Saturday, February 28, 2015


This post may end up be a bit rambling and disjointed. Hopefully not too much so. 
My original plan and purpose for this blog was to hopefully inspire and empower women. The official definition of empower is to: "give (someone) the authority or power to do something. 2. make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights." I hope to do this mainly by highlighting women who, from my view, have power, real power, which I have discussed before in this post. I want to showcase women from my own life, and hopefully one day be able to have other people tell me about women in their own lives who inspire and empower them. 

However, while this may be my main focus, I will also be writing other posts that are not highlighting women, but will be ideas and things that are probably nagging on my mind and that I want to get out there and share. I will try and focus these posts and empowering women, and others, to hopefully inspire women and others to try new things, take control of own lives, etc. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Annie Oakley

 Now, I know Annie Oakley is pretty well known, or at least in my experience she has been well known, however she has been one of my favorite historical individuals my entire life. When I was in elementary school I purchased a short biography about her from our school's book fair. I reread that book multiple times when I was younger. Now I am realizing that I have never sought out another book about her. I think I am going to have to change that!

Annie Oakley was born Phoebe Ann Mosey on August 13, 1860 in Ohio. Annie was the sixth child of her mother Susan and father Jacob. When Annie was just six years old her father died of pneumonia, leaving her mother to raise and provide for six young children on her own. Over the next several years Annie lived outside the family home, living for awhile at the County Infirmary where she helped care for young children in exchange for an education and also picked up sewing skills. In her early teens Annie returned to her mother and her step-father, her mother's third husband, her second husband dying and leaving her with now seven children.

Annie used her father's old rifle to hunt in order to help provide for her family. The story states that she was able to make enough money hunting that she was able to pay off her mother's $200 mortgage on their house. I can remember in the book I had when I was young reading about her shooting squirrels to make squirrel soup for her family.

When Annie was 15 years old her marksmanship abilities had gained the attention of many people in the local vicinity. One of these was a local hotel owner who asked her to come to a performance and compete against Frank Butler, who was a traveling marksman and competed against local marksman. I can't imagine what Frank Butler thought when he came across this 15 year old petite young woman during his competition. Not only was she a young woman, but she was a very talented young woman! She eventually beat him in his own competition, successfully making twenty five out of twenty five shots, while Frank himself missed one of his twenty five shots.

Annie not only won the competition, but also won over Frank. They began a courtship and were eventually married. After their marriage Annie went with Frank on his tours. When Frank's partner became ill in May of 1882 and could not perform, Annie went on stage with Frank. She performed as more of an assistant, with a few marksmanship demonstrations of her own. Frank recognized that his wife brought a bigger crown in then he did and Annie became the star of the show, while Frank himself stepped aside to play a smaller role in the performances.

Less than two years later Annie and Frank had a special viewer in their audience, Sitting Bull. He asked to meet Annie after the show, which he was able to do. During this meeting they exchanged gifts, and Sitting Bull gave Annie the name of "Little Sure Shot".

It was just a year later that Annie and Frank joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West tour. Annie and Frank stayed with the show for 16 seasons, during which time Annie was highlighted as the highlight of the show. Advertising posters featured Annie as a "Champion Markswoman". Annie and Frank traveled first to England, and then to several other European countries with Buffalo Bill's Wild West tour. Annie's fame rose to new heights as she performed during Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.

After 16 years of touring with Buffalo Bill's show, preceded by several years of tours on their own or with other shows, Annie and Frank retired from the wild west show due perhaps in part to a train accident in 1901 where Annie's back was injured. Annie and Frank continued performing for several years after this, participating in various shows and tours. In 1912/13 Annie and Frank retired to Cambridge, Maryland where they adopted a dog, Dave, who would become a part of their act in later performances.

This is a picture I remember from my book as a young girl and I have always loved it.

When the United States became involved in World War I, Annie offered to help train a group of women to fight in the war as well as to help train marksmanship. Her offer to help was ignored, and so she helped out in other ways, such as donated earnings from exhibitions to the Red Cross.

