A Woman's Voice


Psst…Hey EWE! ~ December 29, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

Posted in A WOMAN'S VOICE by doloresayotte on December 29, 2011
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Hope…thanks so much for reading this post and reminding me to put it where others can read it! This was one of my very firsts articles.  Your lovely blog reminded me of the importance of its message. http://eyesonhope.wordpress.com

Yes you!  Now that I’ve caught your attention I really want to talk to you.  By chance do you enjoy doing Crosswords and other types of puzzles?  If so, this is the article for you.

Ever since I can remember, I have been a puzzle solver.  I love the mental challenge of trying to figure things out.  It is unbelievable how mentally stimulating and life enriching these puzzles can be. There is a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips just ready to be tapped into on a daily basis in most local newspapers.  

Now why did I choose the word EWE in my title to get your attention?  Most of you probably know that EWE is another word for a female sheep.  Over and over again this word comes up in Crossword Puzzles.  Every time I see it when solving a puzzle, it reminds me of Jesus Christ and how He is described as the gentle Lamb.  If we are to emulate Christ and follow in His footsteps we, too, must be like gentle lambs in our dealings with people. 

As we all know, it is not always easy to be gentle and kind.  Many times in life, our patience is tested as we become frustrated with the people around us.  In some instances, people may be unaware of this fact but on other occasions we may only be fooling ourselves into thinking that they don’t take notice of exactly how we feel.  The tone of our voice and our body language can quickly give away our true feelings despite what our words may say.  

I find as I do my daily Crossword Puzzle that God works in mysterious ways.  I hear God’s Word in many ways as I solve these puzzles. I can do an examination of conscience and ask myself if I have had any cross…words with any one in my life.  God can prompt me many times throughout these puzzles if I am open to His cues/clues.  He reminds me to be like the Lamb and follow in His footsteps when I come across the word EWE. 

Other times, one of the clues will ask for the letters found on the cross.  Yes…INRI.  There again, I am reminded that the Lamb died on the cross for the salvation of humankind.  This inscription reinforces that fact that I have sinned and Jesus’ forgiveness was so great that He chose to die on the cross to save my soul.  He is the Teacher and I am the student. Often times, I need to be reminded to be ready to forgive at all times because my transgressions have so generously been forgiven. 

It is truly amazing to see the many creative ways that God can reach out to people. God has a way of utilizing all his followers and reminding them of their mission in life.   We only need to be open to hearing the message!   I much prefer Crosswords to cross…words, if EWE know what I mean.

 

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WHAT APPEARS TO BE THE END…December 11, 2011

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES AND ANECDOTES

“Surely there is a grandeur in knowing that in the realm of thought, at least, you are without a chain; that you have the right to explore all heights and all depths; that there are no walls nor fences, nor prohibited places, nor sacred corners in the vast expanse of thought…” (Robert G. Ingersoll)

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HOPE’S BERCEUSE (lullaby), Opus 49, No.9 ~ November 17, 2011

Posted in MEMORY LANE by doloresayotte on November 17, 2011
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MEMORY LANE by Hope

 

one, two-three – one, two-three – one, two-three 

The very meter of the lullaby slows the pulse, stills the heart, silences the chatter and gives a spirit pause. Elegant in the pure simplicity of its structure, the lullaby is a universal call to calm. An invocation of serenity that when engaged transports the pieces of us that crave security and cling to comfort.  The coo of a lullaby lowers a thin veil between the unrested and the places that surround – extending its invitation to breathe slow, to breathe deep, to release. 

My earliest recollection of music is lied Wiegenlied, better known in English as Cradle Song, composed by Johannes Brahms in E flat major. Written for his good friend’s second child, Brahms’ Cradle Song is embedded in the culture of childhood. It plays in music boxes, wind-up toys, tv commercials and ring-tones. It’s covered by pop artists, performed by symphonies and chamber ensembles and  sung softly by the ones who rock a young one in their arms. 

My youngest sister was born at the time of my  life when my interest in music was evolving from hobby to passion. My first gift to her was a classical arrangement of Wiegenlied. My original intent was to arrange a vocal accompaniment but as I moved through the piece the emotion of the music transcended lyrics. The words almost muted where the nuances of the music alone were taking me. Unbeknownst to me, my awkward, untrained process for divining my interpretation of this piece was creating my premiere classical arrangement. 

