It Gets Better!!!! With all the talk about bullying today, I think this is very important. Take a look.

Haus of Guava

I’m bawling like a big-ole-baby.  But, I absolutely love this video.  Obviously, I’m a bit biased (Yale is my alma mather, after all), but I recognize so many parts of myself, my old self and my friends in these Yalies and their stories.

For those who are going through hell right now, I’ve been there.  And, it truly does get better.  That’s not just some catchy phrase that we’re using.  I’m a living example of that.  You may not see them now, but this world is filled with options.  Where you are right now is just a place and time.  It’s not forever.  Trust me.

Enjoy the video!

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A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.

-Iyanla Vanzant

Inspirational Woman Of The Day

Inspirational Woman Of The Day

Inspirational Woman Of The Day

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa was always her own person, startlingly independent, obedient, yet challenging some preconceived notions and expectations. Her own life story includes many illustrations of her willingness to listen to and follow her own conscience, even when it seemed to contradict what was expected.

This strong and independent woman was born Gonxha (Agnes) Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Yugoslavia, on August 27, 1910. Five children were born to Nikola and Dronda Bojaxhiu, yet only three survived. Gonxha was the youngest, with an older sister, Aga, and brother, Lazar. This brother describes the family’s early years as “well-off,” not the life of peasants reported inaccurately by some. “We lacked for nothing.” In fact, the family lived in one of the two houses they owned.

Nikola was a contractor, working with a partner in a successful construction business. He was also heavily involved in the politics of the day. Lazar tells of his father’s rather sudden and shocking death, which may have been due to poisoning because of his political involvement. With this event, life changed overnight as their mother assumed total responsibility for the family, Aga, only 14, Lazar, 9, and Gonxha, 7.

Though so much of her young life was centered in the Church, Mother Teresa later revealed that until she reached 18, she had never thought of being a nun. During her early years, however, she was fascinated with stories of missionary life and service. She could locate any number of missions on the map, and tell others of the service being given in each place.

Called to Religious Life

At 18, Gonxha decided to follow the path that seems to have been unconsciously unfolding throughout her life. She chose the Loreto Sisters of Dublin, missionaries and educators founded in the 17th century to educate young girls.

In 1928, the future Mother Teresa began her religious life in Ireland, far from her family and the life she’d known, never seeing her mother again in this life, speaking a language few understood. During this period a sister novice remembered her as “very small, quiet and shy,” and another member of the congregation described her as “ordinary.” Mother Teresa herself, even with the later decision to begin her own community of religious, continued to value her beginnings with the Loreto sisters and to maintain close ties. Unwavering commitment and self-discipline, always a part of her life and reinforced in her association with the Loreto sisters, seemed to stay with her throughout her life.

One year later, in 1929, Gonxha was sent to Darjeeling to the novitiate of the Sisters of Loreto. In 1931, she made her first vows there, choosing the name of Teresa, honoring both saints of the same name, Teresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux. In keeping with the usual procedures of the congregation and her deepest desires, it was time for the new Sister Teresa to begin her years of service to God’s people. She was sent to St. Mary’s, a high school for girls in a district of Calcutta.

Here she began a career teaching history and geography, which she reportedly did with dedication and enjoyment for the next 15 years. It was in the protected environment of this school for the daughters of the wealthy that Teresa’s new “vocation” developed and grew. This was the clear message, the invitation to her “second calling,” that Teresa heard on that fateful day in 1946 when she traveled to Darjeeling for retreat.

The Streets of Calcutta

During the next two years, Teresa pursued every avenue to follow what she “never doubted” was the direction God was pointing her. She was “to give up even Loreto where I was very happy and to go out in the streets. I heard the call to give up all and follow Christ into the slums to serve him among the poorest of the poor.”

Technicalities and practicalities abounded. She had to be released formally, not from her perpetual vows, but from living within the convents of the Sisters of Loreto. She had to confront the Church’s resistance to forming new religious communities, and receive permission from the Archbishop of Calcutta to serve the poor openly on the streets. She had to figure out how to live and work on the streets, without the safety and comfort of the convent. As for clothing, Teresa decided she would set aside the habit she had worn during her years as a Loreto sister and wear the ordinary dress of an Indian woman: a plain white sari and sandals.

Teresa first went to Patna for a few months to prepare for her future work by taking a nursing course. In 1948 she received permission from Pius XII to leave her community and live as an independent nun. So back to Calcutta she went and found a small hovel to rent to begin her new undertaking.

Wisely, she thought to start by teaching the children of the slums, an endeavor she knew well. Though she had no proper equipment, she made use of what was available—writing in the dirt. She strove to make the children of the poor literate, to teach them basic hygiene. As they grew to know her, she gradually began visiting the poor and ill in their families and others all crowded together in the surrounding squalid shacks, inquiring about their needs.

Teresa found a never-ending stream of human needs in the poor she met, and frequently was exhausted. Despite the weariness of her days she never omitted her prayer, finding it the source of support, strength and blessing for all her ministry.

A Movement Begins

Teresa was not alone for long. Within a year, she found more help than she anticipated. Many seemed to have been waiting for her example to open their own floodgates of charity and compassion. Young women came to volunteer their services and later became the core of her Missionaries of Charity. Others offered food, clothing, the use of buildings, medical supplies and money. As support and assistance mushroomed, more and more services became possible to huge numbers of suffering people.

