Thursday, March 24, 2011

Officially Speaking with The Marin Foundation

Hi all:

Well as I have been on a very bumpy ride within my life so far I have also been asked on occasion to share my story. I have fallen in love with speaking to groups on a variety of topics. The audiences have been different and the subject matters wide, but I have loved it.

So I want to officially announce that I am available through The Marin Foundation to speak. If you would like to have me come and share or you know of a group and would like to suggest for me to share I would be delighted. Please check out my brief bio under the staff page and also check out my speakers bio under the resources tab. You can inquire about having me speak at your event by emailing speaking@themarinfoundation.org.

My journey in this life is far from finished, but I want to give voice to those areas which I have been emotionally and physically wrestling through. I don't have all the answers, but I do have a very compassionate heart which has had to go through some bumps and bruises. Being stripped from all identity and finding my solace in the Lord is humbling and empowering.

My professional, educational, and personal experiences make for some interesting conversations and talks. I hope you would agree!!!

I look forward to being at one of your events!

A perfectly tarnished child of God

Monday, March 21, 2011

Was my identity really in Christ...we are looking to adopt...

This may be one of the most difficult posts I will write. I have not shared in a while where Andrew and I are at in the journey of our infertility. Maybe its because so many things have changed in my life that set me into a bit of a tail spin. Being laid off, trying to figure out my next steps, discovering who I am as a professional, and as a woman. I have been learning that although I state that my identity has been in Christ the reality is that my identity really was wrapped up in so many other areas. Now that so much of my identity has been stripped away I know my security was in the things which defined who I was; my career, my family, my ability to have a baby, my education, and my dreams/aspirations.

It is so easy to state that your trust and identity is fully in Christ when everything seems to line up perfectly within the expectations of your cultural norms. In my case that means having a great education, being on the fast track for my career, and of course one day being the super mommy which produces the perfect 2.1 kids (is that the statistic for the States?...still not sure about the .1%). I so arrogantly stated that of course I trust in God and his call on my life. Of course I listen to the Voice of God and the calling placed upon me. How proud I was when I spoke into others lives about challenging them to have the same faith which I possessed. The same "God connection" which I had.

I am sorry...Not only for being so arrogant in my faith and declaration of having a Christ centered life, but that it took being so stripped from everything which I felt was my security in defining who I was and my success as a person (which was quite far from a Christ-centered measurement). It is a humbling place to have to look in the mirror and realize that you no longer are the person you thought you were or were going to be. That you no longer have all of the accolades which gave you a buffer from the realities of this world. People ask me all the time, what do you do, how many children do you have, when are you going to have children? I used to have very confident "Christ-woman-centered-perfect" answers for these questions. Now I stumble and struggle to give an answer to any of the above questions...

But, thankfully we serve a God who allows us to learn in all circumstances. Whose Grace is greater then anything which I gave to myself and in many cases those around me. I am a work in progress. I am learning to be a Christ centered person...I am trying.

I have no answers other then that I am a broken woman, a perfect and tarnished child of God. I can't have children (at least not right now-I do believe in a God of great miracles too). We are considering adopting. I will write more about our process to adoption in posts to come...

I will end with this quickly... We are looking to adopt. This has been a long road and a very painful process. I had to become fully whole again as a person and especially as a woman before I could come to a place where adoption was a wonderful and natural choice for me to make. Andrew was already and always on board, but I was not. My heart is full, not healed, but full and whole. We can't wait to love a child and become the most awesome parents.

I want to encourage young women who find themselves in a situation where keeping their baby may not be the best option, I say this with the deepest and most compassionate heart, please consider adoption. There are many people in this world like Andrew and I who would love to adopt a baby. Who will care for your child as if it was their own. Who have come a long way to understand the gift a baby is and the miracle for which that baby comes. Most importantly we understand the sacrifice and the many paths this life journey takes each of us.

A recovering broken soul :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Is it possible that we also can be our own enemies (at least not our worst)

I came across this article in the NY Times. It was located within the opinion section of the paper and it was written in response to International Women's Day. The question from the article and within the title is "Do Women Leaders Matter?" You can read the article here.

