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Monthly Heroines

family life & style blog

Filtering by Tag: dallas mom

Empowered Women Empowering Women -- My Akola Visit

Debora Manusama

Empowering women both in Dallas and Uganda, Akola project builds infrastructures and provides a way for women to make reliable income through premium jewelry line. I visited their facility not too long ago and learned a lot from them. 

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The One Who Empowers Women By Sewing Hope

Debora Manusama

Happy World Refugee Day! My heroine this month is a mother and an entrepreneur who helps refugee women in Dallas to make an honest living by sewing little girls' clothes. No matter who you are and where you are, you can make a difference! 

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The One Who's In The Business of Thinking Tenderly About People, Things, and Words.

Debora Manusama

"If sarcasm would have helped us, it would have helped us already. We need more tenderness." - Janielle Kastner. Read more about why this artist/playwright gives out 'Free Blessings' at an event. Handwritten printable blessings are included just for you!

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The One Who Time Travels Through Stories

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

I'm super excited about this month's heroine. She is a dear friend of mine who seems to know just the right thing to say at the right time. She founded this community called Openseat, press play and watch the video before you read this article :) https://youtu.be/EVF9wkmzj54

She is a queen in the her own right, a storyteller, a speaker, and most of all she is a wife and a mom. This is Queen K. Smith :)

You describe yourself as a story teller. How did you get into it? Why are you so passionate about it?

I grew up in a very community centered culture in Cameroon, West Africa. We must have coined the phrase, "it takes a village to raise a child,'' lol! One of my fondest memories was when the whole family, 18+ of us (yep you read that correctly!), would gather around the fireside and listen to stories from the elders. My father was an incredible story teller; I guess you can say like father like daughter. I remember being captivated by stories at a young age. Those stories allowed me to time travel, and every time a story was told I felt something different. It didn't matter if I had heard the story before. I pulled courage and inspiration from the moments shared.

During some of the stories I held my breath during the conflict and exhaled when hope was about to break through! Now as an adult nothing has changed. I still marvel at people and their stories and I still love eating with people I meet. I want to know where they have been/where are they now/ and where they are going. As a story teller I get to take you on a journey (without paying for airfare lol).

A lot of people write stories, but not many are good in telling them. What makes the two so different?

I know some amazing story tellers, I honestly think everyone I encounter is a story teller. When I do I share, I do so with intention to build and not to destroy. A good story in the wrong environment does not accomplish anything. A great story teller paints a visual picture that will not appear if he/she is disconnected from their audience and merely just sharing an experience.

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Do you personally feel like stories could make an impact in people's lives? How has it helped you personally?

Girl yes! Stories are up there with chicken tacos with avocado! Stories help encourage, reveal, teach, to pass knowledge and they help us other understand others. I have personally learned from other people's story to avoid mistakes. I have personally helped others uncover their story and their core. Stories often times bring clarity and wisdom. 4

 To you personally, what makes a good story?

Truth and Authenticity makes a great story. The key is to not make your story look like someone else's.

 

 You are a mom. Have you always wanted to be one? 

Always!! I come from a huge family and I have dreamed about having a football team as well, jk. We have a beautiful 2 year daughter that I prayed for. I think she looks like me, that’s my story and I am sticking to it lol. Everyone thinks that she looks like her dad. I love my family.

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Do you tell stories to your daughter? If yes, what's her favorite story?

I sure do and I go all out.  She is two and I can already see in her eyes that she thinks I am dramatic. She has the beginner's bible with stories about Jesus for children; we thought that was perfect for her to learn about Jesus, the ultimate story teller.

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The cool thing is that most of the stories are the miracles Jesus performed, I want her to dream big. She loves all those stories.

 If people want to listen to your stories, where should they go?

I get to do Story Telling at our Open Seat Community and different conferences/events. One upcoming event in particular will be at the Miss Africa Texas Pageant this Saturday in Plano, TX. I also have a YouTube channel under the name, Queen K Smith. I have some upcoming stuff that I am going to doing specifically geared towards stories. Be on the lookout, you may visit my website and subscribe for upcoming activities and events.

