Why Can’t I Be More Like Hetty?

“Hetty” Green (November 21, 1834 – July 3, 1916), was the richest woman in America during the Gilded Age. She was a single woman working a fortune amidst a sea of men – her nickname, Witch of Wall Street.

 

Why can’t I be more like Hetty. When it comes to money, I never have enough. For that reason, anger stirs in the pit of my stomach when I think about the sugary green stuff. Like a sweet layer of whip cream on a strawberry torte, it teases at me only to land on my hips, leaving me nothing except an empty bowl and a decreased bank account after I am forced to purchase the latest diet products and exercise DVDs. After reading Demi Stevens’s blog this morning, I believe my disdain is misdirected.

 

I was born in the middle and unlike my two sisters I have buttery fingers. Enticed by the iced confections in life, I have no patience. The oven takes too long to preheat, all while I am standing in the crumb-infested kitchen with the oozing batter dripping from my spoon and the thick aroma of vanilla and sprinkles dancing in the air. Not to mention, the left over Cool Whip lingering on my lip because I stole a lick. I break, to hell with watching the delicacy rise and swirl. I drive straight to the bakery, tossing my hard work into the yard for the birds.

 

This recipe for money I have followed for fifty-years. The sweet confections suck me in. I have enjoyed life; vacations, scuba lessons, horses, knitting, spinning, farming, and a host of critters – not to mention I am self-employed (a sure way to devour the money.) This desire has left a bad taste. I am back in the kitchen-my bun in the oven taking twice as long to plump up again.

 

Somehow, God always takes care of me. I am healthy and can work, able to do extra baking and kneading. Unfortunately, this burns me up, I’m over-cooked and my cookie jar always short of that perfect dozen.

 

Can I be more like Hetty? Hetty, it is said, was a miser; never turning on the heat and wearing the same black outfits. Whether true or not, the fact is I don’t respect how hard I worked for the ingredients. The sweetness calls me. I have no willpower. I let go before the jar is full. It’s not the money that angers me, but the calories living on my hips – the bills in my basket, the cost of my impatience. I need to be more creative, more patient. Build my cupboards before its too late. Because had I been a little less sugar- dependent, I would be living a sweeter life today.

The Write Village

 

The African proverb, “It Takes a Village,” speaks to many aspects of our lives—the writing life included.  I discovered building alone was not easy. We need neighbors. Before I erected my own village, my journals were locked behind doors—suffering from rejection and fear.

I began to see constructive patterns of those who boldly paved roads around me. They had a similar foundation. So, I began the literary journey to build a village I call Write.

My mother laid the first stone. In Write, my mother lives on Main Street, adjacent to the church. Her door is always open to fill me with homemade pie… and red wine to energize my body. But when I must rekindle my soul, she points to the steeple and advises, “Every village needs a church. It’s neighbors and faith that will send you angels to guide you.”

My village of Write has a school with teachers, from the very first professor who red lined my every word to doctors and nurses who rebuild my creations today. The library houses lots of books with advice including, 101 Ways to Get Published, Writer’s Market, and Writing with Soft Hands. The shelves are lined in classics by Atwood and Twain to awaken the soul… and Harlequin romances to stir the bones.

At the village conference center, the best authors and mentors come to speak. I have autographed copies of their books, signed with encouragement like “Never give up,” or “Persist at all cost.” I visit the Write Salon after days of edits. My stylist conditions, massaging my creative brains. At the Writing Gym on Mondays I exercise with my aspiring peeps and ponder all the ways to pen “his chiseled jaw,” or “her beating heart.”The village newspaper employs agents and publishers who read my queries… and if I get lucky send one-word critiques.

My church is growing, with new angels every day, like Demi Stevens; her Year of the Book process was a road map to success that introduced me to an inspirational woman, Debbie Herbert, best-selling author, and 2017 RITA finalist, who shrouded me in incentive.

“It takes a village.” We share a path, and our community builds me up when I am adverb-tired, genre-lost, or POV perplexed. Together we survive.

