EDC Creations is proud to announce the books that created an impact, for readers and the EDC Creations network. Our literary hallmarks indicate excellence in writing. These are the books we want to feature to the world. Each year thousands of people — educators, concerned parents, community leaders, authors, poets and publishers — devote their time and resources to presenting the reader with great books! However, too many outstanding books float just under the radar. It is our mission to connect readers with these hidden gems and bring them books that will change their lives. We have previewed all of the books below and these are just a few of the magnificent books we love. Other lists will be posted bi-monthly of our fantastic literary finds. Let us know if you have read any of these books.

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Readers please take a moment and examine the gift list of books here. There is something for all book lovers! The books are NOT listed in any order pertaining to the quality of the literature—they are all 4-5 star reads. Each book on this list will bring something of value to enrich the lives of the readers and to help to strengthen our future generations. If you are a fan of Erotica or Urban Literature, there is a list for you. If you are more in tune with books of a Spiritual or Motivational nature, there is a list for you. Like to live life on the edge and walk on the dark, mysterious side—we have a selection for you too.

Read the all of the lists to see the 200 literary hallmarks, from 2008 , by clicking here.  Enjoy!

Seven Tips for Black Women to Live a Happier Life
 by Tinisha Nicole Johnson

In this day and age when the world is changing, technology is advancing, and years have passed by in a blink of an eye, Black women may wonder about the future and how it will directly impact them. Today’s Black women are beginning to realize that change in the world, and they want a positive piece of it. From the test of time, many women are learning what it takes to be successful and get ahead.

Living in a world where you are constantly reminded that you are the minority of the minority, sooner or later you start to catch on and grab that piece of success. That success can involve anything from earning a living to raising a family. However, along the way you may begin to doubt yourself, you may even wonder about your self-worth, and at the end of the day, you want reassurance just to stay in the game. 

Tip #1:  When your mind is stuck in the past, you are in fact a prisoner of your past, resisting the key to free yourself into a new direction for your future. The past is gone. Sometimes you have to let it go. Black women love very hard. They feel as though they have to. It is their core source of strength. It is also a quality they fully accept from others. Whatever has happened in your life, you have to embrace the good and let go of the negativity, but always look ahead as optimistic as you can.  

Tip #2:  Whatever your constant focus is on, is what will move you closer to happiness or deeper into dissatisfaction. Focus on your strengths and refuse to accept being Black and a woman as a weakness. Train your mind to believe you are self-confident and capable, and soon your actions will follow pursuit.  

Tip #3:  When you start to understand and believe the depth of your worth, then NO ONE can fool you into thinking what your worth is as a Black woman. The media has a funny way of interjecting what is beauty and what is not; what is popular and what is thrown out. Don’t believe the hype! There are some who seem to have it all on the outside, but are hurting badly inside. Realize that your inner happiness means more than any outer material possession or physical trait. Love you, and the world has no choice but to acknowledge it and accept it.

Tip #4: If something isn’t working then change your approach. Knowledge is everything. Along with knowledge and persistence, you will make better choices. Believe it or not, you might be surprised that you don’t know yourself as well as you might think. Live life, get a life, experience something new, and be open to change in your life.

 Tip #5: Life just isn’t long enough to settle. The strength to change your situation is already inside you, you just have to realize and find it. Black women settle far more than they have to. They may want a change, but their actions tell a different story.  Realize you don’t have to settle. In some cases, it’s just demeaning to your self-worth. Recognize your strengths, work on improving your weaknesses, and always recognize the love that lives in the core of your soul. 

Tip #6: When you think others are holding you back, it’s your own way of thinking that’s holding many Black women back.  Many people resort to excuses – constant excuses. If you want something, go after it. Don’t allow insecurities or excuses to get in the way for too long, and stop your journey through life. More so, don’t for one second think you can’t accomplish your goals because of another human being.

Tip #7: The quality of the relationship you have with yourself determines how many fears you have, and more importantly how you handle your fears. You may have never thought of what type of relationship you have with yourself, but you should. You are going to be with yourself for the rest of your life. You might as well get to know yourself as much as you can. Always look for ways to enhance your growth – whether that growth is spiritual, emotional, relating to your career, family or health.

Tinisha Nicole Johnson is an author, writer, and poet. She resides in Denver, Colorado with her family. Besides writing, she also hosts political and sports teleconferences as a profession. Tinisha is a versatile author. To date she’s written a mystery novel, a romance ebook, co-wrote an inspirational anthology, and her poetry can be read in various books and online.  The above article is based off her upcoming book, Lessons Learned: Loving Yourself as a Black Woman. To learn more, visit the author at her website: www.TinishaNicoleJohnson.com

Tinisha Nicole Johnson

Proud Member of ASA (Authors Supporting Authors)

Lessons Learned: Loving Yourself As A Black Woman by Tinisha Nicole Johnson 

The revolutionary book into a culture of women As a Black woman, have you ever dealt with insecurities and pressures from the world that made you feel unsure about yourself or life in general? 

Do you want answers and solutions to your most deepest, darkest feelings? 

If so, Lessons Learned: Loving Yourself As A Black Woman is a book you should read. It is an inspirational and uplifting book, emphasizing ten life lessons addressing your intimate, personal, and professional life. 

In Lessons Learned, the author passionately and straightforwardly expresses and lays out the following: 
· The “Q&A Method” of problem solving life’s problems 
·  Understanding your deepest feelings and using the positive to overcome the negative 
·  Your self-worth is greater than you think, learn why 
·  What women tend to think the definition of true happiness is 
· The five most common types of Black women 
·  What some Black women say to themselves that they would never say out loud 
·  Why some Black women sacrifice their souls · Balancing children, family, and friends

Audio book preview  by author Tinisha N. Johnson speaking on her book, " Lessons Learned, Loving Yourself as a Black Woman," click here to listen:   http://www.audioacrobat.com/play/WhGQhY3s

The author thought it necessary to create a book specifically catered to Black women in the self-healing process while laying out techniques on how to gain more self-confidence and strengthen your self-worth and overall life. Life Lessons reminds Black women of the importance of loving themselves first. View the book trailer for Lessons Learned: Loving Yourself As A Black Woman below. Share it with your network as well.

Tinisha Nicole Johnson resides in Denver, Colorado with her family. Besides a career in writing, she also hosts political teleconferences. She began writing as a hobby at the age of eleven; mostly poetry, which in later years turned into short stories and then novels. Her debut novel, Searchable Whereabouts was released February 2008. Tinisha also collaborated in the poetry anthology, Step Up To The Mic: A Poetic Explosion, which included some of HBO's Def Poets. In addition, her short story, "Mother and Son Moment," was published in the Chicken Soup for the African American Soul. She is also working on her next novel. Tinisha also collaborated with two other authors in the inspirational book Somebody Prayed For Me released December 2008. Learn more about Tinisha and her books at her official website. While you're there you can also sign up for her free newsletter: www.tinishanicolejohnson.com


The Word According to Shelia

Fight the Good Fight

As I thought about the two main things we focus on during the month of October, Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence, I trembled.  They are two horrific events that can transform the lives of women, men, spouses, children and families.  Breast cancer attacks the human body of mostly women.  It has specific purposes which include an aim to take us out, to put us down, to make us feel ashamed, to wreak havoc in our bodies until we give up and give in.  It causes our immune system to weaken and sometimes it saps our strength and frightens us like nothing else ever has done before.  It forces itself upon us; it doesn’t ask permission to enter and take up residence inside of our breasts.  It even has the audacity to move outside of our breasts and into our lymph nodes with a vengeance.  It is cruel and it even disfigures many of us.  Oh my!  What a wretched attack.  Breast cancer was reduced by 2% in 2009 but that’s not enough.  The flip side of this is that African-Americans are still 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than white women in the U.S. (Daniel J. DeNoon, WebMD Health News).

There is not an actually known cause for breast cancer but studies show that it happens mostly in women over age 50.  There is also a greater risk of a woman developing breast cancer in a family where a sister, mother, daughter has battled breast cancer.  Breast cancer can also occur in men. There are also studies that reveal breast cancer is higher in women who drink alcohol regularly, obesity, and diets high in fat. I learned these contributing causes after my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago. Since then, I have had an aunt and two first cousins to succumb to breast cancer, four cousins are still battling breast cancer as I write this. It is a serious disease.  It is time for more people to stand up, speak out, take care of their bodies, and take out this dreadful, sometimes deadly disease. To those who are breast cancer survivors, I commend you for your courage.  To those who have died because of breast cancer, I commend you for fighting the good fight. 

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12 (NIV)

The next horrific event that we bring awareness to during the month of October is domestic violence.  Wikipedia defines it as follows, “Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse or intimate partner violence (IPV), can be broadly defined a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends or cohabitation. Domestic violence has many forms including physical aggression (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, throwing objects), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse (e.g., neglect); and economic deprivation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_violence).”  Being a domestic violence survivor, it is one of the most debilitating, the most inhumane offenses that exist.  It can destroy a person’s self-image, self-esteem, and self-worth.  Domestic abuse can ruin the futures of all that it touches.  I am one that is a survivor, one that can testify to its terrible, lifelong effects. There are others who did not get that chance because domestic violence can also kill.

Domestic violence continues to rise.  It does not care where it strikes or whom it strikes.  It occurs to women and men, children and infants.  It can be found in the homes of the richest and those who are poverty stricken.  It has no racial barriers and therefore Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Native Americans and all races are privy to its vial and vicious attacks.  It murders and maims.  It destroys families and scars children for life.  Like breast cancer, domestic violence has one main objective: to destroy.

He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight. Psalm 72:14 (NIV)

 Shelia E. Lipsey is an award winning, bestselling author of four Christian novels.  She is also an inspirational speaker, professional proofreader and literary expert.  If you would like to contact Shelia Lipsey, please do so at shelialipsey@gmail.com, or www.shelialipsey.com

Breast Cancer and Diet: Realistic Considerations
By Dr. Dale Heil

The relationship between breast cancer and diet is becoming more defined as far as preventing cancer. However, its role in improving survivability after cancer is discovered is not as clear. The best tact to take is to live a healthier lifestyle. A healthier body is better equipped to fight off the factors leading to cancer formation and the ravages of cancer after it has become established.

