A Woman's Voice

Book Reviews ~ Up The “Down” Ladder

I’ve read two other books by this author, “I’m Not Perfect and It’s Okay”, and, “Growing Up and Liking It”. They didn’t disappoint and neither did this one. If you’re depressed, come on in. Sit a spell. Talk with an author who has been there and knows what she’s talking about. She backs up what she has to say with quotes. Her humor is anything but depressing. Her books aren’t your usual jargon. You might even want to jot down a few notes as you read. One thing is for sure, you won’t leave the books feeling the same before you started reading. She’s practical, down-to-earth, fun, and funny.

If you haven’t read one of her books yet, I suggest selecting which one you want to start with and take that first step up the rung of the ladder. They’re a wonderful stress-free read to empower you to fight your own battle with depression and win. Check out her author page, her books, and her reviews. You’ll be glad you did. The author says she was at the bottom of the ladder herself when she decided to take a first step up the ladder, which is how she came up with the title for this book. Each chapter begins with a special quote. This isn’t just another self-help book, it’s one in which the author uses her own life experiences and writes in a conversational tone to help others who may be experiencing the same stress that taught her to take that first step up the ladder and keep climbing.

By Author B.J. Robinson

Book Reviews ~ Choose Yourself & Love You More

Choose Yourself & Love You More by Author Lucie Jones

If there is a genre of book that I can identify with…it is an inspirational one! The Introduction to “Choose Yourself & Love You More” is excellent as it quickly addresses the real issue and the difficulties we encounter in learning to love ourselves. It also stresses the need for internal positive self-talk. For many people, it is not so simple to look in the mirror and love what they see and who they are. As stated by Author Lucie Jones, it is very true that “learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all”. I’ll even go one step further…if you don’t love yourself you will never learn to truly love others. Charity really does begin at home. Therefore, I totally agree with her suggestion to have a better look at ourselves and learn to truly value who we are…

From the very first page right to the last, I can clearly see what this talented author’s goals are and why she decided to pen this little gem of a self-help booklet. To love ourselves is not a crime…it is a necessity in order to positively change our self-image and move forward. Yes…we all have flaws as mentioned, however, they should not decrease our self-worth and affect how we live our lives. As this motivational author stresses, the benefits of self-love will enhance our opportunities to have better relationships. If we stop beating ourselves up…we will attract people who add to our positive dynamic which will result in healthier relationships. Who could ask for anything more? Great suggestions are given to help us follow a new direction and turn our lives around. It is an excellent place to start!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ I’m Not Perfect And It’s Okay

“I’m Not Perfect and It’s Okay” by Dolores Ayotte feels like an intimate conversation with a wise friend over a cup of tea. Her informal style, her kind sense of humor, her practical advice, and a light-hearted attitude to life (despite or, perhaps, because of her own struggles with depression earlier in life) make this book especially appealing.

Unlike many self-help books who promise instant solutions to our complicated problems but never deliver, this book is very realistic. Right in the first chapter, Dolores Ayotte quotes Tolstoy (one of my favorite writers!) and tells the readers that “it is easier to produce ten volumes on philosophical writing than to put one principle in practice.” That point alone made this book and all the advice in it so much more credible to me. There are no easy solutions and, as Dolores writes, “it takes a lifetime to master the art of living wisely, and it must be learned one step at a time.”

What follows in the thirteen chapters, the baker’s dozen, are just that: specific steps we can all take to improve our lives. Some of my favorite suggestions are these ones:

1. “Learn to love yourself as you are.” – The reason this advice is especially appealing to me because I work with a lot of college-age and adult students who seem to never have learned that principle, and who tend to be overly critical of themselves. While I am not an advocate of praise for the sake of praise (and neither is Dolores Ayotte, not at all!), accepting ourselves for who we are is the only way to move forward in life and to succeed.

2. “Take time to listen to the simple genius and the gentle philosopher that lives within you.” – In this chapter, like in many others, Dolores uses personal stories to illustrate her advice. I believe that stories are one of the best ways for us to learn from someone else’s experience because they allow us to vicariously experience life events. The story that spoke to me in this chapter is that about a teacher who decided to use the theme of simplicity for a school celebration and forego all decorations, choosing instead to focus on human connections and the celebration of the moment. What a wise idea. I’ve seen too many of my friends ruin their wedding day, family Christmas celebrations, or other important events because their napkins did not match the flowers or the color of the walls did not go with the wrapping paper. If only they had followed this simplicity principle and focused on the meaning of the occasion, they would have been much more content and much happier, enjoying the moment, instead of worrying about irrelevant details.

