What real women look like

 

By Nancy Wylde

The ongoing debate continues over body image – especially women’s body image and what real women look like.

In February’s issue of Marie Claire magazine, Australian  Jennifer Hawkins ( Miss Universe 2004) posed naked to ‘bare all her flaws’  – (meaning no air brushing or retouching)  in the hope to show women as they really are.

Jennifer mentioned that posing naked for the cameras without any retouching or airbrushing gave her a sense of empowerment.  Courageous and bold as Miss Hawkins was, her body image still sent waves of controversy about what ‘real’ women look like.  In fact it was received as a statement of what ‘real supermodels’ look like.

In fact breakfast radio host and TV presenter Bianca Dye who had posed naked for Madison magazine in their November edition in 2009 ( curves and all) slammed the glossy fashion magazine Marie Claire for hailing Jennifer Hawkins as a ‘positive role model for body image’.

In another attack on Jennifer’s photos, former Australian Idol finalist and Young Diva Ricky Lee Coulter who is famous for being confident with her body posed for Woman’s Day to show  us  ‘how a real woman looks’.

Fact is that the average woman, the ‘real’ woman is anywhere between a 12-16.  Yet most of us ( women) who fit into this category are made to feel as if we are ‘overweight’.

So entrenched through television and magazines as well as conditioning since we were little girls that a size 10 is the ‘acceptable’ image for women that anything above a size 10 and we begin to look for fad diets to quickly lose the extra few kilos.

Such was the pressure of  ‘body image’  that a ten year old little girl whom I knew well from my teaching days began hiding her food under her bed and throwing away her school lunches as a result of her swimming coach suggesting she  losing weight to gain an extra few seconds on her time to maintain her title of champion.

Beauty pageants all over the world not only continue to seek out some of the world’s most beautiful women, but specifically women whose  ‘body image’  is  in keeping with that of a supermodel.

I for one would love to wake up in a world where a 40 year old woman, who has had 3 or 4 children, was eligible to enter such a contest, regardless of her shape or size and that the only criteria for entering the competition was that she was a woman.

If we are to have women represent ‘what real women look like’ we need to re-evaluate what the term ‘real woman’ means.

The average ‘real woman’ does not look like a supermodel.  Unless she has had cosmetic surgery she will no doubt have a little belly bulge, sagging breasts and lots of curves!

This does not make you ugly.  Glossy magazines and the media  make you feel ugly. 

How do we change this?

Support organisations and magazines that are attempting to change the ‘image of women’ and offer us a view of what ‘real women’ really do look like.

Nothing is more empowering for women than to begin to become pro-active in changing the way we are viewed.  There is no ‘perfect body image’.  That is a fact!

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Tell Me Why – Declan Galbraith

In this song young Declan Galbraith asks the question WHY.  There is a clear message here and one that young children are entitled to ask and adults have a responsibility to answer.

The message here is:

Why is there war and poverty?  And why don’t we help?  Why do we stand back, watch and do nothing?  Why are children having guns placed into their hands and sent off to a war that isn’t theirs?

Why are the children not being taken care of?  Why on earth are we ( the responsible adults) not doing about changing the world? 

Why are children being born into governments that have a self-serving agenda and are not recognising the needs of our children who are our future?

Why are governments spending trillions of dollars on arms and plotting to go to war instead of working on world peace, harmony, equality for all, banishing poverty and starvation and disease?

Why are atrocities such as human child trafficking still in existence?  Why is this allowed? 

Why are we sitting on the couch watching a silly sitcom instead of being pro-active about helping our children change our world?

I too would like to know why???

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Amazing Grace: Where Sin Abounds, Grace Superabounds – Paul Says So!

The following is a transcript of a sermon given by  my uncle Santo Calarco at his church yesterday, who has been a minister of religion since 1981.  I feel privelidged that he has given me permission  to publish his article as it is his desire to share  his knowledge  with the  hope those who read it will receive some blessing from it. 

Where sin abounds grace superabounds: Paul says so!

 In Romans 5:20 Paul makes a radical statement that has been the thorn in the side for many believers throughout the centuries.  It basically sounds like Paul is creating a license for sin.  He says, “The law was added so that trespass might increase.  But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” 

 Although Paul has made it clear that grace is no license for sin (Romans 3:8) Paul is still maintaining that man’s sin cannot outstrip the grace of God.  Paul uses two important words in this verse that makes Paul’s intent clear.  He uses the word “increased” in reference to both sin and grace: where sin “increased” graced “increased” also.

