images-52Yesterday on her return from the Essence Jazz Fest in New Orleans, former Bennett College and Economist President Julianne Malveaux posted something quite amazing on her Facebook page. Here is what she wrote:

“I wish that all of my sisters can be released of the pain they carry around. Walked Burboun Street with two of my young’uns last night (well I was back in my room by 2:30, I think they stayed out until 4). In the time I walked I was stunned by the number of sisters without joy in their eyes. Oh, they were looking good, and there was some laughter, but too many were walking down Burboun like it was a death march (perhaps I exaggerate slightly), a duty, not a joyful experience. And the street was packed, but there wasn’t alot of connection. It made me sad. ..I met a sister who saves all year to come to New Orleans, she and her 32 year old daughter. Mama was far more joyful than baby girl though, mama bubbling up with smiles. Young sis looking great, but nearly vacant eyes. I want to hear from FB friends about this pain and how we can heal it. Or am I simply overreacting?”

No Julianne you are NOT overreacting. You are 100% on point. And you nailed “the look” that our baby girls have in their eyes-it is void, soulless, angry, broken, wanting, fearful, and careless. I don’t say this to condemn them. I love them as do you. That is why I wrote that tome known as “Black Woman Redefined”. We have labored together at Bennett College to speak life to these beautiful creatures, to try and instill in them a sense of purpose, destiny, and the belief that they can have it all.  But like you I am worried that the notion of “having it all” is forcing us to “do it all” and in turn, we are missing what “being it all” is truly all about. “Being” is about living present. We have failed to model healthy lifestyle choices for them. We have failed to model peace for them. We have failed to model fulfillment for them. We have failed them. Is it any wonder they look so void?

The other piece that is real, is that black women are simply exhausted by life. We are beyond sick and tired. Many of us are quietly depressed, hurt, struggling, and alone. We look great on the outside, but the truth is so many of us are hurting on the inside. And we are playing it out on the stage of life. The Basketball Wives, The Real Housewives are in many ways art imitating life. That is real. We are angry. We do go off. We are simply tired. Many of us fear being alone, so we make bad choices to avoid that fate. We put up with the unthinkable to keep our status and things, because we know the stigma that often comes with being labeled, “strong, independent, lonely.” Sisters it has to change. Something has to change.

The solution has to begin with us teaching them what we did not get right. We have to help them to “Redefine Success”. It has to be on a new set of terms. Ones that don’t leave us all feeling so damned exhausted and worn out. We, the women of Gen X and the Baby Boomers have to step up and help our young sisters to be better women. It starts with what we model and sanction to them in our homes, our marriages, our churches, our relationships and in our workplace behavior.

Sisters it’s time to heal. We owe it to these young women. They need us.

Sophia A. Nelson

Chairman & Founder, My Sister to Keep



easily-offended-ppl-button-600x250You know at some point in our lives, in fact often, we are going to get offended. It is a natural, normal rhythm of life. The sooner we embrace that truth, the sooner we will set ourselves free from a lot of needless hurt, pain, and disappointment.

Yet, why is it that when someone hurts us, or fails us we want to execute them.  Sentence them to life imprisonment without hope of parole.  Why are we all so condemning and harsh when in reality we all fail, we all fall short, we all need forgiveness and grace daily in our lives.  Whether it is the person we offended at the office unknowingly, or the spouse we have neglected unwittingly, or the kids we promised to spend time with that we just can never seem to make the time for.  Whatever it is, big or small, YOU, ME and WE have offended others in our walk.  We will do so until the day we die.

The deal is this: It is okay to be offended as long as you don’t let it destroy you and others. The Bible teaches us about how to handle offense. It calls on us in Matthew 18:15 to go to the person who has offended us (if we are in the body of Christ–but I would argue it is a universal principle of how we should handle conflict) and try to alert them to their offense–truthfully, people are NOT mind readers so if you don’t tell someone what they have done how can they do better? Secondly, it teaches us to take it a step further if the offender will not see the error of their ways, take mature, respected witnesses in the body with you who know of the offense or who can help mitigate the offense. The goal is to bring the two believers back to a place of reconciliation just as GOD reconciles with us every time we sin or offend him and he forgives us. GOD is grace in action. We should strive to model Him. The passage of scripture only counsels us to walk away after we have exhausted all means of being reconciled with the offender and he/she refuses to be reconciled.

At that point the offense is no longer between the two of you, it is now between that person and GOD.  Don’t miss this folks: If you do not forgive those who hurt you, curse you, and use you GOD will not forgive you your offenses. More importantly, saying ‘”I forgive you” and then cutting off, ripping at, slandering, or gossiping about the offender is not true forgiveness.  And we all know that just makes common sense.  You have to extend to others the same grace you want when you mess up, because trust me you WILL mess up.  There is a dangerous notion going around in our culture that it is okay to hurt people, it is okay to curse them, cut them off, judge and condemn them and then walk away. NO, it is not. If you are a Christian, you are called on to act like Christ. Period. You cannot be in church leadership or be a member of the body and treat people badly, give them nasty looks, get people to dislike them because you two fell out, or worse. This is just not right by any biblical standard.

When someone I love offends me I try to follow these simple steps–I may not get them right at first but trust me I will get them right eventually because I get that I too cause offense to others and need their grace, covering and love to make it through this journey called relationship:

1. First I try to respond and not react. I usually fail at this step like most humans depending on the situation but once I cool down, pray and seek some counsel which I always do, I will go to that person in a right and loving way and seek to communicate properly.

2. I try to see the person face to face in a safe setting or with some mediators who can help us to both be heard, if we cannot work it out alone. This is critical. Both sides must be heard and felt validate so they can move forward successfully and heal. The goal is to grow, not to grow apart. If we have love we cover one another not curse one another.

3. Know your boundaries. But don’t be overly sensitive to people. You cannot/I cannot control others. So stop trying. The best we can do is communicate our needs off of emails, texts, IMs. etc. and let people know what we need and what we want from them. We all have different “love languages” learn yours and that other persons and go from there.

4. Always stay in a place of love even when mad. I just went through this recently. A sister friend I adored really hurt, disappointed and went OFF on me. To such a degree that I suspect we may never speak again. I made mistakes sure. I owned my part but she is so stuck in her position, her self righteous condemnation of me, that she cannot see her own bad acts, sinful behavior, and damage to our relationship.  She refused to talk, to work it out, or save the friendship which was really quite valuable to us both (or at least I thought so).  I saw her just this past week at a conference and I so wanted to go up to her, hug her, tell her I loved her and was there for here despite what happened, but fear kept me from it. I truly forgive her for the hurt she caused me and be clear that hurt runs deep, but that is what love does–it covers–and we move on.

