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PURPOSE DRIVEN WOMEN MAGAZINE Often times we fail at connecting to our purpose because we feel inadequate. What we don’t realize is when we were created God placed our purpose inside of us. We already have it. It’s what we were created to do. The obstacle is taking the time to seek God for revelation and instructions of our individual purpose. Once we truly have an understanding of what we were created to be or why we exist there is no force on this earth that can stand in our way. We don’t have to worry about being good enough or if we have what it takes. When we know without a shadow of a doubt who and what we were created to be the rest is history. Purpose Driven Women Magazine is the woman's guide to connecting to their purpose.

ABOUT US PDW is a multi-cultural bi-monthly digital Christian magazine designed with everyday women in mind. We give women a voice and platform to share their story of how they overcame hardship through faith, in the end giving God the glory. We provide support to women on their purpose journey by providing inspiration through testimonies, tools, resources, and informative articles that help them to discover and become all that God created them to be.

Subscribe Today! WWW.PDWMAG.COM FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA @purposedrivenwomenmagazine

@purposedrivenwomenmagazine @pdwmagazine


Publisher Kimi Johnson

Editor in Chief Ann Marie Bryan

Cover Designer: Brittany Rockwell

Branding and Marketing Director Damien Jones


Tarnya Coley Rhoda Whitfield Christina Malloy Kellie Watkins Celeste Carr Nicole Mason Kendell Lenice Shamika Thomas Michelle Cook-Hall Carmelita McRoy Danielle Lyles

Cover Feature

The March of Dimes Tallahassee Chapter Board Members

Cover Business Mention:

Lolani Green, Owner of Q-ti Cakes

Cover Photo Photographer

Jawan Moore Captain Canon Photography

Share My Story Lisa Guice

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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.� Jeremiah 29:11 NIV OUR MISSION Our mission is to spread the good news of Jesus Christ while encouraging women to connect to their purpose. We give everyday women a voice and platform to share their story of how they overcame hardship through faith, in the end giving God the glory. We provide support to women on their purpose journey by providing inspiration through

testimonies, tools, resources, and informative articles that help them to discover and become all that God created them to be.

OUR VISION Imagine a world where every woman knew exactly why they were created and despite their economical background, past failures and mistakes, trials and tribulations they all knew they had everything

needed to be who God created them to be. Our vision is to create an international publication that creates unification and connection amongst women from different walks of life, giving them an opportunity to uplift each other by sharing their story.




MARCH 2019 Contents

On the Cover: The Tallahassee Chapter of the March of Dimes Board Members Cover Photography by Jawan Moore, Owner of Captain Canon Photography Make-up Artist: Fadriena Sutton


Features 16



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64 Pastry Chef Lolani Green, Owner of Q-ti Cakes located in Tallahassee, Fl. Photographer: Jawan Moore, Owner of Captain Canon Photography Make-up Artist: Fadriena Sutton

Success Tools 20 HOW TO CREATE A




Authors & Readers 18


Spiritual 31




Sound the Alarm 24 A DIVINE PRUNING

Trading Secrets 68 FASHION BLOGGER



Health & Fitness

Love & Relationship





Poetic Purpose 43 DEPRESSION


March of Dimes






March/April 2019 PDWMAG.COM 7

always thought I “ Iwasn’t good enough until I found out I was more than enough! -Kimi Johnson

Photo Credit: Marcus Duval

A Word From Our Publisher Before I decided to launch Purpose Driven Woman magazine, I was a hairstylist working in the beauty industry for over 10 years. I watched women from all walks of life flip through numerous magazines searching for that one style that screamed, “This is you!” While in my salon, I have heard countless jaw-dropping remarks from women, searching for the person they were created to be. These women were physically beautiful yet crying on the inside because they did not understand who they are in Jesus Christ. I saw that no amount of money, friends, or men, could have saved any of them, and me, from reaching this point. The more I listened to these stories, the more I realized how much we all have in common and the strong desire I have to encourage women to be all they were created to be.

Purpose One day while reclining on my sofa at home, I reflected on my purpose. I thought about the things I liked, the things I disliked, and the ways that I could make a difference. As I contemplated, I began to seek the Lord concerning my purpose. However, it wasn’t until I was at the lowest point in my life, when things began to change. I was a single mother; my son was only 6 weeks old and my life was falling apart. While I was thinking how I was going to fix my situation, the Lord was dealing with me about publishing a magazine. A magazine? That was the last thing I thought I was good enough to do. Publish a magazine? This can’t be right. I had

absolutely no experience in the magazine industry. I questioned the Lord, “Me? Do a magazine? But how, Lord? I’m not good enough? Who is going to buy or read a magazine?” Eventually, I started believing my negative thoughts and insecurities.

Driven Those thoughts carried on for years until one day my pastor walked into my office and said, ‘I’m not sure why I’m showing you these but…’ and he placed a stack of magazines that he had published on my desk. That’s right, you heard me! The Holy Spirit knows how to get your attention! I burst in tears, and that was the day I connected with my PURPOSE! Not long after, I found out, I was more than enough. All I needed to do was step out in faith and God would do the rest. Now, I have embarked on a movement to let women all around the world know they too, are more than enough. Women Within the stories of Purpose Driven Women Magazine, I pray that you are graced with empowering words of encouragement and motivation to aid you as you travel on life's journey. We believe that testimonies change lives, and when God puts His “super” on our “natural,” we can’t be stopped because we are all Purpose Driven Women.

Kimi Johnson


Connect with your

PURPOSE from anywhere.

Follow us on social media today. @purposedrivenwomenmagazine @purposedrivenwomenmagazine @pdwmagazine

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Our Contributors Celeste Carr Detroit native, Celeste Carr is a dynamic powerhouse; a force to be reckoned with. She is an author, coach, speaker and marketplace minister. She is the founder and CEO of the CC Suite, a lifestyle brand for women entrepreneurs, women of faith and women executives. She is the creator of the Radical Pursuit Podcast, and the weekly subscriber-base Lifestyle Level Up Blog. She is a wife to Montell and mother to her daughter, Destiny. She resides in Michigan.

Rhoda Whitfield Rhoda Whitfield is the co-author of A Well Rounded Love Affair “More than Between the Sheets” with her husband Danny Whitfield. She is also the columnist for Just Simply Saying in PDWM.

Danielle Lyles

Carmelita McRoy Carmelita McRoy is a bestselling author, speaker, and certified life coach. She was the previous editor of Pneuma magazine, and she hosts an online radio program on Blog Talk radio called “Woman to Woman Ministries;” that will start back broadcasting in April of 2019. Carmelita has a degree in Christian Ministry with an emphasis in Christian Counseling from Ohio Christian University.

Danielle Lyles, God’s Babygirl, Navy wife and Momma to 4 amazing kids, discovered her love for writing in 2008. A screenwriter and freelance writer, she enjoys the faith-based genre but has also worked on musicals, sci-fi and television. Upon completion of her Bachelor’s in Creative Writing, she plans to use her works to bring hope and healing and to give voice to the African American military community via feature films. March/April 2019 PDWMAG.COM 11

Our Contributors Nicole S. Mason Esquire is armed with a

Kendell Lenice is affectionately called, Lady Motivator. Her daily goal is to empower people, motivating them to reach and discover their fullest potential. Her innate love for people compelled her to start Living True Living You- Life Coaching & Speaking.

law degree and an entrepreneurial legacy, Nicole was destined to become a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President of her own company. She is an author, a contributing author in several projects and a dynamic speaker.

Kellie Watkins is the author of If These Shoes Could Talk: The Awakening and Savvy Diva’s Take On…44 Days of Random Thoughts and Observations, under her pen name, Jahzara the Savvy Diva.

Christina Malloy is from Tarnya Coley is the bestselling author of Open Doors which is rated ‘an inspirational book’ by many readers. It is endorsed by the founder of S A C o n s u l t i n g w h o i s a Leadership Coach and renowned Women in Leadership Speaker.

Michelle Cook-Hall

Fayetteville, North Carolina. She enjoys watching basketball and football games. Writing letters and poetry helps her release the stress in her life. A lot of her poems are love letters to God and prayers to help her make it through.

is the author of "This Journey Is A Process"

which equips and empowers readers to persevere. In 2014, she begin a children book series entitled: "Mimi's Book Series". Michelle's purpose is to equip, empower and inspire others to pursue their purpose..

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January/February 2019 PDWMAG.COM 9

A Word from Our Editor



elcome to another exciting issue of Purpose Driven Women magazine. In this issue, we turn the spotlight on March of the Dimes (MOD), a nonprofit organization with a global reach that “leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies.” The mission of MOD is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, infant mortality, and premature birth. We featured the awesome women in the Tallahassee chapter of MOD. They are driven to serve for many reasons – personal, family, humanitarian, and professional. Simply put, they desire to help. According to MOD, “we engage with volunteers in communities across the country.” Please consider joining MOD and participating in their mission. Enjoy our inspiring, entertaining, and useful articles in this issue. We hope you’ll find information to fuel



Ann Marie Bryan is a dedicated, graceful, multi-talented leader with a passion for excellence. She is the CEO & Founder of Victorious By Design, an organization committed to providing top quality professional writing services, comprehensive personal and professional development programs and exceptional performing arts services to meet the unique needs of individuals and organizations. Website: Facebook: Instagram:


FADRIENA SUTTON INDEPENDENT BEAUTY CONSULTANT Photo Credit: Captain Canon Photography, Owner Jawan Moore

COVER PHOTO MAKE-UP ARTIST Fadriena Sutton earned her bachelor’s degree in business at

Florida A&M University. She worked as an Accountant in State Government for several years. In June 2013, she began her first entrepreneurial business with Mary Kay Cosmetics as an Independent Beauty Consultant alongside her full-time career. As a consultant, she enjoys teaching skincare and color application techniques. Her business enables her to spend more time with her hubby, fur babies Bella and Redd, and traveling. Fadriena’s newest venture is working with her husband, celebrity chef Douglas Sutton in their catering business Private Chef Experience. Together, they host home cooking classes, brunches, and special events. Fadriena believes Mary Kay’s motto ‘enriching women’s lives’ drives her to be authentic and real. She wants women to see that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that God has destined each person to be uniquely their own brand of awesome. Check out her interview below. How do I know what colors work best for my skin tone? I get that question all the time. Truly, you must simply try various colors to know what works best for you. You can quickly pick eye-shadows based on your eye color—brown eyes are amazing and look great with any and every color, especially golds, browns, blues, greens, and my favorite purple. Make-up is fun—simply have fun trying something new. What prompted your interest in the make-up industry? Ha-ha! When I was growing up, my passion wasn’t make-up. My degree is in accounting, because I’d planned to be a hot shot corporate executive. What I love about the beauty industry is the feeling that I get when I help a woman look on the outside how she feels on the inside. Every now and then the outside can influence the inside. We all know the saying, “When you look good, you feel good.” Look for that strut a woman has when she feels pretty. It’s how she swings her hair after leaving the salon. How she walks tall in new shoes. How she is more confident in the right lipstick. My passion is helping women see that they are who God made them to be. Creating that strut every day. This is truly a form of selfcare. All too often, women put themselves at the bottom of the list, until there is nothing left for them. I preach that you cannot pour from an empty cup. Taking care of one’s self is taking care of one’s family. How did you get started in the make-up industry?



