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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Advice for a Tree

This question came in as a comment for an earlier post:

Dear Aunt Laya,
I need some advice, because I can't seem to find anyone who can tell me how to solve my problem. I can't get myself to go to class everyday! I skip and come up with all sorts of excuses, though the real reason is that I feel like a loser in class. My class consists of students with sky-high GPAs, and I am the only odd one there. Although I work harder than them in terms of written work, I cannot think like them and generate questions like how they do. In my school, we are graded on our participation and knowledge and not how much work we produce. I always get out-beaten and never feels good. My grades are failing, I only have one year before I graduate and I can't help feeling hopeless and useless all the time. I never hated school this much. I would really appreciate some advice.

Dying Tree.
Dear Tree,
Sometimes trees appear to be dying but they are not. It is fall and time for the leaves to die and fall off, but the tree isn't really dying, its just in a cycle of renewal. The tree stands strong and beautiful in the winter as the next phase is preparing itself. There is a beauty in this cycle of life too but you have to look for it to see it. Then in the spring new buds will form and suddenly seem to burst forth in an explosion of growth.

DO NOT DESPAIR! I learned that despair is when someone is full of self pity and then there is no room for joy to come in. Now may be a good time for you to redefine what success is to you. It's not the same for everyone, you know? If you have only one year left to graduate, keep showing up and get through this. It doesn't have to be on the same terms as everyone else. Just because the instructor is not judging you in a framework that is fair to you, you don't have to measure your success in the same way. Don't let discouragement get the better of you. Hang in there, "this too shall pass".

Have you defined your dreams? Do you know what is important to you? School is a tool and a stepping stone. Finish what you started and then use the open doors to head toward your heart's desire. That means you are true to you (not some teacher's version of what you "should" be, what your Creator intended for you to be in all your shining true self).

You really can do this!

Love and (((hugs))),
Aunt Laya

Thank you to Robb and for the beautiful photo!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thank You

Did you get a card in the mail with a love note or a check? Who carried it to you? Who drove it and got it ready for the person who delivered it? Who made the card? Who brought the card to the store so it could be purchased and sent to you? Who designed the card? Who made the pen used to address the card?

Get what I mean? Behind every thing you enjoy, big or small, many, many hands were involved in making that thing happen.

Take a minute to think about this. Like my posts? Who at blogger set up this free service and made it simple enough for even me to post? :-) Who programed these computers? Who designed the computer and who made the parts to put it together? Who made the car that the person who sold the computer used to get to work? Who is feeding all these people, growing vegetables and fruit and grains? (not to mention the food that you eat!)

We are none of us alone in this world, we are all taking care of each other in small and big ways. Don't forget to take a minute to thank the bus driver that gets you safely where you're going. Don't forget to thank the guy you see picking up trash for keeping the neighborhood clean.

Say thank you with a smile, with a wink, with a handshake or a hug. Say thank you with a flower or a note. But do say it, it's a great lift to be thankful (even after Thanksgiving!)

Then turn it in on yourself. Notice what you like about you and be grateful for all you are and all you can do. Be grateful for the hidden potential that you have yet to discover about yourself.

I'm grateful for you, for reading these notes, for the emails you send, and for inspiring me to keep on doing what I do, writing and talking.

Aunt Laya

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pain is a Gift!

What?!? Pain is a gift? Yes! You wouldn't want to do life without it. Why?

What if people didn't feel the burn of a hot pan? We'd get so damaged we couldn't function. When we feel the burn of something hot, we let go... so we don't get hurt more!!! Get it?

When you feel pain, it's a signal for change.

Ask yourself:
What is this pain trying to tell or teach me?
What can I do to make a change that will heal?
Do I need to change my thoughts?
Do I need to change my environment?
Do I need to change my actions?
Do I need to change my perceptions?

Growing pains happen. Use them to make you stronger, kinder, wiser, healthier.

Use everything to your advantage!
Aunt Laya
Thanks again to and also fattymattybrewing for the great photo

Monday, December 15, 2008


OK, there is a lot about the hard times that is being talked about. Hard times with money, work, terrorism, and they are all real issues that need to be addressed. But that doesn't mean that we can't have good times too. So how do you create a good time? Declare it. Call some friends or sit with family and make a party to celebrate life, to celebrate friendship, to celebrate what you DO have. You can even make a little celebration all by yourself. If you are feeling alone, then there is someone else who is alone and just waiting for your call and invitation. (Be brave and make the call! Or make three calls until you have the company you want.)

You can give your celebration a theme: birthday, un-birthday, Christmas, Hanuka, Kwanzaa, Solstice, or summer in December and make a picnic on the floor in your living room. Get a few props: candles, music, yummy treats, or art supplies. Get creative.

Shake yourself up. Inspire yourself. Give yourself a lift and maybe life someone else's spirits along the way. Last week I went to the mall and had some fun giving out chocolates to some nice people who helped me. Look for things to celebrate and you'll find them.

