Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Your Seven Wonders Of The World

Author Unknown

A group of students was asked to list what they thought were the present "Seven Wonders of the World." Though there were some disagreements, the following received the most votes:
1. Egypt's Great Pyramids
2. Taj Mahal
3. Grand Canyon
4. Panama Canal
5. Empire State Building
6. St. Peter's Basilica
7. China's Great Wall

While gathering the votes, the teacher noticed that one quiet student hadn't turned in her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The girl replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there were so many."

The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help." The girl hesitated, then read, "I think the 'Seven Wonders of the World' are:
1. to see
2. to hear
3. to touch
4. to taste
5. to feel
6. to laugh
7. and to love."

What are yours?

Monday, 30 January 2012

Every Child is Entitled to Innocence

Every Child is Entitled to Innocence will be the first publication of the newly- formed Orangeberry Publishing Group. Due to release on February 14th, profits from the sales of this e-book will be donated to Child Helpline International.

Says initiator of the project, Dr. Niamh Clune, “I met many writers through the Internet that experienced difficult childhoods yet have overcome their brutal beginnings. I wanted to make the first Orangeberry publication a celebration of creative imagination. This powerful friend of damaged children plays an essential role in an abused child’s recovery. Gathering this series of stories was a joy. Orangeberry Books has developed special, vibrant relationships with contributors and has forged many lasting friendships.

We encouraged happy stories that reflected the innocence of childhood when infants feel wrapped in the warmth of loving arms. We wanted to contrast these with the sad ones, making them stand out in relief against a bright backdrop. We felt this comparison would demonstrate, without explanation, what happens when innocence is stolen.

In this book, the reader will find many wonderful, heart-warming stories; whilst the sad ones demonstrate the magnificence of the human spirit as it triumphs against all the odds.”

Executive Editor, Karen S. Elliott stated, “While I looked at all the stories in the Every Child anthology, I edited only a few. I thought it was important, for this tome, that the writers be able to express the heartbreak and joy of childhoods past without censorship.”

Spokesperson for Orangeberry Books, Niamh Clune, explained how The Orangeberry Group is at the vanguard of a new wave of Internet publishing companies. Orangeberry aims to put quality first and bring exciting, exceptionally talented authors to the reader’s attention. Its focus is not on commercialism, but on quality, beautifully written, well-told stories. Orangeberry will also publish poetry. A further aim of the publishing company is to bring a collection of exceptional artists from across many different art disciplines to collaborate on projects in a personal, hands-on, mutually supportive manner.

The motto of the company is, ‘Paying it Forward.’ The company relies on a well-developed social network, the dedication of the core team members, their talent and enthusiasm coupled with a socially entrepreneurial spirit. Supporters and members of this group will also benefit from on-line mentoring, a book-club, the Youth Tube Channel, and the OBBlog.

For further information visit www.orangeberrybooks.com www.theobblog.com

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Regret City International

Author Unknown

I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. This is my annual "Guilt Trip."

I got tickets to fly there on "Wish-I-Had" airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my "baggage," which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was loaded down with a thousand memories of "what might have been." No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town.

As I checked into the "Last Resort" Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year's most important event - the annual "Pity Party." I wasn't going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.

First, there would be the "Done" family; you know, "Should Have," "Would Have" and "Could Have." Then came the "I Had" family. You probably know old "Wish" and his clan. Of course, the "Opportunities" family; "Missed and Lost," would be present. The biggest family there would be the "Yesterday's."

There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share. Of course, "Shattered Dreams" would surely make and appearance. "It's Their Fault" family would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in their life. Each story would be loudly applauded by the "Don't Blame Me" and "I Couldn't Help It" committee.

To make a long story short, I went to this depressing party, knowing full well there would be no real benefit in doing so. And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that this trip and subsequent "pity parties" could be canceled by ME!

I started to realize that I did not have to be there. And I didn't have to be depressed. One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN'T CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as being encouraging.

Knowing this, I left Regret City immediately, and didn't leave a forwarding address. Am I sorry for mistakes I've made in the past? YES! But there is no way to undo them.

So, if you're planning a trip back to Regret City, please cancel all those reservations now. Instead, take a trip to a nice place called: "Starting Again." I like it so much that I made it my permanent residence. My neighbors, the "Been Forgiven" and the "We're Saved" are so very helpful. By the way, you don't have to carry around the heavy baggage anymore either. That load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. But don't take my word for it, find out for yourself.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Good Relationships Don't Feel Bad

By Paula Renaye

If it feels like there's something wrong--there is.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? It is. The problem comes in when we don't really understand why we feel bad. In general, the why is because we aren't honoring ourselves in one way or another--maybe many ways. 

