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  2. admin_laughingatthesky April 21, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    Thanks for the inspiration Ann!

  3. The recent movie about Maya Angelou, “And Still I Rise” is moving and powerful. What a remarkable woman!

    • admin_laughingatthesky April 21, 2017 at 11:08 pm

      I have loved several of her books and find her such an inspiration. I look forward to watching the movie.

  4. Amazing story, Ann. Thanks for sharing it. Very inspirational!

    • admin_laughingatthesky August 2, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Dennis and for all of the inspiration you have given me!

  5. I love this picture … and I am so envious you got to swim with the whales in Tonga. We so wanted to do that!!! Cheers and keep on singing! And love the quote!

  6. Heidi: I can’t wait to read more about your expressive life!
    Your writing is brave and alluring.

    • admin_laughingatthesky April 22, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      Thanks so much Carol! I hope you’ll continue to visit the site and share your own writing and favorite bits of inspiration.

    • Ingrid O'Toole March 25, 2019 at 8:23 pm

      The best of luck with all your wonderful projects.
      ‘Go n-eiri an bother leat’.
      May the road rise up in front of you – An old Irish proverb

    • Hi, I am so proud of you and your accomplishments!! I cannot wait to read your book! Please keep me posted on your progress. Am so happy to call you my friend! Di

  7. Heidi – There is no doubt that Laughing at the Sky will be an intriguing read! You’ve been living a life of exploration, and have inspired me to embark upon my own journey. Many thanks.

    • admin_laughingatthesky April 22, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      Smiling big time Laurie Leigh. You were one of my original Muses. “And there’s that one particular harbor…”

  8. Thanks for inviting me

    • admin_laughingatthesky April 22, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      Thanks so much for being a part of this. If you ever have a song, quote or brave book to share we can all use some inspiration. You are always welcome.

  9. This is a great book! Very insightful and rewarding to read. A great gift for friends and family who are going through life 100 miles an hour.

    • admin_laughingatthesky April 22, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Thanks Joanie. I love Ashley’s books and this one has become my new favorite. Also thanks for stopping by my new site.

  10. Stephanie jones April 22, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Love the photo. Can’t wait to read more about your adventures.

  11. I love your answer to life’s disasters. Very inspirational!

  12. Beautiful

  13. Amazing, can’t wait to read more 🙂

  14. Heidi
    All my love and support to you my friend. You have been a valuable source of information and support as well as an inspiration, to me on our Pacific ocean quest.

    • admin_laughingatthesky April 23, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      Heartfelt thanks Cindy. You were right there when I completed my lifelong dream.

  15. Beautiful image. Can’t wait to hear more!

  16. Beautiful photo!!!
    Can’t wait to hear more about your travels!!! It takes a very strong, unique person to do what you did! Kudos!!!

  17. Love it! Can’t wait to read more!

  18. Heidi, very excited for you! Completion of another journey in finishing your book. Kudos, great good luck, may it heal you beyond measure. Love Susan

  19. Ann, thank you for sharing your story.

  20. Looking forward to reading more of your journey. Congrats on the inspiring blog!

    • admin_laughingatthesky April 23, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks so much Linda. I hope you will continue stop by the blog and add your own breaths of inspiration.

  21. Michel Veilleux April 23, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your experiences. Can’t wait to love the Love.

  22. Thank you for sharing this!

  23. So inspiring Ann. Thank you for sharing. My wife Valerie had a cancer challenge as well and her optimistic approach, acting from a place of love rather than fear, inspires us all. Sounds like you have used your experience to grow and expand your approach to life. Hooray.

    • admin_laughingatthesky August 2, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      Thanks for stopping by John. You and Valerie are so inspirational. I hope she will consider being one of my Gutsy Goddesses and sharing her wisdom. She has such gifts to share with the world. Please invite her for me.

  24. Congratulations Heidi, on confronting your demons, living in the light and sharing it all!

    Looking forward to following your journey as we know “life is not a dress rehearsal so live, travel, adventure, bless and don’t be sorry.

    Love ya


    • admin_laughingatthesky April 24, 2017 at 12:25 am

      Love you too Deb!! Grateful you have been part of the journey and look forward to more adventures with you. And, how about being one the the Gutsy Goddesses. Everyone wants to hear about Ayahuaska. Pleeeeaaaasssseee.

  25. Hi everyone, thanks for your comments! So pleased to be featured as a Gutsy Goddess on Heidi’s newly launched blog. 🙂 It’s been an honor to work with Heidi as a critique buddy for the last year as she completed her memoir draft. I was chilled by some of her passages… thrilled by other passages. I’m honored to be a beta reader for her important — and oh so Gutsy — story of what she overcame. I look forward to the day when we all see her name in print! Proud of you, Heidi, on many fronts!! The MS draft you completed, the life you lead, the sailing dream you chased, the love you spread to others. 🙂

    • admin_laughingatthesky August 2, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      So proud of you too Ann! I can’t wait to see your compete memoir. You have much to inspire the world and I’m so pleased that you joined the Tribe!

  26. I cannot wait to hear more—please keep sharing your path!

  27. So glad to see how far you’ve made it – keep going and growing, girl!

    • admin_laughingatthesky April 24, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      Thanks Laura. So great to hear from you. I hope we have more adventures together!

  28. Love the quote and gorgeous photo!

    • admin_laughingatthesky May 7, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks so much! So glad you could stop by. If you have a favorite quote you might like to share I would love read it. Heidi

  29. Good luck with this project. Congratulations on meeting this challenge and finding your way!

    • admin_laughingatthesky April 26, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      Thanks so much Lisa. Best of luck in your big endeavor! I look forward to watching it bloom.

  30. “The depth of your pain is equal to the depth of the joy that is coming to you!”
    Dennis Whall

    Dennis was my hospice support group facilitator and he said this to me at an extremely vulnerable time, after my husband died unexpectedly and left me nursing our baby. THESE WORDS were my lifeline, and they proved to be true, 17 years later the expanse of my emotional range is far and wide. The joy that came, as a result of sinking into the pain as it ebbed and flowed, has been breathtaking to experience. I WOULD SCREAM AND CRY and then LAUGH OUT LOUD, knowing that that very moment was going to be my ticket to ride someday….toward a life of joy!

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience and Dennis’ quote Anne. It’s heartwarming to hear of ones recovery from pain. I can’t imagine experiencing the unexpected death of ones spouse while having a young child. Your story reminds me of one told by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk. He speaks of a mother, and young daughter. who came to his monastery having lost her husband on a harrowing boat escape. She was so distraught that her young daughter was failing. He speaks of smiling, even a half smile for her daughter when you don’t feel like it. Through the months his words to her and her smile to her daughter began to bring joy back to the family. I’m pleased to know that you have found you way through the pain to joy. Please do continue to participate in our community. Thanks.

  31. My four sisters, and all the dozens of women who have loved me like a sister are the very reason I am still alive and well and thriving! GOD BLESS OUR SISTERS!!!!!!! One and all!!!!!!!!

    • admin_laughingatthesky April 28, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      Thanks for sharing that Anne! I too am grateful for my sisters whom I have met throughout my journey—smiling.


    I CANNOT wait to read your Book!!!

    In the meantime, I will keep abreast of your head, hands and heart on this site! Sweetness!

    Peace and Love, Anne

    • admin_laughingatthesky July 12, 2017 at 12:09 am

      Thanks so much Anne. You’ve been there from the start—my first editor!

      • What’s the latest news? Did the agent help you find a publisher? How are you? Sending New Year love!

        • admin_laughingatthesky December 28, 2017 at 7:28 am

          Great to hear from you Anne! I’ve had three agents read my first 20 pages and ask to read the full manuscript when it is ready. Perhaps I can send it out in the spring/summer. It’s hard to stop editing. I’m hoping to make it powerful and insightful. Wish me luck!! I hope your writing is unfolding just as you want it to. We both had a powerful teacher—yes?

  33. Love that last line: “You’re either making it happen, or you’re not.” Could not agree more! Thanks for another inspirational post!

  34. “Friendships reduce stress” = YEP! Thanks for the resource 🙂

    • admin_laughingatthesky April 28, 2017 at 10:04 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and making this community grow. I have a line in my book that relates the idea of a butterfly flapping its wing and causing storms across the world—to the idea that we don’t know where small breaths of inspiration might lead. I do know that my stress went down a few notches after meeting you today!

  35. Great resource!

    Sisterhood is the miraculous thread that weaves us together and makes the world a better place to live. Most of the men I know have friendships with other men based on a common hobby or work. When those shared activities go away, the friendship fades. My female friendships start with a common thread, and that’s just the starting point for friendship.

    • admin_laughingatthesky April 28, 2017 at 10:07 pm

      What a lovely comment Dana! Thanks for sharing this and for taking a risk to be a Gutsy Goddess. To quote one of my favorite movies, Casablanca, “I think this is the beginning os a beautiful friendship.”

  36. Great piece about a true woman of courage! You inspire me, Dana! I’m proud to be your friend.

  37. Lucinda Schriefer April 29, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Amazing! I’ve always wanted to do the El Camino! Thank you for your Inspiration!

  38. Thanks, Heidi. Your story is the truly awesome one. Looking forward to the pearls you gather and share here.

  39. Lynn Macfarlane May 6, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    I’m always drawn to stories about inspirational women, adventure, and self discovery. I can’t wait to read your book!

    • admin_laughingatthesky July 12, 2017 at 12:11 am

      Thanks Lynn. You and your Mom have had major adventures too. And, heartfelt thanks for meeting me along the way.

  40. Great site, Heidi. Thanks much for all the inspiration! Look forward to more.

  41. LOVE stories about inspirational women & adventure. Can’t wait to read your book.

  42. Heidi – You are a survivor and an inspiration!
    I am excited to read your book and learn more about you and your journey.

    • admin_laughingatthesky July 12, 2017 at 12:19 am

      Thanks Barbara—fellow adventurous spirit. You too are one Gutsy Goddess!

  43. “When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.”
    Dalai Lama

    Your inner strength and courage are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story and your celebration of strong women.

  44. Allen Anderson May 7, 2017 at 2:26 am

    You have led and are leading a remarkable life, Heidi. Can’t wait to read the book and learn more about your internal and external voyages of discovery.

    • admin_laughingatthesky July 12, 2017 at 12:21 am

      Thanks Allen. It’s been great to share pieces of this adventure with you. And, it’s always been amazing when you’ve pulled out your guitar and sang us into the sunset!

  45. This sounds like a book our reading group at Seacoast African American Cultural Center should consider … thanks, Heidi, for featuring it!

    • admin_laughingatthesky May 7, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      What a great idea Susan! I’m excited that Amanda Gorman has agreed to be one of our Gutsy Goddess soon. Who knows perhaps she might consider speaking or performing one of her poems for the Center or the Loft/Music Hall in the future. Her videos are very moving and I believe her book would generate a powerful discussion for the SAACC Book Club.

      • Janie Harris May 9, 2019 at 5:13 pm

        I am trying to find a copy of this book for a presentation to my poetry group. I have been unable to find a copy. I would delight in purchasing one or even borrowing one and I will return it to you quickly along with a bonus book by another of the poets we have studied. Many thanks for your help.

        • Sorry for the delayed response Ms Harris; I haven’t forgotten you. I’ve been in touch with Amanda Gorman and she is creating a new page and revising her links. I’m hopeful the poetry book will soon be on her new page. In the meantime you can preorder her next book “Change Sings” using the link below. I suspect if you check back in a few days on that link you may find her out-of print book as well. I’ve also learned she will be speaking her poetry at President Elect Biden’s inauguration on January 20. I hope you will join me below in wishing her the best! All comment are welcome!

        • Please don’t mind.After touching the most wanted copy of this book in comming days,I would be happy if you send me some poem from this book.Because I’m So enthusiastic to read some poem of this book.

  46. Your story reminds me to be grateful for my health, my family’s health and to live every day to its fullest.
    The trips of triumph you have undertaken are impressive. I can see how it would take a year to plan these off the beaten-track adventures.
    I look forward to reading your memoir.

    • admin_laughingatthesky August 2, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks for visiting Kathy. I too can’t wait to read her memoir. I’ve had glimpses and teases and now look forward to the whole piece. I learn so much by sharing stories.

  47. It is so true! As a person who has been meditating for over thirty years, I find it so important to stop when outside–whether walking or biking, etc–and just look and be and appreciate. So much is missed otherwise, when trying to “achieve” something. Well said!

  48. Sounds like a fascinating book. Will check it out!

    • Thanks for your comment Nancy,
      I hope you saw her at the inauguration—so powerful. Now she has two more books to check out. I can’t wait to read them and add them to our list of brave books.

  49. I’m impressed by you sailors. I’d love to see pink dolphins and breaching whales, but the 31 days at sea with no fuel and ailing autopilot would have put me over the edge.

  50. Can’t wait to check this one out!

  51. Denise D'Amboise May 12, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    What an inspiration you are for choosing to live your life as a survivor and to share your story and personal journey in an effort to help others. I am SO looking forward to reading the book! You rock!

    • admin_laughingatthesky October 13, 2017 at 9:58 am

      Denise, thanks so much for your guidance and networking through this whole process. I hope to have your story here one of these days too.

  52. Powerful voice! Amazing!

    • Powerful voice and strong words. Have you seen her video from the LA slam poetry contest—jaw dropping! Thanks for you comment and visit Nancy.

      • Margaret McClean February 11, 2021 at 7:33 pm

        You Are an Eloquent and Talented Woman Whose Soulful Angelic Light and Poetry Provides Hope and Inspiration to All the World!
        🙏🏼💞God Bless You Forevermore😇💞

        • Thanks for your comment Margaret. I love your phrase “Soulful Angelic Light,” as I can picture her that way. Welcome to this blog of inspiration; I do hope you will return and continue to join our conversation.Nice to virtually meet you.

      • Thank you for your inspiration of literacy and of those who need to be lifted up by your words. As a teacher I feel you are an amazing role model. Thank you for being you!

        • Welcome to this blog Dawn, great to have you and to read your comments. I used to teach. It is one of the most valuable professions as it truly shapes our future. I’ve been excited to read of several teachers who have shared Amanda’s poetry with students, and am excited to see of Amanda’s newest book for young children (out next summer). Thank you for the important work you do; I suspect it hasn’t been easy through the pandemic. I hope you will return to read about other women of courage and brave books, and share any favorites you have. Am grateful that you feel inspired.

      • Wonderful strength and humility. Love the idea of having the children sign her autograph book!

        • Amanda Gorman, you are the sun on a cold winter day. You make a difference and inspire others to do so, as well. Thank you, from Ouzinkie AK.

          • Welcome Kerry! How exciting for me to get a post from someone from Ouzimke! I was born in Seward, AK, and it is truly a place of my heart. When you write about the “sun on a cold winter day” it says so much. I do hope you will return and read of other Gutsy Goddesses, including Alaskan Lisbeth Meredith.
            Heidi (a sourdough)

        • Welcome to Laughing at the Sky Jane, and thanks for joining the conversation. I will most certainly share your comment with her. I know it will bring a smile to her radiant face.

      • Thank you for sharing your wonderful words with us!

        • Welcome Carol and thanks for your comment and wonderful words too. At times I wonder who if anyone might be reading the blog and am always grateful for comments. Please feel welcome to come back anytime and read about other women of courage and brave books.

    • Absolutely amazing young woman! I was moved to tears when she presented “The Hill We Climb” I have already preordered her book

      • Welcome Alexandra and thanks for your comments. I think she has moved me to tears at least four times now. I’ve preordered both her new books too. Happy anticipation and reading, and do feel welcome to return and join the conversation any time.

    • Kristin M Phillips February 11, 2021 at 7:25 pm


    • The words powerful, moving, honest and vulnerable come to mind when I think of your performance at the inauguration.
      Thank you!

      • Welcome Monique. Yes in an interesting way, vulnerable yet strong perhaps … allowing/accepting the vulnerability and emotion? Is that how you see her performance? Anyway, Thanks for your comment.

    • Your words and story are so powerful and moving. There is something very transformational that happens when I read and hear your poetry. Thank you for sharing the story of your journey along the way. You will inspire so many!

      • Welcome Svetiana! I love your word “Transformational.” I’m writing a memoir and also have created this blog in collaboration with others, and I often use the words “transcending” and “rise above” for people who inspire after a major challenge. I am always seeking new words for this and “transformational” is brilliant. It speaks to the inspirer and inspired. So glad you left this comment. I hope you will return and find more transformational stories and brave books. Thanks, Heidi

    • Oh!!!…I have never found anyone else to mention the “lady of the moon.” I have seen her!!! The most gorgeous, full-moon cameo…forever vintage jewelry…worn on black night velvet…she looks over her right shoulder and long hair toward earth…she IS there..keep looking…she IS there!

      • Welcome Carole! I found your comment so interesting. I’m curious about your connotation of “lady of the moon.”Any chance you might share more and enlighten us or add a link? I did a quick google search and saw something form ancient China, and something from Native American medicine, and Greek Mythology, and another note of the “triple goddess.” I supposed many cultures have stories that include lady moon, yet I feel I am missing something specific from what you are seeing. Either way, I hope, like the moon, you will return and bring us more light. Heidi

  53. I resonate so much with the feeling of “imposter syndrome” that Amanda describes. Her courage and strength is amazing, and it’s wonderful to see someone so talented also be so authentic and vulnerable.

    • Thanks for your brave words Katie and welcome to our community. Sharing our fears and our stories can help us to feel and be less alone, and helps others. I like the quote: ” Whenever you find yourself doubting on how far you can go, remember how far you have come.” (unknown)

      • Ms Amanda you are awesome. The best modern day poet in my opinion. No one has touched me as you have. Thank you for your words, allowing all of us to feel them,you rock.

        • Thanks for your comment Chris. I feel the same. No one has touched me as much as she has. I love the power, strength, and hope she gives to words and also her story of rise above a life’s challenge. Thanks you for reading and commenting. Heidi

    • Words matter, I’ve forgotten that many times in my life. Your words inspire, even those of us in middle age, struggling with imposter syndrome ourselves.

      • Power. Honesty. Truth. Pain. Amanda’s range encompasses feelings most run away from. She reigns supreme in her angst, anger and autonomy.

        • Welcome Sharlene and heartfelt thanks for your insightful comment. It is true that many of us run away from these feelings — I have (actually sailed away on a five year odyssey trying to leave my pain behind)– yet it followed me. And when I turned around to embrace my feeling it made my life so full.
          I hope you will continue to be part of this conversations on people of courage and brave books.

      • Thank you for you comment Juli and for sharing a piece of your own journey. I’m glad you found inspiration and hope it has lifted a bit of your struggles. Amanda has certainly lifted me. Please know you are always welcome here and we do hope you return and continue to join our conversation about women of courage and brave books.

  54. Great story … so inspiring!! Thanks for sharing.

    • admin_laughingatthesky October 25, 2017 at 8:38 am

      Thanks. It is a photo of sailing into the Galapagos—my lifelong dream (since age 14), and a favorite quote. Glad you like it.

  55. Rick and Penni Bennett June 3, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    We enjoyed chatting and getting to know you a bit at breakfast this morning. Best of luck with your blog and book.

    • admin_laughingatthesky July 12, 2017 at 12:22 am

      Great to meet you both and thanks for stopping by. I hope it brings you good karma.

  56. This is inspiring!!

  57. Reading that she had finished only 69 miles of the 500-mile journey after 37 days gives me hope that I may yet finish my own project!

    • admin_laughingatthesky June 16, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      Haha Nancy. I was thinking something similar. If she can walk for days in -58F then I should be able to sit on the sofa and write at 70F. Now if I can only write well.

  58. Linda Kretzler June 23, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    The inner fire and perseverance you had on your amazing quest , inspires me to keep on going in my quest to put my body back together after back surgery and set backs. I will be whole again.

