Total Pageviews

Monday, December 31, 2007

Check this out!

It's a word game (improve your vocabulary).
Supports feeding hungry people.

Be good, do good.

Aunt Laya

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Power to Create Happy Relationships!!!

I learned something interesting. It's something I've heard before in different ways and I've heard it enough times now that I understand its importance and know it's something that needs to be passed on to others. This is the balance of 5:1:

For every one negative thing that happens in a relationship (criticism, harsh look, reprimand, etc.) it takes FIVE positive actions to balance it.

What that means to us in real life is that for every unpleasant thing we experience or do in our relationship, we need FIVE kind or loving acts to balance the scale.

Do you get what that means? This is very empowering for us all!!! Now that we know this (which has been studied through observations of many relationships) we can heal and direct our relationships for the good.

Being aware of this will improve any relationship. Parents, kids, employees, students, friends.

Experiment of the day:
Talk to the people you live with and set up this experiment: Put out two little dishes for each person. Fill one dish with pennies or marbles, doesn't matter, any small object will do. For each compliment or kind act move one object into the second dish. For every criticism remove five. The goal is to (as naturally as you can) fill up the second dish and keep it full.

Keep shining.
Aunt Laya

Thank you to southernfried at for the perfect photo!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

You light up this world

Just one candle can bring a room from darkness into light.

You light up this world--just by being here!

Keep shining.

Aunt Laya

Thank you to danielito and for the photo

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Getting through hard times

Sometimes life sends you a whammy and it doesn't feel good at all! Someone says something that hurts, or looks at you in a way that stings. Sometimes people are rude, or the project you're working on isn't working out. Or maybe you worked hard on something and it seems like every obstacle that could possibly show up, does--and then some! Hard stuff.

Hang on! Take a deep breath.

This is a test, it is only a test. The purpose of the test is to help you grow. The 'Universe', God, Spirit, your Higher Power, what ever you want to call it, is sending you a lesson so that you can become stronger and grow.

It doesn't matter who you are, what you do, how much you weigh, how tall you are, male, female, or how old you are. It doesn't matter if you are experienced or not. Life will send you lessons and they will NOT be comfortable.

And guess what? That's OK! It really is. Because if you're reading this right now, I'm here to tell you, you can get through this test and you can use this experience to make you stronger. You can use any experience to your advantage and flourish in AMAZING ways. Amazing! Do you hear me? Amazing! I'm not exaggerating.

What ever tests life presents you with are there for a reason. In the end even the hardest stuff will turn out to be for the best because you'll be a better person. You can learn and grow and you are always stronger in the end, even if it doesn't feel like that's possible right now.

When you find yourself in one of the 'tests' of life, hang in there. If you don't 'get it' the first time around, it will come around again and you can catch the lesson the next round.

All along the way, remember that you are not alone. Everyone else is being tested, sometimes the same tests, sometimes different, but we're all tested. Even the people who look like they have it all together... you'd be amazed at the stories each one of us carries.

You can handle anything that comes your way. Keep breathing, ask for help when you need it. Be good to you and those around you.

With lots of love and some cyber (((((hugs))))) too!
Aunt Laya

Thank you to kakisky and for the great photo!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Are you taking care of you?

A reader sent me a link to a story that is tragic and sad about a family that faked out a young teen girl and in the process made her feel so sad that she killed herself. Now it seems from what I read, that this girl was already having some problems. She was vulnerable.

There are a lot of people on the Internet and they are the same kinds of people in all of life. Some people are real and wonderful and want to make friends. Some people are predators who are looking to take advantage of others. Only in a way it’s a little easier to say and do things on the Internet since people think they are hidden behind their computer. It seems so easy in fact, that even people who are usually good people can say things in anger because they are not looking the other person in the eyes to see the hurt they might inflict.

All through time, bad guys have preyed on anyone who is vulnerable. Lonely or sad are feelings that make someone vulnerable. There are lots of reasons why someone might feel that way. It doesn’t matter if you are old or young, rich or poor, skinny or fat, everyone feels vulnerable some time.

The question is: What do you do, or how do you take care of yourself, when you are feeling vulnerable?

When a crab grows—you know, the little sea creature—it has to shed its shell in order to grow a new, bigger shell to fit its new size. So what does it do? It goes and hides in the rocks where it will be protected.

When you are vulnerable, feeling tender, it means that you are growing! Take care of yourself when you are feeling vulnerable or tender by staying where you feel safe. Risks are better taken from a place of strength. And you will feel strong again because feelings go in cycles for everyone.

If you feel lonely or sad, you don’t have to go it alone. If someone does or says mean things to you, you can ask for help. Don’t give up if you don’t find the help you need the first time you ask. You might need to ask five times. Maybe more. That’s okay. Ask for help as many times as you need to until you get the support that you need to get you through the hard times.

Attitude for the day:
Don’t do to others what you wouldn’t want done to you.
Don’t say things to others that you wouldn’t want someone to say to you.

Even if someone is being a jerk, don’t return the favor. Rise. Like the light of a flame, rise. You can do this.

Aunt Laya

Thank you to Clarita who photographed the image above and posted it on!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Teen Issues

I was on YouTube and did a search on parenting teens and teen issues. I came across this video. I think it 's a great creative expression of what is on the minds of teens.

Reach out and connect with a teen. If you're a teen, reach out and connect with the adults who love you. None of us has to go it alone.

Aunt Laya

Book Update!

The new, updated book is on its way to the printer and will be ready in about 5 weeks! You can order the book on Amazon for a 32% discount off of the cover price. If you order now, before the book is even available, Amazon will give you an additional 5% discount. How cool is that? At this price, stock up and get a bunch to give to friends. The book has the same content, but a brighter cover and friendlier to the eyes text.

You can go to Amazon to order the book now!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Compromise or Settle?

In life you have to make compromises. There's a difference between settling and compromising. One way to think of it is that you don't get everything you want, the way you want it, when you want it. I once took a class in finance. One of the principles I learned was that if you manage your money successfully (saving and spending habits--a skill worth learning), you can have anything you want, not everything, anything. That means you have to consider what is most important to you.

