I’ve been doing women’s events for 11 years. Five for Girlfriendz Magazine (the magazine I created and ran for seven years) and six for Franks & Beans Events. I’m happy to say that I learned something new at our event this past Thursday night!
The evening featured Paper Artist Lorena Melcher of Melcher Creations, and we each had a chance to create something beautiful. Lorena designed kits for each of us in which she tucked beautiful stamped and embossed paper, sparkly gemstones, a frame and a glue stick. Even a bonus project! What she didn’t include was her opinion. She left that to us. So my choice of project was Terry’s choice. And Linda’s choice was her niece Jessica’s choice. And Kim’s choice was Sandy’s and Janis’ choice. They ended up looking the same and yet, looking different. And that was a big part of the fun!
So what did I learn? I learned that in 11 years of doing live events with between 30 and 50 guests, the virtual events that Kim, Linda and I have been presenting are amazing in their own way. At our first virtual event, there were 20 guests (not including our team members). At Thursday night’s event, we had 14 (not including our team), and here’s where the learning comes in: I’m seeing that less is more.
Whether by choice or by circumstance, many women live solo. And as we continue to shelter-in-place, that sometimes leads to loneliness. Put us together using technology, and we are technically alone, yet technically together. During the event, it felt like I was in a room filled with women! And I got to know them in a different way than getting to know them at a live event.
Everyone was relaxed and ready to have fun, to experiment with her creativity and to meet some new people.
Because it was virtual, sisters Marcy and Linda, and Marcy’s daughters, had the opportunity to spend an evening together, despite the fact that Linda lives in NJ, Marcy lives in LA, and the girls live in TX and FL. I had the opportunity to spend an evening with my sister Molly. Even though we live a town away, we haven’t seen each other in person since early February.
All of this is making me even more excited for our upcoming virtual events.
So what are you doing technologically now that you’ve never done before? Please let us know in the comments below.
*PPS: I hope you don’t need this, but if you do, please contact the New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 572-SAFE (7233), 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Or call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233. Click here for a variety of resources for those living in New Jersey.
Six-feet apart is still the order of the day, as we watch COVID-19 cases and death counts heartbreakingly mount.
But must we call what we are doing “social distancing?” Wouldn’t “physical distancing” make more sense? I ask because the last thing we should be doing now is being socially distant from one another.
With so many suffering from depression, anxiety, isolation and loneliness, the last thing we need to be is mentally, emotionally and socially distant from each other.
Trust me, I am a staunch advocate for physical distancing. It’s what the scientists are telling us to do. And if I’m going to take advice from anyone, it’s going to be a scientist. Stan and I consider ourselves beyond blessed to be able to stay safely in our apartment. And, we have the deepest of gratitude and respect for the essential workers who put their lives on the line for us–and everyone else–every single day. We request on their behalf, continued good physical and mental health. If anyone deserves it it’s them. Yes, the economy is important. But if most of the population dies from a global pandemic, the economy will too.
So, I’m not against the concept of social distancing. I’m against the terminology that was chosen to describe it.
On Sunday, we attended a Zoom funeral in Central Jersey for my dear friend Debbie’s father, a victim of the Coronavirus. After that, we “traveled” to a Zoom birthday party in Abington for our future daughter-in-law, Christine. The day ended back in Central Jersey, with a Zoom Shiva (Jewish prayer service to honor the person who passed away, and to support those who are mourning that person). We hit 3 destinations in two states, yet we didn’t move one inch to go from one milestone event to the next. One of my friends pointed out that as much of a roller coaster day it was for us, there was one undeniable constant—love. (You nailed it, Kathy.)
Though we were physically distancing for all three functions, the last thing we were doing was socially distancing. It wasn’t the preferred way for the mourners or for our birthday girl, but the alternative would have been disappointment for Christine and loneliness for Debbie.
So, as we continue to live through this unprecedented time in our lives, never lose sight of the most important four-letter word we have in our arsenal: Love. Share it with those you live with, and those who are living alone, and those living in a dangerous (abusive*) situation.
Sending you my love,
PS: Who are you celebrating and/or memorializing during this difficult time, and how are you doing it? Have you bought stock in Zoom yet? Please let us know in the comments below.
*PPPS: I hope you don’t need this, but if you do, please contact the New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 572-SAFE (7233), 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Or call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233. Click here for a variety of resources for those living in New Jersey.
As I’ve mentioned in past blog posts, one of my philosophies is, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”
Well, that’s exactly what three local women business owners have done. Here are their stories.
By the age of 33, Bridget Papagno had been sick for two years. “I had a fever every day. The lab work and testing were constant, and every time I’d go to the doctor, he’d just order more tests and tell me to come back in three months.”
