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Personal stories and overcoming obstacles in ‘1 word’

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Charita Cadenhead (Ariel Worthy, The Birmingham Times)

By Ariel Worthy

The Birmingham Times

Charita Cadenhead (Ariel Worthy, The Birmingham Times)
Charita Cadenhead (Ariel Worthy, The Birmingham Times)

Charita Cadenhead’s one word is “hope.”

It’s a word that has showed up throughout her life, but it hit home during a spiritual analysis at church.

“I was a new member at my church, and as a new member we go to this next steps class and we take a spiritual analysis,” Cadenhead said. “When I took it I scored really low on the word ‘hope,’ which was ironic because I think about the word a lot.”

Constantly thinking about the three out of 10 she scored, she wanted to write about “hope” and its meaning to her. That’s where the idea for her new book, “1 Word,” began.

“1 Word” is a book of essays written by Cadenhead and 13 other authors.

All are women of different races and backgrounds, each share a word in their life, and its meaning to them. For Cadenhead, 56, “hope” was an important word to her because of her own personal obstacles in life.

“I’ve been through depression, which is the epitome of hopelessness,” Cadenhead said. “And I really thought I had gotten to a point where I was hopeful about everything, but as it turns out I’m far less hopeful than I thought I was.”

In “1 Word,” the women share personal stories and how they overcame issues in life.

“One woman talks about being a triple-negative cancer survivor,” Cadenhead said. “Her word was ‘imagination.’ When hearing the words ‘You’ve got cancer’ your imagination can really run wild with a lot of ‘what ifs’.”

Another word and story discussed in the book is “believe.”

The story is important because it reminds people that no matter what they face in life, they must believe in themselves, Cadenhead said.

“This is a woman I know who has gone from sleeping on a pallet in a friend’s laundry room – basically homeless – to living in what we might consider a palace in Puerto Rico,” she said. “It’s about eliminating self-doubt in yourself.”

The book also doubles as a journal for readers.

“The co-authors ask readers questions, and hopefully they will think about the words that have a lot of value,” she said.

Cadenhead and the local authors will have a book launch for “1 Word” on Nov. 12 at noon at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Hoover. This isn’t your typical book launch, though.

“We’re going to have the authors” speak, Cadenhead said.

Each local author will speak on different topics. For example, Sreelatha Meleth will speak on The Inner Critic versus Trust; Michelle Hale will speak on Singing Your Own Song; Donna T. Brown will speak on Distractions: when your thoughts refuse to be still.

During the book launch, Cadenhead hopes attendees will think about the words that impact their lives.

“I’m hoping that most of them think about words they use in their lives that gives them the greatest impact,” she said. “Words have a way of decision-making, determining our perception, whether it’s real or not. I want them to think about words that pertain to them personally, especially words that have a negative connotation; the goal is always to flip that around and find the positive.”

During the event, readers will also have the opportunity to participate in book two. These stories are important because words are important, said Cadenhead, who also hopes to have an entire book of “1 Word” written completely by students.

“The old saying ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,’ is the biggest lie,” Cadenhead said. “Words can hurt so much… the words you say have an impact. You have to choose them carefully.”

Tickets for the book launch are being sold at 1WordBook.com.

In addition to Cadenhead the other authors are: Brandy Bonner, Timekia Brayboy, Patricia A. Campbell, Aimee Camper, Hermione Alease Carnes, G. D. Green Joseph, Sabrina Mays, Lupe Moreno, Brenda Mullen and Carole Hines-Sharp.