Good Health Foods
Eating a healthy diet for preventing breast cancer (or any cancer) and improving survivability begins with a good breakfast. Whole grains are easy to make and consume in the morning. Good health foods such as whole grains should be consumed in much larger amounts than most people in the United States normally eat.

Whole grains typically offer a large amount of dietary fiber, which is important for a number of reasons. It may help lower estrogen and definitely aids digestion and elimination. Expelling waste products from your body is important. You don't want poisons from normal bodily functions to remain in your body any longer than they have to. It is well established that allowing these toxins to remain in the bowel longer than normal increases the incidence of bowel cancer. Consuming adequate amounts of dietary fiber helps remove waste products as quickly as possible.

That's a good thing.

Healthful Food Choices

Healthful food choices such as a raw vegetable diet containing spinach, lettuce, onions, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, and various sprouts (bean, alfalfa, etc.) will give you raw food enzymes as well as dietary fiber. Both of these will aid a person wishing to give themselves the best chance of preventing or surviving cancers of all types.

There are also a number of phytochemicals in raw health food that cooking destroys. Eating raw food diets daily or at least a few times per week will help you achieve your goal.

Eating beans on a regular basis will give you additional dietary fiber. These can be easily incorporated into a healthy lunch and/or healthy dinner menu. For example, adding beans to a taco salad comprised mainly of raw vegetables will increase the fiber content of that delicious meal.

Using low fat turkey meat with the grease removed after frying will further enhance your natural healthy diet by reducing fat intake. You should already have turkey meat on hand for making those delicious low fat turkey burgers on the grill. You do have some in your freezer at all times, don't you?

Eating healthy is not difficult. Adopting a healthy diet plan, which will prevent all sorts of health problems, is easy if you put a little thought into it. Often, you can slightly modify the foods you normally eat to make them more "body friendly."

Pre-planning your meals helps tremendously so you can keep the worst foods to eat out of your house while keeping your pantry well stocked with healthful food choices.

Some of the worst foods to eat for preventing breast cancer, increasing cancer survival, or preventing heart and/or vascular disease are trans-fats. You will see trans-fats listed as "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" on the package.

These altered fats are commonly found in foods that have a long shelf life. Yes, these are fast foods. That is one of the reasons why fast food is bad for you. Avoid trans-fats.

Low Fat Dairy Products
Low fat dairy products appear to be helpful in achieving weight loss or weight maintenance. Less weight carried on the body reduces the risk of cancer to a certain extent. One study has shown that women who ate more dairy products and had higher amounts of calcium in their diet also had higher rates of survival after breast cancer was discovered.

Regularly using yogurt fruit dip recipes or cream cheese fruit dip to add calcium to your diet is a smart tactic. The fruit will add raw food enzymes, fiber, and many beneficial nutrients. It is a good alternative to a salty, sugary, fat-laden snack containing trans-fats. And it is much tastier.

Breast Cancer And Diet
The relationship between breast cancer and diet is beginning to become apparent. Shifting your diet to more healthful food choices will benefit you in numerous ways.


About Author Dale Heil, D.C.
Dr. Heil has been in private practice for 25 years. He writes about alternative health care methods to help people develop a healthy diet plan they are comfortable with. He advocates guidelines for better living and health maintenance. His goal is to help people avoid health crises. Visit Dr. Heil's website: http://Eat-Healthy-Diet-Plan.com 

Citation: Heil, D. (2009, July 26). Breast Cancer and Diet - Realistic Considerations. Retrieved September 29, 2009, from http://ezinearticles.com/?Breast-Cancer-and-Diet---Realistic-Considerations&id=2645315

Medical Disclaimer
Please note this is an article shared to raise awareness. The information provided in this site is intended to educate the reader about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child, or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision.

Black Men Where Are You?!
by Brenda Hampton

By now, I’m sure that many of you have heard about the recent beating of the teenager in Chicago, many have seen the school bus incident where two Black teenage students attacked a white student, and just last night in my hometown, another 16 year old was gunned down by his peers. This is happening everywhere, and unless we begin to address the real reasons as to why this is happening, more of our children will be killed. Just think, what if something like what happened to Derrion Albert happened to your sons or daughters? 

I’ve thought about it, and the thought pains me. I can’t even imagine what the mothers and fathers go through after losing their children, but after watching the video of Derrion Albert being beat, I can’t rest peacefully and I’m literally sick to my stomach. I can’t stop thinking about how anyone can cause such harm to another person. What’s going on with you, where you feel proud about stomping someone to death or bashing their head in? Right now, I won’t even comment on what I feel for those who were arrested, but I will tell you that I have very little remorse for them. Maybe I should feel sorry for them too, after all, they were taught how to approach life by their mothers, or maybe…fathers?

By the way, Dad, where are you? Your sons NEED you! Don’t you get it? They…we are all crying out for your help! Mom just can’t do it alone anymore, and even though many women do a great job raising their children as single parents, obviously, some women don’t! Either way, Dad, when are you going to take responsibility for bringing a human being into this world? You just can’t walk away and think that your kids do not need you. Your daughters NEED you too, and every time she searches for love in the wrong place, she’s really looking for you. Your sons…oh, my God, please help your sons! 

Go get them from our streets, and stop them from killing each other. Stop them from overcrowding our prisons and being made examples of. Let them know there’s a sensible way to approach life. Put your arms around them and tell them that you’re sorry for abandoning them. Tell them that you love them, that you’re proud of them and that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make their lives better. Don’t wait for another man, a mentor, the president, or any other male figure to do it. Think about it…he’s got your blood running through his body, and he will carry on the legacy that you taught him. Have you asked yourself what you want your legacy to be? Please, give him a chance that you are failing to give him. Wherever your children may be, find them. Connect with them, talk to them, be there for them, please! There is no other way for anyone to correct what is going on, if you do not make an effort to do your part. 

What we’re watching play out in the streets of our cities are the results of continuous neglect from parents, particularly fathers. Now is the time, and we can’t afford to wait another hour, day or years for certain individuals to step up. 

The mission starts with you and you know who you are. Close the doors to your weak ways of thinking and realize how much difference it would make if you gave your children the time they truly deserve. I know change isn’t easy, and it brings about many challenges. Set aside your fears, and to prevent us from losing more of our precious children, please, Black men especially, do the right thing. Because at the end of the day, Derrion Albert and all of the other innocent children who have lost their lives didn't deserve to be taken away from us by the young men some of us are creating. If any of these children belong to you, think about their futures, your future, and the future you could have allowed Derrion Albert to have, had you been there for your child. Remember, it's not too late to make sure this doesn't happen to another innocent victim. 

Spread the word and help me get this message to resonate. As always, I welcome your feedback and can be reached at brendahampton_1@netzero.net        Readers, please share your comments or suggestions here.

Brenda Hampton, Essence Magazine Bestselling Author

Literature of Knowledge-Literature of Power

Books are wonderful in making a magic and yet a very real environment. Those who speak to us through them are more intimate and have more influence over us than our living companions. "Tell me what you read," observed Goethe, "and I will tell you what you are." Because our experience is so limited and because books interpret the experiences of thousands of years, we naturally learn most from them. Carlyle says, "The true university of these days is a collection of books, and all education is to teach us how to read."

Centuries ago Bacon complained that of the making of books there is no end. Today the condition is immeasurably more appalling and bewildering. Yet we must choose rightly the books needed for our nourishment and learn to use them skillfully.

Do not plod through one book or a collection of books just because they have been highly recommended. Many ambitious readers have suffered mental indigestion and permanent discouragement from books unsuited to their nature or stage of development. The first requirement of profitable reading is interest. If the words fail to hold your active attention the book is not for you. Of course you must give a book a reasonable trial. Even if the first chapter is a little painful, the second may strike a spark that may generate a lasting fire of enthusiasm.

But in the high schools and colleges many students have acquired an everlasting dislike for the finer types of drama, essay, poetry, and fiction simply because their immature minds were not ready to grapple with the humor, the irony, the philosophy, the reflections of maturity. Years of experience, of disillusion, of suffering and renewed faith are sometimes necessary for the comprehension and realization of the commonplace truths of the copybook. 

But even trained, educated readers differ widely in tastes and prejudices. To one, Dostoyefsky is a neurotic, a diseased, hopeless subject for the pathologist; to another, a torch of light and warmth. Just as our natures differ, they demand different nourishment, and you yourself must be the one to prescribe. Only sympathetic communion with great minds as revealed in their best books can give you the larger understanding, the perspective, that is a part of culture.

Two Kinds of Books - Books are readily separated into two classes, those of information and those of inspiration. De Quincey has put this distinction most effectively in a famous passage. He says: There is the literature of knowledge and there is the literature of power. The function of the first is to teach; the function of the second is to move. The first is a rudder; the second, an oar or a sail. The first speaks to the mere discursive understanding; the second speaks, ultimately it may happen, to the higher understanding or reason, but always through affections of pleasure and sympathy.

Whatever bit of a wise man's work is honestly and benevolently done, that bit is his book, or his piece of art. It is mixed always with evil fragments, - ill done, affected, redundant work. But if you read rightly, you will easily discover the true bits, and those are the book.

Now books of this kind have been written in all ages by their greatest men, by great readers, great statesmen, and great thinkers. These are all at your choice; and Life is short. You have heard as much before; yet have you measured and mapped out this short life and its possibilities? Do you know, if you read this, that you cannot read that; that what you lose today you cannot gain tomorrow?

Will you go and gossip with your housemaid or your stable-boy when you may talk with queens and kings; or flatter yourselves that it is with any worthy consciousness of your own claims to respect that you jostle with the hungry and common crowd for entree here, and audience there, when all the while this eternal court is open to you, with its society wide as the world, multitudinous as its days - the chosen and the mighty of every place and time?

Read widely and well and you will expand your mind enormously.

About the Author
Miraculous Old Manuscript Shows People How To Read At Lightning Speed And Still Comprehend Over 95% With Simple Reading Worksheets. Click Here For Free Online Ebook: http://www.readingworksheets.net 

Your Self-worth Is Not Your Net-worth
By: Ericka Jackson

“What is biggest lesson you have learned in this whole process of bringing forth your vision?” 