 However the difference between the “increase” is not proportionate: where sin increased grace increased all the more!  How much more is the question: a little more, a lot more?  

 The Greek word for “increased” with reference to sin is not the same Greek word in regards to grace.  When Paul refers to sin increasing he uses the Greek word pleonazo and when referring to grace he uses huperperisseuo.

 According to Strongs Concordance the former means “abound” but the latter means “to abound beyond measure, to abound exceedingly, to exceed a fixed number of measure.”   In other words Paul is telling us that as sin increases grace increases disproportionately to cover that sin.  What amazing grace. Look at the way the Amplified Bible has dealt with the original language:

20But then Law came in, [only] to expand and increase the trespass [making it more apparent and exciting opposition]. But where sin increased and abounded, grace (God’s unmerited favor) has surpassed it and increased the more and superabounded.

This is the gospel of God’s amazing grace according to Paul and admittedly it can seem to sound like license for sin.  Let me say this categorically and in no uncertain terms: unless the gospel we hear doesn’t “sound” like a license for sin then we have not heard the gospel of Paul.

 How do I know that?  In the very next verses Paul says, “shall we go on sinning that grace may increase”?  Although he is quick to qualify what he is saying Paul knows for certain that his message seems to sound like that very thing!

 As we read this verse we need to remember that Romans 5:20 is the climax of the message of the entire fifth chapter and needs to be understood within that setting.  Paul commences in verse 1 by telling us that since we are justified by faith we have peace with God. This is a summary statement of everything he just said in the book as a whole.  This verse also sets the scene for what follows in the chapter which climaxes in radical statement in verse 20.  In Romans 1-4 Paul has carefully set out to define what Justification by faith is.

 He tells us that to be justified means to be “declared righteous” not made righteous – in spite of all our failed attempts to keep God’s law. The word translated “declared righteous” in the NIV of Romans 3:20 is the exact same word as “justified” in Romans 5:1.

 To be justified by faith is not an ethical quality but a legal, relational standing one has with God through faith in the blood of Jesus. It has nothing to do with how righteous I become in regards my behaviour here on earth. To be justified means that God freely declares us righteous by faith in Jesus and then credits to our account all the good works of Jesus and credits all our sin to Jesus himself.

  See Romans 4:1-6.  It not only means “just-as-if-I-never-sinned” but it also means “just-as-if-I-had-only-ever-been-righteous”.  Although forgiveness of sins is included in justification (Rom 4:7) it goes beyond it: it also means acquittal which means we never committed any sins that need forgiveness. 

 The Revised Standard Version of Romans 5:18 translates the same root word as “acquittal” compared with “justification” in the NIV.   Forgiveness means we have committed wrongs but acquittal means we never have! 

 Because of all this Paul concludes that the believer has peace with God. Rom 5:1.  And just in case we still don’t get it, Paul continues to labour the point in chapter 5 by listing even more results that accompany this blessing. 

 Through a series of contrasts he speaks of the peace that comes through justification.  The key phrase in this chapter is “how much more” and climaxes with his radical statement in verse 20. 

 Paul tells us that we not only have peace with God as a result of justification but we also have a number of other things: continuing standing in the grace of God (v.2), hope for the future coming of Jesus (v.2) and meaning and purpose in trials (vv.3-4). 

 This hope that grows out of justification is grounded in the very love of God which has already been poured out into our hearts. Romans 5:5.   It is at this point that Paul commences his series of comparisons; his “how much more” statements. 

 He reasons that if God has already poured this love into our hearts through the experience of justification by faith (which has resulted in peace) and since God demonstrated this love to us through the death of Jesus whilst we were still lost sinners, then how much more certain can we be now in our standing with God: if he loved us and Jesus died for us when we were lost sinners then how much more now can we have peace knowing that we will escape his wrath? 

 Read verses 5-9 in one sitting carefully to notice the contrast.   He continues with the next contrast and says that if God made peace and reconciled the lost world to himself through the death of his Son then how much more should we rest peacefully secure since we will [not “may”] be saved through faith in Jesus life? Romans 5:10. 

