Can You Have A Safe Home Birth The Second Time Around?

Can You Have a Safe Home Birth the Second Time Around


Home births are growing in popularity today. In fact, studies have shown the number of women having home births increased by 29 percent from 2004 to 2009. Although there have been concerns raised about home birth, studies have shown that home births are safe for most low-risk pregnancies. Even if you have had complications in your pregnancy in the past, you may still be able to have a safe home birth.
Preparation is the key to having a healthy home birth. Below is a list of some of the things you will need to do to prepare for a home birth the second time around.

Choose a Healthcare Provider You Trust
It is important to select a doctor you are familiar with and who you trust. Most home births are attended by midwives, but there are some obstetricians who will attend a home birth if you are afraid of complications. You will also need to assess the healthcare provider’s qualifications. How many home births have they attended? How many years have they been practicing? Where did they complete training and education? Have they ever handled an emergency? Those are some of the things you should ask your provider.

Careful Pregnancy
One of the best things you can do to ensure you have a safe home birth is to take good care of yourself. Exercising is one way pregnant women can keep themselves healthy. Yoga, walking, and swimming are just some exercises great for pregnant women, not only to help you to stay healthy, but also to alleviate the aches and pains of pregnancy. Exercise can also help get your baby in the right position for labor.
Many women think they have to eat for two during this time as well. However, you only need to get about 300 extra calories. Taking in too many calories can cause you to gain too much weight, which puts you at risk for complications. Dr. Gilbert Webb says women who have complications should be referred to a maternal fetal specialist and should deliver at a hospital instead of delivering the baby at home.
You will need to pay close attention to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore it. Contact your healthcare provider as soon as you can. Abnormal swelling and bleeding are examples of things that require urgent medical attention.

Take a Birthing Class
Many people planning on giving birth at home or for a second time may feel a class isn’t necessary, but the right midwife might have more information for your specific situation. A birthing class can teach you how to relax while you are in labor and help you know what to expect if you need to transfer to a hospital.
You may want to consider getting your partner to attend birthing classes with you. The birth will probably go a lot more smoothly if you have a bigger support team.

Prepare Your Home

A couple of weeks before you are due to give birth, you should start preparing your home. It is best to select the biggest room in your home for the birth. Put everything you will need in the room. Additionally, you should prepare a hospital bag just in case you have to transfer. Your midwife will probably have a lot of recommendations for how to prepare your room or bath for a natural birth.
It is also a good idea to cook some meals and then freeze them. You probably won’t have a lot of time to cook after the baby arrives.
The keys to having a safe home birth is to select the right healthcare provider and take care of yourself during pregnancy. You will also need to take a birthing class and prepare your home for the birth. If you have a schedule and plan in place a natural home birth can be possible for your first or second time. Just make sure you have everything in order and talk to all your healthcare specialists beforehand.


Home births are safe in most cases, but you should be aware that there are also risks for both mom and baby. Make sure discuss your birth plan with your doctor so that you understand the potential risks.

Let Our Children Fail


by T.M. Todrovich


Throughout the years I have had teenaged children, I have heard too often that one or both of a child’s parents thought they weren’t good enough. Statements such as, “You will never amount to anything”, “You can’t make it in the military”, “Why are you even thinking about college? You can’t do it?” and so many other derogatory comments have been shared with me by young adults.

As a parent, I know teens tend to exaggerate and do not understand where their parents are coming from, and when talking with teens, I do my best to keep this in mind; however, many times the pain on the teen’s face reveal the deep, dark, sad truth. Some of the young adults have risen above these demeaning remarks and set out to prove their parents wrong, but many rehash the statements over and over, like an old tape repeating constantly.

When we discourage our children, tell them they are not good enough, or even if our action and facial expressions show it when our words are more kind, we are setting our child up for failure. We are destroying their self-confidence, their self-esteem, and their desire to better themselves. This is a tragedy.

I know there are times my kids think of something and I am not entirely sure they can accomplish their dreams. Occasionally their dream is so distant and far from their abilities I am certain it is not something they will be able to do. I look back at these dreams and although I do not recall, I’m sure I have discouraged them in one way or another. We all make mistakes, say the wrong thing, and do things we wish we could change, and usually this is done with the excuse we are only trying to help our child.

Is this the best course of action? Is it wise to tell our child, “Um, sweetie, you have poor eyesight and will never be a pilot,” or “Dear, you are clumsy and will never be able to be a cheerleader?” Yes, we do it because we don’t want our child to try and fail. Yes, we do it with the best intentions. But is it right?

For some parents, their intentions are not honorable. They don’t believe their child can do anything and discourage them from trying. One young friend of my family’s wants to join the armed services. When he mentions it to his parents, he is blatantly told he isn’t smart enough and is too lazy. I know this young adult well, and that is far from the truth. For this young man, he sees no future because his parents tell him repeatedly he isn’t good enough.

How do we change this thinking? How do we encourage a child who has been told they can’t achieve their dreams that they should try and even if they fail, they have something to be proud of? Is it possible?

For parents like our friend’s, they have to change their thinking and look at their son with new, less judging eyes and see the good, hardworking, determined man inside. For other parents who have good intentions, we must think before we speak, something we try to teach our children to do. We must check our reactions, our facial expressions, and do some deep soul-searching. We must find out why we feel the way we do.

If we are afraid our child will fail, we must realize that our child is going to fail at something. We all do. Failing is necessary for finding our strengths, our weakness, our dreams, and what is worth fighting for. Failing is an essential ingredient in learning how to succeed. If and when our child fails, instead of having a smug, “I told you so” attitude, we must teach our child the positive outcome of failing, and we must express our pride in the fact they tried.

Our job as parents is to lead our children into an independent life, a life where they find who they are, what they are meant to do, and what they love. By lovingly discussing the pros and cons of a dream and allowing our child to make his or her own decision, we are promoting independence, confidence, and growth.

The next time my youngest child says he wants to be a professional gamer, I refuse to point out that he is mediocre at games, that I do not allow him the time to play for hours and hours on end, and that he does not have the best gaming set up. Instead, I will encourage him to keep dreaming, encourage him to read everything he can find on gaming (I am a firm believer reading, even if only articles on gaming, is essential), and let him learn all he can. Perhaps he will one day prove me wrong and be a millionaire gamer, or perhaps he will realize he isn’t quite cut out for professional gaming and it should be a hobby. When he reaches adulthood, the decision is his, not mine. I will take comfort in knowing I supported him to the best of my abilities. If he fails, I will be there with open arms. If he succeeds, I will be there cheering him on. And whatever happens, he will know he always had my support.



Click here for a link to the publications written by Tina Toler Keel.

Mothers Are Special


Who is more special than your Mom?

Like Bill Cosby said – a father spends years with his son throwing a football, teaching him how to play basketball and then he enters the pro ranks, gets on television and the first thing he says is “Hi Mom!”




Good Mothers are something special, almost sacred.   When no one else in the world is there for you, a wonderful Mom is.

Many prisoners have lamented about how over the years all of their friends slowly fall away.  The visits stop, the letters become nonexistent, but for those of them who have those great Moms, they know come visit day she’s going to be there.  Fully equipped with a hugs and a smile, she makes them feel alive again.


mombabyThen there’s the Mom who doesn’t have a lot of money and can’t afford to buy a lot of food, so she doesn’t eat but makes sure her children are fed.


