About This Book


Women have always been wonderful sources of inspiration and support for each other.  They are willing to lay bare their souls, even to perfect strangers. Put two random women together in a waiting room, on an airplane, in a line at the supermarket, and the sharing begins, often at the deepest level. This book contains 101 of our best stories from women sharing their stories of hope, humor, and inspiration with each other.

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Five ways for women to support each other
Inspired by Chicken Soup for the Soul: Woman to Woman by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen and Amy Newmark

Women have always been wonderful sources of inspiration and support for each other. In Chicken Soup for the Soul: Woman to Woman, women share their personal, heartwarming experiences and wisdom in a collection of stories that remind us all why we benefit so much from our relationships with our female friends and family members. Here are five ways to keep those relationships alive.

1. Give thoughtful gifts. PeggySue Wells grew up having tea with her best friend, Jenny. Though their lives began to drift apart in college, they still found time for the occasional cup of tea to catch up. Everything changed when PeggySue moved. Devastated being away from her family and best friend, she found comfort in a package Jenny sent her: a beautiful tea set and a box of teas. "Her note read: 'I know you will need a close friend in your new home. You have my permission to find a new close friend. Then you will have two close friends,'" PeggySue says that it's been 15 years since PeggySue moved away, and they are still sending each other tea.

2. Remember that laughter is the best medicine. Deborah Hedstrom-Page leaned on her sister after her husband died. They decided to tackle various projects around the house to stay busy. But when they attempted to install a closet organization system, it wasn't as simple as they hoped. As boards and screws fell to the floor, the whole thing suddenly became a joke. It was the first time Deborah had laughed in weeks. It was a small moment, but it changed everything, even after her sister left. "For in the hard months following her departure, on my worst days, I inevitably opened my closet and spotted my slightly tilting organizer," Deborah writes. "No matter how I felt, I just couldn't help smiling."

3. Inspire each other. Weighing more than 300 pounds, Dee Hakala was inspired to do something about her body when a new, equally large friend gave her a month's gym membership for Christmas. When Dee went to an aerobics class, she felt uncomfortable because she was so overweight. She wanted to quit, but Ellen's confidence inspired her to keep going. After falling off the exercise wagon for a few weeks, Dee realized how important exercise was for keeping her happy and healthy. So she trained as an aerobics teacher and developed her own class for overweight women, so they wouldn't feel alone as she had. It was a huge success! In the 14 years since, she wrote her own book, worked on her own video series and sports equipment endorsements, and won Nike's Fitness Innovation Award. "The truth is I wouldn't be here if my students hadn't seen a woman their own size in front of those mirrors. They told me so. If I could do that, they said, then by God, so could they," Dee says.

4. Always be encouraging. As a teacher and coach, Angela Perez Baraquiro loves inspiring her students to accomplish more than they think they can. So when two of her students told her they wanted to try out for basketball but worried they wouldn't make the team, she told them how she had lost the Miss America contest twice, but still gained valuable experience and scholarship money. Her students agreed to try out if Angela tried out for Miss America again. She did, winning first runner-up as Miss Oahu! And she continued advancing in pageants, motivated by her students. Then she won Miss America in 2000, becoming the first Asian and the first teacher to win the pageant. "As my students have taught me," Angela writes, "it's always worth it to try."

5. Reach out to others in need. Erin Kilby dreamed of working as a teacher, so when she found a job as a teacher in Texas at an alternative school, she and her husband quit their jobs and moved. Erin struggled in her first year of teaching, but found comfort and mentorship in her principal, Ms. Karla Dunn. During her second year, Erin faced troubles at home, splitting from her husband and eventually renting her own place. Once again, she sought solace in Ms. Dunn, who she now called by her first name. When Karla invited her over for lunch one day and showed her a set of beautiful blue and white dishes, she explained that another woman gave them to her when she was just starting out and in need. Karla gave them to Erin with the stipulation that once she got back on her feet, she would pass the set on to anther woman in need. "Often I wonder about the woman who will inherit these dishes from me," Erin says. "Perhaps in me she will see what I saw in Karla — a kind heart, a spirit that does not cast stones and a firm commitment to integrity. Karla's example is the true nourishment I get every time I eat a meal on these dishes."

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