Blackberry season always reminds me of the years I was a single mom, living on welfare in Sedro-Woolley.
One day in August, there was about $10 in my checking account and I’d already run out of food stamps for the month. So the kids and I walked down the river road and picked pails of blackberries.

We smashed them into a pretend jam for sandwiches and put them on pancakes (using that oh-so-processed Bisquick mix). We survived.

It’s hard to be poor, hard to be unhealthy, hard to be a single parent. It’s also hard to work 3 jobs and go to school full time. You just have to choose your “hard,” I guess. (I wish there’d been this amazing internet back then!)

It took me years to get out of poverty — and it was only with the support of other women that I made it. That’s why I’m passionate about helping other women be strong, healthy and financially independent. I’m paying it forward by helping others start an online business like mine.

It’s funny … to some people, blackberries are the taste of summer. To me, they’re the taste of success.