Today's Quotes

"Champions have the courage to keep turning the pages because they know a better chapter lies ahead."

~Paula White

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Malala Yousafzai: Her fight for Education

On October 12th Malala was shot by Taliban terrorist for speaking up for girls right to an education. Ever since I heard of her plight I admired her strength and convictions.  Her goal for a right to an education gave me hope. However it also filled me with sadness. There are people dying for the right to education, yet many in our Western society have taken education for granted and do not take advantage of what it can offer.

I am a strong believer in education's power to give people freedom and choices.  It changed my life and has given me access to things that wouldn't have been within my reach.

Her speech to the United Nations is both moving and inspiring.  It is a miracle that she survived the attack and I am thankful that it has given her the strength to continue her campaign for compulsory education for every child. 

It is a thought provoking speech that moves you to analyze all the power of one person and the power of education.  Here is a direct quote from her speech:

"They thought that the bullet would silence us, but they failed...out of that silence came thousands of voices.  The terrorists thought that they would change my aim and curve my ambitions.  But nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born."
Watching her speech I can't believe that she is only 16.  The peace and strength in her voice reminded me of Gandhi and Mandela.  May God protect her and may her dream come true.

Malala Yousafzai Full Speech on BBC

Timeline of Malala's Journey

Malala's Blog on BBC

Malala's Fund at Vital Voices

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Women's Life Choices

Knowing what to do with your life is not easy. But once you make a choice. You need to know what your choice means. Don't let societal roles or the media make them for you. Your choice can change, it can even mature with you. Some feminist choices might not resonate with you right now and then one day they totally make sense. Some traditional choices for women might not either now and then one day you find yourself feeling and saying things you would have never said.

After I had my daughter , I completely understood women wanting to stay at home with their children. I floored one of my friends when I said that I envied women who could be stay at home moms and were so happy doing it.  But it is true, to be present for your children physically and emotionally is very important, yes I envy that. Could I do it, nope. That is not my personality and I have to be true to myself.

I think in the beginning feminism gave women a choice not pigeon holed them into a different gender role the one where a woman can't wear make up or love being at home. Feminism gave us the power to make our choices. Let's make it a conscious one and allow others to make their own.  Let's not judge each other for giving up the career ladder and choosing to stay at home with your kids.  There are so many creative and talented women who are staying at home and enjoying their children.  There are so many successful women who are climbing up the career ladder and are wonderful mothers. Then there are the women who choose a career and choose not to have children.  All the choices are fine.  Let's make the best choice for us.

When we are judging women for their choices we are no different than the people who thought women's only choice was to stay at home.  Let's support each other's choices.  Less judging and more supporting would help women go a long way.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Be Stronger Than What Scares You

Sometimes this is very hard to do especially when you are faced with something that is new, important and something you dreamed off.  At times it feels like the fear is choking the desire to go forward.  
I have a new career opportunity and when I first learned about it late last year I was excited beyond belief.  It was something that I had always wanted to do: to be a teacher trainer.  The opportunity seemed so fabulous and I was willing to do anything to make it a reality.  Then as time went on the problems started arising and the little fear of failure in this exciting opportunity became bigger and bigger.  

Two days before my first presentation I found out that the presentation I had been working on for the last week needed a different focus, so I went back to the drawing board and literally spent the whole day and night reworking it and practicing.  I went to the presentation stressed and horrified, because I didn't feel ready with the new material.  I prayed my heart out, had my grandmother, who is a miracle worker, praying up to the last minute.  While I was at the presentation things continued to change, first it seemed like there would be five people, then maybe only two, at the end ten persons came.

Everything went relatively well except the music.  I had not embedded the music into the PowerPoint and so going out of the presentation to play the music became a problem. But I got through it.  I had wanted so much to call it off, to tell my boss I am not ready, you do it, but I kept on hoping and praying and pushing through.

This taught me that I needed to be STRONGER than my fear of failing.  Being strong paid off because I didn't let myself down and now that experience of pushing through helps me push through other times when I am afraid.

Has there been a time when you were afraid, but pushed through you fears? Please share, knowing that others are also afraid, but they chose to be STRONGER than what scared them helps us to know that we can do it too.

Monday, April 2, 2012

He is Not That Into You

Wise words, but do we really take them in.  They are so simple and yet it's difficult to grasp their meaning and much more difficult to accept.  When we like someone, we feel that the feeling is reciprocal and at times it is. Yet we find it difficult to accept that it might not be with the same intensity or for the same goal.