However, rather than face that unpleasant fact, we'll look for reasons outside ourselves to convince us things aren't really the way they feel so we can…yes, you guessed it…tolerate things we know we need to change. 

I know. I've spent most of my life doing just that. And, unfortunately, after all I've learned and all I know and all I teach, I have caught myself trying to do it again. I am trying to make myself believe things are good when they aren't. I am trying to create all kinds of logical reasons for a situation that is making me feel bad so that I can feel better and so that I can believe that there is still a chance that I can get what I want out of the deal. 

Hear me now: This is not a good thing! The only good thing, well, the really great thing, is that I recognize it.
And I have to remind myself of the words I've written here a thousand times and said it a million more: if things don't feel right, they aren't, and you (I) need to figure out why. Here are a few questions to ask:
  • Why do you feel bad? What is the specific situation that's causing you pain? Who or what is at the root of the issue? Why?
  • What has to happen for things to be the way you want them to?
  • How much of that is in your control?
  • How are you rationalizing it so your feelings are wrong?
  • What are you trying to convince yourself of so you don't actually have to do anything about your feelings?
  • How are you hoping that the situation will magically resolve itself so things will be the way you want them to?
The last few weeks, months actually, have been both a culmination and a cleansing of the past for me. While it's been great on many levels, the process has also cracked open other doors that I didn't even realized I'd had locked and barricaded--or maybe completely walled over so I couldn't even see them anymore. But, they were there and I see them now--and they are hitting me at my very core.

The details don't really matter, although I'm sure I'll write about them when I have the clarity to do so. Right now, what matters is that I keep going and that I let those long-ignored doors crack open--and crack me open. It's the only way. 

Whatever it is that is causing you pain--whatever it is that you're working so hard to ignore while you try to pretend you're happy--stop and face it. Admit that you don't feel good about the situation you're in then figure out why. Once you're clear on that, you'll know what you need to do next. Hint: it involves you growing a backbone and a developing a truckload of self-respect.

The good news is that when you start respecting yourself and honoring your own value things will automatically get better--and will feel better--and you'll have people in your life that will honor, value and respect you as well.

So, fix what doesn't feel good. Do what you need to do. Talk to who you need to--even if it's uncomfortable and unpleasant and you wish you didn't have to. It's the only way--for you and for me.

Let's all clean up our "stuff" now and start 2012 clean and clear and happy!

Live your joy! - Paula Renaye

* * * *

Paula Renaye is tough love motivational speaker, certified professional coach and author of the multi-award-winning self-empowerment guide, The Hardline Self Help Handbook. Hardline is available in paperback and just about every ebook format out there (Kindle, Nook, Apple, Mobi, etc.). It's still on sale at amazon.com so get it now! Also, read the FREE now: Most Likely to Succeed--A Short Story of a Woman's Journey Back to Herself.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

You Know You're A Mum When ...

Author Unknown

1. Your feet stick to the kitchen floor, and you don't care.

2. When the kids are fighting, you threaten to lock them in a room together and not let them out until someone's bleeding.

3. You can't find your cordless phone, so you ask a friend to call you, and you run around the house madly, following the sound until you locate the phone downstairs in the laundry basket.

4. You spend an entire week wearing sweats.

5. Your idea of a good day is making it through without a child leaking bodily fluids on you.

6. Popsicle become a food staple.

7. Your favorite television show is a cartoon.

8. Peanut butter and jelly is eaten at least in one meal a day.

9. You're willing to kiss your child's boo-boo, regardless of what body part it happens to be on.

10. Your baby's pacifier falls on the floor and you give it back to her after you suck the dirt off of it because you're too busy to wash it off.

11. Your kids make jokes about farting, burping, pooping, etc., and you think it's funny.

12. You're so desperate for adult conversation that you spill your guts to the telemarketer that calls and HE hangs up on YOU!

13. Spit is your number one cleaning agent.

14. You're up each night until 10 PM vacuuming, dusting, wiping, washing, drying, loading, unloading, shopping, cooking, driving, flushing, ironing, sweeping picking up, changing sheets, changing diapers, bathing, helping with homework, paying bills, budgeting, clipping coupons, folding clothes, putting to bed, dragging out of bed, brushing, chasing, buckling, feeding (them, Not you), PLUS swinging, playing baseball, bike riding, pushing trucks, cuddling dolls, rollerblading, basketball, football, catch, bubbles, sprinklers, slides, nature walks, coloring, crafts, jumping rope, PLUS raking, trimming, planting, edging, mowing, gardening, painting, and walking the dog. You get up at 5:30 AM and you have no time to eat, sleep, drink or go to the bathroom, and yet ... you still managed to gain 10 pounds.

