May You Choose Love and Light in 2018!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Importance of Family

In late July I traveled to Long Beach, California to celebrate my aunt Helen's 103rd birthday. I was able to also spend time with my cousin and her daughter. Because we live about 1500 miles apart, we don't see each other very often. I do try (and usually succeed) in writing a newsy family letter once a month because they don't do emails and we seem to miss each other with phone calls.

Christy and her Employee of the Month Notice
When I arrived Sunday, the party was in full swing. About 50 people filled the area sitting on folding chairs, steps, and around the table on the patio. People had brought cards, food, flowers, and gifts to help Helen celebrate.

This was my first time to see the completed landscaping of the courtyard area of the apartment complex. What I noticed immediately was the walkway had been moved to run closer to the building and that allowed for the space to create gathering and bar-b-que area.

My cousin's daughter, Christy, is a whiz with party planning, food prep, etc. and she outdid herself for her granny. The BBQ pulled pork she made was Amazing! She made sure her granny had carrot cake with cream cheese icing, Helen's favorite and she created a masterpiece by adding fresh blueberries and something magical to a store bought lemon bundt cake.

I don't have pictures of the party and feast, but I do of the new courtyard!

Friday, September 7, 2012

If I Live To Be 103

Judith Ashley
If I live to be 103 years of age I'll have reached the same age as my maternal aunt, Helen. She is a remarkable woman, living in her own apartment with Callie, her dog. Her daughter and granddaughter live nearby and check on her every day.

When I visited with her the end of July, she told me that she has chores she's assigned herself. She makes her own bed every day and washes up her dishes. She also fixes something simple for breakfast and fancies up her daily delivery from Meals On Wheels.
No longer driving due, in part, to failing eyesight, she still knits T-shirts for a Church project, listens to the news, and keeps up with reading Reader's Digest Condensed Books along with correspondence from family and friends. Her apartment is up a flight of stairs and she managed to go up and down them as well, if not better than I did.

Aunt Helen

I've always thought I wanted to live to be 103 and if that happens, I want to be like my aunt!

If you were to live to be 100 (or 103) would that be a good thing or not?

What would be the best part of living that long?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Intention Sisters and Friends

Judith Ashley
If you've followed this blog at all, you know two other women are my "Intention Sisters" and we talk each week on the phone and each day focus on each other's Intentions. When I first registered for the Desert Dreams Conference, my plan was to spend time with my friend, Lois who has started a business located at Melrose Market (more about that in another post).

But then, in December, one of my Intention Sisters moved from Washington to the Phoenix area of Arizona and later this spring, my other Intention Sister announced she and her husband were celebrating their wedding anniversary in Flagstaff and she'd be in Phoenix around the dates of the Conference!

I flew in on Thursday. Lois picked me up. We all met up at the Chaparral Suites before going off to dinner at Malee's on Main, a local Thai restaurant. After dinner we returned to the room and visited!

Sunday, Gimi returned to spend the afternoon with Lois and me. We decided to check out what was going on at Vision Quest, a metaphysical store, on Scottsdale Road. When I walked in the door, I immediately noticed a display about Sacred Geometry. While Sacred Geometry seems the most natural spirituality for one of the characters to rely on in my series The Sacred Women's Circle, it isn't something I know much about.
The Intention Sisters: Judith, Gimi, Connie
The Universe was watching out for me because I met Mikhaela St. John who has a vast knowledge of Sacred Geometry. Mikhaela was generous with her time and I learned a lot from her. I purchased the divination cards she's created using Sacred Geometry and I'll certainly rely on her expertise when I am writing Gabriella's story!

Another practitioner at the shop was Safeer Mahdi, who treated Lois and Gimi to a sample of how he uses musical auras as healing tool. Both women reported they felt better after a few minutes with Safeer.

One of my traditions when in Scottsdale is to eat at Los Olivos Mexican Restaurant and our dinner there Sunday night was excellent!