I celebrate you!
Aunt Laya

Thank you to and Clarita for the great photo

Monday, October 27, 2008


"Good timber does not grow with ease.
The stronger the wind, the stronger the trees."

I don't know who first said this but it teaches us in another way that the hard times in life make us stronger. Challenges shape us to be better.

Stay strong!

Aunt Laya

Thanks to Allen Conant and for the great photo!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Suicide and Depression

Lots and lots of people care about you. Friends seen and unseen.
Never despair! Hang on to hope. Call the Hopeline if you need to.
Love, Aunt Laya
Thanks for the great video PostSecret!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Help for Teens to Graduate High School

If you need a boost in getting through school...
If you can give a boost in helping someone else get through school...
is a place to go online to get or give a boost up!

It's a really great idea, so go support someone or ask for support right now.

It's easy and simple: Just click here if you haven't already.

Aunt Laya

Friday, October 03, 2008

Overcoming Fear and Regret

If I could give my previous post about fear a soundtrack, this would be it.

Consider this post a kind of "love note" from me to you.
May you walk in strength and sweetness and joy.
Keep growing!
Aunt Laya

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Teens, Tweens, Parents, Teachers:

Teens, Tweens, Parents, and Teachers:
I just got an email with this announcement.
Teens and tweens and younger kids deserve to be safer so check it out and stay safe.

Aunt Laya

Introducing the NetSmartz
Internet Safety 2009 Presentations!

NetSmartz® Workshop has been hard at work updating our Internet Safety Presentations. The new PowerPoint presentations for parents and communities, tweens, and teens are now available for you to download. They incorporate current statistics, our newest videos, and vibrant graphics!

NetSmartz free, multimedia Internet safety presentations are tailored for specific audiences - parents and communities, tweens, teens, and younger children. Our innovative presentations utilize statistics, online resources, videos, and expert tips to educate, engage, and empower children and adults to be safer on- and offline.

Go to to download the NetSmartz Internet Safety 2009 Presentations today!

Educate Parents & Communities

This 60-minute PowerPoint for parents with children ages 5-17 and communities includes

Facts of online risks
Statistics, videos, and other resources
Tips for keeping children safer online

Engage Tweens & Teens

Two 45-minute PowerPoint presentations for tweens and teens contain

Animated and documentary-style videos
Candid, thought-provoking discussions
Practical advice and free resources

Empower Younger Children

These 30-minute interactive Primary and Intermediate presentations include

Age-appropriate explanations of online risks
Easy-to-remember online safety rules
Interactive, animated lessons led by Clicky, Nettie, and Webster

Go to to download the NetSmartz Internet Safety 2009 Presentations today!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Overcoming Fear

Once I was working on a movie set with a famous actress/model. Just before the camera started rolling, she started to scream and stomp about. Everyone on the set thought she had lost her mind. As suddenly as she started, she stopped and looked around smiling. She explained that she learned that if some place inside she felt foolish about a scene, she should really "act" foolish so that the scene would feel normal to her.

What ever the reasons are we sometimes give in to fear of going for our dreams. I don't think it's always important to know why. It's OK to skip the why and simply get to the how.

There are different kinds of fear.
  • Fear that is good because it can keep you safe.
  • Irrational fear--fear that has no basis in reality and actually interferes with daily life.
  • Fear that holds you back from living your dreams.
Sometimes it's good to be afraid. We're supposed to be afraid to run in front of a speeding train. It's wise to wait until the train is past before we cross the tracks. It's good for a woman to have some fear about walking alone in a parking lot at night. Bad things happen too often and it's wise to ask a man (or for a man to offer) to walk a woman to her car at night. It's good to be afraid of going to jail. It may be better to do what's right just because it's right, but it's also good to understand that some actions have a negative consequence and to be afraid of that is healthy.

Sometimes fear is debilitating. Fear can be so deep and wide that the person who is feeling it can not leave their home. This is not healthy fear. It is a kind of fear that can be treated though help may be needed. Some people are so afraid of flying that they will not leave their home town. That's not a big deal if it's not stopping the person from his normal life. It's sad if he has can not go to the award presentation for his good work because of his fear.

Then there is the kind of fear that doesn't look like such a big deal. I mean, you're living your life just fine, right? Yet, there are fears that stand in the way of doing, being, or accomplishing something that would make your heart sing.

This is fear that you can conquer!

The power of imagination

The truth is, fear is mostly imagined. One of my many favorite quotes is by Mark Twain:
"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles,
but most of them never happened." ~Mark Twain

Courageous people are not those without fear, they move in spite of their fear.

You know this is true. Think about something you were very fearful about that in the end worked out just fine. You already have life experience with this, but maybe you don't give yourself credit. Were you afraid the first day at a new job, but now you love it? Were you afraid the first day of a new school, but you made friends and got through it? Did you remember the first time you got on a bus or train or airplane alone?