15. In your bathroom there is toothpaste on the light fixtures, water all over the floor, a dog drinking out of the toilet and body hair forming a union to protest unsafe working conditions.

16. You buy cereal with marshmallows in it.

17. The closest you get to gourmet cooking is making Rice Krispie bars

18. You count the sprinkles on each kid's cupcake to make sure they're equal.

19. You want to take out a contract on the kid who broke your child's favorite toy and made him/her cry.

20. You have time to shave only one leg at a time.

21. You hide in the bathroom to be alone.

22. Your child throws up and you catch it.

23. Someone else's kid throws up at a party and you keep eating.

24. You consider finger paint to be a controlled substance

25. You mastered the art of placing food on a plate without anything touching.

26. Your child insists that you read "Once Upon a Potty" out loud in the lobby of the doctor office, and you do it.

27. You hire a sitter because you haven't been out with your husband ages, then spend half the night talking about and checking on the kids.

28. You hope ketchup is a vegetable because it's the only one your child eats.

29. You can't bear the thought of your son's first girlfriend.

30. You hate the thought of his wife even more.

31. You find yourself cutting your husband's sandwiches into unusual shapes.

32. You fast-forward through the scene when the hunter shoots Bambi's mother.

33. You obsess when your child clings to you upon parting during his first month at school, then obsess when he skips in without looking back the second time.

34. You can't bear to give away baby clothes-it's so final.

35. You hear your mother's voice coming out of your mouth when you say, "Not in your good clothes."

36. You stop criticizing the way your mother raised you.

37. You read that the average five-year-old asks 437 questions a day and feel proud that your kid is "above average."

38. You say at least once a day, "I'm not cut out for this job," but you know you wouldn't trade it for anything.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

What Writing Is To Me

By Ryder Islington

I think every writer tries to describe what writing is to them at one time or another in their writing careers. There are simple answers, and more complicated ones too.

Writing is a pastime. It’s a way to communicate. It’s something fun to do when I’m bored. It’s an exercise for my brain. It’s a way to make money. It’s a way to make friends. All of those things are true.

But really, for me, writing is like breathing. It’s like stumbling upon a great love and once found, never being able to let go. It eases my sorrow. It comforts me. It allows me to gather all I’ve learned and pass it on. It reminds me of the peace I’ve been given but have often forgotten. I suspect all writers will give similar answers. We need to write. It is a passion that calls to us and demands our attention.

I’ve been writing with an eye toward publication for about eleven years. It took me four years and a million words to learn the basics of good writing. It took me another six years to craft a novel I could promote with the knowledge that I was a good writer. My debut novel, Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, fulfilled all I needed from writing. It communicates the presence of evil in the world, the fact that even the good guys aren’t perfect, and the hope that good can come out of the most painful of experiences.

If I never got the opportunity to write another word, I could live with that because I wrote a good book, it was published and I received great feedback. I can’t imagine never writing another word. In fact, my mind is filled not only with book two of the Trey Fontaine Mysteries, but several other stories, each of which shuffles in line to be next. But I have inhaled the sweet smell of success and it has filled me with contentment as much as a passion for more.

Writing is hope for my future and proof of my past.


Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery is receiving rave reviews from readers. http://www.ll-publications.com/ultimatejustice.html

The small town of Raven Bayou, Louisiana explodes as old money meets racial tension, and tortured children turn the table on abusive men. FBI Special Agent Trey Fontaine returns home to find the town turned upside down with mutilated bodies. Working with local homicide detectives, Trey is determined to get to the  truth. A believer in empirical evidence, Trey ignores his instincts until he stares into the face of the impossible, and has to choose between what he wants to believe and the ugly truth.

A graduate of the University of California and former officer for a large sheriff’s department, RYDER ISLINGTON is now retired and doing what she loves: reading, writing, and gardening. She lives in Louisiana with her family, including a very large English Chocolate Lab, a very small Chinese pug, and a houseful of demanding cats. She can be contacted at RyderIslington@yahoo.com or visit her blog at http://ryderislington.wordpress.com

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Introducing - Orangeberry Social Butterfly

Over the past few weeks, I have received quite a few requests for a more budget / time friendly book tour. 
And so here it is. I've put together a simpler version of a book tour that will promote your book via blogs and Twitter.   

is a mini book tour (5 days) and will consist of 3 blog stops, 1 Twitter View and 1 Twitter Blast.

