Live! ...to make a difference
a magazine designed for the working mother
Life A-Z Inside Out
Fall Into a Fabulous Wardrobe
The Disease of Unworthiness The Silent Cry
Teen Talk Things We Donâ€™t Want to Talk About
Insight From The Publisher Deﬁnitions of SILENCE • the state of being silent • the absence of sound; • keep from expression, • secrecy: the trait of keeping things secret In this issue, we will talk about issues in which women encounter which are not on the conversation list. Yes, issues in which no one wants to talk about; not even the victims. I noted the definition of silence above because in this issue we will talk about the danger of being silent when in crisis and its effects on everyone involved. I have been through some things in my life, and in my younger years would become isolated and handle it all by myself. I would say, “I am a strong, independent woman; I don’t need anyone.” During those times, I would feel my worst! I would act as if everything was normal, with a big burden on my chest. Oftentimes, I felt so alone. However, I am grateful that I have developed a relationship with Christ and now know that I will never be alone again. I also know that when you are going through something, the worst action is isolation. God has given me some good friends whom I have often shared my disappointments, had my pity parties and maybe even let out some frustration, but the end result is that I don’t have to “go-it” alone where depression, oppression, sadness, etc…all begin to creep in! In this issue, you will read about some warriors who didn’t give up when they were faced with some issues. They learned the hard way about the danger of suffering in silence. They now understand the importance of sharing their stories and revealing their secrets in order to receive complete healing, as well as assisting someone in their pain. They also understand the importance of bringing awareness to these issues. When things stay in the dark, they fester and the wounds never heal. My hope is that as you read their stories, you will release any hurts, pains or secrets that are keeping you from progressing in life. You only have one life to live and one destiny to fulfill. Do it with joy! (Nehemiah 8:10…The joy of the Lord is my strength).
...to make a difference
Publisher/Managing Editor Cynthia L. Jones
Senior Editor: M. Antoinette Walker
Editorial Contributions: Tennille Thomas
Staff Writers: Holly Ferguson Duong Sheahan (Columnist) Talayah Stovall (Columnist)
Creative Design: Gisela Vargas Jamie Benzon
Other Contributing Writers: Tatiana McKinney Meredith Anderson- Teen Talk Tracy Kennedy- In Your Biz Jessica Shaw- Life A-Z Janelle Stokes- Fashion and Life A-Z
Blessings! Cynthia “CJ” Jones Founder & Publisher
Wendy Franklin- Muhammad
Cover Page Picture: © Barsik | Dreamstime.com
Table of Contents 2 5
Insight from the Publisher… Just A Call ...Jessica Shaw
6 8 10 12
Devalued on a Silver Platter What Happened to a Woman’s Worth? ...Holly K. Ferguson
The Disease of Unworthiness Stop Running From it and Step Into Healing ...Wendy Franklin-Muhammad
Having the Chat ...Talayah G. Stovall
The Silent Cry ...CJ Jones
Things We Don’t Want to Talk About ...Meredith Anderson
We Wear the Mask ...Janelle Stokes
19 20 21 23 24
Fall Into a Fabulous Wardrobe ...Janelle Stokes
Pick Your Poison ...Tracy Kennedy
Get Fit- Take Your Breasts Into Your Own Hands
Prevention, Self-Care & Early Detection ...Duong Sheahan
Get Fit- Time For You Laugh off Stress ...Duong Sheahan
A Letter to My Sisters in the Lord ...Anonymous
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WIP Update Help Us Help Others! Your contribution will make a difference...! According to the Census Stats, single mothers make up 59% of the U.S. Households. Even if a parent with one child works full-time at the federal minimum wage, which has not been raised since 1997, the family still lives in poverty. According to the Children Defense Fund, more than seven out of every ten poor children live in a family with at least one employed relative. The mission of Women Identity Purpose is to ensure every working single mother an opportunity to become equipped with the necessary tools to operate in her purpose. And, enable her to make a positive contribution to her family, community and the world in which she lives. Our Grady-McKnight Awards will help them do so, http://www.womenidentitypurpose.org/grants_details.php. Your financial support is absolutely essential to the ongoing success of Women Identity Purpose. The Grady-McKnight Awards enable us to economically empower the working single mother. Any gift, however large or small, makes a substantial difference! Donate Online Now! Make quick and secure online donations by clicking here: http://www.womenidentitypurpose.org/donation.php Donations to Women Identity Purpose, a 501(c)(3) private, nonprofit charity, are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. WIP tax ID number is: 26-0129570. OR Donate by Mail If you prefer to mail your donation, please send it to one of the following addresses:
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JUST A CALL Jessica Shaw Maybe it’s because you spilled coffee on your favorite blouse this morning or maybe it’s that “time of the month” again. We’ve all gotten up on the wrong side of the bed before and it’s easy to understand how one small thing can ruin an entire day. But for 20 year old Abby from Maine, these days aren’t simply bad days. Abby suffers from anorexia and bulimia, and a bad day easily pulls her back into some dangerous habits. “I think it started with my jeans being a little too tight,” says the college junior. “Then I started noticing other things like my arms, or thighs, or butt, and pretty soon I’d wake up hating myself. I always thought even if I were’nt disgusted with myself, how others could not be repulsed by me. I saw myself as fat and ugly, and I thought if I was just a few pounds lighter – I wouldn’t feel this way.” Abby started skipping meals; sometimes going for days without eating. When Abby finally did eat - she would binge. “I’d eat cookies, candy bars, steaks, boxes of cereal, entire cakes… whatever I can get my hands on,” admits Abby. “It doesn’t matter if it tastes good or not; I’d eat it. Afterwards, I’d feel so guilty I would make myself throw up”. Unfortunately, Abby’s condition isn’t unusual. According to the Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, eating disorders affect up to 24 million Americans and 70 million individuals worldwide. The mortality rate for eating disorders, or ED, is high – at least 50 thousand individuals will die a direct result. “I think I’m going to find help,” says the girl who stands at 5’7’’ and weighs only 102 pounds. She is at least 20 pounds under what doctors consider “normal weight.” “There’s some numbers I found online,” reveals Abby. “I called after a really bad binge and purge last week, and they know. It doesn’t make anything easier, I feel better just telling someone this secret. It’s just feels like less of a burden knowing that I’m not going crazy and I’m not the only one. There’s no magic pill or anything, but just saying it to someone made me feel a little better. I’m still skeptical, but it’s just a call….and trying never hurts.”