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I got started through my business as an independent beauty consultant. It was simple because I did not have to start from scratch. The beauty business is laid out for you and there is an abundance of training. I watched the global makeup artists create looks using our fabulous on trend colors and I fell in love with ‘practicing’ those looks on my friends and their friends. My clients and their friends were always asking me to do their makeup for their upcoming events. Eventually, I ventured out to create a separate business for my makeup artistry. Now I do both consulting and artistry

“The only way to fail is to quit!” Why did you choose to work with Mary Kay? Oh, that’s easy. It simply is the best. Best company for women and best beauty brand. Best everything. I can make money anywhere but I’m happy to be a part of a sales force that keeps integrity first and sisterhood strong. Can we say 50% commission? No—but really, Mary Kay is the best kept secret. In 2019, it’s new, fresh, and on trend. This is not your grandmother’s Mary Kay. For instance, in October, Mary Kay launched makeup that you can wear through the work day, workouts, different weather conditions, etc. The NEW Mary Kay Chromafusion™ Collection features superpowered technology for gorgeous shades that last all day. Think eye-shadows, blush, highlighter, and contour powders – all with a life proof formula that allows you to face whatever is on your agenda beautifully. Women also love the new charcoal masks and Korean inspired sheet masks. Even if you think you know all there is to know about Mary Kay, or you tried it in the past, I promise you the NEW MARY KAY is worth experiencing for yourself. Your skin will love you. What do you enjoy most about being a make-up artist? I can’t think of one thing that I enjoy the most. But here are my top three. I love before and after photos. I love to see the transformation, enhancement, and fun displayed in the photos. I love what I refer to as compliment time. It’s when a woman sees her new look for the first time and gives herself (and others when in a group) a genuine compliment. It’s amazing to give and receive compliments.

I love dispelling the myths and negative thoughts that some women have about their beauty. Nearly every woman I’ve had the pleasure of working with, has a laundry list of flaws that she thinks she has. During the time spent with each woman, I’m blessed to be able to highlight her unique beauty. Quite often, it’s as simple as “Honey, your ___ is just fine.” That is all she needs to know. How do you overcome the struggles you face when it comes to your artistry?

My personal struggle is comparison. Sometimes, I’m not as confident that I’m good enough. I look at other artists and even other independent beauty consultants and think I’ll never be as good as they are. I’m overcoming those struggles by looking with curiosity and striving for growth instead of looking with jealousy. If I see a look and I’m struggling to create it, I’ll study it. If possible, I’ll ask the artist how he or she did it. The important thing is—I don’t give up until I achieve that look. Honestly, whatever the struggle, I don’t give up. The only way to fail is to quit. What would you say makes the biggest difference between an everyday look and an eye-catching after 5 look? Hmm...eyeliner, mascara (my personal fav), or maybe lipstick. Most often, deeper colors like dark browns and blacks are reserved for the after 5 look, so your eye shadow makes a difference. Yet, I believe the right lipstick, a bold and popping lip, makes the biggest difference. What steps should I take to clean my face prior to applying make-up? What’s the proper way to remove my make-up at night? Oh my! Good skin care is truly all there is to great March/April 2019 PDWMAG.COM 17

make-up. No matter how much makeup you put on, you’re probably not going to be as confident if your skin is not at its best. So before applying makeup, properly cleanse (with gentle exfoliation) and moisturize your face. Apply rosewater spray like Mary Kay® Reviving Facial Spray, then apply foundation primer, and continue with your glamour routine. At night, I recommend a 3-step process: 

Use oil free eye make-up remover to remove eye make-up, including brows.

Use facial cleansing cloth to clean off the remaining makeup.

Use a cleanser of choice with facial cleansing brush to deep clean your skin.

Afterwards, apply night moisturizing cream for maximum skin rejuvenation while you sleep.

What’s the most important thing to consider when applying make-up to either myself or to a client? Clean hands and clean brushes. Most people don’t clean their brushes. And not only does this mute your colors but it holds germs. If you’re constantly breaking out, increase how often you clean your brushes. In addition, get a quick drying cleanser spray that you can use every day. Are there any products you would like to recommend? If you’re using Donald Duck cleanser and Mickey Mouse moisturizer, you’re going to get Goofy results. I recommend using the cleanser, moisturizer, and foundation from the same product line. This works best because they were made to work together and will simply supercharge your results. At Mary Kay, we have skincare for every age and skin type. So, my first product recommendation is a good 4-step skin care system. My other product favs are the Lash Love mascara and Satin Lips set. What advice would you offer an aspiring make-up artist? Do before and after trials on yourself, practice with your friends, and their friends. Also, take lots of pictures. This will not only build your confidence as you see the improvement in your skill, but it will also serve as advertisement for your skill as you begin to branch out and solicit work. Some people believe more is more, but I’m a staunch believer that less is more. Believe in your own sense of style. Don’t feel pressured to be like anyone else. Be you.



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Success Tools


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Get ready for your new season. Get rid of the clutter and the mess. Don't settle for mediocrity. Take charge of your life and get organised. As you step into your new season, you should also get rid of certain mindsets and behaviours. What is your plan? Do you ever find yourself saying, ‘I would love to do that?’ Many thoughts may be running through your mind. Do you get excited? You would like to do many things. However, soon you realise that you haven’t carried out what you had proposed to do. Having nice thoughts and ideas are great but carrying them out should be your objective. Do not just have good intentions but follow through on your plans. You must act on what you set out to do, if you want to see the results. As Benjamin Franklin rightly stated, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Plan It! See It! Anticipate It!

Having prioritize, you can now begin working to accomplish your plan. Tick them off when they have been completed. Checking things off your list will give you a sense of achievement. Importantly, make sure that there is a purpose for your plan. Also, who does your plan benefit? Does it only benefit you? If so, you have misunderstood your purpose. Life is about impacting and making a difference in other people’s lives. If you do not carry out your plan, you will not be able to move forward, and see the results you desire. You will then become frustrated. Have a plan and purpose. What actions are you going to take today to ensure that you have a plan? Do not forget that carrying out the plan is important.

Your plan must be “SMARTER” in order to make it more manageable. Think on the following: Action

instead of just words.

Carry Out your plan instead of thinking about it. Triumphant is how you will feel when you achieve your plan and reap the rewards. Intentional because your goal must be accomplished. Optimistic describes your attitude

as you work to fulfil your plan.

Never give up.

To have a master plan for your life, you must have a clear vision for your life. Write your plans, then give yourself a timeline. Each day, work towards the timeline. Having a plan is important as it gives you direction to accomplish the tasks. Put the details of your plan in order of priority.  Urgent  Important  Not so important but needs to

be completed.


Success Tools

Don’t Let Your Credit Work You By: Kendell “Lady Motivator” Lenice Certified Transformational Life & Relationship Coach/Financial/Credit Coach/Author

Many people struggle with their credit because they know not what they do. The problem is, most people allow credit to work them, instead of them working it. It’s all about knowledge and understanding. Most consumers were never taught about credit so it can be a rollercoaster ride just by using or not using credit. Unfortunately, a credit course is not offered in most Junior high and high schools across America. However, colleges have been known to solicit and entice young people into establishing credit, through high rate credit card offers. Typically, a credit card company representative has a table set up at a job or student fair. This representative sees a young person and begins their pitch about free money. What average student would not jump at the chance to have access to cash? This is where the downhill spiral starts. Keep in mind, that some students know nothing about credit and how it works. They just see the shiny red apple and if they are hungry, they want that apple. Unknowingly, that apple can potentially prohibit them from living the life they want to have in the future. Understanding credit can put a halt on you when you

want to live your best life. What you don’t know can truly hurt you and the way you live. As with all things, you must educate yourself before making a decision. Seek answers to your questions about credit by seeing a professional or becoming “good friends” with Google. You must learn to work your credit. Some people may think that credit is not a good thing to have but indeed it is. The old school crowd would have you thinking that cash is needed for everything. They may say, “I pay with cash; I don’t trust those credit cards.” They think so because they were not educated on the subject of credit. That was a different time. Today, you need credit, s o why not allow it to work for you and not let it work you. Lightbulb moment, right? When you learn the inner makings of credit, your credit score and credit profile will be excellent. First rule of thumb, you need credit in your life. However, all credit isn’t good credit. That’s why it’s important to sit down with a credit coach. If you have great credit, that’s fantastic. If you need help obtaining and maintaining credit, then seek help. Remember that credit can affect your career, livelihood, and more. Having bad credit can March/April 2019 PDWMAG.COM 23

Did you know?

cost you. However, good credit can help you live a stress-free life.

You can transform your credit, just by knowing the fifteen simple steps below. I have taught these in several credit workshops. Give yourself six months to transform your credit profile into one that you’re proud of. Fixing your credit isn’t always easy, especially if you don’t have the money or time. Don’t get discourage and give up on achieving a good credit score. When you know better, do better. It’s always best to pay down your debt and live within your financial limitations. Learn to work your credit and live financially free. Living on a hamster wheel of debt and disappointment is not the way to live. Change your habits, change your life. Today is a new day. Start fresh and seek knowledge to make informed decisions concerning your finances and livelihood. Remember, it’s never too late to make changes in your life.

A hard inquiry could lower your credit score. A soft inquiry has no effect on your credit score.

Credit reporting agencies also receive public records that may provide information such as whether you’ve filed for bankruptcy or have a criminal record.

Your credit utilization ratio is the total of your balances divided by the total money you can borrow. The lower your ratio, the better your score typically is.

Missing a payment affects your score more in year one than it will in year six.

Consolidating your debts can hurt your credit score. Your score may go down if you move your credit card balances to an installment loan because the new lender will look at your credit report before approving you. This results in a hard inquiry, and hard inquiries may bring your score down.

Loan approval depends on more than just your credit score. Potential lenders might also look at your employment history, financial assets available to you and how much of a down payment you're able to make.

Consistently paying off your credit cards and not carrying a balance will likely lead to better credit scores in the long run.

Information from credit-advice/quiz-test-credit-score-knowledge

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Kendell’s 15 Ways to Work Your Credit:

(Always see a professional or do research to find what credit products are right for you.) 

Have an open mind towards credit. Establish credit because you need credit to live in this world.

Knowledge is power so know your total credit card debt. If you don’t know how much you owe, how can you budget.

Contact all creditors to possibly reduce your interest rates. Build a relationship with your creditors. Keep the lines of communication open.

Know your due dates, credit reporting dates, and credit card usage cut off dates. You can contact your creditors for this information. It is important that you have these dates in order to make required payments, pay down on a purchase, or know when you need to stop using your credit cards before the information is reported to the credit agencies.

Use your credit cards because if you don’t, your creditors may close the account, causing your credit score to be negatively affected.

Never close accounts or pay off credit cards completely. Always leave $10.00 - $20.00 on the cards. It is a myth to pay off and never use credit cards. If you do, there will be no activity. Therefore, the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian) have nothing to track, which affects your credit.

Hospital bills/collections - Pay off all co-pays to have them removed.

Stop inquiries and credit applications. Note that applying for every credit card to get a sale or discount at the register can be a problem for your credit. You cannot make a wise decision when you are being pressured at the register. Inquiries stay on your credit report for 2 years.

Be careful when it comes to co-signing or being a co-applicant on anything. The other applicants’ bad habits can affect your credit.

Always pay your bills/pay your debt. Pay early, on-time, and more than is due. This will help your score skyrocket.

Download your credit report every 30 days. It doesn’t affect your credit score if you pull your credit report. You need to know what’s on the report and if it’s correct. It’s a myth that your score goes down if you pull it. Note that if others pull it, your score will go down.

Don’t worry about your credit score. Take appropriate action on what needs to be fix on your credit report and your score will increase.

Pay down your usage. Never use all of the available credit on your credit cards. Use only half (50%).

Don’t spend what you cannot afford. Use credit as a luxury, not a necessity.

