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Exclusive: Beta Sigma Chi Christian Sorority, Inc.

The Power of Truth by Kathy Jimerson

Meet The Cast of “Espejito, Espejito”

Our EmPOWERing Editorial Staff Lisa M. Baldwin, Founder, Editor in Chief, & Contributor Ceanti Aldridge, Managing Editor, Layout Artist, & Contributor Patricia Smith, Photographer Our EmPOWERing Contributors Kelly Ramsey Jahnel Aska-Profit Doyle Winn Jr. Tamara Walker Kathy Jimerson Teara J. Flagg Marquise Miller Elizabeth Miller Richard Baldwin Shondale Hurst

Visit us at Email us at Like us &

About US EmPOWERed Magazine aims to inform, enlighten and inspire our readers through articles written from the heart, yet from different perspectives. The heart of EmPOWERed is to inspire and propel readers to excel despite circumstances and obstacles. Each one of us holds a piece of who He is in our hearts; as we come together in authentic community, sharing and empowering one another with our stories and resources we become a mosaic expression of that heart. EmPOWERed was birthed out of the love of writing and the desire to influence readers in a creative expression of God who has uniquely designed each one of us for our destiny the Editor in Chief, Lisa Baldwin, who is a published author, Director/ Writer of Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, and Espejito, Espejito (the Spanish version) stage-play addressing the effects of Domestic Violence and free-lance writer and editor. Our desire is that through these articles and resources you find encouragement and hope. Truly these are ALL His stories – just our lives. We are humbled at the opportunity to be His voice into the windows of your eyes and heart as you go on these many journeys with us. The expression of who He is – is as different in all our lives as it is in yours as well. Our prayer is that while reading our stories and hearing our heart you experience moments of laughter, tears, and inspiration as you buckle up your seatbelts and get ready to be EmPOWERed!!!

Table of Contents On the Cover: A Family of Non Profits

In This Issue: Life EmPOWERment” EmpowHER by Teara. J. Flagg, M. Ed. Health and Fitness

OGTFO! Get Your Mind Right! By Ceanti Aldridge Beauty and Style

Summer Body Work! Part 2 “Bacne” by Jahnel Aska-Profit Finances

“The Miller-Baldwin family is proud and gleaming with pride as it continues to EmPOWER and impact communities.”

Children and Finances from Tinker Federal Credit Union You Don’t Have to Retire Broke—Helen Rambo, MBA Family Life and Parenting

Exclusive Interview with Members of Beta Sigma Chi Christian Sorority, Inc. “I knew that God was calling me to a different path.” Beta Exodus Chapter President Khia Glover

The Power of Truth by Kathy Jiumerson Meet the Cast of Espejito, Espejito

The Involved Parent by Mom RN Parenting with a Purpose Part 2 by Kelly Ramsey

Spiritual EmPOWERment: Soul Food—articles with content that will nourish and feed the soul

The Three Lies Christians Tell by Lisa Baldiwn

Spotlight! Special Light Shone on Community Activism, Entrepreneurs, Musicians, etc. Entrepreneur of the Month:

Shondale Hurst of Women

Causes VOTE 2012! 35 Ways to Help the Homeless Give Me My Flowers Initiative

Entertainment From A Single Man’s Perspective with Doyle Winn Sports with Richard Baldwin

Saturday, October 06, 2012 Old John Marshall High School N McKinley Ave & NW 91st Oklahoma City, OK 73114 FREE!! Gates open at 10am - Rain or Shine While Supplies Last • All are welcome • No I.D. required Groceries* Kids Zone* Haircuts* Health Fair* Job Fair* Lunch* Family Portraits Live Entertainment *Community Services 

loveokc.convoyofhope.oreg 405-748-0228

35 Ways to Help the Homeless

Look for more ways to help in the October issue of EmPOWERed Magazine

Here are the numbers six through nine of the thirty-five ways to help the homeless according “Just Give,” the online charitable giving website. EmPOWERed Magazine wants to challenge our readers to put one of these helpful tips or one of the five from last month’s issue into practice! Let’s all work together to impact the lives of the homeless in our community! 6. Buy Street Sheet - This biweekly newspaper is sold in almost every major American city and is intended to

help the homeless help themselves. For every paper sold, the homeless earn five cents deposited in a special savings account earmarked for rent. 7. Bring food - It's as simple as taking a few extra sandwiches when you go out. When you pass someone who

asks for change, offer him or her something to eat. If you take a lunch, pack a little extra. When you eat at a restaurant, order something to take with you when you leave. 8. Give money - One of the most direct ways to aid the homeless is to give money. Donations to nonprofit

organizations that serve the homeless go a long way. 9. Give recyclables - In localities where there is a "bottle law," collecting recyclable cans and bottles is often the

only "job" available to the homeless. But it is an honest job that requires initiative. You can help by saving your recyclable bottles, cans, and newspapers and giving them to the homeless instead of taking them to a recycling center or leaving them out for collection. If you live in a larger city, you may wish to leave your recyclables outside for the homeless to pick up -- or give a bagful of cans to a homeless person in your neighborhood. Tips from to

The Three Greatest Lies Christians Tell By EmPOWERed Magazine Editor in Chief Lisa J. Baldwin 1. God told me to do _________... Did God tell you? Or did your wants, needs, and desires override God’s will and purpose?

2. That Old Devil, he caused this or that... Did the devil cause it or did your poor choices or failure to trust and believe in God and His word. I’ve even heard Christians blame the devil for electronic mishaps. Did the devil really do it? Or could it be a malfunction or improper use of the equipment.

3. I'm a Christian my Faith is ENOUGH... Example: That job is mine!!! But did you fill out the employment application or necessary paperwork? (p.s. Faith without works is DEAD!!!) As Christians we oftentimes give TOO much credit to the devil, and not enough credit or (Faith) in God!!!

Entrepreneur of the Month

Abbreviated as W.O.W, the Organization was established in 2010 as a Facebook group to help the Founder, Shondale “Ms. Cookie” Hurst cope with the grief of losing a mother figure. The whole focus was to encourage and empower its members on a daily and weekly basis. W.O.W changed directions in 2012 to expand their reach and increase its impact to reach more communities. In two short months, W.O.W’s group rate increased by 250%, to extend beyond women, but to include the businesses and more organizations in different industries. Today, the group is now referred to as a Community and its membership is comprised of influential members in every sector of the market. W.O.W wants to see women ENCOURAGED at all times, EMPOWERED to be and do their best and EMBRACED without discrimination, hesitation, or reservation through Sisterhood, Friendship, Academics, Business, and the pursuit of dreams, goals, and success in their life’s journey. Each pWOWerful one possesses a genuine passion to see one another succeed. It is when we recognize that we are beautiful and powerful t hat we see and appreciate the beauty and power in others. W.O.W is more than a network connecting women it’s a resource to allow for growth to all those involved with the organization. W.O.W was developed to "Embrace, Empower and Encourage" the members of the FB group in all of their endeavors and now is being taken to the next level of accomplishment. W.O.W utilizes a plethora of resources and is looking to provide women in the community with a platform to come together, show their value, and bridge the gap between students, entrepreneurs, corporate ladder climbers, and individuals to the world around them and each woman that is a vital part of their movements. W.O.W emphasizes that each woman and girl makes the World a better place when they Encourage, Empower, and Embrace one another in making their dreams realities, accomplishing their goals, and assisting one another on their journeys through womanhood.