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THE ALLIANCE FOR EATING DISORDERS AWARENESS (866) 662-1235 www.eatingdisorderinfo.org PO Box 13155 North Palm Beach, FL 33408-3155
NATIONAL EATING DISORDERS ASSOCIATION (800) 931-2237 www.nationaleatingdisorders.org 603 Stewart St., Suite 803 Seattle, WA 98101
THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF EATING DISORDERS PROFESSIONALS (800) 800-8126 www.iaedp.com PO Box 1295, Pekin, IL 61555-1295
Eating disorders affect up to 24 million Americans and 70 million individuals worldwide.
u O e d i s n
Devalued on a Silver Platter:
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What Happened to a Woman’s Worth?
How do trends devalue a woman’s worth? Fashions, trends, or fads are not successful, if society rejects them. In the 1980’s, changes in secular music were adopted into the mainstream media, radio stations, and homes worldwide. A new wave of music known as rap and hip-hop changed the way society would view women of this nation in the years ahead. As this music began to degrade women, consumers who purchased these materials subliminally supported worldviews and values that sexually exploited women. America created awards shows to ceremonially reward those persons ultimately responsible for producing such degrading materials. Being compared to and treated as worthless creatures, women were eventually labeled with names such as “tricks”, “hoes”, and the later adopted “chicken heads.” Unfortunately for many, the power of the tongue classed all women with these undignified identifiers, heard in sexually explicit lyrics or videos. Rather than removing them from the shelves, the music industry put an advisory statement labeled – “Parental Discretion Advised.” Since the Bible tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue (Ref. Proverbs 18:21), the socioeconomic trend of demeaning women has mortified a woman’s god-given worth.
Why has a woman lost her value in society?
The food finally arrives; however, the presentation of the meal creates an unexpected end for the couple’s romantic evening together. The filet mignon is served with garlic budded mashed potatoes and tasty steamed vegetables over a bed of cow manure that is topped with the chef ’s secret orange sauce. The husband immediately questions, “Is this a joke?” Unfortunately, the server’s reply is an echoing, “No.” The couple storms out in anger without even asking for the chef or the owner of the establishment.
Tracing as far back as the late 1700s, the suffrage of women has been a historical account that ultimately affected the way women are now treated with respect in areas of working, voting, or holding offices - just to name a few. As women bonded together in the early 1800s to fight for their rights, changes were implemented abroad. As a result, women formed allies with government heads, which resultantly led to the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution in the 1920’s. During that time, women efforts were successful because they were unified in their attempts to gain equality in a society that devalued them.
Women have been devalued similarly in nature to the house special in the described scenario. Socioeconomic trends continue to be the root of the problems we currently see in households. Certain fashion trends have led women to the attempts of measuring up to standards set forth by others, while devaluing themselves in the process. Women are special in a sense that without them, bearing a child would not be possible. In fact, in order for Jesus to enter the world, he had to he be born through a woman. Although he could have come in any form, God used a woman to birth him into existence. As a result, women are valuable to God; hence, they should be just as valuable to others.
One of the primary reasons women have lost their value in this society because they have not been unified as a nation. In fact, it is rare to even see women supporting one another. This is not to imply that women do not have friends that support them. However, it appears that our society has more handmaids giving birth than wives (Genesis 16-21). One of socioeconomic
Scenario: While dining at a five-star restaurant, one would expect the food to be of high quality. The house special ordered for the evening happens to be filet mignon. The server is prepped with class, and a touch of charm that would make any woman’s heart melt. The atmosphere is sprinkled in elegance, which makes the start of the night just right.
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factors that devalue women is the evolutional trend of women having children out of wedlock. This factor causes division, especially to women who share parenthood with a man who has also fathered children with other women. Rather than forming bonds or connections with the other mothers for the sake of the children, women have allowed jealousy and envy to affect the levels of respect shown toward one another. In seeing this animosity among women, the world has mocked this behavior through music and television, causing major division in nations across the globe.
How can women reclaim their respect in a corrupt world? Jesus used love to draw sinners. Similarly, women must do the same in order to gain favor with those who have been demoralized. It starts with love and it’s going to take women to get the job done. The world is corrupt and tainted by immoral acts that go against the commandments of God. If a dominated nation is divided, so shall be the rest of the people that follow. Conversely, the answer to removing disrespect of the woman is for women to unite once again. If women are going to accept and support media reports, music, or fads that further lower their worth, they will continue to be viewed as worthless. Rather than glorifying corrupt behaviors through music, choose music that edifies one another such as Christian or gospel music. Work on gaining the respect of the other mothers who have children by the same man. This is not difficult if your heart is right. Start out by
praying for that mother and her children daily. Likewise, pray for you to be delivered from the spirits of envy and rebellion. God will see your heart and remove the hardness from both of your hearts in time. I had to do the same thing; therefore, I know God will hear and answer your prayer too, if you humbly go to him with a sincere heart. As a result of God’s will for me to reach out when the world spoke against it, the other mother and I became good friends. We must strive to be different in an evil world – remain set apart.
What will happen if we do nothing? If we do nothing, women will no longer be viewed as a good thing (Ref. Proverbs 18:22). Rather than men finding acceptance in taking a wife, he would be satisfied with opting out of a committed union and favor premarital sex over the obedience of God. Hence, the continuous cycle of producing children out of wedlock will remain increasingly constant in our society. Likewise, not only is premarital sex considered the lack of covenant, but engaging in it can lead to other sexual sins such as pornography, and even prostitution. Even if the man decides to raise his children in the household with the mother, and fails to marry her, God will not honor the union. In the end, the purpose for that “family” would be disregarded. If the covenant is lost, the roles of the father and mother are ignored, and ultimately reversed. Over time, this behavior supports single parenting and pre-marital sex more than it does marriage. Certainly, if you are a child of God, your desire to honor Him should be strong. If we are not
convinced that something must be done to take back the woman’s worth, we set ourselves up for destruction. Conversely, we would be no different than the countries God overthrew in times past – Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim. By failing to obey God’s laws, we set ourselves up for damnation (Revelation 21:8).
