#peoplewhoinspire: Ivy Jackson, Glitter Queen & Extraordinary Woman
This Monday is the beginning of a series I've been looking forward to releasing to you. Every Monday, #peoplewhoinspire will introduce a new interview with other individuals, namely someone who has inspired me at some point in my life or has a significant story to tell. I find great value in their stories and I hope that you will, too. Enjoy and be inspired!
This #peoplewhoinspire edition holds a very special place in my heart. This person was a steady beat in my life and a true inspiration to others. It was only through her passing that I was able to behold all of the lives she touched. Her gifts of generosity, kindness, and openness made so many lives around her better.
The person I speak of is my Mother In Law, Ivy Jackson. These words, I hope, will honor her memory and remind you, dear reader, to live everyday with zeal, pizzazz, and style. While I cannot describe to you in one simple blog post, the unique, wonderful person that she was, I can share with you the things she impressed upon me.
Ivy, simply put, was a single, working Mom of four. Definitely not a stranger to adversity, strife, or difficulty, she would, for a long time, work one, if not two, jobs with long hours and lesser pay to ensure that her family was taken care of. She made the most out of very little; which I find was one of her best gifts.
Ivy touched the ordinary and made it extraordinary. She had an incredibly creative mind; seeing the potential of the often discarded or damaged. She had a 'workshop' in her home filled almost to the ceiling with glitter, glue, paint, cardboard, ribbon, party favors, scrapbook supplies, confetti, scrap paper, fabric, silk flowers, and many other things she had deemed fit to honor in one of her innovative creations.
She smiled at strangers and would make friends in the oddest of places. Her definition of family, as we would often say, was skewed--as almost everyone she met became a part of the family. Her door was always open with a warm bed, a meal, or an ear to listen. I remember, even after knowing her for a decade, I would still meet people that would pass through the house that I had never met before! They always had something warm to say about Ivy--with a story to share of how she helped them, made them laugh, or was there for them in a time of need. Even with having very little, she gave so very much.
Though she lived a life for her children and grandchildren, she made sure to take the time to explore many of her talents: hosting parties, cooking, decorating cakes, making crafts, sewing, thrift shopping, and helping others. It was those things, that when life got difficult, she could always turn to to bring her joy (And boy was she one the best cooks ever!).
As you can see, through my very few words, this was a women who persevered through so much in her life, but remained generous, loving, and kind. Some of the challenges she faced would seem insurmountable to the lay person, but not Ivy. Even towards the end, she met cancer with strength, courage, and ferocity.
As my Mom so eloquently put it, and I will never forget this moment as long as I live:
"She was small (only standing about 5'2''), but she towered among others with her generosity."
Though Ivy has left us, I encourage you, dearest reader, to live your life serving others, giving back, and remembering that our time here is so limited.
We get a choice on how we get to spend our lives, and I hope that you choose wisely.
In remembrance of Ivy Valerie Jackson, November 19, 1962 – July 5, 2017. RIP.