Part Two – Interview with a Strong Southern Lady

So, are you hot enough? I can’t believe we’ve had no reprieve in two months here in the boxesSouth. I’m ready for fall. Bring on football, gold and reddish colored leaves, and cool nights.

I’m in the middle of downsizing. Yes, it’s horrible. I think maybe it’s human nature to hoard everything, memories, stuff we think we’ll use someday, wear someday, or fix someday. Well, it’s all going. My husband and I are moving to a smaller home across town. Yikes! I only have one month to pack it all.

Now, to Part Two of my interview with Jan Sheppard Kelleher.

  1.        1. Do you feel that women are inherently stronger than men are? Why or Why not?

No doubt in my mind. I know that in the fifties and sixties women were portrayed as being hysterical people screaming bloody murder when they saw the monster and swooned into the hero’s arms. We’re not those women anymore, if we ever really were. I think education, as it has done with race, has made the difference. Women have acquired more confidence in dealing with life’s situations. I think we’re stronger for many reasons. We can give blood, because we’re used to seeing it. Women deal with child bearing, and that alone makes a difference, and child rearing, if you did that. There are lessons, which come from pain and suffering you can’t obtain anywhere else. Women suffer more and experience more pain.

2. How many women do you know whom you consider strong?

Jan's bookQuite a lot. I attended Sweet Briar College, a women’s college. You’ve heard me talk about that, so I’ll throw a plug into the mix. The President and the Board of Directors tried to shut the college down, but the alumnae were not going to let that happen. They timed the announcement so that there was only a 0.5 percent chance of anyone doing anything about it. But, some of those sharp alums jumped on it—you know, lawyers, doctors, Indian Chiefs—and were able to say they weren’t going to stand for it. I believe that Sweet Briar alumnae are some of the strongest women in America. Taught to survive and keep things afloat, these women don’t take no for an answer.

       3. Do you have a mantra that you use each day to get you through the tough times?

I think the title of my next book, But What If I Can, is kind of a theme that goes through my mind often. It’s an optimistic outlook.

       4. How proud are you to be Southern?

More than just about anything. Being southern is the grit, the guts and the roots of who I am. I am writing a book about where I came from, so obviously that background is terribly important to me. My southern relatives were not highly educated, but all of them were storytellers. So if they could tell it, I could hear it. They gave me their example of passing on advice and knowledge to use in daily life. That is what I strive to do. Readers have asked, “Does it matter to you if people read your books or whatever?” Well, I’d rather make no money at all, but just know that people are getting something from what I write—that it’s helping them somehow. And I’m so grateful for the feedback that I receive, not daily, but often, about the differences I have made. Not that I’ve done anything brilliant, because I haven’t, but just because I was able to help.

       5. As a woman in this day and time, how do you see the role of woman today?

From my heart, I think the women are the best people to raise their children. I know that everybody wants to get ahead, and women want to be smart and get an education, and want to apply that to the household income, but I still think the mommy is the best person to raise her own children. I say this knowing that the response I got even back in 1977 from my own mother (not a stay at home mom) was, “You spent all of that money and all of that time and all that energy and heartache, difficult as it was for you a little girl from Podunk, South Carolina, to go to Sweet Briar College, get an education, a degree in Mathematics, and you’re going to stay at home and change diapers?” But, that’s me. I feel like it’s important. I also believe that because children have missed that, it has made a tremendous impact on our society and not for the good. That’s not a particularly popular opinion.

Now, when my baby was two years old, my husband’s partner left the business leaving him with a chunk of debt. And I said, “We’re not going to starve here. I’m educated. What can I do with zero learning curve and make a lot of money?” I sold real estate. I’m sharp in Math. I love houses; I love showing houses for I had bought and sold three already. So I sold real estate for four years until we paid off that $25,000. At the end of the four years, I asked each of my three children—a ten year old, six year old and a fourteen year old, “Would you rather us put a pool in the backyard and I continue to work, or me stay at home?” Their answer was to stay at home. But let me tell you, I sold the biggest property I had ever listed in my life myself. From that commission, the last check I received, I was able to put a pool in the backyard. So I did work some of the time, because I didn’t want my husband’s business to fold. And it’s still going today. You know small businesses are rare to last that long.

