The Women That Strength Built

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Come Visit April 24, 2011

I started this blog over a year ago in the hopes it would help better the lives of women.  What I didn’t realize at the time was that I could use some help and inspiration myself.  As the experts are always telling women, we must take care of ourselves first before we can take care of others.  This may explain why I’ve lost some of my motivation to keep this site updated.  So in an effort to take care of myself and hopefully continue to help others, I’ve started a new blog.  The name of the new blog is “Joy Rising,” and you can find it at tojoyrising.wordpress.com.  If you are looking for encouragement and direction, you can still find it at my new site.  I hope to see you there.  And I hope to meet you back here sometime in the near future.  Thank you for your patronage over the past year and a half.

–  Kandice

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Up, Up, and Away in My Beautiful Balloon April 7, 2010

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.  It’s the life in your years.”

–       Abraham Lincoln

 I met a woman today who is getting ready to turn 40.  She told me that so many people waste a ton of money on milestone birthday parties.  Instead, she wants to use her money to help herself and others in a way that will have a lasting effect.  For the 40 days leading up to her birthday, she is going do something different each day.  Since she is a triathlete, she is running a couple of full and half marathons, and bicycling in a 100 mile event to challenge herself.  On the day of her actual birthday, she hopes to run 40 miles.  On days she is not pushing herself, she gives time to others.  She has set up shoe donations so that one day she can give 40 or more pairs of shoes to the homeless.  On another day, she plans to take 40 balloons to the park to give out to all the children. 

Wow!  What if each of us did this every time we had a birthday?  What if in the days leading up to that special day each year we did something momentous?  What if we combined service for others with challenge to ourselves?  Think what each one of us could accomplish.  And think how memorable our lives would be by the end of our time here. Imagine even further what the world would be like if we taught our children to do the same thing.  At 5, kids could pick five things to do.  At 10, their excitement and planning would be that much greater.  And by adolescence, we’d have raised a generation of generous adventurers.

Certainly it would be a huge challenge just to fill the days the first time you planned this.  It could take another whole year to come up with the plans for the next birthday.  Let yourself brainstorm.  What would you have on your list?  Think of all the things you would love to do in this lifetime.  Could you make them part of your birthday celebration?  And what have you always wanted to do for others?  That would be a great place to start.

And lastly, there’s not a better way to have more self-confidence and to feel stronger than to successfully challenge yourself or to help others.  I know I feel better whenever I do either.  So what are you waiting for?  If you have a great idea, share it here.  Let’s help each other come up with our list before the next birthday rolls around, and one more forgettable day slips by.

– Kandice

 

Did You Want to Join the Circus? March 1, 2010

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”

–       Rachel Carson

 I went to see Cirque de Soleil today.  And I marveled at all they accomplished in only two hours.  They created a small universe of exquisite beauty and talent.  The sets, costumes, and lighting were unparalleled.  Their performers’ talent was truly amazing and unique.  And the show’s ability to transport the audience back to childhood wonderment was truly worth the price of admission.  But more than that, I marveled at how there’s a place for everyone in the show, and if you extrapolate, a place for everyone in this world no matter how different they are.

For example, on one stage I saw contortionists, fire dancers, acrobats, singers, musicians, and clowns.  Where else in the world do you see some of these people?  And do you wonder if when they were little they worried where they might fit into the big picture?  Most children who go to their parents and say “I want to be a fire dancer” will be steered in another direction.  They will be gently, and then more firmly, encouraged to pursue another career.  But ultimately there will always be children who don’t fit into the norms of society.  It’s nice to know that whatever interest they have, there is ultimately a place in this huge world for them – if they only have the courage to search that place out.

And that courage is key – to discover who you are and to find your place in the world takes great determination.  When I was little, I had many interests.  And when I would take them to my parents, I was gently discouraged from pursuing them.  If you’ve been reading this blog, you know I wanted to be a writer, a film maker, an ice skater.  Even more practical pursuits were discouraged for practical reasons – we just didn’t have the money to send me to law school or medical school.  The result is that I’m still looking.  I still haven’t found a place in this world to call my own.  At middle age, that’s rather discouraging.

So I would ask two things of you.  As a woman, and possibly a parent, you have great influence over the children in your lives.  Encourage them in their dreams and pursuits.  Help them discover their place in the world – even if that place is on a high wire for Cirque de Soleil!  Let them start early to define themselves.  This gives them so much more time to shine and to positively influence the world around them.

And secondly, if you never found your own  place, start looking.  Our talents are uniquely matched to where we belong.  And it’s only through giving our talents to the world that we fulfill our destiny in this life.  So this afternoon, I sat in a paper snow storm watching a clown cry onstage.  Tomorrow, I go into the storm of life to discover what I’ve missed and where I belong.  Won’t you come with me?