The Legend of Quito Road by Dwight Fryer

The Legend of Quito Road by Dwight Fryer

The Future seems to hold limited possibilities for Son Erby. The African-American child of a farm laborer in 1930’s Tennessee, his fate seems as certain as the sunset at day’s end. But when his father takes him to work at the Coleman farm and hands down the secret to making corn liquor, everything changes.

Moving from shadowed parlors of the wealthy Sawyer clan to the illegal activities in the woods along the Mississippi River, this perspective novel explores the roots of racism, and the dangerous power of secrets that will shatter every taboo in a sleepy town caught between the past and future. The Legend of Quito Road is a look at a bygone time, the sobering echoes of which can still be heard today.


In the scene below from The Legend of Quito Road, Papa Gill Erby, a religious man, teaches his only boy how to make illegal whiskey and keep secrets. Are there really many spiritual or physical differences in making crack cocaine or crystal meth today and white lightning yesterday?


“Now, Son, this is serious business, awful serious for a boy. Remember when we talked about the Ghost of Quito Road yesterday?”

“Yessuh, he was a runaway slave.”

“Son, I said that and plenty folks ‘round here know it. But they don’t talk it in public. I waited five years after we married befo’ I spoke with Sarah on this. Now, I’m telling you that the Ghost wasn’t just any man. He was my daddy, Gillam Hale.”

“Gillam Hale…” The boy paused while he processed it. “Papa, why’s your daddy’s name different than ours?”

“Well, I’ll tell you that long story after we get things set up. But, for now, I need to get a few things straight. Understand?”

“Yessuh, I do.”

“Son, remember, you promised. You know Sarah gone ask, but don’t you tell yo’ momma one thing. You hear me?”


“This week, we doing the same thing that made Gillam Hale a valuable slave to the white folks.” Papa Gill looked around as if someone else was there. One of the mules snorted. He whispered, “Me and you gone make whiskey this week on the Coleman place.”

“Whiskey?” the youth said, twisting his face.

“Yeah, that’s what we gonna do. We’ll fill every five-gallon jug in the back of this wagon with white-lightning whiskey.”

“Papa, we got twenty-five jugs! What’s Mr. Rafe and Mr. Conrad gone do with all that whiskey?”

“Sell it!” Papa Gill spat out. “They’ll probably get as much as six dollars a gallon off the whiskey we fixin’ to make.”

Papa Gill placed his left hand inside his overalls and a strained silence surrounded them from the naked roadside underbrush. Only the noises of the mule team’s hooves and the slicing sound from the steel-lined wagon wheels echoed along sandy Quito Road.

Son’s breath trails thickened in the winter air as he did the math in his head and pondered the economic possibilities.

On that farm, Mr. Conrad and Mr. Rafe Coleman raised cotton, sorghum and corn—corn so sweet that Son liked to eat it straight off the cob in the field during the summer months. You could use corn for feed or you could grind it into meal. But during this third week of December in 1932, thirteen-year-old Son Erby learned you could use corn for something else.

That week, Papa Gill taught his son to make white lightning like Gillam Hale had showed him. Making illegal corn liquor changed everything for that colored boy. Son was never the same. He learned a secret science and he learned it well.

Pick up a copy today at Amazon
ISBN-10: 1583147063
ISBN-13: 978-1583147061

Meet author Dwight Fryer
Dwight Fryer shares from his twenty-five years of business experience in leadership, technology, finance, accounting, marketing and publishing. He has written two critically acclaimed novels. The Legend of Quito Road and The Knees of Gullah Island. Dwight speaks about life, healthcare, business, leadership, history, literature, community and storytelling. The University of Memphis teaches The Legend of Quito Road in its Masters of Fine Arts Program in the English Department.

Dwight Fryer has inspired audiences at universities, corporations, schools, faith communities and nonprofit organizations. His passion is to help people do all they can to succeed and use his experiences to inspire others. Fryer was diagnosed with cancer two days after a 1998 layoff.   In 2001, the disease meningococcal meningitis took his youngest daughter’s life. He works as an advocate for immunization against bacterial meningitis with the National Meningitis Association. He survived a wreck caused by a driver under the influence. Contact him today for more details via email at  

POEM: Thankful by Doris Washington

Thankful  by Doris Washington

Let's be thankful for the times we come together
Not only for the holiday feast,
The Turkey,
The dressing,
And the pumpkin pie,
But also to cherish the time
In seeing each other again,
Till the time we come together-Again.

