WHY ANNE SULLIVAN?

I chose Anne Sullivan as a Grace & Grit woman because her life was not easy. In fact, it was hard – but, despite that, she still put herself on a life path that would continue to be challenging.  Above all else, Anne was the perfect teacher. 
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INSIDE ANNE SULLIVAN’S GRACE & GRIT BOX

GLOVESPutting together Anne’s box contents was a process that can only be described as “hard easy.” We started with the accessory and very much wanted to highlight the moment when Anne’s devotion set Helen free. We knew this had to have something to do with the hands. Touch means so much to a person – our hands comfort others, wipe away tears, hug, but they can also push and pull.  Anne had to push and pull Helen throughout her childhood. She also used touch to let...

Dreams and Conversation: Emphasizing the Effort, Not the End Result

Do you ever feel as though you keep hearing the same song over and over again – on TV, on the radio, you hear people humming it, Pandora seems to be playing it all the time? For me, that song is “Dream On” by Aerosmith. I am sure it has something to do with the fact that Steven Tyler will be performing in concert next month. But I can’t help wondering if the universe is trying to tell me something. Lately, I have been pondering a lot of stuff – mostly girl-empowerment...

Uncovering Tenacity with Kate Warne

Have you seen the movie “Hidden Figures?” This 2016 film told the story of three African-American women whose work made the 1962 Friendship 7 launch a success. Throughout their careers at NASA, they broke barriers for African-American women – but many people hadn’t heard their stories until the film came out.  There have been all kinds of barrier-breaking women throughout history whose stories aren’t heard as often as they should be. One of these women is Kate Warne,...

Recapping The Nominate Her Challenge

June certainly flew by for the Grace & Grit team. After all, time flies when you’re having fun – and hosting The Nominate Her Challenge was ten times more fun than we ever could have expected. Now that all the submissions are in, you might think we’re trying to squeeze in a little relaxation. But it’s not time to slow down quite yet! There are a few more steps for us to take, and we’re going to walk you through the rest of The Nominate Her Challenge journey.  While...

The Creation of a Grace & Grit Box

The creation of a Grace & Grit Box is an exploratory journey with several checkpoints. I have talked before about how we know when we come across a Grace & Grit Hero, but that is the starting point for the journey. That puts us on the path, but not for very long – because the very next step of the journey determines whether this lady has the potential to continue the trek. People who make a difference in our world are noticed, and the public loves them. We want...

Cooking Is Chemistry: Bonding with Your Daughter

Ladies, summer is coming. Can you feel it yet? In Texas, we’re all prepping, soaking up those last few cool days before the real heat starts. I love summer, until it gets too hot to even send the kids outside to play. Like I tell my friends up north, our heat advisory days are like your snow days – but, instead, we’re barricaded inside with the AC on, hoping for the best. When the kids can’t explore the great outdoors to learn and chase their curiosity, I have to make...

Get Ready to Nominate Her!

Submit your nominations here starting Monday, June 5!  A piece of our hearts goes into every Grace & Grit box. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Creating each box is our favorite way to be inspired and excited about all of the great things we want to teach our girls. Our team works tirelessly to choose the best figure, learn her story and pull everything together to bring the box to life. Imagining the excitement and intrigue each girl feels when working through the...

Three Traits of Every Grace & Grit Hero

I absolutely love it when somebody suggests a likely candidate to feature in a Grace & Grit box. It is an utter privilege to research her, find her spirit, dust off her characteristics, and examine what qualities make her the perfect hero for our girls. I know almost right away if she is full of grace and grit because there is an immediate connection that comes through as I read her story. Many people ask me what it takes to be featured as a Grace & Grit hero,...

A Mother’s Day Reminder: Together We Are Solid

I have two incredible children: my firstborn daughter and her younger brother. Every day, my son makes me question my parenting techniques. But it is every Mother’s Day that I am reminded of my daughter – the one who pushed me to learn how to be whole again. The day she was born I saw her like I had never seen anything before, with frightening clarity. She was quiet and intense, with gray-blue eyes and dark hair. I was in awe. This baby who grew within me now was at my...

The Thing About Curiosity

In our curiosity box, we highlight Marie Curie and her fearless ambition – a trait so important for a young girl to learn. Dr. Curie loved chemistry and unearthing new elements, and that passion resulted in her forever changing medicine with discoveries that led to X-rays being used in medical testing. To say she was curious is an understatement! And it’s so important for us to support our girls in these “hard sciences” such as science and math. Girls tend to be...