6. Do you look back at your life and think how different you are today?

Yes. Being a math major with a minor in biology, writing was not something I ever thought I would do. I only wrote eulogies and read those from a pulpit, and came this close to flunking English. Looking back on it, I would have paid better attention to the one English course I took in college, if I had known I’d be writing when I grew up. Yes, I am different in that respect. I never suspected I’d be writing for a living. But also, when you stare cancer and death in the face, which I have done on numerous occasions, it affects you. As I told The Today Show, you become bitter or better. It’s going to go one way or the other. I chose better. And do you see that blue car parked out there? It’s a step up from driving a mini-van for 25 years. It’s a hardtop convertible. I went to the store the other day and a guy helped me out to my car with the bags. He stopped and said, “This blue convertible is your car?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Was that a mid-life crisis?” I responded with a no thank you very much. This was a senior crisis. My midlife crisis was a blue motorcycle. I bought one of those and drove that thing around for about five years along with my mini-van. So yes, I’ve changed a little bit. I think our attitudes change when we get older. I honestly don’t know if I care whether you don’t like my shoes. I don’t dress for others; I dress for myself.

7. Can you give me the name of a celebrity you admire? One whom you consider a strong woman? Or even a strong southern woman?

Well, I’ve always been a huge fan of Fannie Flagg. I will tell you exclusively, because this southern bornstory, about the first time I met her in Alabama, is yet to be written or published. But, let’s just say I met her and loved her, having a twenty-minute conversation. When she won the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished Alabama Writer, I went to the 2014 Alabama Symposium to watch her receive her award and to attend other events that weekend. During a nice white tablecloth affair, an event luncheon with probably over one hundred people there, the room became absolutely silent—Harper Lee rolled in. Harper Lee! Everyone stood up and applauded. Like who knew right? So yes, strong southern woman here we go. She was friends with Fannie Flagg and she came just for her. Fannie was so humble that when she stepped up to the podium, and rather than talking about Fannie Flagg or her books, she focused on Harper Lee and her influence. It was so moving. And I will say that there is nothing like walking up to this icon and having her stick out her hand and hearing her say, “Hi, I’m Nell Harper Lee (in the thickness Alabama accent), and you go “Oh, heck yeah, you are.” Does that give you chills? And that’s an exclusive.

Thank you, Jan, for your insightful and honest answers.. You can find Jan at the following:


Link to Today Show interview:

Link to the funny “Birthin’ Babies” story

Link of videos on Facebook author page:

(Jan would love it if you would “like” her author page when you check out the videos.)

Link to buy book from

Toward the end of this month, I’ll introduce you to author and business woman, Debra Ayers Brown, another Strong Southern Woman.

Bye for now,


Why She Writes About Women – Welcome, Amy Rivers

hot sunSo, to quote a former late night television personality, “How hot is it? It’s so hot, chickens are laying hardboiled eggs.”

Yep, I don’t have to tell you that it’s hot down here in Georgia. Even my pup, Bella, won’t stay outside very long. She lies in the mulch where it’s cooler on her belly for maybe five minutes then she heads back into the AC. Don’t blame her.

So we, as in Southerners, should be used to the summer heat, but I think that this year the heat is worse. But maybe we say that every year, who knows? But for me, my go-to-bed prayers include a big fat “thank you for air conditioning.”

Today, I’d like to welcome my guest blogger—Author Amy Rivers. Amy was born and raised in “southern” New Mexico and currently resides in Colorado. She has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, Novelty Bride Magazine, and Splice Today. Wallflower Blooming is her first novel.