As I write this review, I’m realizing that I enjoyed all the advice so much that I may end up listing all the points here as my favorite, and that would spoil the experience for other readers. So, instead, I will comment on something else. This book is written from a strong Christian perspective but it is written from the heart and it is not intended only for the readers of the same faith. It is not judgmental and not dogmatic. No matter what your faith is, you will enjoy this book and benefit from it. I know I did. On a more personal note to Dolores: that turkey stuffing experience was hilarious and eerily familiar, but I’m not going to explain why right here to avoid embarrassing a certain member of my own family. Thank you for this wonderful book!

By Author Julia Gousseva

Book Reviews ~ Up The “Down” Ladder

Dolores Ayotte’s nonfiction book “Up The “Down” Ladder – Simple Ideas to Overcome Depression is a Breakthrough Masterpiece! As a Chemical Dependency – Lifestyle Disorder Councilor who interned at Woodview Calabasas Psychiatric Hospital’s dually diagnosed Chemical Dependency Unit, I can attest that usually in every generation there is new information that points to new theories. However, having worked in the system and then as a lay councilor for Freemont Community Church, discovered that the most valuable information is dispensed by those caring individuals who having overcome reach out a hand, say a word, show the way while sharing their personal experiences. Where once people did this as a natural and right thing to do more and more today’s mind set of `suck it up’ and `look good at all times not matter what it costs’ has created an environment where the norm is to look good no matter what!

Into this dismal abyss steps a women who sees herself as an ordinary person, who has had some experiences others might learn from. Dolores Ayotte does not tell us how to avoid life issues, she celebrates them! In reading her take we see that choices shape our world. This is clearly illustrated by the bank that wanted people to progress. Management meet with each employee to map out a year by year strategy so each employee could become self-actualizing. And a curious thing happened! Many who claimed to want to advance left. Why? Because for some…or in some situations it’s easier to `want’ than `do.’

Up The “Down” Ladder is a small book loaded with life changes examples gleaned from the author’s experiences, and I for one, found them affirming, and if implemented when ready, you might perhaps view them to be as, or even more, valuable than seeing a therapist who might prescribe medication so you don’t have to do the work, tell you that what you’re going through is Normal, or suggest that it’s someone else’s fault. All of these options have been tried and not worked. If they had we would be feeling better not worse.

No! What is needed is a Truthsayer who has nothing to prove or gain from telling it like `it’ is…if that’s what you’re looking for this book is a must read. But before you begin, I must suggest that you read a little and be kind to yourself as if you were your own best friend. For this is not a book to be rushed through because change that last’s takes time. It took you a while to get where you are… a while to realize that it’s not where you want to be. Now gift yourself the time to become the you, you wish to be.

Just as some of those who groused because they wanted to advance discovered, when the opportunity was available, that they didn’t really want to, your voyage of discovery may take you to places you never imagined and show you things about yourself you never knew. Yet, I can promise you this after reading this amazing book, you will always be in charge, you will be respected and affirmed. And in the end you will be able to say with happy conviction, “You get to be you, and I get to be me!” Although this simple statement might sound ludicrous, true health is achieved when one knows and likes themself, and supports others as they strive to become who they want to be for it is in moving from wanting to becoming that we arrive!

by Author Paula Rose Michelson

The Human and Humane Self-Help Author ~ Dolores Ayotte



“The battle of life is, in most cases, fought uphill; and to win without a struggle were perhaps to win it without honour.  If there were no difficulties there would be no success; if there were nothing to struggle for, there would be nothing to be achieved.”  (Samuel Smiles)


My books are written in a gentle, conversational style, meant to reach my readers in a kind and non-judgmental way.

Both books, are self-help books about the steps I used to help me overcome two serious bouts with depression that I experienced in my earlier years. They are written in recipe format giving thirteen simple steps in each book that are easy to incorporate into daily living. In order to get out of the pit I found myself to be in, I had to do much soul-searching and reflection to get to the source of my depression.

