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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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|
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.
|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!
Rhonda P. Stewart-Cagnolatti