Amy RiversWhy I Write About Women

There’s a reason why I write about women. Two reasons actually. First, (the obvious) I am one. They say you should write what you know, right? But more importantly, I write about women because they are amazing creatures. I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by strong, determined, and wise women. I was raised in a family of loud-mouthed, opinionated, generous, complicated women who laugh in the face of adversity, love with their whole hearts and understand the importance of family.

7-25 Amy WB CoverWriting Wallflower Blooming, my debut novel, was a very introspective process. It’s easy to want to write a novel about a strong woman who does all the right things, but, in my experience, that woman does not exist. As human beings, we’re fallible. We make mistakes. Sometimes very big mistakes (I know I have). We cower when we should fight. We fight when we should collaborate. Even seemingly insignificant experiences can create a tidal wave of emotions in us and we don’t always understand why. So as I wrote my main character Val, I thought less about how to make her heroic, and more about how to make her human.

My plan as a writer is to continue contemplating women and how they react in different situations. You’ll probably notice my interest in politics, social justice and psychology woven into my stories, and I hope you’ll join me and the women I write about on our adventures in life, love and whatever else is out there.

You can follow me on my website:, or on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Wallflower Blooming is available in paperback and ebook on Amazon. And, of course, your honest reviews are greatly appreciated. Happy reading!

Thank you, Amy.

See y’all in August when I will be sharing Part Two – Interview with A Strong Southern Lady with Jan Sheppard Kelleher.

Bye, Y’all


Part One – Interview with a Strong Southern Lady

Now don’t tell anyone, but I sometimes hate summer. I know, I know, I live in the South and you’d think I’d be used to it. Nope. I just thank God every day for air conditioning. Unfortunately, the heat has never been my friend. It not only drains me of any energy I have, but changes my appearance. Yes, what begins in my reflection in a mirror as “not too bad” becomes red-faced, sweaty with stringy flat-to-my-head hair. Although I’m a southern girl and proud of it, I confess, the heat here is unbearable. June is bad. July is worse. August – I can’t go into it right now.

Switching topics. As I mentioned before, I attended the Southeastern Writers Conference a few weeks ago, and had a wonderful time. During that period, I was fortunate enough to interview two women whom I admire a great deal and whom I believe exemplify strong southern women.

Jan Kelleher kickingToday, I am excited to share with you, the first part of an interview I had with author and new friend, Janet Sheppard Kelleher.

“Janet Sheppard Kelleher is a creative nonfiction writer, memoirist, speaker, and author of Big C, little ta-ta: Kicking Breast Cancer’s Butt in 7 Humorous Stories. Her upcoming book, But What If I Can? is an inspirational and humorous, yet poignant, look at where we find our coping skills. Her next book Big C, Belly Boobs, about her last breast cancer experience, demonstrates how “finding the funny” in scary situations helped her remain optimistic during the process.”

Me:  Jan, I believe you personify Strong Southern Women. Strong in the sense that you don’t let circumstances or life get in your way. You fight for what you want in any way you can. You have faith on your side and something inside of you that helps you rise above the negative. With that said, and with your permission, I would like to ask you a few questions.

1. Do you consider yourself to be strong? Why or why not?

Yes. I consider myself to be strong. I came from a background of strong women—both grandmothers. I probably had one of the few grandmothers who worked outside the home. My maternal grandmother owned a grocery store, and she worked seven days a week, twelve-fifteen hour days, until she found the Lord and took off on Sundays. When I went to work for her at age seven, I was so small that I stood on a Coca Cola crate to ask customers if they needed help finding things. You know the little country stores where you didn’t pick up your own can of beans, where someone else got it for you. As I worked from seven a.m. until eight at night, my grandmother taught me how to work and the value of a dollar.

My mother also worked outside the home. She was a great salesperson—selling insurance, selling Stanley home products, selling institutional foods. She was brilliant at it, and so, I also had that influence growing up.

