Beneath Your Beautiful Jan 2023

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2 Beneath Your Beautiful Magazine PUBLISHER | EDITOR | DESIGNER Hara Allison PHOTOGRAPHY DESIGN COPY EDITORS Elin Adcock Anne Capellen FRONT COVER ARTIST Patrick Onyekwere Committed to improving lives through raw and compassionate storytelling. BACK COVER PHOTOGRAPHER Belov Evgeny MODEL Nick Be a guest on Beneath Your Beautiful podcast Submit your art + stories to Beneath Your Beautiful magazine hara@BeneathYourBeautiful .org
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As a teenager, when you are unsure of the stability of your world, you will lie, cheat, and literally steal to obtain the things needed in the moment, even if those desires are unnecessary in the grand scheme of things.

For the young man I was at the time, it felt like dire straits. My friends and I would comb through the rich part of town, tucked away in the twelve foot tall hedges on the hills where just outside of that hidden empire of luxurious mansions, foreign cars, and a neatly hidden private school, the street divide between the Bloods and Crips was delineated by the landmarks of a McDonalds, Jim’s Burgers, and Magic Johnson 24-hour fitness facility. We would wait until the deepest dark fell over the affluent area of the community and wander through the streets peering into vehicles, testing the

door handle to see who felt safe enough in their hidden oasis to leave their car unlocked. It may be difficult to believe, but the abundance of opportunities to be a thief were astounding. We would quietly slip into the car, rummage through the glove box, center console, seats, and even the trunk, in hopes of a few dollars or an item that could be sold later the next day to fund our lives. On one particular occasion, as we snuck into an Expedition parked in a half-circle driveway that held a concrete fountain of a goddess as its centerpiece,

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libations in the jacuzzi. Searching through choice to make. Were we going to escalate this petty wrong. But I knew things were about to go too far. It

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Dr. Antonio Harrison is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at the Doctorate level (BCBA-D) and has a MA and Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis. Much of his work focuses on Health, Sports and Fitness, Leadership and Diversity, OBM, and Self-Management. He is a graduate school professor, consultant, keynote speaker, fitness coach in a virtual reality app called Supernatural, podcast host, and has coached varsity high school football for the past fifteen years. Dr. Harrison is a husband and father of 3 boys. He was born and raised in Pasadena, CA.

was at that moment I fully understood the gravity of choice. I knew I was already an adult because I had to fend for myself, and that I would be treated as such based on my actions. “Nope! Fuck that. I’m not taking this car. Let’s get out of here, right now.” Everyone came into their right mind, and we got the

It’s not to say I followed the straight and narrow for the rest of my life - hell, I still struggle with making the “right” decisions at times. But that moment defined how I would navigate the world, forever. I look back now as a 40-year-old

man, married with three boys, and see the impact of my choices throughout the years. I decided to be present in my children’s life instead of having them witness their father living a life of drug addiction and incarceration, like I did from the age of ten. I decided to do something different with my life, career, and personal relationships than did my counterparts. The bios of my closest friends from my childhood read like a state census and statistical evaluation of those growing up in impoverished and underprivileged, drug infested gangland known as the “hood.” One works

is an alcoholic; two are recovering cocaine addicts; one is homeless and on dope; one is a self-identified “gangster” who sells cocaine. One is a writer, and one lost his life due to gun violence. All of the males have children that they either don’t see, or only see on the weekends. With every choice I made then and continue to make now, I keep those outcomes in mind. I love each and every person mentioned above, and still speak to and occasionally see some of them, but I keep them isolated from my current life. I was set up from birth to be a statistic, and

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To learn more about Antonio, listen to Beneath Your Beautiful podcast Episode 39

in some cases I am, as a Black male who has seen the inside of a jail cell on multiple occasions. Yet, I knew one thing was for certain - I did not want that kind of life for myself or my family. Recognizing the power of choice gave me the ability to take control of my life in the most literal sense.

Yes, everyone is born into different circumstances and choices may be limited. Even so, there are options within every framework. I may not have had the option to take over my parents’ business or spend a gap year traveling Europe before college, but I did have a choice between taking a hit of that joint

laced with crack cocaine or heading to the courts to play basketball. I did have a choice to join the gang and chill with my friends on the corner outside the projects or writing a one-man show for independent study and performing it in front of my peers, classmates, parents, and administration. I did have a choice to stay in the area, or to leave home to play NCAA football in a tiny town in the middle of Iowa, hundreds of miles away from the familiar. The point is, my choices may have been limited, but they were mine and I took full advantage of them.

There was an interesting occurrence that was identified through self-

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F+(* ALS!

Self-taught, she has dabbled with multiple mediums – pastels, colored pencils and some India ink, and loves mixing materials and techniques in her work.

Recently, however, Brandy has been faced with a formidable challenge that all but took away her ability to create her beautiful works. In December 2019, she was diagnosed with Amyotrohphic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This progressive neurodegenerative disease has robbed her of the ability to move anything from the neck down, and for almost two years, Brandy thought she was destined never to create a work of art again. Figuratively pinioned, she believed she would be relegated to only enjoying the visual and historical study of art.

But it was the with the assistance of a wonderful speech therapist that Brandy was granted the gift of the assistive devices that are now her exclusive medium. Using an iPad, a wireless head

mouse that moves the cursor when she moves her head and a mouth-activated switch, Brandy painstakingly creates beautiful works of art, reveling in the joy that a true artist feels when they are creating. Having regained the means, Brandy can’t/won’t ever stop drawing again. Since June of 2022, she has created over 400 individual drawings, many of which stand alone, but when viewed in series illustrate her indomitable spirit and her journey with this insidious disease.

“I’ve learned that creativity is a whole-body ability, not just something that pours from one particular part of your anatomy,” says Brandy. “I’ve also learned, if you can let go of convention and complacency, there’s no reason to give up on your God-given talents. No, no, no… there’s ALWAYS another path. Sometimes you must create it for yourself.” She encourages all to “Follow your dreams - wallow in them, so much so the stains will forever be!” «

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Brandy Trigona, 52, has considered herself to be an artist since she drew her first picture at the age of seven – Charles Schultz’s beloved character, Snoopy.
F+(* ALS! F+(* ALS! And then there’s that moment…we astonish ourselves… F*(+ ALS! Beneath Your Beautiful Magazine 11 ARTIST: Brandy Trigona

F+(* ALS!

