Plotting Your Course for 2017


Well it’s another year with ample opportunities for you to improve, excel and renew. So how will you begin?

First, revisit 2016 and note your highs and lows, successes and challenges. This is important because you can use this to help plot your 2017 journey.

As with anything it calls for a plan and it calls for active participation in working that plan. What goals have you set for yourself.? Are you ready to step out on faith and remove yourself from an unhealthy relationship? Great! We applaud the effort. And whatever you do don’t say it’s hard just take it one simple step at a time. if you need a little guidance be sure to download the FREE eBook, “Exit Action Plan, 10 Steps for Leaving an Unhealthy Relationship. This tool will be invaluable for you or a loved one you know who’s going through.

Secondly, plot your strategy for success. Do it in 30 days, 90 days, 6-months and a year. Visit it often and make adjustments as needed. You’ll be rewarded with a happier, healthier and successful you.

Don’t forget about making a commitment to be financially stable and secure. Seek help if needed and for the budding small business owner or entrepaneur position yourself to be ready to access the capital you need to start and/or grow your business. In 2017 Fresh Start for Women will offer Business Credit Literacy workshops. Schedule an appointment today by clicking below:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JanicePettigrew

In the end you’re the captain of your ship steer it in the right direction.

 

Silence Broken through Artistic Expression


Fresh Start for Women LogoOftentimes people hear about or see the evidence and may even be sympathetic to the woman with visible scars from the abuse she has endured. There will be those willing to help if she has become disfigured because of the trauma. A broken arm can mend. A scar from scalding water will eventually heal. A bloody nose can also heal. But what about the scars you don’t see? Don’t they require attention as well? Shouldn’t effort be made to help one overcome those scars?

There are many who believe wrongly that it’s just something you have to get over and move on. This is not an easy task and Fresh Start for Women’s 12 years in the trenches can attest to this statement. Even more damaging is the toll it takes on our young girls before they’ve even fully developed into young women and future leaders.If you have a daughter, niece, granddaughter or even a great-granddaughter make plans to attend Silence Broken through Artistic Expression on October 16th at the 444 Theatre.

Think about it. A woman or girl whose self-esteem has been reduced to lower than dirt needs healing. The woman or child who flinches when a raised voice is heard needs healing. The eyes that look out upon the world without light in them need healing.

The person you observe who never looks you in the eye, speaks softly and shrink within themselves needs healing. The soul, mind and spirit need attention just as much and sometimes even more so. A kind word, a smile, a soft touch all can serve as healing balm. A listening ear without judgment carries a lot of power. Use it wisely.

This year Fresh Start for Women is endeavoring to shed light on the various forms of domestic violence and the impact it has on a woman’s or girl’s life.  Silence Broken through Artistic Expression: The Real Effects of Domestic Violence is a talent showcase that will not only entertain but educate and hopefully inspire you to make a difference.

The arts are a great way to learn in a non-threatening yet caring environment. You’ll be regaled with spoken word artists, singers, dancers and actors. So mark your calendar, get your tickets and come walk the purple carpet, network and make a powerful difference.

Fresh Start for Women believes you will come away from this event with the power to help one who has been made to feel powerless to begin to heal and overcome. Learn more at www.freshstartforwomen.org. Someone needs you now.

Respecting Your Mamas Wisdom About Relationships


womencircle

I know, it’s hard to believe that our mamas actually had a bit of wisdom to pass along to us. It seems that once we reached those teen years suddenly we knew more than she did. Or so we believed.

But if you take time to really examine that perception you know without a shadow of doubt that we were full of ourselves and discrediting the wisdom that resided in the woman who birthed us.

So lt me as a couple of questions and I hope you’ll take time to really think about your answer before you respond. After all the person it benefits the most is….YOU.

First, are you finding yourself repeating a familiar yet uncomfortable cycle in your relationships?
Secondly, when it’s just you and your heart is broken again, do you quietly say to yourself…”Mama Said”?

