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You are the only one that can control your destiny! – Claire McGrath – London UK

I have got to say I don’t think I am inspiring person. Others may see things differently but I am just me. Being me means that I have these amazing hair brain ideas which later turn into reality. I must say, a lot of my success has come from making something from the moment in time, the right here, right now.

I grew up in a family of 9 kids (was a Brady Bunch) we didn’t have a lot of money because my parents put us all through good schools, they had to work hard and I believe that it where my work ethic has come from. They work hard and they play hard- I fortunately or unfortunately inherited this too!

I was not particularly smart but I had a brother my own age and growing up he challenged me because he was naturally smart, I have always had to work hard to achieve. So, I think that is where my competitive nature began.

I left home at 18 to be a nanny in the UK, I loved it so much that I decided to move here forever, held down a good job, but when I decided to move home because we were expecting a child at the ripe age of 24, our world just about came crashing down. My husband couldn’t get a job due to his Visa, I couldn’t work because of being pregnant and having a baby (no one wanted to employ me not through lack of trying). We decided to move to Brisbane where my parents had a property business that they were happy to employ us in for an interim period.  That is where I fell in love with property.

I was too proud to ask my parents for any more help, but some weeks we would have less than a $1 in our bank account and with baby and another on the way, we found it difficult to make ends meet. Pasta was on the cards most nights! When we had a bit of money we would buy lottery tickets and I tell you we were being looked after. Whenever we won the lowest division which happened a bit, we would hold those tickets over until we only had the $1 in the account and use those to survive to the next pay day. I ran 3 jobs and my husband finally got a job, funny enough with an English company.

I worked looking after my family properties on a very part time basis but decided to do my REIQ certificate and then I researched the best property managers in Brisbane so I could learn the trade. I ended up in New Farm with Harcourts New Farm. I learnt from the best in the industry. There I met Martin Millard which was a turning point really. I had just had a Cancer scare had to have half my Thyroid out and we weren’t getting ahead in life. Martin asked me to join him and Sally in starting a property management business with Harcourts Solutions, I thought this was a great opportunity to really start providing for my family and putting things in place to set us up.

I had never signed up a management agreement and really, I was an assistant property manager, but I thought what have I got to lose! I was so nervous but it has been an amazing business and yes were there low days, absolutely, did I have a cry here and there, yep sure did. However, Sally and I got up every day put our big girls pants on and kept moving. We grew the business from 0-940 in 7/8 years.

4 years ago, my husband I came back to England, the first time in 10 years, we saw an opportunity here to perhaps do a Real Estate business here but differently. Last year was the hardest year in my life, I was sick almost the entire year, I was the fattest I had been in my life and was not happy. It has been 4 years in the making but this year I sadly sold my share of Harcourts Rental Management Solutions back to Sally and Martin and perused my own goals. This year has been an amazing, but challenging year and after 4 years of planning, meeting people and researching I have literally just opened a ‘Winkworth’ office in Surbiton in the UK.

I can only say the things I have learnt is trust in yourself, believe in yourself, don’t always listen to what people tell you. If you have a feeling deep down run with it, go for your dreams. Treat people with kindness and love yourself. Today I am lucky to say I have two healthy boys, a loving husband, two dogs and two rabbits. I have lost 14kg and still going, and I could not be happier, however I have done this. My moto is where ever you are there you are. You are the only one that can control your destiny!

Tired of Living by Everyone Else’s Rules – Marva Johnson-Jones – London

You’re tired of living by everyone else’s rules, of having to hide who you truly are, of pretending you don’t want something more out of life. Yeah, I’ve been there. At some point, you have to take control of your life and forge your own path.

Alone

It should have been shocking, but for me it was normal. I stood in the background, watching my great aunt bark orders at her male employees. The men stood around obediently, seemingly inhaling her every word. I thought all women were in charge of the world like that, why wouldn’t they be?

My great aunt was my sole guardian after my mother abandoned me and moved to another country. I was treated like a precious doll, and showered with all the things money could buy. The lazy days under my great aunt’s orange tree in Jamaica would have been idyllic if I hadn’t been so lonely. For all the toys I had, I was friendless, kept safely inside the walls of my great aunt’s compound like a jewel to be kept under lock and key.

My absentee father would enter my life on occasions, treating me like a temporary fix he needed to get out of his system. He’d show up and we’d be inseparable, and then he’d vanish just as quickly as he appeared. I wanted for nothing but it was hard to find something stable and solid to hold onto.

At aged 9 I was whisked away from one gilded cage to another when I was put on a plane to a foreign country, my mother, by now a stranger met me at the airport. I arrived in London into my mum’s upturned life, where she’d nestled herself
comfortably in an abusive relationship. Seeing my mother as the passive object of her husband’s rage was such a change from watching my great aunt take full control of a group of men who worked for her. But some things remained the same. Loneliness. The culture shock. There were many tears, but no one noticed, as I trudged my way through a very isolated and lonely childhood.

Invisible

“What is your problem?” My husband lobbed the question at me like a weapon, his voice accusatory, and his demeanour wavering somewhere in between exasperation and apathy. He made sweeping gestures at our beautiful home, fully equipped with tennis courts, a swimming pool, and many other vestiges of privilege. I looked at my husband, and realised that he’d become a stranger I no longer recognised.