When you know what is most important to you, you can set a goal. You can achieve, have, develop, or create that thing, whether it's a relationship, a college degree, or that new fancy gadget or outfit. Once you get yourself on track with your goal, it means you compromise something else. You have to let go of some things in order to have what you really want. Like, if you really want to be happily married, you've got to let go of dating other people.

Settling is when you don't believe that you can have what you want so you take what you think is the best you can get.

Back to the example of relationship. Settling is taking a partner you don't enjoy because you think you won't find anyone else. Compromising means she doesn't like to watch basketball with you, but she is a pleasure to talk with. Settling means staying with an abusive man because you are afraid to let go, compromising means he's not as tall as you dreamed.

There are some things that you never have to compromise on. And there are some things you can settle for. Don't ever compromise your values. You can settle for a different brand of tomato sauce when you're shopping.

Just something to consider.

Aunt Laya

Thank you to Scott M. Liddle ( and for the great photo, again!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Who inspires you?

I'm inspired by so many.

I'm inspired by my kids who keep forgiving me for all my frailties.

I'm inspired by the two men who have ancient graves near my home, men who were buried nearly 2,000 years ago and are so remembered that what they taught is still known today. One taught that we should not do good for the heavenly reward but to do good for its own sake and the sake of heaven. The other taught that no matter where you are in life you can start over and rise to greatness. He also lived generously, giving half his wealth to charity.

I'm inspired by the authors I've read who took the time to write books that taught and shaped me to be my best self. (They are why I wrote my book. If they touched my life, maybe I can touch a life as well.)

I'm inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Thoreau, Menachem Schneerson. Their quotes float into this world and are candles of light to raise up this world.

Next week my parents celebrate 65 years of marriage. How much I learn from watching them.

My brother is a teacher and has been for years. He loves what he does and cares about his students. I wish all teachers were like him. I hope I can touch young lives like he does.

My mother-in-law is like the sunshine. I've never met anyone else like her in my life. She's one of those petite women with the majesty of a lion.

Esther Jungreiss is also a petite woman who carries herself with majesty and grace. She survived a concentration camp as a child. Now she lives a life of giving. Her light is brilliant. Her stories are profound.

Oprah demonstrates to me the way to being real, and that in being real is where you can find your success.

I know people who have adopted downs syndrome babies and are raising them up in a loving family environment. Their strength inspires me.

I'm inspired by the people who send in secrets to the PostSecret project ( and the people who respond to them.

Who inspires you? Shop around for the qualities you admire in others. Then look inside because you have those same qualities. You can grow them by being aware of them with your intention.

You are one amazing light in this world. Shine!

Aunt Laya

Friday, September 21, 2007

A message for you from God

"I know you are human. Humans are not perfect. I made you that way. And I love you anyway. In fact, that's why I love you - because you are not perfect. I already had perfection before I created you. What I want from creation is an imperfect world that strives to improve, filled with human beings that fail, get up, and move ahead. By being imperfect but persevering nevertheless, you have fulfilled the purpose of your creation. You have achieved the one thing that I can't do without you - you have brought the perfect God into an imperfect world.


With love,

I'm not sure who the first person was to receive this message to pass along to the rest of us, but thank you!
Thank you to user DSee
at for the amazing photo

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

worse than murder?


Smoke anyone?

Time for a Change

Seasons are changing no matter which side of the equator you're on. Time for change. You get to choose, once again, what you want in your life.

How do you do an inventory of yourself? Have a look at how you spend your time. Look at the people you spend time with. Look at your environment. What is all that reflecting about you? When you look around in your life, what do you see reflected back at you?

If you want change in your life, make some changes! Get rid of some old things in your home that you don't need or want or love. Add something beautiful to your environment, a plant, a picture, a pet (a gold fish is easy!).

Sometimes change comes when we didn't want things to change. Sometimes we need to grieve for things we've lost. Sometimes we need to take a deep breath and take the next step with courage. Sometimes we celebrate the changes. Either way, rest is a part of change too.

The thing is, no matter what you're facing in your life right now, you have also been given the resources to face the changes in front of you. Really!

So dear reader, take yourself a deep breath and know that what ever good changes you want for yourself, you can create them. One step at a time, just keep taking that next step. Then the next. Before you know it, you've got a different perspective because you're higher up that mountain path.

Stay tuned!
Aunt Laya

Thank you to Scott M. Liddle ( and for the great photo, again!

Thursday, August 30, 2007


II regularly visit a blog called PostSecret ( I'm often touched by this international art project where people tell their secrets. Maybe people find hope that they are not alone. Sometimes people feel so alone, like they're the only one dealing with something. Sometimes people just have some funny secret to share. The post card above is one that I found especially hopeful and touching and so I wanted to share it with you. Below is the email comment that was received about that card. I really wanted to share that too.
-----Email Message-----
Sent: Sunday, August 26, 2007 9:58 PM
Subject: july suicide

five years ago i tried killing myself
since then my view of life has changed so much
i've learned to embrace every moment
thinking, "and i would have missed out on this"

Blessing of the day: May you find moments in each and every day that you can be grateful.

Aunt Laya

Monday, August 27, 2007

Can you do the impossible?

Did you know that scientists have not figured out how bees fly? There's a rumor that engineers have apparently "proven" that according to the laws of aerodynamics (the natural laws of flying) it is impossible for bees to fly! How can that be? Bees fly. Well, engineers have not said that it's impossible for bees to fly, because, well, bees fly. But it's true that no one has figure out HOW! Can you believe it? There are actually things in this world that we do not understand!

Isn't that exciting? We don't know it all.

So, stay open minded because there is so much to discover in this world.

And, stay hopeful. Just because you haven't figured out how to "fly" in your own life, does not mean it won't happen. If a bee can do the impossible, you can too! Hold fast to your dreams. Take one small step every day in the direction of your dreams. And if you don't know what your dreams even are, that's okay too. Start by doing acts of kindness for others (like passing on a little honey). You'd be amazed how doing acts of kindness will help you blossom!