5. Finally, I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes.  How would I want to be treated? How would I want to see this play out.  I stay submerged in wise counsel–people who want to uplift, help people be healed and reconciled–not gossipers, yes men, and followers who allow me to stay in my error and not correct me so I can grow and transform. Too many of us surround ourselves with yes men, who never confront us about us.  It is the quickest way I know to wreck yourself and block your blessings.

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professional-business-women

Happy Mother’s Day! Below is a Special Mother’s Day Message from our Chairman & Founder Sophia A. Nelson and it taken from her award winning book “Black Woman Redefined” chapter 9 Empty Womb: Broken Heart Redefining Motherhood

“The English Language lacks the words to mourn an absence. For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child, or friend, we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful, some not. Still, we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only ‘I am sorry for your loss.’ But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent, ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?” —Former First Lady Laura Bush, Spoken from the Heart

EXCERPT Chapter 9 pp. 199-200:

The issue of motherhood and the accomplished twenty-first-century woman is an emerging topic of interest across race and gender lines. Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, black women with four-year college degrees and higher are disproportionately childless. Some of us are in denial because we cannot bear to face the pain, and others have become proactive and opted for adoption or artificial insemination, asked a male friend to be a sperm donor the old-fashioned way, or raised nieces and nephews as their own kids in the absence of the biological parents.”

For those of you who are now in your late thirties, forties or older, facing midlife can be hard enough, as perimenopause begins and your body starts to change. But facing midlife without having met one of your most precious goals—the goal of motherhood—is even harder for such driven, successful planners like us. A USA Today article about this new generation of so-called working non-mothers is on the mark:

“They are women who have birthed successful careers, accumulated status, and achieved comfortable incomes. But they have never gotten around to having the one thing they always intended: a child.

New research, some of it controversial and already creating a stir, indicates there are legions of these women from Wall Street to Hollywood Boulevard. And their message to their younger sisters is: Get a plan. Envision your life at 45, and if you want that life to include a child, think now about how you will make it happen. I’ve talked with many black women on college campuses across the nation about motherhood, and I could see the fear in their eyes as they struggled to ask me how not to end up in my shoes: well-educated, successful, and childless. They shouldn’t feel bad for asking. It’s a fair question to any woman who offers to mentor young women. Every woman has the right to want to be an accomplished career girl and a mom, too. You can have it all, sweet sisters, but maybe not all at once.

So What to do?

Here are some suggestions for how we can Redefine Motherhood in this new time, and make sure that we take care of those among us who often feel left out, lonely, and wounded when it comes to broken dreams of Motherhood:

  1. Keep your body and reproductive health in check from your teens through child-bearing years-avoid unsafe sex, unwanted pregnancy, STDs, etc. Eat healthy, exercise, consider your birth control choices and how that might affect fertility down the road.
  2. Take special care to avoid Fibroid growth–eat healthy, avoid stressors, or anything that contributes to their growth.
  3. Have a PLAN early about family planning, marriage, kids so that you have a work-life balance strategy. Do not let your career goals and plans overtake your life. Make dating a priority. It must be a priority to find a husband if marriage is what you desire. Period.-Strategy-strategy-strategy. (See Soledad O’Brien Essay in 1st ed. Hardcover of book)
  4. Consider freezing eggs or making embryos and saving them if you marry young and want to wait till later for kids, or even if you are not yet married but have a male partner in mind.
  5. Explore adoption and other options that may be of interests to you, and have a plan of how you might cope with being a single mom raising kids on your own if you make that choice.
  6. Be a mentor, be a great aunt, and enjoy all the kids in your life or community will rejoice and welcome your love, affection and wisdom

Join Me on Twitter this evening on @sophiaredefined for our Twitter Chat on this very subject. Hashtag #PANK #EmptyWomb 8PMET/7PMCST.

real-housewives-reunion-400x295Black women love their sister-friends. This, we know for sure. And yet when we’re in conflict, why do we so often find ourselves lashing out and deeply wounding the very same sister-girl we claim to love so dearly? Let’s not even talk about how much mudslinging we witnessed between sisters on the Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion last night.

ESSENCE.com contributor Sophia A. Nelson recently tackled Black women’s friendships and how we treat each other in her “Sisters Heal” series (Read part one, and part two), featured on ESSENCE.com.

Inspired by the countless number of sisters chiming in on the subject, ESSENCE.com has teamed up with Nelson to host a live Twitter chat on how we, as Black women, can best heal some of our broken relationships with each other. Also joining us on the chat will be Certified Professional & Executive Coach Valorie Burton; brand identity coach, former Celebrity Apprentice star and author Marshawn Evans; and Rev. Jacquie Hood Martin, a Certified Leadership/Christian Life Skills Coach.   Click here to join the conversation at 8 p.m. EST. Be sure to follow @ESSENCEMag for questions and include the #SistersHeal hashtag in all tweets you send.

RELATED STORIES

Get Lifted: Sisters, It’s Time to Let the Healing Begin

Sisters It’s Time to Heal, Part I

Read more: http://www.essence.com/2012/04/23/twitter-chat-lets-talk-about-how-sisters-treat-one-another#ixzz1suH9KbPA

whitney-houston-dead“Where do broken hearts go, can they find their way home, back to the open arms of a love that’s waiting there. And if somebody loves you-won’t they always love you. . .”

I am shocked. I am saddened. I was crying as I penned this column in the wee hours of Sunday morning. I feel as if I just lost a big sister, someone who has traveled on my life’s journey with me. Singer Whitney Houston is dead at the age of 48, just 3 years older than me, she was an icon of Gen X, and I have every 45, cassette and CD she ever made. Every single one of them.

As teenage black girls growing up in southern New Jersey in the 1980s, she was someone unimaginable to us: young, black, beautiful, from Newark, talented, energetic, and she possessed a voice like something out of Gabriel’s Angelic Choir in Heaven. She set a new standard for Gen X, she was our Diana Ross, our Billie Holiday. I keep listening to “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” my favorite Whitney Houston song of all time. How appropriate and how sad to listen to the lyrics of this song and see the images of her face so young, happy, and full of life flash across the screen.

