Real Wonder Women, Real Talk: Anxiety and Depression. How do you deal when you feel miserable?

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I am honored to know a whole bunch of inspiring, amazing women and I realized the other day that I would love to ask these ladies for their perspective on some important issues:

Health, self-care, anxiety, depression

I feel like it’s important for women to know that even when they feel alone in their experiences, other women have been there, too.

In this third part, I simply asked:

What do you do when you feel miserable?

(I’ve kept the names anonymous at the request of a lot of the women for when we get into headier topics.)

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How do I take care of myself when I feel horrible?
If I’m physically sick, that’s easy.  I have a visual reason others can see for laying around, sleeping, watching TV, etc. 
It’s a different story though, if I’m not feeling good emotionally.  That’s tough.  There is so much pressure to ‘do’ and ‘go’ and ‘be’…it’s hard for me to validate just laying around, sleeping, taking it easy, etc.  I don’t know if that’s because I fear others will think I’m being lazy or if I’m too hard on myself.
After this past winter, I’ve decided that I suffer from S.A.D. to a mild extent.  There’s relief in that, but there’s also that stigma again.  I’m not quite sure how to deal with it or if there is a way to prevent it…guess it will be one of those things I’ll learn.  ☺

-D.K.
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Miserable: cry. I get wrapped in my head and ruminate, making it worse. I pretty much think of everything bad that has every happened and may possibly happen and somehow embrace every wretched feeling.

I haven’t actually been diagnosed as having depression, but the more I look at my daily bouts of crying and frustration, it may be the case.

As a background: I have always been unstoppable, I power through everything like a fucking champ. However, it’s caught up to me, hundreds of fucked up traumas have caught up and crushed me and I have collapsed but have faith I can somehow move forward and hopefully soon.

-Y.R.
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When I feel miserable, it’s generally a sign I need to rest. Sometimes I will sit on the couch, watch TV, and force myself to ignore any of the other “to-do”s. Sometimes I take a bath. Sometimes I go to bed, even if it’s 6:30. If I’m emotionally miserable, I usually write and try to figure out what is triggering it.

-B.V.
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I isolate. I isolate and revert to negative thinking always turned internally. I’m starting to recognize it now. I’ll call someone, I’ll go to the beach, I’ll quick jump in the car and drive to my parents’ house. But if I don’t catch it right from the start, I let that miserable feeling worm its way through my entire life and my eating disorder takes over again

-Daryn

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Honestly, in my darkest moments, as much as it hurts, I find that the best is just to surrender to the tears, the rage and find a safe way to let it all out.  Either by myself or to someone that I won’t hurt in that moment.  I am not scared of the darkness – I know if I allow myself to feel the pain, that eventually it will begin to subside.  We tend to hold onto it as long as we need it for some reason.  When that reason starts to disappear, our grip starts to loosen. 
That is what I have in this moment.  Hope that helps.  Would love to hear what others have to share.  ♥

-Lili
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When I feel miserable, I eat poorly and watch too much TV.
Or shop online.
I haven’t been officially diagnosed with anxiety or depression but I obviously don’t deal with it well since I have stomach issues and headaches.
I’d say I’ve been mildly depressed on and off since having my daughter- the lifestyle change is something I struggle with. I like to be good at everything I do, so I struggle with balance and sometimes feeling like I do nothing well and everything mediocre, which I hate. I have also always required my very own time and space – lots of it – which since having children I don’t have.

-L.M.
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It’s been so eye-opening reading the responses and seeing how so many women are struggling with the same stuff!!
Depression and anxiety can feel so lonely.
Crying can feel so defeating, sometimes like failure.
Our society sees any emotional or mental difficulties as being weakness when actually I think that it might just be part of being HUMAN!!!!

It’s been interesting to see some people list crying as a form of self-care!!

I think it’s so important to let women know they are not alone and that it’s okay to feel sad….

It’s important to remove stigmas so we can transition to a place of helping each other. Giving women permission to connect even in their darkest places could prevent us all from going too deep into that pit where we feel shame and loneliness and disconnect….
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If you’d like to add your story, please feel free. You never know how much it could help someone else.

So much love!

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Real Wonder Women, Real Talk: How do you define “Self-Care”?

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I am honored to know a whole bunch of inspiring, amazing women and I realized the other day that I would love to ask these ladies for their perspective on some important issues:

Health, self-care, anxiety, depression

I feel like it’s important for women to know that even when they feel alone in their experiences, other women have been there, too.

In this second part, I simply asked:

How do you practice or define “self-care”?

(I’ve kept the names anonymous at the request of a lot of the women for when we get into headier topics.)
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“Self care: often times neglected, most of the time neglected. I think I’m using this interview to ignore real life.
When I have the ability, I do yoga. When I continue to do yoga each day it gets easier and easier.”

-Y.R.

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“I am just now struggling with some depression that comes and goes for me.  My self-care for it involves eating well and frequently because low blood sugar affects my moods.  Getting outside as much as possible.  Exercise.  Remembering to have some fun.  Connecting with people.  Crying.  Getting some TLC from loved ones or from massage therapists.”