No matter how deep, and darkly the shadows cast across you…your colors will continue to shine as beautiful, and brightly as always… F*(+ ALS!


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To the ones here, but so “far” away…we feel your love that you push towards us, through your darkness…your light, lights our path on our hardest times… F*(+ ALS!

F+(* ALS!

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F+(* ALS!

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your best
are possible… F*(+ ALS!

F+(* ALS!

Even when nothing else can convey what you need…. your eyes are full of expression, with every gaze… F*(+ ALS!

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In these paintings, I am interested in the human condition and our own purpose of life. We all have the capacity to change how we see ourselves by changing ideas about the rest of the world; you can choose to feel as little as a droplet of water, or as powerful as an entire ocean.

These paintings consist of geometric backgrounds of walls and corners, implying that we can’t know what lies bellow, or behind. A shadow in the painting suggests lights of creation, and darkness speaks to self awareness of the approaching fate –suggesting limits due to mortality.

My aim is to engage, question and to provoke the viewer, never leaving him/her indifferent.

My choice of colours is limited, almost a monochromatic palette, aiming to express more with less. The combination of the organic form of the human body and geometric backgrounds and accidental spills of paint are most exciting for me as a painter; using different mediums such as acrylic, charcoal, pastel, ink – even texture of sand – and sometimes plaster, enables me to express my artistic ability.

The human figure is always painted and drawn from life, then enlarged onto bigger canvas using large brushstrokes, and courage to lose it all… «

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Absurdity is inspired by the story of Sisyphus from Greek Mythology who was punished by the gods by being forced to roll a huge boulder up a hill, only for it to roll back down again, repeating for eternity.
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ARTIST: Tamara Jovandic-Everson

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street scene seen

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From a very young age, Sandro discovered his affinity for portraiture through drawing and inspired by his mother and relatives, he dreamed of devoting himself to art.

At 41 years old, living in Guadalajara Jalisco Mexico, Sandro had the opportunity to buy a camera, which allowed him to make his long-awaited vision come true. The great admiration that he had from his childhood for the homeless motivates him to take his camera and hit the streets: to live with beggars, making them visible to the vast majority of society that ignores them.

Each of the intimate and unrepeatable shots are part of his personal growth.

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Sandro Lauw is a self-taught Argentine visual artist.
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It’s not either/or… it’s both/and. I am a strong, independent woman. I am smart, capable, driven. I am clever: a problem solver. Successful in career. Strong in relationships. Passionately honest. Living purposefully. I am also…

Tired. Emotionally exhausted. Fearful of instability… of finances, of companionship, of professional opportunity. Dented and damaged from past misuse of my life and the carelessness of others that have entered it.

I am whole. Complete. Maybe with the help of some metaphorical duct tape and super glue. But I stand here whole. My soul lacks nothing. All things that come into my life accentuate it. Bless it. But there are no voids to fill by others. I stand here whole.

I am in need. I need meaningful connection to feel truly alive. Connection to my higher power. To people. To nature. To my soul. I am searching. For more. More understanding. More empathy. More compassion. More love.

I have hearty bootstraps and strong arms to pull myself up by them again and again. I can pivot like a pro… adapting and changing to new conditions on the daily. Constantly striving to ensure that not only will I survive each burdening

obstacle, but how will I thrive. I won’t quit. I will find a viable solution… every time.

I am done. Over it. Empty of Pollyanna positivity. I need to collapse. I just want to fall apart for a minute… an hour… a day… a weekend. I can’t take another step, not another step without crying. I need to actualize the magnitude of stress I have been accumulating and let the dam of emotions overflow. Sob, shake, scream.

I am at peace. I feel solid. In my core. Things come into my frame that disrupt and disarm… but I have an underlying

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matter what. And I know it. Deeply. Truly.

I am angry. I have venomous thoughts that attach to people as their actions cross my mind. I am mad at who they are, who they’re not, what they’ve done, and what they haven’t. My frustration festers into resentment. I am stirred up like a fish tank when the rocks have been disturbed. It clouds the waters… my fist clenching feelings make all things less clear.

Book Jessica for your upcoming corporate conference, leadership training, team building or motivational event and learn how to apply simple solutions to complex problems that will change your life!

I have grace and dignity. I take the high road as often as possible. It is a lonely place, but it feels right and good to shed pettiness. I respect myself with my behavior and silently demand that the dignity I have found, earned rather, will not be sacrificed. I respect who I am, and thus I am able to respect those I encounter.

I am a shit show. I am emotional. I am insecure. I question my value and worth. I assume you question my value and worth too. I doubt. I cry. I want to throw a fit like a toddler. I do not know what I am doing, and I will be the first to tell you.

I am with you and alone. I am here and not available. I am put together and falling apart. I am collected and scattered. I am healed and shattered. I am lost and found. I am desperate and hopeful. I am devastated and joyful. I am threatened and safe.

I am BOTH/AND. «

To learn more about Jessica , listen to Beneath Your Beautiful podcast Episode 53 Beneath Your Beautiful Magazine 37
Jessica Bonar

As an artist, I question every life experience as a source of self-knowledge and creative inspiration. The supervision of the creative process in the teaching of drawing allows me to approach the mechanisms of generation and development of ideas, and critically observe the work sequences to help my students optimize creative resources.

This series of drawings shows the subtle essence of human existence. The characters emerge as hybrid creations of the human mind and physiognomy in which the emotional uses formal elements to articulate feelings and moods. Anonymous beings, they only appear as fragile, ephemeral presences, in an instant of temporary existence. The sobriety of black and white and the austerity of pressed charcoal and black chalk allow me to get closer to the feeling that I intend to convey in a coherent and effective way in accordance with the idea of my work. I also find appealing the contrast between the use of a classic technique and a contemporary vision of these images far removed from conventional charcoal representations.

