16 years ago yesterday, my adoptive mother left this world. I was adopted as an infant so while she is my adoptive mother, she is the only mother I have known. I didn't always agree with her, in fact we hadn't spoken for a year when she died. My brother phoned me to tell me her time was close, so I got on a plane and came to her. When I got to her bedside, she was not responsive. Did she know I was there? I don't know. I'd like to think she did.
She was born 3 months premature at the beginning of the Great Depression. The fact that she even survived is a miracle. Sadly, her mother did not survive and died 6 months after she was born. Her dad was a musician and traveled a lot so she and her older sister were given to relatives to raise.
Despite her rough beginning, she did grow up, go to school, graduate and get married. Her first marriage was cut short when her new husband decided to...
I've always been a bit of a rebel at heart and that was especially true when I was a teenager. I stood up for what I believed in, even when it scared me to do it. I stood up for myself when I left home early and was legally emancipated at the age of 16, following that I got my first apartment. It was an ugly studio on the 3rd floor of an old brick apartment building, but it was mine and I loved it.
So I'm always fascinated with learning about other brave teens stood up for what they believed in. Freddie Oversteegen was a just a young girl when she joined the Dutch Resistance during World War II. During the war, her mother hid a Jewish couple in their home, while Freddie and her sister began distributing anti-Nazi material. It was during this time that Freddie was asked to join the Resistance. She was 14 at the time. They taught her to shoot and Freddie along with her sister, killed Nazis after seducing them and...
Junko Tabei was a Japanese mountaineer who was the first woman to ascent Mt. Everest and the first woman to ascent the "Seven Summits." The Seven Summits are the highest mountain on each continent (Everest is one of the Seven Summits).
Junko was considered to be a frail child, but she did not let that stop her from starting her mountain climbing career at the age of 10. To continue her climbing passion, she had to buck a Japanese cultural society that believed women should stay home, raise children and serve tea. She started a ladies mountain climbing club in what was considered at the time male dominated territory. And in 1975, she left her daughter with her husband to climb Mt. Everest with a group from her ladies climbing club, gaining fame as the first woman to do so.
In her later years she went back to school and obtained a degree in Environmentalism and spoke out about the amount of tourism happening on...
Holly wasn't famous. In fact, it's very likely you've never heard of her. I knew Holly because our parents went to the same church. We played as kids at church gatherings and went to Sunday school together. When we were older, we went to the same school.
Holly didn't live an easy life. However she didn't let this define her.
We attended 7th grade together at a small private school. It was there, on a sunny spring day that I saw her get into a van after school. I went up and asked her if she was going to ride the bus with the rest of us but she said no, a friend's brother was giving her a ride home. I didn't see her again for about 3 years.
That day, the van she was in had a serious accident. The driver, her friend's brother, lost control and the van rolled 250 feet over a cliff. Holly survived, but the crash broke her neck and left her paralyzed from the neck down. ...
There are so many amazing women who were a part of this that it was tough to single anyone out. The movement encompassed women from geographic, racial, religious, and socioeconomic walks of life.
When I lived in Virginia for a few years, my house was about a 25 minute drive from the Occoquan Workhouse, where many of the women were held after being arrested. I'd drive by the place and see the brick buildings and guard towers and think about what those women went through to get a right that so many of us take for granted today. They dared to be brave in the face of how they were treated and worked for change.
They were radical. In the US, they would chain themselves to fences, picket the White House, heckle the President, conduct public demonstrations such as parades and go on hunger...
When I heard the news on Friday night, I felt like someone had just kicked me in the gut. It still hurts, and probably will for some time. There are certain people, in my view, who should be exempt from the limits of mortality. People who should be allowed to live forever because of the value they add to our world for simply being who they are.
Ruth is one of those.
Yes, she was a Supreme Court Justice with very liberal leanings. However, lets put partisan politics aside for a moment shall we? I want to focus on RGB the person.
She was a champion for equality. She is best known for her fight for gender equality but she was also a fierce advocate for equal justice and eliminating discrimination of all types.
Her own personal experiences with gender discrimination inspired her to become a leader in the fight for gender equality. In an October 1, 2016 article in the New York Times,...
This is the kick-off of my Monday Morning Inspiration Series. Every Monday, I will post about something that inspires me to get through the week. I hope it inspires you as well.
My inaugural post is about Diana Nyad, the woman who swam non-stop from Cuba to Key West, Florida in 2013. Crazy right? I thought so at the time. I mean, why would someone want to do that?
Diana was no stranger to long distance swimming. In 1975 she swam around Manhattan island in just under 8 hours. In 1978 she made her first attempt at the Cuba to Key West swim, but was pulled out by doctors on her team after covering about 76 miles in 42 hours. 33 years after her first attempt, she would go on to make 3 more attempts between 2010 and 2012 and finally succeeding on her 5th attempt in 2013, after swimming 53 hours.
To be clear, her accomplishment does not want me to jump in the water and retrace her...