My books are what I consider to be heart books.  They are written from my heart to any and all hearts that are open to my message. They are also written with the intention of reaching out to help people by sharing some of my personal experiences. Others may be able to identify with some of my stories and anecdotes.

Hopefully, my suggestions will enhance the lives of my readers in much the same way they have enhanced mine.

Through my faith,  eventual self-acceptance, and with the support of my husband, I was not only able to rise above my despair, I learned how to lead a full and rewarding life with my husband, children and now several grandchildren

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 of my humanity and the fact that I am not perfect and it’s okay.

To order “I’m Not Perfect And It’s Okay”, please click on one of the following:

Amazon USA


Barnes and Noble

To order “Growing Up & Liking It”, please click on one of the following:

Amazon USA:


Barnes & Noble:

MEMORY LANE ~ The Persistence Of The Spirit ~ October 17, 2011 by Andrea Cockerill

A Wo-Man’s Voice   

If you have ever been around children, you know how persistent they can be when they want your attention. All of my children let me know in their own way if they feel like they are not getting their fair share. Today it was my oldest daughter who told me loud and clear that her well for my attention was running low.

After filling my daughter’s well, I started thinking about how persistent our spirit can be when we are ignoring its guidance and passions. I have on many occasions put my spirit last on the list, but I am comforted with the fact that my spirit is going nowhere. No matter how long I ignore it, it is like a patient and trusted friend, waiting for my next phone call.

Our relationship with our spirit is like any other relationship that we honor in our lives. It needs our time in order for an intimate bond to be built. It is the difference between talking to one friend every few months and talking to another friend every few days. You may cherish both friends but it is the friend whom you talk to more often that is going to know the more intimate details of your daily life. This same principle applies to our spirit. If we form an intimate relationship with our spirit, we will be better able to understand and intuitively follow its subtle guidance system.

Your spirit promises you that it will never reject you. It is persistent but patient, and its sole goal is to lead you to the Divine. Forming a relationship with your spirit needs to be a conscious decision on a daily basis, but the rewards span a life time.

Namaste (I see the Divine in you which is also in me.)

Thank you Andrea! 



Continuous effort is the key to unlocking our potential”  (Black Elk, Native American)


BOOK REVIEW ~ Attitude-inize ~ August 9, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

TITLE ~ Attitude-inize

AUTHOR ~ Jan Coates

PUBLISHER ~ Beacon Hill Press

Jan Coates is an author after my own heart. She writes with a mighty pen as she uses her real life experiences to help others. Her desire is to encourage people to have a better look at their attitudes in order to see how they can improve their outlook on life. Jan admits that she isn’t trying to change a person, she is only trying to influence others to lead a more positive life from the inside out. As soon as I started to read Jan’s book, I saw myself. Although, her style of writing is somewhat different from mine, there are enough similarities to understand why we connected. Our messages are the same because we have been inspired by the same source, Our Creator.

She referred to it as a “God thing” and I totally agree with her. Our paths have obviously crossed for a reason. I think the reason is because we are “daughters of the King” and therefore, we are sisters in Christ. We share a spiritual bond as part of the kingdom of God here on earth. In her book, Attititude-inize, Jan writes from the bottom of her heart and from her innermost soul. She is honest, open, and vulnerable as she shares her personal stories with her readers in order to reach them from deep within and draw them out in order to join God’s precious family. She does a darn good job, that’s all I can say. Her words sure hit home with me. Thanks Jan for being my dear friend in Christ!

If you would like to learn more about Jan, please visit her blog:


To order a copy of her book, please click here: Attitude-inize

GROWING UP AND LIKING IT ~ Four Rooms (Part 6 – conclusion) ~ August 6, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

….Conclusion ~ part 6

The last room that is necessary to visit on a regular basis is the physical room. This is the room that concentrates on the health and well-being of our bodies. I notice as the years have gone by that more and more people are concerned about this area. The concern is not only about exercise or the lack of it but also about the food we eat. We hear expressions like “You are what you eat.” There is a major concern about the quantity of food that we eat as well as the quality of it. People can find themselves leading sedentary lives. Watching television, playing computer games, and other idle activities are adding to our sometimes poor eating habits. If we work long hours or have too much responsibility apart from work, we have little or no time to address this concern. If we are not in good health or do not have the time or the opportunity to enjoy some physical activity, we pay the price in other areas as well. That’s the conundrum! It’s finding or making the time to create a well-balanced person by addressing the needs of the whole person. “To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.”[i]

