Celebrating Women

Women's empowerment

My plan today was to put up a post highlighting accomplishments achieved in February and new “stretches” coming my way for March. In my quest for a piece of clip art I learned that it is Women’s History Month with a specific emphasis on education and empowerment in 2012. This of course has my juices flowing. My passion and purpose in life is to empower women. For me this is exhibited through my work as a nurse helping women with cancer and most recently my involvement with the organization Dress for Success.

The purpose of Women’s History Month is to increase consciousness and knowledge of women’s history: to take one month of the year to remember the contributions of notable and ordinary women, in hopes that the day will soon come when it’s impossible to teach or learn history without remembering these contributions.

Anyway I thought it would be fun to invite my readers to participate in a month long celebration of women’s history.

If you would like to participate you could simply once a week or more often if you choose write a post on a women of history.

Some ideas to get YOUR juices flowing…

Maybe she is one you know a lot about already or perhaps one you would like to dig into a little deeper. My friend over at Stopping the Wind recently used a quote by Helen Keller to get her out of her slump.

Or you could head over to Women’s History Month and check out the daily celebration and write accordingly.

Perhaps my photo blog followers have pictures and stories of women they would like to share…

How about my poetry followers sharing a little on their favorite woman poet…

Or maybe my fellow healthcare/conscience bloggers would like to give health facts important to improving women’s lives…

This may require you to stretch beyond you comfort zone, so be it…

I hope you will join in the Celebration. I will try to have a widget to use soon(no promises here though as it is beyond my current skills).

I will leave you today with this song…

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My Heart Sings

Cover of "Romancing the Ordinary: A Year ...

Cover via Amazon

On Saturday I read a page in the yearly devotional I am using, Romancing the Ordinary, by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Using words, quotes from others and personal testimony Sarah weaves together a page about discovering things that make our heart sing. Cee Neuner posed the question in her Share your World weekly, what makes your heart sing? I didn’t make it to Cee’s party yesterday because I was off celebrating my dad’s 70th birthday however I wanted to share some of my thoughts on this topic today.

Sarah Ban Breathnach says that we can fall in love with anything that feels like part of your destiny. She goes on to tell an amazing testimony about falling in love with rare sheep. Now I don’t think that sheep would do it for me but I am not Sarah. It’s not about the sheep though. It’s about discovering the things that cause my heart to sing. It is in those things that authenticity is found.

Some things make my heart sing forever.

~my wonderful husband, my children, my Savior

Some things for a season.

~a beautiful flower,a friendship, a thrilling adventure

Some things for a moment.

~a songbird, a decadent dessert, the sound of laughter

What causes our hearts to sing is uniquely our own. We can at times miss it though. We can get so caught up in the busyness of life that we neglect to experience the things that may cause our heart to sing. Perhaps it is a new experience and we think to ourselves, I don’t have time for that or it is a stretch in a new way taking you beyond your comfort zone.(need some encouragement on this topic check out Inside Out Café for more inspiration) As the author of the devotional tells us, “What’s important is to realize how much we shortchange our chances for real happiness when we insist on how “it” has to be.”

I don’t know about you but I am wanting to experience real happiness in every aspect of my life. Recently I have done this by discovering new restaurants(Friday night we ate Dim Sum), fellowshipping with people that are outside of my usual circle of “friends”, baking a chocolate cake that I then drizzled real chocolate syrup and whip cream over, riding the Easy Street van which has given me back 2 hours a day(yippee), spending time with our beautiful granddaughter, buying a new DSLR camera. 

What has caused your heart to sing recently?

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A Quick Inventory

What’s new?                                 february

Turned a page on the calendar to reveal a new month. February has taken the stage. A quick inventory of my goals, projects, ideas, drumroll please…looks as though January was a successful month(these are not listed in order of importance).

I managed to get the home office cleaned out of unnecessary 2011 papers AND maintain the organization for a month.

Several new recipes have been created in the kitchen, all with accolades from the partakers. I have started to create a menu and shopping list in anticipation of the upcoming week.

Spent many hours in quiet reflection seeking direction and wisdom for the year. This has given me inspiration for a new personal ministry which I will be pursuing over the next 11 months.

My husband’s new business has launched successfully AND he is now taking a paycheck…woot woot!