-Lili

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“Aside from maintaining good hygiene, I define self-care as taking care of my physical needs in a healthy manner and allowing myself to enjoy ‘wants’ – without going overboard, of course! 

Honestly, I should probably take better care of my mental/emotional needs and wants, too.  Why is that difficult and hard???  …maybe because our society really doesn’t allow us to be emotionally weak. There’s a stigma to that, I think.”

-D.K.
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Self care isn’t really something I practice. At all. Ever. But I’m trying more now. Like before I would sit and watch 3 hours of TV after the girls went to bed and consider that “me time.” Within the last 2 weeks since being diagnosed with Gastritis and a possible ulcer I’m trying to pay more attention to my health via self care. I am walking/running on our new treadmill about 3 times/week and have just bought a book to read for pleasure, after the girls go to bed. I’m trying to be in bed, going to sleep by 10:30 and am trying a low fodmap diet to help with the gastritis. I’m also making an appointment at a naturopathic office to help me figure out what’s going on with my migraines and stomach.

-L.M.
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Self-care: I rarely do! I work out 2x a week minimum and try to eat healthy and sleep at least 7 hours, but that’s about it. I’d like to have more time to truly unwind. I’m reactive instead of proactive. I blame this partly on the fact my massage therapist is now 14 hours away. ;)

-B.V.
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Right now, self-care comes in two forms. For the first form, I’ve found that I have to revert to my most basic needs as a human to practice self-care. Self-care looks like taking 30 minutes to prepare a healthy meal and then sitting down to actually eat it but it also includes taking actual steps to deal with my eating disorder. Seeing a therapist, not working out a couple days a week, eating a scoop of ice cream with my friends…this is all part of the self-care I need right now. Of course, this will change as I make strides in my recovery. But for now, a majority of my self-care is simply trying to love myself enough to keep walking down the path of recovery. The second form is what I call “sea-salt therapy.” I hop in my car, drive to the beach, and let the ocean do the talking. Salty hair is the best kind of self-care.

-Daryn
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Self-care has been something I’ve struggled with a lot, personally. I wrote about my experience and my process here. Check it out if you’re curious. (I also include two links that can really help you feel better immediately.)

Real Wonder Women, Real Talk: What does “health” mean to you?

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I am honored to know a whole bunch of inspiring, amazing women and I realized the other day that I would love to ask these ladies for their perspective on some important issues:

Health, self-care, anxiety, depression

I feel like it’s important for women to know that even when they feel alone in their experiences, other women have been there, too.

In this first part, I simply asked:

How do you define “health”? What does that word mean to you?

(I’ve kept the names anonymous at the request of a lot of the women for when we get into headier topics.)

“Health: when my mind and body are in agreement.

-Y.R.

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“For me health has become a fluid feeling. 

I used to try to feel like I did in my teens and twenties and on the odd day that I felt like that, I would feel “healthy”. 

But as I get older and my chemistry has gradually shifted, health has a new standard – one that has more to do with the middle ground than with highs and lows. 

At the end of the day, I think health to me is peace of mind and heart.

Sometimes a hurting and sick body affects that peace terribly, and sometimes it doesn’t.  But when that peace is gone, then my body feels it.
Often as anxiety.”

-Lili

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Health to me is a scale measuring how well your mind and body are working together. There is “good health” and “not-so-good health.”

-L.M.

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“First, health to me, is not a result of comparing myself to others (I’m thinner than she is, happier than her, etc.).  It’s also not about a size or weight.  It is about me being the best I can be.

Health is more than just being physically fit.  It includes spiritual, mental, and emotional states.  I can achieve health by living for and being in relationship with Jesus, not to mention doing His will for me even if it means my life/choices is way different than others’.

To be healthy physically, I exercise (my focus is moving more and getting my heart rate up) and eating healthy foods MOST of the time.  ☺ I also try to stay away from chemicals, GMO’s, and use natural alternatives to healing and promoting health.

As for being healthy mentally and emotionally, I find that much harder.  I try to get enough sleep, do things I enjoy, learn things, read, etc. 

Most of all though, I believe our mental health is very much a combined result of genetics, childhood environment, and our devotion to our faith.”

-D.K.

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Health: I define health as being the measurement of how well you are in comparison to how well your body will let you be. Meaning, I am not automatically healthier than a person in a wheel chair because I can walk and they can’t. If they are working out and eating well and I’m stuffing my face with heavily buttered popcorn, me being able to walk doesn’t mean squat in terms of health.

-B.V.

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This is a tricky one for me. I recently realized that I have an eating disorder, something I never in a million years thought I would have. I barely eat and over-exercise in the hopes of achieving that perfect bikini-body that so many women strive for. For so many years, “health” was a thin body. Now I’m learning that health is in no way a cut and dry thin body. Health is having the energy to make it through the day because you’ve been eating regularly and enough. Health is running and jumping and playing with the kids in your life and not needing a nap afterwards because you burned through what little reserve of energy you have. Health is that luminous glow your skin gets when it has enough nutrients and water. Health is knowing that you can lift a heavy box because your muscles are strong. But mostly importantly, health is an attitude. It’s taking care of your body by giving it the right fuel and loving it by giving it days off and grace. It’s not a size 0 and it’s not a number on a scale. Health is being content with your body and loving it in all its flaws.

