I know I said the next blog was relating to food, but what fun is sticking to a schedule? I recently experienced a moment that stopped me dead in my tracks; and took me back to a place of inspirational memories.
I was looking for my written eye prescription, which I tucked away in a safe folder. While looking for the accurate folder, I opened one containing poems which my Grandmother, Norma June Butler Higley, had saved. She went by June, but I called her Grams and June Bug. June Bug once told me that knowledge is an intangible gift that we carry with us to the afterlife, so we should learn as much as we can while maneuvering this crazy life. **please don’t be frightened, this is not a religious plug** It has been a while since I reminisced through the poems she kept, but while browsing through papers I was strongly reminded of her wisdom about knowledge. She left behind some wonderful poems, articles, inspirational quotes, etc. that always leave a big smile on my face and glow in my heart.
June Bug was a tough cookie. Her and my Grandpa literally built their house on farm acreage. June Bug mixed mortar and tooled joints while my Grandfather lay bricks. All the while raising three kids and living in a trailer. During that period they had no running water of electricity. June Bug states that once they had running water she never took a warm shower without giving thanks.
In their autobiography my Grandfather quotes “We love our old home that we built ourselves. June is not very big, but she is strong and tough. She had to be tough to survive the trials and tribulations of developing a new farm from sage. I don’t know if any other woman could have hung in there in the adversities that we sometimes faced”.
I remember when I was young (grade school years) she was picking apricots from a tree to can, as she did every year, and fell out of the tree! She continued to power through her chores and responsibilities–never missed a beat. I’ve never heard her swear. She always said, “OH! For Pete’s Sake!” My cousins or brothers may tell something different.
Of the inspirational poems I found, the following sticks with me today. Although there are many more referencing how we need to build each other up rather than tear each other down; basically inspiring the betterment of those around us and ourselves, I chose to share the following. *Please note my Grandmother did not claim to have written the poem. It is simply words copied on a piece of paper that she had. It does not state an author.
Strong Woman vs. Woman of Strength
A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape
But a woman of strength looks deep inside to keep her soul in shape.
A strong woman isn’t afraid of anything……
But a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear.
A strong woman won’t let anyone get the best of her……..
But a woman of strength gives the best of herself to everyone.
A strong woman avoids mistakes and avoids the same in the future……..
A woman of strength realizes life’s mistakes can also be blessing and capitalizes on them.
A strong woman walks sure footed…….
But a woman of strength knows when to ask for help.
A strong woman wears the look of confidence in her face
And a woman of strength wears grace.
A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey…..
a woman of strength has faith that it is the journey that she will become strong.
I could go on forever about the amazing lessons and accomplishments my Grandparents left with us. They taught us early on that hand-me-outs were not an option. I knew better then to ask for material items (toys, clothes, etc…) they taught me to ask for chores. My Grandparents would put my cousins and me to work on the farm, even from a young age. I have literally had a job since I was 12 years old (summer work on the farm and a paper route before junior high in the am in Spokane, WA) because I understood if I wanted something, I had to work for it. I would give just about anything to find the handmade sling shot my Grandpa made each grandchild. He was a bullseye for hitting the pop can or beer bottle placed on a post. I don’t recall shooting mine more than a few inches ahead of me.
A young woman in the community couldn’t go to a dance because she couldn’t afford a dress. My Grandmother (without request) sewed her a gown and arrived at her front door unannounced to give her the dress. I was an abundantly energetic child, to the point I’m certain she thought there was a mix-up when the stork delivered a tasmanian devil instead of a granddaughter. To remedy, she bought me a plastic, blow-up, Donald Duck punching bag to help expend my energy. That punching bag lasted a few minutes under my reign. She banned Pee-Wee’s Playhouse from the television because “it makes you kids jump on the furniture”. I laugh at these memories and look back with a smile.
I miss her sass. I miss her spunk. I miss her laugh. No arrangement of the most profound words can describe what a woman of strength she truly was. That’s the beauty in her and what she left in my heart; it’s so special that it cannot be described but I can only feel it. Not only did she take her knowledge with her but she also left it behind to fill my heart with hope and love. Thank you for leaving your knowledge, June Bug. I too hope to serve, love, and exemplify a woman of strength in the way you did. I love and miss you.
The poem/picture below was printed on her memorial flyer. It is the perfect description of how she lived life. PERFECTION.