Friday, 30 March 2012

The Best Gift Parents Can Give

By Bob Burg

Somewhere before I've heard the saying, "The best gift parents can ever give to their children is to love each other." I've had the pleasure of witnessing the truth of this statement for over 40 years.

From as far back as I can remember my Mom and Dad were a team. A great partnership. They were more than just a partnership. It was as if they were one person. They could drive us kids crazy sometimes, because they were always together "against us." (Okay, so it just seemed like that).

They were really just together in their love "for us", making sure their brood understood the difference between right and wrong and the foundational principles of honesty, trustworthiness, and respect. Sure, they argued (although, not that much), but there was never any doubt in our minds that any disagreements would be worked through and resolved. Most of my friends, unfortunately, didn't feel that same sense of security when their folks argued.

Mom and Dad began their married life poor, but they worked hard and, over the years, built a very successful business. They each had their strengths and weaknesses, but the way they worked together, you never saw the weaknesses, just the strengths. Dad was the outgoing, more public person with whom people met and right away fell in love. Everyone knew Dad!

Then, when they got to meet Mom, they felt the exact same way about her as well. Mom, although not at all shy, was more comfortable being the person behind the scenes. More detail oriented, she ran the books and, according to Dad, was the one who "really made the business work."

I remember one night at dinner asking Dad how much money he made. (Doesn't every teenager want to know!) Dad simply replied, "I don't know, Mama handles all that." I looked at Mom and asked, "Is that true? Dad really doesn't know how much money he makes?"

She replied, "Yes, he never has known, and he never asks." All three of us kids looked at Dad for an explanation. His approach was a simple one. "If we want to buy something and Mama says we can afford it, we can afford it."

For my mom and dad, marriage was never a 50/50 arrangement. It was 100/100 - each totally devoted to the happiness of the other. And, because of that, they each received even more joy than they gave. Dad once told me that "true love is when you actually care more about the other person - you love that person more - than you do yourself."

One of my greatest lessons from Mom was the time I told her, as a boy in my mid-teens, that even after I got married one day, she'd always be my favorite girl. Immediately - in a kind but definitely serious manner - she said, "No I won't be. When you get married your wife will be the most important person in your life, and that includes Daddy and me."

The biggest lesson about love and marriage that my mom and dad taught us kids was on how to talk "about" your spouse. Have you ever heard husbands and wives, when speaking to others, make unkind remarks about their spouses? It's one of those things people just seem to do. Sure, they're "only kidding," or maybe they are not. But words matter. And words teach, whether positively and negatively.

You would never hear such a thing from my mom and dad. Dad always speaks of Mom in the most complimentary, glowing terms. As does she of him. This lesson made such an impression on me, I still remember when I was age twelve and we were getting carpet installed in our home.

The crew boss was one of those stereotypical beer guzzling, hard-living guys, who would have probably belonged to Ralph Kramden's Raccoon Lodge from the old Honeymooner's TV show. For lunch, my folks bought pizza for the crew. Dad went to talk with the boss about the job. I was around the corner listening.

The boss said, "This is an expensive job. Women will really spend your money, won't they?" Dad responded, "Well, I'll tell you, when they were right there with you before you had any money, it's a pleasure to do anything for them you possibly can." This wasn't the answer the carpet installer expected to hear.

He was looking for negative banter about wives which, to him, was natural. He tried again: "But, gee, they'll really play off that and spend all they can, won't they?" Dad replied, as I knew he would, "Hey, when they're the reason you're successful, you want them to do the things they enjoy. There's no greater pleasure." Strike two.

The crew boss tried one more time, "And they'll take that as far as they can, huh?" Dad responded, "She's the best thing that ever happened to me. I'd do anything to make her happy."

I was trying not to laugh. I knew he wanted Dad to give in just a little bit and say, "Yeah, I guess that's true." But it wouldn't happen, not in a million years! Finally, the installer gave up and went back to work, probably shaking his head in bewilderment.

Witnessing my dad in that moment taught me more about loving and respecting your wife than anything he could ever have told me about the subject. Mom and Dad are now retired and enjoying their life together, just hanging out, reading, and visiting their children and grandchildren. They recently celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary.