Let's be thankful
And remember it's the moments we share,
The Love we give,
The Love of family,
The Love of friends,
Near or far.

Let's be thankful for every moment,
For each day,
And remember as we give to others in need,
We too will be blessed.

For its the Love of family,
The Love of friends,
And the Love of Giving.

Let's Be-

Thankful copyright (c) Doris Washington, November 2010. All rights reserved.

About the Author/Poet
Doris Washington is a spiritual writer, author, poet, and disability advocate who resides in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with her husband and son John. Doris takes the inspiration from her poetry from an unfortunate incident that involved her 18-year-old son with autism, and two police officers in December 1993. This incident impacted Doris' life greatly. She was empowered to advocate for a statewide program for police officers to be aware of and recognize persons with special needs. And it was through this period of Doris' life her writing began.

Her son is her inspiration to write. She has written over 450 poems about her closeness with God, spirituality, autism awareness, inspirations, positive thinking, social issues in our world, and greetings. She is an entrepreneur of  DORIS' POEMS. She does poetry readings at nursing homes, and residential home facilities, churches, and the community. Her poems continue to inspire many. Her desire hopes that her poetry will be an inspiration for the world.

Lutishia Lovely - Voices of Thanksgiving AND Gratitude

Voices of Thanksgiving AND Gratitude
Lutishia Lovely 
 Lutishia Lovely grew up in a small Kansan town, and often had to rely on her own creativity and imagination for entertainment. Her childhood habit of long conversations with imaginary friends and fantasies of traveling the world have evolved into a satisfying career that allows her to indulge her passion for spontaneous jet-setting to parts unknown. She’s visited forty states and more than a dozen countries.
Since childhood, she’s also had a deep-seated belief that dreams can come true. This is what gave her the courage to take her self-published novel to a conference attended by 25,000 people, give one book to one editor, and get a book deal. She says that magic can only happen, when we believe…
What was your most memorable holiday from the past?
My favorite holiday memory is from when I was eight years old. Christmas was coming, yet on Christmas Eve, there were only two or three presents under the tree, and none of them had my name on them! I was VERY concerned, and shared this anxiety with my mother. "Well, maybe Santa won't come this year," she said. "You'll just have to go to bed and see what happens." I tossed and turned, but sleep finally came. Seconds after opening my eyes the next morning, I threw back the covers and flew into the living room! Presents abounded under the Christmas tree! "He came! Santa came!" I shouted to my parents. I was soooo excited! My parents beamed, as my joy became theirs.
I don't even remember what I got that Christmas, and I think it was the following year that I found out that Santa Claus's real name was Mama and Daddy. But that for one Christmas, I believed that anything was possible, and that a total stranger thought enough of me to drop off gifts at my house. It remains my favorite holiday memory. And I still believe...
How do you celebrate the holidays? 
What are the "traditions" for your family? For the past several holidays, I've begun making my own traditions. One of them is to give gifts to the homeless on Christmas morning, instead of receiving. Myself and a couple friends buy essentials and treats: socks, underwear, toiletries, etc., and also candy, toys and BOOKS, wrap them, load up the car, don a Santa hat, and drive around the streets of Los Angeles looking for people living on the street.
We don't go to organized places such as Salvation Army, rescue missions, etc. We find people sleeping on the street, tap them on their blanket, and when they come out from under the covers blinking away sleep, we smile, hold out the gift and say "Merry Christmas."   I can't tell you how special these people feel, and how much joy I've gotten from this inexpensive act. They've been some of the best Christmases of my life.
What are you most thankful for today? 
To be who I am, an awake, aware human being, and a published author! What message does all your books have in common? That Spirit is Love, and that while my books are about the drama in romantic relationships, our relationship with Spirit, and to who we really are, is the most important one of all. The miracle you're looking for is in your mirror. Website: 

