A Woman's Voice

GROWING UP AND LIKING IT ~ Four Rooms (Part 2 – continued) ~ August 2, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

…continued from yesterday ~ part 2

In the last chapter, I wrote about the Cherokee grandfather who was explaining life to his young grandson. In Canada, we have come to call the people who were here first as First Nation people. They have asked to be referred to in this way. When we were young we always referred to them as the Indian people. Over the years, this has become a derogatory term to describe our oldest ancestors. I notice as we travel through the United States, especially through the southern states, that the First Nation people refer to themselves as Indians. We have visited many Indian Craft sales along the way and have enjoyed many facets of their culture. The signs are made by the Indian people themselves and displayed as Indian Arts and Crafts. I have a love for the Indian people as I do for all people no matter what they choose to call themselves.

The reason I have gone into this preamble is because I want to share a little story with you about an Indian philosophy that I read about many years ago. I don’t want to say that it is a Cherokee, Cree, Erie, Apache, or any other particular tribe/Indian philosophy because I don’t know which one told the story. I also don’t want to offend my Canadian First Nation people by calling it an Indian story, nor do I want to take from the American Indian who has not asked to be called otherwise. Its origin may very well be from the American Indian. “A man’s feet should be planted in his own country, but his eyes should survey the world.”[i] I would like to share this story with all those who can identify with it and appreciate that it was told by an older person in order to spread the wealth of his/her wisdom.

It has been a long time since I have read this story, and it is not one that I have kept in my night table drawer. If I don’t explain it perfectly, it is not for lack of trying. The Indian or elder in this story was describing that each of our bodies has four rooms in it. The elder goes on to say that these four rooms are spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical. The spiritual room, of course, consists of our faith and our relationship with our Creator or God. The mental room is comprised of our education, our knowledge, and our desire to learn. It deals with our intelligence. The emotional room consists of the happy times, the sad ones, what brings us the greatest pleasure, what makes us angry, and any or all emotions that we could possibly feel. Not all emotions are positive; nevertheless our human nature is comprised of the full spectrum.

Last, but not least, is the physical room where we concern ourselves with our actual body and the condition that it is in. According to this wise older Indian, in order for each of us to have a healthy, well-balanced life, we must enter into each of these rooms on a daily basis. If we don’t do this, our lives will not be as peaceful and as harmonious as they can be.

Each area of our lives must be satisfied in order to find true happiness. “Remember when life’s path is steep to keep your mind even.”[ii] It’s not to say that we won’t have hardships to face, it only means that if we are a more balanced person we will have better skills to cope with what may come our way. It has come to my attention that one of the most difficult things for us as human beings is to find that balance. As previously stated, with the stressful and busy lives that a lot of us lead, it may be hard to really find the time to follow the sage advice that is being offered. Although, I must admit, that by not at least trying to follow some of it to a small extent, it will be hard to truly enjoy life to the fullest. “There is no achievement without goals.”[iii]

to be continued….

[i] “George Santayana quotes,”
The Quotations Page, http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/George_Santayana.

[ii] “Horace quotes,” The
Quotations Page, http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/2954.html.

[iii] “Rober J. Mckain
quotes,” Thinkexist.com. http://thinkexist.com/quotes/robert_j_mckain/.


GROWING UP AND LIKING IT ~ Four Rooms (Part 1) ~ August 1, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

As I mentioned last week, I am now posting a chapter from Growing Up & Liking It ~ More Steps To A Happier Self. My husband mentioned that I should share this chapter with you.  Obviously, it must be his favorite one so I hope you enjoy it too….

As I head toward the last four chapters, I find that once again I have more topics to cover than I first expected. I didn’t have room for this subject in I’m Not Perfect And It’s Okay, so now I have to choose carefully to ensure that I cover the most pertinent ones in this book. If only in my opinion, I am trying to prepare the best possible condensed notes in order to help all those who are willing to read them. The reason for doing this is because I have found that “in seeking happiness for others, you find it for yourself.”[i] Once again, I must stress that these pointers may not apply to everyone; however, I believe the bulk of them are universal. I suggest that you pick and choose those that apply to you and adjust them to suit your own needs. I’m quite satisfied that most of us are exposed to at least one or more of the topics I have chosen to cover. Albeit, it is always a wise idea to customize any or all suggestions to better fit the individual. In fact, there probably is at least one lifestyle recommendation in either of my books for everyone. The key is to zero in on what suits you or to focus on what applies to you in your own life.

