11/18 – Jan’s Paperbacks Book Signing – 11 – 2 p.m. One free Sacred Bundle kit with every purchase!

11/29 – All day Facebook Event with Arte Soleil.

12/02 – Author Event at Arte Soleil. Details forthcoming.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Little Things Really Do Mean A Lot

by Judith Ashley

You may have noticed I’ve not posted a blog for the past two weeks. Why? Because I had surgery on the middle finger of my right hand and I wasn’t aware that the healing process would keep me from the computer for so long.

To prepare, I’d written and scheduled one post ahead but, in reality, I’d needed three! So here I am, finally able to be at the computer.

What have I learned these past three plus weeks?

Little Things Do Mean A Lot

Little Things like
Tying my shoes
Buttoning and zipping clothing items
Putting on a bra
Flossing my teeth
Cutting food
Dishing something up out of a bowl
Wearing pants
Changing clothes 

Even now after over three weeks, my finger is weak and the knuckle that was involved sore. It certainly lets me know when I’ve overdone!

While I would not wish these past three weeks on anyone, I do know that I have a renewed appreciation for the ability to do these little things that make my life easier and soo much nicer.

My plans now include resuming writing on Gabriella, the sixth book in The Sacred Women’s Circle series. So when you are reading this, know that my fingers will be moving across the keys! Perhaps not up to their pre-surgery fluidity and speed but well on the way. Little things do mean a lot!

Judith is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nourish the soul.

Check out Judith’s website here.

Follow Judith on Twitter: JudithAshley19

Judith is also on Facebook.

The first five books in the series are available at major e-retailers and select book stores as well as through her website and Windtree Press.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Today's Choice Creates Our Tomorrows

By Judith Ashley

There is a commercial that shows teenagers deciding where to hide. They choose the garage full of chain saws. We might see that commercial and laugh but there are people who go against their gut instinct and pay the ultimate price.

But I’m not writing about television commercials or those decisions that end so badly. I’m sharing a truth from my own life and observations.

Even simple choices like what to eat or whether to go for a walk have an effect on our tomorrows.

Whether we write today or procrastinate?

Whether we do due diligence with my research?

Whether we read the fine print in a contract?

Every decision we make creates what our tomorrow will be. In some cases, it may not literally be “tomorrow”. Unless we’ve a particular sensitivity or allergy to a particular food, let’s use dairy for an example, the ice cream or whipped cream, whole milk, cheese we eat today or even this week most likely will not show up as a problem.

But if we continue, it is possible that in the future we will have health problems such as 
heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes and being overweight.

Short term gratification can create long term health, financial and other issues because we don’t see that there is an immediate price. Because there isn’t. If we are healthy, one piece of cheesecake is not going to kill us.

What is helping me make some lifestyle changes is reminding myself that the little decisions I make each day, over time, can create problems.

To me it is clear to me that My Choices Today Do Create My Tomorrow.

What current choice are you considering changing so your future is better?

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul. The first five books in the series are available through major e-vendors and Judith’s Windtree Press Author page and website.

Judith is also on the Senior Teaching Faculty of The William Glasser Institute - International.
Check out her GlasserConcepts website.

Follow Judith on Twitter: @JudithAshley19

Check out Judith’s FB page here.


Monday, November 2, 2015

The Ultimate Gift of Kindness

By Judith Ashley

Stressing out over what other people think is not an act of kindness to ourselves. I remember a time in the 1960’s when my parents were coming to visit. My husband worked two jobs in lumber mills, we had a German Shepard and a new baby. A very clear memory is my insisting that my husband move the refrigerator and stove out from the wall so I could clean behind them before my parents arrived.

The logic of what would actually happen on the visit escaped me at the time. They were coming to see their first grandchild. My husband and I, our house, etc. were extraneous.

The reality of whether my mother would ever pull my refrigerator and stove out to see if I’d cleaned behind them lost in a mental sea of anxiety.

Over the years I’ve come to see how much of the stress in my life is self-created. Worry about something that hasn’t happened and may never happen affects one’s mental, physical and spiritual health.

This past week, Friday and Saturday to be exact, I gave myself the ultimate gift of kindness. I treated myself to hours of watching the Breeder’s Cup. I didn’t miss a race. When American Pharaoh won the Breeder’s Cup Classic, I was cheering from my couch with tears in my eyes. I’d seen all of his races since the Kentucky Derby. At some point in the coverage they showed the stats of the last five Triple Crown winners. I’d seen the last four winners race.