Remember you must be honest. Besides I will if you will. Over the years as I’ve gone through relationships my Mama’s words have come back to haunt me. Had I taken her nuggets of wisdom to heart I know I could have avoided a lot of disappointment and would not have had to deal with:

Low Self-Worth

  • Low-Self-Esteem
  • Physical and Emotional Abuse
  • Embarrassment
  • Frustration

I can readily admit that when I reached my teen years I suddenly woke up one morning and decided my Mama didn’t know what she was talking about. Besides it had been a long time since she was a teenager. Mama’s advice for avoiding unhealthy relationships was old-fashioned I thought. The rules she lived by didn’t apply to me. How wrong was I!

Mama’s advice for avoiding unhealthy relationships was given because she wanted me to not experience some of the things she had. She wanted me to learn from her…

 Now that I’m a mother and a grandmother, I find myself in her same position. I’m sure my children and grandchildren have those moments when they think to themselves, ‘Mama Said’ or ‘Grandma Said’.

Yes, it’s true that we all have to live our own lives, however, if we take the time to really listen to what our Mamas tried to teach us about avoiding unhealthy relationships we could have avoided so much pain.

Sometimes it seems like we’ve learned from the “school of hard knocks”!

The five nuggets of wisdom that my Mama tried to share and I was too stubborn to hear:

Nugget #1 – Know You Better than Others Do and Know Your Worth

Nugget #2 – Carry Yourself with Dignity & Respect

Nugget #3 – Education is Important for Success

Nugget #4 – You Can’t Change another Human Being

Nugget # 5 – “No” is Not a Bad Word

The interesting thing is that we don’t have to always learn things the hard way. I’m grateful that before my Mama passed she knew I’d learned the above lessons. I hope you’ll acknowledge the wisdom of the Mamas and Mothers in your life. It’s never too late to put it into practice. So go ahead give her a hug and a kiss and say thank you Mama. Hopefully, one day if you’re blessed to have a daughter of your own you too can pass on your nuggets of wisdom.

The Burning Question… Who Are You?


On this Fresh Start Monday, I have just this one question…Who Are You? Now before you begin to answer this question let me set the scene for you: You’ve just entered a room full of very interesting people. Everyone is smiling, laughing and talking animatedly about a variety of subjects. You stand there observing as you’re trying to decide which group you’d like to join. Of course there are butterflies in your stomach and you’re fighting the urge to run and take flight in the opposite direction. But you hold your ground.

You tell yourself, “I can do this. I can make conversation with anyone.” Right before you take that next step you spot the way to the ladies’ room and quickly make your way in that direction. Once inside you stare at the person looking back at you. You think back over the last 20 – 30 years of your life and wonder where did all the time go? In your mind’s eye you see your children from the moment they were placed in your arms until the day you saw them off to college, the military or just across town to their own place. Fleetingly you think about the son or daughter you witness get married and begin a whole new life with another person. On that day you were filled with joy and dread.

Joy, because you’re so happy to see your child all grown up and beginning his/her own family. Dread because now you wonder, “What shall I do with all this time I now have on my hands”? If you’re blessed to still have someone to share your life with you still have that same question, “What are we going to do, now that the house is empty except for the two of us”?

Does this scene sound familiar to anyone? I’m sure it does, I know long before that time arrived I made a decision that has served me well. I decided that though I had a responsibility to my children and of course to my husband. I also knew I had a responsibility to myself as well. This meant I couldn’t totally wrap myself in the lives of my children or spouse for when the day came and they weren’t around what oh what would I do with myself.

Finding interests or hobbies outside of your immediate family takes work and it’s a process of trial and error. You don’t know what truly fuels your imagination or fill you with wonder and amazement until you try it. So you have to have an adventurous spirit. For me I discovered that I love to read, I like running, I love puzzles and I like acting. Not a whole lot but enough that I tried out and participated in a few plays in the drama ministry at my church.

In the back of my mind I also knew that still wasn’t enough. I needed just a bit more. It was then that I looked outside of myself and found my greatest fulfillment! Helping others gives me the greatest joy and when people ask who am I I can readily answer in any number of ways depending on the circumstances.

The point I’m making on this Fresh Start Monday is that each of us should know who we are. Not who others think we are, or base our answer on what we think we should be but exactly who we are. The best way to answer that is to ensure you don’t become stale and bored with yourself. If you’re bored with yourself, I promise others will be as well.

