Choosing to Really See (An Empower Up Project Story)

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I was blessed to write a piece for The Empower Up Project yesterday. For those of you who don’t know, this amazing community/website “was created to provide ALL women with a platform where we can help each other grow, succeed and collaborate.” It was founded by the awesome Kim Albano, a leadership and development consultant doing the work of lifting women up and helping them go after their dreams. I am honored to play a little part in her vision of empowerment with a grace story that I wrote in view of my sister’s joy-filled perspective on life despite her daily struggle with the effects of breast cancer.

For those of you who are new to Grace for the Wasted Space and don’t know my sister’s story, check it out here. For those of you who need some light shed on your dark path right now, come on over to The Empower Up Project and see what I learned while watching my sister go through the greatest battle of her short life. Maybe you know someone that needs a little hope in this season. Maybe you need some?

I’ll leave you with this heartfelt quote from my piece and hope it resonates with you:

“We don’t have to say much to understand each other’s hearts. The seagulls squawking over a child’s sandy snack in the distance say what we’re both thinking: There’s just not enough to go around, is there? Or so it would seem. There are too many unfulfilled needs to be met. Too many broken hearts to be mended. Too many desperately lost to be saved. “

A Battle Cry for Women Everywhere

 

Now is the time to let the wildfire kept within our hearts grow out of control and freely kindle the collective female voice into a battle cry.Women,

Let the anger stir you until it bubbles red hot to the surface.

Give righteous indignation a voice when justice for your sisters isn’t served.

Be mad with a holy rage that crosses blurred lines defined by an era of ignorance.  

We are not made to be used. We are not here for his pleasure. We are not a tall glass of water.

Let the indecency of our “I want it so I will have it” culture provoke you to stand up.

Grant fury the right to flame high above complacency for the cause of womanhood.

Today is the day when the thundering cries of victims turn to resounding chants of victory.

We are meant for more than what we we’ve been told we can have.  

A good girl does NOT keep quiet when her mother is abused.

A good girl does NOT sit still when her daughter is violated.

A good girl does NOT use her manners when her girlfriend is corrupted.

Forget all the man-made rules. Throw them into the fire to be burned alongside issues of Playboy.  Douse them in gasoline and watch every last one of them crinkle, melt, and disintegrate under the white heat.

United, we can trample on the ashes of yesterday’s suffocating restraints.

Together, we can blow on the embers of today’s liberating release.

There is no looking back. There is no going back. There is no turning back.

We must violently blaze ahead gathering the wounded off of the charred ground and into our uninhibited arms, taking notice of the memorials hidden by the overgrowth, flinging propane on the crowds of weeds trying to block our path.

We are fire-starters, flame-throwers, torch-bearers for the ones who have gone before us and the ones who will follow after us.

Now is the time to let the wildfire kept within our hearts grow out of control and freely kindle the collective female voice into a battle cry.

For You.

For Me.

For Her.

Sing Sweet Nightingale

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I just finished my April book as I continue on with my reading goals for 2016! In case you haven’t seen my list of books for the year, “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah was April’s read. And what an all-consuming book it was! I seriously couldn’t put it down.

For those of you that know me well, you know that I am an avid reader of just about anything. But I haven’t read a historical novel in, like, ten years. So this mighty book was an undertaking for me. I love history, especially french history, and that is exactly what this book is about. I also love any book that highlights women as the heroine or protagonist. This remarkable book does that as well.

It follows Viann and her younger sister, Isabelle, through their individual stories of love and loss during World War II. Both of the women are tough but in starkly different ways. One is a tenderhearted mother and the other is an impulsive young adult. They navigate their struggles with dignity and grace while trying to include each other in their frayed lives. I felt such a pull on my heartstrings as I read what these women had to endure in order to keep their heads above water during this horrific time in history. This book will give you a life-altering perspective on what it really means to be in need (not just physically but emotionally and mentally as well).

To say that I was enormously affected by “The Nightingale” is an understatement. I highly recommend this book to anyone who needs a reality check on just how blessed they are. I also recommend this book to any woman who feels strongly, like I do, that our feminine voices need to be heard. Kristin Hannah does such an amazing job at portraying the softness of a woman’s feelings right alongside the hardness of her role as survivor in a cruel world. We can all learn a few things from this book! Go get yourself a copy today!