Stay sweet!
Aunt Laya

Thank you to Scott M. Liddle ( and for the great photo, again!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Your Heart's Desires

Sometimes we just ache for something so much. We have a desire for something in our lives and it just always seems to be out of reach. A lot of people talk to me about wanting to find a life partner, for example. They date and date. They've met lots of people. Sometimes they thought they were with "the right one" only to be disappointed or heartbroken when the relationship ended.

Sometimes teenagers crave to be in a relationship. But the timing is just not right. The time is not yet ripe and the outcome is either forced or painful.

I'm here to tell you that when something doesn't work out for you RIGHT NOW, it's because there is something BETTER around the corner. Do not become down hearted.

You can imagine that the thing you desire is already a part of your life, because on some level that really is true. Does that sound weird? There are many aspects to this life and our physical world is part of it, but not the whole thing. There are many forces at work in this world, from the magnetic pull of the earth and moon to the invisible rays of the sun. Now if you can just imagine, there is a force that regulates the sun and moon, and that same force moves you and your dreams.

On the other hand, you need to make sure you're doing your part in the equation--to be able to recognize your dream when it's staring you in the face, and take action! Are you sure you're out of your own way? In Buddhism there's a term called "monkey mind" that blabs on just to fill you up with self doubt. In Hebrew it's called the "yetzer ha-rah". I think the Native Americans use the coyote as the Trickster in stories. What ever your culture or background, beware the Trickster: thoughts, people, roadblocks, self doubt, and so on.

If you have a dream in your heart, it's because there is something for you, some treasure, some gift of life and living, that you will find on that path. Sometimes, the thing you think you want isn't really meant to be. And that will always be because there is something BETTER, yes, better, waiting for you.

Plan, put your effort into moving in the direction of your heart's desire. Trust. Express gratitude, because gratitude will always keep the flow going.

What is of great value is not thrown around, it's earned through some combination of time, intention, and action. Ask for guidance. Study those who have accomplished similar goals. (Like if you want to be a body builder, learn from someone who's mastered that. If you want a good marriage, ask the couples you know what makes their marriage work. If you want to be an actor, study and practice.)

Here's to dreams come true... in the perfect timing, even when it's not the timing we thought we wanted or hoped for.

Aunt Laya

Thank you to Scott M. Liddle ( and for the great photo

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

One woman's story of love for the teen in her life

I met a woman who told me the story of her nephew. He was a good kid but started getting involved with some gang activity. She loved him enough to do some homework and make some phone calls. She loved him enough to step out of her "comfort zone" and take him along on a field trip to a funeral home just before the burial of another teen who had been shot and killed. It was a tough field trip for a young teenager. But guess what? Her dear nephew turned around when he saw the reality and consequences of life around gangs.

It took a lot of courage for this woman to do what she did, it was a risk she took for the love of her nephew. It took a lot of courage for that young man to look a dark outcome in the face and choose life.

Maybe you know a teenager (or anyone really) who could use some guidance or direction. Maybe you're the teen who wishes someone would take your hand like that. Don't wait. Offer your hand. Or ask for a hand. Reach out. Touch someone who needs you.

We're in this life together and together we will get through the challenges. Together we'll celebrate the victories. Together.

With love and blessings,
Aunt Laya

Thanks for sharing your story with me E.
If you want to add anything, please feel free to add any comment.

Thank you to Scott M. Liddle ( and for the great photo, again!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Stay smart--Stop cough medicine abuse

The more we know, the more powerful we are to be safe, to keep other people safe.

is a link to a website that will educate you on the dangers of cough medicine abuse. If you are a teen or a parent of a teen, check this out. There are videos of young people telling their stories and experiences with this drug. It's over the counter and easy to get.

DEX makes you dumb
it makes you sick
it makes you look stupid
it could even kill you.

Stay smart, stay safe, help your friends and loved ones stay safe.
If you need help, ASK! It's SO okay to ask for help!

Aunt Laya

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pennies from Heaven

While taking a walk with a friend, she decided to stop in to a popular coffee house and buy a cup of coffee. She told me that when ever she goes there, she finds some coins on the floor. It always happens. Sure enough, she found some coins. Then she shared with me that she sends her nephew the coins and he puts them in a jar he calls "Pennies from Heaven". She doesn't only find pennies, she finds other coins and they all go into the jar at her nephew's house. When the jar is full, they donate all the money to charity.

I told my friend a story I once heard about a rich man who stopped to pick up pennies when ever he saw them. Someone asked him why he did it when he was so rich. He answered that since pennies have "In God We Trust" on them, it was a reminder to him about how blessed he is and where his wealth comes from.

There are other stories about pennies. Mostly I wanted to share these stories with you because we sometimes forget to pay attention to the blessings in life. Sometimes we forget to see the miracles in the ordinary.

EXERCISE OF THE DAY: Keep your eyes open for the simple surprises and whispers of heavenly love that come your way each day.

With love and blesings,
Aunt Laya

photo from by Cohdra

News from the road

Dear Readers,

I've been on the road traveling. I was in New York for the Book Expo America, the largest publishing industry event in the US and second in the world to Frankfurt, Germany. I went hoping to take my book to the next level and made some connections there that hold some potential promise.

I've also been busy at work updating "You Don't Have to Learn Everything the Hard Way." The book will come out this fall with a new look on the inside and outside. The cover will be the same basic design but different colors that people have said really make it "pop". The inside will have a larger font (so the letters are bigger) to make reading more comfortable on the eye. Of course as soon as it's ready and on the market, I'll announce it here right away.

I've got a new laptop, I've gone Mac now and am still not familiar with it. Since I'm a slow learner, I have to wait until I see the nephew who can help me with it. Then I'll be back online with regular posts and thoughts. More coming soon.

In the meantime, remember that you are blessed and loved.

