Inspired Today By . . .

This lady. Or should I say, this First Lady.

Kirk found a great article in Newsweek today that tells a fantastic story about what moves Maria Shriver, and it in turn moves me. Shriver's heartbeat in this article basically boils down what I'm passionate about and working toward in 450 words. I'm going to tack the printed page above the desk in my studio space . . . once the studio space is finished, of course.

To top it off, through the article I also learned of a women's conference that takes place annually in Long Beach, California, not far from my old stomping grounds. Someday, perhaps even as soon as next year, I'd love to attend.

The cool thing about the conference this year, though, is that it takes place on October 23. Which is, um, today. Great timing, to have learned of it on the same day that it's running! It was fun checking out the website while knowing thousands of women are there right now, enjoying all that the day has to offer.

Two other cool things I learned about the conference . . .

The first is that the conference is hosting a live luncheon webcast in about 20 minutes. Naturally, I'm tuning in. It will feel like I'm really there!

And the second is that I found a forum where women are responding to the question, "What do you do to make a difference?" In the response thread titled "Support, encourage, challenge, and inspire women," I read the following stories:

"I facilitate women's bible studies. Whenever a group of women get together to grow, learn & encourage each other magic happens. We laugh a lot, cry some, pray, eat, discuss families, careers and connect on levels unimaginable. At the end of our time together we have collectively gathered strength from each other until we meet again next week. We know that no matter how much life happens in between we have sister friends that we can count on."

"In the 12 step fellowship of NA there is a womans conference that is held in different parts of the US every other year. We get upwards of 5 thousand chicks praying in one room at one time there. The energy is so uplifting and so positive it moves me even today."

"I recently created and started teaching a class for older women who want to go back to school for their degrees. (I was 52 when I graduated from UCLA a couple of years ago.) Mature students (who are mostly women) face different challenges than younger students. We may have less energy but we've got life experience and focus in our favor. While working full-time and carrying a full load of classes, I had to find ways to work smarter, not harder. These strategies and general information on the California community college and university system are what I share in my classes. Although my degree was FAR more than a career move. It changed how I view the world…but it also changed how I view myself. It gave me a sense of what I'm capable of achieving. It was also an amazing journey - one that I wouldn't trade for any amount of money! It's exciting to encourage (and help equip) other women to take the plunge too!"

Wow. Women are amazing, aren't they? I just love their energy, their creativity, their giving nature, all of it. (If you are a woman, then this means YOU!)