EmPOWERed Exclusive Interview with the National President of Beta Sigma Chi Christian Sorority, Inc. Beta Sigma Chi Christian Sorority, Inc. is a national sorority focused on spreading the love of Jesus Christ and EmPOWERing young women across the country. They currently have a national chapter and four college chapters, including one here in Oklahoma at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. EmPOWERed Magazine’s Editor in Chief recently spoke with the National President Mrs. Akeia Haddox-Rossiter who currently resides in Washington D.C. and the Beta Exodus Chapter President Ms. Khia Glover from UCO. Lisa Baldwin: Hello Mrs. Akeai! Can you please tell EmPOWERed Magazine readers a little about Beta Sigma Chi? Akeia Haddox Rossiter: Beta Sigma Chi Christian Sorority, Incorporated is a ministry first, focused on creating a safe haven for Christian fellowship and an opportunity to study and live by the Word, even on the college campus. We believe that it IS possible to live for Christ and to have fun. We enjoy setting an environment in which young ladies and young men can come together to serve, study, and enjoy life in college in the name of Jesus Christ. Lisa Balwin: What prompted the organizing of BSC? Akeia Haddox Rossiter: Beta Sigma Chi Christian Sorority, Inc. was established in 2005 in Manhattan Kansas, by a group of women who already had a sisterhood through friendship, but wanted to officially join together in unity on their college campus. The women had been friends for 2-3 years, at that time they had their first glimpse of a Christian sorority when they attended a Christ-centered university event. The wheels began turning, and through research, lots of prayer and organizing, Beta Sigma Chi Christian Sorority was formed. Lisa Baldwin: What are BSC's goals for EmPOWERing young women? Akeia Haddox Rossiter: One of our main goals outside of equipping women with the Word of God and loving accountability, is giving and creating leadership opportunities for our members. We seek to teach leadership skills focused on management and business and teamwork. We also hope to equip members with event organization and public speaking experience. These are life skills that will help the members of BSC grow into strong and confident women, not only in the traditional sense of Christian ministry, but also enabling these women to utilize their gifting in every aspect of life, giving God glory with every step. Another empowering aspect of Beta Sigma Chi Christian Sorority, Inc. is that members have a sisterhood. We are a diverse, loving, and safe supportive network of women who are in constant prayer for each other, happy to be mentors and guide each other to stay focused on Christ. Lisa Baldwin: In what ways does your organization aim to better our community? Akeia Haddox Rossiter: In our founding, the organizers felt called to support mothers, children, and to give to the international community. So, one of our chapters is really focused on connecting young ladies to their incarcerated mothers and serving as mentors to these young ladies while their mothers are away. This program has been a blessing to not only the community, but to the members of BSC, who actively give in this way. Another program that is contributed to by every chapter and nationally, is Backpacks for the Nation. Each year we collect funds, backpacks, and school supplies for the children in our community.

Lisa Baldwin: Hello Ms. Khia! What made you decide to join Beta Sigma Chi Christian Sorority, Inc. Khia Glover: I joined Beta Sigma Chi Christian Sorority Inc. because I saw it as a growing experience. I was at the highest peak of spiritual life that I had ever experienced and Beta Sigma Chi was an opportunity to increase that growth. I always wanted to join a sorority, however, at that point I did not see myself as strong enough to continue in spiritual growth and fight the temptation of parties, and other things that often go along with Greek life. I am not saying a Christian cannot do that, but I knew that God was calling me to a different path. Lisa Baldwin: I hear you all had a national conference in August, how was that? Khia Glover: The national conference was held in Manhattan, Kansas at Kansas State University and it was AWESOME to sum it up in word. All the speakers ended up speaking about the same topic without knowing before hand what the others would be speaking about, which was basically self-esteem and how we are reflected in Christ. There were so many things that I had suppressed and needed to speak out loud to begin an overdue emotional and spiritual healing. I believe all of us were blessed not only by the lessons taught but by the relationship building that took place. Some of us were meeting for the first time but by the end of the conference it felt as if we had all known each other from birth. I am so glad to have the sisters in Christ that I have. Lisa Baldwin: What events do you all have coming up? Khia Glover: The next event that we have at UCO is our forum on September 24, 2012 at 7pm the Nigh University Center room 320B. The forum is about Being A Respectable Woman on Campus. We believe this is important because being on campus, especially during freshman year. society crowds our minds so much before we make it to college on what "college life" is about and what is expected of females especially, so it can be very confusing being pulled in so many different directions. We also have an informational on Sunday, September 30 at 7p where girls can learn about our sorority and the process of joining. Lisa Baldwin: How has BSC EmPOWERed you as a young woman? Khia Glover: Beta Sigma Chi has empowered me by challenging me. As a member it has challenged me to really be careful of my spiritual walk as people are watching as I represent a Christian sorority which is also a ministry. I not only represent myself but the other members as well. As president, it has challenged me as a leader. There are so many things that come up when you are in a leadership position when you must make firm decisions and think on your feet. I am currently being trained as a leader in my church as well so the lessons I learn being president I can carry over to my church. I am one of the youngest in the whole sorority and it has definitely made me grow up mentally and spiritually and I will be forever grateful for the experiences. You can find out more about Beta Sigma Chi Christian Sorority, Inc. by visiting, email them at, and by liking their pages on Facebook - BSC2005 (National Chapter), BSCBE (UCO Chapter), and BSCAG (Kansas State Chapter).

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Get to Know the Cast!

andez n r e H y l i m Janet E “Maria” My name is Janet Emily Hernandez. I was born on April 9, 1990 in Los Angeles, California. Ever since I could remember it has been a dream of mine to become an actress or a singer. It has been my goal to be in television or on the radio. When I was in school, I attended a program called, “Upward Bound” which was the first time I had actually participated in a theatrical play. It was a great experience because it was something I did not expect I would be doing. Now I give thanks to God and all my family for helping me pursue my dream. I am now part of the Spanish cast of “Espejito, Espejito” This play will help me in my future career as an actress. It will also help people see what the effects of domestic violence can cause the victims and their children. Domestic violence is something that a lot of people are not aware of. The cast, production, and myself, hope to create awareness in this epidemic that is rising at alarming rates.

Ga briella E. Rea ding “ Rosa ” Hello my name is Gabriella E. Reading. I was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, I am Hispanic. I believe that when I was born, I was born with talent & was meant to be a star! It has always been my passion to act, dance, & sing. I danced at Everything Goes Dance Studio. I have sang in a Hispanic group & have done many other things as well. I am so blessed to be a part of “Espejito, Espejito” not only because it is my first stage play, but also because I am against domestic violence! Life is a dream [for me]! I believe everyone should have a goal and a dream! My goal is to dream, make it far in this industry, and be in a Lifetime movie and mostly Hispanic Novelas! I hope a lot of people will be impacted from this stage play & stop the violence! Gracias!