A quick synopsis of the article is simply that in some countries, which are more or less male dominated by nature, who have female leaders even at the top most level, the women seem to do less for other females within their respective countries. However, the article does highlight that when women are among the general leadership constructs of the country and/or organization that women seem to assist other women in moving female concepts forward.

The article intrigued me because I personally have found myself at the hands of a very unwilling female executive who in her struggle to maintain her position within our very male dominated company refused to assist other females in moving forward or up the "corporate ladder." She would pour her knowledge and expertise into male subordinates and neglect the female ones. She shared with me once her journey and how hard it was to get to her position and she was doing everything in her power to stay there as it was her fight and life's goal to be a VP. I asked if she felt as a female if she should be in her position and her answered surprised me. (Lesson learned don't ask a question you already think you know the answer to... it may surprise you and knock you off your game for a bit). She said no. She did not believe a female should necessary be at her level, but that she was special and had given up so much, studied that much harder, received much more accreditations, certifications, etc. The female VP told me that she needed to protect her spot and would not let just anyone come up the executive ladder especially other women. Her thought was simply that if there were other women then maybe she would loose the control/power/specialness over her position.

I also wondered if she felt that other women were not working as hard or giving up as much as she did and therefore they did not deserve to be at the level she had made it to. She did tell me that she was not a pioneer and did not pave any way for others to follow. Yet, she continued to mentor male employees.

I no longer work for that company, but I will tell you that her attitude toward women leadership caused a great deal of hardship in trying to convince the executive levels of the talents which I as a female brought to the table and could contribute to this organization. The female executive had such a hold on the other executives and had created this impossible expectation for other female employees. She, the female VP had more degrees, accreditations, certifications, and recognitions then any of the other executives combined and yet she would not relinquish her hold on being the one and only female executive...

So I ask can we as women hurt each other, do we hurt each other...

This new trend of "mean girls" in school... what does that represent...

Are there so few positions at the top for women that when one makes it she holds on to it so tightly to not let anyone else in. Especially other women which may take away from the accomplishment....

Thoughts

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Finally, Happy Feminist Coming Out Day...

Please check out this article if you would like to discover more about Feminist Coming Out Day and what Feminist and Feminism looks like, linked here.

Another Article in honor of the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day

Please check out some of the statistics highlighted in the below article, linked here. Please note the below article references some photographs. As I didn't know how to transfer them over please click on the link to see them.

Tabby Biddle.Writer/Reporter dedicated to the empowerment of women

Posted: March 8, 2011 03:32 PM BIO Become a Fan Get Email Alerts Bloggers' Index .International Women's Day: Celebrating Women Who Forge Democracy In Liberia

Read More: International Women's Day , Liberia , Michelle Bachelet , President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Hillary Clinton , Un Women , United Nations , Women Leaders , Women's Empowerment , Women's Rights , Impact News

There are 192 countries that are recognized members of the United Nations. Women have the right to vote in only 67 of them. That means in 65 percent of the world's nations, women's voices are silenced in the creation of the laws and policies that govern them (and their children). Most of us know that women make up more than half of the world's population. So does something feel off balance to you?

Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. One hundred years ago, women could vote in only two countries (Australia and New Zealand). So we could say we've come a long way in 100 years -- and we have -- but we all must must recognize that we've got a ways to go.

To mark this 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile and current Executive Director of UN Women, joined Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - the first democratically elected woman President in Africa -- in Liberia to highlight the importance of women's leadership in forging strong democracies, economies and re-building societies after conflict.

"I am very pleased to celebrate this milestone in Liberia, a country where women's influence in forging peace and recovery offers lessons for all countries committed to advancing gender equality and women's human rights," said Ms. Bachelet in a press briefing.

Female United Nations peacekeepers yesterday with Kathy Calvin, CEO U.N. Foundation, left, and Executive Director of U.N. Women and former President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet after visiting a Peace Hut, a forum for community justice, in rural Liberia. Photo credit: Stuart Ramson/Insider Images for the United Nations Foundation.

Liberia is not only the first country in Africa to democratically elect a woman as president, but the home to one of the first female peacekeeping units. "This is a country that has stood up and has been able to build a stable democracy for five years after more than 10 years of conflict," said Ms. Bachelet. "I believe women are essential agents of peace. They are always trying to find the consensus."