Restoring a woman’s worth. Restoring a woman’s worth can be quite a challenge. However, it is possible if God is in the midst. We do not want to be like the couple described in the scenario that walked away without standing firm, pretending as though nothing ever happened. Women should unite and take a stand to reclaim honor and respect in our society, regardless of today’s social trends. For instance, women should refuse to be mocked, mistreated, or exploited. Women should stop accepting or answering to degrading names that God has not called you. Become familiar with who you are through reading the Word of God. It’s up to you, as a woman, to go and take back what has been lost – a woman’s worth. Holly K. Ferguson http://www.hollykferguson.com Copyright © 2008 by Holly K. Ferguson All rights reserved Media inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org For permissions and reprints: email@example.com
The Disease of Unworthiness “Stop Running From It and Step Into Healing”
was boarding an airplane and silently thanking God for my numerous blessings when I realized something about myself. It seemed like the more I tried to acknowledge my blessings, the more these crazy thoughts or “it” (as I called it), fought to outshine my goodness. It was all sub-conscious, silent, mental talk but it was as loud as a person standing next to me shouting obscenities. I pushed the thoughts away and navigated to my seat. As I got situated, it came back again and lingered like a fat bumble bee. “What is wrong with me?” I thought, as I ordered hot water and herbal tea. As the flight landed in Boston, I was fighting it, trying to focus. I continued to wrestle with it throughout the day. As I spoke with my client, it popped up. As I fixed a salad in the company cafeteria, it lingered. As I turned on my laptop, it hovered over my actions. As I called for a taxi to head back to the hotel, it lurked. When I plopped down on the bed in my hotel room, I was exhausted not only because I’d had a long day, but because I’d been battling with it all day long, like an addict fighting off her cravings. After I said a few affirmations and prayers, I felt like it was strangling me. I could barely think as it suffocated my thoughts and ability to figure out what I was having for dinner.
© MADARTISTS | DREAMSTIME.COM
At that point, I acknowledged it, accepted it and realized that I’d seen and heard it for too long. I sat there in silence as it glared
at me and I was determined to replace it with thoughts that supported my authenticity. It ignored me and started a conversation with me
(you know, those silent conversations we have with ourselves). This time, I let them (myself and it) talk as I observed and listened intently. I felt like I was having an out of body experience. I was appalled at how I entertained fear and negativity in my head and wondered just how much all of this affected my interpretation of life. It went on incessantly. As I listened, I mindlessly found a menu and ordered some food. While ordering take-out, I was rude and short on the phone as I listened to present crippling thoughts. “They probably don’t even deliver to this hotel.”, it said. “This food probably ain’t no good”. I got angry as I sharply gave my hotel room number and address. I hung up the phone and kept listening. “You really don’t need to be eatin.” “You need to go downstairs and get on the treadmill.” It just went on and on. As the food arrived 30 minutes later, I couldn’t even open it; I just started crying. I realized how some of my decisions and limiting interpretations were the result of it and the crazy thoughts it produced. I decided once and for all that I was going to face it and stop it from ruining my life. I was no longer going to waste my energy worrying about it; I was getting rid of it. I was determined to be worthy of the blessings that were showing up in my life. I took a look at some of the major challenges I’d recently faced. I explored my mindset before, during and after the challenges. I discovered a pattern, an emotional rollercoaster, so to speak. It dawned on me that I was suffering from what I coined, The Disease of Unworthiness. I’d let society, my past, and my challenges define me. Instead of focusing on what good was showing up in my life, more and more, I was sub-consciously identifying with what appeared to be negative. Instead of seeing the so-called negative as an opportunity to learn, I saw it as a sign of my unworthiness. “Do I really think I am unworthy?”, I thought to myself in shock. I grabbed my laptop and looked up the meaning, which is defined as, “the lack of excellence or value.” “That’s not ME”, I thought. I continued to explore. How can this be? I thought that I was sure of my worth. When I thought of a recent failed relationship, instead of learning the lessons and being thankful that my boundaries had been identified, I blamed myself and identified with the fact that the relationship didn’t work. When I looked at the extra 20 pounds I had packed on, instead of learning that my body needed nourishment, love and movement, I completely ignored
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happiness, respect, then it is very likely that you will attract people and /or circumstances that will not unconditionally love you, respect you or treat you the way you want to be treated. Moreover, it’s likely that you will not accept the love that God has already placed in your life. These feelings of unworthiness will cause feelings of unworthiness to emanate from your being and you will attract more unworthiness into your life and this includes the people and situations which you attract into your life. I realized that many of my choices, over commitment, guilt, need for perfection and the inordinate energy that I’d placed into many relationships stemmed from the fact that subconsciously, I felt unworthy. I realized that my lack of acceptance of myself had spilled over into my life and that I could no longer hide it. I knew that I had to start to teach myself that I am in fact worthy of the greatness uncovered through my achievements. I began to love myself unconditionally and opened myself up to receive and accept goodness. I no longer was afraid of the passion for spirituality that brewed inside of me, causing me to focus. I made a list of all the things I loved about myself and began to embrace my authenticity and uniqueness. I returned to the healthy diet that I’d given up, forgave myself and accepted the fact that God’s mercy is bigger than my shortcomings. I reserved quiet time for meditation to God and prayer and welcomed the innate guidance that I’d always possessed. I realized that God had already placed in motion everything I needed or could ever imagine. I supported my spirituality and I stepped into my destiny. I let my star qualities shine. I created a personal mission statement that encourages me to think outside the box, encourages unity and attracts and shares wealth and goodness. I let the healing begin and stepped into my greatness.
the lesson. I was no longer doing what was comfortable for me I was too busy trying to prove my worthiness. When I looked at recent business goals that I had not met, instead of being thankful for the shift that my career had taken and the valuable lessons I learned, I blamed myself. I realized that The Disease of Unworthiness had caused me to over commit and to go against my intuition and inner voice. I witnessed all the ugliness of limiting behaviors and the desire to be accepted. I’d been an over
achiever all my life, “this can’t be happening to ME”, I thought. I realized that I needed to start trusting my intuition and the divine mental capacity that I was blessed with. I needed to step into my greatness! I began to study unworthiness and its associated emotions and choices. I learned that, according to the Diamond Health Clinic, if you are thinking that you are unworthy and you feel for some reason that you are unworthy of love,
Written by Wendy Franklin-Muhammad, The Authentic You Emotional Intelligence Coach and Business Consultant. To schedule a coaching session or speaking engagement, visit www.TheAuthenticYouOnline.com or email TheAuthenticYou@yahoo.com.