What will you receive? 
You will have the opportunity to share your thoughts, 
be interviewed, receive book reviews and daily social media presence.

What will it cost you? 
It will cost you $50.00 (that's 10.00 a day).
Payment is via PayPal. Use button below or "SendPayment" to pandorapoikilos@gmail.com

1.Upon sign-up you will receive a starter kit with more details about your guest posts.
2. Please sign up HERE
More questions? Email me at pandorapoikilos@gmail.com

Next available date is 14th February 2012.
(All proceeds will go towards the Orangeberry Goodie Bag, advertising & site maintenance)

Orangeberry Book Tours Sponsorship Options

*Any sponsorship received from Orangeberry Social Butterfly or other options listed at the Orangeberry Book Tours site are NOT refundable. 

Monday, 23 January 2012

Heart of a Child

Author Unknown

One hundred years from now
It will not matter
What kind of car I drove,
What kind of house I lived in,
How much I had in my bank
Nor what my clothes looked like.

One hundred years from now
It will not matter
What kind of school I attended,
What kind of typewriter I used,
How large or small my church,
But the world may be
a little better because..
I was important in the life of a child.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

People Who Make A Difference

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read it straight through, and you'll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.


The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Do Some Small Things Today

By Michael Angier

In a recent airing of "Unsolved Mysteries" there was a story of a young boy who was the victim of the holocaust. He'd been placed in a work camp for several years and somehow had managed to survive the horror of his imprisonment.

The story was of a boy-now in his sixties-and his quest to find an American GI who had imparted a kindness to him. The soldier had given the boy some food.

It might seem insignificant, but to this child, who had seen nothing but cruelty and inhumanity for as long as he could remember, it was a gesture that marked a turning point in his life.

When he was liberated by the American forces, he was dying. He needed food. As he was hobbling along the road, a young GI jumped down from his tank and offered him some of his rations.

Unknown to the soldier, the boy had lost hope. He was afraid. He didn't beg for food because he couldn't even conceive the idea that someone would give him some.

With this one act of generosity, a kind and magnanimous American had rekindled a belief that there really was some good in the world.

And the boy never forgot it.

The boy later went to America, raised a family, became successful and worked hard to repay the kindness he had received with kindnesses of his own.

Now, he wanted to find the man who had, in his words, "Saved my life."

I hope he found him. But I'd like to believe that there were so many similar acts of generosity that it would be almost impossible to know for sure who the soldier was.

You see we never know when something we say or do will have a profound influence on another's life.

It's common to think we can't make a difference. And it's sad that most people don't ever recognize what an important role they play-or could play. Unlike George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life," most of us never get to see how things would be if we weren't here doing what we do.

When I speak to groups, I'm aware of the challenges my listeners may be facing. You never know what someone is going through. It might be a divorce. They may have just learned a loved one is dying. They may be afraid of losing their job. Perhaps they don't even HAVE a job.

I must be mindful that a thoughtless comment or playful tease could in fact be hurtful. We all have a choice: to create more light or to generate more heat in the world. As Confucius put it over 2500 years ago, "It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness."

As the story above so nicely illustrates, small gestures can often generate huge blessings. If we're constantly looking for and doing kind and thoughtful acts, we will no doubt bring more joy into the world around us as well as into our own world.

I call it the Law of Reciprocity: The more you do to enhance the lives of others, the more you enhance your own being. It's one of life's better deals.

Robert Brault may have said it best when he wrote, "Enjoy the little things for one day you may look back and realize that they were the big things."

What kindness can you show today? What generous act can you perform? What kind words will you offer someone? What good deed are you willing to invest in the world?

Do some small things today, but do them in great ways and you will assuredly create great blessings.

Friday, 20 January 2012

The Facts Don't Count

By Cynthia-Stewart Copier

I used to watch her from my kitchen window and laugh. She seemed so small as she muscled her way through the crowd of boys on the playground. The school was across the street from our home and I would often stand at my window, hands buried in dish water or cookie dough, watching the kids as they played during recess. A sea of children, and yet to me, she stood out from them all.

I remember the first day I saw her playing basketball. I watched in wonder as she ran circles around the other kids. She managed to shoot jump shots just over their heads and into the net. The boys always tried to stop her but no one could.

I began to notice her at other times, on that same blacktop, basketball in hand, playing alone. She would practice dribbling and shooting over and over again, sometimes until dark. One day I asked her why she practiced so much. As she turned her head, her dark ponytail whipped quickly around and she looked directly in my eyes.