Chris L am “Jesus Christo ”

Chris Lam is an Oklahoma City actor, musician, songwriter, and entrepreneur. He grew up in Tecumseh where he graduated valedictorian of his high school class. He attended Oklahoma Baptist University where he earned a degree in family psychology. Upon graduation from college, Lam became a high school science teacher where he tells people he got his acting experience. "I was a psychology major teaching chemistry," says Lam. "That requires a bit of acting." Lam later went on to earn a master's in business administration from Oklahoma Christian and currently splits his time between business and marketing consulting, entrepreneurial start-ups, acting, and live music performance.

Cecelia Marque z “Little Maria”

Dugger n e l l A a u h Jos ” “ D r. R i l e y I was born and raised on the south side of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Ever since I can remember, I loved acting. I would watch movies, and act them out. I would go days even weeks acting the same character. So, I guess you could say I am a self taught entertainer. One of my greatest memories from early performances was in June of 1995. Some of my classmates and I from Westwood Elementary went to L.A, California, sponsored by CBS, to sing This Land Is Your Land, by Woody Guthrie. I had a solo. When I started my first job at the age of sixteen, I noticed how some people treated people who couldn't speak English. I decided that I wanted to learn Spanish, so I could help people. I have been bilingual for ten years now. I wanted to take part of this production Espejito, Espejito because I want people to know that they are not alone, there is help out there for those in these tough situations. Just knowing that my name will go down in history as one of the cast in Espejito, Espejito, the very first Spanish stage production in Oklahoma is honor for me. I am very proud to play the role of Dr. Riley, because I want people to understand what can happen to your body doing drugs. As a teenager I saw my parents do drugs. I would see how they reacted on drugs and when they were going through withdrawals. It really opened my eyes and let me know I don't want that for my kids or anyone else.

Seidy Amaro “ A na” My name is Seidy Amaro. I was born in Cd Juarez, Mexico. I am 11 years old. I’m in this play because I want to start my career as an actress. I want to help people speak out to send the message about domestic violence and women to understand that it’s not right for men to hit women. I do interviews with a show named “Fiesta Deportiva.” I love being on TV, it is one of my dreams when I grow up. Remember, God is with you!

Marta R oe “Lupita ”

My name is Marta Roe, I was born and raised in Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico. Where I graduated from high school and attended some college courses. When I turned 21, I made the decision to move to the United States. I moved to Oklahoma City, living in the United States has provided me with opportunities to grow and develop in my personal and professional life. As a child, I dreamed of being on television or working in an office. With the support of my family, my husband and friends I have been allowed to embrace my dream to work in an office and be on television making commercials. In February I became interested in this play and auditioned for a part which I was selected for. When I found out what all the play was about I became even more interested. I hope that this play may inspire people of today to think about domestic abuse, it is not normal and should not be tolerated by anyone.

Cesar Guz man “Little Ma rio”

Carlos Silva “ Sergio ”

J a v ie r Ga rc i a “Mario”

rvaez Marlon Na ” “Mailman

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WMF Volunteers Needed! If you are looking for an opportunity to give back or impact your community, “Every Home Has A Story: The Ultimate Home Giveaway” Campaign is a tremendous undertaking that will take the efforts of the community. We have a number of opportunities for you to volunteer your skills through this initiative. 

Direct Mail Campaign

Fundraising Activities

Social Media Marketing

Selection Committee

Home Remodel or Décor Trade or Skills

Please visit our website: . Click on the “Volunteer” tab to download the volunteer form and be sure to follow up by contacting the WMF office. Office phone: (405) 778-6870 Email:

Other Volunteer/Intern Opportunities 

Volunteers/Interns in marketing, journalism, page layout, and graphic design.

Article Writers.

Volunteers/Interns for stage film productions and film and audio production assistance.

Interns in graphic design.

Volunteers to will support our teen dating violence initiative.

f O y l i A Fam Non Profits


isa Miller-Baldwin never imagined that the many seeds she has sown into the lives of others, would also blossom into the lives of her children. As a survivor of domestic violence, Ms. Baldwin began a journey of self-love, identity awareness, and healing. During this journey God placed in her heart and purpose that she wasn’t defined by

what occurred to her, but by WHO created her. He then imprinted in her heart and spirit that she must live and breathe the scripture Psalms 139:14 “I will praise thee for I am fearfully and WONDERFULLY MADE!!” In 2007, Ms. Baldwin founded the non-profit organization Wonderfully Made Foundation. At its origin, the foundation primarily provided domestic violence awareness events for adults as well as children and also acted as a referral center for community resources. In August 2011, WMF opened the Wonderfully Made Homeless Home with goals to individuals who are in need.

Embrace, Empower, and Impact the lives of

The Home provides a 90 day transitional housing

Companies which includes EmPOWERed Mag-

program to benefit women and children who are


homeless. The Home also houses the Wonderfully

EmPOWERed Teens.

Yours Clothing Closet and Toiletry Pantry for the

Ms. Baldwin is the proud mother of five children.

less fortunate. In addition to providing a place for

Two of her children have also started non-profits.





families to call home,

Her son, Marquise Miller,

the WMF Home also







father, and pastor. Reach

opportunities such as

Out Ministries was started

GED classes and job





readiness training, life






Marquise and his wife

skills classes, case man-

Starla Miller. Originally, Pastor Miller thought

agement for social services, housing assistance,

Reach Out would just be a campus ministry but it

counseling, and bus passes. The Wonderfully

soon turned into much more than that. College

Made Foundation still has a heart for bringing

students would attend and give their lives to

awareness to domestic violence and presenting

Christ and their parents would see an immediate

programs that impact the community which it

change, and then the parents would come.


does through its EmPOWERed Family of

Since Reach Out Ministries’ origin began

cludes free haircuts and school supplies, and by

on the campus of the University of Central Okla-

feeding the homeless and less fortunate on Sun-

homa, there is still a leadership team leadership

days. Reach Out Ministries believes that the

team of 5 college students

church should be the first to re-

that lead services at UCO

spond when tragedy strikes so

through their UCO Reach

when a 15 year old boy was

Out program. UCO Reach

killed in their sip code, they put

Out offers biblical discus-

on car washes and a benefit con-

sions on Tuesdays, game

cert at their church to help raise

nights, poetry nights, talent

money for the family.

shows, an annual Valentine’s

Reach Out Ministries also hosts

Ball, and community out-

Men’s Nights, which are ser-

reach events to build rela-

vices just for men on Mondays

tionships with college stu-

at 8 p.m. Women’s Nights are

dents who probably would not come to a biblical

also held on Mondays at 8 p.m. Both sessions


covers issues from credit and finances to sexual

On July 1, 2012, God blessed the ministry to move into a debt free church, located on 11450 N. Western Avenue OKC, OK 73114. The ministry was birthed from the idea that the church must “take Christ to the people.” Reach Out Ministries has been able to make an immediate impact in the new community in which it exists through back-to-school giveaways, which in-

purity, marriage, and family.

