Funny how the world sees "real women. . ."

Evidenced by all the Real Housewives of. . . shows which seem to be overtaking our televisions, it appears that the world believes we should all be wealthy, pampered, enviable, catty, curvaceous, gorgeous, and more. While we may be gorgeous, most of us are not rich or spoiled or even catty. We are ~ simply put ~ real.

The idea for this blog came after watching a few of those real housewives shows and realizing just how skewed the views of everyday life can be through the eyes of these women. Particularly to those of us in the trenches, working day-in-day-out to take care of ourselves, our children, our parents, our spouses/partners. Those of us who are out there earning a living, who may be dealing with catastrophic events or troubled children or medical issues or partner concerns.

This is a call to all women everywhere who live everyday lives and who want to simply do their best as they love all, laugh often, and live fully. Let us unite with our whole heart and soul, with humanity and grace, with vigor and hope. We are women and we are thankful to be so!

Monday, February 28, 2011


My awesome grandmother, Myra Fay Morgan Wheeler, was born in 1892 and lived to be 86 years old. That is pretty incredible, particularly considering that the average life expectancy in the 1950s was 45 - 63 years of age. And she also lived the last 20+ years of her life as a widow, my grandfather having died when I was but a toddler.

I can still picture the humble little two-bedroom home with a cellar, a front porch, and a huge tree out front with a swing attached to it. The garden was off to the side of the house and most of the summer days I spent with Grandma included picking and eating those yummy fresh peas! To this day, whenever I smell, see, or eat freshly-picked peas, I get a whiff of Grandma and can almost see her standing next to me, drying her hands on the apron she wore constantly. I can hear her laugh and crack jokes with my Dad. I can see the collections of salt n' pepper shakers and deer knick-knacks perched atop of the small shelf that sat just below the ceiling where we could see but not touch.

This strong woman from pioneer stock bore 11 children, three of whom died very young. The remaining eight were all girls, my mother the youngest. There were 17 years between my mother and her eldest sister. To realize that Grandma Wheeler carried, gave birth, and then raised all these children (girls!) on a dry farm in Southeastern Idaho is nothing short of miraculous. They had a tiny cabin on the property with no indoor plumbing! Every Saturday they would travel in a wagon from the farm to their house "in town" so everyone could clean up, bathe and be their shiny best for church on Sunday. 

In preparing to post this blog, I heard from several of my cousins who share similar sentiments about our beloved grandmother. Here are a few: 

"Love, love, love this woman! I can still imagine her distinctive voice and unique personality."

"Some days I so miss Grandma. So level, so sweet, so strong. Take one Grandma Wheeler daily to stay healthy!"

"Grandma was always so happy, even during her 20+ years as a widow. We come from great stock."

A tribute to you, dearest Grandma Wheeler. You have left to me the challenge of what I hope to become ~ the woman of strength, character, compassion, and charity you created. One day in the eternities, I hope to report to you about what I have done with your name, your legacy. I love you truly, I love you fully, and I miss you dearly. Please give Grandpa my love, along with all those other amazing ancestors who have gone before.

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Monday Hero ~ Grandmothers!

Grandmothers the world over are always heroes. We love them, we look forward to seeing them, and they spoil us constantly! Not to mention that when we're the mother in between the child and the grandma, what a wonderful sight to see, when our own child's grandmother enters the room!  

I was blessed to have two of the most awesome grandmothers throughout my childhood and into adulthood. Longevity is the name of the game for the women in my family! Indeed, my father's mother lived to nearly her 97th birthday, passing from this life in late 1996. It was always easy to remember how old she was because she was born in 1900. Pretty cool, eh?

This week's Monday Hero is a tribute to all those generations of grandmothers ~ on Earth and in Heaven ~ those who are now in our lives and those who have already passed this way and have reunited with their own ancestry of grandmothers. 

Let's think about our grandmothers today and throughout the week. Let us contemplate our love for them and theirs for us. Let us ponder about what we are doing with their names and the legacies they have left to us. Let us pull their spirits unto ourselves and share with those around us. Let us do those things we know they would be proud to see, as if they truly are watching over us. And perhaps this is a good time to write that letter we wish we would have sent, say those things we meant to say, and express the undying affection, devotion, love, and tenderness we feel for our grandmothers.

Please. . .tell us about your grandmothers. . .teach us what this incredible and awesome woman in your life has meant to you. Touch our hearts with your stories.

Over the next two weeks, I will highlight each of my extraordinary grandmothers and the legacy they have left for me; a legacy which I can only hope to leave for my own grandchildren.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Monday Hero - Leslie

I first met Leslie several years ago, shortly after moving to Alaska. We connected professionally and had a few mutually-respectful interactions. The fourth year that I was in the state, I suffered from an acute life-threatening illness. It was at that time I was blessed to be the recipient of Leslie's professional services. She was compassionate, caring, and giving of whatever time and talents she was able to provide. And then, about two years after that, we connected again, this time with me providing consultation services for her work. I have been privileged to maintain that contract for several years now, and am thoroughly enjoying it!

Leslie is - at once - the ultimate stand-up, witty, one-liner comedienne and one of the most warm-hearted women I know. Her tenderness and giving nature is a standard to be held in the highest esteem. There are few people in this world who are able to give without any expectation of reward. Leslie is indeed one of those few. Even on the days that present life's ultimately unfair challenges (which all of us know so well), she is a lover of life, of people, of all that is good. To watch, to learn, and to live life as Leslie does. . .an aspiration of my heart!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Monday Hero (on Tuesday) - Kris

This week's hero was simple to choose, as Kris is someone I have known and admired since we met - in another state - nearly 15 years ago. At that time, she had two small daughters and had just announced she was expecting their third child, a boy. A short time later, Kris gave birth to her fourth child, another girl. Kris is married to a man whom I had worked with in the lower 48, and who I was later able to convince to take a job in Alaska, moving his family to this pristine state.

Kris, believing so strongly in the value of family, has literally picked up herself and her family and moved around the world with her husband, supporting his desire to experience various cultures and peoples. Early in their marriage, Kris went with her husband to Japan in order to teach English as a second language. Becoming fluent in Japanese, they later moved back to the States, living for a few years near their families. Then in 2000 they picked up again, with a tiny baby in tow, and set out for a life in the last frontier, on a rainy island in Southeast Alaska. Honestly, who does that? 

One of Kris's crowning personal achievements (she has way too many to list here!) is her success as a Russian Dancer here in Sitka. She has been a part of this organization for 10 years. She is a premiere dancer, a phenomenal optimist, and a devoted wife and mother. If there really were a real 'real housewife' to showcase, it would be my friend Kris.

What an unbelievable example of undying faith, steadfastness, commitment, and determination. She accomplishes whatever she sets out to do. You are my hero, Kris. . .Please pass me some of your terrific-ness!