Category Archives: storytelling

What Puts the Ape in Apricot…?

“Whadda they got that I ain’t got?….(all answer)  “Courage!”   The the Cowardly Lion’s own  answer to his  rhetorical question is, of course, Courage. In case you’ve never seen the movie ‘The Wizard of Oz” I would encourage you to stop reading, find, rent, borrow download  a copy using whatever it is you use to view media, make some popcorn and lose yourself in what is probably one of the few examples of The Archetypal  Heroes Journey whose protagonist is a 13-year-old girl.  So go away now if you haven’t seen it because there’s a spoiler on deck.

Gone? Okay. Are they all gone? ok.

Geez can you believe there are actually people who have not seen the Wizard of Oz?!  

Well, we will give them our support and acceptance when they come back, let’s not make them feel embarrassed for not having incorporated one of the greatest films of all time into their schematic framework.

So, the rest of you know where I am headed with this thought. The Cowardly Lion, despite his panic attacks, tears and attempts at desertion was indeed the most Courageous of all the Seekers en route to Oz. Yes, he was terrified the entire time but, as a loved one recently reminded me, Courage is not the lack of Fear, but the act of going forward and doing what needs to be done in spite of the Fear.

As the Wizard presented the Cowardly Lion with his Medal of Bravery he expressed the same sentiment

“You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.”

Upon realizing the risks he had endured and survived in the name of loyalty to Dorothy and the others, The Lion is able to grasp the key ingredient in the recipe for Courage…Confidence.  Not the boasting puffy chested, “put ’em up” posturing he had (unsuccessfully) displayed when first encountering his fellow travelers ; but a warm and humble confidence that enabled him as a decorated hero, to weep in plain view of the entire populace of The Emerald City as he said goodbye to Dorothy.

True Courage is more likely to debate than display, to sacrifice freely with no expectation of reward, and more at ease with weeping  than warfare.

Think of times you have faced your fears, soldiered on and emerged quietly triumphant yet forever changed.  Please, as always feel free to share a story if you’d like, and Soldier On Warriors of Wisdom!




Monday Musings upon Musing upon Monday

Happy Monday Everyone      
Many of my blog posts are written ahead of time but I decided Mondays Musings should be true to the name and reflect what it is that I am musing on that particular day. Since today is the first of my Monday Musings, I was naturally musing about the words “Monday” and “Musing”
Monday, as most people know is named for the Moon, Moon-day. In many cultures Moon-day was considered the first day of the week  Apparently that offended some people who thought “Moon-day” was too “pagan” and did not deserve the spot at the head of the table so they replaced the venerable position with Sun-day. Hmm not much different aside from the fact that with some exceptions the Moon is often associated with the female deity and” the Sun with the male.
The wryly cynical side of me can picture it perfectly Father Sun and Mother Moon just hanging around the Heavens, Sun is watching the sports report on t.v. Moon is drying dishes in the kitchen.
Sun : “Mooooon, honey, I’ve been thinking; being the first day of the week is..*.sigh* “well you seem a little stressed out lately”
“What do you mean stressed?”
“Well I dunno it’s just you don’t shine all the time and well, frankly it’s been a pretty long time since we eclipsed…”
The white blood drains from Moons face, she’s seen Sun looking at that damn Venus with her pale blue glitter.
Sun continues, he knows he’s gotten her attention now…”I’m just saying I could take over as First Day for a while and give you some time for you, your time ” Sun smiles encouragingly, his Golden eyes flash with persuasive charm.
“You know you’re right I could use a change of pace…sure you go ahead and take first day, I’ll do Second day”
Sun settles happily into his recliner coveting the knowledge that pretty soon the Christians will be running things and his day will be the Day of Rest…and Football”

© 2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

Guest Blogger Eva Day!!!!!!!

 Hello Everyone,
I hope you enjoy this beautifully written and very moving post by Eva Day, Wise Woman Extrodinaire!!!!