Monday it was time to pack up and head home. Here are some pictures I took of blooming cactus. If you look closely at the last two pictures you'll see a hole in the cactus. A cactus wren had just flown into the hole. Wouldn't that have been wonderful if I'd actually captured that moment?

Throughout my stay, I heard a bird singing. The bird turned out to be a Grackle. While I was at Desert Dreams, a long time client became critically ill and wasn't expected to survive the weekend.  I was also assessing where I was in my writing and wondering if I was supposed to write these stories for myself rather than for others.

Grackle energy is about emotions and how they can color our thinking process so that we see situations incorrectly. I had to laugh when I got home and looked up Grackle energy...if I was on the wrong path would I have won Bella Media Management's basket?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Resources, Resources, Resources and a Win!

Judith Ashley
One of the best parts of attending a writer's conference is connecting with various resources. My Intention was to be out of my room (thanks, Bob Mayer) and checking out what was going on around me. Because that was my Intention, my focus was sharp. Here's what I noticed.

In my first post, I mention Diane Graham Photography. Another resource for those folks living in the Phoenix area is Pretty Faces Makeup Company. No, I didn't meet Vicki while waiting for my picture to be taken, I met her while I was waiting to talk to Vijaya Schartz who was being interviewed by local media.

Mary Keith, Keith Publications, was busy taking pitches from writers. Keith Publications has a plethora (love that word) of resources for writers.

Another great resource for Indie and Self-Published authors is The Indie Book Collective. I met founder, Carolyn McCray at one of their receptions. You'll remember Taylor Lee from my post on Registration.

And then there are books. I purchased Kris Tualla's Becoming An Authorpreneur : Navigating a 21st Century Career in Publishing which I've found extremely useful. If you have an Intention of self-publishing, check this book out.

Desert Dreams also has a raffle basket event. Writers, authors, publishers, chapters put together baskets of goodies (free critique, chocolate, wine, spa days, dinner at fantastic restaurants, Kindles, Nooks, stuffed animals, notebooks, note cards - you name it). Attendees purchase tickets and put them in the container for the prize they most want to win.

This year I won a Fantastic Basket donated by Carol Webb at Bella Media Management. What might that consist of? A FREE Ebook Conversion and Ebook Cover. I got my cart a bit before my horse in this case. However, it is good to know I'm set when the time comes!!!

I'd love to know what you think is the best part of attending a Writer's Conference.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One Of These Days!

One event every writer's conference I'm aware of has is a book signing. Published authors attending the Conference have the opportunity to meet their readers, sign books/book marks, sell more books (through the on site book seller which is a local book store), and have their pictures taken while signing a book, posing, or with a fan. The Conference promotes the authors and the general public is invited - nope, encouraged to attend.

Desert Dreams was no different.

Someone noticing me may have thought I wandered through the tables. The truth was very different. My Intention? Soak up the feeling of being at a book signing, imagine me sitting at a table, meeting my readers, signing my books/book marks, etc. One element of Intention is to see and feel yourself 'as if'. This book signing event manifested that opportunity for me.

Who did I decide to photograph?

Kris Tualla
Terri Molina
Genre-istas - Kris Tualla, Terri Molina

Genre-ista Alumni - Erin Kellison
Shelley Coriell
Laurie Schnebly Campbell

Genre-ista Guests

Shelley Coriell and

Laurie Schnebly Campbell

Genre-ista Guest-to-be Barbara White Daille

Vijaya Schartz
Vijaya Schartz - I moderated her workshop
Ann Charles

Ann Charles - She and Jacquie Rogers are the reason I even have a blog in the first place.

Amy Jarecki - I met her through this blog and then in person at Desert Dreams.
Amy Jarecki

Here's what it looks like to be surrounded with your books. One of these days!

Here's what it looks like to be surrounded by people wanting to buy or have you sign your books. Another One Of These Days! photo

My Intention is to be a published author and attending Desert Dreams brought me closer to its manifestation.