-Daryn

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Personally, I used to define health as all the times I felt blissful and felt like conquering the world.

Now that I’m in tune with my hormonal cycle, I realize that I really only feel that “I’m queen of the world!!” feeling for one week out of the month.

Does that mean I’m not healthy the rest of the month? No. Even when I feel like crying or eating ALL the chocolate or sleeping all day…..that is all part of being a healthy woman.

I feel like I’m learning that health really is about balance, boundaries, connection, and growth.

As long as I am continuing to place one foot in front of the other, I have the potential to be healthy.

Also, surrounding myself with other healthy women helps me be healthy.

-me, (Joy Boardman)

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What does health mean to YOU?

Wonder Woman Wednesday: Brigitte Via

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This month’s Wonder Woman is my friend “‘Brigitte”‘. She is my favorite person to stay up late with playing games like Cards Against Humanity and Quelf. She makes me laugh and Im so happy that she always comes to get a massage every couple months even though she now lives in Florida!!
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Name: ‘”Brigitte'”

Birthday: 11/16/89

Describe yourself as you are or as you want to be remembered:
Hmm… Is it weird to say that I just want to live the kind of life that makes people miss me when I’m gone?
I’d like to be remembered as someone who brighten’s people’s days and a protector/defender of those who need it.

Favorite book?: I don’t have a favorite book, but my favorite author is Jodi Picoult

Favorite quote:

“She dreamed she could, so she did”

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What motivates you?
Me. I’m always competing with myself! I want to do the best I can at whatever I’m given. Also: popcorn

How do you best take care of yourself? What is your favorite way to be healthy?
TRICK QUESTION! A relaxing massage from Joy! The Joy who is expanding her business into Tampa this year (oh, you didn’t know that?) Hahaha

What is your greatest strength?
My popcorn making skills are pretty top-notch, but I don’t want to brag
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Who inspires you? What have they taught you?
Oma! She’s taught me to be independent and feisty (when needed).

What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received?
I heard recently that “good work is rewarded with more work”, and I like that. I also like, “Don’t give up what you really want for what you want right now”.
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What cheers you up or encourages you when you’re down? Popcorn. Oh, wait. Massages.

What are you proudest of?
Nearly everything I’ve accomplished. I bought my first house at 19, started a career out of high school, am a landlord at 25, and just checked off my biggest goal (moving to Tampa)… And I’m going to graduate next year!

What is your biggest goal for 2015?
It was move to Tampa, but I guess now I have to think of another one…
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Thank you, “‘Brigitte'”, for answering my questions! You’re such a Wonder Woman!!

Wonder Woman Wednesday: Terri Farneti

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This month’s Wonder Woman is my very own Aunt Terri. Her birthday is in September so I thought she would make the perfect September Wonder Woman. She is a super strong, intelligent, charismatic woman. She’s involved with the league of women voters and she loves giraffes. She helped make me the person I am today.
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Name: Terri

Birthday: 9/20/57

Describe yourself as you are or as you want to be remembered:  I’d like to leave a legacy of making a difference in people’s lives.

Favorite book?:  I guess I would have to say “The English Patient” because of the way it was written (more as prose)
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Favorite quote:

“Life is not about the breaths you take, its the moments that take your breath away”

What motivates you?
 A sunny day!

How do you best take care of yourself?  I take my supplements, take care of my skin and stay active.

What is your favorite way to be healthy?  Play tennis – or hike

What is your greatest strength? openness to people

Who inspires you? Katherine Hepburn inspired me – she was a class act

What have they taught you?  being quietly powerful is a good thing
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What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received?  “Get into food – people always have to eat”

What cheers you up or encourages you when you’re down? popcorn

What are you proudest of?  I’m very proud of my career 

What is your biggest goal for 2015?  continuously strive to be a better leader
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Thank you for answering my questions. I love you, Auntie T!!
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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Meghan Williamson

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—————————————- Today’s Wonder Woman Wednesday I’m featuring on of the most incredible women I’ve ever had the chance to meet: Meghan Williamson. The things this woman has done at her young age are mind-blowing. It’s been an honor getting to have her in my life and I’m so excited she agreed to let me interview her.
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Name:   
Meghan Williamson

Business Name and Location:      
Pine Knot Projects    
Harrisonburg, VA

How did you get started doing what you’re doing? 
Growing up, I only wanted to be an environmental policy advocate. 
I went to college and then Washington DC pursuing that path, and ultimately became frustrated with the national policy making process, and the lack of real conversations and alternative paradigms.
I came back to Western Virginia trying to answer questions like how do we build sustainable economies? 
What would honest and effective environmental policy even look like? Ever since then, I’ve been playing in jobs that try to help me answer those questions.
Every year, my answers get a little more radical and a little less mainstream. I seem to have to reinvent fairly regularly.