Relate with Talayah Stovall
Below are some examples of the types of questions that we should never be ashamed to ask or answer. As you progress into the serious stages of a relationship, be sure to get information on the following topics, and you should be willing to share your information as well:
Views on Marriage and Family – This seems
Relationships Having the Chat
In a male-dominated society, often the issues which are specific to women end up not being brought to the forefront. As women, it is up to us to take charge of our own matters when it comes to health, finances and life balance. We are often so busy taking care of everyone else, that we sometimes do not leave time for ourselves. Our worries and fears about our own issues are often put on the back burner. When it comes to relationships, we are often reticent to discuss difficult topics, either for fear of revealing too much about ourselves or for fear of scaring off an interested prospect. In this era of AIDs, physical and emotional abuse and recession, too many of the important issues are not being addressed. Sometimes, we get caught up in the exhilaration of a prospective new relationship and fail to get basic information that will alert us to red flags that can signal problems down the road. Gaining certain facts from your prospective partner can give you insight into potential hazards that you might otherwise miss. Topics such as mental and physical health, financial history, family relationships, and so on are often left to chance. However, these are topics that are very important for us to address in order to have full disclosure and move forward in a healthy relationship.
very basic, don’t make any assumptions. Find out if the person you are dating has ever been married, is currently married (including separated) or ever intends to be married. Find out if he has or wants children.
Finances – Understand how your partner handles their ﬁnances – whether they have a budget, savings, investments, ﬁnancial goals, whether there have been bankruptcies (ﬁnd out the timing and circumstances), home foreclosures, etc.
Health – Ask about past and current illnesses, hospitalizations and communicable diseases. This will all impact you if you decide to become serious about this person. Family Background
– Understand his relationships with family members. Are they healthy or dysfunctional?
Friends – There is a
saying, “Show me your ﬁve closest friends and I’ll show you who you are.” Who does your partner spend the most time with? What
is the moral character and what are the traits of these people? Now, turn the mirror on yourself. Who are your closest friends?
Legal Issues – Find
out about any lawsuits, arrests or other legal issues in your partner’s history. In examining the underlying reasons, determine whether there is a negative pattern.
– In the event that this is a candidate for marriage, be clear on how you would handle ﬁnances, participation of each in household chores and child rearing, each spouse’s time commitments to family and friends and so on.
– If you are considering marriage, be clear on where you would live, whether each expects to participate in activities together or separately as a couple, understand how holidays would be handled, discuss each person’s expectations for intimacy, etc.
small things can make a world of difference. You’ve all heard about the person who squeezed the toothpaste from the wrong end… There are many more topics that should be covered in your discussions with current and/or prospective relationship partners. The level of questions asked depends on the time and depth of the relationship. The bottom line is: never be afraid to ask the important questions or to share important information about yourself with your partner.Your health, ﬁnancial security or even your life could depend on it. Talayah Stovall is an author and motivational speaker. Her ﬁrst book, Crossing the Threshold: Opening Your Door to Successful Relationships and eBook 150 Important Questions You Should Ask Before You Say “I Do”, are available online, at her website (www.talayahstovall.com) and at selected bookstores. Her next book, Light Bulb Moments, is coming soon.
– ﬁnd out things that particularly please or displease your partner and be honest about yours as well. Doing or avoiding
We must be willing to be open about our past and current issues and we should not be afraid to ask our relationship partners to do the same. Your discussions should never take place under duress, but at times when you are both relaxed and stress free.
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The Silent Cry CJ Jones
I guess you’re saying that is an oxymoron, how can one cry silently? Contrary to your thoughts, it happens all the time. It is an inner cry, a loud scream attuned to a prisoner who wants out of her imprisonment, but knows it is futile because of the thick walls and barriers which block her from being free in order to be heard. A muffled cry smothered by her shame, denial, lack of knowledge and most of all her fear. I am sharing a story of two women who appeared to be strong on the outside, but were falling apart on the inside. They wanted help, but didn’t know how to get it, so they cried silently alone instead. These two stories reflect hope for many women who have never shared their pain, but wanted to do so; women who stopped crying and became numb because they couldn’t find the help they needed. Hopefully by sharing these stories, it will bring awareness to two serious subjects: spousal abuse and homosexuality. Maybe, just maybe someone will not be afraid or ashamed to share their pain and cry out loud versus silently, so they can receive healing.
Blinded by Love “I immediately developed a crush on him. I met him at a friend of my family’s home. I guess I was initially attracted to his maturity and independence. He had his own car and a gig in a band that traveled out of town on the weekends. He also was handsome, a good dresser and was a great conversationalist. At first, he didn’t show any interest in me with the exception of saying that one day I would make a good back-up singer. We eventually became a couple. We dated when I was in high school and off and on in college. Everything was good until I began © MADARTISTS | DREAMSTIME.COM
to see little signs that I should never have ignored. This was a pre-view of the future episodes of abuse in that he would demonstrate during our marriage. However, my blindness due to love allowed me to overlook this clear warning sign of a potential abuser. At a young age, I shared a relationship with God. I learned to pray, talk and trust him in everything that I did. God gave me a clear sign about my husband when we were dating and I chose to ignore it. One night sitting outside of my dorm, I attempted to get out of the car because of an argument. He grabbed my arm and jerked me back in the car and told me to get my a----- back in the car, I wasn’t going anywhere. It shook me because I couldn’t believe he had cursed at me and jerked my body the way he did. The pattern of abuse in our marriage started on our honeymoon. I accidentally locked the hotel keys in the room and he immediately possessed a demeaning tone of disapproval. From that point on, he was very critical and made me feel stupid over things concerning our household. The height of the emotional abuse was during the time he decided he wanted to leave. We were separated and he would come to the home we had purchased and have sex with me and just disappear. He would come and dress up as if he was going out with another woman in front of me and literally make fun of me. There were comments about where he was going and how I couldn’t go because I was a Christian. He played with my mind a lot. He would say things like, ‘I will raise my son but it won’t be in the same house as you’. When I told him I didn’t know how to take care of a household without him, he would say ‘you better learn baby’.
running a household because I was accustomed to him making the major household decisions. My self- esteem was extremely low. I had problems looking at my image in a mirror beyond brushing my teeth. I cut the lights off in the bathroom so I didn’t have to see my face clearly. I had the feeling of wanting to disappear from the face of the earth.
