Now more than ever, it’s important for women to empower, encourage, and strengthen each other.
This made me think, where do I get my strength from? Why am I the encouraged woman I am? And it’s simply because I am surrounded by incredible women, who have taught me what it looks like to be, not only a good person, but an empowered woman.
Listed below are 11 women who have molded me into the person I am today, and what invaluable lesson they have each taught me.
Andrea(my sister): Thoughtfulness. If there is a new neighbor moving in near Andrea, she brings them fresh baked goods. If one of my kids has a doctors appointment, and I told her about it weeks before, she remembers, and calls to see how it went. When Piet was diagnosed with diabetes, she brought him presents of t-shirts, insulin cases, and a medical ID bracelet. She inspires me every day to think of the people in my life, and what I can do to make their day brighter.
Allison(my youngest sister): Humor. Allison has been given the gift of quick wit and good comedic timing. Of course, so much of what I write relies on making others laugh, and she helps to cultivate my sense of humor.
Mom: Intelligence. My mom takes pride in her teaching profession, and continues to further her education. The example she has set for me, to embrace my intelligence, has been a huge part of who I am now. Not being embarrassed about loving Historical Williamsburg and Thomas Jefferson, but sharing my love with everyone!
Megan(my cousin): Determination. Megan is the most dedicated and determined person I’ve ever met. She is my oldest friend, and forever role model. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t want to be just like her. I have never seen her fail at anything she’s attempted. She makes me want to achieve my dreams, like I watch her do every day!
Anny(my grandmother): Selflessness. My Anny does not have a selfish bone in her entire body, which goes against human nature 100%, but it’s the truth! Nothing brings her more joy than watching the people she loves, doing what they love. She has always been our biggest cheerleader, and NEVER misses anything. If it’s important to her kids or grandkids, then it’s a number one priority for her. She is a true angel on earth.
Grandma: Strength. I watch as my grandma lives her life as if she’s in her 30s. She loves socializing, exercise, playing cards, gardening, and the list continues. And my grandma is not only physically strong. She taught me it’s ok to deserve better, and push through hard times to find your happy ending.
Erin(my sister-in-law): Confidence. This is a lesson I still struggle with, but Erin inspires me to be better at it every day. She is unapologetically herself, and thankfully so, because she is an unbelievable woman. She has taught me to treat my body right, and to love it, no matter what stage of life it’s in.
Amy(my sister-in-law): Kindness. Amy thinks of everyone’s needs before her own, and maybe that’s why she’s a loving mother of 6. She is sweet to everyone, and would sacrifice her own happiness for someone else’s, in the blink of an eye. She inspires me to show kindness to everyone, as she does.
Lyz(my sister-in-law): Courage. I’ve watched Lyz pursue her dreams since I’ve met her. It has always seemed like there’s nothing she’s afraid of, and I am quite nearly the opposite. But since I began writing, she has been pushing me along, behind the scenes. She encourages me to step out of my comfort zone, and continue reaching for my dreams. She cheers me on, while achieving goals of her own. Incredible.
Margie(my mother-in-law): Unwavering Generosity. If at this very moment, I called my MIL and told her I needed her, while she was having tea with the Queen of England, she would say, “Sorry, Lady. My DIL needs me.” Zero hesitation. I’m 100% sure. The other night there was a tornado warning. She drove to our house to help me with the kids. In a tornado warning! This kind of generosity is exactly what I needed after leaving my family, and moving to a new place. Just whole-heartedly embracing me as one of her own children, from day one.
Amy(my best friend): Unconditional Love. The kind of love this woman has shown me, through all my bad decisions, life changes, horrible wardrobe choices, questionable Halloween costumes, and scary first mother moments has been life changing. She is the definition of a true friend, and I cannot believe I am lucky enough to have her as mine. Family has to love you, but friends can come and go. Sorry, Ame, but I’m not going anywhere, and it’s because you taught me what it means to love someone no matter what.
It’s so easy to compare yourself to the women around you, and feel envious of their strengths, but instead, try celebrating those qualities! The cultural winds are changing, and women need to band together, by lifting each other up, and loving one another.