Christmas with author Andrea Foy

Christmas with author Andrea Foy

Andrea Foy has over twenty years of customer service experience working for companies such as McDonald’s, Sears, Delta and USAir Airlines, American Express Financial Advisors the Federal Government. A graduate of Dayton’s Wright State University, she currently resides outside Dayton Ohio where she is attending grad school in Organizational Leadership and volunteers for her community. Visit the author's website:  
BPM:  What are you most thankful for today?
I am thankful for being a published author. It is one of the most challenging but rewarding things you can do in life. Being a self-published author puts you in complete control and it is nice.
BPM:  Tell us about your fondest holiday moment or event. Do you have Holiday rituals that absolutely, positively must be followed?
It is all about the food. I love eating my way through the holiday! I used to be a flight attendant and on what I thought would be my first Christmas away from home, I pulled an all nighter and got home by noon on Christmas day. That was considered the best present by my family.
BPM:   Do you have a favorite holiday menu, story or song? Share with us.
Menu – Turkey, sweet potatoes, homemade rolls, cranberry sauce. Story and song – The little drummer boy story and song.
BPM:   Tell us about your book, Hire Power: How to find, get, and keep a Job.
My book is a non-fiction book for the Mature YA, with tips on job hunting, customer service and working in general.
BPM:   Have you ever considered what kind of legacy you want to leave future generations?
I hope my book is used for future generations because they all need to learn.
BPM:   How may our readers contact you online and pick up your latest work?  and It is available as an e-book too, HERE
Follow me on Facebook:  and check out my Tweets at:
Hire Power by Andrea Foy
Hire Power  is a how-to guide that steps you through the process of landing the job you want—yes;  want—to knowing when to leave for better opportunities. Geared toward the workplace neophyte, this book provides insight for the experienced employee too.
In Hire Power you will learn:
• How to complete an application
• Appropriate and inappropriate attire for an interview
• How to deal with coworkers, bosses and customers
• Basic business etiquette
• How job performance can lead to great appraisals and promotions
How to find, get, and keep a Job
ISBN-10: 0981743692
ISBN-13: 978-0981743691

Christmas in Europe: A Blending of Cultures

       Christmas in Europe: A Blending of Cultures
By Carolyn Davenport-Moncel


I am African American and my husband is French American. After almost 15 years of marriage we've had to make a conscious commitment to blend our two very different cultures together so that our two daughters have a more complete appreciation for the Christmas season.  In the beginning while living in the United States, blending those traditions wasn't very hard to do.  However surprisingly, living overseas (first in France and now in Switzerland) has made this commitment a tad more challenging.  For one thing, we are both traditionalists so we had to learn how to compromise.  Below are some areas where we had to find common ground so that our children could enjoy two cultures and understand just how blessed they are to have an opportunity to experience both.

A Blending of Food
When we moved to France from Chicago almost ten years ago, you would have never met a woman more frustrated than me.  I couldn't find baking soda for gingerbread cookies or sweet potatoes for pies.  My mother-in-law had to explain to me that "condensed milk" (Eagle Brand) was actually "evaporated milk" (Milnot), and what I really wanted was "lait sucrée."  Whole turkey was not widely available and had to be pre-ordered months in advance; cranberries and blackstrap molasses didn't exist.  As timed passed and I met more long-time residents in Paris, I began to find the actual ingredients or acceptable substitutes needed to make my favorite holiday meals.  However, out of pure necessity, I learned to embrace some of foods that my in-laws considered holiday staples as well.  Since that time, I've even included many of those choices into my own menu.  Below is an example of a typical Christmas menu at our house:

1. Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
2. Fois Gras on Toast
3. Fresh Oysters
4. Roasted Duck or Pheasant with Cornbread Dressing
5. Macaroni and Cheese
6. Potatoes au Gratin
7. Sautéed Spinach
8. Cranberry Sauce with a splash of Grenadine Syrup and Lime
9. Ratatouille
10. Sweet Potato Pie, Caramel Cake, and Tarte aux Pommes
11. Brie or Camembert Cheese

Another notable change to our tradition was to serve our big Christmas meal on December 24 (the European way) instead of December 25.  In exchange, this allowed me to introduce another one of my family's traditions into the mix.  We now eat Chinese takeout on December 25 instead of December 24!

Cool Things Not to Miss at Christmas time in Paris

1. Shop at the Christmas Markets on Avenue Champs Elysées (There are nine others to choose from located all around the city).

