Sparkle a Little Brighter

 

Sparkle Brighter

There’s an old expression about human existence that says “in the end, no one gets out alive.” While that’s true, we all have whatever amount of time that we do have here, to live. In other words, to “be alive” while we are still living. To choose to be present. To make a decision to bring life to our moments (thoughts, attitudes, circumstances, expectations and relationships) or at least, allow life to infuse them. Life, in part, means energy, possibility and hope.

It is no secret that life ebbs and flows. Some seasons of our journey are simply more of a challenge. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have control over our attitude or mindset in the midst of those seasons. There may be times when you feel darkness creeping in, but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn up the wattage. Sometimes, we just need to plant a flag in it and say, “No more!”

When you feel darkness or discouragement closing in, take time to breathe in memories of goodness and joy, and the little things that have encouraged or lifted your spirit in the past. Let yourself reminisce about the things that once made your heart smile. Look for beauty in creation. Take inventory of the innumerable blessings (whether they’re things, people, discoveries or insights) that you have to be grateful for.

Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark. -George Iles

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible. -Christopher Reeve

Love is the light that brightens every heart’s darkness. -Bryant McGill

When the world says, “Give up,” hope whispers, “Try it one more time.” -Author Unknown

All of us have memory vaults filled with positive and beautiful gifts, some more than others, but no one is exempt. Sometimes we just need to lift the vault handle and be reminded. Hope believes. Love frees.

So here’s a friendly reminder: when the light dims, sparkle a little brighter.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Feelings Are Often Liars

 

Feelings Are Often Liars

How we feel is not necessarily indicative of what is. How we feel is often subject to those we have chosen to surround ourselves with, the voices we choose to hear, and the choices we’ve made for ourselves based on circumstances. Choice is about freedom. But our choices are not always what serve us best. Sometimes, through our freedom of choice, we end up crippled and imprisoned by that same freedom. Not by way of the freedom itself, but because we mishandle our own freedom. We sometimes make the wrong choice, and in turn, hurt ourselves or others in the process.

As I said in my last post, Feelings: Friend or Foe?, feelings can sometimes be fickle and sometimes be liars. A person can be told that they are worthless or ugly or that their dreams are stupid and will never come true. If they begin to believe those lies,  they’ll start to feel that they are worthless or ugly or that their dreams are stupid and they will never come true–essentially, coming into a false agreement.

There are people whose own parents, bosses or culture told them that they were worthless and would never amount to anything, and so, they didn’t. Women who have countless times been turned against by a lover, family member or so-called friend who labeled them “ugly” or “less than”, and they took that sting and allowed themselves to start believing and perpetuating that same lie to themselves. How often have we seen the pulling back of someone who once believed in their dreams, but because someone’s words tore the roots of their dream right out of their heart, they curled up and wilted right in front of our eyes?

On the other hand, there are people we know who have faced the same exact accusations, and yet, in the face of hate, hardship and hurt, chose to reject those words and those feelings. As if symbolically taking the poison arrow out of their own heart and saying in faith, this is not who I am. What a better way to take a stand and show the world, than to rise and to shine? It’s beauty from the ashes. It is shining a light of truth on a lie. It’s calling foul on the lie and on our own negative feelings. Even when it’s painful or uncertain, we stand. We keep moving forward. And importantly, we don’t wait to rise until we feel strong and able, but in our smallness, our weakness. Because we know, when everything feels hopeless and broken, feelings are often liars.

Best not to mix the past with the present. The present paints the past with gold. The past paints the present with lead. –Henry Rollins

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. –Lesley P. Hartley

Bring the past only if you are going to build from it. –Doménico Cieri Estrada

The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings. –Ralph Blum

Look not at the days gone by with a forlorn heart. They were simply the dots we can now connect with our present, to help us draw the outline of a beautiful tomorrow. –Dodinsky

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt. –William Shakespeare

Courage is the power to let go of the familiar. –Raymond Lindquist

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. –Anaïs Nin

I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship. –Louisa May Alcott

There is much in the world to make us afraid. There is much more in our faith to make us unafraid. –Frederick W. Cropp

Never let the voice of others drown out your dreams. Never let how you feel dictate who you are or where you want to go. Never let your past define you. Never let the circumstances of what has been, keep you from what can be. Our courage to climb a mountain, real or perceived, always begins, as the saying goes, with a single step.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Feelings: Friend or Foe?

