Battle Born Bliss BABES
Battle Born Bliss Babes
by Jeff Glass—Author, Social Entrepreneur, & Novice Treasure Hunter
“You are never too old. It is never too late. Be persistent at any stage of your journey and you’ll discover bliss on the other side of your struggles.”
Aphrodite was known as the goddess of love and beauty. Depicted as an everlasting beacon of heart-filled attraction and physical desire, her story falls silent to many, buried in the dust of Greek mythology. We may read about her in works of literature, watch her in movies and hear about her through childhood stories, but still she is often forgotten or merely remembered as a character in a story. How did she get there? Was it just looks that made her beautiful? Do such women exist today, or are they a myth? Before we explore for answers, we must realize that the parts of the narrative that are missing about the goddess of love—her journey—are the key to understanding. Such women do exist, though their stories are more about the path, the struggles, and the perseverance that made them beautiful. Like diamonds, these women bring themselves to the surface to be discovered. In Greek mythology, the daughters of Zeus were the inspirational goddesses of science, literature and art. Today, a Muse is translated in our American culture as a person or place that brings us inspiration to freely express our craft or live out our design and purpose. I am always searching for places that inspire me to write and work on my next story. When I need that time away, I frequent one of my favorite places: a beautiful bed and breakfast in Northern California.
One morning, as I was enjoying the mystical view of the valley and a warm cup of coffee, ditching my digital distractions, I picked up a magazine to read: Bliss Babe. I flipped through the articles, looking for something to spark my interest. As I was glancing through the pages, I found articles and advertisements that were educating, entertaining, and filled with local events and inspiring stories. Perhaps I am the only one who flips through magazines backwards, but as I came to the front (or in my case, the end), I paused to complete my morning read to learn about the founders of Bliss Babe Magazine. It was at this moment, looking over the mined valley of Gold Country, that I discovered another treasure, the Battle Born Bliss Babes, Leslie McCarroll and Debbie McCarthy. This is the story of their journey.
Leslie McCarroll, a loving mother, native of Reno, Nevada, and the founding visionary of Bliss Babe Magazine, has forged a path of entrepreneurship filled with challenges and successes to inspire others at any stage on their journey. In 2009, in an attempt to heal her own broken heart, Leslie started writing for a local publishing company. It was at this stage that she was developing her skills as a writer. Shortly after embarking on her career working for someone else, she started to fan her own entrepreneurial flame that gave rise to the launch of a women’s fitness blog and magazine called Aphrodite. With a start-up mindset, passion for helping others, and unshakeable grit, she was building up the website, interviewing women, and growing the business while raising her son. In 2013, Leslie’s life took a shift. Her angel investor, mentor and Muse of inspiration for Aphrodite passed away, and her magazine came to an end. With a skill set in sales and high standards of customer service, and after relentlessly searching for her next career path, she took a position with a local TV station. At this point in her life, with a steady career utilizing her skills, there was still an unfulfilled passion that burned inside of her, waiting to erupt to the surface. What came next would change her life forever and begin to more deeply impact those in her life. She did what all successful entrepreneurs must do at some point. She jumped. She decided to no longer be a slave to the dream of someone else, but break the shackles of her own fears and follow her passion. Bliss Babe Magazine was the birth of something new: the only lifestyle magazine in Reno, Nevada. It marked the rebirth of Leslie, a strong woman who owns the ground she walks on and lives life on purpose, passionately, unapologetically, and uncensored. Bliss Babe Magazine is more than a publication; it is a license and an invitation for other women to give themselves permission to exercise their rights, stand their ground, and celebrate their beauty and love for life.
Some may say Leslie had a new purpose, but I would argue that it was already there, fully alive and waiting to be discovered. Leslie’s mentor who so fervently believed in her did not just pass away; she passed on the torch to another woman who would light the passions of others. Leslie, with all her determination and perseverance, would not carry the torch alone.
There is another woman who embodies the spirit of Bliss Babe Magazine, bringing it to life with love and service to her community. When you meet her professionally, it is only a matter of moments before you feel personally and warmly invited into her loving world. “About-Town Deb,” Debbie McCarthy, mother of two boys, is the outgoing, high-spirited woman who grew up in Burbank, California. When she was just 6 years old, her mother made the greatest sacrifice a mom could make and gave her up for adoption to two wonderful parents, Tony and Terry Rohde. They provided her not only a home, but a family that would prove to be the stable ground for the values that would shape her life into the woman she is today. At age 18, she married and started a family of her own. With a burning desire to serve others, she took on the career of wife and mother. Outside of her full-time occupation of taking care of her husband and children, she worked in the non-profit sector with her church, St. Albert The Great Parish as Parish Life Director. She was their fundraiser and coordinated parish activities and outreach to the local community. She had a beautiful family, and a career that allowed her to operate within her gifts of serving others.
At age 50, her life abruptly changed. Now a newly single woman, she was at a crossroads: she could either retreat, or she could be 50 and fabulous, boldly pushing forward to start a new life. She became a flame, burning with a passion for others while on a journey of rediscovering herself.
“My Papa taught me life is a composition made up of faith, patience, hard work and, most importantly, those moments in time we take to connect with others to show them their value.” Debbie McCarthy
Debbie would find a new family, not necessarily in the form of another home, but in her community. The roles had shifted; she was now the one “adopting” others with her love and her time. She gave abundantly from the gifts contained within her spirit; those that had been unwrapped and revealed to her by Papa Tony. He was a large spark that lit the fire in Debbie to pursue a career as a photographer, writer and radio personality. At the peak of making a dent in the marketplace, her life took another shift, and she adapted once more.
Papa Tony, the very man who had been Debbie’s sidekick, father, and friend, became ill. Debbie sacrificed her budding career and became his caretaker for his remaining days. During this sad turn of events, she was able to return the gift that he once gave to a young girl: a home and a family to love him. Like Papa Tony, in Debbie’s world, you are her family. Papa Tony may be remembered as a man who touched the lives of many, but one if his greatest measures of success was the woman whom he taught to love others with all her heart.
Even though all the great lessons from her Papa Tony prepared her well to deal with life’s challenges, there remained a void in Debbie’s heart with his passing. While hosting a radio show, God opened the door and ushered in the next individual who would change Debbie’s life. Leslie McCarroll gave Debbie a new opportunity to live out her passion, bring her gifts to the surface to connect, and invite others into the Bliss Babe family.
“When I was in my early 50’s, the puzzle called life came together once again. Bliss Babe gave me more than an opportunity; it was truly a rebirth of my spirit. And, it was more than just a career; it was a dynamic woman, Leslie, who recognized and encouraged me.” Debbie McCarthy
The founders of Bliss Babe Magazine are building a culture in Northern Nevada and beyond that inspires creativity, love, grit, and passion. They are two women who will ignite you spiritually. They have broken through to the surface to live their dreams and celebrate with you. They are the Battle Born Bliss Babes.