What is your mission statement?
I work on projects that build alternative systems that address issues of sustainability, equality, and community. Early on, that was about building more local economies in which business are locally-owned and engaged in local foods, alternative energy or similar environmental focused activities.  These days, I’m more comfortable talking explicitly about which systems we also need to exit: 
How can we move investments away from Wall Street and into local communities? 
How can we become less reliant on the formal monetary system, and more inter-reliant on each other? 
What laws and power structures keep us from building fairer, place-based, regenerative communities?

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Who do you usually work with? 
Almost anyone who wants to work with me.

What parts of your job do you find most challenging? 
Too much computer time.  And recently, I’ve also felt too geographically scattered, doing work in Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Waynesboro.  Sometimes, when you’re trying to be place-based, you have to actually narrow down and BE place-based. I haven’t always been good at that.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? 
The days when I remember we have more options, more beautiful ways of being in the world, than our dominant culture and media tells us we do.

What accomplishments are you the most proud of? 
Quitting.  I’ve had a number of jobs that were well regarded, in which my accomplishments were recognized and appreciated.
It’s sometimes seductive to want to stay in those comfortable places.  My decisions to leave haven’t always made sense to my family, or even myself…and they aren’t always easy. But I do find that when I’m willing to start-over, to pursue new edges even when there’s no clear new path forward, that’s when I grow the most.

What’s your favorite testimonial you’ve ever received?
A client once walked into my office and said

“Someone told me, if you have a crazy idea, come here.”

 
I’ve always felt deeply honored when people trust me enough to share their dreams or their hopes. I try to honor that, to respect their bravery. I think we all want to build a more beautiful world. & so few people tell us that we can.  

What’s the most effective way you’ve found to promote your business?
I try to live well in place, and to support other people’s desire to do the same. Projects, and the resources to pursue them, have grown out of that.

What motivates you? 
We’re actively ruining the world.
A global species extension in underway. There’s more plastic in the ocean than plankton right now.
Our climate is destabilizing, we have no real memory of what intact ecosystems even look like, industrial expansion strips the land and resources away from indigenous cultures that were thriving long before us, and our food makes us sick.
We traded all that for what? Big houses, long car commutes, and a lifetime of staring at screens under florescent lights?  
I’m over it.  Let’s do better – for both ourselves and for all of those (both human and nonhuman) who are dying for our livelihoods.

What cheers you up or encourages you when you’re down? 
Finding time to be silent and alone, preferably in less civilized places. There’s so much noise and energy in the world that’s actively destructive. Just finding space apart from it helps me hear my own thoughts.

How do you best take care of yourself?
When I’m at my best, I have time to put my hands in the dirt, to cook my own food, to set my own pace. I find that my least-scheduled days are also my fullest.

What is your favorite way to be healthy? 
Cut the sugar, ditch the car, eat food that lives here, and love somebody.

What is your greatest strength? 

I’m stubborn.

Who inspires you?
So many people. I think we’re all walking around with tiny grains of truth in our pockets, and I love how often someone totally unexpected shares one with me.

What have they taught you? 
Again, so many things. If I had to pick one for today, I would say that my partner, Kurt, is teaching me to be kind. Or maybe we’re teaching each other.  

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What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received? 
Plenty of people told me growing up that life is short, but I never knew what they meant until I watched someone I loved have his life, cut short.  I don’t think it does much good to say it, but maybe we can try to remember it: Life is short. These are the only days we get. How would we behave differently if we remembered that?

What’s your best productivity tip? 
Do the things that make you happy. Do the thing the 10-year-old version of yourself thought you should do with your life. Live the life that you imagine. Remember that every single moment we are producing something. We don’t have to “be” productive any more than we have to “be” human. We just have to choose how to spend our moments, and for whom.

Favorite book?: 
I have no idea how to answer this question. Books are like friends – I need them all, for totally different reasons. I read The Culture of Make Believe this year.  It’s hard, tragic, long, shattering, and I think everyone should read it.

What is your biggest goal for 2015? 

Say more true things
 

{Please send a photo or two of yourself at your happiest! And tell me a little bit about the photo(s)}  

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— The photo with the braids is on a bicycle tour with Kurt in Idaho, after we’d spent about 2 months peddling together, camping out every night, and visiting strangers and friends working on sustainability projects around the Pacific Northwest.

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— The other photo is me being content with simple things and good friends. 
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Thank you SO MUCH, Meghan, for letting me get to know you better. You are someone I definitely look up to and what I love most is how deep your passion goes and how much joy you bring to others along the way.

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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Vanessa Dieterly

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Welcome to Wonder Woman Wednesday. Todays Wonder Woman is Vanessa Dieterly, my childhood best friend and a woman I have always looked up to (both figuratively and literally–I’m so much shorter than her.)

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Name:  Vanessa Elke Dieterly

Birthday:  7/12/1987

Describe yourself as you are or as you want to be remembered: I don’t know if how I want to be remembered and how I am are necessarily the same thing, haha. I’d like to be remembered as a giving person and as someone who loves her family.

Favorite book? (Or blog or podcast):  There are so many books that I love, but I’ve been going through a phase (for several years now) in which I am obsessed with autobiographical books written by women comedians. Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Jane Lynch’s Happy Accidents, Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please, etc.