One of the definitions of “feeling” is an emotional state or reaction, and in its plural form: a susceptibility to impression. The Merriam-Webster dictionary offers the following: feelings, emotion, affection, sentiment, passion mean a subjective response to a person, thing, or situation; and, “feeling” denotes any partly mental, partly physical response marked by pleasure, pain, attraction, or repulsion. This post is based on that little (yet powerful) word referring to our response to our “feelings”. The word is subjective.

Subjective — relating to the way a person experiences things in his or her own mind; based on feelings or opinions rather than facts.

How often have we heard others make comments like these, or we’ve thought or spoken them ourselves:

I hate how this feels. I love how this feels. I don’t know how I feel.

I feel unworthy. I feel helpless. I feel hopeless. I feel lost.

He makes me feel so unlovable. He makes me feel like a loser.

She made me feel stupid. She made me feel like I was a bother.

I felt like they never had time for me. I felt like I had no future.

It feels like no one cares. It feels like no one sees me. It feels like no one would ever listen to me.

I feel like I could take on the world. I feel so empowered. I feel like a million bucks.

I feel so old. I feel so young. I feel so ugly. I feel so pretty.

It makes me feel so vulnerable. It makes me feel so uncomfortable.

It makes me feel like a winner. It makes me feel like I’m nothing.

I feel like I have my whole life before me.

I feel like I can never overcome my past.

I feel like everyone else knows where they’re going, but not me.

Did you feel the rollercoaster of emotions, of feelings? We’re up, we’re down, we’re spinning around. I had a friend that used the expression, “like a box in the wind,” to describe uncertainty. And that’s just it. When we aren’t grounded within ourselves, we are likely to listen, consider, think and then eventually, believe what “they” tell us. And who are “they” anyways? Anyone outside ourselves, including the culture, the media, teachers or coaches, friends or strangers, parents or family members. Everyone busy telling everyone else how they “ought” to be or think or respond.

How unhealthy is that? It’s like giving away little pieces of the most valuable part of ourselves, our ability to think and make decisions for ourselves based on reality, not subjective or fleeting feelings based on circumstances or imaginations. People will have opinions, to which they are entitled, but we can’t allow other people to define us. Just because they try to doesn’t make it so. By the same token, our past does not define our future. Both of these have the potential to lock us into positions and places not based on reality, derailing what we were truly meant to accomplish, feel, and believe.

Certainly, feelings are an important part of being human. They are a gift. How magical it feels when love is present in our lives. How grateful we feel when we are blessed with unexpected kindness and goodness. Likewise, it is normal and important to be aware and feel concern when danger is looming or feel the heat of a hot stove warning us not to touch it. But to base our self-belief, dreams and futures on mere feelings, which can sometimes be fickle, and sometimes, be liars, is to allow ourselves to be robbed of our best, and the hope of what can be, the hope of who we can be.

If you’re one of the people who’ve been stuck in a place where someone else’s negative and untrue words or behaviors have invited you, it’s time for you to get “unstuck”. Get on up, and start dreaming again. Start believing for something more, something better. It’s not what “they” say. It’s what you say, and it’s what God says about you. Even if it’s hard, have faith that there is more for you waiting up ahead around the curve. You only have to be willing to take the first step, and then the second, and so on.

You were created for a purpose. What is that purpose? It’s your dream, it’s your life–choose to get on up and move forward. Your true life is waiting.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

 

 

 

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Second Chances

Second chances offer us an opportunity to start over, to reconcile, redeem, or restore things that aren’t quite what they could be, or could’ve been. A second chance may be related to a relationship, a new way of seeing, believing, or being; or it may be connected to a renewed goal or a dream.