The One Who Does Her Part

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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I'm not sure of when did the phenomenon that Anthony Bourdain once described as the Hipster Apocalypse officially started, but in the last 7 years, I have seen more and more of hipsters or their wannabe's walking around the planet, even in third-world countries. Who are they and what do they look like? In a nutshell, the males usually have this long beard (if not hair) and tattoos. They wear skinny jeans and round-rim hats. The females are usually dressed in some boho-vintage-inspired outfit (probably bought at Urban Outfitters or American Apparel). They  are into arts, vintage vinyl, vintage camera (and polaroids). They drink craft beer (and even the gluten-free ones). And they are usually into bands that nobody's ever heard before as well as indie movies that nobody really gets.

infograph by MIchael Mahaffey

 

Yeah, the infograph above has pretty much summed it up. Hipsters are basically the 'anti-mainstream' people, which I think is pretty ironic since being a hipster is almost as mainstream as being gay in America these days.

They usually live in Denver, Austin, or Brooklyn (or aspire to do so). Many of them are vegan or vegetarian (or paleo or whatever), they shop organic and certified fair-trade products, do yoga, and yet smoke on regular basis at the same time. Yeah more irony right there.

Okay why am I talking about them, again? Oh yeah, I am writing a prologue of my friend Karen's inspiring story, because she kinda reminds me of those hipsters I saw at Williamsburg, Brooklyn where my friend Kathy used to take me back in summer 2011. Not because Karen hangs a dreamcatcher on her walls or wears flower crowns in the summer, but because she is just a 'normal' person who lives in Dallas, not into weed nor Bon Iver but is actually abiding by the natural and organic lifestyle in its truest form.

You shop in an all-organic grocer? She volunteers in a co-op and gets produce, meat, eggs, and even yoghurt delivered to a pick-up point straight from the farm. You use eco-friendly diapers? She uses cloth diapers. You drink kombucha? She grows it herself at her own kitchen! Seriously, how hippie can a person be? Haha...

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I find the fact that she is a very normal yet very 'earth-loving' person to be fascinating. "I'm an undercover hippie", she joked to me once. Whatever you call these people who choose a more natural lifestyle like Karen these days, I think we ought to learn from her. Cause everyone has a story of why they do things the way they do,

and the following is hers.

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I have always been passionate about health and well-being. Having volunteered in associations like the Amigos Sin Fronteras, I knew from a very young age, that helping other people especially with their health was something that I wanted to do for a living. So I went on to study stomatology in BUAP (Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla) for almost 5 years before studying dental hygiene for another 3 years in Houston, Texas. Throughout these years spent learning and working in medical field, I was exposed to so many different aspects of the industry that were quite traumatizing, including witnessing  a woman in labor and c-section surgeries. "I wouldn't want to see all this when I give birth one day. I want to get anesthetized and sleep through the whole process," I said to myself.

While still studying, around year 2008, I started to experience many symptoms that lead to confusion. It took the doctors 9 months to diagnose me with hyperthyroidism. I had to take so many medication, my blood pressure sky-rocketed, and if I was to follow their advice I would have to take the medication forever -- which can't be good, right? Moreover, they told me that it would be hard for me to conceive a child. And if I ever got pregnant, it would be a high-risk pregnancy, since I would have to take some hormonal meds (that I was allergic of). Lastly, they told me that it was better for me to have my thyroid removed.

On top of it all, my liver was intoxicated and I couldn't handle the medication anymore. And then in 2011, my sister, who'd just given birth naturally at home, suggested me to look for alternative treatments. I then stopped taking the medication at the beginning of 2012 and started consulting my health with a chiropractor, who taught me that healing and health start with the right diet. I thought I was healthy, I mean I used to give nutritional consultation back then. But I discovered that what I Iearned in school was largely influenced by the food industry (for example : they used to say that coconut oil is bad for you because of the fat, but the truth is, it is actually good for your heart, read more here. whereas the popular canola and corn oil are more suspicious because most of them got GMO's).

