Four Women Who Inspire Me

I started working right after breakfast this morning around 7:15 a.m. so I could take a mid-morning break and head to the local gym for a fun exercise class.


Today’s workout made me feel like a goober. G-o-o-b-e-r. But it also had me smiling non-stop and shakin’ what my mama gave me like it was cool!

I took a Zumba class!

As the cheerleader who never was, my dace moves are seriously subpar, but I really love to dance. Thankfully the atmosphere in most Zumba classes is totally judgment free and full of people who could care less if you have no moves. Everyone in the class just wants to shake their groove thang, work up a sweat and have a good time.

I’m so glad our new gym in Ocala offers a lot of Zumba and Jazzercise classes. They make exercise fun (when you don’t get a teacher who freestyle dances, that is).


Today’s lunch was one of my favorite workplace lunches, though my coworkers were never a fan of it due to its pungent odor.

tuna salad 001

Tuna salad!

tuna salad 004tuna salad 005

tuna salad 008

Smelly and delicious.

Four Women Who Inspire Me

I derive inspiration from different sources everyday. Quotes, people, books, music. Inspiration is everywhere.

I find myself feeling the most inspired by people.

When I hear stories about people who have faced extreme obstacles and remained positive and those who have overcome adversity with a smile, I am inspired. People who love and give with all their hearts deeply move me and make me want to emulate their compassion and generosity. Those who don’t give up and refuse to take no for an answer have the kind of drive and determination I would love to mirror.

So who is inspiring me lately? Some pretty amazing women.

  • Kathryn Stockett

Today I felt inspired by an article that a few readers told me to check out about about Kathryn Stockett, the author of The Help, the bestselling book that I absolutely adore. The article notes that The Help was turned down 60 times before a publisher bought it. Sixty times. And now Kathryn’s book is a bestseller that was made into a movie.

   kathryn stockett the help

Just another example of why you should never give up on something you believe in.

A fellow blogger, Katy Widrick is a woman who inspires me daily. Katy was the very first person that I spoke to about possibly quitting my full-time job to pursue blogging and freelance writing. She believed in me and her honesty and no-nonsense words of wisdom gave me the courage to begin making plans to leave my job. (I allude to the inspirational nature of our talk in this post.)

   winter park shipyard brewing 009

Katy is also one of the most giving and generous bloggers out there. It seems like her mission in life is to help other bloggers become more savvy and educated. I can only hope to help those around me with the conviction and generosity that Katy shows every day.

  • Jennie of In Jennie’s Kitchen

Jennie suddenly lost her beloved husband to a heart attack last week and reading her most recent blog post brought me to tears. The beautiful words in her post inspire me to love a little harder and her story is a constant reminder that we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

Be the person you dream of being today and love with abandon.

  • Jeannette Walls

The author of The Glass Castle, Jeannette is a woman who lived in extreme poverty as a child. She went without food, regular showers and heat in frigid winters. And she didn’t pitty herself. She used her misfortune as fuel to propel her into a better life.

   jeannette walls

It’s hard for me to feel okay complaining about gravy meatballs and egg patties from the free food buffet at the hotel where we’re staying until our rental house is available after reading The Glass Castle and learning about Jeannette’s life and struggles. Her story is a constant reminder to feel grateful for what we have in life, especially the everyday comforts we so frequently take for granted.

Question of the Afternoon

  • Who or what is inspiring you lately?


  1. says

    loveee zumba!! i wnt to do itt!..i havent heard of any of these ladies! thanks for sharing!!.. whats inspiring me is myself.. i feel sooooo much more prepared for college with this program ive done!


  2. alli says

    People that inspire me: my mom, my college advisor and you! Everyday I look forward to reading your blog! I feel like you are my best friend and I don’t even know you haha


  3. says

    I love that zumba gives me a socially acceptable avenue to show off my talent in hip thrusting and booty shakin’.

    no, but really.

    and what is with coworkers hating on tuna? I’ve never worked anywhere where I wouldn’t get at least one complaint per tuna salad meal I’ve made.


  4. Erin D. says

    HA! I felt exactly the same way when I took my first Zumba class last year! I was mortified that I was there but as soon as the class got going, I was hooked. It’s just too fun to be self-conscious or embarrassed.

    I loved every single sentence of The Glass Castle. Then again I’m very much a memoir reader, which is probably why I’m an anthropologist. Anyway, I recently read Half-broke Horses about Jeanette’s grandmother. I imagine you’d be adding the grandmother to your list of inspiring women if you read it! (Warning: I’m not really recommending Half-broke Horses to you–it’s a little on the hokey side, but was a fun audiobook listen.)