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There was physical abuse, also. It was a build up. In the previous years, He had yelled, knocked a hole in our apartment wall, was mean with critical remarks, and basically intimidated me with the fear that he might hit me. The first time he did it I had to go see a doctor and was in bed for weeks because of a sprung ankle. Another clear incident occurred when we were living in a home my parents owned. We had discussed buying our own home to become totally independent. He came home one day with a brand new SUV he had purchased without discussing it with me. I made a comment about it not being a wise decision and how it would look to my parents. He jumped on me and began choking me and saying, ‘I don’t give a d---- about your parents’. I felt unloved and less than a person. There was an extreme amount of shame each time it happened and I began to devalue myself based on his treatment. No one knew, not anyone! I had pretty much given up a lot of my friendships with people I would have felt comfortable telling about
it. My friends felt uncomfortable and not welcomed around him. I think they picked up my uneasiness also. I was tense when my friends came around; it was like I was walking on eggshells. I feared he would explode or say something demeaning in front of them. I felt pretty isolated. I felt alone and trapped. My personal life consisted of him and my home. If we had friends they had to be couples that bought into us being happy. My family lived in another state. I coped because there were times he wasn’t choking me. I enjoyed being a mother and having my son’s father there. We were a family. When the abuse would start up again, I held on to those times I felt good about our family. I cried a lot and prayed and asked God to touch his heart to be kinder to me. I began to reject myself, entertained suicidal thoughts and became mentally unstable. I was diagnosed as schizophrenic by a psychologist and counselor and was offered medication for it. I refused the medication and turned to God. I had no history of mental illness until then. I was terrified about
I began to heal as I moved forward by giving my heart back to God. I studied the word so much that the voices I was hearing in my head gradually went away. I fasted a lot. Some of it was because I couldn’t eat due to depression, but it helped that I was reading God’s word while I wasn’t eating. I prayed and spoke confessions about who I was in Christ. This helped with my self-esteem. I prayed and asked God to heal my heart and I eventually forgave my ex-husband. Forgiveness played a big part with moving forward. Did I cause him to hit me? No. One of the most hurtful things to a woman being abused is the question what did you do to deserve it? I tried very hard to please him so I wouldn’t get abused. 95% of the time his outburst was because I expressed that I didn’t like the way he talked to me or a decision he had made without us discussing it. If I could share any words of wisdom with someone going through an abusive situation, they would be: “Don’t keep silent and value your own life enough to seek safety. If you don’t have a relationship with God, give your life to Jesus Christ. He makes all things new.” I wrote a book, “Shattered But Not Broken”, that I believe will encourage anyone who has been abused. It is my personal testimony of victory over my situation. God was in the midst of my
struggles and he has allowed me to write this book to encourage others. I believe he poured my story into those pages to assist someone else through their journey. This book also contains many resources to assist a victim of abuse. It will truly bless those who read it and I am not just saying it to sell it. Dr. Lavencia DeBerry Author of “Shattered But Not Broken” www.propheticwingsministries.com
Faithful, Fallen and Rejected I was raised in a religious household where my mother was at church at least 5 days a week. I not only received the word of God at church, but daily from my mother who stayed on her knees for her 10 children. I knew right from wrong, but as any young adult, I needed to find my own way. During my freshman year of college, I believed that I met the man of my dreams and my focus immediately shifted to him! Although in my heart, I knew that dating him was leading me off the path of a Christian lifestyle; I continued to see him and eventually became pregnant. When he and I found out about the pregnancy, we were shocked, afraid and ashamed to tell our parents. Our families had high expectations of us and we knew they would be disappointed. Chris knew his dad would not receive the news lightly because he was a minister. So, in order to avoid everyone else’s pain, we decided to get married at city hall and tell them this news instead. Well, three years after my marriage and child’s birth, I was alone. My husband left me for another woman who he impregnated. He was 22 years old and I was almost 19 at the time and I remember thinking
all will be well. We were making the right decision. After all, according to God, it was better to be married, than single and sinning. When I told the two most important people in my life, my mentor and mom, they both were hurt. My mom immediately asked me if I was pregnant. I reluctantly told her and surprisingly, she understood. Both of them made me promise that I would finish college. I had no doubt in my mind that I was going to meet that goal. At 22 years old, I was a single mother and financially distraught. My world was upside down. I was bitter, angry and really could not comprehend the magnitude of my situation. I chose not to talk to those whom I was closest because of my embarrassment. I instead I turned to a sister-in-Christ at church, one of the ministers I admired. I didn’t realize that my life was about to go in another direction. Sharon was an awesome disciple, she was there for me! She was a good listener and always provided biblical answers for my questions. I began to depend on her presence to get me through my hurt and pain. I don’t remember when the tables turned where I was comfortable lying in her arms, it just sort of happened. I guess because she was a minister in the church, I didn’t realize that I had slowly become involved in a lesbian relationship. I looked forward to her holding me and lying with her for comfort. I even tried to reason everything out; we are women; women hug
and hang out together. However, I eventually became uncomfortable and knew we needed help. I talked to Sharon about this and she explained that she had dealt with these feelings before, but there was literally no- where she could turn for sound support, especially not the church. I was not in agreement with Sharon. Our pastor was a loving man, who delivered sound doctrine; he would be willing to counsel both of us. I was wrong! When I told him about the situation, I was chastised and told that not only would I no longer be able to serve in the church, but Sharon would be removed from ministry immediately. Although, I respected his decision in removing us from our leadership roles, but, he didn’t provide counseling, or steps to assist us with the situation. He told us that we must repent, stop being friends and believe God for deliverance. He even brought up the situation in service the following week. In my opinion, this was callous and not wise! Our church membership was small enough to logically determine who he was referencing. I was hurt and mad at God. How could he allow another “dagger” to be thrown at me? Doesn’t he know that I have been through enough? Because I didn’t have anyone to confide, I went through a state of depression. I often thought about suicide. I felt so alone. My view of the church organization changed during this time. I didn’t want any part of it! I stopped going to church altogether. My