I am always surprised by the process of making a drawing when there is no awareness of how it is going to develop; we do not know the mechanism of generating ideas before they are implemented. It is for that reason that artistic creation helps us to discover ourselves, to be aware of who and what we are and to be surprised by it.

To work without a sketch or preconceived idea also supposes immediacy in the execution. This is a matter of retaining or capturing a peculiar state of mind, a personal feeling that is identified at the very moment it arises. This work approach is interesting because of the spontaneity that derives from the lack of foresight in the execution, but also because of the sensation of surprise and unpredictability that is always present. Each work is a graphic record of an unprecedented mental state that, through material means, becomes visible. «

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Visual artist Pilar Garcia Sanz studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Madrid, training in the fields of drawing, painting, engraving, design and photography.

She further refined her abilities with studies at the Center of Design and Fashion in Madrid at Polytechnic University, the International Center for Contemporary Prints at the University of Vigo and the Menéndez Pelayo International University.

She has taught for 20 years in various educational centers in Spain.

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Shauna Kennedy-Carr

Since then, my mother and I have both battled cancer twice and beat it. Being a survivor and seeing friends battle this disease called me to make a difference wherever I could and get involved with other organizations. I first partnered with the nonprofit organization Rocking for a Cure and their Shirts of Love fundraiser, and have since been involved with Casting for Recovery, Hug Love Save, First Night Spokane, The ISAAC Foundation, and St Joseph Franciscan place to name a few. This experience has educated me in the world of nonprofits and fundraising. I am also an event planner and event florist, so these talents were helpful in what was to come next.

My sister Jessica’s life tragically ended May 1, 2017, murdered as a result of domestic violence. Devastated that we missed the signs, my mother, Judy, sister, Amanda and I all felt compelled to focus efforts into educating people about

domestic violence and raising funds for DV victims. We reached out to the YWCA, Naomi House, and Safe Passage of CDA and asked if we could raise money for the programs they offer. In return, we would come speak at the events to tell others about what they do and why. We were shocked to learn that Spokane has the highest rate of domestic violence in our state and that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced domestic abuse either physically or verbally.

During the prosecution of my sister Jesseka’s killer, we were also alarmed by the light sentencing that the perpetrators of domestic violence murders were being handed out. My sister’s killer entered a plea and was going to get 5 years for brutally murdering my sister. That was not going to fly with me. I decided to create my own nonprofit, Stop the Silence-Changing Lives

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I’ve always thought it was important to give back to the community. My husband and I have been blessed with a successful computer repair business, and we have been able to give back to the community, sponsoring Spokane’s first Race for the Cure.

Healing Hearts. I quickly organized volunteers, family, friends, and anyone who couldn’t sit back quietly and do nothing about this. We organized letter writing campaigns, rallies, and appeared on the news. Our efforts made an impact, and the judge didn’t accept the original plea deal and he was later sentenced to a 10-year determinate sentence with another 10-year indeterminate. Our success with media attention and alteration of the prison sentence led us to our involvement with Team Tina and their efforts for a domestic violence registry. Later, we partnered with the Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Coalition (SRDVC) and the End the Violence campaign.

As of today, Stop the Silence has raised thousands of dollars to give back to our community and we still support the YWCA, Naomi, and Safe Passage. Our partnership with the SRDVC has allowed us to start the Purple for a Purpose campaign in the month of October where local businesses get creative and come up with purple drinks, purple food items, purple hair tinsel, tattoos, facials, yoga classes. All ways to raise more monies and awareness.

Stop the Silence has been able to provide a woman a car with our partners Valley Auto Liquidators. We have provided clothes, furniture, gas cards, groceries and essentials in our go bags and most recently

an emotional support dog for the young son of a woman who recently left a long, abusive relationship.

My sister’s killer could have made different choices that day. I am committed to speaking about and sharing the key factors our family missed about my sister Jessica’s abusive relationship and providing tools and resources for those who want to leave an abusive relationship. We at Stop the Silence-Changing Lives and Healing Hearts are committed to ending domestic violence. I have also spoken directly to abusers as to the impact my sister’s murder has had on our family and community as a result of his actions.

If you are a victim of Domestic Violence, there is help out there. The national DV hotline 800-799-7233 or text 7233. The YWCA has a 24-hour Spokane hot line, text 509-220-3725 or call 509-326-2255. SRDVC web site or our website have resources for those in need.

If you are a Spokane community member or business owner and want to get more involved in our Purple for a Purpose campaign, checkout There are opportunities to make a difference by volunteering or donating to this worthy cause. «

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To learn more about Shauna , listen to Beneath Your Beautiful podcast Episode 37

Her work with Stop the Silence is hugely meaningful. Her sister was murdered through domestic violence and she turned her pain into purpose. She’s also a 2-time cancer survivor, and she supports several nonprofits in connection to that cause. She does a lot… more than I even know!

“There’ll always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need to change your life or you’re the one that’ll change theirs.”

Shauna is the image I see when I think about this quote.

When I met Shauna last year, I was going through a big change in my personal life and wanted to fill some free time giving back. I put the word out to my Facebook friends that I wanted to start volunteering for a new-to-me non-profit. Within minutes, a mutual friend of Shauna’s and mine reached out and this is how I got involved with “Stop The Silence”.

Shauna is a (non-stop) woman with a mission. She lives her life with purpose, largely due to the changes that drastically changed her own life. The loss of her sister to domestic abuse in 2017, changed her (and her family) forever. It could have made her bitter and reserved (and I’m sure there were/are moments of that), but Shauna….she got real loud!

She was determined to make change.

Shauna is always the first person to reach out to someone in need (regardless of her own obstacles). While she’s highly involved in her own cause, she’s consistently sharing and supporting others within the community as well.

I am forever grateful to Heather (our first known friend) for connecting us. And I am especially grateful for the day Shauna invited me to “help her” prepare for an upcoming event for “Stop The Silence”. In the those days leading up to it, I got to learn first hand, who this woman is.

Courageous, kind, determined, dedicated, resilient, honest, talented, beautiful, and loved.

Shauna was the change I needed and it’s been amazing to witness first hand, how she continuously creates positive (beautiful) change for others.

I hope that she always knows just how much she matters.