New medications came
with debilitating side effects that were worse than her symptoms. She was at
the end of her rope, when she decided to seek help from a holistic
practitioner. She began to feel better, but there was one other person she was
destined to meet who would help her turn her life around.
The woman, a fellow hockey mom, was Judy Dingler, a psychic medium who teaches Reiki, psychic development, and so much more. She became Bridget’s mentor, as well as her best friend. This immersion into holistic healing made Bridget feel human again, and that’s when she became the Essential Lightworker.
She is now a Reiki Master who both practices and teaches. She even does Reiki on pets. She is also an Integrated Energy Therapy practitioner and a certified Aromatherapist, and as of this month, has taken over the reigns as president of the Holistic Chamber of Commerce, currently Moorestown-Cherry hill Chapter, soon to be Mt. Laurel-Cherry Hill Chapter.
“I now have a new
passion for life because of my commitment to helping others. And I now
understand that I had to get sick, so I could help others get well.”
Shaheerah Fardan-Ali also found her salvation by starting her own business. “I started out baking for family and friends who loved what I did and encouraged me to start a business. Once I made the decision to do it, I needed a name. So, I went through what some would call ‘The Dark Night of the Soul.’
“In evaluating where I
was in my life and where I wanted to be, through a period of growth,
transition, and unknowing, my business became my ‘diary,’ and my cupcakes
became my ‘entries.’ And Diary of a Cupcake was born. I put inspirational
messages on some of my cupcakes, because they are my diary entries, too.”
herself at a spoken word event where she shared her story with the audience. “And
I felt this glow come over me and a sense of empowerment and accomplishment.
“If I had not had the shift in mindset that I’d had in the past 3 months, I wouldn’t have had the faith and courage to speak at that event. If I didn’t make the resolution at the beginning of the year to be committed to my work, I wouldn’t have even been there.
“If I had not begun to surrender my day to the opportunities that God sends me every day, I wouldn’t have even booked that event two days before. If I hadn’t been preparing for moments like this, and hadn’t made “the choice two years ago to surrender, to fight, to grow, and no longer allow my fear to overshadow my desire to thrive…
“If I had been so
consumed by my fear and self-doubt instead of recognizing the ways that I have
been blessed lately, recognizing the messages and opportunities that I have
“If I wasn’t in the
rooms that I had been in, meeting the people that I have met recently who,
instead of only taking from my cup, would refill mine so we could refill each
other’s…Anyway, I am grateful. And I celebrate these sweet moments that remind
me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be at any given moment.”
Though Elise Mac-Bello’s business was not born of an illness as Bridget’s was, or a spiritual awakening as Shaheerah’s was, it was born right along with the birth of her second child.
Elise is a chocolatier
who owns Saejar Sweets in Willingboro. Her company name is a commingling of her
children’s names, Sadie and Jared.
“I’ve always had a
love for creativity and trying new things. Making chocolates was one of my
favorite ways to de-stress from my demanding career in the nonprofit world. I
always wished I could make it my career, but enjoyed doing meaningful work
within my community. Then Jared was born, and nothing gave me more joy than
being his mom.
“I could no longer imagine the 1.5 hour commute to work, the 24 hour on-call life where I would often leave to deal with a crisis at any given moment, and spent a glorious 7 months with my little guy, wishing it could be forever but needing to bring in an income for our family.”
What was also coming in Elise’s way was fear. “I toyed with the
idea of opening my own business, but fear was not something I had yet learned
to conquer, so back to work I went.” Until—surprise!—she and husband Thomas
discovered that they’d soon be a family of four.
“But that nasty fear kept telling me there was no way I would
ever be able to pursue my dreams with two mouths to feed, so I pressed on for 5
“Then finally, in November of 2018, a door opened that would
allow me to get the training I needed to make my passion a reality. So, I said
a whole lot of prayers and ran as fast as I could through that open door,
thanking God for the peace and passion to know that this would be my next
“My heart is so unbelievably full! I am surrounded by faith,
family and community, which is Saejar Sweets’ Top 3 values, and values we try
our hardest to infuse in all we do! Values (along with several others) we are
raising our kids to embrace.”
You can meet these three inspiring women at our June 19th “It’s EVERYBODY’S Birthday” Birthday Party! Elise and Shaheerah are our Dessert Sponsors, and you know what that means! Chocolate and cupcakes for everyone! Click here for more info on that event.
So, what’s YOUR story
of power? What are YOU striving for? We ALL deserve to have our own story, and
when we use our power, it WILL have a happy ending.
Tell us in the
comments below what your dream is and how you have, or will, make it a reality
using your power.
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