Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Line of Strong Women

Recently I have been questioning my success with this blog. It's been almost one year since I started it and I feel that I should have accomplished much more than I have so far. But then that's me. I always want to do everything to the best of my maybe this is my best!

It got me to thinking about all the other women in my life....the ones who have gone ahead of me and put me on this path. Mom, grandmas, aunts, great-grandmas etc. They all made it possible for me to be here right this moment. If not for them I would be floating around out there in the ether waiting to be a person!

These women make me feel very happy that I'm part of them because they were strong women. They had to be. Let me introduce you to a few of them. First off, you already met my Great-grandma Martha here. She had to have been a strong woman to move her family of seven children and herself from Kentucky to Illinois back in the days when women just didn't do that kind of thing! Her husband had been killed and so she raised her kids all alone in a state where she apparently had no earlier connections.

This photo shows (L to R) my grandma, Martha (my great-grandma) and the baby was my mom's sister, Hazel who died at about the age of two. This is three generations on my mom's side of the family.

I love the background on that photo. I don't think there are any other photos of baby Hazel that I know of.

Then my other great-grandma was named Mary Ann. I never knew her but my mom talked about her at times. Mary Ann lived in Kansas on a little farm, and apparently from all I've heard, my great-grandpa was not much of a worker!! So I'm sure a lot of the work fell to Mary Ann. My mom described her as a sweet woman with a big heart. I don't have too many photos of Mary Ann and most of them are small and from a distance but I do have one studio photo of her and great-grandpa....

My cousin in Burbank is named after our great-grandma. It must be something about the name because she is also a sweet woman with a big heart.

My grandma on my mom's side of the family married at 16 years of age and I know my grandpa worshipped her! She was a tiny little woman but she could just run circles around everyone else. When she was in her seventies she could still bend over and place her palms flat on the floor without bending her knees!! Heck, I can't do that now and I don't think I ever could! She was deeply religious and ruled her house. She had strict rules about certain things and everyone knew them....some didn't always follow them to the letter!! Like my mom and my aunts sneaking off to the bathroom to smoke a cigarette so Grandma wouldn't see them.

This is a photo of Grandma and me....the back says I'm 16 months old.

My grandma on my dad's side of the family came from the hills of Tennessee and I'm sure she had a hard life growing up. In later years she had a pretty good life but she always kept a photo of her childhood home, which was just a shack, hanging on the wall of her bedroom. Grandma was a farm wife, too and later they had a cattle ranch and hired help. I'm sure in her early married life she had to be strong. She had four children, two of them twins. This is a photo of Grandma and the twins....

I would imagine from that pile of wood that it got cold in the winter!!

There are other strong women in my family and maybe I'll tell about them another day. These four are the cornerstones of who I am. It's a mix of different things. But the common thread is that they were all strong, competent women who guided their families through good and bad times. I wonder what they would think of me today! Me, who worries about whether or not my blog is a success, who worries about whether I'll ever make another piece of art (I had a day of no creating yesterday) and who worries about all kinds of little insignificant things that they would probably laugh at. I'm sure they would all think my life was a bed of roses compared to theirs! And yet, I do worry.


  1. What a wonderful tribute to the women who came before you. I love those pics. The one with the moon is awesome, wow! I will make it over to trade ATCs one day, I can't seem to remember. My brain is frazzled these days. Hugs.

  2. What a wonderful post, and you're so blessed to have had such incredible women in your family. I simply adore the picture with the moon...I've never seen anything like it before~ at least not the old black and whites. Very interesting!

  3. If you like blogging and you communicate with others, isn't that a "success"?

    I'm not sure "success" is the right word, though. For example, I get far less comments than most people, but I also realize I'm not in the in-crowd (oh, yes, I've been frozen out a few times!!), but I've moved past that.

    Let's just march to our own drummers; it's much more interesting!


  4. Janet I love these photos and reading about the women in your family. They had hard lives didn't they, but each generation seemed to have things a little easier. Ours seems to be the generation that has the luxury of having time to relax and pursue hobbies and self expression without worrying about our housework. Mind you speaking for myself, I'm not sure my standards would pass my grandmother's inspection..LOL

  5. There is a difference between what we worry about now, and what women worried about then. Survival has never been so easy as it is today and yet...I'm not sure it is better. Just a lot different and so our worries should be different as well.

    Still you are from a line of strong women. That counts for a lot!

  6. This post really touched me...what strong and spirited women in your family. I love the paper moon's a treasure! Jenny

  7. I always enjoy your family history posts. The moon picture is so touching especially since it's one of your aunt who passed so young..
    Don't worry about your blog. You obviously have lots of devoted readers who enjoy your variety of posts.

  8. I think of my blog as an on-line scrap is truly for art work just looks so "cool" and somehow "better" up there on the "little screen!"
    I've been lucky to find some lovely ladies whose blogs I like to read when time permits....and I signed up for one year-long exchange (art dolls) which I love!
    (We have a deadline coming up doll is in the mail.Ha!...but several of the regular visitors are no doubt busy getting those dollies made and mailed!)
    Today, I had to sew for the granddaughter's American Girl dolls... dolly robes to go in her Valentine off to the post office!

  9. Blogging is FUN,FUN,FUN!!!and everyone that comes by yours seems to love it and you. I especially enjoyed this post, you know me and history.Lighten up kiddo, worry causes stress and stress will kill ya.I'm still in valentine lala land

  10. Oh, yes! I forgot to say that you, especially, are the most kind and dear...I so appreciate the help you gave me learning to make links!
    I also forgot...XOXO...I need to slow down, as usual! (Things in e-mails and comments, since we have no body language and eye contact, sometimes come across the "wrong" way!)

  11. Here's what's fabulous about blogging and you-many things to numerous to mention but I'll give you 2 that struck me today- I love old photos and history. Especially of strong women. I found someone on your comments that knows about, and who St. Bridget is. I keep a St Bridget's cross in my bedroom. She should be the patron St. of strength in women. You are full of wonderful information, art and a channel to others blogs where you can enjoy a peaceful visit to say... Alberta, Canada. What fun-thanks to you and Lila. You even have interesting and unusual visitors

  12. you are a worry flower too! we need a special support group for worry flowers - seems our blogging garden is full of them - why do we worry so? Janet - be assured that you have been successful in your blog - you make me smile, you make me feel a part of your world, you accept me for who & what I am and you make me feel happy. thankyou xoxo
    love the photos and my gawd, look at that pile of wood! Oh and I am thankful that you aren't still out there in the ether waiting to incarnate too :)

  13. Just wondering how it might feel to honor these cornerstones of your strength on ATCs? You could scan, down-size and arrange the photos, print, and take the print to Kinko's or some other print shop to have a non-water-soluable copy made.. then tear and paste and paint a series of ATCs featuring them.... How 'bout it???

    Btw, I think Mary Timme's comment was quite on the mark... don't you?

  14. Loved this post Janet. It's one of the things that I love about doing family history - each of the people who went before has had some input into who we are and how we see life. I think pretty much all country/farm women had to be strong to survive at all - it was a hard life and especially in the pioneering days in the US. Your blog is a success because it always engenders a lot of comments so you must touch chords in many people and as for the creating - I'm sure even Michaelangelo must have had the odd off-day:)

  15. This was an amazing post. It's a wonderful legacy to have and so glad you shared it with us.
    As for worrying, well it seems to be an innate part of me as well. I know the women who came before me had WAY more to worry about and would no doubt, as you said, think my worries were unnecessary or even ridiculous in comparison. But I suppose it's all relative. Their strength of spirit probably guides us more than we realize.

  16. Such interesting reading about the women in your life and before that.
    Always fascinating to know about our ancestors.

    I think you have done a great deal of wonderful things in your life. Your blog is interesting and inspiring. You have touched so many people with your kindness and caring.

  17. '"It's only a paper moon.." Janet., that was a great tribute! I am glad you are blogging! See what you can share! I especially am drawn to the Moon pic! Imagine what they were thinking and doing then!

  18. I LOVE the moon pics! They are great and the one of your grandma holding you is priceless! and that wood pile! I'd say they must have had a hard cold winter! Phew! She looks like she could have been related to me! xo, Cinda ps. maybe we are cousins! LOL

  19. WOW you look like your Great Grandpa. It is such a resemblance, the eyes, the bridge of the nose...did you ever notice that?
    I love your old photos. I thought of Hazel, wonder what happened?

  20. That's a lovely journey that you've taken us on Janet. Each woman in your family probably thought the same thing. But you have to remember a few things:
    You are unique, you live YOUR life in this time.
    There is only one wonderfully talentled, unique, sweet person called Janet here..(you)
    Compare away, but remember you are unique to your circumstances as they are to theirs.. and realise how wonderful you truely are Janet..
    LIVE your LIFE, and be happy...
    You are the biggest success at being YOU!! :)
    PEace, Kai.

  21. This was a nice post to read about the strong women in your life..because of this wonderful blog you have been able to tell the world about them and honour them.Your blog is not what defines who you are it is one small activity you put into your day.You have so much more going on in your life to measure your success.You are a gifted artist a wonderful sensitive individual I could go on but you know what I am getting at.Your blog is a sucess look at the friendships it has attracted!hugs

  22. Firstly I would like to say that your blog is wonderful and definitely a success in my books Janet! I know I love coming to visit you each day and see your art, and read your stories.

    I really enjoyed reading about the women in your life. And can see that you are a strong woman like they were.

  23. Janet how lucky you are to not only have the knowledge of you Family history but to have photo's as well.I really enjoyed reading this article and anyone who can write such a wonderful story has nothing to worry about as far as blogging goes such creative word will alway succeed.

  24. What a wonderful post, Janet! Thank you for sharing so much of your family history - I find it absolutely fascinating, especially as I know very little about my own. What an incredible group of women your ancestors are - it's no wonder your son & daughter are so capable! You obviously carried on in the same strong way and should be very proud of yourself.
    Isn't it awful the way we all seem to worry at times about our blogs and the relevance of what we have to say/show? Look at all these wonderful comments, and know that we all love to hear & see anything you find interesting! Great, isn't it?! :)
    I love your finds from yesterday's post - lucky you! Have a great day, Janet - and don't worry, be happy! :D
    Suze xXx

  25. LOVE your photos and your tribute to your family. I know you are proud.

  26. Janet , Loved reading about the women who came before you.Women were very strong back then.I hope I will be remembered as a strong and caring woman.
    You are successful , great blog , great art and such a caring and sharing person , I would definitly call you successful.I love visiting your blog , you insire me.

  27. You don't insire me , you INSPIRE me !!

  28. Honoring your roots and your new growth....perfect for a family tree!

  29. I think all the comments here are testimony to how successful your blog is Jan. But I guess that feeling of "success" has to come from within.
    It may be wonderful to us, but you are the one that has to enjoy it.
    Loved your photos, thanks for sharing!

  30. you are so blessed to know so much history of your family~

    I love your blog, it's always so inviting & cheerful here~

    xo ~Bella

  31. I loved that post. I love other families history. Just reading about the day to day living of folks back then is so interesting to me. Keep blogging because I really enjoy reading your blog since I met you through share your heART. Karin @creativechaos.typepad

  32. I enjoyed reading of the women from your past. What a good idea. Makes me contemplate my own line.

    Thanks for sharing.

  33. where have I been, Janet... I have checked out your other blog and never came to this one... duh! I love your work!!! and I am so touched about what you wrote about the woman of your life... I did a fabric book about the woman of my life who influenced me... It is on my picturetrail... thought you might enjoy seeing it...

  34. Dear Janet,

    Your photos are such beautiful treasures and what a wonderful thing to know your past and how lucky to have photos to go with those moments.

    I know this comment is later then most but I do want to contribute to this your post very much.

    Since the moment I stared posting on my blog almost one year ago you have, and your blog has helped me in many ways. you have given me the desire to adventure into art be it crafting or design.

    Your kindness has shown me much about compassion when I needed it most your words were of kindness and your little gift that came with friendship at a sad time over christmas shows me how you feel about those around you..........Yes your blog is all it should be filled with your art, friendship and kindness well done to you I enjoy very much knowing you are is a success.


  35. Awhh Janet,,your are a strong woman, and that is why because of your heritage. So you had a grandma who was a Tennessee Hillbilly,,she definetly had to be strong,,kind of like Granny Clampett. I love this post Janet!

  36. Define success?

    I say loosen up a little bit and smoke something in the bathroom (even if it's not a Camel).

    I'd call this blog a success.


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