 

For me being a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, sister-n-law, aunt and friend are just a small part of what makes me who I am. I’m a complex individual with likes and dislikes as anyone else may have. But I’m unique to me. I can be happy with just my own company or I can be relaxed and comfortable in a room full of diverse people. I have opinions about the world around me and I have causes that are dear to me. I’m a writer, published author, speaker, workshop/seminar facilitator, evangelist and life coach. Together it all makes a whole me.

So what about you? What makes you tick, what fuels your passion? Do you have a cause that’s dear to you? Have you taken your life lessons and developed them into a new chapter filled with opportunity and promise? Have you ventured outside of your comfort zone and made new friends and developed new relationships based on mutual respect, trust and understanding? If not are you ready to? Do you need a little coaching and encouragement to make that transition? If so you just may be the perfect candidate to join a group of like-minded individuals participating in ‘From Adversity to Passion, A Guide to Your Divine Destiny and Joy’. If that’s the case visit the Fresh Start for Women event page and sign up. You won’t be disappointed.

Come on join the movement so that the next time the question is posed you can answer without hesitation. ‘I am ….’

Happy Fresh Start Monday everyone!

 

Be Like the Butterfly


 

Those four words make you wonder doesn’t it? After all what’s so special about being a caterpillar? Think about. From the caterpillar began its life as a very tiny egg. yet thanks to God and nature it will transform into something beautiful. You too are a special work and transform as well. Let’s take a closer look. Once the egg hatches it becomes a caterpillar. It is during this stage that the caterpillar begins to prepare itself by first eating the leaf it was born on. Once it has reached its appropriate length and weight it begins to form themselves into pupa, also known as chrysalis. of course from the outside it looks as if the caterpillar is resting, but inside the caterpillar is actually changing. if you could peer inside you’d see the stubby looking caterpillar begin the metamorphosis of becoming a butterfly.  When it is ready to emerge from its chrysalis it will be a full grown butterfly.

Now take the same stages and apply it to you. You’ve experienced some heart wrenching moments. They be physically, emotionally, spiritually or a combination. In either case you’ve been blessed to survive it. So now what? Good question. Let’s examine your options:

  1. You could stay stuck in the past. Not a good option for it will cause you to miss out on some wonderful adventures. This could include meeting new friends and experiencing new things including a new relationship rooted in respect and love.
  2. You could carry the hurt with you into the next relationship. Again not a good option. Eventually you run the risk of not even enjoying your own company.
  3. Or, you could reap the lessons from the experience and move forward confident and ready to move to a happier and healthier existence in which you spread your beautiful wings and soar.

Sure there will be setbacks along the way. The key is to persevere and stand rooted in the knowledge that you know how valuable you are. Like the butterfly you are able to bring joy to others as well as yourself. The events of the past don’t have to define who you are today.

So spend time with you and allow your experiences to mold you into something just as beautiful as the butterfly. Now soar!!

 

9 Steps to a Better You in 2016


The start of a new year is a great opportunity to reassess where you are in life both personally and professionally. I’m sure this sounds like your typical new year’s resolution activity but it’s not. Making a resolution that is normally broken within the first 90 days is much different that actually taking a look at your current situation and taking steps to improve it. What exactly is required you may wonder? First you’ll need to revisit the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the previous year. You’ll need to assess whether you made great strides, did you get side-tracked or had to make adjustments. Once you determine that then you can answer the question, “Where are you and where do you want to be?”

Like many others I would take time at the beginning of the year to set goals for myself. The purpose of these goals is to give myself a road map leading to success. They were called as mentioned above, “new year resolutions”. In order to give myself a greater shot at success required me to make a change in my thinking. That change started with me changing “new year resolutions” to, “commitment” instead. Commitment to me meant I was taking responsibility and ownership for the plans I made for myself. This commitment didn’t allow me to easily give up should I fall short instead I was encouraged to make adjustments in order to be successful if my initial plans did not produce the results I hoped for.

