2014 IN REVIEW: Three Legs of Our SHELOVES Chair

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2014

It’s that time of year when I reflect on our 365 days together.

So many good things happened this year. As I write this, I get to sit in the sacred space that many of you SheLovelys gifted to me at Christmas last year. The room took shape throughout this year: A new laminate floor, a beautiful rug, a large desk, a small blue tufted leather couch, a fluffy coral juju hat, soft throws. I sit in this space and I am in the presence of Love. The room is lined with Love and it’s not hard for gratitude to flow and flow and flow. I can’t sit down here without saying a, Thank You, God. Thank You for our Sisterhood. Thank you. Thank you.

IDELETTE

Personally, there’s much to be thankful for this year:

  • Our family built and opened a restaurant in May and it’s bustling.
  • We celebrated my parents 50th wedding anniversary in Provence, meeting each other in this heavenly place halfway around the world.
  • We hosted the lovely Gabby from Korea for five months.

Here on SheLoves, many good things happened:

In January, Leigh Kramer started our Red Couch Bookclub. And she’s doing a mighty fine job.

M_RedCouch2

We also launched our Stop the Silence Initiative, under the wise leadership of Amy Rasmussen Buckley. Month after month, women (and men) wrote out their stories of abuse, breaking through silence and isolation. It’s been an honor to be part of this.

Our team has grown:

We welcomed three new editors to SheLoves this year: Michaela Evanow, Bethany Suckrow and Claire Colvin. All three amazing women I am so proud to know and learn from.

Megan Gahan became our Submissions Editor, managing all the submissions and moving our team to a place of organization and strength. (Even after she’d just given birth!)

Sarah Joslyn made us look beautiful, creating ALL the daily images and graphics. (The girl deserves a halo.)

We expanded our Social Media Team to include Nicole Joshua and Siki Dlanga. These two women share the first Facebook post from South Africa every day. (How cool is that?) Both are powerhouses, but they are willing to serve our community in this humble way. We are so grateful. Daniela Schwartz still faithfully takes care of the other two Facebook shares, while Rebecca Graham has managed to lead the charge on Twitter right through chemo and several health challenges this year. That girl is a tiger.

We started a behind-the-scenes SheLoves prayer group, under the leadership of Anne-Marie Heckt. These faithful women hold us up every week.

In April, we sent Sarah Joslyn to the Festival of Faith and Writing where she gathered a few SheLovelys together. One of our favourite quotes came from that meeting, thanks to the beloved Abby Norman. She said, “SheLoves is the safest place on the Internet.” We work so hard to foster that—holding trust and Sisterhood high as some of our core values. To hear it echoed back to us was a GIFT.

Festival

This summer, we welcomed FOUR new babies to our community: Kaya, Kellan, Theodore and Ezra. Editorial meetings haven’t been the same since. (In the best way!)

babies copy

Sarah Joslyn started building her Tiny House. Watching this woman work on her house has been an extraordinary picture of empowerment.

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In August, Heather Caliri hosted our first ever Mentoring Week and after the wonderful job she did soliciting and curating the submissions, we asked her to join our team as a Special Projects Editor.

Our October series on “We are the Other” felt like one of the most important conversations we’ve had the privilege to host.  I feel strongly that we have this platform for a reason and I look forward to hosting more conversations like this. We need to keep asking,

  • What conversations do we need to have on SheLoves that we are not having?
  • What conversations are we uniquely able to host?

Listen-Other

Rose Woller (part of our strategic pod) and Winnie Lui, our Saturday Editor, became pregnant, both expecting babies in 2015.

In November, we moved our whole website (and 32,000+ comments) to a new host. The transition was smooth and we no longer have to watch if the site has suddenly, unexpectedly, gone down. No more emergency texts. #Hallelujah!

As you can see, it’s been a good year. We’ve built strength, we’ve streamlined and we’ve initiated new projects.

Then, in the midst of the Christmas bustle, I was sitting at a Starbucks in our mall in early December. The power was out at home and I honed in on a warm place with wifi.

I’d been having a vague sense that this year was a good year, with so much to be thankful for, but something was missing. I hadn’t been able to put my finger on it.

I randomly opened the Introduction to the draft of the book I’m working on and started reading my own words:

“This is a book about deep and rich community. I borrow that concept from a talk by Donald Miller at The Justice Conference in 2014 when he summarized Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning. I’d read Frankl’s book, describing his survival through a Nazi death camp and his work as a Swiss psychiatrist, and I was deeply moved by it, but it was in hearing Miller sharing what he’d learned from Frankl’s book that the light went on for me. He said:

In order to live a meaningful life, we need three elements:
– A deep and rich community
– A redemptive perspective on our suffering
– Participation in something larger than ourselves.

When Miller mentioned those three elements, I realized that those were the three elements we try and live out on SheLoves: 

– What happens on a daily basis is part of creating and fostering deep and rich community.
– In writing out our stories, we gain a redemptive perspective on our suffering
– Participating in projects to serve our world, we find deep meaning and purpose.”

Sitting in that Starbucks on that early December day, I had another lightbulb moment. A sobering one.

We’d missed a leg of our three-legged stool this year.

We participated in small ways, giving back to our world. But not in big ways. 

In May, we came alongside Cynthia Cavanaugh and raised money for women in Uganda and Moldova.

We also rallied locally to raise our voices when we learned about 273 Nigerian school girls snatched from their dorm. Together, we said, This is NOT OK. #bringbackourgirls

rsz_bring_back_our_girls_surrey

We didn’t do a major project this year. We did TWO huge projects in 2013–raising over $11,000 to build a well in Bubanza, Burundi and more than $10,000 to Keep A Girl in School in Uganda. Two huge projects and a small volunteer team took a toll, I guess. With everything going on in our personal lives (restaurants, babies, grief and health), this was a year in which we didn’t step out in one of those big ways.

But that day in Starbucks, I realized: Not stepping out is NOT an option. We can’t miss this leg of our stool.

Serving our world, giving to the women in our world and strengthening and empowering women in our global circle, is part of why we exist.

I don’t want to miss that again.

2013 was a good year. A blessed year. A year in which we gained strength, more organization and flow. I am ridiculously thankful.

I also learned a big lesson, something that will surely spur us on in 2015. We need all three legs of our SheLoves stool. All three are important. We can’t miss out on any one of the three.

As we say goodbye to 2014, I am grateful, I feel sober AND I am hopeful.

I re-read these words by Siki Dlanga— words that we’d rung in the new year with in 2o14—and I let them wash over me afresh:

I am drunk with hope
I refuse to sober up
I am pregnant with possibility
I refuse to abort
I have planted
this good seed
I will not dig it out
I am waiting
in anticipation
To hold my good promise
And I am drunk with hope.

Dear SheLovelys, thank you for being an incredible community of women … a Sisterhood. You are a gift to me, to each other and to our world. I am deeply grateful to walk this journey with you.

Watch out, 2015!

With Love,

idelette
XOXO

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Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called shelovesmagazine.com–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at idelette.com and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

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