Speak to a professional before filing bankruptcy.

Feature: I am a Purpose Driven Woman A THREAT TO DESTINY By Lisa Guice Photo Credit: Elena & Jim

As a young girl, I felt there was a calling on my life. I was often told that I had wisdom far beyond my age, and vision that many lacked. Though some of these insights were given as compliments, for me this gift was a burden that I didn’t ask for, wanted or deserved. So, I set out to run from my God-given talent and deny its existence. What I didn’t realize was that with every denial and refusal to walk in my calling, I was creating a larger crack in my own foundation. For years, I molded myself into a secret people pleaser, always waiting for the needs of others to outshine my own. Playing small became more and more easy as time went by. The more drama those around me had, the safer I felt. It seemed I’m always surrounded by those who are on the brink of a disaster or crisis. Between the turmoil I was creating in my life and the issues of others, my life was full of chaos. This disfunction was keeping me distracted from something that had me bound for years—the secret of an assault that took place in my adolescence. I had been attacked by a family friend who was beloved by us but feared by many in the neighborhood. Over the years, I had heard conversations about how he would leverage his size to intimidate some of the guys in the community, but I never thought for one minute, I would ever see that side of him or become his victim. He showed up in my life as the monster which people spoke about.

The attack was so traumatic, I suppressed it. However, it was manifesting itself in my life in many ways. My self-esteem was crushed. My drive was non-existent and the girl who once looked forward to living, slowly disappeared. I felt like it was my fault, so I spiraled into a self-destructive pattern that fed a deep depression. There were even times when I thought of ending it all. However, I have always felt a hand holding onto me. There were times when I would visualize trying to pry myself loose of the hand, but I never succeeded. God kept his hand on me.

Walking in your Greatness is your Obligation, not your option" Lisa Guice

One day when I was at my lowest point, I prayed and at the end of the prayer I heard, “Get help and get happy.” That day, I decided to seek help. No more running, no more hiding. Through my healing process, I was able to see how I had left pieces of myself along the way. Also, I came to understand that at times others can see the light in you before you do, which is why they work hard to put it out. That was a lightbulb moment for me, as I grappled with why I was assaulted. That revelation gave me back my power and helped me to shift my perspective on my situation. All the time while I was running and hiding, I felt that I was weak and that angered me, and produced self-hatred. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Truth is, I was hiding and protecting myself and the memory of an adolescent girl who needed me to stand in the gap until she was ready to expose her God-given gift. She understood her importance and knew that there would be many girls and women who would need to know that their worth and destiny are determined by God, so they cannot be taken away by anyone. She knew that when God qualifies you, nothing can stop you, and everything has an appointed time. She became my hero and my inspiration. It is because of her and her belief in God that I am who I am today. She believed in Him even when I had lost my way. She was always powerful, worthy and deserving of the calling on her life. So today, she walks in it and shines.



AUTHORS AND READERS MEET AUTHOR: M. A. MALCOLM Jamaican native M. A. Malcolm is an author of Christian and children's fiction whose debut novel, "His Last Hope: A Contemporary Christian Romance" was named the Christian Small Publishing Association's (now Christian Indie Awards) 2016 Romance Book of the Year. In response to requests from readers, she went on to write "His Last Resort", a prequel, which was launched in 2017. This married mother of one also acquiesced to her young son's demands to write him a book, and released the children's title "So very... Max!" (by Marsha A. Malcolm) in 2016. Additionally, she launched several planners and blank prayer journals at the end of 2019. This, despite her earlier determination that she was only ever going to release one book. Having self-published her own books, Mrs. Malcolm, who has been working part-time as a freelance editor for more than ten years, now offers self-publishing consultancy services. By orchestrating the editing, illustration, cover design, book layout, ebook conversion, ISBN applications and upload, she helps authors with completed Christian fiction/non-fiction manuscripts to independently publish their books. She is also the in-house editor for three small writing/publishing companies. Jamaica's current National Reading Champion (Adults 21 & Over), this lifelong reader with an inborn ability to spot errors in other people's writing considers herself a somewhat reluctant writer. She finds the actual process of self-publishing to be more enjoyable than writing the books, but she has not given up on the craft. She credits the Holy Spirit with helping her to complete her existing novels, and has more encouraging messages to share by means of fiction. She is working on her next novel as well as a non-fiction book, and expects to put out more planners and journals going forward. All her books, including the planners and journals, are currently available on Amazon. Mrs. Malcolm lives with her husband, son, and two dogs in western Jamaica.

READ MORE ABOUT HER BOOKS HIS LAST HOPE ***WINNER! Christian Small Publisher Association’s 2016 BOOK OF THE YEAR – ROMANCE*** It’s a nightmare from which she can’t seem to wake up. With no name, no memory and no identification, she can only answer to the name given to her–Hope. In the hospital, she is befriended by an older woman who becomes her lifeline, but even “Aunt Ruby” is stunned


when Hope shares the mysterious circumstances of her amnesia and the unexpected complication: she’s pregnant. When Professor Daniel Donahue returns to Florida from teaching abroad, he’s suspicious of the stranger now living with his beloved aunt. He makes it his mission to discredit Hope and disclose what he believes are her devious intentions. Hope can’t help but feel the tension between them, but just below the surface lies an inexplicable attraction. With each passing day, Daniel finds it harder to deny his feelings, but before he can acknowledge them, he must face the pain of his past and resolve his issues with God. Can he lay his heart on the line, never knowing if someone else is out there, ready to reclaim his new-found Hope?

Claire Foxwood and women like her are more focused on impressing others than on their eternal souls. As a man of God, it’s his duty to set them straight, right? . Claire can’t help her attraction to Robert, but his decision to make a public spectacle of her hurts to the core. Part of her wants to give him a piece of her mind, but the rest of her remains infatuated with the man who’s too attractive for his (and her) own good. If only she didn’t feel like he has a role to play in her destiny! Can “Aunt Ruby” Crawford’s words of godly wisdom peppered with humor help the misguided pair look deep within themselves and discover God’s plan for their lives?

HIS LAST RESORT Makeup artist Claire is everything future minister Robert knows he doesn’t want, so why can’t he get her off his mind? Driven and focused, business owner and future pastor Robert Marsden knows exactly what he wants, and what he doesn’t. The Do Not Disturb sign he’s placed on his heart is his way of discouraging the ‘wanna-be first ladies’ who’ve set their sights on him. The way he sees it,

CONNECT WITH MARSHA Website : https:// Amazon:


Power in the Pull By: Michelle Cook-Hall

We often hear teaching, preaching and attend conferences on the power of pressing and pushing your way through. But I want to share with you, the power of the pull. The Power of the Pull is not to be underestimated. There is healing, help, breakthrough, deliverance and increase in The Power of the Pull. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. (2 Corinthians 10:4) In other words, our weapons are not of this world. The most sophisticated weaponry is ineffective in the warfare that we are exposed to. But the weapons we do have in the spirit is mighty through God. They are impactful, filled with power and strength. According to the above scripture, we not only have the authority, but the power to pull down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. When you are overwhelmed, feeling broken and tired, you have the power to pull through. When the enemy whispers in your ear, that things will never change, you have the power to pull through. When your body is experiencing the biggest challenge of your life, leaving you feeling isolated and unforgotten, you have the power to pull through. There is Power in the Pull. It takes faith and strength to pull in the midst of your struggle. The bible states in Ephesians 6:10-18, Be strong in the Lord and his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the enemy schemes. Why? Because our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this age. Spiritual hosts of evil in heavenly realms. Put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes you will be able to stand your ground. When you can’t take one more day, experiencing pain beyond comprehension, remember there is Power in the Pull. Don’t let the schemes of the enemy minimize your authority. You are equipped to overcome and conquer. Don’t allow this momentary experience, keep you from pursuing your purpose, there is Power in the Pull. Pull your way through.


Daily Vitamin By: Nicole Mason

Why do we need vitamins and minerals? The body needs vitamins and minerals to function at its maximum capacity. Unfortunately, our daily diets do not provide a full and adequate level of each vitamin and mineral that our bodies need. Some foods have more vitamins and minerals than others, but doctors can recommend supplements to help our bodies operate at maximum capacity. The food from our regular diet plus our daily vitamins and minerals help us operate more efficiently and effectively. We must be intentional in our actions if we desire to maintain a healthy diet. So too, we must feed our spirits in order to become all that God has created us to be. The Essential Vitamins I took the time to view the labels on the vitamins in my cabinet. I wanted to see if there were any similarities in the ingredients. All the vitamins contained the following vitamins: A, B, C, D, E, and K. I concluded that these ingredients are essential for the body. So, let’s see what we can ascertain from these same letters as it relates to our spiritual growth and development.

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Vitamin A Attitude

You must have the right attitude about yourself and your life. When you live for God, He will see you through whatever is happening in your life. Now, I didn’t say that you would always get what you want. Nor did I say that you would never have trouble, disappointment, or heartache. In fact, you must accept that there will be hard times. Job asked the following question, “Shall we take the good and not the bad!?” (Emphasis Mine)

tremendous difference how we approach the deep, dark and difficult situations in our lives.

begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 (KJV)

When you know that all things work together for good, for them that love God and are called according to His purpose, you will maintain a positive attitude, even in difficult times. When you know that no weapon formed against you shall prosper, you will hold your head up, put a smile on your face and declare, “This too shall pass! If God be for me, who can be against me!? In the end, I win.”

Remember that God loves you. John 3:16 states, “For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.” (The Amplified Bible)

Struggles and disappointments can bring out the best in us. How would you know about the power of God if you didn’t have to call on Him in a deep, dark place, and He came through for you? How would you know that God is a healer if you’ve never been sick? It makes a

Vitamin B

Surely not to be anyone’s doormat or punching bag. Do not tolerate abuse of any kind. Speak up for yourself. Advocate for yourself and for what you believe. Confidence is the key to success in our lives.

Vitamin E

Vitamin D Discipline

According to, discipline is “a regimen that develops or improves a skill.” You must make up your mind to take action and stick to it. The discipline of taking our spiritual vitamins will release the power of God in our lives.


According to, believe means “to have confidence or faith in the truth of.” Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath


Stay encouraged. Proverbs 12:25 reminds us, “A person’s anxiety will weigh him down, but an encouraging word makes him joyful.” (God’s Word Translation) Encouragement builds us up on the inside. It soothes our hearts and makes us feel better. Learn how to encourage yourself and surround yourself with people who will encourage you.

Vitamin K Kindness

Be kind to yourself. Sometimes, we

Vitamin C Confidence

You must have confidence in yourself. According to, confidence is “belief in oneself (to have trust or faith in the truth of). Who are you? Why are you here?

are way too hard on ourselves. Give yourself a break. No one is perfect. You will not always get it right. Be determined not to give up. Giving up is not an option. When you are kind to yourself, you will be kind to others. In the Message Bible, Ephesians 4:32 states, “… Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.” As you take your daily spiritual vitamins, you will become a force to be reckoned with, and you will operate more efficiently, effectively and at your maximum capacity!