But I was no stranger to gilded cages. Despite a lifetime of being locked up by someone else’s whims, I’d never become very adept at being a dutiful prisoner. My husband viewed me as his trophy, and I was expected to comply. To live my
life in his own image.

Anything I’d put my heart and soul into was disposable and readily discarded like trash. It was as if my aspirations didn’t exist at all, outside of being a wife and mother, along with the chief organiser of the family’s social calendar. We seemed like the perfect family on the outside, but everything was different on the inside. Hard as I tried, I just couldn’t play this role any longer. I wanted something more. I needed something more. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but I knew I had to find it. The distractions that I was using to hide my unhappiness were becoming weary. Spending money on useless things that were never opened when they
were delivered, alcohol, smoking, planning the next holiday even before I finished the current one. Ultimately, I saw what I could become if I didn’t take more responsibility for my own life.

I could have discovered it had I looked in the mirror and really looked myself in the eye, but this sort of logic and reason didn’t come so easily when I, in essence had lost all sense of who I was. It was that moment when I returned home, with the children for the summer holiday, when I put the key in the lock of our front door and realised that I couldn’t go back to. I weighed my options, and it wasn’t an easy decision, but I finally decided to take charge of my own life. Putting the key into the door of our home where there were no guards, or maids, or drivers, or anyone but me and the children, flooded my body with an odd sense relief. It wasn’t an easy journey, but it was my first step toward the redemption I’d been seeking my whole life.

Empowered

Sitting in my home in London, I thought about my children, now grown, to whom I’d managed to give the stable and loving childhood I’d so desperately wanted for myself. Weaving my way through my journey into single motherhood and self discovery finally led to my conquering the loneliness beast that had been such a fixture throughout my life. I’d finally stopped engaging in the futility of trying to fit in and started living my life on my own terms, in pursuit of my own passions, and living in joy every day of my life, even on the gloomy, rainy days we have in London. I discovered my own brand of sunshine.

We are all here to be the masters of our own lives. I’m here to help you overcome the negative patterns that are holding you back, to stop looking outside yourself to find your happy place, and learn to find it within.

If you’re ready to conquer a lifetime of ingrained fears and boldly pursue your passion and purpose without hesitation, without holding anything back, without seeking anyone else’s validation, and without worrying about all the things that
could go wrong, I’m here to show you how to make it happen, to reconnect you with yourself, that person you were meant to be before you were forced by society, your parents, or anyone else into being something you’re not for someone else’s benefit. I’m here to help you discover the joys of just being you with no qualms and no apologies. This is your moment, take it!

About the Author

Marva Johnson-Jones is the founder of Acuity Rapid Results Coaching based in the UK. You can contact Marva on email acuitylife@icloud.com
or by Mobile/Whatsapp: 07738115942 – Marva is currently offering a powerful, free 45 minutes Personal Empowerment and
Self-rediscovery coaching session. Book yours today. Please quote Ref#NTblog in the subject line of your email.

How Special Needs Parenting Encouraged Me to do what was Right – Miriam Slozberg – Canada

How Special Needs Parenting Encouraged Me to do what was Right Instead of Meeting Society’s Expectations

As soon as I had hit puberty, my weight started piling on and I also had an unfortunate case of severe acne.  However, my life at elementary school was fine until my family had moved to another area, and I had to start at a new school. That was also more of a difficult transition because at that time is when I was ready to start middle school.

My years at middle school and in early high school were horrible because I was bullied a lot. I was overweight and had a severe case of acne on my face. However, other newcomers were slim and had clear faces. They were automatically accepted. Why were they accepted? Because society glorifies slim and clean.

Because my appearance did not meet society’s expectations, I was ridiculed and left out. My self-esteem was always low, and it became even lower until I had lost some weight when I was in grade 10 and found a medication that helped clear up my face. I actually found that other kids became nicer to me and I was no longer bullied, for the most part anyway. Why? Because I was starting to meet society’s expectations.

My college years were a lot better and I got married in my mid-twenties and had my daughter about 2 years later after struggling with mild infertility. As it turned out I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which explains why my weight ballooned and why I had developed severe acne during puberty. However, after several attempts with Clomid and IUI, I successfully became pregnant with my daughter and had a decent pregnancy.

When my daughter was 18 months, my menstrual cycle seemed to have been messed up for whatever reason. Having late cycles was not a new thing to me considering I have PCOS, however after being 3 months late made me examine the cause. I was indeed pregnant. This was a shock because the odds were against my husband and I that we could conceive naturally.

The pregnancy itself was fine, however, my son’s birth was not as he inhaled meconium and lost oxygen. After being in the NICU for 10 days he was well enough to finally come home. However, he was not developing at the same pace as my daughter did when she was an infant.

As time when on, it was clear that he needed to be assessed. He lacked speech, interest in human interaction, and became lost while staring at lights and spinning tops. He was diagnosed with autism at 3 and my world once again came crashing down.

However, since I had this new issue on my plate, I had to work with it and do the best I could for my son. He received early intervention with various therapies that cost and arm and a leg. In some areas he progressed, and in other areas he didn’t.

As time went on, he was not doing well, and after trying out 4 different schools close to 10 years later, I was out of ideas. I was also at my wit’s end. I fell into a serious depression years prior to that and was even diagnosed with a Major Depressive Disorder.

I knew that it got to a point that in order for my 13-year-old son to live up to his potential, and for me to deal with the demons from my past and focus on my mental health, be a better wife to my husband, and better mother to my daughter, something drastic needed to change.