Have you ever tried to do something and the thing failed? Maybe you felt bad for a time, but then if you think about it, don't you feel great that you gave it a try? Did you learn something? Did you turn your learning into a stepping stone?

Think about the times when you have accomplished the thing you felt fearful about. Remember and hold onto the feeling of accomplishment when you succeeded. Imagine that same great feeling right now and in the future.

You can do this.
Email me your wins, I love hearing from you.

Aunt Laya

with gratitude to FlyingPete and for the amazing photo!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Deer-in-the-Headlights Syndrome

Ever have something important to do and you just froze, couldn't move, couldn't make a choice? Have an important call to make or important decision and you just didn't do it?

That is deer-in-the-headlights syndrome or DITHS.

"Deer in the headlights" is when a deer is in the road at night and a car is coming at it--straight at it--and it just stares into the headlights and doesn't move out of the way. The results of being frozen for the poor deer can be fatal. The results for the oncoming car can also be traumatic.

The point here is there may really be some intense consequences when you don't move and you need to.

One of the simplest techniques for overcoming DITHS is to communicate!! It is perfectly acceptable to say, "I need some time to think about this" or "I can't make a decision so fast, let me get back to you."

When you need to take action but you just don't know what to do, it is really OK to ask for help. You could ask a friend to help or support you accomplish something important. You can ask a professional to help (it's how they make their living and they do that because they most likely actually enjoy helping!). If it's about an important decision, ask someone who's life experience and opinion you trust to talk it through with you.

Now here's something else to consider. Even if you've experienced a DITHS moment and had a significant loss or pain from it, life is not over, you can grow from this and move forward anyway. You know the old saying, when one door closes, another one opens. It's true. Only thing is, if you don't pay attention, all those missed opportunities can cost you in time or money or relationships.

This one is about waking up and stepping up. It's about taking action even though you might feel afraid and knowing it will all be OK. It's about taking responsibility for yourself and it's very empowering.

You can do this, small bits at a time are great.

Aunt Laya

Thanks to and somadjinn for the beautiful photo!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Need Some Inspiration?

When you feel like things are hard, have a look at this young man and his dad for some inspiration.

Thanks for stopping by.

Aunt Laya

Monday, September 01, 2008

"Take Wing"

"Take Wing" is my newest project. After a long time of talking about an ezine, it's now a reality. Ezine stands for "electronic magazine"--like a newsletter that shows up with your email. What I do is short and sweet. Although it's still in process it will pretty much come your in-box one or two times a month with more inspiration for you.

It's easy to sign up. Just go to the sign up page at my website, fill in the form, and you're in! Never worry about spam because I will never sell your email address. You can subscribe simply and unsubscribe with a click when ever you want.

Simple. See ya there!

Aunt Laya

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Formula for a Fresh Start

Part I

Forgiveness. You can say something like: "I forgive myself for the mistakes I've made."

Part II

Kindness. Know that you are lovable, even if you don't feel like it. Treat yourself the way you would treat a small child or friend. Don't beat yourself up for making a mistake. Mistakes are how we learn and grow.

Part III

Learn from your mistakes. No one is perfect, so don't be down on yourself for being human. When you goof up, make sure you take the lesson with you. (See how in the photo the "old stuff" nourishes and even protects the growth of the new?)

Part IV

Ask for help if you need help.

Part V

Keep growing and looking for the positive.

Ask yourself these questions:

What am I grateful for? If it's hard to come up with something, start with the basics, breathing, breakfast, friendship, swimming, ice cream... you get the idea.

Ask yourself each evening:
What was the best part of my day?
What do I look forward to tomorrow?

*Give yourself a hug,
give someone else a hug,
take a deep breath,
do a kindness for someone else
(get out of your self).*

You can do this! :-)

Aunt Laya

Thanks to xpistwv and for the wonderful photo.

Ouch! The Sting of Mean Words

Recently someone wrote something pretty mean about me on the internet. It wasn't personal, the guy doesn't even know me. It did sting at first when I read it. And then it took a while for the sting to disappear, but before long the sting did disappear. In it's place I found myself stronger and more confident!

When I was a student of martial arts, I spent some time working out one on one with a someone who was a black belt. He taught me that when you're sparring, don't even get mad if someone gets in a good hit. Anger gets you out of balance and you'll never fight well if you get emotionally out of balance with anger. I learned that if someone "gets you" it is an opportunity to see where you are "open." In a way, they are doing you a favor by showing you where you need to improve! He taught me to think of it as a game of tag. If you are tagged, that's where you can improve your moves or your game--or your life perspective!

Emotionally, I use this lesson the same way. When I felt the sting of hurtful words, I got to see where I had an opportunity to grow. Now I think about those same words and don't feel sad or bad at all. I see how the guy who wrote them revealed a puny part of himself and nothing more. How sad for him.