Whitney’s death was tough news to take on an otherwise quiet, cold, snowy Saturday night in February here on the East Coast. I had just gotten off Twitter for the night to settle in by the warm fire to work on my second book about the power of human connection, and the need for those of us in this present generation who are so busy, so harried, so hurried, so worried, so disconnected to refocus our attention on what truly matters in life. God, who would have thought that Whitney Houston’s death, much like Soul Train founder Don Cornelius, and Michael Jackson’s deaths before her would prove so painfully my premise. Although we do not yet know the cause of death of Ms. Houston, we know this: She was troubled. She struggled with drug addiction, with depression, with career setbacks, a very public divorce and fall from entertainment royalty.

Unlike Don Cornelius who took his own life and was clearly battling depression, and Michael Jackson who arguably took his own life by consenting to the use of powerful prescription drugs to put himself to sleep routinely, Whitney Houston was seemingly on her way back up with the upcoming Sparkle movie, and rumors that she may even serve as a judge on one of the American Idol type shows. She looked well. But, I remember another songstress, Phyllis Hyman that I had occasion to see in concert at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington DC in the summer of 1994; she looked fabulous, her voice was great, she said she had just returned to church, given her life back to God, and was looking toward her future. Months later she died of an overdose.

Much will be written in the next days, weeks, and months about Whitney and we will all mourn her loss for years to come. Yet, what I wanted to impart to us all tonight is this: Stop. Look. Listen. to those around you. People are hurting right in front of our very eyes, but we often turn away or we don’t want to be bothered. We are too busy after all. Tragically, we are losing the great ones and our very own loved ones to depression, sadness, suicide, isolation, drugs, brokenness, or worse. Folks, whether you believe in a Creator or not, whether you believe in an afterlife or not, one thing we all know for sure: We will all surely die. This is something we all must experience. Death comes as a thief, none of us knows the day or hour so we would be wise to live our lives fruitfully, faithfully, and fulfilled in whatever time we have.

My personal take away from yet another tragic loss of such a young gifted fellow human being is this: We need one another. We are all connected. We all need love. We all need support. We all need encouragement. And most of all we all need redemption, and second chances when we fail. We all need and want forgiveness when we err, and we want to trust again every time we are hurt. We want to love again and again and again. Sadly, we don’t. When we fail, or we get hurt; we often get stuck. We wallow in regret, guilt, and self-deprivation. The only way we survive the storms and shoals of our lives is through the grace of a loving God, the helping hands of good friends, and the loving hearts of our families. Thus, we should take greater care of what truly matter. Take care of what is truly precious. All we get to take with us is love, folks. That is it. None of the accolades, accomplishments, or money comes with us.

In the final analysis, Whitney Houston did it her way. She knew great heights, great success, great fame, great fortune, and great accolades. Yet, she also knew great pain, great humiliation, great sadness. Despite it all, she gave us a great gift in her unforgettable voice. May she rest in peace, may God bless her family especially her young daughter, and may we all pause truly for a moment to ask how we find our way back home, to what truly matters in our lives.

*This article was reposted with all rights reserved via huffingtonpost

My Sister to Keep Undertakes Annual Daniel Fast 21 Days

Posted February 13th, 2012 by admin

sisters-joinedThe annual “My Sister to Keep” (aka, formerly I Am My Sister’s Keeper) is underway. Members, friends and supporters of the new “My Sister to Keep” organization have joined from all around the nation and even a few globally in Africa, Paris, London, Austria, and South Africa.  The new focus of the organization as a more open, inclusive, global women’s group has propelled exponential growth of our presence on social media as well as organizationally.

The annual fast has a theme for 2012: Sisters Fast for Renewal. It fits in with the overall new mission and theme of the now 8 year old organization (founded in May 2004). Please join us for a relaunch of the site, blog and organization this Spring 2012.  Until then you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and here on the Blog.

new_years_sign_feat

Welcome 2012 a Year to Live on Purpose. . .

Posted January 2nd, 2012 by admin

new_years_sign_feat“It is never too late to have a life, and never too late to change one.”–Nike, Just Do It (1990)

It’s that time again–a New Year is upon us and you can feel the excitement in the air. 2011 was quite a year for me personally. I have much to be thankful and grateful for as do we all. I became a published author by a major US Publishing house. My book was a nationwide top seller, received national coverage in Essence, Ebony, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NightLine, Tom Joyner, Michael Baisden, Philadelphia Inquirier, USATODAY and more and it won the 2011 African American Literary Award for Best Non-Fiction Book in a very competitive field with several perriennielNew York Times Best-Sellers.  I also got to travel our great country on a book and college tour that will continue throughout 2012. It was truly a humbling and exciting year for me professionally and socially.

Yet, as I came into the last 8 weeks or so of 2011, I was faced with a series of serious personal challenges that rocked me to my core. Like most of us, I had to keep going, put on my game face and do my best to muddle through. But as I head into a new year, a new season of my life (as I turn 45 on January 5th (just 4 days from now)), I have made but one RESOLUTION for 2012 and that is this: I have none.  My one goal, my one desire, my one MUST do Action item for 2012 is to be simply and truthfully, unapologetically and Authentically Sophia Redefined.

I would gently urge all of you to seriously consider the following things I am about to offer because I am living everything I am about to say in my own life right now, so it is coming from a place of real time–it’s time to make a decision and be about the doing, instead of the talking as my good friend Jacquie Martin likes to say.

All of us know that around the last week of December we all get frenzied, crazed and focused on what we need to do in a New Year ahead. The problem is, and studies prove this that 90% or more of people who make resolutions to lose weight, get closer to God, build new lives, give up on those resolutions within 6 weeks or less and go right back to their old habits and comfort zones.  So my guidance and suggestion for all who care to listen is to NOT fall into that trap. Instead focus on these five things that I believe are at the very core of what makes us happy, fulfilled and complete as human beings:

1. Get Your Mind Right in 2012. Simply put everything we think about we bring about. If you think negative thoughts, hold on to hurt, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness you will die a long and painful emotional death. You will still be living my friends, but you will become the walking dead. Trust me on this. Your body follows your mind. If you mind is sick your body will be sick. If you are carrying a spirit of heaviness and hurt; your body will be heavy and hurt. Denial is a beautiful thing until it catches up with YOU. And it always does. Heal your mind and you will heal your LIFE.