Throughout all of time, there are Mothers who would willingly sacrifice their life to save that of their child and many have actually done so.

Our children may take us for granted when they are teenagers and even up through their 20’s.  But, at some point they come around to seeing us for who we are.

Women can be so beautiful.  Mothers can be so special and to a child’s mind, “Mother is God.”


If you have one of those super-special moms, remember her with a  mothers rings, or a note, a letter, a card, a hello, a hug, a kiss, all just because she’s Mom.


My Suffering Sisters



Submitted by Alison Gonzales from Los Angeles, California – USA


Immigration is a major issue not just in the U.S. but in other parts of the world. People claim their inherent right to exclude other races and cultures from coming into their countries.  People of color specifically are perceived as being dirty, ignorant, lazy and as people who weigh heavy on public support systems.  I can say personally that this is not true.  Mexicans are just as intelligent and diligent as others and we should have a right to live side by side with others in America.  I want to tell you to the story of Lolita, a young Mexican immigrant who is a mother, wife and daughter.

Lolita and her husband arrived in the US in 2010.  They came to work in the agricultural industry.  Both were very hard working people trying to make a better life for themselves and their families as they sent money home on a regular basis.  Her husband was merely walking down the street one day and was attacked by Americans.  He was badly beaten and taken to the hospital where he later died.  Lolita suffers.

Juanita came to the US in 2007.  Since she was here she had two children.  Though also a very hard worker, doing the best she could to provide for her children, she was eventually discovered to be illegal and immediately deported.  She tried to tell the officer that she had children in daycare, but they would not listen to her.  She was put out of the US without even being able to see her children.  Fortunately, she was able to get in touch with the woman who was was watching her children while she worked and is making arrangements for them.

There is the story of Rosita, who was raped and murdered during the perilous journey across the desert to America.  Her murders will never be known and brought to justice.

These are just three stories that are indicative of the hardships my sisters face in trying to come to America to work and create better lives for themselves and their families.  Believe it or not, there are some that are even far more horrific.  I make an appeal to the American people, especially to women, to stand up and speak out against the discrimination that our sisters face.   Please support immigration laws that allow human beings to be treated as human beings, not a creatures and things that should be discarded.  We are sisters, mothers, wives and daughters, just like you.

If you are in fear of being deported, please seek legal help from immigration attorneys.  There are people out there who want to help you.




The Greatest Person I Know



Mothers dedicate their lives to their children.  We give all we have and all we know how to.   Many thanks to Michael for honoring his mother on Women Move the Soul.  As someone who has met this young man personally, I can attest that he is respectful, polite and eager to learn and grow.  They say you can know the character of a mother or a father by the behavior of their child.  They are a reflection of us.  Michael’s Mom, you truly are as awesome as he says you are.   – Tomaca





To My Awesome Mother:

You’ve worked till this day, very hard to maintain a great life for my brother and sister and I. We’re so very fortunate to have you in our lives…

The year my sister was born, you filed for divorce in order to keep drugs and smoke away from us. For the past seventeen years you’ve pretty much raised the three of us on your own with no child support whatsoever. You’re the strongest person I know.

Incredible is when you manage to balance a financial career, pick us up after school, and still help us with our science projects, math homework, and be there for each parents’ night. Seriously, always there, and if there was something we asked for that was too much at the time, you made up for it in so many other ways.

Through high school and college you give me the support and encouragement I need to keep moving forward.  I know it wasn’t always easy for you. I also couldn’t have been the easiest kid to raise, ha-ha, but you did raise us with so much LOVE and patience, everything I’ve accomplished I have you to thank for. You’re the greatest person I know. Thank you for everything you are.


I love you too.


The Handy Woman


 From the Editor


As women, we have to learn how to do things for our selves more.  We need to know how to do carpentry, upholstery, repair our computers, fix a broken toilet and even how to get the lawn mower to turn over when it won’t.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with being “handy” and having a wide variety of skills.  It all boils down to one skill though – being able to get it done on your own.

I know a woman who fixes her own car.  The only time she goes for help is if the car has to go up on a lift and that’s only because she doesn’t have one.  She also repairs her own plumbing, hangs her own sheet rock and cooks great food.  That’s me too – only without the car fixing part… and…er.. the cooking – I’m okay with it – not great.

I was fortunate to have a dad who fixed everything and he taught all of his children that we could do the same thing.   My dad fixed cars and you would think I would have picked up on something, but I guess I chose not to.  But, I can do carpentry work, some plumbing work, know how to change the oil in my car, can hang my own sheet rock and OWN and can use professional tools like a sawzall and other types of saws, drills, and welding equipment.    Okay, with the welding stuff, I don’t do anything heavy duty.  I have a small welder and use it for jewelry and have done some pipe welding with the supervision of my brothers.  (I’ll mention that if I need welding supplies, I get them on-line.  I find the prices a little more reasonable.)

Fortunately, I have not had to deal with any men with ego problems because I’m a woman who can do what they can’t (YET).   I am happy to teach them and a lot of men are willing students.   But, it’s good to know a variety of repair things because if you ever do need to call an expert for help, you have some knowledge of what they need to do, how long it should take them and a general idea of what a fair price would be.

But, most importantly, it’s about empowering yourself, educating yourself and preparing yourself to take care of you and your household.  How do you learn?  Youtube has lessons about everything you’d ever want to know.  Some of the larger hardware stores hold in-house classes and we all have friends who know how to do a variety of things.  It’s simply a matter of asking to be taught.  Maybe even volunteer to work with a handyman (or woman) for a few days in exchange for being able to learn – ?

Remember, that whatever you do, your children are apt to follow.  They certainly watch us.  So, even if we think they are not paying attention, they are and remember that you are their greatest source of inspiration.  If you set a good example, you are also teaching them at the same time.  So, ladies, if you’re not handy, there’s nothing wrong with gettin’ handy!





The Essence of the Kitchen



By Tomaca

What room in your home is the most important or the key pivotal room for the family?  Some people would say it’s the living room or family room.  In my home, it’s the kitchen.

The living room used to be called the “parlor” in old English times.  The name changed over time to the “living room.”  Maybe you call it the family room.  But, it’s the place generally where families hang out and watch television or entertain company.  However, the kitchen is the focal point of some homes.  Hopefully our busy lifestyles have not interrupted family meals in the kitchen too much and your family still does that.

When I grew up my parents made everyone sit down together at meal times.  After eating, everyone was assigned a task ranging from scraping the dishes, to putting away food, to washing, drying and putting away the dishes.  The lucky person got the easiest assignment of feeding the dogs.  I remember that as being something really easy and it was nice to make the dogs happy.  Just like people, they were excited about meal time!

The whole process of my siblings and I being in the kitchen all working together was really fun.  You get a feeling from being around your family that is hard to describe except to say that there’s no place like home  and there’s no feeling like that feeling inside you.

With ten kids and a full-time jobs, both my parents were really busy.  But, there were many times that my mom would be preparing meals and that was the time I could just sit in the kitchen to be with her and to chat while she worked.  It was such a cherished time for me.   When my children were young, especially my daughter, who is the oldest, we were always in the kitchen where she would read to me as I cooked.  We spent many weekends in the kitchen baking and designing sugar cookies and other goodies.  The kitchen was the homework spot.  Everyone would sit there and do their homework so they could all help each other.  Of course, that changed when they got older.  They migrated to their own bedrooms.

