Monday, 31 March 2014

Top Ten Reasons Why I Chose To Be A Vegetarian

Karen Jeanette - Guest Author
I am a firm believer that everyone should live their life according to their own values and personal beliefs. Consequently, this is simply an abridged version of my personal journey to doing the same ~ becoming  “the V word” - a vegetarian.

From my early childhood, I have always felt an innate connection with all types of animals (dogs, cats, birds, pigs, cows, lambs, goats, etc).  I sincerely loved and truly believed that I understood them all!

I was blessed to be born into a home with a kind and loving miniature schnauzer. Growing up as an only child, that dog was my best friend. I truly adored him (and occasionally barked at him ~ don't judge).

My wider family, however, had a 180 degree different perspective than me regarding animals. For example, my Hispanic grandfather and his sons took pleasure in shooting birds off power lines with their BB guns and thought nothing of dog fights. They also enjoyed going crabbing or fishing and having a big cook up of their catch.  

Flower Child with Best Friend Baron
Then there is the Native American side of my family. They, at one point in time, acquired most if not all of their meat either via hunting or farming. At least that is what they told me and for emphasis, did so quite often.   

You can, therefore, understand why my love for animals and desire NOT to eat or harm them in any way did not go over well with my family. Consequently, due to their taunting I was inconsistent with meeting my goal of sticking to strictly vegetarian recipes. My only compromise was to consume as little meat as possible at our dining table.  

After graduating college, I opted to work for a well-known animal shelter in Philadelphia, PA.  As one might suspect, this is my favorite job to date.  While working there, I discovered a treasure trove of information that supported my vegetarian beliefs.

Information regarding the large amount of antibiotics and pesticides used in animal feed, the deplorable factory farm conditions where most of our store bought meat is processed, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nicknamed Mad Cows Disease) and the negative environmental impact of raising animals for slaughter all of which strongly supported my desire not to eat meat, not even minimally.

It would later become crystal clear to me that, if I was to be true to myself and my own values, I had to stop eating meat for good.  This was a most difficult decision and one that convinced my family, my Dear Husband and my new in-laws that I am actually from planet Jupiter (or Mars, or Saturn, but surely not from Earth)! The sundresses, sandals and bonnets were just the tip of the iceberg of my true hippie roots.  "Now she is not eating meat?!"

Despite their views about me and my lifestyle choices, this has been the longest that I have not eaten meat (as well as most dairy products) and, excluding my chronic daily migraines, I feel so much better.  My chronic daily migraines were with me long before I became a vegetarian and is a topic for another article.

My Top Ten Reasons?
Meatless Taco
Photo Courtesy of:
Although I am quite certain a scientist or a meat advocate could negate each and every one of my reasons, I wanted to share with you my “Top Ten Reasons Why I chose to be a Vegetarian:"
  1. Deplorable factory farm conditions
  2. Less likely to encounter Mad Cow disease, salmonella and E.coli
  3. My compassion for animals and advocacy for them so I cannot eat them
  4. I feel more calm and more spiritually aligned as a vegetarian 
  5.  Consumption of fibre, fruits and veggies has increased 
  6. I feel my body is designed for a vegetarian diet
  7. Doing my part to help to reduce the vast amount of soy and grains consumed by cows
  8. I am contributing to trees being saved from being cleared for cattle ranching or growing crops for cattle feed
  9. I am helping to save our water supply as it takes more water to produce beef than it does to produce wheat
  10. Finally - I feel better about ME!! 
Photo Courtesy of:

I have a great deal of respect for everyone’s personal values and beliefs. So please know that whether you choose to eat meat or become a "Perpetual Flower Child" like me and give it up, completely or partially, is up to you. This for me is more about sharing - not preaching - and underscoring the individual choices that we all must make on any subject.  

Being vegetarian was a principled decision for me - to respect my personal values. What choices have you made on that basis, one that probably evoked ridicule from others? Do share with us by leaving a comment here or on our Facebook page. You may also follow us on Twitter. Continue to have a great day and an awesome week ahead.


Karen Jeanette is a member of the DOS Facebook Group and lives in Arizona, USA with her Dear Husband and son . She is one of our three Guest Authors.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Can Boys Be Coerced Into Sex? - Daughters of Sheba Weekly 10th Edition
This is the 10th edition of our Weekly and as always our stories are carefully selected to meet the interest of women all over! Our featured story and in fact our headline stories this week focus on sex and sexuality.

The main story asks the question: “Can Boys Be ‘Coerced’ Into Sex?” and points to the results of a new study, “which reveal that they are being coerced into sex by girls and young women, will surprise many.