Without a moment of hesitation she said, "I want to go to college. My Dad wasn't able to go to college and he has talked to me about going for as long as I can remember. The only way I can go is if I get a scholarship. I like basketball. I decided that if I were good enough, I would get a scholarship. I am going to play college basketball. I want to be the best. My Daddy told me if the dream is big enough, the facts don't count." Then she smiled and ran towards the court to recap the routine I had seen over and over again.

Well, I had to give it to her - she was determined. I watched her through those Junior High years and into High School. Every week, she led her varsity team to victory. It was always a thrill to watch her play.

One day in her senior year, I saw her sitting in the grass, head cradled in her arms. I walked across the street and sat down in the cool grass beside her. Quietly I asked what was wrong. "Oh, nothing", came a soft reply. "I am just too short." The coach told her that at 5'5" she would probably never get to play for a top ranked team - much less offered a scholarship - so she should stop dreaming about college.

She was heartbroken and I felt my own throat tighten as I sensed her disappointment. I asked her if she had talked to her dad about it yet.

She lifted her head from her hands and told me that her father said those coaches were wrong. They just did not understand the power of a dream. He told her that if she really wanted to play for a good college, if she truly wanted a scholarship, that nothing could stop her except one thing - her own attitude. He told her again, "If the dream is big enough, the facts don't count."

The next year, as she and her team went to the Northern California Championship game, she was seen by a college recruiter who was there looking at the opposing team. She was indeed offered a scholarship, a full ride, to a Division I, NCAA women's basketball team. She accepted. She was going to get the college education that she had dreamed of and worked toward for all those years. And that little girl had more playing time as a freshman and sophomore than any other woman did in the history of that university.

Late one night, during her junior year of college her father called. "I'm sick, Honey. I have cancer. No, don't quit school and come home. Everything will be okay. I love you."

He died six weeks later - her hero, her Dad. She did leave school those last few days to support her mother and care for her father. Late one night, during those final hours before his death, he called for her in the darkness.

As she came to his side, he reached for her hand and struggled to speak. "Rachel, keep dreaming. Don't let your dream die with me. Promise me," he pleaded. "Promise me."

In those last few precious moments together she replied, "I promise Daddy."

Those years to follow were hard on her. She was torn between school and her family, knowing her mother was left alone with a new baby and three other children to raise. The grief she felt over the loss of her father was always there, hidden in that place she kept inside, waiting to raise its head at some unsuspecting moment and drop her again to her knees.

Everything seemed harder. She struggled daily with fear, doubt and frustration. A severe learning disability had forced her to go to school year-round for three years just to keep up with requirements. The testing facility on campus couldn't believe she had made it through even one semester. Every time she wanted to quit, she remembered her father's words, "Rachel, keep dreaming. Don't let your dream die. If the dream is big enough, you can do anything! I believe in you." And of course, she would remember the promise she made to him.

My daughter kept her promise and completed her degree. It took her six years, but she did not give up. She can still be found sometimes as the sun is setting, bouncing a basketball. And often I hear her tell others, "If the dream is big enough, the facts don't count."

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dreaming of Books

(Update on 25th January - Winner is Donna M)

To stand a chance to win
$5 Amazon.com gift card

(Additionally, recommend an author to Orangeberry Phoenix 
and you receive a $50 Amazon gift card or cash. More details HERE)

Feel free to
- Follow this blog via GFC / Google Plus
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Leave me a comment so I'll know who you are

If you haven't got your copy,
here's another goodie for you.

Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety (What's Normal & What's Not?) 
 Genre Non-Fiction, Mental Health 
 Rating PG-13 
Coupon code FB25S 

This Giveaway Hop is organised by two very Blog-A-Licious blogs, 
I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Martha's Bookshelf
There are loads of giveaways happening 
so do come join us and check out the other 200++ participating blogs HERE

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Rocky Mountains High Lies

By Paula Renaye

I am writing today from the Colorado Rocky Mountains in the US. As those of you who know me personally are aware, I lived most of my adult life here and it is home. Coming back this time has been interesting in many ways. 

For one, the day after I arrived, so did the snow--a couple of feet of it. I was up in the mountains where I used to live and it brought back a lot of memories--good and bad. 

Not having to go anywhere or do anything, the snow is beautiful. The sapphire blue sky against the pine trees covered in snow is just stunning. When I lived here, I hated it--plain and simple. I was freezing constantly and felt trapped by the snow and the mountains. I was angry that what I wanted and needed didn't matter. I was isolated and lonely, and I very nearly lost my mind. 

