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In 2017, #metoo went viral. In 2019, a film will take it to the limits of its diversity.

SHELLAND HOUSE OF FILMS PRESENTS

Stories of truth.

FEATURE

Production Team Stories; Cast and Crew Bios and Photos

Image What is Meant by the Gift of Giving? WINTER 2019 $9.99 CANADA

Lifestyle FULL FORCE FASHION for Mental Health in Sault Ste. Marie

BUSINESS Fabric & Fashion POP UP in Toronto


SMJ MAGAZINE

Producers, Director and the Crew Producers & Director Makeup: Candace David Pinta Events & Imelda Conception Photographer: Lubin Tasevski

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Free

AVAILABLE ON

@SMJMAGAZINE


Table of

Image 7. From The Desk of Shelley ... by Shelley Jarrett SMJ BEAUTY CLOSET 8. A Year of Winter and a Drop of Sunshine ... by Leandrea Vannesa Louis 9 . Seasons of Life ... by Michelle Moore 30. Guided to My Purpose by an Angel ... by Nakeisha Geddes 34. What is Meant by the Gift of Giving? ... by Andrew Terry Pasieka 34

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10. Full Force Fashion for Mental Health in Sault Ste. Marie ... by Claris Minas Manglicmot 29. Your Health is Your Wealth ... by Dr. Lisa Ramsackal 32. Affairs of the Heart: My Heart Warming Holiday Miracle ... by Akua Hinds

BUSINESS 14. Fabric & Fashion Pop Up in Toronto ... by Andrew Terry Pasieka

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W’AT ABOWT US logo on Front Cover designed by Beverly Vergel 16. W’AT ABOWT US Photo Gallery 18. Behind the #Metoo Story...is a Film! ... by Nakeisha Geddes 20. The W’AT ABOWT US Cast ... ed. by Andrew Terry Pasieka 24. The W’AT ABOWT US Crew ... ed. by Andrew Terry Pasieka 26. Nakeisha Geddes / WAU Associate Producer ... ed. by Andrew Terry Pasieka

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Founder & Publisher Shelley Jarrett Editor-in-Chief Andrew Terry Pasieka Creative Director/Layout Sheri L. Lake Chief Photographer Lubin Tasevski Fashion & Design Editor Claris Minas Manglicmot Contributors Shelley Jarrett Andrew Terry Pasieka Claris Minas Manglicmot Dr. Lisa Ramsackal Akua Hinds Nakeisha Geddes Michelle Moore Leandra Vanessa Louis 17 6-20 201 TER o. 16 WIN Issue N

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Enjoy past editions of SMJ issues online at smjmag.com

PRICE ALERT Ever since Issue No. 3 was published, which was 21 issues and over five years ago, we have maintained the price of SMJ Magazine at $4.99. This past fall we conducted a visual survey of local newsstands, and found that the most frequently appearing price was $6.99. Consequently $6.99 will be our price moving forward with our next regular issue. We do have a twist with this issue. As you may notice, the price that appears on the bottom left hand corner of this issue is $9.99. To take that old saying literally, ‘every dollar counts,’ for every copy of this issue sold for $9.99, the extra $5 above our old price of $4.99 will go towards the marketing & distribution of our first documentary and our front cover feature, W’AT ABOWT US.

Website www.smjmag.com Contact publisher@smjmag.com SMJ Magazine is a division of Seventh House Publishing Arts. Special Edition/Spring-Winter 2019 Issue 23

DISCLAIMER: We reserve the right to edit all content for space and clarity. All submissions when edited become the property of Seventh House Publishing Arts. No part of this magazine may be produced in any form without the expressed written consent of the publisher. We make a conscious effort to ensure complete accuracy of all content; however we accept no liability for any inaccurate information. SMJ Magazine is published with limited print editions four (4) times a year. To advertise in our publication, be featured or for more information, please contact us at publisher@smjmag.com or visit www.smjmag.com. For editorials contact atp11th@gmail.com

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Sheri L. Lake (647) 272-3624 i_dezign@outlook.com

SHELLEY JARRETT AWARD WINNING IMAGE/STYLE CONSULTANT, MENTOR, SPEAKER & PUBLISHER

416-839-2792

twitter.com/SJImageCreation www.linkedin.com/in/sjimagecreations www.facebook.com/SJImageCreations w

www.sjimagecreations.com/www.smjmag.com www.youtube.com/user/SMJMagazine pinterest.com/shellyspix/

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support women. The media platform I now have allows the opportunity for women to tell their stories. Our desire to move into multimedia over the past three years has become our first project, not in radio or TV as we originally envisaged, but in film. Of course, this is very scary and unnerving; it’s the biggest stretching of my faith in business that I have done. The idea of being a filmmaker and telling stories is one thing but the reality of the actual work is another. You are being pushed to levels you never thought you could go. As a producer, you are responsible for all financials and believe me, everything costs, even the “coffee cups”. It is really about trusting God in the process and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I am doing this with absolutely no guarantee but believing the scripture’s when it says: ‘all things work together for good.’ God’s dream lives inside of me so I cannot fail.

As we move into a New Year let us not forget the difficult year that 2018 was. Toronto set a record for homicides in one year and our political leaders scrambled to try and come up with a solution. This past could be dubbed “ The Year of the Woman” as women’s voices were raised demanding change around gender equality, sexual assaults and equality in the workplace. One thing we do know that remains constant is our faith and the strength that lays in the unity we perfect, whether it is with family, friends, or associates. Last year started out on a sad note for me. I lost my dear Mother who had been ill for some time. However, with the release of our Winter Issue No. 20 around the same time came new life. A story one of our writers did on #metoo inspired me to suggest that we should do a documentary. My inspiration came from the fact that I worked in the domestic abuse sector 25 years ago, but left because I was in a different space at that time in my life. However, the desire to be an advocate was always with me, so I subconsciously looked for projects over the years to

All I know is that we are here, we have a voice and we have to be telling stories that people want to hear. The stories will be representing visible minorities and marginalized communities because far too often they are left out of the conversation. I would end by saying that 2018 was the year women fought back and history was rewritten. I will continue to push for #Metoo to become #WeToo, opportunities for our voices to be heard on every level and for our stories to be told on front pages of national newspapers and mainstream media outlets. I would like to dedicate Issue No. 23 to the cast of W’AT ABOWT US; those women who graciously and selflessly shared a shattered piece of their lives with us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Anita, Cindy (Eahwahewi), Kulbinder, Laura, Lee-Ann, Melissa, Palmonia, and Rachelle. My focus is on building a brand that will create generational wealth. Let’s find strength in our differences and celebrate our gifts and talents. Thank you for believing in us. Continue to follow us, support us and tell a friend about us. My wish for everyone is that 2019 is your best year ever!