2. Know Your Value in 2012: Sounds trite but it is so true–If you don’t love YOU first no-one else will. The fact is we teach people how to treat us.  Get rid of the tapes you were fed as a kid. Get rid of negative messages others gave you about you. Throw off old definitions that put you in a box and that limit not unleash your potential. Love you. Treasure you. Put you first and others will respect your value and worth. Trust me on this.

3. Reconnect with those You Love in 2012: Ask yourself a hard question: what do I do with my time everyday? What do I value? How do I spend my time? Why am I so busy? Do I give my kids, spouse, parents, siblings, friends and loved ones my best? If we are all honest, 99% of us fall real short in this area of our lives. Do better in 2012. Get your mind right and get your priorities right as time is not our friend folks. It waits for none of us.  Live your life and reconnect with the people that matter to you in 2012.

4. Allow yourself to be Loving & Vulnerable in 2012: This is it here folks. Where the rubber meets the proverbial road.  Everything we are, everything we want starts with a desire to be loved and to feel valued; worthy. But love can only come (boy did I learn this late in my life) from an open heart and the ability to be vulnerable in our lives. Be open. Be vulnerable. Let people see your heart. Let them love you, help you, nurture and support you. It will change your life.

5. Surround Yourself with Winners, Builders, Prayers in 2012: The Bible says that the power of life and death is in the tongue. The Bible says to walk in the counsel of the Godly. The Bible says that two are better than one; that iron sharpens iron and so forth. The premise is that we are NOT meant to live this life alone. That we need help. That what people speak to us, about us, or around us seeps into our hearts, minds, souls. So surround yourself with people that speak life into you. That build you up. That nurture your spirit. That are there for you. That you can trust and who can trust you. Have a prayer circle in your life. A love circle of sisters and gents who you can share anything with and trust that they GOT YOU!  This is the most critical piece of advice any of us can take. Trust me. I know.

I pray you have a blessed and wonderful start to 2012.  Live your Passion. Redefine your Life on your own terms and most importantly LIVE on Purpose!

Love,

Sophia A. Nelson

Chairman My Sister to Keep

sisters-joined National Media Release (November 28, 2011)

From the Chairman & Founder, Sophia A. Nelson, Esquire:

I am pleased to announce that for the past two years, since the 2009 (5th anniversary Holiday Tea) a very small group of founders and professionals have been discussing how we can truly have the greatest impact on the lives of African American women professionals in this nation. We have poked, prodded, analyzed, sought expert counsel and more as to what is the best way to connect the talent, expertise, and skill-set of black women in the corporate sector, as well as to help us as black women lead more fulfilling and healthy lives.

Finally, we have agreed on a strategy and new direction.

We are ReDefining, IASK, INC., into a healthy lifestyle, life coaching, life skills building, inspirational organization for all women.  Although we will continue to have an emphasis on the issues that plague African American women as one of our platforms, our goal is to build unity, sisterhood, and foster collaboration among ALL women of ALL races, creeds, Geographic Regions, and Faiths. We will offer webinars, etiquette training & coaching, workshops and forums quarterly for women that will feature some of the nation’s best and brightest thought leaders, educators, motivators, spiritual leaders, health experts, relationship experts and more.

To our members who have been with us since 2004 (we first started a paying membership system in 2006) and who have waited so patiently and wondered what was to come of “iask, Inc.,” we finally have an answer for you.  Our new name will be “My Sister to Keep” which is a hybrid of where we started in May 2004 (I Am My Sister’s Keeper, Inc.) and is in keeping with the notion & spirit of being able to “ask” one another for help, to uplift and support our sisters in time of need.

In the wake of the national success of my first book, “Black Woman Redefined” the new formation committee agrees that the goal of this great organization is to create a powerful and universal sisterhood in the vein of the work, example, spirit and conviction of our fabulous First Lady Michelle Obama. The organization will no longer be solely focused on professional black women, but instead on all professional women and our universal sisterhood.

Our website domain and name will all remain the same through February 2012. You can still visit us at www.iaskinc.org or www.iaskblog.com through that time. We have a new Facebook Group page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/mysistertokeep/) and a Twitter page @mysistertokeep. Our first event will be in the late fall of 2012. We will have a national “Living Redefined” conference that will be held in Washington, DC Metro and will be the premier event of its kind in 2012. More details, planning committee, speakers, and more to be announced in January 2012.

Over the past 7 years here is a quick recap of what the founders, members, and friends of IASK, Inc., have done for the community, for one another, for our Military and to honor other black women of distinction and character: (You can see photos and more via our website http://www.iaskinc.org):

  1. We raised in excess of $12,500 for the Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure” to fight Breast Cancer
  2. We raised over $5000 worth of goods, gift cards, and clothing for over 150 Military Families through the Walter Reed Wounded Warriors Program and Military Family Programs.
  3. We held groundbreaking workshops & forums on Depression, health & wellness, relationships at American University Washington College of Law’s Conference Center.
  4. We helped through our Award winning Benevolence team from 2004-present team sick, wounded, mentally ill, unemployed, dying, bereaved and displaced with financial support, visits, personal care, flowers, gift cards, groceries, prayer groups, family support, counseling services, peer counseling, and our Sister Buddy Groups.
  5. We activated national sisters buddy groups in 14 US cities and 3 countries (France,UK, & Africa) that are still thriving.
  6. We hosted five (5) Holiday Tea’s that became and IASK hallmark for their elegance, grace, class and honorees. The first Tea had 30 women in attendance, and the 5th anniversary Tea in 2009 had over 300 in attendance.
  7. We started several scholarship and award programs to support and honor women & girls who had done extraordinary things, under very challenging circumstances.
  8. We started a Men’s Advisory group to work with the sisters, to foster better communications and understanding in order to better build up the black family unit.
  9. In the historic 2008 election year we honored (and all accepted) the following women: CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, First-lady Elect Mrs. Michelle Obama, former Secretary of State Condi Rice, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux, & PBS’s Gwen Ifill.
  10. We started a Junior IASK Member program in honor of  the late Marissa Norwood, who was an honoree in 2009 and died of Brain Cancer that sane year at the age of 12 years old.
  11. We have worked in partnership & been sponsored by some of the nation’s biggest corporations: Coca Cola, Glaxo Smith Kline, Merk, Curves, IBM, Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte, The Washington Post, The White House, Essence Magazine (Time Warner), National law firms like Holland & Knight LLP and more. We have also worked with Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Links, Junior League and more.  We look forward to working with them as we go forward.

