If Women Ran the World, Sh*t Would Get Done now a Spirited Woman Top 12 Holiday Book Pick!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Every Day Love: An Interview with Judy Ford

Judy Ford (an authentic romantic who has had every marital status there is: single, married, widowed, single, married, divorced, single, living together, single again after the death of her partner) is a couples counselor in Kirkland, Washington, as well as a best selling author, mother, friend and inspirational role model. She has been studying love and relationships for over three decades, specializing in love, loss and the things that matter most.

Articles on Judy's work have appeared in O: The Oprah Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Woman's Day and Family Circle among others. Her media appearances have included Oprah, CNN and National Public Radio. With compassion and candor, Judy’s work speaks to the heart, inspiring us to love life, to persevere through its challenges, and to share our gifts with others.

I’ve been a huge fan of Judy’s books for a long time, and I was so excited to talk to her about one of the best subjects there is: Love.

Shelly Rachanow: Tell us more about your book, Every Day Love.

Judy Ford: I wrote my first love poem over 50 years ago. It was published in the junior high school paper and since then I’ve been curious about relationships and a student of love. Every Day Love is based on my personal experiences (by the time I was thirty-four I’d had every marital status there was) and my professional experiences as an individual and couples counselor. I’ve worked with singles searching for love, couples so bogged down and overwhelmed with the demands of daily life that love took a back seat, and with parents who claim to love their children, but sometimes I couldn’t tell it by their actions. I once asked a seven-year-old boy how he rated himself in the love department and he answered, “Good” and then he added, “but my parents don’t love each other as much.” Turns out we all have much to learn about loving.

The questions I am interested in are: What is love? How do you find it? Is it possible to love every day? Is a broken heart inevitable? What is loving action?

Every Day Love, a peek into love that comforts and flourishes, is filled with couple’s stories and experiences that are often overlooked as insignificant. I wrote this book as reminder of what every day love looks like and feels like and how to put our love into action even when we don’t feel much like loving.

Shelly Rachanow: In your book you say that, “Falling in love is easy; sustaining love is difficult.” Why is that true for so many of us?

Judy Ford: It is easy to be loving when the setting is romantic, when you’ve got extra jingle in your pocket, when you’re looking good and feeling fine, but when one of you is out of sorts, exhausted, overwhelmed and distracted then behaving lovingly requires conscious effort. It’s in those moments of restlessness and upheaval that you find out who you are and what it truly means to love each and every day.

Shelly Rachanow: Why do people try so hard to change their loved ones, when we know that the only person we can ever change is ourselves?

Judy Ford: We fall in love with a person who has the qualities that we would like to develop in ourselves. We see all the budding possibilities and are excited to be accepted by such a wonderful and perfect person. Watch out! A strange fog will cloud your vision and you will become disoriented. Rather than developing the qualities in yourself that you would like, you will try to develop the other person’s potential. This creates havoc because there is only one person’s potential that you can develop and that is your own. This is one of the basic teachings in a love relationship. We change for love and love changes us.

Shelly Rachanow: What are some things people can do to be more loving in their everyday lives?

Judy Ford: Be aware that nothing you do lacks meaning. Everything you do and everything you say has the power, on the most subtle emotional level, to bring you closer or tear you apart.

Shelly Rachanow: If there’s one idea you want readers to take away to help them give and receive more love, what would that be?

Judy Ford: Nothing is as important as day-to-day life.

Life is hard. It goes by fast. Love matters every day.

Shelly Rachanow: And last, the 'If Women Ran the World Blog' question for everyone - What would you do if you ran the world?

Judy Ford: I would talk about love. I would practice love. My motto and attitude would be: “It is possible to love the whole world.”

For more information or to contact Judy:

Web site: http://www.judyford.com/
Email: judy@judyford.com

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Living Life as a Thank You: An Interview with Nina Lesowitz

Medieval philosopher Meister Eckhart once said, "If the only prayer you say in your entire life is 'Thank you,' that will suffice." Gratitude is life-changing, not just during Thanksgiving but everyday of the year. That’s why I had to bring back Nina Lesowitz (who told us about her newest book, The Courage Companion, in October) to talk about her first book, Living Life as a Thank You, which she co-authored with Mary Beth Sammons.

