Presenting Our Every Woman Blog Contest Winners!

Every Woman Blog

When we started the search for our new Every Woman bloggers, our goal was to select five wonderful women to join our current roster of bloggers. However, we received so many amazing entries that we had to raise that number to seven!

Below is a sneak peak at the women who will join our amazing group of Every Woman bloggers:

Jordan Tate: Hi! I’m Jordan Tate, wife to a Lexington Medical ICU nurse, adoptive mama, and infant loss survivor x2. My husband and I lost our first two children to a rare genetic disorder in back to back, full term pregnancies. Each of our girls lived for a few minutes outside the womb before passing away. We wrote about the whole experience on our blog while walking through it all, and four months after we lost our second baby, we brought home our adopted son in a whirlwind domestic adoption. I am dedicated to writing in a voice that is genuine and transparent, especially through the harder moments in life. We like to keep it real. I especially love to reach out to mothers who have experienced infant loss and second degree infertility, as well as families who are walking through the rollercoaster of adoption! You can check out some of our story here:http://tatesatsea.blogspot.com/p/us.html

Rachel Sircy: Hello all, my name is Rachel Sircy and I have been a Columbia resident for nearly seven years now and an employee of Lexington Medical Center for over six of those seven years. I am a joyful Christian, a mother of one, wife to one amazing man and a sufferer of celiac disease. I would be thrilled to be chosen to write for the Every Woman blog as it seems to me that a blog for women, by women and about issues that concern us all locally is a wonderful idea. We need a community of women to be a part of, to lean on and to share with.

Two things primarily take up my thoughts: one is the sacredness of motherhood and the wonderful privilege that I have been given in raising up a future citizen of this earth. I believe that women are granted unique and strong gifts by our Creator and I would love to explore and celebrate them with the women of our community.

The second (slightly less majestic) thought that consumes me is what my child and I are going to eat on a given day. This second thought would appear to tend toward gluttony, however, when you are a celiac (pronunciation: Silly-Yak), it is only natural that at least half of your waking life would be centered around finding suitable, safe food to eat. Celiacs, of course, are what is known in our world as gluten free. What does that mean, you ask? What gluten free typically means for a person diagnosed as a celiac is that you listen to celebrity news praying that some famous person will suddenly, unnecessarily and very publicly restrict their eating habits and that the public will soon follow. This, as any celiac well knows, will strong arm things out of Betty Crocker and Pillsbury – like gluten free cookie mixes, confetti cakes and other staples of a typical American diet – that the actual pleas of diseased people (i.e., real celiacs) never could. And so, I would like to reach out with any helpful information to the other celiacs in the city and, occasionally, cry and whine with them about the loaves of Styrofoam in our refrigerators that have been wrongly labeled as bread.

Angie Sloan: Hello there! I am new to the Columbia area and saw your blog contest advertised in the Irmo News. I am single mother who has been caring for three kids and two parents for years. I am the face of the sandwich generation! This post is about an experience I had with my mother while she was in a nursing home. Please let me know if I need to do anything else to enter the contest. Thanks, Angie Sloan.

Azure Crum Stilwell: Being an “Every Woman Blogger” would be an awesome opportunity for me. I just started my own blog (http://peckedbychickens.com) because let’s face it being a bipolar, overweight, pre-diabetic mom of two boys (ages 9 and 18) is both hilarious and tough so I needed a creative outlet. I am a bit sarcastic with a whole lot of funny mixed in. I come from a long line of wonderful women who have experienced just about everything you can think of from complete happiness to unthinkable sadness and yet we all get up every day and keep swimming. Sometimes we just float but at least we try. My personal experiences and those of the women in my life have helped me to already feel like an “Every Woman Blogger” so I know whoever you do choose is going to be great. Best of luck to all who are brave enough to share a piece of their story.

Ashley Whisonant: The beauty of the Every Woman Blog is the diversity of women featured. I would love the opportunity to share my point of view and experiences with the Midlands Community. As a University of South Carolina Graduate, former Alpha Chi Omega sorority member, mother to two rambunctious toddlers, and working mom, I have experiences many can relate to. I am lucky enough to have a SAH hubby who supports my full-time work career in the business world. I am obsessed with Disney travel and saving money while doing it! I am a social butterfly that loves to share my money saving travel tips with ANYONE who will listen! I am currently navigating the world of second boy potty training-not for the faint of heart! I would be over the moon if chosen as one of the newest bloggers!

Jeanne Reynolds: As the French say, I’m a woman “of a certain age.” Here’s why I’d like to be an Every Woman Blogger:

I’ve never been so insulted in my life. And friends, get ready, because it’s going to happen to you, too, sooner or later. It was the day I got that special envelope in the mail. The one with an invitation to join … AARP!

