Author: Leana Delle (page 1 of 15)

Caroline King – The Girlfriend Takeaway

I had trouble picking my girlfriend takeaway this week, and I love it when that happens! It’s purely because there were so many nuggets from my conversation with Caroline King that I struggled narrowing down to just one. In the end, I decided on two.

This young woman is the Caroline of Caroline King Photography in Tucson, Arizona, and she’s a woman on a mission. A valiant one at that. She’s taking on our toxic body image issues and destroying them one photograph at a time. Her weapon? Boudoir. Powerful and expressive, it appears to show no mercy.

Caroline admits in the interview to having had some body image issues of her own, and who among us hasn’t? God knows I did. But now she’s embracing who she is and inspiring others to do the same. And beyond the photography, she’s also a big proponent of filtering our exposure to toxic social media messages that dictate how we should look.

“I think that one thing I’ve learned through all of this is just how much agency we have over the way we feel about our bodies through the things that we expose ourselves to, and the way we have to be vigilant about our thoughts about our bodies. After practicing that over and over and over and working that muscle, and sort of rewriting how you think about yourself, you can actually change how you feel.”

Yes, you most certainly can. I couldn’t agree more. And it’s people like Caroline who are out there fighting the good fight for those who continue to struggle.

“I hope that what I can do in my work is at least create a space for people to explore a different kind of relationship with their body than they have. I mean, it’s up to every individual person to do all the work that it takes to really undo all of the toxic messages, but if I can at least create a space where people can help explore that, then that’s really all I care about.”

Well done.

So, let’s don the lingerie, girlfriends, and work to put this body image bullshit behind us.

You can listen to Caroline’s inspiring interview on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or by clicking here.

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The strongest hands that hold us
The deepest tone of voice,
We’re introduced to fathers
As tiny girls and boys

They toss us high as toddlers
And keep us safe from harm,
Defending and protecting
With the mightiest of arm

They’re unmatched superheros
Who can’t do any wrong,
Until we reach our teenage years
And elsewhere we belong

But always, for the better
They keep a watchful eye,
Often down on bended knee
Praying for our lives

And time goes by, and lives live out
With spouses, homes, and tests,
While a father’s arms grow weaker
And he sells his empty nest

But never does his love for us
Fade along with years,
It grows and spreads across the miles
Still braving all our fears

And though the cape has faded
In the years since we did part,
It’s never left his shoulders
And we’ve never left his heart

~ Leana Delle
Sunday, June 16, 2019
2019 Sunday Poetry Challenge – Number twenty-three of fifty-two

Maxene Raices – The Girlfriend Takeaway

It was a different time in a different world when 17-year-old Maxene Raices got pregnant. A world where young girls became cloaked in lies and isolated for shaming their families. And all of this took place in a complete absence of sex education or discussion.

Fast forward 26 years to her answering the phone and hearing the daughter she’d given up for adoption on the other end.

Maxene is author of the book The Land of Sunshine and Hell: A Memoir of a 60s Unwed Mother, in which she chronicles a tumultuous and heartbreaking journey of giving up a child she’d had no option to keep.

“It left a hole in my heart.”

We often hear this expression associated with the loss of a loved one, and that’s exactly what she experienced when her child was taken from her. Thankfully, this story has a happy ending.

I’ve seen movies set in the 1960s involving teenage pregnancy, but not until reading this book, and interviewing Maxene, did I realize the scope of what young girls experienced.

That’s my biggest takeaway this week. That we’ve truly come a long way in the war on acceptance and the ability to make our own choices. Now, let’s do all we can to ensure that it stays that way.

You can check out Maxene’s riveting interview on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or by clicking here.

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Off The Fence!