Sunday Services at Reach Out Ministries begin at

It Alone, Inc. The mission of Doing It Alone is to

11:30 a.m. Pastor Miller and Reach Out Ministries

assist single parents in navigating through the maze

have seen lives changed through this ministry and

of parenthood. Through Doing It Alone, Ms. Miller

give all the Glory to God!

desires to equip parents with resources like job





Miller is

a single




readiness, utility assistance, adult literacy programs, supports groups, and practical items like clothing, diapers, and wipes for their children.



Ms. Baldwin is proud



to proclaim that the family has




the BEST business of its kind,


because they all choose to

raising children as a




single parent, Ms. Miller realized the need for

Baldwin is delighted to witness her seed share her

support and resources for single parents and the

heart. The Miller-Baldwin family is proud and

lack thereof and decided to do something about it.

gleaming with pride as it continues to EmPOWER

On August 1st of 2012, Ms. Miller founded Doing

and impact communities.

Broadway Florist 328 N Broadway Moore, OK 73160 (405) 827 -8889 Proud Sponsor of EmPOWERed Magazine’s “Give Me My Flowers” Initiative


This Month’s “Give Me My Flowers” Winner is

Amanda Figureo! I give Amanda Figureo her flowers today!! A beautiful wife, daughter, and FRIEND!! Amanda Figureo is such a giving and AUTHENTIC person who displays a glowing smile and bubbly greeting to all who she comes into contact with. After the passing of my father… were there…..when my mother and son became ill…….you were there!! You are such a giving and loving person. You embrace each day with a smile and open arms welcoming and giving LOVE!! You have such a tender heart that consistently grabs those who need or those who crave someone to love! The world is a better place because you exist! I thank God that He allowed our paths to cross, and I will forever cherish the sleepovers, the laughs, the GREAT meals, and above all else the FRIENDSHIP! On today I want to give you YOUR FLOWERS!! I love you and you will always be my AMANDA POOH!!

Lisa Baldwin, Your Flower Giver

Eligibility: To nominate someone, you must be 16 years or older and must be subscribed to EmPOWERed Online Magazine. To receive your FREE subscription, visit and enter your email on our home page. Nominees must be 16 years or older and living in the U.S. This individual should be someone who has made a significant contribution or positive impact in your life. Winners will be notified by email.

*Winners outside of Oklahoma City, OK will have their flowers shipped

The Involved Parent Parents often wonder how much supervision kids need at different ages. As with many parenting issues, answers often vary depending on who you ask. So what is the right answer? Part of that depends on the age of your child and his level of maturity. Part depends on state laws. And part of the answer depends on some good old fashioned common sense.

Being an involved parent Being a parent is an exhausting job. It is the hardest job you will ever have, but it can also be the most rewarding job in the world. When you became a parent, a little person was given to you to care for, love, nurture, and teach. What an honor! What a responsibility! Because parenting is such a huge job all by itself, and then many parents have the added responsibility of working to support the family, it can be difficult to spend quality time with our kids. It can also be very tempting to let the television, computer, or video games “babysit” our kids for extended periods of time, or to let them play outside alone so we can rest or take care of housework or other responsibilities. But we must be careful to not let anything keep us from giving our children the supervision they require and the time with parents they need to learn, develop, and grow. Accidents and other emergencies can happen in an instant, and with kids, most accidents happen when a parent is not paying enough attention to prevent them. While we can’t keep an eye on them 24/7, we do need to closely watch younger kids during waking hours. When your kids get old enough to hang out with friends or go somewhere without you, make it a rule to always know where they are, who they are with, what they are doing, when they will return, and have them check in with you if plans change. I would encourage you to take time each day to really “be in the moment” with your child. Listen to her, read to her, play with her, teach her something new, or find other ways to spend time enjoying each

other’s company. Over the years, research has shown time and time again that children who have involved parents are less likely to turn to alcohol or drugs, display risky behaviors, become pregnant as a teenager, or become involved in a gang or illegal activities. Having a parent who knows where they are, what they are doing, who they are with, and who cares and is willing to listen to them makes a huge difference in a child’s life. No matter what age your child is, he or she needs your supervision and your guidance to help them learn independence and bbresponsibility gradually and safely. Leaving kids home alone One of the most common questions I am asked is how old a child has to be before they can legally and safely be left home alone for any period of time. Some states have a certain age listed in their laws but in Oklahoma, the law does not specify a certain age. However, according to the Department of Human Services (DHS), a parent could be charged with neglect for leaving a 6 year old child or younger at home alone, depending on the circumstances. And in most cases, they do not recommend leaving a child over the age of 6 at home alone. Parents have to consider many factors when deciding when their child is ready to be left at home alone. The age of the child is important, but it is also very important to consider the child’s level of maturity, access to emergency help, and where you live.

Here are questions that DHS recommends you          


Does my child have the maturity (regardless of age) to be left alone? How long will my child be left alone? Will my child be alone during the day or at night? Does my child have immediate access to an adult? Does my child know how to respond to an emergency? Will my child be caring for other children? Does my child know how to properly use household appliances? Will other children be visiting the home? Will I know my child’s whereabouts at all times? Is my child comfortable being left alone?

Here are specific recommendations from DHS based on a child’s age: 

Preschool and kindergarten: Children younger than 6 should never be left alone without adult supervision.

Grade school: Children may be left alone for one or two hours during the day if they have access to a responsible adult and are not caring for younger children. The child also should show the ability to be responsible and mature.

Middle school: If they demonstrate the ability to be self-sufficient, children may be left alone for about four hours during the daytime or evening hours. They also can be responsible for caring for one or two younger children if they have constant access to a responsible adult.

High school: Teens may be left alone and can care for younger children unless the responsibility is too great (such as four younger children), the length of time is too long (such as all night, every night), or the teenager isn’t reliable.

(DHS questions and recommendations were obtained from the following source: I hope this information has been helpful to you and I look forward to sharing more parenting information, advice, support, encouragement, and resources with you in the coming months. Each month we will discuss a different parenting topic or issue. If you have questions, please feel free to email me at

About MomRN: Tamara Walker, R.N. is a married mom of two and a registered nurse who has been providing practical information and advice for raising a happy, healthy family online as “MomRN” since 2001. As a speaker, radio and television personality, expert contributor for many parenting and health websites, newspapers, and magazines, and child safety instructor, MomRN has helped and encouraged thousands of parents as they strive to do the most difficult job on the planet. Her website is and she hosts a weekly online radio show, Ask MomRN Show, which features expert guests, authors, and celebrities at


By Teara Flagg, M. Ed.

