Real stories of inspiration

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A Message From The Editor

Geoffrey Chaucer stated, “Time and tide wait for no man.” As we put 2022 in our rearview mirror, we may be feeling the reality of that statement. Whatever went unsaid or undone last year either moves to our ‘things we regret chest of memories,’ or they become things on our ‘to accomplish list’ for this new year. Yesterday is not ours to recover, but today is ours to seize with gusto as we make every moment count. For this new year, make memories and mistakes. Learn from the mistakes and cherish the memories. Pursue those things which bring a smile to our faces and a little bounce to our steps. Thank God daily for His grace and mercy. Become more thoughtful, generous, and caring. Learn to laugh at ourselves, but not others. Be kind and compassionate. Do not waste a moment of this precious year. Never forget to tell those we love how we feel and let them know our world is better because of their presence. Keep in mind silence is not always golden. We are under the misconception that we will have time to make things right with those we love, when in actuality, life is fleeting. Many people whom we may have loved, respected, or admired did not get to usher in the new year. Most of all, enjoy the gift of life as our journey continues!

Everyone has a story. Some of us choose to share our stories in the hope that it may help to inspire others. We are excited to have a new voice, Jane Edwards, join our group of authors for this edition of the newsletter. We are sure her story will encourage you.

Happy Reading – Bernetta


Bernetta Thorne-Williams is the author of several romance novels including From Dysfunction to Love, Forever Love, POOF, Etched Upon My Heart, and others. She credits her travels with her amazing husband, of over thirty years, as the inspiration behind her stories of enduring love. Bernetta has displayed her writing talents in Chicken Soup for the Soul books, including Chicken Soup for the Working Mom’s Soul, Chicken Soup for the Beach Lover’s Soul, and Chicken Soup for the African American Women’s Soul. She is currently one of the moderators for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Facebook group which hosts inspirational content from writers and positive enthusiasts from around the world. Looking for a romantic read? Visit her author’s page Here

Jane Rhoe is retired with most of her professional experience in health services management. She has worked as a consultant with various hospitals, state governments, and other health-related organizations. Jane enjoys traveling. Her happy places include the beach and the mountains. Her other interest includes volunteering with community organizations and boards. Jane is most enthusiastic about her growth as a follower of Christ. She is the survivor of a painful divorce and is healing one day at a time. Jane is proud of the strength and independence that she has cultivated during this journey. Jane is a native North Carolinian. Drop Jane a note at

Jane Edwards grew up on Long Island, New York. She and her husband of 42 years raised their family in the quaint harbor town of Port Jefferson Village. She was a caseworker and advocate for people who have developmental and acquired disabilities for many years. Her relocation to Memphis, Tennessee and Atlanta, Georgia provided an education in the history of the South. The family has been happily settled in Raleigh for 11 years and it is now truly home. She has two lovely daughters who live nearby with their families, including six grandchildren who bring absolute joy to her life. Rounding out the love in her life are her two black Labs, Darla, and Jack, who provide sweet companionship and unconditional devotion. Jane believes we should exhibit similar excitement for the little things like a walk, a treat or a snuggle just like our furry friends do. Drop Jane a note at

Natalie Huckins is a mother, grandmother, and entrepreneur. Originally from Upstate New York, Natalie and her three children moved to North Carolina twenty-seven years ago and settled in the Triangle. Last year, Natalie moved to the coast where she decided to resign from her full-time job and work solely on her business. Leaving the corporate world behind has afforded Natalie the opportunity to fully embrace entrepreneurship. With the grace of God, she has watched as her business has grown allowing her to set the trajectory for this next chapter of her life.

Natalie has a passion for writing, photography, and nature, oftentimes using her photography skills to capture the perfect moment at weddings, baby showers, anniversaries, and holiday celebrations. Next to her children, and grandchildren, Natalie states her three dogs are the love of her life.