Obviously, the skills I have attained are a result of learning to better cope and manage my own life. They are here for the asking. Not all people are asking; therefore, we must always respect each others choices. “As human beings, we are endowed with freedom of choice, and we cannot shuffle off our responsibilities upon the shoulders of God or nature. We must shoulder it ourselves. It is up to us.”[ii] In due course, if people are struggling with their lives, they eventually do reach out. My goal is to reach back at that time. “In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.”[iii]  Once a full circle has been completed, I know that I can comfortably move on and the healed person can now offer the same kind of guidance they received from me. In doing so, a chain of positive behaviors and events will link us all together in a creative and constructive
way. True healing begins with ourselves.

to be continued…

[i] “Author Unknown,” The
Positivity Blog, http://www.positivityblog.com/indexphp/2007/04/30/20-inpirational

[ii] “Arnold Toynbee quotes,”
Thinkexist.com. http://thinkexist.com/quotes/arnold_toynbee/.

[iii] “Flora Edwards quotes,”
Thinkexist.com. http://thinkexist.com/quotes/flora_edwards/.

I’M NOT PERFECT AND IT’S OKAY ~ Thirteen Steps To A Happier Self ~ Chapter 5 ~ July 29, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

CHAPTER FIVE ~ He Who Laughs, Lasts!

Over the last several years, my husband and I have had a neat arrangement. He usually is not a man of many words. I am a morning person, and he is not. When we walk in the morning, he says very little. On many occasions he has told me to just keep talking and says that he will let me know when he doesn’t agree with me. So he must be agreeing with me in most instances because he usually just keeps moving along in silence. According to Wilma Askinas, “Sometimes you have to be silent in order to be heard.”[i] Publius Syrus recommends, however, to “let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage.”[ii] Either way you look at it, I must admit that I already know what he does or doesn’t agree with. If I want to get him to talk, I just press one of his buttons, but most of the time I hear his silence and know exactly what it means…

[i] “Wilma Askinas quotes,”
Thinkexist.com, http://thinkexist.com/quotes/wima_askinas/.

[ii] “Publius Syrus quotes,”
QuotationsBook, http://quotationbook.com/quotes/36269/.

Once again my dear readers, I thank you for taking some time out of your busy lives to spend some of it with me. Take gentle care and may God grant you His choicest blessings!

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Tate Publishing & Enterprises

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I’M NOT PERFECT AND IT’S OKAY ~ Thirteen Steps To A Happier Self ~ Chapter 4 ~ July 28, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

CHAPTER FOUR ~ More F Words!

My goodness, where in the world could I be going now? F words! Admit it, you thought of the unmentionable word. No need to worry about that. First, we learned about deciding whether to be our own friend or foe. Obviously, they both start with an “F.” Now the other two “F” words we are going to discuss are about forgiving and being forgiven.

Once again, I will tell a little story. This is actually a true story. I usually try to let you know which ones are real and which ones aren’t. In most cases, it doesn’t make much difference, because I tell the story to make a point. I will continue to use either format as the need arises to get any given point across. This story revolves around some information told to me by my father shortly before his death. My dad was only sixty-nine years old when he passed away, but he had suffered quite a lot from ill-health over the years. He had his first heart attack in his early forties, followed by a stroke in his fifties. Diabetes and some depression also exacerbated his condition. Needless to say, there were times when my dad didn’t have a lot of fun, especially in his mid to late sixties. He was a man who spent quite a bit of time in his rocking chair and did a lot of thinking in those last few years of his life…

I’M NOT PERFECT AND IT’S OKAY ~ Thirteen Steps To A Happier Self ~ Chapter 3 ~ July 27, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

CHAPTER THREE ~ Listen Up Some More!

Well, friend or foe…what’s it going to be?