 He goes onto say that if through Adam’s one sin we were all wrecked then how much more peacefully safe are we now in God’s grace that overflows to undo and compensate? Romans 5:15.  Then Paul finally arrives at his radical statement on the grace of God.  He says that if the introduction of the law worsened our situation by increasing sin then how much more at peace can we be, knowing that our standing with God is never jeopardized since God’s grace superabounds our sin? 

 What amazing grace! We cannot out-sin the grace of God:  this is the essence of the good news of the Gospel.  We can rest assured of the peace we have for it is grounded in the marvellous and boundless grace of God demonstrated through the doing and dying of Jesus.

————————————————————————————————————————————————Author Bio:

 Santo Calarco has been a Minister of Religion since 1981. He has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts, receiving awards for academic excellence and is currently completing his Masters Degree.

 Santo has written articles which have been published in “Ministry Magazine-International Journal for Clergy” and “South Pacific Record”. During the course of his ministry Santo has received professional training in Management by Objectives, Conflict Resolution, Group Facilitating, Communication Skills and Pastoral Counselling.

Santo has completed post-graduate professional training as a Therapist and is registered with the REBT Institute in New York and Australia. Santo is currently a Life Coach and Strategist, Lecturer, Motivational Speaker and businessman. He has spoken to crowds of up to 5000 all around the globe.

Santo’s greatest qualification he says is his life experience.

“My life was a shambles. It was riddled with anger, hostility and depression for 20 years! I tried so many forms of therapy and self-help for so long with little or no success. I had nearly given up hope until I began to study various forms of Cognitive-behavioural Psychology. This was the catalyst that began my journey and transformation. From my research I developed a specialised approach to self-empowerment. I am a strong believer in helping people help themselves and others. As a result, not only have I radically and rapidly changed, but I have also witnessed the transformation of many lives. The greatest thrill I get is when people contact me and say thanks for the massive, enduring transformation they received at my workshops.”

Through Focus For Life Seminars and Workshops you will learn how to use the simple, proven strategies of “CET” to develop long-term control, empowerment and transformation of your life.

For more information or to contact Santo please go to: www.focusforlife.com

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Empower Yourself- tiny changes mean huge results

Motivational speaker and international best-selling author of books such as Unlimited Power- The New Science of Personal Achievement and Awaken the Giant within – Tony Robbins discusses how making the tiniest changes can yield huge results.

These changes that Tony discusses, is in relation  to the way we view things, a shift in our thinking and in making this shift it literally changes our world.

Tony speaks about how incantations (not to be confused with affirmations) are so much more effective because we not only speak it but embody it with all the intensity we have.  Doing this repeatedly allows it to stick in your head. 

Tony’s philosophy is:  ” if you don’t change your physiology you won’t change anything”.

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The Power of Prayer

The terms  ” power of prayer” and the “power of thought” are so closely linked that the interpretation is identical.  Prayer actually deals with the mind or the ‘changing of the mind or thought patterns’

We often turn to prayer to calm, uplift and renew us.  Hence this means it affects our thinking.  When we change our thinking we change our world.

 Prayer releases the highest form of energy in the universe, as it links you with a God energy, which is your source”.

“When you pray, you stir into action an atomic force.  You release a potent spiritual vibration that can be released in no other way.  Through prayer you unleash a God energy within and around you that gets busy working for you and through you, producing right attitudes, reactions and results.  It is your prayers that recognize and release that God power.”  ( The Dynamic Laws of Prayer by Catherine Ponder).

As a young girl I learned about the power of prayer from a group of nuns whom I frequented every second weekend or so for many many years.  I spent long periods of time in prayer in the chapel of the convent I visited and it was there that I began to appreciate and understand that one did not approach prayer as a way of ‘pleading with God for something we desperately needed and wanted in our lives’, but as a way to make conscious contact with God.

How often have you seen movies where one came to crossroads in their lives and went down on bended knee and cried out ” God, I know I never come to you for anything but if you grant me this one little thing I promise I will never bother you again”.  That is prayer?

That is a desperate attempt nothing short of grabbing at a straw and hoping ( though secretly doubting).

Prayer should not be our ” last resort’ when all else has failed.  Through prayer we connect to the God within.  When we turn to praying as our first option on every occasion we learn to become proficient in communicating with our Source.  As we look within, quiet the mind, body and emotions, it changes our energy or vibrational frequency thus attracting to us   ideas, inspiration and solutions to problems that we would not have otherwise thought of if we had turned within.

