Women and the stories we carry

I’ve been thinking recently about what it means to be a woman. As many of you know my book is out, and  I have had the incredible privilege and honour to interview some of the bravest women I have ever met. Women who have shared their stories with me, their truth. They have trusted me with some of the most intimate parts of their life.

Whether it is the young mum who faced a cancer journey before her 30th birthday. Or the woman who in her 40’s realised that the life she had was crashing down in front of her. Maybe even the beautiful woman I chatted to who believes that she, just being herself, will never be enough for anyone to love.

I am reminded of the CEO who seemingly has it all yet walks into her swanky office every day fearing that she will be ‘caught out’ someday. That day when people will discover her fear that she is a fraud. A fraud because she’s in the deep end and she’s treading water.

My mind wanders to the woman who is riddled with pain because her husband is addicted to pornography. She cries herself to sleep each night, feeling lonely, disconnected and insecure. I can’t forget the young mum who is desperate for friendship. She resents her kids because of what she feels she’s had to give up to be stuck at home, all day, every day, with them.

So, what is womanhood?

Who is woman? Woman is a collection of stories and each one of us hold more than one story. Our stories that weave together are like a stream that flows into a river that eventually connects with a large body of water. Our stories are varied and rich, they are textured with pain, with joy, sorrow, grief, happiness, adventure and disappointment.

For example I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and so much more. Even in the four titles to my life that I have mentioned, there are stories. I am a mother but before I was a mother I was a wife. Before I was a wife, I was a daughter. In being a daughter, I became a sister. I have a story about being a daughter, the story of my childhood, which for me was a beautiful experience. I believe I had a wonderful childhood and my memories are ones that I like to relive at times. Yes, there was some pain in my childhood, there are some dark and sad moments but for the most part, that story is one that evokes feelings of joy and peace.

That story weaves its way into the sisterhood story.

For me, coming from a very close knit family this story carries much weight, even to this day. My siblings are some of my closest friends. There have been times when we disagree, when we fight or challenge one another but we are forever in each other’s corners. We have each other’s backs and that old saying of ‘blood is thicker than water’ rings true. So, as you can see, this story holds a lot of emotion for me.  It will until the day I take my last breath or one of my siblings do.

We all carry a number of stories.

My book True You tells my story – sure,  but something even bigger than me. It tells a whole number of stories, and more importantly the voices who have told those stories have been silent for a long time. Take some time out of your day this week or on the weekend, to actually ask someone you know well to tell something special about them. We all have moments of brilliance, and most of us too some brilliant failures (but let’s not focus on them).

True You is available online now – at Amazon, Koorong, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble, and we are slowly but surely cracking into some bricks and mortar bookstores. Exciting times ahead!

Amazon Reviews;

Phillipa Lowe

Move over self-help books, there’s a new book in town! Susan Sohn takes a weight off the reader’s shoulders by reminding them that it’s not all about SELF. In a world where we’re told to be better, kinder, smarter, faster, better looking, thinner, fatter, whatever… this book is a breath of fresh air. Susan makes it about something bigger and more purposeful than self. Where your authenticity, your true you, is not reflected back from everyone else’s expectations… but from your sense of self when you are spiritually connected to the God that has your back. If you’re tired of the struggle of self improvement, True You is the best read you can give yourself. More wisdom, longevity and kindness than advocated by ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F^*K’ and less pressure than ‘You Can Change Your Life’, ‘True You’ models a way in the world of human, connected authenticity.


Rowan Armstrong
True care and empathy comes from knowing the truth behind the mask, forced smile or Facebook profile and stepping in anyway. My friend just released her first book #trueyou. I didn’t realise how much I would get out of it. I am father to my daughter, husband and friend and this has helped me understand the hard truths the females in my life deal with. Thanks Susan Sohn, your book has blessed me and helped me be a blessing to others. 

5 Things I learnt from writing a book


For years I was told to write a book, but what would I write about?

This seems like a very odd question, considering I have spent the better part of the last 20 years writing, blogging, creating and sharing content every day. So, for those of you who have a book stirring on the inside this is for you.

Before I begin, I remember someone once saying to me that all of us either have a book or a marathon in us. Some days I wished I had a marathon in me but alas my sneakers have remained intact and the written word captured my being. If I was asked for any advice about the writing journey it would be to really consider the marathon. Dig deep, go for a few runs, try it out because from what I have come to know is that having a book in you and sharing it with the world is no easy task and much like what I imagine the physical pains of a marathon would be, writing a book can cause havoc within your very core. Read on, dear one.

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Standing on the shoulders of giants

One of the chapters in ‘True You‘ is about standing on the shoulders of giants, by doing that we begin to live in our truth and allow our children to confidently stand on our shoulders.

The chapter is about being honest about what we’ve walked through and sharing our stories. Brene Brown says, in the Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted, that story is our way home and truth is our song. As challenging as this can be I believe it to be true. We need to tell our truths bravely because it is part of our stories.  We have to let it be our song rather than the thing that holds us captive.