Natalie worked for several years in affordable housing and with those experiencing mental health challenges. Her years of experience in these fields have given her insight into the world’s “invisible” population, which in turn has helped her grow as an empathetic, caring advocate for such people. Natalie also enjoys doing crafts and has dedicated her life to being the best person she could be as a child of God. Drop Natalie a note at


We believe everyone has a story to tell. Allow us to help you share yours. We are actively seeking articles between 800 – 1,200 words for our March 2023 newsletter. Articles containing hatred, profanity, or a political agenda will not be accepted. Please submit articles along with your contact information to by February 1. Additionally, are you an author? We would be happy to promote your book in our next newsletter. Send a link to your book to the email listed above and we will review it for inclusion in our next newsletter


 Feel free to submit an article for the team to review. Our guidelines are listed below:

  1. Articles need to be between 800-1,200 words. 
  2. No hate speech or political commentary.
  3. No degrading comments about race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender, or identity will be accepted. 
  4. Be respectful and helpful in your article.
  5. No articles containing foul language or profanity will be accepted.
  6. If your article is selected for publication, you will be notified. 
  7. Articles remain the property of the author. 

New Year’s Resolutions – Pointless or Purposeful?

Here is to a new year and a new me. Or at least that is what we tell ourselves as millions of people start the new year with resolutions. Those promises we make ourselves when the date on the calendar strikes January 1. Are New Year’s Resolutions pointless? Sadly, some of those resolutions last no longer than the champagne toast on which we rang in the new year with other resolutions being forgotten by the end of the month. According to a recent article in happy habits, of the 41% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, by the end of the year only 9% feel they are successful in keeping them.[1] A multitude of reasons for failure to keep those resolutions range from unrealistic goals, not tracking our progressions, forgetting about the goal, and setting too many goals.

Resolutions, at the core, are promises we make to ourselves. Promises to be healthier, kinder, more financially responsible, a better version of ourselves. So why wait until the beginning of a new year to focus on those things? Each day we are blessed to wake is a new day to literally hit the ground running. The artificial date of January 1 gives us permission to procrastinate instead of beginning where we are with what we have to reach our goals. If it is something we want to achieve, the time is always right. If it is something that just sounds good to dream about, the time will never be right because we have no intention of putting in the necessary work or the discipline required to achieve it. Make no mistake, a resolution, dream, or promise to ourselves requires some effort. Rarely do things worth having come easy, if ever.

If the desire is to lose weight, eat less and move more, then do that unless there is a medical reason we cannot. In which case, consult your physician and develop a plan that works for your specific situation. You want a healthy relationship, stop choosing the same type of person repeatedly where the only thing that changes is their physical appearance, but the character and attitude remain the same. Realize when you are the common denominator in a relationship. Healthy relationships require two willing participants. Stop going into a relationship with a hero or heroine complex. We cannot fix a broken person. That requires individual work on their part. No relationship is perfect! With that being said, relationships should not be painful. Sometimes, we simply become involved with the wrong person. Do not allow a misjudgment to sentence you to a lifetime of misery. Sometimes the best thing to do is to walk away from an unhealthy and unproductive relationship. Remember we are the hero or heroine of our own story.

Sticking things out for the sake of the children just makes everyone miserable, including the children. Children are a lot more intuitive than we give them credit for being. A survey revealed that around eight out of ten young people between the ages of 14 and 22 would rather have their parents go through separation or divorce than stay together if they are unhappy in their marriage. The survey, which was carried out on behalf of Resolution – an organization that represents 6,500 family lawyers in England and Wales – surveyed 514 youths who had experienced parental separation. There were several key findings. According to the results, 82% of the young people surveyed revealed that a divorce was a better outcome for the family than staying in an unhappy marriage. “Being exposed to conflict and uncertainty about the future are what’s most damaging for children, not the fact of divorce itself,” said Jo Edwards, chair of Resolution. “This means it is essential that parents act responsibly, to shelter their children from adult disagreements and take appropriate action to communicate with their children throughout this process, and make them feel involved in key decisions, such as where they will live after the divorce.” [2]

Financial competency and freedom are possible. Stop spending more than we make, learn to save, and read a book or two about money management. I am a fan of books by Dave Ramsey ( The library has free books and if we find one which we want to keep in our collection to refer to, used bookstores offer books for a fraction of the price.