2. Shop at Galleries de Lafayette (If you're brave, La Defénse is the closest thing Paris has to a shopping mall).

3. Ice skate at Hôtel de Ville

4. Eat macaroons and drink really tasty hot chocolate at Ladurée

Cool Things Not to Miss at Christmas time in Lausanne

1. Visit Christmas Markets on Place St-François and Place Pépinet.
2. Eat roasted chestnuts (Every major street has a vendor selling them)
3. Greet Santa Claus as he arrives by boat from Evian, France to Lac Léman
4. Watch the Changing of the Clock at Place de la Palud ( Watch video )
5. Go sledding at Le Chalet-a-Gobet

Encounters in Paris - A Collection of Short Stories
by Carolyn Moncel

Life is filled with random encounters and Ellery Roulet, a 35-year-old American PR executive living and working in Paris, has experienced enough of them to last five lifetimes.  When betrayal, loss, regrets and even acceptance enters Ellery's life at different times, she learns a great lesson:  it is not what one experiences, but how one chooses to deal with those experiences that shapes the soul within.  This bittersweet collection of tales shows just how messy and complicated life can be, and that sometimes there just aren't any neat and tidy solutions at all.  

Purchase Encounters in Paris
ISBN-10: 1453898212
ISBN-13: 978-1453898215              


About Carolyn Moncel
A virtual media and web consultant by day and author by night, Carolyn Davenport-Moncel moved to Paris from Chicago, her hometown, in 2001. She received her bachelor's degree in Communications from Loyola University.

Known for her online articles on media relations, Moncel owns MotionTemps, LLC, a Digital Project and Web Content Management firm with offices in Chicago, Paris and Geneva; and its subsidiary, Mondavé Communications, a media relations training and publishing company.  She has written, placed articles or been featured in such diverse publications as,, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Wired News, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Bonjour Paris, Café de la Soul, PrissyMag and Working Mother.  

She currently resides in Lausanne, Switzerland with her husband and two daughters.  Encounters in Paris is her first work of fiction.  Her latest collection is 5 Reasons to Leave a Lover - A Novella and Other Short Stories.  Three works are slated for 2012:  Geneva Nights - A Novel, Railway Confessions - A Collection of Short Stories and finally, and an untitled Young Adult Novel co-authored with her teenage daughter under the pen name Ella Swinton.  Carolyn Davenport-Moncel Website:

Article Contributed to Black Pearls Magazine by Minnie Estelle Miller
Founder, Writer, Essayist & Humanist Mz Minerva Publishing 

Left for Dead by Ebony Canion

Left for Dead by Ebony Canion

“Victory at all costs…in spite of all terror…however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.”  - Winston Churchill

Ebony Canion is no stranger to adversity. In fact, her countless traumatic experiences in her childhood and adulthood have molded her to be strong, resilient, and faithful, in short—a survivor.

But on that fateful day, June 30, 2012, her strength was tested more than ever before. Run over, then dragged for over two hundred feet, Ebony Canion was left for dead. She sustained multiple serious injuries and was in a coma for nearly two months. But keeping with the pattern of her life, Ebony’s spirit of faithfulness was bent but never
broken. And it was then, healing in the hospital, that Ebony decided to share her story with the world.

As an inspiration to all who know her, Ebony’s will to overcome, more importantly to survive, is unparalleled. She started a T-shirt company, Survival Story Tees, which empower others to let their scars tell their story. Ebony wants to show people all over the world that despite your scars—your journey and disappointments—they tell a story.

Ebony’s scars show that no matter what situation she is confronted with, she will survive. Her book, Left for Dead (Life Changing Books- Jan, 2014), will show that despite her many obstacles, she will never be defeated—she will survive.  Follow Ebony here at Survival Story:

Hit, then Dragged. Left for Dead: the Ebony Canion Story
Release date is Jan. 14, 2014 by Life Changing Books (LCB)
Order copies of Left for Dead:
For Booking or Interviews Email:

In this horrifying first-hand account, Ms Canion delivers a riveting story about overcoming tragedy and developing the will to live after numerous attacks on her life. Watch and share now:

Imagine having your innocence stolen at an early age by someone you trust, or struggling financially before even knowing the meaning of the word struggling. Ebony Canion has had her share of tumultuous events, yet even she was stunned when a speeding car hit her intentionally, dragging her through the streets with her body folded underneath the vehicle.

In a coma for nearly two months, Ebony had no idea her tongue and face had to be sewn back on, or the list of thirty other life-threatening injuries she had sustained. Ultimately, Ebony had been Left for Dead. In this horrifying first-hand account of a survivor, Ms. Canion delivers a riveting story about overcoming tragedy throughout her childhood, and developing the will to live after numerous attacks on her life.

