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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ribbons, Bows & Jeanette Walls, author of The Glass Castle

When I was 12, my little sister Becky had a birthday party. I dressed her up in a cute red apron dress and did her hair in French braids. I always admired the little girl’s at church, with their matching dresses and bows in their hair and lacey socks. My family didn’t have money to buy Becky bows or lacey socks.

After her birthday presents were unwrapped, I had an idea. I collected the ribbon that had been wrapped around her presents and placed them in a grocery bag. For months, I had a variety or ribbons and bows to tie in her hair.

I could match the ribbon with the color of her outfit.

Monday night I went to hear author Jeanette Walls speak about her book The Glass Castle. When she walked on stage I started crying because I love her book.

Jeanette came from an interesting past, so interesting; Brad Pitt’s movie company just purchased the rights to turn her book into a movie.

Jeanette grew up poor. I don’t mean without ribbons or bows, I mean homeless.
Her parents roamed from town to town, living in old shacks by the railroad, broken down cars and worn-out pieces of walls she called home. Her brother had to sleep with an old tarp covering him, because when it rained the roof leaked where he slept. She rarely, if ever, had running water and electricity. At times, she had to search for her own food, always sharing with her siblings. Her dad was an alcoholic and gambled away any money he earned.
But Jeanette didn’t just survive; she discovered how strong she was. She loved school, received an education and moved to New York City.
And now she’ll never go without again.
Several years ago, she found her mom living on the streets in New York City. Jeanette, who now lives on a beautiful ranch in West Virginia, bought horses to convince her mom that she needed help taking care of them. Her mom agreed to move to West Virginia and at 76; she takes care and rides the horses on Jeanette's ranch.
Listening to Jeanette’s story was spiritual. I laughed, I cried and I remembered my own childhood and smiled.
Jeanette’s message is this:
Never be ashamed of your past. Use it to empower your future. Learning to fall is essential to realizing just how strong you are. We all have different perspectives and that’s alright. Forgiveness is about accepting others for who they are.
I recommend reading The Glass Castle. It is a journey worth taking.


  1. Awesome. I'll have to get a copy. Sounds great. I'm sure I would love this book. Glad you got to met her.
    Nice post.

  2. Now that I finally have a taste of what this book is about, it will have to added to my to read list.
    Barbara B

  3. I read this book last year, and she is truly inspiring.

  4. I am grateful for you and Dad teaching me so much. Thank you for doing my hair when I was little. ( And during labor)
    Oh how I love to work because of Dad. He has taught me many life long skills that are priceless.
    I love the book! Thank you Lovely Laura

  5. My sister-in-law went to see her too and told me about her. A definate read. Thanks for sharing this post.

  6. You make me cry when I read your thoughts because you are one of the most loving,accepting,optimistic persons I know. Definitely an angel on earth I am privileged to know and love.

  7. It's been a couple years since I read "The Glass Castle", but I can still remember how good it was.
    If you haven't read it yet it is a Must read for sure.