You Are REAL - Fall 2011

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LIVING HOPE What’s really happening to women overseas

PLUS: Breakfast that’s healthy AND delicious! FALL 2011

Letter from the Editors Dear Readers, We are proud to present our very first issue of You Are REAL, a magazine for women. We thought long and hard about the best way to explain why we see the need for yet another women’s magazine. Recently, we received a picture message from Janna, a good friend of ours, that explains our mission better than we ever could.

“ This little girl was reading a pop culture magazine that was available in the checkout aisle which, as you know, promotes drama and external beauty. I automatically see this as an opportunity to dream about changing the norm of what children absorb into their minds of how they should be. Because of your awesome passion and desire to develop this change, I can now dream with hope when I come across this pattern in my day to day life. What you’re doing is incredible, and I believe that one day your magazine will be in checkout lines for girls like her to read and figure out just how beautiful they really are.”

We have all grown up believing things about ourselves that aren’t true. The media feeds us so many lies about what it means to be a woman. Around the world, we are facing more than just an attack on our self-esteem. Women are being trafficked, raped, belittled, and devalued. We have been made to feel ashamed, objectified, and stupid. How can we show little girls like this one how beautiful they are if we don’t believe it about ourselves? It’s time to take a stand for womanhood. It’s time to celebrate the beauty and the purpose that was always meant to be ours. You Are REAL aims to inject truth into the lies that you may have been believing about yourself. We want you to see how valuable you are so that you will have the confidence you need to change the world.

You can learn more about us at

Yours truly,

Lauren and Catherine 1

From the Editors pg 1

Our Pinboard What we’ve been up to. pg 4

She Was Most Definitely A Woman Inspiration from Marilyn Monroe pg 5

Fashion Inspiration This fashion icon is the perfect inspiration for back-to-school style.

What REAL Looks Like


Putting a spotlight on REAL women who are changing the world.

If these books aren’t on your nightstand, they should be!

pg 9

pg 19

The You Are Project

Co-Co-Cran Oatmeal

Find out more about our Add this ingredient organization and learn about to your oatmeal for a our goals and our hearts. mouthwatering twist. pg 11

Around the World Learn about Marilyn Skinner’s work with Living Hope in Uganda. pg 15

pg 20

Feed Your Strength Refresh your mind and your spirit. pg 21

pg 7


Magazine Credits Layout & Design Lauren D’Alessandro

Staff Writers Lauren D’Alessandro Catherine Smith Debi White Lindsay Fessel Lisa D’Alessandro

Photography Cover and “You Are” Photoshoot Monica Manklang Living Hope photographs and media release courtesy Watoto Debi White’s headshot Mindy Castor All other photos Lauren D’Alessandro and Catherine Smith

Copy Editors Darlene Anderson Kristie Petrillo Jordan Wolf

Contributing Writers Karen Urbaniak


pinboard A few days before Thanksgiving, we got together and made dinner and gift bags for women in Camden, NJ who are being served by a program called She Has a Name. You can learn more about this organization by visiting


“I’m very definitely a woman,

and I enjoy it.”

-Marilyn Monroe

I love this quote. PERIOD. I don’t care who said it, and I don’t care what type of person she was; I simply love this quote. For a while I struggled with whether or not I could get away with using it in the magazine because I imagined people being offended by the mention of a woman who portrays an image we wouldn’t normally be thrilled to promote. I even searched the Internet hoping to find a story about some great philanthropic cause she was a part of just so I could feature that and have an excuse to use the quote. I didn’t find anything. But the lesson I learned along the way is worth sharing. Before beginning my research, I only knew a few things about Marilyn Monroe: she was a beautiful, blonde actress who modeled on the cover of Playboy, she may or may not have had an affair with the President, and she died at an early age. While researching her story, I was reminded of how often we think we know people and how easy it is to make a snap judgment of a complete stranger. Every one of us has our own individual story filled with unique experiences that have brought us to this exact time and place. Each of our unique experiences shapes how and why we react to people, behaviors, events and other experiences in the way we do. As we begin to learn the stories of the people around us, it becomes much more difficult to judge and a bit easier to understand. According to the Internet Movie Database, Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jean. Her mother was mentally ill, and she lived her entire life without ever knowing her father’s

