator Brian Selznick tells the story of an adventure these two women have together.

Amelia and Eleanor Go for a RideAmelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Amelia and Eleanor combine forces to arrange in impromptu night flight during a formal dinner at the White House. The book does a wonderful job of explaining that independent women were not always allowed to do independent things when Amelia and Eleanor were alive. At the end of the story, Eleanor reciprocates on her magical flight with Amelia at the helm by taking Amelia for a drive in her new automobile. While Muñoz Ryan changed some facts to create this wonderful story, Amelia really did take Eleanor on a spontaneous night flight.

At the end of the story, the author included the recipe for Eleanor Roosevelt’s Angel Food Cake with Pink Clouds, an actual White House recipe. She also includes a historical photo taken of Amelia and Eleanor on the airplane during that night flight.

These three women are truly inspirational. These two books teach children some wonderful concepts such as equality, perseverance, and independence.

For more children book recommendations, visit Anne at Little Sprout Books!

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Turning Back Time: Inspiring Women

Our small, rural town did not have a public library. However, our small Lutheran school did have a library, and when I was old enough to go to school, I was thrilled to find this treasure-fold of books.

While the boys in my class were off in the corner behind a book shelf giggling at National Geographic magazine photos, I was inspired by the biographies I discovered. I read about Nellie Bly and Annie Oakley. Annie Oakley inspired this tomboy because of the image of the Wild West that she brought to mind. Not only did her sharpshooting skills impress me, but the fact that fellow sharpshooter Frank Butler wanted to marry her because she was better than him at shooting was an amazing thought.

During her travels as a sharpshooter, Annie Oakley met Sitting Bull, who gave her the name Little Sure Shot. Although she was a part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, she never ventured west of the Mississippi. She continued to display her sharpshooting skills well into her 60’s.

What an inspiring woman Annie Oakley was for this schoolgirl!

Did you write about a woman who inspires you? Link up your post below!

Women’s History Month continues all week at Lemon Drop Pie; be sure to come back soon for more posts about inspiring women!

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The Women Behind the Newspaper

Ever since I read the biography on Nellie Bly when I was in elementary school, I have been inspired by women reporters.

Elizabeth Jane Cochran wrote for newspapers under the pen name Nellie Bly, and strove to write investigative stories calling for reform of various institutions. However, the newspaper who first hired her, continued to assign her to stories about flower shows and fashion. Nellie fought against these assignments, and traveled to Mexico to write as a foreign correspondent about the every day lives of Mexican people. When she returned to the United States, her Pittsburgh editor went back to his old ways and assigned her to the woman’s page once again.

She left Pittsburgh for New York City, and in her first reporting job for the “New York World,” she impersonated a mad woman to gain entrance to an institution for the mentally ill on Blackwell’s island. Her stories not only brought reform to institutions such as these, but they also pioneered undercover investigative reporting. During her years as a reporter, she continued to expose corruption and injustice, bringing about reform.

It is no surprise, then, that as a teenager I began to follow “Brenda Starr, Reporter” every Sunday in the comics section. Not only did Brenda follow hot leads and travel the world, but her romance with Basil St. John captivated me. Since 1985, real life Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich, along with illustrators Ramona Fradon and June Brigman, wrote the story lines for Brenda Starr. I was so sad when Brenda Starr ended this year, but the ending was fitting. Brenda retires from the paper and walks into the sunset, with a box containing a black orchid and a card with the initials “BSJ”.

Since I have started writing a blog, I look up to certain newspaper columnists whose columns I read regularly. Barbara Brotman frequently writes about everyday topics in an engaging way. It is still a mystery to me how good columnists think of such great stories almost daily that are worthy of publication.

What women writers inspire you?

You can read Barbara Brotman’s column from today here: Do you unplug from your music when you encounter a friend? – chicagotribune.com

Find out more about Nellie Bly at my source, pbs.org. Read Nellie Bly’s Ten Days in a Mad-House.

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Inspiring Women

Who are the women who have inspired you? Are they historical figures, such as Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, or Rosa Parks? Or rather women you have known who inspire you?

March is Women’s History Month, and this week I will feature a different woman every day.

Join me tomorrow for Turning Back Time, and link up your own post about a woman who has inspired you!

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