Jan's bookNow, the other grandmother was a sharecropper on a plantation. Her husband died when he was forty-nine years old and left her with eight children. As I understand it, there was no such thing as social security back then. All the children worked in the fields picking cotton. So when my book comes out “Having My Cotton Pickin’ Say,” you can understand that I’m not joking! My dad had to work the plantation for a long time. At twenty-three, he was the first person in our family to obtain a high school diploma. But my grandmother held together the family. She made dresses for the children from flour sacks, and created mattresses out of Spanish moss. I came from that kind of resourceful woman. She did what it took to survive. You talk about strong southern women–both of my grandmothers were brilliant in the way they handled life. Nobody had it easy. They all scraped by.

Yes, I consider myself to be strong because of those women’s examples. I will say that my book, which is coming out next, “But What If I Can,” is about the influences in my life, personal characteristics I have that create a survivor mentality, and the stories behind the people who gave those characteristics to me—one little story about each person, each story about the attribute that came from that person.

A brief example: My Dad whom I told you graduated at twenty-three because he had to work in the fields for years went with me to the first and only PTA meeting in our lives. Since I had working parents, they usually didn’t have the time for things like that. I’m not sure but maybe my brother talked him into going to the ninth grade teacher conference. By that time, Dad was a successful insurance salesman who always wore a suit and tie to work, a Stetson hat and wingtips. He was dressed fit to kill that night. We were nervous since the experience was new for both of us. Fishing and hunting, now that would have been easy. That’s what we did together. So it’s time to meet the teachers and we hit the Geometry classroom first. We’re standing in line—sweating.

When it’s our time to walk up to the teacher, Mrs. Byrd says, “Mr. Sheppard, I’m really proud of Janet. She’s doing well in Geometry.”

I wasn’t sure whether he was being proud or humble, but he looked down at his shoes then glanced up a bit and said, “Well, you know, Mrs. Byrd, she ought to be good in Geometry, I took it three damn times.” You have to think I got my tenacity from that guy.

Those are the kind of people I come from.

I feel like when you have obstacles to overcome, you have to look at people in your life, whether or not they’re kin to you, and say “That example right there—I can glean something from that!” Then use it, grow in it, whether or not it’s actually in your blood.

2. From where do you draw your inner strength?

There’s no doubt in my mind that God exists. The first story I ever had accepted at Chicken Soup for the Soul was about how and where my serious faith came from. “A Child’s Faith” is about my sharecropper granny. When she received a diagnosis of cancer, they gave her six months then sent her home to die. No one told her she had cancer. I don’t know whose decision that was, one of her children or all of them. I think they did it because one of her daughter’s had died of breast cancer and she was afraid of it. The fear of cancer—most people still fear it. As I said, I worshipped that grandmother. I was fourteen years old at the time, and I remember distinctly falling across my bed all morning, all night, and praying to God to please give me the pain that she might have to endure. I couldn’t bear to watch her go through it, the kind of pain they used to have to endure with cancer. I thought, I’m young and I can take that kind of pain. I pleaded and bargained with Him with words like “whatever you can do, whatever you give me, for allowing her to live and for minimizing her pain.” Well, my granny lived the six months and everybody kept expecting her to die. But she lived a year, then two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight years. She never took so much as an aspirin. That’s the truth. There came a time when she had a situation and was rushed to the hospital. At that moment, I was 250 miles away in a hotel room when I saw an arm reach out and pull a sheet over her head. I’ve never had a vision before or since, but that’s all I saw. I didn’t see anything else; didn’t see a person–just Granny’s head, an arm, and a white sheet.

The next morning, I called my mother and asked, “What’s wrong with Granny.”

She said, “How did you know?”

I said, “Never mind, you won’t believe me anyway.