true identity. As her mother checked in and out of hospitals, she was repeatedly abandoned to orphanages and foster homes. Before the age of six, she was almost smothered to death and survived an attempted rape. When she was living at home with her mother, she learned many lessons as her mother taught her to search for love and acceptance from the men who came into and out of their lives. It also stands to reason that this is where she learned to use her physical appearance to seek out men for approval, security, identity and fulfillment. On top of all of this, Marilyn struggled with alcohol and drug addiction and suffered from a disease called endometriosis. Endometriosis is a medical condition in which the tissue from the uterus lining detaches itself and reattaches to other areas of the body and continues growing. This is known to cause severe pain, irregular bleeding and in some cases, infertility. You could say that she was literally attacked at the core of who she was as a woman. We don’t have to approve of the choices Marilyn made in her lifetime, and I wouldn’t say she is a role model, but I do believe that she and every other woman we come across deserve to be valued, and their stories deserve to be heard. As I began to get to know Marilyn through her story, I came to realize that she was more than just the tidbits of celebrity gossip I had heard over the years. She was sexually exploited and abused, as well as physically attacked from the inside out. She had every reason imaginable to hate everything that made her a woman, yet she found a way to embrace it and enjoy it in her own way.

She had every reason imaginable to hate everything that made her a woman, yet she found a way to embrace it and enjoy it in her own way.


“Getting to have children. Men could have been chosen, but we were.” -Margie

“Being an innate nurturer” -Shannon “I can be blessed with motherhood.” -Sarah

“Being able to sleep in bed with the same sex without it being weird.” - Shelly P.

What do YOU love about being a woman? “I like the idea of being romanced by God. [I’m] beautiful the way I am because of Him!” -Cadence

“Maybe it’s the shoes…” -Sage “I can bust a tear and get my way.” -Kelli

“Being in touch with my emotions, and trusting them enough to share them.” -Braden

“The intellectual bar is lower [for women] and I love when women are way above that and we just blow them out of the water.” -Natalia


Currently Channeling...


by Lisa D’Alessandro


ur first fashion inspiration initially made her way into the spotlight for playing Laura Petrie, Dick Van Dyke’s sweet, often flighty, stay at home wife and mother on the Dick Van Dyke Show.

But she soon shed the pearls and the June Cleaver housewife look and made her true mark on pop culture by playing the single 30-something working girl Mary Richards in the famous 70’s sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. If you have never seen it, go onto hulu. com right now and take a look at the pilot episode. Not only will you fall in love with her smile and her “spunk,” but you will also see that she has a killer wardrobe. The first time I saw the show, I fell in love with Mary’s clothes. The great thing about the MTM look is that her style was affordable and accessible. Her wardrobe was made of various ready-to-wear separates that could be mixed and matched to create different outfits. This was a show where you actually did see repeated outfits. Mary was a working woman; her clothes were practical and comfortable as well as stylish, which makes it an ideal wardrobe to emulate for a student or young career woman.


Belts are a simple way to add some interest to your outfit while defining your waist and making you appear thinner. Mary used belts often in her wardrobe. For inexpensive options, check out thrift stores or stores like Ross or Marshalls.

want to be really creative you can tie a silky scarf on your ponytail or wear a headscarf, a favorite look of Mary and Rhoda (Mary’s best friend).

Long Necklaces

MTM added flair to her outfits with long necklaces. Whether it is a simple pendant or funky beads, these are guaranteed to add personality to your look.

Comfortable Heels

Mary Tyler Moore almost always wore heels, but never the skinny, super-high stilettos we see on red carpets. She wore sensible heels that were comfortable for a busy working woman, but they still had the effect of making her legs look longer. Another favorite fashion trick of Mary’s: nude shoes. They make your feet look smaller!


Mary Tyler Moore wore simple, classic, and flattering dresses in a variety of colors. Shirt dresses are a favorite of MTM, and adding a belt gives it just the right touch for a casual and effortless look.