Today I’m inviting you to take the Ultimate Kindness pledge and give yourself something that represents kindness this week (and beyond). If you do, you’ll make a choice that will positively impact your life.

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul. The first five books in the series are available through major e-vendors and Judith’s Windtree Press Author page and website.

Follow Judith on Twitter: @JudithAshley19


Check out Judith’s FB page here.

If you missed the race, click the Breeder's Cup Classic link and watch horse racing history being made. Enjoy!!!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Love Is More Than A Feeling

By Judith Ashley

A version of this post first appeared in February 2015.

Yes, love is more than a feeling to me. We tell others “I love you”. We hear “I love you, too” said back. At times someone may say “I love you” first and we repeat back that we love that person “too”.

I write romance a blessing, a gift, a way to balance my life because for almost fifty years I worked as a private guardian and geriatric care manager and/or in child welfare and/or in an emergency after hour’s capacity for vulnerable adults. My professional life has shown me all too clearly that there can be a gigantic disconnect between the words “I love you” and the actions we’d expect from someone who truly does love us. 

In my short story “Is He The One?” available through Windtree Press’s anthology Gifts from the Heartmy heroine, Sophia Denton uses Dr. William Glasser’s Basic Psychological Needs to sort through her feelings and find the answer to Jonathan’s proposal. She readily acknowledges they love each other (the feeling).

Her question is:

Is that enough? While she herself has not been abused, she is aware of the issue of domestic violence and child abuse. Committed to doing her very best not to get caught in that “but I love him” trap, she decides to delve deeper into the conundrum of love, to determine for herself if there is a disconnect between how she and Jonathan ‘feel’ about each other and how they treat each other.

Dr. Glasser talked and wrote about the importance of loving relationships in our lives. He also talked and wrote about the reality that the only person whose behavior we have control over is our own.

It is a myth to think that we really can “make” someone do something. There are people every day who literally die for their beliefs and that has been true throughout history. It is at times convenient to say “I couldn’t help it” or “S/he made me”.

When I hear those words, I know that isn’t actually true. I also know that if we are honest with ourselves and take responsibility for our actions, we know the real reason why we made the choice we did. Perhaps it is as simple as not knowing how to say 'no'; or maybe the person can fire us if we are defiant; or maybe it's just easier to go along with everyone. Standing up for ourselves and our beliefs is not always easy. People might no like me any more. I won't belong. Think peer pressure.

To help you sort out the connection or lack of between the feelings of love and the actions of love in your relationships, take some time and answer these questions.

1. Looking at your most important relationships and using a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 being high/good and 1 low/bad, how congruent are the words and actions of the people you love towards you?

2. Looking at your most important relationships and using a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 being high/good and l1 low/bad, how congruent are Your Words and Actions towards the people in your life you love?

3. When you look at the disconnect, what are the others attempting to get or accomplish with their behavior?

4. What are you trying to get or accomplish in those relationships where there is a disconnect?
Please share your thoughts and ask questions! I’ll do my best to expand on Dr. Glasser’s concepts in my answers.

Judith is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual practices that nourish the soul and celebrates the journey from relationship to romance. She is also on the Senior Teaching Faculty of The William Glasser Institute and schedules trainings leading to Certification in Dr. Glasser’s Choice Theory and Reality Therapy.

Learn more about her work with Dr. Glasser’s concepts www.glasserconceptstraining.com or check out The William Glasser Institute for more information on training and educational opportunities.

Follow Judith on Twitter: @JudithAshley19

Learn more about her writing and The Sacred Women’s Circle series here.



You can also find Judith on FB! 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Friendship

A Favorite Spot on the Oregon Coast
My very good friend of thirty-plus years has memory problems. Ten years ago they were noticeable and for a brief period of time she was on Aricept. I saw an improvement but she stopped taking them because of the side-effects and she was willing to acknowledge memory problems but not that she might have Alzheimer's or dementia.

Now her condition is moderate to severe.

She's never been one to have dozens of friends but she's always had several. The numbers have dwindled as her memory deteriorated until her childhood friend, who lives in the same city and I, who live across the country from her, are the only ones who have stayed in touch.

With two thousand miles separating us, I can't stop by, take her our to lunch or spend an afternoon visiting over a cup of tea.

But we are friends and have been through much together.