For fear of sounding like a broken record, I will try not to sound too repetitive. It’s just that some things need to be said more than once in order to realize their full importance. I realize that I am using the word “listen” in both this chapter and the last one to stress what I want to say.  To me there is a subtle difference between hearing and actually listening. We can hear all kinds of words, music, sounds, noise, and so in our everyday lives. Our ears pick up sound waves all day long. In my opinion, listening is a totally different thing than hearing. It is more about the process of deciphering what has been heard and really listening for the message and what it may mean to you. For example, the sound of music can be very enjoyable, but choosing to listen to and interpret the lyrics can bring even greater joy. I think it is possible to hear all kinds of sounds without delving deeper to find out more. Listening is more of a desire to understand some of the sounds or voices that we hear in order to get a better appreciation for what is being said or heard…

I’M NOT PERFECT AND IT’S OKAY ~ Thirteen Steps To A Happier Self ~ Chapter 2 ~ July 26, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

CHAPTER TWO ~ A Simple Genius, a Gentle Philosopher

Well…did you take that look in the mirror?

Maybe I should have suggested that you do it figuratively rather than literally. I know how hard it is to do such a thing; however, I do believe it is very important. I call it getting to the root of the problem, and I believe it is a problem because there wouldn’t be such a need for all the self-help books if it weren’t.

I shared the first chapter I wrote with one of my daughters, and she told me what she liked best about it. She said that she liked the simplicity and the fact that it was easy to digest.Thanks to her input, I’ve decided to write this chapter next. I remember a cute story that took place many years ago when I started teaching school. Every year, our school would have an annual tea held sometime in the spring. It was a large school, and all the teachers were involved, as well as a lot of parents.The teachers either volunteered to do different tasks or the principal would often assign some. It was a lot of work. Of course, there usually was a theme to these teas, with all the decorations to go with it. It was quite a grand affair. The teacher chosen to select the theme did something I found very amusing at the time, although I must admit the principal did not find it nearly as amusing…..

I’M NOT PERFECT AND IT’S OKAY ~ Thirteen Steps to a Happier Self ~ Chapter One (continued) July 25, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

….continued from yesterday ~ conclusion

CHAPTER ONE ~ The Greatest Of These Is LOVE

I have come to the conclusion that it is from this well of understanding that we find empathy and compassion for  the world around us. Our own world is a microcosm of the whole world. If we cannot find peace in this small world where we live, there will never be world peace. How can we expect such a thing if we cannot make it work on such a small-scale?

So let’s get back to looking in the mirror. If you don’t like yourself, ask yourself why. If the reason is because  of the way that you were taught, acknowledge and embrace that fact. However, there can be many reasons for not liking ourselves. Possibly we lack education and feel inadequate. We can feel inferior for a number of reasons, including a poor self-image due to body weight, shape, or size. Sometimes we don’t feel smart enough, regardless of our education. Some of us may feel that we have been born on the wrong side of the tracks, while others may feel that their skin is the wrong color or they are lesser because of their sex. Others may not be proud of their heritage or their own personal backgrounds and family history.

If a person has nagging feelings of inferiority that affect his/her quality of life, that person is the only one that can answer the questions about what is causing their own personal situation. In most instances, the remedy or solution to the problem can be the same, because in the end, the goal is to overcome the feelings of inferiority or inadequacy by developing better life coping skills. After you have done this, though, there is plenty of work to be done. This is not about blame, but more about understanding ourselves.

Remember, the better we understand ourselves and accept ourselves for what we are, the more we will understand and accept others for who they are. One very important fact to remember is that in most instances, our parents, educators, and mentors actually taught us the very things that they were taught and in much the same way. Education is a process that evolves and slowly changes with time. The key to life and what love is all about lies in accepting this. Education comes in a variety of forms. Not all education is formal, but we are constantly on the learning curve by observing, learning, and being influenced by others.