I couldn't have what I wanted--do what I wanted to--because it didn't fit with what other people wanted. I was angry that I was living someone else's dream--and that what I wanted didn't matter. 

Ultimately, I was angry with myself, although I couldn't admit it at the time. I wasn't strong enough to speak my truth because I knew it wouldn't matter. Well, actually, it would have mattered--a lot--and my whole life would have fallen apart immediately, meaning divorce. So, instead, I pretended things were okay and yet was angry and casting blame because I knew they were not. All I did was delay the inevitable. And in the meantime, I made myself--and everyone else--miserable. 

If you've read The Hardline Self Help Handbook, you know the stories of my struggle out of the situations that my choices--and limited thinking--had created for me. If you've done the work laid out in the book, you also know you don't have to do what I did.

If you're saying things are okay, but you're angry or just feel "off" all the time, you know there's something you need to deal with. Start paying attention to your thoughts, your words and your actions.

I know, I've said it before, but it really is the very best place to start. If you're thinking one thing, saying another and then doing something else, you are indeed "off." There may be minor differences--at least seemingly--between the three, not to mention that you're probably also "talking out of both sides of your mouth."

For example, when I lived here in the mountains, my thoughts would fester with all the reasons I hated it and how it wasn't what I wanted. Then I would focus on its beauty and opportunities and run the "how could you not love it?" script. I'd complain about the cold then argue with anyone who suggested it wasn't the perfect place to live. I'd rant and rave about having to shovel snow then brag about being out in a T-shirt in the sun at 10 degrees doing it.

Now, if I could be so conflicted about such minor things, imagine how convoluted things were on the relationship side of things! And, of course, that's really what it was all about. It wasn't about the place I was living; it was the why. Always the why!

If you aren't happy, now is the time to figure out why--and do something about it.
Wishing you all the most amazing and insightful year of personal growth ever!

I haven't been to my old house this time and probably won't go. I went near it, but not to it. I don't need to this time. It's funny how that house was such a defining factor for me, my ex-husband and our kids--it affected all our lives in one way or another. 

I felt for so long that I'd left a piece of myself there, buried with the beloved pets at "Gingerbread Hill" as the kids called it. I know for sure I lost a lot of myself there. I also know it's where I started finding "me" again.
Paula Renaye is tough love motivational speaker, certified professional coach and author of the multi-award-winning self-empowerment guide, The Hardline Self Help Handbook, which is on sale for the holidays now at most retailers. Her Tweet-able Tough Love Quotes book is available free for a limited time. Visit http://hardlineselfhelp.com for more information and tips. 

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Submissions Now Open - Books, Blogs & Smiles 3

A daily dose of books, blogs and quotes 
from all corners of the BlogSphere. 
Whether you're having a good day or a bad day, 
this eBook is bound to offer you a smile or two. 

Currently available on Amazon /
Number of books sold up to 14 January 2012 is 3102. 

(Updated 15 January 2012)

Seeing that the Blog-A-Licious Blog Directory 2012 and Books, Blogs & Smiles 1 received such wonderful response, submissions are now open for Book 2 which will be released on 1 March 2012.

If you would like to have a complimentary listing, then please leave a comment below. Preference will be given to complimentary listings that did not appear in Book 1. 

If you would like to sign up for a paid listing, more details are below. All listings will be randomly placed on the calendar, if you would like to choose a particular date a $5 'loading' fee will be charged.

Pay $5.00 for the Plain Vanilla listing which will look something like this (maximum of three links) and leave a comment below or email me at pandorapoikilos@gmail.com Payment is via PayPal. Use button below or "SendPayment" to pandorapoikilos@gmail.com
Blogger Pandora Poikilos
Blog Title
 Peace from Pieces

Blog Link http://peacefrompieces.blogspot.com/
Description The {un}spectacular moments of a not so famous writer on a journey of self-change, instead of world change.
Hot Spot http://twitter.com/#!/pandorapoikilos
Pay $10.00 for the Raspberry Sweetness listing which will look something like this (maximum of one image and five links) and leave a comment below or email me at pandorapoikilos@gmail.com Payment is via PayPal. Use button below or "SendPayment" to pandorapoikilos@gmail.com

Book of the day… Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out by Pandora Poikilos

***All payments received are not refundable.

For Social Media Hot Spots, I personally do not recommend including your Facebook profiles if you have personal photos and information such as addresses listed on it. Once released, this listing will be public. Feel free to include your Facebook page or other social media sites you belong to.

