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Pass Your Power Forward

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A recent Newsweek headline proclaimed, “Women Will Rule the World.”
Except for countries where women are abused and treated worse than livestock, I believe women already rule the world. The Internet and Social Media has harnessed our collective voices and given us the power to fly higher and faster than at any other time in history. Whether it’s in areas of health and wellness, or managing families and governments, hundreds of millions of female voices are converging daily, in solidarity. We’re long past the stage of burning bras as rallying cries of rebellion and oppression. We’re actively empowering one another with our voices, determination and most of all, choices. Personally, your voices have inspired and comforted me and given me more than I ever dreamed. <PREVIEWEND>

BRENDA’S BLOG has allowed me to make new friendships and nurture old ones. Your loving, supportive words uplift me, and I hope, in some small way, I give something back to you as well. Some of you have told me I’ve been a lifeline and, for that, I am profoundly grateful and humbled. I am so aware of the power of a single voice. I feel a sense of responsibility, knowing that I have come into your life, that you are reading my words and incorporating some of them into your daily lives.

Because of Social Media, I have a new appreciation for how strong and amazing women are. Whether we’ve lost a breast or a child, dissolved a marriage or a business, we find the inner strength to make it through life’s storms, sometimes one after the other. And when we’re physically crushed and emotionally crippled, unable to get our bearings and sort through the wreckage, we find a helping hand. As though sent by God, Internet friends, who once were strangers, help us view things in a different light and remind us we are stronger for having survived our trials.

Yesterday James and I, plus my two best girlfriends since high school and their husbands, traveled from different cities to a housewarming party given by yet another girlfriend and her husband in another city, both from our high school. It was a reunion of four strong, independent women whose lives have taken us in different directions. You would like them. It was a reminder that while we all have different families of origin, diverse political beliefs and our own unique sense of style, in many regards, we are the same woman. And like all of you, they empower me.

Difficult times breed incredible strength. Where did you get your superpower? Is it genetic; do you give credit to God; did you discover it when you birthed your children; did if flow intravenously when you had chemo, or maybe it came from a big zap of radiation? I want you to know how strong you are, help you find your voice whether it's at your doctor's office, day job, or speaking out about things that matter most to you.

We each have the power to make a difference, change a life, ask for forgiveness and make new beginnings. I challenge all of you to harness your strengths and pass them on to someone else this week, to encourage, support, compliment and even challenge them to do better. We all have choices to make; some are more complex than others: Should I have children, enter the workplace, retire or stop chemotherapy? It’s not the individual choices but what we do with them that matters most.

Step out of the shoes you've been wearing and into the pair you've always wanted to wear. Step out of your comfort zone, and become your new normal, then pass that ability on to someone else.

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Previous Comments
Anonymous commented on 15-Nov-2010 07:23 PM
Brenda, Like usual, such a powerful message lies in the words of your post. I, too, agree that women really do rule the world and have more power than any of us actually realize. Cancer has certainly taken me out of my comfort zone! Never in a million years would I have envisioned myself opening up to "strangers" on the Internet about such personal things, but here I am doing just that. It's truly amazing how this ability to communicate with other women transforms lives and allows all of us the opportunity to make a difference, or at least try.
Anonymous commented on 15-Nov-2010 07:47 PM
What a great blog post! Yes, women are powerful and we know how to support one another. I realized my superpowers throughout the bc process - maybe it was intravenously infused through chemo..hmmmm.. What I have realized is how one voice can make a huge impact and often in ways we never even imagine. Thank you for sharing!
Anonymous commented on 15-Nov-2010 11:36 PM
Thank you for your comments. There must be something in the water in your neck of the woods, because it seems as though you know lots of strong women and great husbands.