I don’t drink coffee, but to this day I love the smell.  It reminds me of my father.  Every morning the house was filled with the aroma of his coffee which of course is made, where else?  In the kitchen.

So for me, the kitchen is not just about food, but it’s about connecting with family and individuals by gaining more understanding about who they are, how they feel, what their day was like, etc.  through conversation, not so much through food.  Though my children are grown, the kitchen is still the room where I would entertain.   Not necessarily to eat food, but to sit in a comforting place to have great conversations without the distraction and noise of the television.

I like a nice open kitchen for that reason.  There’s room for everyone.  Someone can sit at the countertop/island or at the table and of course the pets are never far behind because they hope food is going to appear and they’ll be given treats in addition to being petted.

The “homey” feeling in the kitchen is important to me as is the decor.  Windows, a sliding glass door leading to a deck, nice cabinets with decorative cabinet knobs, my organic herbs growing in the pots and always fresh fruit on the table.    And some open space.  I like the kitchen to be a little on the large side so you can walk around freely even with the table, chairs and fridge, etc.  Plus, all the animals turn the kitchen into their lounge whenever people are in there.  There’s always the hope of food hitting the floor!  Yes, they are spoiled, they get lots of treats and hugs and most of all are welcome in the kitchen just like people!


What’s your favorite room in the home?

Is Your Family Crazy? Think Again!



Family: can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Or do they say that about women? If they don’t say that about family, I think they should. You can choose the women in your life, but you can’t choose your family. Whether you like it or not, you’re stuck with them and there’s nothing you can do about it. The nagging grandmother, the snitch brother, the loud aunt, the touchy uncle. We all have them. But, if you ever thought your family is crazy and annoying, have a look at some of the most twisted families on TV. I guarantee you’ll feel much better after.


Everybody Loves Raymond

Ray Baron is a sports journalist who lives with his wife, Debra, 12-year-old daughter and twin boys in Long Island. Their lives would be just great, if it wasn’t for Ray’s parents, who just happen to live down the road. Instead of just helping out with the kids, Ray’s mother is the ultimate nag. Not to mention Ray’s brother who is always jealous of him.


Married with Children

Every guy gets together with his friends, but when Al Bundy does it, he is president of NO MA’AM, the “National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood”. His wife doesn’t cook or clean, his son is smart, but a total nerd when it comes to the ladies and his daughter is easy and gullible. Did I mention Al Bundy sells women’s shoes?


The Middle

The Hecks are just semi-dysfunctional, but they get the job done. Although at first they seem your average, normal American family, the Hecks are quite special. Brick, the youngest member of the family, has an above average intelligence reading books his older sibling struggles with, but is also great at procrastinating. The odd thing about him is that he likes to repeat words from his previous sentence by whispering to himself. To this adds the frustrated mother, the socially awkward sister, the athletic brother and a pretty normal dad.


Raising Hope

What happens when a clueless 25-year-old boy meets a gorgeous serial killer? He impregnates her, she is sentenced to death and he gets custody. But, wait! Now Jimmy has to rely on his family for help and although they have the best intentions, they don’t always deliver as promised. To top it all they live in a very kid- unfriendly, dusty, old house.


American Dad

CIA agent Stan Smith has a pet alien to whom he owes his life and he’s all about taking extreme measures like locking his daughter in the basement, leaving his wife in the woods or cloning his son. The thing about Stan is that he doesn’t take no for an answer and relies on his trusty gun for help. The series will be back this fall with a new season and new adventure, Smith style.


Shameless (U.S)

The mother of all dysfunctional families, Shameless focuses on the Gallaghers: six kids, an alcoholic father and a runaway mother. Having to deal with everyday life, the Gallaghers use all means necessary to survive.

If you want to know more about out TV crazy families, Time Warner Cable will provide access to all of the above mentioned shows and if you hear about some other TV “loving” families, don’t forget to tell us about them.


Does Baby Teeth Care Really Matter?



When you have a baby, life suddenly gets insanely busy. Between diaper changes, feedings and night wakings, who has time to worry about baby teeth? They don’t really matter anyway, right? Wrong! Your child’s baby teeth actually matter very much, and if he is over one year old and you haven’t taken him to the dentist, it is time to get serious about her oral health.

The Right Age

According to Kool Smiles, when your baby’s first tooth appears or turns one year old, you should start thinking about making that first appointment. The first visit is more about getting your child used to the dentist and to teach you about how to properly care for their teeth. However, Web MD adds that if you have weaned your little one from the bottle and he or she doesn’t eat or drink anything during the night then you should be good to wait until age two).

Dentist Visitsblack-baby

Well, you can go to a regular dentist, but that may be doing your child a disservice. Pediatric dentists have additional training in child development so they know how to better interact with your child and make the visit as pleasant as possible. Not to mention, most pediatric dentists have fun offices that make the experience more enjoyable for your little one.

Pediatric Dentist

There are likely many pediatric dentists in your area and it can be overwhelming to choose just one. The best place to start is with your pediatrician. Ask for a referral and go from there. You can arrange a meet-and-greet with the pediatric dentist before committing if it makes you feel more comfortable. Remember, if at any point you decide the pediatric dentist is not right for your family, never hesitate to switch to a different one.

Ease Their Fears

First, breathe a sigh of relief because this is perfectly normal. A stranger is putting his hands in your child’s mouth and they don’t really understand why. Web MD believes that the best thing you can do is stay calm yourself. Your child takes cues from you more than you may realize. You also need to use your words wisely when talking about the dentist. Avoid negative words, like pain and hurt, and focus on the positive aspects of the dentist, like the healthy and strong teeth your child will have. You can even take your little one along to your dentist appointment so they can see what it’s all about.

Make it Fun

The biggest thing you can do is show excitement yourself. If you are excited to take your child to the dentist, chances are they’ll be excited to be there. You can also employ the help of the abundance of kids’ books and television shows that teach about what your child can expect at the dentist. even suggests staging a practice session for your little one, in which you are the dentist. Have your child put his head on your lap, open wide and count his teeth with your fingers.

Top 3 Gifts for the Woman Who Has Never Left Your Side


Submitted by Katie Garbett


Every son should give their mother or mother-in-law a special gift that will let her know just how much she is appreciated. If you are having a hard time trying to figure out what to give Mom, consider giving her an excursion. By choosing an excursion from the following top 3 list you will give a great gift to the one woman that has never left your side: your mother or mother-in-law.


Friends And Family Excursion

Many mothers have a special relative or friend that they would just love to visit, but do not want to spend the money to travel to do so. Giving your mother the gift of an excursion to see that loved one they are missing will be very special to them and something she may have thought that she would ever get the chance to do. They will be able to make many memories on this trip and will have you to thank for it. Remember to check ahead of time with the family or friend that you are wanting Mom to visit to determine what dates will be good. A friends and family gift will prove to be an excursion that any mother or mother-in-law will be thankful to receive.


Pampering Excursionspa


Moms do a lot for everyone, but not themselves. Many don’t ever take the time to stop and relax and let someone else pamper them. A pampering excursion, such as a trip to a spa, will allow them to recharge their batteries and it will show just how much you appreciate them. There are many different types of pampering excursions to choose from. It doesn’t matter if you choose a short excursion such as a day trip or one that involves an overnight stay. The most important part is that Mom is pampered in a way that she will enjoy.