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Shauna is is a selfless member of our community.

To nominate someone who has made a difference in your life or your community, please send an email to: hara @

Putting herself and her community first is literally what makes me admire her. Being so like-minded in how we treat humans and watching her show up for her city and clients everyday! Thank you for always being a pillar of community, a great event partner and such a wholesome human.

I have known Shauna for over 20 years. She truly exudes love, kindness and compassion. Her support for our community is inspiring. I am proud to be her friend and lucky to witness her strength and drive to help others.

Shauna Kennedy-Carr is a beautiful soul who is so good at listening to and seeing the good in others. She doesn’t just live every day, she cherishes it. The world is a better place because she goes out of her way to make it so, every single day.

Shauna is a person that is a rare treat to encounter in life. Those who get to engage with her unique warm energy are undoubtedly blessed.

Over the last two decades, I’ve often found myself contemplating how I got so lucky to be part of her inner circle. Generally, such pondering occurs as I watch her in action at a benefit or event. Seeing her be an embodiment of humble, charitable giving and love is a gifta reminder of how I desire to show up in life.

It’s not what Shauna does that is impactful. Rather it is in who she is – authentically and vibrantly loving – that creates ripples of positivity throughout our community.

Shauna exemplifies living a life of light. She has personally experienced the darkness that life can bring through illness, loss, grief and death and has always remained the bright light for us all.

She overcomes whatever comes her way with love – love of self and others – that results in unity and progressive momentum towards a better and brighter existence for us all.

And I couldn’t be more proud to call her my friend, my chosen family.

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Pratik Majumder is a professional photographer who started as an amateur photographer and was gifted an Olympus by his granny. He upgraded his cameras as time went on and finally got a Nikon DSLR and went to his favourite and inspirational fashion guru, Somnath Roy’s fashion workshop.

PHOTOGRAPHER: Pratik Majumder
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ballpoint ON POINT

Patrick Onyekwere (b. 1993) is a Nigerian Ballpoint pen artist who is an unwavering believer in the artistic power and universality of art. He uses the medium of drawing in portraying a strong presence and depth of character to explore issues with influence in the formation of personal identity in the contemporary world.

His love for drawing was apparent at a young age, inspired by a children’s dictionary given to him by his father which contained comic illustrations depicting the words. He delved into serious study after receiving his B.Sc in Architecture from Imo State University in Nigeria, and over the years he has mastered the pen and paper, learning how they work in harmony by understanding the individualistic of the stroke and overlapping lines at various angle until a desired form is achieved.

Patrick started drawing professionally in 2015, and began exploring hyperrealism in 2018. 2020 saw the beginning of a series titled “Circles of Hope”, depicting the lives of black men and women as an endless maze, with twists and turns, lulls and delays, eventually falling into place.

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I draw inspiration from identity: how identity plays a role in expression and how a person’s expression affects the way their communication is received by another.

My drawings tend to lure the viewer in the artist experience: inviting them to live in an untold story and take part in the creation of it.

The favourite aspect of my drawing is the eye. They have the power to convey emotions and feelings. They tell so much when you look at them: you don’t just see a portrait, you see much more.

My creative process is a mixture of inspiration and discipline: the inspiration which comes from the subconscious mind tells me what to work on, the discipline keeps me on the drawing board until my thought is achieved. «

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There’s much to this story, but in 2012 my 15-year old daughter left with her dad and never came home again, texing that she appreciated all that my partner and I had done for her but she had decided to move out to live with her dad.

This initiated the most challenging decade of my life. Many people refer to it as parental alienation, although the term is still disputed.

Returning to art has been one of my saviours throughout this past decade. Following my daughter’s departure, I returned to painting. I’d studied for a B.A. Honours in Painting at Central Saint Martins in London and was pregnant with her at the time of graduation. Her birth literally coincided with my first solo show, both such wonderful experiences. However, at the time of her departure I hadn’t painted for a number of years and

portraits were not something I’d really done before, as I expressed my ideas through abstraction.

I enrolled in various classes at the Royal Drawing School in London and joined a local group: a wonderful eclectic group of friends with whom I regularly continue to paint.

A recent piece is a self-portrait “Long Division.” (See page 61) Seen through the glass, the face is reflected on the surface below and forms quadrants that diminish in colour like fading memories, whilst the hands seem to just about hold the space together.

Other self-portraits reflect still unanswered questions.

Additional paintings relating to our separation are nestled within my varied series’ – all of which express the overarching themes of adaptation and transformation. «

The nature of transformation and how we discover meaning from it, is at the heart of Deborah Pearse’s artwork, which is further informed by a background including working as an actress, therapist and tutor.

Within varied series’, she employs both realistic imagery and abstract approaches using predominantly oil paints, the process and layers integrate with the theme.

Whilst studying for her BA Hons. in Fine Art Central Saint Martins, she exhibited at the British

Council in Milan, was selected for the Mercury Music Prize Award CD cover which exhibited in Cork Street. Since then she has exhibited in solo and group shows and sold work both within the UK and Internationally. In 2020 Deborah participated in PAOTY on Sky TV and with Gemini Art Prize in 2021 as well online exhibitions. With artwork featured in magazines including; Seisma, Phi-Art , WOI and an interview with Art Etcetera, Deborah hopes to continue collaborating in arenas related to the arts, philosophy and science.

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ARTIST: Deborah Pearse
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Like most people who start down the biblical journey, it was something I pursued because I wanted to. I would get up extra early before work to read or stay up late at night after the kids went to bed to read my Bible or work through a study. My desire to keep learning and growing ebbed and flowed for the first several years, but, in time, it became a steady part of my life. I began thinking about what it might be like to go beyond a “hobby level” faith to pursue a career in ministry. I had no idea what that meant or would entail. I started working at a church as a middle school youth pastor and, for the next decade, I underwent a transformation. The faith I once pursued in the margins of my life because I could… because I wanted to, had morphed into a faith I pursued because I had to. Now it was my job. My paycheck was attached. People expected things. And even though my heart would ebb and flow, there was a tension inside that felt like I couldn’t let that show. I was now fully immersed in the

blessings and turmoil of being a vocational “man of the cloth.” Over time I was able to advance in the ministry, taking on more responsibilities, and eventually, arriving at the coveted position of senior pastor.