From their birth in Calcutta, nourished by the faith, compassion and commitment of Mother Teresa, the Missionaries of Charity have grown like the mustard seed of the Scriptures. New vocations continue to come from all parts of the world, serving those in great need wherever they are found. Homes for the dying, refuges for the care and teaching of orphans and abandoned children, treatment centers and hospitals for those suffering from leprosy, centers and refuges for alcoholics, the aged and street people—the list is endless.

Until her death in 1997, Mother Teresa continued her work among the poorest of the poor, depending on God for all of her needs. Honors too numerous to mention had come her way throughout the years, as the world stood astounded by her care for those usually deemed of little value. In her own eyes she was “God’s pencil—a tiny bit of pencil with which he writes what he likes.”

Despite years of strenuous physical, emotional and spiritual work, Mother Teresa seemed unstoppable. Though frail and bent, with numerous ailments, she always returned to her work, to those who received her compassionate care for more than 50 years. Only months before her death, when she became too weak to manage the administrative work, she relinquished the position of head of her Missionaries of Charity. She knew the work would go on.

Finally, on September 5, 1997, after finishing her dinner and prayers, her weakened heart gave her back to the God who was the very center of her life.

Women In The News

Women In The News

Women In The News

Hpv Vaccine

Mandatory Ultrasound vs. HPV Vaccine: Virginia Lawmakers Debate Government Overreach

Laura Bassett

The Virginia Senate, following in the lower house’s footsteps, considered two bills this week that expose a major philosophical difference dividing Republicans and Democrats: the line between a law that properly protects women’s health and one that reaches too far into women’s private medicaldecisions.

When the GOP-dominated lower house passed a bill last week that would force women to undergo an ultrasound procedure before having an abortion, even when it’s medically unnecessary, Democrats criticized the bill for mandating a government overreach into a decision that should be made between a woman and her doctor.

“A party that claims to be about small government is now mandating a medical procedure,” Sen. Barbara Favola (D) told HuffPost. “There is no other example in the Virginia code where politicians are telling doctors how to practice medicine.”

Republicans see it differently. The same lawmakers in the House of Delegates who pushed the mandatory ultrasound bill have thrown their support behind a bill to repeal an existing state law requiring girls to receive the human papillomavirus vaccine before the sixth grade. They offered up the same logic to criticize the HPV vaccine mandate that the Democrats used against the ultrasound mandate.

“We just want to make sure parents are evaluating the risks of what they’re giving their daughters, and not a legislative body,” said Del. Kathy Byron (R), who sponsored both the mandatory ultrasound bill and the HPV vaccine repeal. “I don’t think that we have the medical degree to make those decisions.”

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who helped GOP lawmakers rewrite the ultrasound legislation, joined state Republicans in opposing the HPV vaccine mandate.

“The vaccination policy was passed here in Virginia in 2007, and Governor [Tim] Kaine amended the bill to include a general opt-out,” McDonnell’s spokeswoman, Taylor Thornley, told HuffPost on Tuesday. “The mandate is not a policy with which the [current] governor agrees.”

As Thornley noted, the HPV vaccine law — unlike the ultrasound bill, which would apply to all women seeking an abortion — established an informed-consent procedure. It requires the state to send a letter telling parents that the HPV vaccination is available for their daughters and then lets them opt out of having their children vaccinated if they wish.

Proponents of the vaccine say it’s no different from the other immunizations the state requires, such as polio, tetanus and hepatitis. Of the 6.2 million American women who contract HPV each year, about 10,000 develop cervical cancer as a result, and doctors argue that widespread use of the vaccine would greatly reduce those numbers.

“The HPV vaccine is fundamentally different from the mandatory ultrasound because it’s a public health issue,” said Del. Chris Stolle (R), who is also a gynecologist. “From my perspective, the ultrasound is too much government intrusion into health care. But HPV is a communicable disease” that can be prevented by a vaccine.

The current argument in Virginia mimics the national debate over the HPV vaccine mandate late last year. Fellow GOP presidential candidates attacked Texas Gov. Rick Perry for having signed an executive order in 2007 requiring the vaccine. Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) described the mandate as “having little girls inoculated at the force and compulsion of the government,” and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) slammed it for being a “government injection.”

But Bachmann proposed a federal mandatory ultrasound bill in October similar to the original ultrasound bill that Virginia Republicans proposed. The congressional bill would force women to undergo an invasive transvaginal ultrasound procedurebefore having an abortion.

“These positions are totally in conflict with each other,” said Del. Charniele Herring (D), the Virginia House minority whip. “It doesn’t make sense — your government can reach into the doctor’s office at this point, but not at that point. They want it both ways.”

The Virginia Senate passed the mandatory ultrasound bill on Tuesday by a vote of 21 to 19. They had voted on Monday to delay the HPV vaccine repeal until next year’s legislative session.

Inspiration Of Style

Inspiration Of Style

Inspiration Of Style

Knee-length jersey dress with a wrap-style front, and draping and gathers at one side.

Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes!!

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