Skirts and Tops

Look for pleated skirts to add to your wardrobe. These can be great for a professional look, or you can incorporate them into a more girly or edgy look depending on accessories. Mary paired hers with Scarves a button-down top and a belt around her waist. Scarves are another super-easy and affordable Another 70’s fashion that is making a comeback: way to brighten up an outfit. If you want to wear the maxi skirt. Find a unique one that you love something more unique, try a handkerchief and watch the compliments come rolling in. scarf. They were very popular in the 70’s. If you


Dress: Forever 21 Leopard bag: Merona (at Target) Boots: Madden Girl Belt: Thrifted

Heart pendant: Thrifted Leaf Necklace: Burlington Coat Factory

Leather Jacket: Micheal Kors Maxi Skirt: Forever 21 Tank: Forever 21

Trench: My sister’s closet (you can find your own at H&M or Skirt: Old Navy Top: Poof!

Printed Scarf: Forever 21

Blouse: Forever 21 Skirt: Express Belt: Rampage


this is what REAL looks like

Debi White


Meet Debi White, a former North Carolina elementary school teacher and our Feed Your Strength Columnist. Debi has been an encouragement to both of us, and we know you’ll find her inspiring, too.

Q&A Session... The best book I’ve read lately…

is The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. The book (and the movie) inspire me to find the courage that is hidden in truth.

My favorite way to relax… is to watch a movie, or as crazy as it sounds, plan a weekend event where I get to do the shopping, cooking and entertaining (minus the housecleaning prep!).

I am most passionate about…

(honestly?) learning what might bless God’s heart. I can’t get around believing that He made us, so assuming that is true, I love putting my eggs in that basket. How cool would it be that we could bless His heart?

I feel beautiful when…

I hear what others say instead of what I say to myself.

The gutsiest thing I’ve ever done...

was to walk away from my education career (only halfway to retirement) without a clear picture of the next endeavor.

Photo by Mindy Castor

I’d most like to meet…

George W. Bush, not for political reasons, but because I think he consistently steps into his decision-making with humility and courage. [He is] not seeking gain but rather what is right.

Follow Debi’s blog at


For our “Who YOU ARE To Me� photo shoot, we focused on revealing the beauty in others. For more great photos and to learn about the girls involved in the shoot, check out

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By Lauren D’Alessandro and Catherine Smith

Who are we, anyway?

We started the You Are Project because our hearts have been broken for the women who don’t understand the value that they possess. Our vision and our goal is to resource women with all types of career, ethnic and religious backgrounds. We want to help you discover the truth about who you are and the great purpose that you were created for. Whether you believe in God, Jesus, Buddha, evolution, or the Tooth Fairy, we want you to know you are welcome and you are the reason we began this project. Because we respect you we must be honest with you. We want you to know that

The You Are Project Exists to:

we still struggle at times to find confidence, that we often forget how much value WE have. We want you to know that even in putting out this magazine, we have had to face many of our own fears and insecurities. We also need you to know that we love Jesus and believe that he is the only one who can truly complete us. In our struggles, we have found his strength to be enough for us. We have found nothing else that heals us, satisfies us, and fills us with purpose. We exist to show you who you are. More importantly, we exist to show you who Jesus is, and how his love will bring you satisfaction and joy.

our mission

• Support women in discovering truths about who they are • Cultivate and advance valuable relationships between women • Resource and equip women to use these truths to unleash their potential and make a lasting impact on the world We will accomplish these goals by: • Creating publications that are geared toward building women’s self-esteem, inspiring creativity, and promoting an interest in and awareness of other women and what they are struggling with, learning from, and accomplishing • Making women aware of organizations and resources that can improve their lives • Partnering with other organizations around the world that have similar goals • Hosting events to foster relationships between women of different backgrounds and generations


Our Story

The You Are Project was founded in June 2011, but the vision began about three years earlier when a friend said to Catherine, “I’m tired of looking in the mirror and seeing all the things that I am not. I am tired of hearing my friends say things like, ‘If only I was more...’ and ‘If I was a little less...’ I’m tired of buying into the lies that the world sells women. I want girls to look in the mirror and see the truth, to see the value that those of us who know them see.” The two of them began putting together “You Are” gift baskets and giving them to women in their community. Each item in the basket had a gift tag personalized with “You Are” statements describing the recipient. Meanwhile, Lauren found herself disappointed with the current selection of magazines available for women. She decided to create a publication that had fashion, beauty, and interior design, but that also had articles geared toward intelligent women who were interested in more than just their appearance. As Lauren began working on a magazine, she got stuck because she didn’t have a name for it. She put the project on the back burner for a month or two as she tried to figure out what her next step was. Finally, in June 2011, fate or divine intervention (take your pick) brought the two of us together. As we began to share our individual passions for women and for the world, the need for collaboration was soon recognized.

