Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thanks, my friend! June 27

Back in 1989, I was somewhat freshly out of high school and moved to a new town.  It was only relatively larger than my hometown, but everyone there was a stranger.  My job was a new beginning and the next chapter in my timeline to semi-maturity.  There I met great woman, Dena, to whom I wish to express my appreciation this week.  

Dena was my first friend in that new life and everyone I met there was a few degrees of separation from her.  We have remained friends all these years, and I've recently gotten to celebrate an upcoming milestone with her.  As her impending nuptials approach, I wish her well in seeking her "happily ever after."  She deserves it.

This mother of five provides a wonderful example of loyalty and drive to her children.  She has always held a job and remained involved during the many school functions, sporting events, church activities, social gatherings and ultimate graduations of her young brood.  This Fall all but one of the kids will be in college at the same time, with the exception of one starting in her education practicum.  How many parents can boast those statistics?

Dena works full-time and then some.  She holds a regular job and is also the marketing director for an American Professional Football League team, the Mid-MO Outlaws "on the side."  The dance team is lucky to have her as their coach, too.  She is well-known, respected and well-liked in all her professional affiliations. 

This woman has a multitude of friends who would surely tell you some of the same things I am -- how she is funny, loving, supportive and determined.  It has been a heavy year for her family, with the death of her children's father, and she is the rock upon which they stand.  

She looks out for her friends and builds you up when you need it.  Dena is my partner in crime and travel/B&B companion, one who shares my snark, and I am proud to call her my homey.  Bill's one lucky dude.  

Raising a glass to you, my friend!

It only takes a second to tell someone how much they mean to you, and we all enjoy a little appreciation from time to time.  I encourage you to do the same for a strong woman in your life.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Your best you

The Weekly Action Alert from Jennifer Siebel Newsom at brings a suggestion to examine yourself and what areas of your life you wish to improve.  She writes, 
"Jot down a list of the people who you look up to in your personal life and why you admire them. Think about how they might be able to help - or are already helping - you move forward towards your best self.
You might be surprised to find so much inspiration already present in your life!"
She's so right! There are women all around us who serve as a positive influence in other people's lives, and I'll go on record as claiming they probably don't get near the recognition they should.  I can think of a handful of friends or colleagues off the top of my head who I feel have great personal aspects or work ethics that I aspire to embody myself.

I hope to keep "paying it forward" by telling these wonderful women exactly how I feel about them in a spirit of gratitude and humility.  Reflecting back on times when I received a compliment, it's heart-warming to think of their kind words and how much they meant to me at the time.  All of us have a crappy day and could sure use a kind word in our moment of pissyness (if that's a word).  

Take it upon  yourself to follow Siebel Newsom's lead.  Think about what women in your life teach you or provide by their own example.  Are they a natural-born leader or a quiet thinker who acts deliberately?  How have they helped you on a professional or personal level?  If you can't incorporate those attributes yourself, you can at least tell the person how much their actions/words/sentiments mean to you.  It only takes a second to make someone else feel good.

That being said, I also want to acknowledge how wonderful it is to live in a privileged country where women are free to support each other.  The Western world is so fortunate to experience the freedoms we have with repercussions served (for the most part) for sexual harassment and assault.  There are too many women in other countries who are NOT afforded the same respect and treatment as we expect in America.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thanks, my friend! June 20

This week I want to express my most sincere appreciation to someone who has brought so much joy into my life in the short time I've known her.  Kirsten is a yoga instructor whose expertise benefits so many people in this area.  
She's an extremely adept teacher who works individually with her students at their varying levels of ability and need while adapting to all the idiosyncratic personalities that enter the Y.  Can you imagine that variety of people?  She also teaches at other studios, and I'm sure has a wide range of wannabes like me who she has helped live their practice.

Kirsten's words of wisdom come back to me in her absence from our weekly class, and I miss her very much!  Although I only know her on a professional and "FB friend" level, Kirsten strikes me a kind and caring soul who gives much of herself to many other people in her community.  (I also hope she doesn't mind that I stole her profile pic, either.)  

This post is my debt of gratitude expressed to her, as I never quite got my note to her at Christmastime that said how much peace she has brought to me through yoga over the last year.  My weekly escape from tinnitus.  The world would be a better place with more Kirstens in it.  So thanks, my friend!  

Please share your feelings of appreciation for an important woman in your life.  It only takes a second to tell someone how important they are to you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A long-awaited new princess

Merida, the first lead female role in an animated film, is fighting back against gender stereotypes beginning this weekend.  Brenda Chapman is to be commended for creating this young heroine!  Let's hope she's created a fairy tale heroine who is also good box office.  

It's about time someone took the initiative to let a girl play "first string" (bow & arrow pun intended).  How refreshing to see a strong female heading up the cast, albeit an animated one, and showing no frills are necessary to do so.  No perfectly quaffed hair, and no stinkin' tiaras necessary in the movie Brave!  Just courage.
Pixar photo via article
I was, however, very disappointed to recently hear my five-year old son say he didn't want to see Brave because it's a "girl" movie. This may just be one flick I force him to see with me. We're going to overcome his already preconceived notion if I have to drag him kicking and screaming to adopt my point of view. 