Years into that role, life as I knew it fell apart. After 20 years of marriage, my wife chose otherwise. I had great friends around me and great support from key leaders in our church, for which I am still grateful, but few jobs have your private life on display like the ministry. I’ve heard transparency and vulnerability described like this. “If you’re in your home and your curtains are open here and there and people walk by on the street, they can look in and see little glimpses of you and your life. This is transparency. Then there’s vulnerability. Now you open the door and invite people in. They look around, open drawers, read things, and move about your home as they wish.” Going through a divorce as a senior pastor was like forced vulnerability. Everyone was allowed into my inner private life. It was incredibly difficult and unsettling.

These events led to a sabbatical… a break from everything. I stepped away for several months, began to catch my breath, cleared the fog, and started to think again.

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It was during this time that I wrestled immensely with the tension I felt about being a paid for my work. I asked myself difficult questions and gave myself honest answers. Was I living my beliefs… my faith, or was I living my job? The answers that flowed onto my journal pages and the messages I believed I was receiving were life changing.

It was during that time that I felt moved to think about those around me that are oppressed. “How in the world would I know who is oppressed?” I continued to think differently; I pushed past cliché answers. Until one day at a lodge in Canada, sitting in the quiet, praying and listening, an answer came. Kids. Help kids. They don’t get to choose how their parents spend their money. They have few choices in where they live or how they’re raised. In a perfect world, kids would never fall into the “oppressed” category. But we don’t live in a perfect world. In the days that followed, my vision became more and more clear. My deep faith and my love for others led me to pursue my vision. It had nothing to do with the church. And it had nothing to do with my job as a pastor.

It was through this vision that the dream of Blessing Beds was born. The mission: find kids who are sleeping on the floor and give them a bed. And not some hand-medown, thrift store bed: we would build them high-quality, furniture-grade beds with new mattresses, new pillows, and new bedding.

The truth is, having a dream and bringing it to life are two different things. On one hand, I had so many questions.

How much will this cost? Who’s going to pay for it? How will I find kids that need a bed? What if the parents could afford a bed, but their spending choices were for other things? Despite the questions, I had a real peace that, if this was something I was being “led” to do, the answers would come. My part was to be faithful.

So, in January 2020, I placed this post in a local Facebook group, “Hey, Pullman Area Friends – This is something that has lived in my heart and mind for months and is now ready to get it rolling. This year I am helping bless kids who need bunk beds. If your kids, or someone you know has kids sleeping on the floor or on a mattress on the ground, please contact me.”

That post generated over 500 requests, many needing multiple beds! I was simultaneously excited and panicked! “I can’t afford to build all these!” “What’s next?” Day by day my faith grew, and I decided to just get started.

From that moment, I was blessed with resources, people, tools, lumber and so much more! With the help of some amazing friends, I turned my unfinished basement into a bed-building factory. I began to share the story with my friends and family on social media and support started rolling in from across the country. In the early days we set up an Amazon registry for people to buy mattresses and bedding and they would ship to my house. Within two months, my living room had been converted into a warehouse to store the supplies that people were buying.

A woman contacted me via Facebook

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and said, “I’m watching all this play out on these Facebook groups and you must be overwhelmed. Do you need help?” She built our first website and donation platform and started Google Sheets for sign-ups.

The blessings continued as I was introduced to a graphic designer who fell in love with our mission and designed everything seen at and our social channels – for free.

A young couple I didn’t know well reached out and offered to help. That couple, Zach and Daisy, were “all in,” and in the ensuing months we spent countless hours together… building, sanding, shopping, delivering, and living out Blessing Beds together. Then Wendy reached out to help. They and others who joined the mission early on became a core team and, even better, became friends for life.

Over the next two years Blessing Beds continued to grow and God continued to provide. At one point we were out of mattresses and, due to supply chain issues we were having a hard time finding any. After sharing about Blessing Beds at a local Rotary meeting, one of the members reached out to me. He told me he’d previously owned a furniture store and still had some contacts for mattress manufacturers in Seattle. Another amazing volunteer, Aimee, tracked down the mattress supplier and learned that they were discontinuing the exact mattress we were seeking. They had over 200 of them remaining and were willing to give us a price break. All that sounds great except, even with the discount, the total would be just under $15,000 to purchase the remaining mattresses. The team looked at each other and laughed and Zach

jokingly said, “Well, that’s way out of our league – better tell Thad to ask for divine intervention.” So I did.

About two weeks later a call came from a friend who works at a mortgage company. He’d previously mentioned to me that his company donates money to local charities and offered to ask the owner for a donation. He asked me to stop by their office. As I entered, I could see he had an envelope in his hand and he said, “How would a $1,500 donation sound to you?” Surprised and grateful, “Wow, really, that would be amazing!” He smiled a gigantic smile and handed me the envelope. He continued, “Good! I think you’ll really like this one then!” I opened the envelope to reveal a check for $15,000! I recounted the story to the office staff about how we were at a standstill… unable to afford mattresses and the ones we found would cost $15,000. There wasn’t a dry eye in the office when I left.

There are countless stories of provision, support, and encouragement. It would take a book to share all the stories of friendships made, hopes restored, newfound faith, the inexpressible joy from so many kids, the overwhelming gratitude of the families, and the sheer humility we experience being recipients of divine grace.

To date, 500 kiddos in the Moscow, Pullman, Lewiston, and Clarkston areas sleep in Blessing Beds. And it’s probably no coincidence that we have had about 500 different volunteers serve at Blessing Beds! Now organized as a 501c3 non-profit, we’re eager to continue the Mission. «

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At each stage of life we discover something new in ourselves: how many contradictions we experience, how much pressure from outside, etc… Finding yourself is the most exciting and most difficult journey in this world. Just look inside yourself and listen to the silence.

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into yourself journey

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Natalia Dobryakova is a professional photographer and has been interested in photography since school. The process of developing an image on paper in the light of a red lamp felt like a real miracle. But she became serious about photography after moving to Uruguay. The country has brought some peace and order to her life, and distance education helped her master photography professionally. Natalia’s main mission is to show the beauty of this world through photography: to show both the external and internal beauty of each person who falls in front of the lens of her camera. Natalia believes that true beauty will save the world!

