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Strength and spirit. And heart.

There is a picture on my mother’s dresser. It is sepia colored and old.

But the eyes in that picture are young. They are full of life and wit and charm. With just a hint of mischief.

They are my grandmother’s eyes.

In that picture she is 18 and beautiful. Alive. In another old picture she is hanging clothes on the line to dry. Older, and wiser with the years of being the wife of a preacher and the mother of seven living babies and nearly as many more who were lost to miscarriage or stillbirth.

I grew up hearing stories of my grandmother’s strength.

How she worked the garden on hands and knees, her belly swollen with one of the seven pregnancies she carried to term.

How she’d get after her children if they misbehaved, being both disciplinarian and giver of comfort because my grandfather was about the Father’s business.

How she was resourceful and saved every penny she could to provide food and necessities for her family.

How she fought lung cancer. The cancer that took her life the August before I was born.

I never met her, but I am told that I would have loved her. That she and I are not very different.

I am my grandmother’s namesake. Her life and the stories of her strength inspire me. When I feel unable to fight, I think of all that she endured, and my spirit is a little renewed.

And when I think of her fight, I must also think of my mother’s strength. Of my mother’s life and the many sacrifices she has made for me, much like her own mother did for her.

In thinking of my mother and grandmother, I realize that I am descended from a lineage of strong women. Of courageous women. Of tenacious women.

Of women who help inspire each other through their collective experiences.

This collective experience of women helping women, of people helping people, generation to generation, is the driving force behind the Heart of Haiti and Path for Peace projects.

Both of these projects provide direct financial assistance to artisans in Haiti and Rwanda through the marketing and selling of their local crafts.

Macy’s Shop for a Better World is a virtual market-place of hand-crafted jewelry and home decor items. They are vibrant and alive and full of culture. Purchases of these goods help these artisans create better lives for themselves and their families by providing them with steady incomes while also allowing them to showcase their talents.

This Mother’s Day, Macy’s and the Clever Girls Collective are giving you 15% off of all items in the Shop for a Better World when you make your purchase between May 3rd and May 8th. Just use the coupon code CLEVERGIRLS upon checkout and you can do something good for someone else.

The artisans who make these goods pour their strength into these pieces so they can share that strength and their stories with the world. Much like my mother and grandmother have poured their strength into my life.

I was selected for this very special “CleverHaiti” opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity. All opinions are my own.

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Willa Shalit

Friday 6th of May 2011

Miranda, thank you for these inspiring words about your Grandmother, and mother ... And thank you for carrying on your family's tradition of strong, courageous, tenacious women by reaching out to help the women and girls of Haiti in their time of need, giving them an opportunity to be strong themselves, to earn a living and rebuild their homes, families and communities. Thxxx!!!!

Willa (co-founder, Heart of Haiti)


Friday 29th of April 2011

Oh the things I could say! It seems so long ago, but then like yesterday. I can still see her standing in the corner of the kitchen by the stove. This is a woman that I don't recall ever sitting down during the day, was always busy cleaning. Because of the large family we had we didn't live in a fancy home but one thing mama taught me was, it's not where you live, it's how you keep it, and let me tell you she kept a clean house! (what in the world happened to me). I'll tell you, When my children were little you could just about eat off the floors, and as I watched you and your brother grow I realized there were more important things than having eveything in it's place. The organization that once was at my house has turned into spending what little time I have of the evening with those that remain in my house. Now there are two or three places in my house that I just have to keep clean and that is my kitchen, and my bathrooms and maybe my livingroom when I'm expecting company. I've come to realize that life is waaaayyyy to short to spend it cleaning and complaining about what I'm not able to do because there just isn't enough time in the day anymore. Have you ever heard that old saying the older you get, the faster time goes? Well, just think back to when you were little and it seemed like the day lasted my goodness I get up and it's time to go back to bed (that doesn't sound too Anyway, you are so right, you come from a long line of STRONG women, something you can be proud of and give to your children. I love you just like the love you have for Joshie!, and then some!


Friday 29th of April 2011

Um, I definitely didn't get Granny's cleaning gene! LOL!

I love you, Mama.


Thursday 28th of April 2011

Wow, her strength just leaps off the page. Women of that generation really were incredibly strong.

This is my favourite #CleverHaiti post yet (including my own, ha ha). It's really beautiful.


Thursday 28th of April 2011

Thank you. Really.

And my grandmother was so strong. There's so much more I could've said about her here, you know?


Thursday 28th of April 2011

no wonder we are awesome. we had strong, hard-working women that taught us well.

This rocks, my friend. I love to read about the women you look up to.


Thursday 28th of April 2011

And I love to read about the women who made you, you, too.

I'm forever thankful for the strong women in my family who've made me who I am.


Thursday 28th of April 2011

What a beautiful tribute to a woman who obviously added to your life even though you never met.


Thursday 28th of April 2011

I'm indebted to her in so many ways, you know? She gave me my mom.

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