    • admin_laughingatthesky July 23, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      I hope your back is healing quickly Kretz. I can tell from your story that you too have inner fire and perseverance. Hang in there. Dennis and I are thinking of you.

  59. I’ve just spent the evening immersing myself into the lives of remarkable women. What an incredible book! Thanks.

  60. Wow! Great story and pics!

  61. You are amazing! You are an inspiration! I’m next!!! I’m ready to make a move

    • admin_laughingatthesky June 26, 2017 at 12:02 am

      Sounds great Sierra! Best of luck with your next move. What you focus on expands.

  62. That is one heck of a life changing epiphany!! Go big or go home!!!! Truly inspiring and makes me want to do something epic!!

  63. Denise D'Amboise June 26, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    What an inspiring story! Just reaffirms that we all have the ability to face our fears and access our power to achieve whatever we want. Way to go!

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 30, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      Well said Denise—we can all use these affirmations from time to time. And what an image to conjure up, Kretz jumping out of the plane, when at first what we might want to achieve seems unsurmountable. Thank for your comment and also for the inspiration you give and have given to so many.

  64. Great story Kretz!! You rock!

  65. Great story, Kretz … you rock!

  66. When you put your mind to something, the rest falls into place. Remarkable story!

  67. You have always been an inspiration Aunt Linda!!!!

    • admin_laughingatthesky July 12, 2017 at 12:32 am

      Thanks for stopping by BK. She has inspired many. If you’d like to share any of your own “Brave Books,” or Words of Wisdom,” or if you have a nomination for more “Gutsy Goddesses” we love to hear from you. I’m also starting to compile songs, art and poems that inspire.

  68. Linda Kretzler June 30, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    Thanks BK. I wish I could surf like you!

  69. Madison Kretzler July 3, 2017 at 3:51 am

    You made me a fearless, strong, and independent woman! I love you, Mom! I’m glad you get to share your inspirational story with the world!

    The Woman. The Myth. The Legend. The Kretz!

    • admin_laughingatthesky July 12, 2017 at 12:33 am

      Wow Madison—awesome comment!

      • Thankyou Madison. Sorry I came to your 4th grade overnight with a broken elbow and thanks for being the strong, kind person you have always been, Keep fighting, girl. I’m so proud of you. Love, Mom

  70. Lynn Macfarlane July 3, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Wow! What an amazing story. You truly are a gutsy goddess!

  71. Thank you, Heidi, for having the courage to share your story. I am eagerly awaiting your book!

    • admin_laughingatthesky July 12, 2017 at 12:14 am

      So happy to have you as a subscriber! Please share your own “Words of Wisdom,” “Brave Books,” and “Gutsy Goddesses.”

  72. admin_laughingatthesky July 12, 2017 at 12:34 am

    Thanks Lynn—Isn’t she!!!

  73. So looking forward to your book Heidi! You are a courageous soul.

  74. Kretz, you are and have always been an incredible person. Thanks for being an inspiration in my life 20+ years ago. Haven’t yet jumped out of a plane but I’ll always have a special place in my heart for skydiving thanks to that summer with Chris and Maddi.

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 30, 2017 at 3:15 pm

      John, I don’t know how I missed your comment earlier, but thanks so much for leaving it. Glad that you have found inspiration as I have. When you wrote, “haven’t jumped out of a plane yet” I thought ‘what’s stopping you.’ Then I thought, ‘I haven’t either.’ Maybe not for everyone but an amazing way to think about a challenge.

  75. You’re a gutsy goodess alright! More power to you.

    • admin_laughingatthesky July 23, 2017 at 5:30 pm

      So glad you stopped by Corinne! As a blogger who “believes in encouraging growth in others,” and with your interesting past, I’m wondering if you might have a favorite quote you might be willing to share or a Gutsy Goddess you might recommend. Either way—Welcome to The Tribe!

  76. John Haggstrom July 31, 2017 at 1:15 am

    Keep pushing the envelop otherwise you will be confined by your own self doubt. Empathy, inner peace and happiness are obtainable goals. Reconciling one’s past so that it doesn’t interfere with one’s present is another goal. Good luck with your lifetime adventure.

  77. Such a lovely warrior! You inspire us all, Ann!

    I remember this Tiger park outside of Bangkok, which we visited a few years ago. Closed down now, sadly.

    • admin_laughingatthesky August 2, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      Thank you for visiting Damyanti! I just read about the closure, very sad in many ways.

  78. What an incredible story! I love these kinds of things . . . we don’t have to be unhappy and paralyzed where we are.

  79. admin_laughingatthesky August 3, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Thanks Lynda. So glad you stopped by. I believe you have your own “incredible story.” I hope you will con side filling out the Gutsy Goddess questionnaire on the About page.

  80. Just found this via your post on Damyanti’s blog. Thank you, a tale of tigers in the aftermath was what I needed this evening!

    • admin_laughingatthesky August 3, 2017 at 9:45 pm

      Thanks so much for stopping by DJ and also for leaving a comment. So glad it was what you were needing. I hope you’ll stop by again maybe share some of your own wisdom. Heidi

  81. This is so awesome! Rory just informed me of your FB page and book! I have a book coming out soon: Remember His Name, conquering sorrow, accepting joy! Women’s voices speaking truth from a depth so sacred! Congrats on sharing your journey!

  82. admin_laughingatthesky August 10, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    So great to have you visit, Judith! I’m excited to learn that you have a book coming our, and especially that it highlights “women’s voices speaking truth.” Might you consider filling out my questionnaire as a gutsy goddess? I’m very interested in putting out inspiring stories of courageous acts. If this works for you here’s the link: Either way—thanks for joining the tribe. And, maybe you’d like to add a haiku on courage or transcending fear??

  83. Thank you, Heidi, for sharing my crash course of Life 101! My story proves that Plan B’s and collisions can be some of your best teachers. I look forward to reading others’ stories and plans for adventure.
    Here’s to looking up!

    • admin_laughingatthesky September 1, 2017 at 10:28 am

      Delighted to have you join the tribe. I look forward to following your next adventure. Thanks for the inspiration! Heidi2

  84. Thank you for showcasing my debut book. I hope that you enjoy the powerful message of #LookUp. Although I thought a book was already a tremendous feat, this story is currently transitioning to film. So read it before, it hits the screen.

  85. Such an inspirational post! I love the mantra. Taping it to my bulletin board! So glad you survived such a harrowing experience. Yes, here’s to looking up, in all we do!

  86. Incredible – BRAVA! I look forward to more of your courageous messages!

    • admin_laughingatthesky September 1, 2017 at 11:32 pm

      Pamela—Thanks so much for stoping by and for the comment! I too look forward to her courageous messages and to her upcoming adventures.

  87. This is what I want to do with my non-profit organization Action Based Care!! In the past it was to do an action BASED activity to ward off depression. Now it’s about even more…A=ATTITUDEB=BALANCE C= CONTRIBUTE!@

  88. I’m delighted to see so many connecting to my story and Look Up. After living the experience and then listening/reading to others’ triumphs after extreme setbacks, I know for sure that we all have the power to be in the moment & tap into perspective regardless of the situation/location/timing. Here’s to looking up!

    • admin_laughingatthesky September 14, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      So true Heidi. I’ve also found it interesting that when I start telling my own story others open up about challenges they have overcome.

  89. Very insightful perspective; very courageous woman, a Gutsy Goddess, indeed!

    • admin_laughingatthesky September 4, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      Thanks for visiting Dennis. She has been so inspirational to me as I’ve been cultivating this blog and learning about activism. I hope you will check out some of her poetry in”The Scorched Earth.”

  90. Instead of being a victim, Dora has found her voice, and with strength & courage, she has reclaimed her power to heal herself and to help others. Dora is truly a Women of Courage, and inspiration to us all!!

    • admin_laughingatthesky September 8, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      Denise I am so happy to read your comment. Thanks for joining the conversation and for introducing me to this amazing woman. You and Dora are both courageous inspiring women who support others in their journeys. Grateful.

  91. Incredible words of wisdom by Dora! Very insightful and valuable suggestions!

    • admin_laughingatthesky September 5, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      Denise, I am so grateful that you introduced me to the remarkable woman. Thank you so much for the connection and for all that you do to support women.

  92. Heidi, thank you for introducing me to this wonderful writer. This piece inspired me to purchase Dora’s book of poetry, “The Scorched Earth.”

    • admin_laughingatthesky September 5, 2017 at 6:43 pm

      Lisa, I am so glad that you were inspired by Dora’s work and have purchased her book! She is an amazing woman and I am grateful to know her.

  93. Your strength and courage through your hardships are truly admirable! Although I cannot fathom what you have gone through, the way you have not let it tear you down and instead use your experience to help others is amazing. I’m sure many women – even men! – will read your work and feel a connection which helps them grow just as you did.

    • admin_laughingatthesky September 8, 2017 at 6:25 pm

      Bella, thank you so much for reading the post and leaving a comment. It means a great deal coming from you strong woman. Hugs.

  94. Incredible, thank you answering the questions we all have at times and providing guidance and rationalization to answering them, for they are definitely difficult.

    • admin_laughingatthesky September 14, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Bella, Thanks so much for joining the conversation. I’m glad you found guidance as did I. It was interesting; I had quite the frustration trying to get the post up. It just seemed technology was against me. So I just stopped and reread her four practices, put it all away, focused on “moment to moment” and was able to re-center. For me frustration and fear can lead to anxiety and it isn’t hard to find myself going backwards. I love her ideas on “bringing the best of ourselves forward with great hope.” Dora, if you’re reading this, doesn’t that line about ‘the best of ourselves’ sound like the title of a new post! 🙂

  95. Can’t wait to see the final film project!

  96. What an incredible story. Sharing your experiences is a wonderful reminder that we are not alone in them. And as a Pennsylvania gal, it’s even more satisfying to me to hear about a decent person’s beautiful face replacing Sandusky’s in a mural that should be about positive things.

    • admin_laughingatthesky September 8, 2017 at 6:20 pm

      Thanks for joining the conversation. I too am a Pennsylvania gal, at least I was from age 2-17. When I met Dora I realized we had so many things in common that came from our PA roots. Small world we ever had a mutual friend. Anyway, I love your line, “we are not alone”—so true. Again thanks!

  97. You’ve been a great help to many people who need assurance that there are people who care and understand.

  98. Love that photo with the cigars!

  99. Heidi I have tears in my eyes! I found adventure and travel after divorce too. Sometimes the hardest situations bring the best changes!

    • So true Cathy! What you and I have experienced as well as countless others after a tremendous loss is an example of Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG). We all can use the divorce, trauma, accident, or other as a springboard for change. I embraced adventure after my experience to continue to check-in because we are all works in progress. We need to evolve.
      Here’s to looking up!

    • admin_laughingatthesky September 14, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      Cathy—good for you for moving beyond something hard and finding “the best changes.” It was certainly true for me and I suspect all of the Gutsy Goddesses here. I’m grateful for your thoughts and hope you will continue to comment. I often say we never know who we might inspire or where it might lead. When we go through divorce and other challenges it helps to know we are not alone and to see how others fared.

  100. What amazing courage! Thanks for sharing and for creating this site.

  101. Thank you for adding me to the tribe, Heidi! My achievements seem insignificant compared to the others I’ve read here.

  102. admin_laughingatthesky September 16, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Thank YOU for your insight and courage to move forward, in spite of major challenges, and to share your story with others. As a person who has struggled with fear and anxiety I know it is not easy to do the very thing that frightens you over and over again. Yet when you struggle through it the rewards can be great. When we share our stories others may feel less alone. I hope more people will join the conversation and share their stories and//or insight. Thanks Miriam!

  103. Thank you for sharing your experiences, Miriam! I too have suffered with anxiety for many years. Its challenging and I agree it can be difficult/embarrassing to admit. The stigma involved makes it hard for people understand that its not just feeling uncomfortable it is a debilitating disorder that can often keep you from fully enjoying your life. Again thanks for speaking up about this issue, I’m sure many others will find this comforting.

    • Bella, Thanks so much for visiting, joining the conversation, and sharing your own experience. I agree—speaking up can bring comfort to others. We are not alone.

    • Thank you, Bella. I also hope others will find it comforting and helpful. That’s why I wrote the book. Too many people believe they’re alone with these difficulties when really they’re not.

  104. When we share our troubles, we’re reminded that we’re not alone in them. Great job, Miriam! Your outreach will help others so much.

    • admin_laughingatthesky September 20, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      That means a lot coming from you Lynda. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I have a saying, ‘you never know who you might inspire or where it might lead.’ I hope Miriam’s post will help readers who might feel alone.

    • Thank you, Lynda and Heidi. I share your hopes.

  105. As a longtime sufferer of this, thank you for keeping this in the public eye. I will purchase soon.

  106. That’s amazing Heidi! You are an inspiration all by yourself. Thanks for hosting the Gutsy Goddesses page, and congrats on your book!I look forward to reading. 🙂

    • admin_laughingatthesky October 13, 2017 at 9:54 am

      Thank you Linda. You too are an inspiration and I’m so glad you decided to become one of our Gutsy Goddesses. Best of luck with your book launch!

  107. That sounds adventurous to be sure! Facing the physical challenges of the job were probably much easier than the discrimination of a traditionally “men-only” career. Good for Linda that she didn’t let that stop her!

    • admin_laughingatthesky October 3, 2017 at 11:19 am

      I’d be curious as to how much discrimination was in the hiring, administration, and out-of-the-field aspects of her job. I hope there was teamwork at the fire. For me it would make the challenge nearly impossible if I were doing something dangerous and couldn’t trust my team with my back. And yes—good for her for pushing through.

      • I faced discrimination on both levels…both in the field and when denied positions I was fully qualified for. I’m not sure what upset me more…with the men on my crew who gave me a hard time, I could laugh them off or ignore sexist comments. With admin though, I couldn’t win there, which was quite frustrating.

        And would I be a firefighter again? I never wanted to stop, but was forced to. I have no regrets, though.

        • admin_laughingatthesky October 3, 2017 at 12:29 pm

          Thanks for responding Linda and good for you for hanging in there. I hope that makes it easier for our daughter’s, and daughter’s daughters, and even our sons.

  108. Thank you, Lynda! You are right..the physical challenges were nothing compared to the emotional ones. I loved my job, and fought to keep it.

    • admin_laughingatthesky October 3, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Linda, that just astounds me that the emotional challenges were harder than the physical ones. Good for you for hanging in there. Would you do it again?

  109. What an adventure! I am sure the book will be mighty interesting. All the best to Linda.

  110. Wow … very powerful story! Kudos to you, Lizbeth. Good on you!

  111. Such a trauma for the little girls and the mother!! Glad to know Lizbeth and her daughters are together.

    • admin_laughingatthesky October 11, 2017 at 6:40 pm

      Thanks for your comment Inderpreet. I know from your tweets and posts that you are a champion of courage.

  112. Thank you Dennis and Inderpreet! We-my daughters and I- are among the fortunate in that we have been reunited. It was a long journey filled with many amazing people that helped .💐

  113. What an inspiring story that could have ended a whole lot differently. So glad, Lizbeth, that you were able to get your daughters back, safe and sound.

    • admin_laughingatthesky October 11, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      Thanks for your comment Lynda. I to am inspired and glad to learn of the final outcome. I can’t imagine the horrors of losing a child.

  114. Yes, we must not shy away from taking help, after all we cant do/learn everything on our own. Thanks for sharing Lizbeth’s inspiring story. Wishing her and her daughters the very best in life!

  115. I am very glad to reconnect after over forty years and to learn of your blog and the book you are writing! You are amazing, Heidi!

    • admin_laughingatthesky October 13, 2017 at 9:53 am

      So great to reconnect! You too are inspirational moving from your life as a lawyer to an accomplished artist. I can’t wait to see in in person. I hope you will continue to visit this site and join the conversations as you have much insight to share.

  116. Aarti Venkatraman October 13, 2017 at 10:07 am

    This sounds horrifying! Your courage knows no bounds. More power to Lizbeth and her Gutsy Goddess journey with her daughters.

    • admin_laughingatthesky October 13, 2017 at 10:40 am

      Aarti thanks so much for joining the conversations! Lizbeth is one brave woman and it is heartwarming to see her rewarded for her great work helping women.

  117. This is so heart touching! Being a writer, I know how difficult it’s to create a memoir. You pour your heart out to strangers. THIS is very brave of you. Kudos.

  118. admin_laughingatthesky October 15, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    Rabina, thanks so much for your comment. I too am a memoir writer and I believe by sharing our stories with others in an inspiring and empowering way we can help others to not feel alone. I am honored to have Lizbeth share her story and her current achievements. What do you write?

  119. I’m so glad you found your voice, Madeleine, to help you overcome this tragic event. You deserve to be whole again, to live a life without pain, hurt, shame or guilt.

    • admin_laughingatthesky October 21, 2017 at 7:57 pm

      Linda, you and Madeleine are such women of courage. And yes, we all deserve to be whole; Madeleine provides such heartfelt encouragement. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  120. Madeleine, your voice has helped many women heal and find their own voice. Knowledge is power. Thank you for sharing your pain and making women realize it is not their fault and have the power to heal.

    • admin_laughingatthesky October 21, 2017 at 8:03 pm

      Linda, thank you for commenting. I am so hopeful that through finding our voices, telling our stories we can change patterns and builder a safer and better world.

  121. Great work. Thanks for your courage ❣️

  122. So glad you got your daughters back though I cant imagine how tough life would have seemed and what struggles you must have endured in that period. It feels good ot know that you got helping hands when you needed them!

    • admin_laughingatthesky October 23, 2017 at 9:41 am

      Shalini, thank you for commenting. I remember when her story was in the news many years ago. I too am grateful to hear of the positive outcome and to know she had a “community” of help. I know many of us struggle to reach out for help, myself included, yet it is so important. Anyway, I hope you will continue to visit the site. Nice to meet you and to have you join the conversation. Heidi

    • Thank you Shalini. It truly is amazing to consider all of the people that helped and who asked nothing in return. Something I will never forget. 💕

  123. Madeleine, what an incredible story. You’re right: running from the truth will only trap you more. I’m glad you persevered through those three years of therapy. The result is well worth it!

    • admin_laughingatthesky October 25, 2017 at 8:35 am

      Lynda, thanks for commenting. Like many I felt like I was silenced for many years. It takes such strength to find one’s voice but it is worth it. I’m glad you stopped by.

  124. I’m so sorry for your loss, Judith. What I’ve learned is that you never ‘get over’ losing someone you love, you just learn to take one step, then another…like you, being in nature has always been my salvation.

    • admin_laughingatthesky November 4, 2017 at 11:25 am

      Linda, thanks for commenting. I find your insight inspirational…”one step, then another. Sometimes moving forward can seem overwhelming yet if we concentrate on just one step—that can be a perfect start. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  125. Such a beautiful philosophy of life. Thank you for sharing it!

    • admin_laughingatthesky November 4, 2017 at 11:27 am

      Thanks Kim. I’m grateful that you stop by and commented, and even more so that you find her philosophy beautiful as did I.

  126. Hermien De Foer November 6, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    Heidi, when I met you a few years back, I never would have guessed you had such a troubled youth! You are truely one of the warmest and friendliest people I have ever met and your enthousiasm and courage are inspiring. Best of luck with the book!

    • admin_laughingatthesky November 7, 2017 at 8:34 am

      Thanks so much. I believe many if not most of the people we meet have stories and challenges that they may or may not share. I remember a short video clip of this man and his two kids on a train. The kids were a bit wild and the man wasn’t paying attention. Another train rider criticized him he apologized sincerely and then a minute later mentioned that their mother had died the day before. It was powerful for me anyway. I’ve been mostly silent since 11 but it’s now time to come out with the story as I hope it can inspire or at least make some women feel less alone. And you Hermien are a wise sister traveler! So glad you journeyed into my life! I hope you will return.