I volunteered at my first Tiara Tuesday event for the organization Dress for Success.

Read 3 books toward my annual goal of 20.

Ok those are the highlights, pretty good I think.

What’s new for this month?

Well today I trialed a commuter van. My daily commute is 47 miles each way which takes me no less than an hour door to door. I drive a Prius so I feel I do my part to conserve but the drive is very tiring. There have been some real parking challenges where I work creating a major push for creative commuting. Easy Street is the non-profit van service for commuters. So this morning I drove to a local commuter lot, parked my car and got into a van with a bunch of strangers and headed off to the Insurance City for work. I will admit I was a little nervous. But this soon faded. I sat in comfort and read a book as I was driven to and from work. This is great. I am sold. I just gained 2 hours a day! EASYSTREET_VAN_1

Tomorrow I will begin a class that has interested me for some months now. One of my budding areas of interest discovered on my journey to authenticity is photography. I hope to invest in my own camera in a few month with the money I am saving now that my husband is collecting a paycheck again. Healing though Photography using a book called God Is at Eye Level will help me explore my world behind the lens and require continued stretching outside my comfort zone. God is at eye level

I hope to post some of my assignments as I progress.

I know of a few other stretching exercises I will undergo in the next few weeks but the hour is getting late and my eyes are tired. So until next time…

Discomfort Zone (NoCZ-2012)

Keeping On Track

It’s already the middle of January which means that we are halfway through the first month of the new year. Time for a quick evaluation…am on I track? have I followed through on the commitments I made to myself as I approached the new year?

In  my post A Fresh Start I mentioned a writing challenge I would be participating in daily for 14 days. I have not posted on each of these days mainly because I did not find every days prompt worthy of a note, so I exercised writers discretion. Ooh, I exercised! didn’t even realize or break a sweat sweat!

I did follow through with my daily prayer and meditation commitment. This proved difficult at times as I had some very early work days which required me to get up at 4:30am to keep the commitment. It was a personal fast for me, fasting from sleep, something that I truly love! Real sacrifice.

As those two weeks progressed I felt that I received some pretty powerful insight. What I can share at this time is the season I have entered is not for the fainthearted. I will be challenged at a new level. It is likely to be a time of deep, hard work. I sense there will be RISK involved if I am to move through the process. In other words…I am about to be stretched at a new level…this can only mean that I will see and experience new things and adventures…climbing higher in trust and faith…soaring on the wings of eagles.

Comfort Zone STretchinG

Through much of 2011 the pastor of our small church challenged each of us to volunteer two hours of our time. He came to the suggested two hours through some fancy math of subtracting things like sleep, work, eating, etc..

Over the years I have volunteered in many different organizations. Girl scout leader, softball coach, preschool press coordinator, PTO, room mother, Sunday school teacher. Each of these involved my children. I remember telling friends that by volunteering in the presence of my kids I hoped I was sowing good seed for them to do the same someday.

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Well my kids are big now. Where I sow my volunteer time can take a different shape. I began to pray about this, seeking the right opportunity. Having written my life purpose down on paper more than a year ago I had my guide in hand. If the mission “fit” into my purpose I would be on track, if however it didn’t align I needed to keep on searching.

One day in prayer I was reminded of an organization I learned of a number of years ago. An internet search told me there was an office only a couple of blocks from my office. I reviewed the mission statement and philosophy and found it to be a great match. So I completed the application and hit SEND.

My relationship with Dress for Success has been born.

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The mission of Dress for Success is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

A few weeks after my initial orientation I received an email asking for someone interested in volunteering as a steering committee member for the networking/fundraising event called Tiara Tuesdays. I answered the call. The director called me that day and said…I know its short notice but we are having a evening out tonight to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year, can you join us… Oh, why not? I had a wonderful meal with 7 new fascinating ladies who I trust will become new friends as we work together to grow the project. This past Tuesday I volunteered at my first Tiara event(TT). It was great fun. I met many new people and served a great cause. I am looking forward to the many different opportunity’s I will have to serve as the year progresses.

I am thankful for this challenge. It has reignited my interest to serve in meaningful ways by spurring me on.

A life is not important except in the impact it has on others.
~ Jackie Robinson (1919-72) American baseball player