Author Archives: Skipping Stars Productions LLC

About Skipping Stars Productions LLC

Skipping Stars Productions LLC is an activities, educational, events and fundraising organization serving communities, neighborhoods and individuals in and around Chandler, Gilbert and Queen Creek, AZ.

Stevie Nicks: The Rock Star Auntie

Source: – Written By Savvy Auntie Staff Writers –  By A. Noelle
Steve NicksAmerican singer-songstress, Stephanie Lynn “Stevie” Nicks, has been dubbed “The Reigning Queen of Rock and Roll” and one of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” (Rolling Stone, 1981). Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, Nicks has garnered over forty Top 50 hits, sold over 140 million albums, and received eight Grammy Award nominations as a solo artist, five as a member of Fleetwood Mac.
Fame and fortune aside, Nicks is much more than rock ‘n’ roll royalty; she is a Rock Star Auntie who “finds maternal fulfillment through her nieces, nephew, and godchildren” (The Age, 2006). Nicks resolved to never have children of her own “due to her demanding career and desire to follow her art wherever it should take her” (ABC Downtown Radio, 2001): “My mission maybe wasn’t to be a mom and a wife; maybe my particular mission was to write songs to make moms and wives feel better.” Intent on pursuing her passion and discovering her life’s purpose through music, Nicks was more than ready to relish the joys of aunthood (Rolling Stone, 1998):
I don’t really need children. I have a niece who’s six, who certainly fills my life up as far as a child goes. I’m going to just work on my work. I don’t think the world is going to have that much of a problem with me not being married or having a family. I don’t think that’s why I came here. I have something that’s really important to do, and I don’t think I’ve done that yet.
Choosing Life on the Road Over Life at Home
Although she once seriously considered adoption, hectic tour schedules made Nicks soon realize that the working mother’s life would not work for her (Daily News, 1997):
I have a newfound respect for moms. When I’m at my house in Phoenix, I live with my 5 ½-year-old niece [Jessica] and my brother and sister-in-law. And I now really understand what an incredible commitment it is to have a child, and how difficult it is. I know I could not have done both. I’d have ended up having to stop doing my music, or pretty much letting someone else raise my child—which would have made me very unhappy […] I don’t want to bring children into a world of crazy rock ‘n’ roll. I mean, people have asked, ‘Are you going to take your dog on tour?’ No! I don’t want her to go out there and get sick and die. So, to drag a kid around on the road? I don’t think that’s right.
Long after Nick’s breakup with Fleetwood Mac bandmate Lindsey Buckingham, and then later a divorce from a three-month union with close friend Kim Anderson, she remained determined to enjoy life as a rock artist, unfettered by marriage and motherhood. After one of her best friends, Sheryl Crow, adopted two boys, Nicks gave the following statement in an interview (The Guardian, 2011):
It’s a decision I made, to not get married and have children. […] I want to have complete freedom. Sheryl does not have complete freedom now. She doesn’t! But that’s what she wanted. She wanted a baby. And I have a Yorkie Chinese crested dog. I’m happy with that.
Staying Single With No Regrets
Last year, when asked if she ever regretted the decision to stay single, Nicks responded with a firm and resolute “No” (CBS This Morning, 2012): Once I joined the band in ‘68…I wanted to be a rock and roll star. I wanted to be a rock and roll singer, and there’s a song that my grandfather used to sing to me that goes: ‘I never will marry. I’ll be no man’s wife. I tend to stay single all the rest of my life.’ And my father always said, ‘She’ll never get married.’ I really kind of made that decision.
It is a solid decision that other aunts and godmothers have made—to stay single and happy while pursuing their lifelong dreams. For Rock Star Auntie Stevie Nicks, it was destiny:
I have lots of kids. It’s much more fun to be the crazy auntie than it is to be the mom, anyway. I couldn’t do what I’m doing if I had kids.
Thanks to Savvy Auntie member, Jill Eden Strauzer, for alerting us to this news! Do you have a Savvy Auntie alert for us? Email us at editor and let us know!
Photo: Courtesy of Albert Sanchez, Published: May 21, 2013
Categories: Aunts, Stevie Nicks | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jineane Ford | Gilbert’s former Miss U.S.A. with her boys

First game of the season for Desert Ridge HS.