My son could no longer live at home because I not only feared I could snap, but he was regressing at home and I could not give him what he needed.  Then there was that part of me that worried about what other people would think of me if I were to send my son away. The same way I worried about fitting in and being part of the in-crowd.

Before I knew it, I had my ah-ha moment. I knew it was time to stop worrying about meeting society’s expectations and to do the one thing that was best for my situation. That was sending my autistic son to live away from home since him living at home was worsening the situation. I got the ball rolling to make that bold move become a reality.

After several months of my son going through more assessments,  and after I went through other ordeals, my son left home in September of 2017 to a much better place. A place and school where he would get everything he needed 24/7 so he could live up to being his best, whatever that may be. I see him every Sunday and I can say with confidence that I am already seeing subtle positive changes in him and in myself. I did the best thing for my family.

However, why have I found myself defending my decision? Do you know how many parents who were in my position that sacrificed their sanity because they thought that sending their disabled children away (to somewhere better yet) was wrong? That is because society has taught us that doing something like that is wrong and it makes you selfish. That is right.  Society glorifies martyrdom! The same way society glorifies anyone who isn’t overweight and an acne-free face.

If society was more accepting of different appearances other than the types that are not considered “beautiful”, there would be less bullying and more confident men and women around.

My message to anyone is if you are in a difficult situation whatever that may be, and doing the best and right thing goes against what society expects of you, then take the risk at being hated and mocked, and do the right thing. Your sanity, wellbeing and the health of anyone involved will be better off in the long run.

About the Author

Miriam Slozberg is a Canadian mom of two teens, author, blogger, freelance writer, social media manager and astrologer. One of her teens has Autism and she has written several pieces on a variety of platforms about her experiences with raising a child with special needs. Miriam is an advocate of mental health and depression. You can visit Miriam’s sites at www.expressivemom.com and www.miriamslozberg.com for more information.

This is ME! Real & Raw – Renate Halleen – Australia

I grew up in Melbourne with a half brother and sister. My mother was not a nice person as was my step father too.

I endured years of child sexual assault, child abuse and drugs. Being the eldest child I took charge of nurturing my younger siblings, trying to protect them also.

My mother giving me drugs on most occasions to serve her husband and later most males that visited or stayed. Beaten by her If I stepped out of line, the house had to be clean, the food had to be cooked, the younger siblings needed attention.

At just 12 my mother took off with a new boyfriend, took my sister but left me behind, she left me with him.

At 14 my mother came for me, I was excited that she did, took me away from him, but I was quickly treated badly again. I left with a hairline fracture to my temple and a very swollen face. I was placed in a woman’s remand centre to protect me from my mother.

I asked to be placed as a state ward, I did not want her to be anywhere near me, or her boyfriends and male friends. I was told I was too dumb, too stupid and no one will ever like you. I am lazy, all I ever did was try with all my heart.

I kept trying to go to school, I was told in year 9 to leave I will never make it, and like before “Im dumb”. I didn’t want to do cooking or sewing, I wanted to fix cars, and to do wood working, but I’m a stupid girl, too dumb, too silly.

I left school, I rebelled against everyone, took off from the children’s hostel and formed a relationship, a boyfriend, a violent abuser and …… so was the next one.

I was pregnant at 15 and then gave birth at just 16 years old.

Through all the domestic violence, rape, child abuse, child sexual assault, through all this crap. The constant verbal and physical and spiritual abuse, I am not lazy, I am not dumb, I am Intelligent, I just took the wrong turn as I didn’t know any better.

I have since been diagnosed with Idiopathic Hypersomnia, Hyperkinetic ADHD, Acquired brain injury and PTSD.

I have never been an addict, I have educated myself with schooling or hospitality training. I also have other training and skills, I have learnt many lessons along the way, I got knocked down, I got back up again and again.

One thing for certain, I have always felt as though I am a healer and also I wanted to help.

I help out with certain charities such as, Support the Girls Australia. Where ever I can, I give my time and my healing hands to heal and nurture. I love what I do, It’s my calling……

I am now a fully qualified Remedial massage therapist. I graduated and I have a Diploma and I’m proud of ME, I am ME !

About the Author

From the age of 15 I have tried to educate myself from different schools and training facilities. I loved cooking for a time and even part owned a coffee shop.

With 5 grown sons and a lot of life’s experience under my belt especially dealing with ADHD.

I also enjoy and encourage good health, good food, make and use bath bombs and Magnesium creams etc. for the relief of muscle cramps, pain, and to just relax. People don’t realise how depleted they are of this crucial mineral.

I now have a new business and a new direction, A tight Knot massage and Alternative Therapies.

You can contact Renate on 0405 030 968 or by her Facebook page www.facebook.com/atightknotmassage.com.au

Our Motivations Change As We Move Through Life – Jan Cavelle – UK

Our motivations tend to change as we move through life. As a teenager, I was typically full of ideologies, ambitions and plans both for myself and the world around me. I harangued anyone who would listen about various social and political injustices. I fully indulged in those traditionally rebel years. I messed around, failed to get myself a decent education or launch into any career.

Underneath all that angst, was a mother in wolf’s clothing. I passionately wanted children. I wanted to do the whole stay at home Mum bit, with beautifully turned out, happy children eating wholesome food, much of which I had grown myself. The reality of that one didn’t take long to set in, with the sleepless nights, the barely heated baked beans on toast both on plate and down fronts of aforesaid children, the garden neglected. The actuality of life as a Mum is a wake-up call for most of us.

