In this week’s Wednesday 5, we share with you five women (although we could share with you 100 times more) for whom we’re incredibly thankful this Thanskgiving. And we didn’t have to look far—they are right here in our Women’s Voices vast family. These women move us, challenge us, inspire us, and make us laugh. On the eve of Thanksgiving, we share with you their stories and the valuable life lessons they’ve shared with us and our readers over the course of the year.

 

1.

Ruth Turner: Zest for Life

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At 87 years old, professional “lover of life” Ruth Turner told us exactly how she’s going to continue loving life:

“Maybe you’d like to hear my plan for when I get really old,” she told me. “When I’m no longer this self—when I’m a different self—I’m going to get a huge TV, one of those great, enormous ones, and I’m going to lie in bed and watch old movies, which I adore and can never get to see now, and read detective stories, because I’m terribly fond of them, and just have a lovely, leisurely, quiet life. I’m looking forward to it. When I get old.”

 

 

2.

Francesca MacAaron: Back to the Boards

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A woman of the stage, Francesca MacAaron, reminded us that it’s never too late to take “the leap back into [your] dreams.”

“When you walk away from something you love, it doesn’t really go away,” she says. “It simmers. It hides. For years it never lets you fully engage in whatever you’ve chosen to do. And then one day you wake up—whether it’s some big thing that happened, or a human angel who comes into your life, or it’s instantaneous—and it’s a lightning bolt that gives you another chance, that lets you be what you were always meant to be.”

 

 

3.

Liza Kramer: A Mother’s Who’s Made a Difference

emily as a baby“If cystic fibrosis is wiped out in our lifetime, Liza Kramer will have had something to do with it. Kramer has been working toward a cure since her daughter Emily was diagnosed with the disease at 6 weeks old,” wrote Roz Warren earlier this year about a mother who turned her quest to find a cure for her daughter’s illness into a movement.

“Through Emily’s Entourage [the nonprofit Liza has founded], Liza continues to raise money and awareness, but on a much larger scale. She now works with the many folks the site has inspired to pitch in, from the EE support groups that have blossomed on college campuses to the neighborhood businesses that have put EE donation boxes on their counters,” says Warren.    

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4.

Suzanne Russell: Lost and Found

Suzanne's Street ArtSuzanne Russell is an artist, writer, and activist-lawyer who  lives in Copenhagen and New York. This summer she shared how she recently discovered changes in herself that she was not aware of, and how she rediscovered and reclaimed some lost qualities of herself in summer school. She came to realize that her many years as a wife, mother, guardian, and  foreigner in a small country have affected herself and her behavior.

“This summer I had no obligations except to take care of myself and check in with my family every once in a while. I learned how to put myself first, and I am trying to keep myself there. To be honest, it happened so gradually that I hadn’t even noticed that I hadn’t been taking good care of Number One.”

 

5.

Diana Nyad: Force of Nature

the-other-shore-diana-nyad-600x399We all cheered and hollered when Diana Nyad made history in her marathon swim this Fall. Our Emily Kelting spoke for all of us when she said, “2013 was her lucky number. Even though I haven’t seen Diana for years, no sight was sweeter on Monday than watching Diana finally stumble out of the Florida waters onto dry land.  She had finally made it, and at 64 years old! One small stumble into the sand for Diana was like one giant leap for female athletes of any age who dare to dream big and work relentlessly toward a goal. Diana shows us that we might not make it on the first try—or even the fourth—but eventually we can.”