The Norcal Nomad

Traveling in Northern California

Herstory

Written By: Deborah Linnekin

This page features the work I’m featuring with Brave Heart Women Global Community.

August Submission to Brave Heart Women Visionary Authors 2014

The Creativity of Elinor Peace Bailey

Music and opportunity go a long way to sparking that thing we call “creativity” but it’s more of a lifestyle choice than a talent. People choose to look at things from a different angle and that gives them the edge that makes a difference.

I picked up a copy of Elinor Peace Bailey’s book “Mother Plays with Dolls” at Half Price Books and am again impressed with her work.  She gives us permission to explore all the mediums available to us. So many of us limit our creative adventures with our mindset about what “real” art is and fail to see that creativity creeps in to every aspect of life if we allow it entry. Elinor reminded me to look at things as parts of the whole, to value my vision and to explore with an open mind.

Her story is interesting because she created a line of patterns and wrote books while raising a large family. She just had the need to create and she didn’t ignore it. How many times have you told yourself “later, I’ll be an artist, a musician, a writer later, when the kids are grown, when my mother is well, when my husband gets his next promotion”? It’s what we tend to do, yet, she created anyway and encourages all of us to find our voice and let it out.

She was the first woman I met who actively asserted her right to be herself and she was empowering others to do the same. She felt called to create and she listened to the call and acted on it. It’s less amazing today to hear this than it was 25 years ago.

I attended a trunk show she led at a local fabric store and I was mesmerized! She was force. She had presence and she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. She told us that we didn’t need to make pretty dolls that looked like the ones in the stores; she encouraged us to use bright fabrics for the bodies and to create something unique, even if we used a pattern. She admonished us to let go of our fear of being imperfect, life isn’t perfect. Life is messy and sloppy and fun and she engaged us all in her world for the time we were there. I am better for it.

Allow yourself to see the opportunities and if you can’t see them, make them. Give yourself permission to be.

By Deborah Linnekin

www.norcalnomad.net

May Submission to Brave Heart Women Visionary  Authors 2014

Elaine: A Woman I Admire

Admiration, the act of holding someone in high esteem, is something I used to reserve for only a few people, if I thought about it at all. Then I learned something about gratitude and discovered that the two are cousins: when I feel gratitude for someone, I usually also admire them.

I admire people who can do things I haven’t yet mastered, like immigrants that speak English and their native tongue. English is a very difficult language to learn, yet they have managed. I admire people who have written books that bring about change and people who have the courage to follow their dreams, because that is one of the hardest of all things to do. Narrowing it down to just one woman? That’s a difficult chore.

I’ve known women that have changed the course of our educational system, founded newspapers, written inspirational books and founded special education programs, but accomplishments are fleeting and I’ve found that we need to be more than our latest accomplishment.  One of the woman I admire most is, I believe, in her 80’s.(It would be rude to actually ask, you know) We both belong to a group that meets monthly for lunch at local restaurants, but she isn’t from this area; she visits with the organizer/hostess each month at the time of the lunch so that she can attend. She carries eReaders (it’s an entire library, you know!) and a cell phone, wears jaunty hats and fingerless gloves accessorized with a marvelous smile, always a smile. Yet these are not the actual reasons I admire her although they are part of the reason I enjoy her company.

I admire her for keeping up with technology and remaining an active participant in the world. She embraces lifelong learning and she always has fascinating information to pass along; information about genealogy (she moderated a genealogy site when I first met her) and scientific advances, music and wineries, trips to tea rooms and craft stores (yep, she’s a crafty one) rather than gossip and endless stories of her latest illness; the traps so many of us fall victim to as we age. I love to hear about the books she’s reading and the things she’s doing. I admire her energy and sense of adventure. I admire her desire and determination to travel and engage with new people in new situations. She survived polio in her youth, but I didn’t learn that for several months and then only because she was having difficulties swallowing one day, but she has survivor enthusiasm for living each day and living in the present moment.  I admire her because I hope to be like her as I continue to age. I hope to be active and involved. I hope to be equal to keeping up with technology and the all the other advances being made in the world. Her name is Elaine Bukove and I am lucky to have her example to follow and her friendship.

April Submission to Brave Heart Women Visionary Authors 2014

Herstory: Alberta de Jetley

What do politics have to do with it? In some cases it is the winners who bring our lives to new places, other times it is those who run and present their issues in new ways to bring attention to the details that have escaped our notice. Political activist and Newswoman Alberta de Jetley of Lana’i, Hawaii is one of the women that ran, one of the people that show us who we really are and where we could improve and she’s doing it on a small island in the Pacific Ocean that used to be a pineapple plantation.

I don’t know everything about Alberta, but I admire her tenacity and perseverance as well as her determination to create change and improve life for those around her. Although she was born on Molokai, her roots are on Lana’i where she was raised. For a time she lived on Maui where she and her ran a beautiful resort in Hana, but those days were long past when I met her.

In 2007 Alberta was running “Bennie’s Farm” on Lana’i.  She and Bennie Richardson started it a few years earlier: they raised bananas, lettuce and a few other vegetables, as well as fruit trees and four varieties of avocado trees that produced at different seasons so they would always be available. She collaborated with the University of Hawaii on some grant work while supplying the local restaurants and grocery stores with fresh produce.

One of her projects involved growing bio fuel, and though I can’t recall the plant name (possibly jatropha), the berries were crushed to provide diesel fuel directly. Kind of amazing, right?  New to farming, she was learning constantly and applying the business knowledge she acquired over the years to make Bennie’s Farm prosper despite the slowing economy.

As if that weren’t enough, she was the main writer and editor for The Lana’i Times, involved with the thrift shop for LARC (Lana’i Animal Rescue Center) and fund raising for Cancer treatment. She leads a very impressive and full life by anyone’s standards. She is a cancer survivor and of an age where many of us decide to “retire” and spend our time traveling or basking in our leisure activities; yet, she perseveres.

She ran for Maui Council in 2008 while starting her own newspaper “Lana’i Today” when she felt that not all the island residents were really being served by the existing paper. She enlisted the support of local residents and produces a superior small town paper while expanding the farm and rallying for the rights and needs of everyone on Lana’i.

Alberta is an example of one woman who is changing the face of our lives every day. From creating jobs (at the newspaper and on her farm) to assisting those in need, her love of the island and its culture is present in her daily activities and attention to the needs of others. She is a role model of selfless action as she brings a better life to those around her. She is an inspiring woman.

 

March Submission to Brave Heart Women Visionary Authors 2014

Herstory: Genevieve Stolarz

Throughout my adult years I have met many inspirational women who are relatively unknown to those outside their local communities. These women have influenced history and created change. They have done it while raising their families and forging their careers, yet they have remained unsung in the larger sense of our world.
One such woman is Genevieve Stolarz. At the end of WWII, while her husband was still stationed in Japan, she traveled to Korea and adopted an orphan. Bringing him back to Japan proved to be no small feat, but she managed it and later returned with her family and their newest addition to California.
As her son grew, she realized that he was facing many special challenges and did all she could to help him through school. Upon his graduation from high school, she discovered that there were really no programs for adults with special needs other than group homes that were geared mainly for those with Downs’s syndrome or low IQ’s. Her son did not suffer from Downs or a low IQ and his needs were different. He wanted to live an independent life, like the ones his sisters lived, in his own apartment with his own friends, but his inability to perform many basic skills required for this made it seem an impossible dream.
Not one to allow the notion of impossibility, Genevieve started to plan. She enlisted the help of friends who also had children with special needs and together they rented two apartments and moved their children in to independent living situations. They began working with them daily to teach them the skills they would need for an independent life.
They taught them how to shop for food and create meal plans, how to cook the food and store it safely. They taught them how to make their beds, wash their clothes and clean their apartments. They taught them about the world: how to take a bus, how to get and keep a job and how to use a bank account. When something worked, they rejoiced; when it didn’t, they reworked the plan and found another way to work around the issue or solve the problem.
Genevieve sought help from the Regional Center and other groups that assisted those with special needs. Eventually they felt they had a successful working plan, but they could see that they needed to continue to support their children in ways that were unique to their situation. What would happen if and when the parents could no longer help?
Undaunted, Genevieve again sought a solution and in 1988 she founded The Adaptive Learning Center in Concord, California which still operates today assisting adults on the Autism spectrum or with neurological impairments. It is an educational and residential program that teaches the skills necessary to establish and maintain independent lives.
In 2010, Genevieve left the post of Executive Director of the Center, but still maintains an active role in her son’s life that is still living independently with assistance from The Center. What an amazing legacy for her son and the community.

 

February 2014 Submission to Brave Heart Women

You Need a Ticket to Play

At a recent drumming circle I met a woman who said all the right things: she had a vision that she would be teaching a dance class by a specific date that was about two months in the future although she had no dance training, was not exercising and had no contacts in the field. She believed completely in this vision and because her belief was so strong I remembered her story and wanted to hear about her success.

Three months later I inquired about her while I was attending another event and heard that she had not started teaching dance yet and was still meditating and waiting for the answer to come to her. She was very patient, something I admire, but still not involved in creating her own future.

This revelation set my mind in gear: if she had done all the things that we are taught about attracting why hadn’t she manifested her dream? I often ask myself this same question: what step did I miss?

There are as many answers as there are respondents to that question, but there must be something missing or it would work, right?

My first instinct is to read everything I can to expand my knowledge about something I’m curious about, so I found several different authors with manifestation information and devoured their ideas. The one thing that all of the authors mentioned which I hadn’t always included was “taking inspired action”.  In her case, meeting people in the dance community that might need a substitute teacher, or becoming a DYBO leader might have helped her manifest her dream.

What inspired actions are you leaving out of your equation? I know that Ellie Drake took inspired action when she moved her family to the west coast.  I know that authors have to sit down and write their books and that motivational speakers need to prepare their message. Are you prepared for your dream?

For me, the missing step seems to be inspired action. So, I challenge you to pick one thing to do that will bring you closer to your goal, just one thing. Vic Johnson teaches his eBooks students to spend 15 minutes a day working on something for their books; it could be writing, organizing or creating marketing plans and materials. Jack Canfield has the rule of 5: do 5 things each day to reach your goal. Build momentum.

When you meditate, what does your intuition tell you about the next step you need to take? Did you get up early and put on your running shoes or are you waiting for the weight to hit the floor on its own? So far that’s not working for me.

Today you can make one small change and start an avalanche of greatness spilling into your life, or you can continue to do what you’ve always done and hope that somehow your dream will come true. After all, someone always wins the lottery eventually, but they still had to buy the ticket to play.

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