Lisa, a friend of mine who has known me for the last 16 years, came to visit over a recent holiday and asked me a powerful question I really had to stop and think about. As we were up late one night talking, she asked me, “What is biggest lesson you have learned in this whole process of bringing forth your vision?” I sat there and thought about it for a moment because there have been so many powerful lessons and insights I have gained, but the one that stands out above the rest has been learning that my self-worth is not my net-worth. 

The challenges you will have along the way are in direct proportion to the blessings God has in store for you. As a single mother stepping out to work a business full-time, I have had serious financial challenges as a part of my journey. I have always known that God has a large financial bounty for me and this has kept me holding on during the lean times. If I believed that my net-worth was my self-worth, I would have stopped in my first year as so many start-up businesses do. Did you know that the test of lean financial times is a common thread the weaves through the tapestry of most of the greatest success stories? 

I have been studying prosperity and abundance for more than 11 years and early on in my readings, I remember reading a book about creating abundance and the author said, “You will know you are ready for wealth and abundance when your emotions are not attached to your money.” Wow! At the time that seemed like a misprint or an impossibility. At the time, I just couldn’t understand how someone could be in a place where their emotions are the same regardless of their checking account balance. The two were directly related in my mind. 

Now, I fully understand what the author was talking about. In order to be ready for the blessing of financial abundance, you must be in a place that you are the same no matter what your bank account balance says. Whether your balance is overdrawn by $25 or you have a balance of $25,000,000, God needs to know that you will be consistent and unchanged. Read this one again, because it is so important as you make the moves to live your vision. Can you be the same no matter how much money you have or do you get excited and happier the closer it gets to payday? Do you feel secure when you have money in your wallet and insecure when you don’t? Do you feel like more of a person with money than you do when you don’t have it? 

People usually treat people with money very differently than people without money, so it can be a challenge to truly live this understanding. You have really got to “get” this. Your self-worth is NOT your net-worth. You are who you are no matter how much money you have, what kind of car you drive, or what restaurants you can afford to eat out at. Your level of self-esteem is not dependent on the amount of cash in your wallet or the balance in your checking or savings account. 

Learning how to be consistent and truly understand that I am an incredible person called to do great things in this world and walk in that at all times has been my greatest lesson. Yes, at the beginning a low balance in my bank account would incite panic and could even drive me to tears, but now it doesn’t move me one way or the other. I know what is coming, and I just have to have faith that God keeps his promises and will provide for me. 

Here’s the magic... Once you understand that your self-worth is not your net-worth and you detach your emotions from your money, you then move to the next level of understanding – your net-worth is a natural result of your self-worth. As your self-worth increases, you will be comfortable sharing your work out to more and more people and a natural result will be financial wealth. The great news is by the time you get to that point, you will be completely detached from the money and it will be free to do what God created it to do – multiply.

About the author: Ericka D. Jackson is a Christian Speaker, Author, and Business Coach. She provides individuals, organizations, and churches with the tools to achieve God’s vision for their lives. Visit http://www.erickajackson.com  for insights, techniques and resources to fulfill your calling. Check out the tools and resources for better living:
http://www.erickajackson.com/pages.asp?pageid=46718    Article Source: www.isnare.com ; Permanent Link: http://www.isnare.com/?aid=144331&ca=Self+Help 



The Word According to Shelia : There’s Character in Your Words

Proverbs 23:7a For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: This is such a powerful scripture found in the Bible in the book of Proverbs. Read or speak it slowly: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. 

Our words are powerful. They are like a two edged sword. They can spout forth positive words over our lives, and the lives of others, or the most vile and negative words, so much so they can surprise even us when they pass through our lips. Our words can build up or tear down. Our words have the power to destroy minds or to give hope when others feel hopeless. They can speak victory or failure into a person’s life. Words, once said, can never be taken back. That’s powerful! 

Words can reveal what is in our hearts. Not only can words have a profound effect on others, but the words you speak over yourself can have a profound effect on you. I have been guilty numerous times of speaking negativity over my own life. I am saddened when I think of precious time I lost thinking and speaking that I was less than the woman God created me to be. My words often were fulfilled in my life, thus I took unnecessary turns and made unwise decisions because of what I spoke. Many of us don’t realize that what we speak has ramifications and repercussions. I have seen it too many times in the lives of others, as well as in my own life. I thank God that I have come to understand that I am worthy. That I do matter to God. I have come to fully realize that God truly does not make junk! Everything He does is good. Every good and perfect gift comes from God, my friends! That means that I am good because I have been created in the image of God. It also means that you too are good because you are also made in His image. Therefore, speak goodness into your life and into the lives of others.

We are sometimes too hard on ourselves. As for me, I have finally been coming to terms with the lack of forgiveness I’ve had over my past mistakes and mishaps. God is not a God of condemnation. He is a loving and forgiving God. Why then have I beaten up on myself, talked about myself, belittled myself and then not forgiven myself when I messed up? It doesn’t make me a heroine when I do such things. It only makes me feel that much worse. But when I see myself the way God sees me, then I can forgive myself like He forgives me. Knowing this, I now refuse to think less than highly of myself. I now refuse to look down on myself. I am formed, shaped, created, in the image of God the Father. I am His girl. I am His creation.
I believe in my abilities. I believe in my strength. I believe in my God given talents. I believe that good things are coming my way. I believe that greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. I believe that God has made me special. 

If you don’t already, then start right now believing that you are God’s best. You are God’s special creation. Don’t focus on your imperfections, your mess ups, your hang-ups, but focus on the wonderful, special, kind, anointed, loving, compassionate person God has called you to be. Believe that all you seek to do will prosper. Believe that you will reach far and that you will excel even farther. Believe that all you do will be done for God’s glory. Believe that you are an overcomer, that you are victorious, that you are beautiful, handsome, loving and loveable. Believe that anything you set your mind to do, if you seek God, believe that you will have what you ask. Let your heart hold good thoughts toward yourself. Let your tongue speak greatness about yourself. I’m not talking about boasting and being overly conceited. I’m talking about having faith that the good that pours from your mouth shall come to pass. 

Matthew 12:34-37 states, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

God is not playing around when He speaks! His words are exact and true. I don’t know about you, but I want to bear good fruit. I want to be known for my good reputation, for good character, for speaking good over people’s lives, including my own life. I want God to look on me and see that the fruit that has come forth from me is God-driven, not self driven.

I sincerely ask you to take a look at yourself. Examine yourself. Examine the manner in which you treat yourself.  Have you noticed that God’s word says, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself?” How can you, me or anyone do that if we do not have love for ourselves? I don’t know about you, but I desire to love others and that means that I must start by loving myself. Love yourself. Treat yourself well. Encourage yourself. Speak victory over yourself. Speak good things over yourself. Let your light then shine so men may see your good works and magnify God. After all, There’s Character in Your Words!

Shelia E. Lipsey is a multi-award winning Christian fiction author of four novels and one nonfiction book. She is the founder of The Word According to Shelia, a monthly column featured in a variety of formats and blogs online. www.shelialipsey.com  
Blog: http//:www.shelialipsey.blogspot.com      Email: shelialipsey@yahoo.com  Her latest novel, Beautiful Ugly was released nationwide August 1, 2009.

Shelia E. Lipsey
Novelist/Speaker/Literary Expert

Novel: Beautiful Ugly
My Son's Wife
At bookstores & Amazon.com  &  Black Expressions.com

Other Books
Sinsatiable & Into Each Life

Do Less, Stress Less - Achieve More
By: Sarah McCrum 

Relaxation has a bad reputation – many people are afraid that if they relax they will become lazy, slow or sleepy and they will do less. They connect good performance with hard work. 

But imagine buying a new car. Do you want to buy from a nervous salesman who desperately tries to persuade you to buy his product, or the one who is relaxed and confident in what he is selling? The relaxed salesman doesn’t work so hard, but his results are better and everyone feels good around him as well – a win-win situation. 

It’s easy to understand why we perform better when relaxed if you look at the human energy system. Anyone who has experienced acupuncture will be aware that life energy (known as qi in Chinese) flows through our body via a system of channels called meridians. When we are tense our body contracts, constricting the meridians and reducing the flow of energy through the body. When we relax our body becomes softer and more expanded, the meridians open up and more energy is able to flow through. 

A simple explanation of energy is that it is the difference between being dead and alive - it is what makes the body move, breathe, feel, smile and think. When we receive less energy (because of tension) we have less of that force that causes us to be lively, active, and productive. When we get more energy we literally have more life - more health, more ability to think, create and act. With more energy we stress less. 

When we become tense we have to work harder to make up for the lack of energy. This in turn causes greater tension, further reduces the energy flow and a negative spiral is created. As we feel worse (and more tired from lack of energy), we tend to become emotionally negative as well. We complain about stress, worry about ourselves and other people and find it hard to let go of irritations. This negativity only adds to the tension and eventual energy starvation. 

If on the other hand we relax and open up we have more energy, so we feel livelier and less tired. With increasing energy we can achieve more which makes us feel positive and even more relaxed. A virtuous spiral develops, whereby relaxed people can feel better and better and more and more positive and eventually they also achieve more and more. 

If you find yourself collapsing, exhausted, at the weekend, or you are constantly looking forward to holidays so you can do nothing for a while, it may not be the case that you are overworking. You simply don’t know how to relax properly. A relaxed person can handle working all day and still be full of energy for family and social life in the evening. The relaxed person achieves more with less effort. They may look like they do less than the busy person who is constantly proving themselves, but just compare the results. 

Why do we often get our best ideas in the shower? - because we are relaxed and open. Imagine having that feeling all day – where nothing bothers you because you feel you have the health and capacity to solve any problem and more than enough energy to do whatever comes your way. 

Relaxation doesn’t mean watching television or reading a book. It is not having a beer or playing sport. Relaxation is not the same as sleep. It is a peaceful activity – the simple art of ‘doing nothing’ – but ironically, doing nothing is one of the most difficult things of all to do well.