A Young Woman’s Journey in Higher Education


ll my life I was encouraged academically. My parents taught me that education was important so when it was time for me to graduate high school, college was the natural next step. I lived on campus, got involved with different activities, and really saw a future for myself in education. With all of my involvement in different organizations and activities on campus, I let my grades slip, so when I decided to apply to graduate school I wasn’t accepted immediately. I was put on a waiting list and was eventually conditionally admitted- meaning I had to prove that I deserved be in a graduate program. My first semester, I had to overcome a few different issue within my own mind. One issue I faced was imposter syndrome. Because I was accepted on conditional terms, I felt like I wasn’t supposed to be there and that eventually the school, professors, and other students would find me out. Another issue I had was not speaking up in class and not believing that my thoughts and input were valuable Despite these issues, I studied hard, talked to my professors and made sure any of my activity involvement was geared toward school. I finished that semester with 2 A’s and 1 B (you only need 6 hours to be fulltime in graduate school). The next semester I enrolled in 12 hours. (Yes I’m not sure what I was thinking!) I had a weekend course, two courses that met every week and a practicum that met bi-weekly. Oh, I also had TWO part-time jobs. I realized as I went through my journey that I was gaining more confidence. I spoke more in class because I was prepared and the more I responded the more others would speak as well. I started to feel that I belonged there and that this was God’s plan all along. As I entered the summer semester, I entered my most difficult course. I agonized about this class and it was only one-week long! Through all of my confidence, I was nearing my final semester and it was time to apply for jobs. I had an entirely new fear, a fear of rejection, humiliation, and of no longer having the crutch of school. BUT I applied for a position, interviewed, and was offered the position all in 2 short weeks. I would start early in the semester and I was beyond excited. But I had 2 more classes to complete and I was worried that I wouldn’t do well and the feelings of being

an imposter crept back up. I put on a happy face and began the semester, stressed unnecessarily from my own insecurities. I was doing well, but around November of that semester I found out my brother-inlaw passed away. I went to be with my sister and nephews for a week and when I came back the semester was close to a finish, but I was behind. I had to remember the drive I felt one year prior and discover what I could accomplish when I am determined. I finished the semester with honors and completed my comprehensive exams.

I found out I passed my exams and was indeed going to graduate cane month before graduation time. I had done it! I was a success and I did it without anyone else’s help. Yes, I had a support system and yes I had many roadblocks in addition to the sabotage that was going on in my own head, but the fact is I had set a goal and I achieved it. I’m now working on my doctorate in Educational Leadership and I am empowered to achieve this goal as well because I know this is where I am meant to be. As a young single female, I’m not the usual case. Many people in my program have children, families, and full time jobs, and they didn’t complete their program in a year and a half, but they completed it. Pursuing an education is selfish, but so worthwhile for your family in the long run. Don’t make any excuses; universities are designed to help you succeed! Don’t allow your head to get in the way of a great opportunity. You are worth the time, the money, and the effort!


Article provided by: Tinker Federal Credit Union Parents know upfront that children are a long-term investment. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the tab for raising a child in a middle-class household through age 17 is more than $222,000. Then, there’s the expense of college for many, even graduate school. Researchers report a growing trend of adult children taking longer to become independent and move out of their parents’ home. Others are out only because their parents are heavily subsidizing their living expenses. The reasons for these trends are varied, but many mental health professionals and financial consultants warn overly supportive parents that they may be thwarting their child’s ability to become an independent, responsible adult. Various experts offer these suggestions: • If they move back home, charge them rent and set a move out date, as well as a plan for what they will do to pursue their desired career and how they will earn money in the meantime. “Their job is to take steps to move into adulthood,” says Cambridge’s Dr. Apter. “Their job isn’t to hang out and see what happens. If you’ve had a young, healthy adult at home after college for over three years, you have to ask, ‘Is this in everybody’s best interest?’ ” • Make you children pay part of graduate school, so postponing work has a financial price. “If parents have the money and they want to help, they should structure it as a partnership,” advises Eileen Gallo, psychotherapist and co-author of The Financially Intelligent Parent. “That can empower the child.” • If you’re helping with rent on an apartment, establish a schedule for phasing out this financial assistance gradually. You might also offer to match any house down payment, if you can afford to, thus encouraging them to save. Don’t, however, give money you can’t afford.

You Don't Have to Retire Broke! By Helen Rambo

Some people live their lives with the philosophy of “you can’t take it with you”. They go paycheck to paycheck, ignoring the inevitable: RETIREMENT. That won’t make it disappear. It will only put you further away and in most cases it will ensure your retirement plan is based on a social security system that is struggling at best. Do you really want to live your retirement years on less than $1,200 a month in social security benefits? Given our current economic struggles, more and more retirees are experiencing a reversal of the empty nest syndrome. High unemployment rates and higher costs of living are sending grown children back home to live with mommy and daddy. This is a growing trend that most retirees did not plan for. Are you planning for it? Will $1,200 from a grossly unfunded social security system be enough to take care of you and your grown kids?

Get Started The easiest way to begin is by taking advantage of employer retirement plans. Over the past twenty years, the retirement game has changed dramatically. Big companies no longer offer those “cushy” retirement plans where the employer contributes 100% and the employee has no out of pocket costs. Employers realized they could save millions by having the employee contribute to their own retirement. Hence the 401K, 403(b), 457, profit sharing and similar plans where the employee is required to contribute, have become the norm instead of the exception. There are so many advantages to employer plans with the major advantage being the reduction of taxable income. Most employer plans are pre-tax which means you pay no federal or state taxes on your contribution at the time it is made. For example: if you contribute $3,000 of your $30,000 annual income to an employer plan, you only pay federal and state taxes on the net amount of $27,000. So not only do you save $3,000 for retirement, you save additional dollars on taxes. This is clearly a win / win financial situation. Another major perk to participating in the employer plan is the ability to take advantage of the employers matching contribution. Some employers will offer to contribute a matching percentage of your salary if you participate in the plan. That spells FREE MONEY! For instance, if you are contributing 10% of your salary to the plan and the employer is matching up to 5% of your salary, your total contribution is now 15% of your salary. Congratulations!! You are making out like a bandit unless you prefer to leave money on the table. I don’t recommend the latter. If you are self-employed, there are other retirement plans that you should investigate including the SEP plan, Roth IRA, and Traditional IRA. These plans are different from the employer plans yet can yield similar and sometimes better results. Small change can bring BIG gains So you think you don’t have enough to contribute to a retirement plan right now? I beg to differ. Where there’s a will, there’s always a way. You just have to take small steps towards your goal. Every little bit counts. With the power of compound interest, even your small contribution can grow into BIG dollars over time. For example: If at 21 years old you invest $25 a week into a retirement plan with an estimated return of 8% annually, you will accumulate $501,896 by the time you are 65. That’s about $3.50 a day or the average price of a cup of Joe at Starbucks! If you wait until you are 33 to invest that same $25 a week, you will only accumulate $188,729. That’s less than half the amount you would have saved by starting at 21! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that TIME IS MONEY. If you’re wasting time, then you’re wasting money! If $3.50 a day may be too much or not enough to contribute. It depends on your financial position and your retirement goals. Regardless of the amount you contribute, just contribute and remain consistent. Consistency is the key to building any investment. Consistent contributions will yield consistent returns and help you reach your retirement goals faster. Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda…… Most retirement plans require you to be at least 21 years old to participate. That’s a great place to start. If you wait until you think you can afford it, you will never start. We are notorious for procrastinating. The earlier, the better! The longer you put it off, the further you will be from your retirement goals. Get started NOW! There are no excuses. You have been EMPOWERED.