A few classes and her dissertation was all she had left to complete to earn a PhD. Two Master's degrees and hundreds of hours of classes are the result of her being a life long learner who valued education.

Our conversation earlier today was about an organization we both belonged to and where we met. Her frustration that there isn't anything that can be done to stop the erosion of her memory was clear. "If this was happening to young people, something would have been done about it long before now."

I can't argue with her. When I was first working in social services in the 1960's I had people on my case load with "senile dementia" which was a catch-all diagnosis. One woman was in her late 40's. Now that the Baby Boomer generation is aging, the call to action is louder and more research is being done and more medications are being developed.

Judith Ashley
In many ways I'm like my friend. I've always had a few close friends. With her slipping away, my circle is shrinking. My own call to action is to pay attention to the relationships I do have, to reach out and include people my age and younger and to do what I can to protect my brain.

Learn new things
Eat a brain healthy diet
Physical exercise
Social interaction

Social interaction equals staying connected to my friend. It also means keeping myself mentally and physically fit so I can be a part of her life until she no longer knows who I am.

Do you have a someone in your life who has Alzheimer's or another disease that dramatically affects your relationship? How are you dealing with it?

Judith is the author of The Sacred Women's Circle, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul. Hunter, the fifth book in the series is now available.

Follow Judith on Twitter: @JudithAshley19

Check out Judith's website here.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Intend Kindness: Support Other's Passion

Staying with the “Intend Kindness” theme of the past two weeks, I’ve one more suggestion along those lines.
Intend kindness by showing support to others who are manifesting their passion.

It may be a published author whose books you’ve read. Write a Review.

It may be a friend who is excited about an idea. Listen.

It may be a non-profit fund raiser for a cause you believe in. Share the News!

For several different reasons, I’ve had time to read this year. Here is a list of the books I’ve enjoyed and certainly recommend!!!

Paty Jager
The Halsey Brothers’ series
Secrets of a Mayan Moon (An Isabella Mumphrey mystery)
Double Duplicity (A Shandra Higheagle mystery)

Peggy Bird
Sparked by Love

Tracy Weber
Murder Strikes a Pose

Delilah Marvelle
Romancing Lady Stone

Christy Carlyle
Whitechapel Wagers series

Jim Roy
Champion of Choice

Stephen Skinner
Sacred Geometry

Susan Pesznecker
The Magickal Retreat: Making Time for Solitude, Intention and Rejuvenation

How am I following through with the other two suggestions?

I’m supporting a wonderful woman who has single handed started a non-profit “Beading the Odds” that works with juvenile males, teaching them how to bead. This has been life-changing for several of the young men because they are successful, develop a camaraderie with a caring non-staff adult and each other outside the regular routine of incarcerated life.

November 7 – 8 the Bead Society is hosting a Bead Bazaar in Portland, OR. Even if you aren’t a beader, think about stopping by and checking out the fantastic work of these young men. Meet Juanita and see passion at work.

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual practices that nurture the soul.

You can find Judith on Twitter: JudithAshley19


Check out Judith’s website here; her Windtree Press author page here.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Intend Kindness - Update

Intend Kindness – Part 2

My commitment to Intend Kindness in thought, word and deed for a full week had some challenges. If you missed my original post, click here.

I did pretty well with “deeds”. I didn’t do anything mean or harmful to anyone. In fact I let traffic

easily merge in my lane, stood to the side for people to pass me in the store, smiled, waved and chatted with people on my walks.

Words? Nothing verbal but I did get into a written word war on FB. Two interactions and that was enough for me.

Thoughts? Well, that was my Achilles heel. I found that although I may not say or do something, my thoughts are not always kind. This concrete knowledge became a gift because I’ve found a solution to my one most continuous negative thought.

The other “thought-problem” was connected to the mass shooting on the Umpqua Community College campus. I don’t have a solution there other than to not check out messages and to not read down posts and comments. In other words, I don’t need to go looking for posts that I find distressing.

And you? Did anyone take up my challenge for a day? The week?

I found this exercise so beneficial to my own mental health and happiness, I’m doing it again.

If you haven’t signed up for the Second Annual Mental Health and Happiness Summit. Here’s the link.

Judith is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nourish the soul.

Check out Judith's website.

Check out Judith's author page at Windtree Press.

Judith, a co-founder of Romancing The Genres’ group blog, posts the first Friday of the month.

