Covers: Sandra Sully for The Women's Weekly

Covers: Sandra Sully for The Women's Weekly
After first flicking to newsreader Sandra Sully's story, which is tinged with sadness despite her great beauty, career success and now a sparkly new marriage, I turned back to the 'Dear Me...' page featuring fellow journalist Caroline Jones who advises her younger self:
"Don't do what anyone else wants just to be popular. It's right to say, 'No', in any situation where you feel unsafe or uncomfortable... Take care of your body [and] stop worrying that you are not beautiful. You are loveable and valuable. Believe in yourself... Remember that every choice you make affects the integrity of your soul."

And, yet, in a world that can be quite prescriptive about women's choices, that says you are ugly or unsuccessful or not fulfilling your potential or obligations according to a set of unreasonable standards, since when has the soul (or the spirit) been given free rein over our decision making? Is it ever okay to quit when you feel that something doesn't quite fit? Or to pursue when you feel something is more... you

Quite apart from moral restrictions, a reason for which religion is often circumnavigated, the liberty of the spirit – and its commune with our most inner desires – through belief, and apart from wordly expectations, is quite a different matter. "The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless," says Hebrews. "For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God."

Hence Jesus; and where do we see his mission carried forth? In stories of hope and love and sacrifice. To that end, The Weekly is campaigning to make international adoption easier for Australian couples and will be hosting a breakfast to coincide with National Adoption Awareness Week on November 7 (read the story of one couple's adoptive struggles pages 90-94).

After baking a batch of pumpkin scones, Senior Constable Karen Lowden, hailed as a hero after attended to faux bomb victim Madeleine Pulver, sits down to talk with Bryce Corbett:
"When you see someone in distress, you just want to talk to them, you just want to reassure them that it's all going to be okay," she says. "It's the same as when your child is crying. You just want to comfort them. You don't want them to sense any stress or panic, because you know it's only going to upset them more... I was just doing my job, like so many of my colleagues do every day of the week."

The Weekly is full of women, from all walks of life (and some blokes, too – Helen McCabe interviews chef Matt Moran and Larry Emdur is 'The Nicest Guy in TV' pp96-102) who've had some victory (Sam Stosur) or turned a corner. Rhonda Hetzel (Down To Earth blog), a journalist who gave up her spend-thrift ways to create a sustainable lifestyle for her and her husband, has been given a new monthly Weekly column called The Simple Life for her efforts. Woohoo!

By the same token, we know that not all of life is a dream ride. The life of actress Peta Toppano, a great beauty who was once wed to Kerry Stokes and now resides on the Northern Beaches in a small flat and cares for her father, is somewhat a tragedy. Further on, we come to Kim Noble's story of a fragmented mind in self-protection mode after suffering years of childhood abuse. It can be no easy thing to open up to a national publication about your life's failures, and in this sense titles such as The Weekly carry a great burden of responsibility to their subjects.

All this raw reality, of course, is juxtaposed with ads for perfection creams, body-shaping garments, impressive fridges and bright and frivolous spring fashion shoots with a frugality theme. 
Like these stylistic visions and tips for creating nice skin, recipes for wholesome food by Jamie Oliver (the Larry Emdur of food) provide a welcome distraction from the discomforts of life, which Adele (profiles pages 62-24) explores so intensely through her music. If Adele's music can't do it for you, you can Cranberry Bakewell the blues away.

Girl With a Satchel