What?! I’m not old. I’m not even middle-aged. Hmm, pause on that. Anyone who’s at least 50 — and apparently AARP knows who you are, because that’s when this shows up — is, at best, halfway through life. The middle. Maybe that’s why my middle seems to be expanding.

And that’s not the only life stage-related change I’m looking at. With retirement now peering over the horizon, I’m starting to wonder about things like:
• Who will I be when I’m not a working gal?
• How will I keep the friends I made at work?
• Where do I want to use my experience and talents outside a cubicle?
• What are family members going to expect from me now that I’ll have all this “free time”?
• Will my outside and my inside ever be the same age? (I hope not.)

Maybe you have some of these same questions if you’re changing jobs, leaving the work world to care for family, changing relationships or becoming an empty-nester. Because they all boil down to one essential question: Who am I now?

Let’s find out together.

Stacy Thompson: To blog–1. a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.

Stay with me folks, I realize I started with a definition piece copied from a Wikipedia search on blogs, but I assure you, you like it or not, the rest is from my own hand and somewhat bizarre perceptions and ideas…

I have heard of and subscribed to blogs on various topics written by an eclectic and varied group of people–blogs on running, hiking, politics, health and literature–you name it, and I’ve been bewitched by the blog. But to write my own? Haven’t given it much thought until just now…

I am mostly informal by nature and love a good conversation, no matter the topic–so to have a forum to share my experiences, anecdotes and highly entertaining tales would be a ton of fun…really what is the point of doing anything in life if it isn’t fun, anecdotal and/or to gain experience? I am a long-time resident of Lexington County (grew up in the shadows of Lexington County Hospital, as it will forever be known to those of us who remember the location of not only the ‘old Lowe’s’ on Highway 1, but also the ‘old, old Lowe’s just down the street–and who among us does not miss the Cromer’s monkeys at Dutch Square Mall???) but have explored all seven continents. I am a lawyer working in her own firm but consider myself beyond fortunate to represent those unable to work due to their health; I am a huge fan of all sports but can appreciate the theater and arts (although I may refer to Intermission as ‘Halftime’ and bemoan the concession stand offerings–what? No corn dogs and ginormous soda that takes two hands and a spotter to lift??). I love to cook, but begrudgingly admit that casseroles and tailgate food comprise my meal plan. I occasionally run, but, unless being chased, can only call my pace Tortosian (not a word, but describes my turtle-like attempts). I am immensely proud of my mother and father but cannot deny the fact that my iPhone photo album contains many more pics of my dog at a ratio of about 12 to 1 (although he is pretty freakin’ cute!). I adore the written word and read voraciously, but will not hesitate to watch The Terminator, Roadhouse or The Princess Bride on cable, no matter at what point I channel-surf upon them and despite the fact I own them both on DVD (and Blu-Ray).

If chosen to participate in the Every Woman blog, I promise to deliver just that–random musings, memories and tales from an Every Woman–my travels and escapes from reality; the doldrums of daily life–stories of woman against machine (wait until you hear about my plethora of uses for duct tape), stories of woman against the system (stranded in Monaco and Moscow, each for entirely different reasons), woman against nature (i.e. times you wished that Bear Grylls dude would just permanently affix himself to your leg), woman against parent (my mom gets us involved in a lot of weird stuff–skydiving, bungee jumping and mostly anything involving the signing of a waiver) and, last of all, woman against self (may get somewhat deep, do you have a psychiatrist on staff?? Just asking…)

I’ll write to entertain myself and my close family and friends who will be compelled to follow the blog or risk bodily harm (just kidding, no bodily harm, but extreme stink-eyes and a refusal to make my beyond de-lish oatmeal raisin cookies for the next gathering) and to hopefully entertain others, or at least provide them with a guide of what NOT to do–or how to extract oneself from a potentially embarrassing situation if they do what they shouldn’t, or how to best talk themselves out of said embarrassing situation like a pro.

Thanks for sticking with me and reading this rather long missive — I wish the very best to all who apply! (But my competitive nature precludes me from wishing you luck, I’m sure you’ll understand!).

Sincerely,
Stacy


Congratulations to all of the women who have been selected to become Every Woman bloggers! We can’t wait for these amazing women to share their lives with us.

Killer Confidence

By: Shannon Boatwright

I was thrilled to come across this poignant article on Glamour.com about confidence. The article features an excerpt from Mindy Kaling’s new book, Why Not Me?. She brings up some very valid points that I think every woman should be reminded of.

confidencePeople tend to question Mindy’s confidence, and she offers some insight into her experience and why she believes confidence should be earned.

Mindy shares that she was a nervous wreck when she first started out as a writer on the hit show The Office. She had zero confidence, with nervous ticks and all. She said, “Years later I realized that the way I had felt during those first few years was correct. I didn’t deserve to be confident yet. I happen to believe that no one inherently deserves anything, except basic human rights….”

“Confidence is just entitlement,” Mindy says. She goes on to explain that entitlement has gotten a bad rap, always used in a negative way or used to describe a reality TV star. She says, “But entitlement in and of itself isn’t so bad. Entitlement is simply the belief that you deserve something. Which is great. The hard part is, you better make sure you deserve it.”

Mindy explains that hard work and confidence go hand and hand. Basically, in the professional world, you have no right to be confident if you haven’t put in the workload to deserve it! She brings up some points here that are worth paying attention to and thinking about.

The word “workaholic” has gotten a bad rap, too. But I can say, without a doubt, that I’ve never met or heard of any incredibly successful person that was not a hard worker. How can someone become truly successful without working really hard for their success? Kids these days need to understand this concept. We have to earn our success, which in turn means that we earn our confidence! We build it as we work hard to achieve that success.

Mindy goes on to say that as women, we need to be a little bit brave (I say be very brave!) and we have to NOT hate ourselves. Imagine that….Yep, it helps to actually like yourself!  I love what she says about fear: “People do not get scared when you’re failing. They get scared when you try to do something, especially when it looks like you’re succeeding.”

So to add to Miss Kaling’s fabulous points, I think we need to remember to believe in ourselves. We need to use, build and strengthen our talents so that we can grasp onto that well-deserved entitlement gained from hard work and perseverance. Being secure in your own self worth and abilities will bring on confidence and allow you to shine.

I plan to check out Mindy’s book, and I definitely plan to work hard and contribute to my confidence! Because I don’t want just a normal level of confidence, I want killer confidence! 🙂 How about you?

Meet the New Every Woman Bloggers: Leah Prescott

Meet Leah Prescott, a mom of three who is learning to navigate the world of homeschooling and will share her experiments and successes teaching her children.

Hi Columbia! My name is Leah Prescott and I’m beyond thrilled to be a part of the Every Woman Blog community. I’ll be writing about my crazy days and life here in the Midlands of South Carolina, and hopefully meeting and hearing from as many of you as possible. I hope you are ready because I am sometimes an over-sharer.

Don’t say you weren’t warned. Please feel free to share right back. That’s what the comment section is for! I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be writing about, but I do have some ideas….only I’m really indecisive. Any votes?

As for me, I love being married to my husband of ten years. He’s the tall, quiet type, Leahbut he’s always willing to speak the truth. (In fact, sometimes I wish he was a little Iess truthful, but God knows what we need, doesn’t He?) Even 13 years later, he can look at me with those blue eyes of his and it takes me right back to our early days in college. I am so thankful that he has been with me through the ups and downs of the last decade!

Together, we have three of the sweetest, smartest, and most challenging children God ever sent down to earth. Right now, I stay busy homeschooling my seven-year-old twin girls and just trying to keep my energetic 22-month-old son from reaching his ultimate goal: the destruction of my home and sanity. And in the background there is always a barking beagle. Always.

When I’m not combing curls, teaching sight words, or wiping up something off the floor, I enjoy writing, thrifting, creativity in general, coffee, and Pinterest. I’ve really got to tone down my pinning, actually. But maybe you guys can help me sort through some of that also. Want to talk about pin-inspired successes and failures?

Did I mention I’m excited? Not only do I get the chance to share with all of you, but I already met some of the blogging team and what a fantastic, varied group of creative, funny, and skilled ladies! 2014 is sure to be a fabulous year on the Every Woman Blog, so keep your eye on us!

Meet the New Every Woman Bloggers: Chaunte McClure

Meet Chaunte McClure, a seminarian who enjoys spending time with girlfriends and taking spur-of-the-moment trips. We look forward to reading her future blog posts!

Meet the New Every Woman Bloggers: Sherree Thompson

Sherree Thompson enjoys sharing tips about gardening and finding locally grown foods. We look forward to reading about her favorite local farmers and her tips for clean eating.

Meet the New Every Woman Bloggers: Sydney Yarbrough

Sydney Yarbrough, one of our new Every Woman Bloggers, is already an experienced blogger. She loves fashion and design, and even makes her own jewelry. Meet her in this video. 

Meet the New Every Woman Bloggers: Lydia Scott

Lydia Scott, one of our new Every Woman Bloggers, is a mom navigating life in a blended family. Lydia has overcome health issues and has accomplished significant weight loss. Meet her in this video.