Nina is an award-winning marketing professional who runs Spinergy Group, which represents authors, corporate clients, and nonprofits. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two daughters, and is on the executive committee for Litquake, the largest literary festival in the Western United States.

Shelly Rachanow: What inspired you to write Living Life as a Thank You?

Nina Lesowitz: I started noticing the difference saying “Thank You” was making in my life, and starting talking to people and noticing trends. I noticed that shifting my perspective has caused me to be grateful for what I DO have instead of focusing on what’s lacking.

Also, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about happiness. I’ve read many self help books. They didn’t seem practical to me, raising two children and working full time. I didn’t have the time to join an organization or meditate for hours a day. I fantasized about a different life and thought that the only way I would achieve a state of contentment was if I moved to Tuscany to renovate an old farmhouse. Happiness was always some far off, conditional state in the future. When I started practicing gratitude, I realized that happiness is not something that is dependent on outside circumstances, it comes from within.

Shelly Rachanow: With the Thanksgiving holiday this week, people may be focused on gratitude more than they usually are. How can we live life as a thank you year round?

Nina Lesowitz: By recognizing our blessings every day, throughout the day.

Shelly Rachanow: Is there proof that an attitude of gratitude can transform people’s lives?

Nina Lesowitz: Yes, a UC Davis study by Professor Robert Emmons found that gratitude is one of the very few things that can measurably change people’s lives. He’s spent his career studying what makes people happy and he’s found that happiness is facilitated when we want what we have, instead of focusing on what’s missing. It is actually a critical component of happiness.

In one study, the professors asked three groups of volunteers to spend their week thinking about and writing down what happened to them that week. One group was asked to focus on what they were grateful for, another focused on hassles and irritations, and the third simply recorded what happened.

They found that a daily gratitude intervention resulted in much higher levels of energy, and of course, happiness! And based on my own personal experience, I find that I am so much happier when I am consciously cultivating an attitude of gratitude.

Shelly Rachanow: What are some of the biggest ways gratitude has transformed your life?

Nina Lesowitz: Interestingly, we think that if good things happen to us, we will be happy. Yet scientific literature on happiness shows that it’s the other way around. When we are happy, good things happen. The benefits of happiness include higher income, greater productivity, more friends, more satisfying relationships, better physical health, lowered stress levels, etc.

Practicing gratitude has transformed my outlook, which in turn has transformed my reality. It has enabled me to live in the moment instead of constantly focusing on “what’s next.”

Shelly Rachanow: Gratitude doesn’t always come naturally to people, especially when they feel they’ve been wronged or victimized? Why is that and what are some things that can help?

Nina Lesowitz: Some people associate the act of giving thanks as something that places them in a state of obligation and debt. At the risk of generalizing, men have a harder time expressing gratitude because they would rather feel self-sufficient. Also, it’s much easier to be a grouch and a cynic. While we’re focusing on annoyances, and grievances, we take the good things for granted. Without a conscious intervention, we lapse into complaints. I always did that with friends, it almost seemed like a competition – who had more stress in their lives, more problems with their teens. Another issue is that we live in a time of entitlement, and there’s been much talk about how today’s children expect a lot. When we feel entitled, we’re not focusing on gifts; we take good things for granted.

By expressing gratitude, we can re-wire our brainwaves to appreciate our many blessings. When you shed the negativity, it clears space for something better to arrive.

Shelly Rachanow: Can you give us some gratitude practices and tips, for year round and for this week as people may be standing in long lines or stuck in traffic on the freeway?

Nina Lesowitz: When you feel a gripe coming on, try to turn it around. For instance, instead of focusing on the long lines at the security scanner, give thanks for the people who are working to ensure your safety. Go to bed with a smile, thinking of all you appreciate in your life. Appreciate your family, friends and co-workers. Take a walk in nature, and notice the beauty around you. And last but not least, be grateful for you! We quote writer Anne Naylor in the book, who says, “Be grateful for and bless your qualities and strengths. There is no one else quite like you. Honor and appreciate yourself.”