Many hearts would be spared if we could only keep those words in mind when we are trying to decipher if someone is responding to our feelings.  One friend told me a good way was to "Listen to their actions and not their words."  This advice resounded with me and helped me end a relationship where the person was not really that into me. At least not in the way that I wanted, not in the way that his lips where saying he was.

It's hard to accept that someone you are so into is not really that into you. However if you take a step back and look at his actions it becomes clear.  What are they saying? Are they playing the cat and mouse game or are their words consistent with their actions?  If their words do not match their actions you need to take a hard look at the relationship and make a choice: Is this all you want in your life? Would you rather be in a relationship where you don't have wonder if they are into you or not?

When a person is committed to the relationship you can feel it. It is a feeling of peace, calm. It is a feeling of strength and energy to pursue other interests. It is far from that feeling of angst you have when the person is not that committed. If you feel like the relationship is taking all your energy, you never know what to expect, you don't know where you stand and you have to keep feeding the meter in order to get a response then you don’t have commitment.

There is someone for you. Yet there is no room for the right person to come into your life if you are spending time and energy with someone, who is not committed to you.

You have the right to a healthy, committed relationship.  You have the right to feel loved and cared for.  Believe this in your heart and don't settle for less.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Support gender action in HORIZON 2020

Throughout the 2012 policy makers will negotiate the EC proposed framework for HORIZON 2020, leading to its approval by the EU Council and Parliament. The proposed framework makes explicit reference to the importance of the gender dimension.  It states that Horizon 2020 "....should aim at promoting equality between men and women in research and innovation, by addressing in particular the underlying causes of gender imbalance, by exploiting the full potential of both female and male researchers, and by integrating the gender dimension into the content of projects in order to improve the quality of research and stimulate innovation”. A specific gender equality article has been included as part of the proposed structure, Article 15, which states that:  “Horizon 2020 shall ensure the effective promotion of gender equality and the gender dimension in research and innovation content”.  
At the end of last year, genSET presented the Manifesto for Integrated Action on the Gender Dimension in Science and Innovation to the Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Maire Geoghegan-Quinn. This Manifesto is the result of the public consultation run in conjunction with the Gender Summit.  We invite you to sign it by going to as an expression of your support and to ensure that the gender dimension remains firmly integrated within HORIZON 2020 framework and programme.

Letting Go

When you care about something or someone letting go is a difficult thing to do.  Stepping back and letting a loved one make their own mistakes is never easy.  At times we feel frustrated because no matter how much we talk to them and provide our wisdom, they continue down the same path that we might feel is the wrong one.  This creates tension in the relationship and sometimes a breakdown in communication.

At times you might even feel angry and as women we might feel the urge to protect and guide, but will find that the object of our concern is not willing to be guided.  This reminds me of that song ¨Wide Open Spaces¨ which talks about having wide open spaces where she can make big mistakes and just like her mother once left her parents to make her own life, she is now leaving.  Human beings have free will not given by men, but a higher power and no man or woman has the right to take that away.  It´s difficult at times to sit on the sidelines and see our young loved ones make choices that we in our wisdom would not make, but they can´t learn from our mistakes, they can´t, just like we couldn´t learn from other people´s lives. If we don´t sit on the sidelines and let them excercise their free will, we run the risk of stifling them or breaking down the connection to them.

I think a lot, I examine my life and others, my mistakes and others and I come up with conclusions, with my own wisdom and this makes it even harder to accept that I don´t have all the answers that I need to just listen and back away.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Positive Thinking

"Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve." ~Napoleon Hill

Of all the authors about positive thinking one of the first ones I read and I still love his wisdom is Napoleon Hill the author of "Think and Grow Rich."  He is widely recognized as the founder of modern personal success literature. His book to me is not only about acquiring financial success, but living a wealthy life.  A life full of hope and getting you want.  I read Napoleon Hill when I was living in Miami at a time when I need it direction.  I have read it many times over my life.  I just can't get over all the wisdom in the book and when ever I feel I need a pick me up I read it and it does just that lift my spirits.

In his book "Keys to Success" he outlines the 17 principles of success.  Here is the first one Definiteness of Purpose: "Don't be like a ship at sea without a rudder, powerless and directionless.  Decide what you want, find out how to get it, and then take daily action toward achieving your goal.  You will get exactly and only what you ask and work for."  You can find the 17 principles in beautiful scrolls at the Napoleon Hill Foundation website.  I downloaded them to my screen saver that way I can have daily reminders.

I also signed up for his Daily Inspiration, so that I can receive his quotes in my email.  One of my favorite quotes of his is: "