Kicking Up The Dust.
Dear Jenny and  female friends.
Jenny is in a phase just now of giving extra focus to political issues in the world around her and the effects of the decisions and oblivion of the “big players” on the lives of ordinary folk and women in the every day world.  I see the care and the commitment in that, from Jenny, and recognise of course that the personal is political and the political is personal…..   we are all part of the world being shaped every day
When I first came across Jenny’s blog and a place for “women with a past”,” the concept resonated with me immediately.  I imagined wearing my past with pride, like a cloak, perhaps a battered, frayed or somewhat stained one, but well woven and sturdy and richly coloured……   a cloak that trails out behind me, sweeping the dust of the ground as I walk forward, into the future and  – the wisdom of a more mature woman.  Hah!!  But, yes, I do feel after much journeying I know a little, just a little about life, even when paradoxically, it becomes ever more mysterious and perplexing.  And  yes, let’s have confidence that we will walk forward boldly into some way of living and being which is forged from wisdom – as well as the good humour and the grace to realise we will also occasionally stumble into wisdom and foolishness too, or be met by it!
Women with a past certainly will stir up an amount of dust as they walk – they do not tread lightly or quietly ,as our foremothers were too often exorted or trained to do, though they may well know how to do so when the circumstances require.  Warrior women can move through the darkness or through difficult terrain with stealth if instinct guides them…. But can also walk like queens, proud and certain when they have heart for their journey.  And the dust?  Well amongst those foremothers told to tread modestly, there have always been those who could not and would not, and they are companions to me.  The dust feels like a pleasing image to me, as what better reminds us of the truth that from the earth we come and to the earth our bodies will return, in one form or another..   ashes to ashes, dust to dust – I can’t think of a patriarchal reference that is more female in its symbolism.  Perhaps a little of the dust we raise on our journeys will settle  on the cloaks of other travellers along the way, will blow gently into towns and villages we pass through, will be the form and substance from which daughters, and sons, too, make solid forms: our homes, our pots, our messes, our works of art, the shapes of our lives.   We have touched others, and been touched by them, some of our substance and essence is expressed in their lives of others, just as their lives nourish – or deplete – ours.
When I sense my own past, tune into it with the feeling and instinctive nature, rather than remember specific events and incidents or analyse from a rational sequential viewpoint – then I am in the land of myth and metaphor.  I remember in my bones, and in soul mood… there were hopes and impulses and sudden passionate drives and urges.  There was an absolute will to live, to thrive, to explore, to taste life and to break the rules.  Sometimes because the rules forbade me to do something that called to me more powerful than any social constraints, and sometimes just because the rules needed breaking. Often I was a damned perverse – girl, young woman, slightly older woman who “ought to know better.”  And I think I still am all those things and more………   I have been a daughter  – of two mothers, in my life – and like many reading this am a mother, too.  Like all of us, my past is personal. The particular place I was born, the events that unfolded beyond that, what was done to me and what I did – to life, to myself and others.  Active, passive, many different rhythms.  Never passive for long though, in the rhythm of the passing seasons and years… .. often difficult, hopefully also tender and kind enough to have made somebody’s day gentler and more whole from time to time, creative in a playful spirit, destructive at times when wounded, cornered, angry….   Though destruction, too, can be a death and a rebirth, a space for a renewal or new directions. 
Footprints.  That’s another picture that comes to my mind’s eye.  My footprints, your footprints, and those of the women who walked before us and will come after…  And yes, again, I mention sons too, still believing in a world where boys too, as well as girls,  can be allowed to truly respect their mothers and grandmothers and learn from them – and teach them to.  (If I were a grandma, I’d be quite willing to learn to suck eggs!)  Footprints, also seem somehow a particularly masculine image in our culture.  We tread in the footprints of strong, bold males, in stories and films, don’t we?  I would like to feel that our footprints can be trusted  …..  
From one perspective, you may think that I’ve told you really – nothing – about my own challenges and triumphs – the details – as a woman with a past.  In another sense, I hope you feel I have.  And that you might be like another beautiful piece of fabric or wonderful embroidery on my patchwork cloak….. and I on yours.
Good travelling to all, and my wishes to you for good health, good living and good humour. xx eva
(article for International Women’s Day is my latest post.)

