Archive for the ‘Women’s Issues’ Category

Barbie…Then and Now

In Personal Self Esteem, Women's Issues on October 17, 2011 at 8:32 pm
Barbie Doll Museum at Bloomingdale's

Image by aloha orangeneko via Flickr

Somewhere around the 3rd grade my mother nicely informed me I was getting too big to play with dolls. I remember thinking, I was not going to PLAY with this doll, I wanted a Barbie doll. You didn’t just play with Barbie, you escaped into her world where everything from sports cars to her house was bigger, better and more exciting than just a doll. Well, I never got a Barbie…ever, and I wonder how many other little girls thought Barbie’s world was an inspiration and discovered just how far Barbie lived from the truth.

Recently in an article on SHINE a model indicated what type of surgery she would need to have to even begin to look like Barbie and let’s face it, if a model would need to have surgery the picture is less than positive for the rest of us, at any age. Then I began to wonder if Barbie might not have made a more positive impact on girls if she “aged gracefully” and really let us peek into where her life was headed.

For example, Barbie would have a  little more flab after a few children and a little more fatigue from endlessly running to doctor’s appointments, sports activities, meetings with teachers, not to mention the job she might have to take on if Ken was downsized. Their exquisite “dream house” might have to be sold and they might need to live in a rental until Ken could find employment. Barbie would spend a lot more time in sweats and with significantly more “bad hair days” while trying to juggle her job, toilet training the youngest and making ends meet at the grocery store especially with the one kid who had significant allergies to any food with preservatives.

Maybe Ken would get so despondent that he would simply “check out” of married life and Barbie would be looking at years of waiting for the support check to be on time while still trying to be the “perfect mom”. Barbie would trade in her bikini for pajamas which she would want to wear constantly because she would never be able to get enough sleep between kids, and her job and now trying to put herself back to school for a degree so she could actually consider sending the kids to college someday and save some money for her own retirement.

Barbie Doll Museum at Bloomingdale's

Image by aloha orangeneko via Flickr

Gradually Barbie would get her degree in business although it might take her 6-7 years part time. Especially when she lost a year to take care of her mom who could no longer live by herself and to home school one child who wasn’t able to make academic gains in a traditional education program. Barbie now had her degree and was sending her children off to college but not in the fancy sports car  but in the clunker she had been driving for some 11 yea. She hoped to purchase another used vehicle for herself once she got the job offer she believed she now had qualifications for. But Barbie discovered few people wanted to hire a middle aged woman who had no experience in her field regardless of how much experience she had in life. Employers weren’t paying for life experience and Barbie found herself looking into the mirror after 6 months with no offers and thinking, “Maybe I do need a face lift,” when she realized that she not only located one but many grey hairs in that pretty blonde head of hers and wondered what was next.

Barbie looks at her own mother and realizes the next “doll” she becomes will be 20 pounds heavier just because Mother Nature says so and will no longer be able to fit into any size that isn’t double digits no matter what she does. She also realizes she is about to morph into a doll that comes complete with  fashion accessories that include a handicap accessible sticker, walker, and reading glasses.

Yes, Barbie has arrived just not quite at the place she thought she was headed more than 50 years ago. Welcome to the real world, Barbie.

I think dolls are wonderful. I still have several of my own packed away, but again not a Barbie.  Obviously a Barbie who ages realistically over time would be a dud for sales but what I hope every little girl understands who enjoys dolls, even Barbies, is that in the real world we don’t look perfect or have perfect relationships or even perfect lives and that is perfectly okay because there are no Barbies in the real world, only people who think they can be one. In the real world,  Barbie  has to grow up and be a woman we can all be proud of and relate to and she needs to “put her big girl pants on and deal with it” even if they are now marked large instead of extra small.

Barbie dolls are almost exclusively considered...

Image via Wikipedia

And of course, in the real world, she would have a ton of her female supporters who know just how she feels and would let her cry on their shoulders, eat chocolate with her and rally around her no matter what is spilled on her shirt, how long it has been since she shampooed her hair and even if she is wearing mom jeans.

Give it up, Barbie and live real.

Posted by  Kathy


Hassle Free Gift Returning

In Personal Self Esteem, Purpose, Uncategorized, Women's Issues on March 15, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Just a few months ago many of us were celebrating the Christmas holiday season. Malls, stores and even the internet were packed with shoppers looking for the perfect gift for their loved ones. Immediately after Christmas, the malls, stores and the internet were packed with many people returning or exchanging gifts. Just last month, Valentine’s Day was celebrated. Many wives who received gifts also returned gifts.

Reasons for returning gifts include but are not limited to the following:

• not sure what to do with the gift

• Not the right fit

• Expectation was not met

 • Gift not valued

• Missing parts

It can be such a stressful, frustrating hassle to return gifts. I want to share with you five secrets of hassle free gift returning. By applying these five secrets you will have Many Happy Returns.

Everyone has been given a gift. We all are endowed with a gift or gifts from God that we have the responsibility to use, develop and share.

 So how do you return your gift or gifts?

FIRST – Ask the right questions. Begin by asking those who know you best (parents siblings, spouse, close friends) to help identify your gift(s). Pay close attention to activities that evoke the strongest response in you. As you identify your gifts you can ask/answer the following questions: What on earth am I here for? What will be the center, character, contribution and communication of my life?

SECOND – Value the contents of the packaging. In other words do not envy anyone else’s gift. God has a unique purpose for your life and you are the only one who can achieve it. Envy is an expression of inferiority. It is based on insecurity. Envy occurs when you don’t realize how special you are. We focus most of the time on what we aren’t rather than what we are. We tend to overvalue what we aren’t and undervalue what we are. Don’t fall into the Trap of Comparison.

THIRD – Try it on for fit. Your Gift will fit you like a hand in a glove. Gifts are things you have done well and you enjoyed doing. You have gifts and talents that are revealed when you involve yourself in various activities. As you discover your gifts, continue to groom them and learn all you can. Spend 80 % of your time developing your strengths. Spend 15% learning about your gift, and 5% of your time on strengthening your weaknesses.

FOURTH – Read and follow the instruction manual. Take time for personal development by becoming a constant learner. Whatever your passion may be, read 3 or more books on the subject. You can become an expert on that topic. Read the Bible and hold onto the promises of God. He will give you the desires of your heart.

FIFTH -FINALLY…Should the gift be returned? The answer is a resounding YES! You enrich not just yourself, but your family, your community, and the world when you are fully using your GIFTS and pursuing your dreams.

Isn’t it time to return your gift(s)?

It is Hassle Free!!

Wishing you Many Happy Returns!

Darlene Sheardon


Live Your Life by Divine Design!

The House That Built Me

In Personal Self Esteem, Uncategorized, Women's Issues on February 25, 2011 at 3:01 pm
Houses which have been condemned by the Board ...

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

“…If  I could walk around I swear I’ll leave, won’t take  nothin but a memory of the house that built me.” So go the lyrics of country singer, Amanda Lambert’s  famous song.

According to the 2209 U.S. Census, poverty is on the increase in America. In 2009, 14.7 % of American households. 1 in 6 adults and 1 in 4 children struggled with hunger and food insecurities. The current economic situation has forced people who we might never have expected to have to deal with homelessness to live in shelters or seek public housing.

My friend, Amy,was moved by these statistics several years ago and although she lives in one of the most wealthy states in our nation, she decided to roll up her sleeves and personally invest in helping even one family at a time make their living conditions and overall survival better. She has delivered food, washing machines, toys and love to families in Rural Appalachia, a place so poverty stricken that few people in America can imagine calling “home.” Children there often only predictably eat when they are attending school. Homes are often run down trailers or make shift housing. However, in many of those less than perfect dwellings, families live in love and hope.

We might be moved by these statistics all over America and yet we are still wealthier than other countries in the world. We might understand that there is an increase in families who call a shelter, “home” or live in safe houses because they are victims of domestic violence and yet our understanding pales for truly imagining the despair of being displaced from a predictable life in a home where we don’t have to worry if today is the day someone will harm us, our children or even themselves. We might fear the places that look uncomfortable from the outside. But looks can be deceiving.

Expansive (and Expensive) Home

Image by mwhaling via Flickr

It is hard for many Americans to really sink our teeth into what it is like to live in circumstances that do not provide comfort, safety,  or even meet basic daily needs. We might prefer to turn our heads to the ugly truth and hope never to have to come across the depressing statistics or unfortunate faces.  It makes many of us feel guilty to enjoy homes in a pristine community with a playground for our children and a yard for our pets. But looks can be very deceiving.