Aunt Laya

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Little Comfort

Funny thing about this life. It's not really meant to be comfortable. We can find comfort--a comfortable chair, or pillow. We can find a comfortable friend. There are delicious moments of deep comfort. Then things change. You can count on it. So one of the life skills we all need is to understand about going with the flow of change. Sometimes it means we have to create the change we want to happen. Sometimes it means you have to work with what is happening, be patient with the process the way it is.

If you plan a picnic and the weather turns to rain what are your choices? You can be bummed. You can be bummed and then make new plans. You can decide to play in the rain. You can reschedule the picnic. There are always choices if you don't limit yourself. That's a choice too, isn't it, to limit yourself into thinking that you don't have a choice.

The things that matter most in this world come with a price tag. It might be that the thing you desire will take time, so you have to wait. Sometimes what matters will take effort and energy to accomplish. Sometimes we are required to change and that's scary because when we change we are heading into uncharted territory.

Being uncomfortable is a part of life. Sometimes we just need to observe it, notice it, and then move on anyway. Sometimes it comes with a lesson. Sometimes discomfort comes as a call to action or sometimes as a message not to move. This is where listening to your inner voice (some people call it intuition, some call it your "guts") comes in. Pay attention to it, listen to your inner sense of knowing or seek advice from someone you trust who has experience and wisdom. Know that the hard times pass.

In the process of growing and change, be kind to yourself--this will be a comfort. Be kind to others too, because you never know what's happening in their life.

You can become familiar with these cycles so when you're comfortable you can be grateful for the pleasure. And when you're not comfortable, you can be grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow.

With hugs and blessings as always,
Aunt Laya

Monday, May 28, 2007

What's on your mind? What do you choose?

What do you think about? How do you spend your time?

Where you put your attention increases.

You always have a choice about how to direct your thoughts and actions. Everything you do will swim around and process even in your sleep.

Choosing 'on purpose' what you want to think about, do, act on, pay attention to, will be the building blocks of where you go in life and what you co-create for yourself and those you influence.

So, what do you want? What do you need to read, spend time around, eliminate, invite, promote to create the life YOU want to live?

We don't get to chose every detail, but we do get to chose how we want to deal with things.

You've got the power of choice!

Aunt Laya
Thanks to richard_b at for the great photo!

Friday, May 11, 2007

How to de-stress!

Here are some things you can do RIGHT NOW to reduce stress and get yourself in balance:

~When you're feeling stressed, take nice, slow deep breaths. You can put your hand on your belly and feel it expand before your chest gets full of air. That will be a nice deep breath (watch a baby sleeping and you'll see their bellies go up and down with their breath, it's natural).

~Take a break from the thing that's stressing you out. Read a good book. Get some art supplies and express yourself. Or enjoy what ever makes you feel safe and comfortable: Some people like a bath with candles, others like to get active, take a run or play a sport. Imagine you are resting some place beautiful (like the photo above in Okinawa). Even just imagining changes your body chemistry!

~Keep a journal. Write what ever comes to your mind, just let it go. No one else has to read this, you won't be graded, and you can tear it up afterwards if you want to. Just write and keep writing. You'll surprise yourself with what will come out if you keep the pen moving (even if you write nonsense for part of it, that's okay).

~Make sure you're giving yourself good nourishment. Drink plenty of water and take a good vitamin B complex which will be good for your nerves. Drink plenty of fresh water too.

~If you want, you can go to a health food store and try out a product called "Rescue Remedy". It's a simple combination of flower essences that you can take either on your tongue or in water. I have friends who are afraid to fly when they travel and it really helps.

~Can you find someone to talk with? Do you have someone in your life that you trust? Sometimes talking things out gives you a new perspective. You do not have to go it alone. Ask for help if you need it. It's okay to ask for help!

~Ask for hugs too. You're never too old to need or want a hug.

Quote for the day: "Growing is not a comfortable thing. That's why we hear about 'growing pains.' Getting familiar with the discomfort of growth can help you move through it more smoothly. All this does not mean that you sit passively as hard times hit. you need to participate: make the choices that are right for you, shift the way you look at things, and move on when when it's time."

--from You Don't Have to Learn Everything the Hard Way by Laya Saul

Here's a cyber (((((hug))))) for you for any time you need it.

Remember: You'll get through what ever is going on that makes you feel stressed, you really will. Hang in there! Many blessings.

Aunt Laya
Thank you to chamomile at for the great photo!

Monday, May 07, 2007


How are you?
How are you doing in the different areas of your life?
Physical/material—your body, finances, environment etc
Emotional—relationships and feelings
Mental—how do you think about yourself and others?
Spiritual—do you have a relationship with your own sense of Spirit or God?
Do you know what you really want out of life?
Do you know what you want out of this day?

If you have the courage to ask yourself these kinds of questions, you'll have a place to begin planning what's next in your life. You can go "where ever the wind blows you" or you can choose a direction and take the steps to create the life you want for yourself.

We're all given the same number of hours a day. There's nothing anyone can to do change that. From there though, you have all kinds of opportunities to be creative and resourceful about building a life that will have meaning, purpose, value, and pleasure for you. The way to know what's important is to sit down with yourself--and you can do this with a buddy too--and ask yourself what you want out of life.

Ask for help
Ask for guidance
Ask for your dreams
Ask the hard questions of yourself
Ask the people you trust in life how they do it

ASK and keep asking until you find the answers that are meaningful for you. Ask until you find the qualities or tools or resources you need to decide what's next.

There is magic in asking. Even if you don't get the answers you want, you'll be no worse off than you are now. So ASK. People who have the information you want usually want to tell, but they don't want to throw it out to someone who's not interested. They wait for people to ASK. So, ask!

Aunt Laya

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

You don't have to do anything you don't want to!

Recently someone asked for advice about a mistake that resulted in an embarrassing situation. She was pressured by some friends to do something she really didn't want to do.