Follow Judith on Twitter: @JudithAshley19  



Monday, September 28, 2015

Intend Kindness

Like many people this past week, I watched coverage of Pope Francis’s visit to the United States. What I was particularly struck with was the Pope’s consistent message both in words and actions of inclusion and kindness.

This post is going to be very short because the message is very simple.

When you read this, set an intention to treat everyone you meet with kindness.

This post is going to be very short because the message is very simple.

When you read this, set an intention to treat everyone you meet with kindness.

Be mindful of your thoughts.

Be mindful of your words.

Be mindful of your actions.

I’m not saying being kind to everyone in thoughts, words, and deeds will be easy but give it a try.

See how it changes your world and the world of those around you.

And, if you want to challenge yourself make the commitment to treat everyone with kindness for a week. I’m going for the week because I have several days in a row when I’ll be writing and therefore not out and about.

I’d love to know how this challenge worked for you.

What was easiest?

What was hardest?

My final question is: How would your life and the world be different if treating everyone we meet with kindness was practiced by everyone?

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul.

She is also on the Senior Teaching Faculty for TheWilliam Glasser Institute International.

Follow Judith on Twitter @JudithAshley19

Learn more about Judith’s books here.


Judith is on Facebook here.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Take Charge of Your Own Happiness

We are less than twenty days from an event that has the potential to be life changing.

October 10, 2015 is the Second Annual Mental Health and Happiness Summit. The Summit is hosted by Mental Health and Happiness, a subsidiary of The William Glasser Institute.

If you've followed this blog, you know I've been involved with Dr. William Glasser since 1978, have served locally, regionally and on the international board of directors. Currently I am on the senior teaching faculty of WGI-International.

In Jim Roy's biography of Dr. Glasser, Champion of Choice, the growth of Dr. Glasser's ideas from inception to his death in 2013 are described. Dr. Glasser believed there is a high correlation between being happy and mentally healthy.

Dr. Nancy Buck, Kim Olver and others in the WGI organization put together both the Mental Health and Happiness website but also The Summit.

I invite you to click on the links and find out more!

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women's Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul.

Because she's been involved with The Institute for over thirty-seven years, you'll find several of Dr. Glasser's core concepts incorporated into the stories. Judith also offers trainings leading to certification in Dr. Glasser's Reality Therapy and Choice Theory and is available for shorter presentations and workshops. For more information click here.

Follow Judith on Twitter: JudithAshley19

Monday, September 14, 2015

Bring Back Snail Mail

If you’re like me, the path from the mail box to the recycling bin is well-worn. Sometimes I don’t even bring the mail in for a day or two. Why?

Advertisements for one.

Magazines that come with memberships another.

Flyers and notices about events and opportunities in which I’ve no interest.

However, within the last two months, I’ve had a couple of surprises – surprises that had me smiling.

Why?

I had actual mail. Small envelopes with handwritten notes inside.

Reading them, reminded me of my trip to Ohio in May. On my friend’s desk were two handwritten notes from me. The notes were written on cards with spectacular pictures of the Pacific Ocean, a place that is dear to her heart.

Spend the money and buy a real stamp – it does make a difference. (I have a roll of stamps with hearts on them which is appropriate for a writer of romance!)

Bring a smile to someone’s face and a measure of joy to someone’s day. In this age of emails and text messages, the fact that you took the time to actually pick up a card, write a note, address the envelop and put a stamp on it makes your message even more potent.



Judith Ashley writes romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nourish the soul. The author of The Sacred Women’s Circle novels, Judith also has short stories in 3 Anthologies.

Judith’s website



Follow Judith on Twitter: @JudithAshley19

Friend Judith on FB: http://on.fb.me/1UPFonE


Monday, September 7, 2015

Language + Words = Communication and ...

Can Lead To Happiness! By Judith Ashley

Last week I asked you to think about three words

Joy

Happiness

Pleasure

Specifically I asked you to think about what is similar and what is different about them.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ve seen me refer to The William Glasser Institute and Dr. William Glasser, founder of Choice Theory, an explanation of how and why we behave.

Glasser defines Happiness as our feeling good because of the choices we are making, specifically choices that get us or keep us involved with the people who are most important to us. 

He defines Pleasure as often associated with addictions (drugs, alcohol, gambling, casual sex, food or whatever we choose to do that numbs us from the pain in our lives). For short periods of time we feel better and often experience a heightened sense of pleasure that feels better than happiness.