Even so, those of us who become parents, tend to spend the next couple of decades focussing every scrap of energy into our children’s needs.  For me, initially, the challenges were simply day to day.  I had been able to drift into marriage and motherhood cocooned in the security of a partner and a trust fund. But life has a habit of sending us wake up calls and when the trust fund I had went bust overnight and my marriage broke up shortly afterwards, I was left absolutely penniless, totally alone with two small children to support. I was not the first woman that has happened to nor will I be the last.

I was soon living on government support but failing to make ends meet. So with very limited skills, I set up an “office” under the stairs at home where I could watch the children play at the same time and started selling goods from a variety of local manufacturers to interior designers.  

It was really hard; hard being broke; hard working with two small children around. But I managed over the next few years to build a small business which enabled life to become near to the perfect vision I had of motherhood. It was a happy, innocent time in many ways.

By the time the children were in their teens, I was buying the furniture I was selling from one other small company. One Friday, the man who owned it rang my doorbell and announced he was shutting up shop that weekend. Panicking, I asked him in, agreed a deal I could pay him when I could, and by Monday had two small businesses. I amalgamated the two. There were a lot of touch and go moments, but eventually it became successful. With a lot of hard work, I built it up to the size where we were selling my own furniture designs worldwide. Over a hectic few years, I had become something I didn’t set out to be – an entrepreneur and businesswoman.   

It was great in some ways, especially initially. But as success came, so I became very depressed.   There were expectations on me to become a person I had not set out to be. It took me very far from my original values and authenticity. When we allow the noise, the sheer hectic pace of the lives we lead to drown out our values or to lead us into living lives that do not fit with them, we have a recipe for great unhappiness and dis-ease. And sure enough, that is what happened.  Increasingly, I became physically ill and more and more depressed as well, yet there was never any time to deal with either issue. I tried hard to make it work, but we all need a reason to get up in the morning that goes a lot deeper than you “ought” or “should”. Breaking point came finally, one illness too many, and the business and I parted company.  

I am far from alone in the millions who put aside their dreams to have children and do so happily and willingly. But from 50, our priorities change again. While some might have their lives revolving around grandchildren, many more revert to questioning life, trying to find a purpose and a recipe for happiness while there is still time, or simply focussing on a much more health conscious existence in order to stave off the inevitable deteriorations as we get older.

Now re-invented as me, I feel more successful now, doing a mix of coaching, writing and speaking, than I ever did running an international business. Following your authentic self, whatever that is, at whatever stage of life you are at, is the deep down essential rule to follow.

About the Author

Jan Cavelle is a successful Entrepreneur, Writer and a sales and Business Coach for Women based in the UK. Jan has nearly 40 years’ experience in sole trading and small businesses. This experience ranges from such diverse areas as music management, catering, freelance sales, furniture design and manufacture. You can contact Jan by email on jan@jancavelle.co.uk or visit her website – http://jancavelle.co.uk/

Recoop’s Robe with a Story – Ann Cooper – USA

Recoop’s mission and purpose came about through a dream of wanting to make a difference in other people’s’ lives. Following the dream and calling meant leaving my comfort zone and present employer, where I was a College

Health Nurse, and embarking into the somewhat unknown territory of the online marketplace. Looking back, I am so glad I took the leap of faith, because it has been so worth it!

It has always been my desire to help women recoup or recover the things in their life that have been lost to them.

I decided early on that Recoop would only do business with others that hold true to the highest ethical practice when it comes to labor and products, so I knew that when we launched our clothing line it had to be Eco-friendly and ethically made. My company, Recoop, was born on September 11, 2015. I had no idea when I added, “Get business license,” to my weekly goals that the actual day I got it happened to fall on this historic day.

Although I cannot bring back the lives that were lost on that terrible day, I could endeavour to live, and help others live to our fullest God given potential, in their memory. That is what Recoop wants to help others achieve through all of its offerings; Inspiration, information, and sustainable products that will help you to Take Your Life Back and recover that which has been lost!

Recoop’s Organic Clothing Line that I dreamed of launching a few months into the journey did not take off as fast as I originally hoped, but during this delay, my company’s true destiny was being formed into something bigger than what I had originally thought. Our company evolved into a Social Ecommerce Enterprise with the greater purpose of helping women who were coming out of the sex trafficking industry.

Recoop does this by giving a percentage of each sale to a local nonprofit organisation called Hope Refuge, and by bringing awareness to this horrific issue in our modern times. We launched our Signature Product, Recoop’s Recovery Robe, a few months ago knowing that the Robe was going to be so much bigger than a product that people wear.

This is “The Robe with a Story.” Every person who wears it becomes a part of the Story! It is more than just a robe you put on after a shower or for your morning coffee. It is the complete feeling that you have when you put one on,” that all is well with my soul, and that I can embrace this time to recover and get renewed, because I am worthy and I am important. My life and soul need this space in time to be renewed so that I can continue to make a difference and nurture those in my sphere of influence.”

Recoop has also created a beautiful partnership for women and men who purchase one of our 100% Organic Cotton Recovery Robes. Not only do you get to feel this overwhelming sense of healing and recovery when you purchase one for yourself, but when you give it to someone as a gift, a knowing that you are actually giving someone the gift of renewal and recovery.