Annie died November 3, 1926, a few years after another vehicle accident that injured her hip and ankle. The sixty six year old woman had continued her career, talent, and passion of marksmanship throughout her entire life. Frank Butler died 18 days after his wife of fifty years.

For me personally Annie has always stood as a woman who had her own ideas of how she was going to live her life and did it without worrying about whether or not it was "acceptable". I have seen and read various statements that show that her mother and older sisters were not particularly agreeable about her interest in shooting when she was younger. How they thought she was a tomboy and not a lady. This did not stop her, and she went on to have a long and fruitful career in her passion. I also love the way her husband responds to her abilities. Here was a man who was a known marksman, a trade and skill that was most assuredly a man's skill, and here he was beat by a woman. Annie was an expert markswoman and he acted in the most perfect way he possibly could. I love how he represents the best, accurate way to

I think we can learn a lot from Annie Oakley and the way she lived her life. I love the quote on this picture, "Keep your eye on the high mark and you will hit it. Not the first time, nor the second, and maybe not the third, but if you keep on aiming and keep on trying, you'll hit the bull's eye of success." Now I cannot say 100% guaranteed that she did say that, but it is definitely something I think she would have said.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lead "Like a Girl"

During a Google search today about empowering women, I came across this post, Lead "Like a Girl", from Forbes. I was hoping for a healthy discussion happening in the comment section, however I was disappointed. Although it says that the article has had almost 7,000 views, there is only one comment on the article.

I appreciated the fact that a site as large as Forbes had posted an article such as this, I felt that for such a well known publication it wasn't terribly well written. Yes, it had great points, but it wasn't terribly moving or inspiring. I did especially like the three points the author made about what a woman can do to propel herself forward. The author says women should do these three things: be yourself, trust your instincts, and embrace mistakes.

I think those three pieces of advice are wonderful, not just for women looking to propel themselves forward, but for anyone, at anytime. You should always be yourself, it is someone that no one else can be. Trusting your instincts is usually the way to go, although I am sure we have all had those moments where you have to ignore your instincts. Finally, embracing your mistakes is something that I am sure we can all be reminded to do. So often we either deny the fact that we have made a mistake, or beat ourselves up over the mistakes we have made. We all make mistakes, it is okay to make mistakes, it means you are doing something and trying something new. So embrace those mistakes! Learn from them! Don't be afraid of the mistakes you have made and will make in the future.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Irena Sendler

There are certain events and times in history that almost everyone knows about. Ever heard of little events known as World War I and World War II? What about the Holocaust? In addition to these events most people recognize the names of individuals like Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, and Adolf Hitler. Some may be more familiar with one of the other of these men, but it is more than likely that you have at least HEARD these names before. As a former History major in college and an avid history fan myself, I am more than familiar with these names. While studying these individuals was fascinating in a terrible way, I actually enjoyed learning about the little known people throughout history, both your average every day Jane and Joe who represented the people as well as the unsung heroes throughout history.

Irena Sendler. Does the name ring a bell? No, not Irene Adler from Sherlock Holmes, who due to the most recent adaptions of the movie and BBC series has become just about as infamous as Sherlock himself. Irena Sendler was a name that I had not heard about either until I came across this "pin" on Pinterest, a year or more ago.

I instantly pinned the pin and would occasionally think of this little known woman who had done such an amazing thing in her life. Here was a "real women with power". I have done a bit more research on Irena, and I believe that a few of the facts on this pin are incorrect, as far as her occupation, etc. These little inaccuracies do not make her story any less amazing or her any less powerful. The story of who she was "rediscovered" is in and of itself a great process.

Life in a Jar is the official website of a project that has helped share Irena Sendler's life with the world and in so many ways have changed the lives of thousands more, even after her life has ended. 16 years ago three high schools students from Kansas were helped by their teacher to undertake a project that would last the entire year. The website explains it as a, "National History Day project which would, among other things, extend the boundaries of the classroom to families in the community, contribute to history learning, teach respect and tolerance, and meet our classroom motto, "He who changes one person, changes the world entire.'" After seeing a cut out of a News and World report from five years prior that briefly mentioned Irena, the young women set out on a journey of discovery of Irena.

Among other things, they discovered that Irena was a young Protestant or Catholic (I believe) social worker during the Nazi regime. She was able to gain access to the Warsaw Ghetto, where Jewish families lived and many ultimately were sent to the death camps, and essentially talked these desperate Jewish families into given up their children in hopes of their survival. She then sneaked these children out the Ghetto, and was able to adopt them into families or hide them in orphanages and convents in Poland. She and the people she worked with kept a coded list of the real names of the children, as their names had to be changed to protect their Jewish identity, and hoped that one day they would be able to find these children and reveal to them their heritage that had to be hidden for their safety. 

After several years Irena was captured and by the Nazis and beaten to such an extent that both of her legs were broken. Eventually the Polish underground was able to bribe a guard and get her to safety and into hiding. 

After WWII Irena Sendler was branded a fascist by the Communists and for many years her story was mostly hidden. It is amazing to be that this woman, along with several others rescued 2,500 children during such a horrible period, and yet hers is not a name that is known. I have always felt that while there is so much darkness and ugliness in the world and we should be aware of it, there is just as much, if not more light, but it is not those things we celebrate. 

My summary about Irena Sendler was very brief, and there is much more information out there. I strongly urge you to go to Life In A Jar which is about the project that the young women who "rediscovered" Irena have continued working on. Her story was turned into a play, there is now a book, as well as a movie. Almost two dozen colleges and universities are now using her letters and other documents as part of the curriculum. "He who changes one person, changes the world entire."

Ready For the First Woman From History to Be Highlighted?

For months now I have been planning on writing posts about real women who have power. Most people today when they think of power, think of someone in a position of power, a CEO of a major corporation, a political leader, etc. For me when I say power I mean it as it appears in the dictionary, "the ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality." The second definition, "the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events." Throughout history and today in the present there are so many examples of women who have proven that they are powerful. They were not powerful political leaders, in fact most of them were everyday women, just like you and I, who gathered up the power that they have within them and did something amazing. In an earlier post I discussed this in more depth and what it means to me. 

My first woman with power is a woman named Irena Sendler.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Neglected Blog

I feel like I am failing in my purpose of starting this blog. I have yet to highlight ANY women whom I feel have real power. I have so many ideas of who I want to highlight, women from the past, present, and women who I know personally. I think I have been wanting so badly to start with someone from my personal life, and just haven't gotten to it, that I haven't put much effort into doing any kind of post. However, I am now working on research for my first post of a woman from the past, and it will be up this week!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Stopping Violence Needs to Start At Home.

There was an interest article in the New York Times yesterday about violent crimes being linked to domestic violence. Take a look. Violence Starts at Home

Monday, February 2, 2015


So I am still stumbling around in my search for my purpose in life. I'm pretty sure in all my stumbling I haven't really GONE anywhere, just stayed in the same little cell stumbling around, instead of stumbling toward somewhere! In other words, I feel like I am doing too much thinking, and not enough doing. I think about what I should be doing with my life, and possibilities of paths to pursue, I think about these things A LOT. Thinking is great, I'm a fan of thinking, but the problem with thinking is, unless it is combined with some sort of action, it does not really get you anywhere. And folks, I want to GO somewhere with my life.

I've decided that it is time to start doing something. I'm going to be putting more time and effort into this  blog and my other blog,New Beginnings. I started both blogs with a purpose, and so far neither blog is living up to its purpose. I want to start doing more gluten free baking and sharing it on the other blog, and sharing more women who inspire more, books written by/about women who inspire me, etc. on this blog. I am also going to start doing more photography, finding new places around the valley to photograph, and places that would be fun to do photo shoots at.