Life is full of choices. When you make a poor choice about something, then you get another chance right away to make a choice about how you want to handle what happened. I always recommend learning from our mistakes (and the mistakes of others!). So, here's my answer:

First, you do not HAVE to do what other kids say. Got that? It doesn't matter if you were playing truth or dare; you don't have to do it. If an adult is asking you to do something and you're not clear about it, you can say you need to think about it and ask other trusted adults. It's true that I write for teens, but I know there are adults reading this too and the same goes for you! If someone tries to coax you or tries to pressure you into doing something you don't want to do, you get to say, "No." No, nope, not gonna, never, no way! What ever way works for you, don't cross a line that's not comfortable for you. Second, life has a way of "testing" us. You'll get to see if you learned this lesson on boundaries because you'll get tested again. It's just how life works. Practice. (Something like, "what part of 'no' don't you understand?" or "Is there a reason you’re not respecting my answer?") If someone doesn't take "no" for an answer, they are trying to manipulate you and you don't have to go there.

Second, when you do make a mistake, learn from it, but don't beat yourself up about it. That means, when the "test" comes around again, you can rise to it and respond in the way you really mean to. But do not waste your time feeling stupid. If a coach gives an athlete feedback on how to improve, the smart athelete takes the information, visualizes it over and over, and then does his best the next time. He keeps moving forward, not crying over the lost race or the bumbled what ever. Sure, it's natural to feel disappointment, but don't wallow in it. Move on and step up. Rise. One more time. Move yourself forward now because the lesson you learned means you have more life experience and you can make wiser choices. Even if you make the same mistake a hundred times, keep tweaking what you do until you get the results you want, whether it's in relationships, jobs or what ever. You learned to walk and tie your shoes; you can learn to say no when you need to.

Keep shining!
Aunt Laya
Photo by Mary R. Vogt from, thank you!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Here's where I've been writing

I've been busy writing, but not here, so I thought I'd give you a link to some of the things I've been writing about. will take you to my profile at Yahoo Answers. Yahoo Answers is a web site where real people ask questions, some smart, some not so smart. I've been picking questions that I think I can answer in a helpful way. If you click on the link, you can scroll down and see a list of the questions I've answered. If there are any of interest to you, just click to see what I wrote. See you there! :-)

More soon.

Aunt Laya

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Aren't porcupines cute??

Well, we all know how cute porcupines are, right?

And we all know just how they defend themselves, right?
But that sure doesn't mean that we each have to get blasted by a porcupine in order to know for ourselves that it would hurt. Right? Right.
That is exactly why I wrote "You Don't Have to Learn Everything the Hard Way--What I Wish Someone Had Told Me". (You can read sample chapters for free at and also at Amazon by clicking on the photo of the book to the right. ----->)
Be smart. Learn from O.P.M. (other people's mistakes). Asking trusted sources is one good way to make your journey through life smoother. Enjoy the journey!
Aunt Laya

Friday, March 23, 2007

Simple Chages for Powerful Results or What You Can Learn from Your Dog

It's amazing how powerful simplicity can be. When I was active in martial arts I found that even the black belts all still use (and drill with) the simplest basics that the newest white belts are taught. It's always about doing the basics and we keep building in mastery. Here's one of the most powerful tools we have: speech. The way we use the gift of speech in our daily lives will make a huge difference in success in all areas of our lives. Here are my tips for making talk more positive and life enhancing.

Tip #1
Use positive words when ever you can.
"Not good" instead of "bad" puts the focus on "good". Our minds and spirits hear the words and take in what we hear and say. We don't always hear things the way they're meant. If we're using positive words it reminds us where to focus. You'll never hear a negative word from a dog.

Tip #2
Delete Sarcasm.

Sarcasm comes from the Greek words that mean "to tear flesh". Yikes! We'd never hurt someone like that but with so much humor based on sarcasm, we can forget how much a sarcastic remark can sting and hurt. Dogs are always sincere.

Tip #3
No Gossip.

Gossip hurts three people, the speaker, the listener, and the person being talked about. If this one is hard here’s some food for thought: What you say about someone else really reveals more about the kind of person you are! If you listen to gossip about someone, you gotta wonder how that person talks about you. Getting out of listening to gossip can feel kind of sensitive since you don’t want to come off “holier than thou” but it’s well worth the effort. Here are a few “tips within tips” to get out of listening to gossip:
~change the subject, redirect the conversation
~be direct and honest and respectfully tell the other person that you also won't listen if someone wants to talk to you about him or her
~say there's something wrong with the phone connection and that you'll call them back (now you have time to think about how to redirect the conversation)
know that your reputation as trustworthy will rise
once people know that you're not into gossip, they'll stop coming to you with it
Dogs never, ever gossip about anything, ever.

Tip #4

Same rules apply about yourself.
Remember the old “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? It’s still true and it’s also true about your own precious (as in valuable gem!) self. Dogs never put themselves down.

Tip #5
A kind word goes a long way.
Everyone needs to feel validated. What ever you like to hear is probably what other people like to hear too. A sincere compliment can go a long way. Gratitude is always good to express. Words of encouragement are always well received. Okay, well, dogs can't do this, but they wish they could!

Some cultures teach that you have a certain number of words you can use in your life time and that's it. It's meant to teach that we need to choose our words with care and purpose.

Experiment with this one and see what happens.

Aunt Laya

Photo credit: Avital (c) 2006

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Lion, the Donkey and the Fox

I just heard this story:


There was a lion, a donkey, and a fox that went rabbit hunting one day. At the end of the day, they came together and there was a big pile of rabbits in front of them. The lion said to the donkey, "Why don't you divide the rabbits fairly among us." So the donkey made three nice piles of rabbits at which point the lion killed the donkey, ate part of him, and threw what was left on the pile of rabbits.

Turning to the fox, the lion said, "Why don't you take the rabbits and divide them fairly between the two of us." The fox made a big pile in front of the lion and took one scrawny rabbit for himself. The lion asked, "Where did you learn to count so well?" To which the fox said, "I learned from the donkey!"


That's called learning from other people's life experiences!