Image courtesy of
© 2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

I now have a schedule!

I can juggle many projects at once….

Hello friends,
I realized that now that I’m getting serious about this whole project for “Women with a Past” that I’ve been brewing in my cauldron for the past year it’s probably a good idea to create a schedule. This will work for both my benefit (I’m not known for my ability to stay “on task” as they say on report cards) and for the convenience of my readers and contributors. This schedule will commit me to writing, and therefore maintaining focus on my mission, on a daily basis. I know from experience that once one commits their energy and applies consistent effort, magical things can happen. Here’s to hoping for lots of Mama Mojo, Women’s Wisdom, Survivors Solidarity and Feminine Fierceness.
Here is the schedule:
Monday’s Musings and Mish Mosh: my own thoughts and musings, usually focusing on a particular issue or topic. Please feel free to send in suggestions for topics. 
Tuesday’s Tribute: Each Tuesday will feature a bio of a Heroine, past or present, who has stood up for the rights and freedoms of women.
Wednesday’s Women’s Wisdom:  Guest posts, artwork, projects and contributions. 
Thursdays Thoughts: Quote for the day, and reflection
Free for All Fridays: Friday is the day to keep it light, have some fun, tell some jokes or maybe post a video as we prepare for the weekend.
I will welcome anyone interested in guest posting or introducing yourself and any projects you may be working on. I just ask that you submit your posts to me by email at with “guest post” in the subject line so I can review them before posting. If I have questions or concerns about content I will contact you as soon as I am able so we can discuss the issue and let you know when your post will be featured.  Post topics are not limited to recovery, surviving domestic violence or sexual assault.  Although a part of my mission is to empower and support survivors, we all have a “past”, by the time we reach mid life we have all struggled at one time or another and we have all overcome challenges.   Even if you are a survivor or in recovery, don’t feel you have to limit yourself to those experiences. Having said that, do be aware as readers that many women are interested in sharing their stories of survival and recovery which can be upsetting or triggering.  In respect to that I will indicate in the headline if the story of that nature.
My next step is to compile a mailing list for a monthly newsletter! If you would like to add your name to the mailing send an email and I’ll sign you up.
I want to thank everyone who has volunteered to contribute, and everyone who has been reading my blog faithfully as I’ve negotiated my way through getting my “cyber legs” in the past year. Your words and support are golden!

© 2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

New Feature…Guest Posts!!!

Hello All,
I am very excited to announce that after a year of blogging and networking I have arrived at the point that I will begin to share stories, bios and interviews from other survivors, advocates and allies.
This feature will give voice to survivors and will also help promote other bloggers and advocates who are doing the same. We have growing Community of bloggers, writers, artists and advocates who are dedicated to dismantling the walls of denial and misinformation that surround Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, Addiction, Mental Health issues and Poverty. I am honored to be a part of this Community, to have the space to share my stories through them and to have the opportunity to offer the same in return.
I will continue to share my own posts and experiences as well as having a featured Heroine at least once a month. In the interest of staying true to my mission and maintaining focus my political ramblings will be posted on my facebook group and page as notes. You will find the badge in the right column if you wish to follow my tirades!
Thank you all for being loyal readers for an entire year!
Today’s featured guest is Sherry Clyburn who I met in a discussion group on Linkedin.  It is a closed group by anyone interested in joining can follow this link
Here is Sherry’s story; I hope you will join me in sharing her mission.

Sherry’s Story

I am a survivor of childhood abuse which spiraled into a long term relationship with a man who introduced me to a life filled with domestic violence, and unfortunately I also became a non-offending mother of a sexually abused child. I am developing two books.

“Shadows of Silence: Book 1” gives readers a front row seat to what transpired in my life.

“Shadows of Silence: Book 2” This is an anthology e-book, with entries from professionals as well as both male and female survivors from most age brackets, from many walks of life and from many parts of the world.