  5. Katie says

    I love this post! My parents are really inspiring me more so than ever these days. We’re currently going through a lot as a family and they are really teaching me to enjoy the simple things in life and to learn to live more frugal.


  6. says

    These ladies are amazing, so inspirational! You are defo one person I gain inspiration from daily whether it involves a meal idea, workout or just the motivation to stay healthy! Your positive attitude is contagious in more ways than you know 🙂


  7. says

    This is such an inspiring post Julie, thanks for sharing! I loved The Glass Castle (yes it was hard to get into at the beginning) but it made me so thankful for not only the love and support my parents have given me but the simple things like clothing, food and shelter. I am heading over to Jennie’s blog right now and will definitely be praying for her


  8. says

    I think I’m constantly inspired by people in my day to day life. Even if it’s a complete stranger – someone I witness doing something kind. It’s nice to be able to appreciate the people around you and the little things they do for sure 🙂

    That said? I also want to add J.K. Rowling to the list!


  9. says

    I am SO glad you listed Jeannette Walls! When you said you weren’t originally into the Glass Castle, I wanted to yell “WAIT!!!! It gets better! Just look at what she goes through!” She is an inspiration, for sure. It doesn’t matter what or where you come from, but where you derive inspiration and what you make of yourself 🙂 This is why I loved that book so much. (Not going to lie, Half Broke Horses didn’t lure me in as well…)

    I love the other inspirations as well. It is always people who inspire me the most.


  10. says

    Aww great post Julie! I think Katy is a pretty awesome lady too! 🙂 I get my inspiration from several sources – sometimes unexpected and sometimes not. Susan from The Great Balancing Act inspires me to live every day to the fullest and appreciate my health, ever since her diagnosis with cancer. My managers in both of my jobs inspire me to work hard. There are tons of bloggers that inspire me daily too – like YOU!


  11. says

    Haha I had tuna today and my co worker made a comment about the smell! People that inspire me are my grandmother and mom and most recently elisabeth eaves the author of ‘wanderlust’. And if you changed your mind and liked the glass castle, I would like to suggest ‘breaking night by Liz Murray and the book I mentioned above 🙂


  12. says

    Wow, I just read Jennie’s post about her husband — my heart breaks for her. So much tragedy and beauty in the world at the same time. I recently lost a dear friend — I’m once again reminds me to love extravagantly!!

    Also, you inspire me! I just discovered your blog a few months ago, and I love how you have the courage to follow your dreams! 🙂


  13. Baking N Books says

    Bookmarking this post so I can go back and read the links!! I am SO inspired by Stockett too – how could anyone turn down that book!? It gives me hope maybe….

    I need to check out Katy – wow – how is the freelancing going? Is writing your main source of income then? Good for you 🙂


  14. says

    You! I’ve just started a blog after months of reading your blog and a few others. I seriously didn’t even know this entire blog community existed until I came across your blog via So, so glad for this discovery. All of your discussion on how to blog and the difficulties that come with it have really helped me get the confidence to give it a try. Thanks so much!


  15. Kelli says

    Wow I had to go on Jennies blog how sooo sad I cried my eyes I out her husband reminds me of mine dancing with my kids god bless her


  16. says

    It’s cheesy but my boyfriend inspires me tons. I’m nice (I promise!) but I guess I get catty or complain about people sometimes. He always jokes to me “be a nice girl..” bahah but really I’ve never heard him say one mean word about ANYONE. He is genuinely kind always sees good in others.


    • says

      i feel like ryan is the same as your bf when it comes to talking about others. he very rarely has something bad to say about someone and when he does it’s b/c of something truly awful. i also think girls like to gossip more. 😉


  17. says

    Not to be a totally sentimental sap, but I have to say that all the bloggers that have shared their lives, their struggles, their advice, their wins with us inspire me. Bloggers are caring and giving and FUNNY! I wish to be more like them and their blogs remind me to be on my best (pretty good) behavior =)


  18. says

    Chills…this gave me chills!!! Such a heart-felt side of PBF today 🙂 I think it’s so inspiring to hear about The Help. Sometimes it’s easy to feel defeat, but we have to keep trecking to get where we want to be!

    Lately I have been inspired by those who work for NFP’s (Non-for profits) for children with disabilities…I had an interview with one yesterday and they are seriously some dedicated people! We are blessed to have groups that do this type of work!