All four of these needs, whether spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical, are equally important and must be met in order to live a more centered and satisfactory life. If a person robs himself/herself in one area, it will have a negative impact in another one. By finding and achieving a healthy sense of balance in all the areas of our lives, a healthier sense of self will unfold. According to Thomas Carlyle, “He, who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.”[ii] It will then have the domino effect in our personal relationships, our family life, and our overall outlook on life. Energy begets energy whether it’s positive or negative energy. People with positive attitudes attract people with this same kind of energy. “A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles.”[iii] The old saying “misery likes company” is the reverse of the above belief system. It actually can be true in a lot of instances.

Those people who are unbalanced in their life style choices emanate a lot of negative energy. They end up attracting like-minded individuals. The end result consists of existing in a negative life cycle the majority of the time. A lot of people are reluctant to admit that they actually can do something about it to turn their lives around. This is another area where we need to be very truthful and honest with ourselves. We need to evaluate and reassess our whole lifestyle many times over. We must continue to do so on a regular basis in order to develop the balance in our lives that we all not only crave but need. It may take time and several attempts to achieve this healthy balance but “our greatest glory is not failing, but in rising ever time we fall.”[iv] You may not succeed on your first attempt at entering all four rooms of your body on a daily basis, but keep trying. I promise that you will get better at it because “a will finds a way.”[v]

     Step 10 Try your best to meet all the needs of your whole being, the spiritual, the mental, the emotional, and the physical. Once these needs are being met, a more positive, well-balanced life will follow. You will end up in the positive cycle of life. In the less positive cycles of life, you will have the skills to better deal with the situation. One of the first things to do is to set a few moments aside to ask yourself this question. Do you have a clear idea of what you want your lifestyle to look like? Sit down and write it out. Keep yourself accountable. Maybe even recruit a friend to do it with you!

I would like to thank each and every one of you for spending this precious time with me. I hope you have enjoyed reading “Four Rooms” as much as I did in writing it. I sincerely hope it has touched your lives in some small way. This is just a gentle reminder, I recommend that you now go back and read the chapter in its entirety in order to get the true essence and inspirational flow of my message.  If you are interested in reading more of Growing Up & Liking It ~ More Steps to a Happier Self, I have provided the links below for you to purchase a copy at your convenience. Bright blessings to you all!

Amazon USA:


Tate Publishing And Enterprises

Barnes & Noble:

Great quotes and quips :)  Blessings for success. Win this beautiful paperback by leaving a comment at my blog. The winner will be announced Monday! You have only today and tomorrow, so go for it!! http://barbarajrobinson.blogspot.com


[i] “Robert Louis Stevenson quotes,” BrainyQuote,

[ii] “Thomas Carlyle quotes,”
BrainyQuote, http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/t/thomascarl118220.html.

[iii] “Washington Irving
quotes,” GIGA Quotes,

[iv] “Ralph Waldo Emerson
quotes,” Quotes and Poem.com,

[v] “Orison Swett Marden
quotes,” BrainyQuote, http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/o/orison_swett_marden.html.

GROWING UP AND LIKING IT ~ Four Rooms (Part 5 – continued) ~ August 5, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

…continued from yesterday ~ part 5

The third room that I want to visit is the emotional room. I love and enjoy this room as well. It consists of the room where I laugh and where I cry, if necessary. Sometimes there is plenty to laugh about, and at other times there may be a sad event going on in my life that brings tears to my eyes. I deal with it here. This is an opportunity for me to also deal with all my other emotions. This is where I can admit that someone has made me angry or has upset me. I can also look at myself and admit that perhaps I have offended someone else, and I may need to say I’m sorry. In this room, I have discovered that there is a whole spectrum of emotions, which range from the very positive to the very negative. It is here that I acknowledge the full capacity of these emotions, and I take the time to decide which ones I will use to handle any situation that I may be facing.

Each of these rooms offers the opportunity to make different choices. In this room, I can take the advice of the Cherokee grandfather and decide which wolf I am going to feed. Remember that “you will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.”[i] I can choose between love/hate, laughter/tears, faith/fear, and every other possible emotional combination in all situations. It’s okay to cry in this room if something sad is going on in my life. It is okay to know fear in this room and look for ways to overcome it.