Categories: Gilbert Women, Jineane Ford, Miss U.S.A. | Tags: | Leave a comment

Linda Abbott: Long time Gilbert community activist

• Co-Founded “Shop Gilbert”. Program that educates residents to patronize businesses within the community, has served as a template for cities valley wide.
• Placed police personnel as resource officers in schools, passed curfew law for teens, and funded a specialized Gang Task force within the police department.
• Helped create a municipal fire department with paramedic service for the Town of Gilbert.
• 2009 Recommended and supported the implementation of a Gilbert Citizens Budget Committee to evaluate and consider cuts, efficiencies, and investments needed to reflect priorities of Gilbert citizens for 2010-2011 budget.
• Ensured growth would pay for itself, assisted negotiations for dedication of property to build fire stations, and open space for youth sports.
• Worked with local, state and federal agencies including the Pentagon, in order to transfer ownership of Williams Air Base to a civilian facility now known as Phoenix, Mesa Gateway Airport.
• Will continue to support
Council Member · 1991 to 1995
Council Member · 2007 to 2011
Vice Mayor 2009
Teacher · Gilbert, Arizona
Co-Founder, Board Member · Gilbert, Arizona
Co-Founder, Board Member
Program designed to create awareness for Gilbert residents to shop locally and patronize local businesses. “Keep your money where your house is”
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Chandler tea loft closing due to owner’s illness

Chandler tea loft closing due to owner’s illness.

Gilbert resident / owner: Glynis Legrand

Categories: Gilbert Women, Glynis Legrand | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Gilbert woman named enrollment director at new Mesa campus

Gilbert woman named enrollment director at new Mesa campus.

Categories: Gilbert Women, Hillarie Brooke Price | Tags: | Leave a comment

Gilbert Resident: Susan Berman – Fresh Start Women’s Foundation


Susan Berman is the new President and Chief Executive Officer of Fresh Start Women’s Foundation and began her new duties on September 12, 2011. Susan graduated from ASU with a Bachelors degree in Psychology and graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Masters degree in Counseling. Susan pursued her college education while raising her three children as a single parent. She has over 20 years experience in social services programs, management, and program design and development. Susan is a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the National Career Counseling association (NECA) and is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) through the American Counseling Association.

Up until her joining the Fresh Start family, Susan was the Director of Programs at Childhelp, a National non-profit that is into its 53rd year of operation. Her role was to make significant contributions to six varied and multi-faceted programs and create and implement significant staff development by increasing quality, effectiveness, and program outcomes across the board. One major program Susan had oversight and direct operational duties were the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline. Operating 24/7 with 36 qualified professional counselors, Susan’s responsibilities was to continually improve quality of service delivery and continually engage in marketing and media exposure on behalf of the hotline.

Prior to 2007, Susan ran the Workforce Development Program throughout Maricopa County for 10+ years operating a staff of over 70 professionals and providing job readiness, career development, and job placement services to citizens of the entire County. One of the significant contributions Susan brought to Workforce Development was the collaborative environment she helped create among the 16 Counties and the State that elevated all of the services and leveraged numerous resources to the benefit of each County’s citizens. Susan also wrote and published case management and case note curriculum that was adopted by Rutgers’s University, John J Heldrich Center on Workforce Development. As a result of the curriculum she was able to provide the training to over 300 professional staff throughout Arizona. In addition to this she wrote numerous grants for federal and local funds and was awarded over $12 million dollars in federal funds over a five year span.

Previously Susan operated a private counseling practice that focused primarily on women and familial issues. Susan’s focus is to assist individuals to learn to have a positive and nurturing relationship with self in order to affect parenting and other significant relationships. Her goal is to help her clients identify ways to cope and grow, and to find empowerment and confidence. She believes that we all have the right to become the very best we can – and that we often need a helping hand to get there.

Susan’s skills at creative program design and collaborative approaches have resulted in significant changes in the National Child Abuse Hotline in her tenure with Childhelp. The Hotline has made a significant move from a referral focus to a crisis intervention and counseling model utilizing its strong foundation of qualified counselors. The Hotline has taken on new and innovative collaborative approaches to addressing significant issues around the nation with Susan’s guidance and leadership.


Mothers Are the Backbone of Our Society article

Phoenix Business Journal

Fresh Start Susan Berman Press Release

Berman: Working to give mothers a Fresh Start

Help the community while you shop

Categories: American Counseling Association (ACA), Director of Programs at Childhelp, Fresh Start Women's Foundation, National Career Counseling association (NECA), Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) through the American Counseling Association, private counseling practice, Susan Berman, Workforce Development Program | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Gilbert Resident: Sarah Robles – The Strongest Woman In America Lives In Poverty

Donate at to help get Sarah and her coach to the Olympics.

Source: –  Jessica Testa BuzzFeed Staff

Sarah Robles is ranked higher than any other American weightlifter, male or female. She’s the best hope the U.S. has at an Olympic medal in the sport — but she struggles to pay her rent.

Sarah Robles at the Olympic trials. Photo courtesy of Robles.

Posted  about a week ago

Weightlifter Sarah Robles is an incredible athlete, but outside the world of squats and snatches, barely anyone knows her name. And even though she’s the U.S.’s best chance at an Olympic medal, she’ll never get the fame or fortune that come so easily to her fellow athletes — in part because, at 5 feet, 10.5 inches and 275 pounds, she doesn’t fit the ideal of thin, toned athletic beauty.

“You can get that sponsorship if you’re a super-built guy or a girl who looks good in a bikini. But not if you’re a girl who’s built like a guy,” she says. The 23-year-old from California became the highest ranked weightlifter in the country last year after placing 11th at the world championships, beating out every male and female American on the roster. On her best day, she can lift more than 568 pounds — that’s roughly five IKEA couches, 65 gallons of milk, or one large adult male lion.

But that doesn’t mean much when it comes to signing the endorsement deals that could pay the bills. Track star Lolo Jones, 29, soccer player Alex Morgan, 22, and swimmer Natalie Coughlin, 29, are natural television stars with camera-friendly good looks and slim, muscular figures. But women weightlifters aren’t go-tos when Sports Illustrated is looking for athletes to model body paint in the swimsuit issue. They don’t collaborate with Cole Haan on accessories lines and sit next to Anna Wintour at Fashion Week, like tennis beauty Maria Sharapova. And male weightlifters often get their sponsorships from supplements or diet pills, because their buff, ripped bodies align with male beauty ideals. Men on diet pills want to look like weightlifters — most women would rather not.

Courtesy Sarah Robles.

Meanwhile, Robles — whose rigorous training schedule leaves her little time for outside work — struggles to pay for food. It would be hard enough for the average person to live off the $400 a month she receives from U.S.A. Weightlifting, but it’s especially difficult for someone who consumes 3,000 to 4,000 calories a day, a goal she meets through several daily servings of grains, meats and vegetables, along with weekly pizza nights.

She also gets discounted groceries from food banks and donations from her coach, family and friends — or, as Robles says, “prayers and pity.” Robles could save cash by moving into the free dormitories at U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado, but she refuses to leave her coach, Joe Micela, who’s become a father figure to her: Her own father died of a blood vessel disease when she was 17.

Robles grew up in Desert Hot Springs and San Jacinto, Calif., where she became a top-ranked shot putter who earned scholarships to University of Alabama and later Arizona State University. She was self-conscious about her body from a young age, until middle school, when she first got into sports and discovered she could use her large frame to her advantage.

“When she got into sports, she came home one day and she said, ‘I finally feel accepted.’ That’s when she just kind of settled into herself,” her mom Joy Robles says.

Coach Micela began working with Robles in 2008, when she was attending Arizona State and began lifting weights to improve her shot-put throw. Within just three months of training with Micela, Robles had qualified for weightlifting nationals and decided to forfeit her scholarship. She began competing across the country and the world — beating every other American at the world championships last year. Then, in March, Robles and fellow super heavyweight competitor Holley Mangold qualified for the U.S. Olympics team. (Robles beat Mangold by four kilograms.)

Because of her financial troubles, Micela donates much of his time and pays to travel with Robles to competitions. Most Olympians make money through their governing bodies, as well as sponsorships, endorsements, speaking engagements, and the like. These endorsements can be worth six figures or more — like Michael Phelps’ $1 million deal to be a spokesman for Mazda in China — or they can compensate athletes with free equipment or products. PowerBar is Robles’ only product sponsorship and her name isn’t yet big enough to land her any big special appearances. “It’s simple,” Robles says. “If a company wants to advertise their brand, there’s no benefit in sponsoring you if you’re not getting any exposure.”

Robles competing at the world championships last year. Courtesy of Robles.

As an Olympian, Robles doesn’t have to pay for her own travel, lodging and food in London. Neither does her mother, Joy, who won a special grant for Olympic parents from Procter & Gamble.

“I really didn’t think I had a chance in hell of going,” says Joy, who has only been able to afford to see her daughter lift competitively three times. “We’re so used to not good stuff happening, so this is just kind of mind-boggling.”

Since the Olympics began hosting women’s weightlifting in 2000, only two American women have ever earned medals, both at the inaugural Sydney games: Tara Nott, who won gold in the flyweight category, and Cheryl Haworth, who earned bronze in super heavyweight, Robles’ category. If she does medal, Robles says her chances of landing more sponsorships won’t dramatically increase — after all, they didn’t increase much for Cheryl Haworth after her win at age 17. Following Haworth’s second Olympics, she had to sell her house and move to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

“Being an Olympian isn’t always glamorous. We don’t get tons of dough. Maybe one or two percent of athletes can actually make a living off it,” says Haworth, 29, who retired two years ago and now works as an admissions officer for the Savannah College of Art and Design. “It’s a sacrifice that not everyone is willing to make. Not everybody is willing to scrounge or figure out how to pay those bills … Sarah’s ability to get through those tough times really sets her apart.”

Robles wants to teach P.E. when she retires from weightlifting — sometime in the next four to 10 years, she says. When she’s not training, she blogs, crafts and goes to church. She went on a few dates before the Olympic trials, but she’s shy, and it’s hard to find a guy who’s comfortable dating a woman who’s bigger, taller and completely committed to her training.

“I still have bad thoughts about myself, but I’ve learned that you have to love yourself the way you are,” Robles says. “I may look like this, but I’m in the Olympics because of the way I am.”

Robles has become a role model to the bigger girls who come work out in her Mesa, Ariz., gym. She’s not entirely comfortable with the idea of being someone’s mentor, but she’s easing herself into the job. On her blog, she shares weightlifting tips and stories of being a plus-size athlete. She also has a Twitter and Facebook page, where she shares her mantra, “Beauty is strength,” with about 350 followers. It’s become her personal brand, and if she’s lucky, sponsors with a similar message will catch on. Still, Robles and Micela aren’t overly optimistic about her chances in London. Robles might be the best in the U.S., but the current women’s world record is about 150 pounds over her personal best.

“If she beats her own record, I’ll be happy,” says Micela, whom Robles calls her “number one sponsor.”

“I’ve learned that if you love yourself now, you can do amazing things. If you don’t, you’re closing so many doors,” Robles says. “It’s not an easy thing to do. It takes work and it takes practice. Just like my sport.”

Categories: Gilbert Women, Olympic Team Member 2012, Sarah Robles, Weightlifting | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Gilbert’s Olympic Team Member: Sarah Robles driven to set U.S. weightlifting records

Council Special Meeting

Gilbert Municipal Center, Council Chambers, 50 East Civic Center Drive Thursday, June 28, 2012, 7:00 p.m.

Recognition of Sarah Robles for qualifying for the 2012 Olympics.

Source: – By Roxanna Scott, USA TODAY

As part of USA TODAY Sports’ “100 Olympic hopefuls in 100 Days” series, prospective U.S. Olympians give their thoughts on the Games in their own words.

  • Sarah Robles poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Dallas on May 13.By Jim Cowsert, US PresswireSarah Robles poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Dallas on May 13.