  127. Hello fellow author. It’s so nice to get to know you better through your blog, although it saddens me that you have gone through such hell. I can imagine sailing around the world, can cleanse the past and help heal. I will be happy to follow your blog, and if you ever have the time, would be delighted to see you visit mine as well. Waving to you from Bavaria, Germany.

    • admin_laughingatthesky November 7, 2017 at 11:50 am

      Hello hello traveling sister. I am so glad you found my blog and I yours. I was writing about transcendence this morning, rising above that which so many struggle through or have achieved. Anyway, I sense a kindred spirit. Please let me know if you’re driving through Provence. Waving back with a smile from Lourmarin.

  128. It’s so true that grief and sorrow don’t go away; they simply change shape. What a great way to put it.

  129. Am so sorry for your loss, Judith. Agree with you that we never quit hurting and we never really stop loving them, but we just learn to live without them!

  130. Amazing!

    • admin_laughingatthesky January 18, 2018 at 5:35 pm

      Welcome to our community, Judy, and thanks for being part of our community. I’m glad you found inspiration!

  131. “Go out in nature and sit, walk, just be. Let the waves of the oceans, the great lakes heal you.”
    Thank you for sharing this incredibly moving story.

  132. I will lean into this idea of “it is happening for me” not “to me”.
    Most insightful.

  133. A powerful story combined with action can change the world. Thank you for your brave words and steps toward change, Dora, and to you Heidi for the platform you provide for women to share their stories.

  134. “The truth will set you free” is not cliché (nor is it easy). Brava!

    • admin_laughingatthesky November 20, 2017 at 7:50 am

      So true Susan. When I was young a common belief was that if you didn’t talk about horrible things they would go away. Now I know that when pain and truth are buried they fester. Madeline’s insight on sharing our stories is not only extremely relevant but it is a path towards healing, wholeness, compassion and connection. Thanks for your thoughts.

  135. What wise advise, Judith. The tragedies of life are bearable and can be surmounted when one knows she or he is not alone. Thanks for sharing.

  136. Thanks for sharing this incredibly inspiring and moving story.

  137. I love this! It’s so true and I also like the fact that science is used to prove it (although we all know it’s true intuitively). Thanks for sharing!

    • admin_laughingatthesky November 22, 2017 at 7:27 am

      Thanks Tammy. I met a woman through LaughingAtTheSky who is a internationally-recognized therapist, a professor of psychology, researcher on the status of women for the UN, who organizes women’s power circles. Her decades of research also proves this out. I hope to participate in one of her woman’s power circles some day. (You would make a great participant too!) I’m so glad you connected with me and look forward to learning more about your work with connecting women—it’s important.

  138. “Trauma doesn’t define you, it’s how you see yourself that matters.” – Such an amazing quote, story, and individual. Humbling and inspiring.

    • I am so glad you are making a point of telling these important stories. FGM is violence against women and needs to be stopped. Hibo’s courage in the face of shame and stigma is awe inspiring! There is still so much work to be done in the world to end men’s violence against women.Thank you Heidi! xoxo

      • admin_laughingatthesky November 30, 2017 at 6:52 am

        Layne, I’m grateful for your comment and all of the tireless hours, days, years you too have worked to reduce violence against women, and the wisdom you have brought us. I actually though of you when I was listening to Hibo. Among other things she said, “…We need to teach our boys.” Layne, like Hibo, you are a champion here. I hope you and Hibo will meet one day and that all of your joint efforts will continue to magnify through our world. Heartfelt thanks to you both for your courageous efforts.

    • admin_laughingatthesky November 30, 2017 at 6:37 am

      Thanks so much for your comment Katie. This courageous woman certainly gave me a great deal to think about when she said that. Also when she told me, “I am what I choose to become.” When I think of her words in light of her story—I agree—humbling and inspiring. Again, thanks.

  139. Powerful story! I applaud her courage and willingness to make a difference! Very inspiring!

    • admin_laughingatthesky November 30, 2017 at 6:56 am

      Denise, I am humbled by your visit and by all of these comments by people who, like you, have done much to support others in their journeys to heal. Glad Hibo’s story has inspired you as it has to me. As Hibo says, “Unity is powerful.” Thanks.

  140. Heartbreaking. Inspirational. Brave. Wow … “The day I stopped seeing myself through my trauma was the day that changed my life.” Thank you, Heidi, for helping shed light on these important stories. Thank you, Hibo, for bravely sharing your story.

    • admin_laughingatthesky November 30, 2017 at 6:45 am

      Heartfelt thanks Ann. I’m fairly certain Hibo has changed the lives of many with her story and her work. My words can’t begin to describe the impact of her phone call with me.
      Hibo, Ann too is a Gutsy Goddess, writer, and brave, inspiring soul. Perhaps one day you two will meet. Her words ring true, “…inspirational, brave, wow.”

  141. Thanks for sharing this. It’s such a heartbreaking issue. I’m so glad that Hibo is strong and is speaking out.

    • admin_laughingatthesky November 30, 2017 at 9:45 pm

      Thank you so much for you comment Nancy. It is very heartbreaking, especially to know that it is happening now and that according to the World Health Organization there are over 200 Million women and girls that have undergone this. I had no idea. I appreciate having you join the conversation.

  142. This is a practice that I’ve heard about several times now over the past many years. Every time I hear about it, I get an awful feeling inside that is hard to describe. It is empathy, to the extent I can manifest that, for the physical and psychological pain and suffering that must be a part of this horrible practice, but it’s also a visceral discomfort deep inside. Hibo is indeed a very courageous woman, but she is now speaking not just to other woman, who firsthand understand violence against women in its many forms, but directly to men. It is clear that now, more than ever, we need to get involved in whatever capacity we can to help put an end not just to this horrible practice, but to all forms of violence against women … everywhere. Hibo, you are truly inspiring and I will do what I can to help spread the word!

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 1, 2017 at 7:43 am

      Dennis, heartfelt thanks for your thoughts. I was moved, first to tears and then to action, as I heard her story and her request to be inclusive to men. Her words, “they are the “biggest missing part of this fight,” and that “we need to hear from them,” rings true. Heartfelt thanks for standing with women and importantly for “spreading the word.” I hope in my heart other men will join you. Awareness is powerful. Allies are important.

  143. This is such a difficult thing for so many to fathom, and yet it continues to happen to young girls. Educating others is so important, and that’s where Hibo’s story is invaluable. It’s heartbreaking but also encouraging that Hibo has not allowed her circumstances to dictate her joy.

    • admin_laughingatthesky November 30, 2017 at 9:42 pm

      It is very difficult to fathom Lynda. When I heard Hibo say something about the numbers I thought I misheard her. Then I read the World Health Organizations report that there are over 200 Million women and girls today that have undergone HGM/HGC. It does happen, and spreading awareness is critical. Thanks so much for your comment.

  144. What an amazing woman and what a terrible and traumatic experience to have gone through. Thank you for telling your story and for helping others to come forward with theirs.

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 1, 2017 at 7:34 am

      Nice to have your comment Tammy. Hibo’s comment that “Unity is is power” reminds me of how empowering it is to tell our stories and not feel alone. It is so important as we heal ourselves, support those around us, and in Hibo’s case support others around the globe. Very glad to have you join the conversation.

  145. When someone so deeply traumatized as a child can rise above such a horrific act of violence and bring healing change to herself and to others, such immense personal resolve and selfless courage is beyond remarkable…it is awe inspiring. It causes me to reflect on the fantastic power and beauty of the human spirit. May we all speak our truth and empower others along our way. “Trauma does not define us.”

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 1, 2017 at 6:48 am

      Beautifully said Bonita. I’ll add that it goes beyond those traumatized as children. Whenever one of us rises above trauma, it lifts us all. Her words, “Trauma does not define us,” and “I am what I choose to become,” are very powerful. Standing with you and Hibo—”May we speak our truth and empower others along the way. Heartfelt thanks.

  146. Wow I am so touched beyond words. I am a simple woman, no hero, just someone who was hurt. There is no greater evil than the evil that is imbedded in your own life. How do you live with that. For me it consumed me for over 3 decades. Now how I fight through talk, and never ever let the evil restrict me anymore, like boa constrictor killing its pry. I ran so much that i couldn’t run anymore. It made me feel like an incomplete woman, a freak of nature, not worth it, not loved. All this and many more, indescribable emotions. Millions of women and girls suffer in silence. Suffering in silence is the deadliest form of suffering. I am so grateful for who i am today. I survived and became defiant and proud. Most of all I see what is happening to woman today. This cruel practice is designed to control sexuality, designed to make us feel inferior to opposite sex. It’s designed to shut us down in mind,body and soul. Its designed to make us feel worthless because we were born girls. This is one of the worst forms of child abuse. Thank you for your support. Love to you all

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 5, 2017 at 7:38 am

      You are so much more than “someone who was hurt.” You have transcended your fear and trauma, and broken your silence to a level that you help others. You are a inspiration and role model to others.I have a favorite quote—you never know who you might inspire or where it might lead. You have touched the heart of many. Love to you.

  147. Hibo’s story is so heartbreaking. She is truly brave and inspiring to share her story and make a difference in the lives of so many other kids and women. A Gutsy Goddess indeed. More power to her and thanks to you too, Heidi!

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 6, 2017 at 8:08 am

      Shilpa I’m glad you found Hibo’s words inspiring. I too have been inspired by her and also by some of the brave and compassionate people you have featured on your blog. It’s great to have you join the conversation. Thanks.

  148. What a story of pain turning into sheer courage told by a gutsy goddess who deserves to be applauded! An empathetic person is almost always a person who has the courage of her convictions and the need to do the right thing by people. Here’s wishing Hibo all the very best in her endeavours! Kudos to the gutsy goddess!

    • If you share your experiences, whether good or bad, you will truly do great for humanity. Your story can inspire someone else or give them strength to face their darkest fears. We owe it to humanity to help others feel that whatever the experience they had, there is always a light at the end of the dark tunnel. Humanity needs a helping hand. Humanity needs compassion,love,caring and all that can be achieved through sharing, helping, giving love and most importantly understanding and not judging.

      • admin_laughingatthesky December 6, 2017 at 8:23 am

        I respect that not everyone is ready or interested in sharing their stories, however I too believe that it can help others when a person is ready to speak out. I was unable to talk about childhood violence for several decades, and I felt alone and bit isolated by it. When I finally reached the place of looking deep inside and sharing what I found, I realized there was such beauty mixed in with the pain. I also learned I was not alone. I took a leap from living and reliving my trauma as a large part of my life, to transcending above it and feeling whole. It is so true Hibo, we need non-judgemental understanding, compassion and love. Thank you for your courage.

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 6, 2017 at 8:11 am

      Thanks Deepti. I’m applauding with you and wishing her the best as well. The world is a better place because of her courage to speak.

  149. Thank you to Hibo for sharing your moving and powerful story and to you ,Heidi, for providing this platform. What can we do to support women who have been abused by this practice and to help abolish this barbaric practice?

    • Thank you so much Susan for your comment and support. As Hibo mentions below, Orchid Project is doing amazing work; simply adding to the conversation is helpful. She also mentioned to me that having male supporters is crucial. I sent out an email with this link to many of my male friends just to read the post and like or comment and have, so far, only had two responses—sigh. I’m hoping we can invite more men to join the conversation. What surprised me the most is how widespread this is. I read on the WHO site that there are 200,000,000 women alive today that have experienced this and that a new girl is cut every 11 seconds. Anyway, thanks for commenting!

  150. First thank you so much for yoyr support. There are many ways you can support. You can support the charity that my story has put link to it—Orchid Project. Or you can start conversations in your area. I know many people arent aware of FGM or how widespread it is today. Conversation is vital with people you are around. It is such a cruel practice that invades Body, Mind and Soul. Its designed to control every single aspect of us, girls and women. It is a life sentence that you learn to cope with if yoy are lucky. Thete is no recovery from FGM but coping and learning to live with it is critical. so please let me know whatever your profession is so that i can tell you how to help. thank you Susan

    • Thank for your response Hibo. I had no idea how widespread this practice is today—just shocking. Thank you for opening our hearts and minds, and for your amazing courage and great work.

  151. What a fantastic piece! She talks so much sense – I’ll have to look out for this book. 🙂

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 11, 2017 at 8:27 am

      Kim, thanks so much for joining the conversation! I hope you are able to look out for it. I personally had a challenging/puzzling relationship with my mother and Rosjke’s insight has helped me to find compassion and understanding both for her and myself. I think this is also a very timely piece.

  152. I always enjoy reading about Rosjke’s perspective. Understanding our own history of our attachments to significant others and our current relationships are both important for many reasons. Rosjke’s work focusing on mother’s and daughters is very valuable. Thanks for sharing here Rosjke!

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 11, 2017 at 9:54 am

      Susan I am thrilled to have your comment especially given your expertise in psychology and health. I’m glad you brought up the idea of “attachments” as for me it intertwines what I’ve learned through my personal counseling work and through Buddhist teaching. Learning about my attachments and where they come from has brought not only a deep understanding of myself but also compassion. Rosjke’s perspective on this, and the insight I have gained from you has brought greater compassion for my mother, myself, and beyond. Heartfelt Thanks.

  153. Such interesting thoughts on emotional silence and the mother-daughter relationship. I’m glad to say that my daughter and I have a much better relationship than I did with my mother, and it’s all because we don’t keep hidden that which needs to be talked about. Painful or therapeutic, it reminds us that we’re not alone, and we’re deserving of being heard.

    • I desire the closeness with my daughter so much and I know she does as well. We are in counseling now ! I pray the silence stops and that she knows she is the most important person to me ! my daughter knows how much she matters to me! I desire nearness and understanding with her and to be able to talk about what has been hidden… I just started this book the mother daughter puzzle!
      I just want to know I matter in her life and that I am not an obligation!

      • Hi Suzie, Welcome to our community and thanks for your comment. I’m pleased to read that you’re getting counseling help to do what you can to improve your relationship. My own counseling work was quite difficult yet so rewarding in the end. I’m also happy that you’ve started reading Rosjke’s book; I’m just finishing my second read through and have found additional insight that I missed the first time. We can’t change how our loved ones feel but we can work to offer support for better relationships, and of course love. It sounds like you’ve taken some great steps forward. I wish you and your daughter the best of luck.

  154. Thank you for your willingness and courage to step forward and bit by bit, change the world into a better place.

    • Dana, Thanks so much for joining the conversation and for being a women of courage and inspiration. You’re right, “bit by bit” we can change the world into a better place. Standing with you.

  155. Incredible story and courage. Bravo for taking the lead forvyou and others!

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 28, 2017 at 7:10 am

      Heidi2—As a sister who stands in courage I’m grateful for your comment. Thanks for stopping by this post. I was actually thinking of you when I read Winnie’s line, “Life can change in an instant…” and I loves how she ended that line, “and in the process heal ourselves.” It is true that when someone chooses to tell their story, and “take the lead,” they help themselves and others.

  156. A truly inspiring story of incredible strength and courage in transforming such a horrific act into hope and effective advocacy. Kudos to you! And so glad you are out hiking again!

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 28, 2017 at 9:44 am

      Dennis, thanks so much for your thoughtful comment and for highlighting the “hope” in her story. She is an inspiration and breath of hope to many.

  157. Yours is an inspiring story of courage, determination and inner strength, Winnie. Kudos to you for fighting back and making a difference for rape survivors! More power to you and thank you, for bravely sharing your story.

  158. admin_laughingatthesky December 28, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks so much Shilpa. As you often say, “If we were having coffee…” I would add…perhaps we would find inspiration from the courageous and generous people we have met this year, and be grateful for the stories they have shared with us. At this end of year time, I appreciate the difference you make, and thank you for your comments. Winnie is making a powerful difference for so many, and I am glad that you are inspired by her story.

  159. Thank you for sharing this inspiring story! You are a great role model for our girls. Good luck in your future endeavors.

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 29, 2017 at 7:32 am

      Joan, thanks for your comment. It makes me think of the saying, “It takes a village…” how we all strive to do the best for our children and expose them to amazing role models. I would love to bring the girls, whom you and I love, to see her when she does her US tour. (The boys too!). When I think of the transformation of my own “second daughter” as she has matured to an amazing, compassionate woman—it fills me with joy. Heartfelt thanks for stopping by.

  160. I was so moved by your inspiring story, Winnie! Not everyone can pick up the pieces of their life and move on with such conviction and pride. God be with you always!

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 29, 2017 at 7:35 am

      Deepti, what a lovely and thoughtful comment. So glad her story “moved” you. Thank you for stopping by. I love how she is not only moving on with her own life but is also making a difference in the world.

  161. Lovely story. It’s good to hear how you can change your life and that of others through going with your heart.

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 30, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      “Going with your heart,” what a great phrase. Thanks so much Fiona for stopping by, and welcome to our community!

  162. Such an inspiring story! Kudos to anyone who does skydiving. It looks such an awesome experience but I’m too much of a wuss!

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 30, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      Welome to our community! Thank you so much for commenting, and also for the inspiration and thoughtful insight that you bring to your blog…supporting us as we all “search for our own truth.” And somehow, I can’t picture you as a “wuss,” but more as a Gutsy Goddess too.

  163. What an amazing and inspirational story. To be so fearless and brave and to also raise so much money to fight such an awful disease is so awe-inspiring. Great read 👍🏻

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 30, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      Rachel thanks so much for your comment. Welcome to our community. Glad you found her story inspiring as did I. It is amazing when someone can turn around something “very bad” and make it so strong and powerful for good.

  164. It never fails to amaze me when people go through such horrific experiences and come out the other side, sharing it for the good of many other people. So inspiring, thank you 🙂

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 30, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      I am thrilled that you found inspiration. Winnie is an amazing role model for all of us, rising above this violence with a powerful voice. Thank you so much for your comment.

  165. Nice post of courage, determination and positiveness….thanks for the share..:)

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 30, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      Thank you so much. Like you, I appreciate community and welcome you to ours. As a sailor I have found myself on a small boat in the middle, literally, of a vast ocean, feeling small and alone. And then there are times on land when I find profound connections to people from so may parts of the world. I look forward to reading more from you. I hope you will feel welcome to return on your journey.

  166. This is an amazing and inspiring story, Thankyou for sharing x

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 30, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      Thanks so much for stopping by Lauren and for your comment. You have put forth such inspiration too and have helped me today to ramp up my gratitude. I hope you will continue to stop by our community.

  167. Thank you for helping us all lift up our heads and say even to ourselves I was treated terribly but I am still a person who needs to have compassion on myself and realise the shame and blame belongs to the perpetrators. It is so good to talk openly because this crime thrIves in the effect of shutting us down and feeling we are no good. Thank you for speaking out we all need to know through express of the real truth we are set free to let go and rebuild our lives together xxx

    • admin_laughingatthesky December 30, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      Anne—what an inspiring and heartfelt comment. Thank you so much for sharing. It is so true that this type of violence understandably, shuts people down. I wholeheartedly agree, the shame and blame does belong to the perpetrators, and that we do need to wrap ourselves in compassion. To have the courage to rebuild, speak out, and help others is powerful. We are not all ready yet I do appreciate Winnie’s line, “…if we can share our stories bravely, openly, we can start to change the public understanding of rape — and in the process, heal ourselves.” Anne, I hope you will continue to share your insight with our community.

  168. Wow! That is truly inspiring!

  169. Wow! Awesome story. I’m so proud of her for getting out of a bad marriage!

  170. What courage you have. Way to take an awful event and turn it into something meaningful. Kudos to you.

    • admin_laughingatthesky January 7, 2018 at 2:44 pm

      Lisa, Thanks so much for your comment and for visiting this site. I read a post by a sister blogger today that talked of “practicing radical empathy.” Comments like yours and this idea of standing up for one another gives me hope and strength. I hope you will continue to share with our community.