Have you ever made a commitment to yourself? How did you go about setting that commitment? Do you take time throughout the year to assess where you are? Well here’s a perfect time to jumpstart 2016 in a different mindset. Below are my tips that I hope will give you reason to make a commitment to yourself:

Write it Down – Commitments or Goals are specific, measurable and time bounded. Write your commitments or goals so that they reflect all three components.

List Your Personal Benefits – Identify exactly “why” you want to achieve this goal.  List all the ways you will benefit personally.

 Analyze Your Current Position – Success is information dependent. You need integrity in your information. Identify your specific strengths, weaknesses and opportunities as it relates to achieving this goal.

 Identify Obstacles and Risks – List everything that could possibly prevent you from achieving the commitment or goal you’ve set for yourself. Identify Investments and Sacrifices.  List everything, including time, money and sacrifices that you can anticipate.

Identify Knowledge Requirements – List what additional knowledge you need to acquire or have access to.

Have Support Team –  List the people, groups, and organizations you may need help from as well as the specific role each one plays.

Develop Your Plan – List in chronological order each activity and their corresponding target date for completion. Use all the information gathered in previous steps to develop your plan.

 Set a Deadline – Determine on what date you will achieve this goal.

Reward and Celebrate – Identify your reward for the achievement of your commitment or goal. You deserve it! But don’t just rest on the successful completion, start again and make it even better. I can guarantee you won’t give up at the three-month mark.

Here’s hoping 2016 will usher in a new, positive, focused and determined you.

Your Best Self Revealed in 2016


In 2016 I want to encourage you to make a genuine effort to let your best self be revealed for all to see and especially you! All of us have different sides of our personalities. There’s the kind and good person. There’s the dependable and secure person, there’s the insecure, need a helping hand person and so on. But in spite of all those different sides of us there will always be a dominant side. So how do you determine what your dominant side is? And if that side is not the side you’d want to be the dominant one is it possible to change it?

My philosophy has always been that for me if there’s something about me I don’t like then as long as there is life in my body I can make a change. First of course you have to be certain that it is something that requires changing and in the process of changing  please be certain you’re not doing yourself or anyone else harm.

I believe that if I hold the candle to myself and see all my imperfections then I will be less likely to try to hold a candle to someone else. After all if I’m busy bringing the best me in 2016 to the forefront then I can’t possibly do that if I’m trying to help someone else be what I think is their best self. Did you catch it? Did you catch the key phrase in that last sentence? Just in case you missed it – trying to help someone else be what I think is their best self. Write this down and never forget it. It is not for us to determine what another person’s best self is. That is theirs to do, you can offer guidance and support if asked, otherwise keep your focus on you. So here are a few statements to ponder over this week as you begin to plot your journey to your best self being revealed in 2016.  And not just ponder them, answer them. No worries it’s not a test to be graded but it can serve as a guidepost along your journey to your best self.

For each of the statements below write yes if it applies to you. Write no if it doesn’t apply to you. But if when you read the statement it’s not a clear yes or no statement then put a question mark by it. I am easily misled by others in order to be accepted. I depend on others to satisfy my basic needs. I spend more time with people who define my self-worth. I spend more time dwelling on the shortcomings of others. I am comfortable standing up for what I believe is right. I react to situations based on what others think of me. I satisfy the needs of others before dealing with my own needs. I try to control others as a means to feel good about myself. I spend time trying to adopt standards others have set for their lives. I have something to offer that can help someone else. When people disagree with me, it only means they don’t like me.

Now look back at your list and ask yourself, “Do I need to make an adjustment in me in order for the best me to come to the forefront?” Be really honest with yourself and decide for yourself, if you need a little extra guidance to get started to your best self being revealed.

If you believe you can benefit from a little extra guidance then perhaps you’d be interested in a six-part series that Fresh Start for Women is offering to jumpstart 2016. This series is entitled, ‘From Adversity to Passion: A Journey to Your Divine Destiny and Joy’. This series is being offered in two formats. The first is as a guided online course that you can embark on at your own pace. The second is a live course which will commence on Saturday January 16th from 9:30am to 11:30am. The live course does require you to register in order to receive the pre-course materials and meeting location. You can register here. Either way we at Fresh Start for Women wish you well on your journey to Your Best Self Revealed in 2016.