Sunday, March 08, 2020

Celebrating International Women's Day~ Championing Inspirational Women!

Championing Inspirational Women!

Today, I'd like to celebrate a few of the women who have inspired me:

Malala Yousafzai 

-The young girl who stood up to the Taliban and won.  They shot her in the head but she miraculously survived.  She went on to become the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Prize.  She has written several books, and has won too many awards to list.  A documentary about her life came out in 2015. She continues to be an activist for children and women.

Margaret Thatcher

-Politically, for conservative women, Thatcher is the ultimate hero.  I wrote a profile on her on this blog.  A couple fun facts about her:
-By her teens, she said politics was in her bloodstream
-She became a member of Parliament on October 20, 1959, exactly a week after her 34th birthday
-The Soviet Union meant the nickname, "Iron Lady" as an insult, but Thatcher took it proudly
-She was the first woman to become Prime Minister of Great Britain at the age of 53
-She was the first woman ever to head the government of a major country in Europe or America
-She chose her 22 member cabinet in 2 days
-She got 4-5 hours of sleep a night
-She won re-election in 1983 by a landslide, 144 seats, the largest margin since 1945

Condoleezza Rice

-She is extremely intelligent.  She was the first woman to be National Security Adviser and the first female African-American Secretary of State.
-I've gotten to hear her speak in person twice and she is fascinating.  She has written 3 books so far.  She would've made an outstanding first woman president if she had wanted to pursue that course.

Eleanor Roosevelt

-I've spent a lot of time studying the presidents and their wives.  I still have more studying to do, but as of now, Eleanor is my favorite.  I wrote a profile on her and on the documentary, The Roosevelts.
-She achieved an incredible amount of success after overcoming an incredible amount of hardship.  She was a champion for those who sometimes couldn't fight for themselves.  My favorite book of hers talks about facing your fears
-This quote by Diana Dixon Healy does a fairly good job of summing up her life:
There was once a young woman, born in 1884, who grew up in the old aristocratic society of New York City and its more exclusive environs.  She conformed to her caste's attitudes toward minorities, women, marriage, and her place in the world.  Yet by the time Eleanor Roosevelt died in 1962, she was known as the First Lady of the world and the champion of African Americans, Jews, women, the young, the poor--virtually all who ever needed a champion.

Maya Angelou

-As I have pursued my dream career these past 2 years, the women who have inspired me beyond belief are this woman and the woman coming up next.
-Just like Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya overcome a lot of hardship in her life.  One big difference is that Maya was born poor but worked hard to eventually become wealthy and successful.  While she was doing all of that, she inspired millions with her words.  She has written many books.  I've read quite a few and am working on the rest.
-I respect, admire and love this woman.

Dolly Parton

-I've known who Dolly Parton was my whole life, but I only used to view her as a country singer with big boobs.  I had no idea who the REAL Dolly Parton actually was.
-It turns out she had big dreams as a little girl and never gave up on them.  She, like Maya Angelou was born into poverty, but that didn't stop her from pursuing her dreams and never giving up.
-She had to fight tooth and nail to become successful, but she did.  She is not only a singer, actor, and performer but a brilliant entrepreneur.
-I read her memoir, Dolly and was inspired.

Friday, January 03, 2020

Top Ten Books of 2019

My Top Ten Books of 2019

It's been another exciting and eventful year, and it involved a lot of reading.  This year, I set my highest reading goal ever and exceeded it. 

I also find it ironic that after I picked my top 10 books, 5 of them were inspirational biographies and 5 were books on empowering me to pursue my goals/passions/dreams.

1) The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up--I discovered this book on a lot of lists that had other books on it that I loved, so I thought I'd give it a shot.  Marie Kondo is an amazing little lady who gives you the tools to de-clutter your house and your life for good.

Rachel Hollis in her Made for More documentary mentions 5 foundational things to set yourself up for success-  #1 is Physical Environment.  It  was then that I realized I needed to get my house in order to be free to pursue my other goals.

I spent several months following Kondo's KonMari method, using her companion book, Spark Joy.  I would have to agree that it is life changing.

2) The Morning Side-Kick Journal--I would have to say that these top 2 books have been the most impactful for my life this year.  I kept seeing these Habit Nest Journals being advertised on Instagram and I asked for this one for Christmas.  I started using it in January and it enabled me to be a lot more productive.

It is like having your own, personal life coach and trainer.  When I finished the journal, I was on the path to becoming a morning person.  It made such a difference to get up at the same time every day no matter what and to have a rock solid morning routine.

I ended up making my own personalized journals to keep the momentum going.  I also bought 2 work-out journals from Habit Nest as well and love them.

3) Girl, Stop Apologizing--I have become such a huge Rachel Hollis fan.  Her books and life encouragement/empowerment on Instagram have radically changed my life.  The message in this book resonated perfectly with my life right now.

4) Big Magic--I had never read any of Elizabeth Gilbert's books before this one.  As I pursue my creative passions this was a huge boost for me.  PopSugar had this perfect description of the book:
A must read for anyone hoping to live a creative life... I dare you not to be inspired to be brave, to be free, and to be curious.
5) So You Want to Start a Podcast--I have started my radio career and as I gain experience, I've also been pursuing starting my own podcast.  I found this book to be helpful and inspiring.

6) We are Our Mothers' Daughters--While I didn't always agree with Cokie Roberts politically, I LOVE her books and she had an incredible career.  She has written several history books about women that I love and I found this book at a thrift store and LOVED it.  When she passed away this year, it was a great loss.

It was during the reading of this book that I discovered how remarkable Aung San Suu Kyi is, and how she advocated for freedom for her country at a high personal sacrifice.  I also discovered how Laura Bush had strongly advocated for Aung San Suu Kyi's cause. After finishing this book, I wanted to learn even more about Aung San Suu Kyi which led to my next book.

7) The Burma Spring: Aung San Suu Kyi and the New Struggle for the Soul of a Nation--The description below gives you a small glimpse into the book:
Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's "woman of destiny" and one of the most admired voices for freedom in the world today, comes alive through this brilliant rendering of Burma's tumultuous history.  Award-winning journalist and former State Department speechwriter Rena Pederson brings to light fresh details about the charismatic Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi: the inspiration for Burma's (now Myanmar) first steps towards democracy. 
8) Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business--Jen Sincero had a bunch of small challenges in her book, You are a Badass Every Day, and one of them was to read a biography of someone who inspires you.  It was a no brainer for me and I bought Dolly Parton's memoir and read it.

I can't say enough good things about Dolly, the more I learn about her, the more I admire her.  

9)  James Madison--I have a lot of respect for the whole Cheney family, and I love Lynne Cheney's books.  This book is no exception.  I love presidential history so it was a perfect match.  Below is my  review:
The best book I've read on James Madison by far. Cheney does a great job of explaining the differences between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans and how the parties transpired. It is a great look at Madison, Dolley Madison, Thomas Jefferson and the historical events that transpired during Madison's lifetime.
10) The Matriarch-- Susan Page does an does an excellent job of giving a comprehensive look at the life of Barbara Bush and her family.  Twenty years ago, I had read Bush's own memoir, but she doesn't necessarily give a detailed account of her entire life. So, this book filled in a lot of gaps.
I liked that while the book was supportive of Barbara Bush, it also addressed negative accusations and showed both sides.

Top Ten Books of 2018