Category Archives: Authentic women
Some weeks ago I posted Pauline Hager’s ‘tale’ about the power of a smile. This posting is about the power of dance and how it brings joy to both participants and observers.
Although dance styles can be as varied as the people who perform them, the desire to dance seems to permeate all human societies across the globe.
And here is the special power of dance: It can rise above cultural, political, economic and religious differences to transmit happiness to those touched by it. It helps people from diverse backgrounds feel connected by the common bond of being members of the human race.
The video I’m about to share has a similar “feel good” feeling. Matt Harding put this video together while dancing in the streets of many different countries with the people who knew those streets best – those who lived there. Matt explains why he thinks travel is important. “It helps us learn what we’re capable of, that the path laid in front of us isn’t the only one we can choose, and that we don’t need to be so afraid of each other all the time.” It’s hard to watch his video without smiling, so do take a moment to make that click on the link below to watch it. Not only will it make you smile, but it will make those around you smile as well. Remember, happiness is contagious.
Beauty Without . . .
What’s Your Passion?
Something simple as a smile can truly make your day. Sometimes, the recollection of one special smile can last a lifetime. I have never forgotten an incident that happened to me in Bulgaria many years ago. It was nothing earthshaking, simply a smile from an old woman. The rotund old woman, hunched over and dressed completely in black, sat on a lone chair against the wall, staring into space. Whatever her thoughts, it was obvious they were not pleasant. I was standing in a long line, waiting to use the public restroom in a small wooden building adjacent to a rustic-style restaurant. I had just finished lunch at this Eastern European restaurant, a few miles from the ancient village of Arbanas, Bulgaria. To pass the time waiting for our turn into the toilet room, we women chatted with each other about our trip. Occasionally I would glance over at the white-haired woman. She looked so forlorn. As women came out of the toilet room, they rushed by, completely ignoring her. No one was tipping her for keeping such a clean room. I’ll have to admit, I did the same.
As I returned to the waiting bus, I had second thoughts. Guilt gnawed at my conscience. The tour guide had informed us that many retired people must continue to work although they collect a small pension, but it is not enough to survive. Many resort to begging. Since there was plenty of time before boarding, I decided to return to the restroom. She was still there. I walked over to where she was sitting and stood in front of her. She looked up at me with a quizzical look in her sad eyes. Then she saw my outreached hand . . .
STORY CONTINUES IN
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pauline Hager is the author of two books, Memoirs of an American Housewife in Japan and Giorgi’s Greek Tragedy. Pauline and her husband have traveled extensively in the states and overseas. She writes about her travels and submits them to a monthly e-newsletter FoxandQuill. In addition to planting and maintaining miniature plants in their garden railroad, Pauline loves to write, read books, travel, and walks two miles daily. A native of Massachusetts and a graduate of The University of South Carolina, Pauline is a long time resident of Southern California and writes from her home in La Jolla, California. Meet her on Facebook.
The resourceful women of Rwanda have learned the craft of basket weaving at the knee of their mothers and grandmothers. For generations they have been creating intricately designed baskets for both utilitarian and decorative purposes, in assorted shapes and sizes.
Many of you may recall the horrors wrought by the 1994 Rwandan civil war which left the country in ruins and it population of approximately 11 million in abject poverty.
Tracy and Greg Stone are a couple who decided they could make a difference. By created a non-profit organization to help address the many needs of these people, the basket weavers were helped to expand the markets for their beautiful woven products to far beyond Rwandan borders.
The proceeds from these baskets have enabled the African weavers to provide their families with basic necessities of food, clothing and health insurance and to pay school fees for their children. Raskess for Love and Healing is a wonderfully inspiring story of Making a Difference – One Person at a Time.
You will meet the unspoken hero to this story soon.
This story will continue in the Tales2Inspire™
Lois W. Stern is the author of two award winning books about different aspects of aesthetics (physical beauty): Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery and Tick Tock, Stop the Clock ~ Getting Pretty on Your Lunch Hour. Beyond those topics, Lois is committed to writing short stories to touch the soul – stories that she calls her inner beauty “tales”. Suspecting that many writers who don’t have a enough inspiring stories for an entire book, might have one fabulous “tale” to share, she set out to find out . By initiating the TALES2INSPIRE contest as an “authors helping authors” project, Lois hopes to provide authors with a platform for building their own fan base, with the opportunity to have their work published in a short story anthology.