Whatever it is, it’s an opportunity. It is unexpected grace, maybe even mercy, this ability to begin again. If we look for them, we can see second chances all around us. By respecting them and showing our gratitude, it’s as if we become alive or renewed again. Second chances are a gift. We can’t take them for granted, because nothing in this life is guaranteed. They may never cross our path again. By our attitudes and behaviors, we show how we value the gift. When we “awaken” to find that unexpected key in our hand, it is there for a reason. Unlock the door while the gift of the second chance is available. You’ll be humbled as you discover (or rediscover) what you once thought was lost. Here’s to second chances in the new year!

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Daring, Discovering, Dreaming

Daring, discovering and dreaming are a part of what makes life worthwhile. The past is gone and tomorrow is not guaranteed. Find out what makes you come alive right now, today. Dare to dream. Give yourself permission to be quiet, to reflect and think about your gifts and talents and interests. Then go for it. Start walking step by step toward the future you’ve only imagined up to this point. Dare to step out of your comfort zone and learn or discover something new. Live your passion… Live your life on purpose.

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THE MOSES QUILT by Kathi Macias

Can the pieces of a former slave’s story change the pattern of the future?

The Moses Quilt has been referred to as a “history lesson of love.” While challenging our modern-day prejudices, The Moses Quilt links creatively to the historical account of former slave Harriet Tubman who was often referred to as the second Moses. 

This contemporary novel bridges racial and generational divides. With a realistic and compassionate look into a twenty-first-century dilemma, multiple award-winning author Kathi Macias introduces readers to a confused and apprehensive young woman, Mazie Hartford. Facing major decisions about the love of her life and her future, she must also wrestle with a nagging question about her family’s past. She finds the answer to her questions in a most unexpected way—her great-grandmother’s Moses quilt. As her great-grandmother begins to explain how each patch represents a story of courage and freedom, Mazie must decide if she has the courage and freedom to overcome her own personal fears and prejudices.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” -Harriet Tubman

 WATCH BOOK TRAILER – CLICK HERE

Human rights advocates and modern-day abolitionists fighting against Human Trafficking (aka modern-day slavery) will be encouraged by Harriet Tubman’s courage, faith, and strength in the face of slavery, and her tenacious battle for women’s rights.

About the Author

Kathi Macias, Author of "The Moses Quilt"

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and recently won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al. 

Purchase The Moses Quilt

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Book Tour by ChristianSpeakersServices.com

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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A Book about Life & Love: Promise Me: How a Sister’s Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer

Promise Me is a book written by Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Founder and CEO, Nancy G. Brinker, the strongest advocate for breast cancer in the world, and Susan’s sister. There’s a special bond between sisters that no other relationship can compare to on earth. Isadora James said, “A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life.”

“Almost every candid photograph I have of Suzy seems to have been snapped just as she’s bubbling up to giggle, that precise moment when you can see the laughter in her eyes and feel the active upturn of her mouth, but the not-quite sound of it is forever suspended in the air, teasing like the unplayed eighth note of a full octave. Even in the dream, I ache for the unfinished music of her life.” –Nancy G. Brinker

Suzy and Nancy Goodman were more than sisters. They were best friends, confidantes, and partners in the grand adventure of life. For three decades, nothing could separate them. Not college, not marriage, not miles. Then Suzy got sick. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1977; three agonizing years later, at thirty-six, she died.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The Goodman girls were raised in postwar Peoria, Illinois, by parents who believed that small acts of charity could change the world. Suzy was the big sister—the homecoming queen with an infectious enthusiasm and a generous heart. Nancy was the little sister—the tomboy with an outsized sense of justice who wanted to right all wrongs. The sisters shared makeup tips, dating secrets, plans for glamorous fantasy careers. They spent one memorable summer in Europe discovering a big world far from Peoria. They imagined a long life together—one in which they’d grow old together surrounded by children and grandchildren. Suzy’s diagnosis shattered that dream.