Adventure Trip


Any mother needs a little bit of adventure in her life. An excursion to SONY DSCa new and exciting place will make the perfect gift. When you are trying to figure out which excursion to choose from, think of a place that your mother or mother-in-law might have mentioned in the past that she’d like to go to. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, try to find a place that is close by, but would still be considered adventurous. Skydiving, rock climbing or parasailing can be great choices that are nearby dependent on where Mom lives. Just make sure that your mother or mother-in-law is healthy enough to participate in whatever type of adventure excursion you choose.


In conclusion, the next time you want to give your mother or mother-in-law a gift, consider giving her one of the above excursions. These types of gifts will be appreciated and are a lot more creative than giving a traditional gift. Your gift will not only be fun, but will create many memories that Mom will cherish over her lifetime.


Written by Katie Garbett, a freelance writer and lifestyle explorer. She enjoys sharing her experiences and insights on various lifestyle blogs. Visit for more gift ideas for that special someone in your life.

Stay Safe and Calm: Five at Home Tips for the Single Mom


Submitted by Annette Hazard


Single moms are superwomen, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be cautious. If you don’t have a man in superwomanthe house, it’s extremely important to pay attention to your surroundings. When it comes to staying safe, knowledge is power. While paying attention to your surroundings can help you look for red flags, there are several things you can do in your home that will deter vandals and peeping Toms. Here are 5 tips on how you can keep both yourself and your child safe.

Get a Watch Dog

If you’re a dog person and your child has been begging for a dog for years, now may be the time to give your child what they want. Not only will a dog become your companion, he will also protect you. Animals have inherent instincts to sense bad intent and you’ll feel much safer with a pooch.

Install a Security System

If you’re not a dog person, or you want a well-rounded security system, consider installing a home security system such as Vivint Home Security. Not only will alarms sound when sensors are triggered, new systems also give you the power to watch live feed from your security cameras so you can monitor what is taking place.   Monitored security systems will call your house immediately if an alarm is triggered to confirm that you are safe or if you are in need of emergency assistance from police, fire  or medical personnel.

Get a Door with a Peephole peephole

When you don’t have a peep hole, answering the door can put you at risk. If a home invader has been casing your home, they may have noticed there is no “man of the house”. You always tell your child not to open the door for anyone – you should do the same. By installing a peephole, you can take a peep to see who is knocking before you give a burglar the power to barge in. Peepholes are also great for children who stay home alone.

Keep Your House Well Lit

Burglars target houses that are dark and secluded. If you take the time to light up the pathway and the exterior areas of your home, you can discourage robbers and home invaders from entering your property.

Make Your Own Safe Room

You don’t necessarily need to build a steel room, but designating a safe room where everyone in the house can fit is a good idea. In the room, you should have a spare cell phone and possibly a weapon (if this is something you are comfortable with). Doing this increases your chances of walking away from a home invasion unharmed.

Make sure to build relationships with your neighbors.  Know your neighbors and be friendly enough to watch out for each other.  Be aware of what is happening in your neighborhood.  For instance, if there is a parked car in an odd place with people in it just after dark, they could possibly be waiting for lights to go out at a house that they plan to steal a car from.  Unmarked vans or people moving things out of a home on your street could be negative situations.

It may also be in your best interest to take a self-defense course so that you can protect yourself from attackers.   If you take the time to deter criminals, pay attention and gain knowledge, you’ll have the peace of mind you need.


Author Bio: Annette Hazard is a freelance blogger that writes about home and family. Currently she is promoting

Brenda Wilson – Grandma’s Singing Ryan’s Song


Retirement wasn’t in the cards for Brenda Wilson.  When her family realized there was a serious lack of services for children, teens and adults on the autism spectrum, and her grandson, Ryan, was not getting the help he needed, Brenda sprang into action.  She has devoted the past decade of her life to founding and maintaining the Ryan Woods Autism Foundation and two years of the 10 to after-school program to give these children a place to come and just be kids without the therapy, clinicians, psychiatrists, psychologists.   They all may require these services but RWAF is a safe and warm environment where they can come after school and JUST BE KIDS!



You mentioned that you saw signs in your grandson very early on that indicated something was a little different about him.  What did you see?

My grandson, Ryan, who turns 12 years old on January 17, 2013 used to stare blankly into my eyes brendaas if he was looking straight through me when I hold him on my lap face to face.  He rocked back and forth hitting his head on the walls of my home and his parents’ home until we stopped him. His apetitite was picky and we thought he would never eat a balanced meal and yet he did not look deprived of food.  His sleeping patterns were somewhat off which made it hard for mom who had to go to work early and travel one hour to Pfizer in Groton, CT and an hour back and Dad who shared in the parenting quite dangerous not getting enough of sleep because of the requirements of climbing electricity poles to repair cable wires in the heat and cold.  I always held, cuddled him, squeezed him, kissed him (things some children on the spectrum absolutely will not allow).  I did and still do this because I wanted to no matter what establish effection and the feelings that he could always count on being loved.   There has never been enough of Ryan to go around.  He is my only grandchild and my joy!



Why try to set up a foundation versus just taking care of your grandson?  Why was the need to incorporate helping others children important to you?

I have been told that I am the most selfless person in my family. I never save any for myself.  I believe that when you give good karma you receive good karma (directly or indirectly).  And, helping others has always been very important to me.  How else would I be able to help Ryan in this case if I never opened up to others going through what we were just beginning to go through? I googled and found that there was no autism foundation in the state of Connecticut anywhere that provided the after-school services for teens or day care for the little ones.  Yes, we are working on a day care licensed to close the gap of 6-12 year olds and even the pre-kindergarteners.


When I started the stats were 1:166; they are 1:77 and 1:54 boys on the autism spectrum and growing.  These stats are put out by the Center for Disease Control.  However, it boils my blood to hear someone refer to this disability as a disease because it is not a disease.  You cannot catch it. It is my belief that it is genetic and environmental.



Brenda, what kind of unique services does your organization provide for autistic children?

We provide social/life skills; communication; recreational therapy; music therapy; boundaries; personal hygiene; building relationships that we hope last forever in our after school program that runs from 2-6pm.  We also offer our families a monthly support every third Saturday of each month.


This month January 19, 2013 from 10:00 – 12:00 noon we will host the Commissioner’s office – State Department of Education.  There will be experts available to answer questions of our parents regarding services and the lack of services needed inside and outside the classroom setting to help make their children successful as they transition either with an IEP diploma or general education diploma into work life, college life or vocational life.


Aren’t there government requirements that schools have to provide certain services for children who have a need?

There are federally-mandated requirements that schools must adhere to (some schools do and others do not).  When they do, the majority of schools minimally provide these services unless they are met with families who know their rights and fight for them and/or due process to get their children more occupational therapy, more language therapy, more physical therapy and so on.  With the budget cuts, unfortunately, it appears education seems to be the on the top 10 list in USA when children in other countries have longer days and years of study and are tearing us up in the math and sciences.



Why are these specific needs not being met in regular schools?

I may have answered your question above.  However, again budgetary cuts with respect to the “right” educators, highly-trained educators who can teach children with autism, Asperger’s and other special needs children and the child not even be aware they are being taught differently — but they get it and they succeed and become the next Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, engineer, architect, musician, artist, poet, screenwriter.

