52 Real Women Archives

A Tragedy’s Bright Spot – Wendy McCance

A Tragedy’s Bright Spot Sometimes it takes several hard pushes before you find yourself tripping onto the right path.  Back in 2009, the economy tanked.  I lost a job as a factory worker.  I had gone through a divorce.  I had three children to support. Over the next few years, I lost our home to…

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A Tragedy’s Bright Spot

Sometimes it takes several hard pushes before you find yourself tripping onto the right path.  Back in 2009, the economy tanked.  I lost a job as a factory worker.  I had gone through a divorce.  I had three children to support.

Over the next few years, I lost our home to bankruptcy, I lost a second home that was supplying me with rental income and I lost my life savings trying to stay afloat.  It was during this time that I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  I was exhausted all the time and in a lot of pain.  I thought it was stress.  Unfortunately, I learned the symptoms I had would stay with me for a lifetime.

One day during a peak time of depression, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I knew I had to get these dark thoughts out of my system.  I was angry at the world, I felt like a victim, in my mind, I felt helpless.  I decided to create a blog.  I had never read a blog or had a blog of my own, but I felt that a blog would allow me to get my thoughts out and scream at the world a little.

That one step, creating a blog changed my whole life.  I am now a freelance writer.  It was always a dream of mine to write, but I felt it was an impossible dream.  I was at the bottom and knew I had nothing to lose.  Writing made me feel alive again.  The best part was that I could work from home and manage my fibromyalgia symptoms by taking rests when I needed to or getting up and stretching or take a walk when I would stiffen up.

It took a lot of bad situations pushing me down, crying and soul-searching for me to find the bright spot in a lot of tragedy.  My life now is everything I could ever have hoped for.  I make a good living, I get to be a stay-at-home mom and I love what I do.  Looking back I am grateful for all of the heartache.  It brought me to a place that is better than anything I could have ever hoped for.

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer, social media consultant, and supports the vision of A Beautiful Me®. Her popular blog, Searching for the Happiness can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press.

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Are We Really That Different? – Jennie McClelland

Are We Really That Different? Being a mom or grandma, no matter how many children or grandchildren you have or how old they are, is a tough job. You already knew that.  You never stop worrying.  You know that each child needs you in a different way.  You can’t imagine life without them.  Living in…

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Are We Really That Different?

Being a mom or grandma, no matter how many children or grandchildren you have or how old they are, is a tough job. You already knew that.  You never stop worrying.  You know that each child needs you in a different way.  You can’t imagine life without them.  Living in poverty doesn’t change those basic maternal inclinations.

I had a chance to see that first hand while on a trip to the beautiful Appalachian area of Eastern Kentucky with my daughter’s youth group.  The Appalachian grandmother that I talked to, “Meemaw”, was in her early 50s, raising several grandchildren and appeared to have a few of her grown children living with her in her run-down single-wide trailer.

She was concerned about whether or not to put one of her grandbabies on ADHD medication.  Sound familiar?  She was mourning the loss of a child that died in a car accident.  Grief and emotional devastation care nothing for your socio-economic status.  She was embarrassed to get donated groceries, but knew she had to swallow her pride and accept it for her family.

We all sacrifice something for our kids, maybe even our pride.  She was happy to have another mom to talk to.  As was I.  It feels good to know that we are not in this struggle alone. She talked about the pets (raccoons!) she let her kids keep, the one grandchild that she just couldn’t get angry with-even when he was really bad, and her dislike of the hot weather.  Kind of the same things all moms talk about at playdates and cafés and neighborhoods everywhere (maybe not the raccoon part).  While the signs of total poverty were impossible to ignore or forget, I will always remember MeeMaw’s irrepressible empathy and unconditional love for her family.

She taught me to look beyond the exterior.  Look beyond the material.  Ignore the dirt and the chaos. Take a minute to look at the person, not the situation.  You might realize that our similarities far outweigh our differences.

Jennie McClelland is a mother of five and the publisher of BlueWaterParent.com, a website for parents and caregivers in the Blue Water Area.  She is happy to collaborate with A Beautiful Me® to make the Blue Water Area an even better place for families.  

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Who’s Talking You Out Of It – Jessica Swanson

Who’s Talking You Out Of It? If you had one shot to go after your dream, would you do it? Most of us would say, “Yes! Of course!” but the truth is most of us spend a lot of time thinking about our dreams but never going after them. Is it fear that holds us…

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Who’s Talking You Out Of It?

If you had one shot to go after your dream, would you do it? Most of us would say, “Yes! Of course!” but the truth is most of us spend a lot of time thinking about our dreams but never going after them. Is it fear that holds us back? Lack of confidence? Lack of knowledge? I believe it is all of the above but the truth is not one of these should keep us from our bliss.