They still hold hands, and they are more in love than ever. Throughout the years, whenever Mom would remind me that I should be looking to get married, I'd say, "Ma, I have plenty of time." She'd jokingly reply that I don't have "that" much time. My Dad would then look at me in that wisdom-filled, city streets bred way of his and say, "Hey, you take all the time you need. If you marry someone just half the woman your mother is, you'll have a great life."

I should only be so lucky.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Kick Butt Characters

To stand a chance to win
$5 gift card
copy of The Hunger Games (Book 1) 
Kindle Version

(Update on 5th April - Winner is Nancy H)

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and you receive a $50 Amazon gift card or cash. More details HERE)

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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Guilt - The Family Tie that Binds

By Paula Renaye

I gave a talk during the summer called “Fast Forward to Happiness.” Since we were in wedding and vacation season, I gave tips on how to go to--and--leave, family get-togethers with a smile. I shared a few hard-line realities of what “going home” means for some folks and how that’s not always a pleasant experience. I also talked about speaking your truth and how it is the most loving thing you can do for yourself—and for everyone else--because, it is only when we stop catching the ball that others realize that they can stop throwing it.

Afterward the talk, a lovely woman in her early 70s came up to have a book signed and commented on how she could really relate and how she wished she’d done things differently, particularly with her mother. She talked about how she’d left so much unsaid and how she wished she could have cleared things that had been between them. I could not only see the pain in her eyes, I could feel it.

Now, before I tell you what I said to her, I want to explain something. If you’ve read my book or my posts, you know that I am all about tough love. And my definition of that is giving the person what they really need to hear in the moment whether or not it is what they really want to hear or whether or not they’ll get mad at me for saying it.

Believe it or not, that applied in this case--just in a very different way. I knew what I had to say to her and I had no idea how she was going to take it. Really, I never do and can’t worry about it. I just trust that I am saying what I need to say and whether anyone likes me isn’t part of the equation. Here’s basically how things went:

“You know, it isn’t too late,” I said, “to clear things up with your mother.”

She cocked her head as if to say, “Um, yeah, it is, she’s dead!”

“Have you ever felt her around you?”

“No!” the woman said. “That’s why I think she’s mad at me.”

Now, obviously, I can’t know the specifics of what went on with her mother or what she’s feeling or not. What I do know, is that most of us are really good at blocking out things we are afraid will cause us pain of some kind. Sometimes, we just need someone to shine a flashlight into the darkness and give us a little encouragement to push through to where we know we need to go.

I smiled. “Well, there is something you can do, you know.”

“Absolutely. Just find a quiet peaceful spot where you can be alone—it can be in your garden, bedroom, wherever. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths then imagine your mother right there in front of you. See her features. Feel how it felt when you were with her. Do you think you can do that?”

Her eyes got really big. “Well, yes, I could do it right now!”

“Good, then when you’re ready, you do that and then you simply say all those things you wanted to say—everything, the good and the bad and the ugly. Get it all out. If your mother wants to say something to you, you’ll hear it. Or, you may just feel it. Either way, it’s good and it counts.”

She had tears in her eyes. “I never thought of that.”

“Remember, we’re never really gone from those we love; we just aren’t in the same form. And besides, we’ve figured out that time isn’t really linear, so we now understand that what we do today can heal the past and the future. Do it. She’ll hear you and you’ll both be better for it.”

Someone else stepped forward about then and the woman turned to them and said, batting back tears, “She looks innocent, but she made me cry!” This time, though, she was smiling and there was determination in her steps as she walked away.

She’d probably heard a million times that her mother already knew what was in her heart. It’s true, but it didn’t really fix anything for her in the here and now real world.

On the one hand, platitudes may ease our pain in the moment, but they don’t give us a way to release our own guilt and regrets, and we can feel helpless and hopeless about it. On the other hand, if we take action to address the situation, we empower ourselves. By taking action we no longer feel helpless or hopeless—we’re doing something and it could really work!

If you have regrets and guilt over a current or past situation, do whatever you need to in order to right your wrongs. Take some kind of action, even if it is only within your mind. And in the process, not only will you help yourself, you’ll become a lighter and happier person and that will help everyone around you be happier too.

Take action and live your joy now!