As a sign of my appreciation for being a part of my e-book, you will receive a copy of the e-book “Shadows of Silence: Book 2” naturally free of charge (there is no selling price for this e-book)

Once I am published I will be presenting something that is rather unique gift. Most authors sell their book alone with nothing extra. I am giving the second e-book to those who purchase it. The second book will contain no less than 500 entries and no more than 1000. I am able to give it because I am paying a one -time fee for the temp plates.

Here’s a link that will allow you to read some of my testimony and other articles that I have authored so that you can learn my writing style.

I want to thank you in advance for caring enough to check out what I am doing. I really hope you will join me in my efforts to spread awareness about an issue that affects more than half of this world. If you are interested in adding your voice or if you have additional questions please do not hesitate to contact me at

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sherry Clyburn

This is what I believe and why I work so hard to create awareness. Some people are under the impression that we can end abuse. I mean no disrespect, but honestly, these people who believe we will achieve the ending of abuse are looking at a different reality than I am. I might be wrong, but my belief is that we will never totally eliminate abuse. Nonetheless, I do believe we can lower the victim population through one simple equation: Education + Awareness = Prevention.

Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy 

© 2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

Link to the Like Minded

Hello all,
 I’m back from my hiatus from internet, with a renewed vision of what role the internet and social media play in my life. While my internet was down I spent time writing “just for fun” with the idea that I could use the material later for blogging if I chose to. One of the pieces I started took on a life of it’s own and is still in process. I had started pondering the power of social media and writing that is available to anyone, regardless of economic status, education, gender, age etc. It is an equal opportunity forum, giving voice to people who would otherwise not be heard publicly. We can educate one another, support one another and organize around united causes and values. Indeed it has always been my mission to target a population of women whos inner lives, thoughts and wisdom are invisible in our society. It was a lovely case of serendipity when I came across this article and website almost as soon as I first logged back online after 2 weeks.
 Enjoy, Nana
 A Good Virus: Social Media Storytelling by Kathleen Sweeney
 © 2010 Jennifer Hazard

My life on film, er, pixels

the Tat, wish #2

A couple of years back when my last boyfriend/ man friend and I separated due to “creative differences” he got custody of the “good camera”. By “good” I mean, not disposable, and it isn’t pink with Hello Kitty emblazoned all over it. When I got my tax return last year my tax guy (like I have ‘people’, lol) pretty much told me that this was the last year I was going to rake it in on all the deductions my single Mom status with a low paying job and excessive student loans had previously bestowed upon me once a year. I figured I’d better make this last run a good one. I did take care of some debt and other responsibilities, gave my kids spending money and bought my Granddaughters some clothes, but I had promised myself this time I was granting 3 of my own wishes..and lo and behold I did.
My 3 wishes were: a new laptop, a new tattoo and a “good” camera. The laptop has been well worth the investment.  I am able to sit in privacy and write, email, blog or check in on facebook gossip. The tattoo is pretty badass and represents my courage as a survivor. The camera has just been plain fun. It’s one of those cute little colorful things that we see Ashton Kucher gliding around cocktail parties sneaking pics of attractive young women who pretend not to notice. So logically since this pretty boy can use it successfully, so can I. Well I can now after some trial and error (heavy on  the error side) and after actually resorting to reading an instruction or two. So now my latest project, or addition to my ongoing project of telling my story, recording my life as a Middle Aged, Unemployed, Hep C infected, recovering alcoholic, Master’s Degree having dedicated Advocate, mother of 3, grandmother of 2, rescuer of stray animals trying to survive on a meager Social Security Disability at least until I can create some additional income, is to photo document  some of the days in my life.
 I just started today, officially on my bus ride to the bank, the grocery store and back home; a trip that with a car would’ve taken about an hour at most, but took close to 3 hours. But not to worry I promise it’s not going to be some 21st Century version of ‘Christmas in Appalachia”. On the contrary I’ve been spotting sights that if I were clipping down the street at 35 or 40 mph I would never have noticed. The project is new and in the works and I haven’t decided what, if anything, to do with it. I will probably include a pic or two with captions on my blog just to try it out, get some feedback and probably have some laughs, just as soon as I find that battery charger.
© 2010 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard