Are you ready to get to know your second SOAR! Recipient?!  Meet Charisse Rhodes!

If you missed Charisse’s video submission, check it out below!

Some of you may remember seeing Charisse from last year’s SOAR! submissions.  It takes a lot of guts to try again (and we are so glad Charisse did).  This is her year!


Initial Thoughts by Charisse Rhodes

In being asked how I have felt these last few days, I am hard pressed to explain in a way that makes sense and does not make me sound like a rambling head case. Seriously, I just keep replaying the entire thing in my mind over and over. While I now know that I don’t have to be pinched, I am already awake; I do realize that as one of the 2010 SOAR Recipients, I have received a blessing that was truly unexpected.

As I sit here to write this initial post, I am consumed again with tears and overwhelming appreciation. I am totally excited and elated that somehow the stars aligned, or as I believe…God said to me, “Yes my dear, now it is your turn” and he gave me the opportunity to receive this amazing blessing of the SOAR Scholarship. I quickly saw that I was also given an even bigger gift. It was the gift of this amazing community of women who I get to live my journey out loud with. You are all the most compassionate beautiful group of women I have never met!

Last year at this time, I sat watching Linda, Jen and Lindsay receive their gifts. I remember the disappointment juxtaposed with a sense of relief and excitement for those three ladies. I knew in my spirit that it was not my time for this scholarship. There was other work in me that I needed to do to prepare myself and to learn on my own. I needed to make some baby steps by myself, yet not alone. I realized I received what I needed at that time. It was not gear, but a community of women and new associates…many of whom I have never met in person yet whom I can call upon for support! These friends are different though. They are not caught up in the drama of my everyday life. They share with me and allow me to share with them a passion and creative expression that I love so dearly. Over the year we have gently and at times, strongly encouraged one another to move forward, shared in our joys and disappointments. Trust me ladies, there are no winners and losers with this SOAR community.

What I found is that Me Ra & Brian are the most amazing people. They birthed this community of women and men who support us, to come together. It’s done in a way that we can learn, grow, achieve, and lean on each other in a way I have never seen in any other community. For me, that is huge. I so miss the sense of community that I remember growing up with in my home town. To think they created a place where we can find it on cyberspace is an amazing achievement!

My video showed a little sense of who I am. I am a nurturer who put almost everything and everyone’s needs before her own. I haven’t allowed myself to dream about my personal desires for years. Sometimes I was nearly at the point where I felt I was not supposed to.

The first video I did was a struggle.  Yet I showed myself I could do it and that it was okay to come out of the shadows of my life. I almost did not apply again, thinking I had no chance of being selected. Encouraged by some friends, along with several SOAR sisters from last year, I gave it a try. You can only imagine that I am so glad I did!   I made jokes about cleaning my house to prepare,  but boy oh boy if I only knew. I had no idea! My husband is usually terrible about keeping things from me. This time he and my one of my best friends really pulled one over on me! I thought I was going to a bridal show, only to hear my door bell ring and see Genie and Linda standing on my porch! OMG…the shock! Well, if you watched the video of my open mouth and wide eyes…well… you saw the shock. It was REAL. I couldn’t catch my breath!

However, within days my elation quickly went through a series of emotions. The other reality hit, that I had just expanded my little bubble of safety, and now I would need to fulfill, live out loud and dare to share dreams and fears that before now had been kept in a very private place. I can not duck and run for cover when life gets in the way as I have done before. The reality that I can share the other facets of myself beyond my motherhood was going to manifest. Wow!

While it is true that I may have access to a few extra tools and resources, there is still much work to be done.

I can not end this amazingly long post without thanking Me Ra, Brian, Genie, Sony, jill-e, Shootdotedit, Barefoot Memories,  SmugMug, Wisdom Connection, Pixel2Canvas and all the other sponsors that make this opportunity possible! To Linda, Jen, and Lindsay thank you for paving the way filled with authenticity and your willingness to support us over this next year. Thank you for believing in me! Thank you for your heart for helping women all over reach for their stars! I implore you my SOAR Sistas….let’s ROCK this thang!


Will you join me in welcoming this beautiful lady!! Congrats Charisse!  We are so excited to see this year unfold for you!



p.s.  To follow the individual journey of all three ladies, tune into the SOAR! blog on Tuesdays for Rachel, Wednesdays for Charisse and Thursdays for Ali!  It’s going to be an awesome year!