Please take a moment to visit my NEW Facebook Author page and LIKE it.
Thanks so much,
A Vietnamese woman who was suffering with a rare aging disorder has finally had corrective surgery.
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Mai was first diagnosed with Werner syndrome at aged 10, but because of her parent’s financial constraints, was unable to undergo the necessary treatment. By age 28 not only did Nguyen have the appearance of a 70-year-old, but was having difficulty walking and was experiencing other health issues.
Last month the 28-year-old underwent plastic surgery to restore her appearance following a consultation at China Medical University Hospital in central Taiwan.
Through a translator Nguyen says: “I feel like I am being reborn and there are hopes in my life again.”
Live in Beauty, Nguyen.
Beauty Without . . .
What’s Your Passion?
If You Are a Woman, Nurture Those Girlfriends Relationships
At an evening class at Stanford, the last lecture was on the mind-body connection – the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman, whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.
Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this quality “girlfriend time” helps us to create more serotonin – a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings, whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going.
Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings? Rarely.
Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.
There’s a tendency to think that when we are “exercising” we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged—not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking!
So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! We are indeed very, very lucky. Sooooo… let’s toast to our friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it’s very good for our health.
Forward this to all your girlfriends – and stay in touch! Thanks to all the girls in my life who have helped me stay healthy, happy, and feeling very loved.Life isn’t about surviving the storm but how you dance in the rain.
I always welcome your feedback, so if you have a comment please don’t be shy, add it to the Comment box..
Beauty Without . . .
What’s Your Passion?
Tall as a model, Jaclyn was svelte with rich black hair complimented by chocolate brown eyes bright with laughter. Popular in school, she dated the team quarterback, but soon found herself pregnant and unwed. Joining the ranks of teen mothers, at sixteen she welcomed a beautiful baby boy. After graduation she sought out full time employment,bypassing college altogether.
Acclimating well in the workplace, she made friends easily with co-workers and supervisors. Vivacious and fun loving, Jaclyn eventually paired herself with, “the man of her dreams,” who just happened to be in upper management. Spending pleasant days and nights together, she grew to believe she was as important to him as he was to her.
Three months into the relationship she discovered her pregnancy. With a two-year-old son already, another child wasn’t something she looked forward to. Breaking the news to her lover, she quickly shared her plans to terminate the pregnancy. Declaring undying love, her lover encouraged her to marry him and hesitantly, she made them one big family.
Ten days into their nuptials, Jaclyn was fired from her job and forced to become a stay-at-home mom. Verbalizing her discontent, her new husband slapped her across the face with such intensity she slammed into the ground. Before she could respond, he dragged her by the hair across the floor, flinging her across the bed before ripping her pants off and raping her repeatedly. To all appearances, he saw nothing wrong with his actions. Jaclyn knew down deep that it was wrong, but she was eighteen, he was thirty-five, and she had another child on the way.
Escalating, the hitting turned into daily beatings. Anger is a powerful thing, and when it’s crackling in the air, the line between reason and emotion is likely to get blurred. Unconcerned about her condition, he justified his behaviors by telling her, “If you would do what you’re told, I wouldn’t be forced to discipline you.”
After giving birth to a beautiful baby girl she thought things would improve, the miracle of life renewing itself and all. But they didn’t. With two small children now, Jaclyn felt as if there were no options open to her. Black eyes, busted lips, and bruised body had taken a toll on both heart and spirit. Isolated from family and friends, life had become nothing more than survival.
Hundreds of beatings and two years passed only to find her unhappily pregnant again. He was sorry–always sorry. Jaclyn despised her life, fantasized about death, and found hope in the obituaries inspired by the knowledge that death does come eventually. Miserable as she was, she stayed for the love of two children she could never leave behind.