  171. Wow! Well done you! That is as inspirational as it is amazing!

    • Welcome to our community Sonia! I’m glad you found inspiration. I think she’s amazing too. I can hardly imagine free falling like she does. Thanks for your comment, and for stopping by.

  172. When victims share their stories, they stop being victims and gain a much better name: champion. Winnie, you are not only a survivor but your story will bring hope to so many who may feel as if they’ll always be seen (and see themselves) as victims. Thank you for sharing.

    • Champion I love that. Yes it is through speaking out and sharing that we see ourselves in the true light of being champions. Victim of an assault then we go in to become survivors of an assault then through open discussion and sharing and placing the blame and shame where it belongs we become champions because we have overcome and regain what they tried to take our own power goodness and sanity we are truly the champions they are cruel losers.

      • admin_laughingatthesky December 31, 2017 at 2:07 pm

        I love it too, and also the way you wrote it Anne, “we see ourselves in the true light of being champions.” As the world moves forward, welcoming a new year, may their lights, our lights, shine brightly.

  173. Oh my….I just love when you know you’ve had enough and that you deserve more…This is such an inspiring story….

  174. Madeleine, you brave, boundless, unbroken and glorious sister, I applaud you and your voice and your courage in moving through your healing and all that it both asked of you and has offered to you. As a survivor myself, and a woman dedicated to using my voice (my company’s name is One Woman’s Voice!) to break the silence in which so many survivors suffer, I am heartbroken by your horrific experience and heartened by the choices you made to move through it to be in the world as you now are, effecting change and fostering community among survivors and those dedicated to supporting them. Although our stories are different, our paths through healing to public activism are somewhat similar, and your courageous reclaiming of yourself and all that your life is offering to you is beyond inspiring and motivating. Thank you.

    And Heidi, once again, thank you for your amazing commitment to bringing to light the many women you have featured whose own lights are shining on a path for all of us as we move forward together. All peace and much love to you both.

    • Dora, thank you so much for your comments, your contributions to this blog, and your steadfast efforts towards a better world. You and Madeleine do have similar paths to activism and both offer up such amazing inspiration. I do hope we will all meet in person one of these days for a true Gutsy Goddess Gathering. Madeleine, I look forward to introducing you to some of our US activists, especially Dora, and I encourage you to check out her writing and story elsewhere on this page.

  175. Through such intense pain comes great strength. A truly inspiring story, you are a brave young woman Winnie. 🙂

    • admin_laughingatthesky January 7, 2018 at 2:50 pm

      Lorelle, Thanks so much for visiting this community and sharing your thoughts. Yours is a powerful message, the idea that through intense pain comes great strength. I’ve always loved the Rumi quote, “The wound is where the light enters.” Your phrase works so well with that idea, one to hold on to.

  176. Sanchali Chakraborty January 7, 2018 at 11:09 am

    I have no words to state my disgust for such persons and you lady ,thank you for not losing hope and courage for such morons.You are truly an inspiration for womanhood.I wish you all the best for a beautiful life ahead.💖

    • admin_laughingatthesky January 7, 2018 at 2:59 pm

      Sanchali, Welcome to our community and thanks for sharing your message. I’m glad you found inspiration as did I. I do hope you might consider reading her book, or more about her, because what I found very interesting was that it weaves two stories, one of the survivor and one of the attacker. As a sister survivor it opened my eyes to new insight, especially when I read her response. Either way, may your wish for a beautiful life come right back to you. With peace, Heidi

  177. You are so brave and inspiring x sharing this as much as possible x

    • admin_laughingatthesky January 7, 2018 at 3:19 pm

      Welcome to our community Fancy! I’m grateful for your comment. I have a saying, “you never know who you might inspire or where it might lead.” So, thanks so much for the share; perhaps it will bring strength and insight to others.

  178. Your skill as a writer, and as a human being, is evident here. Climbing into the head of a perpetrator of such a terrible crime must have been an incredible challenge as you wrote your novel. I’m so glad you’re telling your story and speaking out in support of others. Thanks, Winnie. I’m happy to have learned more about how courage and perseverance changes a hellish experience into a productive and meaningful purpose.

    • admin_laughingatthesky January 7, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      Well said, Angela—heartfelt thanks, and welcome to our community. I was reading your thoughts on “practicing radical empathy,” and just mentioned it to Lisa above, at the same moment your post came through. By trying to step into another’s perspective it seems like we can work to make our world a bit smaller, and give compassion and forgiveness the opportunity to expand. Winnie and Madeline (another Gutsy Goddess) have been opening my eyes and heart around the idea of forgiveness. Perhaps an initial step to forgiveness could be true empathy.

  179. I’m blown away by this article. Thank you so much for writing it. As others have said before me, you’re bravery to speak openly of your attack is so inspiring. All the best to you.

    • admin_laughingatthesky January 7, 2018 at 8:30 pm

      Hayley, Welcome to our community! I am so touched that you stopped by and look forward to reading more form you here and on your blog. Heidi

  180. Thank you so Dana. It’s all our responsibility to carry each other . It’s humanity issue that surpasses race & religon. Unity is the most powerful tool we have and using my trauma as a tool to educate others has been a blessing in disguise for me. Thank you so much for taking time to respond to me .Thank you all

  181. Heartfelt thanks for your courage.

  182. Thanks for you goodness and amazing courage.

  183. Traumatic events do tend to create a chasm in our life’s timeline. It will always be viewed as “before [event] and after” when thinking back.

    • admin_laughingatthesky January 18, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      I just finished the book today. I love how her “after” includes finding her voice through writing, speaking, and activism. Thanks for your comment Lynda and for supporting our community!

  184. This is such an inspiring story! This sentence really spoke to me today: “Your future is your own responsibility and staying a victim is not the answer when there are other options.” I’m going to write this down in my journal as a reminder to myself. Thank you!

    • admin_laughingatthesky January 18, 2018 at 4:16 pm

      What a great comment Modern Gypsy! I remember once feeling stuck in a difficult place, rehashing old stories, and someone asked me why I “chose” to be there. It was eyeopening for me, that I really did have a choice. Ann Daniels quote is true; while we can’t erase our misfortunes we can choose to stay the victim, or be the survivor, or transcend the stories we tell ourselves. Welcome to our community!

      • Yes, I liked that quote as well. I wrote a journal book, The Rock Star ABC Book of of Meditation and Memories. Where v is for victory not victims. I’m going to add that quote to my book.

        • Welcome to our community Andrea! I will check out your book. How about “T is for transcending”. I feel like we need language beyond “victim” and even beyond “survivor” and “silence breaker”. I’ve met so many strong women who have done so much more than survive. Haven’t you? They take quantum leaps beyond where tragedy leaves them—to do important and inspiring things.

  185. I used to live in the same small East Devon village as Ann just a few years ago so especially good to see her again – she wouldn’t know me under my blogging name though. We knew what she did and always (anxiously) followed the expeditions. It wasn’t far between our houses, certainly that was easier to walk than some of her challenging expedition walking!

    • admin_laughingatthesky January 18, 2018 at 5:33 pm

      Small world Brytin! I first heard of her on the radio in New Hampshire, US, upon finishing a 12,000 nautical-mile voyage to Fatu Hiva. After having several amazing mentors who supported my journey, I wanted to give back. She certainly fit the profile of a Gutsy Goddess. Anyway, so glad to meet you and to check out your blog. If she comes back to town please say “Hi, and thanks for the inspiration” from me! And please come back when you have the chance and join our community!

  186. Wow! What an adventure to take on. I love reading or hearing about women who bravely take on challenges. Awesome story!

    • admin_laughingatthesky January 20, 2018 at 10:15 am

      Welcome to our community Erin. I love hearing and reading about women who take on challenges too. From your name above, Unbound Roots, which I love, I suspect you’ve been on a few adventures yourself. I look forward to perusing your stories. Thanks for the comment.

  187. I’m blown away by your courage. Courage to share, speak out and act. As women, we need to share our stories and raise awareness to help others do the same and hopefully bring about change in society.

    • Welcome back Tammy! I just had lunch with Winnie and also Madeleine Black yesterday, and heard them speak about this same idea—by sharing stories we help others and work to change society. Winnie’s last question to the audience was, “What positive steps can we take to bring about change.” Thanks for being part of this important conversation.

  188. What amazing adventures. I love this “No matter where you go, no matter how different the cultures are, it’s the inherent goodness we share as human beings that enable us to connect in meaningful ways.” Thanks for the inspiration!

  189. Heidi, from the little intro of your life, I can tell straight away that you an inspiration. I will definitely be looking out for your memoir. Lots of love.

  190. Thanks so much Dora for such an insightful write-up. So much knowledge passed on through your writing…leaving here with the thought that ‘it’s happening for me’

    • admin_laughingatthesky January 19, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      Welcome to our community and thanks so much for your comment Kamapala. Dora has given much insight to the world and inspires me often. She is a true women of courage and has supported many in their journey.

  191. Heidi, from the little intro of your life, I can tell straight away that you an inspiration. Lots of love.

    • admin_laughingatthesky January 19, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      Thank you for helping to spread my smile from ear to ear. Welcome to our community. I feel as if I’ve found a new friend!

  192. Wow what an amazing story. Such a brave and inspiring woman 😊 Had she visited the artic before this trip?

    • admin_laughingatthesky January 20, 2018 at 10:28 am

      She was a divorced mother of triplets and needed a job. She replied to an ad that called for “ordinary women” and it spoke to her. With no equipment and very little experience, she ended up persisting until she became part of one and then many arctic expeditions. She is an amazing woman and has a very inspirational showreel on her website which I just realized is not linked above; I will do that shortly. It is well worth a watch whenever you need a bit of inspiration. Thanks for your visit and comment.

  193. An enjoyable read of another woman pushing her boundaries. I have tried to push my boundaries for most of my life and it is even more important for me as I grow older. Thanks for sharing!

    • admin_laughingatthesky January 20, 2018 at 10:39 am

      Welcome Suz and thanks for the comment. As a sister traveler, it’s great to meet you. I’ve been pushing boundaries too and agree that they have become more important as I’ve grown older. My New Years resolve this year is to take more risks, be more present in joy, make the world a bit smaller through connection, and a bit better through volunteering and love. I hope your travels continue to push boundaries and be joyful. And if you’re in Lourmarin/Provence please stop and say bonjour!

  194. What an inspirational woman, I really admire her guts and determination. 🙂

    • admin_laughingatthesky January 20, 2018 at 10:41 am

      Thanks Judy and welcome to our community. If you would ever like to leave a rhyme, you don’t need a reason. We’re always up for a smile. I’m glad you found Ann inspirational!

  195. Get in there Heidi, very impressive outlook and an inspirational read. Heck of an experience too. Comfort zones can be so debilitating and negative to sit in. Been there, done that and fighting to get out if it’s sits too long is a dreadful thing for self esteem and recycling negativity. Very impressive outlook and kudos to you for helping others with mental health too

    • admin_laughingatthesky January 20, 2018 at 10:46 am

      Thanks so much Gary and welcome to our community. I find her outlook impressive too. In fact, if I need a bit of a boost to get out of my own comfort zone it’s fun to watch her video. Part of my New Years resolution is to take more risks so I’m with you on that. Her work with helping others, and also her environmental efforts for the world’s oceans get my kudos too.

  196. Truly inspiring. I love learning about people like this x

  197. Wow! When I was feeling like I needed some adventure and a way forward after my divorce I made a few more friends and tried to enjoy modern art…going on an Arctic expedition is a whole other universe of possibility. Amazing journey. And the perseverance and endurance it must have taken, even from these brief words, I can only imagine.

    • Welcome to our community Angela! I see it as an amazing journey as well. I hope modern art has brought you as much joy as the arctic has brought Ann. My adventure, sailing to the South Pacific, came in part after an introduction to Gauguin. Art can open our creativity and take us to new heights, don’t you think? Thanks for your comment.

  198. What a wonderful post – so full of inspiring quotes from a strong woman. I love the fact that she is using her own strength and experience to help others recognise theirs – so important in the road to recovery from mental illness to health. So glad you shared this!

    • Thanks so much Claire. I’m glad you found inspiration from her quotes. I love how when she was in a low point in her life, her response was to take responsibility and literally climb to new heights. She does an amazing Ted Talk if you have an interest. And, welcome to our community.

  199. What an inspiring story! It shows we can accomplish our goals if we have grit!

    • Thanks Lisa. I suspect we all have some of that “grit” even when we don’t know it. Looking back at my own story, some of the times I felt I had no grit, in retrospect I had considerable courage. For me, women of courage helped me in my journey and that’s why I like to feature them. Glad you found it inspiring like I did.

  200. I am completely and utterly in awe of this woman. What an inspiration. Women are the weaker sex indeed- pah!

  201. What a powerful inspiring story and example of how to take back one’s power! Winnie I applaud you for your strength and courage!

    • Denise. Your ears must have been burning. Winnie and I were just having lunch before her talk at the feminist library. We talked of a Gutsy Goddess hike; I mentioned your work taking survivors on hikes. She may be on a book tour in New England. You two must meet!

  202. Another great read about an inspiring woman, Heidi – so wonderful to read about people turning terrible experiences into ways to help others.

    • Kim, I’m so glad to read your comment and know that her story inspired you. It continues to amaze me when someone talks of their history and then you learn how they rose above tragedies. An inspiration for many.

  203. Go Kretz!!!!
    You followed your dream and that is courageous.

    • Ha—Your comment “Go Kretz!!” brought a smile to my face. Thanks for stopping by Simonne. She is a courageous woman and an inspiration to many.

  204. I’m so glad to read about Ann. So inspiring.
    This blog is SUCH a breath of fresh air after all the movies, tv shows, and other ways our culture portrays women! We are so often depicted as caring more about makeup and fashion than about strength, meeting challenges, and achieving goals! GO FOR IT laughing at the sky! 🙂

    • Simonne, heartfelt thanks for seeing the blog as a “breath of fresh air.” So many women are achieving incredible goals and feats. I continue to be amazed not only at the strength of women, but also of how far many have come and what they have had to overcome. I love your last line—GO FOR IT.

  205. Keep on hiking, Winnie. We are all cheering you on! Thank you for sharing your experience because I know that it isn’t easy to do.

    • Thank Simonne! I just had lunch with Winnie, and also Gutsy Goddess Madeleine Black, and we talked about a Gutsy Goddess hike. You should come! We could always use an artist with your talent and colorful way of viewing the world. 🙂

  206. Mary’s words are wise: tell someone. It sounds so simple, but it’s not that easy, especially when we’ve been conditioned to think we’re at least partly at fault.

    As for an inspiring book, I’m reading one even as we speak. It has yet to be published, though. 🙂

    • So true Lynda. It took me four decades to tell my story after being silenced at eleven years old. It does take courage, yet it when our voice emerges it can be so healing for ourselves and others. I’m glad you felt inspired by your latest manuscript. You do get some good ones!

    • Thank you Lynda, you are right, telling someone isn’t so easy as one thinks. Now that I have told my story, countless others are telling me, many for the first time their story. It isn’t always women telling their stories.

  207. Amazing and powerful words.

  208. I recently had a small taste of that strange “I’m not worthy” phenomenon. It made me hyper self-conscious. I fretted over every word, every look, I gave or received. Did they know my secret? Did they know that perhaps I didn’t deserve what I had been given?
    But after puzzling about it for awhile and wondering why I just felt so odd I realized, as Amanda did, that my fear of the spotlight shouldn’t stop me from being a contribution. Doing the things I do best and letting the world react as it may. Sometimes with praise, other times with censure, the way others are cannot really impact me–the core of me. And that’s an important lesson. Without it, we can’t become like Amanda, a tremendous advocate for the things and people that matter to her.
    I love your portraits of inspiring people. They do what they are supposed to do: Raise us up.

    • What a touching comment Angela. Thanks so much for this contribution and your insight. I must admit I’m still impacted by what others say. My confidence has risen after coming out with my story and sailing 12,000 nautical miles to French Polynesia (my lifelong dream). I am still, however self-conscious, and fret over words, photos, posts… I love your focus, and Amanda’s, being about the contribution. It’s a great reminder of why we’re doing this. Heartfelt thanks too for the note that these portraits “raise us up.”. The sign I carried at the 2017 Women’s March read—Rise Up With Love.

  209. Terrific, inspiring story! Really enjoy reading these!

  210. Another wonderful story, Heidi – such courage and determination!

  211. Incredibly inspirational!

  212. Mary is a long time friend of mine and we were going to a support group both seeking recovery. I am so proud of her and I love this brave woman. Please believe the women who come to you and say they are being or have been abused. Believing her story validates her and helps her get the help she needs.

    • Standing with you Melinda. As a survivor of violent crime at age eleven, who felt silenced for four decades. I believe it takes incredible strength and courage to speak one’s truth. There are many reasons people refuse to believe a survivor, or ask, ‘why did it take so long?’ I take the approach to believe and support before doubting and judging. I agree, it’s so important to have validation. Thank you so much for your comment and welcome to our community. I hope you will consider reading and commenting on some of the other stories when you feel inspired. Heidi

    • Melinda, thank you for responding to this blog. Truly you have been a great friend and support. We must believe a story to validate what another has endured.

  213. I wish I had this much courage!!

    Every time I feel like a loser, I think of the gutsy goddesses you post about, Heidi, and go away inspired.

    • Wow Damyanti that’s awesome, when you feel that way that you go away inspired. I read a post about a Nigerian women who was deaf and wanted an education. She went over so many hurdles to learn and yet eventually became a college professor. It was so inspiring. The next time I had to do something that was a bit intimidating I remembered her and overcame my fear. I just thought if this women could overcome so much, than my little challenge is doable. Thanks for visiting. I also hope you never feel like a loser again—you are so talented and bright.

    • I think we’ve all felt like losers sometimes. It’s important to remember that courage doesn’t mean you have no fear. It means you face your fear and keep going. Glad you were inspired!

  214. The women you feature here, Heidi, are such an inspiration to me (and others, I’m sure). The things they’ve overcome and the goals they’ve achieve are truly remarkable.

  215. Kim, thank you for your kind words. Already telling my story has helped others. I will continue spreading the truth; it is thanks to people like Heidi and many others that we all will make a difference.

  216. Inspirational! Thanks for sharing…

  217. Great story! I appreciated the inspiration.

  218. Winnie–What a wonderful, inspirational story! Thank you for sharing it.

  219. A really inspiring story!

  220. An extremely inspirational story of overcoming problems and even bullying.

    • Thanks Denzil! Cecilia is looking for an agent. Perhaps she will be one of your future reviews!

    • It means so much to hear you were inspired, Denzil. This journey was a challenge, writing the memoir about it even more so, and now it looks like finding a publisher is going to be yet a further challenge! But all these positive comments inspire me to refuse to give up and to continue seeking a home for my memoir.

  221. Wow – what a really inspiring story and a very brave lady!

  222. Wow!! What a great effort to overcome shyness and insecurity. Fantastic results and a lot of hard work I’d say.

  223. What an inspiring story of courage and resilience! And what a brave, brave lady!

    • Isn’t she brave? And, she has come so far! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. PS I love your name, Modern Gypsy. I was given a nickname, Ansu, which means mermaid and makes me think of traveling the sea.

    • Thank you, Modern Gypsy, and I’m so happy you enjoyed the story. And Heidi, I love your nickname Ansu as well. 🙂

  224. Brilliant!! Amazing what we can do when we put our minds to it. Very inspiring woman and a post well written!

    • Thanks Suz. Our minds, emotions, the stories we hear and repeat can hold us back—or help us to soar. It was so inspirational for me to read her story and then see the video of her flying. Welcome to our community!