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Vana Belle Hospitality…

For our 20th Anniversary, Philip and I whisked ourselves away to Thailand. To be completely honest, I was a little hesitant at first. I was hesitant because we aren’t those people who need nor do we want to be away from our kids. Actually, travelling with our children has always been something we have loved and enjoyed rather than endured. Neither Philip nor I have ever been ones who have ‘needed to get away from our kids’. I know some parents do who do need the ‘much-needed break’ and that’s okay, it’s just never been us. 

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Inside the Quiet.

Like many people, I have tried over the years to stick to New Year’s resolutions and promises made to myself.

Like most, inevitably I fail a few weeks into the year. Whether it be my bad habits, the desire to shift some unneeded weight, the year I learn a new language or start to paint. The only resolution that I hold onto seems to be the one that promises I won’t do it. Resolutions, for whatever reason, have not worked for me.

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Autism, DownSyndrome, Special Needs. A response to the Ontario Letter

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{Pictures above provide a glimpse into the life of Peter}

In light of the recent and very disturbing letter that was sent to the parents of a boy with Autism (see this Huffington Post Live Story click HERE)I am compelled to share this story with you.

My little brother, Peter, who is not so little now, he is 36 and definitely exceeds my physicality, has DownSyndrome and definitely displays some other characteristics that can be found on the ASD Spectrum. He can be a challenge and throughout his life has most likely upset people, caused them great discomfort and whatever else we {the so called ‘normal’} people have to interpret and manage when our life collides with someone on the spectrum.

Throughout the years, I have written countless stories about my brother and the lessons I have learned from him, the things he has taught me and the way he has lived. Some days, he is our angel and we talk about how he has been sent from God just for us. We talk about how blessed we are to have had the opportunity to walk through life with him and how we wished other people could have a moment of this experience. Then, there are days when we wonder where he came from, why he’s acting a certain way and how do we handle what is happening before our eyes. In these moments, we see the struggle deep within him, his desire to do what we call ‘right’, to act appropriately, to respond how we want him to respond but because of the way he has been created the struggle lies in this this place. These are the times when this gentle giant, this angel who was sent from above needs our care, our love and our acceptance.

I could go on and on about the joy he has brought to our lives and his amazing nature and his deep sense of knowing and understanding that doesn’t translate into school grades or through the written or, at times, even the spoken word. His understanding is deep and his expression of that understanding at times throws the ‘EQ’ balance off the charts.

Today, instead of me writing about his impact on our lives, I have chosen to allow the words of another whom he has touched to bring expression to his being. She’s not a family member but she has been brought into the family through Peter and his love for her and his deep knowing that she is a person to love and to trust. Her name is Lori and outside of our family she is perhaps one of the most influencial people in Peter’s life. I am choosing not to respond in words to the ‘One Pissed Off Mother’ but rather by using the life of another and the experience of another who has chosen to see beyond what she doesn’t understand {in terms of how Peter was created} but has chosen to step over her own insecurities and the ‘unknown’ within Peter and she has found a beautiful relationship that has changed her life. I hope you enjoy her story about Peter.

MY FRIEND PETER by Lori Perra
I have a very special person in my life. He has taught me so many things that have helped me to become a better person. He has made me laugh and cry and practise my skills of tolerance and patience.

Peter has Down Syndrome.

I have known Peter for many years, but it has only been during the past two years that I have developed a relationship with him. What started as a job has turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Job coaching is what brought Peter and I together. For a few hours each week, we go to his place of employment and I instruct him on how to do his work. He is such a diligent worker and it does not take long for him to master the tasks assigned to him. Then it is coffee time!

Coffee time is what he looks forward to the most. This is our time to chat about whatever comes to mind. Peter never fails to ask about my husband, my children and my cat. He always asks how my day at work went and never fails to ask how his nephew is, who attends the school where I work.

Peter loves music and will start to dance when he hears it. He doesn’t care where we are or who is watching. His face lights up with the pure joy of it. Peter has taught me to dance like no one is watching. Everyone should try this. It is the most exhilarating feeling!

He has taught me not to be afraid to tell people how I feel about them. Peter is very quick to tell people that he has missed them, that he likes them, that they make him happy, that he loves them. He quite often will tell me that I am beautiful but he will also tell me when he thinks that I need a haircut. He is so open and honest that it is refreshing to have a conversation with him.

He is also very compassionate. When my Mom was ill, he always would inquire about her. When she passed away, he brought me flowers and hugs. Sometimes he will ask me if I think about her and what I am remembering about her.

Occasionally, we have a date night. He will get dressed up and he is the perfect gentleman. He opens doors for me, pulls out my chair, inquires if I am enjoying myself and of course, compliments me on how beautiful I am. For weeks after he will talk about what a good time he had.

Peter has been raised by a very loving and supportive family. I know it is through his family that he has learned his conversation skills, his strong work ethics, his sense of humour and his compassion. I am truly blessed to be able to have Peter and his family in my life. I believe that when we surround ourselves with positive people like Peter and his family, we remain strong, happy and positive ourselves.

Thank you Peter for being my friend!
Lori


What Scares You

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Lately, this Eleanor Roosevelt quote has been rolling around in my mind. I am in the midst of change and someone, somewhere said ‘that change is as good as a holiday’. I’m beginning to wonder if that’s correct and may very well research that statement, post the writing of this article… maybe it should be the other way around but not today.

