"She doesn't look for rosy outcomes or places to hide.
She greets each morning vowing to live her truth.
When the going gets bleak, she falls back into her boldness,
settles into its power, and stays grounded there."

The idea of rose-colored glasses suggests optimism and maybe even a little escapism... which is not a bad thing. But I came up with "bold-colored glasses" to suggest the view and vision of a fearless woman who, by my definition anyway, isn't trying to hide or escape or look for "rosy outcomes". She's looking to step into her boldness... to pull from her core the sound of her truth, and through that lens, and with that voice, to face the world with an intrepid optimism.

No matter what, no matter how unbelievably crazy and challenging life's assignments become, she stays grounded in her boldness and doesn't let her spirit become tainted with the darkness. She is often struggling to contribute her gifts, and at the same time, facing the barriers and turns of luck that bring her to her knees. But when the going gets bleak, she is never silenced, she rises again and again.

For many years I worked in social services for school districts, high-needs foster care placement, job-readiness programs. One of my proudest "start-ups" was a teen parent program and child care center for a large high school. To this day, when I think of fearless women, the faces of those young mothers crowd together in a snapshot in my mind. A portrait of bold hope. I listened to their stories of early abuse and neglect, and the self-fulfilling prophecies they heard repeatedly: you're not smart, you're not worthy, you'll never succeed, you're not even real.

There was no reason on earth any of them should feel hopeful. So, I could never figure out why or where the spark came from - the light that would fill these battered spirits with confidence and hope for a possible future. Really, it astounded me. But with opportunity and safety, and connection to a circle of love and kinship, would rise up such awesome, sweet believers. Believers in the notion that I am worthy and I can do this: graduate; go to college; get a job; feel damned good about myself; silence my demons; heal my pain. Not all succeeded, not all overcame the weight of disadvantage, poverty and abuse. But the fact that many did still sobers and inspires me when I am hosting my own pity party.

I recently became a member of World Pulse. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to connect, on an international level, to efforts around the world that empower women through encouraging and validating their voices and providing opportunity. I'm a big believer in micro-financing for women and cultivating pathways to leadership for women. I have both been saddened to tears and inspired to tears, hearing the stories of women displaced, physically and emotionally scarred, suffering every loss... yet who have a burning desire to rise up and create something, build something, restore something. It astounds me again and again... the resiliency and deep power of hope that flickers still.