Continuing in this vein, we also highlight stories and reports on porn and empowerment, the future of sex and travel, health and leisure activities for women. Read it here

Friday, 28 March 2014

How My Husband Tamed Me With Gentleness

My first husband loved the feel of his hands. He especially loved how they felt on me.

The last beating I received from him landed me in an emergency room in a foreign land. It was the last time a man or anyone for that matter would lay a hand on me.

He was a very tall man, my first husband.  Big in stature and in personality. Intelligent and charismatic but in relation to his partners, he did not understand that gentleness is strength. His perception was that a woman like me was best "controlled" with the fist. Little did he know that his mouth would and had done a better job of taming me, at least temporarily. 

No, I am not talking about oral sex. That can be the topic of another post. Lol.

This man was eloquent when he wanted to impress someone. When we were courting, where we lived did not have the amenities of Western societies. As such, coffee shops, fine dining establishments, movie theaters and the places that courtship might occur in other countries were either too expensive for our budgets, needed reservations well in advance or we would be too "strange-looking" in them.

We talked a lot. Our political views were very similar and so that formed the basis of many of our conversations. However, it was another use of his mouth that moved me and showed me a level of gentleness in him that was never before displayed.

Soon after our daughter was born, I was having major difficulties with breastfeeding her.  Obviously I was not following the instructions as it could not have been that my nipples were just too small or big or something why this child refused to feed!

After a few weeks of trying and failing, my nipples and in fact my entire breasts were inflamed. The darn pump that a friend loaned me was barely able to suction a tablespoon. Using it made me cry for mercy and asked to be punished in some other way.

I soon gave up on the idea of breastfeeding or using the pump but my breasts kept swelling. 

One night, they got so huge, the skin stretched to bursting point, shiny and fire hot. I swore they were either going to erupt or I would take a knife and cut them off! The screaming baby was beside me on the bed, possibly hungry but I was in too much pain physically and emotionally to do more than put a bottle of formula in her mouth.

"What's wrong?" He said to me, coming into our little studio apartment and finding me curled into a tight ball on the bed with a pillow over my face to muffle my screams. "My breasts are worse and I think I'm going to die!" Or something to that effect was all I could muster.

This man, who a few weeks before had slapped me senseless, went and got warm water and something else - what I am not sure. He knelt at the side of the bed, removed my blouse, spread a towel on me and washed then massaged my watermelon-sized breasts.

Weeping cannot begin to describe my reaction to this demonstration of tenderness. Hysterically happy, thankful and totally blown away would aptly describe my responses when I felt his mouth against my breast.

It lasted maybe 10 minutes but they were some of the sweetest minutes of my life.

The lion, my husband, the wife beater of a man, sucked enough milk from my breast to ease the debilitating pain and the agony that I was undergoing. Never mind that that was the last moment of gentleness I would experience at his hand - one that was pure, unmotivated by sex.

In life we get moments and from those moments our memories come. In later years, after the bitterness of our divorce had subsided, memories of those 10 minutes would always leave me subdued and glowing. That was exactly what he always wanted but never did understand that the definition of gentleness would have taught him how to go about it and what to expect:
"1. Considerate or kindly in disposition; amiable and tender.
2. Not harsh or severe; mild and soft: a gentle scolding; a gentle tapping at the window.
3. Easily managed or handled; docile: a gentle horse." Source:

Has someone ever touched you with their gentleness? Share your story with us here or on our Facebook page. You may also follow us on Twitter. Be sure to subscribe to our blog and be notified as new entries are posted.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

When Is Not The Perfect Time To Murder Your Boss?

Janice Chang - Guest Author

New research studies show that stress at work can kill you! Literally or could lead you to kill someone!!!
The stress may be due to the demands of the job itself but, often the stress resides in a troubled relationship with your boss.  

In my case, it was evident in a strong negative, almost physical repulsion I had to my new boss.  In his presence (and even at the thought of him), I had a visceral reaction that signaled an emotional ‘dis-stress', evident in my unusual excessive use of expletives and feeling physically troubled and frustrated. 

Sometimes, I was brought to the point of tears (but NEVER in front of him).  I was taking many “mental health” days, as I just could not bear to face the job and him, strongly fearing I may “lose it” and commit homicide.

I have always felt that the work I do was more than just a job.  It is a vocation – defined as “a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation” or “a divine call to God's service or to the Christian/spiritual life." So this stress-riddled situation was particularly unsettling for me and needed exploration (on a spiritual level) and a workable life solution (preferably, not including homicide). 

My concern was really what could account for such a strong negative reaction?  Did I need stress management intervention?