I know a little about this dream thing first hand. I left the only career life I really knew, and I was pretty good at, to pursue a dream that has been with me for as long as I can remember. Am I scared? Yes! Do I know everything I need to know to pursue this dream? Absolutely not! Do I sometimes try to talk myself out of going after my dream because I think I am not good enough? More times then I care to admit. But guess what? I am doing it anyway.

What is your dream? What is it that keeps you up at night? Is it possible you are not sure exactly what your dream is yet but you know that what you are doing right now is not it? If any of these are true for you then you are already on your way to finding your bliss. The one thing is that you cannot give up. Every set back is a learning experience. Every mistake is not a failure but a lesson. Everything you want in life is out there. You just have to be willing to go for it!

Am I 100% motivated every moment of every day for my dream? I would love to say I am but alas I am human and I am not. That is ok though. I know that those days will come and they will pass but I am still moving forward towards my dream. Do yourself a favor and keep moving towards yours. You will thank yourself for it!

Jessica Swanson is a proud supporter of A Beautiful Me® believing that women and girls can never have too much love, support or guidance. Beautiful women and girls on the inside make for a beautiful world on the outside. Jessica is a freelance writer/copywriter/blogger/content writer and owner of The Write Escape.

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What’s Your Foundation? – Elizabeth Witteveen

What’s Your Foundation? I like new shoes!  What girl doesn’t?  My daughter, my mother, my sister, my nieces, and my girlfriends love love love shoes.  What is it about shoes that we like? Shoes can range from the bargain rack “I can afford that!”, to designer “Surely the decimal is in the wrong place!” prices. …

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What’s Your Foundation?

I like new shoes!  What girl doesn’t?  My daughter, my mother, my sister, my nieces, and my girlfriends love love love shoes.  What is it about shoes that we like?

Shoes can range from the bargain rack “I can afford that!”, to designer “Surely the decimal is in the wrong place!” prices.  Tennis shoes, flats, wedges, spikes, the new “how does she walk in that since the heel is missing” platforms, loafers, flip-flops, sandals, boots, half-boots, cowboy boots, riding boots, clogs, and any other shoe you can think of interests us.

I have a hard time finding shoes since I have wide feet, my daughter and mom have tiny feet, my friends have long narrow feet.  We never end up buying the same pairs of shoes, but we admire each others shoes and find endless talking points about them.  When my shoes get old and worn out, I’m loathe to part with them until I find the exact right replacement.  Sometimes I buy shoes on a whim or in a hurry, and then they pinch or rub blisters, so I hate to give them away or throw them out since I haven’t gotten my fair use out of them; but sometimes we just have to get rid of shoes.

How many shoes do we really need?  Ephesians 6:15 tells us “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared”.

It’s hard to face the day fully prepared while barefoot, just as it’s hard to face life without the Good News.  Good shoes are a basic foundation of life, don’t wear shoes that hurt, otherwise everything else will bother you that day.  Keep the foundations of faith, the Good News, with you, and be fully prepared to walk with Jesus in whatever path He asks of you.

Elizabeth Witteveen is a proud friend and supporter of “A Beautiful Me®,” believing as a woman and mother that strong girls make the world a better place for everyone.  Elizabeth is a sensory technician and vision therapist with Snider Therapy in Huntsville, AL.

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Game Changer – Pamela Walker

Game Changer I had always felt like I had put my life on hold when I decided to stay at home to school my littles and live on one income. Shortly after the arrival my last child was born in my mid-forties, my parents moved in with us and a lot more of my plans…

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Game Changer

I had always felt like I had put my life on hold when I decided to stay at home to school my littles and live on one income. Shortly after the arrival my last child was born in my mid-forties, my parents moved in with us and a lot more of my plans were pushed to my “someday” list. When my father passed away and my mother became increasingly dependent on me, the “someday” category grew. Someday life would be easier and with fewer obligations. Someday I’d get my life back. Someday . . .

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life–the life God is sending one day by day. What one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination”
- CS  Lewis

Reading those words by Mr. Lewis was an “a-ha” moment for me. These things that I thought have put my life on hold are not interruptions, they are my life. The life God has given me.  The life I am meant to live and love.

Wow. Talk about game-changer. I was looking beyond the present and selfishly wishing for something more. How rude of me to look my gift giver in the face and say, “Meh, what else you got?”

Thankfully God loves me enough to overlook my lack of graciousness and gave me a nudge in the right direction. I may not have everything I want, but I have everything I need to live a joyful life. Living my “real”  life may not always be easy or convenient, but I can’t let the lack of anything hold me back from living (and loving) the gift I have been given.

Pamela Walker’s work has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She loves and believes in “A Beautiful Me®” and all it seeks to do. Pamela is a mother, a wife and an observer of life. She and her husband share their 100 year old farmhouse with their three homeschooled littles, her octogenarian mother, and a menagerie of chickens, cats and dogs. Take a peek inside her “never a dull moment” life at thespottedhen.blogspot.com

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