By Jim Cowsert, US Presswire

Sarah Robles poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Dallas on May 13.

Sarah Robles is friends with many of her competitors. But once it’s time to compete, the 23-year-old weightlifter is all business.

Robles said before the U.S. Olympic trials in March, she deleted some fellow competitors from her friends’ list on Facebook.

“I didn’t call them or text them or message them,” says Robles, who trains in Mesa, Ariz. “That sounds very offensive. But I didn’t want us to be rooming together and have one of us make the team, and the other person not. … I didn’t want to be put in that position where there was too much heart invested in each other.”

She went on to lift a personal-best total of 258 kilograms (567.6 pounds) at the trials in Columbus, Ohio, to earn a spot in the London Olympics. The other spot on the U.S. women’s team went to her friend Holley Mangold, who lifted 255 kilograms.

Robles has risen rapidly through the elite ranks of the sport. She gave up a scholarship at Arizona State, where she was a discus thrower, to dedicate her time to weightlifting. She qualified for the 2008 Junior World Championships in her first year competing in the sport. In Colombia, she won the silver medal.

A year later, she was the top U.S. lifter at her first senior world championships. She finished 11th.

Robles also has a friendly relationship with three-time Olympian Cheryl Haworth, whose national collegiate record Robles broke last year.

Haworth is the only American woman to win an Olympic medal in the super heavyweight division of weightlifting. In 2000, she was 17 when she won Olympic bronze in Sydney. That year, American Tara Nott-Cunningham won gold in the women’s flyweight division.

Like Haworth, Robles competes in the super heavyweight division.

I don’t feel any pressure to win a medal. I feel more pressure to just do my best. My coach and I — our opinions are the only opinions that count.

That’s obviously my goal. You don’t go to the Olympics to not come home with a medal.

What keeps pushing me is the goals that I have. I want to break the American records. Snatch, clean and jerk and total. I’ve broken the collegiate national record so I’ve got to work on the other ones too. That would make me the Pan American record-holder. The strongest woman in the western hemisphere. Why not?

Cheryl and I are really good friends. I actually saw her at the Olympic trials. I have deep respect for her and I love her. She’s a really great person. That makes it all the better — to beat her records. She says she wants her records to be broken.

I did a deal with Topps, and I’m on a Topps card. So a lot of the other athletes are going to be on Topps cards as well. I’m gonna take the cards, and if I find the athlete that has the card, I’m gonna have them sign it. I’m gonna feel like such a dork.

If I have tickets, if they give us the ability to watch other sports, I would definitely do so. I always make track and field a priority because I love it. I come from a track and field background. I would love to see taekwondo, judo and those types of things. They have girls that are in my weight class. I would be interested to see big people in other sports. I would like to watch wrestling.

Robles spoke to reporters at the U.S. Olympic Media Summit in Dallas.

Categories: Gilbert Women, Olympic Team Member 2012, Sarah Robles, Weightlifting | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Lisa’s Story – by Linda King, edited by Jackie Mitchard


Lisa Continues to Live in Our Hearts

Survivor portrait by Bravery Project.

What does a domestic violence victim look like?

A poor, weak, down-trodden soul?

Someone raggedy and not very clean?

A person who’s not bright, who cowers in the corner?


Domestic abuse victims are doctors and lawyers and movie actors. They may be beautiful and have wonderful educations. They have only a few things in common – their fear and shame and their futile hope for change. You know them. They are your neighbors. They are the people you see on your walk. They may be you. They may be your child.

One of them was my child.

Lisa died September 1, 2001. Yes, its more than nine years ago, but I can touch that pain as though my heart were a hot stove that still burns.

She was 28 years old, lovely, accomplished and caring, funny and giving and graceful.

She had been abused by the man who was supposed to love her for nine years prior to her death.