Where Is My Daddy? By: Carmelita McRoy

So many women ask the question—where is my daddy? Why? The reasons are many and varied. They have never met their fathers, or their fathers were never around. Some had fathers who lived in their homes but emotionally distant. Still, some women had fathers who abused them or mistreated them physically and they ask themselves, where is my daddy? Picture yourself as a two-year-old baby girl standing at your front door waiting for your daddy who usually comes through that door at a certain time every day, but one day he never returned, and you are heartbroken. Today, this is how a lot of women look, they are standing at the door waiting on a daddy to love them, hold them, to tell them they are beautiful, and everything will be okay because he has her back no matter what happens. When little girls do not have this relationship, sometimes they grow up to be women still looking for that kind of validation. A father-daughter relationship is special, and every girl needs it, but every girl does not receive it. And because a lot of women do not get this type of relationship, some of them become promiscuous, unhappy, depressed, materialistic, and they do not trust men. Some women become lost emotionally because they continue to seek something to fill that void. Nothing on this earth will fill the void for what you missed from your daddy. I am here to tell any woman reading this that has daddy-daughter issues, I am sorry that you had to deal with this. Unfortunately, I did as well. You will only find the answer to this issue in one person and it is not an earthly person. I found the cure, it was Jesus Christ. I know it’s easier said than done; but by praying and reading His word for encouragement to fulfill that void, you come out better than you would by seeking people and things. You will hurt. You will cry. The healing process does not happen overnight, but once you surrender it all to Jesus, you will be able to move on. You may find yourself even forgiving your father and building a relationship with him. However, your relationship with your Heavenly Father will be stronger and you will mature in this relationship. Sometimes, when we are hurt by our parents, especially our earthly fathers, we tend to hold back in our relationship with God, because we compare the relationship we had with our earthly fathers to our Heavenly Father, and there is no comparison. As stated in His Word, your Heavenly Father will never leave you, nor for sake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). Trust Him. I know it is hard to trust when you have been hurt, but you must learn to trust in order to be free. This is your year to be free. Receive your healing. Let it go! Give it to your Heavenly Father and trust Him.

Scriptures to help you on your journey: Psalm 27:10, Jeremiah 1:5, II Corinthians 6:18

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Sound the


A Divine Pruning and Purging for Purpose By Kellie (Jahzara the Savvy Diva) Watkins I sat on the edge of my bed, in a contemplative mood. I had been shaped and molded by joy, sadness, mischief, discipline, love, hatred, victory, defeat, rebellion, and the wondrous world of motherhood. My body shivered as I’m inundated with thoughts—fear of the ravenous elements that could leave me naked and homeless. Draped in frustration, I stared at my chipped toenails, and finally accepted that a change had occurred. My pride had never allowed the outside world to know that some days, I was forced to accept handouts from loving neighbors or organizations dedicated to those in need. I’m surrounded by friends and acquaintances who’d conclude with a quick glance at my social media photos that I am sitting high on a throne of audacity and privilege, because my exterior promotes the illusion that I have my life together. The truth is, I’m broken and slightly bruised from a dramatic fall onto the rocky foundation that gave birth

to me. I’m in the fight of my life, slumped over with tethered panties, stretched out bras, and toes playing peek-a-boo through asymmetric holes in my socks. Phone calls from concerned friends have vanished, as the tolerance for my declining lifestyle was probably too much for them to bare or even understand. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been different than my peers and fully aware of my divine purpose to do great things. As a result, I’m not be bound by the rules of success created by mankind. I lose a piece of my soul every time I wandered away from my gift, ignored Scriptures specifically spoken over my life, and refused to write, share, teach and be of service to others. I had vowed to believe, to be obedient, and follow God’s plan for my life. As soon as I submitted to my purpose, a purging began in my life and then rebirth. Privately, I struggled with the change, and publicly, I smiled through all the destruction happening in my life. This caused some of my critics to

superficial qualities, and preventing me from focusing on the assignments He has prepared for me. I used to panic if my credit score fell below 700, or if my bills were late, or if my wallet was empty, but had receipts from unconscious purchases. Now, I take long breaths, I meditate several times a day, and I talk with the Lord all day long to get through the uncomfortable hours and days. My exterior may seem perfectly balanced to my critics, but on the inside, I’m taking slower steps and rejoicing in small victories. For example, convincing the water company to give me an extension for an overdue payment. My cuticles lacked the regular weekly maintenance, the ends of my hair haven’t been clipped by a professional, my eyebrows lacked the usual precise arch, but I’m living my best life. Even though, I’m constantly avoiding annoying email alerts notifying me of drastic changes to my credit report.

question why I allowed my lifestyle to plummet to the ocean floor, and not fight to remove the bricks and boulders weighing me down. It’s hard to explain to some who can’t fathom the process of hitting rock bottom. It’s explained in St. John 15: 1-2,

Some days, I retreat to a dark corner and mourn the loss of familiar pieces of myself. I now accept and understand the flawed areas unable to bear fruit were being eliminated to make room for the fruitful areas in my life. Learning to rely on faith and the word of God to survive has been a blessing. The idea of hitting rock bottom or drowning in murky waters would cause some to retreat and abandon the process. I am standing in peace as threats of foreclosure and account suspensions for heat, gas, water, and electricity flood my mailbox. These mandatory payments will be miraculously paid— God is able, and he provides with no explanation. I am faithful in that truth and boldly stand with divine instruction to write, to teach, and share my gift. I do so, with obedience and faith through the pruning and purging of my soul for purpose.

Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” For the past eight months, a divine purging has been taking place in my life. Each day, I lose a piece of my old self but gain a new understanding of what is needed to move forward. I hear God’s voice more clearly and see the routes I need to pursue. It’s as if I’m looking at a digital map of my life. I’ve witnessed God, the father, pruning pieces of me that were being strangled by March/April 2019 PDWMAG.COM 37

All around the world women from different walks of life are letting their light shine by sharing their story and encouraging women.


Let’s Stand Together!

Join the movement by sharing your story with us. Submissions must contain factual information and should be 300– 500 words . Due to high submission volume you will only be contacted if your story was selected. Stories should be submitted to

Health & Fitness

Fit for the Kingdom By: Celeste Carr

Hey ladies! It’s March and you may be feeling as if your momentum is plummeting for the New Year’s resolution you made concerning your fitness and nutrition. Or perhaps, you are taking the first step towards pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Well, I understand what you are experiencing. When I was in middle school, I was crazy about working out. In fact, I was into personal development before I ever knew it was such a thing. I was a part of an after-school program that taught me the value of eating right and being physically fit. So, I implemented what I learned and came up with a strategy to do some simple yet effective exercises. My success was short lived though because I was listening to the naysayers around. They were saying, “Who do you think you are?” and “You think you’re better than me?” I listened to them and eventually, what they said took root in my heart. Fast forward years later, I picked up stomach fat in college, and I didn’t care. Some years past, I got married and gave birth to my daughter. It wasn’t until October of last year that I was fed up with my excuses and reasons for not working out and eating healthy. Since then, I have been working out and eating healthy. Now, I am sure you are wondering how I arrived at this point. Here’s how: Know Your Why You must know why you desire to eat healthy and workout consistently. Keeping your why in front of you helps you to endure and keep going when you feel like giving up. My number one reason was because I wanted to feel sexy and confident again. Most of the times, I felt self-conscious about my body. To be totally transparent and honest, last year, my marriage had seen some challenging times. Amongst other issues, my husband had grown to be less attracted to me because I was starting to let myself go. I knew I needed to buckle down, stop making excuses, and execute a strategy to work out on a consistent basis. Last October, God blessed me with a new job and the building has a gym in the basement, so I really had no excuse to start exercising. My why was at the forefront of my mind and that kept me going when I didn’t feel like working out. As a reminder, you can also write down your why on a piece of paper and revisit it when you need to.

was a true game changer for me. Before, I would often let myself off the hook. I always planned to go but when it came down to it, I would creatively find reasons not to go to the gym. A high school classmate also worked at my new job. I knew she took her fitness regimen seriously, so I asked her if she wanted us to be accountability partners. We check on each other every day to talk about our workout activities. Track Your Healthy Habits This is super important to me. Tracking my healthy habits has been awesome. It not only allowed me to see my results over a period, but it gave me extra momentum to keep pursuing my fitness journey. I have an app on my cell phone called Virgin Pulse. This app works in conjunction with my fitness tracker and tracks my daily steps, my sleep patterns, and three healthy habits of my choice, and so much more. There are many tracking fitness apps that you can use. Believe in Yourself Your belief and confidence go a long way. I believed in the woman I knew I could be and was destined to be. I began to honor my commitment to myself, to see my vision and goal through to the end. I am still a work-in-progress yet every day I set out to exercise and eat right. Yes, I put my best foot forward. I am not at the place in my fitness/nutrition goals that I desire to be, but I have certainly come a long way. I am not a fitness guru or expert, but I am a woman who understands and values my appearance inside and out. If I can do it, certainly you can too. I believe in you. You got this.

Get a Workout Buddy or an Accountability partner Having a workout buddy or accountability partner March/April 2019 PDWMAG.COM 41

Poetic Purpose New Section

DEPRESSION Christina “Truchrissy” Malloy

Depression you will not Dictate who I am. Depression I’ve tried to Escape from you.

Depression you will not have me Smiling on the outside while I’m dying on the inside.

Depression the Pain of you makes me numb.

Depression the Son of God died for me, so that I may live.

Depression I will Rise above you because Jesus has risen for me.

Depression you will not Isolate me.

Depression I’ve had Enough of you.

Depression I don’t Need you in my life.

Depression I am not Obligated to you.


Personal stories of dynamic women from different walks of life whose purpose is connected by way of one powerful organization, the March of Dimes. Photo Credit for Story: Captain Canon Photography, Owner Jawan Moore Make-up Artist for Story: Fadriena Sutton Photo Shoot Location Provided by Q-ti Cakes in Tallahassee, Florida

On the Cover

About March of Dimes March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We believe that every baby deserves the best possible start. Unfortunately, not all babies get one. We are changing that. For 80 years, March of Dimes has helped millions of babies survive and thrive. Now we’re building on that legacy to level the playing field for all moms and babies, no matter their age, socio-economic background or demographics. We support moms throughout their pregnancy, even when everything doesn’t go according to plan. We advocate for policies that prioritize their health. We support radical improvements to the care they receive. And we pioneer research to find solutions to the biggest health threats to moms and babies. What began with President Franklin D. Roosevelt's personal struggle with polio led to the creation of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, better known as March of Dimes. We pioneered the vaccine research leading to the eradication of polio in the U.S., and then we shifted focus to address some of the biggest health threats to moms and babies with innovations like folic acid, newborn screening and surfactant therapy. Today we educate medical professionals and the public about best practices; we support lifesaving research; we provided comfort and support to families in NICUs; and we advocate for those who need us most, moms and babies. We are stronger and more committed than ever to guiding moms through every stage of the pregnancy journey. We are fighting for the smallest among us and advocating for their health each and every day. And we do so with the tools, technology and knowledge needed to build a brighter future for us all.

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Mary is a wife and mother of three children (Aislyn -18, Parke -12, Mason -10). Currently, she serves as a Business Development Officer at Prime Meridian Bank. She is a volunteer with March of Dimes, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Downtown Business Association of Tallahassee, the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, and Killearn United Methodist Church.

I became aware of March of Dimes when as a young employee I was asked to assist in a corporate event to support the March for Babies. Who doesn’t want to help babies? After assisting in building our company team, I began to look for on-going ways to be involved and yearning to hear about the research underway to help families. Seeing the families impacted with health problems from premature births, hearing the stories of babies lost too soon, couples struggling to grow their families - it all seemed so personal and I wanted to make a difference. I was born premature, which was expected since I am a twin. My sister and I didn’t have on-going health issues, however. we were kept in the hospital to reach a proper weight before going home. I had my firstborn child and she was a healthy and perfect miracle. What a blessing it really is to look back and know that the medical knowledge available today, ensured her the best start for her future. My sister had her first-born son and he went straight to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Now it became personal. At that time, I made a commitment to learn more about the March of Dimes and what we could do to support the mission of healthy babies. I wanted to know about all the studies underway to learn what health or life issues may induce early labor, or studies concerning the impact of a community on a developing child. I needed this information to share with more community leaders, associations, and interested parties, so that we could work more effectively and efficiently to make a positive impact.