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CLOSET A Year of Winter and a Drop of Sunshine By Leandra Vanessa Louis

This year has been an extremely difficult one for me. I have been tasked with writing a “good news” story. My initial reaction was sadness because for a long time, up until three days before the deadline, I was unsure and stuck as to what good news I would be able to share. I could not find that illusive ray of sunshine in an otherwise dismal holiday season namely because there have been so many cloudy days. Usually, as the holiday festive season approaches, I prepare and do a year in review. I reflect on my triumphs and failures. I analyze my life and formulate a plan to improve and enhance my successes while lessening my failures. I am realistic enough to anticipate that there will be highs and lows; however, neither is predictable. And so, as I prepare, I find that a certain melancholy has overcome me and I’ve made the realization that there truly are seasons to life. We all have our springs, summers, falls and winters. For me, almost all of 2018 has been a collection of winters. I’m hopeful that there is a personal spring on the horizon and when it gets here, it lasts a long time. Yet I am thankful for all the tough lessons and the harsh reality that all the best laid plans do go awry. When they do, it is natural and normal to go through the emotional stages of recovery. And with that hope, I welcomed a new sense of spirituality that I never had before. It is that spirituality which has awakens me with the knowledge that once I put my trust in God, that inevitably, all will be well. And this spirituality reminded me of this good news story which occurred over the holidays a few years ago. I had a friend who was in her late 40s and had no kids, and who desperately prayed, cried and made deals with God for a chance at having to experience the joys of motherhood. She had spent years in a relationship believing that she and her partner would someday have a family. When I met her, they had just broken up and she had decided to begin her quest of finding a partner with whom she could experience the joys of parenthood. A few months after meeting her, my friend Tory finally met a man who also wanted to start a family. They got married after dating for a short time, but after many months of trying, Tory 8

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and her partner visited the doctor in an attempt to figure out why they were not able to conceive. Unfortunately, she learnt that she had an issue wherein she may not be able to conceive naturally. I remember the day that she broke the story to me… we cried together. We cried a lot that day. Here was my friend who would have been a great mom faced with this reality. For days afterwards, my friend walked around like she was a zombie. Thankfully, she did some research and decided that she would try a fertility clinic. After countless tries, Tory and her husband were able to have a baby. In fact, they currently have a 6 yr old daughter and a 3 yr old son. They count themselves as being fortunate. As I sit back reflect on the last time I saw Tory this summer; how happy she was, how proud she was of her kids, I am forced to acknowledge and appreciate how blessed I am. And as I accept all the major family changes in my life, and the disruptions of my life’s plans, and the realization that all my best laid plans have collapsed, I look at my three kids and I remember to be thankful, to be appreciative, and to count my blessings. As I embark on what I trust is a new season, I promise myself that I should appreciate my life more. Exactly two years ago, I made the decision to live life to its fullest. However, looking back, I realized that I failed to appreciate that life. I’ve been extremely blessed in my journey along the way. Yet, I’ve forgotten to be thankful and appreciative of all that I hold dear. In a twinkle of an eye, it could all vanish. So with the passing of this holiday festive season, no matter what the circumstances of your life are, always be grateful for what you have been blessed with. Always remember, that in the laws of the universe, there’s always someone wishing to have exactly what you take for granted. Winter will end!


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Seasons in Life

By Michelle Moore

Sitting in my living room with all electronics and TV’s turned off (except for my cell phone of course)...I begin to start thinking about what is in store for my life for 2019! While looking forward to what lies ahead I can’t forget all the moments, experiences, joys and losses that occurred this past year. We all go through different seasons in our lives and each season teaches a lesson. I believe each season comes into our lives for us to regain focus on what’s truly important in life. I will begin with the loss of my pet dog Rocco who was half German Sheppard/Rottweiler. I (we) were totally devastated when Rocco passed but I (we) were blessed to have had the opportunity to have him in our lives. After our dog died, I persevered with my daily walks in order to get fresh air and clear my head. This was my 1st experience of losing a loved one, and even though it was only my dog, it felt like a knife went straight through my heart! It also made me want to live life to the fullest, take more chances and not waste time on things that don’t matter. I thought about how precious life is and how we should cherish everyone in our lives while we have them here. The Season of Friendships & Growth...I consider myself a loyal friend, a “Ride or Die” type who believes true friendships should have the ability to weather the storms of life, distance, etc. I have been blessed to have a small group of females that I call friends who have been in my life for over 24 years! Throughout the years I have had the opportunity to meet new ladies who are joining my inner circle; however, most (if not all) of my inner circle believe in God. The Bible teaches us “Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character.” (1st Corinthians 15:33)

those who came and left my life just for that particular season. Others come for a reason. I personally can attest to meeting Editors/Chiefs of Magazines, to Co-Founders of Fashion Organizations to other creative and passionate women which ultimately sharpened and inspired my own creative gifts within me. Those inner circles of ladies who hold a special place in my heart have come for a Lifetime. There is a saying that a person does not lose any friends; they only find out who their real friends are! Finally, we come to the Season of Faith. I have seen the power of Prayer work to restore my mother-in-law when she flat-lined multiple times, doctors not knowing what was wrong with her and machines/tubes breathing for her because she could not breathe on her own. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1) At this holiday ‘season,’ we should embrace the many seasons which come our way because they ultimately make us stronger.

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What I have come to learn is that many people come into your life for a Reason, for a Season, and a select few are for a Lifetime. Some are meant to help shape your personality & individuality and I thank God for SPECIAL EDITION: Winter/Spring 2019

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By Claris M inas Manglicmot

Full Force Fashion for Mental Health in Sault Ste. Marie

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The fashion show in Sault Ste. Marie last November 30, 2018 was a huge success! Dr. Natalia Kargbo and her Co-Founder Jillian Boyling- Pitangalo led the Sault Ste. Marie community for this cause, and the fashionistas from Toronto and New York answered the call for help. The charity fashion event, called Grab Hold Fashion Gala, was months of planning and collaborating with artists willing to help for the cause. Tipu Bhatti of His and Her Modeling Agency pitched this idea to me to support the event. He set the meeting with me and Dr. Natalia Kargbo in May 2018. I liked the idea and said yes to be the Creative and Runway Director. I also brought two fashion designers with me to support the fashion show. Natalia arranged for me to be in Sault Ste. Marie last August 2018 to do casting and to see the venue. Fast forward to November 29, 2018; the Toronto and New York delegation arrived in Sault Ste. Marie excited and ready to rock the runway. From the airport we freshened up and then off for a full day of fitting, rehearsals and media interviews. On November 30, it was an early arrival at the venue at 10:00am. In no time at all it was 5:00PM with the rehearsals done and models made up and ready to go. The production team learned fast and did what needed to be done. The program officially began with the opening remarks by Dr. Natalia and Jillian, the event organizers, followed by the Executive Director of Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in Sault Ste. Marie, Annette Katajamaki. It was very good to hear where and how the money raised for the night will go.