This is just a snapshot of what we did to positively change the lives of black women in this new Century. I will be writing a Chairman’s letter with more details to our dues paying members before the end of 2011. We look forward to working with all of you and building a global organization that truly sets the world aglow with love, collaboration, service, sisterhood and success!

God Bless,

Sophia A. Nelson

Chairman & Founder

beautiful-thanksgiving-table-decorations-18 Special to iask Sister Blog

Chairman & Founder Sophia A. Nelson

On this eve before Thanksgiving I wish to extend blessings and good tidings to all of our members, supporters, corporate partners, sister organizations and their families.

Thanksgiving is a time of remembrance, and gratitude for all God has provided, and for those we love and who love us. But it is more than that too; Thanksgiving is a time for us to reflect, and to care outwardly for others who are less fortunate than we.  We all know the story of the first Thanksgiving Holiday that took place some 400 years ago on the shores of Plymouth, Massachusetts. As boys and girls in school we learned that the Native Americans and the English Pilgrims broke bread together in honor of an uneasy alliance, and fledgling friendship.  It is the one holiday that we Americans celebrate that is uniquely American. And we honor it to this day.

But let us on this day, give thanks to an Almighty God who saves us. To an American Military Force that protects us. To a Nation that is still the shining city on a Hill for all the world to see. And mostly let us give thanks for our loved ones, our friends, and our houses of worship that will feed and clothe the needy on this day and throughout the year ahead.

God Bless and Be Safe this Thanksgiving!

woman-peaceful-400x295By Sophia A. Nelson, Esquire Special to Essence

We live in a time where the images of African American women often exist in extremes.

On the one hand we have First Lady Michelle Obama and all that she brings that is so positive and powerful about us, and on the other we have “Basketball Wives,” “Celebrity Apprentice,” and the “Housewives of Atlanta” depicting us as strident, raucous and downright mean.

We rarely see the image of Black women in balance, harmony, service and restoration. We rarely see average everyday working and professional black female Nurses, teachers, doctors, lawyers, tech experts, artists, entrepreneurs, ministers, engineers, hairstylists, make-up artists, journalists, and small business owners come together to heal themselves and in doing so, heal others who are less fortunate and in need.

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I had occasion as a journalist to witness over 50 ordinary hard-working women engage in extraordinary efforts to restore themselves to wholeness, rest, wellness, and balance. We laughed, we cried, we shared, we swam, we ate, and made merry–and in doing so, we also helped to “restore hope” to school aged children ages 4 through 12 in one of this hemisphere’s poorest nations: Dominican Republic (which after the Haiti earthquake of 2010 is now home to many Haitian orphans and families).

What made restoration so meaningful for me, however, wasn’t the fabulous spa treatments, sister fellowship, or the five star resort we were staying in (The Sanctuary in Punta Cana, Dominica, a property now managed by Salamander Hotels & Spa, owned by philanthropist Sheila Johnson). All of that was wonderful, but what made this trip meaningful for me was that Michelle Hargrove, the founder of Restoration Weekend, understood that the women who came to the Caribbean to restore themselves, also needed to leave their “heart print” with hundreds of school aged kids, who needed school uniforms, and school supplies. Hargrove wanted to change their lives, if even in a small way, for the better.

And change it she and her band of “restored” sisters did!

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The night before we all traveled by bus to Centro Educativo de Nazareth School, a bunch of us were stuffing bags, and sorting school supplies. As Michelle looked humbly out over the sea of 200 gift bags, and the dozens of blue polo shirts, school supplies, skirts, pants and shoes she said, “This is just an incredible outpouring of love these women have demonstrated with their gifts. Every child will get a bag with something in it and that will make such a difference in their lives if even for one day. It gives them hope that someone cares.”

Mrs. Jean Dye, who is part of the International Circle of Friends, and met Hargrove through a mutual friend in Newark, New Jersey, was onsite for the Restoration visit. She told me, “The cost to educate each child is approximately $7.00 per child, per month or in many cases the kids go for free or out of the generosity of the Guzman’s—sometimes bartering for work or skills takes place in order for kids to go to school.” Dye, who is a philanthropist and wife of International Golf Course Developer PB Dye works with the school founders, Victor & Neri Guzman to support their incredible efforts. The school which is self financed, started in December 2006, and serves approximately 250 poor children in Bavaro-Punta Cana, more than 50% of the children are Haitian.

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As Dye watched the children swarm the women with hugs she had tears in her eyes and quipped, “I hope these ladies know the enormous feeling of self-esteem each child will have now that they have their own shoes, back pack, clothes. I am just overwhelmed by the generosity. A good thing has happened here and will never be forgotten by this community.”

As for the women who attended and had a chance to experience personal restoration and project Restoring Hope:

“Restoration proved to be a time to not only restore my mind and soul, but it allowed me to sow good into the lives of children.” Said Atlanta based social media expert Robin M. Ware. Another event speaker, Mia K. Wright Co-Pastor the Fountain of Praise, in Houston said, “Going to the school reminded me of how blessed we are and that we have a humane responsibility to help the less fortunate. My heart was pricked to see the smiles on their faces. They felt our sincerity and love, we felt their gratitude.” Renowned OB/GYN Dr. Tomeka Strickland noted: “As a busy physician I rarely get to rest, it was an opportunity to take a rest from an intense schedule. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of and the quality of connection with 50 other amazing women. Amidst this phenomenal experience our time was balanced with an emotional and rewarding visit to the Centro de Nazareth School.” And lastly, Dianna Jones, Esq. added, “My experience during Restoration and at the Nazareth school we visited was life changing. Restoration weekend renewed, restored, and revived my spiritual, emotional, and mental foundations.”

Sister Sunday Take-Away: These women made a difference by first taking care of themselves and then by having enough love, compassion and spirit to share with these children. There is a life lesson here for us all who are often too busy, too harried, too worried and too stressed: Restoration really does lead to hope.

Sophia A. Nelson is an award winning author, Essence.com contributor and Freelance journalist who covers the White House and Politics in Washington, DC

fulfilledcover2010Jacquie thanks for talking to us at “My Sister to Keep” via our blog. Give us a prelude-who are you-why did you write this book–what are you trying to achieve? My anthem song as I was coming into my preteen years was Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman”. All the lyrics are appropriate, yet it is the chorus that became my mantra for 20-years of healing and living out my life in the world.