Aunt Laya

P.S. If you haven't read my book, "You Don't Have to Learn Everything the Hard Way--What I Wish Someone had Told Me" go ahead and click the link to the right with the picture of the cover to learn more!

Photo from, by monosodium, thank you!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Love the Unlovely

I was reading a book* and saw these words: "Love the Unlovely". Those simple words really struck a chord in me. Sometimes the people we love the most do not act so very "lovely" to us. Sometimes little kids are crabby, sometimes it's teens that act "unlovely", or neighbors or parents or… we have the power to set the tone for our lives and love people through what ever is going on. How do you do that?

Here's something a wise woman taught me: when someone is saying or doing things that aren't so nice, it means that person is in pain. “What they really need is a blessing," she told me. So I tried it. The next time someone cut me off in traffic with an attitude, I blessed them. Right out loud I started saying things like, “I hope you get where you’re going safely. I hope you have many joyous times to celebrate with your family. I hope you live to a ripe old age and see beautiful healthy grandchildren.” Even if the driver of the other car is a young teenager, I bless him with these things. Usually they never hear me, but I hear myself. When I start blessing people who are grouchy or rude, I don’t always mean it when I begin but by the time I’m well into it, my heart is open and I mean every word. And guess what? I feel better. The tension in my body is released, I can take a deep breath, and I can move on to things that are more meaningful to me.

I used to work with teens that were placed in a residential treatment facility. They were boys that were neglected, abused or delinquent. I remember one boy who would get pretty cranky. I would sort of sing, “I love you!” He usually just walked away. Once I was the one who was short tempered and snapped, “I don’t have time for this right now.” He smiled and said, “I love you, too!” Boy, it felt nice to have those words come back at me—over fifteen years later, I still remember it.

May you be blessed to look for and find the words that will bless you and others! Take one step, one breath, at a time.

Aunt Laya

Please note: If someone is abusive or cruel, if they do things that tear you apart body or emotions, you may need to get to a safe place. In this post I'm talking about safe situations when someone is just out of balance with their emotions or mouth! If you need help getting away from an abusive situation; if you feel threatened, please search for safe houses or hotlines in your area, or a telephone hotline where someone can help you. If you're a kid, ask a teacher or counselor for help and keep asking until you get the help you need. Abuse of any kind, sexual or physical or emotional is not okay. It’s the right thing to ask for help to get out of an abusive situation!

*The book is 50 Great Tips, Tricks & Techniques to Connect with Your Teen by Debra Hapenny Ciavola, Ph.D.
photo from by Dani Simmonds

Sunday, March 04, 2007

When's the last time you got silly?

Look around (and look inside) and let yourself enjoy some of the whimsy of life! Bring some cheer to people around you. Remember your most embarrassing moment and see if you can swap stories with someone so you can laugh at yourself. There's always a story that can top yours. Find a good joke and tell it to three people. (or more, and see how many people will return the favor by telling you a joke in return. One good joke deserves another.)

Blessing of the day: May your heart lighten as the days grow longer, may your sense of humor blossom with the coming spring!

Aunt Laya
photo from by patricia

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Know what you're forwarding

If you've been checking in here regularly, you know I don't like to complain in general. Here's something that I do whine about. I hate getting e-mail that are urban legend or hoaxes. What does that mean? Somebody out in e-mail land sits around making stuff up for whatever reason and makes up stuff just to see how far it can go. Maybe they want to clog up the e-mail lines or what ever. You've probably gotten at least one of them. You know, "forward this to everyone you know and Microsoft will send you a check for thousands of dollars." Or, "Poor Penny has been kidnapped, please watch out for her." If you check it out, Penny is a photo of someone who's never gone missing in the first place. Microsoft doesn't send checks even if they could keep track of who sends what around the Internet. If you get an email that tells you to do something, warns you about a danger, or quotes some famous person, you can check these stories out before you waste your time or someone else's. I use Snopes:

Just for fun, have a look on the left side of the page for the top legends circulating around the Internet to just how many "urban legends" are circulating around.

Stay awake to these frauds and don't get taken. If you do, don't beat yourself up, just learn from it and check things out for next time. We've all fallen for one or another of the hoaxes.

On the other hand, when you get something by email that's true, you'll be able to pass it on with confidence when you know it's right.

Exercise for the day:
Why not take a minute to do an inside check to clear out some old lie that someone told you about your own self? Don't believe the people who put you down. Don't believe the "legends" about your own limitations or weaknesses. Have a look at what your strengths are and the truth about the wonderful things you have done and want to do.

Aunt Laya
photo from

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Kids, Need to Talk?

Dear Reader,

There are a lot of amazing people out there who have open hearts and want to reach out to take the hand of others in need of some love and support. Here is one online place that you can find some great resources:

They also have a hot line:
Are you or a friend looking for answers to tough questions?
Covenant House Nineline can help.
Call our hotline for advice
about anything - anywhere, anytime. 1-800-999-9999.
It's free, it's confidential, it's 24/7 and it's for you!

If you feel alone, stuck, or scared, call. It's all okay to talk about:
running away
or you can go to the forums and just read about what other people are asking about.

If this is something you need, click on the link or pick up the phone. You are worth it.

Aunt Laya

Friday, January 26, 2007

You are NOT a Fly!

Okay people. Pay attention here. Here's a little story for you.

A fly is flying around looking for a good time. Oh! What's that? He sees something very beautiful. It smells wonderful! Ahhh... the fly lands on it. But, alas! He has landed on very sticky fly paper. He can't move. He dies!

Another fly is flying around looking for some fun. What's this?! He sees something bright and attractive. It smells divine! He sees a dead fly there, but, no matter. He lands. And... alas! He can not move. He is stuck there. He dies.

A third fly, bored to tears, looking for something exciting passes by the scene. He sees the beautiful color, he smells the beautiful smell. HE SEES THE DEAD FLIES! No matter. He lands anyway, it could never happen to him, right? Wrong. He gets stuck, can't move, and dies.