There is a big difference between the needs of young children and the needs of teens.  Your program is designed to help the autistic child at a variety of ages.  Can you talk about the needs of the teenagers?

Teens on the autism spectrum oftentimes are alone at home, in group-home environments; residential treatment settings where behaviors of isolation form and grow. I was that teen and was neotypical, raised by a grandmother, no neighboring friends and pretty bullied and isolated at brenda-ryanwoods1school.  I was extremely mature and pretty much a scholastic geek while others were involved in cheerleading, attending school dances — these were things my grandparents did not allow. I pretended I had a classroom at home and played school with my imaginary friends.


When my grandson was diagnosed very late (age 3 years), his behaviors told me a lot and here he was a child with a disability in addition to what I went through.  I have never to this day had a friend.  My daughter is my best friend and the cycle continues. I wanted to create a playhouse for children on the spectrum so they can have fun (structured activities) but enjoy and build relationships and friendships. It brings me joy to see them enter the door of our foundation every day looking for that friend even before they help themselves to a healthy snack. :)


When you decided to start a foundation and create services for autistic children, what was the first thing that you did?

I wrote my “bones” (business plan) and sought out the schools and community to determine the need. We opened inside of the high school in two of the special education classrooms to get some idea of the climate and what the teachers and students go through on a day-to-day basis. We lasted one full school year and finally had two kids who enrolled. I applied for my 501(c)(3) and started to inquire about funding through state agencies and local government.  It was very dark and many days I felt as though the weight of the world was on my shoulders (and still do) but with the help of my son, now Program Director and father of his nearly 12 year old son with autism, kept pushing together. We formed a Board of Directors (planning committee initially called) and started holding monthly meetings.  I have since discovered that discovering special people to work and give of their time to be active on your Board of Directors is a job in itself.


Is it challenging raising funds to stay in operation?

YES!  I thought I would have to close our doors in October of last year.   But our landlord lowered the rent and it has helped us to stay. I apply for local grants.  We just received a national grant of $10K from Autism Speaks.  This made the news and newspapers and we are hoping that Wal-Mart and other private donors will continue to repeat their gifts of love and kindness.


We charge tuition but families in central Connecticut are either unemployed or underemployed and cannot pay out of pocket.  So, we rely on therapists and clinicians to convince the state case managers and if a parent gets lucky with a school PPT meeting to pay for their child to attend we are able to use this as revenue to keep the operational expenses, snacks, equipment upgrades, supplies the kids need along with two part-time staff members paid in order to keep the doors open. We have always “bridged the gap” as a foundation to keep the kids we have managed to bring in.


What has been your greatest obstacle in all of this?

Funding to keep the kids coming, staff paid and the doors open.


What needs to change in terms of medical insurance companies’ and the state’s attitude and interest?

Autism is a disability.  Insurance companies and the state / national politicians MUST understand that socialization / life skills are two common denominators for children on the spectrum and without these two components our children will be disabled forever, thus relying on taxpayers to enable them.  This disability is developmental.  These kids can learn with the right supports. They are not mentally retarded. They are gifted in so many ways. RWAF was approved by Medicaid for Husky and they erred and took our provider credentials in the summer of 2012. We had accepted many students into our program who we had to pay for and keep because how do you explain to students who have been told they are approved to attend your summer program and all of the frills that go with it and take it away? Thanks to people in the community who called in to sponsor a child and some sponsored two. We pulled it off but it was $52K that RWAF had to eat and was a major error on the part of DSS (Department of Social Services – Commissioner Roderick Bremby and his staff).  After WFSB televising it, many letters and e-mails, we received an apology from Bremby.


Are other areas of the country more advanced in providing services for these unique



Yes, New York, California and Boston.


What kind of work did you do during your working years and were the skills that you developed easily transferable to what you are doing now?

I worked 46 years in the private sector as a human resources administrator and supported fortune 500 companies at the senior-level administratively.  The business, marketing and sales helped me a great deal to write and meet with community leaders.



What is the ultimate goal?  Where is the Ryan Woods Foundation in ten years?

I would like to be one of the State of Connecticut state-approved private schools for autism and other developmental disabilities (i.e., Ben Haven, Wallingford, The Gengras Center). We have the space where we are.  I need the staff, funding and the rest will follow.


For more information, contact:

Brenda Wilson
Ryan Woods Autism Foundation (Autism Speaks collaborative resource)
860.788.7277 or 860.346.8777
The only limit put on humans with
autism are the ones WE put on them. Let’s change our perspective.

The King Honoring His Queen


This is a message from a man to his wife.  It is here because the woman that it speaks of is, like all women, a woman who moves the soul.  The fact that she is true to herself is personified in her life, through the expressions and growth of her family.  It is true that the woman is powerful and when she radiates love, she elevates herself, her family and her community to higher heights.  King Wallace, thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us.  And thank you for the honor that you give your wife, because when you give it to one, you give it to us all.  And to this beautiful woman, thank you for serving as an example to the rest of us on Women Move the Soul.  


Submitted by King Wallace


I’m King Wallace.  Today I write to the world honoring a wonderful woman who has filled my life wallace-wifewith joy.

This journey started four years ago.  I am a small business owner and was driving with my three-year-old on the way to work.   I was about to make a turn which wound up to be the best turn of my life.  The light turned green; I took the turn to the site of a lifetime of happiness. There was this beautiful short-haired woman who looked about twenty-ish.  Her figure was as perfect as the smile and beautiful brown eyes that reflected from the sun on this bright, sunny day.

My son said, “Dad, look a pretty girl.  Dad let’s go say ‘hi’.”

I replied,  “Okay son, what should we do?”

wallace-sonWith that, he jumped out of the car to show her his new toy which opened the door for me to make a move.  I opened up the greeting with one of my own cd’s.   She smiled at me and look slyly, but took the bait and allowed us to exchange numbers.

This was a new beginning of my life.  God spoke to me saying “this woman you will bare a child with and start a family.”  I agreed in silence with His decision and after the numbers where exchanged, I let faith and God do the rest.

I humbled myself and waited for her call.  She made me wait  – making this story of faith that much more interesting.  Finally, the day comes when she rings my phone.   My young son announced that she going to call just before the phone started ringing.  I didn’t believe so at first but faith had worked for me and so did the Lord.

Coming out a bad divorce I didn’t know if I was ready.  I just didn’t know.  But, it wasn’t up to me.  God knew what I needed and it was this woman’s love.

We married December 16th, 2011 in front of a judge in Beaver County.  Soon after, Latrice wallace-babyAngela-Renee Wallace was born.  My life couldn’t be better.  We have become a normal family, and much like all others, we face ups and downs.  But one thing I know is I have became a better man because of this women.  Her love and support has helped to heal my broken heart inside my body and soul.  Her remarkable beauty inside and out has kept this family growing everyday.  She has two sons from another man that she allowed me to call my stepsons and I am honored to serve them as well as her.   I am very proud of the spiritual gifts she has given to me.  She cleans, works hard at a hospital and cares for all of us.  She is the Queen of our castle.   I want to say Racquel Renee Wallace, I love you every second of the day from head to toe.  You are a blessing from God.  Till death do us part.   I’m proud to be your husband and I thank you for your love.


For all you men out there  – honor your wife until the end.  They deserve it!


wallace-selfKing Wallace is a husband to Racquel Wallace, an actor, artist and producer.  He also expects to be publishing his book in 2013.