friend, Sharon moved away to avoid the sneers of her peers and to heal. I tried to heal in my own way, by proving that I was 100% woman by sleeping with various men. My marriage was final 3 years after my husband left me. At that point, I had been involved with a married man for about 2 years. My conscience was seared. I didn’t feel any emotions for this man, it was purely sexual. I also ended up getting involved with another woman, this time I was the initiator. I felt that I was so removed from God that it didn’t matter anymore. This relationship continued for a year until she married her male friend. I finally had enough rejection. I knew I had to change my ways. On the outside, my life looked normal. At 26 years old, I was a young successful professional. I had just received a Bachelor’s in Applied Mathematics and accepted a RA assistant at a major university to teach mathematics as I worked on my graduate degree. Although, I wasn’t living a Christian life, I seemed to have so much favor. As a single mother, I had all kinds of assistance with childcare. My daughter was doing well in pre-school. I even obtained employment with decent salaries. However, I was a wreck internally. I knew that it was time for me to seek out God and a church to connect with others. I needed someone to help me through these feelings. Outside of Christian counseling, I have yet to find a systematic approach or support for my issues. I know I have sexual issues, on top of my pain and regret. However, it is hard to find anyone who can relate or be willing to help me walk me through these issues; especially the homosexual tendencies. Although I have begun to personally seek God for my deliverance, I am praying for answers to one day assist others in the same predicament. I made a decision not to cry out silently anymore, but to share my story, so that someone else can be healed. Sites for Information about Religion & Homosexuality: http://www.narth.com/docs/recentdev.html http://www.religion-online.org/ http://www.christadelphia.org/pamphlet/ homosex.htm
© SERGHEI STARUS | DREAMSTIME.COM
k l a T Teen
Things We Don’t Want To Talk About Meredith Anderson Who are those girls that we all secretly envy when we know we shouldn’t? They are not the girls we all love to hate, but the ones who seem to have it all together and deserve it. You know, the one’s who get the good grades, because they study. The one’s who are motivated, because they have a goal. The one’s who are poised, because they have an innate confidence. You can’t resent them, for they seem to not notice that they somehow always come out on top. When we all stand, shrouded in plastic, boasting our high school colors, staged to take on the world, it is those girls who suddenly stand out. We all just know, they will, “make it.” “It.” That word. Those girls are the ones who will strive and strive for the enigmatic “it.” In the subtle humanity of their gentle spirits, great secrets of self doubt are cluttered by trophies of everything from pre-school contests to college
scholarships. In late night dorm rooms with a cup of soothing herbal tea, on study breaks from grueling classes, the first desperate cries for inner peace begin to unravel the history of perfection. The most tortured of souls emerge from these study breaks. Studying that will propel them beyond their peers on paper. Paper that couldn’t possibly encompass the complicated struggle that haunts the thoughts of the prepared, driven, and lovely. Olivia’s infectious laugh and willing enthusiasm draws you in. Her thick caramel hair frames her child like blue eyes. You can tell she carefully pieces together what she says and naturally deters attention from herself. Pinning her down according to her circle of friends proves impossible as she seems to draw from all kinds. Getting her alone is next to impossible as she always asks to bring someone new that might be in need of a friend.
A spur of the moment tea time to catch up after Christmas break turns into the most revealing soul searching I have witnessed. To my shock she bashfully exposes her on-going war against her body. It is unlike any I have seen, it is so carefully hidden. She is not motivated by a desire for attention, rebellion or to fit in. She admits, she doesn’t have a reason. She is searching aimlessly for the root of her drive to lose weight. Years have compounded this empty feeling of inadequacy. The most startling revelation, “I have never told anyone this.” This, this battle for survival began for her nearly five years ago, when her body began to change, has not once been allowed into our human world of expression. Not once. What does this mean? She questions it all, silently. How does it fit? How much did I eat? How does it look? What number does it say? I LOOK FAT. This thought
will echo in her mind nearly every hour of every day. Why does no one know? No one believes her. She has actively pursued reformation of her mind but who has reached out to help? No one. How would anyone know? Outwardly she is the one who is envied, while the jealousy within herself eats her alive. This made me wonder. How many women go through their lives without truly knowing the peers they look up to? There are so many friends, acquaintances, classmates, and friends of friends I hate to love because I wish could have that something that makes them stand out effortlessly. How many have secrets that they don’t know how to talk about because they don’t think anyone will believe them. How many secrets do I harbor because I don’t feel I have the right to say, ‘I can’t help myself?’
© MADARTISTS | DREAMSTIME.COM
We Wear the Mask Janelle Stokes
(Title extracted from the poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar)
Depression affects millions of people worldwide and affects the African American community at a disproportionate and alarming rate. African American men and women are frequently misdiagnosed and left without proper treatment in a society that characteristically relegates them to an inferior status. With combined social, environmental, and cultural factors, black women experience a form of black pain that is debilitating to their bodies and to their families. In a 2006 article published in Essence magazine clinical social worker turned public relations powerhouse, Terrie M. Williams decided to share her struggles with habitual depression that oftentimes left her in bed for days unable to go to work or ask for help. Williams, at the time of the article’s publication date, was afraid of the “social suicide” that this article could create for her thriving career but felt that her story was one that needed to be told due to its ignored state in the black community. Much to Williams and her family, friends, and co-workers surprise, thousands of kind words and testimonials from black women came
flooding in. These women appreciated her for sharing her struggles and for giving them the courage to speak up about their own private battles with depression. Williams was later led to compile the book Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting filled with accounts of black pain told from her personal bouts with depression as well as several prolific men and women with forewords from singer Mary J. Blige and editorial director of Essence, Susan L. Taylor. Black women are characteristically known for their strength, wisdom, courage, and ability to hold everything together and appear to be well even when they are falling apart. While Williams admits that these are qualities that she is proud to represent as a “strong black woman”, she wrote Black Pain in an effort to get black women to stop hiding their pain. Williams believes that once men and women get the proper help that they need and deserve the “cycle of silence around mental illness that is hurting and killing so many of us—often through secondary symptoms like drug addiction, suicide, crime, abuse, obesity, and hypertension,” can be broken.
Everyone has their secrets... And theirs just happens to be the cure to the designer handbag addiction I developed over the years. My Secret Bagâ€™s exclusive designer handbag service has saved me from the cost of
owning designer handbags, while still allowing me to be seen carrying the latest authentic designer handbags where ever I go. I guess in a way their secret has become my own. By: Anonymous
-Z A Life
Fall Into A Fabulous
By Janelle Stokes
As fall weather creeps in, don’t let your easy breezy styles from summer be relegated to the back of your closet! Instead, bring your summer staples back by spicing them up with a few easy yet key pieces. Adding structure to loose, warm weather clothes is a must if you plan to go back to school or back to work in style! Ethnic prints from summer look great with structured jeans (either in a classic boot cut or this season’s wide leg trouser) and a classic blazer for casual days during the week or weekend. For a great work outﬁt pair a ﬁtted suit jacket with your favorite printed dress for work.
Calvin Klein Three Button Jacket
GAP Curvy Wide Leg Jean
Gianni Bini “Carrie” Calf Boot $99.00 (dillards.com)
Look for fall trends in universally ﬂattering shades of purple, blue, orange, and metallic and incorporate them into your outﬁts for a fashion forward look. If you are a fashion daredevil; pick up something plaid to spice up boring neutrals.
Tre Vero Flap Bag $229.00 (dillards.com)
Leather accessories add a reﬁned look to ﬂimsy summer items so search for a chunky leather belt to add shape, an oversized bag for effortless sophistication and versatility, or a stylish pair of boots to wear with jeans, dresses, or skirts!