Natalia Dobryakova

MODEL Violetta Gorbashova

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of the bearded men of

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Belov lives in Belarus, an Eastern-European country nestled between Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. His passion for photography began in his school days, although now that he is an adult and has a family of his own, the past three years of pursuing his childhood hobby has grown into a profession.

One of his greatest desires would be to share his past with his wife and daughter, looking through photo albums and remeniscing. This is impossible, as his house burned down with all of the family photos. This may be why he values photography and the creation of memories.

His goal is to give every person he views through his camera lens the opportunity to experience the joy of viewing, again and again, those very happy and intimate moments.

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Vitaliy Lischinskiy



Vitaliy Lischinskiyis a photographer living in Gomel, Belarus. He explores a variety of genres of photography and is not afraid to mix techniques, exploring traditional schools of photography and painting, as well as with avant-garde styles of minimalism, surrealism and expressionism. In this way, he develops his own style of recognizable photography.

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Apoorv Songara

Apoorv songara is a photographer based out of Bombay, India. His work is all about fashion and observational. He likes shooting people and their lives.



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Life had gone stale. I’d failed yet again in love, moved away from everything I knew for a job I was trying hard to embrace, and I was searching, always searching for something. I knew not what. I was unmoored. Rudderless. Falling into some dark nights of the soul. And then there was Jack.

I’d driven hundreds of miles in blinding rain the day he was born. His dad wheeled his bassinet out of the hospital nursery, and Jack’s eyes met mine. I know newborns, having been a neonatal nurse for many years. They don’t hold a gaze, but Jack did. Throughout the entire walk down a long corridor to his mom’s room, Jack and I looked steadfastly into each other’s souls. The earth moved. And so did I, to yet another state where I’d continue to drown in Jack’s eyes. And just like that, I’d stopped searching.

Jack is a young man now, a high school senior, college-bound, a superb athlete, captain of his high-ranking hockey team, a coach of young aspiring hockey players, and academically off the charts. But beyond all that, he is kind, generous, thoughtful, serene, and a born leader. People always say they don’t know where the time went, but I know. All that time

I spent with that little boy by my side, playing, laughing, pranking, reading, dancing, traveling, relishing in our sleepover times, and having silly, goofy, high-energy fun, was time well spent. We made up words that are uniquely ours. I called him my little moonya , because he was the earth, the moon, and the stars to me. He was only three years old when he called a unique lawn ornament he spotted on a walk with me through our neighborhood a bizabay. I called him my bizaboy. He called me his bizagrandma. And now he’s my bizaman. Around the time of his 18th birthday, I told him that I probably shouldn’t call him my moonya anymore. He replied, “Grandma, you can always call me your moonya .” And so I will. He will go off to college somewhere. When that happens I won’t see him often and there will only be occasional phone calls, but there will

A registered nurse, Mary Jane has worked in patient care as well as nursing and allied health publishing for many decades. She has had more than 100 original articles published in magazines, journals, and newspapers. She currently writes continuing education tests for nursing journals. Mary Jane has written two novels, as well as a book of memoirs for family and close friends. She lives in Lafayette, Colorado, where she volunteers at a local food bank and enjoys close relationships with her daughter, Lisa, her son-inlaw, Jaime, and of course her grandson, Jack.

be no more searching. I’m at peace now, thankful, so very thankful for everything I have and everything I feel. I am also kind, loving, and generous, and it’s enough. I am enough.

Yes, Jack is my stairway to heaven, having helped me shape my life, my past, present, and future, into one that is exquisitely worth living. I am no longer defined by having or not having a successful partnership or a home I own. It doesn’t matter. The many

mistakes of my past no longer matter. I am loved and appreciated, by Jack and also by his mom and dad. And that is everything I ever needed. Many years ago, I prayed that I would live long enough to see Jack grow up to be a man. And now I have, and it’s an extraordinary gift. The privilege of being Jack’s grandmother gave me a rudder, a purpose, a sense of self-worth that I’d lost somewhere along the way. Pure love can do that. Especially the love of a child. «

MODEL Jack Davila PHOTOGRAPHER Lisa Davila AUTHOR Mary Jane Janowski

I have learned to accept the fact that I sincerely did the best that I could with the information I had at the time…. Takes forgiveness. To learn the lesson and not pitch a tent…

The decisions I made in the past do not define my present. I am a different person, making the best decision I can with the information I have available today. Living in the shame of the past keeps me in the past. Accepting what was allows me to be present now.

I took power over my story by sharing it with others to help those who may struggle…i not only help others, but I help myself every time

My ex husband was a teacher. He taught me the importance of healthy boundaries and what I did not want in a relationship. He taught me just how much I value peace, calm, and safety. He didn’t mean to, but he also taught me to stand up for myself. Those were hard, painful lessons but I’m so thankful for my life. I’m grateful for my past, present and future.

I change my story by making the best choices I can and moving forward. I am not now who I once was. If you knew me then, you do not know me now.

I stop telling it in my mother’s voice.

My past is an evolution of me at this moment in time.

Evolving; growth, change, transformation, maturing.

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I don’t need to change the story. It happened. I hope I learn from it and move on.

Sometimes your thoughts must be like a Phoenix, restarted again and again.

My story is long and ever-changing, while mostly tragic the time stopped to save some great memories . However trauma has erased most . Things I wanted to be were all stripped when I was 14. Skip ahead it happened again in my 30s . We’re now in the 40s while starting to relearn my nervous system we had another set back . Today I struggle with all things self . We’re supposed to evolve We’re supposed to treasure things that our minds lead our hearts to feel safe and loved . Things I thought I needed have dissolved, what’s left are small sparks like a signal to maybe keep a dream alive, yet this life has thrown me several different ways none have been on any of the same track as before . Our stories change with or without ourselves making all the rules . I will relearn to heal , I will take my lessons (becuase my blessings seem to be slower coming than most) I choose to teach my kids about the real in life in people becuase hopefully one day they can walk around like I never could, confident in their self and truth knowing how to heal ,set healthy boundaries and know when to leave .