© 2012 Judith Ashley

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Conference Connections the Bob Mayer Way

Prior to attending the Desert Dreams Conference, I read Bob Mayer's work on how to get the most out of attending a conference. I highly recommend it prior to going to a conference because it is packed with great ideas on how to use your conference time to enhance your writing, your contacts, and your brand.

What I practiced is 1) staying out of my room; 2) having my business card with me; 3) engaging in conversations and exchanging cards with the people around me.

Here are some of the writers I met at the meals!

Nikki Kimbel, writes now but is also The Original Mudpie Queen

Margaret Boone Rappaport, is on FB, and writes science fiction for women.

Janice Brooks, writes contemporary women's fiction and has published two books.

Elizabeth Blake, editor/author of "How I Met My Spouse" a compilation of true short stories from 42 couples.

Because I was out of my room and chatting with people, I also met

Bernadette La Mazza, playwrite and author

Prior to the conference I met two women. One on the conference Yahoo loop and one through an earlier post on this blog.

Patricia L. Brooks, president/founder, of the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers, I met on the loop. We met in person at the conference. Hopefully our schedules will allow us to connect again when she visits Oregon.

Amy Jarecki, author of 'Adventure Kissed by Romance' I met on this loop. She has an interesting blog. I really liked her series on Donald Maass' Breakout Novel Workshop.

As you can see, I collected the business cards of seven women while at Desert Dreams. I actually talked to many more and passed my card out.

In 2010 I met Christie Walker Bos and Courtney Lewis who have joined me on Romancing The Genres. You just never know when a chance conversation and the exchange of contact information can lead to a longer relationship.

Bob Mayer is right. Have a plan when you attend a conference or in keeping with the focus of this blog - know your Intention when you attend a conference and look for those Synchronicities. I'm very glad I did!

© 2012 Judith Ashley

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Registraion: A Time To Connect and Reconnect

Most of the time, when I embark on an adventure, I look for Synchronicity and have a clear Intention before hand. That was true for my 2012 Desert Dreams experience.

I volunteered for Registration and was assigned to the first shift. One of the best things about volunteering is you get to Register first, meet other volunteers, and meet and greet a group of attendees. Since I subscribed to the Desert Dreams Yahoo Loop, I knew names and could put faces to them. I'd also 'met' other writers on the loop, but that's another story.

Because of the organization of Shelley Coriell, Registration was ssmmoootthh and almost 50% of attendees had their registration packets by the end of our shift. Shelley has mastered being organized without being controlling.

I met and worked along side of Taylor Lee and Nina Benneton and renewed my connections with Robin Kramme, who I'd met and talked to at Desert Dreams in 2010. One of the added gifts I've found from regularly attending smaller regional conferences is I make friends and stay in touch in between.

Why did I volunteer for Registration duty? My Intention was to support my Desert Rose Chapter at the Desert Dreams Conference. Shelley had been a guest at Romancing The Genres and I may have met her in 2010 but I was able to really put her name and face and writing together when she guested with us in April. (She writes Young Adult. Check out her website by clicking on her name). One of the first people I spotted as I walked in the Registration area was Robin Kramme, who I met in 2010. At that time we'd shared our writing goals and dreams; this time we took the time to catch up on what had happened in the intervening two years. My Intention is to remain in contact with Robin until I see her again. You can click on her link to read a bio as she is one of the LitSisters. Click here to read about her play!

Nina Benneton and Taylor Lee are new acquaintances. Taylor is active with the Indie Book Collective, a great organization that supports independently published authors. Nina is an author with Sourcebooks. Check them out. I think you'll find them interesting and accomplished women you'd like to get to know.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What Seems Hard Can Be Easy

I'm back after an extended absence which was much longer than I'd planned or even anticipated. What happened?

The easy answer is "Life".    
But the real answer is 'life'.