The other bonus is that you will also be a part in helping women who have had the courage to flee or be rescued from the sex trafficking industry.

Recoop donates a portion of every sale to a local nonprofit organisation that offers retreats and housing to young women ages 12 through 17 years of age, giving them a new hope and direction in life.

Do you see how the vision has expanded to include all those needing space to recover from the stress and trauma that sometimes life can bring? Everyone can have this opportunity of hope and recovery. We, at Recoop, are so honored to be gifting the first ten young women who will be living at Hope Refuge, one of our 100% Organic Cotton Recovery Robes this coming Fall in the US. We invite you to be a part of the Robe’s Story by purchasing for yourself or as a gift to a loved one.

We will be expanding our offering very soon to include Eco-friendly clothing that is comfortable and beautiful to wear so stay tuned. You can go to our website, www.recooprenewrecover.com and go to Shop to purchase now. We are currently only shipping in the United States, but will be expanding internationally very soon. If you wish to get on our waiting list for International Orders, you can do so by email at recoopann@gmail.com Just let us know in the subject: Waiting List

You can also connect with us on Facebook : @recooprenewrecover or Instagram: anncooper_recoop where we offer daily tips and inspiration on how you can live a happier and less stressful life. We hope you will join Recoop on this journey!

“Don’t be surprised if your original plans do not line up the way you think they will. Sometimes the dream or vision is bigger and it takes time to align with the bigger purpose.” ~Ann Cooper

About the Author

Ann lives on the Central Coast of California. She has been married to Dean for 29 years and has three children; Hannah, 26 years old, Colin, 22 years old and Andy, 20 years old. Professionally, she has worn many different hats including Business Owner, Registered Nurse, and Women’s and Children’s Ministry Leader working with people of all ages and cultures.

Through life experience, her faith, and time as a Registered Nurse, Ann incorporates all of her gained knowledge into her writings and business model. You can contact Ann by visiting her website www.recooprenewrecover.com or through her social media channels, Facebook: @recooprenewrecover or Instagram: anncooper_recoop

Some Fun Facts About Ann

  • Climbed to the top of the Gaza Pyramid in Egypt at age 15.
  • Loves birds of all kinds, but favourites are doves and peacocks.
  • Has written several songs on the piano and loves to sing.
  • Holds High School Record in track for the 110M Low Hurdles
  • Soon to be published author of a children’s book series.
  • Journals every day.
  • Tends to see things ahead.
  • A Hopeful Optimistic.

 

The Rise through Special Needs – Motherhood

We all have those moments in life that knock us to our knees, life is full of them. What matters most is that we learn how to rise afterwards and see the gifts we have unlocked in the process.

One of the most pivotal times in life, was the moment I sat across from the team of doctors who delivered devastating news about my youngest daughter Chiara. News that no parent would ever want associated with their beautiful precious child.

Chiara was 5 months old when we were booked in for the brain MRI at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Two days later, our life changed in an instant. Her MRI results were in and doctors revealed she had a severe brain injury. At this stage the cause was a possible stroke she had in utero. Stroke in utero? I didn’t even know that was possible. Chiara would not be able to walk, talk and would require many operations, interventions and need 24/7 care for the rest of her life.

They spoke of a shorter life expectancy and many secondary concerns associated with her diagnosis. Microcephaly, Bilateral Perisylvian Polymicrogyria, Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and Global Developmental Delay. The odds were well and truly stacked up against her.

Within a flash, my entire motherhood experience flipped on its head. I was in so much shock and it took me a long time to come to terms with Chiara’s diagnosis. It’s so bizarre because she looked like any other healthy baby, but things for her would soon unfold very differently.

Then next few months were a blur, EEG tests for seizures, early intervention programs, post-natal depression and also reviewing medical letters – that would leave me sobbing on the kitchen floor. Life catapulted us into a reality that was so fast-paced and all I could do was try to keep my head above water and love her fiercely, as I did Grace. A mother’s love can move mountains.

Once the shock wore off, we were on a mission to help Chiara reach her full potential. Our quest for healing and miracles sent us off on adventures, both locally and overseas to access the latest neurological therapies. Fast forward to today Chiara is almost 4 years old, doing well and defying the odds in her own unique way. This kid, she blows me away. With all her physical limitations, she still manages to pull of the most incredible smile. Not to mention her big sister Grace who has the most incredible connection with Chiara. Makes me the proudest mum in the world!

So motherhood sure has kept me busy. I had to close down the yoga business given all the care, therapies and hospital appointments we needed to attend. So recently I created a website Miracle Mama offering soulful support for special needs Mama’s.

As a passionate advocate for health and wellness, special needs and self-care, I wanted to create something to help serve the special needs sistahood, who in turn helped me find my own footing in the post-diagnosis life. I wanted to create a community for other mama’s to share their experience – it can be a very isolating experience and even your closest friends may not understand what you are going through.

The stress of raising a medically fragile child isn’t going to go away. What is in our control is how we deal with that stress and we can do that far better when we’re honouring and valuing our own self-care practices.

I can stand tall in saying that my life has been blessed three times over. The first in a soul mate of my husband Mauro, the second with a beautiful spirited daughter Grace and the third with a courageous and angelic daughter Chiara.

It’s funny like that life – sometimes the most amazing blessings are found within your biggest challenges.

