Meet a Shero who Spreads Beauty & Joy

We can’t get enough of our everyday sheroes — from the amazing momprenuer who started her own bakery to the inspiring momprenuer, Laura, you’re about to meet.

What do all of these inspiring supermoms have in common? They go above and beyond to selflessly serve others. For Laura, that translated to starting Project Joy in loving memory of her husband, an organization that helps provide food to kids in need. When she’s not busy being an extraordinary mom of five and grandma of two, you can find Laura discovering new beauty through her lens. In case we forgot to mention, she also happens to be a talented photographer.

What does being a shero mean to you?

I feel like there are so many sheros in the world. They might not wear a cape or have a distinguishing title next to their name, but they are doing amazing things every day. They’re single moms holding down multiple jobs to provide for their children or taking on extra shifts to help meet the needs of their family. They’re moms juggling a circus while their husbands are deployed or raising a child with special needs. They’re also grandmas helping raise their grand babies and foster moms taking in someone else’s child to love.

Every shero has a superpower — what’s yours?

Oh goodness…if I have a superpower I hope it’s the ability to see others and meet needs, to spread JOY and kindness, and hopefully, leave the world a better place

What inspires you to serve others in the community?

My husband had a huge heart for serving and giving to others. We did a lot of things to volunteer together as a family but he was definitely the catalyst. When he passed from brain cancer, I wanted to do something that would honor his memory and provide a legacy for my children and grandchildren. In November of 2012 we started Project JOY and made it our mission to raise awareness and help fight childhood hunger in our community. We didn’t want to let cancer rob us of our JOY so we put our grief into action. We raised money for Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Banks Backpack program, which currently serves over 1000 children every Friday in 16 different school districts The children receive a bag of food that will help sustain them over the weekend. We can feed a child for under $4 a weekend. That’s less than most people spend on a cup of coffee a day!

What have you learned from your community service?

I think that giving back has taught me to see beyond my own little corner of the world. Helping others always takes something from you (time, money, getting out of your comfort zone), but in it’s place you get the satisfaction of helping others, meeting new people, learning new skills or traits about yourself that you didn’t know you had. 

Being a collective of moms ourselves, we know it comes with its share of challenges and hardships…where do you find your courage to overcome the mom hurdles?

I’m a Mom to five amazing children who range in age from 30 down to 18. My youngest son has Down syndrome. Being forced into the role of single parent hasn’t been easy. You have to learn to deal with your own grief while trying to navigate the feelings of five very individual children. My hurdles often are the feeling of doing this alone….am I enough?  

You’re such an inspiration to so many others…who inspires you?

I can’t think of a better definition of shero than my own mom. She has been the epitome of selfless love my whole life. She was thrown into the role of parenting my children through years of medical treatments for my husband and did so with such love. I could never have been able to be the caretaker I was for my husband if I didn’t have the support from my mom (and dad) back home.

You have a great eye for photography and it carries over to your personal style. What lens do you look through when you get ready for the day?

As women I think we often compare ourselves to each other. You know the little voice in your head that says “I wish I was 20 pounds lighter” or “I wish these gray hairs would slow down. But, I am now reminded how very precious life is and how my “wishes” would seem petty to someone else so I try to look through the lens of choosing JOY as the start to my day and I look through the lens of how my grandchildren see me.

What is one thing you do to give back to yourself?

Wake up early to go watch the sunrise over Lake Superior. I don’t do it nearly often enough but that is one of my favorite things to fill me up.

Can you share some “Shero” wisdom?

Be the best version of yourself….don’t allow the little voice in your head tell you that you are not enough. Find something you are passionate about that helps make the world a better place and be the voice or hands and feet to make things happen. We all have a calling in us….we just need to find out what that is and then go out and do good!

To learn even more about Laura, check out Duluth Moms Blog and don’t forget to recognize a shero by tagging her on Instagram and telling us why for your chance to win a $1,000 #shero shopping spree for you and a friend to share.