Despite the date on the calendar, if we want to make a change in our lives, we can do so. The power to live our best, healthiest lives lies not with someone else, or in their timeframe, but in our own. To quote Yoda (yes, the short green guy was wise beyond his nine hundred years), “there is no try, we either do or we do not.”

Here is to a year ahead which holds amazing adventures, peaceful moments, carefree days, and the fulfillment of our dreams. Trusting that should the road ahead detour into difficult times; we realize we have the power to reverse or restart our trek. We need not wait an entire year for the reset button. Whether it is January 1, March 3, June 30, or September 9, we are in control of our lives. Those decisions we make and the actions we take are how we stay true to ourselves and those resolutions or promises we make.

Written by Bernetta Thorne-Williams


[2] Don’t Stay for the Sake of the Children, Research Shows – Divorce Magazine




















27 May 1972


19 July 2019

Sister (The family called her that as if it were her given name) had a stroke three months after Mama passed, leaving her paralyzed on her right side. Every other weekend I traveled back and forth to see her. Traveling back and forth alone was intimidating and anxiety producing at first. What if something happened to the car or to me? We had “Triple A” road-side assistance (AAA). Sometimes there was an hour or more wait depending on how busy AAA was. The thought of being stranded on the roadside was frightening. We had that experience while traveling together, but thank God, I never experienced it alone. I had mentally noted the rest stops or gas stations I thought safe to stop if I needed a break. I felt safe and relaxed while traveling with MFH (My Former Husband); but I bolstered up the courage to get out there solo on those mean highways. For heaven’s sake, that was Sister; my one and only I might add who was like a mother to me. Given the severity of her stroke, I tried to get her to live with us. She refused saying, “She did not want to be a burden.” MFH and I discussed pros and cons such as we both worked an hour away from home, although I could set up home health care. He also said that she would probably be happier at her home because friends could visit her. I asked MFH to request a transfer. I told him that I was going to move to my hometown and help take care of her. Surprisingly, he agreed, taking a demotion. Perhaps he agreed because he knew I was serious about leaving and his demotion was temporary.

MFH transferred and unfortunately before I could find a new job Sister died; just six months after Mama passed! When her husband called that Sunday afternoon and told me, “She’s gone.” I asked, “who was gone?” When he told me, “My sister,” I screamed, dropped the phone, and fell to my knees! MFH ran upstairs and picked up the phone. Her husband told him, “She had a massive heart attack.”

MFH scolded me for my continued sobs and screams of “no, no, no!” He came over and helped me to bed. “Jane, Jane, Jane calm down!” he demanded. I wondered how he could be so cruel. Where was the compassion, tenderness, and comfort with which my husband should be trying to console me? Why did MFH not say he was sorry and that everything was going to be alright?

Now we were planning the funeral of my beloved Sister. I was beyond devastated and went into a deep dark place. It was as if my very soul died and left my body. I only managed to keep breathing due to the grace of God.

Before we could move from the Mid-Atlantic, from January 6, 1996 – January 8, 1996, the “Blizzard of ’96” wreaked havoc for three days there and in the Northeast. The day before the storm hit, MFH came in from work and started packing. Curious, I asked him where he was going. He told me he was going to spend the next three days at the office. Because I would be alone, incredulously I looked at him and asked, “What about me?” Our son was in a job training program in another state. MFH, proud of himself; announced that he had stopped at a couple of the neighbors and asked if they would check on me while he was at work. I was broken-hearted, shocked, angry, and felt rejected. He became defensive and said, “You should understand the gravity of the situation and my employees will really appreciate me going the extra mile being hands-on. I consider this a team building opportunity.”

Going through all those feelings and expressing them to MFH meant little to nothing to him, because the next morning he left, and I did not see him for three days. I was still in bed when he left, pretending I was asleep. He left quietly. Then the tears came in torrents. I was afraid that I would lose power and/or the snow might be too heavy for the roof, and it would cave in. I hardly slept. My anxiety was palatable. I jumped at every unusual sound. However, I turned down a neighbor’s offer to stay with them. I did not want them to see or hear me crying or arguing with my absent husband when he graced me with a call. When he did call, the conversations were primarily one sided. He babbled about this and that; getting to have a fun ride on the snow removal equipment and showing his willingness to get “his hands dirty” by shoveling snow and spreading salt. I barely listened because I was hurt, lonely, and apprehensive because of the weather. I had never experienced a snowstorm like that all alone. I was heartbroken that he did not take into consideration my safety or feelings. What was MFH showing me? I was not a priority, nowhere near the top of his list. I felt so alone in the world.