  19. Kaella Carr says

    My mom inspires me!! She lost her mom (my nana) 12 years ago today to a complication from ulcerative colitis. She always encourages me, and other people, to see the positive in things. When I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease 7 years ago (at 20) and living 20 hours away from home she helped me through some “why me” moments and constantly encourages me to help others living with the disease. She’s the reason I started volunteering for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada six years ago and why I decided to commit the next three years (despite getting married and a crazy work/life schedule) to sitting on their board. She makes me feel like I can do anything I put my mind and heart into. I’m so blessed to have her in my life and to have such a close relationship with her.

    I know this is super cheesy, but you also inspire me too Julie!! You’ve helped me realize the importance of eating well and living a balanced lifestyle and because of this I’ve been able to go off my daily medication for Crohn’s disease and have been in remission ever since! Thank you for everything you do!! xx


  20. Maggie says

    Sarah Addison Allen, author of The Sugar Queen, Garden Spells, and other novels is currently inspiring me. Her novels are feminine and fun; smart and witty. She’s an amazing author that really makes you feel like you’re listening to a friend rather than reading a book. When I recently looked her up I found out that she just finished her last round of chemo against breast cancer. Even more inspiring! She’s incredibly resilient and manages to remain positive even when things are at their absolute most difficult.


  21. Shannon says

    My mother because she is just awesome…

    My grandmother and grandfather (may they rest in peace) every day because they founded our family business that I work at and their pictures on my desk are a daily reminder to work as hard as I can…

    And you, Julie! Your attitude on life and healthy living has really renewed my spirit and attitude towards food and exercise! So THANK YOU 🙂


  22. says

    I LOVE zumba. When i go, I have to like, tell myself to hold back just a little because other people don’t seem to be quite as enthusiastic as I do and I don’t want to come off too dorky. One time, we were in a circle dancing and she told us to look at each other, so I was like, looking at everyone in the circle… others were NOT as excited.


  23. says

    Tuna IS smelly! Lol. 🙂 I always tried to stop my friends from eating it at the same table as me in college. But I have a strong aversion to any type of seafood. I went to Red Lobster one time. But that was only for a friend I REALLY love. I was too scared to even eat the mozz sticks because they smelled “fishy.”

    I’m always inspired by runners I see running around the lake. I’m like, ok, keep going. They’re doing it! You can too! I’m also inspired by my parents and the importance they place on FAMILY above material possessions.,


  24. Kristie says

    Bethenny Frankel is inspiring me right now! and plus she just cracks me up. Reading ‘A Place of Yes’ and it’s definitely motivating me to make some career moves and go after what I want 🙂

    I totally agree on Jeannette Walls though — it took me a bit to get into that book too but I ended up really enjoying the 2nd half like you did.


  25. says

    I read Jennie’s post yesterday and teared up immediately. What a heartbreaking thing.

    I am inspired daily by my parents and extended family. They have been going through some tough stuff for a few months and are really doing their best to remain positive and look on the bright side.


  26. says

    It sounds silly, but I am inspired by Lucille Ball right now. I’ve been a bit down about a personal issue and watching I Love Lucy reruns has really lifted my spirits and reminded me to laugh and keep my head up. I think my husband thinks I am crazy with all of the I Love Lucy I’ve been watching, but I can’t help it. I DO love Lucy. 🙂


  27. says

    Kris Carr who made the documentary “Crazy Sexy Cancer” and wrote three books, the most recent one being “Crazy Sexy Diet”

    When I was diagnosed with cancer in February, I immediately googled Kris because I had heard of her before when she was on Oprah. Watching her documentary made me so much more comfortable with my diagnosis and made me feel incredibly inspired.

    Kris was diagnosed with an incurable cancer at age 30, there was no chemotherapy she could turn to. Many doctors told her she had to have triple organ transplants or that she only had a few years left to live. She switched to a vegan, highly alkaline diet and basically turned her cancer around! I highly recommend you watch her documentary, she is so amazing and inspiring!


  28. says

    Zumba is my all time favorite! I am sad to report I had to quit my local gym and begin working out at home, but when I was there zumba was my FAVORITE!!

    I read Jennie’s blog and I BOO HOO cried! I will be making my hubs his favorite dessert this Friday in honor of Mikey!

    One person who has been inspiring me lately is YOU! I am inspired every time I read your blog to stay heathy and get out there and do it!! Keep it up!


