Beauties of America 60s – Doreen Luke

60What three words best describe you? Dedicated Loving Fun

Who would you most like to meet and why? Dolly Parton. When I was a teenager I saw Dolly on Johnny Carson and she told about how the kids she went to school with laughed at her because she was poor and yet she had big dreams about achieving success. She said the more they laughed at her and her dreams, the more determined she was to make her dreams come true. I grew up in a coal mining area of Appalachia, and we were a poor coal mining family. I identified with much of what Dolly was saying. I drew strength from her words. The more they laughed, the more determined I became. I’d love to meet Dolly and tell her how she positively impacted my life – and thank her.

What do you like to do for fun? I love to be with the people I love. I’m always looking to something active and fun with my family and friends; things like hiking, zip lining, parasailing, looking for shells on the beach, dancing, taking in live music events, watching musicals and comedies, working out with friends, and I even do “Dance, Dance, Revolution” with my daughter now and then. I also love to learn something new – so fun is listening to Park Ranger talks, visiting factories and museums, traveling to historic places and sights, etc. And I love to help other people – so a fun activity could be going to the Food Bank with friends and family and working a shift together; helping at a Habitat for Humanity construction site; or participating in a fund raiser walk.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? For me, there isn’t a single, simple answer. When the time is right, a statement or “piece of advice” will speak to a person. They may have heard the advice before, but if they hear it when their heart and mind is ready, it can change their life. My Junior High School home room teacher told us, “You have to act like somebody if you want to be somebody”. It was “advice” that I latched on to and it helped shape me when I was young. “Never assume you know what someone else is thinking” was a piece of advice a manager gave me early in my career that has served me well. And the following is advice that I heard a speaker at a graduation ceremony give that spoke a powerful message to me: “For most of us, life is long. If you make a bad decision, own it and move forward. You can’t change the past, but there’s plenty of time to make good decisions that will shape your future.”

What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you? I love this one because my daughter enjoyed it so much when she was little (and it still makes her giggle). When my daughter was five, we went on a cruise. Like most cruises, there were photographers around to help you record all the memorable moments of your trip. At one of our port stops it was very windy. As we were going down the gangway, there was a photo-opportunity with a sign noting the port name. Just as our picture was being snapped, a big gust of wind came along and it basically gave me a “Don King hairdo” in the picture. When we saw the picture posted on the photos board the next day, we all laughed and laughed until tears streamed down our faces. For years my daughter loved showing that picture to people so we could all have a good laugh again.

What’s your favorite type of music? I really enjoy a wide variety of music genres – everything from the blue grass, mountain, and country music I heard growing up to classic rock, hard rock, classical, and new age relaxation music. But my favorite is classic rock (the tunes from my teens and twenties) the “great to dance to” stuff.

What is the best book you’ve ever read? The book that made the greatest impact on me was “The Wizard of Oz”. My second grade teacher read it to us. It was the first time I experienced a book that gave me a “movie in my mind”. It made we want to read for fun.

What charitable organization do you enjoy volunteering for or would want to volunteer for? I am on the Board of Directors for the “South Side Learning and Development Center” and have been giving of my time and resources to that organization for over 25 years. Studies show birth to age five is the time in a child’s life with the greatest potential for positive returns. Take care of an infant’s (or small children’s) physical, emotional, social, and psychological needs in these formative years and you create a solid foundation upon which to build other skills later in life.

If there was a reality show about your life what would the title be? “Which Doreen Will We See Today?” I’m a wife, mother of a special child, sister to two very different people, manager and mentor at work, advocate for young children, volunteer, business woman, engineer who loves figuring out how things work, pageant title holder, public speaker, and healthy living advocate. If you were to follow me around you would likely see a different Doreen depending on the setting I’m in and the role I happen to be playing. In some situations, I’m in charge and driving to get things done. In others I’m a volunteer pair of hands and eager to follow directions. I love dressing up and showing my feminine side – and yet the next day I might be working on a DIY project or have my tools out fixing something. All these differing interests help make life fun.

What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of? Putting myself through college and attaining my Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering after quitting high school and leaving home at 17 – tied with having an over 35 yearlong happy marriage and partnership with my loving husband.

Who or what motivates you and why? There are a lot of inspiring people that I enjoy learning from and who serve as role models. But what “motivates” me is my inner self-talk. It’s me talking positively to myself that gets me up and at it each day, which enables me to do one more task. It is the good feeling I get inside when I do something positive – and I tell myself “That feels good, doesn’t it? Let’s do more of that!” I believe in the power of positive thinking – keeping yourself in a positive self-talk feedback loop is key.

What’s your favorite midnight snack? Lately, it’s Atkin’s “Harvest Trail Dark Chocolate, Cherry, & Nuts Bars”. Nothing artificial; 8 grams Protein; 10 grams Fiber; and only 3 grams sugar – and best of all, REALLY YUMMY!

What do you do when you are bored? Find something active to do. Clean something – do a project I’ve been putting off – go for a brisk walk while listening to a POD Cast. I like to get my mind and my body moving and engaged.

What is ‘beauty’ to you? The first thing that comes to mind is nature. GOD has created such sites, colors, wonder, complexity, balance, and beauty for us to have and behold – it’s hard to rival nature when it comes to beauty. In a person, beauty is kindness, sincerity, a compassionate spirit, and caring about/for oneself and others.


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