It turns out that today women make up less than 8 percent of peace teams around the world, and of those eight percent, no women are at the head.

If we look at heads of state, the disparity is similar. Out of 192 countries around the world, only 19 women are heads of state. Remember, we are more than 50 percent of the population.

Teen girls meet with the United Nations Foundation's Girl Up Campaign over the weekend to talk about the challenges women face in post-conflict Liberia. The girls are part of a special program at the THINK empowerment center in Liberia's capital Monrovia. Photo credit: Stuart Ramson/Insider Images for the United Nations Foundation

It can seem like we have come so far in 100 years, and we have. But it's also obvious that there is so much more work to do.

Today let's celebrate being women and give thanks to the courageous women before us who have spoken out for women's rights and risked their lives for the sake of all women. Let's honor the women in Liberia who have been confronted with devastating violence and are re-building their country and boldly setting an example of what is possible with women as agents of peace.

Let's continue to celebrate how far we've come, and with this, deepen our commitment to speaking up for ourselves and for the rights and respect of all women and girls around the world. I am convinced this will be a win-win for everyone.

In honor of the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day

Below is an article which was tweeted by Emerging Mummy. I love the article so much that I wanted to post for others to read. Here is the link.

Let us be Women who Love


ShareEditor’s note: Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. We LOVE this day, to celebrate the journey of womanhood, to look at what still needs to be done on earth and to gather our hearts together and walk together for freedom and equality. Please join us in this journey that requires great Love.

Let us be women who LOVE

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women willing to lay down our sword words, our sharp looks, our ignorant silence and towering stance and fill the earth now with extravagant Love.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women who make room.

Let us be women who open our arms and invite others into an honest, spacious, glorious embrace.

Let us be women who carry each other.

Let us be women who give from what we have.

Let us be women who leap to do the difficult things, the unexpected things and the necessary things.

Let us be women who live for Peace.

Let us be women who breathe Hope.

Let us be women who create beauty.

Let us be women who Love.



Let us be a sanctuary where God may dwell.

Let us be a garden for tender souls.

Let us be a table where others may feast on the goodness of God.

Let us be a womb for Life to grow.

Let us be women who Love.



Let us RISE to the questions of our time.

Let us SPEAK to the injustices in our world.

Let us MOVE the mountains of fear and intimidation.

Let us SHOUT down the walls that separate and divide.

Let us FILL the earth with the fragrance of Love.

Let us be women who Love.



Let us LISTEN for those who have been silenced.

Let us HONOR those who have been devalued.

Let us SAY ENOUGH with abuse, abandonment, diminishing and hiding.

Let us not rest until every person is FREE and EQUAL.

Let us be women who Love.



Let us be women who are savvy, smart and wise.

Let us be women who shine with the light of God in us.

Let us be women who take courage and sing the song in our hearts.

Let us be women who say YES to the beautiful, unique purpose seeded in our souls.

Let us be women who call out the song in another’s heart.

Let us be women who teach our children to do the same.

Let us be women who Love.



Let us be women who Love, in spite of fear.

Let us be women who Love, in spite of our stories.

Let us be women who Love loudly, beautifully, Divinely.

Let us be women who Love.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A slight departure... Cupcakes

Today I went to Whole Foods in Lincoln Park, which is huge and rumor has it that its one of the largest if not the largest Whole Foods in the country. Lets just say you would need a few days to navigate through the entire grocery store to make sure you have viewed and examined all of the possibilities.

Anyway I chose to have lunch at this Whole Foods as I was out and about running some errands. In attempt to be healthier because I was inspired being at the Whole Foods I chose a combination of veggies and toppings from the salad bar. I then got a small cup of soup. Yummy...

Toward the back of the store above where all of the ready to eat food options is a small eating and gathering place. It has tables which seat from 2 to 6 people through out the space. After paying for my healthy lunch I walked up the stairs and began to eat. Now I have to tell you this location is a people watchers dream because you can see almost everyone sifting through all of the grocery goodness which Whole Foods offers... Its a mixture of people today. Young and old, male and female, some with children and of course some without. I spent much of my time gazing at the people go about their day purchasing whatever they needed and I am sure purchasing plenty of things they didn't need.