So, as I have been thinking about this season of Change and all things New I decided that I would embrace Eleanor’s words of wisdom and do exactly what she said.

Thus far, I’m happy to report that I have taken risks in business and moved out of my comfort zone. I have done something as simple as tackled a new recipe that kind of scared me – I really wasn’t sure what all the ingredients were. I have embraced the ocean and through the help of my lovely girlfriend, Darlene, I have conquered my fear of ‘what’s below’. That was a big one for me and I can’t tell you how much fun I have had, frolicking freely in the open sea…. well, maybe not totally open since I am typically within 100 meters of the shore. For me, that’s freedom and that was conquering a big fear. Through study and the wise teaching of Beth Moore, I have faced some of the deeper issues in my life that I have tended to ‘sweep under the carpet’. I won’t say it’s been easy but it’s been releasing and a new sense of freedom is worth facing the things I’ve faced.

Today, I did another thing that scared me and I now find myself sitting, almost giddy, thinking about what I’ve done. It’s like a little high with endorphins flying around my body. These may be baby steps but as we all know, baby steps lead us to big steps and big steps coupled with the wisdom learned along the way, give us the strength to climb mountains and believe for even greater things.

Thank You Mrs. Roosevelt for encouraging me to ‘Do It Scared’ and to ‘Repeat’. What will I do tomorrow?

And, as a side note for those who know me well or who have listened to GetRealLive Radio…. I even asked my youngest if she would like to get a kitten. To understand what this means tune in and listen, you’ll soon learn 🙂

Susan xx

 


Finding Joy After the Grief – One Woman’s Story about Loss

Today, we had the honour of hosting Lauren Chapman-Black on GetRealLive Radio. Lauren shared her story about walking her husband, Chad, through the pain of bowel cancer. Not only did she walk her husband through his battle but on the journey as well, her two young sons. 

After celebrating their 10th Anniversary, Lauren and her husband were dealt a card they didn’t expect. This lovely little family (2 boys then aged 2 & 4) faced the reality of a life without a husband and father. What would that look like? Would he be healed? Could they have the ‘Happy Ever After’ Story?

Listen on Demand as Lauren shares openly and very honestly about how she was able to Find Joy After the Grief.

You can listen to Lauren on GetRealLive Radio here:

 

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Breast Cancer ~ A Story of Survival

Well friends, in light of the amazing Angelina Jolie story, and her brave decision to under-go double mastectomy, we thought it would be appropriate to have a conversation on GetRealLive Radio about Cancer.

So, we chose to talk to one of the most courageous survivors we know. A woman who, at the tender age of 39, discovered something that just wasn’t normal and thus her journey began. A young mother of two who should have been planning a fabulous 40th birthday celebration, but rather found herself filling out forms and ticking boxes, preparing for the unknown that was before her.

Our guest, Diane Christoffel, joined us today and spoke openly and honestly about her journey, her fears, the challenges and what today looks like for her. Listen in and hear as she talks about staring death in the face and choosing life, hear how she walked her children through the story of a mother with cancer and how she made sure they kept living, whilst wondering if she would do the same. Hear her talk about her husband and his tender love and care for her and how her Faith played such a huge part as she listened to the wisdom of her Doctors. Diane’s story is one of courage, fear and survival. She is a Cancer survivor. What does today look like for this survivor…. you’ll love hearing the cheeky joy as she laughs her way through her new battle, night sweats and hormone changes.

This is a definite must listen. Download it, play it whilst you workout, drive to work or pick up the kids, whilst making dinner, whatever the case may be just make sure you listen! Enjoy..

Susan & Nicole

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PrayingforPaisley- Support Here

Okay friends GetRealLive is practicing what we preach and we are doing what we can to help…. Our friends David and Katie Ewing are believing for their newborn daughter, Paisley Mae… They have been told she won’t thrive but we are believing something different and today we are asking for your help…….

Here’s a bit of their story…

David and Katie Ewing have had their first baby and her name is Paisley Mae. Paisley is fighting for her life and at only 7 weeks she has already impacted people around the globe. To learn more about her follow #prayingforpaisley on Twitter & Instagram. We are all standing and believing for this little girl and this amazing family to overcome what Doctors have said is impossible.

We have launched a campaign in efforts to help this family.  We want to see this family thrive in every way possible so we are asking you to give. Give to help cover costs associated with having a child in a NIC unit plus all the other stuff that gets added on….. We are hoping to raise $25,000 so whatever you can give is greatly appreciated….

What Impact will your giving have? You will help with the practical costs and needs that are involved with a young family who thought they would take their baby girl home but have found themselves day-in-day-out standing by a bedside believing that she will come home with them. As you can imagine the cost, not only financial but emotional, etc., is huge!

You can also help by taking a photo of Paisley’s name written on your hand and following the hashtag #prayingforpaisley. Together, we can make a difference in this little girls life… She has already impacted all of us!

To support please click here INDIGOGO/PRAYINGFORPAISLEY

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