Why did she stay? Was she stupid? People always wonder. Why do those women STAY? They don’t realize that months and years of abuse force the belief that a woman is worthless deep inside her, until she believes it herself. She forgets that love is not supposed to hurt. She believes every day it will get better if SHE can be better, if SHE can do more. Abusers like it that way. It gives them power. Hundreds of thousands of woman are like my Lisa. The humiliation, degradation and pain that results from emotional, verbal and physical changes them. They can’t believe that the woman in the mirror is the proud, confident, happy woman they once were. They only want to hide, from relatives, from friends – from the very people who could help them. They don’t want those people to be ashamed of them. It’s a cycle that suits the abuser very, very well. Not only can the abuser strike out, he can do so in secret.

Lisa graduated from college in 1992 and came home to Florida to begin fulfilling her life goals. She hoped to secure a good job, spend time with family and friends, date – maybe find a worthy mate and have a family. She was brimming with dreams. But all of them crashed when she met and began dating her abuser.

In Lisa’s case, as in most instances, the abuse didn’t start with a hit, a push or a shove: It began when he isolated her, subtly and slowly at first, from her family and friends. Someone who truly loves you wants to know your family and hopes your friends will accept and care for him. Abusers want just the opposite. So they start with guilt. After all, if Lisa loved him, she would spend all her time with him, caring for him, loving him alone, meeting his needs As their relationship progressed, he became more and more controlling and manipulative. If she protested even a little, she was punished.

Things changed overnight. The name calling and accusations escalated to a pinch that wasn’t playful. Next came a push or a shove, then a punch – and then suddenly, a black eye and broken ribs. How could she admit to me what she was enduring? I had to see for myself.  I will never forget one morning when I went by her apartment. Lisa opened the door and stood there with a black eye and tears streaming down her cheeks. She confided the truth and I begged her to do what was essential. Eventually, Lisa filed for and obtained a protective order. But her abuser was clever.

Soon, Lisa took steps to drop the charges: He told her how sorry he was and that it would never happen again. Why? How? She wanted to believe that she was loveable; and if she was loveable, of course, he would love her. Her affidavit on the protective order read, this way: “He sat on me for an hour and threatened to tie me up with duct tape if I tried to leave.  He banged my head on the floor.  He blackened my eye and broke my finger.  He told me if I try to leave he will kill me and burn my parent’s home and I know he will do what he has threatened to do.”

As a mother, I wish I had had the knowledge then that I do now.  I would have realized that my Lisa was under a power stronger than her own. I would have done some things differently.  I cannot be sure that the outcome would not be the same, but at least I would have had the tools to intercede in a more appropriate way. Let me give you the most important ones.

Over the past nine years I have come to understand and empathize with women who are caught up in this cycle of violence. Through this understanding and education and awareness we can be better prepared to first stop and then fix the hurt.

First and foremost, LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN to your sisters, friends, relatives, and co-workers.   Do NOT tell them it will BE OKAY, because it won’t, not without help.  This doesn’t “get better with time.”

Each time I speak to a group, I am approached by five, six or ten people who want to talk to me about someone they know is a victim. Maybe they are talking about themselves.  Maybe they are talking about their children.

Talking is the first step toward breaking the cycle.  There are many other steps and many resources.  In our Fix the Hurt website, you will find a section labeled “What You Can Do To Help.”   Be supportive, educate yourself and listen, listen, listen. And no matter how charming the abuser may seem, when you listen, believe.

Categories: Domestic Violence | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fix the Hurt – Mesa, AZ


. . .one hundred and twenty five years ago, a doctor and lawmakers teamed up to make it a crime for a man to abuse his wife. One hundred and twenty five years later, Domestic Violence is still increasing.

For years we have been fighting the Domestic Violence battle. Tale, after tale, after tale are told by those who work to end domestic violence. We tell people the stories, they are appalled, they are impressed, and they go home and forget. This normal human tendency has caused continuous frustration for people working to save victims and bring awareness about this important issue.




Linda King and her husband, John King, launched Fix The Hurt as a platform for creating impactful educational and training programs and artistic performances that engage audiences so they do not return home to forget what they have seen but instead are empowered to help in preventing and reducing domestic and dating violence.

Our Mission

Increase awareness of domestic and dating violence through education, training and performing arts in order to significantly reduce the number of abused.

Our Vision

Become nationally implemented as an effective educational program for the prevention and reduction of domestic and dating violence.

Categories: Domestic Violence | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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