Annoyed when homework and household duties called me  away from my masterpiece, I carried the arrangement in the forefront of my thoughts. I envisioned fingerings, heard harmonies and progressions in my mind’s ear and quietly hummed the melody as I moved through my tasks. 

With thoughts of my new sibling as my muse, I couldn’t wait to return to my fledging arrangement.  The more I explored the piece, the more I felt it become part of me. The rise and fall of the, one, two-three, one, two-three. The delicate tones romanced out of my instrument with the bend of each string. The elegance in the simple structure. The exploration of the fret board, phrasing and fingering all left me craving completion. 

Each touch of a string sought to express the  tenderness and the depth of love I felt for a tiny person I had yet to meet, but who had already stretched my imagination and captured my heart. With my ear as my guide and my memory as my ledger, my masterpiece came to me.  When it was done I knew it. I knew it was mine. 

Johannes Brahms’ Wiegenlied  was the first piece of music that moved from my instrument to deep inside my soul. The experience of creating that rendition for my sister altered forever my relationship with music. In the many years that preceded those few days, my music went from my instrument out to whoever would listen. On that day and with that piece, the current of my music reversed. It became the energy that fed my soul, fired my passion and defined the language of my heart. 

I don’t know why that experience was so memorable and so profound for me. Perhaps it was the first time I used my music to express a love that surpassed the bounty of words. Perhaps it was as a simple as a natural progression that comes from the combination of practice and ingenuity. Perhaps it was because it was the first time I truly wanted my music to be received as a gift. I almost dare not wonder for fear of outing a logical explanation that would forever banish the magical moment in which music moved into the eternal piece of my being. 

In my mind’s eye, I can still see my baby sister swaddled in her crib. Her knees tucked under her tiny diapered butt. Fists relaxed by her red cheeks. Her long black eyelashes  curling off her closed lids. The coiffed row of  dark curls on top of her head and her bottom lip sucking comfort as she slept.  In a darkened room, with only the light of the cracked bathroom door to cast shadows on my sister’s slumber, I performed for her, my first masterpiece. I gave her the first gift genuinely born of the piece of me that is and has remained my true self. I wonder if she remembers? I know that I will never forget. 

In kind with the simple structure of a lullaby, my hope doesn’t need flare, trills and runs to move me in profound ways. With the delicate but deliberate bend in the thoughts that define my view, hope becomes a part my magical self that will outlast my physical shell. Each step I take in cadence with hope has the potential to be an experience that, thirty years later, is still worth talking about  with passion. Each moment thoughtfully phrased in the dynamic of hope’s promise, has the potential to become a gift to give from the most genuine place in my heart. Every path journeyed that seeks or follows the whimsical voice of a hopeful imagination leads to the place of bounty that becomes etched on the list of tomorrow’s counted blessings. 

– here’s to my beautiful baby sister and the babies she now rocks in her arms at night. Lullaby to them. Good night and sleep tight until the morning shines on your little souls, another day of promise. 

– here’s to hope

Thank you so much Hope for sharing such a heart warming story. All those years ago you created a masterpiece for your baby sister and today you have created one for us. Your article is music to our ears.

 

 

Fewer Words ~June 10, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

Posted in A WOMAN'S VOICE by doloresayotte on June 10, 2011
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At times we are inspired to share our stories. Other times we are inspired to say less. This is one of those days when the fewer the words the better. A few of these words are etched in stone. Today I am sharing them with you.  May God grant you His choicest blessings.

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES AND ANECDOTES ~ April 18, 2011

This is a very profound quote.  If I can leave anything with you today, I would like to give you the gift of believing in yourself. It won’t happen in one day, but maybe it will be the first seed that when nurtured, will bloom into a very fruitful tree. So many of us look for validation outside of ourselves to identify who we are by how others react to us.  We may look to others for approval instead of being our authentic self.  It is necessary to find that validation from within in order to have a true belief in ourselves.