About the author: 
Sarah McCrum MA, PGCE, Dip LC, is Director of the Academy of Potential Education and is a specialist in developing and providing education programs designed to meet the needs of the future. sarah@potentialeducation.org  http://www.potentialeducation.orghttp://www.therejuvenationcentre.com   Article Source: www.isnare.com 

The 5 Musts of Marketing
by: Helaine Iris 

For most of the small business owners I work with, marketing has become the equivalent of a four-letter word. Inevitably, when I ask the question, "Do you have a marketing plan?" or "What marketing activities do you engage in?" I get the full gamut of responses from the proverbial deer in the headlights stare, to a vociferous, "I hate marketing, it's the least favorite part of my business!" 

After years of witnessing this reaction, and learning a bit about modern marketing, I'm starting to understand why traditional marketing is perceived and experienced as a necessary evil and avoided like a root canal. 

It's been true since the beginning of commerce that every business needs to promote itself to stay alive and compete in an ever-changing marketplace. How great would it be if you, as a savvy business owner, could begin to make a shift from seeing marketing, and its associated tasks, as a necessary evil to a rich and rewarding opportunity to express your passion about your business? It would be pretty great, wouldn't it? 

While I don't mean to reduce a vibrant and ever evolving profession to any-one-can-do-it status, the mystique around marketing can certainly use some lightening up. I do believe anyone can become an effective and enthusiastic marketer. 

Let's start to explore by dispelling some of the common mystique around marketing. I used to believe that marketing was a complex practice for which you had to pay a lot of money to a professional to "do it right". I used to think I had to convince people using tactics that were high pressure or not in alignment with my values. No wonder marketing fell to the bottom of my list. Is it at the bottom of yours? 

Here's what I've learned, and here's what works for me. In its simplest form, marketing is about building relationships and networks. It offers an opportunity to communicate to people (your customers) what you do and introduce or expose them to your product again and again. As Michael Pollock, my marketing guru taught me, "Forget marketing, think conversations". That's easy, now all I have to do is position myself and create opportunities to engage people about that which I love. I can do that. Shift accomplished! 

Here are The 5 Marketing Musts that transformed me from an Avoider to an Engager: 

1. Define your customers. With whom do you want to build relationships? Start by specifically identifying who will buy your products and focus on them. In "marketing speak" this is called your target market. It is critically important to identify your target market so you don’t spend time and money haphazardly conveying your message and building relationships with non-buyers. 

Here's some criteria you can use to identify your ideal customers: Age, profession, gender, level of education, income, ethnicity, location, psychological needs (feels frustrated, wants security, wants to feel challenged, etc.) personal interests (committed to personal development, reads avidly, spiritually inclined, etc.) and what are their psychographics (how do they think, what is their world view, their values, etc.). Create a profile of your perfect customer. 

2. Promote yourself. In real estate it's location, location, location. In marketing it's promote, promote, promote. Find ways to get yourself in front of your customers regularly and repeatedly. Visibility creates opportunity. You need to be in front of your customer at least seven times for your message to stick. Visibility also creates credibility. Relationships are built on trust. The more opportunities you have to demonstrate your credibility, the more likely a customer will buy from you. 

3. Position yourself. What do you stand for in the mind of your customer? Positioning is about "owning" the groove in your customers mind when it comes to your product. The Dollar Store, for example, is positioned so when you need to purchase a product inexpensively, you think Dollar Store. Your marketing message should be clear, targeted, consistent and designed to position you in the forefront of your customers mind. 

4. Become known as a recognized expert in your field. There are many other businesses out there vying for your customers' attention. Become the first business that pops into your customers' minds. Make sure the reason you pop into your customers' minds is because you've built positive and credible relationships. Here are a few ways to develop yourself as an expert: 

Publishing. Write and submit quality articles to local and Internet publications (Just like the one you're reading now!) Or, you can self publish a monthly newsletter to keep yourself in front of your customers. Even if you think you can't write (like I did when I started my business) find ways to communicate. Hire an editor if you have to. 

Public Speaking. A great way to position yourself in front of an audience of potential customers. The options might be civic organizations, local associations, or community events. Public speaking can often inspire terror when suggested, it certainly did in me. Practice built my confidence and the benefits I've received from moving out of my comfort zone has paid off in many ways. Start small, be you, connect with the passion of your message. 

Join networking groups. This is a great way to connect with many people on a regular basis. Most network groups are filled with participants in the same boat as you. Not only do they provide an opportunity to be in front of people, they can be a tremendous source of support. If you want to really go for it, volunteer for a leadership position. It will quickly increase your visibility as well as boost your credibility. 

5. Evaluate what's working, what's not working, and adapt accordingly. Clearly it takes time and consistency for any marketing effort to pay off. Don't give up too soon. At the same time, marketing is a process of learning what works for you and your particular business. Don't let your marketing plan get stale. Remember, marketing is about building relationships, and creating opportunities for you to express the passion you feel about your product or service. 

Make a plan and stick to it. Developing a simple marketing plan can be as straight forward as deciding what people you want your message to reach and determining the best vehicles to use. If you work with these Marketing Musts, you're well on your way to establishing a marketing plan. It can be that easy. 

I'll leave you with these questions: Why are you in business? What do you love about your product or service? Do you feel inspired when you're at the top of your game and offering the best of what you do to the world? If so, go out there and create opportunities to do more of that. That's all marketing is. Can you feel the shift? 

It's YOUR life...live it completely!

About The Author Helaine Iris 
Helaine is a professional coach and writer, who has been featured in numerous publications, including “O” The Oprah Magazine. She helps entrepreneurs and professional women accelerate their professional success, while achieving a more complete and fulfilling personal life. For a free consultation, contact her at 603-357-8546 to discuss how she can help you accelerate your own success. You may also visit her website, http://www.pathofpurpose.com or email your questions to helaine@pathofpurpose.com 

Business Mentoring: Competition Will Keep Successful Entrepreneurs Sharp
By: Geoff Ficke 

Competition insures that our modern world is continually advancing, improving and editing out the weak, thus rewarding and encouraging the strong. The benefits competition provides a free economy is reflective in the vitality and prosperity of the population. Compare this with state controlled countries where central planning eliminates any of the creativity and disruptive innovation provided by entrepreneurs.

Every sports fan knows the story of a sports team competitively peaking at the right time on the road to winning a championship. The Pittsburgh Steelers won the 2006 Super Bowl even though they only had the second best record in their division. In addition, they had to overcome the huge hurdle of playing three straight playoff games on the road in front of hostile crowds. Entering the tournament, the Steelers were not favorites to win a championship. But they did.

The level of competition they faced brought out the best in the Steelers.

In any field competition is needed to enhance the vitality of the participants. A capitalist economy thrives on the ability of individuals, enterprises and organizations to compete, some winning, some failing, all contributing to the fresh flow of innovation that is the lifeblood of a vibrant society.

Entrepreneurs are the key purveyors of new ideas and creativity, especially in the United States. The fact that competition is so brutal, aggressive and pervasive for new opportunities is of great benefit in keeping entrepreneurs sharp, motivated and cutting edge. Inventors must anticipate that competitors will make every attempt to circumvent the novel features included in their product. This anticipation motivates them to create value-added features that further answer the competition and provide consumers with fresh utility and novelty.

Why is private enterprise vastly more efficient than public organizations? The most elemental answer: competition! There is one inefficient Post Office. There are many competitors in the package delivery service (FedEX, DHL, UPS, etc.) The Post Office is subsidized: the private firms must fight it out for market share, efficiencies and profit. They can go out of business, the Post Office never will.

Every state run airline (Alitalia, Air France, Varig, etc.) is bankrupt. At the same time new private carriers (Easy Jet, Ryan Air, etc.) are entering the market and thriving. Competition creates opportunities and penalizes static business models.

Computer Associates, Wang, Digital Equipment, Gateway and many other companies, were ahead of Dell Computer in assembling and marketing the personal computer. Dell has succeeded spectacularly while almost all of the early leading pioneers are either out of business, significantly downsized, or merged. Dell entered this brutally competitive product category with a fresh business model (customization of production and direct selling). This disruptive model has proven wildly profitable and popular with consumers. Dell continues to evolve and enter new technologies in a never-ending effort to constantly reinvent and remain competitive.

35 years ago Revlon was the dominant cosmetic brand in the world. Ultima was Revlon’s luxury powerhouse, the Revlon brand dominated the middle market and Realistic was a powerhouse in beauty salons. The founder of Revlon, Charles Revson, was an innovator and a visionary. He once famously commented, “I don't sell lipstick, I sell hope”! Sadly after his death 25 years ago, the Company was run by a series of financial bean counters. Innovation was minimized. Risk was out. Revlon has not had a major product success since the fragrance Charlie, over 25 years ago. Today, Revlon is but a shell of it’s former glorious self. Ultima does not even exist. Innovative competitors like Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, Redken and Paul Mitchell, Mac, Bobbie Brown and many more have chipped and picked until Revlon is almost a corpse. Competition forces business to innovate, and evolve, or die: witness Revlon.

Many entrepreneurs fear competition for understandable reasons. Many have weak intellectual property protection. They fear a larger, mature business attacking them head on with a version of their product. The constant worry of being overwhelmed by a rival with deeper resource levels is daunting. Nevertheless, the lesson to be learned from competition is simple: it is always going to be there and it must be faced with courage and creativity.

Sticking one’s head in the sand is not a realistic response to competitive threats. They are real and pervasive. The “survival of the fittest” does not apply only to the natural world but is just as applicable to the business world. In order to be one of the fittest, the entrepreneur must remain innovative and think outside the box. As Satchel Paige said, “don’t look back, somebody might be gaining on you”. I like, “you are never the greatest, only the latest”.

The successful entrepreneur is always seeking ways to improve their business model, add features, advance performance and anticipate strategy competitors might utilize to overcome their market advantages. 

The ability to survive and prosper requires entrepreneurs to be flexible, quick and opportunistic, all qualities that bigger rivals usually lack. Take advantage of your entrepreneurial instincts. Large entities typically make decisions by committee and consensus. Speed and agility are your natural advantages. 