    • You are so right, Suz! Each of us can do amazing things if we put our minds to it. And thank you so much for saying my post is well-written. That means a lot to me, especially as I deal with rejections of my memoir! But I will not give up! Thank you for your comment.

  225. Just amazing to read about Cecelia. Truly inspiring.

  226. Good woman! Cecelia’s story is full of inspiration, I very much like the line ‘the easiest choice can be the most deadly’, thats very true.

  227. Mary, you are a true woman of substance and your book will give strength and support to so many others who have gone through such extreme circumstances. May God always be with you. Thank you for sharing your story!

    • Deepti, thanks so much for your comment. I agree, Mary’s courage to speak her truth and share her story can support many others. When I first went to therapy twenty years ago for my trauma it was very hard to find anyone who shared their story publically. I felt so alone. I’m hopeful now that more people will speak out as Mary has done.

  228. Opening up about your story of abuse and trauma and working to inspire others in similar situations to seek out help is truly commendable. More power to Mary. Thanks for sharing her inspiring story, Heidi!

  229. Hello Sonia, and thanks so much for letting me know you like that specific line. Many times in life, we have a choice between the easy way and the hard way. For me, it has been true that choosing the more difficult option has given me an easier life afterwards. If I hadn’t faced my fears, my life would have become narrower. Today, it feels like my world is as wide as the sky, and my life is full of wonder and possibilities. Thank you very much for your comment!

  230. Thank you, Heidi, for this fantastic site featuring such fascinating and inspiring women. I’m honored to be among this group, and I’m grateful that you’ve taken the time and effort to set up this community. It’s a thrill to be here!

  231. WOW … such strength and courage. It’s so great you are performing your truth; such a powerful and inspirational way to express your strength and healing and to transfer that courage to others. I sure hope you bring “Foreign Body” to the States!

  232. Thank you so much for commenting Dennis. It’s important to have male allies and to expand the conversation. It would be amazing if she brought Foreign Body to the States. I’m glad that you watched the trailer!!

  233. Thank you for sharing this story of courage and hope. I too hope you will bring it to the states.

    • Thanks for joining the conversation Mary and for sharing your story too. For those of you who don’t know Mary her book “The Shadows in my Heart” is in the Brave Book section of this site. I too hope Imogen brings Foreign Body to the States. It would be amazing to have more people see it and also to have a Gutsy Goddess Gathering.

  234. So inspiring to see women transforming trauma into art, and into ways to reach others. This show sounds amazing!

    • Hi Kim. I love the way you put it, “transforming trauma into art,” and also Imogen’s words, ” By giving voice to our traumas we can transform them into positive aspects of our lives.” In my new book I write about “transcendence.” We need new language beyond “victim” and “survivor” because so many women have made extraordinary achievements beyond surviving. Anyway, thanks for being part of this important conversation.

  235. Imogen is so inspiring for turning her pain and trauma into hope and healing. Thanks for sharing her story, Heidi!

  236. What a unique way to present this. The trailer was short but so intriguing!

    • I loved the trail too and also the website background where it gave the stats and responsibilities. I so often hear. This has nothing to do with me, yet I wonder if we don’t all share responsibility in the solution. Anyway, thank you so much Lynda; bald you were intrigued.

  237. This is inspiring on so many levels, Heidi. Your stories give me the right energy and nudge just when I’m curling up into myself. Imogen is a towering, powerful figure I can learn so much from.

    • Thanks for being part of the conversation Damyanti! Her work is powerful and so desperately needed. So glad you are inspired. I hope you will return anytime you feel you’re curling up into yourself and/or let me know if I can help. Hugs.

  238. Wow! Just wow.
    What a way to take an awful situation and make it positive. Very powerful 😊

    • Thank you Ritu. I’m so glad you find it powerful. I also love that each play ends with a discussion led by someone respected in the field of sexual assault. As a survivor I find her work and discussions very important. I’m grateful we seem to be at a turning point where more beneficial conversations are happening and more of the violence is being exposed and prosecuted. I appreciate that you are part of the conversation!

  239. I am in two minds whether I would ever go and see it. Great to highlight a powerful play.

    • Hi Suz, Thanks for your comment. It is certainly not for everyone yet for those at the stage where open conversations on sexual assault can be healing and welcome, and for those who have loved one who are survivors, it is a powerful and thoughtful conversation starter. As a survivor of childhood assault there were many years where I would not have been able to join this conversation or see this play, yet I now feel supported by this type of work. I also hope I can be supportive of people in whatever stage they are in. I appreciate your thoughts.

  240. I’m blown away that you have managed to come out of something so dark by creating something so healing and beautiful. Best of luck with the tour of India, it sounds amazing!

  241. Imogen is a surviver and a ballsy talented woman. Having worked a short while in New Delhi I admire her courage which will needed in bucket loads. Taking this performance to people who live with the trauma of abuse and assult more than most will be tough, but as they say sombody needs to do it. The responsibility to highlight, speakout, stand up against all abuse wieghs heavily on people on the sidelines, but I know how hard it is for someone shouting from the inside; as Imogen does. Good luck, I am proud knowing there are people like her who find strength and courage on behalf of the shattered. She gives them hope.

  242. Thank you for your thoughts Ellen. I particularly appreciated your comment about how the “responsibility weighs heavy for those on the sidelines,” but how hard it is for those “shouting from the inside.” I too am proud of her courage and strength and to stand with her. She gives me hope too.

  243. Most times change is certainly not a bad thing. Enjoyable and insightful!

    • Thanks for your comment Suz! It’s great when people view change as enjoyable and/or insightful. and can learn from difficult change. I hope when change is really hard Dora’s navigation points can help those challenged by it. I particularly like her “moment by moment” point. I see that as always beneficial.

  244. Very powerful. I am a huge proponent of taking charge of the narrative of one’s story–it makes all the difference in one’s life, as evidenced here.

  245. “Inspirational” and “amazing” are two over-used descriptions but in this case, they are warranted in bold letters. The dual challenges of dealing with financial problems and keeping one’s mental health can bring down the healthiest of us. Brava to Ann for taking charge and for setting up an expedition to help others take charge!

    • So true, Susan! I heard her story on NPR to start and was blown away. After looking her up and viewing her Ted talk I was so happy that she agreed to be interviewed. In the NPR interview, she said something about seeing an ad in the paper seeking “ordinary women” to apply for Arctic expeditions. She talked about not having any experience, or equipment, having to borrow boots that didn’t fit, but she just kept at it and showed us all. I’d say she is extraordinary. Thanks for the comment.

  246. It’s very important for women to have a voice and psychological support. Rape is the worst kind of crime that can be committed because the scars haunt her for the rest of life.

    • AV, Welcome to our community. Speaking as a survivor it is very true that scars can haunt a person for their full life. I would also like to add that I’ve met many courageous survivors, men and women, including Madeleine, who wear their scars in ways that encourage many others to share their stories, transcend their fear, and rise above. We can be so much more than victims. It is so true that it is important to know you can use your voice, for others to believe you and question the perpetrator, not the survivor. I also agree that psychological support is vital. It was critical to my own healing. Thank you so much for your comment.

  247. Madeline is truly a woman of strength and resilience. She truly deserves the Strength award.

  248. Heidi,

    Thanks so much for featuring my story on your wonderful website. Also, thank you for helping to bring awareness to a hidden epidemic. I pray that awareness can be spread far and wide, and that diagnosis periods can be significantly shortened. Long periods of unnecessary suffering need to stop. Thanks again for everything!

    • Heartfelt thank Erin for your participation and courage. I truly believe by using our voices and speaking our truth we can connect in ways that will support others. We never know whom we might inspire or where it might lead. Thank you for bringing this important connection to light. And, best of luck with your blog. It already has such a positive and healing vibe!

  249. Thank you Erin for sharing your experience. There was a time when doctors appeared as god’s. The good news is that we are responsible for our own health. Doctors are like the federal government, They are there to oversee our health, not to control us.

    I am so happy you found your way back to good health, keep sharing your story.

    • I’ve been fortunate to have had physicians that were knowledgeable and willing to answer my questions. I’ve also gone with loved ones on physician visits to be their advocate. If you aren’t able to be your own advocate it helps to find someone you trust to accompany you. Like you Mary, I was happy to read that Erin found her way past numerous challenges and is returning to good health. Thanks for your comment.

    • Mary, thanks so very much for your kind words! I feel like myself again, thankfully. Yes, doctors do not know everything, so it is imperative that we continue to be advocates for ourselves and others we love (just as Heidi mentioned). Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment!

  250. I hate how much you had to take this into your own hands 🙁 I had a similar situation as I was always told as a child that my constant leg pain was just because I was growing. It took years of physiotherapy and pestering the doctors until it was revealed I had Achilles Tendonopathy, an ankle condition. Loved this post, very powerful!
    Jas xx

    • Wow, Jas! Like Erin’s blog I’ve been reading yours, and again, had no idea of your challenges. Your blog, like hers, is filled with positive thinking. It just shows that you never know what someone might be going through. Having leg pain as a child must be particularly difficult, especially when you want to run and/or play with others and you don’t know what’s wrong. I’m glad to read that you were able finally able to understand your condition. Have you been able to reduce the pain and/or heal? Thanks for sharing your story. I’m glad you found it powerful as did I and I hope you too are recovering.

      • Thanks so much for your kind and thoughtful comment, Jas. I’m so sorry that you also had years of suffering. It’s tough when pain is constant and there is no help. I’m so glad you found the answer you were looking for. Way to be an advocate for yourself. Thank you for sharing your story!

  251. Thanks Erin for sharing our experience and letting everyone know of this very rare ailment, and Heidi for featuring this post. This will indeed raise awareness and help many to know and take proper steps whenever necessary.

    • So true Anindya. When we speak our truth and tell our stories it can help others, and also perhaps connect one another, around the world, with our humanness. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Anindya. I hope this post does reach someone who is going through what I went through. I would love to find a way to shorten the symptomatic time people suffer through before they are given a diagnosis (4-years, on average, before a diagnosis is given). Thanks again for your kind words, and for taking the time to read!

  252. Lovely to hear more about you Erin, sorry to hear about having Celiac disease. I can’t get over how many people are diagnosed with this disease. A few family members also have this. So glad to hear you are managing it. Great questions Heidi!

    • Thanks so much Suz. I’ve been reading more and more about this disease. I hope your family members are coping. I can’t speak for Erin, but if there is anything I can help with please let me know. Erin did send me a link to a pdf if there is anyone out there who might benefit.

    • Hi, Suz! Thanks so much for reading, and for your kind words. Celiac is not a rare condition, well, rare because so many don’t know they have it, but not so rare because 1 in 100 people are estimated to have Celiac disease. Did it take your family members awhile to receive a diagnosis? I’ve read that it takes, on average, 4-years to reach a diagnosis. Too long. I hope you and your family members are doing well. Thanks again, Suz, for your lovely comment.

  253. Great advice! I often am frustrated when my doc downplays a concern I might have.Next time I’ll insist. Thanks for sharing this valuable life lesson.

  254. Coeliac disease is such a common problem, you are right to hope for a better way to get it diagnosed!
    Erin, you are a real inspiration!

  255. well done for staying strong and getting the tests done. I do think sometimes we know our own bodies best.

    • I agree with you on that Fiona. We may not always have all of the education or tools at our disposal for every malady, yet I believe that trusting our intuition is a crucial part of being our own advocate.

    • Absolutely, Fiona! Afterall, we are the ones who are living in our own bodies. 🙂 Advocating for ourselves is so important. Thanks so much for your comment and taking the time to read.

  256. Thanks for sharing that Erin. Having no firm diagnosis is a terrible mental angst in itself. I know that one when my mother was in and out of hospitals for tests over the best part of 8 months before her diagnosis. Not this condition, but the process of not knowing what’s causing the issues probably wasn’t too different. Lovely to hear the journey is looking brighter now and your health is improving.

    Great guest post to have Heidi!

    • Sorry to read about your mother’s challenges; I hope her diagnosis eased her path. It is so true that not knowing what is wrong makes your condition so much harder. Even the tests themselves can make you feel worse. If there are additional aspects of your mother’s journey you are willing to share please know, like Erin’s journey, it may inspire others. Either way, Gary, thank you for your comment and welcome to our community.

    • Gary, I always love hearing from you, and reading your thoughtful comments. Thank you so very much. I’m so sorry your mother suffered for so long. It’s not fun when you’re miserable and you don’t know how to make yourself feel better. Yes, I’m finally feeling like myself again, and I hope it is the same case for your mother. Thanks again!

  257. I love the message. We are responsible for our own health, and we need to advocate for ourselves.

    • Thanks Cherie and welcome to our community. I’m glad you loved the message. Me too. We can’t always control diseases but it’s true we can be responsible for preventative wellness and doing our best to move towards solutions.

    • Thank you, Cherie! And, yes, you have it correct – being our own advocate is very important. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  258. I sit here as someone who has had 2 failed colonoscopies in the last 10 days….and I keep telling them that the failed bowel prep is down to my very slow gut due to my connective tissue disorder….not that I didn’t take it properly. This is a fab post to highlight Coeliacs and gluten free diets – my tests for Coeliacs were negative but I have been gluten & lactose free for my Ehlers Danlos & GI probs for the last year and it has helped my gut. I firmly believe that we know our own bodies best, and the last few years since I have had more probs, I tend to find I know more about my condition than the different medics – I have been very lucky to have been received positively by most! It did take until I was 42 to be diagnosed formerly though!! Great article which I will def share in my chronic illness community x

    • Oh how difficult Claire. I’m sorry to hear of the challenges you are facing, not just over the years but also at this particular time. Like you, I do believe you are the one who truly knows your body and kudos to you for your strength and efforts to be healthy. It seems a huge step that you have finally been correctly diagnosed. I’m glad you found this post to be fabulous and more so that you will share it with your chronic illness community. Thanks so much and know that you are always welcome here. If you have more to share from your community that may help readers please do let us know. Best of luck Claire.

    • Oh goodness, Claire. Your first sentence had me cringing. Going through just one colonoscopy prep is difficult, but two or more in short time is torture. I think doctors need to find a more friendly way to explore the colon and large intestines. Also, I knew that you have suffered for some time as I read your blog often, but I didn’t know exactly what you suffered from. I’m so sorry it’s been such an on-going struggle for you. I do believe that you probably do know more about your disease than any doctor out there – especially when you’re the one going through the actual experience.

      Thank you so very much for reading, for your kind comment, and for sharing a bit about your story. Also, thank you for sharing this post with your chronic illness community. All is much appreciated. x

  259. Erin and I are friends in real life, and I knew she was gluten-free, but I didn’t know this story. Erin’s persistence, her clarity of thought, and commitment to doing what’s right inspires me all the time. I’ve seen Erin, through her blogs, and through her life choices, consider what the “experts” tell her and ask, “But is this right for ME?” I think that’s the question we should all be asking ourselves. We can and should listen to those who have knowledge, but we can’t stop there. Erin is a bright shining example of this. I’m SO glad you featured her today. She’s a gem.

    • Angela, welcome back. I’m so glad to hear from you again and I’m sure Erin will be too. Like Erin you are an inspiration, with your positive messages and the way you write about, and look at, life. I like your question: “Is it right for ME?” I think you both have a beautiful way of asking important questions, working to be healthy and happy, and then spreading those positive vibes and messages to others. I have a favorite saying, what you focus on expands—so thanks. I remember reading one of your posts recently with The Astonishing Kyle Jackson, where the question was: “Are you inspiring others.” If more of us can do this, more frequently…if I can do this more frequently, that’s a good thing.

      • Oh goodness, I don’t know what to say – I just adore both of you. Angela, I learn more through your thoughts – even about myself – every time I talk to you or read your amazing words. Your comment means everything to me and just made my entire day – no, weekend. I’m so lucky to have you as a friend. And, Heidi, you are so very inspiring. Like Angela, your writing and your blog empowers, educates, and inspires people to be their best. I’m so very happy I’ve had a chance to know you, and experience the good you bring to others. Thank you, Angela and Heidi, for being positive friends, mentors, and role models. And, thank you for your support – it is appreciated and coveted more than you know.

  260. totally agree we have to be our own advocates especially in health care. We don’t have enough family doctors here so lots of people without which makes it hard to get testing done and Emergency often overloaded.

    • Welcome to our community Brenda. I love your Namaste Gravatar; my husband and I used those words in our marriage vows.
      It’s hard enough when your Dr. can’t find a proper diagnosis; I can’t imagine not being able to see one, have tests, or having to wait for extended periods, yet this is true for many in the world. I too agree with the idea of being our own advocates.

    • Brenda, I’m so sorry to hear about the lack of doctors in your area. I can see where it would lead to less testing and more emergencies in your area. I hope that that changes for you in the very near future. It’s almost like you have to assert your advocacy just to see a doctor. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this post and share your comments.

  261. Celiac disease is one of those things that people simply don’t take seriously. They assume someone is jumping on a “no-gluten” bandwagon because it’s trendy, and give no consideration to the fact that the wrong foods can actually be lethal to some. I’m so glad Erin took matters into her own hands and got the diagnosis she should have gotten in the first place.

    We dealt with all kinds of self-advocacy issues when our youngest son was constantly in and out of hospitals because of complications from Trisomy 13. I remember one of our therapists really pushing us, saying, “If you are not your child’s strongest advocate, no one else will be. Don’t be afraid of the system.” It was great advice, and some that I’ve passed along to countless people.

  262. Heartfelt thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences Lynda. I have no doubt that you are your children’s strongest advocate. I too am glad that Erin finally got the diagnosis she needed and has seen incredible results after understanding what she is dealing with. Good advice for all.

  263. Linda, your comment gave me chills. I love that your therapist urged you to be a strong advocate for your son – though, I’m sure you would have figured that out on your own. Things change when we are needed by our young children – advocacy is a must. My son started having digestion issues the year before I got my diagnosis, so I sprang into action. He received his diagnosis in less than a year. It broke my heart to see him in paint, so I pushed hard. We were both diagnosed at almost the same time. Thanks so much for sharing your own story.

    Also, thank you for sharing your thoughts on gluten-free living. You are correct, ‘trendy’ foods often cause Celiac disease to be overlooked – this is dangerous. Ever little gluten protein causes damage when digested by someone with Celiac disease. I had a grandfather and uncle who died early due to Celiac disease. They had irreversible damage that ultimately cost them their lives (this is to your point of people not taking the disease seriously). Unfortunately, this is what it took for some people in my family to start getting tested. Since then, we’ve had five diagnoses.

    Linda, thank you for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts and story.

  264. I loved reading this Erin because the underlying message is so positive, which is the general aura from your blog. Finding the best from the worst is a gift to cherish x am so glad that you got your answers.

    • Orla, what a wonderful compliment – thank you so very much. Very wise words you share too: “Finding the best from the worst is a gift to cherish.” I do believe that everything happens for a reason, and some of the toughest challenges result in the greatest benefits. For me, it was being able to shorten my son’s diagnosis by years because of my experience. I’m so glad he didn’t have to suffer for long. Orla, thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment. x

      • Erin, her words are true. I hope others will enter your blog and get the same positive energy that I felt through your photos and writing. I’m glad to read that you were able to shorten you son’s diagnosis, plus to be able to support his needs. I love the photos of your kids at the farm—precious!

        • Thank you, Heidi! You are so kind, and your comment means A LOT! Plus, your words in response to Orla are so sweet. I’m so very happy that you both sense a happiness or peace when you read my writing. My mother has said this to me a couple of times, but she was the only one – until now. So, the comments from you and Orla make my heart happy – thank you.