I began to think after looking at this vast store with all of its food and from what we have bought into a healthier version on food. Wow we are blessed in this country. I don't even know how to grow anything. I wouldn't know where to begin what it meant to plant or cultivate anything. I would be terrified to butcher any animal for meat and if I even worked up some guts (no pun intended) to do it. I wouldn't even have a clue to begin to know where to start.

Perhaps we have forgotten what it means to build things, grow things, and consume things in a proper way. We have so much and feel we deserve more. We believe we should be entitled to certain things as if they are rights and not privileges. Now don't get me wrong we should all have access to food, shelter, clothing, and love... but beyond that... is it a right or a privilege. When do you stop working for something and begin to think you deserve it... Watching these people in Whole Foods I wondered do they believe they deserve this grocery store with all of its organic healthy options or do they recognize how lucky we are to have this privilege...

All that to say I must admit I am guilty of buying more then I needed and indulging in all things convenient... I am lucky I guess to have the privilege to enjoy my cupcake...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Article from yahoo.com highlighting an Awesome New Book - Women of course are better :)

Why women really are better at almost everything: Q&A with author Dan Abrams editor


by Piper Weiss, Shine Staff, on Tue Mar 1, 2011 8:41am PST 1088 Comments Post a Comment Read More from This Author » Report Abuse ShareretweetEmailPrint Contrary to jokes and one-liners, women are better drivers than men. They’re also better at getting the joke. And better with hammers. And video games. And social networking. And did we mention, they get dressed faster than guys? This isn’t opinion, it’s fact, and Dan Abrams can prove it.

In his new book, Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else, Abrams collects research from leading studies over the past few years to make the case for the ‘fairer’ sex. A legal analyst for ABC News and former lawyer, he approached the topic as a defense attorney, using evidence that already exists to debunk popular myths about women.

“In nearly every field, statistics and studies show that women are better collaborators, are more cautious and more adept at navigating treacherous terrain,” writes Abrams in his book’s opening statement. “I am not convinced that women as a group play basketball or read maps better than men. The evidence here will show, however, that women are living longer and evolving better than men.” It takes a lot for a man to admit his own weaknesses (there’s a chapter on how women tolerate pain better), so we wondered why Abrams would make the case for women. Turns out, it’s a man’s job.

Shine: How did you decide to do this book?

Dan Abrams: I was hired to write a light article for a magazine about certain areas that women are better in than men. Some of the evidence surprised me, so I went and looked into the underlying research. Most of it was true, some was exaggerated, some anecdotal. But I kept finding more and more real studies and the evidence is compelling when you look at it all together. I couldn’t believe there’s been no major book about it.

Shine: Why now?

D.A.: There’s a lot more evidence now. A lot of the studies from the book are from the last three years. It’s only been in the last twenty or so years, that women have been on a relatively even playing field in terms of work to do many of these studies. We weren’t able to make fair comparisons before, because women were a fraction of the working world. Now we’re see women taking over the majority in many professions. But only recently has there been enough time to look back to compare men versus women and only recently has there been real interest.

Shine: Which gender is leading these studies?

D.A.: Of the studies I looked at, a vast majority of lead researchers are men, but the broad trend trackers are women.

Shine: What finding surprised you the most?

D.A.: I was most surprised at how conclusive the evidence was for the fact that women tolerate pain better. They endure more pain throughout their lives, in more bodily areas and with greater frequency, according to researchers at the University of Bath. According to the medical journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, women have an average of 34 more nerve fibers per square centimeter of facial skin, while men have an average of 17. New research is suggesting the fact that women tend to endure pain more makes them more immune to it. It’s the old aphorism, “That which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”

Shine: Are women really better at tasting beer?

D.A.: The evidence is clear that women have a better sense of smell. In one study, researchers questioned whether men or women be better able to smell sweat behind fragrances, and women were fooled far less. But also they have a better sense of taste, and can apply it to just about anything. Taste is based on smell, as well as the number of taste buds a person has, and women are more likely to have a greater number of more-sensitive taste buds. And it’s not just beer that they’re better at tasting, but wine as well.