And even though it’s not a book or blog or podcast, I’ve watched the video of Ellen DeGeneres giving the 2009 commencement speech at the University of Tulane more times than I can count. I think anyone who is feeling a little lost should watch it. Everyone else should, too.

Favorite quote:

“Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.” Tina Fey

What motivates you?
Having a kid really changed my perspective on what I want out of life. I have a much different view of success now. My goals revolve around having a happy home and a happy life, and having a child is what has motivated me to live this kind of life.

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How do you best take care of yourself? What is your favorite way to be healthy?
My favorite way to be healthy is to walk to places I need to go instead of driving.

What is your greatest strength? Knowing the difference between they’re, their and there. Also, knowing the difference between your and you’re. Maybe these aren’t my greatest strengths, but I think these are important! ;)

Who inspires you? What have they taught you?
I never heard my mom complain about being a single mom. She always just did whatever needed to be done. She appreciates the little things in life in a way that few people do. I’d like to be more like that.

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What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received?
When I was pregnant with my son, my uncle said to me that everyone will want to give you parenting advice, but you kind of just have to figure out what works best for you and ignore the rest. Everything about this has been very true. Strangers in the supermarket, friends who don’t have kids, grandmas who had eight kids- they all have suggestions for how you should do things. Just smile, nod and keep doing what works for you. Also, see the Tina Fey quote above.

What cheers you up or encourages you when you’re down?
My mom and my sister, Melissa, always send me funny texts- pictures or random things they see, or just funny little thoughts that I have. They always cheer me up.

What are you proudest of?
I had a good job as a property manager that I decided to quit so I could stay home with my son. It would have been easier for me to continue working, so it was a tough decision for me, but I’m glad I finally decided to do it.

What is your biggest goal for 2015?
To stop eating so much processed food!

{Please send a photo or two of you at your happiest. (And tell a little bit about why you chose the photo(s))}

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That’s a picture of me with my sisters at the Children’s Museum of Richmond in 2010.

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And here’s a picture of me with my family.
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Thank you, Vanessa! You’ve always been a Wonder Woman in my eyes, ever since we were little. Now you are so grown up. Where does the time go? It was wonderful to read what you had to say about your life and what inspires you.

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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Sophia Wiedeman

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Happy Wonder Woman Wednesday!
Todays Wonder Woman is entrepreneur, Sophia Wiedeman. She writes and illustrates the coolest comics and I had the pleasure of meeting her earlier this year.
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Name and Job Title
Sophia Wiedeman, Comic Artist, Illustrator and Educator

Business Name and Location
My name is my business!
I draw comics, formerly in NYC now in Charlottesville, VA.
I also teach art and design at James Madison University and Piedmont Virginia Community College.

How did you get started doing what you’re doing? 
I fell in love with comics at twelve.
There was literal moment when it struck me deep in my little heart while reading an X-Men comic, that this this is it, this is what I want to do with my life.
So from then on I kept drawing, fantasized heavily, wondered how to actually start, refused to start, then made terrible terrible comics before going to an Illustration program at School of Visual Arts in New York City where I finally figured it out enough to make my first real working comic in 2008.
Since then have been married in my heart to the thankless, tedious, and all-consuming process of writing, drawing and publishing book after book, hoping I am getting to closer to better.
It’s fun.

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What is your mission statement?
I suppose it could be

“To make people feel something through well-drawn stories.”

Maybe I’ll put that on a business card.

Who do you usually work with? 
I work alone. Very alone.
Sometimes I share work in progress with my husband or my sister and the odd trusted fellow cartoonist. That’s the extent of it.
When illustrating though I have to work with an art director or a client, so then my work becomes a service where I have to bounce my art back and forth for their approval, which can be rewarding.
But writing comics is entirely isolating and independent.

What tools do you use?
Paper and Ink. I use a nib pen and rapidograph pens alternately.
I’m trying to make more comics in straight up pencil.  But I love the feel and the ceremony of dipping a nib into a pot of ink.
I color in water color, but also oils, anything that works.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
When it comes to cartooning it is that weird bliss I only ever experience when I manage to achieve total absorption with the task at hand.
Short answer: Drawing.
When teaching it is the absolute opposite, it is the turning myself outward and actually connecting with people which, as an extrovert, I thrive on.

What accomplishments are you the most proud of?
Making books while working full time. I’m an expert at talking myself out of things that intimidate me so anytime I have pushed through that and done what I actually want instead of just what I am comfortable with, I consider it a major coup.

What’s your favorite testimonial you’ve ever received?
I have been lucky enough to receive some thoughtful praise from some very good writers and reviewers of comics, but I’m supremely touched when readers tell me, “it made me cry” or “I recognize myself this.”

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What’s the most effective way you’ve found to promote your business?
An actual website is important to have, but I am not sure how much attention it gets me, it is more somewhere for people to go once they realize you exist.
I really love Instagram and Tumblr actually because of the visual nature of my work, but mostly going to small press/independent comic book festivals is my most powerful form of promotion.
Meeting people face to face, becoming a real person to people who love comics as much as I do, who understand why I feel this way: that’s vital stuff. Also, always have a little tangible something to hand to someone.
People like stuff, they like holding something. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a real something, it could be a button or a card.
It helps facilitate and bookmark the interaction between two individuals.