Her strength to learn to walk, talk, and eat again will leave you spellbound and inspired. Her scars tell a story that must be heard and will have you never wanting to complain again.

Homeless for the Holidays By Alicia Singleton

Homeless for the Holidays
An American Family Epidemic

By Alicia Singleton

Firelight catches the Christmas tinsel in mid-dance, reflects its amber brilliance amid the bedazzled fir branches. Squeals of joy from children melds with their parent’s laughter. Families gather around the glow of the Menorah to give thanks. The seven principles of Kwanza renew a community’s spirit, its soul.  Tis the season for warm wishes, merriment, family, food and thanksgiving. But, for many American families, this holiday season is marred by a new found, depressing reality. Family homelessness. The statistics are staggering.

• Families comprise 40% of all who are homeless.

• 42% of homeless children are under the age of 6.

• According to the 2010 United States Conference of Mayors Report, family homelessness increased by 9%.

• Families with children comprise one of the fastest growing segments of the homeless population today.

• More than 15% of Americans live in poverty, including 1 in 5 children (22%), the highest rate in the
industrialized world.

The suspense thriller, Dark Side of Valor, delves into the harrowing world of teen homelessness. Lelia Freeman’s fictitious life of homelessness and tragedy are the real life experiences of many American teens.   With the aid of her community, Lelia’s story ends in triumph. There is hope for families as well as youth and teens battling homelessness. Youth and family shelters, organizations that aid families in crisis and ordinary citizens engaging in random acts of kindness need our help. American families need our help. Donate. Volunteer your time. Together, America can defeat family homelessness.

Meet Author Alicia Singleton
Alicia Singleton
, an award winning author, was born and raised in Philadelphia. The Howard University graduate embraced the written word at an early age. She credits this to her loving older sister. Alicia resides in Maryland with her wonderful husband and son. Still an avid reader, Alicia is currently at work on a new novel. Visit her website at

The Significance of Thanksgiving by CD Mohatta

The Significance of Thanksgiving
by CD Mohatta

Just imagine, what would be a world where there is no Thanksgiving. 'Thank you' are one of the most beautiful words in a dictionary. It is said that, gratitude may not be the greatest of all virtues, but it is surely the parent of all other virtues.

Thanksgiving is a day celebrated post harvest. It is a day when people worldwide thank God and give praises to him for the harvest received by them. It symbolizes the values of gratitude, love, respect and honor. It brings about the feeling of togetherness and care among the members of a family and a community. It is said, 'A family that prays together, stays together'.  A festival like Thanksgiving gives a reason for families to sit together, pray and thank God for his blessings. The Thanksgiving meal is the main part of the Thanksgiving celebration. It encourages families to sit together for a family dinner. It generates the feeling of harmony among families and communities; a trait that seems to be missing these days.

The traditional symbols like pumpkins, cranberry, corn, turkeys, etc. epitomize the festival of Thanksgiving further. They signify various things. There are various stories of Thanksgiving told by the elders to children on the day of Thanksgiving. Such practices are not only a ritual but they are also so much fun. Children get to learn more about their elders and it increases the bonding between family members. They bring the family close together. The family senses a feeling of mutual joy and pride. 

It also reminds them that God is always with them. It inculcates in them the values of never forgetting to come back to thank God no matter how happy they are in life. On day of Thanksgiving the family enjoys a lovely home cooked meal, as opposed to the other festivals when normally packed or canned food is ordered from restaurants. It not only makes them learn to believe in God but they also learn that the fruits of joy can only be attained with a combination of hard work and the blessings from God. In the absence of a festival like Thanksgiving, the world would be immensely missing on something worthwhile.  Article Source:

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Beating the Year-End Blues by Talayah Stovall

