on Strength

I’m fortunate to have grown up with strong women as my role models.   Yep, strong women, capable of anything.

Women who could help pull a calf in the middle of the night, get five kids to  the school bus on time and hand-sew the sequins on a skating costume.

Women who did laundry with a basement wringer-washer, lugging it up the stairs and across the yard to a clothesline – in all seasons – before lunch.

Grandma and Mom in the kitchen together

Grandma and Mom in the kitchen together, 1973

Women who managed massive gardens and served multiple meals daily – all from scratch.

Women who never rolled their eyes at a kid’s last-minute request for a classroom cake.

My Auntie Irene (standing) and my Mom; those are some great ladies you're looking at!

My Auntie Irene (standing) and my Mom; those are some strong women right there!

Women who taught 4-H, shepherded us to piano lessons, drilled us on  spelling and history, made us perfect  our speeches, organized Christmas pageants and taught Sunday School.

Women like this served on the board of organizations and often joked about how if you want something done you best give it to someone busy.

They cooked, canned, and pickled enough to carry us all through a long, cold winter, every winter.

Women like this did what they did with grace and good humor and, in my mind’s eye, hardly broke a sweat.

So when I saw this Jackie Collins quote below, there were certain women that  came to mind.  Certain women, indeed.

Strong women.  Smart women. The kind of women who stand up for themselves and do so in a way that says, “I’m nobody’s fool. Don’t you make me be yours.”

The kind of women I’m proud to claim as my own.

:: what she said ::

:: what she said ::

So I ask you this, think of someone you admire:  who immediately comes to mind?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Growth, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Mom, Share, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , | 20 Comments

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20 thoughts on “on Strength

  1. My mother, both grandmothers and MIL…busy ladies who served their families, their community and got it all done.

  2. My maternal grandmother seemed to be exactly the kind of woman you write about here–and my Aunt Pat, as well–my mom a little less so, but still wonderful in her own way.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  3. Great post, MJ! Like you, my mom and grandma come to mind (Grandma-and her husband- raised 12 children, including 6 sons. Can you imagine cooking all that food in those days – in a house with no electricity and no running water? No doctor for miles around?)
    Ladies of that generation had such a difficult life, compared to ours. But we have to be “strong” in other ways.
    Thanks, MJ – enjoy your day!

    • I cannot imagine how they did ALL that they did with what they had to DO It with! (I remember a stove that we “lit” and when we got our first dyer – ooh la la!

      I draw a lot of strength from those gals, and they’d never put up with someone putting them down, never.

  4. Definitely my mom but my grandmother had a hard life. She immigrated here, didn’t speak the language, was a widow very young and left with 9 kids to raise. No social security in those days. My mom always had the stories about getting oranges and nuts for Christmas and being happy about it. I am fascinated that these women were so strong and survived. My grandmother lived to see 75. Makes me feel like a wuss.

    • Your Grandmother must have had a lot of moxie to have survived that – talk about tough!

      Do you remember getting oranges and nuts at Christmas? I do — we always got them in our stockings + a bit of hard candy.

      I draw strength from them – they persevered and made it happen at a time when much wasn’t expected from them; proud to be from such strong lineage 🙂

  5. I think of my grandmother who would cook for all the workers on sheep shearing day, bring it all to the pens and then lug it back to the house to clean and put up. She made it look easy cuz I think she really looked forward to it.

    • I hope she looked forward to it! My Grandmother was like that, she loved, loved, loved to cook for all of us — she wasn’t very good about letting others help — but her Christmas tables were simply magical. Some of my fondest holiday memories are of the sparkle & care of her table, all laid out & waiting for us 🙂


  6. I think of all of the women in my early years. Mom, Grandma’s and aunts. They did everything that you wrote of. One thing that I may have missed in your blog was how they kept their homes CLEAN. I don’t ever remember any “disorder” in their homes. Mind you…if was a different time…women stayed home BUT theirs was a different kind of career (jack of all trades, cooking from scratch, on the tractor one minute, at the stove the next, being the bookkeeper the next, etc etc). One thing that has changed is now us “boys” (ages 47, 54 & 58) now wash and dry the dishes after a big holiday family meal while Mom supervises. Some things change…others don’t! 😉 Mom’s making a baby quilt now for Great-grand baby number one. I think she enjoys the progress and self worth that it provides, as well as the knowledge that it will probably be passed on. God bless her…80 years old and still going.


    • You know, I don’t know how they did it, either == yes they stayed home, but as you said, they WORKED more than full time, just not paid 🙂

      Our house got messy but it was never, ever, dirty.

      good on you and your brothers for doing the dishes 🙂 and how special is it that your Mom is making that great-grand a quilt? Love that…… future post? Hope so, RR.


  7. My wife, mom and both grandmothers. I’m surrounded by awesome women who all have (and had) their heads screwed on straight. Pop culture today and what it is doing to women makes me sick.Mom was a small town girl but when we moved to the farm, she jumped right in and learned how to deliver pigs, butcher chickens, and hold the fort down while dad worked 2 jobs…and she still has the heart of a 16 yr old to this day..she’ll be 80 this January.

    • I hear you there, DM. Pop culture fosters a dumbed-down over-sexed female persona. Ugh. I look at my smart and beautiful Grand-daughter and know I will do my best to empower her as she moves through life — Your Mom sounds a lot like mine, 83 and still going, not as quickly but her mind is as sharp as ever! 🙂

      Great to hear from you again,

  8. Deb

    Credit where it’s due… Your Mom and mine were and are the bomb!!!
    Hugs to you and them,

    • Yes – were – and are – ‘da bomb.

      Irene & Gay were a force to be reckoned with, and I’m awfully glad to claim them as “ours.”

      Love you

  9. My grandma on my mom’s side … she gave of herself to everyone. She loved everyone and she’d never let you forget it. Everything she did, she made it seem easy and she was so gracious about it. She was such a good cook and baker, and very talented with some needles and yarn. Everything she made was done for someone she loved. I just found a crocheted cape she made for me when I was a child. It’s the perfect size and fit to use as a light cover-up in the office on cold winter days. I brought it to work and I think of her every day when I see it waiting there for me.

    • Aww and don’t you know she is pleased as punch to have you wearing that again? Finding things of theirs is like getting a postcard from them, isn’t it? I have some of my Grandma’s jewelry — the Avon kind – and I wear it with pride and smiles of her.

      Your Grandma sounds like a wonderful gal, and I’d claim her, too!

      Cheers! MJ

  10. Ah, those grandmothers! I don’t think I’ll be able to hold a candle to mine! They were women with few frills, but a lot of heart and soul. Energy! They were amazing, the women of that generation! Maybe they just had no choice but to be amazing…or maybe it never occurred to them that they could have had an easier life?! Anyway, I was in awe of them as a young woman, and now, years later, after knowing all the work that goes into family, I’m even more impressed at how much they accomplished with what little means! ~ Sheila

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