Women’s Minds, Bodies and Spirits


by Dr. Nancy Nelson


I am going to address all three of these topics with one important point, one seemingly impossible task, as women we do everything for everyone, that is, except for ourselves.


We work, go to school, raise our children, help others to raise their children, care for our husbands, and seniors and care for our homes. We are leaders, helpers and mothers in our churches, serve on committees and do community work. At night we do not “fall” asleep, instead we pass out later than the other members of our households. And in the morning we rise before anyone else in our house.


We are sleep deprived. We make sure everyone else has enough to eat before we eat and if there is not enough we go without. We find money to send our children on school trips and to go to movies yet we wouldn’t dare spend what little money we have to do these things for ourselves. We beam at the accomplishments of our husbands and children while we think our own are insignificant. We keep going even when we are sick. We put off seeing a doctor until we can schedule a time that does not inconvenience anyone else in our lives.


We are care givers – not care receivers. We do not take care of ourselves. We do not let others take care of us and for this we pay a heavy price.


My mother, who is soon to be 90 years old and the mother of 10 children, fits the above description. She raised her children and put our needs and wants before her own. She cared for her husband for almost 35 years until his death. She was “Mom” to all of our friends. As a registered nurse, she worked full time at a convalescent home. She never took a vacation, hung out with friends and never went to a movie. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that sometimes when she sat at the dinner table with only a cup of tea, saying she wasn’t hungry, that there was only enough food for her children to eat.


After everyone was in bed my mother would start the ironing. I have no memory of ever waking up in the morning while she was still in bed. She was usually in the kitchen or bringing up a basket of wet clothes from the basement.


However, there was one big difference, one thing of importance that I later studied in my mind. My mother managed to take time for herself.


How? How could she possibly have found time for herself? My mother had small methods of self-care. When we were little she had quiet time. She would show us on the clock, before we could even tell time, where the big and little hands would be when quiet time was over.

Then she would lay down with the baby and we would be quiet until the hands on the clock were where they were supposed to be.


When we got older she found other ways. One of my favorite was her announcement from the top of the stairs, wrapped in her bathrobe, that she was taking a “bauth.” Now a “bauth” is very different from a bath. During a bath we could knock on the door to ask a question or complain about what a brother or sister had done to us. We might even have an argument in front of the bathroom door waiting for our mother to holler to stop. But during a “bauth”, which was always a half hour long, we would have to be dead or dying to knock on the door or in any way disturb her or we would end up with a soar behind. This was Mom’s time.


Keep Wishing – Inspiration From A Very Special Mom



Submitted by Proud Daughter – Melissa Woodson

My mom has been a special education teacher for over 30 years. But “special” doesn’t even begin to describe her. When I think about the thousands of lives she’s touched, from her early intervention work with infants to teaching 6th graders how to become their own advocates, I am truly amazed. And what makes her even more special is the fact that so many of these students send her updates: senior pictures, graduation invitations, job announcements. To find evidence of the impact she’s had, look no further than her students themselves.


After 30 years of service, mom decided to take an early retirement and pursue her dream of becoming an author. Growing up, I had always known that my mom was a great author. Every year on our birthdays, she wrote us each a letter about the last year of our lives: our achievements and successes boasted about in the way only a mother can deliver. Proud. Heartfelt. Honest. Those letters are some of my most treasured possessions.


But with Mom’s creative mind and newfound free time–something she’d never had in the past–she was ready to take her writing to the next level. And so she sat down, put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and poured herself into her first novel, Identity Issues And then she edited. And rewrote. And attended writer’s groups. And conferences. Edited some more. Rewrote again. Secured an editor and left her precious work in capable hands. All the while, my 50-something mother never blinked at the idea that here she was, in her retirement, a time when most people rest, reinventing herself in a completely new career. This wasn’t just something she was doing for fun; she wanted to get better–she wanted success.


Mom and Sis

With her first novel under her belt, she asked her editor for advice: What can I do to get better? The answer: write more. And so she did. Mom turned around and did it again, churning through a similarly joyful and treacherous process to write The Wrong Guy, a murder mystery based on the Michigan Murders, a series of murders of college coeds while she attended Eastern Michigan University. The novel was published in 2011 by Echelon Press. In her late 50s, Mom had achieved a lifelong dream: to become a published author.


Did I mention that while she was busy writing and loving every moment, she also missed teaching? So in the midst of writing, editing and publishing novels, Mom has been back in the classroom part time, unable to leave her teacher self fully behind.


As a young woman, I’ve often struggled with my own identity issues, wondering where I fit in the world, what I want out of life and how I can feel fulfilled. What I’ve learned from my mom is that life is always what you make of it. Your life can be full or it can be empty, but it’s up to you to fill it up. Fill it with the things that make your heart happy, and if you don’t know what those things are, never ever stop looking. Life is about discovery. No matter how old or young you are, continue discovering, and believe you’ll make it to the place you’re meant to go. The difference between wishing and realizing your wishes is that when it takes longer for your wish to come true, you care so much about that wish that you’ll do all you can to make it happen.


Mom’s first novel, Identity Issues, is set for publication in early October 2012 as part of a five book series. I couldn’t be prouder to be her daughter!


Melissa Woodson is the community manager for @WashULaw, a premier program for foreign attorneys to earn their LLMOnline, offered through Washington University in St. Louis. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking and making half-baked attempts at training her dog.


Debbie – the Motorcycle Riding Deacon

Do you know any women motorcycle riders?  Well, how many do you know that are motorcycle-riding-Deacons?  Meet Debbie!


You’re a deacon at Broad Brook Congregational Church.  Exactly what is a deacon?

The word in itself means servant. To be a Deacon at BBCC requires a bit of time and dedication. The Deacons meet on a monthly basis and serve alongside the Pastor of the church. We are instrumental in leading our church in achieving it’s mission statement. We make decisions in regards to the spiritual business of the church. We are responsible for many things including and not limited to: the order of the Sunday services, offertory prayers as needed and requested, provide benevolence work, visit the homebound, we care for our church members and others in the community, help serve the Lord’s Supper, promote unity within the church.


Tell us the story about how and why you became a deacon.
My faith has lead me to become a Deacon. I have possessed a profound need to do what I am able for my family, friends, community, church and it’s members. I grew up in a small church and saw first hand how hard everyone worked to make a positive effect on all it’s members. I had excellent role models.  The nurturing of a belief system and faith in a child is critical for that child to grow up, live by example as an adult and hope they will do the same for a church of their own someday. I have 3 brothers and 3 sisters in which I am the only child that grew up continuing to serve God. I have 3 children whom I have raised them with Christian values. Currently one of them is a mother now and raising her children in church.  Time will tell for my other 2 children as their life unfolds before them.  They have the foundation, let’s see where it takes them. For me, it was never a question of if I would become a Deacon but when. I have been a Deacon now for over 10 years and very proud of my service.


Do people come to you for prayers and for help directly, or are they sent by the church?
Sometimes they come to me directly, for those who know me, since not all are members of our church. They are looking for someone to hold their hand through a personal crisis. We as Deacons are bound by confidentiality, we never discuss anyone’s situations unless they request it. The church doesn’t send anyone to one particular person except for the Minister.  There are times comforting words are better left to the Pastor.


