Deborah’s expertise knows many lanes: podcaster, writer, publisher, blogger, uplifter, college graduate, caregiver, non-profit professional, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
It’s quite an impressive resume for the Tulsa, Oklahoma resident who devoted most of her career to the non-profit space uplifting others and now finds joy in building and creating spaces that help women navigate life. Rediscovering a writing passion she had from her college years at Langston University, Deborah says she used money she received in 2021 from the Tulsa UpTogether Fund to take refresher writing courses. She then created her own online publication, Middle-Pause, which amplifies the voices of women who encourage, inspire, and empower each other to live lives of meaning and purpose before, during, and after menopause.
“The words that I write are there to help women in their struggle. Women from all over the world write for us. I have over 100 writers that write and submit regularly on the publication.”
What started as a way to create a robust community for women in the second half of their life continues to grow. Deborah launched a podcast called STOMP: Stronger Together On Middle-Pause, to expand her reach to more audiences. She also published a three-book anthology written by women for women with the goal of encouraging more women to share their lived experiences. “I get comments all the time. A lady told me, ‘I can depend on you to write words that bring light into my day,’" shared Deborah who admits she finds her purpose in being able to inspire women.
“If that's all I do, that's worth it, touching one life is worth it.”
But that’s not all! There’s no room for pausing or slowing down in Deborah’s life—she proudly serves as the bridge that unites their family. She raised her three children in Tulsa and then stepped in as the primary caregiver for three of her grandchildren. She also has a great-grandchild. Deborah and her husband are among the growing number of grandparents in the United States who raise and provide care for their grandchildren.
“I've had one with me for 14 years, and I've had two more with me for the past two years. It's been a struggle, but that's my blood and no matter what it takes, I'm not going to let my blood disappear into the earth, they're going to be with me,” she stated.
She believes in honest, open communication and thinks it’s one of the best ways she can build a strong relationship with her grandchildren.
“We talk a lot. I'm always asking them their opinions, how they feel, what they want to do when they grow up. I'm making memories with them.”
Deborah calls it a “privilege” to raise three of her grandkids and watch them accomplish their goals. She enjoys taking the kids on lakeside picnics in the enjoyable Tulsa summertime.
While Tulsa is her hometown, she did live in Nevada for eight years. However, when her parents became ill, she returned home to care for them. Living to serve, Deborah spent most of her adult life working in the non-profit sector and says she made great impacts in her roles, but at times, the pay did not reflect the impact. Deborah says sometimes it was tough to stretch her paychecks enough to provide basic resources for her family.
“I've had to use food stamps in the past and the comments and the looks like, "Why don't you just get a job?" Even though I was working, I qualified because of my low income. I think the attitudes of people that have money against the people that don't have so much… they're just looked down on.”
Deborah is now enduring her own health issues. Her mobility is compromised by osteoarthritis— a degenerative condition that impacts her spine, hips, knees, and feet.
“I use a wheelchair when I go out in public. When I'm in my house, I'm usually in my walker. I don't go out into the world very often, but the whole world is at my fingertips,” Deborah revealed.
Deborah aspires to increase the number of writers on her blog as well as publish a new book filled with prayers a reader can say in just one breath. She is fueled by perseverance, passion and faith. She also believes in the power of community and its ability to connect people from all walks of life.
“We are agents of change. I know I give back, and I know God's going to take care of us.”