Shelly Rachanow: And last (because I bet you have more than one answer to this question), the 'If Women Ran the World Blog' question for everyone - What would you do if you ran the world?

Nina Lesowitz: If I ran the world, I would ask everyone to take time to incorporate the practice of gratitude in their lives. This would engender more compassion toward those less fortunate, and inspire more charity. (Grateful people are more likely to give back to others). Also, by expressing appreciation for others, goodwill would radiate across the planet, bringing peace to all.

For more information, contact nina@spinergygroup.com or visit http://www.vivaeditions.com/.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Inspirational Coffee Club: An Interview with Julie Clark

As founder of the delightfully invigorating Inspirational Coffee Club™, Julie Clark knows what it takes to savor life to the fullest. Through her Inspirational Coffee Club, Julie shares one-of-a-kind strategies that teach women how to pour their hearts into a life that overflows with fulfillment. Offering a unique blend of strategies she calls her ‘Ground Rules’ for brewing up a life you love, Julie has become America’s favorite coffee break companion.

Julie’s messages emphasize that achieving a life filled to the brim with happiness, fulfillment and success is within your grasp. By sharing her Ground Rules for Life, she provides just the right blend of fun, inspiration and motivation to give your life a boost. Her Inspirational Coffee Club supports you in becoming the woman you've always wanted to become, encourages you to create a future filled with joy and challenges you to savor each day to the fullest!

Julie has developed an innovative approach to applying these Ground Rules—a method she calls ‘Inspirational Coffee Breaks.’ She teaches women how to take charge of their lives, set and achieve goals for the future, embrace risk, savor each day and feel more happy and grateful than ever before. She is the author of a new book: Inspirational Coffee Breaks for Women: 12 Ground Rules for Pouring Your Heart into Life—a unique guide for living that is overflowing with heartwarming stories and rich wisdom to help women discover creative, new ways to renew and revitalize their lives. (And you don’t have to be a coffee lover to enjoy it!) It was recently named a finalist in the ‘Best Books 2010’ Awards from USA Book News, and I was really excited to talk with Julie about it (read more below for a special offer going on TODAY with Julie's book).

Shelly Rachanow: As most everyone who knows me can attest, inspiration and coffee are two of my favorite things so I was really excited to learn about The Inspirational Coffee Club! What was your inspiration for creating it?

Julie Clark: I’ve been a coffee lover since I was 3-years old. My first coffee break companion was my Grandma who taught me a very special technique--dunking sugar cookies into my coffee and the habit stuck! I’ve carried my love for coffee into my adulthood. From my early years of enjoying treasured coffee breaks with my Grandma to the current days of sharing cherished coffee time with my mom and my friends, coffee has played a critical role in my development through the years. I’ve learned that coffee can be such a powerful metaphor for living life to the fullest. So I decided to blend my love for coffee and passion for personal growth into something fun, refreshing and motivating—hence The Inspirational Coffee Club—a unique and uplifting spin on personal fulfillment to help women awaken their potential and get a boost of encouragement for life.

Shelly Rachanow: What does an inspirational coffee break actually look like?

Julie Clark: An Inspirational Coffee Break involves taking purposeful, scheduled time to refill that part of yourself that gets poured out in the daily grind. Let’s face it—the majority of time you spend pouring yourself endlessly out to others—and that’s one of the qualities that makes you so special. You love to put other people’s needs first. But if you continue to pour yourself out to others without ever filling yourself back up, you’ll soon be going through life on empty--overwhelmed, burned out, depressed, stressed, exhausted, and out of touch with yourself. The truth is you cannot be your best self when you are constantly running on empty. To be a great mom, wife, daughter, employee, boss, or friend you must first be a great you. This means you need to keep your body and mind healthy.

An Inspirational Coffee Break can be simply 15 minutes of quiet time for yourself each day doing something the refreshes and refills you. A true Inspirational Coffee Break should not only recharge your body, but it should invigorate your mind and soul as well. Use some of these short spurts of down time to consciously invest in your happiness and well-being. Fill yourself with regular sources of inspiration to help you become a better woman, improve yourself, and get re-inspired for the rest of your life. Regular breaks from the daily grind are essential for a high quality life.