Summer Body Work Part 2 Do You Have Bacne

By Jahnel Aska-Profit Licensed Esthetician Wow, it’s really hot outside. A nice summer swim is a great way to cool off. But, you don’t want to reveal your skin--again. You are suffering with acne or remainder acne scars on your back and neck. What do you do? Wear a t-shirt? Nah! Simple solutions are right here. Back pimples or “bacne” is very common among teenagers and adults. My advice is to use a body cleanser that contains salicylic acid to dissolve the clogged pores on your skin, like Murad‘s Clearifying Body Wash. If you are allergic to aspirin, please do not use. However you can use a lactic acid wash to exfoliate the area daily, like Sonya Dakar Body Wash “Cara Cara”. You should also continue to use a light moisturizer to keep the area from producing more oil than it needs. Do not scrub the area with anything rough. This will tear open new bumps and create more scars and discoloration. If you want to stick to using your favorite body products, you can add some of my picks to help. I like the Murad Clearifying Body Spray and the BBB Acne lotion. Both are treatments to use after cleansing directly on the areas you need. Make sure you shower immediately after exercising, and spot treat new bumps as soon as you see them.

Now let’s examine our elbows, knees, arms, and legs. How do these areas feel? Does you skin in these areas feel like sandpaper, bumpy and dry no matter what you use? Here are some tips on how to truly soften these parts.

1. Use a gentle and mild body scrub. This must be a gentle process because harsh scrubbing will cause the skin to become thicker. This can be done everyday or 2--3 times a week depending on you skin’s sensitivity. I generally like to make my own scrubs. When my skin has the sandpaper texture, I mix sea salt and grape seed oil to scrub. If my skin has a lot of dry skin bumps and they are turning dark, I mix raw sugar (turbinado) with grape seed oil to scrub. These ingredients can be found right at your favorite grocery. 2. Every night or evening, use a hydrating lotion that contains lactic acid or an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). Aha’s can be from fruit or sugar. If it contains pure glycolic avoid use if you have sensitive skin. These lotions will continue the smoothing process while you rest and force hydration into the skin.

Summer body work is not that hard to do. Use these tips and reward yourself with the confidence to expose just enough to stay cool! If you have any type of skincare question you can email me at Come back next month for “How to Travel Light and Be Beautiful”.

A Single Man’s Perspective



Nature A

By Doyle Winn Jr. close friend of mine had a very bad rela-

My question for the readers, and I would love

tionship with his long time girlfriend. She

to hear any comments, was this relationship doomed

was abusive, crazy and an all-around

stalker, and

probably to this day, she still calls him and hangs up.

from the start? And does a person’s childhood/ upbringing dictate what kind of spouse they will be?

One day, while talking about his girlfriend, we

I am sure this is a nature/nurture issue, but is

started discussing her background and childhood. He

a person’s childhood/upbringing a clear warning of

told me that on several occasions the girlfriend would

what kind of spouse they will be? And should

tell him about how she grew up and how different her

potential couples be inquisitive of their potential part-

childhood was to his. She was raised by a single

ner’s childhood?

mother who was for the lack of a better word, unfit.

Doyle’s Summary I would insist that all persons choosing a mate do a thorough investigation into the childhood of that person. Sometimes an investigation may be simply listening with a keen ear when they talk about their childhood, do they talking about any good times? Also spend time with your partner and his parents if possible. I also think it’s important to know if they grew up with both parents or just one. The information that you get from the investigation could give you some foresight on how a person may react to obstacles in your relationship! Example when I was married I was all in through the good and the bad and divorce was never an issue while my wife was not so opposed to separations and divorce, my parents are still together and her parents were divorced.

Hello Sport fans!


with Richard Baldwin

I'm back to give you the insight into today’s sports world. Let’s look at professional football!!!!! My love for this sport is shared with most of the country because we have to wait six months to get back motivated on all of our fan-favorite things. From jerseys to t-shirts to cups, glasses, hats, recliners, paint jobs, etc; we must have sports paraphernalia to reflect our team’s colors and trademark so that others take notice and "RESPECT" our teams. We compare our quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, DBs. Safeties, TEs, you name it, I am forever comparing my players to your players. What an exciting time of the year! As I am a New England Patriots/Tom Brady fan, and since football is back in full swing, all of America better watch out or get back jack for the New England patriots. This is what I love about sports; we can brag on our team and also watch individual players such as Adrian Peterson and the Manning brothers, Toni Romo, and others perform with the skills that they are blessed with. Whether your team is 1-0 or 0-1; you are waiting to see if your team will perform as champions on their given day or night of the BIG game. Hurray for another opportunity to watch my team kick butt and take names...and remember...go to the SUPERBOWL!!!!! Let’s go Patriots!!!! Until next time; bring it on sports teams and players everywhere! Get ready for a new season and a new champion!!!!!!

OGTFO: Get Your Mind Right! By Ceanti Aldridge Since we last talked, I’ve slacked a little in my OGTFO journey. I haven’t gained weight BUT I haven’t lost any either and since I am not at my goal weight yet, I should still be losing and not just maintaining. I think I have gotten complacent because I do look and feel better, but I don’t want to stop there! I want to achieve all the goals I set when I first started. Those goals are not unrealistic or completely out of my reach, I just have to get my mind refocused and work harder. Maybe you are there too; you’ve been doing well, but now you need an extra push, or maybe you are just getting started on your health and fitness journey and you need a launching point, either way this article will be a great asset to help you get your mind right! In last month’s issue, I mentioned that in each fitness article I would include a few tips to help us along the way; well since I need to reignite my own passion for getting fit and healthy, this article is chalked full of nothing but tips and motivational tools to do just that! WE CAN DO THIS!

Simple Tip #4 - Go Back to the Beginning! When I first started my OGTFO journey back in March, I had written down all my reasons for wanting to get fit. So if you are having trouble staying motivated, go back to that list of reasons so you can remember why you started in the first place. Lately, I have had to do that a lot because now I’m feeling better and looking better so hey that’s good enough, right? No! Don’t get me wrong, better is great, but it’s not about just being better for me,. I want to be the healthiest version of me. I want to be the BEST version of me!

Simple Tip #5 - Give Yourself Props!! Although sometimes we do need to go back to the beginning to get refocused to keep pressing toward that ultimate goal, don’t forget to congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come! Never get so worried about how far you still have to go, that you get discouraged. Every pound or inch you’ve lost, every better food choice you’ve made, every extra step you’ve taken, every workout you do is all getting you to that goal!! It all counts! It all matters! Look at what you’ve already accomplished and celebrate it! You rock! And if you are just starting, celebrate that fact that you’ve finally made the decision to get healthier, and celebrate the fact that you are on your way to a new you!