Rosie’s Resolve

What is there to say about Rosie the Riveter? She is my everything. My favorite painting by my favorite artist, Norman Rockwell; my favorite story about World War II; my favorite underdog; my favorite source of inspiration. My first Grace & Grit box. She lays the groundwork for the other boxes. She walks first and the other Grace & Grit ladies fall in line behind her. It was a no-brainer to make her my first box. To have her try everything out first. My first...

Raising Confident Daughters

I am a child of the ‘80s and ’90s. I was a big-haired, hot-pink, tapestry-wearing Punky Brewster wannabe trying to look like I belonged in Beverly Hills 90210. It was glorious. Other children of the ‘80s hear me.  But, if the TV was off and the magazines put away, I had no other connection to the world. Even through my limited outlets to the world, I still got the message beauty was of the utmost importance and being thin was money in the hand. Then the Internet...

A Writer’s Encouragement

Happy Encourage a Young Writer Day, ladies! My name is Anna Beth and I am a guest writer for today’s G&g blog. I’ve been writing professionally for nearly a decade, and often I am asked, “What would you say to encourage other writers and give them inspiration?” So, writers of all ages, here’s what I have to say to you. Scary is OKWhen you want to write something down and all you see is a blank page, it’s always scary. I write for a living, and it’s STILL scary. But...

Flexing Your Confidence Muscle

At G&G, there is one quality we highlight in our boxes that’s the most important of them all — confidence. Curiosity, inner strength, wisdom and all the other virtues I want all young girls to have come from the same place — a belief that they can do anything. That’s why, with each new subscription, your girl’s first box contains the story of Rosie the Riveter. Rosie was not just one person, of course, she was the symbol of working women everywhere during WWII who...

Forward Motion

Ruts. We all have them — yes, even entrepreneurs! Days where every step feels like a drag and weeks where you just feel, well, unmotivated. Stuck. In a rut! That’s been me this week. Not blue, just bleh. Even in my mission to help these incredible girls learn skills and self-assuredness, sometimes I get mired in the mud of the day-to-day. It’s at times like these I think about Sacagawea. Ladies, there’s a reason this incredible woman was commemorated with her own gold...

Comfortable Spaces

Tenacity. It’s not a word we tend to dwell on during our day to day life, and yet it helps drive the character of some of my favorite women — women who are lawyers, doctors and moms. Women who face a world that tells them “no” and yet they go for it anyway. Women who aren’t afraid to get out of their safe space. Kate Warne is our model for the G&G box about tenacity. She was a Civil War era detective who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer and went far outside her...

Courage To Be First

 Of all of the great women of American history, Harriet Tubman will always be a personal favorite of mine. She was courageous and clever, and at only 5’ tall, pretty darn brave. She is the heroine of our COURAGEOUS-themed box, and within it we share the value of bravery like Harriet’s in a way that is relevant to our girls today..  We tend to see Tubman as a singular figure, doing all this work herself. But what I find remarkable about her is that she not only had the...

Putting the SELF in Selflessness

Ladies, when you think of Audrey Hepburn, what comes to mind? Her chic haircut in Roman Holiday? Her Givenchy originals in Sabrina and Breakfast at Tiffany’s? For me, I think of Hepburn’s hard upbringing in WWII and her later career as a UNICEF ambassador. Her film work was really a small part of her exquisite life, bookended by receiving, and later giving humanitarian aid.  For Grace and Grit, Audrey embodies selflessness. That’s why we used this quote from her on the...

She Woke Up

There came a day she finally had to give into the voice - the voice that nagged, that wouldn’t quit, that said “There is more - there has to be more. There is equality waiting, there are dreams, there is a mountain I must climb.”She woke up and decided today was the day she would say the things that had to be said, that had to be breathed into the world. She had to be real and brave and vulnerable. She had to find out what she was made of. She had to try, because to not...

Squad Season

I miss my girlfriends.  I guess I am old enough to be considered old school, so I’ve never called them a tribe or a squad, although I am likin’ those names. I will roll them around in my mouth a little bit, speak them out loud every now and again and see what feels right. Mostly though, right now, in this season of my life, when it comes to girlfriends, tribes or squads, I just feel mute. I have amazing women in my life. A sister, cousins, good, good friends. Friends...