In 1977, breast cancer was still shrouded in stigma and shame. Nobody talked about early detection and mammograms. Nobody could even say the words “breast” and “cancer” together in polite company, let alone on television news broadcasts. With Nancy at her side, Suzy endured the many indignities of cancer treatment, from the grim, soul-killing waiting rooms to the mistakes of well-meaning but misinformed doctors. That’s when Suzy began to ask Nancy to promise. To promise to end the silence. To promise to raise money for scientific research. To promise to one day cure breast cancer for good. Big, shoot-for-the-moon promises that Nancy never dreamed she could fulfill. But she promised because this was her beloved sister.

“I promise, Suzy. . . .  Even if it takes the rest of my life.”

Suzy’s death—both shocking and senseless—created a deep pain in Nancy that never fully went away. But she soon found a useful outlet for her grief and outrage. Armed only with a shoebox filled with the names of potential donors, Nancy put her formidable fund-raising talents to work and quickly discovered a groundswell of grassroots support. She was aided in her mission by the loving tutelage of her husband, restaurant magnate Norman Brinker, whose dynamic approach to entrepreneurship became Nancy’s model for running her foundation. Her account of how she and Norman met, fell in love, and managed to achieve the elusive “true marriage of equals” is one of the great grown-up love stories among recent memoirs. 

“When Suzy died, my life’s work was born.  Her meaning became my mission”

Nancy’s mission to change the way the world talked about and treated breast cancer took on added urgency when she was herself diagnosed with the disease in 1984, a terrifying chapter in her life that she had long feared. Unlike her sister, Nancy survived and went on to make Susan G. Komen for the Cure into the most influential health charity in the country and arguably the world. A pioneering force in cause-related marketing, SGK turned the pink ribbon into a symbol of hope everywhere. Each year, millions of people worldwide take part in SGK Race for the Cure events. And thanks to the more than $1.5 billion spent by SGK for cutting-edge research and community programs, a breast cancer diagnosis today is no longer a death sentence. In fact, in the time since Suzy’s death, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer has risen from 74 percent to 98 percent.

Promise Me emotionally and elegantly chronicles how sisterly love changed the course of modern medicine by catalyzing women around the world to battle breast cancer.” —Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Promise Me is a deeply moving story of family and sisterhood, the dramatic “30,000-foot view” of the democratization of a disease, and a soaring affirmative to the question: Can one person truly make a difference?

View Video Now: “Straight Talk from the Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, Founder & CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®”

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

 

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A New Year’s Resolution: Let Freedom Reign

 

Change.  Upgrade.  Adventure.  Discovery. These are just a few of the words that come to mind as we face a new year.

The traditional idea of “out with the old and in with the new” is probably the most familiar. And although New Year’s Day is accentuated on our calendars, it is just another blip in the continuum of time.  But as humans we like the idea of making a statement about a specific event, revelation or commitment as if to make an endelible mark in our memories and the halls of history.  We do it in the form of celebrations, memorials and formal covenants, expressed through ceremonies, photographs, declarations and writings.

It is important to us to communicate our inner longings, dreams, visions and hopes. We declare or promote the things that we value and the things that we hope for, but are yet seen. As if to say, “Hello world, hello past or future, I am placing my stake in the ground on this day to make it known…”  —whatever that might be.  It may be a goodbye or good riddance to some things in our lives, or a welcome mat or invitation to others.

We long for freshness, vitality and newness. We are grateful for second chances (or third or forth, or fifth) and the concept of redemption. We don’t want to become stuck in neutral or to become irrelevant.  In essence, we want our lives to matter.

So how do we get from here to there?  Some women (or men) strive for killer job promotions, meaningful experiences, new relationships, or improved bodies. All suggest a new and improved model or end goal in hopes of ultimate fulfillment or lifestyle improvements.  And while goals and objectives, successes and achievements are oftentimes admirable and an important part of change and hopefully, positive forward motion, these are the things that are like shifting sands. They are not the more permanent anchors that will bring ultimate resolve or lasting value. 