I told Mom to call George, call Jim, call the family. Tell them to get there because my grandmother wasn’t going to live. I made it there. I was holding her hand when she died. She was eighty-five years old. At that moment in time, I had all the faith that a child can have and I trusted God beyond the shadow of a doubt. And he answered. I’m still so grateful. When I have pain, when I developed cancer myself, I was not surprised, nor did I ask why, nor was I angry. I frankly said, “My time has arrived.” I am so grateful still that she had those eight years. That is where my inner strength comes from.

Thank you, Jan for your honest answers and sharing endearing excerpts from your own family history. In July, I will continue this dialogue with a few more questions for this lovely lady.

You can find Jan at the following places:

See y’all at the end of the month when my guest blogger will be author, Amy Rivers.

Bye for now,


A June Welcome to Melanie V. Logan

Hi y’all!lighthouse

mike dog beachI had a wonderful long weekend spending Friday through Tuesday at St. Simons Island, Georgia with my husband, Mike, and our mini-Australian Shepherd, Bella. After three relaxing days of sunshine, beach, and just being lazy, I spent Monday and Tuesday soaking up knowledge which flowed from the speakers at the Southeastern Writer’s Association Conference. As always, I made a few new friends, reconnected with old ones, and left the conference feeling the comradery of fellow writers. Thank you to all who make the SWA and its conference possible.

During the conference, I was fortunate to have a chance to interview two lovely ladies who represent my idea of strong southern womenJanet Shepherd Kelleher and Debra Ayers Brown. I will be sharing their interviews with you in the coming months. They were so gracious and kind to grant me their precious time. Thank you, ladies.

Now, I’d like to welcome my guest blogger, Melanie V. Logan.

6-25 melanie_bioMelanie has appreciated the land of make believe for as long as anyone can remember. Growing up in rural Virginia didn’t lend much to the excitement. With a pen, paper, and a rambunctious imagination, created adventures of her own. Nowadays, Melanie lives in the suburbs of Atlanta still crafting dreams into fictional works of art. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys traveling with her husband, reading, watching movies, or the occasional comedy show. 


Why I Write Women’s Fiction

What I love about women’s fiction is the exploration of a woman’s journey. It’s not always about love, romance, or a happily ever after. It’s about learning and growing along the way. Getting knocked down by one thing or another, but getting right back up. Persevering over great odds whether personal tragedies, hindrances from loved ones, or some other obstacle. The journey may not take the character in that direction first set on, but doesn’t that happen in life?

What I’m Working On

I’m currently working on a manuscript for my first novel. The story focuses on a woman searching for her dream life, but blames others for her failures when she is the obstacle in the way. That may seem like a common storyline; however, there are unexpected twists and turns that I haven’t read in other books. What I hope readers walk away with is a desire to pursue their purpose, answer their own ‘what if’s’ should life change in the blink of an eye.

Where to Find Her

To learn more about Melanie, check out her website at or follow her on Twitter: @melanievlogan.

Thank you for reading and I’ll see you next month.


P.S. Stay tuned for a Southern Comfort Recipes and Southern Sayings as well as an excerpt from Weather Permitting.

Normal is as Normal does…

snoopy summerJune means summer, the beach, hot weather, long days, short nights, sitting outside bird watching before it warms up, and cooking as much on the grill as possible. This month I have two events to attend: my high school reunion in Decatur, Georgia and the Southeastern Writers Association (SWA) Conference. Looking forward to both for two entirely different reasons.

At the reunion, I hope to see people I haven’t seen in a very long time, and dance to the oldies until I drop.

On the 17th of this month, I will be heading to St. Simons, Georgia to spend a few days of vacation before attending the SWA Conference. I look forward to meeting up with the authors I see every year and the new faces I come to expect. I always learn a great deal about the craft of writing and gain insight into different areas of publishing and editing.