Beneath waves of upheaval
And morality’s guise,
Old, male caucasians
Avert their blind eyes

They claim God and science
Are supporting their side,
(Except when it comes
to environment’s cries)

“You must have your babies,
We’ll bring it to bear,
But don’t come to us
When there’s no food to share

“And don’t expect men
To wear condoms and such,
We like how it feels
Without one, too much”

And death to those
Who take action despite?
This bullshit hypocrisy’s
Reaching new heights

Most of my life
I have ridden the fence,
On political issues
With little defense

But when you in your tower
Try to silence our voice,
I will stand with my sisters
And holler PRO CHOICE!!

~ Leana Delle
Sunday, June 9, 2019
2019 Sunday Poetry Challenge – Number twenty-two of fifty-two

Hana Woerde – The Girlfriend Takeaway

Hana Worede is one determined woman. A Dallas based dentist, she did a mission trip to Ethiopia just after graduation, and what she saw changed her life forever. Now she’s determined to change the lives of the underprivileged in that country.

How? By starting her own company, bottling an ancient Ethiopian honey wine (tej) that has been in her family for generations. She calls it Bilquis, after the Queen of Sheba, who’s rumored to have partaken of the exact same drink.

This is no small undertaking, and Hana and her business partner are burning the candle at both ends. The wine is well on its way to showing huge successes, but getting there is proving challenging, testing the owners’ resolve at every turn.

And herein lies this week’s takeaway from my resilient guest:

“What keeps me going is having a purpose. Every time I get sad or I just want to throw in the towel, I have my goals written down in my notebook on why I’m doing this (if I can’t find them, I have them in my mind or on my phone). And if I got this far, there’s a reason why I’m still here.”

Great point. I think it’s super easy for us all to get bogged down with details and completely overwhelmed. I have that happen at least once a week, so thanks to Hana for reminding us all to keep focused on what drives our ambition. Not the outcome, but the reason. Purpose drives passion, and passion drives success.

And another thank you to Hana for bringing us her fabulous wine!

I think I can speak for all in wishing Bilquis every success. May Hana’s philanthropy be something we can globally raise a glass to.


Check out Hana’s inspiring interview on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or by clicking here.

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The Credo Of Our Pets

Wet nose, bushy tail
Laughter in their eyes,
Wagging, running, playing fetch
Those peaceful bedtime sighs

Dainty steps, whiskers stretched
Meowing at their dish,
Gentle taps at 5:00 a.m.
And purring, so delish

All the love our special friends
Bring us every day,
Free of all conditions
Though cats will have their say

They come to us as gifts of joy
And stay not long enough,
They warm our toes and melt our hearts
And soften up those gruff

And when they pass, the feeling lasts
They’re with us even still,
For every little paw print
A memory is instilled

As humans we could stand to learn
The credo of our pets,
Behave with common purpose
Just love, be loved, accept

~ Leana Delle
Sunday, June 2, 2019
2019 Sunday Poetry Challenge – Number twenty-one of fifty-two

Karen Simpson – The Girlfriend Takeaway

Who wakes up at the age of 50 and decides to start climbing mountains? Karen Simpson, that’s who, and she’s here to advise that we all do the same. Maybe not literal mountains – although she’d like to see the number of female climbers go up from 10% – but step-by-step movement toward the summit of our greatest fears.

Karen admits to have been out of shape before strapping on her first backpack, which threw her headlong into some serious lifestyle changes. Now, she’s not only climbed mountains, but she’s jumped off of them, biked long distances, slid around in the mud (yes, mud) and mastered running.

The latter of these, running, was never her forte – in fact, she admittedly had a “hate on” for the sport – but she did it to train for the climbs. This has culminated into a series of completed marathons and this week’s takeaway:

“You learn things about yourself that aren’t positive when you take on fears and things that you don’t like to do. On the other side of that, when you pull it off – heck, even if you don’t pull it off, but you try – is a big arm in the air. ‘Yay! Wow! I did it! I didn’t think I could, but I did!’ It really makes you feel badass.”

So true! Anytime I kick fear to the curb, I do a badass Rocky Balboa dance complete with theme song (oh, you think I’m kidding).

