Ramblings


In Celebration of the 19th Amendment

One-hundred years ago, my grandmothers and great-aunts would have learned the monumental news from family, friends, or a newspaper: Women had won the right to vote! I can only imagine their reactions to this news. Did they scramble to register to vote in time for the 1920 election, or were they discouraged from doing so by the cultural norms under which they had lived?

Sadly, when this news broke 100 years ago, my great-grandmother certainly wasn’t one of the women rushing to vote. She had no choice. She was confined to an insane asylum. I imagine if she heard the news at all, it probably offered her little hope personally since being declared insane generally stripped one of their rights to vote. But I’d like to think...

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What Constitutes activism?

July 19th marks the anniversary of the first women’s rights convention ever held in the United States. The Seneca Falls Convention spanned two days in 1848 and was attended by 300 people, including organizer Elizabeth Cady Stanton and African American abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

At the event, Stanton introduced the “Declaration of Sentiments,” a call to action for American women to stand up for their rightful place in society with equal access to politics, education, jobs and opportunities. At the time, women were denied many educational options, held to inferior roles throughout society, and unable to control...

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the Women Who Planted Our Trees

It was 1990-something as I studied the newsletter proof fresh off the fax machine. I felt my eyes drifting upward into a rolling motion. Every reference to the term “ladies” was heavily scribbled out and replaced with “women.”

My proofreader was coordinating a large event hosted by our business women’s networking group. This group included emerging professionals, experienced leaders, and recent retirees. All of them were confident, outspoken trailblazers in their fields. This woman was no exception. She was an intelligent, ambitious, caring, bold, older career woman, mother and grandmother – a success story in every way I could imagine. She was also one of the women whose opinions...

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The Backstory of Songs

There was a trip to Missouri in 1979 that became the thing of legends for me, my sister, our mother and grandmother. The four of us embarked on a journey to learn our family history, and the trip illuminated many unknown stories that built us – stories of bravery, sadness, humor, and hope. It also blessed us with absurdly funny moments amidst the tensions that sometimes brewed between us.

Fast forward to 2005. My grandma had long sense passed, and Mom’s health was fading, but all it took to get a laugh out of her – or me or my sister – was the mere mention of that trip to Missouri. I decided that story needed to be told, so I began writing what was originally...

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Surprising Ways Our Stories Unfold

When I was thirteen, my mother became obsessed with genealogy. She dragged me and my sister and our grandmother on a tri-state trip through time, ticks, and mountain women. We rifled through dusty courthouse records and stumbled through overgrown, dilapidated graveyards. I assure you these are not activities on any thirteen-year-old’s bucket list, but regardless of how I felt in those early days, genealogy was a part of my life from that moment forward.

Mom’s enthusiasm never waned, and through the years she constructed beautiful binders chocked full of family trees, copies of old records, and entertaining stories. But the contents of those binders were scattered throughout her...

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