Inspiration Of Motherhood: Sophie Blackall


Behind every brilliant innovator is an equally inspirational mother. Some are the ultimate cheerleader, like one chef’s mother who sneaked into a restaurant’s kitchen just to see her daughter make pastries. Others put their money where their mouth is, like an entrepreneur’s mother who remortgaged their home to finance his first invention. Still others lead by example, such as a mother whose moments of quiet introspection inspired the creative process for her Grammy Award-winning daughter. In both small and profound ways, all mothers empower their children to change the world. Captured within this collection of images, we’ve uncovered the lesser-known stories of the mothers who created cultural visionaries.

llustrator and Author

Sophie Blackall’s Chinese ink and watercolor illustrations are immediately recognizable for their unique combination of elegance and whimsy. A generation of children is now growing up being charmed by the more than 25 children’s books she has illustrated, including best-selling series Ivy and Bean. And adults have been equally charmed by her blog-inspired book Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found, which captures fleeting moments between strangers, and is also the theme of a beloved subway poster commissioned by the MTA Arts for Transit program.

On being a mother:

“Just as my mother taught me, I have tried to teach my children to use their hands and open their eyes. To retain their natural curiosity and look for details and appreciate the absurd. In return, they inspire me to no end with the things they notice and respond to, funny, sad, beautiful, and strange alike, and the things they make, cakes and rabbit houses and overflowing sketchbooks. My daughter, Olive, is coming with me to India this spring to see an immunization campaign with UNICEF and the Measles & Rubella Initiative. I am so looking forward to sharing this experience with her and to comparing and sorting and processing all that we see.”

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Inspirational Women Of Detroit: Patricia Koch


Patricia A. Koch was born in 1931 to Jim and Isabella Yellig of Mariah Hill, Indiana. After graduating high school, she joined the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in St. Louis. For ten years she was a nurse with the Daughters of Charity in St. Louis, New Orleans, and Chicago. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from St. Louis University.

In 1960, she left the religious order to help nurse her parents who were ill. In December of that year, she married W. .A. “Bill” Koch, whose family owned Santa Claus Land in the nearby town of Santa Claus. Over the next six years, the couple had five children.

As her children grew, Mrs. Koch became more involved with the park. Her dedication to the park’s atmosphere has helped earn the family operation, now called Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, the titles of the World’s Friendliest Park (1998-2011) and the World’s Cleanest Park (2000-2011). As Director of Values, Mrs. Koch works with the park’s 80 full-time and 2,300 seasonal employees to maintain the high standards of the family business.

Mrs. Koch continues to be deeply involved in her faith. She was a major force in raising funds to construct St. Nicholas Church in Santa Claus. She also worked with the Catholic Foundation of Southwest Indiana in helping to start the Wisdom Program, designed to help senior citizens continue to be contributing members of society. She is also involved in projects with the Sisters of Saint Benedict at the Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand and at the present time serves as chair of their Executive Advisory Council. One of Mrs. Koch’s favorite organizations is a group of women called “Supporting Our Sisters”. This group annually provides vouchers for women of Spencer County to receive needed health care. Mrs. Koch and her family contribute to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Easter Seals, March of Dimes and many other charitable organizations.

In 2002, Mrs. Koch received her Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry from Loyola University. In 2006, she opened the Santa Claus Museum, dedicated to preserving the history of the town, the post office, and honoring people who have helped contribute to the growth of the area. That year she also co-authored a pictorial history book, called “Holiday World” in celebration of the park’s 60th anniversary season. She is also currently writing an autobiography.

Each December, Mrs. Koch heads up the Santa’s Elves program, a volunteer project designed to ensure that every child’s letter to Santa mailed to the town’s famous post office receives a personal reply. In 2011, Santa’s Elves mailed more than 10,000 letters to children around the world.

A grandmother to 13, Mrs. Koch is especially devoted to her children’s children, who live in Indiana and Florida.

In January 2011 The Indiana Office of Tourism Development and the Koch family announced the creation of the Will Koch Indiana Tourism Leadership Award. The new award celebrates and pays tribute to the late Will Koch’s business and philanthropic achievements, recognizes outstanding accomplishments in economic and community development through tourism and showcases the important role tourism plays in a diversified economy.

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A Message From The Creator

Inspirational Quotes About Life

A Woman’s Story: Ask the Mutant: Whose Breasts Are These, Anyway?


Eva Moon
Performance Artist, Writer

I consider myself a fairly liberated, independent woman. I grew up with the pill and bra burnings. I am not defined by my appearance, completed by my relationship with a man or limited in my aspirations by my gender. I don’t consider myself a victim. And heaven help anyone who suggests my body or choices should be dictated by the government, society or even my doctor.

I have parts that have been jointly owned at times, at my discretion. I willingly sublet the downstairs apartment and the upstairs cantina to my two sons for the short time they needed it.

But when you’ve joined your life with a partner — enjoyed years of physical intimacy and pleasure, been there through disease, debility and diarrhea, become as settled in another’s skin as in your own — it gets harder to divide up the goods. History confers a level proprietorship.

I forget that sometimes.

When you’re faced with losing parts of your body, as I was when I had my preventive double mastectomy last year, it’s easy to turn inwards and get so caught up in your private journey that you lose sight of the fact that there are other people on the boat with you. Even now, more than a year later, I forget how profoundly devastating an experience it was and still is for my husband.

He’s been there on deck with me the whole way, bravely manning his post while I, Ahab-like, obsessed on my battle with the whale. But after decades of sharing storms and smooth seas with this man, it would be false to imagine that it wasn’t his battle — his breasts — too.

Some of you might be shocked at my implication that I would cede an owner’s stake of my body to someone else. Some might think him sexist for mourning the loss of my (our) breasts so much, as if they were his flesh or my life. But it’s not about control or ownership. It’s about grieving for a part of our shared — and much enjoyed — history that is gone forever.

Caretakers have it tough. We, the caretaken, have our troubles for sure. But we also get the attention, the cards and visits and flowers. The good drugs.

When the caretaker is also the husband, he is expected to be a man, suck it up, go to work, provide for his family — after all he wasn’t the one who went under the knife. My husband did just that. He sucked it up. He went to work. He paid the bills. And then came home to cook, clean house and take care of me, even when he was ready to curl up from fear and anxiety.

My husband is a pretty liberated male. He does not believe that a woman is inferior or less capable than a man (except maybe in arm-wrestling), less deserving of opportunity or respect, or should be subject to control over her body by outside forces. But he’s also a man.

After my surgeries it was almost unbearable for him to see my scars. Not because of how they make me look — that doesn’t matter. But because to him they were visible proof that he’d failed, as a man, to protect his woman from harm. The enemy had attacked his mate and he couldn’t fight them off.

It sounds silly. We’re not Neanderthals and cancer is not a cave bear. Logically, of course, he knew it was not his failing at all. But still, that was his visceral, instinctive, masculine response.

I know it’s not PC to say so, but I love his caveman drive to protect and keep what is his. He earned it.

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