Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October Donation - National Breast Cancer Foundation

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I made my October donation to National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. (NBCF). They were founded in 1991 by a breast cancer survivor named Janelle Hail. NBCF continues to grow every year to help more and more women around the world by educating them about breast cancer and providing free mammograms to women in need.

Breast cancer is one of the leading health crises for women in the United States. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. There is currently no known cure for breast cancer, and its early diagnosis is critical to survival. That is why NBCF provides free mammograms to women in all fifty states through their network of hospitals.

NBCF is one of the most recognized and respected breast cancer charities in the world. Since 2003, NBCF has received the highest four-star rating by Charity Navigator, America's premier charity evaluator. Each year, over 80% of their revenue is directed to their life-saving programs, and because of that, NBCF has grown by 20% each year since 2005. I know my small donation of $100 will be used to help with their mission.

Woman of the Week - Oprah Winfrey

Everyone loves Oprah, and I'm no exception. She is a fabulous woman, and I have so much respect for her. Oprah Winfrey is the richest African-American of the 20th Century. She is the world's only black billionaire, and she has been called the most influential woman in the world.

Oprah had a difficult childhood. She was raised in poverty by her mother, grandmother, and father at different intervals throughout her childhood. She was molested by family members when she was young, and she came forward with that information  on an episode of her show in 1986. It must have been difficult to talk about being sexually abused, but she probably wanted to demonstrate to other women that you can move on and have a happy life even after being molested.

Not only does she have a successful network, she has appeared in several significant movies. Oprah co-starred in The Color Purple as an abused housewife. She also starred in Beloved, a movie adapted from Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize winning novel.  Oprah has also co-authored five books. She has accomplished so much in her 58 years. Oprah is a role model for so many women, and I love to watch her live such a graceful life in the spotlight.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Woman of the Week - Anne Lamott

I decided to feature Ann Coulter as woman of the week. Just kidding! Of course I didn't pick Ann Coulter. She's a terrible, terrible person. I chose another Anne who is exponentially better: Anne Lamott. She is an activist and a beautiful writer, and I love her motivation for writing. She said,

"I try to write the books I would love to come upon, that are honest, concerned with real lives, human hearts, spiritual transformation, families, secrets, wonder, craziness-and that can make me laugh. When I am reading a book like this, I feel rich and profoundly relieved to be in the presence of someone who will share the truth with me, and throw the lights on a little, and I try to write these kinds of books. Books, for me, are medicine."

Her writings cover Christianity, single motherhood, depression, and alcoholism. I first heard about Anne Lamott from my lovely cousin, Linda. We had just finished watching the third presidential debate when Linda told me about a post on Facebook by Anne Lamott. I am always happy to find out about strong women, and I am pleased to add her to my list of outstanding people. In her post, Lamott commented on Ann Coulter's awful tweet about President Obama. I won't repeat Coulter's words because they were awful, but I am pleased with Lamott's classy reaction. I am looking forward to reading Ann Lamott's books. Can't wait!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Woman of the Week - Candy Crowley

Last night, Candy Crowley moderated the presidential debate. She was the first woman in twenty years to do so. I think Crowley did a wonderful job. She was able to effectively get the candidates to stick to their allotted times without cutting them short.

Currently, Crowley is CNN's chief political correspondent, and she is the anchor of the talk show State of the Union with Candy Crowley. She attended Principia College in Elsah, Illinois for two years before transferring to Randolph-Macon Woman's College. I graduated from Principia College, a small, Liberal Arts school for Christian Scientists, and I was excited to hear that Crowley attended as well.

She has had an extremely successful career, which she started as a newsroom assistant at the radio station WASH-FM. She then anchored for Mutual Broadcasting before moving on to CNN in 1987. In February of 2010, she started anchoring the State of the Union talk show. Crowley has a demanding career, but she makes time to live a full personal life. She is a vegetarian, and she practices Transcendental Meditation. I love watching Crowley on CNN, and I hope she continues to thrive. I have a feeling she will.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Woman of the week - Malala Yousafzai

Yesterday, Malala Yousafzai, a fourteen-year-old advocate of female education, was shot in the head and neck by the Pakistani Taliban. As of this morning, the bullet was removed from her head, and she is in stable condition. If she does survive, the Taliban has threatened to try to kill her again.

Why is this young woman a target of the Taliban? Frankly, she's their worst nightmare. Yousafzai is a women's rights activist who believes strongly in women's education. She started blogging about life under the Taliban rule back in 2009, and she has been a well-known activist ever since. Yousafzai had to keep her identity a secret so the Taliban couldn't find her. Unfortunately, they stopped her school bus yesterday, and shot her and two of her classmates.

Hillary Clinton said that Yousafzai was, "very brave in standing up for the rights of girls [and the attackers were] threatened by that kind of empowerment." Yousafzai was the first person to win Pakistan's National Peace Prize. She was highly influenced by her father who is an educational activist. He named Malala after Malalai of Maiwan, a Pashtun poet and warrior woman. He raised an amazing daughter, and he should be very proud of her. My heart goes out to Yousafzai and her family. I pray that she makes a full recovery.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Woman of the Week - Amanda Hocking

I love Amanda Hocking's success story. She has been writing novels since she was a teenager, and she had a difficult time getting a deal with a traditional publisher. In April of 2010, she decided to self-publish her books on Amazon Kindle because she wanted to raise $300 to see a Jim Henson exhibit in Chicago. The exhibit was six months away, so she figured she could raise that much money in a few months. To her surprise, she earned $20,000 in those six months by selling 150,000 books. Over the past two years, she has made over $2 million and sold 1.5 million books. Since then, she has signed a book deal with St. Martin's Press.

Hocking is a great storyteller. I read her zombie series The Hollows, and it was extremely entertaining. I am starting to hear more success stories of self-published authors. I think it's wonderful that more authors are deciding to publish on their own terms. Amanda Hocking has paved the way for other authors who dream of publishing books without a traditional publisher. She has worked so hard for her success, and  I'm really looking forward to seeing what's next for Hocking.