A short time after I last posted I attended the Desert Dreams Writers Conference in Scottsdale, AZ. I don't know about you but I find I'm always braver and willing to take more risks when I'm some place where most people don't know me.

Desert Dreams provided a perfect opportunity to take a leap into a known level of discomfort. You may not realize it from reading this blog and following me on Romancing The Genres, but I'm camera shy.

Hate to have my picture taken.

Is that enough of a hint for you to guess the momentous leap I took?

The conference chairs, Susan Lanier and Tina LaVon McCright, provided an opportunity for conference attendees to have a professional photograph taken by Diane Graham of Diane Graham Photography. If you live in the Tucson area, I highly recommend her.

See below what her results are with a camera- phobic client!

My Intention was to take the leap and have a professional picture taken instead of the first photo which is cropped from another photo where I at least thought I looked 'okay' which is why the shoulders are a bit odd.

Now I have a professional photo that can be cropped to fit and, if I do say so myself, I do not look like a deer caught in headlights. Both eyes are open, I've a smile on my face - what happened?

My Intention was to have a professional picture taken and Synchronicity brought me face-to-face with Diane Graham whose friendly demeanor and willingness to chat a bit so I relaxed, helped me be at my best. The first picture showed me laughing. Quick shots followed and it was over so fast I never had time to worry, tense up, or frown. Do you have a favorite between the two, and if you do, Why?

Look for the 'new me' at this Friday, June 1st. I'm sharing a wedding day story...

Monday, March 26, 2012


I picked up a book at Costco the other day. The Magic by Rhonda Byrne caught my eye so I picked it up, put it in my cart without paying much attention to it.

Yesterday I started reading it. The premise is one of those simple but complex ideas. The more we are grateful for what we have the more of it we attract.

Why is that a complex idea? Because there are times when we search for something we're grateful for because we want it to be big and glorious - not something as mundane as 'flush toilets' as my neighbor mentioned. (Although I am Very Grateful for Flush Toilets!) It isn't important (unless your toilet is broken). Do I really want to attract more working toilets? It is easy to discount some of the basics in our lives because we take them for granted and thereby don't value them for the gifts they are - until, and that is a huge word - until they don't work.

I've started my 28 day Gratitude Program outlined in The Magic. What I first noticed is that some of the passion or commitment has gone out of my voice as I go through my familiar daily spiritual routine. I found my voice this morning and noticed a difference. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I am grateful for this one gift.

Tomorrow I'm sure there will be another one. I wonder what it will be.

What are you most grateful for? How do you show your gratitude? And how powerful are those 'magic words' we teach out children - 'please' and 'thank you'. Ask "Please" and it is given "Thank You".  

Friday, March 9, 2012

There are Those Days

There are those days when everything seems to fall into place and then there are those other days when nothing seems to go right.

A place where I experience peace of mind
I have an Intention that is about The Universe Always Serves My Highest Good and on those 'haywire' days (and yes, I have them too) I take a deep breath and do my best to relax (not always an easy thing for me) and whisper this Intention.

Trust is difficult for me but it is imperative for my peace of mind. To turn that 'haywire' day around I must trust that there is something in the the chaos of the day that is 'in service' to me.

A writer friend, Tam Linsey, pointed out that the dots don't always connect the way we think they will and I use that thought to relax into the mess and let it be.

I admit it is still work even though I've been working on trusting that whatever happens in my life is there to serve me - but it is easier to do now and for that I'm grateful.

If you have some tips for dealing with those days when nothing seems to go right, please share.

You can also check out my post on March 2 to see what one of my passions is.

© 2012 Judith Ashley

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Thoughtful Frame of Mind

As the title of this piece indicates I'm in a thoughtful frame of mind. What that means is I've reviewed and made some changes to my Intentions and sent them off to the two women I call my Intention Sisters. I deleted one, rewrote one, and added one.