I DON’T change the story I tell myself!

I embrace every word of the stories of my past. Every single one of those stories are part of who I am today. I don’t think it’s so much about how we change the stories but what we do with the stories.

I, personally, choose to look at the stories from my past, where I had the most failure, where I was most scared, or where I was the saddest. Those are the stories that I have learned the most from, that I’ve built strength from, where I learned that I must take care of my mental health as much as my physical health. I don’t, however, dwell on these stories, they live high up on a dusty bookshelf. I don’t really pull them out often, as they don’t live here anymore, but they are, however, an important part of who I am today.

If you don’t like the story that you are living in, then close the book, toss it to the side, put it high up on the dusty bookshelves, change your narrative, but don’t forget about the narrative that got you here in the first place. The stories from the past are there, they are etched in your soul, you can’t get rid of it. But you can always learn from it and change it. .

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Cris Telles’ relationship with photography began with curiosity. She had a camera with many features, but didn’t know how to shoot outside of automatic mode. She sought out courses on the Internet, improved her skills and continues to seek intense new challenges.

Photography is present in every aspect of her life, and she is proud to call herself an artist and photographer.a

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PHOTOGRAPHER: Alexandr Shestopalov


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For him, photography exists outside the genre; it is primarily a process of sublimation of feelings and perception. This is an opportunity to talk to people without words - in an accessible and understandable language.

Alexander Shestopalov (Russia) is a visual artist.
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TipThe child of blue-collar workers in Southern California, I was a goody-two shoes in school that got straight A’s. Bullied for many reasons, I wasn’t a popular kid, but I wasn’t a nerd, either. At home, I didn’t feel heard or appreciated. I often spent time alone in my room listening to loud music and being depressed, and there were daily emotional spats with my parents. Extremely unhappy, I moved out of the house immediately upon graduating high school. I took my life savings and put it towards the security deposit and first month’s rent of my new apartment that was in walking distance of the university where I’d been accepted. Shortly after graduating college with a Bachelors of Science in Health Sciences

I married my high school sweetheart, secured a job at a school as an instructional aide and an intervention specialist, and immediate began working on my Master’s Degree in Education. Simultaneously, I was working in a financial services company, providing training for those in the company. It was at this time in my life that I began to delve into personal development courses, and began working what I was learning into the materials I was using at work. During that time, I was incredibly stressed and overworking myself - the overachiever in me was on full blast. I didn’t take care of myself, and I began to

struggle with chronic health issues. After being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and exhaustion, I was placed on bedrest and pain medications. This continued for over a year, and I struggled with a deep depression. Limited in my activities, I dove even deeper into personal development courses, doing the hard work to improve my mindset. Eventually, my health situation improved, but my unhappiness with our marriage was magnified during that time. Due to the financial stress of my illness, my ex-husband and I found ourselves deep in debt, and my life was just not moving in a positive direction. I decided that I wanted more out of my life and was tired of being in a mediocre position.

In 2016 I asked for a divorce, abandoned the financial company I founded, got evicted from my apartment with my dog and began crashing on friends’ couches. I took up a job in food delivery, and was essentially homeless, renting AirBNBs and hotel rooms when I could and sleeping in my car when I couldn’t. I worked very hard to improve my finances and pieced my life back together over the course of the next two years. Eventually, I found myself pregnant and it was physically and mentally rough: I had to take care of myself and work even though I was sick 24/7, but I was getting through it with the most grace possible.

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Tip Meta is a motivational speaker, author and coach. She has been married, divorced, homeless and a single mom. Tip teaches people how to use the story they are living to empower them and require their brain for positivity.

Toward the later part of her pregnancy, Tip was told there was a dangerously low level of amniotic fluid, and immediate induction was recommended. After Kaira’s birth, doctors discovered a condition called marginal cord insertion, where the umbilical cord attaches at the edge of the placenta instead of in the center. Depending on the severity, this type of attachment may result in a less than optimal flow of nutrients from the placenta to the fetus, causing the fetus to develop more slowly.

In Kaira’s case, not only was she born prematurely, but she was born in an otherwise weakened state, without the strength to suckle normally. Before leaving the hospital a mere 24 hours after Kaira’s birth, Tip was taught how to feed her with a syringe, but was never referred to a feeding team, or offered any additional therapies.

The first weeks at home were stressful - Kaira was one of those babies that cried ceaselessly. Nothing soothed her, but her pediatrician couldn’t find a cause during follow-up visits. Tip and Kaira’s father constantly struggled to soothe her, failing most of the time. It was only when she was sleeping that Kaira quieted, and she didn’t sleep well.

It was when she was 2 months old that Kaira experienced her first severe health crisis. Exhausted after a long day of caring for Kaira, Tip took a break to shower while Kaira’s father took over her care. It wasn’t very long before a knock on the bathroom door came, and Kaira’s father told Tip she wasn’t breathing properly. It looked to Tip as though Kaira had fainted and was starting to wake back up, but she wasn’t fully conscious. Concerned, they

immediately rushed Kaira to a nearby emergency room.

By the time they reached the hospital, Kaira started breathing normally. The doctors couldn’t find reason to keep her, so they were sent home, although it seemed to Tip there was something clearly wrong. Worried, she stayed up all night with Kaira, who cried until it seemed as though she lost consciousness. The next day, Tia made an appointment at the pediatrician – this time Kaira arrived at the office limp, and not showing much consciousness at all. Her condition deteriorating quickly, staff called an ambulance.

Although her doctor recognized that Kaira’s oxygen was low, at 70%, she waited for the paramedics to arrive and by the time they did, it had returned back to normal, so they didn’t put a mask on her either. Kaira was whisked off to the nearest children’s hospital, where it was discovered that Kaira was having silent seizures, and there was new and old blood in her brain. She was moved immediately to the PICU for treatment.

Placed on four seizure medications, nothing seemed to be working. Kaira was having continual seizures, occurring every five minutes. After four days, the neurologist came in to tell Tip that if they couldn’t stop the seizures, Kaira wouldn’t make it. A desperate Tip made a plea on Facebook, asking for prayers. That post reached over 20,000 people in various groups, and miraculously that very day, Kaira’s seizures stopped.