It is important to set strategic and meaningful goals, dream dreams and have a vision for our futures.  But it is equally important to not allow ourselves to pour new wine into old wineskins. To guard against mislabeling the old with the label of “new”.  Doing the “same old, same old” while deceiving ourselves into thinking something has changed, or that we desire change, when in reality we find ourselves repeating the same mistakes, clinging to worn out mindsets, embracing the same limited (or selective) vision, or living off yesterday’s dreams.

We can become successful by the world’s standards, while all the while, remain failures in our personal relationships, broken, wounded, enslaved to addictions or bitterness and/or never fully satisfied within ourselves.  While accolades and acheivements may decorate our walls or tickle our ears, we can grow cold, hard or lifeless on the inside.

BREAKING FREE – WILL THE REAL YOU PLEASE STAND UP?

Resolve to live your life on purpose.  It’s time to break free!  Have you ever heard of a person falling asleep a slave and waking up free?  To “break” free means we have to take some type of action.  And action doesn’t happen without forethought. It starts in the mind (with an idea or hope) and we must choose to partner with it to see the thought, dream or vision become a reality.

You see, we can advance through the ranks of our career, increase our financial or social portfolio, expand our education, achieve a coveted goal–which are all good and admirable feats—things that cause the world to stand up and take notice.  They applaud, compare and pat us on the back and yet we can remain enslaved and stuck on the inside.

We can become captive to the hidden things that never allow us to progress. While all the moving (external) parts are in active status–blinking, sparkling, captivating and alluring–nothing has changed on the inside. There is no newness or freshness in the internal places that human beings need for lasting change and ultimate satisfaction or freedom.

We’ve all seen tragic stories of beautiful, smart, uber-accomplished women who appeared to have it all together but very publically crashed and burned. We stood in awe.  How could that have happened and to her of all people?  Whispers of, “But, everyone thought she was so happy,” because they seemed  invincible.  They appeared to have the perfect life, marriage, body, career—fill in the blank–on the outside, but imploded on the inside shattering the fragile external facade and exposing the reality of an unanchored life.

TAKE TIME TO REFLECT

The Past:  Have you taken time to reflect on the past year?  What things changed and what things remained the same? What brought you the most satisfaction and what things caused you the most grief, longing for genuine and permanent changes?  Most importantly, how did you change (or refuse to change) and how did that affect your happy meter?  Are you satisfied with your results?

The Present:  Sometimes we forget to stop and really consider the present. We may look at the past year or to the new year, but we live in the present, so what about that?  Is there anything you need to do today that will impact your tomorrow—your plans, dreams, visions, goals?  Things that will affect you, but also the things that you do today, now, in the present, that will affect the people around you and the things that are important to you.

The Future:  We can assess our past and make all sorts of declarations about how we don’t want things to be the same as they were last year.  But until we face the reasons why we didn’t move forward in positive motion in the past, we won’t be able to take hold of the keys that will unlock the doors of our tomorrows.

We need to care enough about our God-given destiny and our relationships to get real with ourselves. What held you back, and why?  What role do you play in securing lasting change, anchoring change, for your future? Do you need to forgive yourself, or others?  Do you need to let go of something, initiate something, create something new, adjust your perspective, release someone or, simply start living outside of yourself and choose to love better? Sometimes in freeing another, we free ourselves; and oftentimes we are our own slave masters, holding our own destinies captive.

LET FREEDOM REIGN

Time marches on whether we do or not. We have been given so many opportunities to right wrongs, be temporarily satisfied or permanently fulfilled, seek only our own pleasure or share our abundance with those who need it, and become active participants in our own stories. 

This year, choose to let freedom reign. Don’t major on the minors.  Be willing to gently look yourself in the mirror and determine what is most important and do your part to make it happen.  Women who lift others burdens learn that their own suddenly become lighter–we all become stronger. Steward your own life and destiny well and encourage others to do the same.  Thankfully, your past (or present) does not define your future.  Choose today to set yourself free, and in the process, you will set others free. 