” Through prayer, you tap the operation of higher laws of supreme mind and spirit.” ” Your imprisoned thoughts and pent-up negative emotions go free and dissolve, as a higher energy floods your being and your world.” ( The Dynamic Laws of Prayer by Catherine Ponder).

There are so many ways to approach prayer: meditation, relaxation, affirmations, through periods of silence and more.  Because we are all so unique one method of praying does not fit all.  However the end result is what we want right?

Catherine Ponder was one of the first authors to influence and help change my own thinking.  She is considered one of America’s foremost inspirational authors and is a minister of the nondenominational Unity faith – long known as ‘the pioneer of positive thinking”.  She has been described by some as the ‘Norman Vincent Peale among lady ministers”.

After reading Catherine Ponder’s book  The Dynamic Laws of Prayer , you will not longer consider prayer as a dull practise.

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Images of women

Flaunting sex appeal is a way of life in Italy.  But now there is a rebellion.  60% of the Italian TV audience is made up of women!  The Italian media is presenting vulgar images of women with silicone lips, breasts and thighs and call this beauty.

Italian women are now protesting the culture of sexism that is being promoted on Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s  three television stations ( for those who didn’t know he runs the media as well!!)

Barely clad sexy women who are known as the “veline” are a special feature of the entertainment empire that has made Berlusconi one of the world’s wealthiest men. 

Lorella Zanardo – a Milan businesswoman has dedicated a tremendous amount of time to raise awareness about how Italian television views women’s bodies.  Her documentary Il Corpo Delle Donne has received worldwide media coverage with nearly one million views.

When Lorella Zanardo takes her 25 minute video around to schools she asks girls what it is they want to be when they grow up.  For girls between the ages 16 to 17 the answer is often to be a “velina”.

In this short video Lorella asks the question to all women ” who are we?”, ” what do we want?” and ” why aren’t all Italian women in the streets protesting against the way they are being represented?”

Why indeed?

If we as women are to empower ourselves, if we want to change the way we are viewed then we have to accept taking some responsibility in making those changes.

Refuse to be part of the industry that promotes a distorted view on what women should look like.  This is not to say that we should not work towards looking  our absolute best.    But there is a vast difference between working on maintaining a healthy body both on the inside and  out and subjecting oneself to ridiculous amounts of plastic surgery to live up to an ‘image’ of beauty that has been determined by the media.

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Choices – Inspiration and Motivation

Sometimes life throws us curve balls that are unforseen and it is during these times that we can easily lose our faith, hope and passion.    Experience has served to teach us that during these especially challenging times we need to find that which inspires and motivates us.

The the words from Patrick M Power’s Everyday Wisdom  is sure to re-ignite your belief  in your dreams and aspirations.  The underlying message in this video is to believe in your potential and that basically there are only two things that create your dreams:

1.  Your choices

2. Your committment to those choices.

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Empower Yourself

Learn to empower yourself through realizing that the power to create your life is already within your grasp.  There is nothing phenomenal about this process, in fact  it’s really quite simple.

As humans we have a tendency to make things so very complicated and some of us have underlying beliefs or ideas that the key to self empowerment is ‘out there’ somewhere in the unknown and we have yet to discover it.

In the coming weeks I will begin to outline a simple process in the form of steps to help you empower yourself.

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Empower Yourself – through smarter shopping

You can’t imagine how you can empower yourself through smarter shopping?  Easy! 

It seems that every time you turn the television on to watch the news or whenever you pick up a newspaper or magazine there is a message that gets thrown in our faces about the ever-increasing prices of food.

And the way the media delivers this information to us is in such a way as to make us feel as if we are not empowered to do anything about it. 

I hardly watch the news as a rule, however this evening I was visiting with a relative who was watching the evening news and it seems that the supermarket giants ( namely Woolworths and Coles here in Australia) have the consumers right where they want them – or so it seems.

Consumers are paying ‘through the nose’ prices and as the media conveys this message is do so as to make consumers feel they have absolutely no control over this situation and are not empowered to do anything about it.

Fact is as consumers we have an opportunity here to take back our power from these giants who seemingly have us where they want us – in their supermarkets paying more for less.

I grew up in the sixties where it was quite common to go to the local grower for our produce, get the milk delivered from the milkman and the bread delivered daily to your doorstep.  We would go to the butcher for meat and the fish market for fish and in the late 70’s I used to go fishing down to the George’s River which wasn’t far from my home.