I remembered feeling that way after he left me within hours of Mama’s death and the lack of compassion while just finding out Sister died. I was already convinced that I did not matter as much as I thought I did or should have! Yet, something made me stay. Was I holding out hope, praying that he would see the treasure he had in me? Or was I simply delusional like so many other women who had traveled down this road before me?

Our marriage survived Mama’s and Sister’s deaths, the blizzard of ’96 and several more years, transfers, and disappointments. All along I was telling myself that marriages have difficulties, I had a man who really loved me, and I loved him. Further, he was working hard to help provide for his family. This was a dream for many women. So, why was I complaining?

Stay tuned for Part V of Death of a Marriage in our March newsletter.

Written by Jane Rhoe



POOF is Promises. We have all made them. Some we honor and keep and others we forget and dismiss. However, a deathbed promise to your father is a promise of a different sort. One that should not be entered into lightly; especially when that promise has the potential to offer redemption. POOF (Promise on Our friendship), a childhood word created by a devoted father and shared with his only daughter becomes the catalyst that leads Samantha on a journey into her father’s past and careening into her own future.

Chicken Soup for the Working Mom’s Soul:

Whether you work full time or part time, in an office or from your home, or are a stay-at-home moms Chicken Soup for the Working Mom’s Soul is for you. The stories found in this heartwarming book are from women who, day in and day out, juggle and balance their careers and their families. Whether it is a busy day at the office, followed by music lessons and baseball practice, preparing dinner, or helping with homework, then snuggling and tucking in the little ones, life for a working mom is a busy one. But it is also an enriching and rewarding life, and the stories shared in this book by working moms will show you that it is not important to be ‘Super Mom’ all the time, just some of the time!

Chicken Soup for the Working Mom’s Soul: Humor and Inspiration for Moms Who Juggle It All (Chicken Soup for the Soul) by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen,204,203,200_.jpg


Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined sitting down to write an article on recovery from alcohol addiction, especially my own. But humbly and with gratitude, here it is. I was raised in a middle-class family on Long Island. Nice home, two cars, parents who were educated professionals. Alcoholism ran through all branches of my family tree, my father being a functional alcoholic who was prone to rages of verbal and physical abuse. Anxiety was a trait passed on as well, and I was subjected to many fears and insecurities as a child. I did not abuse alcohol or drugs as a teenager. I spent my twenties and thirties happily raising our two daughters with my wonderful husband. He was solid as a rock, still is. I rarely drank but when I did it was usually too much. My responsibility and love for our girls kept me focused on being the best mother I could be. I wanted their lives to be perfect, that they should have peace and love in their home. And faith, which was strong and true and guided me through parenting, a career as a social worker and involvement in our beloved Three Village Church. Life was very good. I felt grateful and blessed.

In 2000, my mother, my dearest friend, passed away suddenly. Here is where my use of alcohol as a coping mechanism took hold. My grief was immense. To escape that pain, I found solace in alcohol to numb those sharp jabs of sorrow, instead of turning to my faith. In 2001, we experienced 9/11 very personally which drove me further into the tunnel of addiction. A year later, career changes found us relocating to Memphis, Tennessee and then to Atlanta, Georgia. Our lives changed so much. My husband’s new role required extensive travel inside and outside the United States. Our girls were in college in Pennsylvania and Virginia. I was alone in a beautiful home consumed with resentment, grief, and fear. My faith was shaken, my trust in God shattered. I had become selfish and bitter. I did not take these as opportunities for growth. I drank in solitude until I did not feel anything, not sadness, or joy, not gratitude and certainly not love for our family. They were so disappointed in me and what I had become. And the truth of the matter, so was I.