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The first collection to come out on the runway was Tristan Licud, who called his collection “All Out”. The show opened with model Rhea Cormier wearing black swimsuit with dramatic cape trailing on the walk. The crowd favorite was the middle breaker male model, Jordan Lundringan, wearing a coat that transformed into a poncho. The closer was no other than Dr. Natalia Kargbo herself in a Coco Chanel inspired suited top with overload pearl accessories. Second was the L’ Antonio Collection from New York. Lloyd Crawford is the genius behind this brand. He is also a photographer and I-Fashion Magazine publisher. Lloyd made my life easy by taking full control in styling and rehearsing his models for the show. The closer and final model, Rhea Cormier, was gorgeous in an all-white look.

Third on the runway was the Holiday Collection of Parler La Mode from Mississauga. The brand owner Angelika Galuszka Jany picked the best of her ensembles from Brazil, Europe and Australia. The all black collection with different cuts and style ended with a stand out red dress by vivacious model Meaghan Vatour.

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The fourth runway feature was Willces Fashion Designs by the graduating fashion design student Willces Galace from Toronto. This collection is another side of Willces, who usually designs classic vintage fit for millennials. He called this one Slip and Sail Spring/Summer Collection 2019. This is the perfect wardrobe for those women who want to pack light for a week to the beach or a cruise adventure. It had bikinis for a dip in the beach and some cover up tops for lazing around the beach for the rest of the day. The long dresses with more intricate design and sexy slits is meant to be slipped on after shower to enjoy cocktails by the sunset and dinner on those sultry nights. These dresses were nicely shown in the runway by the last three models of his segment namely, Jenna Audrey Battisi, Dr. Natalia and Nicole Ayotte. The last runway showcase for the night was Designer Richard Petit of Papillion from New York. For some reason he wasn’t able to come to the show, but numerous video calls were made to ensure his collection was presented the way he wanted it. Thank you to Dennis Madigan who helped to coordinate his segment. The collection itself was stunning. It was photoshoot by Madigan with no other than Dr. Natalia as his muse. It closed with an all silver gown modeled by Dr. Natalia.

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The night ended with partying and dancing to the sounds of the Killer Hooks Band. It was a fun event and most if not all volunteers are committed to go back again next year to make it even bigger. Grab Hold Fashion Gala founders and organizers Dr. Natalia and Jillian have already booked the venue for November 2019. GRAB HOLD GALA Production Co-Founders and Organizers: Dr. Natalia Kargbo & Jillian Boyling-Petangalo Designers: Tristan Licud: @tflcouture or @cca_canada Lloyd Crawford: @lantonioresort Angelika Galuszka Jany: @parlerlamode Willces Galace: @willces_fashiondesigns or @cca_canada Richard Petit: @papilion.dezigns All photos in this article: Dennis Madigan


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FABRIC & FASHION POP UP IN TORONTO By Andrew Terry Pasieka

We first crossed paths with Yaser & Mayasa Co. at African Fashion Week Toronto 2014 and later that year at an inaugural display of fashion in Mississauga. Apart from the personable charm and thorough professionalism of the gentlemen who we found out later were a father and two sons, there was some other obvious signs that told us this was a company we should follow. One was their ease at adapting themselves to diverse settings and peoples. In our last issue of SMJ Magazine, we profiled the family business, and found out that they have operations in Bagdad, Dubai, Toronto, Montreal, and in Shanghai, China. In discussing Shanghai, Yousif Al Beer stated, “When we start talking to the Chinese, it was the suppliers who were most interested in dealing with us and who generated the demand for our fabrics, because they were interested in our color combinations and quality of our designs.” Yousif, who is charge of the Chinese operation, set up a wholesale store in response to this demand. In the same way, it was this astute attention to business that resulted in a pop-up boutique being opened on busy Yonge Street in the heart of midtown Toronto. As Yousif says, “In Canada, a lot of our customers are designers, so we wanted to create a retail space to make us more approachable.” Their strategy for 2019 is to open a few more such spaces in various settings “to give a chance to pop in and see” for both the professional designer and the general

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public. Their hope is to settle on a permanent location in time for the centenary. Aah yes, the centenary. Son Hussain Al Beer spoke about it briefly in the previous issue. For the whole company, five cities spread out over four continents, 2020 is a big thing. Five generations of family who built a local cottage fabric shop into a multinational business. Yousif says it is not just the photos of his grandfather and great grandfather looking down on them in their offices; he can actually feel their presence as he works. This spiritual awareness is a big reason why so many family members (eighteen at last count) have joined the company, and why they are usually being trained at ages 10 to 12. Both eldest son Yaser’s son and daughter are in training, and they display the same passion as their elders. Yousif explains.

“We love the business. When our children see their parent or relative enjoying their work so much they get the passion. Of course we would help them start their own business if they wanted to, but they know how old our company is and see how thriving it is; the organization is there, the relationships are there, the love is there. Many of our associates in our industry are envious, and we know that we are blessed. My grand-daughter who is being trained already has an eye for colors, and patterns, and has been critical of me questioning some of the choices she has made!”

was the elder sister who did a photo shoot with elder brother Yaser that resulted in younger sister Anum being introduced to younger brother Hussain about a year ago. They soon both realized that they had a similar eye for fabrics and designs, and decided to find an opportunity to work closer together. This pop-up boutique is the result. Anum is open to take this experiment as far as it can go. She was attracted by the experience and continual excellence of Yaser & Mayasa, and knows she can learn a lot from them. However, she can teach them a thing or two. For example, a number of pieces in the boutique were made from fabric found in only one province in Pakistan. It appears that Yaser & Mayasa may have an opening into a new market! Go to: www.yaserandmayasa.com

Partnerships and collaborations are something SMJ is always looking for, and it is the same with Yaser & Mayasa. They were very happy to include young Pakistani designer Anum and her signature line Anumzi to the boutique. In contrast with Yaser & Mayasa, only an older sister who is a makeup artist is also in the fashion industry in Anum’s family. Interestingly, it

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Photo Gallery

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BEHIND #METOO STORY… IS A FILM! By Nakeisha Geddes