What motivates you? What cheers you up or encourages you when you’re down?
That my prime as a cartoonist is ahead of me, that it is a slow burn, that I love this more than anything, and that this sustains me.
Ultimately I write to connect with people, and success is defined in many ways by finding an audience, but I also believe I have a duty to make books that please myself first and foremost.
Can you imagine a more cheering and freeing concept?

How do you best take care of yourself? What is your favorite way to be healthy?
Stretching, stretching, stretching. Yoga, yoga, yoga.

What is your greatest strength?
My ability to absolutely fixate on a goal.

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(Frames from Sophia’s Heart Monster: A Tangent)

Who inspires you? What have they taught you?
My sister, Julia, is a constant source of strength and inspiration.
I can’t really stress enough that I have a particularly talented and inspiring support system in my family, my parents, my brothers, and my friends, many of whom make ridiculously good art at a pace I can only marvel at.
My husband is particularly good at keeping me focused on what matters and what I want too, but my sister and I both have ambitious creative goals which seem, at times, impossible.
We lived together for 6 of the toughest years in our lives and her dedication, her bravery, and her hutzpah was the best thing to witness as I began to attack my own version of “impossible.”
 
What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received? 
My advisor, David Heatley, is a very wise and patient person. He said a lot of things that I run in loop in my brain, but two have proved particularly resonant:

“Give yourself ten years”

And

“You learn about things when you need to know them.”

Both I guess speak to being patient with yourself. To both not expecting too much of the world while not beating yourself up about not being a savvy expert before you need/can be.

What’s your best productivity tip? 
Don’t get up until you get something down.

Favorite book?:  
This is such an impossible question but “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White is a good start.

What is your biggest goal for 2015? 
Finish all the books I have in the works. I have only ever made a book a year and it’s just not enough. But if I keep up the pace I am at I could finish three. Born, Not Raised is a collection of short comics which I finished last month, and Semi-Solid is forthcoming in a matter of weeks!

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{Please send a photo or two of yourself at your happiest! And tell me a little bit about the photo(s)}

It was so hard to chose! I spent way too long sifting through pics, but here are a couple. I really am at my happiest either drawing or dancing/laughing with people I love.

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The first photo is of me tearing paper to begin inking, so I am excited.

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The other was taken a couple years ago on a perfect day with friends. It was sunny and windy, there were drinks, I was wearing a hat, and I couldn’t stop laughing.
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You can find Sophia here:
Website

Tumblr

Twitter
@sophiawiedeman

And you can purchase her amazing comics here:
Storenvy
Etsy

Thank you so much, Sophia! It was wonderful getting to know you better. You are the coolest comic girl, ever!! I love your sense of humor and I completely connect with your comics–I find them deeply profound, like someone understands the way I think and the things I’ve experienced.

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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Nada Di Guida

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This month’s Wonder Woman is my friend Nada from Naples, Italy.
I met Nada in 2012 in Florence when she hosted me at her house through airbnb.

We spent the summer of 2013 roadtripping through California and she is just SUCH a positive person– it was such an incredible adventure.
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Name: Nada Di Guida

Birthday: 17th september

Describe yourself as you are or as you want to be remembered
As a happy and honest person, for some will be in a good way for some in a bad…but always honest and reliable :)

Favorite book?
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Back
Lord of the flies by William Goldings
The Poet by Michael Connelly

Favorite quote

Don’t do to others what you won’t like others to do to you.

What motivates you?
Happiness

How do you best take care of yourself?
I mostly take care of my soul, trying to love myself and being around good people.

What is your favorite way to be healthy?
Doing lots of sports and eating good food and good alcohol

What is your greatest strength? 
My strength…that is difficult…I’m still not sure, but I think being honest. I am a good friend.
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Who inspires you? What have they taught you? 
My parents are my inspiration, they taught me to follow what I want to do and to work hard so that you can play hard and they’re always by my side even if they may not agree with my decisions sometimes.

What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received? 
When you are ready for something, life will give you the right tools to do it.
(One of my best girlfriends, Roberta, told me that)

What cheers you up or encourages you when you’re down? 
My friends, my brother, also my sister in law. If none of them are available, taking care of my body and sipping a glass of wine.

What are you proudest of? 
Achieving good results with airbnb. Being capable of connecting with people and holding good relations also with friends that live far away.

What is your biggest goal for 2015? 
Have an australian visa (skilled) and work harder to do my own business.

{Please send a photo or two of yourself at your happiest! And tell me a little bit about the photo(s)}

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This was one of the last nights in Florence before leaving to travel in Australia, so had my best friends around, was having a good night and was starting to get excited about the trip :)

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I finally managed to have all my best friends in Florence together (both from Naples, from Bassano del Grappa) and my brother too with his wife…pregnant at that time. We were ten and sleeping all together at my place and it was an absolutely fantastic weekend.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions, Nada!! You’re so awesome. Definitely the coolest Italian Wonder Woman I’ve ever met :)
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Wonder Woman Wednesday: LeeAnn Monroe

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Let me introduce you to my VERY favorite Wonder Woman: LeeAnn.