Shine: What about sports—men are better at sports, right?

D.A.: There’s no question that men have larger muscles, so they tend to be better at most sports. But there are certain areas—particularly endurance sports—where women are better. Studies show that estrogen is a disadvantage for muscle development but an advantage when it comes to endurance. Another advantage for women is that their bodies more efficiently process oxygen. When it comes to ultra-marathons—say, a 135 mile race without sleep—women can beat men. It’s reflective of something we see throughout the book— when it comes to race of life, women won’t sprint but they'll run longer. In baseball terms, men may hit the home run but women hit the singles and doubles more often and end up with a better average. This is true in financial fields as well: women are better long-term investors.

Shine: It makes sense that women are hard-wired for endurance, considering another chapter in the book entitled, “Women Live Longer.”

D.A.: Women live an average of five years longer than men. The reasons for this are both genetic and behavior-based. First of all, women have stronger immune systems, again due to estrogen which aids the fight against disease-inducing enzymes. But women are also less likely to engage in risky behavior. For example, I found that women are hit by lightning less often than men. That’s because the guy may not get off the roof when there’s a thunderstorm coming.

Shine: Does the same theory apply to women being safer drivers?

D.A.: Men are more likely to engage in reckless behavior, like driving drunk. One study found male drivers have 77 percent higher risk of dying in a car accident than women. It’s translated to insurance rates, women have 7 percent lower rates on the whole because they’re less careless drivers. In Australia, they actually petitioned to have more women bus drivers, because they found they’re more likely to treat buses better and have fewer accidents.

Shine: Bus drivers aren’t the only jobs women excel at, according to your research. What other jobs are women better at than men?

D.A.: Women were found to be less corruptible as cops. In both Lima, Peru and Volgograd, Russia where police corruption was a major issue, the governments campaigned to hire more women cops. There’s another study that women are more effective as political leaders than men. It suggests, we’d be a better country if there were more women in the highest echelons of politics.

Shine: In the field of medicine, the findings are also in favor of women.

D.A.: One of the most definitive studies in the book was done in 2009 by the British government. They collected a database of information on all the investigations of medical misconduct or incompetence over a period of eight years. It was the largest study of medical performance ever. They found that while forty percent of doctors were women, 80 percent of those under investigation were men. In the U.S., there were similar findings. Male physicians were twice as likely to be sued as women.

Shine: With all this counter-evidence, why are women still subjected to the same old stereotypes?

D.A.: Women weren’t allowed to vote in this country 100 years ago. We’re still in the period of catch up. We still haven’t had a female president, or that many women running Fortune 500 companies. When we get to point of seeing just as many women in the top levels of every profession, that's when we'll see a sea change at lower levels.

Shine: How is the internet giving women more of an advantage?

D.A.: One of the clich├ęs about women is that they’re more communicative—those who want to demean women say they like to gossip more. That’s a pejorative way of commenting on the fact that women are more involved in social media. A 2010 study found women were six percent more exposed to social networking sites and spent more time on them. Other research found women were less likely to be victims of internet fraud.

Shine: Are you worried about backlash from men?

D.A.: I already had one men’s rights group send a petition to get me fired from my job. They wrote, “Dan Abrams is penning a sexist book claiming male inferiority.” But this book is not about my musings or opinions. This is me approaching the topic like a lawyer. Is there some hyperbole in the headline? Sure, but the reality is the trends here are significant and important. The goal of this book is not be viewed as a feminist book but an objective book. Someone with no bias is examining the evidence and coming forth to say it’s compelling. I’ll get mocked by many men, but a woman who made the same findings would be discounted for writing this book because of her bias.

Shine: You've provided a lot of evidence that women are better at some of life's most important tasks. What are men better at?

D.A.: Men are better at parking, they’re better dieters, they have better distance vision, they read maps better. One study suggests they even treat their friends better. But my next book won’t be about making the case for men. Overall I found that men’s biggest problem is that they’re too confident and women’s biggest problem is that they’re not confident enough. Truth is, I think the evidence is overwhelming in favor of women.