Chorus: Oh yes I am wise

But it’s wisdom born of pain

Yes, I’ve paid the price

But look how much I gained

If I have to, I can do anything

I am strong (strong)

I am invincible (invincible)

I am woman

Fulfilled! The Art and Joy of Balanced Living comes after years of self-reflection of how I have become the woman I am today. In 1976 my life took an unexpected turn, which I write about in the book. Prior to the book being written, it was a workshop series entitled Seven Biblical Laws of Fulfillment conducted over a two-year time span. In a few months the books’ principles and teachings will have been in print for 10-years. The book itself is an achievement of guiding others toward understanding their purpose, balancing their purpose, and living out their purpose in a meaningful way in society. We all have opportunities that will shake our foundation. The insight in the book guides people toward a life that is enriching and rewarding; a place where in their personal space they are at peace within.

Question 1: Why this book? Why now?The book is as relevant today as it was when released for purchase in 2001. The book is coming up on a 10-year anniversary–and my purpose is to continue to guide a new generation of individuals with managing the way they find their lives unfolding. I help people balance their purpose and find joy in their lives in the midst of and in spite of whatever else is going on with them and has gone on with them. In the book I weave personal tragedies and triumphs with biblical history, promises, and truths which afforded me the ability to emerge a whole, happier, and healthier person. The book like most things in my life, are strategically planned. I am a calculated risk taker. The journey to write the book began prior to getting married, but just shortly after I my role as Minister of Christian Education was coming to a close. It was time to build the legacy that had long past been revealed to me. I got married at age 36, and after a two-year physical writing process, and 15 years of internalization and reflection, the book was ready for public reading. I enjoy seeing people living out and applying, that which enables them to live their lives to the fullest. Now as a newlywed, I found that my own life lessons helped me to see the woman I was in the process of becoming. I like seeing people live out what I write about. In the book there are specific principles such as The Law of Perspective, The Law of Harmony, The Law of Creativity, and the Law of Empowerment; all which are critical to us as human beings.

Question 2: What is fulfillment? The primary principles in the book are biblically based; and whether you are a believer or not, the bible is often us as a resource for even learned men and women. In John 10:10—it is recorded by Christ “that I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full or more abundantly”. No matter if you are looking for fulfillment or abundant living, this promise is yours if you chose to accept and receive it. Each of us must you come to recognition that your life is waning and wanting for something more than what you are presently experiencing. This may not be true for all people, but in any given season or circumstance there is more we can gain and feel good about it. What keeps people from going after what they want? What they need? But more importantly what is keeping that individual from going after it!

Question 2b: How do you live your life to the full, which leads you to/toward fulfillment? As a person of faith I say, “as your life becomes faith-centered” you will discover you have not come by your success or accomplishment on your own; we have not done these things by ourselves. We come to understand destiny, and not determination alone, have paved the way for us to have access to information, resources, people, and tools that give us the ability to excel. Yet, there are those who are not of any faith or of a different faith and that fulfillment is possible even for non-believers, just not in the biblical sense of John 10:10. If you or when you operate under your own will and do not live your life casually–fulfillment and purpose can be interchangeable. There are two kinds of people: producers and consumers. We must define which one we are and then determine where we go in life with our choice. We all pine for relationships with something greater than ourselves—for the believer it is our relationship within the Trinity, partnered with people of influence. And, for the non-believer it is the association or affiliation with the influencers within their inner circle or the inner circles in which they choose to affiliate.

Question 3: What is the art of balanced living what does that mean? It takes finesse to live your purpose. The book speaks directly to those who have found it, are living it, and when the occasion arises need assistance in getting into rhythm again after life provides a few bumps and bruises. It also reaches those who have had difficulty find their way and once they have found it refuse to let anyone or anything deter them from the path. Discovering what you want from life and knowing how to get it can take you down a few different avenues. There is an art to honing your skills, influences people of your value and worth, and then exposing yourself to others, without becoming exploited or getting to high and mighty. The art of balanced living I liken unto knowing how to use wisdom wisely.

Question 3b: What about those for whom it is not so effortless? Some stumble upon what they are good at doing. It was there all the time, it simply went un-nurtured. One of the principles in the book is the Law of Creativity. We are all have hidden talents, pronounced gifts that manifest themselves when given the opportunity to do so. Some people are born to lead; others are trained to lead. And, when you are good and gifted at what you know you know how to do, you do it with flair and a delightful attitude. A je ne sais quoi! Yes, it is unexplainable how they do what they do with such ease and passion. No matter how you discover your passion, gift, or call in life…here is where the joy comes in. You believe you have a purpose and something to offer, yet finding your purpose make take you a little longer. It takes times to find your purpose and find what you are born to do. The one thing people understand is that they are not willing to live a life of mediocrity and will take the necessary steps to find purpose, balance, and positivity.

Question 4: Tell us about your ministry My life is a ministry. I was born to help people find balance to manage life’s everyday encounters. Everything I do centers around living out my purpose and helping others find and balance their purpose. It is my essence. Now as for careers in ministry I was the first female staff pastor at a church in Houston, where I served for ten-years as the minister of Christian Education, building programs that facilitate growth in God’s people. My last post was Co-pastor of a church I co-founded in Chicago, that offered family wrap around services such as a job search program, clothing pantry, life skills workshops, economic empowerment, and a place for teens to showcase creative Arts. Additionally, I was afforded an appointment as a College Vice President within the City Colleges of Chicago higher educational system. I am a people person and helping students discover their ability to learn so that they can provide for their families gave me the greatest since of fulfillment in fulfilling my purpose in the secular arena. Currently I am writing a few new books, taking speaking engagements, preparing for the 10-year anniversary events for this book, and sharing my life lessons through a 52-week column series I am writing for www.jacquiehood.com and http://www.hopeforwomenmag.com. The series is “How to Heal After the Reveal”. The face-to-face sessions include lunch or a cupcake celebration.

Question 5: Why do you think so many people seem unfulfilled in a time when we have so much? Split question! It is not that we have so much, is as much as we have access to so much; access which is unattainable and unavailable for some people. Equally, being unfulfilled is not about access as much as it is about missed opportunity and settling for less than what you are capable of achieving. And, it is at this juncture when gaining all that is available remains elusive. The book, Fulfilled! The Art and Joy of Balanced Living provides people with a chance to do things differently. To make peace with their past, to make better choices, to open their eyes and take a closer look at themselves and desire to dream bigger than they have ever dreamed prior to now. And, this time knowing they have a greater chance at accomplishing it because they have learned a few life lessons they can apply wisely as they go along their journey.

amy_winehouse_rolling_stone_magazine

“The saddest words of tongue or pen are these the words what might have been.”-Whittier

Today’s tragic news of 27 year old R&B singer Amy Winehouse is something that should make us all stop and think. Truly. Winehouse is one of a list of young singers Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jim Hendrix and others, who were so broken inside, so messed up on drugs, that they checked out on life and all of their potential well before the age of 30.