Shelly Rachanow: Can inspirational coffee breaks really make a difference? How have they done so for you?

Julie Clark: Absolutely! I take Inspirational Coffee Breaks on a near daily basis to keep inspired in the hustle and bustle of life and to set me in the right mindset for the day. On any given morning, you will find me alone—taking 15-30 minutes of quiet time for myself in my favorite cozy chair, enjoying my first cup of coffee, filling myself up with something inspirational and positive: a new magazine or self improvement book, passages from my study Bible, an inspiring interview or article, etc. I sit quietly, giving myself plenty of time for self reflection and loving every solitary moment as I relax my body and refill my soul. This is the time when I gain many new insights about my life. In fact, it was during one of my Inspirational Coffee Breaks that the idea to start The Inspirational Coffee Club came to mind and the entire 12 Grounds Rules came flooding out of me! These moments of down time continue to be the times when I get my best ideas!

I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without my treasured Inspirational Coffee Breaks! Its a definite daily ritual I try to never miss. I wouldn’t have near as much energy and optimism to face the day, I wouldn’t be nearly as connected to myself without them. People often comment how peaceful and relaxed I am although my life is busy and filled with responsibility. I just practice what I preach—a daily Inspirational Coffee Break.

Shelly Rachanow: You have some wonderful “ground rules for savoring life.” Tell us more about some of these.

Julie Clark: The Inspirational Coffee Club’s foundational messages are based upon our ’12 Ground Rules for Life.’ These are the 12 themes for which the new book is based on. Four of my favorites include:

Find Your Special Blend—Be True to Yourself: In a world where we’re pulled in so many directions, it can be so easy to get ground down by the expectations and demands of others that we start to lose track of who we even are anymore. Finding Your Special Blend means getting to know the real you again and following the desires of your heart. It’s taking a stand for who you are instead of being what you think everyone else wants you to be. The real source of fulfillment is discovering who you are. You were made to be your own Special Blend. Find and live yours!

Don’t Be Afraid to Burn Your Tongue—Take Some Chances: So many of us are scared to try anything new for fear that we might fail. The truth is, in order to live life to the fullest, you have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone and take some risks, try new things and challenge yourself. Don’t worry so much about making mistakes because that’s how we learn and grow. The happiest women aren’t the ones who have made the least mistakes in life; they’re the ones who have tasted all that life has to offer, even if that means burning their tongue along the way.

Take Time to Fill Another’s Cup—Make a Difference: We weren’t created to live for ourselves. We were created to add value to the lives of others. On our journey to fill our own cups, we must also be on the look-out for ways we can pour happiness onto those around us. People tend to feel better about their own lives when they know they are making a difference in someone else’s. Happiness is a natural result of doing something to make someone else happy. Taking time to fill another’s cup is one of the best ways to create a live that overflows with joy.

Leave Room for Cream and Sugar—Enjoy Yourself: For some reason, as we grow older we seem to repress our sense of fun in preference for something called 'maturity.’ It becomes so easy to take life too seriously or become so wrapped up in our day-to-day routines that sometimes we forget to leave time for some plain old fun. Remember to mix a little more enjoyment and fun—what I call cream and sugar—into your everyday life again. Life tastes so much better best when sweetened with fun.

Shelly Rachanow: Your book Inspirational Coffee Breaks for Women: 12 Ground Rules for Pouring Your Heart into Life really helps women revitalize their lives. And there are some exciting things happening with your book TODAY! Tell us what’s going on.

Julie Clark: Today, November 16th, is the official online launch of the new book, and The Inspirational Coffee Club is preparing to give women around the world a desperately needed shot of inspiration. To celebrate the launch, today we’re hosting the world’s largest virtual ‘INSPIRATIONAL COFFEE BREAK’ to help women refill that part of themselves that gets poured out in the daily grind. Anyone who purchases the book today from Amazon.com, will receive an extra JOLT of bonus gifts from over 90 other invigorating authors and entrepreneurs from across the world who can help women improve in all areas of their lives. It’s truly meant to give women from all walks of life a LIFE BOOST! Here’s how you can be a part of it: http://www.inspirationalcoffeebreaksforwomen.com/.