For more details, email pandorapoikilos@gmail.com

Orangeberry Book Tours Sponsorship Options

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Lincoln Never Quit

Author Unknown

Probably the greatest example of persistence is Abraham Lincoln. If you want to learn about somebody who didn't quit, look no further. Born into poverty, Lincoln was faced with defeat throughout his life. He lost eight elections, twice failed in business and suffered a nervous breakdown.

He could have quit many times - but he didn't and because he didn't quit, he became one of the greatest presidents in the history of our country. Here is a sketch of Lincoln's road to the White House:

- 1816 His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
- 1818 His mother died.
- 1831 Failed in business.
- 1832 Ran for state legislature - lost.
- l832 Also lost his job - wanted to go to law school but couldn't get in.

- 1833 Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.
- 1834 Ran for state legislature again - won.
- 1835 Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken.
- 1836 Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
- 1838 Sought to become speaker of the state legislature - defeated.

- 1840 Sought to become elector - defeated.
- 1843 Ran for Congress - lost.
- 1846 Ran for Congress again - this time he won - went to Washington and did a good job.
- 1848 Ran for re-election to Congress - lost.
- 1849 Sought the job of land officer in his home state - rejected.

- 1854 Ran for Senate of the United States - lost.
- 1856 Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party's national convention - got less than 100 votes.
- 1858 Ran for U.S. Senate again - again he lost.
- 1860 Elected president of the United States.

Friday, 13 January 2012

I Love My Wife

Author Unknown

A man wakes up with a big hangover the morning after attending his company's annual Summer Party. He can't even remember how he got home from the party let alone how he got so drunk and is deathly afraid of what he may have done or said the night before to offend his wife.

The man forces his eyes open, however, and the first things he sees are two headache tablets next to a glass of water on his night table, and, next to them, a single red rose! He sits up with difficulty and sees his clothing hung on the back of his chair all clean and pressed and the rest of the house all spic and span and in perfect order.

Incredulous, the man takes the tablets, then winces when he sees a nasty black eye looking back at him from the bathroom mirror. Then he finds a note next to the red rose on the night table: "Sweetie, breakfast is waiting for you on the stove. I left early to buy the ingredients to make your favorite dinner tonight. I love you, darling! The note was signed, "Your loving wife".

The man then stumbles into the kitchen and incredibly enough, there is a hot breakfast waiting for him along with steaming hot tea, and the morning paper. His daughter Jessie is also at the table, eating. "Jess... what happened last night?" The man asks, with some trepidation.

"Well, you came home around four o'clock in the morning, drunk and out of your senses. You tripped and fell onto the coffee table and broke it, and then you vomited all over the bathroom floor, and got this black eye when you crashed into the table edge."

Baffled, the man asked Jessie, "Then why is everything in such perfect shape and so clean? Why is there a rose on my nightstand, and breakfast on the stove waiting for me?"

"Oh that", Jessie replies, "Well, Mom pulled you into your bedroom, and when she tried to undress you, you yelled, "Leave me alone, I'm married and I love my wife!'"

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Orangeberry Book Tours - Karen Pokras Toz

***This author will be having her 30-day book tour from 10th January onwards. Host this author on your blog and stand a chance to win a $10 Amazon.com voucher or cash via PayPal. Please sign up HERE.

Ten-year-old Nathan Rockledge cannot catch a break. After all, life as a fourth-grader can be hazardous what with science projects to deal with and recess football games to avoid. Everyone, including his best friend Tommy, seems to have bad luck when hanging around Nathan. Throw in an older sister who is a royal pain, a dad who is stuck in the past, and a mom who keeps trying to poison him with her awful cooking, and poor Nathan’s life as a fourth grader appears to be completely doomed. 

Armed only with his sketchpad, his imagination, and his wits, Nathan Rockledge navigates the perils of the fourth grade in style, to emerge heroic, as Nate Rocks, proving that even a ten-year-old can accomplish great things. Follow the quirky and imaginative adventures of ten-year-old Nathan Rockledge as his cartoons come to life.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Middle Grade Fiction
Rating - PG

Connect with Karen Pokras Toz on Twitter & Facebook
Website http://www.karentoz.com/
Check out where this author will be talking about her latest release!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

It's Only Paint -or is it?