Early one spring morning, one black eye swollen shut, Jaclyn risked calling her parents for help. “You made your bed now you can lay in it!” Her father shouted the words at her before slamming the receiver down. Despair washed over her, agony gripping her insides and buckling her knees. No. Her father saw her pregnancies as “her fault, always the woman’s fault.” Both parents distanced themselves farther away from her. Wallowing in misery, she began hiding money all in hopes of saving enough to pay for a tubal litigation. If it’s the woman’s fault when children are conceived, then the woman has a right to severe her own fertility. During her last prenatal visit, Jaclyn arranged for the procedure, setting plans for future change in motion.
Just days after the birth of her new son, Jaclyn told her husband, “I hate you with every bone in my body.” With powerful fists he slugged her, propelling her across the room like a rag doll. Smiling, she said, “Are you done?” The physical violence escalated. While Jaclyn endured the beatings, she stashed every penny she could. No matter how long it took, she was going to take her children and leave, one way or the other.
The familiar bland look that had begun to spread across her husband’s face looked too smug for her liking, and she felt her anger spike to new highs. With determination born of blinding rage, Jaclyn stood up to him, openly defying his orders. He hit her because he found dust on the coffee table, a dirty dish in the sink, a laundry basket of unfolded clothes. Locked in a silent standoff, tension crackling between them, each one waiting for the other to retreat, a determined Jaclyn stood her ground gripping a roll of pennies in each fist. When her husband threatened to hit her, she gripped both rolls and pounded back. There wasn’t a chance in hell she was backing down–never again. Her children and escape took precedence.
Flipping through a magazine while waiting in the pediatrician’s office, it fell open to a picture of a battered woman. “This could be me!” All she needed was to look in the mirror for confirmation. What did that mean? Reality seemed to be lying in tatters around her feet, and she didn’t know how to reassemble it. Words on the page sprang out at her: “Domestic violence, sexual assault and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other…violence can be criminal and include hitting, shoving…Anyone can be a victim!”
Jaclyn had been in an extremely abusive relationship for seven years, never recognizing it for what it was. Gutting it out day after day, her self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth were destroyed. Resigned to her fate, hate and bitterness warred inside her heart and soul. Withdrawing into herself, she subconsciously built a force field around her, numbing down her emotions to the point where she wasn’t able to feel or think beyond the day-to-day survival. In spite of the abuse, she had stayed for her children.
When the nurse called her back to the examination room, she settled the children and erupted like a volcano. She had to speak out. This was exactly what she had to do. She let her words and her certainty settle into her bones, washing away her fear of sharing secrets, leaving determination in its wake. When the flood of words subsided, silence fell like a blanket over the room. With assistance from the clinic staff, Jaclyn and her children entered a women’s shelter.
Haunted by her violent memories, Jaclyn struggled with depression and anxiety, both clinging to her like lint on a black sweater. Looking at her children, seeing the fear etched in their faces pulled her up, allowing her to rally. The staff connected Jaclyn and her children with support services. Therapy and anger management classes filled their days. As soon as Jaclyn acquired positive coping skills, the staff assisted her in finding employment, daycare, and housing. Independent now, her family is stronger, more confident.
When asked about her ordeal, Jaclyn encourages other victims to educate themselves about domestic violence. It is possible to change your life–but only you can do that. No one deserves to be emotionally, physically or sexually abused. In her own words, “I found a hero inside myself I never knew was there. I was able to fight back, move forward, and never look back.”
For more information, or for those seeking help in combatting domestic violence, please click here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Debbie A. Heaton has been a licensed therapist for more than twenty-six years with a background in mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence. Currently working with families and children, she specializes in behavior modification. Heaton is the author of the multiple award winning novel, The Haunting of Wolfe Haven, is a member of both The International Women’s Writing Guild and the Paranormal Romance Guild. Heaton resides in Southeastern Arizona where she enjoys hiking with her dog and reading. She serves on her local Library Advisory Board promoting early childhood literacy.
We welcome your review of this story in the Comment box below. Your name and credentials will be included with any review we post on Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s highly respected Book Review Blog under the TALES2INSPIRE banner.
Beauty Without . . .
What’s Your Passion?
Meryl Streep May Not Be Young, But Does It Really Matter?
Have boomers finally succeeded in blurring the line between young and old? Sometimes talent and inner attributes really can trump physical beauty. Three cheers for Vogue Magazine! Their latest cover might make a loud and clear statement, but I wonder if this could be the beginning of a new trend. What do you think?