Shelly Rachanow: And last, the 'If Women Ran the World Blog' question for everyone - What would you do if you ran the world?

Julie Clark: Well, first I’d make coffee breaks mandatory! Then, I’d try to inspire people to live each day as if it were their last. So many of us take our days for granted and waste our precious time. We rush through life waiting for some kind of wake-up call before we start enjoying it. I want people to realize that we have no idea when our last day will be so we need to live fully NOW, remembering that each day is a gift. Once it’s gone it can never be recaptured no matter how badly we wish it could. Remember there are no do-over’s in life. A ‘good’ life is not measured by the number of days we live, but by the life we put into those days. Get out there and live now. In other words, pour your heart into it!

For more information or to contact Julie:

The Inspirational Coffee Club™
PO Box 87922
Sioux Falls, SD 57109

Ph: (605) 271-8983

Email: Julie@theinspirationalcoffeeclub.com

Website: http://www.theinspirationalcoffeeclub.com/


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Measure of His Grief: An Interview with Lisa Braver Moss

Lisa Braver Moss is a writer specializing in health, parenting, family issues and humor pieces. Her essays have appeared in Tikkun, Parents, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her column, “I’m Not Impressed…” is published in the Piedmont Post and simultaneously on her blog, lisabravermoss.wordpress.com.

Lisa’s nonfiction book credits include Celebrating Family: Our Lifelong Bonds with Parents and Siblings (Wildcat Canyon Press, 1999), and, as co-author, The Mother’s Companion: A Comforting Guide to the Early Years of Motherhood (Council Oak Books, 2001).

Having written several articles questioning the practice of circumcision from a Jewish point of view, Lisa is making her first foray into fiction with a contemporary literary novel on that topic, The Measure of His Grief (Notim Press, November 2010). I was really excited to talk to her more about it.

Shelly Rachanow: This month marks the release of your first fiction book – congratulations. Tell us more about your book, The Measure of His Grief.

Lisa Braver Moss: It’s a literary novel about a Berkeley physician, Dr. Sandor (“Sandy”) Waldman, who wages a campaign against circumcision. But rather than becoming alienated from Judaism as he rails against this custom, Sandy finds himself feeling more deeply Jewish. The book is also about Sandy’s marriage, his grief over the death of his father, family secrets, and the price Sandy pays for his iconoclasm.

The Measure of His Grief is told from three alternating viewpoints—that of Sandy, his wife, Ruth, and their teenage daughter, Amy, whom Sandy and Ruth adopted at birth. Ruth is a nutritionist and cookbook author who had a painful childhood, and who starts to feel neglected and angry as Sandy lives and breathes the circumcision controversy. She winds up separating from him and carrying on a secret relationship. Amy spends a lot of the book in teen angst, struggling to figure out who she is and what to do with her life (oh, and why her parents are so stupid). She also has to tackle the looming question of whether to make contact with her birth family.

Shelly Rachanow: How did you become interested in the topic of circumcision?

Lisa Braver Moss: I started thinking about the issue in the late eighties, after the births of my sons, whom we had circumcised (we’re Jewish). Many women don’t find this custom difficult, but for some of us, the experience is harrowing. In my case, I felt I had to separate myself from my personal spirituality and my biologically-ingrained protective instinct toward my infants in order to ensure that they would be accepted into the community. What was this all about?

I became fascinated with the issue and especially how to talk about it. There was (and still is) a surfeit of shrill rhetoric, scholarly rabbinical works, anti-circumcision material with decidedly anti-Semitic undertones, medical information that was based on strange premises, and tasteless jokes. None of this addressed my own experience or, in my opinion, led to thoughtful dialogue or inquiry.

I decided to write articles that would tackle the circumcision issue with respect for Judaism and in a way that would give voice to my own experience. So I first approached this topic as a journalist and personal essayist.

I went on to write articles and books on other subjects, but remained interested in circumcision. I found it surprising that despite all its psychological, sexual, medical and religious complexities, no novelist had ever given it center stage. But it was a long time before it dawned on me to take up that challenge, because I thought of myself as a nonfiction writer.