I know some will be tempted to say this is just a substance abuse problem but I disagree. Let’s take a look deeper.

Why would someone so young, so on top of their game, need to use drugs anyway? I am not talking about the casual smoke of pot or snort of cocaine that is sadly so acceptable with our young folks, but I am talking about the rythmic sounds of music that tells us a story of someone broken inside–we hear them but are we truly listening to the cry for help so obvious in their music. It reminds me of the late great Phyllis Hyman.  My girls and I used to remark in college and law school that either Phyllis or Sade would be likely candidates for suicide or drug overdoses because their music was so deep, so wounded, so real.  We all loved their music, we connected with it; which means that we all can relate to having a broken heart, feeling pain, losing love–but not all of us turn to drugs or alcohol to bury our woes.

My point is this–we all loved Amy Winehouse’s music, but we all also stood by and watched her kill herself, slowly in front of us all.  And that for me is where the real discussion should begin.  Why do we watch people we love, admire, and care for ruin themselves without so much as a word of intervention and care.  At the end of the day there are several lessons we should take from this tragedy and apply it to our own lives and the lives of those we love:

1. When you see a loved one, sister friend, or colleague openly talking about their depression, pain, loss or acting out through drinking, drugs, or sex that is a huge red flag! Have the courage and the character to pull your friend or loved one aside and INTERVENE.  That is Biblical, it is required and it is the only humane and decent thing to do.  Stop sitting on the sidelines. Get involved.

2. Be connected to your own emotions.  When I was going through my SADE phase in college-I had just lost someone I loved to cancer. I had started drinking a lot and yet I was very functional on the outside.  Good student, student body Vice President, loved by all.  The problem was I had a problem and listening to SADE’s words both healed and fueled my pain. She was singing my song.  She was writing and composing from a place of her own pain and hurt. We connected.  But I had a good friend who loved me enough to say you need to get to an Alanon meeting, and you need to stop drinking because you are in pain and you need help.  I listened and I got help and I stopped drinking for years until I could do so responsibly.  Look at me now.

3.  Finally, have a sanctum sanctorum around you. I talk about this in chapter 11 of my book “Black Woman Redefined”. It will be your safety net of women and men who will be there for you no matter what.  They have permission to kick you in the pants if need be, to pull you up and hold you to account when you become a danger to yourself. I would not have made it through the last decade of my life without this kind of support network.  I would not have weathered depression, pain and loss without this group of women and supporters that spoke life into me when all I wanted to do was lay down and die. I have been there as have many of us.  Amy Winehouse so needed a group of people like this in her life as did Michael Jackson before her.

In the end folks, we will all meet our maker.  We will all die.  So while we are here on earth we need to live, and live life fully to the best of our gifts.  And as we journey through we need to make sure that we are lifting up and caring for others along the way.

img011_800As I mention in chapter 10 of my book titled, “It’s the Climb: Facing Life’s Storms and Remaining Resilient” I have carried in my wallet a treasured piece of wisdom for over 17 year now from an old Nike ad campaign-it reads in part:

Sooner or later, you start taking yourself seriously. You know when you need a break. You know when you need a rest. You know what to get worked up about and what to get rid of. And you know when it’s time to take care of yourself, for yourself. To do something that makes you stronger, faster, more complete.

Because you know it’s never too late to have a life. And never too late to change one.

JUST DO IT

When I first read those words in 1993, they changed my outlook.  I was only 26 years old. I never knew how many times along my life’s journey that I would reach for those words again and again, and recall the power and impact of what they could mean for my life at each new phase and upon meeting each new challenge.  I was inspired to write this blog post this morning because I am now convalescing with pneumonia, at my home in Virginia, alone.  Sure, I have friends who care and are checking in on me, but I mean for the first time in my life I felt truly alone. My mom was not here, my family is all on the west coast, and I have had a lot of time to think about my life. Usually a dangerous thing (chuckles to self).

My brother and his wife of 14 years yesterday celebrated not only their wedding anniversary, but they also did something a bit odd for our time–they renewed their marriage vows in a formal ceremony by giving themselves the wedding they never had when they first got married back in 1998.  They were both young, in grad school, they married quickly by eloping and they had my eldest niece Alex shortly thereafter.  Knowing my brother as I do, I know he has never felt right about not allowing my sister in law’s family to give her a proper wedding, to have her dad walk her down the aisle, have our families all be present.  It was a wrong he felt had to be righted.  And although we all thought it was silly–to let the past be past-and to just keep moving forward; I have come to agree with his decision and the importance of why he did it.

Let me explain.

So many of us these days are the walking broken. It’s true. Oh, we smile, we look good, we sound good but inside broken. Hurt. Damaged. And most of it comes from old regrets, pains, things we wish we could change, but we feel STUCK. We feel as if we cannot right a wrong, or renew our minds, or mend our spirits.  But, the hard truth is that we CAN. We can always choose to be fully alive, engaged, and renewed.  Maybe more of us ought to think about renewing our vows to LIFE.  To live it, be engaged in it, to make that course correction, to make that apology, to extend forgiveness.  to Reconnect with God almighty in a truly wonderful and restorative relationship.

God knows I am so there myself.  I need to do all of these things on some many levels.  And each day that I wake up, I promise you I try to be better than the day before.

In the final analysis, my little brother has taught me a lot by doing the quirky out of order thing and re-marrying his wife after only 14 years.  He knew that is was not too late to bring the family together on both sides, black and white, old and young to rally around a joyous ceremony.  God knows we get so few of these times in our lives.  I sadly could not be there to see it all, but my aunts and nieces sent me great photos and so I felt as if I was there.  As I also say in my book, in chapter 8, I am proud of he Godly man my brother tries to be.  He is a great father to his two daughters–the two lights of my life.  And his desire to be a good husband, and to re-take his vows, when so many marriage are broken and ending is noble.

I think we can all learn a powerful lesson about having the courage to  JUST DO IT!  It’s never too late for any of us as long as we have the breath of life in us.