Another Line 3 in 1 Corset Belt $58.00 (dillards.com) Remember, taking your summer wardrobe to fall is easy when you layer for warmth, add cold weather pieces for structure and a few trendy items from the fall season’s trends! Happy Shopping!
Pick Your Poison by Tracy Kennedy We live in a world where products are sold through billion-dollar ad campaigns and we buy them believing that the government protects us from those that are unsafe. Unfortunately, the poorly funded Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly failed us (think of the poisoned pet food scandal, the killer diet pills, and the Salmonella-ridden tomatoes), and so it seems that the duty to discriminate has fallen upon the consumer. But how can a single mother plowing through a hectic schedule ﬁnd the time to do research on the subject? And is it even really worth the effort? Companies make billions of dollars selling cheaply made products to consumers; the problem is that those inexpensive ingredients are poisonous to the human body. A quick Google search will unearth stories of water tainted by arsenic, the unregulated cosmetics industry’s cancer-causing creams, and plastics that leech endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. During my research, I came across a disturbing link: some of these common toxins were pegged by research to be causes of women-speciﬁc cancers. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and Bisphenol A (BPA), common ingredients in many plastics which have been linked to breast cancer in women. And, one of the most frightening carcinogens: a substance known as acrylamide, a by-product of baking, roasting, grilling, microwaving, or frying food. A study conducted in the Netherlands by the University of Maastricht found a link between acrylimides and reproductive cancer in women, citing that women who ate 40 micrograms of the substance a day had a signiﬁcantly higher risk of contracting ovarian cancer. How much is 40 micrograms of acrylimide? A single serving of potato chips. There are simply too many toxins for me to deﬁne, identify, and provide alternatives for without writing a 600 page book on the subject. Fortunately, though, some doctors did, and the result is good news for working women: there is a market ﬂooded by PhDpenned books on this subject, most of which can be purchased for less than 99 cents on Amazon.com. Below are the most highly recommended ones, along with their free internet alternatives:
The Grocery Companion: A Diet for a Poisoned Planet by David Steinman ($0.01 on Amazon.com) –Steinman addresses the issue of tainted food products and provides a guide that rates various foods’ toxicities. If you are willing to “splurge,” for 4 dollars more, you can buy his updated, new millennium version.
http://www.foodnews.org/ (free) Sign up for their toxic produce newsletter to get their ranking of the most pesticide laden produce. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5932670/ (free) MSNBC’s guide on the toxicities of ﬁsh. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1571290/ Study-ﬁnds-acrylamide-link-to-cancer-in-women.html (free) This is the full article on acrylamides, along with suggestions on how to reduce your intake of the chemical.
The Timesaver: The Safe Shopper’s Bible: A Consumer’s Guide to Nontoxic Household Products, Cosmetics, and Food by David Steinman ($0.54 on Amazon.com) This book is a broader guide to common toxins, and is a timesaver because it addresses speciﬁc products that are toxic, and suggests speciﬁc alternatives to them, making extra research unnecessary. The only downside is that this book was published in the mid 90’s, so some of the recommended products are no longer on the market.
The Beauty Splurge: Pure Skin: Organic Beauty Basics by Barbara Close ($19.95 on Amazon.com) This work has been hailed as the ultimate organic beauty guide. It contains recipes for creating safe, and cheap, cosmetics, providing an alternative to the mystery goop that manufacturers are allowed to sell.
http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ (free) This website provides an extensive database of all the cosmetics on the market, along with a rating of their toxicities.
The Authoritative Guide:
What’s Toxic, What’s Not by Gary Ginsberg and Brian Toal ($0.93 on Amazon.com) This book, written by two doctors who specialize in identifying toxins, contains a no-nonsense guide to environmental and general toxins, a buyer’s chart, a real-life scenario guide, and a list of warning signs and what to do about them.
http://www.cancer.org/ (free) This excellent website provides a full list of known and possible carcinogenic substances, along with a detailed explanation how they are classiﬁed. http://www.preventcancer.com/ (free) This website has a Q&A about Household chemicals, and a guide on how to avoid the most dangerous
Take Your Breasts Into Your Own Hands:
Prevention, Self-Care & Early Detection © MADARTISTS | DREAMSTIME.COM
Breast cancer was once identiﬁed as “classic” cancer among women over ﬁfty. However, in recent years, more and more women are diagnosed much younger. Our most recent celebrity health news revealed actress Christina Applegate’s diagnosis, at the prime age of 36. In 2007, an estimated 40,460 women were expected to die from this disease. Don’t be deceived; breast cancer has wreaked havoc on our young not just old. It’s time that we women, “take our breasts into our own hands.” Prevention and Self-care, and early detection are key to overcoming this diabolical cancer. Breast Cancer accounts for more than 1 in 4 cancers among women in the US. Approximately 5-10 % of family history and genetics contribute to the cancer. However, there are several things that we can do to decrease the risks for not just breast cancer, but all cancers. Life style choices do account for 65% of cancer deaths in the U.S. “My people perish for a lack of knowledge”, according to Hosea 4. We must educate ourselves in this area. There are hosts of resources and organizations dedicated to ﬁghting for your survival, teaching you how to minimize your risks by preventative care methods.
Breast Cancer Risks: •
Toxic chemicals: Some of the chemicals that we use in our cosmetics or toiletries on a daily basis contains phyhalates, which has been known to cause a cocktail of abnormalities in laboratory animals ranging from reproductive and developmental harm, organ damage, endocrine disruption and cancer
Antiperspirant: Aluminum salts are known to mimic the body’s natural hormone-estrogen, known to increase breast cancer risks.
Never giving birth or giving birth after age 30.
Early onset of menstruation (before age 12).
Late menopause (after age 55).
Family history of breast cancer, especially for mothers, daughters and sisters of women with breast cancer prior to menopause.
Exposure to radiation.
Diet high in fat.