It always takes a lot of courage for me to say someone is my best friend because it means I have to make myself vulnerable….but I would happily be honored to call LeeAnn my best friend.

LeeAnn is the funniest story-teller, she’s so completely AMAZING and I miss her every day since she moved to Vermont.
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Name: Lee Ann Monroe

Birthday: Halloween!

Describe yourself as you are or as you want to be remembered
Hmm…I’d like to be remembered as fun, honest, smart, and tolerant. Mostly though as someone who always helped other people remember why they are special and that they can do anything.

Favorite book? (Or blog or podcast)
Favorite book…this is hard. I only finish books I fall in love with. They are all my favorite at the time. I guess if I have to pick, Hope for the Flowers. It’s one of those books with a message I want to spread around.

That or The Other Boleyn Girl. Its full of scandal, adventure, and intrigue!

Favorite quote

“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear”

What motivates you?
Other people motivate me.

How do you best take care of yourself? What is your favorite way to be healthy?
MASSAGE is my favorite way to be healthy – you can imagine how I’m faring now…

What is your greatest strength? 
I’m pretty good at communicating. Talking so people will want to listen.

Who inspires you? What have they taught you? 
My dad inspires me. He’s taught me that most things are not worth fighting about.

My kids inspire me. They teach me everyday that EVERYTHING has the potential to be wicked fun.

My husband inspires me. He’s taught me that his love really is unconditional.

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What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received? 
There’s a difference between NEED and REALLY REALLY WANT.

What cheers you up or encourages you when you’re down? 
Fresh air cheers me up. I always feel better after being outside. And wine (but I kind of think that’s cheating.) Being creative and making something new from something old encourages me.

What are you proudest of? 
I am proudest of my friends. I have some really great ones. They’re so diverse and talented and continually push me to be a totally different me.

What is your biggest goal for 2015? 
My biggest goal is to be more giving of myself. I get caught up in books/social media/tv and spend too little time focusing on the people in my life. Close by and far away

{Please share a photo or two of yourself at your happiest! And tell a little bit about the photo(s)}
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I love this first one because it’s at the top of Mt. Snow, right after we moved here.

In looking for pictures of being happy, I realized that when I’m happy, I take pictures of what’s making me happy.

So the first picture Brian took, of me, taking a picture of Amelia and Arie, who were making me happy.
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The middle picture is at Bonnaroo – what more could you ask for, a free donut, an iced coffee in 100 degree weather, a vacation with just my husband, and waiting to see Vance Joy.
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The last picture is an obvious one – legit JOY is both captured on my face and sitting next to me. Despite it being a little blurry, it’s a rare picture.
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Ahhhhhhhh! I’m so honored to be one of LeeAnn’s happy moments!!!! :)

Thank you so much, LeeAnn, for taking the time to answer my questions. You ARE a Wonderful Wonder Woman. I miss you.

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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Linda Tabor

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Welcome to this month’s Wonder Woman Wednesday!

This month’s guest is my favorite massage client in tie-die, Linda Tabor. Linda is always such a generous lady. She’s always showing up bearing gifts! When the farmers market is going she brings me fresh veggies….she’s fabulous.
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Name: Linda Tabor

Birthday: 06-06-1967

Describe yourself as you are or as you want to be remembered:
I feel I am an old soul, often misunderstood, with an incredible capacity for connecting many dots.

Favorite book? (Or blog or podcast): “Food Rules” by Michael Pollan – It helped me realize the extent of the damages being done to my body by the food-like substances that the alphabet agencies claim are ‘safe for consumption’.

Favorite quote:
Wow.  There’s sooooo many that I dearly love, it’s incredibly hard to narrow it down to one. 

“Breathe, breathe in the air.  Don’t be afraid to care.”  Pink Floyd 

– captures one of my greatest life lessons, I suppose.

What motivates you? 
Love, sunshine, having a sense of purpose, and feeling like my presence is appreciated.

How do you best take care of yourself? What is your favorite way to be healthy?  
I’m still working on finding what works best together. 

Nutritional nurturing, massage therapy, hot salt baths, neuroptimal neurofeedback, acupuncture, and nature have proven, thus far, to be the most healing and empowering.  

What is your greatest strength? Intuition and heightened sensitivities – a double-edged sword.

Who inspires you? What have they taught you?  
Everyone I meet.  They continually teach me to get out of my head and go back inside to view the world from my heart. 

What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received?
Stop seeking salvation outside of yourself.  Everything you need is already inside of you. 

What cheers you up or encourages you when you’re down?  
If it’s just a mild downness, music, sunshine, time spent in nature watching my feathered friends or other wild life, and sharing space with some of my favorite people works like a charm. 

If it’s a severe depressive cycle, time, a lot of self-reflection, and sleep tend to be the only helpful things.

What are you proudest of?
I’m proud of the courage I find in the moments I’m able to speak up about things that matter.

What is your biggest goal for 2015?
To find at least one consistent way that I can give back to the community by paying forward all of the care and love I’ve received from the amazing healers and huge hearts I’ve crossed paths with.