Tarana Burke started the #MeToo movement in 2006 to encourage women to show solidarity with each other against sexual harassment. This movement went viral in 2017 with women around the world standing together to speak their truth and expose larger-than-life men in arts & entertainment, media, and politics. In December 2017 (Editor-in-Chief ) Andrew approached me about writing my article for SMJ Winter 2018 (Issue No. 20) and we agreed it seemed fitting for me to look at ‘ #MeToo Closer to Home.’ The magazine story was intended to give every day women a chance to share their experience and to lay claim to the diversity of the issue. Five amazing women from different cultural backgrounds shared their story with me, with the intention to heal themselves and encourage others to take a stand and speak their truth. Their stories were powerful and moving. (Publisher) Shelley recognized that we should take the story to a bigger platform…the big screen. The upcoming documentary entitled W’AT ABOWT US ( WHAT ABOUT US) is the first film for Andrew and Shelley, the power couple behind SMJ Magazine. By raising the bar they continue to push themselves, seeking new ways to give back within their community by living out their passion. I had the pleasure of interviewing them just weeks before the filming of the documentary, to get an insight on them and on this project. NG: Tell me about your feelings when you sat down and interviewed each lady about their #MeToo experience. SJ: I was interested to hear each lady’s story because I know they need to be told. I am coming from a social worker background and over the years I have supported many women who have experienced sexual abuse. The timing for this story in SMJ Magazine was perfect because Oprah Winfrey had just done her #MeToo speech at the 2018 Golden Globes Award.

(Ed. Note: We are doing something at SMJ Magazine that we have never done before, and that is, reprint a previously published article. Rather than do a bio of the Publisher/Creator and myself/Executive Producer of W’AT ABOWT US, we felt our readers/attendees of the premiere screenings would find out what they need to know about us from the story that appeared in the previous issue.) 18

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Each story is different, each story is heart wrenching and I think this documentary will help women. We want to bring attention to everyone that this is happening to every day women and it is time to expand the conversation around sexual abuse to motivate others to speak up. We hope it will help to change the behavior of men from being potential perpetrators. NG: How do you want this documentary to influence your audience? SJ: My goal is to take this documentary into the community-atlarge such as schools, colleges, universities and shelters to inspire women to start talking and seeking help because most suffer in


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silence. (…) Future generations need to have a male and female behavioral shift, because we know children learn by example.

talking too much. That’s me overcompensating; I guess I am still a work in progress.

NG: What’s your goal of this documentary? SJ: The goal is to bring awareness and to educate. By including panel discussions with private screenings we want to encourage more open discussion. I want to help build a safe space for women to be able to speak their truth and seek help when needed. I also want to educate men on how to control their behavior toward women. We must change the way we raise boys and girls.

NG: If you have super powers, what changes would you make to the current #MeToo situation? ATP: It all begins with parents and caregivers, from how boys and girls are raised to how we learn to interact with the opposite sex. I wish people would love and care for one another the way we were created to. I think a related problem is sexual identity.

NG: What’s next for Shelley Jarrett? SJ: I want to continue to expand more of our magazine stories into documentaries. I believe this platform is my true calling and is the ultimate extension of my social worker background. (…) This is the legacy I want to leave. NG: What impact did each woman and their story have on you when you met them face to face? ATP: I have always approached this from a journalist point of view. I love writing and honor the freedom of the press. (…) I want to be able to ensure the story gets out the way it’s supposed to be told. I felt like this story was going to be great and it was a perfect idea to touch on the #metoo story, but from a different angle, the whole diverse aspect. I want to not only get the truth, but get the emotion. I never thought that this story was getting the proper attention it deserved. It is a diverse issue that happens in all cultures. NG: Have you ever been in a situation where you witness a woman being abused? ATP: God demands that we learn and grow from each other, so we do not continue with the same behavior. That is why we are on this earth. I unfortunately had to intervene with my mother and father a few times in my teenage years. I know now looking back at the situation my dad was going through a lot of personal stress with unemployment and other stuff and that was the way it came out. I unfortunately had to be the one protecting my mother being the only child. I had to stand up to my father and that was a hard thing for me to do. NG: How did you ensure you are different and wasn’t going to follow your father’s footstep? ATP: My father was only that other self for the few years leading to his retirement and my moving away from Alberta to Ontario, so I am not certain if it wasn’t more circumstantial than the way he was raised. I never was physical abusing, but how I unfortunately followed him was that I kept things inside and was uncommunicative because we were raised to come up with solutions ourselves as men. When I would explode I know now it was because I didn’t communicate the way that I should which was a major reason my first marriage ended. Now I am sometimes too communicative to the point where Shelley will say I am

NG: What’s next for Andrew Pasieka? ATP: I would like to be the person that keeps Shelley’s visions alive. I want to provide the nuts and bolts that line it up, so that whatever the ship it will sail. I too am about leaving a legacy and changing our little part of the world.

In summary, after talking with Shelley and Andrew, this is the time for documentaries like W’AT ABOWT US. We are our sisters’ keepers, and we want to eliminate all forms of harassment and abuse towards women. Shelley’s Dress: My Mama’s Closet Photographer: Lubin Tasevski Hair: Freshmen Style Make-up: Imelda Conception

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W’AT ABOWT US THE CAST

((Edited by Andrew Terry Pasieka)

Cindy Lynn Martin Eahwahewi (Cindy Lynn Martin) is an Indigenous Haudenosaunee specifically of the Cayuga Nation turtle clan and a mother of 3 grown children. She was nominated in 2017 for the Woman of Worth program by L’Oreal Paris Canada, and is an international speaker on topics empowering women and actively supporting the health of our environment.

Anita Sarda

She is a founding member of the WEE Women of the Earth Empowerment group. It is focused on standing, supporting and sharing their gifts, talents, knowledge, while build a network of like-minded women. Eahwahewi attended college at George Brown School in Culinary Management and Food & Nutrition Management and is also a graduate of the Indigenous Community Health Approaches of St. Lawrence College. She has been working in her community promoting traditional health since 1995. Among her presentations was one about the Reconnection Journey through the Tree Rings at a United Nations event. She is a trained Level 2 Fire Fighter and First Responder and was a volunteer for nine years in her community. Her book about healing from her sexual assault is entitled Recover Rebuild Reclaim Self, the Empowerment of Eahwahewi. Her name means”Carrier of News.” Nya:weh Cindy appreciated everyone who has come on board for the documentary, and feels we are a great team on our way to becoming a family. “It is a wonderful feeling supporting women who have had violence in their lives.” W’AT ABOWT US is showing ‘you are not alone. As to her gift in the season of giving being her story, she says, “By giving of my story, I have been gifted in return. Releasing this story has given me my voice, my privilege, and self-love.”

Anita Sarda is a mom of two teens and has a corporate background. She has two degrees (double major honors and a MBA). She joined a top Fortune 50 company and excelled at it. Now she is an entrepreneur and helps people be empowered, protected, and finds way to build a financial legacy. She has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and is passionate about travelling, reading and her children. The W’AT ABOWT US project helped Anita understand that she has a voice. It has opened up new horizons; specifically, she has been cast to play a wife and mother in an upcoming dramatic film that is eerily similar to her own story. Regarding her story being a gift, she says, “If what I went through helps one woman, then telling my story was worth it!”