Moral of the story: YOU ARE NOT A FLY! You have a brain! You do not need to learn EVERYTHING the hard way. You can learn from other people's experience, both the good stuff and mistakes to avoid. Now, it's true you have to learn some things the hard way. So as long as you grow and learn, that's okay, go on from there. But you do not have to reinvent the wheel.

You may not BE a fly, but you can, in your own way, take wing and let your spirit fly.

Blessing of the day: May see your own greatness and take wing to do the good only you can do in your own way in this world. And may you shine and be all that only you can be!

Aunt Laya
Please feel free to reprint this story just as it is and please include this:
(c) Laya Saul, 2007

Photo from by Scott M. Liddell

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Find your focus

The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
What is important to you, really important? Look in the direction you want to be headed and you'll find yourself heading in that direction.

Here's the twist: What's really important may not be something that anyone else will ever see or even know about! Maybe it's about overcoming depression, maybe it's about feeding the homeless, maybe it’s about living a happy life after a childhood of growing up with an alcoholic parent. Over coming challenge in a quiet, personal way, is brilliant, even if no one else ever knows! When you change something inside yourself, you are changing the world on the outside too. It could be that you have something very "out in the world" to accomplish. You know when someone is climbing up high people say "don't look down". Keep your focus. Look in the direction of your heart's desire. Keep on track with what's important in the deepest places of your heart.

Find people who inspire you.
Do not underestimate the beauty and purpose of you.
Find your focus. Stay on focus.

Aunt Laya
Photo from by Jadazie, thank you!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

How full is your glass?

There are two things that I seem to always come back to when I talk about change or growth or creating the life you want to live:

You may not be able to change a given situation in life but you can change your perspective about it. You can change the way you see a situation (or relationship). You can change the way you relate to a situation (or person). You can complain about what you don't have, or be grateful for what you do have. You know this one: You can see the glass as half empty, you can see the glass as half full, or you can see the glass as overflowing. Just make sure your glass is turned up so the blessings can get in there! How you think about things will change you; and when you change you, you change everyone around you just a teeny, tiny bit. To tell you the truth, I don't even know why this works, but it does. Experiment with this. You can go from self conscious to confident and change your fortune.

Or, you may be able to do something, some teeny, tiny little bit. You may be able to take some action, no matter how small it may seem, and change the course of history. Do not underestimate the power of your words and actions. Make one more phone call, send one more email, take one more class, do one more act of kindness, reach out one more time.

Are you ready for this? If your intention (I repeat intention) when you are shifting your perspective or taking action, is to uplift and nurture yourself and others, you'll add an even greater degree of power to it.

"Intention is when the mind, with great earnestness,
and of choice, fixes its view on any idea."

The teeny, tiny, itty, bitty little bit of change you create today, whether it's in the way you see things or the way you do things, will, over time, make a big difference in your life.

EXPERIMENT OF THE WEEK: Notice each time you have an opportunity to thank someone, then do it. (Even if you paid for a service, say "thank you.") Notice anything different?

Aunt Laya

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


"Success is not measured by your victories,
but by how you recover from your failures!"
--Vic Preisser

Fail well!
Dare to be average!

Take one more breath.
Take one more step in the direction of your dreams.

Your success is not measured by ceremonies or awards. It is not measured at all. Success is overcoming life's challenges, not all at once, but an inch at a time. Sometimes those inches add up and you seem to have a great breakthrough. You couldn't have had the breakthrough (and neither could any one else) without the inches in between. Success is also treasuring life's gifts. Often--like the lump of coal that, over time and with great pressure, becomes a diamond--we don't recognize the treasures so fast. Remember: "You see what you look for." So look for the gift in every challenge. Look for the sparkle in the eyes of another, and look for the sparkle in the eyes that look at you in the mirror.

You are amazing--*you light up this world*--without a doubt!
Aunt Laya

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Healing Sexual Abuse - a poem about healing

This is a poem written by someone who was sexually molested. It's important for people to know we are not alone in our life experiences. The young woman who wrote this gave me her permission to share it here. With gratitude for her open heart, here it is. Love, Aunt Laya


by Michal

I can't get up.
I sit and cry.
Let it out,
Let the tears flow.
It's natural,
It's part of healing.
Now is the time,
Now is when it must happen.
I can.
The words "I Can't" isn't acceptable.
Even though you think you can't,
Even though it's so tough that you want to give up.
The harder the push,
The easier it will be.
You need to,
You have to.
This needs to heal.
The wound is still open.
Any touch burns,
They are all a reminder of pain.
Release the anger,
Allow the feelings out.
It's been four years.
Time to allow it to heal.
With time and patience,
Hard work will close the hole.
It will only be a scar,
A mark.
No longer will I allow the pain to endure.
The painful memories stop here.
The abuse stops,
I will heal.
photo by cahilus, from, thank you!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Kind Words -- Cheering the Grumpy

Here is the most recent email I received from Partners in Kindness. You can subscribe to one of the most wonderful, healing lists I've seen, full of heart and soul! This post speaks for itself.

I hope you'll be inspired to do something kind. It will change your day no matter what else is going on.


Aunt Laya
Photo from thank you Kesh!

KIND WORDS--Cheering The Grumpy
"Gratitude will get you Everywhere"

The author wishes to remain anonymous
Edited by Shmuel Greenbaum
Printed with Permission of

I live in a high rise apartment building in a large city. One of the gentlemen who lives in my building is an angry person. He walks with his head down and never speaks to anyone. He grunts under his breath loud enough to be heard. People are afraid to talk to him.One day, I saw him with his leg in a cast. I asked him what happened. He only grunted an answer. For me, it was an opportunity to change his life a bit.