It still breaks my heart when I think of how I hurt them for that period of almost 10 years. I attempted to stop on my own many times but did not have the strength. I was not losing my life and loved ones, I was giving them away. When our beautiful granddaughter was born in 2011, we moved to Raleigh, North Carolina to be near her and our daughter.

I continued to drink, even though we were so happy to be near them. Our granddaughter is a ray of sunshine and peace, my joy. By 2012, I had pushed everyone away from me, choosing alcohol instead of my loved ones. Finally, I broke! I laid on the floor and called out to Jesus to help me. Declaring that I could not stop doing this thing I did not want to do that was destroying me and my family. I completely surrendered that day. I prayed for mercy, I prayed for forgiveness. I asked Him to guide me to healing. A rush of hope and humility came over me. I was willing to do whatever it took to heal, and I hoped that one day my family would forgive me, too. I asked for help from counselors, my Christian sisters and Alcoholics Anonymous. I accepted the love and grace that was always available to me through Christ, though I was too hardened to see it.
Since that day I have been filled with gratitude and dedicated to maintaining a sober life. Loving my family as hard as I can every day. They did accept and continue to believe that I have changed. That I will continue to walk with God and among others who have also fought this battle. I have no fear of sharing my story. I do so in the hope that someone else might find something in it they can identify with and reach out for help, too. Every day, all day, my song is thank you, Jesus for saving me.

Written by Jane Edwards


  1. Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future,” by Oscar Wilde.
  2. “Mediation is not spacing out or running away. In fact, it is being totally honest with ourselves,” by Kathleen McDonald.
  3. “May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears,” by Nelson Mandela.
  4. “I feel like, when people realize that they are the only person they need to impress, everybody’s life will be a lot smoother,” by Megan Thee Stallion
  5. “The value of life is not in its duration, but in its donation. You are not important because of how long you live; you are important because of how effective you live,” by Myles Munroe.
  6. “Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort,” by Deborah Day
  7. “Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness,” by Marianne Williamson.
  8. “Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one,” by Eleanor Roosevelt
  9. “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you,” by Anne Lamott
  10. “We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they are called memories. Some take us forward, they are called dreams,” by Jeremy Irons.

Visit our website for daily motivations Luminous Inspirations


We all know our body “talks” to us or sends us messages; but when was the last time we had a heart-to-heart talk with our body?

We spend so much of our time taking care of others and making sure they get what they need. Our most precious commodity, our bodies, are often neglected as we play “superhero” to those in our lives. But think about it. Have we ever thought about what it would be like to expose our deepest feelings to our body and be frank about how we have treated our bodies?

What has your body done for you and how have you responded? Have you shown your body the appreciation it deserves, or have you put it down, hated it, abused it, allowed it to be abused, over-fed it, under-nourished it, injured it, or simply ignored it? Or have you adorned it, praised it, blessed it, massaged it, touched it, or allowed it to be touched, loved, and appreciated?

I would like to challenge you to take a real look at your body. Do not worry. You will not have to disrobe! Look at your body as you would look at someone you genuinely care about. If your body belonged to your child or partner, for instance, would you allow it to go for hours without food or rest? Would you allow it to skip doctor’s appointments? Would you take the time to exercise that body to increase overall health? I am guessing if your body belonged to another, you would do whatever you could to ensure its safety and good health. But that is unrealistic! Your body belongs to you. If you fail to make caring for yourself a priority, in essence, you fail to make those you love a priority. We cannot provide for others when we are physically exhausted and emotionally fatigued. If you looked at your body as someone you love, would you be pleased at the way you have cared for it?

To help people (including yours truly) understand how phenomenal our bodies are, I offered up an experiment I would like to share. I asked each person to “Write a Letter to Your Body.”  Initially, people were intimidated and confused, so I made it a bit easier.

  • In the first paragraph of the letter, thank your body for all it has done for you.
  • In the second paragraph of the letter, apologize to your body for all you have done to it.
  • In the third paragraph of the letter, make a commitment to begin taking better care of your body and promise to appreciate your body.