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Kulbinder Saran Caldwell

Laura Avolese Laura Avolese grew up in a world filled with domestic abuse and violence. As an adult she came face-to-face with her own substance abuse. Looking into her children’s eyes, she knew she had to turn her life around. Today Laura’s a successful realtor, author, motivational speaker and life coach. What’s the secret to her positive transformation? In Laura’s book Breaking Barriers, A Woman’s Journey to Finding Forgiveness, Personal Growth and Positive Transformation, she shares her incredible life story and reveals how she used forgiveness, spirituality, and determination to forge a happy life and successful career. Today, Laura is focused on helping others overcome their own struggles. You’ll find her teaching forgiveness at retreats and speaking at events across North America. For her, the W’AT ABOWT US project has meant spreading out the meaning behind #metoo in different ways. When she was growing up, this subject was taboo for many societies, and it is hurtful that it still happens today. In terms of being part of the documentary herself, Laura says that some of her social media following are grateful to her for speaking out and are looking to

Kulbinder Saran Caldwell is a life coach, born in Canada and raised by parents who migrated from India, now married to a supportive white man. She is a work-from-home mom to a whole-wheat boy and adopted baby girl, devoted daughter and daughterin-law, loyal sister, struggling step-mom, fiercely committed activist working with South Asian non-profits and an overall compassionate, non-judgmental person.

the film for giving them hope. She is honored to be part of this project, and knows it has helped her heal. Giving the gift of her story, especially in a hard year financially, caused Laura to realize that there are still those who are worse. It was this realization that prompted her to purchase two expensive gifts for two children of an underprivileged family when there were others who could have given more easily.

“Sometimes when you believe you have dealt with issues from a painful past, it’s only talk. There’s still something deep down that’s still unresolved. By being involved in this documentary, I was finally able to say - YES, I AM REALLY HEALED. I’m a stronger person now, full of gratitude and seva (selfless service) to others. That’s because I am not defined by what happened to me as a child when I was helpless, but by my actions and deeds of today. I have a good life and it’s what I deserve... with much to look forward to in the future while learning from, but not looking back at things that have come and gone. This holiday season, the gift I wish you and your loved ones are the lessons of love - love thyself, spread love to the world and take in all that love has to offer!”

SPECIAL EDITION: Winter/Spring 2019

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SMJ MAGAZINE

Lee-Ann Thompson

Melissa Helen Kimberley Hood Melissa Helen Kimberley Hood survived battles in her 32 years of life, from bullying, molestation to severe domestic violence. She thrived to turn negatives into positives and is now a parent, caregiver and child advocate within education. She is the co-founder of C.A.P.E. building a centralized building for resources of agencies in one building and one website to help parents and children navigate through the education system. Melissa was very nervous at the commencement of this project and without much confidence; she now feels self-assured. She is humbled by this experience, and has accomplished so much in the past year. She feels especially grateful that the documentary will advocate for those that still have no voice and are broken, whether they are women, children, or even men.

Lee-Ann Thompson is a Professional Faith-Based transformation coach who enjoys working with women to help align their spirits, minds, and bodies enabling them to live completely whole assisting each heart to manage stresses in all aspects of life through exercise, nutrition, and mentorship. She is a fun-loving, spirit-filled adrenaline junkie who has proven that small movements can achieve great results. Lee-Ann has used the W’AT ABOWT US project to look deeper into ‘who I am.’ She didn’t think her story was impactful when she was first approached, but found that her story ‘had many layers.’ She also didn’t visualize her story as gift until recently. She feels that because the women of the cast had internalized their feelings so much towards their past that it was a lot harder for their stories to come out. Externalizing this was a twofold gift; they could now complete their healing,

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SMJ MAGAZINE

Rachelle Cruz

3. To facilitate conversations/dialogues about this issue and this part of our narrative as a community and find ways to help women who have suffered from sexual assault/rape/violence

through workshops, connecting them to culturally-sensitive intake centers; to create discussions for real policy changes. So when there was an opportunity for me to share my advocacy through a different platform like this documentary, it only made sense to represent the women in my community. I am doing this for them, and I am following what God had asked me to do”.

Palmonia Gordon

Rachelle Cruz is a Toronto-based TV personality. She graduated from Ryerson University in 2008 and majored in TV/Radio Broadcasting.

Palmonia Gordon is an Author, Communication and Speech Strategist as well as a Motivational Speaker. “I help people to understand the creative ability they have to design their life, by shifting their mindset and ordering what they truly desire, resulting in Growth, Action and Abundance.” For Palmonia, this documentary is bringing about a shift; a shift in our mindset, a shift in our view of culture, a shift in keeping things secret. What was done behind closed doors should no longer remain there. (#shift)

Her media career started in print with The Philippine Reporter. She is a TV correspondent for Balitang America, ABS-CBN News, North America Bureau, a global channel that caters to the Filipinos worldwide. Rachelle reports on issues and events that impact the community. She is also a segment producer for Lifestyle Network, showcasing Toronto events like fashion week and Christmas Market. In 2016, Rachelle created The It List, a lifestyle talk show that

She realizes her daughter has reached the age when “things started happening to me, I look at my daughter and I see the past in front of my face, and it is horrific. I am so grateful that this project shows that someone believes in us enough to create a safe space where we can connect and make this necessary film.”

featured lifestyle, music, fashion, art, health and beauty. It ran two seasons on Filipino TV. In 2015, Rachelle was nominated for the Notable Award in the Entertainment Category in Toronto. She was the host/ambassador for the Golden Balangay Awards 2017 and 2018. “When I first wrote my Me Too story, I thought I would share my story and then walk away. But after receiving so much response because I am a public figure in the media/entertainment industry, there was a call to action from my end. I felt that I had to do something. That’s why I started the Filipinas Speak Out advocacy campaign. This campaign’s initiatives are as follows: 1. To raise awareness about the sexual assault/violence that is happening to women in our community. 2. To challenge the debilitating beliefs and mentality in our community and society as a whole that discourages women from speaking out. SPECIAL EDITION: Winter/Spring 2019

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SMJ MAGAZINE

W’AT ABOWT US

THE CREW

THE DIRECTOR & CINEMATOGRAPHER ((Edited by Andrew Terry Pasieka)

Beverly Vergel is a seasoned Celebrity Star Maker and Mentor of 30 years. She is a Film and television producer, writer, director and actor. She is also a Certified Life Coach, Brand and Marketing Strategist, and a Philanthropist.