The Bailer-Outer

Every girl needs her tribe and there are vital players in each tribe. Your girl needs her girls and she needs to understand why each friend is important to the tribe. Today I am going to honor the one in every tribe called the Bailer-Outer because today, my tribe’s Bailer-Outer saved my forgetful soul. The Bailer-Outer: She is that one friend that runs when you call and never questions why. She just goes. She is a phone call away and answers her phone when you call...

The Power of Grace

I am not gonna lie, ladies. The post inauguration weeks have been hard. My husband and I are stunned into painful silence as we watch the sharp slap of insults being slung on social media. People we love saying hurtful things in vain attempts to get their point across. Raise your hand if you too have contemplated deleting your Facebook account. So many of us hurting. Raw. Open. Scared.So many of us elated. Happy. Laughing. Relieved. It sure feels like we the people are...

Learning to be Flawesome

I write a lot about learning to be good with failure, showing grace and being determined to live big, and they are great goals to aspire to. However, as I type this blog I am sitting watching a photo shoot for our new box design and website and I am swallowing my pride in what should feel like a big moment. Why? because I dropped the ball on it on my responsibilities for this shoot. I tripped (figuratively speaking) and landed on my knees and by the grace of my business...

Meeting Aubree Grayce

She walked in and I almost burst into tears. A feeling of humility and utter vulnerability washed over me. Did she know that she was the one being honored by this meeting? Aubree, in royal blue, with her joyful eyes that shine even as they can’t see, and a smile that went on forever. I walked up to her and leaned in as I took her hand. For half a second, I couldn’t find my voice. I was so aware of everyone watching and I just wanted everything to be small and safe. But...

The Gift Of People

So, as you know, it’s the holidays. Kinda hard to miss it. We have entered the season of glitter — everything appears bright and shiny. On TV, people are laughing and loving each other. No one seems stressed or over-scheduled. We have entered the season of rebirth and we are getting ready to be handed a “do-over” card on January 1st. This season is such a mental conundrum for me, full of emotions. I always start the season with the best of intentions: by lighting the...

Hustle

Hustle. That has been the word to describe my life over the past two years. Early mornings, late nights, work on weekends, work on Labor Day. Hustle. Friends, after a while, the hustle gets hard. At first it is exciting, you are excited to get up early each morning and adopt all the work habits that will get you that Big Life, take your coffee on the run, keep your laptop with you at all times, turn your car into a mobile office. But after a couple of years, you kind of...

A Handle On The Future

This past month a group of dedicated ladies and I have been working our tails off to open a center for girls in downtown Weatherford, Texas. Our center – the Gracefully Strong Center – will be used as a place for girls to gather, be accepted and learn acceptance, take a stand and break stereotypes. We have great plans and, although the renovations have been hard and at times trying, the work is rewarding and we all sleep well at night. And yes, with the exception of the...

Devotion

We are in the final stages of creating our 9th box, and I am so excited about it. Everyone knows the story of Helen Keller, but we give a lot less focus to someone instrumental in her growth and success despite her disabilities — her devoted teacher. As such, our Devotion Box gives voice to the woman who helped Helen find her own voice, Anne Sullivan. As far as the character trait goes, devotion is a tricky word. I kept asking myself, will others see and understand what...

Uncomfortable

Be comfortable with others’ uncomfortable feelings. I both love and hate this thought. When you decide to be authentic and chase meaningful dreams and ideas that challenge the status quo — that, my friends, makes others uncomfortable. I think about women who have impacted history through upending societal expectations, and I wonder how much of their lives was spent learning to be comfortable when others were uncomfortable. The women who decided they had the right to...

Gym

I joined a new gym last week, and it was daunting. Let’s face it, working out in front of people is awkward. It really is. There is sweat in places you didn’t even realize could sweat, there for all the world to see — and ladies, let’s be honest — workout leggings hide basically nothing. Plus, this introvert has a hard time with all of the loud that happens at gyms. Weights clinking, men grunting, club music playing, and that one guy who lifts weights by the power of...