About the Author

And for me, my greatest life blessings have been given to me during my motherhood journey. Motherhood in a nutshell: magical, mystical and lovingly miraculous.

Natalie Roberts-Mazzeo is a passionate writer, coach and speaker, and the founder of Miracle Mama. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and two beautiful daughters. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

You Too can Thrive at Seventy Five! – Lyn Traill – Australia

“I am a late sizzler.” That’s what I wrote in my book “Sizzling at Seventy”. Now I believe that I have proved that not only can you sizzle, you can absolutely thrive at seventy-five. I thought my life was wonderful at seventy and made a smug statement in my book that, as a reformed victim, I felt that I could cope with anything life threw at me. Well, life decided to check me out and threw me the biggest curve ball of all.

Following on from some unwise relationship choices, in my early sixties I met the love of my life and I thought I had found my ‘happy-ever-after’. We had a wonderful, enriching marriage and he was the icing on the cake for someone who had worked hard to crawl out of victimhood and kick some pretty impressive goals. I had no idea what lay ahead.

I became a teacher because I hated every day of my school life and wanted to prove that education can be enjoyable for everyone if individual differences are acknowledged. The school system never suited me and I was excited in my forties, to be given a year on full pay to go to university, which added to my qualifications in special education. This was my opportunity to assist teachers to bring out the best in students who, like me, didn’t fit the system. I’d be lying if I said that everything I tried was a success, but I was able to implement many successful breakthroughs. Always driven by my passion, it was during this time that I wrote a published series called, “Thinking Sideways”, which was inspired by Howard Gardner’s notion of different intelligences. Other published works reflected strategies to help students get the most out of language. I was on a roll, but hadn’t been prepared for the resistance I encountered along the way. If I had only had the confidence afforded to me now, I would not have let others push me down because I now know that I was on the right track. There were some fabulous experiences in education but after a particularly nasty spate of bullying, I retired from education at the age of fifty-five to begin the next important journey.

I took on a business partner and created a Registered Training Organisation, Traill Blaze Communications. I thought that as an educational consultant, I had so much experience in training, but of course, once again there were many challenges. I have no regrets and am so grateful for the steep learning curve. My thirst for learning stood me in good stead and I undertook many courses in my desire to serve clients. Becoming accredited in all Human Synergistics diagnostic tools was a useful ploy and we managed to build up a strong clientele.  I learnt how to ‘fake it till you make it’, but, sometimes I found it difficult. An early contract we had with an engineering company, proved to be challenging. I overheard a rather arrogant man say, “Women are allowed to be smart as long as they are ugly.” Apparently, I wasn’t ugly enough! It just made me more resolute to do my absolute best.

Early on I began to realise that although our clients asked for consultation, most of which entailed common sense answers, it wasn’t sustainable. Instead of being told what to do, I realised they needed coaching to make their own decisions. This lead me to undertake several coaching courses, the most valuable being the Graduate Diploma of Ontological Coaching, which was both personally and professionally life changing. My business partner had long moved away and I went on alone, apart from two years as a director in a training college.

There were some personal traumas, but once again, I am so grateful that I became stronger and at last stepped into my true self. I was no longer a victim and began to believe that I had something to offer the world. This made such a difference because, where previously I had compromised in relationships, I now felt good enough to attract something better. In fact, by this time I didn’t need anybody in my life, I was happy on my own. Then I met my lovely Mick. I talk about the miracle of that in my book. At the end of the book he was very much alive and my life was amazing. Six months later he was taken with a melanoma and brain tumour. I was unprepared, not only for the grief of losing my beloved, who had inspired me to write the book, but I reeled from the behaviour of some who dealt with his death in unexpected ways which impacted mightily on my mental health. I have learned so much from the next terrible eighteen months and see them as valuable.

So much has happened since then. I feel I have much to offer in assisting women in their search for wholeness and I love this work. I love to speak, I love to coach and I love to write. How lucky I am to be able to have the opportunity to do all three. I truly believe, with all my experience, that once you have your vision, you do all you can, and then watch the miracles happen. I had no idea that life could be so fabulous and I know that it is absolutely possible to thrive at seventy-five. It is never too late to find your ‘fabulous’.

About the Author

Alongside a successful career as an educational consultant, author, and training director of a leading vocational college, Lyn has been in demand as a management consultant since 1997, specialising in executive coaching, culture analysis and customised training.  More recently she works one on one with her intuitive coaching practices which include regression therapy and ontological (way of being) strategies. Her book, “Sizzling at Seventy – Victim to Victorious” has proved to be helpful to many and is being republished. It is available on Amazon or on Lyn’s website.

Lyn’s warm and perceptive personality allows her to easily engage and encourage people. Her passion and humour are infectious, allowing others to feel readily at ease. She is available for one on one coaching, group coaching and speaking.

Contact Lyn on 0407 131 474 or email Lyn at lyn@traillblaze.com or visit her website www.traillblaze.com

 

A Mother’s journey in Resilience and Gold – Pam Cleverley New Zealand

Not in your wildest dreams could you imagine this journey. You wake up one day and it leads you to 5 months away from home. I am a single Mum of 3, Ruby now 24, Riwa 21 and Charlotte 13.