Goody Cambay is a filmmaker, an artist and an entrepreneur. He owns Goody Cambay INC, and it’s known for destination weddings providing excellent visuals and creative coverage. He loves working with happy couples, friends and family. Goody is based in the Greater Toronto Area and his passion is mainly on fashion, commercial and events shoot. Goody is the official filmmaker for Samsung Canada.

Beverly was born, raised, bred and built a successful career in the entertainment business. Her parents were the popular love team and screen idols in the 1950’s Cesar Ramirez and Alicia Vergel. She is also the younger sister of 1970’s-1980’s award winning and popular action star Ace Vergel in the Philippines. In the 1990’s she was leading lady to the Philippine’s top action stars and comedy kings. Beverly became a household name as “Almira” in a 6-year all-time record-breaking TV soap opera titled “Mara Clara”. Her academic training and business acumen eventually lead her into the corporate world of television broadcasting. She was the Managing Director of ABS CBN Talent Center for workshops, training, curriculum design and modules for star development, performing arts and TV and film production. In 2007, Beverly was given awards for Best in Craft and another for Best in Business Acumen by ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation in recognition of her exemplary track record in mentoring stars and building business. For various fields in the entertainment industry like writing, producing, directing, production design, fashion, modeling, personality development and acting for film, TV and theatre, Beverly has ensured to take classes only from the best in in their fields in Manila, Canada and Hollywood U.S.A. Her most recent were Samuel L. Jackson for acting, Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal) for writing, Martin Scorsese for directing and Steve Martin for comedy. In Canada, Beverly completed trainings and experience for a variety of TV shows for Studio, Mobile and News Production at Rogers TV and Raindance Toronto. As the director of “WA’T ABOWT US”, Beverly is passionate about helping people, making a stand, pushing for change, and making a difference. The same advocacy she espoused when she was the student council president in college. 24

SPECIAL EDITION: Winter/Spring 2019

Sonny De Jesus has over 20 years of professional video editing experience in the media industry. His editing career started in 1996. Formerly, he was the Senior Video Editor in the biggest Television network that is ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation in the Philippines. Since he migrated in Toronto in October 2011, he has done numerous editing works for independent film projects and television shows. Sonny is adept in using linear and non-linear video editing facility. Avid Media Composer and Quantel Newsbox are his best editing application tools. Over the years, he has edited shows in different platforms and genres such as talk show, music video, drama, comedy, documentary, variety show, news and current affairs, political ad campaigns, infomercials and audio visual presentations for corporate events. Sonny’s good sense of timing and visual awareness; his practical and creative skills; his ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines; his patience and concentration; all these combined with his technical and IT skills created in him the kind of broadcast editor that supports any production team in generating a coherent project that incorporates the storyline and personality of the actors.


SMJ MAGAZINE

Levi De Jesus started gaining her production skills and training in the entertainment industry in 1985. At first she was an actor in theatrical performances and eventually took the stage management role. After pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Communications, she worked parttime in TV commercials. Driven by her passion in production work, she was able to also do projects in television drama series as talent coordinator and later on as casting director for an international film. Through the network that she had built over the years, she eventually formed her own talent management agency that supplies talents for TV shows and film projects in the Philippines. Levi came to Canada in 2011, and joined Eagle Broadcasting Company as International Correspondent for Canada Bureau. She has also been part of two independent films produced in May 2016 and in January 2018.

Brennan Esteves is a Toronto based cinematographer specializing in docu-style film making and action sports videography. In 2016 he graduated from Humber Colleges Broadcast Television Program, with a scholarship for proficiency with the latest television production techniques. He has been able to take his 10+ years documenting skateboarding and apply those techniques to composing and capturing movement. He currently works as a Locations PA on film and television productions around the Greater Toronto Area and is a secondary shooter for Goody Cambay wedding films studio.

Dengiyefa Akene desires to bring Gods people through gospel music to an intimate atmosphere of worship through the gift of singing, writing and leading worship Joe Sangco is a wedding and events cinematographer. He has been in the industry for 9 years and is the lead filmmaker and manager of C. Royals Studio, providing clients with creative and contemporary event coverage. His passion focuses on capturing special moments and turning those moments into a timeless memory. Joe is also known to be one of the first wedding and event cinematographers in Toronto to offer drone coverage and services, before the high demand and popularity of that market, making him one of the most experienced and knowledgeable in that area of the industry today. Joe has been highly sought-after to film internationally, allowing him to experience, capture and create timeless memories in different parts of the world.

at his local environment and internationally. Dengiyefa has worked on many projects including a live recording in 2015, four single releases and an EP. His recent single Yahweh is trending in Africa and is in the top 10. Dengiyefa lives in Hamilton Ontario and is married to Victoria Akene and they have a daughter, Neriah Faith Akene. “An endless passion for God, for worship, for music, for people, for life”.

SPECIAL EDITION: Winter/Spring 2019

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SMJ MAGAZINE

W’AT ABOWT US

((Edited by Andrew Terry Pasieka) Nakeisha Geddes is the Co-Founder and Director of Beyond Services Choice Matters Inc. She is also vibrant inside and very engaging in her community. She organizes empowering conferences; mentoring workshops targeted the youth and women in her community. Nakeisha has been working with individuals with Developmental Disabilities for fifteen (15) years and she is very passionate about her work and the people she supports. A strong advocate for fairness and equality, she oftentimes finds herself advocating for people who are not able to adequately represent themselves. Nakeisha Geddes writing focuses mainly on her life experiences and she is passionate about ‘activating the best in you.’ She hopes to empower her readers with her writing, by motivating them to love themselves by changing their outlook of life. Nakeisha is super excited about the documentary. She knows W’AT ABOWT US is going to change so much in the future for a lot of women. She says that we, the privileged change agents, have to understand that there are still a lot of cultural practices going on upon which we must hold those responsible accountable. To know more about her work, visit www.nakeishageddes.com or www.beyondservices.org

