Books One - Seven are now available through JudithAshleyRomance.com, Windtree Press and your favorite e-retailer.

Check out my website: JudithAshleyRomance.com for more information about my books and appearances.

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.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Relax On The Road

The big news where I live is that our roads are at capacity and four hundred thousand more people are expected to move here in the next four years and there’s no money for more roads! This news is the backdrop for this weeks post.

Although I no longer put 20K miles on my car each year, I still drive. This last winter another drive cut me off because I wasn’t tail gating the car in front of me.

“Stupid jerk!” “You could have killed me!” I yelled as I braked to keep from rear-ending that car.

This was not the first time I'd yelled at another driver, but it was one of the last. For some reason, I heard myself in a different way this time and realized that the energy I was expending was hurting me. As the other driver went on his way, I didn't really feel better although that spurt of fear had dissipated.

In the ‘90’s during the Balkan War I created a workshop “How To Bring Peace To Our World”. A workshop with only one simple premise. If you want peace in your world, you need to practice peace regardless of what is going on around you. I reminded myself of that workshop. I still believed in the premise even though in that a moment I wasn’t practicing it.

So I’ve changed.

I bought a reminder. Named her “Silver” and usually she is hanging from my passenger visor when I drive. (Right now our temperatures are so high, I know my car’s interior gets to over 100 degrees so she sits near my front door and reminds me of my promise to myself as I go out to my car).

What does she remind me about?

My yelling comes from my fear and it does not serve me Also, I’ve no idea what is happening in that other driver’s life. Is she rushing to work worried about being fired for being late? Is he rushing home because an emergency? Or it could be nothing like these examples. It could be the driver is just frustrated with his or her life and taking it out while driving. Maybe here, in the fast car or big truck or alone this is the way the driver feels in control or works off disappointment with other parts of life.

That day I realized it really makes no difference what's going on for the other driver. I was sending more negative energy into the world. The question I asked myself "Am I making the world, my world a better place?"

"No."

What I was doing was adding more fear, more anger, more upset, more frustrated energy to the world which was the opposite of what I wanted.

Those road-rage-type-drivers are still out there. But as they whip around me, cut in so close I’m slamming on my brakes to keep from hitting them I’m no longer yelling at them. I take a deep breath and concentrate on sending them 'safe trip energy'.

Here are a couple more tips to relax on the road:
1. Keep a safe distance between you and the cars in front of you.
2. Let other cars merge, oh just let that big semi-truck in too, at an on ramp.
3. When in the city, let a car in from a side street or parking lot.
4. When someone drives in an unsafe fashion, send them “be safe energy”.
5. Add an extra ten minutes or more to your estimated travel time. The worst that will happen is you’ll be a little early!
6. If possible schedule appointments and errands at non-rush hour times. If that’s not possible, find some way to stay calm and in the present as you idle on the freeway. (I look for red-tailed hawks and the occasional bald eagle).

What do you do to stay relaxed on the road? I’m always interested in adding to my repertoire!

Judith is on the senior teaching faculty of The William Glasser Institute. She is also the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul. Hunter the fifth book in the series is now available at major e-retailers and here.

Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series here.
Check out Judith’s Windtree Press Author Page. 
Judith also blogs on the first Friday of the month at Romancing The Genres.
Follow Judith on Twitter: judithashley19


Monday, August 10, 2015

An Unexpected Gift

Another tip to try out!

Take a $5.00 bill with you as you travel through your day. Use it to surprise someone.

While I've not actually done the $5.00 bill idea, I have purchased the groceries for the person in front of me who is on food stamps several times. By many people's standards I'm not rich or wealthy but I do have money for food without food stamps. I've never truly gone hungry because I didn't have food in the house or available to me. When possible, I ask the checker to not mention I was the one who paid. The stunned look on the faces of these people does not make me smile because what I did was not hard. It took no special effort. I didn't sacrifice anything. Some of them have tears in their eyes as they look around trying to figure out who did this for them.

What do you do to add an unexpected gift to someone's day?

I'm one of the senior faculty for The William Glasser Institute and after taking a couple of years off from teaching, I'd scheduled a Basic Intensive Training. At the end of the last day, there was a knock on my door. A local florist handed me a bouquet of flowers. Terri Allen, the Northwest Region's US Board representative was the sender. So unexpected and so very appreciated! Guess who regularly schedules training?

Who has given you an unexpected gift?

As you travel through your day, look for ways to spread compassion with cash. It doesn't have to be a stranger although for me that adds to my experience. A flower for a special person in your life? A specialty chocolate bar?

I'm fully aware that for some people spending $5.00 on someone else isn't an option. That doesn't mean you can't add that unexpected gift to another person's day. We've already explored the power of a smile, the power of saying 'thank you' and the power of really listening. And, none of those actions cost a penny.

Share your ideas here!

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

Learn more about The Sacred Women's Circle series here.

Check out Judith's author page at Windtree Press.

Follow Judith on Twitter @judithashley19

Judith blogs at Romancing The Genres the first Monday of each month.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Do You Hear What I Hear?

We all know that one of the five senses is hearing.

But do we all understand the difference between hearing and listening as well as between hearing, listening and understanding?

In my experience, many of us do not understand the subtlety between hearing, listening and understanding.

People talk all the time. We hear them and perhaps can recall what the general gist of the 
conversation was. But just as often we’d be hard pressed to tell someone else what the other person meant by what they said.

As we multi-task, check our emails on our cell phone while asking our spouse or children how their day went, the probability of a misunderstanding sky rockets. When our children or spouse are involved with their smart phone, computer or television, the probability of our question and their answer being processed into memory plummets.

In this busy society with more and more communication taking place via text messages and emails, the nuances of communication that come when we hear a person’s voice are being lost. (No, the *smiling* or *waving* added to the message isn’t the same.)

Being heard and understood is a powerful validation for us regardless of who we are.

If you are someone who doesn’t feel heard or understood, stop for a moment and consider your own listening skills.

Are you really listening to what others are saying? Or are you like many people, formulating your answer or response?

If you are the latter, as many of us are, you truly are not listening to understand what the other person is saying.

Try one of these strategies:
+ Check out your hearing, listening and understanding skills. Where are you stronger? Where do you need to improve?

+ Repeat the message you thought you heard back to the speaker and look for the sign that you heard ‘right’ before thinking about your response.

+ Look beyond the person or if on the phone, close your eyes and listen without seeing the person. Do you hear the same thing?

+ Concentrate on the person. What is the body language? What is the voice inflection? Do they match the message? If not, why is that?

A sure way to improve our professional and personal relationships is to hear what is being said by really listening to understand the message.

Where do you find it hard to "hear"?

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

The fifth book in the series, Hunter, is available at and major e-retailers now.

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

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