Yes, I know it is Thursday, but every Wednesday, I would like to post a story about an everyday woman who makes, or has made a huge difference in the lives of others. I think we forget that just bravely living the day to day is a major difference maker in the world. I will be posting about women I know who I have been impacted by, and at some point if you would like to suggest a woman or write about women you know on your own blogs, that would be amazing.
So here we go. The first woman I would like to write about is My Grandma Helberg. Unfortunately she passed away a few years ago, but she has still made an impact on my day to day life and I have a feeling will do so as long as I live.
She was born and raised in Oklahoma in the 1920’s and grew up extremely poor. When I talked to her about her childhood she said that there was a time when her and her siblings lived in a barn and for Christmas only received an orange. She had one of her parents die in her arms and helped take care of her siblings, whom were all close to the end. She never mentioned any of these hard times until asked. She never complained about them, instead looked back on them with fond memories. When she met my grandfather, they fell in love and got married. The day after they got married, my grandfather left for WWII for two years, and she did not hear from him except for one six page letter and a letter telling her she was wounded. How did I find out about this? When my own husband was gone for six months, I would sit and talk with her. When she told me this, I realized then, that it could always be worse.
This is just her background, but le me tell you about the woman I knew, and admired. She loved with her whole heart. She wanted all to feel welcome in her home and went out of her way to make sure the house was stocked with food at all times. I truly believe she did not do this out of obligation, but instead to make sure you knew you were welcome for lunch. Still to this day, I see Little Debbie snack cakes and remember fondly my grandmother.
She was a school cook for a very, very long time at a small Lutheran school in Oklahoma. Pretty sure 150-200 kids everyday were fed. For some of those kids it was their only hot meal during the day. When I say cooked, I do not mean freezer school food that we all remember. I mean from scratch. She would go into work at 5am every weekday morning and make homemade hot rolls, homemade cakes, meat and veggies. She would even prepare enough for seconds, and inspect every child’s plate to make sure they ate their veggies before giving them seconds. She cared, and they all the kids knew it.
Shortly after she retired my grandfather passed away. The school teachers came to visit and requested that she return as a teachers aid. For years she had her own classroom where kids would come for extra help before, during and after school. Again, the kids knew she cared from the bottom of her heart. Whatever she did, she did it with love and care and hardly a complaint.
Why should any of this matter? Because what she did made an impact on the lives of hundreds of people. She never bragged or wanted accolades. She never did it to get ahead or to prove that she was a capable woman and deserved credit. She did it because she loved everyone she met. She did it because she loved it. SO often as women, we think we must prove our worthiness. But what do we consider worthiness? Worthiness is doing a kick ass job wherever you are at. That could be at home, in the office etc. It is doing a kick ass not out of obligation, but out of the courage to accept the place where you are, and support those who are at a different place. It means no comparing, just supporting. This is what my grandmother taught me. It is not about the bad cards you have been dealt, it is about what you have decided to make of them.
I will be eternally grateful to my Grandmother for teaching me to bravely live my everyday. Never think your life is simple and plain, because it never is that simple. You have the power to influence so many people on a daily basis, so do it with all your heart.
Here’s to making a difference.