* * * * *
Paula Renaye is a certified life coach, speaker and author of The Hardline Self Help Handbook, which has won Four National Book Awards. For more motivational articles and free audio and digital downloads, visit and be inspired!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

How Are You?

By Pandora Poikilos

Grief visited a friend last week. It isn't a moment I can freely share because the loss is not mine but by the look of things, grief has packed more than an overnight bag. Grief's timing will never cease to amaze me. Just when you are on the brink of thinking "it is all well", she will be the unwanted visitor in your home, sitting by your side. I've spent hours and now days thinking of this loss and putting myself in this friend's shoes, it isn't going to be easy.

Grief's visit also made me think of all the relationships we take for granted, online and offline. I do my best to keep in touch with as many of my readers and online friends as I can. But 24 hours in a day is often never enough to reach out to everyone.

We take pride in sharing a lot of online stories, rumours and situations and yet, we find the simplest question of "How are you?" a bit of a chore. Of course, if you ask five different people, you will end up with five different answers. Sometimes, it takes too much time to digest someone else's responses and to think of a subsequent response. But if you do not share a little bit of each other's lives, what is your friendship based on?

I've made it a practise of mine to reach out to three different people everyday. I ask "How are you?", we exchange current happenings and we chit chat a little more. I had been doing this for a few months when the full impact of what I was doing actually hit me.

I had asked an online friend this question and he responded that he had been feeling down. We talked about random nothings and we exchanged directions about our individual crossroads. Then it was a new day and I had three more people to connect with. That morning I was greeted with a message from him and it is one I will treasure for a long time - I'm not sure you realize how much I needed someone today. I needed someone to care about me, and you did! 

I cannot recommend a fix and I cannot tell you how to go about your day. What I can tell you is that I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing, and you can join me if you like - the next time you're about to connect with someone, reach out and listen. You'll be surprised at what "How are you?" can actually mean to someone.

Love and light.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Orangeberry Book Tours - In Leah's Wake

Protecting their children comes naturally for Zoe and Will Tyler - 
until their daughter Leah decides to actively destroy her own future.

Leah grew up in a privileged upper-middle class world. Her parents spared no expense for her happiness; she had all-but secured an Ivy League scholarship and a future as a star athlete. Then she met Todd.

Leah’s parents watch helplessly as their daughter falls into a world of drugs, sex, and wild parties. While Will attempts to control his daughter’s every move to prevent her from falling deeper into this dangerous new life, Zoe prefers to give Leah slack in the hope that she may learn from her mistakes. Their divided approach drives their daughter out of their home and a wedge into their marriage.

Twelve-year-old Justine observes Leah’s rebellion from the shadows of their fragmented family. She desperately seeks her big sister’s approval and will do whatever it takes to obtain it. Meanwhile she is left to question whether her parents love her and whether God even knows she exists.

What happens when love just isn’t enough? Who will pay the consequences of Leah’s vagrant lifestyle? Can this broken family survive the destruction left in Leah’s wake?

Buy Now @ Amazon 
Genre - Women's Fiction / Contemporary
Rating - PG13
More details about the author
View the trailer for this book

Connect with Terri Giuliano Long on Twitter & Facebook
Check out where this author will be talking about her latest release!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Lucky Leprechaun

To stand a chance to win
$5 gift card

(Update on 25th March - Winner is Bunny R)

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There are loads of giveaways happening 
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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Muffled Voices in the Dark

By Paula Renaye

Last night, as I was about to go to sleep, I heard a muffled voice, coming from somewhere across the room. The sound wasn't clear and I couldn't understand the words, but as I lay there in the dark, it sounded like the scratchy voice was repeating a phrase, over and over…

Okay, I could go on and make something up about spirits, ghosts or whatever, but the truth is I was pretty sure I knew what was going on--my Bluetooth was talking to me. Granted, I've heard stories of otherworldly beings making contact through electronics, but that didn't cross my mind last night and I certainly wasn't frightened about anything. I was, however, mildly annoyed. 

Although I couldn't make out the words, it sounded like the typical message when the wireless device connects and disconnects itself. Since I've been having trouble with my smart phone, I figured it was somehow related to that, so I ignored it and went to sleep. 