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SMJ MAGAZINE

YOUR

is your

By Dr. Lisa Ramsackal

There’s something very humbling about the holidays and end of the year that makes you want to reflect on the last twelve months and all that you have accomplished. This year I’m especially grateful for the many blessings and would like to thank my family, friends and patients for all of their tremendous support in my personal and professional life. Without them I would never be able to be where I am today. This time last year, I was a new mom to a 7 month old and undertaking the biggest and most scary business venture I have ever done; going out on my own and opening a brand new practice. Not only did I take on the challenge of opening a new business, but as part of my vision for my practice, I have hired on a team of professionals to work with me. I have been in practice as a health care professional for over 10 years and although I absolutely love what I do, I felt that there was something missing in the way in which health care professionals ‘worked’ together at various places where I practiced. I had always been part of a ‘team;’ however, I felt that there was ironically a lack of team based collaborative care of patients. I actually began my vision of my ideal clinic at the beginning of my career. It was not clear to me at the time that I was in search of something different. It took me a few years of personal reflection, professional development and taking time to think about what being a professional meant to me and how I wanted to practice and what my true goals were with my patients. When I think of health care, I think of a collaborative based team of professionals working together to help individual needs and providing solutions through best practice methods, education and open communication between the professional and the patient. In a nut shell, everyone works together to achieve the best possible outcomes. This is what led me to opening my clinic, Innova Integrated Wellness Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. Innova Integrated Wellness Centre opened its doors on October 1, 2018 with a team of 8 health care professionals. Our services include: Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Osteopathy, Chiropody and Holistic Nutrition and we look forward to continuing to grow our roster of professionals. We are a fun, passionate and patient centered team that work together to help our patients achieve their health goals from acute injury care to treating chronic pain or chronic conditions such as joint degeneration/arthritis, diabetes, infertility, weight loss, allergies, food sensitivities, digestive issues, chronic fatigue and more. As an interdisciplinary wellness clinic we not only offer a variety of different services, as colleagues

from different backgrounds, we work collectively and learn from one another to better help our patients as well as make us better rounded professionals enhancing our ability to offer the most comprehensive care to our each person in our care. Looking back on the last year, it’s been a lot of hard work, a bit of sweat and a few tears, but 2018 has definitely been a year for much gratitude. In spite of it all, my most important job is being a mom. No matter how much I have going on in my career, my greatest accomplishment will always be my little boy. I hope that this year has brought you all much happiness and success. I hope that when you reflect you can see that all of your efforts have been worth it in the end and you can be proud of your accomplishments. Wishing you all a fabulous 2019! Innova Integrated Wellness Centre (905-814-9355) 49 Queen St. South Unit #8, Miss, ON, L5M 1K5 Web: www.innovaintegratedwellness.ca Web: www.chiropractor-drlisa.ca Email: contact@innovaintegratedwellness.ca Email: drlisa@innovaintegratedwellness.ca Facebook: @InnovaIntegratedWellness Instagram:innova_wellness /Twitter:@InnovaWellness

CHIROPRACTIC ACUPUNCTURE PHYSIOTHERAPY OSTEOPATHY NATUROPATHY CHIROPODY

HOLISTIC NUTRITION SPORTS THERAPY REHABILITATIVE CARE ORTHOTICS COMPRESSION SOCKS

8-49 Queen Street South, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 1K5

905-814-9355 contact@innovaintegratedwellness.ca innovaintegratedwellness.ca

SPECIAL EDITION: Winter/Spring 2019

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SMJ MAGAZINE

By Nakeisha Geddes

Many people confuse talent with purpose. They believe because they are good at doing something then that is their purpose in life. I am here to tell you, that is far from the truth. Growing up, mathematics came naturally to me and I excelled in that subject at school. My mother would always speak proudly about me to others, but because it came so easily to me, the praises eventually stopped and so did my interest or desire to excel in mathematics. Your purpose usually results in you leaving an impact on someone’s life. It is something you never think twice about or hesitate to do, no matter how exhausted you may be. I call this “YOUR WHY” for living. Mathematics

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was my strongest subject at school, but I had no passion in it because there was nothing to gain. Three years ago, if someone had asked me what my purpose was in life, I would have had no idea as this was never something I thought about. Life was just for living and I was taking each day as it came. I would volunteer but always behind the scenes because I felt inadequate and thought I was not good enough or felt confident enough to be in the spotlight. Several years ago, I started working with people who have disabilities in the area of Mental Health. One of them was a young lady name Michelle Kreplin. When I


SMJ MAGAZINE

met her six years ago, her condition was diagnosed as ‘being on the spectrum.’ Michelle was epileptic and had been experiencing seizures since she was a child. Yet Michelle was full of life and dreamed about being independent enough to be on her own as well as to build meaningful relationships within her community.

Working with Michelle opened up new and interesting opportunities we had not experienced before. We started exploring the community and attended our first networking events. This was a great way for Michelle to start building relationships outside of her disability community. The first networking event we attended was Woman on Fire. This is an event where women from different sectors are nominated to win an award, based on the category they were entered in. The event ran over the weekend and allowed the nominees as well as guests to connect with each other. Michelle and I started to attend many other events, which led to us connecting with other women and we began supporting them as well. While Michelle was working on building meaningful relationships within the community, she was also developing other skills. She was very dedicated to her paper route job and was super excited when she learned to ride a bike. it was as if she had grown wings! This was a major accomplished because she was told she would never be able to ride.

What I began to notice was that our needs were different but our new networking was fulfilling those needs. I became aware of how differently I was thinking, and the person I was becoming. In fact, I had to admit that I was changing, because my circle was changing. Unknown to Michelle, around the time I started taking her out into the community, I was experiencing depression and was actually seeing a therapist. Going out and networking with her and advocating for her was also helping me on my journey of healing and finding myself. Through my experiences with Michelle I was able to free myself and move into my purpose. The Lord knew I needed Michelle to motivate me to change my circle of influencers. He knew I would have been more willing to do it for others than for myself. Michelle was necessary for me to find my true self. In the past three years I have accomplished so much and my life has changed drastically. I am a completely different person now: a published author; Co-Founder of Beyond Services – Choice Matters Inc; launched and run my own networking event with two other business partners; last but not least, a writer here at SMJ Magazine. While Michelle was accomplishing the things on her bucket list, as she would often say to me, “she guided me to my purpose.” She has no idea how right she was.

I want to say THANK YOU MICHELLE KREPLIN, for helping me to help others. This beautiful angel was called home to her Maker on December 16, 2018. I can just imagine the work she will do, now that she has wings!!

It wasn’t before long that Michelle was hardly ever home. She became a member of CH, an advocacy group that teaches people with disabilities that their voice matters. Michelle took on new responsibilities which she looked on very seriously. Over three years, as Michelle grew, our circle of supporters grew well.