Double Standards

People, I am going into dangerous slightly political waters with this blog, but it is something that has been on my heart for some time now and I can’t ignore it. I am seeing ridiculous behavior in this election that is teaching our kids a double standard when it comes to showing grace to others. I have waivered back and forth on whether to call this double standard out. It’s touchy to discuss politics, but this double standard is beyond who’s republican and democrat —...

Nervous

The morning of the first day of school has come and gone. My house is quiet for the first time in two-and-a-half months and I have actually finished a cup of coffee in its entirety without having to reheat it twenty thousand times. This morning I woke up extra early, and extra nervous. As I put the kiddos to sleep last night they both mentioned how nervous they were. As I went for my morning run I asked God to take away all of their nervousness and mine as well. I asked...

To my Izzy

To my Izzy and Every Girl Starting 9th Grade, Ladies, you have now entered the final four. This is where the rubber meets the road, and it is time to hit the ground running. What you start now, in 9th grade, will follow you to graduation. And here’s the deal with graduation: while is considered a big milestone, the four years preceding it will be challenging. There are sure to be bumps in the road. So, sweet girls, allow me to share some insight to help smooth the road...

Cracked & Broken

Sometimes what bonds a group of friends together can be a little strange. Grown men who like to skateboard, tattoo lovers, beer enthusiasts….well for us it’s a man. One man. Jimmy Buffet. My husband’s and my friends take one weekend out of the year to go a little crazy. Crazy in a good way. We have been attending his concerts for over 20 years, and we live for this nutty weekend where we drink margaritas and sing about fruitcakes all year. It is a joyful, silly...

Tribes

From our earliest days in hunter gatherer societies, women have been society’s connectors — working together to raise children, care for households and care for communities. Women seem to know instinctively that to have a rich, full life, we need a tribe of other women — friends, helpers, cheerleaders, straight-talkers.  Life, a full life, cannot be fully lived without finding your tribe, the ones who will always have your back, but will also tell you when you are being...

The Female Once Over

Today my daughter and I were victims of The Female Once-Over by another mom and her two daughters. It was so uncomfortable. We entered a well-known athletic store and immediately these three ladies turned to us and looked us over. It was obvious and awkward. Not sure what a once-over is? Let me clarify — it’s when one female looks at another female from head to toe and back up again. In short, when one female sizes up another female for the sole purpose of comparison....

No

Summer is finally here, and with the start of July I’m taking a moment to have a sacred pause. I have ended my social obligations for now and I am using the month of July with no other commitments than work and family. I am saying no to anything — which is a new experience for me. This past year I have learned how to start using the word “NO.” And yes, I realize I am 40 years old and I am just now learning how to say this uncomfortable word and be confident about it. It...

Empower

How do we keep our kids feeling safe in a world that makes even adults feel so vulnerable? How do we live in faithful grace without letting worry fill us with fear? In light of recent events in the news I have been thinking a lot about resiliency and how to keep living a big life while still being safe at the same time. All of the bad stuff in the world yells so loudly, it tends to drown out all of the good. Daughter and I talk. She asks why the world’s negativity seems...

A FATHER’S PERSPECTIVE

In honor of Father’s Day, my wife Heather had me write this blog post, and I can’t think of any way to start to tell you about Z except to say: I love my daughter.  Even before seeing her, I knew in my heart how strongly I would fall, and at first glimpse of those brown eyes I was hooked.  Like most dads are, I imagine. At the time Izzy was born, I coached at a local high school — specifically 9th grade girls’ basketball and softball.  Being a girl’s coach had never...

One Thing

At the beginning of every school year each member of my family sets goals. We call these goals our “One Thing” It is the one thing we can do, that by doing it, makes everything else easier. We make signs, and everyone places his or her sign in their bathroom to see as they get ready each morning. When summer arrives, we reflect back on our “One Things” and take inventory of how we did and what we can improve on. This year my One Thing was discipline and daughter’s one...

Small Things

This month gave way to a new tradition in our family. We had to say goodbye to our beloved golden retriever, Luke. We wanted a way to remember him, and in a moment of sheer inspiration (or sheer madness) I got out a sharpie marker and wrote, “Luke 5/11/16” on our breakfast table. Yes, the one I spent a month staining and painting so it would look rustic chic. My family was strangely quiet at first, but then my daughter promptly picked up the marker and drew a heart...