Shelly Rachanow: As a woman and a first-time novelist, what made you decide to take on this very male topic?

Lisa Braver Moss: I did a lot of research into the circumcision tradition so as to be able to write in informed opposition to it, and I found myself feeling more Jewish in the process. I’d always thought this paradox would make for an interesting story, and that’s probably the single most autobiographical element of The Measure of His Grief (i.e., Sandy’s Jewish identity becoming stronger as he rails against circumcision).

I probably wouldn’t have thought of trying to create a male main character - it’s hard enough figuring out how to write a novel, let alone inhabiting a different gender. But I’d had conversations with various men about this topic, including a Jewish man who felt he had remembered his own circumcision trauma. I found myself asking “What if…?” That is, what if a Jewish man had some kind of flashback to his own circumcision, became obsessed with the issue, and surprisingly, began to feel more deeply committed to Judaism as a result?

I also learned about foreskin "restoration," in which circumcised men stretch their residual tissue over a period of months and years to mimic the function of the lost tissue. I was so astonished by this phenomenon that I couldn’t seem to shake free of it and its rich possibilities for exploration in fiction. I began to realize that if indeed I had a novel in me, I had a male main character.

Shelly Rachanow: How is male circumcision a women’s issue or even a feminist issue?

Lisa Braver Moss: Circumcision is an issue for women in terms of how it affects their bond with their newborns, and how it affects their self-assurance about the validity—even sanctity—of their primal urge to protect the infant.

Renowned anti-circumcision activist and writer Miriam Pollack put it this way in her brilliant paper "Circumcision: Gender and Power," presented at the Genital Autonomy 2010 conference: "Circumcision subverts... the life-giving principle of the feminine... by trivializing and implicitly forbidding [the new mother] to acknowledge, much less act upon, her deepest mammalian instincts to protect her newly birthed child.”

Not all mothers of newborns experience circumcision as a violation of the bond, or an undermining of their maternal self-confidence and efficacy. But many do, at least to some extent. I think that’s a feminist issue.

Shelly Rachanow: What should expectant mothers be aware of in considering the circumcision issue from a medical perspective?

Lisa Braver Moss: There’s a lot of information out there about circumcision; it’s easy to get overwhelmed by it. So in thinking about the health issues, I like to invoke simple medical precedent: surgery is a last resort. Only in rare individual instances should it be done to prevent a possible future outcome (such as a mastectomy being considered as a pre-emptive measure against breast cancer). And that is on a case-by-case basis, not as a routine matter.

There may be benefits to circumcision—and as with any surgery, these must be weighed against potential risks and drawbacks. The risks of circumcision appear to be low, but have never been accurately documented, so it’s hard to know what to think. For example, in those cases where a death has occurred, the mortality has generally been attributed to the secondary cause (such as hemorrhage or blood poisoning) instead of being tied to circumcision. Thus, the risk data is scanty and unreliable.

Regarding the drawbacks, very few doctors are aware of the relatively recent studies documenting the erogenous nature and the anatomical function of the foreskin. What that means is that even professionals don’t grasp the drawbacks of the procedure—so they don’t have enough information to weigh it against the potential benefits. In the absence of accurate risk and drawback information, doctors should not be recommending the surgery, certainly not routinely.

I would encourage mothers not to be intimidated by this issue, to really look into their hearts and step into their female power in all this. As I said, I think the disruption of the incipient mother-newborn bond is a major drawback of the procedure. To dismiss its impact is to deny the importance of women’s experience and the significance of their role. I think that’s not just sexist but perhaps even misogynistic.

Shelly Rachanow: And last, the 'If Women Ran the World Blog' question for everyone - What would you do if you ran the world?

Lisa Braver Moss: You mean, besides tackling climate change, ending war, famine, disease, torture, enslavement and oppression? Hmm…

Create an industry that would put people to work retrofitting existing vehicles into more energy-efficient ones; take all possible measures to counter the eco-hostile idea that everything has to be new.

Make cell phone manufacturers accountable for the health hazards, resource-wastefulness, and planned obsolescence of their products.