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images2 This past week the nation lost a great Civil Rights Pioneer: Clara Luper known to many as the mother of the Civil Rights movement, was the first person to organize an actual sit-in movement in 1958 in Oklahoma City.  Ms. Luper died at the age of 88.  We at iask celebrate and mourn the passing of this incredible, redefining black woman and all she sacrificed so that we living in this age might have a better and freer life as Americans.

This article below was written in the New York Times and we are reposting it in its entirety:

Her name does not resonate like that of Rosa Parks, and she did not garner the kind of national attention that a group of black students did when they took seats at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., in February 1960. But Clara Luper was a seminal figure in the sit-ins of the civil rights movement. Ms. Luper, who led one of the first sit-ins — at a drugstore in Oklahoma City 18 months before the Greensboro action — died Wednesday at her home in Oklahoma City, her daughter Marilyn Hildreth said. She was 88.

Ms. Luper was a history teacher at Dunjee High School in 1957 when she agreed to become adviser to the Oklahoma City N.A.A.C.P.’s youth council. The youngsters asked what they could do to help the movement. On Aug. 19, 1958, Ms. Luper led three other adult chaperons and 14 members of the youth council into the Katz Drug Store in Oklahoma City, where they took seats at the counter and asked for Coca-Colas. Denied service, they refused to leave until closing time. They returned on Saturday mornings for several weeks.

The sit-ins received local press coverage. Eventually the Katz chain agreed to integrate lunch counters at its 38 stores in Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and Iowa. Over the next six years, the local N.A.A.C.P. chapter held sit-ins that led to the desegregation of almost every eating establishment in Oklahoma City. “The actions that Ms. Luper and those youngsters took at the Katz Drug Store inspired the rank and file of the N.A.A.C.P. and activists on college campuses across the country,” Roslyn M. Brock, the group’s national chairwoman, said Friday.

Ms. Luper’s activism extended beyond the sit-ins. A week after that first protest, 17 white churches in Oklahoma City let members of her youth group attend services. At another church, a pastor asked two youngsters to leave, The Associated Press reported at the time. “God did not intend Negroes and whites to worship together,” he told them. Ms. Luper was arrested 26 times at civil rights protests. Now a street is named after her in Oklahoma City, and flags flew Friday at half-staff in her honor.

Born Clara Mae Shepard on May 3, 1923, to Ezell and Isabel Shepard, Ms. Luper grew up near Hoffman, Okla. Her father was a brick worker, and her mother was a maid. “When she was a child, her brother got sick and they wouldn’t treat him at the hospital,” Ms. Hildreth said. “That really triggered her.”

Ms. Luper is also survived by another daughter, Chelle Wilson; a son, Calvin; a sister, Oneita Brown; five grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild. Her husband, Bert Luper, died before her. Ms. Luper graduated from Langston University in 1944. In 1951 she earned a master’s degree in history from the University of Oklahoma, where she was the first black student admitted to a graduate history program. She taught at Oklahoma City high schools until she retired in 1991.

On the blog Stories in America, she said her father “had never been able to sit down and eat a meal in a decent restaurant.” “He used to tell us that someday he would take us to dinner and to parks and zoos,” she said. “And when I asked him when was someday, he would always say, ‘Someday will be real soon,’ as tears ran down his cheeks.”

Rest in peace sister, until we meet you again.

caregiverEditor’s Note: One of the things that iask is focused on is our physical health and wellness. In that context, however, is the important aspect of having a support network when we do fall ill or unexpectedly face a major health crisis. This week we want to spotlight one of our Member’s businesses IHASCares, Inc. that specializes in this important goal. None of us is an island—we cannot go it alone! IHAS manager & marketing director Candice Burke gives us some great insights on this important subject and provides 3 tips you should be aware of today.

Let’s face it, in the world that we live in today, women have a lot going on. We are mothers, wives, sisters, executives, teachers, care-givers, and daughters. We’re running companies, working late hours, raising children and servicing our communities. We are everything to everyone, and as a consequence, our emotional and as a result physical health is suffering.

Cancer, obesity, heart disease and diabetes are running rampant in the African American community. As a result, more African American women are faced with the reality of having to become caregivers for themselves and for other loved ones. But you don’t have to face these challenges alone, and you don’t have to worry about burdening family and friends. There are several things that can be done to minimize the burden of having to care for yourself or a loved one when they have become ill. Below are (3) three tips that can make managing your challenges a little more bearable.

1) Tip #1: Request your Medical Records- Gather all medical documents that you may need to manage your situation. Most people forget that you as a patient are allowed to ask for a copy of physician notes, lab results, or xrays. This type of information can usually be requested directly from your physician and specialists (some may charge a small fee to obtain this information), and you should ALWAYS have your own copy to take with you to appointments. It is also good to read through and ask questions about what may be listed on certain reports. So much is said when you are with a physician, and it can be easy to forget some important information he/she may have mentioned. Get a file folder or mini file cabinet to store all of your information.

2) Tip #2: Make YOU a priority- When an illness is present in your life, you may find yourself bombarded with people who mean well, but who could possible drain you more than help you. Learn that your first priority is YOU. When you get on a plane, who is the first person the flight attendant always says you should give oxygen to in case of an emergency? That’s right, YOU and THEN others. If you aren’t okay, there won’t be any way that you can help others or yourself. So take time. Say no to things that are overwhelming you. Take a  bubble bath, go for a walk, turn of the cell phone, blackberry or iphone. Log out of facebook.

3) Tip #3: Ask for Help- Most women who find themselves fulfilling the role of caregiver or who suddenly find themselves managing their own illness, have problems with asking for help. There are a variety of community resources available to assist individuals who have just become caregivers, or who find themselves overwhelmed by their medical situations. Case Management companies are excellent resources for the recently diagnosed, or for a new caregiver. These companies usually have registered nurses and social workers who’s job is to make your life easier. They can assist you with organizing and understanding insurance documents, scheduling appointments, and coordinating transportation to doctor’s offices, helping you determine the best questions to ask of your medical team, staying on top of all medications and they may even be able to save you some money (and with gas prices as they are, I’m sure everyone can appreciate more money in their pocket).

The point is, you are not alone and there are resources available to help you. Take time to see which of the solution mentioned above you can implement in your own life. And don’t delay. You are worth it!!!

You can contact Candice or learn more about her company:

Candice N. Burke

Manager of Marketing/Business Development IHAS Care Management Services (IHASCares) “I Have a Solution…And now so do you!”

14502 Greenview Drive, Suite 410

Laurel, MD 20708

www.ihascares.com