Women do ride motorcycles and you’re proof of that!  How did you even develop the interest to ride and when did you start riding?
I developed my interest in riding as a child.  Our grandfather bought us a mini bike to ride off road.  Several of the neighborhood children had them and we did have fun! My childhood home backed to woods with plenty of trails.  I quit riding after I had my family, always hoping to ride again but figured as I got older would never happen. Just as we were about to become empty nesters, my husband bought himself a new Harley and then found me a safe riders’ course to get me back in the saddle, he didn’t like having passengers on the back of his!


I’ve had my bike for 2 years now and have loved every minute of it. Just recently I went shopping for my daughter’s wedding and found myself strapping my wares I just bought on the back of the bike. It was November and absolutely too beautiful a day not to ride!  Any excuse, no excuses!


Have you ever ridden the “crotch rocket” style bikes?  Are there things you prefer about the Harley style more?
I have never ridden on a “crotch rocket”! I don’t care for that style bike.  To each his own and my own is more in line with a traditional style bike with some of the features of a touring bike. I couldn’t live without saddle bags and a windshield.  There are other luxuries I prefer as well but not to the extent of cruise control and radios! The point of the ride is less distraction and to be more in touch with your surroundings. When riding, you hear more, see more and smell more.


Do you always get looks from people who are amazed to see a woman riding?

Once in a while I do get the look!  But, there are plenty of women riders out there – more than you know. When the proper gear is worn, it can be difficult to tell the difference.  It is quite common to see spouses riding separately too. The joys of back road riding is so rewarding, fun and unstressful. There are times my husband and I just get on our bikes with the intention to take a few moments for ourselves and several hours and a hundred or so miles later — oops!  we just blew off our responsibilities but oh well! We had fun.

Denise – Unstoppable

Some people say that we are tested when we undergo challenges that make life not quite so easy.  And when we go through them, some of us ask “why me?”  And we wonder if there is going to be a time-limit and get nervous with worry as we wonder how to handle the situations that face us.

Then there are those individuals who experience hardship and don’t question it.  They stay focused on what needs to be done and get it done.  Denise is one of those kind of women.  She is a single mother of four and the main caretaker for her elderly mother.  Two of her children have lifetime medical issues.  Denise used one of our favorite terms “unstoppable.”  Read her story below.



Denise, what do you do for a living?

I am a certified home health aide.


Full time, part-time?

Part-time because I have to be available in case my daughter has a medical emergency.


What kind of medical emergency might your daughter have?

She’s got type 1 diabetes and is on insulin.  She was diagnosed as a diabetic when she was eight years old.  She’s eleven now, on the pump and is fairly stable, but there are still times when her blood sugar and the insulin can get out of control.

For someone on insulin, you constantly have to check blood sugar, be injected with insulin at the right times and eat a certain kind of diet.  She can’t eat candy and cakes and stuff that other kids eat.

When she was going to school after she had been diagnosed, the nurse wasn’t monitoring her properly so I had to go into the school and really assert myself and stay on top of what was going on with her.  I also had to be available at the drop of a hat in case I needed to go get her or get her to the hospital.

She also has severe headaches on occasion…she has a problem with her nervous system and they can’t figure out what the cause of it is nor how to cure it.  That results in her being exhausted, having severe headaches and just needing to lay down often.  She had no energy and no stamina.  And because there was no known cause or cure, she had to go to pain management classes.  — Can you imagine?  A little girl having to learn pain management.  That kind of stuff just blew my mind.    She had to be home schooled for two years because she just couldn’t go to school.   She didn’t have the energy and she was in pain constantly.


The doctors don’t know what this is and what causes it?

No.  And, I’ve been to every kind of doctor imaginable – neurologists, pediatricians, natural doctors who suggested supplements and dietary changes – for years I’ve been to everyone – every specialist possible.  I did not stop and have not stopped with trying to find out how to help my child to be healthy.   It is so painful for me to watch my baby be in pain and to hear her expressing how much pain she is in and not be able to do anything about it.   I am not leaving any stone unturned.  I’m on the internet researching every single day about this problem with her neurological system and her diabetes.  I keep praying that something turns up.


Right now she’s doing well and is in school, correct?

Yes and I am so proud of her.  She extremely bright.  She gets high A’s on everything – absolutely everything.


What was the medical situation with your older daughter?

I was so very angry.  Since she was born she had a problem with her right shoulder.  For years and years the doctors had me taking her to various kinds of therapy treatment and nothing worked.  She still held her shoulder funny and was always in pain with it.  As she got older her spine was starting to curve as if she had scoliosis.   By this time she was eight years old.  I finally took her to a chiropractor.  After a couple of weeks of treatment, they realized that something was wrong.  The spine was not being corrected, wasn’t being straightened.  They took an x-ray and lo and behold, her shoulder was deformed.  What happened was during the delivery, when she was being born, her shoulder was dislocated and that’s how it stayed for her entire life.


I can’t believe with all of the different doctors and therapists that I had taken her to that no one discovered this.  No one ever took an x-ray.  I am so very angry about this and the statute of limitations had run out so I couldn’t go back and sue the doctors or the hospital.  Plus, a lot of attorneys were hesitant to take my case.  I guess everyone is part of the good old boys’ network or something.  But, I was so very angry.


So what happened then?

Once I was made aware of what the problem was, I got connected with a children’s hospital in Boston.  The doctors there did reconstructive surgery on all the bones of her shoulder, the joint, blades and her arm.   Everything was totally reconstructed.  They said that when she turns 21 she will have to have reconstructive surgery again simply because the bones were never allowed to grow properly in the beginning.  So, they will have to reconstruct the shoulder and the joint again after she finishes growing.


When All Else Fails, The Family Looks to Mom

The northeast area of the U.S. (Connecticut and Massachusetts) got hit with an early winter storm on October 29th.  There were still lots of leaves on the trees and the heavy, wet snow accumulated on them.  The weight snapped branches.  As I sat in my quiet house, I could hear branches breaking in the nearby area.  Crack, boom! was a sound going on everywhere.  The result was the loss of power almost everywhere.  Banks are closed.  Schools are closed.  Grocery stores and gas stations were closed.  People did not have access to basic necessities.  The power outage was a severe one and widespread as I went to both states to try to find access to an ATM with power and food.  Everything was down.  I learned.


There’s a small safe in my house with no cash in it.  Our food was sparse as I had planned to get to the grocery store after the snow.  I had about half a tank of gas.   Fortunately, there was one grocery store open and I could write a check to pay for my food.  But there was no way I was going to sit in gas lines and fortunately, I could wait.  However, I have a gas can in my basement that should have been full.  So, now it will be once things are back to “normal.”


In some parts of Africa, it is the woman’s responsibility to provide food for the family.  It is the woman who tends to the gardens and has vegetables and spices to feed the family.  She also fetches the water.  If men go hunting and return with nothing, the woman is prepared.

My father’s words ring true.  Always be prepared for an emergency.  Now I will take stock of medical supplies in my home – band-aids, bandages, medicines, etc.  I have my checklist of storable food and will absolutely start keeping cash in the safe.  Blankets?  No problem.  This is New England.  I’ve got those. Ladies, be prepared.  When all else fails, the family looks to us.