According to Eleanor Roosevelt, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face…The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it…You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”[ii] It’s okay to admit anger in this room and figure out a positive way to deal with it. It’s okay to admit that someone has offended me and how it made me feel, but I must learn how to love and not hate the person who made me feel this negative way. “We can not despair of humanity since we ourselves are human beings.”[iii]

In this room, we not only have the right to face and deal with all our emotions, we also have the obligation. We must not only do it for ourselves but for the benefit of those around us. The less we deal with the things that negatively affect our lives the more power they have over us to negatively affect others. “The truth that many people never understand until it is too late is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt.”[iv] We are all far better off to take the bull by the horns and face what needs to be done rather than let our past have the opportunity to affect our present and future happiness. “The future is that period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true, and our happiness is assured.”[v]

It really is okay to face up to a few things in this room. It’s a well-known adage that the truth shall set you free. In this room, it is very necessary to be totally honest with yourself. It’s okay if you don’t always like what you see because then it gives you the opportunity and the real challenge to do something about it. It has been said that “The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them.”[vi] Yes, it can be frightening but “it takes courage to know when you ought to be afraid.”[vii] No matter how scared we are to deal with something that is going on in our past or present life, facing it takes courage, and it should be seen as such. “Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.”[viii]

to be continued…conclusion tomorrow!

[i] “James Allen quotes,” BrainyQuote,

[ii] “Eleanor Roosevelt
quotes,” Wynn Davis, The Best of Success (Lombard, Illinois: Successories
Publishing, 1992), P.129.

[iii] “Albert Einstein quotes,” QuotationsBook,

[iv] “Thomas Merton quotes,”
Thinkexist.com, http://thinkexist.com/quotes/thomas_merton/.

[v] “Ambrose Bierce quotes, BrainyQuote,

[vi] “Bernard M. Baruch quotes,” Famous
Inspirational Quotes,

[vii] “James A. Michener quotes,” BrainyQuote,

[viii] “H. Stanley Judd quotes,” BrainyQuote,

GROWING UP AND LIKING IT ~ Four Rooms (Part – 4 continued) ~ August 4, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

….continued from yesterday ~ part 4

The second room that I enjoy visiting on a daily basis is the room where I exercise my intellect. It is the room that I have used to better educate myself as well as challenge and develop my own intelligence. In this room, I can no longer claim ignorance is bliss. I have chosen to educate myself in such a way that I feel confident asking questions that at one time I wouldn’t have dreamed possible. Finding the courage to do so has increased my faith, not only in a loving God but in myself. Stretching ourselves mentally can come in all forms. Although I enjoy reading and playing bridge, one of the forms I especially enjoy is in puzzle form.

Over the years, I have taken great pleasure in developing my puzzle solving skills. The more I solve these puzzles the better I get at it. The better I get at it, the better I feel about myself and my own self-image. My favorite puzzles to solve are crosswords and cryptoquotes. I also now enjoy Sudoku puzzles as well. Although they all bring me pleasure, the puzzle that has enhanced my life the most is the crypto quote. This quote is encoded by mixing up all the letters of the alphabet to reflect a different letter in the quote. By figuring out which letter stands for which, you can eventually decode the quote of the puzzle. I feel that I have been doubly blessed by having both the desire and the ability to do these puzzles.

First of all, it makes me feel somewhat intelligent to be able to do them as many people I’ve discussed this with say there’s no way that they can. Secondly, and even more importantly, is the fact that most of the quotes I have saved and savored over the years are from these puzzles. Some of the wise sayings from several of the greatest thinkers that have ever lived or still live today have been found in these puzzles. I have had the double benefit of not only solving the puzzles, but I’ve personally gained from their sagacity. “Study without reflection is a waste of time; reflection without study is dangerous.”[i]

There are many ways to educate ourselves and some are a lot of fun, albeit challenging. Once again, I must stress that although I enter this room on a daily basis, I wouldn’t want to stay in it all day. I may enjoy reading, puzzle solving, or educating myself, but I have other rooms to visit. I realize that “until input (thought) is linked to a goal (purpose) there is no intelligent accomplishment.”[ii] I must use what I learn in this room to better enhance my life and the lives of those around me. This has always been my main goal, and I am still making every effort to accomplish it.

to be continued….

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