This is a partial version of my story, The Write Village. I hope it inspires you.

Alicia Stephens Martin author of Spurred to Justice to be released summer, 2018.

Pennsylvania Native Protects U.S.Border

Below is a partial interview. Enjoy my latest article in full at eastcoastequestrian.net

 

Pennsylvania Native Protects U.S. Border – on Horseback
Alicia Stephens-Martin – January 2018

At age fifty-five, I’ve finally developed the confidence to reach for my dreams. So when I meet a young woman who already stands out in her career, with self-assurance combined with a love for horses, I am instantly curious.

I had the privilege to interview Katie Griffith Clare, who lost her mother while too young, with whom she shared a love of horses, and knew she wanted to make a difference. Today Katie connects all three, patrolling the U.S. border. Katie and her steadfast steed are the living wall—the one President Trump would find almost impossible to build of brick and mortar because of terrain.

In some border areas a wall would be impractical, but horses can easily journey. According to Katie, horses even help by detecting sounds and smells, keen only to the animal.

We met at a September horse show in Lancaster County, far from where Katie, a native of southern Pennsylvania, works on the southwest border in San Diego, California. She graduated from Eastern High School and attended Alvernia College in Reading, PA. Nothing about her demeanor revealed her ability to handle a gun, withstand days on the range, or capture illegals. She simply smiled from her borrowed mount, happy to see all her missed friends.

Katie serves as a United States Border Patrol Agent—a federal position. In her words, her job is to detect and prevent illegal aliens, terrorists, and terrorist weapons from entering the U.S., and prevent illegal trafficking of people and contraband. She and her fellow agents are the uniformed law enforcement arm of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. With over 21,000 agents, the U.S. Border Patrol is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the U.S. Not until after this interview when I researched the Border Patrol did I realize the daunting task horse and rider face every day. . . .

 

Please read the the interview at east coast equestrian.net

 

 

 

Katie inspired me to do more research. On a typical day the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) screens over a million international visitors, processes 74,000 truck, rail, and sea containers, seizes nearly 5 tons of illicit drugs, and apprehends more than 1000 individuals for possible criminal activity. The CBP is responsible for patrolling 6,000 miles of Mexican and Canadian borders and 2,000 miles of coastline according to their website. Agents like Katie and her four-legged partner work diligently, without recognition in all types of conditions.

To further appreciate what this team does for us every day, visit http://www.cbp.gov. You will even find buried deep in the career choices page a brown-haired girl. In Katie’s smile you can almost see her love of horse, career, and country.

Please enjoy the actual interview at the East Coast Equestrian Magazine

Inspirational Woman and Hairdresser- Martha Matilda Harper (1857-1950)

Unknown-1 Unknown

Read about an inspirational woman and hairdresser, Martha Matilda Harper(1857-1950)! Martha Matilda Harper was an immigrant, innovator, entrepreneur, and shrewd businesswoman. She boast many achievements; developed and marketed a hair tonic, pioneered the beauty industry to new heights, became the first franchiser by sharing her Harper Methods, followed by a multitude of disciples called Harperites and eventually responsible for 500 salons across the world – decades before Ray Kroc franchised McDonalds. (She was a cougar, too- marrying a man 20 years younger!) Yet, Martha Matilda Harper was swept away, buried deep underneath America’s history. How did one single woman persuade so many Harperites to assembly and adhere to her codes, to soar to their own identity by influencing them and the public that women could be independent and successful. Read the article in PBA Progress at http://www.probeauty.org

Blessed are the Women who Endured!

image

I think that it is important to remember women before us who suffered great pains at the hands of a patriarchal society. Women, such as, those who were forced to believe their babies were in  “Limbo”  if they died before being baptized. According to the church, these babies never made the journey to heaven. Really? Or as for this Victorian woman who was posed with her deceased child- a popular form of photography during this time period. I think of these women often, and the hardships they endured.