As for only 10% of climbers being female, I asked if we’re just less adventurous. Her observations suggest otherwise:

“From the minute we’re born, we’re expected to be perfect, and we’re protected like a little gift package. That kind of carries through our lives a lot of times. So, unless we have a family that encourages us to roughhouse and take on different risks, it’s all about us and our self-motivation to throw ourselves out there. Then we might discover at 50 that, hey, I loved all of those mud obstacle races!”

We can all find our own version of mud obstacle races, and so we should. Little gift packages can keep their bows intact and still be badasses. It doesn’t mean we’re any less special for taking risks. It actually means we’re even more so. This is about personal growth and pummeling regret, not protecting someone’s preconceived notions of who we are.

Regardless of your approach to fear, you can’t help but be inspired by this unstoppable woman. I, for one, got on the treadmill this week, and I even broke into a run! Who knows what’s in store next.

Check out Karen’s inspiring interview on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or by clicking here.

Learn More:
Karen’s Blog

As Good As Rest

I crave for one thing more than most
That leaves me in a quandary,
Apart from doing nothing with
The groceries, chores, or laundry

It’s change I love in all its forms
Some minor, few would care,
But mostly on a grander scale
By choice or on a dare

A blissful state of joy it brings
When moving someplace new,
Where cityscapes and brand new drapes
Can frame a changing view

Or traveling far so I can see
The world in all its splendor,
Meet strangers who are not like me
And taste all things worth savored

And challenging long held beliefs
At education’s hand,
Expanding possibilities
For loving fellow man

I simply cannot get enough,
It pains me sitting still,
I always must defy routine
And try new things at will

Although I live outside the box
I’ve still but to inquire,
If change is as good as a rest
Why am I so damned tired?

~ Leana Delle
Sunday, May 26, 2019
2019 Sunday Poetry Challenge – Number twenty of fifty-two

Melanie Teed-Murch – The Girlfriend Takeaway

Melanie Teed-Murch exudes passion. She’s passionate about family, work, and life in general, and you can’t help but get swept up in her enthusiasm.

During her interview, we focused on her leadership role as President and CEO of Toys”R”Us Canada, and on her path to success. But you don’t have to be a leader to glean a wealth of inspiration from what she had to share. Of course, success is something we all gauge on a personal level, but being happy in your work, regardless of what that work is, certainly classifies.

My favorite take-away from Melanie?

“If you don’t love what you do when you get up in the morning, you’re doing the wrong thing, because life is just too short.”

Not that I didn’t realize this before, but we can always use a reminder. And remember, sometimes it’s trial and error to discover just what that thing is. Always be patient and never be afraid to explore. And most importantly . . .

“Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle.”

Wow, do I love that! That should be on a T-shirt (or a Teed-shirt, as the case may be). 🙂

And thank God she didn’t let anyone dull hers. She’s a literal shining example of what a life well-lived looks like.

Girlfriends, let’s all mirror this woman’s glow, and display those inner diamonds!

Learn More:
Toys”R”Us Canada

A Promise

A promise made; a promise kept
A rarity we find,
More often there’s a soft tear wept
A broken heart or mind

Intent may live; intent may be
But that does not fulfill,
The smoldering want or scorching need
That scars a person’s will

To whom we make, to whom we break
Our promises you ask,
To young, to old; ourselves, our souls
Such disappointments cast

Does guilt reside, does guilt remain
Within us when we fail,
To keep our word, to hone our pride
To do all that’s entailed

Or have we changed, have we become
Complacent for guilt’s sake,
To shoulders drooped and eyes downcast
The drowning in our wake

For most I’d guess, we’d want to see
A strong example set,
A follow-through, a moral code
A value system met

But maybe there is just one place
Important whence we start,
Ignore the whispers in our minds
And promise from the heart

~ Leana Delle
Sunday, May 19, 2019
2019 Sunday Poetry Challenge – Number nineteen of fifty-two

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