10 Reasons My Mother Is Such an Extraordinary Woman

BY: - 17 Mar '17 | Lifestyle

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It’s Woman’s History month, and although I typically don’t need a designated month to encourage me to celebrate anything, this month does make me reflect on all the phenomenal women in my life.

From friends to cousins to public figures and more, I have recently been thinking a lot about the many women who have done so much to bring me to where I am today. These are women who have contributed to my success, lifted me when I fell down, and push me to see my potential.

I love all of them for that.

But no woman has inspired me to be the woman I am today more than my mother. Her love, encouragement, and strength have carried me through so much since the day I entered this world.

My mother was born into poverty in a small village in Haiti in 1943. Raised by her mother as one of seven kids, my mom learned early on that she had to work hard to get anywhere in this world. It is a lesson she carried with her to the United States in 1969, and it’s a lesson that determined the decisions she would make for years to come.

To grow up in extreme poverty, while being surrounded by people who don’t support you or your dreams, is challenging to say the least. People told my mom she wasn’t special and that she wouldn’t amount to much. She was determined to make sure that narrative was not a part of my life or my brother’s. She told us we could do anything.

I am eternally grateful to her for that.

So as I celebrate Women’s History Month and all the women in the world who have inspired me through their work, their love, and their contributions to society, I want to pay special tribute to my mom by sharing 10 reasons why she is so extraordinary.

She made something out of nothing. As I shared earlier, my mom comes from extremely humble beginnings. She grew up in a place and time where coming to the United States for a better life was simply a dream never realized for many. She hustled and found a way to make it happen, and she built a good life for us in New York City. I could not be more proud of her for that.

She taught me how to love. My mom grew up lacking the love and affection that all kids need. As a result, she went out of her way to give us that love and affection. Because of her vulnerability and her example, I learned how to love. Knowing how to truly love has made all the difference in my life.

TNMMothervsDaughterShe never made me feel inadequate. Sometimes we have a lot of doubts as children, and those doubts can linger well into adulthood. I am so grateful God blessed me with a mother who showed me that I was more than fine just by being myself, and I never need to change to please others.

She has always been there for the people she loves. My mom constantly supported so many people in our family. Honestly, she was supportive to a fault. But I will say that her generosity showed me how to give and how to look out for the people I love. I’ve simply figured out how to do it while setting boundaries.

We always had everything we needed. We didn’t grow up with much when it comes to material things. But we were just fine. We had a roof over our heads, we never went hungry, and my mom got us clothes when we needed them. Yes, we went without certain things, but we always had what we needed to be healthy and happy.

She stepped in where my father fell short. My father was not an active part of our lives. He fell short time and time again. My mom did her best to make sure that we were just fine despite his choices. She used every opportunity she had to step in and do right by us. Because of her efforts (and her ability to never speak poorly of him), I grew up feeling loved and never bitter. My father died years ago, but I have honestly never harbored ill feelings towards him despite his lack of involvement. I thank my mom for that.

She’s a fighter. In recent years my mom has suffered from severe depression, anxiety, a stroke, seizures, a shoulder fracture, cancer, and a number of other medical issues. But you know what? She is still standing. Some days are certainly harder on her than others, but she has been fighting the good fight. She taught me how to be a fighter, too.

Her example taught me how to love God. My mother was the first person in my life to introduce me to the power of God’s love. She has turned to Him time and time again, and has taught me to do the same. There is nothing more powerful than that.

My love for reading and writing is because of her influence. I love to read and write. I fell in love with both at an early age. Although my mom doesn’t have more than an eighth grade education, she went out of her way to raise kids who understand the importance of an education. My brother and I both hold master’s degrees, and we thank her for that. And as I work on my first book, to be released this fall, there is no question I will dedicate it to her.

She never stops believing in me. Even as a grown woman in my late thirties, I still have days when I wake up feeling a bit discouraged. It’s so nice to know that my mother believes in me now just as much as she did when I was ten. In her eyes, I can do it all. She actually believes that I am extraordinary. I love her for that.

BMWK family, we’d love to hear the many reasons why your mother is an extraordinary woman.

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 485 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a speaker, writer, lifestyle consultant, and ACE-certified Health Coach who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create healthier, happier lives. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at candidbelle.com. To work with her, visit her at martineforeman.com. Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.

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Honoring Trailblazers – 5 Women Who Have Made Real and Lasting Change

BY: - 20 Mar '17 | inspiration

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It’s March and one of my favorite months of the year because it is Women’s History Month and my mama’s birthday month.  In the spirit of Women’s History Month and my mother, we are honoring five trailblazers who blazed a path for all women (and humankind) to follow.

With so much attention paid to high-profile women, it’s easy to lose sight of lesser-known women who are blazing a trail in big and small ways.  The women I have chosen for this list have moved the needle on gender equality by being activists, role models, pursuing their dreams no matter the cost or obstacles placed in front of them, and/or simply taking a stand.  Without further ado, here are five amazing trailblazers:

Bessie Coleman

bessie_coleman

Bessie Coleman was an American civil aviator and the first woman of African – American and Native-American descent to hold an international pilot’s license which she got in 1921. Coleman, born on January 26, 1892 in Atlanta, TX, was one of 13 children born to parents who worked as sharecroppers.

After attending Langston University for only one term due to financial constraints, she decided to move to Chicago  in 1915 where she lived with her brothers, worked as a manicurist.  This is where she first heard about World War I and the important role that the U.S. air force and pilots played in turning the tides of the war in our favor, which sparked her interest in aviation.