Competition keeps the economic blood running free and pure. When an entrepreneur succeeds it is easy to identify the elements most responsible for that success. Equally important is for every failure to become an educational opportunity. It is all right to make mistakes: once! Learn from mistakes and do not repeat them.

Competition insures that our modern world is continually advancing, improving and editing out the weak, thus rewarding and encouraging the strong. 

The benefits competition provides a free economy is reflective in the vitality and prosperity of the population. Compare this with state controlled countries where central planning eliminates any of the creativity and disruptive innovation provided by entrepreneurs. No competition creates a disincentive to growth, opportunity and the healthy economic life so essential to human contentment.

About the Author:
Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money. After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance. Geoff Ficke and his consulting firm, Duquesa Marketing, Inc. ( www.duquesamarketing.com  ) has assisted businesses large and small, domestic and international, entrepreneurs, inventors and students in new product development, capital formation, licensing, marketing, sales and business plans and successful implementation of his customized strategies. He is a Senior Fellow at the Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business School, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. 

Create Your Entrepreneur Dream Team
by: Helaine Iris 

I hear it all the time. “What should I do about . . .?" As a business owner you're faced with the daunting task of making all the decisions that affect your business. Should I remain a sole proprietor, become an LLC or is an S Corp better? Should I start using an electronic PDA or stick with my trusty, but out-dated, Day Runner? In what direction should I take my marketing? Is the color right on this logo? PC or Mac? Paper or plastic? Aargh! Big decisions. Little decisions. It can be overwhelming, especially when you consider how each decision has a bearing on the success of your business. 

It can be difficult to make decisions for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s a matter of not having enough information. Other times, it’s simply a lack of confidence. If you're a very small business or solopreneur, chances are you work alone most of the time. The upside to your solitary confinement is two fold. First, you hold all the power and control to make the business your own. Second, the success or failure of your dream is squarely in your hands. Paradoxically, the fact that it's just you calling the shots is also the dreaded downside of the micropreneur lifestyle. 

Agonizing over decisions or constantly second-guessing yourself is a tremendous waste of energy. Energy you probably can't afford to spare. How do you know when you've spent too long on a decision? It's hard to say exactly, but if you catch yourself ruminating over you options longer than a couple of days, be suspicious. Or, if it's 2:00 a.m., and you're wide awake questioning a course of action, there's a good chance you may be temporarily - if not permanently - decision-impaired. 

When I occasionally find myself in just such a non-productive loop, I’m grateful when I finally remember to ask for help. After a diligent, but debilitating drag through decision darkness, getting someone else's input is the radiant ray of sunlight that nurtures my soul. My world brightens. My heart lightens. And I realize the light at the end of the self-employment tunnel is not a freight train about to make mince-meat of my professional future, but instead, is a friendly, familiar, fellow professional wielding a torch to help guide me home. 

It's also in those moments that I congratulate myself for having had the wherewithal and initiative to create an entrepreneur dream team for myself. This is my personal and professional circle of friends, colleagues, cohorts and fellow entrepreneurs who's advice, support and opinions are just a mere phone call, email message or short drive away. 

Take my advice here. Create your own entrepreneur dream team. Would you rather have a well-known and trusted advisor at your fingertips or thumb through the yellow pages and pick someone you've never met and know nothing about. 

Building your dream team is easy. It's simply a collection of people you know and trust. To get started, make a list of the professional services you’ve needed in the past or anticipate needing in the course of doing business. For example, a lawyer and accountant are staple members of your team. 

Next, think about all the possible people you’d trust to help you solve a problem. Not only do you want these people to care about you and your success, but you also want people who can be objective and act as a sounding board when you request it. Think about different people for different categories of problems. For example, someone who’s good with personal issues might be different than someone who's good at helping you process systems questions. 

Once you’ve made a list of your potential dream team members, contact each individual, and ask them to be a member of your team. For the professional candidates, such as lawyers or accountants, make an appointment for an initial consultation. Introduce yourself, and establish the relationship so when you need to access their services you’ll both be up to speed and ready to engage. 

For the non-professional people on your list, invite them to participate on your team as an advisor. Let them know what type of support you may be needing from them, and if they're willing to participate, find out the best way to access them when needed. Should you just phone them, email them, drop by their home or meet at the local coffee shop? Bring intention to the relationship, and set boundaries to support the success of the alliance. In my experience, people like to be asked for support, guidance and opinions. It feels good to know someone trusts and respects you enough to ask for help. 

Finally, when you’ve chosen your team members and they’ve agreed to participate, compile a list with everyone's contact information, and post it where it's easily accessible. Make it easy to use your team. Let it pull you forward out of solopreneur solitude and into the bright, beautiful world of human connection and synergistic success. It sure beats losing sleep. 

It’s YOUR life…live it completely! 

About The Author Helaine Iris
Helaine is a professional coach and writer, who has been featured in numerous publications, including “O” The Oprah Magazine. She helps entrepreneurs and professional women accelerate their professional success, while achieving a more complete and fulfilling personal life. She combines a broad range of professional experience in her work, including management positions in the education, training, retail and international non-profit sectors. For a free consultation, contact her at 603-357-8546 to discuss how she can help you accelerate your own success. You may also visit her website, http://www.pathofpurpose.com  for additional information, or email your questions to helaine@pathofpurpose.com 

The Art of Blogging and How to Use it as a Self-Publishing Author
By: Samantha Pearce 

It has been fairly common practice for writers of all genres to have a personal website through which they can advertise themselves, and their writing! However, as with all things technological, the information world has moved on from websites and towards blogs and twitters (yes-twitters!) as a means of on-line communication. 

Blogs are on-line weblogs that consist of frequently updated journal entry style posts on a webpage. They historically contained personal diary snippets of each bloggers life, focusing on their actions, future events, thoughts, fears, ideas and emotional struggles. As the number of blogs evolved, so blog communities were created, where one blog would be updated by many, and where others were able to respond to blog posts, creating on-line debates, fellowship and support. Twitters are small blogs. They function in exactly the same way as standard blogs, but they can only contain less than 140 characters. 

Blogs and twitters are a powerful way to communicate worldwide and are heavily used by commercial companies and journalists to raise their own profiles and generate business. Such an influential communication route should not be missed by self-publishing authors and writers. But how do you use a blog to improve your work, increase your readership, and generate sales? 

--- Use it before you publish to liberate creativity and test new ideas 

Blogs are a great way of experimenting with ideas. They allow you to write what you want (within reason) and to test a variety of different writing genres and styles on your blog's audience. This can help you define your style, structure and language of writing before you commence working on your latest novel of non-fiction book idea. Blogs also require regular, if not daily, updates to keep readers interested in their content. Having to update your blog everyday means having to write every day, and this is a great way to keep your mind creatively active. 

Blogs are now predominately two-way, which means that you can post a blog entry and readers publish their comments on it! This on-line interaction enables you to publish samples of your writing on your blog, get feedback from your readers, and improve or amend your writing following this feedback - and all prior to submitting your work for final publication. As Peter Buckman of the Ampersand Agency explained to me, blogs are a 'terrific way of stimulating interest in writers and encouraging discussion of their work.' 

The two-way communication aspect of blogs and twitters allows you to build up a readership or an audience of people who are interested in the book you are working on or who like your writing style. Therefore, even before you have published your book, you already have a group of individuals who are likely to purchase a copy as soon as it's released! 

--- Use it after publication to build up an audience and promote your book 

Blogs and twitters can sometimes attract a bigger and wider audience than a standard webpage. Life today is often hectic, fast-paced and hurried. The snippet style writing of blogs and twitters allows readers to quickly get an update on what is happening in your life and your writing - something that is less easy to achieve through a web page. 

Blogs give you, the writer, an on-line portfolio which allows readers to feel as if when they read your blog they are getting to know the 'real you'. It is well known that people tend to buy the 'seller' not just the 'product' when they make a purchase, and this is hard to achieve in Internet sales...your blog is the closest thing you have to allowing a reader to get to know, and hopefully buy from, you - the seller. As Andrew Lownie, founder of the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency Limited, told me, 'A blog helps build a relationship with potential readers and entice them to buy books'. 

This strategy has proved successful for writers such as Neil Gaiman and Nora Roberts. Gaiman started a blog for his novel 'American Gods' in 2001, which was subsequently mentioned in several newspapers and magazines, which certainly helped to promote his books. Similarly, Roberts used her blog to build a strong relationship with her readers, allowing them to take part in her book tours by posting daily photos and entries. This also helped improve her popularity and sales. 

Let's not forget however that there are an awful lot of blogs and Twitters available for readers to view on the Internet, and unless you spend a fair amount of time updating your blog regularly and keeping the content interesting and relevant, there isn't any guarantee that many readers will view your blog. Regardless, it is still worth your while having a blogging presence on-line. As most blog and twitter entries include a link to other websites or articles, you have the opportunity to generate a reasonable number of incoming links to your primary website. Incoming links boost your search engine position, so the more links that you can generate towards your main webpage, the better. You can also add links to your blog or twitter entries that take readers directly to a webpage that is selling your book on your behalf, for example Amazon, which can also help increase sales. 

Reading other people's blogs can sometimes prove to be just as useful as writing your own, as you have an opportunity to glean advertising and marketing tips for promoting your novel, are able to comment on the writing of others, and can quickly keep abreast of up to date news in the world of writing and literature. 

Happy Blogging!

About the author: Make sure that your manuscript or articles are ready for submission with the Words Worth Reading proofreading and appraisal service - http://www.wordsworthreading.co.uk 

Article Source: www.isnare.com ;   Permanent Link: http://www.isnare.com/?aid=285453&ca=Internet 



Instinctively, our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents understood that children were more than mere extensions of themselves. They knew that we – their children – were and are their future – their bridge to the future. Under the most difficult set of circumstances, they positively shaped our minds and souls and did their best to create and implement plans that would move their families forward. Against the backdrop of two World Wars, the Great Depression of 1929, and the turbulent global social and political climate of the 1960s, our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents quietly and unceremoniously went about the business of investing in our future.

One could say that parenting, for the most part, has always been a daunting task. In the Millennium, a rising divorce rate, an alarming increase in the incidence of diabetes, prostate cancer, colon cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease among men, and the global economic crisis are just a few of the factors that are dramatically complicating the task of positively shaping the minds and souls of our children – our bridge to the future for parents, in general, and Fathers in particular.