This morning, however, the thing was still at it. I tried turning it off then back on--multiple times--but the lights kept flashing funny colors at me. I even reintroduced the apparently unhappy couple by formally re-pairing the unit from the settings on the phone. I did a lot of things, but nothing stopped the annoying voice. 

Since I was trying to work, I had two choices: make it stop permanently (turning it off via button or hammer) or figure out the problem. I liked the hammer idea, but I knew I would regret it later so, I chose to do the unthinkable. I put on the Bluetooth so I could hear exactly what the voice kept yammering on about.
Funny what actually listening to what's being said will get you. Turns out the message wasn't about connecting and disconnecting at all. The persistent voice was telling me that I needed to recharge the unit pronto or I wouldn't be using it--maybe ever. 

Unlike the voice on some GPS units, Bluetooth Lady wasn't getting hateful about it, which I appreciated, so I didn't feel compelled to snarl back at her. Still, the unit needing charging didn't make sense because I had plugged it in last night--and unplugged it this morning to bring it with me to my desk. Taking her at her word, however, I dutifully trotted it back to its charging cord. And that's when I saw the problem: It wasn't plugged into the wall. Okey dokey.

A long story detailing a trivial event perhaps, but isn't that what we do a lot of times in other ways? We don't really pay attention until we've exhausted all other options? 

How often are we are so sure we know what someone is saying or meaning that we don't really bother listening to what is actually being said? I'm certainly guilty of it. But, on occasion when I actually realize it (sooner than today, one would hope), I shut my mouth and open my ears. And when I do, I don't always hear what I thought I was going to. 

Same goes for only half-listening to what someone is saying because you're busy composing your own pity and highly essential commentary (Yes, guilty again).We all know when we aren't being listened to--we can feel it--and it doesn't feel good. When someone isn't listening to us--or we aren't listening to the other person--it's not a conversation, it's a speech. 

Okay, the Bluetooth lady obviously couldn't feel that I was ignoring her, but when I finally realized it and took responsibility for the communication, things improved for both of us. She got plugged in like she wanted and needed and I got her to shut up about it. As a bonus for finally listening, I was also going to actually be able to use the device when I needed to. It was a win-win-win for me, but I sure worked hard not to have to accept it!

So, what are your muffled voices trying to tell you? Who are you hearing, but not really listening to? What would change if you did?

Here's to saying "I hear you" and meaning it!

* * * *
Paula Renaye is life coach, speaker and an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction. Her acclaimed personal development guide, The Hardline Self Help Handbook has won Four National Book Awards.
NOTE: Soon I'll be sharing some exciting news to my subscribers about what's been going on behind the scenes with Hardline for the last few months. So, if you aren't on the newsletter mailing lis, hop over to the website and sign up. It's on the left sidebar at and it's free. Can't wait to tell you what's up!

Thursday, 15 March 2012


Author Unknown

A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car.

The sand is everything else. The small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.

Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

What Do You Like About People?

By Justine Tyler

Because I’m on the quiet side, people always assume I’m nice. I mean, I guess I’m nice, compared some kids. I don’t mouth off my teachers or anything. Mostly I do what I’m supposed to. But I definitely have a wild side. Me and my friend Holly like to prank people, for instance. You know, on the phone. We say dumb stuff, like we’re calling from the IRS or something. It’s so funny. Adults get all fired up when they hear “IRS.” They can’t tell we’re kids? For real? Neither of us sounds like a grownup. 

Sometimes I yell at my mom, especially when she criticizes my sister. I feel bad. My mom gets so upset. But I can’t help it. It makes me crazy when she says stuff about Leah. My sister bends the rules, but it doesn’t make her a bad person. She wants to be independent. I don’t always agree with how she behaves, but I respect her. My parents should respect her, too. They shouldn’t always be jumping all over her.

Anyway, my point is, I’m not always nice. I don’t like everyone, either. But I do give people a chance. Usually, I’m pretty accepting. I mean, I don’t make fun of other kids or anything. There’s this kid in my bio class. He picks his nose and wipes his finger on his pants. It so gross! The other kids all pick on him. One time, they were teasing him so bad, he started to cry. That just made it worse. At lunch, I sat with him. I’m not looking for a medal or anything. I mean, it was sort of cool, sitting with him. He’s really interesting. His dad’s a pilot and their family has traveled all over the world.