    • Fancy, I’ve been searching for the right words to express to Erin about how I felt invited into her blog and it felt healthy to be there. I even said to my husband it was like going to my favorite health food store in Vermont where I feel uplifted in some intriguing way. Now you’ve given me the words; it had a positive aura, it spreads healing energy doesn’t it? Thank you for your post.

  265. Wow, an inspiring and motivating story for everyone 🙂

  266. Great story! Wonderful to read about such an inspiring woman. Thank you for sharing.

    • Welcome to our community Amy, and thank for the comment! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and felt inspired as did I. Cecilia has written a memoir and is looking for an agent; perhaps you’ll read her book someday in your book club.

    • Hi Amy, thanks so much for your positive comments! I’m so glad you found my story inspiring (and I’m sorry for the long delay responding). My good news is I did find an agent and a publisher, and my memoir FLYING FREE is coming out this September! I’m so excited! it’s available for preorder now, and you can see the link below in another comment, or search for it at bookstores everywhere. 🙂 Thanks! ~Cecilia

  267. For those who have read about Madeleine and the important work she does to encourage women to speak their truth and to reduce sexual assault, I’m pleased to say that she has just received No1 Magazine’s Amazing Women Award as a Woman of Strength. Her video at the bottom of this link is really worth a watch. CONGRATS Madeleine.

  268. I love your beautiful and powerful words. They speak to my heart.

    • Thanks MC. Her poems are so powerful and beautiful and I love the way she speaks her truth. Have you checked out her videos? She has such a presence. Thank you for stopping by. Knowing this touched your heart, also touches mine.

  269. I can hardly imagine the courage and strength your journey must have taken. Thank you for the inspiration! I look forward to watching your video and sharing it with my daughter.

    • I am so pleased to hear that you are sharing this with your daughter. It is so helpful for our children to have strong, positive role models. Welcome to our community and thanks for your comment.

  270. You have turned into an inspiration for others. Wonderful! May you find many other growing factors in life that are “pearls”

    • Thank you so much Deborah and Welcome to our community. First I apologize for the delayed response; I’m so focused on looking at other Gutsy Goddess posts that I forget to check my own. I love the “pearl” metaphor. After my journey, I now have a single pear necklace from French Polynesia that reminds me to use my voice. And what is your “pearl” connection and “pearl” wisdom? I hope you too find many growing factors in life! Again, thanks.

  271. Glad to come into contact with a courageous person. You are an inspiration. Your blog is inspiration to many. Cheers!!!

    • Welcome to our community Reena. I am so sorry for the delayed response; I am often focused on the other Gutsy Goddess posts and didn’t realize I had my own. Thank you so much for your kind words. My hope is that we all continue to offer inspiration and courage to others, and that you will continue to join in the conversation. If you have more thoughts or stories to share please do. I will now check my own posts more ofter. Thanks again. Heidi

  272. Very inspiring. Love this
    “Your future is your own responsibility and staying a victim is not the answer when there are other options.”

    • Welcome to our community Masha. I love that quote too. For me, it took years to move from victim to survivor, and then it was another leap to feel I could inspire or be an activist. It is a very very challenging move. Thank you so much for commenting.

  273. Wow! Just, wow! I remember reading this story as I was perusing through your site, but it still impresses me. What an incredible woman, an incredible feat, and an incredible story. I absolutely love reading about women who have overcome great obstacles just to come out stronger. Ann’s story inspires others, and yet she is constantly working with others to help them find their courage. A gift that keeps on giving. Wonderful, Heidi!

    • Erin you have such a gift with words and are such an inspiration yourself. I can envision you out there pulling a sled with Ann Daniels. You two are kindred spirits. As you already know, I too love reading about women who have overcome great obstacles; it gives me courage and helps to propel me forward. Thanks again for coming and sharing your thoughts.

  274. When I initially commented I seem to have clicked
    on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added
    I recieve 4 emails with the exact same comment.
    Perhaps there is an easy method you are able to remove me from that
    service? Many thanks!

    • So sorry this has happened Alphonso. In order to remove you I need either the name you used when you initially signed up, or the email you used. I have searched and searched trying the three emails and the name that came with this post, and am not finding you. If you let me know one of the above I will remove you. Again sorry for this challenge.

  275. Incredible. Yes, we have to be self-advocates. We know our bodies best. But I am sorry you had such a tough time.

    • Amy, welcome to our community! I’m grateful that you joined us, especially because of the inspiration you bring.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Amy! Yes, being sick was tough, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Because of my experience, I was able to get my son the same diagnosis in less than a year. I have also spoken with several family members who were symptomatic, and were able to get a diagnosis without getting too sick. Amy, thank you for reading and taking the time to comment!

  276. Way to go Dana!! You’re an awesome lady and I’m fortunate to know you!

  277. This book explains what I couldn’t get across. It can even go back as far as are nationalities
    Such as German / Irish in history they were in their own fight wheather it was over land or religion were set up & born in the fight between r own nationality being in are DNA . We’re in a fight with our own selves.

    • Hi Suzie, Thanks for the comment. I loved this book as it helped me to better understand and forgive my mother and myself. I believe what we focus on expands and if we can focus on breaking the chains of family dysfunction, understanding and voicing our own needs then we can improve lives for ourselves, our loved ones, and beyond.

  278. Hi Megha,
    Sorry I missed your comment earlier. Welcome to the site. So glad you found it inspiring as did I, and thanks for joining the conversation. I recently saw Kretz and she was as inspiring and exciting as ever. May we all have her courage!

  279. Hey Kretz,
    Great to see you in NJ. Thanks again for the inspiration. May we all have your courage and enthusiasm for life. Safe Jumping!!!

  280. Wow! You found the 51st way and turned it into a great success. What a great story! You are an amazing person, Kretz!

    • Haha Clemens, you have me singing the song with “Hop out the plane Kretz.” Welcome to the community and thanks for joining the conversation.

  281. Nathalie de Blois November 11, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    Dear Heidi,
    It was a real pleasure to meet you and to share a moment today! A genuine encounter. Feels like a gift!
    I look forward to read your book. In the meantime I will follow your blog and share with friends. I know for sure that many will be inspired by it! Just like me! Amitiés Nathalie

    • Hi Nathalie, It was my pleasure too—a serendipitous meeting. Thank you for continuing the connection by writing on this blog, and welcome to our community. If you might want to explore volunteer opportunities in Lesvos, Greece they are through the group Lighthouse Relief which you can find on Google. Housesitting opportunities are through TrustedHousitters. If you are traveling through Maine we would love to host you; perhaps you can help me with my French. Best of luck and please stay in touch.

  282. Dear Heidi
    How great to re-meet you. In our school days I remember you as a very timid, very smart girl. Now I know understand and commiserate in your silence. What an amazing, challenging journey of mind, body & spirit – to travel to your youthful, fantasy place of freedom.

    I will stay inspired by your basic premise; we are wild women and ordinary goddesses- a tribe of transcendence. We can find our best selves when we support one another to find the goddess power within.

    Best wishes of getting your book published. Power to the tribe! ~


    • Hi Kerry, Thanks so much for re-connecting. It was wild for me to go back to the reunion after all those years of running away. I enjoyed re-meeting you; thanks for your warm welcome. From what I can see on your website, I love the massage work you are doing. One of the Gutsy Goddesses on this site, Madeleline Black has spoken to me about the huge support she has had, recovering from childhood rape, through massage and bodywork. She said it worked in connection with her therapy to help her recover blocked memories and ease her recovery. So true what you write” ‘we find our best selves when we support one another to find the goddess power within.” Please stay in touch and let me know if you’re traveling to Maine.

  283. Hello Erin
    I’ve found you here in the Gutsy Goddess blog. It really is gutsy to take on the medical systems and it’s protocols and be your own advocate. When you aren’t feeling well it takes So Much! energy to do all your own research and pushing for your own best interests. You and your family can thrive with your new path to health and wellness.


    • Kerry, Knowing your own role as an advocate in health makes your words and participation in this conversation all the more powerful. I fully agree with the notion that it takes such energy, and often at a time when your energy may not be high. Thank you for joining, for your advocacy, and for your wisdom.

    • Thank you, Kerry! I appreciate your kind words. Yes, it does take a lot of energy, and can be really frustrating when no answers are found. But, everything came together in the end. Never give up!

  284. Hello Cecilia,
    I have come across your story here at Heidi’s Gutsy Goddess blog. You have an inspiring tale -your ability to make yourself do things despite fear & lack of confidence.

    I have often made choices to take an easy path because it was less scary and challenging. I will keep in mind that there is much growth in taking baby steps toward what is fearful and unknown. Thanks for that.

    • Hi Kerry,
      Thanks so much for your thoughtful response. Best of luck in your endeavors to take steps toward what is fearful and unknown. It is a good thing for many, including myself, to keep in mind.

    • Hi Kerry,
      Thanks for your post, and it’s wonderful to hear you found it inspiring. One message I’ve heard many times over the years is that taking the difficult path now will lead to a much easier life in later years, while taking the easy path now may lead to difficulties in later life. I have found that to be true: for example, I currently have a dream job that has also been very stable even during economic adversity. Good luck to you!

  285. Kretz
    Finding your inspiring story here at Heidi’s Gutsy Goddess.
    Face the fears and do something about a marriage making you sick. Big life move, big step to being your own goddess. Good for you.
    Enjoyed seeing that your daughter is your biggest fan.


    • Hi Kerry,
      Thanks for joining the conversation. Glad you found inspiration as did I. I just saw Kretz recently on a sailing trip and she was heading out again, Inspiring, jumping, and flying; she’s earned her pilot’s license!

  286. What a wonderful and inspiring story. Fear is paralyzing, but she chose to overcome and conquer not only her fears but a lifetime of negative harassment. She is truly a Gutsy Goddess!

  287. Erin, thank you for sharing your story. I became my own health advocate a year ago when doctors denied I claimed I had lyme disease. Which indeed I did and also a co infection. I am back to health and glad to hear you are too.

    • Janet, thank you for sharing your story too! Lyme’s disease can be such a debilitating thing. I’m so happy you’re feeling better! I had a coworker that had to retire early due to years of complications with Lyme’s. My family very much enjoys hiking, and I’m always very careful about tick checks, but those little buggers are really hard to find sometimes, especially when they get into hair. It’s a scary thing!

  288. Hi Janet, It’s refreshing to see your comment on the blog and even more so to hear of your struggles and to see your recovery. Not everyone is able to “get back on the horse” yet it is so inspiring when someone tries and is successful. May your health and life continue to thrive. Thanks for joining the conversation.

  289. Great comment Janet! Glad you feel her inspiration as do I.

  290. Paul Francis Descoteau February 28, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    So where in the world is Heidi ? Best Paul

    • In the state of bliss. My memoir is aging like a fine wine. Soon to head to Provence and then a writing conference. Can’t wait for sailing season. And where in the world is Paul?!

  291. Woah what a story!

    This is amazing. It also makes me want to try jumping out of a plane(!) That is not something I expected to type when i woke up this morning!!

    • Greetings Josy. So glad you dropped by. I was just checking out your blog and the photo of you in New Zealand at Bob”s Peak looks like you’re ready to go, or to jump! Anyway, great to meet you and welcome to the tribe!

  292. Christina McGrath from was kind enough to provide a Guide to Celiac Disease. Please check out her link above. Thanks for the good work you do Christina. Welcome to the tribe. We hope to hear more from you!

  293. A powerful and disturbing story – and the only way we can affect change is to promote these stories and make the world aware of this disgraceful issue…

    • Thank you John. When I spoke to Hibo and asked what was the most important thing I could do she said, help me find male advocates. I’m grateful for your presences here. It is important that we spread the words, and as you write—affect change.

  294. I write a lot about cultural difference and this is an issue, far too widespread, that has too long hidden behind the cloak of culture. It is an issue of power imbalance. And it is dispicable. Thank you for speaking out, and for sharing this important story.

    • Hi Janet, Thanks so much for joining the conversation. I totally agree that it is about a power imbalance. I applaud Hibo for bringing light to this tragic practice. I hope you will continue to be part of the conversation here and thanks for your good work!

  295. Dear Heidi, this is an amazing story, I truly never knew something like this exists! ~ But the good news is that you have overcome your pain. This is true for anything, that once we are ready to shift our focus from our own selves and go beyond, we find the light, which is always the service to other, that set us FREE.
    In much Love and Gratitude, looking forward to be in contact and share our gifts and talents with the World! ~

    • Tat, Thanks for your heartfelt words. While I had known the practice still existed I was unaware of how widespread it remains. I can still remember the sound of her voice when she told me, “It is not the trauma that defines you; it’s how you see yourself that matters.” It is so true what you wrote about shifting focus from ourselves and to go beyond. Love and gratitude right back to you.

  296. So inspirational! Thank you for sharing your story!

    • Hi Taylor, Welcome to our tribe and thanks for the comment. Glad you found it inspiring, as did I. I once had a minor office visit that I was nervous about and I thought well if Kretz can jump out of a plane I can do this interview. Anyway, nice to meet you!

  297. This is so unbelievable, inspirational and what an example for us all. Kudos to you and all the other strong and incredible women out there. We have done a lot of small plane flying but never skydiving. May have to reconsider this and try it.

  298. Thanks Esme. Kretz is quite the inspiration. I spoke to her a few months ago and she was still going strong. Please let me know if you do try!

  299. Sorry have only just seen this post. Erin, I hope you are still ok. I guess now it is just eating what you know you can and not eating gluten. But wow it should have been easier to be diagnosed. Heidi thanks for sharing Erins story.

    • Hi Marian, Thanks for finding the post and commenting. Whenever I see current posts she always looks the picture healthy. Erin—how are you?

      • Hi Marian! Thank you for your comment, and your concern. And, Heidi, I appreciate you thinking of me. As far as my health goes, I’m doing great! I feel normal (which I was afraid I may never feel again) 99% of the time, my weight is still very healthy, and I’m happy – mainly because I feel good all the time. 🙂 Marian, eating a strict gluten-free diet was the trick to healing, and yes, the U.S. has a long way to go as far as celiac diagnosis is concerned. I’ve heard that European countries are much more “on top of” screening for celiac disease. Here in the U.S., 73% of celiac cases go undiagnosed. We have a lot of work to do!

        • So great to hear from you Erin and to know your health is 99% strong! Whenever I read your blog I feel healthy just going there; I especially like the heart post and your art. Kudos again for having the courage, strength, and wisdom to become your own advocate for health.

  300. Truly inspirational. We let our fears stop us from experiencing life fully. We fa fail to pursue a dream, stay in a bad marriage while fear holds us hostage. You show that facing your fear head-on is the way to live fulfilled. Thanks!

  301. Welcome to the tribe Jane and thanks so much for your words of wisdom. I too was once stuck in an abusive relationship; it took many months of hard work and therapy to understand the fear, and leave, yet doing so improved so much in my life and for those I love. It’s so true that facing your fears head-on leads toward a life fulfilled. I how you continue to share your wisdom, and again thanks.

  302. Amazing story!

    • Coming from one who makes death-defying bungie jumps, and paraglides over the alps, Dennis, I’d say that’s quite the comment. Thanks!

      • Thanks, Dennis! I’ve sure loved reading about other gutsy goddesses on here. It’s quite an honor to be included!

      • Mary A. Havens March 22, 2019 at 3:59 pm

        I am reminded of my aunt who had a stroke and partial skull removal. It was at the time of my mother’s last dying days. Fear is something that I face daily and know that it harms me. Most important is educating myself, about me. Thank you for this wonderful story. Losing one parent is one thing, but it was losing my second parent that put life into perspective.

        • Mary, I remember reading about your mother’s death and its impact on you. I wasn’t aware that your aunt was suffering at the time. Thank you for sharing. I’m sending a virtual hug and energy. You have faced your fear with such courage.
          Tessa, Mary is a writer too. Her brave book, “The Shadows in My Heart” is a gripping memoir. I am touched to know both of you.

  303. Lynn Macfarlane March 19, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    I can’t wait to read this book! Thank you so much for the preview and recommendation!

  304. Such a great story! Thanks for sharing.

  305. Great to hear from you Lynn. Perhaps we can go to an author reading for this someday!

  306. Wow! Very amazing stuff! Unbelievable! I look forward to reading the book!

  307. Reminds me of the quote, “ Feel the Fear and do it anyway”! This book of her journey sounds absolutely fascinating!

    • So glad to hear from you Judith! Thanks for joining the conversation. The first three words sound like the start of a haiku.
      Tessa, Judith is a sister Gutsy Goddess who is also making a courageous journey. She and I write haikus to send to those we love at sea where the number of characters is limited.

  308. I’ve read that fear is a liar. Good job for recognizing that, Tessa!

    • Great to hear from you Linda. That’s a curious phrase to ponder; thanks for sharing. How did you manage fear when you fought forest fires?

      • Thanks, Linda. I love the idea that fear is a liar – I’ve never heard that before. But it sure tries to convince you of things that aren’t true. Sounds like you’ve had your own share of potentially fearful situations!

  309. Wow! Tessa’s life certainly sounds like a wild variety of experiences and doing what you need to do by just making yourself do it. It’s difficult, as flawed humans, to practice unconditional love, but so well worth the effort.

  310. Wow, Tessa. What incredible determination you have, and what a wonderful story you tell. Those who simply do what must be done appear brave to others because to them, there is no choice but to go on. Quitting or giving up is not an option. Very impressive! I’m glad Heidi featured you this week.

    • Ahh but Tessa went beyond what needed to be done to face her fears and soar to new heights. It always fascinates me to see people go beyond the ordinary. Glad you have joined the conversation and enjoyed this feature.

      • Thank you, Lynda! You’re so right – bravery appears as a choice to people who don’t understand that when you’re in it, you just do what you must.

  311. Heidi, thanks so much for your kind comment! I’m so glad my blog is a happy place for you; I couldn’t ask for anything more. My art has really taken over my blog lately, and well, my life in general. But, I’m enjoying it immensely. Hope all is well with you! Anything new going on in your life?

    • Hi Erin, Glad you’re enjoying your art. It’s beautiful. I especially like your snowy egret and wild spirits.
      New in my life? Thanks for asking. I’m so grateful to get a free couple of weeks in Provence. Long story but—oh la la. J’taime France. Plus I have an artist friend visiting in a few days and I feel so creative being with artists. I was also able to spend some time last year working with refugees in Greece with a group called Lighthouse Relief. The need is so great and I hope to be able to do more. Thanks for stopping by. I hope the art in your life continues to blossom and bring you joy!

  312. Wow, Tessa! What am incredible story you have to tell. I love that you tackled fear, and then more, at your most vulnerable time. Definitely a Gutsy Goddess. xx

    • Thank you, Erin. I appreciate the comment. It seems true that it’s sometimes our most vulnerable moments that require the most courage – perhaps because we have no other choice. I love reading about the other Gutsy Goddesses on here, too! 🙂

    • Erin, Thanks for joining the conversation. I love seeing your smiling face here. Her story really is incredible, especially when you read the details of what it’s like to be on fire or try to swallow a sword.

  313. Tessa, your book sounds electrifying! (Drum roll, cymbal crash). Rolled eyes at my poor pun. 🙂

    But, really. What a fascinating story! I love all the Gutsy Goddesses Heidi features, and I count myself lucky to be among such courageous, inspiring company!

    Congrats on your publication! So .. are you still touring?


  314. I read about her before … this is so cool!

  315. I love when that happens—when you hear about someone on the radio or read about them and then see them again in another post. Glad you enjoyed seeing her again!

  316. Very insightful about courage! Great story!

    • So great to hear from you Lisbeth! I hope you and your daughters are well.
      Tessa, you may have heard about Lizbeth, she wrote “Pieces of Me” after her 4 and 6-year-old daughters were kidnapped. Thank you both for being here.

    • Thanks, Lizbeth, and wow – I just read about “Pieces of Me” – talk about a Gutsy Goddess. I can’t wait to read more about your story.