Love really is very simple. In fact, it needs no words or language at all. It can be a special feeling, look, touch, or act of charity, humility, or generosity. God lives in each and every one of us. God is perfect love. If you strive for perfect love, you will learn to see the face of God in your spouse, your children, and your fellow human. This should be our goal as humankind. If and when we do this, a lot of our problems will be solved. However, charity really does begin at home, so once again start with the face in the mirror. I encourage everyone to go have a really good look at yourself. Look right into your own eyes and into the depth of your own soul. It’s not as easy as you think!

Learn to love yourself as you are…that’s the first step.

I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed reading the first chapter of I’M NOT PERFECT AND IT’S OKAY ~ Steps to a Happier Self

If you would like to read more, please click on one of the following links to order a copy….Thanks! If you are still undecided, over the next few days, I will post the title and first paragraph of a few more chapters.  Down the road, I will also post some excerpts from my second book, “Growing Up & Liking It” ~ More Steps To A Happier Self  

Have a most enjoyable day and whether you purchase a book or not, I thank you for spending some time with me. Bright blessings to you all!

Amazon USA


Tate Publishing & Enterprises

Barnes and Noble

I’M NOT PERFECT AND IT’S OKAY ~ Thirteen Steps to a Happier Self ~ Chapter One (continued) ~ July 22, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

…continued from yesterday

CHAPTER ONE ~ The Greatest Of These Is LOVE

If we are made in God’s image and likeness like we learned, but he is not seen as loving and kind, then how can we see ourselves that way? This may be my own personal case; however, by reflecting back to what shaped my personality, it gave me some understanding of myself and the negative thoughts and feelings I was living with. How many of us have started off in some similar way? Maybe it is not by the same religious foundation but by other child rearing practices that have had a similar result. How is it possible to have a healthy self-image when one is taught that they have little or no self-worth or that there is so much to fear? Today we can now clearly see the results of such a concept in the need for all the self-help books that are out there. In order to truly heal ourselves we all need to get back to the root of the problem and go from there.

In my early thirties, I was faced with a very serious bout of depression. It was extremely debilitating and filled me with discouragement and despair. In order to start the healing process, I had to understand how I arrived at this point and what I was going to do about it. It was very difficult to come up with any solutions from this frame of reference.

There seemed to be a genetic predisposition to my depression. I also know that the exposure to the rigid religious views taught to me at such a young age had a huge impact. It was like my past education had come back to haunt me. I remember when I was six years old, I would twist my hair with my little fingers in a childlike trance to try to bring some kind of soothing and solace to myself as I dwelled upon the concept of hell and what would happen to me if I wasn’t good. I remember the black robes that the sisters and the priests wore in those days and how frightened I was of them and all that they were saying.

At the age of six, I would picture the concept of hell and the magnitude of the words eternal suffering in my mind and try to make sense of what was being said. I listened to and absorbed these words and believed everything that I heard. I cannot underestimate the unbelievable fear that was instilled in me, whether it was meant to be or not. I would like to believe that my teachers’ motives were good and that they were just repeating the way that they had been taught.

Many children were unaffected by these teachings, but I know others who have been deeply affected, not unlike myself. It all depended on the personality of the child. I was very sensitive and shy, and I believed absolutely everything verbatim. It never entered my mind to think otherwise. I was also taught that to question anything was to demonstrate a lack of faith.

Initially, and still to this day, I find this a very difficult subject to discuss. It is much easier for me to write about it rather than to talk about it. Although I have used the word easier, it has by no means been easy. The impact it had on my life and the lives of my family still brings tears to my eyes. As I have gone back in time, I have forced myself to remember some pretty painful things. It is not so much about myself and my past depression, but it was necessary to evoke memories of people who have been so dear to me and are no longer here on earth. At times, as I do this, my eyes well up with tears that eventually run down my cheeks as I relive some of these moments. Other times I break out in a smile as I recall lighter and happier ones. I am so grateful for these happy times.

To be continued…

I’M NOT PERFECT AND IT’S OKAY ~ Thirteen Steps to a Happier Self ~ Chapter One (continued) ~ July 21, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

…continued from yesterday.

CHAPTER ONE ~ The Greatest Of These Is LOVE

The first of these views that I would like to expand upon is love. To me, it is our most basic need. The need to love and to be loved is almost interchangeable, but the hardest person to actually love is oneself.