It is an eye-opening exercise that makes one think deeply about us as caregivers and lovers of our own bodies. Our bodies are capable of so much more than we believe. I know mine is because I have exposed it to some horrific situations, and it somehow healed itself of the abuse or neglect I imposed upon it. After writing a letter to my body, I began to look at it in a way I had never looked at it before. I am a walking miracle! While I am not as invincible as I would like to believe, I am pretty darn close! As I share “A Letter to My Body” with you, I invite you to write a letter as well. I started sharing this idea with people almost eight years ago and have always received positive feedback. I hope you get something out of the experience.


Dear Body:

Thank you for all the years of good health you have given me. Thank you for carrying my lovely children and keeping them safe for nine long months! If it were difficult for me on the outside, I cannot even imagine all you went through on the inside to keep my child safe as she grew inside my womb. Even when I did not eat right, you nourished her. When I did not get enough sleep, you gave her rest. I am so grateful to you for that.

Thank you, Body, for helping me rise each morning and go about my day with little to no concern on how I would get around. I realize not every person is able to walk, run, ride bikes, or even stoop to pick up a child. But you have blessed me with the ability to do all of this with little to no effort. After all these years, I remain relatively strong and able to function on my own. Thank you, Body, for your healing powers that remain a mystery to me. When I had surgery, I thought I would never be able to walk straight again. My mind gave up, but you, my body, kept going. After two months of recovery, I was almost back to 100%! It happened so subtly that I barely noticed. You are sneaky that way Body.

Thank you for my sight so that I can see the sun rise in the morning and the stars sparkle at night. I love being able to smell the honeysuckle each Spring and the pine in the Fall. Thank you for all my senses that I seem to take for granted. Body, thank you for taking care of me when I failed to take care of me. Sometimes I forget; sometimes I just do not take the time to care. However, you have always taken care of me and kept me going, not just physically, but also emotionally and mentally. As life threw its trauma and drama at me, you kept me sane. You got me through those darker times. You reminded me to breathe in the butterflies and blow out the bees. Living has been mostly effortless, but only because of the strength of my Body. I will forever be thankful to you.

How can I begin to apologize and ask your forgiveness for how I have treated you over the years? Body, I am deeply sorry for the way I have neglected you, starved you, over-fed you, complained about you, and deprived you of proper rest. The list goes on. Yet through all of this, you remained strong and time after time, you helped me get back on the right track. I remember the time my sisters and I thought we could lose weight quickly if we fasted for a week. I know now, that was not a good idea. When I look back at the times, we played in the sun with no thought of protecting the skin that protected us, I cringe! I am sorry I did not take the time to use sunscreen or at the very least, wear a hat. Oh, and I really need to apologize for all the different dyes, chemicals, flat irons, curling irons, and heat I exposed you to just to have the newest hairstyles. It was not just my hair, but my body that was affected by all the experiments I did with my hair. One time I had burns all over my scalp, but true to form, you healed me.

I am sorry that I continue to struggle with giving you the rest you deserve and need. Sleep is difficult for me, and I am a work in progress in this area. I ask you to forgive me for the times I did not properly care for a wound because I thought it was too much trouble. When I hurt myself on a bike, it was bad, and I should have gone to the emergency room. But I did not. After two weeks of trying to heal myself, the wound became infected, and I had to have two penicillin shots. The doctor said I could have lost a part of my foot!

Body, please forgive me for the times I allowed toxic people in my life. It was only when the relationship was about to end that I became aware of the effect the toxicity was having on me physically. It drained me and at times I almost lost my will to live. But my Body came through for me as always. I am now learning when to walk away from toxic relationships that try to steal my joy. I am sorry for my negligence with so many things.

Body, I want to make a commitment to you and myself to do better. I have already developed better eating habits. Even when I am not hungry, I know you need nourishment, so I eat light, healthy snacks. I promise to continue to exercise more often daily. My dogs help me with that new commitment. I am making a promise to be more aware of the needs of my body and care for it as I would care for my children. I promise to think carefully about the choices I make that have the potential to put my body in danger (i.e., no bungee jumping!) or risk an unplanned visit to the hospital. I plan to work on my health from the inside out as I embody the benefits of good health and a good life!

Written by Natalie Huckins

Write a letter to your body and share it with us here at Luminous Newsletter.

We hope you enjoyed this edition of the newsletter. Look for the next release in March 2023!


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