An Unexpected Therapy

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    By Betty Lane     Almost every morning that I stand in front of a mirror to cleanse and moisturize my face, then apply some kind of make up, I cannot help smiling, as I think, however fleetingly, about my unorthodox start as an independent beauty consultant and what that business decision has meant for me and my family through the past many years, despite the fact that ultimately working towards realizing my potential and achieving my dreams led me in an almost altogether different direction.     Until 1998, I was known for my remarkable ability to bounce back from suffering, big obstacles, and tragedy. I had survived childhood neglect and abuse, having grown up with ...

April 10, 2013

Friday the Thirteenth

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    By Tiana Ferrante     Hurricane Charley, I hated you.  It is fitting you came on August 2004, Friday the thirteenth.  I solemnly watched the television as the eye, the most powerful part of the hurricane, neatly rolled over my innocent Florida town, Punta Gorda.  Numb with the colorful pictures on the TV, especially that cool, hypnotic, swirling thing I saw, I little thought of it as I sat on my aunt’s rug in Jupiter, Jupiter, Florida, that is.  I was not expecting anything extraordinary, in fact, I was paying more attention to the car ride than to the destination.     Then, they took me to the house, on Tripoli Boulevard, after finding it by ...

January 15, 2013

The Magical Woods

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    By Veronica Oniro         “She may not make it through the night. The next 24 hours will be the most crucial and if she makes it through, she still will not be out of the woods for quite some time after.”      Those words resonate in my head almost 35 years after they were said. Within a period of just one week, my sister went from a ten year old little girl playing outside, to laying in a hospital bed fighting for her life. This was the first of many uphill battles she would have to fight. Within the first twenty-four hours of being hospitalized, she was diagnosed with a very rare disease called Wegnersgranulomitosis, a ...

December 16, 2012

A Life Well Loved

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    By Shirley Dilley     It would never be the choice for me. The medical and religious communities felt it was the right thing to do, but their string of reasons made me even more resolute in my decision.     “Your thyroid cancer has spread to ten lymph nodes.”       The surgeon appeared stricken. It seemed he was delivering the message to himself rather than the patient sitting in front of him.     “You will need a radical neck resection placing you under anesthesia for seven or eight hours. The four month fetus you’re carrying could be severely deprived of oxygen during that time so a therapeutic abortion is recommended. Otherwise, you could be delivering a child with ...

November 21, 2012

My Journey of Growth from Abuse to Achievement

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    By Lainey O'Brien     “Now what?” “What am I going to do?” I have no college degree, no money, and a broken down car with a recall involving “The car could possibly catch on fire when the key is turned in the ignition!”     I was definitely in a situation that I had never expected, and I had no idea how I was going to survive. A few days before, I had packed up as much as my small car could hold including my yellow Labrador and left my abusive husband. When my husband and I had married nearly five years ago, we had the perfect wedding with the perfect southern reception site—an antebellum ...

November 19, 2012

White, Red and Blue

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    By Virginie Bleau     “Ready, set, go”, I hear the sharp retort. Time had been standing still and now everything is moving in a flash. The cheering suddenly vanishes and all sounds are muffled. My trembling comes to an end. Nothing can hold me back. I just want this to be over.     What was I thinking? My competition is ferocious. My chances feel insuperable, but my stubbornness keeps propelling me forward.     It was not so long ago, I was by the lake. My mother was trying to maneuver uncomfortable and sticky blown up floaters over my thin arms. I kept wriggling to stop her from pushing them further. Finally, took my scared hand to ...

November 5, 2012

He Doesn’t Live Here

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    By Ja'Nee Newman     He walks behind me. He doesn’t live here. His hand is over my mouth and I’m in the Twilight Zone.     He says; “Don’t move,” and I struggle.     He says he has a knife. I cry out and his hands go around my neck. I’m down behind the trash bin.     “Are you a virgin?” and tell him yes because I think he’ll back off or take it easy. My blouse is pulled up and he shows sick attention to my breasts. Penetration, I feel nothing. I think, where’s the knife, where’s his weapon, and I realize it’s buried inside me. This man accomplishes his goal; he puts fear into me. He ...

November 1, 2012

Everything Is Going To Be Okay

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    By Prinna Boudreau     I had been watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy in the living room at home. My one year old, Annabelle, was napping soundly in her room upstairs and Sophia, who was only a few weeks old, had dozed off in the swing next to me. I was just starting to drift off myself when I heard a strange noise from the baby monitor. I remember picking up the monitor and holding it to my ear. The noise sounded like bubbling water. For some reason, it alarmed me enough that I got up and went upstairs. I quietly opened Annabelle’s bedroom door.     At first I thought she was just tossing ...

September 15, 2012

A Blind Perspective

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    By Andi Mills     At Lander University they have a term I like. It is “non-traditional student.” I guess I am about as non-traditional as they come. I am sixty one years old, I am blind, and I have not been in school since before most of my classmates were in kindergarten. I find it insightful, challenging and amusing to be in this situation at this stage of my life.     I found it interesting to be older than all the students in my classes, and I didn’t even mind that I was older than most of my professors. In fact, a couple of my professors were younger than my youngest child. I did ...

September 2, 2012

3rd Place Winner in Nonfiction: “The Last Few Words of the Ladybug”

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    By Cara Kidd      “I can’t handle this Mallory,” I cried.      “Ashton, you are going to be alright. I promise you can do this. Just be strong, like you know Uncle Doug would want you to be,” she said as she held me tight.      I needed someone to tell me it would be alright. Even though it wouldn’t and even though it wasn’t going to change a thing, I wanted to hear those false words. I could not handle the fact that I was about to lose the greatest man in my life, my hero. It knocked the breath out of me. I cried convulsively, Mallory tried to calm me down, but I ...

August 13, 2012