The consumer today still has many choices available to them to save money on the average grocery bills and all it takes is a little time and a little effort.

Here are some ideas that you may want to consider which will both save you money on your family grocery bills and make you feel as if it is YOU who is in charge and not a victim of the supermarket giants.

  • There are many local growers of fresh produce that take their products to the local markets.  All you need to do is find out where and when these markets are held.  Being local, their produce is remarkably fresher than the stores as it is usually picked the day before or just a couple of days prior to selling. 

These markets quite often have more than just fresh produce .  In fact you may find some that have almost everything you can get in your supermarket and most of them at bargain prices!

  • Support your local small businesses like the local butcher and bakeries. 
  • Find other clever ways to save money on food by learning to make some basic things yourself such as mayonnaise dressings, salad dressings, sauces, pickled foods and even baby foods.  These are costly items in the store and you can make them in less time than it has taken me to write this post for a fraction of the price and minus all the unnecessary sugars, salts and preservatives.
  • The latest craze at the moment in shopping without spending a cent is known as ‘swap shopping’.  People feel so empowered when they can take an item or items they no longer want or need and swap them for items they do want.  These are being conducted in all areas and is suprising successful – particularly women’s fashion.  Can you imagine how many happy husbands are out there now when their wives come home from a day of clothes swapping shopping and haven’t spent a cent?

It seems to be easier to head down to the one huge store where everything you want is under one roof  and it takes a courageous person to stand up to the supermarket giants and  decide to embark on making that extra effort to discover clever and creative ways to save money.

The money you save is yours and this gives you a sense of  empowerment and control over your money and finances.

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Goal Setting Tips

Some of the best goal setting tips are not a set of complicated instructions, do’s and dont’s, but rather realistic and basic steps that are easy to achieve.

Though we may not realise it, we set goals every day of our lives.  Most of us have a daily and weekly set of goals. And we have these to ensure we get things done and tick them off when we have achieved them or carried them out.

More than a decade ago I spoke to a female health practitioner and discussed how I didn’t feel I was getting things done.  But what was more disturbing for me was that I felt overwhelmed and had too much to do all at once.

She taught me the value in making the effort to purchase a diary that would easily fit in my handbag and organise in order of priority my daily list and weekly list.  I would break the weekly goals up throughout the week so as to not feel overwhelmed.

Each day I would draw a red line through each goal I achieved throughout the day even if the aim for that day was to make an appointment, follow-up a call or email, go to the post office to pay a bill or do the shopping.

At the end of each day I would view my list and notice just how much I did accomplish.  At the end of the week I would view the entire week’s list and be astounded at just how much I was getting done. 

Charting my progress enabled me to actually see how much I was in fact completing and gave me the confidence to set larger  and more long-term goals. 

Goal setting is helpful  with both short-term as well as  long-term focus and motivation.  Most of us have goals in our minds – we have an ‘idea’ of what we want , however in order to realise those ideas we hold in our mind we need to set clearly defined goals so that we can monitor our progress. 

However the most basics and more important steps of goal setting involve deciding what you really want to do or what to achieve, then breaking down the goals into manageable targets whilst maintaining a realistic time frame. 

Consider the following pointers to help you establish your goals:

  • It’s a good idea to set short-term goals first and then write down your long-term goals
  • Set a realistic time frame for your goals
  • Start with a daily or weekly goal as this will give you a sense of achievement and accomplishment
  • Once you have set your goal begin to think about what action you will or can take towards that goal e.g. you may want to be a beauty therapist.  Consider some of the things you may need to do to achieve this. 

You will need to consider several things if this is the case.  Getting a trainee-ship in the industry would be helpful.  Attending an accredited course and undertaking study would certainly be required.    If the course requires fees you would need an action plan of how you afford to pay for it.    You may need to consider working part-time – hence requiring you to look for employment. 

This is what is considered taking action.  In saying this ,it is amazing to notice that as you move towards your goal with a plan of action, you set your self in alignment with what you desire.  It is highly probably that opportunities to meet you goal present themselves to you without a great deal of effort on your part.  And that is because you have set yourself on a particular path and things begin to show up out of nowhere.

This is called or known as ‘raising your vibration’.  As a result of your conscious decision to move toward your goal by taking action and steps toward it, your personal ‘energy’ shifts taking it to another level – a level where ‘like attracts like’ and more of what you want starts showing up in your life.
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