Our Plans

The plan for The You Are Project is broken into multiple phases that will be introduced over the next two years. Phase one includes the launch of You Are REAL and The You Are Project’s


Co-founders, Lauren and Catherine brand new website. Both are packed with REAL information ranging from relationships and fashion to education on global and local issues that REAL women can do something about. If you would like to know more about The You Are Project or would like more information on how you can support the project, email us at

You are POWERFUL... You are REAL... You are INSPIRING... You are WOMEN...

Photographs by Monica Manklang Photos by Monica Manklang

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AROUND THE WORLD by Catherine Smith

Since the beginning of time a battle has been taking place against the feminine heart. Women were created to bring forth life. The second chapter of Genesis states, “I will make a helper suitable for him (man).” The original Hebrew term used in this verse is, “ezer kenegdo”. “Kenegdo” can be defined as “alongside” or a “counterpart”, and “ezer” is usually explained with phrases like “companion” and “help meet”. Robert Alter, a Hebrew scholar, suggests many translations are missing the point. He claims if we were to look closely at scripture we would discover “ezer” is used only twenty times and is always referring to a situation where God is coming through when he is desperately needed. Whether you believe this is truth or just a


mythological story I must ask you a question: Does this sound to you like women were only made to play the role of companion and help meet? We

“Each one of us was brought into this world for a unique, significant, and specific purpose.” were created for so much more. Each of us was uniquely brought into the world at this time, as

Women learning new skills in the Living Hope Workshop.

“The key to economic progress and fighting poverty is unleashing women’s potential.”

--United Nations


part of this generation, for a unique, significant, and specific purpose. You are living right now for a reason. You have an irreplaceable role to play. Although we want to be an “ezer kenegdo” to our friends, family members, and significant others, often we just feel tied down and exhausted. We can’t imagine having the potential to make a significant difference in another person’s life, but the truth is that you and I have each been given a set of keys. My keys are not the same as your keys, but together we have the ability to unlock our own potential and the potential of the women around us. Each key is an opportunity to resource someone and to help restore something in her. Right now in Uganda, a woman named Marilyn Skinner is busy releasing the chains that have been holding back dozens of women who are struggling through some of life’s most difficult circumstances. Marilyn runs Living Hope, an initiative under Watoto, the child care ministry she started with her husband. Living Hope is “committed to restoring dignity to vulnerable women, most of whom are HIV positive, victims of human trafficking, returnees from abduction into the rebel army and left to bear the brunt of AIDS, war, and social injustice.” Helping these women will enable them to look after their own children and will alleviate the orphan crisis. After discovering that women with HIV could survive for 20 years with proper

medical attention, nutrition, and sanitary living conditions, Marilyn set out to provide these women with a new hope, new opportunities, and the chance to watch their children grow into adults.

“Through Living Hope women are not only given assistance “with basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter and medical care...”

Through Living Hope, women are given assistance “with basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. [They are also receiving] comprehensive HIV/AIDS care, including counseling and psychosocial support, spiritual and moral discipleship...and training that empowers them through income- generating projects and enables them to become productive members of society.” Not only are these women having their dignity restored, but they are being given the opportunity to raise and care for children who otherwise would be orphans.

*(We learned about “ezer kenegdo” and Robert Alter from the book, Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge).


WATOTO MEDIA RELEASE- Friday 28th October 2011 Lives are being transformed, dignity is being restored, and hope is returning to the ladies at Watoto’s Living Hope programme where over 2100 HIV+ widows, single mothers and former war abductees are being empowered with spiritual discipleship and life skills training. Lucy Laker was 12 years old when the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels abducted her in 1992. In the rebel camp, she was forced to live with a man who was over 30 years older. “He had HIV, but they forced me to marry him, and with this man I had two children. The first child survived, but the second one died,” she says. While in captivity, Lucy was occasionally tortured. She was beaten and abused. In 1997 her husband died, and life became even tougher. She says, “At least when he was there, he would protect

me a little. When he died there was no one to help me.” After 8 years in captivity, Lucy managed to escape and returned home in 2000. But life was not easy, and she couldn’t come to terms with what had happened to her in the bush. In 2009, Lucy became joined Watoto’s Living Hope programme in Gulu, northern Uganda. “When I came here and began actively participating in the tailoring department, Living Hope opened a bank account into which they would pay me a monthly salary. I began to learn how to save; the


