It’s the quintessential American idea of resilience: pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps.
But that metaphorical action may be harder than it once was, thanks to an economy that remains tough in many areas.
When Michigan native Mardi Jo Link separated from her husband back in the summer of 2005, she was left with three boys and just enough money to buy day-old bread from the bakery.
Link had to somehow make the single parent life work while dealing with debt and trying to save her 100-year-old farmhouse.
Fortunately for her, she made it through the situation, and it inspired a memoir called Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass On a Northern Michigan Farm.
She says she wanted to save the family's farm because that's the life she wanted as a child.
"I wished that I had open land and farm animals and the smell of hay and all of that," she says. "And that’s what I wanted for my kids and I think I was not willing to give that up."
Link lives in northern lower Michigan, and she spoke with Lake Effect before an event last month.