You see, it’s not just about celebrating the new year, it’s really about celebrating (and embracing) the new YOU.  Let Freedom Reign!

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Just Cards Direct: Providing Justice, Dignity and Hope for Disadvantaged Women


Just Cards Direct – The Vision
Once in awhile a story comes along about people who get together and dream about how to help other people live better. This is one of those stories. In 2007, a group of friends who shared a common interest—a heart for the poor and disadvantaged—began thinking and talking about opportunity and possibility, and out of that place, a dream was birthed to create handmade greeting cards.

Coupling their creativity with their desire to advocate and make a tangible difference in the lives of others less fortunate, they began to plot out their vision. Soliciting the use of their prayers, hearts and hands to guide in the process, their vision began to take shape, and before they knew it–Just Cards Direct became a reality.

Just Cards doesn’t just sell greeting cards—the heart of their mission is to help provide justice, dignity and hope for the disadvantaged through the promotion and sales of their handmade treasures. Just Cards imports and sells handmade greetings cards from Africa and printed cards from around the world.

Offering Hope to the Hopeless
Working in partnership with card-making community projects in the developing world, Just Cards helps to provide jobs, self-worth and security to women and children who live under oppressive circumstances. In many cases the cards provide the only income to a widow or an orphan. They practice fair-trade principles and strive to bring hope to those who have been neglected, downtrodden and traumatized.

“Together, may we loose the chains of injustice, untie the cords of the yoke and set the oppressed free.” –Anne Horrobin 
Director, Just Cards Direct Ltd

Supporting Oppressed Women in Africa

The Handicraft Card Project — Rwanda

Just Cards Direct supports two special projects in Rwanda. Cards from Africa employs young people who were orphaned in the 1994 genocide and another that supports widows.

They buy from several banana leaf card-making projects in Rwanda. The cards are made by harvesting banana bark and leaves from the local area, before cutting and shaping them into complex designs portraying local life.

Kipepeo Cards Project — Kenya

In Kenya, Just Cards supports Kipepeo Cards, a project based in Kibera Slum that employs 16 women. Kipepeo Designs cards are handmade by women who live in Kibera using recycled paper.

Karabo Card Project — Mamelodi Township, South Africa

The Karabo Card Project was established in 2007 as a “community upliftment” project in Mamelodi Township, South Africa. The Township is home to 1.5 million people, many of whom are unemployed, and 25% of whom are infected with HIV. The people who work at the project would otherwise have little means of feeding themselves and their families. Materials from soda pop cans and recycled paper are incorporated into their designs.

The name of the project ‘Karabo’, was chosen by the local people. It means ‘answer’ in the local Pedi language. They chose this name as they believe the project was God’s answer to the cry for help which came from their hearts. 

Making a Difference

Just Card’s offers a wide range of high-quality handmade cards from Africa, plus some printed in the UK and Australia, which are available through their website, individual traders, conferences and a number of retail outlets.  

They also give away over 25% of their profits to Christian charities who share their values in providing justice, dignity and hope to disadvantaged women and their families.

Jennifer Brown is a Trader for Just Cards. Originally from South Africa, she understands the oppression of women and the reality for the disenfranchised people who live there. She says:

“I have witnessed the desperate need for employment – work that offers people not only an income to survive but a dignified purpose to their lives. These are beautiful, individually unique cards that are lovingly made by local community projects. It’s nice to know I can make a difference and help by selling them.”

Mother Theresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”  Think of creative avenues you may pursue to help oppressed women or disadvantaged children to live better lives. Who knows what dream might unfold as you consider opportunities and possibilities with your heart wide open.

Learn more about Just Cards Direct.  Click here to view and purchase cards

© by April McCallum, Destiny’s Women

(Photos by Just Cards Direct)

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HopeWares: Combined Hope Makes Women’s Dreams Come True

What is Hope?  For the Dalit women of India, it means the possibility of expectations, desires and dreams fulfilled.