Beating the Year-End Blues 
by Talayah Stovall      
It is that time of year again - time for turkey eating, eggnog drinking and overall holiday cheer. It is the time of year when we show love to those people who are important in our lives and give thanks for our many blessings. Many of us will get caught up in all of the rich, caloric indulgences, the gift buying and the social gatherings that are guaranteed to occur. During this time, people find that there is more focus on relationships than at any other time of the year. And, that can be a mixed blessing.
For those who have a significant other, it is often a time of quiet moments to renew your love. For those with children, it might mean extending the budget a bit to accommodate those lovely trinkets that will light up the eyes of your little darling. For those who are not in a relationship, the holiday season often includes social activities with friends and extended family.
But often, we feel something is lacking in our lives even in the midst of all the merriment. For some of us, it means the holiday blues as we reflect on the past year and the things we might not have accomplished - the extra 20 pounds we didn't lose, the relationship that didn't materialize, the house we didn't buy. It is important for us, during those times of reflection, to acknowledge and appreciate all of the blessings - health, friendship, family, food and shelter - that have been heaped upon us.
Whatever your romantic relationship status, take the time to express love and appreciation for those who have played important roles in your life. Go a step beyond, and extend that warmth to people you know (or don't know) who might be alone during the holidays or whose Christmas stockings might be a bit emptier than yours. Helping those in need is a beautiful way for us to "pay forward" the love that God has shown to us.
A helpful exercise would be to actually list the things, from A to Z, that we are grateful for and/or the ways in which we can show love to others. Some tips to get you started:

A - The air that flows through our lungs daily without us even thinking about it. The ability to breathe, clean air is something we often take for granted.

B - Our daily bread. Few of us have the problem of wondering where our next meal will come from. In fact, most of us have the opposite problem - we ingest an abundance of food, often to our physical detriment. Take the time to consider helping to feed those who are less fortunate during the holidays, and perhaps even engaging in a short fast to detoxify your body and strengthen your relationship with God - which is the most important relationship in our lives.

C - Courage. Many of us have faced things that would have made others cower in fear. Yet, with faith and courage, we persevere through the storms of life, knowing that going "through" a valley means just that. We know that we will come out, stronger, on the other side.

Continue your list until you have written something for each letter of the alphabet (feel free to check the dictionary for help with "q" and "z"), then start on your A - Z list of how you can extend yourselves to others. You'll find that focusing more on your "haves" and less on your "have nots" will make you more appreciative of what God has blessed you with.
For all of us, married or single, the holidays should be a time of reflection, of giving thanks to God for his wonderful purpose in our lives and for looking forward to a fresh, new beginning. The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect on the things that are positive in one's life - family, friends, health - and to refocus on your goals for the coming year.

It is an exciting time to create a new beginning. Each new year provides a clean slate with new opportunities and a chance for greater focus on one's goals. Here's t
o a happy and prosperous holiday season!

About the Author
Talayah G. Stovall, Pres., TGrace, is an author, keynote speaker, radio host, life purpose coach and Managing Director of Vision Catalyst Consulting. For information on speaking or coaching, as well as her motivational audio CDs, "P.U.M.P. It UP! and 7 Secrets to Ignite Your Dreams, her book, Crossing the Threshold: Opening Your Door to Successful Relationships, eBook, 150 Important Questions You Should Ask Before You Say "I Do", or newsletter "EmPOWERed to...", please visit  Use Your Passion to Tap Into Your Purpose with Talayah G. Stovall,  Author, Speaker, Life Purpose Coach

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Making a Family Harvest Offering

Making a Family "Harvest Offering"
by Amy Wickstrom, PhD.
While at church, I picked up a parenting brochure that described a new, creative spin on using money jar for a family service project. For those of you who have tried to teach your children how to "give" in a culture that likes to "take," this may be just what you are looking for.

Making a "Harvest Offering"

1) Find a mason jar (or any other container) for your family to fill with spare change and dollar bills.

2) Decorate the jar together using glue, beads, stickers, pipe cleaners, or anything else you can think of. This will build enthusiasm and momentum for the family service project.

3) Explain to your children that you will be making a harvest offering to someone in need of extra money this fall. With Thanksgiving drawing near, it is a special time to think about all of the blessings your family has received, as well as how to give back to others. The money put into the jar will be used to do something special for a specific person or family. It could be a neighbor, homeless person, co-worker, relative, or friend.

4) Set to work on how to brainstorm ways to earn money for the jar. This might include a bake sale, searching pockets for loose change, selling toys that aren't being used, and doing "extras" around the house.

5) Brainstorm how the harvest offering funds can be used for the person or family in need. Some ideas include buying all of the groceries for Thanksgiving dinner for a family who wouldn't be able to afford one otherwise, sponsoring a child living in poverty (, or anonymously giving a Toys R Us gift card to a parent who cant afford to buy their child any Christmas presents this year.