End the idiocy that compels some news outlets to present both sides of a story equally, even if one of the sides is uninformed, hate-based or insane.

Put mature, educated women in charge of designing car dashboards, computer operating systems and all other user interfaces. No more product designs by techno-geeks!

Oops, I almost forgot the most important thing: ban those horrible too-dark hair dye jobs on men.

But back to the topic at hand… I would work to ensure that women don’t feel they must deny their own female power, biology, or spirituality by giving their babies over to be circumcised.

To contact Lisa or for more information, visit:

Web site: http://www.lisabravermoss.com/

E-mail: lisa@lisabravermoss.com

Facebook page: The Measure of His Grief

You Tube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxKjmGcV9w8

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

We Did It For You: An Interview with Patty Turrell

With her background in Human Resources and Operations Management, Patty Turrell has the natural ability to organize teams and get things done. Eight years ago she started The Women’s Journey Conference, an event that empowers women and builds self esteem in young girls. Many of the young girls that attend this event are from various foster care organizations throughout the Orange County, California area. Patty realizes the dire need to help young girls with their confidence and has produced a specialized program to help young girls overcome their insecurities. The conference is FREE to all girls between the ages of 8 to 18.

From the Women’s Journey Conference an idea was born to create a play to further educate and empower women and girls. The play We Did It For You focuses on the challenges women have faced throughout history while celebrating their historical achievements. The play is a virtual history lesson filled with song, dance, comedic moments and compelling dialogue. It is Patty’s goal to take this play into schools and colleges nationwide to teach young women about the perils women faced for equality and the importance of women’s role in society today.

I was so excited to talk to Patty about her play...for which there is a Fundraiser Brunch this Sunday, November 7 at 1:00 pm in Costa Mesa, California...and all the wonderful things she does for women.

Shelly Rachanow: Tell us more about your play, We Did It For You.

Patty Turrell: The play is a historical account of the women who paved the way. We Did It For You was created to acknowledge and celebrate women's historic achievements: how they were able to affect and change the society in which they lived. This play is their story, what they did and dreamed, a depiction of the diverse and historic accomplishments of the many women who bravely stood for equality and social justice. We Did It For You is filled with music, dialogue and comedy bringing the audience from tears to laughter.

Shelly Rachanow: Why is it so important for us to preserve women’s history?

Patty Turrell: Young girls do not know and most women do not understand the history of women. Most young women of today do not realize that there was a time when women had no rights and were considered property. Much of what is in this play is not necessarily written down in history books nor is it being taught in the classroom. The danger is that if the women of today are not educated about the events of the past, they may take for granted their freedom and their independence. Women feel a sense of pride and empowerment when they understand where they have come from, the historical journey. If given the knowledge, women will continue to grow in consciousness and make changes necessary for the further development of women worldwide.

Shelly Rachanow: What are some things we can do right now to make things better for women everywhere?

Patty Turrell: First and foremost, educate yourself about the needs of women/children who may be less fortunate. Get involved with other women's organizations and participate.

Shelly Rachanow: You also founded the Women’s Journey Conference. Tell us more about that.

Patty Turrell: The Women's Journey Conference was developed to empower women and build self-esteem in young girls. On May 7, 2011 we will be hosting our 9th annual conference at UCI. We invite a host of speakers and entertainers to inspire women. The entire day is for self-discovery and celebration of the power, the spirit and the beauty in each of us. We also have a specialized self-esteem program for girls ages 8 to 18. Many of the young girls who attend are considered "at risk". These girls come from various foster care organizations throughout the OC area. Girls attend this event FREE of cost. Our goal is to offer these girls a day where they can feel secure, nurtured and encouraged.

Shelly Rachanow: How would you like things to be different for future generations of both men and women?

Patty Turrell: I would like to see women strive for even more, to be treated like equals and continue to become exceptional leaders. With that said, when women truly recognize who and what they are capable of, men too will have a better understanding of themselves by the examples that women exhibit.

Shelly Rachanow: And last, the 'If Women Ran the World Blog' question for everyone - What would you do if you ran the world?

Patty Turrell: I would build schools worldwide and provide an education for every child on the planet.

For more information, email spiritually1@earthlink.net or visit: