The women in my life

Jun 16, 2017 | 19 comments

One of the reasons I write romantic women’s fiction is because in addition to the central (and sometimes secondary) romance(s), readers find stories of hope and healing that explore aspects of women’s lives—not only a loving partnership but personal growth through relationships with children, extended families, friends, and communities.

Personal and family challenges have made the past six months tough for me. This time of testing, though, has made me think about the women in my life who have and continue to inspire women I write about.

Women who came before me

I come from a long line of resilient women. Whether working alongside their menfolk to hack out a new life in a harsh new land, making do and mending in wartime and during the Great Depression of the 1930s, or coping with all manner of private heartaches, fortitude and perseverance mark the female branches of my family tree.

It’s those qualities—and the example my foremothers set—from which I draw strength and inspiration during hard times in my own life.   

 Women who pray for me

When you’re parenting a child with a chronic medical condition, life is different than it was before their diagnosis. Ordinary days are special boons, small celebrations are more meaningful, and when you need it, a prayer community is only an instant message away.

On a Sunday afternoon in late February, I sat by my teen daughter at our local children’s hospital. She was moaning in pain on a gurney, and all I could do was hold her. For an endless half hour, I felt not only helpless but hopeless.

Yet, as soon as friends found out where we were, the prayers began—a virtual circle of faith, hope, and love that quickly spanned three countries and several time zones. From multiple faiths, those women prayed for and with us, bringing light into what was then darkness and helping me find the inner strength I’d temporarily lost.

Women who teach me  

Throughout my life, I’ve been blessed with women who taught me lessons beyond those I learned at school.

At my mother’s side, and while learning how to make a bed, mix cookie dough, and iron shirts, I also absorbed lessons about marriage and motherhood.

In the corporate world, numerous female mentors made me savvy in office politics, managing meetings, and that ever-elusive work-life balance.

Now as an author, the lessons continue, and a new group of women has joined my life—a writing sisterhood dedicated to paying it forward.

Women who nurture and lift me up

These are the women who are there with hugs (real and virtual) when I need them, baked goods (again real and virtual), and a compassionate and non-judgmental listening ear.

They are trusted confidantes who are always in my corner, sitting with me amidst the rubble of whatever personal or professional disaster has befallen me and who, teapot at the ready, help me pick myself up and start again.

Women in books

The women who inspire me are fictional as well as real. From Anne Shirley, Katy Carr, and Elizabeth Bennett, to Anne Elliot, Jo March, Laura Ingalls Wilder and more, the women in my life are also in the pages of my favorite books.

Books about women (and girls) are typically relationship-driven, and fiction has given me a window into many different female lives and worlds.

Thank you

I’ve had many supportive women in my life, and although it may not have been evident at the time, each one has given me a gift to enrich both me and my fiction.

Thank you to all the women out there that I hold dear. When I count my blessings, I’m blessed to count you.

19 Comments

  1. Jennifer Wilck

    We are always stronger together! I, for one, sometimes forget that. Thanks for the reminder.

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      And thank you, Jennifer. “Girl power!”

      Reply
  2. Arlene McFarlane

    Poignant post, Jen. Amazing the different areas in your life where you’ve drawn strength. It’s an inspiration!

    Have a blessed day! xo

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Aww…I appreciate your kind words, Arlene. Wishing you a blessed day, too. xo

      Reply
  3. Janice Diduck

    Great post. You are lucky to have women both past and present that give you the encouragement and strength to face life’s challenges.

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thanks, Janice. Yes, I’m blessed with the women who have crossed my life’s path and never take that for granted. I appreciate you reading and commenting.

      Reply
  4. Lynn Folliott

    Another thought provoking post Jen…We should treasure all of the connections in our lives, past and present. Strength from what we have learned and support from those in the present. Thank you

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      And thanks to you as well, Lynn. Your comment is also thought provoking, and it heartens me that my post sparked those thoughts for you. As always, thank you for reading and supporting me.

      Reply
  5. Kate Field

    Another lovely post, Jen. I remember my mum teaching me to iron, letting me practise on her handkerchiefs. My daughter doesn’t seem keen to share the lesson! x

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Kate. Your comment did make me smile. My daughter isn’t interested in ironing ‘lessons’, either! x

      Reply
  6. Sue Bavin

    Another sensitively written post, Jen, which touches on matters that resonate with all of us. The bonds that tie women together can be immensely strong. They can cross time and oceans. I think this is one reason why women’s fiction is so rich and satisfying – because we love to explore relationships.

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Sue. I’m grateful for the bonds that tie us together as they do indeed cross oceans…and time. Thank you for reading and for your sensitive (and thoughtful) comment.

      Reply
  7. Heidi Vanstone

    So important to remember from “whence we came”, and the historical women in whose footsteps we tread!

    I, too, am thankful for Godly women who have blessed me with their role modeling and leadership.

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      And thank you for being such a blessing in my life, Heidi.

      Reply
  8. Christine Kilburn

    You are truly blessed to have such a supportive network of women around you now, as well as in your past. It is a great pleasure to read your blogs. Thank-you.

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you for reading, Christine. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and I’m also glad that you’re one of the new women who has appeared in my life recently and blessed it.

      Reply

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