If we rely on others to form this belief, we may lose sight of all that we hope to be because we have compromised facets of our own personality and character so that we will be loved and accepted. This is conditional love. It takes real courage and true grit to be different and stand up for our beliefs. We can only find this courage when we have the strength and determination to validate who we are from the inner stirrings of our Maker.

These stirrings may begin by a dissatisfaction or lack of contentment in our lives that just won’t leave us, but there is a reason for this. If we are always satisfied with our situation in life, there would be no room for growth or any desire to change our circumstances or anyone else’s for that matter.  Growth results in many fine attributes like self-worth, self-esteem and a desire to make a difference.  With these attributes, we learn about hope and the gift of believing in ourselves…a gift so wondrous that we can stand tall and be exactly whom we were meant to be regardless of other people’s opinion of us. Be true to these inner stirrings and you will learn how to believe in yourself.

SPIRITUAL SATURDAY ~ Dreams are Dreams ~ March 26, 2011 by Charles Betts

INSPIRATIONAL POEMS 

Do you have a dream you’ve held tight

Locked inside you, kept out of sight

Unshared because you’re so afraid

Plans have not been carefully made

 

If others see and know your dream

Will they laugh or make you seem

Less than who you know you are

So you stay beneath the stars

 

But in your heart you long to give

The dream you have a chance to live

Say good-bye to all the folks

Who’d say your dream is just a joke

 

A perfect dream sustains our life

When overcome by inner strife

So dream your dream, let it be

Exposed for all the world to see

 

People wrapped in so much pain

Will see your dream and hope again

Do the world a favour friend

See your dream through to the end

 

When your dream has been fulfilled

All your fears have long been stilled

You’ll be glad you took a chance

All the world will share your dance

 

A Poem By Charles Betts

 May 26 2009

What a wonderful poem Charles. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

Driving “Miss D” ~ January 17, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

I have formed a very unique friendship with someone I have come to admire and respect. I don’t know her full story but I do know that she has experienced a deep loss.  She made a decision to overcome that loss by starting a blog. It is called Eyes On Hope.  Several months ago our blogging paths crossed and we have become dear friends.  I have never met her in person.  I only refer to her as Hope.  She has come to call me “Miss D”.  I’m pretty sure I’m old enough to be her mother but she has helped me every bit as much as I hope I have helped her. Hope is one talented girl.  She is a beautiful poet and writes great stories to share her hope with the world. Every morning, I visit with her. She doesn’t know my full story either but for one reason or another our heart-strings are attached. We found each other because it was meant to be, that I know for sure.

I love the nickname Hope has given me. As you know, my name is Dolores. Little does Hope know, but I’m sure she suspects that I have known many other words starting with D which have deeply affected me over the years. I know the meaning of discouragement and  disappointment like so many of us do but I also have experienced despair and deep depression. Almost thirty years ago, I could hardly convince myself to get out of bed.  If it weren’t for my young children and the need to get them off to school, I’m not so sure I would have bothered.  During those dark times in my life I felt very little hope, if any at all. 

I have formed another very unique and precious friendship with Nikki.  Nikki and I also communicate on a daily basis.  We know a lot more about each other because we have read each other’s books and we’ve had the opportunity apart from the blogging world to share more personal information.  Nikki makes my day in much the same way as Hope. She is open and honest.  She’s had a tough life but she found peace with it by finding her faith.  She is a survivor of rape and abuse, both physical and emotional. She has also created a blog called Gentle Recovery to help in her healing process.  She has touched my life in such a way that it brings tears to my eyes as I think of her story.

I feel so fortunate to have found such wonderful friends.   By reaching out, these two women have honored me in such an indescribable way.  We have shared our stories of hope. We have inspired each other on our personal healing  journeys. We have learned to trust again and to look on the bright side of things. I personally have found another D word which my daughter uses on her blog to describe her relationship with God.  I have found the Divine.  The One who is all loving and all merciful.  The One that loves me no matter what. You know what else?  I have discovered several other words beginning with D to describe where I am in my journey today.  I have encountered a Deity that surrounds me with daylight instead of darkness, delight instead of dread and despair, and dauntless faith instead of deep depression based on irrational fears.   Hope…you have no idea how appropriate your nickname “Miss D” has become, however I much prefer these present day, more delectable D words in my life.   

Thank you Nikki and Hope for allowing me to be part of your journey and for your inspiration on mine. Thanks to all my readers who have added to my life in their own precious way by following my blog, making comments or reading my books. You have helped make my life far more desirable and delightful!  Blue Skies today and always…

Author Interview — January 6, 2011 by Jenny Burr

Posted in A WOMAN'S VOICE by doloresayotte on January 6, 2011
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Jenny is a member of The Word Guild. This interview is a result of her request to fellow Word Guild members to do author interviews. I am honored to have had this opportunity!

I’m Not Perfect and It’s Okay:  ( A Baker’s Dozen ) Thirteen Steps to a Happier Self

By Dolores Ayotte

Dolores Ayotte has a B.A. in Psychology and a Teacher’s Certificate.  She is a retired Canadian who spends six months of each year in Canada and six months in the States.

On the back cover of her book, I’m Not Perfect and It’s Okay she states the following.

“My recipe for life consists of a little bit of this and a little bit of that borne from my life experiences.  Usually, when I use all of the ingredients and steps…I end up with a pretty good product.  Sometimes…I can still fail.  It is this failure to succeed all of the time that helps remind me of my humanity and the fact that I am not perfect.”

Dolores, I love this quote.  Would you like to expand on it a bit more? 

Sure Jenny.  I have found that one of the most difficult things in life, for me and probably for many other people too, is to embrace our own weaknesses and shortcomings. Our basic human nature is created with faults, foibles and frailties.  It is not to say that we don’t have many wonderful and desirable traits, but we seldom want to admit to some of the less complimentary ones, not even to ourselves.  I have found that when I honestly acknowledge and embrace my own weaknesses, they actually have less power over me and my actions.  It’s when I refuse to admit my personal weaknesses that I actually fail at being the true Christian I desire to be.  In essence, the more aware I am of my flaws, the more able I am to control what I say and do. 

In your book you provide the reader with thirteen ways to become happier.  When you decided to share your suggestions in book format, had you already put most of these steps in place in your life?

Over twenty-five years ago I attempted to write this book.  I had neither the experience nor the expertise to realistically offer any steps to a happier self.  My book is written in retrospect based on a proven recipe.  I have incorporated each and every step into my life on a daily basis over the last several years.  Over time, I eventually figured out the steps I suggest for better life coping skills and then decided to put pen to paper and write my book.  

Were some of the steps easier to put in place than others? 

Yes, some steps were much easier than others.  The first step, which I believe is the most important one, is to learn to love your self. This question actually coincides with your first question.  I found it very difficult to love myself during my bouts with depression.  I felt like a total failure and could hardly look at my self in the mirror.    

You wrote about laughter in one of your chapters.  How has laughter helped you when you have been in some difficult circumstances? 

Laughter really is the best medicine.  When I was seriously ill, I completely lost my sense of humour.  This was very frightening to me because I could no longer hide the depression I was experiencing so I stopped having the desire to be around people.  If I couldn’t hide my depression, I chose to hide myself by just staying home. I had to work very hard and with the support of a wonderful husband, we made every effort to find silly, little things to laugh about, even if it was only at ourselves.  We chose to find pleasure in the simplest and smallest of ways which was not always easy, but we got better at it over time as we rebuilt our relationship incorporating as much humour as possible into our daily lives. 

In chapter one, on pages 25-26 you wrote these words.

“Over time, I have decided to simplify my life and to look at as many things as possible from this very same point of view.  I find that life can become so complex that we can forget the things in life that were meant to bring us the most pleasure.  If one goes back to the teachings of Jesus, the message he was teaching is and always has been very basic and very clear.” 

I think that most of know what it is like to lead busy and hectic lives.  Moms and dads are driving their children to lessons, to sports, and to friend’s houses.  Adults seem to book up their evenings and weekends with co-workers, friends, or activities, etc. How does one go about applying this enjoyment of simplicity in our lives today?  

I frequently have this type of question presented to me by my own daughters. One of my daughters and I have been working on a project of our own. She has compiled several pertinent questions and wants answers to what are considered to be present day problems that arise in active families.  It’s based on a conversation in a “question and answer” format that takes place between a mother and daughter. After I answer the question to the best of my ability, she further responds to be sure that we are both clear in what we are trying to say. I throw in a few questions of my own as we volley back and forth.  I would love to see this project become a book one day!

One of the suggestions I usually recommend to them is to choose to look at life in layers.  Some layers are more necessary than others and must get done.  Most lives can be divided into two categories, that of “need to do” and “want to do”.  The goal is to find the right balance whereby nobody’s needs are being sacrificed. Each family member must always have their basic needs met first. It would be up to the individual to clarify what those needs might be as they can be different for each individual.  If this is not accomplished, there can be no happy balance.

With the hectic lives that you refer to in your question, I fully realize how hard this can be. However, if one person’s “needs” are not being met in order to satisfy another person’s “wants”, it will be difficult to achieve a healthy family unit.  The best suggestion I have is to eliminate items on the “want to do” list.   Active families also must discuss the situation and better work together to ensure that each family member’s needs are being met. This is when we must work at our communication skills to ensure our message is getting across.

In your book, you are very honest about suffering from depression.  Would you like to tell our readers more about this? 

It took me years to be honest and open about suffering from depression.  Depression doesn’t always fall into the same category or receive the same compassion that physical illnesses do.  Based on my experience, I have found that many people are still very reluctant to openly discuss that they suffer from depression because it is considered to be a form of mental illness.  I decided that it was time to “come clean” in order to help educate others in an effort to, not only help those who suffer from depression, but to better educate and inform people who are exposed to those who do. 

How has your relationship with God helped you to accept yourself? 

Without my faith and my relationship with God, I don’t know that I could have ever survived and made my way in life to this extent.  It was in the depth of my depression and despair, at my weakest moment when I felt like the biggest failure, that I found the unconditional and merciful love of the God I always knew existed.  By embracing my weakness, I actually found God’s strength and worked my way out of the pit I found myself to be in.

How has your faith grown? 

My faith has not only grown in my relationship with God, but in my self as well.  God lives in each and every one of us. I knew I had to look within in order to accomplish the feat of fulfilling my desire to have a closer and more personal relationship with God.

Is there anything more that you would like to share with our readers about yourself and about your book? 

When I completed my first book, I knew that I had more to say.  I have a second book, Growing Up & Liking It  now published as a follow-up to, I’m Not Perfect And It’s Okay.  My  books are what I consider to be a “heart” books.  They are written from my heart to any and all hearts that are open to their message.  

Thank-you Jenny for this interview and your well thought out questions.  To learn more please visit: http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-60604-781-1

Blog Hopping Day — January 30, 2010 by Dolores Ayotte

Posted in BLOG HOPPING by doloresayotte on December 30, 2010
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HOPE….are you in need of hope today?

Many times in life we are moved by another person’s words.  This morning I received an e-mail from a friend of mine who is suffering.  Just before Christmas, her mother’s health took a turn for the worse and she doesn’t have long to live. My heart goes out to her during this very difficult time.  Shortly after I read her e-mail, I visited one of the blogs I read daily.  The author of this blog has become a dear friend. The message in it is loud and clear about searching for Hope in our everyday lives.  I really needed to hear this wonderful message today. It comes in the form of a beautiful poem and I am honored to share it with you.   Eyes On Hope  gives life a new meaning.

Blog Hopping Day — December 21, 2010 by Dolores Ayotte

Posted in BLOG HOPPING by doloresayotte on December 21, 2010
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HOPEis this not the time of the year when we want to be right with our family, with our friends, and with the world? Each and every day, I read Hope Rising and each and every day I am inspired by the words that I read. By visiting  this blog, I start off my day on a positive note with renewed Hope in all that I believe in and in all that I Hope to be. 

If you are searching for Hope in these last few days before Christmas, I encourage you to take a few moments  to visit with Hope and be inspired by her words.  Over the last several months, she has become a  very dear friend of mine as we journey together in this world we call home. HOPE RISING may be just the perfect gift to give yourself this wonderful winter morning!  Please click on either of the above green or red words to open your incredible gift.  

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