Some friends were talking to me yesterday about the Pixar animated movie "Ratatouille." They gave me a whole talk about how it's not really a kids' movie, but a deep film! (I'll need to watch it again from that perspective!) The point they made, a point well taken, was that even the the best review by a critic is still worth less than the actual act of being creative! Creative or Critical? How easy it is to be critical, what an investment to be creative.

So next time someone criticizes you, check your perspective. If it is someone you respect, you may have something to learn. If it is from someone who is simply blowing hot air, you can let it go. Know that you can rise above. And when you do rise, you'll be stronger and even more confident.

Keep shining!
Aunt Laya

Monday, July 21, 2008

A great resource for help.

You'll find a lot of information, support, articles, and even some fun stuff.

These are the forum categories you'll find in the advice section there:

 Self Harm


 Eating Disorders

 Mental Health

 Abuse and Bullying

 Drugs and Alcohol

 First Aid Advice and Information

You are not alone no matter what is happening.
You can ask for help and it is OK to ask for help.

Aunt Laya

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Get Out of Your Own Way!!!

What does that mean?

Sometimes you have a desire or a goal but you feel stuck, right? There are lots of things you can do to move yourself in the direction of your dreams or goals or desires, but if your mindset-- your way of thinking about things--isn't clear, you might be sabotaging yourself!!!

One major example is the balance of a person's ego. Now there is a lot said about people who have a big ego, they only seem to think about (and look after and talk about) themselves all the time. They are not so great to be around. The other side of the coin is when someone feels badly about themselves. Guess what? They also have an out of balance ego. They are also only thinking about themselves!!! Either way is out of balance.

What can you do about it?

I'm going to introduce you to a new form of therapy that I've created. It's called "Get Over It."

"Whaaaa... they make fun of me."
Get over it!

"I'm not pretty enough."
Get Over It.

I never get the good stuff.
Get Over It.

Listen, sometimes crying is what people need. And when you need to cry, let it flow--and then LET IT GO.

Do you hear me?

But it's not fair.
Get Over It.

Do you want to spend your time whining? Or would you rather spend your time in JOY? I highly recommend joy when ever appropriate. How can you find your way to more joy? Start with the basics. Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools to joy and contentment. If you know me at all, you know I'm all about empowerment.

So, get out of your own way, stop whining, and step into your power.
Blink by blink, one minute at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time, one year at a time.

You CAN do this!

Aunt Laya

Good looking? Attractive? Ugly? Alone?

A long time ago I was a make-up artist in Hollywood. I worked with movie stars and models. I saw them first thing in the morning, no make up, hair a rumpled mess. Here's what I learned:

Not many of them are really such "natural beauties". A lot of what you see as "beautiful" is in the presentation. Kind of like if you put a plain hamburger on a big old plate it's sort of sad looking but if you put it on a bit of lettuce, garnish with pickles, and put some fries next to it, it looks more appetizing. Or like if you just stick a bunch of flowers in a plastic cup, they are kind of blah. But if you take the same flowers and put them in a nice vase and arrange them so there's balance, the same flowers look nicer.

With a person, a good hair cut and hair style go a long way. Clothes that fit make a huge difference. Make-up doesn't have to be heavy to accent a nice feature. Less is most often best. If you're not sure where to get help with your hair, ask someone who's haircut you like where they get it cut. (Get referrals!!) Hygiene is important: teeth brushed, hair clean, nails clean and clean clothes too.

Attitude makes the biggest difference of all. Confidence makes people more attractive. Sometimes actors "act" confident even when they aren't really all that secure. I found the less talented actors tended to have the biggest egos. The very talented actors and singers were secure and confident and (usually) behaved very professionally. A sense of humor goes a long way in creating attractiveness.

A smiling face is much more handsome than a sour face.

I found and still find that as I get to know people, the nicer they are, the more their beauty grows in my eyes. The more obnoxious they are, the less attractive they seem. One of the reasons we think so many performers are beautiful is because we have come to know them through their work and that makes them seem like more. What that means is that kindness is actually a characteristic of beauty. (Which, I'll keep reminding you does not mean you don't have boundaries. Kindness becomes self destructive if you don't have boundaries.)

Do not buy into the myth that beauty is "perfection."
Perfect beauty can only be seen using the eyes of the heart and soul.

If you are alive, you are full of majesty and beauty. Everyone who is looking for true love is looking for something different and true love is not based on bra size or hair color, it's not based on how much skin is revealed. It is not based on expensive jeans or designer sunglasses and a man does not need a six pack to find lasting love.

When you look at yourself in the mirror and you want to see something attractive looking back, consider what exactly do you want to attract?

I'm here to tell you right now that there is someone who can and will love you for who you are if you let your truest self shine through. Think of your body as an accessory. Take care of it. Present yourself well (this is not about the more skin the better). And most of all, let your heart and imagination, your brains, your humor, and your goodness shine.

Keep shining!
Aunt Laya

With gratitude to Clarita and

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Can you taste the sweet?