Maya Angelou Normal“Normal” is on my mind today. I’ll tell you right now, I don’t think I’m normal. I’m sure there a million things I do that would not be considered normal. One thing I do that immediately comes to mind–I talk to myself. Been at it my whole life. Maybe it started when I was a child because I played alone quite a bit. Both my siblings were older and grown before I even entered first grade. I say maybe because I honestly have no idea why I do it. But it has come in handy when hashing out problems, making decisions, and generally annoying the people around me.🙂

So what exactly does it mean to be normal?  I suppose it means different things to different people. In Weather Permitting, Sara Palmer doesn’t think she is normal and desperately tries to reach that state of being.

I looked up the term and here it is:  As an adjective, “conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.  As a psychological term, “approximately average in any psychological trait, as intelligence, personality, or emotional adjustment; free from any mental disorder; sane.  As a noun, “the average or mean; the standard.”

Well, one glance at those definitions, and I ask, who comes close? We are all different in those traits mentioned above. To my thinking, we are as different as we are the same. We all want the same basic things in our life, and more than likely use the same emotions (except I do know a few guys . . . that’s for another blog). I’m not sure but my guess would be we are different on the inside, in our minds, in how we think and how we respond, justify, and either embrace or shun our emotions. Now this is just my muddy opinion, using my warped brain and years of experience.

normalSara Palmer wants to be normal because she thinks by claiming that title, she will somehow be adept at reinventing herself. If only she’d stop clinging to the past. If only she was “normal,” she would be happier. The truth is, she doesn’t need a label to be happy. What she needs, like the ability to forgive herself as well as those who have hurt her, has nothing at all to do with whether or not she is NORMAL.

Are you normal?

At the end of this month, I look forward to introducing my guest blogger, Melanie Logan.

Thanks for reading,


What Is Women’s Fiction? And Why Do You Write That?

I have been struggling with my current manuscript, finding the last third of the book to be the most difficult. Pulling it all together, grappling with endings. It’s kind of a slow and steady process, but the pain will be over sometime in June. Yes, June. I have a mental deadline. But today is blog day.

Feb 7 [17945]Let me welcome my Guest Blogger, Zan Marie Steadham. I enjoyed finally meeting her in person the other day when we met for lunch in Atlanta with two other Women’s Fiction writers, Melanie Logan and Emily Carpenter. It was fun getting to know these women re-emphasizing that we all go through the same journey through our creativity.

Zan Marie is a writer of Women’s Fiction whose blogging alter ego is “The Book Pusher.” She has mini book reviews on her blog at least twice a month because the second best thing to reading a good book is to share it with others. She particularly enjoys pushing books by her WFWA (Women’s Fiction Writers Association) buddies and the members of the Books and Writers Community. She lives west of Atlanta and nearly in Alabama with her college sweetheart husband of over thirty-eight years and their two toy poodles. She’s a 2009 Georgia Author of the Year Nominee and an active blogger. Check out her weekly posts at In the Shade of the Cherry Tree. Her humorous essay, “An Occupational Hazard” was published in the WFWA Quarterly Write On! Currently, she’s pitching her first novel.


All of us know the perennial question: “What do you do?” Our answer—“I’m a writer”—is followed by “Oooh! When is your book coming out?”

I promise that to truly answer what’s behind getting a book to market will create a vacuum in their attention span. Our voices become just like the adults on the “Charlie Brown” specials—“wah, wah, wah” For my quick analogy, check this blogpost, Now You Can Read My Book.

I like to tell people that women’s fiction found me. When I woke from a dream in March 2008 with the first scene of my WIP, I had no clue what genre it was. The story of a recently widowed, retired teacher who still mourned her husband and their five miscarriages, who meets an abused foster twelve-year-old and has her life changed one hundred eighty degrees, wasn’t a mystery (Though, there is a bit of mystery on exactly what the girl has experienced and why she resembles the teacher’s deceased husband). It isn’t suspense, thriller, or horror. (Though, to be honest, some people think the abuse fits that classification.) And as a contemporary story it doesn’t fit SF or fantasy. I was left with literary and mainstream.

