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Posts published in September 2018

Loving her story and the pursuit of being brave: Meet Maria – 3 of 52 Phenomenal Women

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we will ever do.” 

– Brene Brown

©Amy Boyle Photography

When more is more; how saying “YES” makes your life richer: Meet Meaghan – 2 of 52 Phenomenal Women

©Amy Boyle Photography 2018
©Amy Boyle Photography 2018

Meet Meaghan:

One year, for my birthday, I experimented with saying “yes” to everything. It started as one of those wishes you make only to yourself as you blow out the candles. Commit to having a little more fun, doing a little more good, loving a little more. I found that I had a lot more “yes” in me when the next birthday rolled around, so I kept going. Truth be told, I was filling my buckets long before then, pouring myself into family, philanthropy, friends, work, working out, going out, and just…going. I live a very full life. More is more. More living, more loving, more giving.

I might not be able to say “why” if you ask, but I might say “why not?” I’ll have a story to tell you when I say “Yes!” to your invitation and we chat over cocktails. The next morning, my kids will give me more giggles when they say “Yes!” to sharing the dad joke you told me. Those happy kids will cheer me on in a regatta with my alumni crew team (row a half marathon on the Chicago River with the #NDames? Yes!) while my Superdad of a husband rewards their team spirit with a “Yes!” to ice cream. More sprinkles? Yes!

On the subject of sprinkles, yes, I apply the “more is more” philosophy there, too. Extra icing on the birthday cake my neighbor’s sweet boy asked me to bake for him. Extra mini M&Ms tumbling down the mountains of whipped cream on the Saturday pancakes.

I wish I had even more time to bake, to read, and to garden, but until that time magically squeezes itself into my days, I’ll enjoy every moment of my busy life, full of recipes to try, books to read, and seeds to plant.

I love this life of “Yes!” Is there even time for more baking, more making, more….”Yes!”…? You know the answer is “Yes!”

©Amy Boyle Photography 2018

If you could do anything now, what would you do? Why?

I’d be a pastry chef. Taking time to craft something beautiful that brings others joy, encouraging people to stop and savor the moment…my life could use more of that. Couldn’t yours?  – Meaghan

©Amy Boyle Photography 2018
©Amy Boyle Photography 2018

It’s always open enrollment in the school of life: Meet Earlene – 1 of 52 Phenomenal Women

Meet Earlene:  “Be still and believe God, it’s not going to come on your time.”

©Amy Boyle Photography 2018
©Amy Boyle Photography 2018

When Earlene lost her job of 12.5 years as a bank manager she was 50 years old, she was at a loss for what to do next as the options offered by her former employer diminished the time she had served her company. After going on over forty interviews with no job offers in hand, Earlene was eventually referred to Dress for Success. She didn’t have a resume or know who to be competitive in an interview situation. This organization has served as Earlene’s “second family”,  a welcoming place where the door is always open to her no matter what. “The ladies at Dress for Success gave me my confidence back,” Earlene said. “It’s not only about the clothes, it’s an organization that believes in you.”

No stranger to challenges in life, Earlene found herself as a first time mother at fifteen years old. With the help and encouragement of her mother she was able to get her high school diploma.The road to success is paved with hard work and dedication and after raising her two daughters, Earlene went back to school to earn her bachelor degree in Business Administration after age fifty. When people asked why she’d go back to school at that age, she said it was now, “my time.” “I raised my daughters and it is now my turn.” Earlene not only graduated from Argosy University in Chicago, but was surprised and delighted to hear she graduated with honors as she crossed the podium.

Currently Earlene is a retired and grandmother of two.  She now volunteers weekly at Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. Sharing her story gives Earlene great joy as well as assisting others. Director of Dress for Success Worldwide Central, Wendy Wilkins, says that Earlene is a true giver. She is always there to help! With the encouragement of her second family at Dress for Success as well as her writing mentor, Earlene has written her first book. Earlene’s Journey is now ready to be published.

©Amy Boyle Photography 2018
Earlene and Director Wendy Wilkins ©Amy Boyle Photography 2018

Deeply rooted in her faith, Earlene is inspired and encouraged every morning when she recites Psalms 23 and  27. They have provided comfort and strength for her during even the hardest times.

©Amy Boyle Photography 2018
©Amy Boyle Photography 2018

Earlene’s attitude about being a continuing student of life is contagious. Her love for her family and community runs deep. All who know her are truly blessed!