We reveal our fears in what we say and do, how we see the world, what we're willing to do and what we're not--and why.   Paula Renaye

I bought my condo three and half years ago, did significant renovations, including popcorn ceiling and wallpaper removal and retexturing and paint throughout. A few months ago, I painted most of it again. The living and dining room is now a fourth color, kitchen is on its fifth and my master bath is on color number six.
Now, you may think that's crazy--and for some people it would be! But our inner and outer worlds both reflect and influence each other, and for me, the paint is just a part of my ongoing personal evolution. I'm not the same person I was when I moved in here--or that I was three months ago. When I birth new inner versions of me, I like to upgrade my outer world accordingly--a way of marking the changes that aren't visible with ones that are.

It is worth noting that some of us will use anything--including painting and decorating--as our drug of choice to avoid dealing with the internal voice that's telling us we need to make changes in our lives. That's a different thing and we all have to determine the truth of our own situations--and self-police accordingly.
We all fear change, and our particular quirks show up in what we say, do and how we see the world--what we're willing to do and what we're not, and yes, even how we feel about painting the walls.

I have a friend who has recently begun to see how her fears have limited her life. She had worked hard to get her home about ten years ago, moved in and hadn't done a thing to the place since. Her walks were stark white and her furniture and decorations were from her mother's estate, right down to the crocheted doilies on the tables. Honestly, it was like walking into my grandmother's house--and she died 30 years ago. Granted, it could have been simply a style preference and certainly none of my business, but it wasn't. It was fear.
Her fears showed up in everything she did and said. I once joked that she should get a job as an actuary because she could identify the worst possible scenario for anything. These scenarios kept her from doing most things or required her to make extensive preparations to guard against all the "what ifs" her mind created. But what really got me was when I mentioned I'd bought more paint and was painting, her comment was, "Well, what if you don't like this color either?" 

Now, to me that is a crazy question! For me, it isn't even a question at all. If I don't like it, I'll change it! For her, however, it was such a huge risk. After all, she hadn't changed anything at all in over a decade. If she did, at her age, she believed she'd have to live with it until she died!

This condo has been hugely important for me on so many levels. It represents my reclaiming of my life and making my way as individual--and the rapid changes that are still taking place.

Being afraid to change manifests in a lot of different ways--and it can un-manifest just as uniquely.
Whatever your fears are, now is the time to face them. Do it and make 2012 the best year ever for yourself. Because, you see, when you face your fears and change your way of looking at the world, it affects everyone one else around you--for the good!

Start living your joy, now!

* * * *

Paula Renaye is tough love motivational speaker, certified professional coach and author of the multi-award-winning self-empowerment guide, The Hardline Self Help Handbook. Hardline is available in paperback and just about every ebook format out there (Kindle, Nook, Apple, Mobi, etc.). It's still on sale at amazon.com so get it now! Also, read the FREE now: Most Likely to Succeed--A Short Story of a Woman's Journey Back to Herself.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Sense Of A Goose

Author Unknown

When you see geese flying along in "V" formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in "V" formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone - and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.

If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are headed the same way we are.

When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.

It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs, whether with people or with geese flying south.

Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

What messages do we give when we honk from behind?

Finally - and this is important - when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out of formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies, and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their group.

If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Orangeberry Book Tours - Tammie Clarke Gibbs

***This author will be having her 30-day book tour from 10th January onwards. Host this author on your blog and stand a chance to win a $10 Amazon.com voucher or cash via PayPal. Please sign up HERE.

Sometimes the Road to Justice is filled with Compromise… 

Jeremy Loud is good at what he does. 

As a Secret Service Operative he's quick on his feet and a master of his emotions. 

Then, he wakes up naked, disoriented and in physical pain to find a mysterious woman busy at his stove. His first mistake is assuming she's a barmaid. His biggest mistake is underestimating her ability to get into trouble. Soon he realizes his assignment to infiltrate and bring to justice the infamous Quincy Davenport and his band of counterfeiters might be easier than keeping one strong-willed and beautiful redhead out of trouble. 

Magen MacGuire is determined to find the man responsible for her father's death and make him pay. 

Then, her plans go awry and a case of mistaken identity leads her to the last thing she expects; a mysterious stranger she could easily fall in love with. She makes a choice to right a wrong, but in her case doing the right thing isn’t viewed as proper and gets them both into even more trouble. 

The odds are against them, but can they find the love of a lifetime before their secrets are exposed and if they do can they overcome the lies? 

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Historical Romantic Suspense
Rating - PG13 / R

Connect with Tammie Clarke Gibbs on Twitter & Facebook
Website http://www.tammieclarkegibbs.com/
Check out where this author will be talking about her latest release!
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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom



Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife


My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo



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Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun


Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max

Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry


My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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