I worried about having a third child, but Charlotte was a delightful baby. Secure in her routine, happy, healthy and bubbly, bystanders would notice her and see her spirit. She was born in November of 2003, and entering into her 6th month on June 17th 2004, she woke at 3am, with vomiting and high temperature, I rushed to get her the appropriate meds, and she started a high pitch whimpering ( a symptom not then mentioned, as a symptom).

We fell asleep together till morning, but little did I know she was in deep toxic shock. Waking, I let her sleep on, my gut feeling was worried, but I put it down to me being over protective, and with a sitter in place to oversee Charlotte I rushed Ruby and Riwa to school, and went to work for two hours.

Arriving home I was shocked to hear Charlotte was still sleeping and on closer investigation, I was shocked to see her in the same position I left her in, motionless, gazing, eyes half open, and two defined blood spots on her neck. Panic rose up my body, as I recognised the symptoms as Meningitis.

The story continues as written by Perry Bisman (her Dad) on her website.: www.charlotte.cleverley.bisman.com

Life changed that day, the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness was hard to endure. The emotion like having a jumbo jet fly over you while you lie paralysed on the tarmac face up. We watched helplessly over Charlotte as she went to war with the most deadliest disease known to man. Hospital was our world for the next 3 months. Day/Night – we never knew, it just blended into continual highly stressful seconds, minutes, hours, days and months.

Our journey climaxed to a social media frenzy after a front page Herald paper headlined  the Vaccine for the Meningitis B (which Charlotte was suffering) was about to be thrown out due to the nearing use-by date, along with $250 Million of taxpayers money. We contacted the Herald, Really – You have a Vaccine?

Get it out there that this is what it’s doing to our baby. Charlotte’s photo in the front page of the next morning’s Herald paper, article written by Charlotte’s father Perry. She was pictured happy on a swing. Holding on with hands. Balanced by legs, all now taken by this evil disease. New Zealanders we’re mortified and demanded the vaccine. Which was soon released into all schools. Nurses left our ward to take part. Doctors thanked us.

Charlotte survived, she had nationwide interest in her well being and we were followed around by media. But we had our child, devastated by disease, a quad amputee, only her elbow to work with. We spent two months at a children’s home to heal from skin grafts and debridement, and to adapt to Charlotte as a quadruple amputee.

One doctor, one day mentioned the journey will be a rocky road. Little did I know the journey, little did I know the road was, in fact, many mountains to climb. How much resilience does one need? For a baby to fight a deadly bacteria. For doctors and nurses to be in the operating  theatre and save children’s lives. For parents to endure the grief and guilt of their child’s illness. To endure whatever trauma life gives you.

Now our ‘Normal’:

Battling the accessibility of businesses, inaccessible disabled car parks that have had no thought around their placement, disabled toilets that are locked or used as a storage lobby, public transport that is not accessible, governed limb centers on tight budgets and over loaded with patients exasperated by diabetic casualties, Carer Aids that are underpaid, unfit, and uneducated on a high-needs spectrum on the individuality of ORRS students, a Health and Safety law which confines parents of disabled children and entitles the removal of their mobility and free movement and speech.  – To name some of the hurdles. The strength and endurance it takes. On top of the 24/7 care of a high-needs child.

My job title of now without the university degree : Activist for Human Rights, physio, mobility designer, and gadget designs, prosthetist, skin and scar management, employer, wages clerk, fundraiser, public speaker (TV and articles), assisting with infrastructure for access, researcher, environmentalist, nutritionist, mentor, carer, organiser of equipment repairs, appointments and meetings.

Without these ongoing challenges, I would not be the strong confident person I am today. Charlottes resilience and spirit, has enabled me to endure all challenges in our journey. When you mine for gold, there’s a lot of hard work to find it. Similar to the strength and endurance you need to raise a quad amputee.

When the day flows, when Charlotte first swims, when she takes her first prosthetic leg steps,when she runs in blades, disabled surfing, skydiving, her incredible art, her happiness. That is my gold.

About the Author

Pam has gone through many struggles over the last 10 years. far more than other mums, this story is a way of her connecting with the world about how you can get there if you keep on pushing. You can find out more about charlotte her daughter at

www.charlotte.cleverley.bisman.com

Estella’s Brilliant Bus – Estella Pyfrom – USA

Estella’s Brilliant Bus – Estella Pyfrom – USA

My name is Estella Pyfrom. I am the CEO and Founder of Estella’s Brilliant Bus (not for profit organization). I am the second oldest of six daughters and one son. My father, Roy L. Mims, was a migrant worker, a crew leader and a camp manager for many years. As a kid my family and I traveled for nineteen (19) years, transporting migrant workers from Florida to New York, by driving trucks and buses to the camps. As a village kid, I was inspired to give back to my village (my community)

As an adult, I worked very hard in my community and was a dedicated wife and mother to my children and to many other children in my neighborhood circle.

After raising four children and teaching them how to stay out of trouble, my accomplishment that I am proudest of is the Creation and founding of Estella’s Brilliant Bus. … AWESOME because we are mobile and virtual and can learn anywhere in the world. We’re a learning center without walls… no boundaries. The learning center travels to communities where service is needed. We will make a difference…one child at a time and/or one family at a time.

I believe that by forming alliances with agencies in communities who have similar missions and who have been awarded grants, have grant funds to provide services can form partnerships to serve hard to reach individuals and all will benefit from the union. The learning center travels to communities where service is needed. Estella will continue to seek financial assistance and continue to collaborative community stakeholders provide resources to help improve the quality of life for children and families who are in need of our services. We will make a difference…one child at a time and/or one family at a time.