{Please send a photo or two of yourself at your happiest! And tell me a little bit about the photo(s)}

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  I really dig this photo since it has the whole family in it, doing one of the things I love the most, soaking up a whole lotta love while enjoying some damn good live music.  :o)

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September 2013 at Lock’n music festival.  Basking in the sun in my favorite tie-dye, discovering Barefoot brand kombucha on tap for the first time, surrounded by 20,000 of my favorite people, immersed in meaningful melodic joy, dancing, and letting our freak flags fly.  I had to rest often, but I sure was happy.  :o)
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Thank you so much, Linda!! You’re such a wonderful woman :)

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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Lynne Boardman

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Todays Wonder Woman is my mom, Lynne Boardman. Her birthday is on Friday, so I thought it would be perfect to feature her on this month’s Wonder Woman Wednesday.
**************************************** Name: Lynne Boardman

Birthday: 2-20-59

Describe yourself as you are or as you want to be remembered
Welcoming + Encouraging= how I want to be remembered

Favorite book?: 
The Hiding Place
The Velveteen Rabbit

Favorite quote

“He will guide you with His love.”

-Zeph 3:17

Or:

“He who refreshes will himself be refreshed.”
-Proverbs 11:25

What motivates you?
*Opportunities to bless others
*Helping
*Keeping vows to stay in touch
*Keeping short accounts

How do you best take care of yourself?
Taking supplements and diffusing essential oils

What is your favorite way to be healthy?
Swimming a mile and then using the steam room

What is your greatest strength?
My memory for the word of God.

Who inspires you? What have they taught you?
My pastor, Todd Brown, inspires me.
He has taught me how to be refreshing.

What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received? 

“The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy, and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity.”

What are you proudest of? 
My daughter

What is your biggest goal for 2015? 
I want to be serene.

{Please send a photo or two of yourself at your happiest! And tell me a little bit about the photo(s)}

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First trimester pregnant, visiting Beverly in Richmond. It is one of my happiest family memories.
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A happy reunion.
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In Hilton Head with my dad at Christmas.

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Thank you momma! You are a Wonderful Wonder Woman :)

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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Allison Sprouse

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Welcome to the very first Wonder Woman Wednesday!

Who better to start with than my friend and client and award-winning teacher, Allison!!
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Name: Allison Sprouse

Birthday: 12/21/71

Describe yourself as you are or as you want to be remembered
I want to be remembered as friendly, funny, and someone who loves life. Someone who saw the good in people.

Favorite book? (Or blog or podcast)
So many books to love: Le Petit Prince; The Art of Racing in the Rain; The Monk; Frankenstein; The Poisonwood Bible; The Great Gatsby; Perks of Being a Wallflower

Favorite quote

“For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these:’It might have been.'”

What motivates you?
It depends on what I need motivation to do. My students motivate me to be the best teacher I can be every day. My family motivates me to achieve goals I’ve set. My friends motivate me to relax and have fun. My CrossFit coaches motivate me to be stronger and healthier.

How do you best take care of yourself? What is your favorite way to be healthy?
Working out and massage are two of my favorite things. Namely CrossFit and massage. Make all the jokes you want about it, (we’ve heard them all) CrossFit has challenged and changed me positively. I’m more confident in everything I do and I love the family who’s adopted me. Massage makes my tired muscles rejuvenated and less sore after those workouts.

What is your greatest strength? 
The ability to relate to a wide variety of people is my strength.

Who inspires you? What have they taught you? 
My mom worked tirelessly while I was growing up to provide for us. She’s 78 and still living alone, taking care of her home, and volunteering each week. She taught me the importance of hard work.

My husband Sean inspires me to be as kind and giving as he is. He’s truly the most selfless person I’ve ever met, and I don’t give him enough credit for being amazing. Everyone should be lucky enough to have a Sean in their lives!

What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received? 
Just being reminded to be kind to everyone as much as possible because you don’t know the battles they’re fighting.

What cheers you up or encourages you when you’re down? 
Stanley Roper (my dog) makes me happy even though he’s terrible. My niece and nephews are pretty awesome too!

What are you proudest of? 
I’m proudest of the fact that despite people not believing in me and discouraging me from becoming a teacher, that I did it anyway. Hundreds of kids have recognized my talents, embraced my weirdness and quirkiness, and reinforced why I need to do what I do every day.

What is your biggest goal for 2015? 
Love myself more. I’m a little hard on myself sometimes, and I need to realize I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to be.

{Please send a photo or two of yourself at your happiest! And tell me a little bit about the photo(s)}

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This photo is of my nephew and I at my MAT graduation from Mary Baldwin. I graduated with a 3.97 (stupid A- in science) and I love how happy he looks here.

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Photo 2 is at a club/bar in Visby, Sweden. I was visiting my good friend David and he captured this shot of me. It’s a keeper.

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Photo 3 is my friend Lori and me. I love this picture because I cracked myself up (obviously) and genuine belly laughter was captured on film.
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Thank you, Allison for being so wonderful. Keep impacting the lives of the people around you!! You are making a difference!!!! I’m so happy you are in my life :)
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