Lucy and her daughter


Living Hope ladies display their certificates

OF FORMERLY VULNERABLE WOMEN rest I use to pay school fees for my children, pay rent, and other living expenses,” she says. Every month, she was also given basic food items and access to health facilities whenever she or her children became sick. Lucy’s daughter was born in captivity and because of that, Lucy hated her so much. “I would say to the child, ‘If it was not for the bush you would not be here.” However, because of the discipleship training she received, she began to learn that children were not an accident. She says, “I began to realize that she is my own gift from God. It used to hurt me a lot when I saw her, but now I love her. I thank God that she is not HIV+.” After graduating from the Living Hope training, Lucy was given a sewing machine so that she could earn a living from the skills she had acquired. Today, Lucy is running a successful tailoring business and is able to support her

family. Lucy also benefited from the adult literacy classes where she acquired writing, reading and speaking skills. “The quality of my life has

Lucy is running a successful tailoring business and is able to support her family. greatly improved. Today, I can read road signs and newspapers; I can express myself in English when I go to the doctor and understand medical prescriptions. I have gained confidence to speak in public, and I can also write both formal and informal letters. I am also a leader among the women in my circles and life is really good.”

To support the Living Hope program and learn more about Watoto’s work with vulnerable women, go to www.watoto. com/livinghope. 18


books for your nightstand


“Here is a passionate call to arms against the oppression of women around the globe...” -Vintage Books

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown “Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we’d no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking: • What if I can’t keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn’t everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? • What will people think if I fail or give up? • When can I stop proving myself? In THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION, Brené Brown, Ph.D., a leading expert on authenticity, shame, and courage shares what she’s learned from a decade of research on the power of Wholehearted Living.

Half the Sky by Nick Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn “Half The Sky is a call to arms, a call for help, a call for contributions, but also a call for volunteers. It asks us to open our eyes to this enormous humanitarian issue. It does so with exquisitely crafted prose and sensationally interesting material... I really do think this is one of the most important books I have ever reviewed.” -Carolyn See, The Washington Post “Here is a passionate call to arms against the oppression of women around the globe—‘the central moral challenge’ of our time. Through inspiring stories of extraordinary women, Kristof and WuDunn show that the most effective way to fight global poverty is to unleash the potential of women. They also offer an uplifting do-it-yourself tool kit for those who want to help.” -Vintage Books

Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter Surrender Bay, by Denise Hunter, is a total must-read. Readers will find themselves swept away in the Nantucket love story of a Samantha Owens, a woman fighting for unconditional love after twenty years of abandonment. After being notified of her stepfather’s passing, Samantha is forced to deal with her unforgiveable past. God works through a childhood friend to prove that he never left her side. This book is based on Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.” Many of us think that the past can predict our future; Hunter’s novel reminds the reader that through God’s unconditional love, we are made new in His image. This is an excellent read for friends unfamiliar with God’s never failing love. Let this book be the sign they need to feel God’s presence brewing in their hearts. - Review by Karen Urbaniak


For more, check out

Go Co-Co-Nuts!

by Lindsay Fessel

Move over olive oil! There’s a new superstar taking over the world of nutrition. Recently, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding coconut oil. In order to reap the maximum benefits, the best form is extra virgin coconut oil. This oil is nature’s purest form of medium-chain fats and lauric acid. These components work with your body to raise your metabolism and aide in weight loss. Coconut oil has also been found to improve smoothness of hair and skin, prevent viral and bacterial infections, boost your immune system, and protect you from cancer, heart disease, as well as other degenerative conditions as you get older.

Some simple ways to ease coconut oil into your diet: • In a hot cereal • Add a tablespoon to your morning coffee for a flavor blast • Replace butter or vegetable oil in your favorite recipes


Feed Your Strength by Debi White

I read once that we start each day according to how useful and productive we feel and to what extent we feel like we belong. If we awaken feeling loved and cared for by others and skilled in our life stage of family and work, we meet the day with energy and hope. Then why do so many of us feel abandoned at some level and certainly less than useful and productive? Is change possible? How hard will it be? I think there is good news: Change is possible! The key is to understand two driving forces that must be reckoned with if we want the energy and hope of our days to be different: the power of cumulative and the voices in our heads.

