What do you know to be true?

An online article at The Grit + Grace Project caught my attention: “100 Truths for Every Strong Woman.”

(Before the men quit reading, you need to know that this piece is very honoring of your gender. Because you are valuable and important and worthy of our respect.)


Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

Out of the 100 elements in the Grit + Grace piece, I picked my Top Ten — because they’re either true for me, made me smile, or a quality I wish I had more of:

1. Talk less, say more.

This falls into the “wish-I-was-more-like-this” category. I want to be an effective communicator, to say what needs to be said well, and in as few words as possible. I’m not there yet.

2. Chocolate doesn’t ask questions. Chocolate understands.

Whoever wrote this — I’m pretty sure they meant Chai tea. Chai tea understands and doesn’t ask questions. When it comes to dealing with life’s challenges, the simple act of brewing a cup of tea and sitting in a favorite chair, whispering a prayer and silently reflecting on all the blessings that are still evident despite the challenges—well then, right there, half the battle won. With Chai tea leading the charge. (And a little chocolate doesn’t hurt.)


Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

3. Follow your heart but take your brain with you.

One of my mantras is “Dream big, pray big.” Being the overly-optimist dreamer—and now bereft of my overly-logical husband—I’ve learned to run my brilliant ideas past the people who know and love me best. Because while it’s good to have large dreams, it’s also good that I not abandon my brain in pursuit of those goals.

4. Strong women respect men.

Truth. There are many things I appreciate about The Grit + Grace Project—this online community “for strong women and those who want to be.” I love that they don’t tear down men in their pro-female message. There are a number of men in my life who I deeply love and respect. Gary, of course, was at the top of the list when he was alive. And then there’s my son and son-in-law. My dad. My brothers and Gary’s brothers. And the husbands of a handful of my closest girlfriends. How blessed am I to have so many respect-worthy men in my life.

5. Talk about your blessings more than your problems.

This was one of our objectives during the wilderness years—those 13 years of job lay-off, the sale of our home and retirement investments, caregiving for my mom with Alzheimer’s, terminal cancer. In time, Gary and I learned to count all that still remained instead of counting all that was lost.


Photo by Sorasak on Unsplash

6. It’s OK to fall apart sometimes. Tacos fall apart and we still love them.

This one made me smile. Maybe because I love tacos.

7. Fix another woman’s crown without telling the world that it was crooked.

The notion of women befriending and supporting each other speaks to my soul. Because when my crown is crooked, I want one of my daughters, sisters-in-law, nieces, girlfriends to straighten it without calling attention to its crookedness.


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

8. Someone somewhere needs your story.

Your story is as unique and dazzling and brilliant as you are. This thought from Morgan Harper Nichols used in a recent blog—but worth repeating here—about why we should tell our stories:

Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide.

9. Stay kind. It makes you beautiful.

And who among us doesn’t want to be considered beautiful? There’s a familiar quote by the Dalai Lama that goes like this:

Be kind whenever possible.

It is always possible.

10. You’ve got this.  

Everyone needs a cheerleader from time to time. And the best cheerleaders are the ones who listen well and discern if the other person wants us to remain quiet … or needs us to give a rousing cheer: “You’ve got this!”


Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

And there you have it — ten favorites from the list of “100 Things a Grit + Grace Woman Believes.”

What if?

Is it possible to be strong and soft women? What if we could have strength and courage and audacity? And at the same time, carry kindness and grace and mercy in our hearts toward others?

It is. We could. We can.


How to be a difference-maker


Can we edit our life stories? How?


  1. Nasus

    You’ve Got This, Marlys!

    (And although I do love Chai Tea Lattes, I vote for Chocolate as being more of the Vitamin C for the world!)

    Thank you for the thinkfulness!

    Love you!

    • Haha, Nasus! Of course you would vote for chocolate as your favorite Vitamin C. But has chocolate ever solved the world’s ills as Chai tea has? I think not.

  2. Peter

    May I take last week’s ‘making a difference’ & this weeks thought provoking and most helpful message, and I truly thank you.
    Many a time I get asked to fix bikes, so this is something I’ve always been able to do. Along the way I would get bikes that no one wanted anymore so they would be made roadworthy and passed on to someone in need. Then there was a need (i.e. Folk in Poland & Romania). So, through 2 charities ‘Aid to Poland’ & ‘Children in Distress’ some 750 bikes plus other item went out to those in most need. All kinds of stories of children, nurses, doctors etc who used the sent bikes. Because the stories were documented, for my information, the charities knew that I was a ‘speaker/story teller, so I put together these stories together with ‘why I took on re-building/repairing unwanted bikes’ to send to those in need. That sharing of stories brought untold donations, for me to re-distribute to cause a dear to our hearts, particularly children’s cancer causes, which you are aware of. I know from all this stories of some difference made and the sharing of the ‘reason’ has rewarded me over and over to this day. PS : I still get asked to fix someone’s bike and I’m happy to have been Adler to help. Sorry for going on, I had wanted to write last week, but….. ‘Oh well’… as the song says. Our love, God Bless, for He knew what He wanted from my efforts. Bx P & family

    • What a great “making a difference” story, Peter. To those of us in the western world where all manner of transportation is abundant, we don’t always fully grasp the value of a bike. Thank you for reminding us that everything we do in love and service is valuable. Blessings.

      • Peter Howe B.E.M.

        Thanks so much. I’ve been so rewarded yet ‘we can never know’, by trying and having a go, it’s possible to change many things through such small actions. God Bless to you & yours, plus your readers and support team. Bx P & family.

  3. Roxanne Olson

    Wow! Excellent advice and Great material for my next wall calendar…or maybe wall hanging project!! Thanks Marlys, you always inspire!

  4. Tonya Perry

    This blog to me was very inspiring. I enjoy it very much.
    Thank you,
    Sincerely, Tonya

  5. Tanya Neelon

    Dear Marlys,
    I love reading your wise words. You are a fountain of wisdom! Thank you for putting in the time to share them
    with the rest of us.

    • Tanya, if you happened to read the original Grit + Grace article (“100 Truths for Every Strong Woman”), I’d love to hear a few of your favorites!

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