Women gather to share wis­dom

The con­fer­ence pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to spread the mes­sage of em­pow­er­ment and love

The Standard Journal - - LIFESTYLE - By Sean Wil­liams SJ Correspondent

“Em­pow­ered to im­prove” is the mes­sage lo­cal women have been work­ing dili­gently to spread, and Polk County Out­reach Min­istries, part­nered with Zion Hill First Bap­tist Church Inc., de­signed their most re­cent monthly brunch around the idea of im­prov­ing.

Var­i­ous speak­ers de­liv­ered mes­sages of health, spir­i­tu­al­ity, and gen­eral per­sonal em­pow­er­ment to the women in at­ten­dance.

“We’re host­ing t he brunch in or­der to help the women in the com­mu­nity be­come more ac­tive, make im­prove­ments in their com­mu­ni­ties, and make a pos­i­tive im­pact on ev­ery­one in the com­mu­nity,” Out­reach Min­istries Chief Ad­vance­ment Of­fi­cer Gale Sher­field said.

Speak­ers Ti­juana Arnold, Dr. Karen Po­teete, and Bar­bara Wil­liams spoke promi­nently of phys­i­cal and men­tal well-be­ing as a build­ing block for change and em­pow­er­ment. Speak­ers and top­ics prom­ise to vary dur­ing meet­ings, but those in­ter­ested in can at­tend at Ram­sey Run’s com­mu­nity cen­ter at 100 Ram­sey Lane, Rock­mart.

“When I went to vet s chool, t hings were chang­ing in my body,” Po­teete said. “I didn’t quite un­der­stand what was go­ing on. I thought it was stress, but my face was break­ing out. I thought it was stress, but I’m hav­ing heav­ier cy­cles. I was los­ing some weight, but it must be stress.”

Po­teete would go on to grad­u­ate and work in a hospi­tal, but her med­i­cal prob­lems per­sisted.

“I never once thought there was some­thing else go­ing on. Maybe I need to look into my health a lit­tle more se­ri­ously. Maybe I should stop and fig­ure out why I’m ex­pe­ri­enc­ing this change. It’s dif­fer­ent go­ing to a doc­tor that spe­cial­izes in an area than one that doesn’t spe­cial­ize,” Po­teete said.

A physi­cian would pre­scribe Po­teete with iron pills in hopes of com­bat­ing her pa­tient’s blood loss, but a year later, symp­toms such as ex­haus­tion, weight loss, and blood loss per­sisted.

Por­teete’s ul­tra­sound later re­vealed non­cancer­ous, pain-caus­ing growths known as fi­broids.

“From that mo­ment, af­ter I got surgery, my whole per­spec­tive of health changed. I never want to go through that again, and any­one that I can help along this jour­ney, I will. Re­mov­ing the fi­broids leaves the op­por­tu­nity for them to come back, but what I found out from a lot of re­search was that your diet and stress level play a role,” she ex­plained.

Now, the woman has taken to a much more nat­u­ral life­style with a health­ier diet and nat­u­ral hy­giene prod­ucts.

“I tell you, with many years of lis­ten­ing and talk­ing to peo­ple, I’ve seen things that have opened my eyes. A lot of dis­eases, I’m learn­ing, can be re­versed by diet, ex­er­cis­ing, re­mov­ing a lot of stress, and just over­all sup­ple­ments,” she said. “I wanted to em­power women to­day to en­cour­age you all that if you visit a doc­tor who only wants to throw med­i­ca­tion at you, ask them about other al­ter­na­tives.”

Give me some­thing more nat­u­ral. Ask them for a rou­tine, and set a goal. Af­ter 3 months let’s recheck my choles­terol, let’s recheck my blood pres­sure,” Po­teete add- ed. “If I had stopped with my first doc­tor, I don’t know where I’d be to­day.”

Wil­liams pre­sented a speech sim­i­lar in ideas, but as an 80-year-old, she en­cour­aged the au­di­ence to take care of their body while young.

“Start teach­ing them at an early age, how to take care of your body,” Wil­liams said. “What to wear, what not to wear. The Lord told me that if I don’t, where’s that blood gonna be? On me. I still tell my chil­dren, and they look at me like I’m crazy. But I still talk to them be­cause they’re my chil­dren. They’re not my friends.”

“I play with them some­times, but I’m still not their friend — I’m their mother. I’m gonna tell them what I know to help them save their lives,” Wil­liams said.

As a mother, she also spoke on the im­por­tance of rais­ing youth to be pro­duc­tive, re­spectable mem­bers of so­ci­ety as a pow­er­ful means of gain­ing em­pow­er­ment later in life.

“We don’t even teach our kids to say yes ma’am, no ma’am. So, how do ex­pect them to go out into the com­mu­nity and do,” she said. “What’s wrong with say­ing please and thank you? It’s right for us to do it. We need to teach them to be pro­duc­tive.”

“We don’t need our young men or young women stand­ing on the curb,” Wil­liams ex­plained.

She con­tin­ued to ex­press the pos­i­tives of be­ing re­spect­ful and pro­duc­tive be­fore out­lin­ing her prob­lems with dis­obe­di­ence dur­ing the Jan. 20 meet­ing.

“Whiskey, beer, wine. I tried it. Smok­ing. I tried it. That’s prob­a­bly the rea­son I got my breath­ing prob­lem now. It’s be­cause of be­ing dis­obe­di­ent. When I quit smok­ing it wasn’t be­cause of my health, it was be­cause of my spir­i­tu­al­ity. My hus­band was ad­dicted, and I thought, that’s not ac­cept­able. I got to quit that. He’s a dea­con and he’s puff­ing on cig­a­rettes. Even­tu­ally, it might have went fur­ther. I just thank God for sav­ing my soul.”

Wil­liams con­tin­ues by out­lin­ing how she pro­tects her body even to­day.

“I know y ou know where I park my car at church, but by the time I got into church I was giv­ing out,” Wil­liams joked. “I’m se­ri­ous, I had put on so many jack­ets be­cause I try to save my body be­cause this flu. I thought, Lord, If I get the flu, I just might not make it. So, I’m pay­ing more at­ten­tion this Win­ter to my body, than I did be­fore.

Arnold chose to spend her time at the podium with a poem.

“What can I say to em­power women,” she said. “You would think I’m used to do­ing this be­cause I speak at dif­fer­ent en­gage­ments and things like that, but I get kinda scared some­times and un­sure. Just to pig­gy­back off of what Dr. Po­teete said a lit­tle bit, our health is im­por­tant in life. She is right about what we put in our bod­ies and things like that, but what I wanna talk to you all about to­day is step­ping into your great­ness. I found a poem I found fit­ting for this oc­ca­sion.”

(See her poem in the side­bar.}

Polk’s Out­reach Min­istry is spon­sored in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Royal Neigh­bors of Amer­ica Foun­da­tion. With help from lo­cals and spon­sors like Polk School District, Atlanta Food Bank, Rome’s Angel Ex­press, and var­i­ous churches, Out­reach has been sup­ply­ing aid to those in need since 2009. Toy drives, hol­i­day meal give­aways, and cloth­ing give­aways are a few of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s ef­forts.

Sean Wil­liams / SJ

“Em­pow­ered to im­prove” is the mes­sage of the event hosted by Out­reach Min­istries, and Zion Hill First Bap­tist Church Inc. The speak­ers in at­ten­dance de­liv­ered mes­sages of health and spir­i­tu­al­ity.

Sean Wil­liams / SJ

Ti­juana Arnold de­liv­ers a poem at the event.

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