  29. Amber says

    I find a lot of inspiration through my friends on spark people (a diet and fitness website) and thanks to spark I found PB fingers! I cant go a day without following this blog I love it! I find a lot of inspiration from you Julie! Your awesome!


  30. says

    The most recent post from Jennie from In Jennie’s Kitchen literally made me start tearing up. I had never visited her blog before. Thank you for sharing.

    Makes me thankful for what I have and is a much needed reminder that we really only have the present, and to take advantage of it and show those you love how much you love them.

    Keep rockin’ your blog world Julie! 🙂


  31. says

    I am continually inspired by President Bill and Hillary Clinton. Bill fought through tremendous adversity all throughout his life to be one of America’s best presidents, and he has continued to be active in public service despite his health problems. I am also impressed by the fact that he worked hard to promote his wife’s career and to allow her to have the same opportunities that he had in public service. Hillary has been a trailblazer for women all over the world for decades now, and I am impressed by her hard work as Secretary of State.


  32. says

    I’ve been zumba before really great laugh. There are many bloggers that inspire me, the ones that I follow in their journey from recovery from an eating disorder gives me hope that I can one day be in the place that they are.


  33. says

    What an awesome post. I love all of your choices! I’m reading the Help right now and I’m seriously in love with her style of writing. I’d have to say my mom and grandma definitely inspire me.


  34. says

    I don’t get Zumba. It’s half ethnic dance without any real choreography. It makes me feel so confused.. Maybe i’m not going to the right class..

    I think another woman you can add to that would be yourself. You inspire other women to lead a healthy fulfilling life.

    I think it’s good to find a few admirable things about each and every person instead of looking at the negative. People tend to be judgemental and catty


  35. dee says

    I have been talking to my grandmother more often (she’s in her 90’s and still cooks and cleans for the family!), and listening to her struggles has really put me into perspective. I could never even begin to imagine what it’s like watching my own children starve to death in a war ridden country. She continues to inspire me every single day..she is humble, strong, independent, and full of life 🙂


  36. Bianca says

    I’m saying a special prayer for Jenny and her family. I had never visited her site before, but when I read her latest post, I started sobbing. Whenever I hear of someone losing a loved one, I always think of a song lyric “where ever you go, what ever you do, I will be right here waiting for you.”


  37. says

    Wowww thank you for sharing this beautiful post Julie! They’re all such awesome women I can tell, and I’m definitely compelled towards Jennie’s story~God bless her and I’ll def. check out her blog 😀


  38. Rosa - Fitness, Food, Fulfilled says

    Zumba is so fun! I have some Zumba DVDs that I bought years ago and haven’t done in some time. I forget how fun it can be.

    I’m really inspired by the strong women in my life who deal with events that would drive most of us to our knees. We become stronger when our support system is also strong. I’m grateful for these individuals and learn from them every day.


  39. says

    Really great post, Julie. My husband constantly inspires me with his positive attitude that he displays in all situations. And my mom inspires me with her persistence and courage to push through trials and difficult situations.

    Thanks for sharing!


  40. says

    I can’t believe it was turned down that many times!! That’s incredible. I went to see it on Wednesday and it SOLD OUT to the person literally right in front of me. I was so sad. I have to go see it ASAP!


  41. says

    My dad inspires me pretty much every day (but don’t tell him that; he’ll get a big head!). He’s been through some really intense things in his life, but he’s never let it stop him from being fun-loving, excited, and generally loving life. It’s a great example for me to realize that, no matter what, life is worth living to the fullest.


  42. Danielle Spellman @ Squirrel Snackin' says

    Great post. 🙂 I love knowing who inspires people. My mom inspires me to be the best person I can be. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog and live a balanced life. My fitness instructor who became a friend from back home also inspires me to be happy and motivates me to do my best at everything, not just fitness. I want to do a post about them too! I’ve taken zumba a few times but I can’t ever take it seriously enough to get really into it..or I’m just really bad at dancing. 😉


  43. Audrey says

    My Aunt Maureen inspires me. She is a constant source of strength and a kindred spirit. I love that I have an actual family member who inspires, motivates, and is a role model for me. If I am lucky enough to have a life like hers one day, I will be the happiest person in the world. Truly a God-sent angel 🙂


  44. says

    REALLY loved this post, Julie! I am about to start reading “The Glass Castle” tomorrow! Your 4 picks of women who inspire you really inspired ME… thanks for sharing! You’re the one who is inspiring!



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