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What do you enjoy most about being a part of the March of Dimes? I enjoy the community and family connections that I made from working with the March of Dimes. When we are out and about, my family is quick to point out someone whom we have worked with or met from a community event, like the March of Dimes Walk for Babies. Some of my favorite highlights of the past eighteen years have been at these events and taking my children to see what it means to make a difference. There is something extra special about watching your children grow their own passion for helping others. Community and family are what makes Tallahassee home. During difficult times in life, the community, friends, and family help to bring out the sunshine and remind us tomorrow will be a better day. What does it mean to be a purpose-driven woman? When I reflect on what purpose driven woman means, I picture a woman who cares about her family, community of friends, and connections. To care about others, means you will protect them, nourish them, and advocate for their best interests, thereby helping to create a healthy tomorrow. As purpose-driven women, we are tasked with using our influence to work for the needs of others in our community. We are driven towards influencing the next generation and ensuring that they see the value of our community. I can’t wait to see the accomplishments of the next 10, 20 and 50 years in medical breakthroughs to support healthy babies, healthy moms and healthy families.


Lanisha Wetherington has been a part of the March of Dimes for seven years. Currently, she is the Executive Director for the March of Dimes, Tallahassee North Florida Panhandle. In this position, she has responsibilities spanning Tallahassee and the Panhandle Market covering Lafayette to Pensacola. She was born and raised in Cairo, GA and has called Tallahassee home for over sixteen years. She attended West Georgia College and graduated with a degree in Business from Bainbridge College. She was formerly Vice President at Superior Bank. She is innovative and has true passion for children and for those who do not have a voice. She believes that relationship building is the key to her success. She said that it’s because she grew up in a small town where your word meant everything. Lanisha has been a part of the chamber of commerce and leads groups. A founding member of the BNI‘s 2nd group in Tallahassee, Lanisha served on the leadership team. In 2016, she joined rotary and is a Paul Harris Fellow. She has been involved with the backpack program, Bell ringer and is currently serving on the youth services committee. Lanisha will tell you that what drives her is her family (her two sons and daughter and her husband, who is an Assistant Principal at Swift Creek Middle school. As a mother of two who were born premature, she is passionate about the mission of the March of Dimes. She believes in its mission and is committed to ensuring all babies are born with a fighting chance.

Q&A Why did you join the March of Dimes? I was “voluntold” originally by the company I work for. My leader asked me to head up the fundraising. So, I did. A year later, my second child was born at 33 weeks, that’s 7 weeks too soon. My journey truly began then and from that moment on, I became a walker, team captain, sponsor, and more. What do you enjoy most about being a part of the March of Dimes? Hands down it’s the families, people, and volunteers. They drive me to be better. They make me cry, laugh, smile, and reimagine what more we should be doing for our families. What is your most memorable moment with the March of Dimes? At the March for Babies walk day, we had over 2,000 walkers. It started storming as I counted down the walkers to start the race. I cried. Perhaps, no one could tell because I was soaked from the rain. I was heartbroken because we had put in a lot of work and time. We had to call off the walk and

have the walkers leave because of the tornado watch. I learned that day my teams wanted to be there rain, shine, or tornadoes. Also, I learned that sometimes I can’t control it all and to roll with the challenges. Those moments turned out to be lessons in humility and perseverance. What drives you? A lot of things drive me.  My family and making sure they have all that they need.  A fire in my belly that consumes me to be better, to do more than I feel like doing, to never quit until the goal is reached, the job is done, or the obstacles are moved.  A desire to change the things that I can, for the better, to make the world how I see it through my mind’s eye or how my heart sees it.  The need to be better than my mom and dad, and to honor them by being the best version of myself. So, when they look down from heaven, they are happy with who I have become. What does it mean to be a purpose-driven woman?

It serves as a reminder to me in the moment of stress, uncertainty, fear, dread, or when I am not in control that I am wonderfully made. I am a purpose driven woman. I can and will continue to walk in the path I am created for, no matter what. That we are all warriors we are sisters. We are all very different and our purposes are different and how we achieve them are as different and unique as we are. However, in the end our goal is to help each other fulfill our purpose and find the common thread that makes us and our communities better. What is your purpose? Wow! I think it changes with the seasons of my life. I have always believed that my steps are ordered by God and that he has led me to where I am personally and professionally. I know detours have happened because of my own plans and desires. But overall, I think it means to leave my footprint on the world even if it is a small one. In short, to leave the world a better place than it was before I was here. I wholeheartedly believe that having two of my children prematurely led me to the I am a Purpose Driven Woman...

role I am playing today with the March of Dimes. My own personal experience and journey has created a passion in me to advocate for others and share my story and blessings of having amazing outcomes. My children being born too soon opened my eyes to something I knew happened but had never thought about. I knew I wanted others to have a great experience or a better outcome and that’s why I have fundraised and educated others. I think my job and life experiences up to now, have led me to be a part of March of Dimes. My life has been anything but easy. Both my parents are deceased and early on, I experienced tragedy. However, those situations taught me to keep fighting to overcome, and to know there is more to my story. There is more to the stories for our moms and babies within our communities. Their future is ready for the taking and my hope is that I have somehow played a vital role in achieving success. What keeps you up at night? Am I doing enough? Can I do more? What does that look like? How can I create a culture in our communities that supports our moms and babies? How do I accomplish that in my current role? What can I do personally and professionally for our community? My kids, are they safe? Are they eating? I have two children out of the house now, so I wonder - are they making good decisions? Are they fulfilling what they are meant to be? Do they see themselves as I see them? How can I be a better spouse, a better parent, a better friend? Sometimes, what keeps me up at night is too much coffee, a book, or TV series. I can’t quit watching shows like “This is Us.”

I am wonderfully made and I am a Purpose driven Woman and that I can and will continue to walk in the path I am created for, no matter what!”


I am a retired perinatal nurse. I have spent my entire nursing career involved in the care of pregnant women, new moms, and newborn babies, including those at high risk. During the last eighteen years of my career, I conducted educational outreach for the hospital that I worked with. This involved training both in-house staff and personnel in other area hospitals, on identifying high-risk pregnancies and newborns, stabilizing those women and babies, and executing a safe transfer to a higher-level facility, if necessary. I utilized the Perinatal Continuing Education Program which was created by the University of Virginia with funding from the March of Dimes. During that time, I also began to volunteer locally for March of Dimes, utilizing other educational materials designed to train hospital personnel and the public regarding healthy birth outcomes. I was invited to be on the State’s March of Dimes Maternal - Child Healthcare committee, a position I have held for over twenty years. For approximately twenty-five years, I have participated in advocacy for Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition, working on a panel looking at area fetal/infant mortality to come up with ways to work with the public and health care providers to improve birth outcomes. As a local March of Dimes volunteer, I have attended many health fairs and baby showers to disseminate information and answer questions about staying healthy during pregnancy and having healthy babies. I strive to be a reliable resource for the local board and the public by explaining medical terms and providing educational support.

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Brittney Jones is a self-motivated community outreach coordinator and entrepreneur in Tallahassee, FL. A 2005 Florida A&M University graduate, Brittney is the Senior Development Manager of the Tallahassee Market of March of Dimes. Brittney is also the Owner and Creative Director at Touched by a Rose Events, LLC, one of the Big Bend’s top event planning businesses. Though her various professional roles have stretched her availability, Brittney always makes time for her sons, DeShawn and Brenton Rucker, ensuring that she is always an active participant in their educational growth and development. Her value to the Leon County School District has not gone unnoticed. In 2012, Brittney was named Volunteer of the Year at Ruediger Elementary School and she has served four years as PTO President. If there is a major event happening in Tallahassee or an outreach effort that meets the needs of the masses, chances are, you will run into Brittney Jones. She is a true champion for the less fortunate. Brittney is a member of Destiny Church Tallahassee, where she serves as Church Administrator.

Q&A Why did you join the March of Dimes? After working for the state government for fifteen years, I decided to venture out to work in the community and not behind a desk. I did this because I am naturally a people person. For months, I searched online for a job that would suit me, and it was during that time that I came across a position for a part-time Family Team Specialist at March of Dimes. The Family Team Specialist worked directly with families who experienced the loss of a baby, had a premature baby, and those with a healthy baby. This individual would also work with community organizations. I enjoyed doing that for the first two years, beginning in 2014. In 2016, a new opportunity came up, and I became the Senior Development Manager. In this position, I was responsible for all the activities for the March for Babies.

What do you enjoy most about being a part of the March of Dimes? I have met some of the most amazing people while working at March of Dimes. I have bonded with many of the Family Team moms and dads. You would think that we went to high school together. These teams have had to conquer a lot, be it the death of a child or caring for a one-pound baby. Not many people are built for this. So, I really enjoy the times that we come together to celebrate giving every baby a fighting chance. What is your most memorable moment with the March of Dimes? My most memorable moment with March of Dimes was when I worked with the Tallahassee Police Department and the Florida State University Police Department, to help make one of my ambassador’s dream come true. He wanted to become a Police Officer. All About Bryce team was the first ambas-

sador team that I managed. It was fun watching him become a Jr. Police Officer. What motivates you to move forward during difficult times? I have two sons, ages fifteen and twelve, and sometimes I look at them like wow – God trusted me enough to take care of His gifts. In difficult times, I always keep my eyes on my sons, knowing that I must be greater because of them. They inspire me to be the best person I can be. They keep me in check too. What does it mean to be a purposedriven woman? In St. Luke 12:48, the bible tells us that to whom much is given much is required. God has given me so much and I must give to others because I believe that’s the only way to be successful. I have always been driven to help meet the needs of others.


Mrs. Ashley Scott has worked in education for over ten years. Currently, she serves as the Administrator of Title I Part A & Migrant Education Programs for Leon County Schools. Ashley serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida After-School Alliance, Big Bend March of Dimes, and the Sharing Tree. She earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree at Florida A & M University. Further, she earned a second master’s degree in educational leadership at Saint Leo University. Ashley is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, Chi Theta Zeta Chapter. She loves spending time with her husband Jonathan and two kids, Ethan and Zoey. She enjoys reading and creative writing.

Q&A My history with the March of Dimes began as a student in the early 1990s. I was a member of a not-for-profit organization known as Female Voices Early Intervention and Enhancement Program, which was dedicated to proactively enriching the lives of adolescent and teenage girls, as well as assisting with developing their leadership skills. During my tenure with this organization, the Executive Board voted to participate in the annual Walk for Babies. Years later, five of my closest friends and I decided that we wanted to volunteer and do more in our community. As moms, we felt that the March of Dimes was a great organization that we connected with. This we shared with our spouses and family members. After our discussion, we decided to unite for a worthy cause. Over the years, we have had many March of Dimes garage sales, then we began to host booths at community fairs. We have also participated in Family Teams’ Day and celebrated our successes at the annual Walk for Healthy Babies.

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What do you enjoy most about being a part of the March of Dimes? There are many things I enjoy about being a part of the March of Dimes:  The Scott’s household (party of four) is able to contribute to a worthy cause with our friends, all while having fun.  I can volunteer with my Sorors, the lovely ladies of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Chi Theta Chapter.  As an educator, I love knowing that we have an organization in our local community that is dedicated to researching and finding solutions to assist our parents and families.  March of Dimes has always been a leader in newborn screening tests and discovering methods to treat the side effects of premature birth.  I love seeing our community positively united and engaged.