I am proud to say we have served more than 100,000 underserved children over the past four years and have not charged them any money.

During the first year after we started this Brilliant Bus Movement Business, my husband became of victims of a triage visit at a local hospital which landed him in ICU for two months that required me to be with him (in ICU) for 24 hours in order to help keep him alive. In spite of all of our assistance at the hospital, he survived 4 cases of CODE Blue and 26 pints of blood transfusion. Luckily he survived four times resuscitation. Thank God he is still here… well and alive. In August of 2013 both my husband and I were victims of an automobile accident, when a texting driver t-bowed us as we were driving out of our development. Yes, they ran the red light. As result of that accident, my husband was 98%paralyzes and had to have and emergency spinal surgery. As for me, I got away with only one broken hip, and injured knee and ankle and a battered face to the point that my children could not recognized me. But to God be the Glory, WE ARE BOTH ALIVE TODAY.

When I look back over her past and begin to think of what attributes to my success in life, all I could think of is the “no failure” options that was instilled in me as a child by my father. . My dad made all of us believe that if you could dream, … dream Big, and work hard to make your dreams become realities… Failure was not an option.

During the past four years we have been very celebrated for our hard work: PLEASE NOTE:

FEATURED: NBC News Network… Prime Time with Brian Williams and other associated networks
All Local TV and Radio Stations
Jet Magazine
5000 Points of Light–Ranked – 4998 around the world- Hosted by President and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House
CNN Hero- 2013– Top 10 around the world –Ordinary People doing extraordinary things around the world
Woman of Worth — Top 10 around the world–L’O Real of Paris
Who’s Who Global–Directory – dedication, hard work and for making a difference
ESSENCE Magazine – 2014
MV Magazine
Success Magazine
Her Life Magazine
O-Oprah Magazine -January -2015
O-Oprah Magazine- This I know for Sure —Special Column
Oprah-The Life You Want Tour- Toyota Standing Ovation- Florida VIP
Wells Fargo Community Award
Florida A & M Alumni Association -PBC-
Community Service- From Local to National
Legacy Award — by Dexter Bridgeman–Legacy Palm Beach Magazine
Living Legends Award- Human Symphony – National
Community Service Award – Alpha Kappa Alpha
Community Service Award – Alpha Kappa Alpha
Community Service Award – Alpha Phi Alpha
Community Service – Citizenship Awards – Zeta Phi Beta
Community Partners Award – Delta Lambda Chapter – Alpha Phi Alpha Chapter
Woman of Excellence – Delta Sigma Theta
Spirit Award–Delta Sigma Theta
NBA – Pro player Philanthropy Award
African American Achiever Award
National Education Award
Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award – Palm Beach State College-2014
Microsoft Youth Spark Award – Grant
Microsoft – National-Global – Super Bowl Commercial and Award
Office Depot Adopt-A-Teacher
Comcast-Comcast Community Service Award Grant
Dr. Oz Show
Woman of Excellence – Humanitarian Award
John Maxwell Leadership Award
Diamond Award for Community Service – National Coalition of 100 Black Women
Citizenship Award – Omega Psi Phi Fraternity
FEA -Martin Luther king Jr Award- Outstanding Leadership Award
Professional-Influential Business Professional
Most Powerful 25 Women- In Palm Beach County – Dexter Bridgeman
OCR REAP Grant
Dream Forward Award for courage, persistence and sacrifice while making dreams become a reality. Jason Hall
Dream forward Award for making a difference in the lives of many by Dr. Norma C. Pearson
Excellence and Generous Commitment to Student Award- Belle Glade, Elementary School.
The Shero Award by: Anne Harvey Missionary Society –Outstanding Service
The Steve Binko Award for Educational Innovation and Justice …The Scribe’s Institute
Cultured Pearls Award- Presenter by Alpha Kappa Alpha
Rainbow Push Philanthropic Foundation of the Year Award ‘Jessie Jackson
Legends. Trailblazers and Rising Stars Award for Community Service by Payne Chapel
Key to the City… Columbus Georgia. Honorable Teresa Pike Tomlinson, Mayor- Columbus Georgia
Proclamation. Columbus Georgia. Honorable Teresa Pike Tomlinson,
ESTELLA PYFROM declaration –July 16, 2016
RESOLUTIONS: Representative Carolyn Hugley, District 136, Georgia House of Representatives…Outstanding Public Service
National Association for Professional Women
Continental Who’s Who Recipient of the Year -2016
We will continue to collaborate with partnering organization to grow our business around the world, making a difference in the lives of children who need us the most.
I have successfully completed and published my first book, The Legacy of A Humble Black Woman. I am most proud to say that if I can do this at age 80, so can you, soooooo…… what are you waiting on? Let’s get ROLLING.

For more information about Estella a Brilliant Bus Movement and how to donate to our nonprofit organization, you may visit:
Website: estellasbrilliantbus.org
Email: estella@brilliantbus.org
Phone: 561-985-1889

A special thank you to all of our supporters who continue to support us for many years such as Microsoft and Office Depot.

Nikki Taylor personally thanks Estella Pyfrom for sharing her inspiring story today with us on Inspiring Women Today by Nikki Taylor.  Should you too wish to share your very own inspirational journey/story please email nikki@inspiringwomentoday.biz and our editorial guidelines will be sent to you.

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