Life has it's hard times and I talk a lot about how to get through the tough stuff. It's also important to see what is working and what is great. We all have a lot to be grateful about.

A famous performer was interviewed about her abusive past. She talked about the horrific things her mother did to her. And yet, she said she was grateful! Why? Because her mother, who was clearly mentally unstable--like really sick--never crossed the line to take her life. So this woman was grateful that her mother never killed her. And she made a great life for herself!

I share that extreme story because I want you to be able to see the sweetness that you have available in this life. I heard a great metaphor: If you're not tasting the sweetness of life then you aren't really opening up to the good there is for you. It's like trying to taste a lollipop with the wrapper on!

Exercise of the day: Get some kind of sweet that you really like to eat--watermelon, chocolate, mints, whatever. Pause for a minute before you eat it and pay attention to what's going to happen in your mouth when you taste it. Then enjoy the taste as it explodes in your mouth. (There are some people who do not have the sense of taste right now, this is a gift.) Gratitude is good.

Can you make a list of things (even in your head) that you have taken for granted?

Taste the sweetness. Hear the music. Feel the cool breeze at the end of a summer's day. Look into the eyes (or hearts) of the people who love you.

Have a great summer!

Aunt Laya

Photos from
Thank you to xandert and Cheryl Rankin

Monday, July 07, 2008

If you can't afford to buy my book...

Please write me through my website. If you can't afford to buy the book, I'll send you the e-book for free, no strings attached.

I want any teen who wants to read my book to have access to it, and I really mean that. I want to empower young people (of any age). Knowledge, especially self knowledge, is empowering. So if you have read a sample at my website or Amazon, and want more, you can get the e-book version as simply as sending me a note and telling me you want the e-book.

Summer is a great time to take time for yourself.

Quote for the day: “You create your opportunities by asking for them." Shakti Gawain

Aunt Laya

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Welcome PostSecret Community!

I want to welcome visitors from the PostSecret community. I've posted about that amazing blog before. Frank Warren, the creator of PostSecret put me on the Hopeline Blogroll since I posted the video about Hopeline below. Now I don't do tracking (don't know how) and I have no clue how many visitors I get, but I do know I've gotten visitors through that link, so welcome!

People's hearts are wrapped up in their secrets. For some people, letting a secret out is liberating. For some, knowing someone else has the same secret is comforting--we're not alone in our life's experiences.

Maybe the wondrous thing about sharing a secret is knowing you'll still be lovable. Maybe it's knowing that you really do have the power to change (thoughts, feelings, actions) or that it's OK to cry, or that it's OK to laugh.

Mostly I think it's about letting light into the darkest places, letting go, connecting, healing, and rising. That's my mission: to let light into lives, to inspire, and to empower people. I hope you will explore and find a little tidbit that will lift your day while you're here. I'd love to hear from you!

Love and blessings,
Thanks to ronnieb and for the wonderful photo

Sunday, June 29, 2008

It's OK to ask for help

Call, if you need to.
Contribute a dollar or more if you can.
Volunteer, YOU will be changed!
Pray, because your prayers rock Heaven and Earth.

With love and blessings,
Aunt Laya

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

You Are What You Think!

What do you think about? "Down" thoughts will bring you "down." As T. Harv Eker says, "Crap moves at the speed of crap." So, if you want to feel good, think good things.

Imagine your success. Imagine the people you love and the people who love you.

Look around. If your environment is full of things that have bad memories, get rid of them.
Surround yourself with things that are uplifting to you.

Listen to music or motivational talks that make you feel energetic or enthusiastic. You can see lots of the top motivational speakers online for free on any of the channels where you view videos.

When I'm having a hard time falling asleep, I've trained myself to "think happy thoughts." I recommend it highly! What are happy thoughts for you? If your mind is cluttered with negative thoughts or busy thoughts of "things to do," write them down. Tear up the list of negative thoughts and toss them. Put the "things to do" list to the side and look at it when you're in business mode. Letting go is a great way for your mind to do its best work and you'll be surprised with the results. This sounds easier than it actually is. You may need to create a list of "happy thoughts" so that if you find your mind wandering to the negative side, you can remind yourself from the list.

The direction you look will be the direction you move toward. That law works whether you're driving, walking, or directing your life path.

What do you choose?

Aunt Laya

With gratitude to cohdra and for the amazing photo!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


There are way too many people today who are feeling sad. Sometimes there are good reasons to feel sad. If you have a loss--loss of a job, a pet, or worse, those are real reasons to feel sad. Life always has a way of giving people hard times. Some things we don't have a choice about--like our past.

Sometimes people feel sad in a way that feels like it will never end.

Here are ideas to move you from sad to happier.

One thing that is really important in everyone's well being is rest. Make sure you are getting enough rest each night. Lots of people take naps during the day, and that can be a great thing too.

If you find yourself sleeping most of the time, that is a symptom that you need professional help. You may have a medical or hormonal imbalance. It could be lots of things. It could also be that you are not facing something that you need to face in your life. Getting help is courageous and right.

