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Many people have told me I am an inspiration to them. That’s because I’ve written and published two novels, a new career starting at age 85. “You’ve demonstrated that it’s never too late to follow your dream,” they say.

Well, I’m glad they’re inspired, perhaps motivated to breathe new life into their own abandoned dreams.

Yes, think bold, dream big, climb the highest mountain you can. But be sensible. Do you want to spend your life in sullen frustration because you never ascended Everest? Stand on top of the old worn-down hill in your neighborhood and glory that you’re there.

Be a CEO or star quarterback if that’s destiny. If it’s your role to be a follower, be a successful follower. You’re needed. You keep the world spinning. If it’s your job to prepare three meals day after day after day, change the diapers, rock the baby, work the garden, pay the bills, do your job well and do it cheerfully. Shine forth to those around you.

Seek to live a generous, committed life, loving and learning, giving, growing, glowing. That sums up my inspiration.

Here are four pillars that have supported my happy life:

  • When I come to a fork in my road, I always choose to do something I believe is important, something I think I can do well, something that God will smile on, then I do it with all my heart.
  • I have never decided what to do next based solely on how much it paid. I’ve no objection to being rich but early on my husband and I chose Frugal Comfort as our minimum level of income. We believed that we ourselves were responsible for the education, medical care, and other things that our ten children really needed. We would work together, plant vegetables, buy groceries wholesale, welcome hand-me-downs, and forget about driving a luxury car. When we went into our community to volunteer, we chose projects where we could take our children along as helpers.
  • Home should always be a dependable place but never a boring one. Have fun with your family today. I believe that ripples from a strong family strengthen the community and flow out to touch the whole wide world.
  • I don’t give advice unless asked. If asked, yes, I have something to say. If the advice isn’t taken, I don’t get upset. That’s why I am friends with my eight adult children.
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Inspire Me Today has asked for a 200-word autobiography. I'm almost 91. That gives me nearly 2¼ words per year. Here goes:

I was born in 1921 to a loving, stable, prosperous family and had a happy childhood.

Came the Great Depression, hard times.

I managed to fulfill my dream (and expectation) of going to college but, after one year, had to drop out because my dad was desperately sick. My older brother only managed to finish at Notre Dame U. because a relative helped.

I waitressed for 13 months to support my family. No government safety-nets. My dad recovered.

Resumed college education, supported by on-campus job, small scholarship, summer waitressing, my big brother who helped.

World War II. I graduated, married, had a baby girl. Husband wounded in Europe, but lived and returned to graduate school on GI Bill.

We settled at a small Maryland College, raised ten energetic children, both earned graduate degrees, built a six-bedroom house (lots of sweat equity). I supervised the Frederick County Adult Education program.

Bads: Son Don wounded in Vietnam; nineteen-year-old Sara killed in a freak accident; Bob dying of cancer after teaching college Latin for 36 years.

Goods: loving Bob tremendously and being loved tremendously in return; our children; rewarding job teaching and supervising Adult Education program; late career writing novels.

I am woman, wife, mother, neighbor, teacher, and storyteller. 

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. I absolutely love this inspirational lady!!! I can so relate to her life! I am 80 years old, a 3 yr widow of an incredible 60 yr marriage, 7 children, ( 5 the 1st 6 yrs, 2 after 40) 9 grands, 7 g-grands. And I am starting the second half of my life!! My goal is to write a book, be a public speaker, and to inspire all those I come in contact with, and live my life fully!

  2. Very inspiring. So genuine and authentic. The perfect embodiment of who we’re supposed to be as humans. Our Infinite Creator must be so proud as you truly represent his/her intentions of human kindness, human caring, human connections, victory and gratitude even amidst painful moments, and the comfort of living a life of simplicity.

  3. So often we hear people say, “…but I’m ___ years old, so I’m too old now to ___________________.”
    Most of these assertions are limiting beliefs, not facts of life. Your life is such an inspiration to anyone with that limiting perspective.
    I’m in a new career, too, and so grateful to have made that (scary!;) leap a decade ago.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences, perspective and inspiration with us, Ann Marshall! Wonderful.

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