Reflections on "Daughter of the Heartland" by Hannah Lyon

August 4, 2020

"This is so cool!" That was the thought that kept coming back to me throughout the exclusive online event NeW hosted with Senator Joni Ernst at the end of the July Book Club.

Participating in NeW’s Summer Book Club was such a unique and enlightening experience. I enjoyed coming together with conservative women from across the country to discuss conservative thoughts and freely express our opinions. And the opportunity to hear from the Senator who wrote the book herself and personally ask her questions made the experience even better.

In July, members of the NeW Network read Daughter of the Heartland: An Ode to the Land That Raised Me, a memoir by Senator Joni Ernst. The book describes the life of Iowa’s first female Senator, including her upbringing on a farm, her service and leadership in the Army and the National Guard, her life trials of domestic violence and a toxic marriage, running for public office, all leading up to her current work in the Senate.

The book outlines her key life focuses - Home, Service, Leadership, Commitment, and Grit. Reading the book was an inspiration to me as a college student and a young woman looking forward to a future career. It challenged me to evaluate my conservative values and how I can further those values in my life’s work. The book reminded me that service to others is one of the most noble life callings, and the heart of the American Spirit.

The Senator's story encouraged me to persevere no matter what life throws at me or what challenges I am going through. Senator Joni Ernst is truly a great example of an empowered conservative woman to both admire, follow, and imitate.

Karin Lips, President of NeW, and Senator Joni Ernst, during the NeW Summer Book Club online event.

The opportunity to discuss the book with other conservative women was amazing, as well. NeW provided a forum to discuss the themes of the book with others, as well as to hear from the Senator herself. I loved hearing from Senator Ernst. Her joy and grace were obvious in the way that she spoke and responded to questions from young conservative women attending the webinar. The Senator thanked each of the women for their questions, remembering their names and giving them compliments and personal advice. I greatly appreciated the opportunity to hear from her, to ask questions, and to not just read a good book, but engage with the material and the author in a personal way.

The July Book Club was an opportunity that I am so thankful for. I really learned a lot and was challenged by the material, as well as inspired by the author. One thing that she said really stuck out to me, and that is, “Our nation is still the greatest nation on the face of the planet. You cannot find this level of opportunity anywhere else.” I truly am thankful to live in the United States, where I can know and learn from such selfless, compassionate, inspiring, and empowered women such as Senator Joni Ernst. I am thankful to the Network of enlightened Women for the chance to hear from such incredible women first-hand.

This blog was written by Hannah Lyon, NeW Summer Intern.

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