Judith and Special People
However, happiness which has several layers, can be maintained without external drugs, etc.

One layer is our connection to other people. Caring, committed relationships with people who are important to us is a key foundation.

Being satisfied with who we want to be and having self-respect that comes from recognizing our power of choice and or continual learning from those choices.



Diana McCollum, Judith, Sarah Raplee
One thing that is important when pursuing happiness is that those feel good feelings can lead us to an unhappy place. The danger is putting all of our ‘happiness eggs’ in one basket. 

For example: that drink after work or before bed can lead to alcoholism. Or, rewarding ourselves with a shopping spree or favorite foods can lead to compulsive behaviors. If we derive much of our self-respect from our work the danger is becoming a work-a-holic.

Without vigilance, we can become addicted to the behavior that ‘feels good’  let other aspects of our lives, mainly our relationships, fall by the wayside.

Taking control of your own happiness takes work but it can be done.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to listen to your words.

How often do you say something like “S/he made me feel __________?” or
“That made me feel ______________?”

When you make those statements to yourself or out loud, you are saying the people around you are in control of your happiness. If that is true and you do not see that it is up to you to create your own happiness, you are at the mercy of the world around you.

It takes work. Sometimes more than you may want to put into it. But a great resource is the Mental Health and Happiness blog. You can check it out here.
Consider one of their 21 Day Challenges to show you ways to create the happier life you envision for yourself.

Next week I’ll be back with more of my own tips on how to brighten your day.

Check out Judith’s website here.

Check out Judith’s author page here.


Follow Judith on Twitter: @JudithAshley19 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Language = words = ?

Welcome!

As I've dealt with technical challenges I've been reminded of the importance of language. Was I irritated, frustrated, angry, mad? or just out of my comfort zone with the new challenge? Or, perhaps I was actually feeling incompetent because I couldn't fix the problem by myself?

However, when I first thought of this post it wasn't about those negative feelings~no quite the opposite.

We use words but all too often we use words that actually have different meanings interchangeably.

Since this is a Very Short post today, I'm only asking you to think about these three words and what they actually mean when you use them.

Joy

Happiness

Pleasure

What's similar about them but more to the point, what is different?

I'll be back next Monday to share my thoughts.

Judith is the author of romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul.

You can follow Judith on Twitter: JudithAshley19

She is also on Facebook and Google+.

Check out her author profile at Windtree Press.

Graphics will appear again next week!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Untether Yourself!

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honor spiritual traditions that nourish the soul.

Does the idea of detaching yourself from technology create shivers of horror screaming down your spine or erupting from your mouth? Even if your reaction isn’t that extreme, if you feel even a slight sense of unease, I encourage you to read further.

You don’t need to be disconnected forever! Start with an hour and if that is too much, try fifteen minutes. Leave your phone, computer, tablet, smart watch—whatever it is that ties you to technology, that connection to other people that is missing something and see what happens.

Take a walk.

Talk to a co-worker or family member. Remember tolisten.

Stop at a local eatery for a bite to eat and talk to the waitperson. Don’t forget to smile.

Be aware of what’s going on around you.
Is there a person struggling to open a door with an armload of packages?
Is there beauty in the flowers of a neighbor’s yard?
Is there someone whose day would be better if you smiled or offered a compliment or said something else positive?
Is there an opportunity to provide an unexpected gift to a strangers or someone you know?

A couple of years ago I spent my birthday with no computer, telephone on and watched very little television. I read, reflected and took stock of where I was in my life and where I wanted to go.

This past May I took my email accounts off my phone.

Just this Friday, I spent over ten hours without a minute on my computer.

Personally, I’m finding being untethered very freeing and very stress reducing.

I’m only suggesting you consider it.

And, if stepping away is too scary. Start small. Turn your phone off at night or leave it in another part of the house.

Believe me. If you were really needed because of an emergency, the police would be knocking on your door.

Judith blogs the first Friday on the month at Romancing The Genres.

Follow Judith on Twitter @JudithAshley19


Check out Judith’s author page at Windtree Press. 

Hunter the fifth book in The Sacred Women’s Circle series is now available through Windtree Press and other outlets.

Judith, as a member of The William Glasser Institute's senior teaching faculty, offers Intensive Training leading to Certification in Dr. Glasser's ideas and other workshops and presentations on Creating The World You Want For Yourself.