Maxene Raices – The Girlfriend Takeaway

It was a different time in a different world when 17-year-old Maxene Raices got pregnant. A world where young girls became cloaked in lies and isolated for shaming their families. And all of this took place in a complete absence of sex education or discussion.

Fast forward 26 years to her answering the phone and hearing the daughter she’d given up for adoption on the other end.

Maxene is author of the book The Land of Sunshine and Hell: A Memoir of a 60s Unwed Mother, in which she chronicles a tumultuous and heartbreaking journey of giving up a child she’d had no option to keep.

“It left a hole in my heart.”

We often hear this expression associated with the loss of a loved one, and that’s exactly what she experienced when her child was taken from her. Thankfully, this story has a happy ending.

I’ve seen movies set in the 1960s involving teenage pregnancy, but not until reading this book, and interviewing Maxene, did I realize the scope of what young girls experienced.

That’s my biggest takeaway this week. That we’ve truly come a long way in the war on acceptance and the ability to make our own choices. Now, let’s do all we can to ensure that it stays that way.

You can check out Maxene’s riveting interview on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or by clicking here.

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Off The Fence!

Beneath waves of upheaval
And morality’s guise,
Old, male caucasians
Avert their blind eyes

They claim God and science
Are supporting their side,
(Except when it comes
to environment’s cries)

“You must have your babies,
We’ll bring it to bear,
But don’t come to us
When there’s no food to share

“And don’t expect men
To wear condoms and such,
We like how it feels
Without one, too much”

And death to those
Who take action despite?
This bullshit hypocrisy’s
Reaching new heights

Most of my life
I have ridden the fence,
On political issues
With little defense

But when you in your tower
Try to silence our voice,
I will stand with my sisters
And holler PRO CHOICE!!

~ Leana Delle
Sunday, June 9, 2019
2019 Sunday Poetry Challenge – Number twenty-two of fifty-two

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Hana Woerde – The Girlfriend Takeaway

Hana Worede is one determined woman. A Dallas based dentist, she did a mission trip to Ethiopia just after graduation, and what she saw changed her life forever. Now she’s determined to change the lives of the underprivileged in that country.

How? By starting her own company, bottling an ancient Ethiopian honey wine (tej) that has been in her family for generations. She calls it Bilquis, after the Queen of Sheba, who’s rumored to have partaken of the exact same drink.

This is no small undertaking, and Hana and her business partner are burning the candle at both ends. The wine is well on its way to showing huge successes, but getting there is proving challenging, testing the owners’ resolve at every turn.

And herein lies this week’s takeaway from my resilient guest:

“What keeps me going is having a purpose. Every time I get sad or I just want to throw in the towel, I have my goals written down in my notebook on why I’m doing this (if I can’t find them, I have them in my mind or on my phone). And if I got this far, there’s a reason why I’m still here.”

Great point. I think it’s super easy for us all to get bogged down with details and completely overwhelmed. I have that happen at least once a week, so thanks to Hana for reminding us all to keep focused on what drives our ambition. Not the outcome, but the reason. Purpose drives passion, and passion drives success.

And another thank you to Hana for bringing us her fabulous wine!

I think I can speak for all in wishing Bilquis every success. May Hana’s philanthropy be something we can globally raise a glass to.


Check out Hana’s inspiring interview on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or by clicking here.

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The Credo Of Our Pets

Wet nose, bushy tail
Laughter in their eyes,
Wagging, running, playing fetch
Those peaceful bedtime sighs

Dainty steps, whiskers stretched
Meowing at their dish,
Gentle taps at 5:00 a.m.
And purring, so delish

All the love our special friends
Bring us every day,
Free of all conditions
Though cats will have their say

They come to us as gifts of joy
And stay not long enough,
They warm our toes and melt our hearts
And soften up those gruff

And when they pass, the feeling lasts
They’re with us even still,
For every little paw print
A memory is instilled

As humans we could stand to learn
The credo of our pets,
Behave with common purpose
Just love, be loved, accept

~ Leana Delle
Sunday, June 2, 2019
2019 Sunday Poetry Challenge – Number twenty-one of fifty-two

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Karen Simpson – The Girlfriend Takeaway

Who wakes up at the age of 50 and decides to start climbing mountains? Karen Simpson, that’s who, and she’s here to advise that we all do the same. Maybe not literal mountains – although she’d like to see the number of female climbers go up from 10% – but step-by-step movement toward the summit of our greatest fears.

Karen admits to have been out of shape before strapping on her first backpack, which threw her headlong into some serious lifestyle changes. Now, she’s not only climbed mountains, but she’s jumped off of them, biked long distances, slid around in the mud (yes, mud) and mastered running.

The latter of these, running, was never her forte – in fact, she admittedly had a “hate on” for the sport – but she did it to train for the climbs. This has culminated into a series of completed marathons and this week’s takeaway:

“You learn things about yourself that aren’t positive when you take on fears and things that you don’t like to do. On the other side of that, when you pull it off – heck, even if you don’t pull it off, but you try – is a big arm in the air. ‘Yay! Wow! I did it! I didn’t think I could, but I did!’ It really makes you feel badass.”

So true! Anytime I kick fear to the curb, I do a badass Rocky Balboa dance complete with theme song (oh, you think I’m kidding).

As for only 10% of climbers being female, I asked if we’re just less adventurous. Her observations suggest otherwise:

“From the minute we’re born, we’re expected to be perfect, and we’re protected like a little gift package. That kind of carries through our lives a lot of times. So, unless we have a family that encourages us to roughhouse and take on different risks, it’s all about us and our self-motivation to throw ourselves out there. Then we might discover at 50 that, hey, I loved all of those mud obstacle races!”

We can all find our own version of mud obstacle races, and so we should. Little gift packages can keep their bows intact and still be badasses. It doesn’t mean we’re any less special for taking risks. It actually means we’re even more so. This is about personal growth and pummeling regret, not protecting someone’s preconceived notions of who we are.

Regardless of your approach to fear, you can’t help but be inspired by this unstoppable woman. I, for one, got on the treadmill this week, and I even broke into a run! Who knows what’s in store next.

Check out Karen’s inspiring interview on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or by clicking here.

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