Eating too much sugar can actually make you feel sad. It can throw your whole system off. If you find that you're sad a lot, eat less sugar for a start.

Not drinking enough water is the topic of whole books. Make sure you're drinking water first thing in the morning to get things flowing in your body. Your brain will function better and all your organs too. Your body is made up mostly of water so drink your eight glasses a day! (not Coke, not juice, water!)

The vitamins I recommend for anyone dealing with sadness are:

A good vitamin B complex. Make sure it's gentle and not a high dose. Take with food.

EFA's: That stands for Essential Fatty Acids. A 3-6-9 formula is good. It will keep your brain lubed.

Whole studies have been done that show exercise is an effective anti-depressant! Get moving. Do something you'll enjoy, walking, martial arts, swimming, biking to name a few. Get a buddy to move with you then you'll show up even when you don't feel like it. You'll be glad you did.

Choose your attitude!
You can do this.
More next time,
Aunt Laya

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Update from Aunt Laya

Hi Everyone! I just thought you might like an update about the things that are going on for me this month.

First, my exciting news is that my book has won an award! It's called an Indie Award and it was for the Young Adult Non-fiction category. I'm pretty pleased. I wrote "You Don't Have to Learn Everything the Hard Way" to make life easier or smoother for readers. Based on the letters I get, the book is doing what I hoped it would. On the other hand, it's nice to be acknowledged by people who are in the book business.

I'll be going to California for the Book Expo America at the end of this month. It's a great event for networking and being involved with the publishing industry. I went last year and met some wonderful people. I came away with loads of books and that was a sweet benefit since I love to read.

If you are in southern California and would like me to come speak to your group, club, class, school, etc., go over to my website and send me a message with contact info and I'll do my best to set it up, schedule permitting. While you're in the neighborhood, feel free to tell me what's on your mind in general. I LOVE to hear from readers.

I'll write from the road when I can.

Aunt Laya

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Dusting" -- Please read

I received the following in an email from a friend. It is a real letter written by a real dad about a tragic loss in his life.

If you are a teen, PLEASE, take care of yourself and don't play with this. Write me if you want and I'll help you brainstorm alternatives.

If you are a parent, PLEASE, talk with your kids about this.

Many blessings to all of my readers for a beautiful, healthy, and wondrous spring. May great things blossom for each of you!

Aunt Laya

"D U S T I N G"

First, I'm going to tell you a little about me and my family. My name is Jeff. I am a Police Officer for a city which is known nationwide for its crime rate. We have a lot of gangs and drugs. At one point we were #2 in the nation in homicides per capita. I also have a police K-9 named Thor. He was certified in drugs and general duty. He retired at 3 years old because he was shot in the line of duty. He lives with us now and I still train with him because he likes it. I always liked the fact that there was no way to bring drugs into my house. Thor wouldn't allow it. He would tell on you. The reason I say this is so you understand that I know about drugs.

I have taught in schools about drugs. My wife asks all our kids at least once a week if they used any drugs. Makes them promise they won't.

I like building computers occasionally and started building a new one in February 2005. I also was working on some of my older computers. They were full of dust so on one of my trips to the computer store I bought a 3 pack of DUST OFF. Dust Off is a can of compressed air to blow dust off a computer. A few weeks later when I went to use one of them they were all used. I talked to my kids and my two sons both said they had used them on their computer and messing around with them. I yelled at them for wasting the 10 dollars I paid for them.

On February 28 I went back to the computer store. They didn't have the 3 pack which I had bought on sale so I bought a single jumbo can of Dust Off. I went home and set it down beside my computer. On March 1st, I left for work at 10 PM. Just before midnight my wife went down and kissed Kyle goodnight. At 5:30 am the next morning Kathy went downstairs to wake Kyle up for school, before she left for work. He was propped up in bed with his legs crossed and his head leaning over. She called to him a few times to get up .. He didn't move. He would sometimes tease her like this and pretend he fell back asleep. He was never easy to get up. She went in and shook his arm. He fell over. He was pale white and had the straw from the Dust Off can coming out of his mouth. He had the new can of Dust Off in his hands. Kyle was dead.

I am a police officer and I had never heard of this. My wife is a nurse and she had never heard of this. We later found out from the coroner, after the autopsy, that only the propellant from the can of Dust off was in his system. No other drugs. Kyle had died between midnight and 1 AM. I found out that using Dust Off is being done mostly by kids ages 9 through 15. They even have a name for it. It's called dusting. A take off from the Dust Off name. It gives them a slight high for about 10 seconds. It makes them dizzy. A boy who lives down the street from us showed Kyle how to do this about a month before. Kyle showed his best friend. Told him it was cool and it couldn't hurt you. It's just compressed air. It can't hurt you. His best friend said no.