Our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents were successful in getting us to understand the direct connection between completing our education and academic excellence and our access to a world of endless opportunities. In the Millennium, approximately 7,000 children drop out of American high schools during each day of the academic year according to the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Excellent Education (www.all4ed.org). The average school year in the United States spans nine months which means that approximately 1,890,000 children – our future – our bridge to the future -- have dropped out of school. Shouldn’t we be trying to figure out why 1,890,000 children are dropping out of America ’s high schools? Is it a symptom of a much bigger problem? Are our children – our future – our bridge to the future -- dropping out of high school because they are the victims of bullying or violence? Or because they have been arbitrarily misdiagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and wrongfully banished to special education classes? Or because they are unable to concentrate in school because they are not getting a proper breakfast at home before leaving for school? Or is it because no one at home is “holding their feet to the fire” and requiring them to excel in school?

We can resolve America ’s high school dropout problem by investing in the future. How do we do that? It’s simple. Bring together concerned individuals, educators, academic, business and religious institutions, social entrepreneurs, and community grassroots organizations in every community which have key “pieces of the puzzle” to creating and effectively implementing programs that will, with all deliberate speed, inspire our children to complete high school and resolve the myriad of issues that currently make it difficult for 1,890,000 American children to remain in school. These individuals and organizations know how to get the job done. And, IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®, knows who they are and where they are. Let’s give these individuals and organizations the freedom and support they will need to implement programs that have a successful track record of dramatically reducing America’s high school dropout rate and inspiring our children – our future – our bridge to the future “to do more, want more, and be more”.

Men are the glue that holds our families, our communities, and our world together. Investing in our future mandates that we move with all deliberate speed to create key “pieces of the puzzle” that will effectively address the critical and unique health issues of men throughout our global village. It is estimated that American women are outliving American men by approximately six years. Approximately 21% of American men have coronary heart disease. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer accounts for approximately 9% of all cancer-related deaths in men in the United States.

The American Cancer Society (www.acs.org) projects that 1 out of 35 men will die from prostate cancer. In 2009, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Men’s Health Network (www.menshealthnetwork.org), approximately 186,000 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is estimated that 1 out of 10 American men will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease by their 55th birthday. The Center for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) which collects and maintains diabetes statistics has found that men are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than women. Approximately 77,250 men were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2008 and at least 24,260 male colorectal cancer patients succumbed to the disease.

Approximately, 10.9 million men in the United States -- or 10.5% of all American men -- who are over the age of 20 are estimated to have diabetes. Diabetes increases significantly the risk for an individual to suffer a stroke or heart disease. And not surprisingly, the incidence rate for stroke and heart disease is high for American men. Moving legislators in the United States to propose and enact into law the Men’s Health Act of 2009 which will establish an Office of Men’s Health in the United States Department of Health and Human Services is one of the key “pieces of the puzzle” to resolving the critical state of affairs of health for American men and investing in our future. The establishment of an Office of Men’s Health in the United States Department of Health and Human Services will do much to help men obtain increased research and research funding for their critical and unique health issues, orchestrate regional health awareness and educational programs, and provide all American men with equal and greater access to health resources and support services.

Our sons need Fathers. It takes a Man to teach a boy how to be a man. Our daughters need Fathers. Fathers shape our daughters’ perception of their self-worth and their place in the world. Investing in our future requires us to provide Fathers with what they need and want to positively shape the minds and souls of our children – our future – our bridge to the future. America’s 25,000,000 Non-Custodial and Divorced Fathers say that they need and want legislation in the form of a Federal Equal Custody Act that would make equal parenting the law of the land and provide American children of divorced and separated parents, with equal access, on a 50/50 basis, to both Dad and Mom. At the same time, America ’s 25,000,000 Non-Custodial and Divorced Fathers say that they need and want a modification of the child support guidelines based on the Parenting Time Credit model created in 2004 by the State of Indiana . In 2004, the State of Indiana modified its child support guidelines by instituting Parenting Time Credit for Non-Custodial Parents. How does this work? Non-Custodial and Divorced Fathers in the State of Indiana who spend additional time with their children above and beyond the amount of time that they are granted by the courts, will and do have the amount of their child support obligations reduced by the additional amount of time that they spend with their children.

Let’s invest in the future. Let’s make sure that parents, particularly Fathers, have what they need and want as they go about the business of positively shaping the minds and souls of our children – our future – our bridge to the future. After all, isn’t it really about the children?

He’s back! The doctor is in the house! Who am I talking about? Arnon Krongrad, M.D.!
Dr. Krongrad, an urologist, Thought Leader on Men’s Health, pioneer of laparoscopic radical prostatectomy in the United States , the Founder and Medical Director of The Krongrad Institute (www.laprp.com), and author of Behind The Mask, an editorial series of The Miami Herald returns to IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® as a Contributing Editor. Dr. Krongrad dazzled us with a heartwarming tale, Still Life With Carp, in the Winter 2009 issue of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®. An internationally recognized prostate cancer surgeon, Dr. Krongrad is creating key “pieces of the puzzle” to providing a better quality of life for prostate cancer patients. He is also providing “a new kind of hope” for men who are battling severe chronic prostatitis which he writes about in a moving article, A Hole In The Fence: Operating For Prostatitis that is featured in our Health Forum.

A number of years ago, one of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®’s staunchest supporters who prefers to remain anonymous presented us with an excellent idea -- Children’s Corner. The gentleman in question recently celebrated his 95th birthday in March 2009 and continues to be the center of his family’s universe. Children’s Corner is a space and place for and about our children – our future – our bridge to the future. And Children’s Corner is where you will find one of the Millennium’s great young poets, Ms. Nicole S. Dantzler, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Dantzler, a Contributing Editor to IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®, and a Publishing/Journalism Intern for IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®’s International Fatherhood and Men’s Issues Internship Program. Ms. Dantzler takes us on an introspective journey in Nikki’s World in Children’s Corner where we learn about the power of words.

Investing in our future requires us to provide our children -- our future – our bridge to the future -- with the skills and tools they will need to successfully compete in a highly competitive and information technology driven global marketplace when they become adults. Our In The Spotlight section explores how The Cornerstone Schools Of Washington, D.C. (www.cornerstone-schools.org) and its Lead Principal, Joanna Lange are inspiring our children – our future – our bridge to the future “to do more, want more, and be more” and why a partnership among school administrators, educators, parents and communities is one of the essential “pieces of the puzzle“ to investing in the future.

I first learned about Australian Fatherhood Practitioner and father of four Darren Lewis in November 2008. Lewis was born in Gladstone , Central Queensland, Australia and is the Founder of Australia’s Fathering Adventures (www.fatheringadventures.com.au). He contacted me after reading about IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® and my work on Fatherhood issues in the 17 November 2008 issue (No. 226) of Dads4Kids Newsletter which is published online by Warwick Marsh, the Founder of the Fatherhood Foundation, an Australian Fatherhood organization. Lewis is a compassionate and powerful voice in the Global Fatherhood Movement. You’ll find out how Lewis, through Fathering Adventures, is bringing Australia’s Fathers and Sons and Fathers and Daughters together and creating key “pieces of the puzzle” to strengthening and empowering Australia’s Fathers and families in the Fatherhood Roundtable.

If you are a man who feels that society and the mainstream media are sending you mixed signals about your capacity to be a nurturer and your value as a parent and a member of society, I have good news for you: You are not voiceless and you are far from being invisible or without options. Your point of view is being heard and understood – by women – women who are challenging the myths about Men and Fathers and who are creating options for you that will help you get what you need and want to positively shape the minds and souls of our children – our future – our bridge to the future. In our Women’s Roundtable, you will meet two women – Eileen Cipnik, EJD, NCPM in the United States and Barbara Kay in Canada – who are working to create options for men and challenging the myths that society and the mainstream media have bought into about Men and Fathers. Through her article, Advocacy In Action, Cipnik who is a graduate of Concord Law School , a National Certified Professional in Mediation, and President of BS Kids LLC, a paralegal firm specializing in domestic relations, provides options for Fathers which will help them to empower and strengthen their families. A strong advocate for Fatherhood and Men’s issues, Canadian Journalist Barbara Kay whose weekly columns celebrate Fatherhood, pays tribute to her father and challenges the myths about Men, especially Men who are Fathers, in an article entitled Challenging The Myths About Fathers.

Every now and then, Life throws us a “curve ball”. Lately, this “curve ball” has come in the form of credit freezes, rising unemployment, mortgage foreclosures, poverty, and a startling reduction in worldwide economic growth. In Embracing Our Inner Potential, poet, free-lance journalist, self-empowerment guru, Senior Contributing Editor to IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®, and Marketing Intern for IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®’s International Fatherhood and Men’s Issues Internship Program Carry Greaves offers a few suggestions on how to handle the “curve balls” of Life and warns us that “the manner in which we react to troubling times determines the end result”. And in A Woman’s Worth (Why She’s Important), Greaves urges men and women to “create a meaningful dialogue, and help demystify the misconceptions that they have about each other, and begin working together for the common good.”

Our Fatherhood News Brief looks at the International Monetary Fund’s global economic forecast for 2009 and International Men’s Health Week which will be celebrated worldwide from 15 June 2009 through 21 June 2009. While the jury is still out on whether there are sufficient resources and support services for Men, especially Men who are Fathers, I think you will find what you need in our Global Fatherhood Resources Directory. Chicago , Illinois native, educator, folklorist, author, and award-winning poet John D. Evans is a masterful storyteller. One could say that his poem – A Party At Walgreen’s: Attention Seeking Behavior -- which is featured in our Poets-In-Residence section is both a fashion and social commentary. Evans’ poem, From The Inside, takes us into the lonely world of an autistic child. Poet, self-empowerment guru, Senior Contributing Editor to IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®, and free-lance journalist Carry Greaves joins Evans in our Poets-In-Residence section. Greaves’ poem, Can We (For Today & Tomorrow) urges us to “take care of our elders, come together as a global community, and build bridges of atonement.”

