When I was eight (before confidence peaks for girls in America), I declared I was going to be President, own a school, publish a book like Judy Blume, and circumnavigate the world like Magellan. Ok, I probably didn’t say circumnavigate-but I knew I wanted to see King Tut, the Panama Canal, and travel like Magellan.

Next week, I go back to “my roots” where Little Kristi made this declaration-Dubuque, Iowa. “Remembering my roots” is this week’s MOXIEmoment.

I’ll be on the main stage at the Dubuque Women’s Leadership Network’s conference wearing my “Remember your roots” tshirt-made by a Dubuque and women-owned business-The Midwest Girl.

Remember your roots. Dubuque is where I climbed the Eagle’s Nest, was on the state -qualifying Future Problem Solvers of America’s team, and flipped burgers to save money for college

But to me, “my roots” is not where I grew up or even where I live, it’s words. Words are my roots. Words take me to faraway places, create a safe space for me to be me, and give me a platform to say something.

When I was that eight-year-old girl, I wrote and published my first book “The Funny Boy on the Block.” I remember my mom bought me new magic markers for the class project. It was a big deal! I had trouble drawing hands, so many of my characters don’t have them (I was entrepreneurial even back then!).

My favorite line from “The Funny Boy in the Block” is the last line, “And ever since then, no one ever laughed at him again.” In my book, I wrote about a boy, Pat Funny, who was true to himself even when he was teased, and in the end is what made him the hero.

Words change lives. “She was never going to stand by and say nothing again.” I will never forget Wanda and Maddie’s decision in “The Hundred Dresses.” Eleanor Estes’ words still inspire me and the work I do. This book sits on the shelf of “Books that changed my life.”

And of course, who can forget “We must, we must, we must increase our bust” from “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret?” by Judy Blume. Apparently, it worked.

Words in books I read gave me the Moxie to be me. It’s magical now that my words are inspiring others.

“I’m only on Chapter three, and I’ve already went to HR and reported my boss for harassment, applied for a managerial job that I was told I wasn’t qualified for, so I went to another branch and have an interview on Monday.” Josie, River Lights Bookstore event

“I talked to you during lunch after you spoke and I just wanted to thank you again. After lunch we had an activity where we shared our opinions. After talking to you not only did I share my opinion in my group, but I also was the spokesperson for my group. There were about to continue on without someone from my group sharing so I raised my hand told them I wanted to share my opinion. Thanks for inspiring this new confidence, I’ve never done anything like that before.” Katie, high school student Women in Business talk

“Remember your roots.” These are the words I’ll be wearing when I’m on-stage next week. Words are my roots. They’re the why I’m starting this blog. Why I speak on stage. The why I keep going even after COVID and an impending recession.

What are your roots? What is your why? How will you “remember your roots?”

I’ll leave you with words from the great Judy Blume, “Believe in yourself and you can achieve greatness in life.” To all those who have the Moxie to believe in yourself, this blog and my book are for you.

I see you, Josie. I see you, Katie. And I see you, dear reader. Moxie on! Love, Kristi

P.S. I did see King Tut, the Panama Canal, and sea-kayaked a teeny-tiny bit of the Strait of Magellan.

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