There is sometimes an even bigger surprise  behind the houses some people can only ever dream about owning.  Many people have grown up in lovely homes with a long history of domestic abuse, neglect, or unspeakable behavior.  Some of the most beautiful homes have hidden the drug, alcohol or sexual abuse that lived within its walls.  Children might have had the best of everything except a parent who really had time free from his or her own agenda to really be involved with them. It is not just in low income, single parent homes where cheating, lying and stealing have been a fact of life. Theresa Flores lived in an upscale community in Detroit when she became the victim of domestic trafficking.  Looks can be deceiving.

A house or lack of one does not make anyone. J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books lived as a single parent on welfare in Scotland, Oprah Winfrey was a single teenage mother living in abject poverty in rural Mississippi, and Shania Twain lived in homeless shelters in Canada. Yet, the children of Tiger Woods know a house of divorce and cheating and mansions full of  comfort did not spare the sad fates of Lindsey Lohan or Charlie Sheen.

Some of us have fabulous memories of a wonderful home with loving parents and others have had to come to grips with far fewer good times than bad while growing up in circumstances better forgotten than recalled. Yet, regardless of where or what we called home, we were built as the bible says, fearfully and wonderfully made. No bricks or mortar, no lack of heat or bed, no shameful acts or secrets can make us less so.

We can never really know what goes on behind the houses we pass by, but regardless, what memories we had, good or bad, wonderful or frightening, we are more than a house and what is within, we are a life and soul created for a better place. Our homes here are temporary but our legacies can live forever.

It is not what house but Whose house builds us and the Lord says He has already planned one with many rooms for us in a place more wonderful than we can imagine (John 14:1-4). Regardless of the house that built you, are you planning on living in one where nothing can compare?

365 Day 63

Image by pimpexposure via Flickr

Judge not what you see on the outside, although pain and suffering may exists in any circumstance, we often see what we want to see rather than what there really is and looks can be deceiving.(1 Samuel 16:7)

If you would like to learn more about Amy and her projects or help  in any way visit her at rampamerica.org

To learn more about Theresa and her incredible legacy today about her experiences visit gracehavenhouse

I Have Had Enough…Have you?

In Uncategorized, Women's Issues on February 4, 2011 at 8:48 pm

From pre-teens to grandmothers, we women seem to have a knack for beating ourselves up, reminding ourselves on a regular basis that we lack something because we are not “enough.”

Young girls think they are not pretty enough or popular enough to compete with peers. As they move through young adult hood,they worry about whether they are sexy enough, attractive enough, smart enough,competitive enough, or have just enough of what it takes to get into whatever group, association, career choice or relationship they want.  Having children only adds to the dilemma, when both new and mature mothers worry whether they are present enough in their children s’ lives if they must share in being the bread winner, capable enough in their employer’s eyes if they have family demanding their attention or even “worthy” enough in the eyes of their peers, especially those who seem to have it together in some magical way.

Women go through life questioning whether they have been enough of a wife, mother, daughter or even lover to people who matter to them and even to those who never will.  Society dictates that a “woman’s work is never done.” so it must also seem that women will never reach “enough”, sensing that falling short of  our goals must demonstrate we are not committed enough. Getting older sometimes only adds to the pressure, with both time and experience questioning if we are aging gracefully enough, have been involved enough and will leave enough of a legacy to really have contributed. From botox to breastfeeding, volunteering to Victoria’s Secret, glass ceilings to glass slippers, women have constantly been reminded that we can be and do more better if we were just rich, smart, popular, sensitive, well read, well bred, classy, thin, youthful, playful and both strong and helpless enough.

It’s time to realize that the bar for what “enough” is constantly changes,hearing that 40 is the new 30 can be exhilarating  but women need to realize  they need not hide every flaw, failure, mistake, or inadequacy that makes us come up short. We need to recognize the value of self worth; first being happy with who we are in our own eyes before we think we can let anyone else tell us what would make us better. We need to know that the pressure we often feel to be more than we are at the moment, is often just society’s way of selling us more products, programs, paraphernalia and propaganda.  Being “enough” of anything doesn’t mean you are any more fulfilled or capable than the next person. Often it is like the half empty glass: what one person sees as partly missing, the other perceives as half way there.

Get out of your own way and recognize the little subliminal messages you get telling you that you are not “enough”. Seriously, It’s time to tell those voices in your head that you have had “ENOUGH”

posted by Kathy