Kyle was wrong. It's not just compressed air. It also contains a propellant called R2. It's a refrigerant like what is used in your refrigerator. It is a heavy gas, heavier than air. When you inhale it, it fills your lungs and keeps the good air, with oxygen, out that's why you feel dizzy, buzzed. It decreases the oxygen to your brain, to your heart. Kyle was right. It can't hurt you. IT KILLS YOU!

The horrible part about this is there is no warning. There is no level that kills you. It's not cumulative or an overdose; it can just go randomly, terribly wrong. Roll the dice and if your number comes up you die. IT'S NOT AN OVERDOSE. It's Russian Roulette. You don't die later. Or not feel good and say I've had too much. You usually die as you're breathing it in, if not, you die within 2 seconds of finishing "the hit." That's why the straw was still in Kyle's mouth when he died. Why his eyes were still open.

The experts want to call this huffing.. The kids don't believe its huffing. As adults we tend to lump many things together. But it doesn't fit here. And that's why it's more accepted. There is no chemical reaction, no strong odor. It doesn't follow the huffing signals. Kyle complained a few days before he died of his tongue hurting. It probably did. The propellant causes frostbite. If I had only known. It's easy to say hey, it's my life and I'll do what I want. But it isn't. Others are always affected. This has forever changed our family's life. I have a hole in my heart and soul that can never be fixed. The pain is so immense I can't describe it. There's nowhere to run from it. I cry all the time and I don't ever cry. I do what I'm supposed to do but I don't really care. My kids are messed up. One won't talk about it. The other will only sleep in our room at night. And my wife, I can't even describe how bad she is taking this. I thought we were safe because of Thor. I thought we were safe because we knew about drugs and talked to our kids about them.

After Kyle died another story came out. A probation Officer went to the school system next to ours to speak with a student. While there he found a student using Dust Off in the bathroom. This student told him about another student who also had some in his locker. This is a rather affluent school system. They will tell you they don't have a drug problem there. They don't even have a dare or plus program there. So rather than tell everyone about this "new" way of getting high they found, they hid it.

The probation officer told the media after Kyle's death and they, the school, then admitted to it. I know that if they would have told the media and I had heard, it wouldn't have been in my house.

We need to get this out of our homes and school computer labs. Using Dust Off isn't new and some "professionals" do know about. It jus t isn't talked about much, except by the kids. They all seem to know about it.

April 2nd was 1 month since Kyle died. April 5th would have been his 15th birthday. And every weekday I catch myself sitting on the living room couch at 2:30 in the afternoon and waiting to see him get off the bus. I know Kyle is in heaven but I can't help but wonder if I died and went to Hell.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


"A life spent in making mistakes is not only more honorable
but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." ~ George Bernard Shaw

Don't be afraid of making mistakes. It's one of the ways we learn. Learn from your mistakes and then move forward.

Dream your dreams, do the thing that gives your life meaning. If you're doing something that doesn't make your heart sing--in the big picture, nothing is always perfectly wonderful, there are challenges in even the best of choices--you can always change direction, change your mind, regroup, and move ahead in the direction you want to be moving!

One of the beautiful gifts that life experience brings is that each mistake you make shapes you. You have more experience and you get to make more choices from a position of deeper understanding.

Be true to you. (and be honest with yourself!)

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." ~ Albert Einstein

Keep shining!
Aunt Laya
photo (c) 2008, Laya Saul
This photo may be used with permission with a credit and link to this blog :-)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday, March 03, 2008

Mini workshop: $37.99 value, FREE!


What do you want to accomplish?

It's your life. What's important to you? Have you made your list?

Dream big, write it all down and then ask yourself, "If I could only do ONE of these things, which one would it be?" Now you know what's important to you, really important.

So how do you accomplish what you want?

Here are four pieces of the puzzle--four elements you need to get together:
Do you have right thinking? Do you believe in yourself? Do you know you are worth it?
Do you have what you need? If you don't, make a list and get it together. If you want to go rock climbing, you'll need the right equipment. What do you need? What do you need to get those tools together?
Do you know how to do what you need to do? Want to be in a triathlon? You gotta know how to swim. If you don't know how to swim, then even with goggles and the best attitude in the world you can't get in the water. No one can know how to do it all, that's where learning from others comes in: read, take a class, practice. This is called growing! (It's a good thing.)
Once you know what you want, believe you can accomplish it and have a strong desire, gather the tools you'll need, and learn the skills, you can take the steps to create your dreams. Break it down into small bite sized pieces. Create a time line or a new habit.
Be relentless. Move forward. If you fall--that's OK! Get back up. Take another step forward.

You CAN do this!
Aunt Laya

Friday, February 29, 2008

What do you REALLY want?

This is a most basic of questions. Ask yourself, "What do I want?"

There's a catchy phrase that says, "You've got to name it to claim it."