Defining Roles

Today was my mother’s retirement party at work. She has spent 25 years in a professional role and given it her all. She was undeniably emotional about this phase of life ending and is curious what life will be like on the other side of retirement. It is the redefining of her role in life that perplexes her the most. She came into her professional career late in life. I remember watching her move from being a stay-at-home mom, to college student, graduate student and...

Spirit of a Woman

We are studying expectations in our Sunday school class this month. Expectation is a prickly word. It leaves so much emotion on the table and is the downfall of many relationships. It is also the cause for many women feeling unworthy. Our culture places a lot of expectations — wait, let me rephrase that — wildly unrealistic expectations on women. How we should dress, how much makeup to wear, the right swimsuits for our “curvy” or “boyish” or “pear-shaped” bodies, what...

An Endorsement For My Daughter

In 19 school days middle school will be over for my daughter, (not that I am counting or anything). Just 19 days. That would be a 1 and a 9. But until those 19 days are up, I can still pretend she really isn’t a teenager and I really don’t have only four years left of her “kid years” before she starts the whole “adult” thing with all its ups, downs and own set of growing pains. We registered for high school several weeks ago, and I swear I thought we had accidentally...

Mother Daughter

This weekend I was able to spend some one on one time with my daughter. It had been a very long time since it was just the two of us. Even though she slept two of the three hours on our drive to Austin, the first hour was really a good hour. We discovered we both liked to Kill a Mockingbird, she had read it, “just because I figured I would have to in school, so why not?” We also have the same sense of sarcasm, which I knew I had passed on to her, but always felt a bit...

Together

My daughter is one serious basketball player. She lives and breathes it. She is playing on a spring/summer league and this weekend was the first weekend that I was actually able to attend one of her games. She has played six games already this season. Total mom guilt. I enjoy watching her play, I love the hustle and laser focus. I love the determination she has and even more than that, I love seeing her learn; watching her use her intuition. Today, I broadened my view...

Rain

Spring is here, and it’s glorious. In Texas, it gets hot fast, so I am spending my days drinking up the sun as  I work from my picnic table in the backyard. I take my time, listen to the birds, plant flowers, pull weeds. Daughter, however, is perplexed. Life has brought on a low. She is in a drought. It keeps her up at night. Makes her stomach ache. I breath for my daughter. Silently pray she can make her way. In this stony, dry world. This morning a sudden thunderstorm...

Weeds

Spring is finally here. I can feel it in the air—I open all the windows my house and breathe it all in. It tells me of growth, new beginnings…and weeds. The weeds are waiting, too. A warm winter means weeds have grown tall and their roots go deep. On hands and knees I pull. It is therapeutic to me. Many years ago I introduced the concept to my daughter. Weeds are the problems of a garden. You have to constantly maintain the weeds, maintain the stress. If you do not, the...

Audrey's Legacy

Did you know Audrey Hepburn danced? She danced in Holland to raise money for the resistance, those who fought Hitler during WWII before becoming an actress. I wonder what happened when she stopped dancing. Was there fear after the dance? I am researching her for one of our boxes, however, I was fearful building a Grace and Grit box around her. What if I couldn’t secure her property rights? What if her representative laughed at my small business? I find a random e-mail...

Dancing with Fear

“Fear is not what will win.” He stands in front of us, hands in his pockets, relaxed stance, firm voice. “We have all been there in tragedy, when it is hard to get out of bed. But in the end there is light and hope.” The minister stands in front of his congregation, offering these words of consolation and faith. His belief soothes me — I notice the sun dancing through the stain glass bringing color into the church, as his words bring warm colors of hope into my tired...

Salty Stance

My family and I went to the beach for Spring Break this year. Typically, the beach is a yearly summer tradition for my family. We don’t have just one beach we visit, we are game for any beach, anywhere. There is just something about it that draws my family back each and every year. We disconnect from the world and live peacefully for five days. It is always a poetic experience. During our week away I spent a lot of time sitting just on the edge of the water. It being...

Every Woman Has a Story

I think a lot about my story. Some moments I feel anger at my experiences, other moments I feel a profound sadness at the amount of time I spent lost. Other times I feel triumphant at coming through the darkness with still enough time to make amends. I tell bits and pieces of my past in uncomfortable pauses and shaky sentences. I am in a perpetual struggle between sharing too much and too little. However, when I open my spirit up and look around I realize every woman...