one bad mamma-jamma

I’ve been thinking for awhile about women, particularly mothers that inspire me.  A few weeks ago I was thinking about my grandmother Leep. We were never particularly close, mostly because we lived 8 hours away and also because I was young enough not to know that as an introvert, I would need to really sit down and talk with my grandmother if I wanted to get to know her. When we did visit her a few times a year she was busy cooking, cleaning and doing laundry- the stuff that had filled most of her life as a wife of a potato farmer who was mom to 8 kids.  It was only after she died in 2001, three months before my wedding that I really started to value and respect what a faithful person she was. When I was younger, I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t think much of my grandma “the housewife.”  Now that I’m a mom of 1 kid I’m blown away to think that she cooked for 8 kids, baked bread from scratch and kept their socks gleaming white when they lived in the thick muck soil of Kalamazoo county farmlands. amazing. She also had a good sense of humor, quiet but good. Her name was Fannie. My Grandfathers name was Heinz, but she called him Heiney. Fannie & Heiney 🙂

There are a few other bad mamma-jammas that inspire me to keep going, be faithful and to do my thang (and occasionally look cute while doing it). I’d love to see whose on you’re “bad mamma jamma list” of women that inspire you!  In no particular order….

Gwen Stefani:gwen-stefani-and-kingston I bump Gwen on Pandora when I run- I especially love her song “what you waiting for?” I like to do some rocky balboa air punches when I’m pounding the pavement when this song comes on. Plus- do I even need to say it? She’s one hot mamma-jamma! I’ve always admired her unique style, entrepreneurial spirit (she launched her fashion line L.A.M.B. in 2004), and lyrics that work through what life is like as a mom, artist and wife. There are actually times when I feel like some of the questions she asks in her lyrics are as vulnerable than most of the books I’ve read/conversations I’ve had about life as a working mom. Granted, she has a million-dollamusic  contract and I, well, never will.





Brenda Salter-McNeil: I first heard her preach at Urbana 2000 in a seminar about engaging in global mission.  I’ve heard her preach a few times since then and have always been amazed at how she is able to be herself and speak powerfully into peoples lives. A wife, mom, author, speaker and a reverend Dr. (hello, Rev. DR??!! with 2 kids) she is leading people in reconciliation with God and one another all over the world. Mad props to her husband as well to encourage her to lead how God has called her- it is inspiring to see couples like this serving God together.

brenda salter mcneil
anointed to preach and serve!











I have no idea why this image has stuck with me for so long. I was inspired by it when I watched the news coverage last fall, probably because I was still a relatively new mom and had just started running.

paula radcliffeThis is Paula Radcliffe who won the NYC Marathon last fall.  I loved that she grabbed her 9 month old daughter & the British flag & waved her waif like arm in victory at the finish line. I imagined mothers across the country watching this (myself included) and groaning- “are you kidding me? Her body looks like THAT 9 months after giving birth???!!!” And simultaneously thinking, “well shoot, if Paula can run a marathon, surely I can get another spoonful of peas in my babys mouth and change that stank diaper. I will run the marathon of being a good mom.”

I will never be able to run like Paula Radcliffe (thanks mom for those genes of being a shortie 🙂 but again, I love that she is pursuing her dream and being a mom.

I’d love to know who inspires you to dream your dreams, work hard & keep running the mom marathon even if it is proverbial.  Who is on your bad-mamma-jamma list? If I’ve tagged you it’s because you inspire me to do these things and I’m encouraged by you. As Kanye West says “go head girl, go head get down!”


  • Grace

    I’ve also been inspired by Brenda. I was way inspired when Oprah ran a marathon…and might I add she ran it more than hour faster than I did (go girl)!

    I’ve been really inspired by the women I read… Annie Lamott, CeCe Winans even that crazy girl who wrote *Eat, Love, Pray.*

    great post! I guess my celeb mama-jamma would have to be j.lo ~ I just love her! 🙂

  • Lisa

    I’m not very hip with what celebrities are doing. I guess I’m just lame that way, but my celebrities are Kristin Wong (from Knox in Ann Arbor), Barb Paternoster, Kathy Khang, and Andrea Thomas. Kristin and Barb for their gentle, but firm guidance with their kids and their ability to juggle so much and still be great at opening their home to others. Kathy and Andrea because of their commitment to ministry in the midst of marriage and motherhood.

Leave a Reply