In 1922, a time of extreme gender and racial discrimination, Coleman broke barriers and became the world’s first black woman to earn a pilot’s license. Because flying schools in the United States refused to admit her, she taught herself French and moved to France to pursue her dreams.  In only seven months, Coleman earned her license from the Caudron Brother’s School of Aviation.

After receiving her pilot’s license, Coleman’s new goal was to start a flying school for African- Americans when she returned to the U.S. During her peak flying years, Coleman specialized in stunt flying and parachuting, and earned a living “barnstorming”, defined as traveling around giving flying exhibitions and performing aeronautical stunts and performing aerial tricks. In 1922, Coleman’s was the first public flight by an African- American woman in America.  Sadly, on April 30, 1926, Coleman was killed in an accident during a rehearsal for an aerial show which sent her plunging to her death, she was only 34 years old. To this day, Coleman remains a pioneer for all women in the field of aviation.

Malala Yousafazi

i-am-malalaMalala Yousafazi, born on July 12, 1997, is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. Yousafazi is most well-known for her human rights advocacy for education and for women in her native Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan, where the Taliban sporadically banned girls from attending school.

Since she began until now, Malala’s advocacy has become an international movement.  On October 9 2012, Yousafzai was injured after a Taliban gunman tried to assassinate her by shooting her in the head. Yousafzai remained unconscious for some time and in critical condition, but later improved enough to be sent to the UK.

The assassination attempt sparked massive national and international support for Malala and her causes.  After recovering, Yousafzai became a prominent education activist, founding the Malala Fund, a non-profit organization. In 2013 she co-authored the international bestseller book entitled, I am Malala, and in 2015 was the subject of the documentary He Named Me Malala.

In the 2013, 2014, and 2015 issues of Time magazine, Yousafazi was named one of the most Influential people globally. In 2012, she was the recipient of Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and the 2013 Sakharov Prize.  In 2014, Malala was announced as the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for sustained activism against the suppression of children and young adults and for the right of all children to education. Only 17-years-old at the time, Yousafazi became the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate/winner.

Ibtihaj Muhammad

ibtihaj-muhammadIn 2016, fencing champion Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first Muslim woman wearing a hijab to represent the United States at the Olympics. Ibtihaj, also African-American, became the first female Muslim-American athlete to win an Olympic medal when she took home the bronze in the team sabre event at the Summer Games in Rio.  Ibtihaj is quoted as saying,

“Fencing has taught me so much about myself and what I am capable of. I want to be an example for minority and Muslim youth that anything is possible with perseverance. I want them to know that nothing should ever hinder them from achieving their goals—not race, religion, or gender.” 

Ibtihaj Muhammad was born in 1985 in New Jersey and began fencing when she was 13 years old.  She has earned numerous medals, awards, and accolades for her achievements in fencing. In 2016, she secured a spot on Team USA.

Michelle Roberts

michele_robertsMichele Roberts, born September 14, 1956 as one of five children living in a single-parent household. She rose from growing up in the projects in Bronx, Ny, to attending the UC Berkeley School of Law.

Roberts began her legal career as a public defender, and eventually became a partner at several top law firms.  While a student at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, she volunteered in the law office at San Quentin State Prison.  From there, she joined the Washington D.C. Public Defender Service in 1980, and immediately distinguished herself as a formidable litigator with a skill for persuading juries.

Many years later, Roberts learned of the dismissal of Billy Hunter, the then executive director of the National Basketball Players Association in 2013.  Roberts immediately contacted the firm that was hired to find his replacement. Although Roberts had no experience/background in labor relations or sports, she was certain that her legal and prior professional experiences could help the union.  In 2014, Roberts became the first female union leader in major North American professional sports when she was elected executive director of the NBA Players Association, a position she continues to encumber.

Cynthia McKinney

cynthia_mckinneyCynthia McKinney was born on March 17, 1955, in Atlanta, Georgia. McKinney is an experienced state and national legislator.  In 1992, McKinney became the first African-American woman to represent Georgia in the House of Representatives. In 2002 and 2006 she lost to other Democrats in primary races.  However, not to be deterred, she returned to politics in 2008 as the Green Party presidential candidate, choosing activist Rosa A. Clemente as her running mate.  She was following in the footsteps of earlier African-American female politicians and pioneers, such as Shirley Chisholm, who have also tried to win this top executive post.  McKinney lives in DeKalb County, Georgia and continues to serve the people of Georgia through her service as a public servant.

These women have broken (and are breaking) through gender, race, religious, age, and cultural barriers to become some of the most innovative leaders of our time and recent times past.  They’ve taken risks to pursue their dreams to make opportunities possible for the rest of us.  Thank you to these trailblazers for inspiring us to be our best selves and showing us once more that anything is possible.

About the author

Lia Miller wrote 18 articles on this blog.

Lia Miller is an every woman, in that she does and is interested in a lot of things. Lia is a wife and mother, ambitious/career focused individual, writer and award winning blogger, do-it-yourself loc’d naturalista, foodie, avid reader, movie buff, sports enthusiast, passionate about music, dance, and the arts, news junkie, advocate for the underdog/under-represented, with an incurable bug for traveling and exploring the world. Lia is also a clinical social worker with a concentration in children, relationships, and family dynamics. Lia’s focus is to find and share how to get the best out of life by living fully, loving hard, and always learning.

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