If you don't know where you're going, then you're wandering aimlessly. If you know where you want to go, then you can make a plan to get there. If you know what you want, then you can make a plan of action. A plan of action is as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. It can be as simple as noticing, "I'm hungry," as a start. Then you have to decide what you want to eat. A sandwich? What kind? What do I need to do to prepare it? Sound simple? It is a simple process but we are usually so busy with the small stuff that we haven't learned how to listen to the inner voice whispers your heart's desires. Do you remember the first time you cooked something "all by yourself?" It's a big accomplishment when a young kid cooks for the first time. If you're in new territory, go easy on yourself. Each step you take is a big accomplishment!

Now transfer that understanding to what's next in your life. Take one small goal that would mean a lot to you and break it down into small action steps. Don't try to do it all at once.

Q. How do you eat an elephant?
A. One bite at a time!

Small steps add up in big ways.

Goals don't have to be big, out-in-the-world things. Reading a book is one page at a time. Writing a book is also one page at a time. Filling in your photo album is one page at a time (or just gathering all you photos in to one place might be a start).

Sometimes it's hard to get to what you really want and talking things through with someone you trust is helpful. No one said you have to do this alone!

The idea here is: be honest with yourself about what you want. Dig deep. You're worth the effort. Then, take one step in that direction. Then, take another step.

You can do this! One small thing, right now... go!

Aunt Laya

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Women and Money, Free e-book for a short time!

I just got this email and downloaded the book so wanted to pass it along. If you're reading this post after the offer expires, I've left it on my blog on purpose, because anyone who is being that generous deserves the promotion.

Very limited time offer!
On Oprah (Wednesday) Suze Orman helped
a woman whose husband committed suicide
leaving her with 4 children, $72 in her checking
account, and piles and piles of debt.

At the program's conclusion Oprah said: go to, go to Suze's ($24.95) book

Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny

and download it (all 300 pages) for FREE.

Keep trying ... a very busy site.

You may only have hours left for the download and the deal is we may not share the file to others, so hurry!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

When people make you mad and frustrated...

Sometimes we are around people who act like real jerks. Feeling frustrated or mad or hurt is a part of life. It happens to everyone. No one likes feeling like that so how do we cut down on that time so we can spend more time in balance and pleasure? Here's a key that changed my life when I learned it!

Stick with me here--this may not be such an easy thing to wrap your brain around right away.

When someone is acting in a way that's not so nice, it means that they are in pain and what they really need is a blessing!

What does that mean? How do you bless someone? You say (out loud if you can but you don't have to) good wishes and words of kindness. This isn't always easy at first but neither was walking the first time you tried it and now you don't need to think about it, right? This takes less time that memorizing your times tables and it feels really great. You have to try this to know what I'm talking about. Here's how I apply it:

When someone cuts me off in traffic (something that I've always thought to be rude and dangerous), I have to tell you, I don't start off feeling all warm and fuzzy about blessing that person. I start talking anyway, usually something like this: "May you be blessed to get home safe and sound, may you enjoy time with your family, your children and even grandchildren. May you live a long life and have the privilege of seeing your grandchildren walk down the aisle!" Most of the time when I bless someone in this situation, they never even know about it! They don't need to know about it. By the time I get to the end of the blessing, I really mean every word of it and guess what? I feel better. I'm happier, balanced and I feel empowered.

Scientific studies have been done about prayer and healing that show how very effective it is. If prayer was a drug it would be for sale on the market. A blessing is like a prayer. It may or may not change the person you're blessing (I think it does) but for sure it changes the one speaking the blessing, in this case, you!

Here's another real life way I used this one. My husband and I were going to park in front of a lady's house. She didn't like the idea of all the cars on her street and made it really clear to us that the space in front of her house was not open to us. All she had to do was ask us not to park there--no problem. But, no, she had to start right away by yelling at us, a grown woman yelling at me! Crazy. I felt a rush of adrenaline when she started yelling. I started to say "Just ask, no problem," but she wouldn't hear it at all. So, I started to bless her. Out loud. She yelled over my words, so I closed my eyes and just kept on. She stopped yelling and just stood there looking at me as I went on with my blessing. Her eyes turned kind and she pointed just across the way and said, "that looks like an open spot right there." Now, maybe she thought I was crazy, but by the time we had parked and left, she stood smiling at us. We were both transformed.

You can use this with anyone in your life. Use it on yourself too! It is one of the most powerful tools ever.

May you be blessed to find kind words when you need them. May you be blessed to hear kind words when you need them the most. If you need a "love note", write me, it's what I do.

Aunt Laya

P.S. As always, if you think someone is dangerous, get away. You can bless them later from a distance. Stay safe. <3

With gratitude to and EmmiP for the photo!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What I've been up to...

Click Here! to see what I've been learning how to do. Please let me know what you think, how I can improve, what you'd like me to talk about... feel free to email me through my website for confidentiality.

My book is hot off the press and will be at Amazon ready for delivery before too long. I'm very excited about it and will keep you posted.

Meantime, remember that you DO have the power to create the life YOU want to live.

More soon,
Aunt Laya