One thing I won’t tolerate, though – people talking trash about my family. When I hear people saying things about my sister, judging her, I want to punch them out. KIA-AH. Left, right, uppercut. Pow, pow! Ha! Knock some sense into their peanut-size brain.

She has a big heart, my sister. A few months ago, this boy at school called me a monkey. I had the hugest crush on him. One afternoon, he sat next to me on the bus. He likes me, I thought. He likes me. All of a sudden, he points at my arm and starts saying how hairy I am. “You look like a monkey,” he said. I wanted to die. I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have my sister. She just listened and she rubbed my back and she said he probably did like me. “That’s how boys your age act,” she said. “They’re just immature.”

Same with that boy, Mike, who picks his nose. He ended up being a really great friend. For midterms, he made this intense study booklet, with all the important information we’d learned so far. I’m sure it took him hours to put it together. And he gave me a copy.

If you give people a chance, you might be surprised to find that under their weirdness or rebellion there’s a really good person. When that happens, it’s like the coolest thing ever.

People surprise you. Looks are often deceiving. The worst person in the world, or the person you think the worst, turns out to have a good side. That’s what I like about people.
Who is Justine Tyler? She is 12 years old, an eighth grader at Cortland Middle School and Leah’s sister in Terri Giuliano Long’s novel, In Leah’s Wake. A straight-A student, she has won town-wide awards in science and math. She’s currently working on a project on planetary movement for her school’s science fair.  She loves karate, vampire slaying, chocolate chip cookies and Dog, her yellow Labrador Retriever.

About the author
Terri Giuliano Long is the bestselling author of the novel In Leah’s Wake. Her life outside of books is devoted to her family. In her free time, she enjoys walking, traveling, and listening to music. True to her Italian-American heritage, she’s an enthusiastic cook. In an alternate reality, she might be an international food writer. She lives with her family on the East Coast and teaches at Boston College. In Leah’s Wake is her debut novel.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Lunar Love

To stand a chance to win
copy of New Moon (Twilight Saga) 
Kindle Version

(Update on 20th March - Winner is Tina C)

(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
(Note - If you've followed this blog before, 
you may need to follow it again 
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Leave me a comment so I'll know who you are

This Giveaway Hop is organised by two very Blog-A-Licious blogs, 
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There are loads of giveaways happening 
so do come join us and check out the other 150++ participating blogs HERE

Monday, 12 March 2012

He Is Just A Little Boy

By Chaplain Bob Fox

He stands at the plate
with his heart pounding fast.
The bases are loaded,
the die has been cast.

Mom and Dad cannot help him,
he stands all alone.

A hit at this moment,
would send the team home.
The ball meets the plate,
he swings and he misses.

There's a groan from the crowd,
with some boos and some hisses.
A thoughtless voice cries,
Strike out the bum."

Tears fill his eyes,
the game's no longer fun.
So open your heart and give him a break,
For it's moments like this,
a man you can make.

Please keep this in mind,
when you hear someone forget,
He is just a little boy, and not a man yet.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Died In Service

Author Unknown

One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex was staring up at the large plaque that hung in the foyer of the church.

It was covered with names, and small American flags were mounted on either side of it.

The seven-year-old had been staring at th e plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the boy, and said quietly, "Good morning, Alex."

"Good morning," replied the young man, still focused on the plaque.

"What is this?" Alex asked.

"Well, son, it's a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service."

Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque.

Little Alex's voice was trembling and barely audible when he asked, "Which service, the 9.45am or the 11.15am?"

Thursday, 8 March 2012

I Am God

Author Unknown

Today I will be handling all of your problems. Please remember that I do not need your help.

If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do not attempt to resolve it. Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. It will be addressed in My time, not yours. Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold on to it.

If you find yourself stuck in traffic; Don't despair. There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.

Should you have a bad day at work; Think of the man who has been out of work for years.

Should you despair over a relationship gone bad; Think of the person who has never known what it's like to love and be loved in return.

Should you grieve the passing of another weekend; Think of the woman in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week to feed her children.

Should your car break down, leaving you miles away from assistance; Think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.

Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror; Think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.

Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking what is my purpose? Be thankful. There are those who didn't live long enough to get the opportunity.