Through the March of Dimes’ Bundles of Love Program, we serve families that are in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).  March of Dimes engages in partnerships and provides grant/funding opportunities to develop innovative initiatives in our local community. What is your most memorable moment with the March of Dimes? My most memorable experience is the annual Walk for Babies event. So much goes into this day. For us, the day begins months prior to the event and ends about eight hours after the walk. On the day before the walk, board members, program leaders, and volunteers spend much of their time setting up the 1 mile and 3k signs, opening tents, setting up tables and chairs, and finalizing the logistics for the “big day”. On the day of the event, we are up as early as 5 a.m. It’s non-stop from there on. I absolutely admire how so many people from every walk of life come together to make this day special. The vendors, leaders of warm-up exercises, performers, and supervisors of field games help to create an atmosphere filled with excitement before the walk. The most fulfilling part of the day is having everyone gathered before the walk begins. Families, volunteers, sororities, fraternities, companies, churches, and community stakeholders line up in their colorful t-shirts to conquer the finish line. I love looking back at the pictures that were taken. They display many happy faces and people being engaged in the events. What motivates you to move forward during difficult times?

Ashley and her beautiful family. Left to Right: Ethan, Ashley, Jonathan, Lincoln (family pet), Zoey

My faith, family, and friendships motivate me to move forward during difficult times. Faith and family are everything. I love being surrounded by my family and I love creating memories from our experiences. I appreciate my relationship with my husband, Jon, my children, parents, and in-laws. As human beings, it’s quite natural to identify the things that bother us the most. I choose to focus on the things that bring me the most joy and peace. There’s something to be said about surrounding yourself with people who are positive and have a positive outlook on life. In this journey called life, no one can survive it alone. I appreciate the friendships of all the wonderful people whom I have met. Whether personal or at work I have been blessed with some of the sincerest people ever, and for that I am totally grateful. Within our community it is an honor to meet some of the strongest families ever. The strengths of families impacted by the March of the Dimes and their positive outlook in difficult times, are a constant reminder that we should celebrate our achievements and not take for granted the things that we have been blessed with. What does it mean to be a purpose-driven woman? I believe that a purpose-driven woman is one that embraces herself, exemplifies kindness, and celebrates the beauty of all people and cultures. A purpose driven woman must have a dream, vision, ambition and plan of action. In addition, a purpose driven woman supports other women and strives to uplift the community. I am a purpose driven woman!

Ashley with a group of her closet friends, Left to Right: Marjorie, Ashley, Taneshia, Ashleye, Tameka, and Crystle


I have been raising funds for the March of Dimes organization since I was a Girl Scout in the 1970s. Back then, we had paper gleaners where you slid the dimes collected into the slots. My sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho, of which I’m a Life Member, is a long time partner with the March of Dimes. I have set and exceeded, my personal goal to raise at least $1,000 every year. What do you enjoy most about being a part of the March of Dimes? I enjoy the annual March for Babies. Seeing the large crowds, especially the Ambassadors’ families, come out to participate in the walk and activities, makes my efforts more meaningful. Who or what motivates you to move forward?

Annette was born and raised in Miami. She has been married for thirty-six years, and the union produced two sons. Four years ago, she and her husband retired to his home town of Grand Ridge, after his twenty-nine-year career as a licensed sales agent in the State Farm Insurance Agency. Annette is a member of Florida State University’s Westcott Society, Seminole Booster Club, football season ticket holder and diehard Nole fan. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics.

I am a Purpose Driven Woman...

My late mother motivates me during difficult times. To have raised five children as a single parent while teaching for over thirty-six years was such a phenomenal and inspiring accomplishment to me. How my mother did it still amazes me. There’s no way I could let her down just because I may have had a few difficulties along my journey.

What does it mean to be a purpose-driven woman? . A purpose-driven woman is a woman who takes responsibility for keeping her word, doing something important, and ensuring her accomplishments impact others in positive ways.

A Purpose Driven Woman is a woman who takes responsibility for keeping her word, doing something important, and seeing those deeds affect others in positive and influential ways.


Catherine Lee was born and raised in Tallahassee, Fl. She has three beautiful daughters and an amazing husband. Catherine and Johnny Lee are the owners and operators of Growing Room Child Development Centers in Tallahassee. They love working, fishing, and traveling together. As a business owner and mother of three girls, it is often hard to look beyond the day-to-day tasks to see what else must be done. At Growing Room Child Development Centers, we have been involved in community service since the day we opened in 2010. Whether it was a fun trike-a-thon for St. Jude’s, the Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome Awareness, hanging the children’s precious handprints from the capitol rotunda during Children’s Week, or collecting pajama’s, toys and canned goods during the holiday season, community service is part of who we are and is extremely important to our family. In 2012, shortly after we opened our third Center, our friend, Lanisha Wetherington, called and asked us to join her team for the March for Babies walk. I believe we had approximately ten of our Growing Room team members participate that year. It was a fun event and we had a great time. Shortly after that walk, I was again approached by Lanisha and she asked if I was involved with any nonprofit organizations. I told her that the period 2009 - 2012 was a bit busy but I finally felt like I was able to do more. That was when I learned about the mission of the March of Dimes and I felt like there could not be a better fit for my passion for children and wanting them to have the best opportunities possible.

What I enjoy most about being a part of the March of Dimes is helping make a difference for mothers and babies all over the world!

What do you enjoy most about being a part of the March of Dimes? I enjoy helping to make a difference in the lives of mothers and babies all over the world. I am extremely proud of the research centers that are making strides in the studies of what is causing premature births and maternal deaths.

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What is your most memorable moment with the March of Dimes? My most memorable moment occurs when I get to meet the families and the children directly impacted by prematurity. Hearing their stories and giving them bear hugs would count in my favorite moments in life. Also, I love the excitement that our Growing Room families and other participants show at the March for Babies walks. What motivates you to move forward? For me, failure is not an option. When we first began our Growing Room journey, we had bank after bank tell us no, and maybe a few told us we were crazy. The first franchise we inquired about denied us because Tallahassee wasn’t “a viable market.” Well, I cried and then we forged on with prayer and many daily conversations with God. We connected with some wonderful people that believed in us and we knew that we had a vision and mission to make a better learning environment for children in their early learning years. the most important years of their lives. Seeing our three children, and our Growing Room babies be a part of every journey and watching them reach out and touch others’ lives, continue to motivate me year after year. What advice would you share with a woman who has a vision but is being faced with adversity? Adversity is not a bad thing. I think it reminds us to seek God for comfort and grace. It keeps us on our toes and gives us the courage to power through. LOVE AND LEARNING THE GROWING ROOM WAY. Growing room opens the door to a secure, quality, fun and nurturing educational environment based on a balanced partnership with parents. Enrolling Now for 2018-2019 School Year Three Locations to Serve You: Growing Room Welaunee 2636 Centennial Place Tallahassee, Fl. 32308 Growing Room Bradfordville 6266 Old Water Oak Rd Tallahassee, Fl. 32312 Growing Room Metropolitan 1271 Metropolitan Blvd Tallahassee, Fl. 32312

What does it mean to be a purpose-driven woman? Being a purpose driven woman is knowing that with God all things are possible, even when people tell you that you can’t, over and over. It is an honor to be a part of the early years of a child’s life, from pregnancy to pre-k. Over time, it has become my mission and it is exciting that we get to be a part of the journey. I am a Purpose Driven Woman...

Being a purpose driven woman is knowing that with God all things are possible, even when people tell you that you can’t, over and over.


Jessica Hughes lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where she received a bachelor’s degree in finance from Florida State. She also holds a master's in business administration from Troy University. She has been married for approximately fourteen years and the union produced two beautiful children. Currently, Jessica works as an auditor and volunteer with March of Dimes and the Breast Cancer Association. Outside of her voluntary work, she serves as the PTO president at her daughter's school and the team mom for her son's football team. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and her other half, known as her twin sister, Joy.

Why did you join the March of Dimes? I joined March of Dimes because of the impact it had on my life. My husband and I first became aware of March of Dimes after having our first child premature and continued to receive additional information. We had our second child premature, too. Our son was born at 36 weeks, weighing 4 pounds half an ounce and our daughter was born at 31 weeks, weighing 2 pounds nine ounces. Although our son stayed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for ten days, our daughter had to stay for four weeks. Once she was home, we had to continue visiting various doctors to ensure that she was keeping healthy. Overall, she was a healthy baby, however, she had respiratory issues that we are still addressing to this day. March of Dimes provided information and resources which helped us, and we also gained appreciation for the organization. Once we got involved with March of Dimes, we found out about all the research that we benefitted from, without even knowing it. That made us even more enthusiastic about being a part of the March of Dimes.

What do you enjoy most about being a part of the March of Dimes? I enjoy the community events and the opportunities to share my experience with other mothers in similar situations. Often, they are worried, and it helps to be able to reassure them that they are not alone. I share with them that there is a community of mothers and fathers who have similar experiences. I also enjoy being able to inform new and early term mothers about how the March of Dimes conducts research and the resources that are available for early term births. Although I am blessed with two beautiful and healthy children, sometimes I find it difficult to share my story with women in less fortunate situations where their children are

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Jessica Hughes, her husband, and their beautiful children.

suffering with significant developmental delays or didn't survive. It’s difficult to push forward and encourage those mothers because I empathize in their grief. What helps me move forward is when I encounter a mother who gains hope when she realized that my children had a rough start but are doing well now. For that I feel appreciative and blessed. What is your most memorable moment with the March of Dimes? My most memorable moment was when my family and I were the family teams chair. We were able to reach out in our communities, jobs, and our children school to inform as many people as possible about the benefits and resources that March of Dimes provide. Also, we had an opportunity to raise money for a great organization as a family. That year, we led the annual March of Dimes 5K walk. That experience allowed my husband and I to be able to share with our children a sense of unity and community service which has left a lasting impact concerning community service and a desire to give back. What does it mean to be a purpose-driven woman? Purpose is defined as the reason for which something is

created or for which something exists. Driven is defined as relentlessly compelled by the need to accomplish a goal. To be a purpose-driven woman means to never give up on yourself and your dreams. A purpose-driven woman is someone who pursues her life's calling against all odds. Not allowing day-to-day challenges to overtake her or life's responsibilities to consume her every action. A purpose-driven woman seeks her true calling in life and goes after it, becoming all that she knows she's called to be, to fulfill her dreams. To be purpose-driven is to be in constant pursuit in one of many ways. What encouraging words would you share with a mom that currently has a premature baby in the NICU? Having to leave the hospital without the baby that you have bonded with for multiple months is heartbreaking. To the mother that has to go visit their baby in the NICU unit I would just encourage them that although your baby is not home with you they feel your presence even outside of your physical presence. Stay strong for your baby because they sense your vibes.


Kimi Johnson is the founder and owner of Purpose Driven Women Magazine (PDWM). PDWM is an international, multicultural, digital, and Christian based magazine for women. With a professional background in curriculum development and training, Kimi uses her creativity to motivate, educate, and encourage women from different walks of life. It is through the pages of her magazine that she promotes unity and lifelong connections amongst a diverse group of women. Passionate about purpose, she founded PDWM to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and encourage women to embrace their story while evolving into the woman they were created to be. Everyday she is able to give women a voice and platform to share their story of how they overcame hardship through faith, in the end giving God the glory. PDWM provides support to women on their purpose journey by providing inspiration through testimonies, tools, resources, and informative articles that help them to discover and become all that God created them to be. She is a devoted wife, mother, and friend. Mrs. Johnson enjoys reading, creative writing, volunteering in the community and taste testing new dishes at local restaurants. She loves spending time with family and friends.

