History has shown that there are times when voices need to be heard and important issues addressed. The Sister Accord is a movement and a voice that must be heard! It addresses the most important issues for girls and women around the globe, bringing hope, guidance and balance to both groups. - Louis Upkins, Jr. - Best Selling Author of Treat Me Like A Customer

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The Sister Accord is a resolution that is changing how girls & women treat, support, and interact with each other.

Our goal is to have 1 Billion girls & women from every part of the globe agree to live the principles of The Sister Accord!


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The Sister Accord Foundation has 3 global life integration pillars:
  • Educating girls & women
  • Enlightening girls & women of the power of Sisterhood
  • Eradicating bullying and violence against girls & women

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Sister Stories

We want to hear from you!  Sister Stories that will encourage and uplift others, stories of overcoming difficult challenges with your sisters, stories of support and love...send them our way.  Send your stories to sonia@thesisteraccord.com.  We want to share these stories in hopes that they will make a difference in the lives of other girls & women with similar life experiences.  Remember, our goal is to have 1 billion girls & women live the promise and begin transforming their lives and relationships immediately!!

 

Operation Belinda - A Beautiful Story of Sisterhood

Here are the girls at dinner at Seldom Blues in Detroit (Belinda is seated, clockwise from left: Roz, Jaye, Shirley, Sonia)

As the first Sister Story that I am posting to this website, I pondered how I could possibly put into words a recent celebration that my sisters and I planned and executed--a project we affectionately called "Operation Belinda."  Before I get into the story, let me tell you about Belinda and how I came to meet her.  It's a real example of how God weaves his plan for us in ways that we are not aware at the time, but when all comes together, the connections and the reason for the connections become apparent.  I met Belinda through my girlfriend Roz.  Roz met Belinda through a guy she was dating who I introduced her to.  Confused yet?  Although things didn't work out between Roz and the guy, God blessed her with a wonderful friendship with Belinda that would've never happened if she hadn't dated the guy.  Belinda's longtime girlfriend Jaye (who gave her stamp of approval when she came up from Atlanta to Michigan to "check out" Roz and I) was also part of this fabulous weekend and Shirley, Belinda's neighbor and good girlfriend (who is now a special girlfriend to Roz, Jaye and I) completed the circle.  It's important for women to learn how to "share" friends.  I know this is often a problem for many women, but that's a conversation for another day.  Back to Belinda.


Belinda is a SURVIVOR!  She's a breast cancer SURVIVOR.  She is a beautiful, highly educated, giving, loving, kind, inspirational, WIFE, MOTHER, SISTER, AUNT, DAUGHTER-in-LAW, SISTER-in-LAW, etc.  Roz said it best to Belinda "Thank you for loving us enough to take care of yourself."  As Belinda was going through her test, she kept us encouraged by her faith and her high spirits.  She knew that God was giving her the "test" so that she could have the "testimony."  She knew that she would bless others with her story.  Belinda is now cancer-free, fine and fabulous!!  Belinda is a Family Nurse Practitioner, and she recently completed her Masters in Health Administration.  She has a wonderful husband, Sissay and is the mother of two wonderful children, Amanuel and Selam.


story8Let me get to Operation Belinda--a slumber party celebrating her 50th birthday, that was rooted in love, support, and sisterhood.  Jaye and I snuck into town (I live in Ohio, Jaye lives in Atlanta).  It's funny when you're sneaking around, you're so paranoid.  Believe me, I don't know how people live secret lives.  I was scared I was going to see her, I was scared she was going to come by my parents' house unnannounced.  And of course, none of that happened.  So we finally get to the BIG DAY after so many days of sleeplessness due to our excitement for pulling off our plan flawlessly.  Operation Belinda had 12 themes.  We gave Belinda "The Year of Wishes Candles" with the words:  Wealth -twice, Love, Health, Comfort, Balance, Peace, Fun, Luck, Success, Joy, and Adventure.   In each gift bag, along with each candle, were items that had special meaning for each word.  When she burns the candles, she will find a charm at the center and after all are burned, Roz will create one of her special bracelet designs with all of the charms.


So, we decide that we're going to pull the ol' Publishers Clearing House style of surprise and bring her balloons and her first gift (FUN).  We should've taped this because it was pure comedy.  She thought she was going shoe shopping with Roz and because we were late getting to her house, she decided that she would go out and run some errands.  So, we knock on the door, the next door neighbor comes out and asks us what's going on, and we finally realize that she's not home.  We then get back in the car with the balloons to try it again.  As we're waiting for her to get to the house, we decide that Roz needs to get her upstairs so that we can sneak in the house.   I tell Roz "Tell her you started your period."  I then look at her with a very serious look on my face and said "Do you even still have a period?"  The car erupted into laughter.  Of course, Roz didn't quite think it was so funny and she looked at me and said 'As a matter of fact, I don't."  We all laughed again.  She was so outdone that I asked her that!  Only a sister could do this right?