So I started to do an intense detoxification diet : no wheat, soy, canola, corn, and dairy.

I know that God gives us miracles, but I also realize that it is our responsibility to take care of our own body. We ask Him to do His part all the time, without realizing that we need to do our part and give thanks

My healing started when I realized that I was already healed. That all I needed to survive and to be healthy was already there. I stopped asking for healing and started to give thanks for it, while doing my best to keep my health. I even gave thanks for a baby that I did not have yet.

I felt at peace and my whole attitude changed when I started to be grateful and to take that step of faith.

And in less than 2 months, I got pregnant.

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Now I knew that if I'd gone to the regular ob-gyns, they would've treated me as if I had a high-risk pregnancy. So I went to a midwife, who could tell my baby's position just by touching and feeling my belly and not by conducting an ultrasonography observation all the time. I did everything naturally, my thyroid level was normal, and my whole pregnancy was easy (I didn't even experience morning sickness). Finally on March 2013, I gave birth to my precious Benjamin through water birth.

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Even during labor, I embraced the natural pain that I felt. I knew that it was there to give me a sign that Ben was going to be born soon. It was a moment like no other, and it got us, my husband and I, closer than ever before.

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I believe that our part as human is also to consume things the way God has created them to be consumed, or in other words naturally. That's why I still breastfeed my little one and eat healthy. And that's why I question everything now regarding my child's well-being, like the benefits of immunization and even the school system.

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Not everything is bad as bad as you think and not everything is as good as you think. The key is to ask the right people and do your own research.

The One Who Makes Her Surroundings Beautiful

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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Ask her what she loves to snack on, and she  will definitely say "peanut butter toast and banana slices" :)
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*photo by Sugar Fit
As for what she loves to do, you don't have to ask. Just check out her styling & decorating IG account where she makes it obvious that keeping her surroundings beautiful is her passion.
a wife, a mom, a DIY and decorating maestro, here is Reneé Richello.
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Growing up, I have four younger siblings, so being around babies and kids is nothing new for me. I actually looked forward to having my own. It was hard to believe that it was real at first, when we found out about my first baby. My husband and I were "ready," or so we thought! It was a wonderful time, preparing to become parents. Fast-forward to today, we are incredibly happy and blessed with two boys, Joseph Isaiah (2 y.o) and Domenic James (1 y.o).
Juggling motherhood is not easy, but it does not mean that you can't keep your house tidy and pretty. One thing that I've learned to be very helpful is to clean and pick up toys at intervals throughout the day, and have my boys help. For example, if we are leaving the house, we take a few moments to pick up and put away. We also do this before nap times and before bedtime. I want them to learn that their toys don't get put away magically!
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Also, for toy storage, I love having lots of baskets and a designated place for everything. It's so much easier to clean up when there's a place to put it all! I've learned as well to just make lower cabinets, shelves, and tables for the boys and their toys so I am never worried about something being broken or dangerous.
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More than just keeping it tidy, I also love to keep my home pretty. My mom is an artist and from a very young age she inspired me to make my surroundings beautiful. She put a very special corner cabinet in my room when I was a teenager, and there I often practiced styling and decorating.
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I am very inspired by nature ~ I love bringing nature indoors. I am always drawn to light and bright spaces, and designs that I can do myself inexpensively.
I just bought some lovely gray chalky-finish paint, so I'm experimenting with painting many small furniture and decor pieces ~ one being a stool for my boys bathroom to help them reach the sink. My next big project will be turning my boys' closet into a reading nook ~ I can't wait to start that one!  I'm just getting started with a handlettered print business, and will be opening a shop soon!
If you are looking for some decorating inspiration, my favorites are magazines like House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Country Living, and Better Homes and Gardens.
Keep it clean, fun, and beautiful, mommas.