Prevention & Self Care •
Do a self breast exam ﬁve days after menstruation-breasts are less swollen at this time
If after menopause years, self breast exam should be done at the same time each month. (soapy hands in the shower will help to detect if something is abnormal)
How can diet play a role in prevention and care? Flaxseed: The hulls of ﬂaxseeds have lignans that are rich in phytoestrogens and reduce excess estrogen from binding to receptor sites in breast tissue. Fiber: Fiber is one of the most powerful weapons to ﬁght cancer; there is evidence that ﬁber will improve overall health because it moves wastes through your digestive track faster. Flaxseeds and beta glucans from soluble oat bran ﬁber are excellent for promoting breast health, hormonal health and blood sugar. Broccoli and other Cruciferous Vegetables: In the article “Broccoli Compound Helps Stop Breast Cancer Cell Growth?” It states, “Sulforaphane, a plant compound found in broccoli, cauliﬂower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, collard greens, and other cruciferous vegetables, has been shown to stop the growth of human breast cancer cells in a study conducted at the University of Illinois. In this study, cancerous mammary cells were exposed to increasing doses of sulforaphane over a 48 hour period. Cell division was blocked within hours. Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps protect against colorectal, breast, and ovarian cancers. Researcher Cedric Garland, of University of California suggests that several thousand premature deaths each year from colon, breast, and ovarian cancers are a result of Vitamin D deﬁciency. So, get out and get some healthy dose of Sunshine! Let’s tackle this deadly cancer and “take our breasts into our own hands.” Prevention, Self-care, and early detection are key to overcoming this cancer and live a long abundant life that God intends for us to have. Hosea 4:6 reminds us, that God’s people perish for a lack of knowledge. Knowledge is power and power gives us the ability to overcome anything in life! May your spirit, soul, and body be made whole.
Resources: Biblical Health Institute~ Women’s Weekend of Wellness (program guide); October 5-7, 2007; Atlanta, Georgia, Pancheta Wilson, M.D. cancer.org/downloads/STT/BCFF-Final.pdf
Healthy Self: The Guide to Self-Care and Wise Consumerism) http://www.healthy.net/scr/Article.asp?Id=1503
Get Fit This year the Live! is partnering with Duong Sheahan and Beauty Secrets Spirit Soul & Body to obtain information about wellness. On the next couple of pages you will ﬁnd some enriching information from Duong and afﬁliates.
http://www.beautysecretsspiritsoulbody.com Duong Sheahan is the Founder of Beauty Secrets Spirit Soul & Body, a website dedicated to empowering women to achieve their optimal health. Duong is a Biblical Health Coach through Biblical Health Institute, an organization initiated by Jordan Rubin; world’s most recognized natural health expert dubbed as “The Health Evangelist” and NYT best selling author of the Maker’s Diet. Duong is currently working on completing her degree in Human Nutrition with an emphasis on natural health. Duong is also an inspirational columnist for several women’s publication as well as directs the Women’s Ministry where she speaks the life-changing word and helping women overcome everyday issues of life at Life Changer’s International Church. Contact Duong Sheahan: firstname.lastname@example.org
t i F et
You Laugh off Stress…
Having a crazy day? Taking a break may be the perfect answer. A recent study found that laughing for 15 minutes a day may decrease stress and increase optimism. If you are feeling down, start by saying, “ho ho ha ha ha” in rhythm, or open your mouth wide without making a sound. You may feel silly, but pretty soon you will be laughing! For more giggle tips go to: www.laughteryoga.org
Up against the wall with a work deadline? Are the kids driving you crazy? Did Mr. Right wind up being Mr. Wrong? For many people, stressful situations can cause visions of potato chips and candy bars to dance in their heads. Turning to food can be an almost instinctive “comforting mechanism” for the things that cause us discomfort. But more times than not, any temporary feelings of relief that the fatty foods provide are overweighed by the more permanent feelings of guilt and disappointment that follow. But cheer up! There are healthy ways of managing your stress that allow you to rise above your emotions without falling back on negative eating habits. One good place to start is by making a list of self-nurturing “indulgences” that you enjoy. Not only will they distract you from foodfocused activities, they’ll also help you unwind and get back in control.
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
© GISELA VARGAS
Learn to Love Your Body!! *Compliments of Redbook
• Take a good long look in the mirror and affirm you. Most women avoid full length mirrors if they feel they are overweight, depressed or have low self-esteem. Learn to love your uniqueness. There is no one like you! • Make a Fabulous List. Start each day with the reminder that you are beautiful. List all the gorgeous things about your body on post-it notes and stick on your mirror each morning. • Sweat a little. Find an activity you enjoy and do it! You will not only get a “buzz” from your endorphins, but you will appreciate this physical aspect of your body.
• Wear Sexy Lingerie. Wearing the proper foundation garments can easily lift and shape your figure, making you look trim and shapely and also boast your confidence. • Indulge Yourself. Do anything that makes you feel womanly and sexy; a day at the spa, a manicure etc… • Stand up Straight. Poise and posture are 90% of looking the part. Shoulders back, chin up and smile! • Leave your comfort zone. If you are afraid to wear clothes that embrace your femininity, make a decision to leave your hang-ups behind and dare to wear that sexy dress or those daring shoes.
• Take A Brisk Walk Or Pop In A Walk Your Way Video • Take A 15-minute Catnap • Play With Your Children • Play With Your Pet • Call A Friend • Listen To A Soothing Cd • Read A Magazine Article • Say A Prayer Or Affirmation • Paint Your Nails
Whatever activities you place on your list, make sure that they're fun, relaxing and easy to fit into your day. Then the next time a stressful situation arises, you can automatically reach for your list. Not the nearest bag of cookies. *Compliments of Jenny.craig.com
A Letter To My Sisters In The Lord © DIDI SUPARDI | STOCKVAULT.COM
comes a time in every woman’s life when she has to take a close look at herself. Not at her circumstance, not at what she did, not how unfair life is, or at who made you do it. She has to just look at herself... Have you ever admired a woman who has been through changes in her life? Or have you made up in your mind that she is just messed up.
Before you make this mistake, take a closer look. A woman who has endured the most unusual life is someone of wisdom, someone who has been chosen by God to go through things that have made her stronger. Think of all the great women in the Bible: Mary Magdalene, Ruth and Naomi, the woman with an issue of blood, and Esther, to name a few. Mary was a prostitute, a very uneasy woman. But by the time Jesus was done with her, she was His closest follower. Esther was unfortunate in marrying an abusive man, but by the time God was done with her, she had married one of the wealthiest men in the land! Women are so quick to beat the next one down instead of trying to hold her up. Before you wonder, ‘ What’s up with her?’ ask yourself, ‘What’s up with me?’ That woman could be my mother, sister, aunt, in-law, stepmother, niece, grandmother, great-grandmother, neighbor, friend, or co-worker, etc. That woman could be ME. Women are the carriers of life, not the channels of death. Let’s build and encourage each other, as did Ruth and Naomi. Encourage and love, forgive and forget, and trust that the woman that receives this will be touched in some way. God bless you and your family. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made in Him! Know today that you are sincerely loved!