Simple Tip #6 - Set Goals and Make Plans! Keep setting goals! It is an awesome feeling to have an actual written list of goals and be able to cross them off as you go. Even if it is a simple goal, like “eat breakfast today,” when I do it and can cross it off, it makes me feel like I am really accomplishing something (which I am because, remember, it all counts) and keeps me going! If you accomplish one, set a new one so you can always have something to reach for. MAKE PLANS! Do NOT let any day just happen to you. You may not always be able to do everything just as you plan, but having a plan will help you keep on track. Plan meals. Plan workouts, Plan to succeed!

Simple Tip #7 - Get Some Fitness Tools! Make a vision board with goals and reasons for getting fit, with pictures that inspire you, with quotes, scriptures, etc. and hang it some where you can see it every day. Put pictures that inspire you as your desktop background and background on your phone. Get a water bottle and put times on it to have drank a certain amount by. Make a fitness journal and include your meals, workouts, goals, etc. in it! Use whatever tools that work for you to keep focused!

Simple Tip #8 - Get Some Accountability! Join a group, gather some friends, start a blog, or just post about it on Facebook, but please do get someone or someway to be held accountable. Before starting my OGTFO, whenever I would try to lose weight I wouldn’t talk to anyone about it, so when I starting slacking off or when I was ready to quit, I could because no one knew about it anyway. It was easy for me to quit then, but now that I’ve been talking about it with people, I don’t want to quit and I can’t even if I wanted to because I have people watching and I want to keep being motivation for them to see they can do it too! Get over the whatever your reason is for not telling people. Get over the fear or the embarrassment (which is what my reason was for not telling people) and become accountable! Make sure you tell the right people though, ones who will actually hold you accountable and encourage you to succeed!

For more health and fitness information check back with us next month! Also, be sure to check out my blog for weekly tips like these and to keep up with my progress –


with a Purpose Part 2 Welcome back to our journey of parenthood! This month let’s continue our discussion of the Stages of Parenthood and develop our understanding of children’s developmental stages

Galinsky’s Six Parental Stages 

Image-making stage: Pregnancy

Nurturing stage: Birth to 18-24 Months / Autonomy

Authoritative stage: Two to four or five years

Interpretive Stage: Preschool Years through Adolescence

 

Erikson’s Ages and Stages 

Stage 1 - Infancy: Birth to 18 Months Trust vs. Mistrust

Stage 2 - Early Childhood: 18 Months to 3 Years Autonomy vs. Shame

Stage 3 - Play Age: 3 to 5 Years Initiative vs. Guilt

Stage 4 - School Age: 6 to 12 Years Industry vs. Inferiority

Stage 5 - Adolescence: 12 to 18 Years Identity vs. Role Confusion

Interdependent Stage: During adolescence Departure Stage

Image-making stage In the Image-making stage the first of six stages in Galinsky’s model, we begin to create a vision of what parenting will be like. As a mother, the child grows within us and helps us to imagine who the child will be, what they like and dislike, what’s their personality. This image is created through conversations with the father and mother as they watch the pregnancy progress. It is at this point that the image we create either meets our vision or changes it. During Infancy from birth to 18 months, the parent gets to see how the child responds to the world around them. This image is often not based on reality, and lends itself to the influences of prior experience of other parents, relatives, and friends. The image is shaped by the expectations of the parents and also dependent of the stage the parent is in. For instance, as an older parent, my image of being a mother was formed 40 years prior to the birth of my first child. At 40, I had strong images of what parenting would look like that were shaped by my experience as an early childhood professional, a firstborn child, and years of reading information about parenting. Once my son was born, he immediately began to reshape my image.


By Kelly Ramsey Infancy: Birth to 18 months The first stage of infancy according to Erikson, the infant child learns about trust vs. mistrust, and the world around them through interactions with the parents. This stage of infancy is a time of wonder for both the parent and the infant. The infant is exploring the world through their eyes, their touch, and their responses to stimuli in their environment. Everything is stimulating to them at this point. Their brain is connecting through the synapses that were formed in the womb. Sounds, Smells, Sights all keep the infant fully engaged and alert. The infant’s personality is also forming and peeking through as he responds to eating, nurturing, and engaging with the parents. For a typically developing child, this is a road of milestones and achievements, such as discovering their hands, gaining control over small and large muscles, rolling over, and sitting up, crawling, pulling up on things, and eventually walking. If our child’s personality meets the image we create, the dance begins and the infant teaches us how to respond to their needs. Competing or Collaborating Views What happens when our image is different than the reality in infancy? When our ideal, faces challenges, disappointment, or loss? This is where parents often struggle when their ideal child they imagined is not what they experience. For instance, if we imagine a healthy baby, fully engaged, laughing, cooing, and responding to our voices and efforts it satisfies our image. If our image is changed due to critical factors during birth, such as crisis, or a baby that is premature, we have to change the image we created in our minds, to reflect the reality before us. The competing view of your child, can be a shift to collaboration when we start where we are. Accepting our child for their unique characteristics, allows our eyes to be open to their possibilities. I had the privilege of working with children with special needs, and they taught me how to start where the child is. On paper, it appeared that there were many deficiencies in development, but when I spent time with them, getting to know them, I no longer saw deficiencies, only capable children ready to embark on their world. The initiative and tenacity of the children, showed me how to appreciate them for who they were, unique, capable, and full of possibilities. Parenting is hard work and there are no easy roadmaps. We learn as we share our journey and experience childhood unfolding before our eyes. The critical years of 0 – 3 years provides many lessons around how to nurture children. Join us next month to continue our journey…..

Here are a few reading references for the first stage of parenting: Your Self-Confident Baby – Magda Gerber Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent– Meredith F. Small

The Power of



by Kathy Jimerson

here are some experiences that leave an indelible mark. Years later you still picture what you were wearing, where you were standing, and even the scent of the room. Mostly you remember how you felt. It leaves a memory reserved in that one space of time, never fading even as time moves on and as you grow older. You revisit it often still as fresh as the day it happened. You never forget. It began when a teacher innocently asked, “Will you talk to my class? They really need a pep talk.” In a weak moment I had agreed; for days I regretted it and wanted desperately to back out. This wasn’t a classroom of normal teens planning the next date, pep rally or prom. They were a group of girls who shared a common bond or as some would say a big problem. They were all pregnant. When I walked through the door and into their lives, it was a cold, uninviting reception. By the looks on their faces it was unanimous: they didn’t want me there. The teacher had enough perkiness and excitement for everyone! Nauseatingly so! Having a speaker (me) gave her a baby sitter, and I knew eliminating the stack of ungraded papers on her desk was at the top of her agenda for the day. This wasn’t a win- win situation! I stood like a melting ice sculpture. Then I heard Him, that soft inner prodding. I had only been a Christian for a few years and that small voice was becoming more and more familiar. “They don’t need a pep talk,” He whispered. “They need truth and I sent you.” Hands sweating, heart pounding I leaned against a desk as my knees buckled. “Not now,” I thought. “Please, not now.” After years of living with secrets we were finally making a fresh beginning. My husband and I had taken new jobs and we had recently moved here with our family. For me it personally meant a clean slate; I could create a new identity. I had left all the closet skeletons back in that small town. But the prodding persisted. “Truth will set them free,” He whispered. Regaining composure, I canvassed each face. No one made eye contact. Some stared at the floor, others stared out the window, but no one looked twice at me. I had a decision: to keep running and hiding or stand and trust. I knew about running and hiding, but I didn’t know a lot about trusting. Could I trust God with this? Was He really asking me to share with a bunch of strangers? Did He really send me here? Conjuring up what courage I had, I opened my mouth. “I know how you feel,” the words lodged in my throat. If looks could kill, I would have been dead right on that spot. One girl shot back, “Yea, right,” as she rolled her eyes locking her arms even tighter. She was right; no one can really know what someone feels. The teacher who invited me now nervously shuffled papers. The room filled with an awkward silence. The only sound seemed to be my heart beating. They couldn’t endure another pep talk. Looking into their eyes was too painful. I did know how they felt. emotions, seems nonexistent. Even as a new Christian, I hadn’t grasped the reality. But I wanted them to be free, so it had to begin with me. I had to release ownership of my own guilt and shame and embrace forgiveness just as I had embraced God’s saving love.