  317. This will be a must-read! Thank you for sharing.

  318. You have such a kind heart, Heidi! I do hope our paths cross some day. I’d love to hear all about your journeys, and thank you for the well wishes! xx

  319. What a gutsy woman and an inspiring story! Really enjoyed and have shared.

  320. What an incredible story…thank you so much for sharing!!

  321. WOW. I do believe we have untapped strength that we can if we work at it and are open tap into when things are bad. I guess a resource to pull from.

    • So True Brenda, yet for me, my fear, and the stories I carried, held me back for so many years. It is amazing when we do rise above our fear and tap into strength. Thank you for joining the conversation. PS I love your Namaste favicon—today I honor your light!

  322. You both sound like amazingly strong ladies. I too cannot fly, have very limited mobility. I dream of visiting Italy. Maybe I should just go for it!

    • Oh Gemma, I so hope you do “just go for it!” Italy is wonderful. I highly recommend Tessa’s book “The Electric Woman” as you will have a deeper sense of how her mother traveled. It may inspire you. Also know my brother and his wife did a cruise from Venice to one of the Greek islands, and a friend did a river trip on the Rhone. There are certainly ways you could make it work with limited mobility. Please, please let us know if you do! Best of luck! Following my dream was the hardest and best thing I ever did next to having my son that is.

      • Hi Gemma. For my parents, limited mobility was a really hard challenge at first, something to learn and relearn all the time. They found some amazing online resources for travelers in wheelchairs, and then thought through the trip – making sure there were taxis that could accomodate the chair, etc. But everywhere, there were. And most amazingly, whenever they got into a bind – needing to go up stairs, for example, people would just show up and help carry her. I think it kind of refreshed their belief in humans. Anyway, all of this is to say that I hope you go for it, whatever it is for you. And then I hope you tell us all about it. <3

  323. So awesome! This interview really inspired me today, at a time when I’m making big scary changes towards my dreams while also going through some tough fucking shit. This really put it into perspective for me. Thank you for this, everyone behind it!

    • Hi Krysten, Kudo’s for making “big scary changes” toward following your dreams. As you may know, following my dream was the scariest thing I ever did and also the very best. It took such courage and determination. From what I’ve read of your writing I believe you are filled with both—plus a bit of moxie. I stand with you. Really glad this helped to put things in perspective. Hang in there and let us know if we can help.

    • Hi Kyrsten. Here’s to the big scary changes, and also love and grit for the hard shit. It’s so often both, isn’t it? So here’s love for both.

  324. Just wow…Amazing how much can be overcome just by sheer will power…An awesome read 🙂

    • Hi Carol,
      So glad to hear from you. Great to know that you found this an awesome read. I was blown away by Tessa’s book, starting with the initial fire-eating scene right through to her final acts; glad she agreed to offer her insight. Anyway Carol, welcome to our tribe. We hope you return!

    • Hi Carol! Thanks so much. I was totally amazed by how much will power let happen. I hope you find it, whenever you need it most. <3

  325. Tessa,
    Your story is so unique and original…and inspiring. I can’t wait to read your book. Are you still eating fire??

  326. I just love this series and this post really touched me – in fact I feel a bit feeble after reading this! I hope you don’t mind but I shared it on my PainPalsBlog regular feature Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You! Claire x

    • What an awesome note to wake up to, to read that you were really touched and are sharing the post on your blog! Thanks so much!. I hope you have moved beyond your feelings of feebleness as you have truly gone far. For me, I believe what I focus on expands, and while I’m not eating fire or swallowing swords there are a few tricks up my own sleeve that I’m working on—fingers crossed.

    • Thanks so much for writing those kind words! Very happy to have you share it anywhere you think folks might be interested. 🙂

  327. So glad a friend suggested that I read this post. (Thanks, Heidi!) This is an amazing website, and I look forward to reading more! Now I have another book on my “must read” list: The Electric Woman. Tessa’s story is inspiring, and I love her advice on facing fears. “Sometimes what we fear is exactly what we have to do.” Thanks for sharing!

    • So great to hear from you Cindy; welcome to the tribe! I had incredible support from courageous women to inspire and encourage me through my journey. When we need inspiration if we just look it can be all around us. It felt serendipitous for me to meet you and to meet Tessa— what remarkable stories you have to share. I do hope you will read more and leave some of your own advice on facing fear. Wishing you both the best of luck.

  328. Amazing story. Such courage. Sometimes I face the fear and do it anyway, but I’m certainly no daredevil. This is definitely food for thought.

  329. That was an unbelievable story – you and your Mum are both so courageous and you both went so far out of MY comfort zone that just reading this astounded me! Good on you for seizing life and shaking it to get even more out of it – I want to be that kind of woman!

    • Hi Leanne, Seizing life—I love that. From reading your blog you are well on your way, living it every day. Thanks so much for the comment and welcome to the tribe!

    • Thanks so much for writing that, Leanne. I’m really lucky to have a mom who showed me the way, even if I couldn’t see it for a long time. I hope you have your own adventures soon, as whatever wonderful kind of woman you are!

  330. My favorite quote is “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” (Aristotle). It’s a reminder that I don’t need to sit around and wait for excellence to happen. It’s not something I only hope for or dream about. It’s something I practice, something I make a habit. My choir director from middle school always comes to mind. Whenever we did something well she would say “Yes. That’s it. Now do it again. Make it a habit” Sometimes we’d sing the same three lines over and over for 30 minutes or more because she was making it a habit to sing it well.

    • Hi Sarah, What a great motto for life, making excellence a habit. It has really gotten me thinking. I’ve been feeling like I’ve already achieved my dream of sailing to Fatu Hiva and rising above violence. Yet if I apply your motto perhaps my next dreams could use the same energy, determination, and importantly courage. I’ve been wanting to stand with other women who have been hit with tragedy. Perhaps I can do more with practice, and seek excellence in this dream as well. Heartfelt thanks, Sarah.

  331. Such an amazing story!! Really gutsy woman 😊

  332. I LOVE this and your “wild” spirit. I thought I was brave when I volunteered to stand underneath a sword juggler. LOL! What you went through with your mom and stepdad must have been super traumatic, but the way you reacted is amazing.
    I’m all about facing fear and have experienced all sorts of stress in the last five years. It has made me stronger although, I still quake under stress like when my husband fell getting out of the hot tub a few weeks ago. The doctor glued his cheek back together, but I was the one in shock. Ha!

    • Hi Susie – wow! Sending healing vibes to your husband. I also still quake under stress sometimes – lots of times – but try to press on anyway. Isn’t that the secret to all this? Not that we don’t feel afraid, just that we do the thing anyway. Sounds like you’ve been doing that the last few years yourself. Here’s to it continuing!

    • I definitely “quake” under stress. I also hyperventilate. I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t volunteer to stand under a sword juggler or swallow fire … but then again I wouldn’t have volunteered to sail in sixteen-foot breaking waves. Sometimes standing up to the fear is better than the alternative, which in my case may have been going underwater a very long way from any shore. Suzie, thanks for joining the conversation. I love both your wild spirits—may they continue to lead you to bold places!

  333. I look forward to ordering and reading your book!

  334. The trick is there is no trick.
    You eat fire by eating fire.

    This quote is such a testament on how to overcome fear…it’s certainly a difficult thing…but Tessa you remind us that it is doable.

    • Judy, That’s so true. At the very start of Tessa’s book, I wanted there to be a trick. I wanted to learn the trick, to make it easier to face my own fear. Yet as I read further I wanted Tessa to succeed at managing her fear and doing it anyway. I guess it’s what I’m trying to do. For me, it became more and more inspiring. Anyway, I value your comment. Thanks for being part of the tribe.

  335. Hello Heidi, a few words come to mind: cathartic, inspiring, vulnerability, courageous, intelligent and honest. So good to hear your voice, heart and mind. Wishing you everything good…

    • Heartfelt thanks Gary. Great to hear from you. So glad that you found my blog. How are you? I often glance at the zen-inspired photo you took and feel such strong positive energy. May all your good wishes and zen energy come right back to you and your family. Please stay in touch.

  336. Thanks so much, Heidi! I’m honored that you included my new memoir, Struggling with Serendipity, as a Brave Book! I appreciate the link to my website, also. If you never give up? Hope wins. ❤

  337. Wow!!! So inspiring and encouraging!

  338. Great narrative of courage, determination and fearless positivity, thanks for sharing the story of this gutsy Goddess. We have so many similar gusty Goddesses here in India, living their lives against all adversities and fighting it out day in and day out…..all their stories are inspirational. Good that your site is sharing same stories.

    • Anindya, thank you so much for joining the conversation. It’s gratifying when stories of courage and determination make their way around the world. I would love to interview women in your country. There is a nomination form on the about page if you have a particular recommendation to share. I hope you will stop by often and share your perspective.

  339. As parents, we’d gladly take on any heartache or physical challenge so our children don’t have to. This sounds like a wonderful book!

    • Lynda, I totally agree. I also believe we feel much of their emotional pain and their heartache. I do hope your able to check out Cindy’s book and also her video is amazing.

      • Lynda, I totally agree, too! After my daughter’s spinal cord injury, I would have given anything to take away her challenges. Now, 19 years after her injury, I’m happy to say that we are grateful for where we are today. If you get a chance to read my book, Struggling with Serendipity, I would love to hear your thoughts about it. And if you never give up? Hope wins. ❤

  340. Where can I buy this book?

    • Hi E, Sorry the link is no longer active. I’ve just written to Amanda to see if she has any books left or will be reprinting. Thanks for stopping by. I’m wondering if you’ve checked out her Gutsy Goddess page with three powerful poems and/or her videos where she presents her work. I’ll let you know when she returns my email. Again, I apologize for the broken link.

    • Sorry for the delayed response. I haven’t forgotten you. I’ve been in touch with Amanda Gorman and she is creating a new page and revising her links. I’m hopeful the poetry book will soon be on her new page. In the meantime you can preorder her next book “Change Sings” using the link below. I suspect if you check back in a few days on that link you may find her out-of print book as well. I’ve also learned she will be speaking her poetry at President Elect Biden’s inauguration on January 20. I hope you will join me below in wishing her the best! All comment are welcome!

  341. Janie Harris May 9, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    I am trying to find a copy of this book for a presentation to my poetry group. I have been unable to find a copy. I would delight in purchasing one or even borrowing one and I will return it to you quickly along with a bonus book by another of the poets we have studied. Many thanks for your help.

  342. where can I purchase this book?

  343. I am also interested in this book of poems! Any updated information is appreciated!!

    • Hi Jacqueline,
      So sorry for the delayed response. I will write to her and ask. And please, if you come across a reprint or information please do let me know. Also thanks for visiting and reminding me to update this page.

    • Sorry for the delayed response Jacqueline; I haven’t forgotten you. I emailed Amanda Gorman and she is creating a new page and revising her links. I’m hopeful the poetry book will soon be on her new page. In the meantime you can preorder her next book “Change Sings” using the link below. I suspect if you check back in a few days on that link you may find her out-of print book as well. I’ve also learned she will be speaking her poetry at President Elect Biden’s inauguration on January 20. I hope you will join me below in wishing her the best! All comment are welcome!

    • Hi Jacqueline,
      She now has two forthcoming books you can preorder, including “The Hill We Climb.” You can preorder here

  344. Hi Heidi,
    No wonder why you are so brave and fearless…. I am so glad to know you and can’t wait for the book! I am proud of you being strong and inspirational!

    • Hi Mija,
      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. We’re both courageous survivors of different sorts. I’m grateful to know you and honored to call you friend. I hope you the site will bring you inspiration.

  345. I still love this blog, Heidi! Thanks again for sharing my story.

    I have news! I did end up finding a fantastic agent, and he sold my memoir to an excellent publisher last year.

    The memoir, FLYING FREE: My Victory over Fear to Become the First Latina Pilot on the US Aerobatic Team, will be released by Blackstone Publishing in September 2020 and is available for preorder now.

  346. CONGRATS CECILIA!!! I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to read it. I just did a pre-order and feel like I’m almost flying with you. Will you plan any book tour events in New England?

  347. Dr Judy Seibert April 17, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    Ms. Gorman ,
    Where might I found your book The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough and any of your other writtings

  348. Dr. Judy Seibert April 17, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    Ms. Gorman ,
    Where might I found your book The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough and any of your other writings

    • Greetings,
      Thanks for your interest Amanda Gorman’s poems. I believe the book is out of print. I will send an email to see if I can find out more.
      Heidi Love

    • Sorry for the delayed response Dr. Seibert; I haven’t forgotten you. I’ve been in touch with Amanda Gorman and she is creating a new page and revising her links. I’m hopeful the poetry book will soon be on her new page. In the meantime you can preorder her next book Change Sings using the link below. I suspect if you check back in a few days on that link you may find her out-of print book as well. I’ve also learned she will be speaking her poetry at President Elect Biden’s inauguration on January 20. I hope you will join me below in wishing her the best! All comment are welcome!

  349. Cecilia Aragon April 18, 2020 at 1:45 am

    Hi Heidi,

    Thanks so much for the update and ESPECIALLY for pre-ordering my book! I’m truly grateful and honored. I hope you enjoy reading it!

    My publisher was planning a book tour, but given the current situation, it may end up being a virtual tour. 🙁

    I’ll be posting the schedule on my blog and sending it out in my newsletter, .


    • I can’t wait to read it Cecilia! I’ll definitely meet you on the tour, virtual or otherwise. Please do update us on the schedule; I have numerous readers nearby and even a few bookstore and author-on-stage contacts if you do physically make it to New England.

  350. Hi Lynda, Thanks so much for joining us! For me it would be simply terrifying although I have thought that if somehow I was a great, or perhaps tandem hang glider that could be both terrifying and exhilarating. Would you consider that?

  351. I, too, would like to purchase a copy of Ms. Gorman’s book. Please assist. Thank you.

    • Hi Priscilla,
      Thanks for joining the conversation and for your interest in Amanda Gorman’s book. I just emailed her and she wrote that they can be purchased through her new website I went to the site and it’s still appears to be a work in progress but her latest work “Change Sings” preorder is now live. I haven’t yet found a link to her original work. In the meantime please do let me know if you have any success. Thanks so much. Heidi

    • Hi Priscilla
      She now has a second forthcoming book you can preorder, “The Hill We Climb.” You can preorder here

  352. Exciting News—Amanda Gorman will be speaking her poetry at President-Elect Biden’s inauguration! In addition she is about to launch her first children’s book “Change Sings.” I will link the preorder information above or you can go to Please join me with a hearty CONGRATS to Woman of Courage Amanda Gorman.

  353. Elaine Cekola-Menard January 20, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    The shining star of the Inauguration of President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamilla Harris.
    God bless you sweetheart.

    • She was beyond incredible. I loved her line “For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” I was tearing up when I saw her and her words will stay in my heart. And, thank you Elaine for commenting and spreading your own light.

  354. Hello and greetings from Hamburg /Germany

    Could you please send me a link of a video of Ms Gorman?
    Thanx a lot

    • Guten Tag Ingo!
      I’m so glad her words have reached you in Hamburg. Here’s a video of her poem today Also ff you click on the link above that reads “Read more about “Women of Courage Amanda Gorman” and then click on “Please check out Amanda’s amazing performance” you will see another incredible slam poem. Thanks you for joining our conversation. If you have a favorite line from her poetry I would love to share it. One of mine is, “For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

      • Hello Heidi
        Thx 4 ur reply. Yes, as the POTUS has always had also a meaning for the whole world and the fate of our planet, i also impatiently followed President Biden’s innaugaration here in Hamburg.
        … as i often contemplate about the state of this fucked up world we live in and what we r leaving 2 future generations, the line from Ms Gorman clinging on the hardest in my mind is:
        … Love becomes the legacy in change our children’s birth right.
        (i hope i quote correct)
        Unfortunately there is really no other way in coping with all these idiots and racist wannabes but Love, even tough one actually might wanna pack all these Morons including Trump and associates in a couple of Air planes and set them out in Homs or another city brutally destroyed by war, provide them with food, equipment and materials and leave them there, creating Jobs for peaceful supervision (to make sure they stay there and no sober, clean ear can hear their lies) and supply chains, so they can do whatever they want there in the ruins: building it up again or preach there sick, useless views and opinions among themselves but far away from reasonable, good people and of course the children.
        Yes, not doable and only another sick fantasy but in the end it would also be an expression of love for our children as i understand Ms Gorman’s line ….. 😊

        • Hello Ingo, Thanks for your comment. I love the line you highlighted: “… then love becomes our legacy, and change our children’s birthright.” and also Amanda Gorman’s call to us “…we step out of the shade of flame and unafraid, the new dawn balloons, as we free it. For there was always light.If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.
          From your writing I believe you are brave. For me, the way we cope is through love and also through truth. So many people have fallen prey to manufactured lies and before I condemn “them” I wonder how we collectively continue to expose this billion dollar industry of manufactured falsehoods. I was pleased to hear President Biden last night say, “There is Truth and there are lies … each of us has a duty …Defend the Truth. Defeat the lies
          I have a shirt I wear when I feel fierce or need strength. It reads, “Love Wins” I also carry a sign with it at protests. My fantasy—my dream—is that we continue to defeat the lies and live in truth and love.
          Thank you so much for your wisdom.

  355. I am so thrilled to have found this blog: Gutsy Goddesses. Otherwise, I never would have heard of Amanda Gorman prior to the inauguration, and may have consequently missed her moving piece from today. Since learning about Ms. Gorman on this blog, I’ve made a point to further read up on her as well as about other women spotlighted here. It’s helpful and inspiring to read that women who have achieved high goals also had known obstacles and self-doubt to overcome. I am going to print and hang on my bedroom wall the following quote, published on this site: “Life has broken me into a million shards

    But like ocean salt on a coastline I am still so

    Glorious in my fragmentation”

    A Sunday on the Island of Woman by Amanda Gorman.
    thank you!

    • Heartfelt thanks for leaving a comment Jennifer. I’m thrilled—you’re thrilled, and especially that you’re putting that beautiful quote on your wall, it’s so beautifully visual. One of my favorite quotes from her poem today is: “For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” I hope you will continue to read further and do know we’re really are grateful for comments. I have a quote, not as eloquent as Amanda however I will share it here: You never know who your words may inspire or where that inspiration will lead.
      I also hope you continue to shine, “glorious in your fragmentation.”

      • Mary Carravallah February 12, 2021 at 1:52 pm

        Now I know where those beautiful words come from – a warm and kind heart. Thank you for sharing with us, and thank you for sharing with those in need. ❤️

  356. Michele L Dunlap January 20, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    I too would like to purchase a copy of The One For Whom Food Is Not Enough.

  357. It’s my first time to hear about her she’s highly gifted

    • Thanks for your comment Phumzile! I love her story of rising up from a young girl with a speech impediment “.. a skinny Black girl, descended from slaves and raised by a single mother” and blossoming to this amazing woman. And I also love her line today, ““We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one … There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” If you have a chance please do watch her slam poet video linked to her “Gutsy Goddess” page.
      Welcome to our community. Always grateful for comments.

  358. WOW … Amanda … what an amazing performance (if that is the right word) at Job Biden’s inauguration this morning. I was blown away by your presence and more importantly searing insight. Fantastic! Thank you!

    • I had tears streaming down my cheeks. I loved her line “…There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
      Heartfelt thanks for your comment.

  359. What year did you say you could run for President?!?! Can’t wait to see more of you!

  360. What a remarkable young woman who deserves her place in history at this important moment in time. And this is only the beginning for her.

    • Your words, like her words, bring me hope. I too feel this is only the beginning for her. I heard her say that she may run for President in 2036, and one of my commenters on this blog said she promised Hillary Clinton she would. s. Gorman says she is an activist whose weapon in poetry. Thank you so much for joining our conversation. I hope you will continue to check in and comment.

