This daily #OneGoodThing was dedicated to celebrating extraordinary women I know last December. Many of the 31 bold, beautiful, brave women featured shared stories of perseverance after abuse, addiction, miscarriages, illness, and loss. They represent various fields and backgrounds, and I admire each for their passion and strength. The series was so deeply inspiring that I felt it needed to live on as a weekly feature in 2020. Each Monday, I’ll introduce you to another incredible superhero—including artists, businesswomen, union organizers, nurses, writers, teachers, movie makers, designers, reporters, and all-around badasses. It’s about finding the extraordinary in each of us!
Jude Marks is a happily retired California native and Venetophile (obsessed with Venice, Italy). She holds a Master’s in Instructional Technology and finished her career at Apple Computer. After retiring, she started her own Burning Man-inspired business making bustiers to help women feel beautiful! Against all odds, Jude is a survivor of brain cancer and a stroke. She enjoys knitting, watercolor journaling, reading, and genealogy. Jude lives in Santa Rosa, California with her daughter, whom she helps find #OneGoodThing in each day, along with their Boston Terrier rescue, Paisley—who is always a light in their lives.
1. What did you want to be “when you grew up?” I liked to draw when I was young, so I figured I would be an artist. But in high school, I followed a city planner for a day and thought that would be an interesting career.
2. What makes you the most proud of yourself? I found the book Europe on Five Dollars a Day, took a leave of absence from teaching elementary school, and traveled solo for a year doing just that! I liked Barcelona so much, I returned there and spent the next five years teaching adults English as a Foreign Language at the American Institute.
3. What darkness have you overcome? How did you find strength? When I was diagnosed with brain cancer, and given two to five years to live, I kept saying to the doctors, looking them straight in the eye, “I’m beating the odds.” This mantra kept me going through surgery, radiation, and a stroke. Now I’m approaching the ninth year of being a survivor. I beat the odds.
4. Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.? I will be reading or knitting in bed, my favorite time of the day.
5. What makes you smile the most? When my daughter and I find something that tickles us and we laugh so hard we have tears in our eyes.
Bonus: What advice would you give your younger self? You can do anything if you put your mind to it. There’s a big world out there for you to explore. Follow your dreams and don’t be swayed by other’s expectations.
Today’s #OneGoodThing is sharing this extraordinary woman and my amazing, memorable Mama, Jude Marks, with all of you! We are stronger together, so let’s shine a light on our extraordinary sisters! If you’d like to participate or nominate a woman to participate, please send me a note or leave a comment! What was your #OneGoodThing today? Please share in the comments! Kindness is Everything.