“Love has two daughters—kindness and patience.”[i] It is very important to bear this in mind as I go through the different points that I used to help myself. Important changes take time, and this requires a lot of patience and perseverance. It also requires a big dose of kindness, not only to others but to oneself. “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”[ii] Be kind to yourself, and you will learn to be truly kind to others.

So many times throughout life I have met several people who don’t like themselves for one reason or another. I must admit that at times, I have been at the top of the list. We want to be more like someone else, we want to have more of what someone else has, or we just want to be prettier, happier, or more successful. We think other people have more confidence or more self-esteem than us. Over and over again, we compare ourselves to others and come up short.

Very few people actually want to admit this to anyone. It almost seems that if we did, no one could or would want to relate to us. After years of soul-searching, sharing, and reading, I have come to realize how much alike we really all are in this regard. In most cases, it seems to come with time, age, and maturity before we actually admit this, not only to ourselves, but to the world around us. By the world around us, I mean our own personal world and some of the more trusted people in it. It would be so much easier if we didn’t feel the need to compare ourselves to others and even easier if it didn’t matter what other people think, but it does.

So, with this thought in mind, one of the quotes that helped me in my desire to develop self-love is that “You can conquer others with power, but it takes true strength to conquer yourself.”[iii] Over twenty-five years ago, during a difficult period in my life, I literally forced myself to stand before the mirror and say “I love you.” I had to realize and reaffirm that God made me in his image and likeness and that he loved me just as I was, flaws and all. The more I accepted this fact, the more I became able to accept others for who they are rather than whom I wanted them to be. I may not always succeed at this, but it is certainly not from lack of trying. When I don’t, I remind myself that I am human and that God made me this way for a reason, and I remind myself to keep persevering. Hence, I’m not perfect and it’s okay.

At this time, I also felt compelled to get back to the ABCs of my faith. I reflected all the way back to my first encounter with God at the beginning of my formal education, as early as first grade, and how I was taught. I looked at the basic questions that were asked and answered all in one breath. Who made you…God made me. How did God make you…God made me in his image and likeness. Why did God make you…God made me to know, love, and serve the Lord.

This sounds good, yet somehow in the midst of this education, another lesson was also taught. It was the lesson about sin. First, it was the sinfulness of Adam and Eve. Then it was about our own sinfulness at such young ages, told to such impressionable young minds. But even more importantly, it was about original sin and the indelible scar left on all of our souls.

There was no mention of love in those early days. We were taught about hell and eternal damnation. We were taught about mortal sin, venial sin, and dying with a sin on our soul that would never be forgiven if we had not gone to confession. We were taught that God was a punishing and unforgiving Father, and we risked the loss of his love just like Adam and Eve. We were taught a lot of frightening things, but the one thing that sticks in my mind the most is that we were not taught about God’s wondrous love and mercy.

to be continued…

[i] “Sprichwort quotes,” Love  Sayings – Joachim Home Page,

[ii] “Lao-Tzu quotes,” Thinkexist.com,

[iii] “Lao-Tzu quotes,” Business Coach – Changing Yourself: Starting with Yourself by Vadim Kotelnikov,

DEALING WITH ANGER ~ More Thought-Provoking Responses ~ March 7 2011

Last Saturday was the one year anniversary of “A Wo-Man’s Voice”. A couple of weeks ago, I was running dry on ideas about what to write on my blog.  At that point, my goal was to make it to March 5th. I mentioned to Hope that I hadn’t been feeling very creative or inspired these days and she suggested I try doing another creative activity to get my juices flowing again.  I did that and then I came up with the idea to write an article on depression which I explained could be the result of anger turned inward.  It fits into the category of things I know more about because I have suffered from bouts of major depression. 

I was pleased that Hope left a response on dealing with the aspect of anger which further inspired me to write more on the subject. I was very pleased when Charles also left a revealing comment about his very personal story and his views about dealing with anger.  I posted it on my main blog because it was so good that I didn’t want anyone to miss it.  I am now going to post two comments (Hope’s and Peter’s) that followed what Charles’ shared on Friday, March 4th and his response to them. 