The Power of Cumulative My medical doctor brother once pointed out that if you gain one pound a year for twenty years beginning at age 30, you would be…right, 20 pounds overweight at age 50. No rocket science there, but I was so shocked. I can gain a pound in a weekend. It was a startling example of how the power of cumulative is so missed in our culture. We deal with life day-to-day and often fail to step back and remember that the accumulation of days—or anything else—is like a swift-moving river that is gathering energy either for us or against us. For instance, it might have been unimaginable that you and your high school or college best friend would be farther away than coffee together or at least a call or a text. But somehow months, even years, have gone by and you have scarcely communicated. Distance between good friends accumulates with a sad energy. The relationship is missed but that river of time makes the gulf between you ever larger. Clutter may be the best example of the power of cumulative. We fight clutter of space, to be sure, but what about the clutter of our heart? What grudges have we gathered that are taking up heart-space and energy? What bad memories do we try to let go of, only to see them resurface with a vengeance? I am convinced that clutter of any kind takes on a strange, life-like quality of its own —the cluttered room and the cluttered heart just seem to have an energy that fights us.

Our bodies, caught in the river of aging, certainly reflect the accumulation of our choicesgood or bad. I tell my adult children that I am “researching” how to grow old with the least pain and disease and the most mobility. I’m going

Most of us have more than one culprit in our river of cumulative that keeps us from feeling useful, productive, and like we belong. “there” anyway—I might as well figure out how to enjoy the ride. Annoyingly, I find that every bite, every step, and every health choice either sabotage or move me toward my goal. How do we stay upright in the accumulating river of health? Maybe most of us have more than one culprit in our river of cumulative that keeps us from feeling useful, productive, and like we belong. We can identify the culprit(s) and find our way out of exile from our best mind, body and soul.

The Voices in Our Heads My friend’s mom is a paranoid schizophrenic, precious and funny, living an arduous journey through the reality of mental illness, and of course, taking my friend through the landmines of her

Debi White is a former NC elementary teacher who left education to research, on a broader scale, how each of us can move from exile to freedom in every area of our lives.


Photo by Monica Manklang

life. One of the best commercials of our time is led by Glenn Close and those with her, wearing t-shirts that connect mental illness to real family members, getting the conversation out in the open and demonstrating so beautifully how families are all in the fight together. When my friend told me her mom had a t-shirt that says, “I’m schizophrenic and so am I,” I laughed out loud—not at her mom or any mental illness, but at how it reminded me of the fight we all have with voices in our head. In his song “Voices”, Chris Young is right: we hear voices in our head all the time. They begin with our parents and family members who, hopefully, give us tender advice and unconditional love. Sadly, these voices often tear us down through criticism and meanness. Friends, and not-so-friends, take up the battle cry of who we are and are not as we enter school and social circles. Critics are everywhere in our lives, and these are often our inner circle with whom we interact daily. As if that were not enough, there is the advertising voice that deluges us through 24/7 media, leaving us short in some measure so we will buy its wares. Magazines that paint life in air-brushed still shots tell us we should look made up and gorgeous, our houses and cars should be gleaming and up-to-date, and that everyone else’s

life is manageable and successful except our own. Every voice that comes into our head impacts our own voice toward ourselves. Are we lovable and useful, or should we beat ourselves up in hopes of achieving…what, exactly? I want to scream, “Enough!” We are enough, wherever we are in this journey. I have had enough with the pressure to be more, do more, and have more. But telling people something they don’t believe in their heart is counterproductive and leaves them feeling even less sure of themselves. So I say simply this:, “If the voices in your head and what is accumulating in your life are somehow doing you harm, let’s figure out why.” When we talk about tough issues with each other, no matter how painful, they somehow lose their grip on our minds, and our suffering is shared. We are asking how these tough issues get birthed and is there an origin to at least some of our tough circumstances that we can understand and alter? I warn you: I am the tortoise, not the hare. If you need hare-pace, look elsewhere. However, if you sense that you don’t want to wake up 30 days from now with the same lack of energy and hope— but you don’t expect to be magically transformed by then—we may be on a journey of intent and care that would be helpful to you.

In the words of one incredible hero, Todd Beamer, “Let’s roll.” Follow Debi’s search at


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