Well, as we're waiting for Belinda to come home, we decide to park down the street away from the sub entrance that she would come through.  Well, wouldn't you know, she took a different route and passed right by us, balloons and all.  She then slows down in front of her house because she's expecting to see Roz's car (she still thinks that she's going shoe shopping).  There's no car in the driveway because Roz is in my car.  She calls Roz to ask her where she is.  Roz tells her she is just down the street.  After she gets in the house, we run to the side of the house and as the Mission Impossible theme song is playing in all of our heads, we roll onto the porch so that she can't see us from her living room window.  Roz gets inside, asks her about the pad, tells her she started her period and Belinda has gone into "Nurse Practitioner" mode and is quite concerned that Roz is bleeding.  Instead of going upstairs, she says "Oh I have a pad in my car" and begins to head outside.  Oh, I forgot, Roz told her that her car ran out of gas and that's why it wasn't in the driveway.  Belinda is getting a bit perturbed with all that's going on and then she hears the doorbell as she's going outside.  I see her in the window of the house as we're huddled on the front porch and I say "I don't believe it, she's coming out of the garage."  She has this stunned look on her face and says "What is going on here?"  She continues to ask the same question over and over and it's clear she is having an out of body experience as most people do when they're completely caught off-guard.  I can tell that she is finally recognizing that she is seeing Jaye and I and she is completely surprised.  It's at this moment that we crown her our queen for the day (you will see the tiara in the pictures) and give her a copy of "The Sister Accord", a card explaining to her about the journey that she is about to experience, and her "Fun" bag that highlights the fact that she is being taken to dinner later in the evening.  She still has no idea that she is going to be whisked away for an overnight experience that she will never forget as long as she lives.  Of course, the tears are flowing mightily and we are all excited about finally bringing the plan to life that has been in the making for many months.


When we get to the hotel, Roz presents us with matching rings (she is the jewelry maker extraordinaire) that are simply beautiful and before we go to sleep that night (after dinner) we sang the theme song to The Golden Girls "Thank you for being a friend."  It was hilarious!!
The moral of this story is to take time to let the people in your life know how special they are to you.  Take the time to live, take the time to love and take the time to have FUN!!  I hope this Sister Story inspires others to live as we do.  Remember to love your sisters!

Sonia

 
The Sister Accord….My Story by Rhonda P. Stewart-Cagnolatti
Some women grow up with a sense of achievement/confirmation by remembering the words from a supportive parent who said, “You can be and will be anything you set your mind to dear”….

Others grow up with self-doubt, low self-esteem and a fear of proving their doubtful parent right, you know, the parent who said,” you are just like your daddy and he wasn’t  @$^% either!”

Unfortunately, I grew up in the home of the latter. Where the women in my family criticized, signified and condemned other women. There was constant back biting complaining, self pity and under-achieving but there was a little bright light of  love, admiration, courage and even hope from a little girl 3 years younger than I. My cousin Stephanie…Even as a little girl she was my rock!

Stephanie used to say (usually after a horrible reprimand of degrading statements from a verbally and physically abusive mother) I believe in you Tiny! She said it with such love and admiration. She was 3 years younger and she thought I was so cool. I always dared to be different, High School Who’s Who, National Honor Society, I thought I was so cool that I applied to Yale University! I didn’t get accepted but I tried.  As I tried to reach higher heights, Stephanie stayed in the shadows pumping me up, encouraging me to go to college and live my dreams.

Twenty-Five years later, Stephanie R. Stewart-Henriques is still my #1 supporter. She and I speak almost every day. She lovingly takes me off the ledge of self doubt, self pity and aggravation by giving positive feedback, prayers or a kind word. She even makes light of things by bringing up funny sayings or quotes that we used as kids over 30 years ago! I don’t know how she remembers all of those quirky, silly, sayings we had back then but she does and she keeps me in stitches laughing about the good ole days…

Stephanie or “NaNa” reminds me that I am a child of the Most High God! She keeps me rooted and encouraged by not forgetting that my steps are ordered by God. I would not be here today if it wasn’t for my cousin, my friend, my sister in Christ, Nana... I thank God for her sisterly acts of love and kindness. She IS the walking, living and breathing Sister Accord!

God Bless….
Rhonda P. Stewart-Cagnolatti
10-30-09
 
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