Living in a small town mine was the secret everyone knew but no one talked about, including me. Somehow not talking was supposed to make it not exist. But if it didn’t exist, why did I spend years wrapped in a blanket of guilt and shame? Why did I now see that same blanket covering these young girls? Nothing could hide their protruding stomachs just as no mask could cover their hollow eyes. There was no disguise big enough to hide the transparency of shame and guilt. It was evident each one felt as though she had been judged, condemned, and written off as a failure in one fell swoop. And they were labeled. They were teenagers, soon to be mothers, and most of them were now alone. They were oblivious to the battle I was facing. Probably to them, I looked like another “do gooder” with some warm, fuzzy words. I wanted to avoid what I saw in their eyes, but I couldn’t. With tears welling, carefully choosing my words I began to speak. “When I was sixteen I was sitting where you are. I too was pregnant.” That is the moment, the one that took my breath away and became etched in my memory. Heads lifted, scared eyes met and hearts began to open. We had connected on a common ground. For the next two hours my well kept secret became my story. Looking at the girls in that room, I saw my own reflection of guilt, shame and regret. If I judged myself that harshly did I see them through the same lens? No I didn’t. When I looked at them I saw hurt, confusion and lies from the enemy. I did understand. I knew the questions no one asked and I knew the “judging” society cast on them. I had allowed lies to hold me captive for years just as they were now building prison walls within these girls. John 8:32 ‘and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ Sometimes when you’ve lived with a secret so long, you don’t know what truth is. Sharing a common experience opens a door, but only God’s truth can set the captives free. We all knew about feelings of guilt and shame, but no one knew much about forgiveness, including me. Conditional love seems to be part of everyone’s DNA. Unconditional love, the kind that allows hope to renew wounded hearts and damaged emotions, seems nonexistent. Even as a new Christian, I hadn’t grasped the reality. But I wanted them to be free, so it had to begin with me. I had to release ownership of my own guilt and shame and embrace forgiveness just as I had embraced God’s saving love.

Kathy Jimerson is the author and creator of an abstinence-based program, Children No More, used in classroom throughout the country. This award-winning program was featured on good Morning America and The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Kathy was honored with a Resolution by the Texas Legislature for her work in the area of teenage pregnancy. She always says God has a real sense of humor, because even though she has an incredible East Texas southern drawl, she taught public speaking! Kathy and Phil have been married 45 years. They have three married children and six wonderful grandchildren.

Let's Occupy Voting Booths in 2012! There are MANY disgruntled Americans concerning the state of our union. But are they willing to visit the polls to express their discontent? If change is going to occur it must begin with us! There are new voting laws for 2012 and we must arm ourselves with weapons that will not negate our right to vote! How to Register You must fill out a voter registration application form. Voter registration applications are available at your County Election Board, post offices, tag agencies, libraries and many other public locations. You will be offered a voter registration application when you get your driver's license and when you apply for assistance at some government agencies. Oklahoman's you may download an application form. You must sign and date the oath printed on the form. When you sign the voter registration application form, you swear that you are eligible to register to vote. Changing Your Registration If you need to change your name, your address or your political affiliation, you must fill out another voter registration application form. You may change your registration at any time with one exception. You may not change your political affiliation during the period from June 1 through August 31, inclusive, in any even-numbered year. The last day on which you may change your political affiliation before the closed period is May 31; the first day on which you may change your political affiliation after the closed period is September 1. Submitting Your Application You may mail your voter registration application to the State Election Board. The card is already addressed, but you must add a first-class postage stamp. If you fill out your voter registration application form at a tag agency when you get your driver's license or when you apply for assistance at a government agency, the agency will mail the form to the State Election Board for you. Voter Identification Card You do not become a registered voter until the county election board in the county where you reside has approved your application. When your application is approved, the county election board will mail a voter identification card to you. Your voter identification card lists your name, address, political affiliation and the polling place for your voting precinct. When you receive your voter identification card, look at it carefully and report any errors to the county election board immediately. Keep your voter identification card in a safe place and always take it with you when you go to vote.

If your voter registration application cannot be approved, you will receive a letter from the county election board. The letter will tell you why your application was not approved and explain the steps you need to take to become registered. You may be able to return the letter with some additional information, or you may need to fill out and send in another voter registration application form. Closed Primary System Oklahoma has a closed primary system. Only voters who are registered members of a recognized political party may vote for the party's candidates in primary and runoff primary elections. Registered Independent voters may be eligible to vote in party's primaries and runoff primaries if authorized by the party. However, nonpartisan judicial offices, state questions and county questions often are included in primary elections. All registered voters, including Independents, are entitled to receive those ballots. At general elections, all voters receive the same ballot and may vote for any candidate or question on the ballot. When to Register You may submit your voter registration application form at any time. However, voter identification cards cannot be issued during the 24 days prior to an election. If your registration application is received by the county election board during the 24 days before an election, you will not receive your voter identification card until after the election. If you will become 18 during the 60 days before an election, you may apply for voter registration between 25 and 60 days before the election. NEW LAW The proof of identity law requires every voter who votes in person at the precinct polling place or during early voting at the County Election Board to show proof of identity before receiving a ballot. A document used for proof of identity for voting must have been issued by the United States government, the State of Oklahoma, or a federally recognized tribal government. The law requires any document used for proof of identity for voting to contain the following information:  the name of the person to whom it was issued  a photograph of the person to whom it was issued  an expiration date that is after the date of the election The law also requires the voter's name on the proof of identity document to "substantially conform" to the voter's name in the Precinct Registry. In other words, your name on your proof of identity must match your name in the Precinct Registry. The following documents may be used for proof of identity for voting:  an Oklahoma driver license  a State Identification Card*  a passport  a military identification

Empowered Magazine adamantly requests that you go to your area polling booth and cast your vote!! This will EMPOWER your world!!!




Be About It!

EmPOWERed Magazine September 2012 Issue  

EmPowered is an online magazine that aims to Inform, Enlighten and Inspire our readers through articles written from the heart. The heart of...

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