Q&A Why did you join the March of Dimes?

I joined the March of Dimes because I love the mission of the organization. I believe helping people by providing support, encouragement, and resources to those in need is a part of my personal purpose. The organization allows me to serve my community in a very special way. What do you enjoy most about being a part of the March of Dimes? What I enjoy most about being a part of the March of Dimes is the ability to connect with a diverse group of people who all have a genuine concern and love for what the organization stands for. Having the opportunity to hear success stories of different families inspires me to be a better person. What is your most memorable moment with the March of Dimes?

My most memorable moment with the March of Dimes was when I attended my very first board meeting. I will never forget how the members embraced me. The warmth I felt validated my decision to join the board. We planned events for the upcoming year, we laughed, and we ate. The comradery was heartfelt and I knew with an environment like this we would truly make a difference in our community. What motivates you to move forward during difficult times? Knowing that I am created for a purpose greater than myself is what motivates me. I believe each of our purpose are connected in some way and if we all simply did our part we could produce the greater good for everyone. What does it mean to be a purpose-driven woman? Simply put, a being a purpose driven woman means facing your fears while taking a leap of faith to escape your comfort zone and connect to the woman God created you to be.


MY STORY Touching Stories from the Tallahassee March of Dimes Advocate Families

TEAM AIKENS In the photo below: Caleb Aikens, Apryl Aikens, Aiden Aikens

since he couldn’t figure out how to suck and breathe simultaneously. He failed car seat test too, since holding his breath was his way of saying, “I don’t want to do this now” and therefore he was showing me that he was going to do things when and how he wanted to. We went through a lot trying to get Caleb to do what full -term babies do. After nesting in a room adjacent to the NICU for two nights, we got the clearance to take Caleb home. We took Caleb home with oxygen and an apnea monitor. I was scared out of my mind thinking that I couldn’t do what the clinical staff had done for so many days. After our first appointment with the apnea clinic, Caleb got the clearance to have his oxygen removed. I was excited and nervous at the same time because it was flu season and we still had to be careful with what Caleb was exposed to. If Caleb got any type of illness, it could send him back to the hospital. I begged the physician to keep the apnea monitor on him, just to calm my nerves. However, he told me that at the next visit, if all was well, I would still have to let it go. After the next visit, all was well, so I let it go, and finally felt like other moms of full -term babies. Little did I know that Caleb, my miracle child as I often call him, was only setting me up for round two.

“Apryl, you’ve got to push. Your baby’s head is in my hand.” Those were the words spoken by Dr. Vikki McKinnie on Sunday, July 6, 2008 as I delivered my baby, a 27-week 1-pound 9-ounce micro-preemie. Caleb JaMichael Aikens stayed in the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for 88 days, fighting daily to defeat the odds stacked against him. I was told by the neonatologist that Caleb had a chance, but it was slim. We thought, perhaps, a 50/50 chance. I owe so much to the March of Dimes for their continuous medical research, development, and implementation. For example, when I was admitted on July 4, 2008, I received surfactant therapy, preparing me for the “what-if” Caleb comes earlier than we would like him to. This was not the journey I would have chosen being a first-time mom but sometimes we find our purpose on roads less traveled. It’s in moments like these that we see the heart and hand of God. Caleb’s fight for survival was like a rollercoaster ride with a lot of loops, highs and lows. The memories of the 88 NICU days included a PDA repair since the valve between Caleb’s heart and lung did not close with other treatments. Today, if you took an x-ray of him, his clip is still in place. He had to do laser eye surgery since he developed retinopathy of prematurity. Pretty much all the days he spent in NICU, he had the assistance of a device to help him breathe. In addition to that, his lungs became infected time and time again. Caleb failed the feeding test

On the morning of February 12, 2014, Dr. Andrea Friall walked in my hospital room after two days of strict hospital bed rest, and said, “We’re having a baby today.” I can definitely say that Aiden James Aikens had no plans to follow the steps of his older brother. He was in a breach position. From the two days of close monitoring, Dr. Friall concluded that Aiden would do better out than in. We found a good reason to celebrate because I had passed the 27-week milestone, which meant Aiden was more developed. I was on the schedule for an afternoon C-Section to deliver at 30 weeks. During that time, many thoughts ran through my mind—this couldn’t be happening again. We had been more cautious with this pregnancy. I had a high -risk doctor and was closely monitored by an obstetrician. I even had a cerclage in place to prevent the “what-if” from happening. This situation must be fixed so it wouldn’t happen again. At 2:36 p.m., weighing 3 pounds and 4 ounces, Aiden begin what would be a 21-day journey in the NICU. Aiden’s main goal was to grow. I’m glad that round 2 was a lot less dramatic and traumatic than round 1. However, I felt this time wasn’t for me, but for those who were going through what I had experienced in round 1. This was my moment to be there for not only Aiden, but for the other families who were in similar situations. At the time of Caleb’s birth, I didn’t know anything about the researchers behind the mission of March of Dimes. They were working hard to ensure that babies like Caleb and Aiden have a fighting chance. It’s the efforts of the March of Dimes that gave me the awesome opportunity to watch the development of my children.


I am Ericka Ravenel, the 2016 March for Babies Ambassador mom. I chose to be a part of March of Dimes to help give every baby a healthy start. Mothers are the heart of the March of Dimes mission because they know about the importance of having healthy babies. It is an amazing feeling of accomplishment, one that a mother continues to feel as she watches her child grow. The March of Dimes shares this feeling every time they find solutions that help to produce healthy babies that survive and thrive. One day, every family will know the joy of having a healthy baby. Due to hypertension, my son, Bryce was born premature at 31 weeks, weighing 3 pounds 2 ounces. He spent 28 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I remember sitting in NICU and praying that God would allow him and all the other babies and families to endure the long road ahead. Today, Bryce is eight years old. He is in the third grade and is striving daily for excellence. Bryce enjoys reading, playing baseball and drawing. We enjoy participating in the annual March for Babies walk. Our family team, All About Bryce, walk the three-mile route. Bryce participates in the superhero sprint and we enjoy the live entertainment and vendors.

On March 28, 2016, the Tallahassee Police Department and Florida State Police Department partnered with the March of Dimes to make Bryce’s dream of becoming a police officer a reality. Police cars, motorcycles, and forensics and K-9 units were included to help make this day special. Bryce was sworn in as a Jr. Officer by Lt. Hank Jacob, and Sgt. Anitra Highland help Bryce with his new uniform. Tears of joy rushed down my face as I recalled all we went through, to arrive at this special moment. Another proud mom moment occurred when I pinned Bryce with his new badge. The day was full of fun and many learning experiences about safety. We made it to the front page of the Tallahassee Democrat on March 29, 2016, and Bryce became a star in the Tallahassee community. I would encourage everyone to become a part of March of Dimes. Not only will you be giving moms and babies the best possible start, but you might also find love. Through this experience, I have found my life partner and on March 28 we will be celebrating two years of marriage.

Prematurity Awareness Month is in November, so the All About Bryce Family team adopted this month because of what the month represents. Every year on the second Tuesday in November, our family feed the families that currently have babies in NICU. We share our story and encourage the families to hang in there, because better days will come. Also, Macy’s Shop for a Cause event is another one of our favorites. This gives families a chance to learn about March for Babies while they shop to donate to a great cause.

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Above Photo: Ericka Owens, Bryce’s Mom

TEAM LAYLA When we were told that our baby would be born premature, we were extremely scared, but got ready. I was blessed to have a natural delivery and with two pushes, Layla, our baby was born. She was born early at 23 weeks, 5 days, and weighed 1 pound, 4 ounces. Immediately, we knew she would be special. We simply felt that way, not because she was born early or small, or the fact that she was born a week after my birthday. The amazing thing is— Layla was still in her sack when she was born, a belief in many cultures that this was a significant birth. She lived up to being “born at night,” the Arabic translation for the name Layla, so now she had to live up to her namesake - Laila Ali, the famous boxer and daughter of the great Muhammad Ali. And fight Layla did. Preemies fight from the moment they are born. Every obstacle put in front of Layla, she overcame, as if she was ready and had studied for every test. Even though she stepped up to the plate, some days, she struggled. She had many complications—chronic lung disease, issues with her PDA, numerous blood transfusions, PICC lines, trouble breathing, you name it. But it was on those scary days when we as parents thought we couldn’t give anymore, that March of Dimes supported us in many ways, so we could make it through. Whether it was meals, snacks, gas cards, or just an opportunity to socialize and get to know other parents, March of Dimes was often the calm during those stormy times. Layla spent seven months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, 3.5 months at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and 3.5 months at Shands Hospital at University of Florida. She was still on oxygen but nursing like a champ. The following year, after the dust settled with getting her adjusted to life at home, we decided to participate in the March for Babies Walk. It was very emotional for me. But I remembered feeling like I had found some purpose in the whirlwind of a year we had just had. March of Dimes allowed our family to connect and even advocate for other preemie families and educate others about what the March of Dimes does. And we have had great support. I plan to continue walking for babies, families of preemies, and families who have experienced loss. This year will be our fifth walk. And it never ever gets old. I feel more determined than ever, to continue this wonderful journey, thanks to the support of my family and the March of Dimes.


Pastry Chef Lolani Green, Owner of Q-Ti Cakes Photographer: Jawan Moore, owner of Captain Cannon Photography Make-up Artist: Fadriena Sutton

What is your baking background?

I baked my first cake about nine years ago when my cousin came up from the Bahamas. It took us all day and all night to create it, but it sparked something in me like never before. It was at that point that a passion was born. Since then my love for baking has evolved incredibly. I love creating new recipes and trying new flavors. I have no formal training in baking or decorating but this is a gift that God gave to me. He has been my guide the whole way. During my late-night baking, I would talk to God and He would talk back. He would show me lines to cut and give me the vision to create whatever I had to accomplish. Where does your design inspiration come from? I have always been creative; whether it was painting designs on my family members toenails or pictures to match my home decor. I found myself when I lost myself in my imagination. It’s something that I knew God has blessed me with and when I think about it, I smile because the first thing we know God to be is a creator, so I consider myself to be a product of my "heavenly daddy". Cake is art to me and I am inspired by everything. Whether it is a print on a pair of pants or the way the sky creates the beautiful shades, everything I see I translate into visions of cake. Did you always know you possessed artistic abilities? I've always loved art but what I didn't know was that

I could bake. Now I see my cakes as a different template for my expression of art. What makes your bakery stand out from the rest? Our bakery is like no other because of our unique style and our made-from-scratch gourmet flavors. We've created over 150 cupcake flavors and we don't intend to stop there. We are also unique because each design is one of a kind. We never create the same cake twice, so our clients have the comfort and pride in knowing their cake is their very own. Our slogan is "Experience the Taste of Luxury" and we want our clients to have just that experience. We strive to create cakes that our clients will remember for years to come and provide a top-notch flavor they will never forget. How important is customer service to you? Customer service is of the utmost importance. Without our clients we are nothing. It doesn't matter if they purchase one mini cupcake or spend thousands on a wedding cake, they should feel like they are our priority. Many of our clients come as customers but leave as friends. I make it a point to get to know them and their kids. I sit with each client to find out who the cake is for, so we can create something special for them. What do you enjoy most about being a pastry chef? I love meeting new people and having the opporMarch/April 2019 PDWMAG.COM 65

tunity to share my gift with them in a package that not only looks great but tastes great also.

What advice can you share with someone looking to open a cake shop?

What’s the most difficult challenge you have faced as a business owner? How did you overcome it?