My spirit just was not “taking to” him! So what could I do?  I had always prayed for God to be very clear and precise in His communications with me, as “I do not take hints” and certainly do not read “between the lines” very well.  Black-and-white communications for me!!  One of the answers to my soul-searching was that I had become complacent… I had lost my “zeal for good works” and have forgotten my own dreams!  I had ‘settled’ into the so-called “American Dream," where one works to support consumption.

“The labor of the American worker has provided all of us with the standard of living we enjoy today. It enables us to buy all the things which are considered necessary to live a happy, fulfilling life.  …if we want society to continue, we must all be prepared to make certain sacrifices and a job is one of them.  Work may be unpleasant, then, but it is absolutely essential. If people wanted to get rid of it, they would have to change everything and create a completely different kind of world.”- I Believe in Work Campaign of San Fransisco; Crowley, Dauer & Alioto
My Inner Spirit was telling me that my boss and I were not on the same spiritual path, so we should not be striving after the same things.  Materialism was not my destiny.  This reassessment and realization called for immediate review and action.  What were the forgotten dreams, the sidelined desires of my heart?  

In a previous life, I had let go of so many of my desires and had virtually painted myself into the proverbial corner.  This was not a path I was willing to walk down again.  I was not going to be the old woman always talking about what I could have been, what I could have done or what I always wanted to have accomplished but did not!  I was willing to “change everything and create a completely different kind of worldfor me.
In that moment of decision, I escaped a life sentence. Instead of murdering my boss, I am working to realize some of my dreams in a tropical setting, although not in my first choice of paradise - Samoa!
Are you dealing with work related stress? Have you taken any steps to eliminate stress from your life? Do you like orange? 

If you have answered yes, no and no, then it is time to talk with a professional and/or a spiritual resource person for help in reducing stress in your life. We are happy to support you as best as we can so contact us by email, leave a comment here or on our Facebook page. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Do something today as orange really is not the new black.
Source: Katherine Crowley & Kathi Elster

Janice Chang is a medical doctor and lives in Michigan with her husband. 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

What Is It: Cheap Politics, Power Tripping or Real Empowerment?

Today's post is an audio blog. Listen here.


I grew up at a time when political activism, tension and awareness was at its highest in Jamaica.

My mother was an activist of the meanest order. She and a group of women in my and the surrounding communities were what you call stalwarts of their political party.

It was nigh impossible for me not to have been affected by the fervour for democracy, equality, justice for all and more so for us as citizens of the so-called Third World.

I was attending political rallies, helping with "canvassing" in our constituency, assisting behind the scenes at polling stations from the tender age of 10.

Little wonder that by my18th birthday, not only was I a member of the youth arm of the party but was co-chair of an important mobilization committee. Later years would find me working in the communications machinery during elections, as well as contracted as the campaign publicity officer on several candidates' campaigns including senior ones currently in the government of Jamaica.

By the time my family and I migrated to Canada, the politics-fatigue was beginning to set in. Why? My motivation in anything that engages me is to help others, to bring about and/or support meaningful change in people's lives.

While much had changed in Jamaica between the advent of the Right Honorable Michael Manley and our migration in early 2000's, fundamentally the mentality of the majority of my beloved Jamaica had not.

Dependency was and remains the singular most debilitating and disturbing, to me, characteristic of too many Jamaicans. The notion that politicians are demi-gods perpetuated through a culture of hand-outs and creation of sycophants, have kept my country people looked in a dance that has long lost its appeal.

Over a decade in Canada has done little to revive my confidence that people who have entered politics will recall that they are there to serve the country and not their personal agenda and power trip.

The arrival or should I say coming of Barack Obama to international fame and presidency of his nation admittedly excited me. No, not because he's an African-American but because of his message if hope and change.

I switched off my television and stopped reading newspapers two years now when the hope was hijacked and the change crashed. It was so funny the other evening when my friend almost fainted when I remarked, "Oh, John Kerry is Secretary of State?"

My politics now, my passion is Love. I really liked that quote by Grace Paley where she says:" ... people will sometimes say, "Why don't you write more politics?" And I have to explain to them that writing the lives of women is politics."

The lives of women, my life is my politics. Creating and supporting a community of sisters who uplifts, empower each other on the principles of unconditional love, inclusivity and non-judgment is my way of doing politics.

Is my way the best or only way? I don't know and it probably is not. It however is my way, my way of being a center and channel of peace and love.

That, I believe is the best and only way for us as humanity to truly be at peace, to respect our differences and to resurrect hope and maybe, just maybe bring about change in a world hungry for it.