Through the Fire – Chileshe Mumbi

Chileshe Mumbi is a woman who has come through the fire – literally.  Instead of the usual Q&A, we will let her tell her story her way.   We never know how strong we can be until we have no choice but to be strong.   Chileshe, thank you for sharing your story of strength and inspiration.

Chileshe lives in Zambia with her son.

On December 19th 2009, around 9:00 am, which was an hour after I left home for work, I received a phone call from my next door neighbor that my house was on fire.  I got confused.  I didn’t know where to go.  The company I used to work for had a driver take me home.  By the time I got home, the entire house was in ashes and everything in it, including my legal documents like the birth certificate for my son who was just 1 1/2, all my school certificates and diplomas were gone.  Everything was gone.  All we had literally, were the clothes on our backs – my son and I.


I asked the maid who watched my son in my home what happened and she remained ignorant about everything.  She said she was outside and came back in to get something from the bedroom and the bedroom was on fire.  She called for rescue but by the time they arrived,  the whole  house was in engulfed in flames.


Life became rough and tough especially given the fact that I am a single mom.  I had no one to run to for help except my relatives.  They didn’t give much help apart from comforting words.  I cried without stopping as I tried to figure out how I would feed my baby and how I would dress him.  A few people donated some clothes and gave me money to buy food and clothes for my son and myself.


I lost totally everything and I had to get leave from work, as I needed much time to settle the whole thing.  My then employers only gave me 10 days leave.  I felt this was not enough time for me to start life over again.  They gave me a loan of 4,000,000 zambian kwacha which is 800 US dollars.  The money I was given seemed not to be enough, as I was confused and didn’t know what to buy first.  But I thank God for giving me the wisdom and the strength.  I bought a few clothes for Emmanuel (my son) and myself.


My dear friends, loosing everything you have in life is something that is more or less compared to losing your loved one.  After what I went through, I have learned that in life you have to remain focused regardless of what is going on.  I am a very positive, hard working person and I always believe in myself.  Through determination, hard work and with GOD I was able to pull through this situation.


During my leave I developed a very serious high blood pressure condition.  The doctors said if I was not going to get over what was going on I may just collapse and die.  So I had to control my thinking.  Believe me it was not an easy road.  What made it even worse was that my then employers used to pay our salaries very late.   Sometimes we would go for 3 months without getting paid and all that made my life and stay very difficult.


I was also in the process of looking for a better job.  And though much was going on during this whole situation, I told myself never to give up on the job search.  I kept looking for jobs all over the country.   I sent applications to almost each and every job advertisement I came across if it sounded similar to my qualifications and experience.


Finally on 23rd of April 2010 I received a phone call inviting me for an interview which was held on the 26th of April.  I told myself this is the time for me to move on with my life.  Luckily, on the same date as the interview I was sent to Lusaka (the capital city of Zambia) for training and that is where the interview was held.   So I had an opportunity to attend both the training and interview.


The 26th of April finally came and I interviewed for the position, but was told it was very competitive.  I understand though that things happen in God’s time and no one can change that.   Two days later after my interview I received another phone call to say I was the successful candidate and I was offered the position of Project Administrator.  It was in Chom town, which is the southern part Zambia.  I was so excited, I cried and I prayed to God like no man’s business for the wonderful opportunity that came forth.


Since I had to relocate from the northern to the southern part, the company that offered me the job graciously paid for my moving costs.  That made the move so much easier for me.


Right now my son and I are happy.  I have managed to buy a piece of land where I want to start building a house and my son will be starting his pre-grade next January.

Strength, Dedication, Love & “Hope”

Women are the care takers on the planet.  That is one of our instinctive functions spiritually.  A lot of us understand intellectually that there may come a time when our elderly parents may require full-time care. Some people are prepared for it, some are not.  One thing we can ask ourselves is can we take care of our parents the way they cared for us as children?  Caring for our spouses and children seems a little more natural, but parents?


Hope Gamble, without hesitation, made arrangements to care full-time for her mother.  She shares her story with Women Move the Soul.






 Were you prepared to care for your mother full-time? Had it been something that you thought about previously? What kind of process did you go through as far as your thinking and your emotions?


My mom has always been a strong woman.  She and my dad raised 9 children, me being the youngest. We have always lived in a house and always have always had enough food and clothing. My mom watched my children when I worked; I never had to worry about finding daycare or outside child-care for my children. When she got to the age where she could not work anymore, she stayed home and my dad worked.


In 2009, she became ill. She had not been to a doctor in 30 years and she could hardly move because her legs were so swollen. I tried to get her to go to the doctor’s, but she said its nothing a “Bayer Aspirin” would not cure. By June 2009, we had to have a nurse come to the house every other day to wrap her legs and check on her. I ended up quitting my job at the library because unfortunately my other siblings could not come and check on her daily like she needed, and dad was working.


One day at the end of August, my dad came home and sat on the edge of the bed and said he did not feel well. He went into the hospital that Friday, and mom went to hospital the following Monday. My dad found out he had cancer and my mom found out she had gangrene in the leg and needed to have it amputated. After mom got her leg amputated, we found out my dad had four weeks left to live. He said “dont tell your mother.”  It was one of the hardest decisions I have had to make in my life. I chose to tell her.


Hope's dad and her son

I wheeled my dad in to see my mom and the first thing she said was “Do you have any money hidden in the walls?”…It was so funny and at the same time so sad to see my parents who have been married 56 years…who grew up as kids on the farm together in Pamplico, South Carolina…who have NEVER been separated look at each other like they did.


I had the help of hospice to take care of dad at home until he passed Oct 8, 2009.  He was my best friend –  My Ace!  I was the “baby” and my dad and I were so close. My mom and I always had a relationship that was somewhat “strained”.  Maybe a lack of communication, or whatever it may have been…my dad was always the buffer. I went through so many different emotions when he passed. I felt as though he “left” me with all these responsibilities. I was sad and angry and cried every night.


I would go to the nursing home every day to see mom and I took care of the house and everything that came with it. My brothers and sisters would not offer much help so I basically had to do it on my own. I learned so much going to the nursing home everyday. Even after having 3 knee surgeries, I was not worried about how I would take care of mom in the “physical” sense…I worried about the “emotional” part of it. Would we get along?…”Would I be able to please her?” …”Where can I run to if she gets me mad?”  Mom has been home since May 24, 2010, the day after my 40th Birthday and I must say that we are both doing well.


Cherish Your Mom

by Mary Graham


My mom is one of a kind. She’s a beautiful woman.  If it wasn’t for her I don’t know where I would be in my life.  My mother has been with me through thick and thin.  I appreciate every moment with her because when she’s gone it’s too late to say the things you want to say to her.


My mother has eight grown children and a whole lot of grandchildren and great, great grand children.  My mother is now 83 yrs old and I thank God for her everyday.  My mother is very special to me.  She taught me to be a good mother to my children.  She also taught me to lean on the Lord because sometimes things are not always going to be roses. My mother always made sure that we had the things that we needed.  Sometimes we didn’t always have, but she made sure that there was something under the Christmas tree every year.


How many of us have taken our mother for granted?  Things are not the same as they were when I was growing up.  So much has changed over the years.  The one thing that I would never forget is how my mother struggled to make sure that we grew up to be young men and beautiful women.


I now have grown children of my own and grandchildren.  I try to instill the best into all of them like my mother did for me.  I will always love my mom.  She brought me in this world.  Remember you only get one mother.  Cherish her everyday of your life.