It's great to finally see some press addressing the subject, too.  There is a great article in The New York Times and it, of course, is being covered by MissRepresentation spreading the news via their FB page.  Here's to them and especially to Chapman ~ well done!

Monday, June 18, 2012

"Tests of Will" available on Amazon

Today’s the day!  My new novella, Tests of Will, is now available at Amazon.

Transitioning to college life brings challenges for a Midwestern transplant. Alice Kennedy’s expectations and values are up-ended by more than just her school’s sleepy location. Young women on campus are being stalked. There is a disturbed sadist in their midst, and Alice needs more than her wits to survive when her worst fears are realized.
Alice Kennedy’s story is a somewhat feminist YA thriller with a “whodunnit” slant.  It is categorized as suspense/thriller and contemporary women on Amazon.  Thank you, Kindle Direct Publishing!
The novella is dedicated to the memory of Yeardley Love and the innumerable young women like her who have suffered at the hands of the people they love.  Out of respect for this young woman whose life was cut all too short, please get information about the One Love Foundation at

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Thanks, my friend! (June 13)

In the spirit of supporting each other as women and citizens of the universe, I accidentally on purpose started what I hope to continue as a weekly a meme.  The great people at encourage us to recognize other women for their special qualities.
This week I want to put my sister, Christy, in the spotlight.  She is the person who taught me to read, and she continues to be a source of learning and great inspiration.  Christy worked hard to put herself through the University of Missouri while employed part- and full-time.  She then moved to St. Louis and eventually made her way to California.  
It was her life-long dream to live by the ocean, as she could not settle for living in the Midwest.  Some people are just not meant to suffer through cold winters.  She has lived in her CA haven for almost 30 years now.  We drove half-way across the United States to get her there back in the early '90s. That was quite a ride!  
Working her regular multitude of jobs, Christy has continued to teach fitness classes, do massage, and aid in physical therapy.  I think she found her life's calling in physical wellness.  She is also an experienced cat-care expert and has done feral cat rescue for several years.  The feline world has a heroine in her, too.  
As if caring for others isn't enough, she has the somewhat  double-edged distinction of being a cancer survivor.  Christy's diagnosis was a defining moment for our family.  I will never take health for granted, and thank the universe for every day she is on this earth to share her life with us.  She fought through surgery, chemotherapy and recovery without the bitterness and cynicism most of us would profess to the world.
It gave me gave pause to think of my sister grinding through her spin classes while I mentally whined about my simple step aerobics.  I often chided myself that, "Christy can teach spin, and I can't get through this?"  She is an inspiration of strength and determination.  
Many adventures and much laughter mark our past (my 21st birthday, Tiki island, canoe trips, a head full of seagull poop, et al), and I look forward to a wild array of more together.  Christy is a powerful force to behold.  I salute my sistah and thank her for being one of my biggest supporters and a great friend!  

Please share your feelings for an important woman in your life.  Use the little "here's to you" image at the top of this page if you'd like.  It only takes a second to tell someone how important they are.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Thanks, my friend! (June 6)

In the spirit of MissRepresentation's urge for mutual support, I want to heed the suggestion to reject thoughts of criticism and judgment against each other, 
"... and instead celebrate the fact that we are all in this together - that one woman's success is a success for all of us"
A lot of women deserve acknowledgement of their accomplishments and rarely, if ever, receive it.  Many of us struggle to work a full-time job, care for our families and households while still making time for a life of our own.  It is usually the personal part which suffers while everything and everyone else fares better with our support.  Why don't we recognize each other's unique qualities on a regular basis?  

There might not be a partner, co-worker or boss who will otherwise praise one of our friends.  Only a spare moment is necessary to do so, just a minuscule effort on our part.  It can serve to encourage her to carry on the good work, give her the pat on the back she deserves, boost her self-esteem, or simply make her day.

In that light, I want to celebrate a wonderful woman from my life with whom I have become re-acquainted in the last few years.  My friend, Lanea, is a sharp, hilarious woman who I don't get to see often enough.  We were friends all through school in our mutual hometown but lost contact over the last several years.  Thanks to live class reunions and continuous ones through Facebook and the blogosphere, we have gotten to catch up with each others' lives. 

Lanea is creative, talented (see, and generously encourages her friends.  I've been lucky enough to relish her supportive words.  She is one of the most fun-loving women I know who has a knack for making others feel special.  Every time somebody asks a question about popular music, I think, "Lanea would know the answer to that."  She's a proud mom who I'm sure showers her kids and husband with lots of nurturing love.  

I was so happy to find other praises for Lanea online at Evansville Living.  

Like the great people at suggest, we can:
"... make a concerted effort to see women as allies instead of enemies; and let's stop judging other women for their success, their talents or their looks"
We are all successful in one way or another, and it's nice to hear someone point it out in a positive manner.  It takes so little effort to help someone know how special they are and just how important they are to other people in this journey through life.  I encourage anyone who reads this post to do the same.