The survival of our families, our communities, and our planet hinges upon our willingness to invest in the future. But what do you think? How would you go about investing in the future? Send me an e-mail with your solutions, comments, accomplishments and thoughts to: insearchoffatherhood@gmail.com.  I will read your comments and publish them on IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®’s blog at http://globalfatherhooddialogue.blogspot.com.   WEBSITE: www.bsi-international.com 

Best Regards,
D.A. Sears, Managing Editor - IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R)


Book Spotlight:  A Preacher's Passion

Ella Curry, the CEO of Black Pearls Magazine, sits down with author Lutishia Lovely to discuss her writing career and new book. Lutishia Lovely grew up in a small, Kansas town and often escaped its sometimes boring, stagnant atmosphere by plunging into a good book, including poetry, the genre of her early writing.

 This love affair with words took an interesting turn when she responded to a small newspaper ad for people interested in radio. It contained the only three words she needed to see in order to apply-no experience necessary. Attending that first meeting led to a broadcasting certification, an FCC license and a radio career that lasted more than ten years; as a morning-drive disc jockey, award-winning Saturday morning talk show host and eventually program director. During this time she also became involved in theatre, and along with acting began writing and producing stage plays..

 These days, Lutishia is rarely far from her computer, having just finished book five of the Hallelujah Love Series. And just to keep it interesting, she sometimes dons an alter-ego, Zuri Day, and writes romance. When not working, Lutishia enjoys travel, theatre, concerts, and whipping up yummy vegetarian dishes for her family and friends. She is based out of Los Angeles, but  currently lives in Barcelona, Spain.

 Ella:  Can any one of us be truly content with only our dreams? What action steps did you take to help your dream, of being a writer, become a reality?
 Well, Ella, the first step I took was to pick up a pen and write! But those first pieces, poetry, weren't even written because I thought I wanted to be a writer, it was just what I loved to do...create. When I began to seriously entertain a writing career, I read a lot and wrote a lot, honing my craft. I joined writer groups, and looked for various ways I could get experience and exposure: news/entertainment reports (radio), newspaper articles, magazine articles, etc. By the time I wrote my first novel, Sex In The Sanctuary, I had been writing professionally off and on for almost ten years. 

 Regarding the first part of your question, I believe dreams are simply Spirit's way of showing us what's possible. If we believe, and take appropriate action, our dreams can become our reality. And believe me, the reality is better than the dream!

Ella:  There are moments in life, that will inspire the rest of your life. Tell us about the moment in life, that inspired you to become a writer for life!

 This is going to sound interesting, but losing a job I loved was the inspiration, and the best thing that could have happened! I was working as the managing editor and senior writer of a holistic magazine and I loved what I did. It was a small but vibrant publication and being involved in it was very rewarding. Unfortunately, the owner ran into problems and the company folded. I panicked, and began sending out resumes for not only writing jobs, but other areas where I thought I'd find work faster: sales, marketing, administrative, PR. Girl, I started sending out those resumes and almost got sick to my stomach! The thought of going back into a regular 9-5--all due respect to 9-5ers--but that thought didn't make me feel good at all. I'd gotten spoiled with waking up every day and loving what I did.

One day, something happened, something snapped in my spirit. While sitting at my computer, I declared out loud, "I am a writer!". At that exact moment, I decided to put all of my energies into my dream, and let the chips fall where they may. From that day on, I sent out only writing resumes, and watched my meager savings dry up, the bills pile up, my fear creep up, but my faith leap up! Whenever I faltered, I'd remind myself of who I was and whose I was...a writer, and God's beloved daughter. All things are possible, Spirit would whisper. And I believed, Ella! Several weeks later, I got my first ghostwriting client. That project fed me, led to other ghostwriting opportunities and lasted almost a year. I got my first publishing contract a year later.

Ella:  In your new book,  A Preacher's Passion, what is the overall message you hope to relay to your readers. Why was it so important to bring out this message?
I think there are many messages within the pages of my series but I think an overall message is this: God's love is unconditional, and trumps man's judgment and/or condemnation. Love is larger than we can imagine, and truth is paramount.

 Ella:  What is the best way for readers and the media to contact you for event invitations or to share reviews?
 The best way is through my website: www.LutishiaLovely.com, although I am also on Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a plethora of Yahoo and Ning groups.

A Preacher's Passion--Available Now!
Visit www.LutishiaLovely.com for details...




By Andrea Blackstone

This morning I consider an oxymoron at its finest. President Obama made his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa, and last night, I witnessed a mother’s pain. The accomplishments that have been made by a man of color make me ponder why Kyle, a twenty-five-year-old black male, had to say goodbye. He was a new father, someone’s son, and a village helped to raise him to become a man.

My phone rang at approximately 11:30 pm. I’d already spoken to my cousin earlier. I found it strange that she called me back not even ten minutes later.

“Would you ride with me? My sorority sister’s son was killed,” she said.

She explained to whom she was referring. I remembered her from a cook out, during the 4rth of July weekend. An earthy, warm woman with an infectious smile stood out in my mind. She hugged me with a welcome, although I didn’t know any of my cousin’s friends. It made this reality feel so much uglier, and so much more unfair.

 I scurried around my room grabbing keys and incidentals. I felt anxious, sad, and confused. Floored.

 When we finally reached this young man’s mother, the door opened. My cousin called someone else to sit with her, until she arrived. He was seated on the far left with a quiet, yet strong presence.

 An incense was burning. The room was still, until my cousin’s arms opened.

Tears flowed. They poured from her eyes and Kyle’s mother’s. The male friend began praying, calling on Jesus in a calming fashion. I sat in a chair across the room feeling like I knew Kyle, although I never met him. As I heard various sounds and words of someone’s mother in pain, my eyes grew glossy. My cousin just stood in the floor and held her friend for what seemed like an eternity.

“They killed Kyle. My only child,” she kept repeating.

 My cousin consoled her with quiet words and warmth of a true friend. I dabbed my eyes wondering how things have come to this. Why are so many black mothers forced to endure unnecessary pain? A young black male, shot in the head in cold blood represents so many. Kyle’s mother ranted about how careful she’d been with him, and how she told him that he couldn’t go just any place, solely because he was a black male—a target of sorts. She guessed that he had a lot on his mind that day. After spending the weekend with his child, he took her to her mother, then stopped to clear his head in the park. He spoke of visiting her that weekend, but he ended up having visitation instead. This fact affirms that Kyle was a real father, too. It just doesn’t seem right to lose any of those. Forget stereotypes. Kyle wasn’t living a thug’s lifestyle; he was merely living his life in this world.

I was told that Kyle was known to be soft spoken and mild mannered. His mother placed  a small stack of recent pictures in my hands. Instantly, I believed what was said about his personality. As I sipped on ice water, I felt honored to review snapshots of his life. A handsome young man who was adopted had been given a chance to live a better life, by a strong, loving woman. It was obvious that she loved Kyle, and Kyle loved her.

His mother’s college classmates rallied around her and took Kyle in. He was a part of the fold, being tutored, sitting in church pews with various families in a tight network, walking through various doors with a back pack and a smile for adopted aunts and adopted uncles.  A village did raise him.  So many members of that village will surely miss him.

When I reached pictures of Kyle’s beautiful daughter, my heart sank again. She will grow up without him. She only had him for a short time—an even shorter time than his mother.

“I’m okay. It’s going to be okay, everyone.” That’s what his mother kept telling us.  “You all leave now. You have a long drive. I appreciate you coming. I appreciate you all so much. I’m not going to sleep. I’ll be up all night.”

We ignored her assuring words. No one moved. We knew and felt the truth. Her pain was layered, and it was just beginning. I sat on her couch, not in the position to say much. I was merely prepared to sit until the time to leave had come.  In between fidgeting with the vacuum cleaner cord, talking about the cat she adopted, and trying to remain optimistic, I knew that she’d break down. She even held it together through a call to find out where his body would be transferred, and her other friend asking for information that would be needed for his obituary. Finally, she relented.  Ironically, she works to help other mothers in similar standing. Now she has become one of them. What a cruel twist of fate.

 When the last knock on the door came, we knew our time there had come to a close. Another mother had been through the very same pain. Her son was murdered too. We left knowing that she’d know what to say best.  Kyle’s mother was in good hands. These women now share an unsettling bond.

I’ll be thinking of this mother all day, as well as beautiful little black boys who are robbed of life. Kyle’s mother is en route to another state to see about her child. Regardless of whom perpetrators are, I wish those who inflict violence on others could see and feel the after math. It’s ugly. It’s cold. It’s purely heartless and rooted in hatred, as far as I’m concerned. Black men have a legacy of descending from Nubian strength and power. So many have forgotten that. Complacency should have no place. The call for change is growing.

“I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Not even the person’s mother who did this. I will never be the same again,” she commented.

I walked away from the experience feeling that everyone’s life has value, and everyone belongs to someone. When someone is slain, an entire village mourns that loss. Not only must we do what we can to invest in youth, but we also should remind them that a plethora of chaos is generated, because of one single violent act. Real life lessons are relevant for them and us. Peace be unto you, Kyle. Heaven gained yet one more angel, but you are gone too soon.

****The victim’s name has been changed to protect the mother’s privacy.


The 7 Pitfalls of Single Parenting

Today, among the overloaded clutter of single parenting self-help books, it's delightful to find one that not only delivers exactly what the title offers, but exceeds all expectations with new insights, realistic advice and success tactics to guide readers through the labyrinth of post-divorce parenthood that helps parents and children not merely survive, but thrive. The book is The 7 Pitfalls of Single Parenting: What to Avoid to Help Your Children Thrive After Divorce by Carolyn Ellis.

Best-selling author, Carolyn Ellis, has combined her academic background, broad based professional experience and personal understanding with divorce and single parenthood to create the definitive book every single-parent should have as a practical parenting road map. The book is based on extensive research and examination of real life examples from clients, single parents, seminar students and her own valuable experiences of raising three young children after divorce.

This is the book she wished she'd had herself as she tirelessly searched for an all-inclusive post divorce guide book that simply did not exist. What makes this book so compelling is that she has made many of these same mistakes and writes about them so others can easily understand and save themselves needless grief and worry.