After a week in PICU, Kaira was moved to the neurology floor where she stayed for another week before the doctors started

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talking about discharging her for home. But Tip’s horror wasn’t over - on the day she was to be discharged, a child abuse specialist ordered a retinal scan to be performed on Kaira. The test results showed evidence of Kaira having possibly been shaken. Police and social workers interviewed Tip and Kaira’s father separately – her first, then him. He was arrested immediately after his interview, having admitted to injuring Kiara.

It was decided that pending an investigation, Kaira should also be removed from Tip’s custody for her protection. Investigators felt that Tip was “not taking the situation seriously as she seems too calm and is still nice to the nurses.” They did not take into consideration that Tip has years of personal development training in controlling her state, and that people react differently when faced with stressful situations.

When Kaira was released from the hospital she was sent into foster care, and Tip was allowed to see her for a mere 12 hours a week, meeting at a local McDonald’s five days a week for a couple of hours. After court delays, two separate foster families and the concluded investigation, Tip was finally able to bring her daughter home.

Once she was returned to her mother’s care Kaira became a totally different child, seemingly more alert and no longer lethargic. But Tip was still concerned about Kaira’s health, as it appeared to her as though the top of Kaira’s skull seemed to be “dented inward”. Further testing was performed, and when she got the results back, Kaira’s pediatrician immediately scheduled a same-day appointment to see

a neurosurgeon. It was discovered that Kaira’s skull had fused together incorrectly, and that it was too late to correct with surgery. Told that her daughter would be a vegetable and would have no personality or motor functions, Tip brought her daughter home once again, this time with a bleak prognosis. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy, spastic quadriplegia, cortical visual impairment, autism, microcephaly, global developmental delays and traumatic brain injury, it seemed as though Kaira would continue to suffer from her physical maladies.

However, after two years of therapies and adaptive physical education, Kaira is 4 years old and is succeeding in pre-school. Developmentally, Kaira has made vast improvements - Kaira is able to speak a few words and she loves to sing. Able to sit up on her own and having some use of her hands, she has even learned to walk with a walker! She’s been described by her teachers as sassy and a hard worker, and it seems that things are finally looking up for this tenacious little spirit.

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I’ve often been asked how I have managed to stay positive, even after all the crazy life events I’ve experienced. I have spent years working out how to get myself back into a positive mindset, and the focus of my practice is how to help people get back to happy after negative experiences. I finally realized that many of the challenges I have faced were the result of my own bad decision-making. Filled with negativity and self-limiting beliefs that led me down unfulfilling pathways, I realized that the decisions I was making were made while viewing life through “dirty lenses”. Once I realized I needed to clean those lenses, I could make decisions from a clearer viewpoint.

We all have bad days where the lenses get a little dirty, and this might lead us to make a bad decision on that day. Most of us deal with the consequences of that bad decision and move on. But what happens when we make 5 years, 10 years, 20 years of bad decisions because our lenses were dirty? It all adds up, and our life becomes an accumulation of those decisions. I certainly have made my fair share of bad decisions, but now I feel they have been outweighed by all the good things, the life lessons that were learned. Through life’s ups and downs I’ve learned how to be a lotus in a pond of mud and scum, and have found those beautiful rays of light that shine through the darkness to sustain me. «

To learn more about Tip, listen to Beneath Your Beautiful podcast Episode 90

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platonic love

want you to be here with me but you are on the tv love you more and more and you don’t know that I exist at all

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POET Lea Josefin Bratislava, Slovakia Photo by Dave Herring

A UNIQUE Valentines gift for a loved one!

In the Febuary issue, (published on February 1, 2023), printed for a lifetime reminder, purchase a beautiful LOVE NOTE for anyone you admire: partner, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, friend. Even write an anonymous Valentine!

DEADLINE: JAN 10, 2023

Choose from one of 4 sizes:

1/6 page, no photos $ 50 roughly 250 characters with spaces

1/3 page, 1 photo, $ 90 roughly 350 characters with spaces

1/2 page, 1 photo, $130 roughly 500 characters with spaces

Full page, 2 photos, $ 250 roughly 750-850 characters with spaces

Send an email to with your words and image(s), if applicable, and we’ll send a link for payment.

Limited amount of space available. First come, first serve. Beneath Your Beautiful magazine reserves the right to reject inappropriate content.


Beneath Your Beautiful won in the following categories of the 2022 International Positive Change Podcast Awards:

» Self Help 1st Place

» Health & Wellness (Mental Health) 1st Place

» Personal Journal 2nd Place

» Inspiration/Motivation 3rd Place

Podcasters from around the world submitted their work to the International Positive Change Podcast Awards. As a way to recreate a true listening experience, each podcast entry is judged by six judges who listen to several episodes in their entirety. Patricia J. Rullo, founder of the awards, says, “while this involves a lot of time, we feel it is the only way to really listen, hear, and ’get’ the nuances of the podcast. All judges commit to a set of standardized criteria to evaluate the quality of the content as well as production aspects. Only entries with the highest of scores are awarded the coveted Positive Change Podcast Award.

“Podcasts, at their best, feel like a fireside chat with someone you trust and can totally relax with, while also gaining insight on things that matter most to you. This has been my experience with Hara. She naturally creates a warm, inclusive space and asks thoughtful questions on behalf of her audience that reinforces the fact that she has their best interest at heart. Her passion and dedication to her many crafts speak to her mission-driven life!”

Gina Hatzis Too Much Woman Movement

To learn more about Gina, listen to Beneath Your Beautiful podcast Episode 22

As a young child, my Dad would always tell me, ‘You never know who's watching, so do your thing.’ It's served me well as I navigate this world. I keep this in mind, feeling gratitude when people like Hara see me, the real me, and provide such wonderful opportunities like being on her podcast or having a feature in her magazine. I am forever grateful, Hara, and just so you know, I see you too!”

Dr. Antonio Harrison Supernatural’s Coach Doc

To learn more about Antonio, listen to Beneath Your Beautiful podcast Episode 39

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