  361. Natalie Peterson January 21, 2021 at 12:39 am

    Amanda, you are amazing! I cannot wait to purchase your books. Blessings to you as you continue to push us to think beyond ourselves. You inspire and lift each and everyone of us up.
    Great job today at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

    • Natalie, Heidi here, I cannot agree with you more—she is amazing and inspires us to think beyond ourselves. Thanks so much for leaving this heartfelt note to her. I’m sure she will read it when/if life settles down just a bit. Either way I will pass it on to her.

  362. Denise D'Amboise January 21, 2021 at 1:15 am

    I have been following this blog for several years and remember having read about Amanda Gorman through this site. I was so thrilled to see and hear today at the Inauguration! What an articulate wise young lady! She was so inspiring! I look forward to hearing more from Amanda in the future. Thanks Laughing at the Sky for introducing us to such amazing Gutsy Goddesses!

    • Thanks Denise. So glad you recognized Amanda Gorman from this blog. She was a teen when I first interviewed her. While I was blown away by her high school performance I am finding this unfolding profound. I do believe we will see more of her in the future. Thank you so much for your comment, it means a lot. I do hope you will continue to join into these conversations. I have a saying, you never know who you might inspire or where it might lead.

  363. Excellent site here, Heidi, and love your piece on Amanda Gorman. She certainly stole the show at yesterday’s Inauguration! (It was great to find out that she was selected by Dr. Jill Biden.) I love this interview of Ms. Gorman by Anderson Cooper and that she reveals that she “promised”Hillary Clinton that she would run for President in 2036! The future is bright!
    Hugs, Erik

    • Thank you so much Erik! To use a cliché, a new day is dawning. I deeply feel President Biden’s commitment to “…defend the truth, defeat the lies … to end this uncivil war” and Amanda Gorman’s inspiration “…love becomes our legacy, and change our children’s birthright.” It’s wonderful to have your comments here Erik and thanks for sharing the video. I have a motto that I suspect you would agree with …you never know who you might inspire or where it might lead. Please do continue to join our conversation.
      Hugs Back,
      PS Perhaps we will see her in 2036 – or earlier in congress. She does say she is an activist with poetry as her weapon.
      PSS If you happen to know any pilots 🙂 please tell them that Gutsy Goddess Cecilia Aragon has just put out a new book that is phenomenal.

  364. Talented indeed. How lovely that she was able to steal the show and no one had a problem with it. They were just happy for all that unites us as humans.

    You, too have a talent . . . for drawing out women’s voices.

    Keep up the great work, Heidi.

    • Wow Dana, Thank you so much for your very kind words! As one of our original Gutsy Goddess you’ve lived your life too as a “uniter.” You’ve brought me and others such inspiration. Heartfelt thanks. Your comments are always always appreciated.

  365. Anne O'Callaghan January 24, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    Hello from Ireland, I have been totally blown away listening to Amanda Gorman at Joe Biden’s inauguration. She is everything that is great about America, what a voice for the future and she proves there is always hope no matter how bad things get

    • Top o the morning Anne. Exciting for me to have my blog cross the ocean. I traveled to Ireland many years ago with my then-young son. We loved it: the green rolling hills, delicious food, and lovely people. I agree she is all that is great about us. I loved her words about being brave enough to be (light). She brings such hope and inspiration. Thank you so much for your comment. Please do check out some of our other Gutsy Goddesses. We have at least four from close to your home, who line me, would love to hear from you. Thanks

  366. Fantastic young lady and fantastic poetry! I would love to get a copy of ‘The One For Whom Food Is Not Enough’ but cannot find one anywhere. It does not seem to be on her new website either. Best wishes.

    • Hi Mathias, thanks so much for your comment.I’m glad you enjoy her poetry ad do I. Last I heard it was out of print but should be coming back on that site. If/when it’s back up I will let you know and ask only that you do the same. Take care and fingers crossed for a reprint.

  367. guess what “O” gifted her?!!!
    i wish i would have kept the article but i didn’t.:( i think if your google amanada and opra you’ll find it. everybody will savor the heartfelt article.

    • That’s so interesting Elaine! I hadn’t heard or read about that, so a special thanks for sharing. I won’t give away the secret of what Oprah gifted her here but I will say I LOVE the book and book’s author that her gift represented. It also makes me realize that that book needs to be in my brave book section along with “What I know for Sure.” Elaine, I do appreciate having you join the conversation and hope you will check out and comment on some of the other Gutsy Goddesses.

  368. Wow, Heidi, thanks for posting this. It’s so cool that you had heard of her before the Inauguration; I’m sorry I hadn’t! What an incredibly person! Her poetry speaks so authentically and with such heart and wisdom! Amazing! Thanks, Heidi, for all you do to warm the hearts and bolster the resolve of so many women of all ages!

    • Thanks so much Susan! So glad you took the effort to visit my blog and leave a comment. Amanda Gorman blew me away in 2014 when I saw a video of her as a teen in her first slam poetry contest—One For Whom Food is not Enough. Have you seen it? If not please please do. It’s linked at the top of this post “Inaugural Youth Poet …” When I learned that she would speak at the inauguration I was overjoyed and then she blew me away again. I feel such hope and inspiration from her, and that our country needs that now. I hope you’ll check out some of the other Gutsy Goddesses and Brave Books here too, and please let me know what recommendations you might have.

  369. Thank you for this focus on an amazing human. These times call for not only a powerful voice, but a poet’s clear eye, a compelling presence, and a courageous, compassionate heart. Amanda Gorman provides all of these and more.

  370. I was blown away by Amanda Gorman’s wisdom demonstrated in her poem for the inauguation and now I see she’s had incredible vision and perspective for so long! Thank you for your writing to share her writing with us.

  371. So proud of her and for her. She is absolutely the right person for this time. She is amazing!

    • I was thinking the same thing (so proud of her). I wanted to tell her but I wasn’t sure if I should. Now today with all these heartfelt comments, including yours I’m going to gather them and send them. Thanks for stopping by our blog and giving me inspiration Corrine. I do hope you’ll return and read about other women of courage. Thanks so much!

  372. Yes, they chose right!

  373. After listening to your beautiful inaugural speech I was so inspired. I’ve listened more the once. After that speech I felt like going out into the street and dance.? I can’t wait to hear more from you. ❤️

  374. I’m so impressed by this young woman’s talent. I hope she goes far and continues to have an impact on others, to bring them along. ⭐️

    • Hi Susan and welcome! I too hope she goes far. She said that she was considering a path to the presidency. I too hope we see more of her in these life changing roles and expect that we will.

  375. Thanks for your inspiration to be oneself even amidst the doubts of your gifts, while fully knowing you were given these gifts to share with the world😍

    • Thanks for your thoughtful and inspiring comment Penni. May we all rise “amidst the doubts” and share our gifts with the world. I do hope you will return and continue to join our conversation.

  376. Amazing, moving words. Your Super Bowl reading was perfection. I’m looking forward to more.

  377. Thank you for sharing your interview with Amanda here. Amanda is such an old soul in as you say the body of a Gutsy Goddess. I can definitely resonate with her words in this piece. Often times rather than living in the present, I am thinking this can’t be happening to me and am waiting for the other shoe to drop as we say. I’m not sure where this self doubt comes from in women, but I am so happy to see it expressed in beautiful verse of inspiration. I am so please you and Jill Biden have found her so we can all be inspired and benefit from this talented lady. Looking forward to seeing how she will change the world and she will.

    • Greetings Fatima and thank you so much for your thoughtful and wise words.I do think this self doubt is ingrained either in our souls or learned early in life, yet perhaps it is an opportunity to be more, to rise above. I wrote this blog and am writing a memoir because I’ve met so many people who have risen above self doubt, and the difficult stories they carry, to inspire others. I hope you can continue to rise above your own self doubt and blossom from this inspiration. I hope you will return and read about other women of courage and brave books. with love, Heidi

  378. Michelle onofrio February 11, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    Great oilier – I am so impressed and profoundly touched by Amanda’s creativity and keen insight to capture feeling through words… I look forward to her book, and seeing and hearing her work in the years to come. We need you, Amanda, to help us through these confusing and difficult times by being a voice for the feelings we don’t know how to articulate. Thank you for the hope you bring to the world.

    • Welcome Micelle and thank you for your thoughtful and insightful comment. I love the concept of “being a voice for the feelings we don’t know how to articulate.” Inspirational
      I hope you will return and continue to be part of these conversations with people of courage.

  379. Love you Amanda! Keep writing!

  380. Not only is her poetry beautiful inspiring and a treat to read her ability to change people’s lives to become a leader in self expression she is amazing! Love her! Going to get her books and read them for inspiration every day!

  381. This is absolutely beautiful. Thank you. I didn’t know Amanda’s work until pre-inauguration, but like the rest of the world, I became an instant admirer. Thank you also for this blog, which I shall follow.

    • Welcome Sandy, Heartfelt thanks for reading and following my blog. I do hope you will return and join our conversations about other people of courage and brave books. I’m so glad you found beauty in her words.

  382. This was the second post I read on your blog. This is exceptional writing and exceptional inspiration. Thank you for sharing your courage.

    • Wow Sandy, so sorry I missed this the first time around. Thank you for your inspiration and kind words. As an author it sometimes feel like I’m writing into the void. So nice to get your thoughtful response.

  383. What an incredible performer she is! The poetry alone is so creative and powerful in itself, but coupled with the emotive and action-punctuated performance, her work is a knockout. Very fun to see her growth seven years later, in her inauguration poem. She is deservedly celebrated. I hope she’s enjoying her work!

    • Welcome Lei and thanks for your comment on Laughing At The Sky. It is fun and amazing to see her growth. I am blown away not only by her words but how she presents them to the world. You’ve chosen your words well: “Emotive and action punctuated.” I hope you’ll return and continue to join our conversations.

  384. So Glad for you…for me.

  385. Your words inspire even this normally-non-poetry-lover. Looking forward to watching you continue to shine brightly!
    Pamela Joy
    Hesperus, CO

    • Welcome from CO Pamela! You name brought a smile to my face. My real last name is “Love” so it was fun to read yours.
      I too look forward to watching her continue to shine brightly.
      I hope you will return to this site and always feel welcome to join our conversation.
      with joy and love
      Heidi Love

  386. Beautifully written piece. It captures well our lovely Amanda.
    Love this line of poetry so much:
    “Life has broken me into a million shards But like ocean salt on a coastline I am still so Glorious in my fragmentation”

    • Welcome Vigla and thanks for your comment. I love that line too as you can probably tell. I put it at the top so that everyone would read it. It gives me such a powerful visual. I’m grateful you have joined our conversation and hope you will return.

  387. Thank you. This is wonderful!

  388. Amanda amazes me with her inner beauty and old soul. Thank you for sharing her with us.

  389. This is just the beginning for this amazing young woman, who literally stole the show at the Inauguration. Her words are eloquent and accessible, and she is elegant and real. I’m so looking forward to hearing more from her! Thank you for this post.

    • Thank you Karen for reading the post! I agree that she stole the show, yet standing with others like Kamala Harris and Justice Sonia Sotomayer … made them all rise above what they might have been on their own. Even seeing Amanda’s ring with a bird in the cage reminded me of Maya Angelou. And for me, I felt lifted too. I do hope you will return and share more comments about people of courage and brave books. I do believe and hope we will hear more.

  390. You are fabulous and so inspiring. Thank you!

  391. I’m so thankful for this blog years later when I have learned of Amanda Gorman and listened in awe to her beautiful voice and words.

    • Thank you so much Jessie. I am thankful for for your comment as it touches my heart. Sometimes I don’t really know who the blog might reach but I have a saying, “you never know who you might inspire or where it might lead.” Very nice to see you here; I do hope you will return.

  392. Thank you!

  393. Thank you, Thank you Amanda Gorman! You are so talented and inspiring. Listening to your inaugural speech gave me hope in our collective darkness. Listening to you speak at the Big Game validated that our country needs and values You! Thank you for reminding us to see and be the light. I can’t begin to express my gratitude for you! May you continue to be blessed and to continue being a blessing to our wounded nation!

    • Thank you Lisa for sharing your heartfelt thoughts. I loved her line in the inaugural address,
      “We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one … There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
      I hope you will return and continue to be part of this conversation spreading inspiration and courage.

  394. Ms. Gorman’s performance was phenomenal. She makes her words dance when she performs them. I described her speech to my adult daughter and it brought tears to her eyes. I hope she has remembered to watch the video, but it was probably one of the most hopeful emotional reactions she has had for a while. I have had the pleasure of knowing several writers, some published, some not, but that factor matters not to me, their words and the meaning to them, and my friendship with them is what speaks to me. I am definitely a fangirl of Ms. Gorman’s. I would love to speak to her daily and become fast friends. I am fairly terrible at quoting things without copy and pasting them, but when I watched her for me all her words were so meaningful and touching. Like she was lifting out of all our hearts and minds the best things that needed to be voiced, and she did it so beautifully it was radiant. Thank you for sharing your blog with the Pantsuit Nation x Supermajority community. I will be viewing more posts.

    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments Crystal.
      I loved how her speech bought tears to your daughter’s eyes. Her words were meaningful and touching for me too, especially the way she performs them and gives them more power and beauty and yes, lifting our hearts.
      Heartfelt thanks too for viewing more posts. I do so hope you will continue to join our conversations. As a writer myself I never know who might be reading or listening and it warms my heart when I know of one who is. Thanks.

  395. Thank you for sharing some of Amanda Gorman’s shorter poems here. They are as powerful, heartfelt, and moving as her longer inaugural piece. ✨💜

  396. The power of your poetry and voice move me to tears. I can’t wait to read your book with my granddaughter. Keep writing, keep performing, keep sending strength, love, and hope into the world.

    • That’s so great Cynthia that you will be sharing her next book with your granddaughter—it’s very special that we pass on this wisdom, strength, and hope.
      Thanks too for visiting, I hope you will return and that your time with your granddaughter is filled with love.

  397. Such an inspiration. Thank you Amanda for expressing your emotions and thoughts so well. You are giving so many young people to courage to believe in themselves and move forward.

  398. I am in awe of this young woman. She is so intelligent, powerful, eloquent, and a beautiful soul.

  399. So awesome that you got to interview her and see her brilliance back when! This is particularly sweet in light of what she has accomplished since then!

    • Heartfelt thanks ACNabil. Yes I feel very privileged to have interviewed her years ago and to watch her blossom. I have to say that I was blown away by her performance at the LA slam contest and then again at inauguration.I have no doubt she will continue to surprise and inspire.

  400. After I lost my husband to lung cancer, grief permeated my existence, and most profoundly the idea that I could love again. When you wrote,
    “And just like that I begin to believe again

    That maybe I can find someone

    Who knows how to love the love

    Back into me”

    I could picture the moment and feel the fluttering heart of love awakening in me again. Amanda, a poet can have the most profound impact when her words immediately flash a a personal message that jolts your senses.
    May you go from strength to strength, Amanda. You are simply superb!

    • Lois ~ I lost my husband of 37 years to aggressive prostate cancer just before the pandemic hit, followed by a year of near solitary confinement. Amanda’s poem and your words in response really resonated with me as well ~ both moving and poignant. Thank you!

      • Huge heartfelt hugs Rhonda. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey and also for reaching out to Lois. I hope this period of solitude lifts. I’m glad that Amanda’s poem and Lois response resonated with you.
        I wish you joy, peace, and love.
        Please know you are always welcome here.

    • I am tearing up from your comment Lois. So sorry for your loss, so grateful that you shared it, and so touched that you found inspiration in her powerful words. It is my passion to spread inspiration and love to help other rise above challenges, and it lifts me up so much when I feel it happening. I have a saying: You never know who you may inspire and where it might lead.” Thank you for your inspiration and I do hope you will return and read about other women of courage, and brave books. All my best for continuing to “believe.”

  401. AMANDA GORMAN… you are the word, the light and you offer US a path to enlightenment. I am of your grand (or GREAT) grandmother’s generation but I say to you behalf of all who feel beleaguered … CONTINUE TO SAY OUR PEACE … FOR IT IS OURS.

    • Heartfelt thanks for your comment Carolyn. I too am likely from her grandmother’s generation. At times I feel old tired, like all of the marches and activism I tried in my life may not have had much impact, and then her presence touches my heart and I feel like I rise up.
      I do hope you know you are always welcome on this blog and that you will return and continue to join our conversation.

  402. Wonderful and so inspiring!

  403. Bhavna Agnihotri February 12, 2021 at 4:47 am

    Beautiful words from a beautiful soul!

  404. Amanda has changed the world! She has shown young people that it’s cool to be a writer by bringing poetry to the forefront. She is a remarkable poet who also seems to have a gentle heart and soul. She speaks to each of us . Amanda you are the Hero of 2021. Thank you President Biden and staff for sharing this beautiful gift with each of us.💕

  405. You are one beautiful candle lighting up the world, Amanda Gorman!

  406. Dear Amanda Gorman, I first met you through President Biden and Kamala Harris’s inauguration. I knew I’d found a quality person of great value. The words and thoughts and insights and genuineness and the real person you are touched me. And the words I just read in your post touch me and fill me with strength and value!
    My challenge is, I’ve never have been old before and I don’t even know when it starts. Actually, I don’t think “old” has to ever start. But so many people try to project onto me what “old” means to them and treat me that way. Sometimes, I allow them suck my youth and vitality from me. It gets in the way of my potential as the ageless woman who is in constant growth. Your words instantaneously clear my path and clear the self-doubts I have such as, will I have enough time left to finish all the writing projects I feel passionate about and are important to me? And, will I have enough time left to immerse myself in my painting,too that I haven’t done in years that I love to do?
    I love and can relate to your description, ‘impostor syndrome’ and like how you say that “it’s too easy to start believing the insecurities the world projects onto you, belittling your potential as a woman…” and in my case as a woman who some might consider old. I tell myself, how others feel about age and time is not my problem. It’s how I feel about age and time that’s important and to not let “them” intrude upon my life.
    Also, I like what you say about, “One challenge I’m constantly dealing with is that of self-doubt or ‘impostor syndrome’…” Yes, I know how that feels, too. And you’re so right that “It’s all too easy to start believing the insecurities the world projects onto you, belittling your potential” as a woman, as a person of color, as a young individual…” (Or as an older woman.)… You might inwardly ask yourself “Do I deserve to be here?” or “Is this all just luck?”
    Thank you for sharing who you are with us!
    Thank you for sharing just what I needed on this day!!!

    • What a powerful response Kathryn! Your “words” are “ageless”; your “passion” is expanding; your age (being an “older person” offers wisdom … and you deserve more than to be here, you deserve to shine and sparkle and speard love and inspiration as your comment and Amanda’s words do. As the blog author/creator I feel such inspiration when something I’ve created with others like Amanda and other women of courage here, touches others. I believe in my heart that what we focus on expands and that only we choose what we focus on. When I was eleven I survived violent crime and was told I was ruined for life. That was my focus for years and years. Now my focus is on love. That is the answer to your question—LOVE. Thank you so much for your comment. I so hope you will return and read about other women of courage and brave books and spread your inspiration and ageless love.
      Heidi Love

  407. Amanda’s poem, “She Prays for Resurrection” truly resonated for me ~ so beautiful, sublime, and poignant. Thank you for moving and inspiring us!

  408. You are not only an inspiration to young women, but to this woman of 70 who has not yet experienced many of the things about which you so eloquently write.

  409. A beautiful spirit that shines like a lighthouse that beings us safely back to shore. Thank you for your healing words and guidance back to humanity.

  410. Linda Mendelsohn February 12, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    We are so lucky to have her in our midst. That she is working with young children to lift them up is an added bonus. Thank you for the article.