Should you find yourself the victim of other people's bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities; Remember, things could be worse. You could be them!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Parrot Head Self-Help

By Paula Renaye

Okay, technically, I'm going to talk about Self-Help Parrots, because really, there is no help--self or otherwise--for Parrot Heads, except for maybe seeing Jimmy Buffett live in concert, which I did last week!
The arena was packed with 14,000 fans, and from the roar of us singing along, it was clear that most of us knew the songs by heart. Yes, we knew the words and could sing along, but we hadn't lived the life it took to be able to write those songs. No matter how many song lyrics we memorized, unless we all changed our lives to fit the words--and gained our own insights and wisdom in the process--we were destined to be parrots. 

I'm good with that. I don't pretend I know what he knows or have experienced what he's experienced. But in the self-improvement area, a lot of people do just that. We read and study and think we have it all figured out and are happy to share our newfound certainties of how life is. 

You probably know some folks who always have the perfect solution for every problem. They rattle off their pearls of wisdom with conviction and confidence, certain they know what's best for someone else. But do they really? Are they a walking example of how they've transformed their own lives or are they just self-help parrots? 

In my experience, the more someone is certain they know what's best for you, the less likely it is that they actually do--and odds are they aren't a living example of their own grand advice either. I know I certainly learned the words to say long before I could live them. I was a deliberate Parrot Head and an unwitting parrot.

People who have lived past the parrot stage know they don't have absolute answers for anyone else--they can't. They can offer an objective assessment of the situation and provide suggestions accordingly based on the information available and their own experiences. But, they can't ever know everything you know--about you or your situation--and they won't assume they do. They aren't there to tell you what to do, but help you find your own solutions, because those are the only ones that ever work anyway.

As Jimmy Buffett sings in Great Heart, "The world is full of strange behavior. Every man has to be his own savior."

So, be patient with the Self-Help Parrots--and yourself. We can talk a good game long before we can actually live it.

Cheers! PS: I posted some photos of the concert on my Facebook page if you want to take a peek.

* * * *
Paula Renaye is a motivational speaker and Winner of Four National Book Awards for her no-nonsense personal development guide, The Hardline Self Help Handbook. Whether it is a relationship, career or health challenge, Hardline guides you step by step to your own solutions.

What you might not know is that Paula is also a literary-award-winning mystery author as well, writing as Paula Boyd. The first book in the Jolene Jackson Mystery Series, Hot Enough to Kill, is currently ranked #20 In Mystery Women Sleuths on Kindle and #381 in the entire Kindle Store. It's only 99 cents so get your copy now!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Leap Into Books

To stand a chance to win
$5 gift card

(Update on 10th March - Winner is Diva DS)

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

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

Monday, 5 March 2012

8 Very Special Gifts

Author Unknown

The Gift Of Listening But you must REALLY listen. No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response. Just listening.

The Gift Of Affection Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and holds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

The Gift Of Laughter Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, "I love to laugh with you."

The Gift Of A Written Note It can be a simple "Thanks for the help" note or a full sonnet. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.

The Gift Of A Compliment A simple and sincere, "You look great in red," "You did a super job" or "That was a wonderful meal" can make someone's day.

The Gift Of A Favour Everyday, go out of your way to do something kind.

The Gift Of Solitude There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

The Gift Of A Cheerful Disposition The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone, really it's not that hard to say, Hello or Thank You.

Friday, 2 March 2012

It's Dark In Here

A married woman is having an affair. Whenever her lover comes over, she puts her nine year old son in the closet. One day the woman hears a car in the driveway and puts her lover in the closet as well.

Inside the closet,the little boy says, "It's dark in here, isn't it?"

"Yes, it is," the man replies.

"You wanna buy a baseball?" the little boy asks.

"No thanks," the man replies.

"I think you do want to buy a baseball," the little extortionist continues.

"OK. How much?" the man replies after considering the position he's in.

"Twenty-five dollars," the little boy replies.

"TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS?" the man repeats incredulously, but complies to protect his hidden position. The following week, the lover is visiting the woman again when she hears a car in the driveway and, again, places her lover in the closet with her little boy.

"It's dark in here, isn't it?" the boy starts off.

"Yes, it is," replies the man.

"Wanna buy a baseball glove?" the little boy asks.