6) As time passes and your family fills up the jar with money, be sure to talk about the joy of giving, the hard work it takes to earn money, and how the act of giving takes us outside of our comfort zone.

Enjoy making memories with your children as you work together toward a project geared toward someone else's benefit! 

Amy Wickstrom, PhD, Marriage and Family Therapist, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor. The play therapy blog at  More Than a Toy ( To order a pre-made Mason Jar for Fall Autumn Harvest Blessing,  go here today.

Make Every Day Thanksgiving Day


 "Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." - William Arthur Ward

"Whatever our individual troubles and challenges may be, it's important to pause every now and then to appreciate all that we have, on every level. We need to literally "count our blessings," give thanks for them, allow ourselves to enjoy them, and relish the experience of prosperity we already have." - Shakti Gawain

Thanksgiving is the most important holiday of the year.  Oh, sure, Christmas is grand, and I know it has many, many fans. I'm not knocking Christmas, but The Thanksgiving story is more important. And Easter has its fans, too. Rebirth is a wonderful thing, but I still say Thanksgiving is more important. Yes, kids jump for joy at the thought of Halloween. I am sure they enjoy the costumes almost as much as overdose on sugar and chocolate, but the Thanksgiving story is even more important.   Why?

Because the two most important words in the English language are  "Thank You"  - the ultimate in positive thinking. This is true for business success, for social pleasure, even for self-actualization.

For business success, a thank you tells a prospect or partner that you are appreciative of what she has just done and that you are happy with them. It shows you have a genuine interest in that person and the business relationship.

For social interaction, expressing gratitude is equally important to show how you value the other person and the social relationship you have with him. Thank you is a bonding phrase. But giving thanks is most important on a personal level for our own pursuit of happiness. This is true for anybody who has ever lived, but it is even more true for us today.

Make Every Day Thanksgiving Day
This list could keep growing, but these are the major benefits I am grateful for living in twenty-first century North America. What does that have to do with Thanksgiving Day and happiness?

Well, follow this train of thought. Whatever you have, you can either appreciate or not. If you appreciate it -- I mean really notice that you have it, that it is good, that you feel good about having it -- it will bring you happiness. However, if you get used to it, take it for granted, and focus on things you don't have, what you do have just won't bring you happiness.

Appreciation is the key to happiness. And daily appreciation is the key to daily happiness. Whatever you truly and proactively appreciate, whether "stuff" or education or a vacation, will bring you joy. But in this fast-paced, dog-eat-dog, over-stimulated society, how can we appreciate anything?

Sadly, many of us who have the most to be grateful for express gratitude the least and feel the least appreciation. It seems the more we have, the more we want. The more we want, the less we appreciate what we have. The less we appreciate, the less value there is to having anything, which may explain why we keep wanting more.

We who are drowning in luxuries and hold the world in our hands can't seem to find the time to appreciate what we have ... but we still make time to whine and complain. We still find things, however petty, to feed our negative thinking. How can we learn to appreciate our abundance and live a happy life?

The secret to feeling the appreciation we often overlook is in expressing our gratitude vocally or in writing.  How can we possibly fail to appreciate something when we say  "Thank you"  for it and focus our attention on the appreciation?

I offer several ideas on how to express gratitude in the Get Happy Workbook and my self-help book Climb your Stairway to Heaven: the 9 habits of maximum happiness, including keeping a gratitude journal, saying grace, practicing "bolsterism", or just sending flowers, cards, or a thankful e-mail message - to name just a few ideas. Perhaps the most useful of all ideas is to make Thanksgiving Day every day - and really feel the gratitude.

Christmas is important. Easter is important too. Halloween is important for the kids. But for our own personal happiness, there is nothing like a truly heartfelt Thanksgiving.

About the Author
David Leonhardt
is author of a self-help happiness book. He also runs a Liquid Vitamins Store and serves as a SEO/SEM website marketing consultant.

Sonja Lewis On BAN Radio Nov. 17 at 1pm EST

Intimate Conversation with Sonja Lewis

Sonja on BAN Radio Show with Ella Curry
Join us November 17, 2013 at 1:00pm  EST
Call 646.200.0402  or  listen here 

Author of The Barrenness and the Blindsided Prophet, Sonja Lewis has appeared on CNN and The Tom Joyner Morning Show. She has also been featured in Black Enterprise, and in the media in Canada and the United Kingdom.  A former reporter for The Albany Herald (Georgia), Sonja has also written for British newspaper The Guardian. Currently, she writes a blog for the Huffington Post, UK.  A member of the Society of Authors, Sonja lives in London with her husband, Paul.