I purchased a bouquet of flowers and having sworn the doorman to secrecy, had him deliver the bouquet to our unhappy tenant's apartment. I signed the bouquet's card, "We wish you a speedy recovery" and signed it "All your neighbors at (our address)."My formerly grumpy neighbor now smiles at everyone he meets, since he doesn't know which of these people thought him special enough to send the bouquet. As unhappy as he was, he was still grateful for the get well gesture.It is fun for me to see him talking to all his neighbors, welcoming people into the building and being totally social with everyone. Not one of my neighbors understands what made the change, but I know and so does G-d. Now the readers of this e-mail know and I hope each of you helps to make this practice a full fledged "epidemic".

"Cheering The Grumpy"
From Kindness: Making a Difference in People's Lives: Formulas, stories, and insights
By Zelig Pliskin
Printed with Permission of Shaar Press

Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if all the grumpy people would be transformed into kind, loving, and cheerful human beings? Those individuals would gain immensely along with all of the potential victims of their negativity. Imagine telling a grumpy person, "Cheer up," or, "Stop being so grumpy." Will this suddenly change them? Will they stop being grumpy and cheer up? If it were that simple, we’d live in a cheerful world. A group of volunteers would go from person to person and change them. It’s obvious that cheering up a grouch is an art and a skill.There is no magic formula that will work in all instances. But the most effective approach is when you have sincere love for other people. When you care deeply about someone and have sincere compassion you are likely to have a positive effect. Even the grumpiness of people can melt when in the presence of the radiant sunshine of a sincerely loving person.Don’t rebuke a grumpy person. It won’t work. Don’t angrily tell him to change. It won’t work. Enter his world. Understand him. Why is he the way he is? What pain in his life caused him to be this way?If you try to cheer up a grumpy person and what you try to do doesn’t work, don’t blame him. Take this as a message that you need a different approach.If you act too friendly and cheerful when interacting with a person who is consistently grumpy, you are likely to annoy him. One approach is to mirror his grumpy state and then change your state in a way that he follows you as you access a better state. Mirror but don’t mimic his facial expression and posture. Mirror his tone of voice, but don’t say anything that will be counterproductive. Then little by little allow yourself to relax and little by little access a slightly cheerful state. If he follows your example, you will put him in a better state.One of my students related this story to me:I once met a cheerful person who seemed to me that he must have grown up with this attribute."You probably were always a happy person," I commented to him.With a big smile, he replied, "I’m afraid not. I was a difficult child. I complained a lot and was frequently miserable. As a young adult I was highly irritable. People usually got on my nerves. One day, however, I met someone who had a major impact on my life. This person said something humorous and made me smile."You have a great smile," he said to me. "You should see how different you look when you smile from the way you look without that smile. Look at the difference in a mirror. Start with smiling. Speak cheerfully to each person you meet. Experiment for an entire month.""So far my experiment has lasted over ten years and I think I’ll keep it up for at least another ten years."
Sponsor Kind Words for only $36! Donations are accepted in any currency. They are tax-deductible in the United States and may be tax-deductible in other countries.For more information contact Shmuel Greenbaum Info@TraditionOfKindness.Org
If you or your school would like to translate our e-mails into other languages, send an e-mail to:
Kind Words is a free weekly e-mail distributed by Partners In Kindness.Although the content of these e-mails contains copyrighted material, Partners in Kindness allows users who register at our website to reprint them in print, on a website, or on an e-mail distribution list at no cost. If you have permission to reprint this e-mail, please ensure that you reprint the entire e-mail (including this notice). Kindness is like music, art, sports or any other discipline -- it can only be mastered with practice, training, and lots and lots of encouragement. That is what is trying to promote.

The archive for Kind Words e-mails is located at:
For further information, please visit our Website

Friday, January 05, 2007

Healing Sexual Abuse

"There is nothing we cannot live down, rise above, and overcome."

--Ella Wheeler Wilcox

If you or someone you know has been sexually abused either as a child or as an adult, I'm here to tell you that healing is possible! If you have never been sexually abused, please read what I have to say anyway. If you are a teen reading this, please follow the link and learn about the five stages of abuse and the warning signs of an abusive relationship.

When ever you want, you can go to my website and click on the chapter from my book about sexual abuse. Or you can go straight to the chapter right now with this link:

There are a lot of resources right here on the Internet for you, for your healing. I'll post some of those later on.

Sometimes people ask me, "How can I heal? I'll never be able to forget what happened." That's true, you'll always know what happened to you. Like a wound to your physical body though, it can stop hurting so much and the scar will fade with time. You'll always know what happened to you, but you'll also be able to create a rich life without pain coloring so much of your life. Sometimes the healing process itself is hard. Remember, it's a process, it's not something that happens all at once. Take your time. Be tender with yourself. You are not alone. You are never alone, even if it feels like it sometimes.

I'm loving you up as you take the journey toward healing,

Aunt Laya
Photo by Alex (o0o0xmods0o0o) at -- Thank you!

Monday, January 01, 2007

A new twist for New Year Resolutions

What is really important to you? Do you want to start something new? Do you want to stop doing something you don't want to do? Instead of trying to make this goal or dream come true with brute strength, try this: one small step, then another small step. Remember the tortoise and the hare? That little guy just took one step at a time—all at his own pace, and he made it across the finish line. First!

The idea here is to live the life you want for yourself. What is the dream or goal you’re reaching for? Now think of what it will take for you to get that. If you dream of exotic travel, have you called a travel agent? Just take the first step and find out what it would cost you. Then you know how much money to save. Then you can decide how you want to do that. Or you can get creative about bartering (trading services, work for goods or service for goods etc.), or a job with an airline or travel agency. What if you want to get fit? A 15 minute walk two times a week, is that something you could do? A bottle of water instead of a soda once a day isn’t as hard as thinking about a starvation diet (which anyways is not a good idea). If you want a college degree, sign up for one class and show up for it!

If you’ve been reading this blog or my book, you know by now that I encourage people to ask and get help when needed. We are all in this life together. We all do better, feel better, and accomplish more when we work together.

What are your dreams? What is one, teeny, tiny step you can take right now? At the very least, write it down because even the act of writing a dream gives it power. You’ve got that power. Take one small step right now!

You can do this!
Aunt Laya