Hello! and Welcome!
On March 20, 1997, Ladies of the Heart hit the World Wide Web for the first time. It became very evident, early on, that this was something different and something that many ladies wanted to associate with on the Internet. We quickly grew to over 1000 members by our first year, and continue to add many new members each week. It’s a special kind of “Internet Club”, and if you were to read over our Creed and Charter, you might think the same thing. This “open letter” is to try to share with you, the reader, just how Ladies of the Heart (LOTH) came to be what it is today, and where the “Dream” is going in the future.
LOTH started much like any other women’s group on the Net. Ten ladies bringing together an idea, creating graphics and music, writing a Creed and Charter for it’s ‘guidelines’, and designing a web site to present their club to ladies on the World Wide Web. There was no advertising or “search engine registrations” done, we all just started inviting ladies we knew to come see this new web site. By word of mouth, we soon had a membership of several hundred. Most of the current members came to LOTH because a friend told them about us, or they saw our “Peace Rose LOTH Logo” on someone’s home page.
There are many “inside activities” for the LOTH members; many ways to network and meet up with each other. LOTH is a very empowering and supportive group of ladies that share a great need to reach out and help another “sister”, no matter what the need might be. We share lots of laughs and many tears in our interaction with each other every day. We come from every walk of life, cultural background, religious and political affiliations, and every continent on the Planet! We range from 18 to over 90 years young, and represent just about every racial background you can imagine! We are mothers, daughters, wives, and sweethearts. We are housewives that stay home with the kids, Aunts and grandmothers, and professionals in many fields of the “working force”. We are “well-to-do”, as well as “just making ends meet”. We are single, we are married, we are divorced, and we are widowed. Well, I’m sure you get the idea…we are women of the world….Ladies of the Heart!
LOTH, the Dream is becoming more a reality now. We have all the typical functions that many groups on the Net have. We have a message board for the ladies to meet up on, a chat room, and everyone’s ICQ or AOL IM #s to instantly chat with our “sisters”. We have a ‘nearly’ daily “mailing”, we call “Musings”, where the ladies can communicate through email items of interest they have to share, prayer requests, offers of help, requests for help, or just sharing some piece of good news. This is also the avenue used to make “LOTH related” announcements to the members. We have Good Will Ambassadors, and a Welcome Wagon that is grouped out by “Regions”, so that the ladies can actually get together and meet their LOTH sisters in their “residing area”, in real life. We are making an interesting transition from the “cyberworld net club” to the “real world gatherings” of ladies all over the world!
In the year 2000, we had our first convention in Phoenix, AZ, where ladies from the States, Canada, Europe and Africa came together and met face to face, many for the first time, too! Our 2nd Annual LOTHCon was held in mid-May 2001 in Phoenix, AZ. In the past couple of years, our New England Division has had what they call “Mountain Madness”. Twice a year, about 20 or so New England LOTH sisters gather at a chalet in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and have a grand time! I have had the honor to be able to attend several of these gatherings, and the friendships that have bonded amongst these sisters is a wonder to behold! In the summer of 2000, in the Mid-West area, there was a gathering amongst about 15 LOTH sisters for what they called “LOTH Summer Splash”. In 2001, they did it again and had sisters from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Colorado, and Kansas join in on the fun! We have had other smaller gathering in many other regions all over LOTH-land, sisters meeting with sisters and really connecting heart to heart!
Another part of the Dream is the actual structure of LOTH. We have registered tradenames, and our “LOTH Rose” is the registered trademark of LOTH. We have obtained “Non-Profit Organization” status, and have incorporated as an NPO, with the hopes of strengthening our group all the more. Our very first Divisional office was opened early 2001 in New England, too. Our purpose, or Mission Statement, covers that we are a women’s organization that is designed to give women a place to network, receive and give support and help in “life’s issues”, empower women to be all they can be by this support, and to hopefully offer a “safe haven” so that the members can grow and learn and be proud of their creativity as women! The Dream also includes creating a foundation from which to service the needs of the LOTH members. This LOTH foundation will be for the members that might need help ‘getting on their feet’ after divorce (or death of a spouse), ladies who might want to return to school and finish their higher education, and/or sisters who might need some help with counseling as they go through bouts of depression or suicidal feelings. As other avenues come up to be addressed, they would be open for evaluation for this foundation, as long as it strives toward the goal of empowering LOTH members to be creative, joyful, loving and caring sisters, in essence, to be all they can and want to be!
General membership to LOTH will always be free to all ladies that desire to contribute to this Dream by being a member. Our Creed and Charter and the poem on our front page, “Sisters of the Heart”, spell out our “requirements for membership” very clearly. There may be a “donations schedule” produced in the near future to further assist in the creation of this foundation, and to cover the general administrative costs that any organization of this sort has. These “donations” would be on a totally voluntary basis, a gift from any member that might feel led to donate something towards the creation and maintenance of the ‘Non-Profit Organization’. Donations will never be required of, or expected from, any of the LOTH members. In the future, it may be that “Chapters of LOTH” will be able to be formed and, thus, able to contribute to this Dream at the “local level”. With this NPO status, LOTH will also be able to actively conduct fund-raisers, in the name of LOTH, and even hope to have LOTH “products” for the members to purchase in an effort to raise funds for the organization.
We have a Board of Directors for Ladies of the Heart, the NPO corporation, and an organizational “Flow Chart” of duties and responsibilities for LOTH, the club. You are welcome to look these over on our Structure of Ladies of the Heart page. Many of the ladies have created special “for LOTH only” pages on a volunteer basis, and those all fall under the Welcome Wagon area. These pages address things that are helpful to the members in getting around LOTH-land, meeting each other, and networking with each other easily. The specific duties of these “held offices”, per se, are fairly self-explanatory by their names. All of the club functions have been originated by the ladies, as most times when a request for “X, Y, or Z” comes up, it is encouraged to be presented to the Review Commitee, set up with a LOTH Standard of Excellence, and then presented to the members. Many want something to do to contribute to the growth and service of the club, so new ideas and suggestions are always welcome.
I hope this gives you some basic idea of what Ladies of the Heart is all about. I had a dream to create a safe and fun place for women to come to, on the Net, to be supportive of each other, and, in essence, become empowered in their own Love. For that really is what LOTH is…Unconditional love and acceptance of a sisterhood of women everywhere. I have had many write to me, sharing their agreement to the Creed, many stating that if this Creed were lived by each and every person in the world, we would truly be a happy and healthy planet. There would be no wars or hate crimes, and there would be no prejudices or persecutions because of “differences”. We would have Peace, Love and Fellowship simply in the name of Love, and there would be a healing of Spirit for all people, of all religions, of all cultures. We would be able to support each other in our creative endeavors without any threat because our choices differed from each other.
I know this type of group may not be for everyone that comes to visit this website. I do thank you for coming to visit, and looking us over. For those who feel this is ‘what they have been looking for’, or that it feels like a “home”, please feel free to email me for more information about LOTH, or fill out our application for membership form, and join our Sisterhood.
To close, I would like to share our little motto with you, “Follow your heart!” This has proven to be a most rewarding ‘outlook’ for me, personally, and for many of the LOTH sisters, as we all reach out to create this Sisterhood we fondly call LOTH!
Thank you for letting me tell you about LOTH, the Dream.