Be confident in your product and your abilities. Your job is to meet a need in the community with your talent. Never get too consumed worrying about others. Rather compete against yourself daily and you will be greater.

Wow! I would say the biggest challenge has been wearing many hats. Running a business is very challenging not to mention maintaining and acquiring new clientele while keeping our products exciting. I have help from my family members but for the most part it’s a one man show. I overcome this with lots of prayer. I've learned to take life one day at a time and one step at a time. I truly believe I'm employed by God and He is the one who will see me through. That reduces the stress of wondering how it will all work out. My shop is a testimony of my obedience to God and I believe He will honor that.

What would you say is the key ingredient to building a successful business? I would say first and foremost a solid foundation. I have a relationship with God that I'm sure is the only sanity I can find many days. Lol! But drive is also important. You must be able to push yourself on days you don't feel like it. When others around you aren't cheering you on, when everything seems to be falling apart, you must remember why you started. You must believe in the vision even when you can't see it.

You recently expanded your business. What additional services are you offering now?

What are some baking and or cake decorating tips you would like to share with our readers?

Yes. We recently launched a new "sub-business" called Sweet 104. It's a location available for rental for birthday parties, bridal showers, meetings, and events. We also plan to host cake and cupcakes decorating classes, where patrons can unwind while decorating cakes.

Bake with love; you can really taste the difference. Baking is like life. It is a science of patience. It teaches you that with time anything can be made beautiful and sometimes even the ugliest things have the best flavor. That’s much like life.

Do you offer any classes? We are in the process of getting everything ready to begin our classes. We're super excited about this new venture. I'm sure people will love it.

2475 Apalachee Pkwy #105, Tallahassee, FL 32301 (850) 367-7603

Trading Secrets



I’m a woman who decided to put her fears aside and go for her dreams. I have always admired risk-takers when it came to fashio express themselves without judgment. As a child, I would always put on my mother’s accessories and shoes and dreamt of being fearlessly and driven. As I got older, I learned that my shoes would be filled by a woman who is passionately driven by fashion.

For the past two years, I have procrastinated about creating my blog, because I feared rejection and I thought it would not be suc everything, so out of fear, I questioned my purpose. “What if they don’t like it?” “What if no one reads it?” and “Will people en few of the questions that danced around in my head. I woke up one morning and all that had come to a halt. I grabbed my lapto and who cares if they don’t like it. I’m going to make a difference even if I’m the only reader.” I conquered my fear and decided t myself higher and the only way I can do that, is letting go of fear and moving fully towards my purpose.



on, and those who were not afraid to g the woman to walk in those shoes;

ccessful. I strive at being the best at njoy it if they do read it?” are just a op and declared, “this is my purpose to go for it. This year is about taking

What inspired you to start a fashion blog? The inspiration behind starting my fashion blog ties in with my dream to write for a famous fashion magazine. My love for fashion has always been an outlet to express myself when at times I couldn’t find ways to say how I was feeling. I want to use my blog to inspire and be an inspiration to people who have hidden behind their fears of rejection. I hope to let them know that they can do it too. My inspiration for fashion and writing this blog has been a dream for many years and I have learned to step out on faith. God has given me the talent to inspire many women with fashion, so I think it’s only right to continue to evolve and grow through this form of expression. Why did you choose to name your business She Speaks Chic? What does that mean to you? She Speaks Chic was chosen as my business name simply because it defines me, and it allows me to express myself through my own unique style of fashion. Simple but bold. To me, She Speaks Chic is a way to express my personal style. If asked to describe my style in one word, Chic comes to mind. If you were a show which style and color would you be? If I had to describe myself as a show it would be a talk show and my color would be gold. I love to have discussions and I love human interaction. Sometimes, we don’t listen to each other enough to understand that we all have our own stories. Let’s talk about it and see if we can bounce some cute fashion tips off each other is always my thought when I see another woman doing her thing. For me, gold is a statement color and would represent the significance of a shining star. What are three tips any woman could use to spice up an outfit?

Three tips that I find helpful are comfort, confidence and statement pieces. Make sure that whatever you assemble for your look, for day or night, you are comfortable in your own skin and feeling beautiful. This is a very important key to fashion. We must learn to own our looks and be confident. Use your statement piece - necklace, brooch, shoes or bag - as your attention catcher. Don’t overdo it but do enough for that one piece to be your focal point. Name five wardrobe pieces you cannot live without. The five wardrobe staples that I could absolutely not live without are:     

Black basics (skirt, pant, blazer, and top) A great pair of stilettos A red lipstick Great accessories Black clutch

What is your favorite fashion item?

Heels, preferably strappy ones, are my favorite fashion item that makes any outfit chic. A great pair of heels can make any outfit come to life. How has fashion become a form of self-expression for you? Fashion has become a form of self-expression simply because it gives me a voice without speaking. I can be bold, vibrant and loud as I need to be, commanding the room’s attention without a single word. I use fashion to express myself and give myself a voice when at times I am completely speechless. Fashion has become my outlet for self-comfort and motivation. Name the top 3 fashion gurus you follow on social media. Kyrzayda Rodriguez (Rest In Peace beautiful) @kyrzayda Folake Kuye Huntoon @stylepantry Lilly @accordingtolilly March/April 2019 PDWMAG.COM 69



By: Rhoda Whitfield

ympathy or empathy? Which one do you offer someone who has lost a loved one? When you hear that someone has lost a mother, father, sister, brother or child, do you respond with insensitive phrases like: “Sorry for your loss” or “They are in a better place”.

An act of kindness can go a lot further than those phrases that have been passed down for years and bring no comfort to those who are grieving. What many people fail to realize is that losing a loved one doesn’t just disrupt a person’s life, but it changes it forever. Many times, when you have not experienced the loss of a loved one, it can be hard to understand how this life changing event cannot be emotionally resolved overnight. When your spouse experiences the death of a loved one, it may be hard to know what to say or how to offer comfort and support, especially if you have never been down that road. At times, you may feel as if you need to say something but that’s not necessarily true. Refrain from making statements such as - they wouldn’t want you to cry like this. Come on, you’ve got to pull it together. You’ve got to be strong for someone else. They would want you to continue to live. These statements may be true, but it does not shorten the grieving process. Sometimes, just being available is all that is needed. This is called the gift of presence. Holding the grieving person’s hand or giving a hug would be more profound than those words, that at times cannot be process during the grieving stage.

Please resist the urge to explain the loss. You may think you are consoling them, but your words can be having the opposite effect. Regardless of how true it may be, no one wants to hear - your loved one is in a better place. It is God’s will. At least she or he is no longer suffering. Here is a way that you can give support to your spouse who is grieving - be a good listener. Sometimes, this is the best thing you can offer to someone who is grieving. Don’t try to tell them how they should be grieving but assure them it’s okay to talk about their feelings. Although you cannot erase the pain of their loss, you can provide a great deal of comfort by being there to listen and allow them to speak freely as they need to in order to make sense of their grief. Keep in mind that, they may talk about the same thing over and over, to the point that you get weary from hearing it. But if you love them as you say you do, allow them to be repetitious. It is during this time, that they are walking through the I-can’t-believe-this-really-happened state. Dealing with a grieving spouse requires patience. Respect the person’s way of grieving because there is no right or wrong way to grieve. So, don’t try to impose how you feel someone should be grieving. Everyone grieves in his or her own way. The sadness of loss is universal; however, everyone responds to it differently. Note that your spouse may experience mood swings and anxiety. Be patient and continue to love them as they work through the grieving process. Keep in mind that you cannot fix them. It is not uncommon for a grieving person to have emotional ups and downs. Grief is just like that, an emotional roller coaster. Someone who has just lost a loved one may feel fine one moment and overwhelmed in the next. This is a normal part of the grieving process.

The dumbest question you can ask when you find your spouse crying, staring into space, or sitting in isolation is “What’s wrong?” You should know. Please go into your gift of presence mode and allow them to talk or cry. Let him or her know that there is nothing wrong with grieving. Finally, during the grieving process, your spouse can barely think straight. Help with the tasks he or she normally performs. Be available and willing to help without being asked or told. I guarantee you that your spouse will appreciate your sincere efforts and support. Remember during your spouse’s grieving process, it’s not about you. So, put yourself aside and help during this period. In time, the tide will turn, and you too will experience the loss of a love one. The same support you offered will be the same support you will need. I’m just simply saying.

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72 PDWMAG.COM March/April 2019

Gossip. We all do it or have done it. I’ll

admit I was gossiping last week. If I’m honest, I’ll say I did it just yesterday. It’s so common place that we at times, do not even know we’re gossiping or want to acknowledge it. Everyone knows if you never call a spade a spade, it can very well be a diamond, but that doesn’t make it right. As a screenwriter, I find that my characters come across as more authentic when I have a better understanding of their issue. One script that I am currently working on delves into the life of a gossip columnist working her way up the ladder of success at the expense of the rich and famous. Lately, she has been targeting a pop princess. As she attempts to tear down the pop princess’ chaste image by revealing her shortcomings, she learns a valuable lesson about gossiping and how it affects not just the person being slandered, but those around that person as well…including herself. To drive home the point of the film, I decided to research what gossiping means. What I found was quite shocking and convicting. Gossip gives voice to the devil – Revelations 12:10 (NKJV) refers to the devil as the accuser of the brethren. Day and night, he accuses the saints of wrong doings. Gossip is defined as giving true or false details about a person’s private life which can be malicious and accusatory in nature. Whenever you give voice to these accusations, you are giving voice to the devil. Telling the truth isn’t gossiping - Anytime you divulge a person’s private information it’s gossip. The tricky thing about this is that it’s hard to separate truth from fiction when doing so, which leads to added assumptions. My Mother told me once that there are three sides to every story – yours, mine and the truth. Gossiping makes it easy to omit or embellish “facts” especially if it adds shock value for the listeners.

you venting to make yourself feel or look superior to others? Will your vent session end in you being the victim and another person being the villain? If so, it’s still gossiping and it’s still wrong. It ruins relationships - “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” Proverbs 16:28 (NKJV). Gossiping never brings people together. It separates families, friends, coworkers, and many other valuable relationships. If you value your relationships, avoid gossiping at all costs. So how do we stop gossip? I’m glad you asked. Don’t do it. Gossiping is a choice and you have the power to say no. In some cases, this can be hard, especially if you know about the situation. A simple suggestion is to consider how you would feel if you walked in on people gossiping about you. When you find yourself in a situation where gossip has begun, interrupt the conversation by saying something kind about the person who’s being gossiped about and keep saying kind things until the “gossiper” gets the hint. Call the gossiper out on whether or not what they’re saying is true. Interrupt the gossip by offering to lead everyone in prayer for the person being talked about. Walk away – a “gossiper” can’t gossip if nobody is listening. While we can’t stop people from gossiping, we can be sure of one thing, we don’t have to be a participant. Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV) says, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Simply put, if it’s not building people up, it shouldn’t be coming out of your mouth.

It’s not gossiping if I’m soliciting for prayers – This is so easily justified. Heaven knows, it’s harder to pray for others when we don’t know all the details. Thankfully, we serve a God who doesn’t require that we fill Him in prior to interceding for someone. Romans 8:26 (NKJV) states, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groan.” How much more will He intercede for others when we don’t know what to pray for them? I’m venting not gossiping – We all need to vent every now and then but check your motives. Are March/April 2019 PDWMAG.COM 73

Profile for Purpose Driven Women Magazine

Purpose Driven Women Magazine March 2019  

Featuring March of Dimes Tallahassee, Fl. Chapter

Purpose Driven Women Magazine March 2019  

Featuring March of Dimes Tallahassee, Fl. Chapter