I scratched my head when I tried to research agents. Mainstream covered way too many types of books. I didn’t want to spin my wheels when agent after agent wh woman reading

Then, I met Amy Sue Nathan (check out her books! They’re fabulous) and her blog was promoting women’s fiction and mentioned the formation of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. The WFWA “an inclusive organization of writers creating layered stories that are driven by the main character’s emotional journey.”

I had an Ah Hah moment. I was writing women’s fiction. My current project is Upmarket Women’s Fiction and is a perfect book for book clubs. The WFWA has helped me hone my craft, find agents to query, and bolster me when I falter.

Now, I can proudly say, “I write Women’s Fiction. Let me tell you about my book.”

Ninety-nine percent of my questioners get wistful to read my story. They wish me well, add a few prayers, and say, “Let me know when it comes out.”

I can’t ask for a better conversation than that.🙂

You can find Zan Marie on:




Thank you, Zan Marie.

See you in June,



Digging Deep

“A really strong woman accepts the war she went through and is enabled by her scars.”
—-Carly Simon

FoxgloveHappy May! Check out my Foxglove!! Just purchased it at Home Depot and planted it under a kitchen window so I could see it rain or shine. Didn’t even know it was a perennial! I suppose you’ve guested that I do not have a natural green thumb. I’m working on it.

I love to talk about strong women. I admire them, praise them, wish to be just like a whole bunch of them. Some, of course, are famous, but I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting any of them, but I do enjoy quoting them.

“Don’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.” – Anne Lamott

“. . . knowing what must be done does away with fear.” – Rosa Parks

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” – Nora Ephron

However, I do know hundreds of woman I consider to be in that special category. Some bucket and shovelhappen to be born Southern; others I’ve labeled “might as well be.” What does it take to classify someone as a STRONG WOMAN? I believe she somehow draws her on her own inner strength to overcome a life changing obstacle, make the best of a difficult situation, accept a challenge, or simply make a risky change or life decision. All in all, she pulls from within herself to create a better life for her and the people around her. We all know these women. What makes these women who they are? Where does their strength come from or better yet how are they able to draw from it?

I asked a few of these women I know to answer the following questions: What has given you inner strength in the past and what gives it to you today when you need it? Here are some of the responses I received.

  •  “Helping others. Being chivalrous.”
  • “. . . my faith in God—in the past and now. What keeps me going are my kids (I love being a Mom.) and the longing to live a life of purpose.”
  • “. . . has grown stronger and stronger over the years as my faith journey has progressed. Several folks have touched my life deeply in the past . . . as well as I have weathered quite a few tragedies. Walking through life’s valleys and knowing I will come out on the other side because of my deep faith in Christ gives me my strength.”
  • “In the past, I have found inner strength from my faith in a loving God, in the belief that the most difficult and painful experiences can bring about the greatest and often most needed personal growth, and the understanding that you must ‘Go through to Get through.’ . . . In addition . . . currently . . . my connection with strong, knowledgeable, and genuine women brings me great joy, which adds to my inner strength. That said, I do not have it all figured out!”
  • “That’s easy. God is with me every step of the way.”
  • “Two things come to mind. My strength has always been my faith. But . . . also . . . my mother gave me strength. She always believed in me and made me believe I could do anything.”
  • “I gather strength from life’s challenges. I keep my faith close, but pull from a fight in me that says never give up.”
  • “. . . in the past . . . through support of friends and family coupled with determination and my desire for independence. Presently and continuously . . . through self-reflection, self-confidence and blind optimism.”

Sara, the main character in “Weather Permitting,” doesn’t know she’s a strong woman until her marriage breaks up, and she has no choice but to find her strength. Women I read about and women I know personally amaze me with their journeys of reinvention and the ability to do more than survive. They thrive, and the older they get, the better they get.

So I’m asking you, you beautifully strong women who read my blog, what has given you strength in the past and what gives it to you today?

Stay tuned. On the twenty-fifth of this month, my guest blogger will be Zan Marie Steadham.  See you then,