As I sit here in my red shirt in my office (no, I didn't "strike" today), I am reminded of countless women who have been influential in my own life and so I want to honor them here with brief tributes (this is most certainly not an exhaustive list; and I suspect that I will continue to add to it).
Amanda Peterson Alquist, my great-great grandmother who came from Sweden by herself at 18 to build a new life in the US (we still make her Swedish rye bread today)
Edla Bloomquist, grandmother of my grandfather who spoke only Swedish raised my grandfather and took in boarders to make ends meet
Margaret Berg & Altjie Manske, maternal & paternal grandmothers who's gifts of hospitiality, faith and love reflected throughout their lives.
Elaine Berg, mother extraordinarie who lives as an example of living your life to its fullest no matter the obstacles, setbacks or curveballs that life throws at you. She showed us what it means to be a "right on woman" and to not accept any less
Marilyn Dyer, "wicked" stepmother whose does celebrate life in all its fullness with love and laughter
Cristina Dyer-Droback, "favorite" sister whose creativity finds its expression in work and play, setting the example for the next generation of "right on women" with Serena
Consciousness-raising women (Mom, Bernice, Pam and Dorothy) who, while they didn't "burn their bras", sought to be and raise "feminists" in their midst
De Brown who helped me to "not take any shit" from others and stand up for myself
Marie Jerge, pastor/bishop/friend whose gracious leadership and spirit-filled faith serves as an example to me daily (she is also a mentor)
Female Clergy Prayer group (Susan, Ruth, Marie, Maryann) with whom I journeyed in faith during my time in WNY. Their prayerful support and witness continues to undergird my journey today
Clergy sisters (Lena, Nicole, Stephanie, Lydia) with whom I meet with now as we share the joys, struggles and laughter of parish ministry
Patricia Lull, pastor and internship supervisor helped this "PK" (pastor's kid) find her own voice as a pastor, challenging me and helping me clarify "why I wanted to be a pastor"
Marion Love, Theatre dept. chair at college who encouraged and supported me both in quite literally finding my voice as well as in the discernment process of going to seminary
Suffergettes such as Susan B. Anthony, Sojouner Truth and so many others that we do not know their names who fought so hard for their own rights as well as the rights of others so that I have the privilege and responsiblity of voting
Historical figures like Sybil Luddington, Abigail Adams and the like who only seem to get a footnote in our history books and yet played much larger roles in our history than they are given credit for
Nobel peace recipents like Malala and Leymah Gbowee for standing up in the face of injustice, despite the dangers, to bring peace and hope into the lives of others
Celebrities like Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Ellen and Oprah who don't like the world define or direct their identity
I thank God everytime that I remember each of you and pray that, inspired by your life and witness, I may help others find their own voice and be bold in the use of our gifts for the sake of all people