SPECIAL EDITION: Winter/Spring 2019

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SMJ MAGAZINE

My Heart Warming Holiday Miracle By Akua Hinds

There are many Christmas movies that have been produced about miracles that happened just in time for Christmas. The well-known movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” comes to mind, showing what happens when attitudes and perceptions change during holiday seasons. Maybe you have a holiday miracle that you treasure in your heart. Or, perhaps you are hoping for good things to happen for you when you least expect it. One of the best things that happened to me is currently happening, and I am so excited about it! You see, I have finally come to realize an important truth about life. I tried to deny that truth for a long time, but I am ready to accept the truth about what I need to do to build the life of my dreams. The first thing that I need to do is to get started. The next step is not to quit. Are you surprised? If you are, I can certainly understand. As someone who has deep spiritual beliefs, I had told myself that if God wanted me to have certain things, he would make it happen. It

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took me a long time to realize that the Lord truly does help those who help themselves. He wants certain things for us, but He also wants us to take action on the dreams that are implanted in our hearts. I had become so accustomed to just doing things without thinking. I went through my day repeating thought and action patters without thinking about whether or not those patterns were helping me to achieve my goals. Perhaps you have been stuck in the same routine and you have not done anything recently to make positive changes. If that is the case, now is the time to make those much needed changes! When I think about who I was and what I was doing one year ago, I can hardly believe that I was the same person. I have had a lot have positive changes take place; too many to list here in detail. I’ll just state that I was spending time with a person who I should not have been involved with, and I was not as focused on fulfilling my goals as I could have been.


SMJ MAGAZINE

I am happy to say that I feel closer to fulfilling my goals than ever before. I’m not afraid to start at ground zero. I can look back on this past year and see that I have become more proactive in improving certain areas of my life. I am excited to move forward personally and professionally, and I am not shy about letting other people know that. In fact, I want to take other people with me on this journey. I want you to know that you really can start over and make the positive changes that you need to make. Think about whom in your life needs to stay and who needs to go. You are the common denominator. What do you need to change about yourself, and what do you need to love more about yourself? I feel lucky that my work allows me to constantly be learning about myself and about others. Are you willing and ready to learn what you need? You are one decision away from living the life of your dreams, or just dreaming your ideal life. It is time act. I hope that you will choose to give yourself a chance to be the holiday miracle that you have always been seeking. Get started, and do not quit. Akua Hinds, journalist, actress, music performer & instructor, founder & marketing owner of dating sites www.InterracialDesires.net, www. RichSinglesDate.net, www.ChristianPartner. co & independent business owner at www. PureRomance.ca/AkuaHinds and www. PureRomance.com/AkuaHinds. Please visit www.AkuaHinds.com SPECIAL EDITION: Winter/Spring 2019

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SMJ MAGAZINE

What is Meant by the Gift of

By Andrew Terry Pasieka

No matter your religious persuasion, or even if you are not persuaded to follow any religion, there is something about the month of December. The approaching end of another year; being thankful you got through it; being hopeful next year will be better. And during that month, there is time off. It can be time to celebrate whatever festival you follow, but more important, time to spend with family and loved ones. And invariably, part of the time is spent exchanging gifts. Now, I love receiving gifts as much as anyone. As I get older (and believe me, I have been doing that longer than I care to admit!), I seem to get more satisfaction of giving a gift, no matter how insignificant it appears to the impartial eye. Maybe it’s because of my advancing years; I find I really don’t need much in the way of gifts. (People my age are already in the frantic first stages of downsizing!!) Maybe it’s because of this amazing multimedia project I find myself involved in as the calendar turns to 2019. Whatever it is, giving makes me feel good on the inside. Alright, so how can we describe what feeling ‘good on the inside’ really means? Let’s start from what I believe in. Giving is a Spiritual Gift. A Christian is motivated to give by an involuntary sensation that comes over him that we refer to as the Holy Spirit that resides within us. We call this a spiritual gift because it represents what God does to shape our perspective on life and motivate our words and actions. Ergo, the desire especially at this time of year to bestow gifts on those we are closest to.

Christianity does not have exclusivity on giving. Let’s look at three other faiths.

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Buddhism is often associated with meditation and pacifism. But one aspect that is often overlooked Is the concept of generosity. The practice of generosity in Buddhism is largely entwined with the mind. Far more important than the gift being given is the intention and state of mind when giving. For Hindus, dana (giving) is an important part of one’s dharma (religious duty). The wealth a person acquires is not for him/herself but for the welfare of the extended family and others. In short, ‘giving’ begins at home but extends beyond home. The Bhagavadgita Hindu text speaks of giving a gift that is given without any expectation of appreciation or reward and is beneficial to both giver and recipient. For Muslims, the blessed month of Ramadan is celebrated because the Messenger of Allah would be more generous then than in any other time of the year. It was part of who he was, a legacy that Muslims have carried with them through the generations. To truly understand the spirit of giving, stories of generosity inspire Muslims not only to give more, but to give better. The power of this mindset is one focused on giving and investing, rather than hoarding and amassing. Instead of referring to the spirit of giving, the acknowledgment is simply that the spirit of Islam is to give. A body without a spirit is dead. It is not ironic that the following four insightful quotes speak to different aspects of the four faiths we have outlined.


SMJ MAGAZINE

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank

So it would seem that giving is spiritual no matter what the religious background. A giver gets joy out of giving, and outwardly has no concern for cost, no matter how it is measured. A giver’s strengths are invaluable lessons, especially at this time of year. There are some common characteristics by all who have the motivational gift of giving.

“Your greatness is not what you have, but in what you give.” Alice Hocker

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston S. Churchill

“In this world it’s not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.”

• Saving resources brings a giver almost as much pleasure as giving them, because they regard saving as the key that opens the door to even more resources. They seem to be able to accumulate savings, even in hard times. • A giver saves money by making wise purchases. He also tends to avoid impulsive spending. • Givers expect to be held accountable and diligently hold others accountable. • They usually are hard workers and tend to have conservative values. • Givers often like to become personally involved in the lives of the people to whom they give. • Givers love to motivate others to save and to give generously. When a person walks according to the Spirit (see Galatians 5:25), his unique perspective (in this case, giving) is demonstrated through traits that reflect the character of Christ. However, if that same person walks in “the flesh,” making choices that are determined by his sinful nature, his unique perspective is demonstrated through undesirable, ungodly traits. (See Galatians 5:16–17). How interesting that we positively motivate people because of what we inwardly have, and we negatively impact people because of what we outwardly show.

Henry Ward Beecher

Are you a Giver? Do the motivations of a giver guide your decisions and actions? And if there is not something spiritually inside you that moves you, how can you be motivated?

This article is dedicated to two great givers; Eglantine Fortune, Shelley’s mother...who passed away on February 10th, 2018; and Josephine Pasieka, my mother who will be 92 in March 2019. They never got to meet in the flesh; may God grant them the opportunity to meet in the spirit. SPECIAL EDITION: Winter/Spring 2019

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SMJ Magazine #23 (Special Edition: Winter-Spring 2019)  

This issue is a special edition with a difference. We are featuring our first documentary W'at Abowt Us, stories of truth from 8 women who...

SMJ Magazine #23 (Special Edition: Winter-Spring 2019)  

This issue is a special edition with a difference. We are featuring our first documentary W'at Abowt Us, stories of truth from 8 women who...

Profile for shelleyj
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