"OK. How much?" the hiding lover responds, acknowledging his disadvantage.

"Fifty dollars," the boy replies and the transaction is completed.

The next weekend, the little boy's father says "Hey, son. Go get your ball and glove and we'll play some catch."

"I can't. I sold them," replies the little boy.

"How much did you get for them?" asks the father, expecting to hear the profit in terms of lizards and candy.

"Seventy-five dollars," the little boy says.

"SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS? That's thievery! I'm taking you to the church right now. You must confess your sin and ask for forgiveness," the father explains as he hauls the child away. At the church, the little boy goes into the confessional, draws the curtain, sits down, and says "It's dark in here, isn't it?"

To which the priest exclaims, "Don't you start that crap in here."

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Running from Fear & Choosing to Fail

By Paula Renaye

For some people, running from fear and choosing to fail are "easier" than the alternative. Some people will unconsciously sabotage things so they don't have to consciously face the thoughts, feelings and fears that come up because of them.

Now, you ask, who in the world would deliberately want to keep their fears? And seriously, who would rather fail than succeed?

Turns out, a lot of people--maybe even you. Yes, really, and you may not even realize it.

I've written about the Food Network's Restaurant Impossible show before, but after watching a particular episode the other night, I just had to talk about it again.

On this particular show, the restaurant was essentially just as it had been when it opened thirty years before in both looks and operations. Business had been good for a number of years, but as the times changed, the owner didn't, and he was now weeks away from losing the business, his home and maybe even his family.
When Chef Robert Irvine came in with some serious tough love and a radical plan to turn things around, the owner was shocked and devastated. He knew things needed to change, but had somehow missed the whole concept of what that would mean. Like many of us, he was willing to do "anything" to make things work as long as things were exactly the way he wanted and he didn't have to change.

The problems with the restaurant became very clear very quickly, and there was only one common denominator--the owner. Facing the cold, hard fact that he was the problem--that what he was doing was outdated and ineffective--was more than his pride could take.

He became a bit belligerent and dug his heels in, determined to continue doing what he was doing rather than to look in the mirror, own his shortcomings and make changes. It was "easier" to allow his restaurant to fail because it gave his pride a way out. He could find a hundred reasons why the failure wasn't his fault--the economy, the competition, ignorance of the community, anything at all--and still hold his head up. He would have a legitimate excuse that people would accept and he'd never ever have to face the real reason his business had failed--himself.

It hurt to hear the truth about his business and himself--hurt badly--and he very nearly cracked under the pressure of having to face it. I can relate. And really, who amongst us, at one time or another, hasn't pretended things were okay rather than face the truth? Who hasn't wanted to avoid having to admit that we're the problem? Who hasn't been willing to do just about anything rather than look in the mirror, open up our wounds and admit we need to make changes?

People do this in relationships too and don't even realize it. It's easier to sabotage the relationship with unacceptable behaviors so the other person will break things off rather than face the thoughts, feelings and fears that come up. 

Obviously, in both cases--in all cases--the answer is facing the very thing you don't want to. You have to face that part that seems so ugly you can't stand to look at it. You have to own those unpleasant thoughts that you work so hard to keep under wraps. You have to allow the feelings and fears to come up and show themselves fully so you know your own truth. It's the only way.

And once you get past the initial shock of it all--once you admit the very last thing you wanted to admit--it gets easier, maybe even fun. Because once you own those thoughts, feelings and fears, they no longer own you.

In fact, once you get the hang of talking about how you feel and why, the world seems to burst open with new possibilities--not to mention joy. You'll be amazed at how your life changes when it no longer revolves around running from your fears.

Like the restaurant owner in the show, once you push through the pain and do what you thought you never could, your world changes forever--for the good. Always for the good!
And you might just find yourself really and truly happy!

Want a little help to get to the bottom of your own fears and limiting beliefs? Download The Hardline Self Help Handbook and a printable workbook for only $12 here and get going! Also available on and other major retailers.

Paula Renaye is a certified professional coach, motivational speaker and author of The Hardline Self Help Handbook, which has won FOUR National Book Awards! If you're looking for a step-by-step, tell-me-what-to-do guide to head your life in the direction you really want, get the book and get started now!
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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



Powered by

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

Powered by

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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