Before I do that though, I want to mention one thing. We all know what anger is and each of us has had to deal with this not so positive emotion at one time or another in our lives. Uncontrollable anger is the issue we are discussing here. It’s the kind of anger that lashes out verbally, in written form, or physically etc. This kind of anger is what I consider to be abusive. Many people suffer from this kind of anger and either refuse to recognize it or don’t care to take responsibility for the consequences of their anger and get the help that they so desperately need. These people need our prayers and our help. This is the reason I have chosen to open up this discussion forum in a new and creative way.

Hope’ s comment.

“What a great post. I really was touched by this comment ..

I have in my life time seen so many people be less than they could be because they failed to see the value of their own soul and others …

Sometimes knowing the measure of our own worth is such a struggle. At least it is for me, especially after loosing Arielle.

Charles decided not to be angry and did the hard work to get past it. I’m impressed with the age (15) when he had that awareness, I was much older when that notion was introduced to me.

I also liked choosing to be kind and using kind words even in difficult situations is much more rewarding and lets both parties involved live …

There is a song by Jewel, whose lyrics struck me so I wrote them on a piece of paper and put it in my wallet. I see it every time I reach for my cash .. the lyrics are from the song Hands and the lyric is .

‘ in the end, only kindness matters … ‘

that just struck me so, in the same way that Charles’ words have today ..

Kindness goes a long way …

One thing, I do want to mention is that anger, in a moment, sometimes is our warning system that something is wrong .. I’m not sure my goal would be to never be angry .. my goal is to not live angry … I want to make sure I hear the lessons of my anger .. learn , then ‘calm’ the anger, as you stated in your previous post .. and move on.

this has been such a great discussion here … so much to think about ..

thanks so much for posting all this, thought-provoking information ..great job!”  

Eyes On Hope

Peter’s comment: 

Charles Betts’ testimonial is true to life and is very instructional. The role of the biblical scriptures in his experience of coming to an understanding of the nature and results of anger and his overcoming it in his life, is a testimony, too, to the value of God’s Word when properly applied to one’s life.
Thank you Dolores and Charles.

Raise the Gaze

Charles’ response:

Dolores; I did indeed check back and read with interest the feedback from Hope and Peter. Their comments were welcome and appreciated. I realize that it is very difficult for them or anyone to comprehend completely from my testimonial exactly all that transpired in my life to bring me to the place where anger no longer had dominion over who I was.

Somewhere in my young conscience I was able to understand that every person I met in life was a soul in the eyes of God and just as precious as I was. Along with the angry things I wrote about, over time I began to get an understanding of the scripture that says” Death and life are in the power of the tongue and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” I believe strongly that we can give life to souls that have been injured and allow healing to flow from us to them simply by the words we speak. In the same way we can cause irreparable harm to the souls of those we speak unkindly to. Like the fruit from any good tree, or crop, we plant today and reap the harvest sometime in the future.

At some point in my early life I pledged to God and myself that I would not say anything to anyone that I would not say to Jesus if it was He that I was dealing with in any particular situation. What a difference it made in the way I handled things.

As an addendum to my earlier posting, I would like to relay an incident that happened to me just last Sunday. Approximately 30+ years ago there was a young man [16 at the time] who went to our church. A lot had happened to in his family that would cause most kids to be angry and I did not fault him for his anger. I was in my early 20′s and God had already done so much in my life with anger issues. I had a conversation with him and advised him that if he did not get a hold of the anger in his life it would destroy him. I promptly forgot the conversation. I had only seen him once in the intervening years. He and two of his sisters were in church last Sunday. I got a chance to talk with him some after service and he related to me the advice I had given him. He testified that it took him a few years, but he did get control of the anger and it made such a positive change in his life. He had never forgotten the advice, just that it had taken him a few years to follow it. He thanked me for caring enough to help him. I give God the glory.

Thanks again for this forum that allows me share good things from God. God bless you all, Charles Betts

I would like to thank all three of you for taking part in this discussion on anger. Your thoughts, wisdom,  scriptural reference, and knowledge have been so very helpful to us all. 

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