What did I delete? One about learning new technology is easy, effortless, and fun. Not really...but, I am better at it; can figure problems out most of the time; don't get as stressed; know when to stop and take a break.

I rewrote one that listed a bunch of things I would/was doing to increase my visibility within the writing community. This is what it looks like now.
My visibility within the writing community positively affects my being a published author with strong book sales.
Circle of Serenity
Reviewing my Intentions while in A Thoughtful Frame of Mind, I realized that my list included things over which I have no control. What is most important is that I am visible within the writing community. I'll be open to and actually look for Synchronicity to show me how to make this happen. What did I add?
Each day I remind myself that my primary goal in life and the only real measure of my success is “above all else---be happy”.
It is important to review my Intentions every once in awhile. To take stock of where I am on my Life's Journey at this stage of my life; to see which way will take me closer to where I want to be at every fork in the road.
What do you do to keep yourself moving forward in your life?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Time Flies When...

The old adage "Time Flies When You're Having Fun" is alive and well in my life right now.

If you've been following Romancing The Genres, you know we've just launched a sister site Romance From The Genre-istas. RFTG offers Free Reads For Your Enjoyment. Saturday we went live with seven short (less than 1500 words) stories with Valentine's Day theme.

Getting ready took time. We (Sarah Raplee and I) had to create a new blog site; order cards; schedule the posts; set up links so readers can more easily move around; and write our own Flash Fiction.

I can hardly believe it has been more than a month since I last posted here. But obviously it has because my last post is dated January 5th and today is February 15th!

My Intention is to write a short post more frequently - but that didn't happen.

What did happen is that My Intention to see Romance From The Genre-istas launch took precedence. That happens in life - it isn't that we failed, it's that we succeeded in something else.

The next step is to stop, assess, and move forward either putting the initial intention on the shelf or polishing it up and acting on it.

Check back in and see how I do!

Read more about my writing at

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Perfect Christmas Tree

Happy New Year!!!

As I waited for the clock to strike 9 p.m. (I live on the West Coast so cheated by celebrating at 9 p.m. my time while watching the crystal ball drop in Times Square, New York City) a wave of light and lightness washed over me leaving a sense of calm joy.

Will I have challenges in 2012? Of course.
Will I have doubts in 2012? Probably
Will I meet every goal I set for myself? No

I've had an Intention for some time now (two years on 01/17) that my life is easier and it takes less effort to experience joy and happiness. That is an Intention that has been manifesting for some time now.

No, every day is not 100% but every day does have its moments of joy, moments of happiness.

One of the things I'm involved with is Romancing The Genres group blog. I'm one of the co-founders along with Sarah McDermed. In January 2011 we came up with the idea of a group blog. On May 1, 2011 we launched RTG. And this week we most likely will hit 14K (right, 14,000) page views.

I'm inviting you to stop by Romancing The Genres (see, I learned to easily and effortlessly embed a link) and see my post. Look at the pictures (I popped those in as well as these with nary a problem in sight). Click around and read other Genre-ista's post. I'm encouraging you to check out Sarah's. (another embeded link). If you look at the right side of the page, scrolling down until you see our February Guests - I did that also. Click on Guest Page and you can see my work in September and October.

One year ago I had no idea how to do any of this.

Here I am with Gimi and Connie, my Intention Sisters. Each week we talk on the phone, encouraging and supporting each other. Each day we send Intention Energy to each other. Acheiving anything is  easier when someone is there to support us. What is amazing is how important these daily and weekly practices are to me. They are written on my calendar and I take them into consideration as I look at other things I need/want to accomplish. My time with these women is a priority and I can look back over the year and see what
I've accomplished, what I've manifested because of their encouragement, support and their holding my Intentions on my behalf.

Check out my website I updated it in November and you can read the revised "In the Beginning" (Chapter One) of "The Dragon and The Great Horned Owl"; see what I've been up to, etc.

My wish for you in 2012 is that you find people who will support and encourage you as you manifest your dreams into your reality.