The word “Dalit” means oppressed. For the many desperate women who have lived under the crushing oppression of the Hindu caste system for over three thousand years, it also means no hope.

“Dalit women say they can be their own worst enemies given that caste distinctions are ingrained from birth. Then there’s the prevalent belief that individuals somehow deserve their fate because of good or bad karma carrying over from the last life.” –Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times

Hurting Hearts & Combined Hope

After the tragic death of her daughter Anna, an Australian woman named Lynda Disher took a trip to India where she discovered “the horrific injustices that we as women here, rarely have to confront.”

“Anna had a passion to help the poor and bring joy to their lives. Like many young girls she struggled with being accepted by her peer groups but wrote in her diary that Jesus made her unique and she wanted others to know and embrace their uniqueness.” –Lynda Disher, HopeWares

She was challenged to make a difference. Fueled by her own grief, she connected with the grief and crippling oppression of the women she met. Woman to woman, hearts were united around a shared need for hope and the promise of a better tomorrow. 

These women did not want to live on handouts though, they wanted to make a difference for themselves and for their children—with their own hands, minds and ingenuity. That trip changed not only her life, but the lives of countless Dalit women.

HopeWares is Born

Through Lynda’s creative advocacy, her dream became a tangible reality.  Just one heart, one woman, one vision — and HopeWares was conceived.

Lynda observed that simply handing out money was not the solution. They needed more than money. They needed an opportunity to become educated and to learn skills that would pave the way to sustaining their families not to mention, freeing them from the bondages that had kept them down for thousands of years. HopeWares represented a light in their darkness, a flicker of hope.

“I don’t think I did anything wrong in my last life, I’m a human.” –Dalit Woman

The Solution — Sewing & Reaping

Working in partnership with Light Home, a home for children in Andhra Pradesh, HopeWares provides training in sewing and embroidery. At the end of the training program, the women receive a brand new treddle sewing machine. It is wonderful to imagine that something as simple as a sewing machine can symbolize freedom for a woman across the world, but it does!

“I have gained skills in tailoring, embroidery, and knitting and above all I have gained confidence in my future.” –Dalit Woman  

By creating colorful handbags, scarves, ottomans and home décor, the women are able to tend to their children and provide for their families. The profits from the goods (mostly designed by Lynda) and sold on the HopeWares website provide sewing machines and fund training schools that teach these rural women how to sew, thus, their tagline and purpose: You buy, we give.

Through her own grief, loss and sense of hopelessness, Lynda said yes to the call of her dream. And by saying yes to her dream, she gave hope by lighting the torch of the Dalit women’s dreams in India. Together with their combined hopes to make a difference for a better tomorrow–to raise the bar for the women so locked down by this ancient caste system they were prisoners of–their dreams really did come true.

A Brighter Future for the Next Generation

Today, there are up to an estimated 300 million people classified as Dalits, or “untouchables”, living in India. They are dehumanized, segregated. marginalized and suffer discrimination in education, employment, and health care. On top of that, Dalit women rank even lower than men. While the younger generation of Dalits have begun to stand up and plan for their future rights, they are still referred to as “untouchables.” 

Prejudice defines their lives… “Untouchables are shunned, insulted, banned from temples and higher caste homes, made to eat and drink from separate utensils in public places, and, in extreme but not uncommon cases, are raped, burned, lynched, and gunned down.” –National Geographic Magazine

How would it feel if your occupation or status in life were predetermined from birth? Mother Theresa said, “If I look at the mass I will never act.” And, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” If we can light the candle of just one person, we have made a difference, we have ignited hope.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

Additional Reading:

Dalit women find their voice through a newspaper, Los Angeles Times
Untouchable – National Geographic Magazine

To learn more or shop, visit HopeWares online.

© by April McCallum, Destiny’s Women

(Photos provided by HopeWares)

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