Best to you and your daughters,
Anonymous commented on 16-Nov-2010 12:52 AM
You're so right about telling virtual strangers intimate details about your life, but like you, our feelings and secrets are shared by those we befriend on the Internet. In this case, "don't talk to strangers" is a rule we no longer follow. The scary part is neither do our children who see us pouring our hearts out to people we don't know. We, at least, have the judgement to discern who to befriend. It's a crazy world in which to raise children & grow up.
Anonymous commented on 16-Nov-2010 07:47 AM
Brenda, I was sitting in class yesterday talking about age as I am now in the market looking for a job since my company was bought by a competitor and there was a duplicate of positions. We talked about how the use of social media via blogs is a sign to Gen X and Y that we older folks are up on the changing times. Thinking back on my journey you have been such a blessing to me. Your energy comes across on your blog and with your words. Thank you my sister and friend!
Anonymous commented on 16-Nov-2010 01:02 PM
I know you were blindsided by the job thing. I was hurt for you and a little angry. You are smart and resilient and you do use social media, so play up those skills in your resume and job search. This is a stressful time and I'm hoping you have some good ways of dealing with stress: walking, meditation, etc, so things don't stack up on you.
Anonymous commented on 16-Nov-2010 01:03 PM
Brenda... Your blogs have helped me so much through this difficult journey I have had with my Breast Cancer!!! My sincerest thanks,,, You inspire me. xxx Merry
Anonymous commented on 16-Nov-2010 01:09 PM
Thank you for telling me this. Breast cancer, and all of the possible implications, is a difficult and stressful journey. You're not in this fight, alone. While that doesn't change your road, perhaps there are things that may give you some "ah-ha" moments and shed some light on some of your darkest times.

Let me know if there's anything specific I can do to help you, or if there's something you think I should write about.

Wishing you all God's blessings,
Anonymous commented on 16-Nov-2010 06:41 PM
Can you bottle some of that? Reminds me of "behave your way to a smile." Put on a smile and before you know it, you're really smiling or surviving. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I love my life!
Anonymous commented on 17-Nov-2010 10:07 AM
Buffalo Gal, It's not as easy as it sounds, but then I think you already know that. There's some solid research which says either end of the smile/bah humbug spectrum changes our body chemistry and can have an influence on our ability to heal and our immune system. Kind of like my mother says, "Thoughts are things." Brenda
Anonymous commented on 18-Nov-2010 05:49 AM
My dear friend you continue to inspire me. I feel empowered by your friendship and your written word.
Tonight, I am simply leaving my calling card. Will reflect on this post and return.
Bless you xo
Anonymous commented on 18-Nov-2010 03:30 PM
This blog was written with you in mind. Wish you were with me now. I'm at a 4 day retreat for women cancer survivors, nurses and advocates. We're overlooking a beautiful lake outside of Austin, Texas. Two of the seminar topics are "Wellness in a Storm" and "Living with Courage." I will take notes for you:)
Anonymous commented on 19-Nov-2010 04:30 PM
Obviously I loved this post after my recent interaction with my oncologist. It is so true that we women empower one another and this on line community is just one more extension of that. Thanks!
Anonymous commented on 21-Nov-2010 03:02 PM
The fight on breast cancer is still at large but thank for the new developments. I am a man but still feel for each and every individual that has gone through all these sufferings. Please remember that one day sickness whatsoever can’t be seen or heard again. Before then I think there is a lifestyle that every woman alive can lead to help prevent and most probability eliminate breast cancer. surely, the prevention of disease is better than its detection and cure. So try to stay healthy through proper diet, regular exercise, sufficient rest, and a positive mental outlook. “A heart that is joyful does good as a curer,” says Proverbs 17:22. Check it up at
Anonymous commented on 23-Nov-2010 05:27 PM
We've never met, but I sometimes think you have a window to my soul. So often you know what I need to hear. Thank you for your website. I always look forward to coming here.
Anonymous commented on 26-Nov-2010 06:44 PM
I had the endoscopy yesterday. Things looked a lot better bt I still need to go through five weeks of radiation starting after Thanksgiving. I will go daily, Monday thru Friday.

My kidney function is down to 6% so they are getting me prepped for dialysis and may remove ay least one kidney.

Other than the fatigue I am feeling prety good. Still going to hockey and enjoying seeing the Rampage in first place!

Thanks for caring,

Anonymous commented on 26-Nov-2010 06:45 PM
Hi Glen,
Thank you for letting me know how you're doing. Most of October and this weekend, I'm traveling for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, breast health summits, etc., so I haven't been to church and have missed seeing you.

Fatigue is the biggie. Believe it or not, walking will help with your energy, even if you just do laps inside your house, five or six times each day. If you don't, you'll have more trouble bouncing back, plus exercise is good for your immune system. Love hearing that you're going to the hockey games. That's great!

You are in my prayers, every day, my friend.


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