Divorce is a major life transition that presents numerous challenges emotionally, physically, financially and socially; no one has the necessary training or is truly prepared for it, including the consequences, which is single parenthood. There are many assumptions that parenting will be the least of the concerns after a divorce, but in fact there are many factors that can blindside even the most conscientious parents. Issues such as normally responsible parents putting their kids in the crossfire of their anger, incompatible parenting styles, transitioning anxieties, financial stress and mental and physical fatigue can strain the best of parents and result in lack of confidence and making unavoidable mistakes.

Even as parents reach out to well-meaning family and friends or search for the latest self help book, single parenting can be a struggle as parents desperately try to create a safe, secure and "normal" environment for their children. The 7 Pitfalls provides an all-inclusive guide by detailing things to avoid and is written from a positive, proactive stance starting with the THRIVE principles. These basic concepts configured in an acronym to convey a sense of inspiration, hope and success: Trust, Honesty, Responsibility, Integrity, Vision and Expression.

The book is organized around the 7 Common Pitfalls under separate chapter headings which describe the traps, how to recognize them, and how to avoid them: Not Having a Big Picture, Getting Hooked by Your Ex Spouse, Parenting from Guilt, Going for the Martyr Medal, Not Putting your Children First, Being Responsible for Your Children's Relationship with Your Ex, and Living in Chaos.

Each chapter concludes with action steps and accountability checks to ensure the practical application of this important information. One of the most effective tools is the Action Tracker that helps keep track of accomplishments with a real measure of progress and growth.

If any of these issues or descriptions resonate with you then this is the book for you because it can help you choose to thrive after divorce and bypass the behaviors that hold single parents back from raising healthy, self-confident, capable children. It's good for you and great for your kids.

About the Author: Sheena Berg, a blended family coach, writes for the FREE StepHeroes step parenting advice newsletter. Read the complete text of this single parenting article.

Top 3 Reasons Why We Ruin Relationships

The largest single reason for divorce and for the break-up of our relationships is a misunderstanding of personality type differences. This article will present the leading three reasons most folks lose in relationships that are related to Myers-Briggs Personality Type.

1. We Don't Know the Personality Types of Ourselves and our Mates.

Most of us don't know that we have a personality type that is scientifically and psychologically defined. We confuse personality with many other non-psychological things. In reality each of our personality types was formed within us before we were born! In addition, if your personality type differs in certain ways with your mate's type --your communication, which is the "key" to relationships, will dramatically suffer.

2. You Don't Speak Their Language!

Very simply both people in a relationship can be speaking the same national language, say "English" but if they  are opposite especially on the "Dominant" function area it is like they were speaking two different languages with neither understanding the other!

We will be "Dominant" either with the function we take in information with, i.e. "Sensing" or "Intuition" or we will be "Dominant" in how we make decisions, i.e. "Thinking" (using logic) or "Feeling" (using feelings). No matter which one you are "Dominant" in , if your loved one is "Dominant' in the opposite you two will have great and natural difficulty speaking to each other.

3. You "Talk Your Talk" Only...May Even Insist On It!

What most folks do not understand about personality dynamics is that the natural personality difference are not  to be seen as something that is bad; something their mate does not understand; something the other person is "doing" to them to make their life miserable. If only they could be like me! Why can't you do what I do, after all I'm right and you are wrong.

I mean basically this is what most of us do because we are ignorant of our inborn, instinctive personality and what that might mean, if we are faced with differences in our relationships. Well , forcing someone to be like you won't work my friend because you are trying to change human nature, you are trying to make the "instinctive" "un-instinctive" ( if there is such an expression). Can't be done, so we need to understand our personality, which can be accomplished several different ways and use that knowledge to allow our relationship interest to be who they are, validate who they are and if you do, you will find love and other relationships get better and better.

By the way, the terms I've been using in this brief article are related to the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator. Which would be my strong recommendation for you to identify your type. Now you can take the MBTI on the Internet but there will be a fee. The MBTI is not free anywhere. Or, you can take a Jungian-like personality indicator which is very accurate and absolutely free. That is up to you, I hope you do one of the two. At that point, find a Myers-Briggs practitioner and have them interpret back to you what your score means. Your relationships will thank you!

In conclusion, we can guarantee the long life of our relationships, in fact we can create perfect love compatibility and perfect relationship compatibility by using the power of our personality type. If we will take the loving time to identify our personality types and those of our love/relationship interests and then learn how to use what we find so we can "speak" in the other person's language, if need be; then we can save relationships from and at the core. In addition, we can use personality type to find our "soul mate", find the perfect love compatibility relationship for us in the first place. It is not difficult and it is automatic when we understand our types.

About the Author: Jason Lee is the owner of Relationships and more website.
For more info and free newsletter visit: http://www.activehowto.com/how-to-new-20.php

Make-up Or Break-up. Which Path Do I Take?

Since the beginning of time men and women have been unfaithful to each other. I think it started around the time of Adam and Eve. Relationship break-ups are not just a fabrication of modern society. However in this day and age you must realize that a lot of these relationship problems CAN be salvaged. The old song (I think by the Everley Bros) "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" only tells half of the story. I think mending the relationship or making up poses the more difficult part of the problem. In the first instance only one person may have caused the problem, but now it will take two people to construct a successful outcome.

A lot of people will not believe that a relationship once broken can be repaired. They find it difficult to believe that almost every break up  for whatever reason, infidelity, plain old lost passion, loss of interest, a stolen heart and worse can be salvaged. But if the two individuals  involved are prepared to give it a try then let no-one stand in their way.

There are many guidelines posed by so-called experts in the community and many approaches set down to follow.
Among other things they suggest the following:

*Are you missing each other.

*The capacity of the innocent party to forgive.

*Are there children involved.

*The commitment to repair what has been broken

*Meeting up and discussing problems without apportioning blame

*The capacity of the guilty party to admit guilt

*The capacity of the other party to FORGIVE

Once you are prepared to address all these issues then you are in a position to be able to formulate ways to repair the relationship and  get your ex back. The problem in most cases like this is that some people never tend to figure out what really went wrong and consequently they  are never able to find ways to get their ex back. However, the last thing you want to do, if you're hoping to get your ex back, is to try and put the blame on them. You also need to take responsibility for your part in
this breakdown. This means, in many cases, being very aware of your inputs (or lack of ) to the relationship and ignoring what your best friend  tell you on how to get your ex back. Also you probably need to ignore what your family says because of their emotional involvement and the tendency to support you at all costs and in most cases.

Be yourself and remember who you are, and your role in this whole issue. You must consider how the person who your Ex fell in love with (YOU)  acted and if you want to get your Ex back, you must be able to revert  to that role once more. The breakup of a relationship is usually the result of a number of factors, not just one. In most cases, the contributing factors can be clearly identified if you really are prepared to analyze the breakdown. Don't focus on what you think is wrong with your partner; that's their job. Accept responsibility for your role in the breakup and try to figure out how you can fix  what you can control.

The Magic Of Making Up contains practical tips and suggestions to restore your relationship to old warmth and affection and also an amazing resource for unfailing and innovative techniques to get your ex back no matter how  bad the situation is. You’ll still have a chance then to get your ex back. But you must first convince yourself that is what you really want to do and not just to satisfy a bruised ego.

About the Author: Noel is an experienced internet marketer. He displays a keen interest in society and its relationships and the many issues they produce as most adults have at some time in their life. For more detailed information about resolving some of these problems and to access the program=>  http://tinyurl.com/57ed4z 



Cocktail Party Ideas
Author: Peter Gitundu

Cocktail parties are the most stylish and elegant where you can get to meet people and have all kinds of social networks work for you. The main feature are the chilled drinks which provide loads of fun to the party. You therefore want everything to go perfectly and the only way you can do this is to plan and to employ great cocktail party ideas. The first aspect you consider when you are having a cocktail party is the invitation. Colorful illustrations characterize cocktail invitations and some of the illustrations that you will find are cocktail glasses, champagne bottles, martinis, olives and the list goes on. The invitation should inform the attendants the following things.

First, it should show clearly whether the party is a formal occasion or not. Secondly, it indicates the venue of the party and give contact details for further inquiries. Another vital thing to mention on an invitation is the date and time of the venue. Mention the particular theme that you are going with to give your guests an idea of what the dress code might be. Many cocktail parties carry a dress and color code. Send invitations 2 to 3 weeks before the party to give your guest enough time to work out their schedule.

Next, you need cocktail party ideas for decorations. You need to ensure top notch sophistication and if the party is at your house, keep it light with a floral centerpiece. Arrange the sits in a comfy way and make sure all is warm with some soft music playing in the background. A lava lamp is ideal to give that dim lighting, if you do not have it, try using attractive candles throughout the room. Cocktail party ideas for drinks are paramount and you need at least 4 different types of drinks to make it a complete cocktail event. Have wine, hard liquor, soda and juices giving a variety of wines to add that extra spice.

The best foods for your party are finger foods. A great idea is to hire a bartender if you feel that the drink might overwhelm you and this will enable you participate in the party fully. Cocktail party ideas for dressing are also vital and ladies will have to look nothing but glamorous at the same time keeping it light and less formal. You can do a fancy top and a skirt or dress that is knee sized. Men need to wear a good pair of trouser and a smart shirt or evening jacket.

Cocktail party ideas for favors are vital so that your guests can have treasured keepsakes which will remind them of the great cocktail experience in your home. You need to go for favors like personalized or customized gin bottles, elegant key chains, wine glass charms, cocktail stir sticks, martini glasses, cocktail shakers and the list goes on. Finally, you can have a game to encourage people to mingle more as the mild music in the background captivates guests. Your guests will be entertained and they will look forward to a similar experience.

Article Source:   http://www.articlesbase.com/women's-issues-articles/cocktail-party-ideas-502160.html 

About the Author:
Peter Gitundu is a Web Administrator and Has Been Researching and Reporting on Party Ideas for Years. For More Information on Cocktail Party Ideas, Visit His Site at COCKTAIL PARTY IDEAS You Can Also Post Your Views About Cocktail Party Ideas On My Blog Here COCKTAIL PARTY IDEAS



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