The Blindsided Prophet  by Sonja Lewis

"Daughter, you have given birth to a child who will
see many things beyond what the rest of us see."

1980. Coffee, Georgia. A mass killing in a church claims the lives of twelve people. Isaiah Brown, a fourteen-year-old prophet, fails to predict the massacre, in which his mother and grandfather die.  After the killings, a blind and traumatized Isaiah flees the scene, disappearing into the woods.

Fifteen years later, at God's bidding, and able to see again in all senses, Isaiah returns to Coffee, to make reparation and free himself from his past.

There, he finds the people of Coffee on the brink of an even worse trauma than that experienced in 1980. Can Isaiah discover what was behind the original tragedy, and why he didn't foresee the event? Will he be able to prevent another impending tragedy? Or will he be blindsided by his love for one woman?

The Blindsided Prophet explores man's relationship with God and its effect on daily living. Also, the novel examines beliefs and values at the deepest level, as well as how they shape our thoughts, ideas, and experiences.

Available at most online retailers as a printed book or ebook, including: 
Barnes&Noble   |   |   Smashwords  |   GoodReads   |   Kobo   |   Sony   |   iTunes UK



The Blindsided Prophet by Sonja Lewis

Listen to the author reading:

The tall man freed himself of his friend’s hand on his shoulder and walked ahead. The shorter one stared at him for a few seconds, his cigar between his lips, and then he followed. Lydia waited until they were on the porch. They lingered there for longer than she wanted them to, both taking off their hats and looking out over the land. She moved back further behind the tree, and held her breath; when she thought they were inside, she shot back towards the woods. In her haste to get out of there, she slammed into a white boy, knocking him to the ground.

She tried to keep going, but he caught her leg, tripping her to the ground, too.

"Hey," he said, "who are you? Why are you trespassing on my property?"

She was just trying to free herself, but she noticed that his voice was distinctly southern and more refined than the other two men. When she finally stopped struggling and looked back, she was moved by his frightened green eyes in a way she had not been expecting. She seemed to have the same effect on him. He released her.

"You remind me of somebody," he said.

"Yeah, right," she said.

Still he gazed at her until she felt hot and uncomfortable. She lowered her eyes and pushed herself up to her feet. He stood, too, and brushed off his suit. Though he wasn’t even as tall as she was, he was quite handsome, with a head full of hair the color of hers. It was parted to one side.

"Who are you?" she asked.

"That's what I want to know about you."

"I come from the other side of the woods," she said.

 “A colored preacher lives on the other side of the creek,” he said, squinting.

This word “colored” stirred her violently, always did, even when her daddy referred to himself as colored. Wasn’t everybody colored? She swung around and walked off.

He ran behind her. "Whoa!"

"Whoa is for mules," she said.

"You are about as stubborn as one." He jumped into her path. “Why you mad?”

"If you don't know, that's your problem—not mine!"

 “It ain’t safe for you to be hanging out in these woods,” he said.

“And why is that?”

"I told you that you're trespassing." He scratched his head. She knew what he was thinking, but he didn’t have the guts to say it, so she said it for him.

"I am not afraid of the Ku Klux Klan." She swung her blondish brown hair around. "Why should I be?"

“You say your daddy is a colored man,” he said. “That means, ah . . .”

“Jess,” a man called out. “Jess, Uncle Rodney is about to head on back."

The look in his eyes had tensed up again. “You better go on,” he said.

She tore off running. She didn’t look back until she was on the other side of the creek. Her shoes were now ruined because she forgot to take them off at the creek. Her heart was hammering. Jess—his name was Jess. Was that short for Jesse? She turned thoughts of him over and over. She had never felt so mesmerized in the presence of a boy. She wondered if she would ever see him again. Would she pluck up her nerve to go back and seek him out? Suddenly she thought of her father. She would have to settle for thinking about Jess, hold him in her heart, for she could not go back to the other side of the woods. Not ever.
(  Continues...  )

 Copyright © 2013 by Sonja Lewis.   All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author.  This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.

Where to Buy The Blindsided Prophet

The Blindsided Prophet is available at online retailers as a printed book or ebook: 

Barnes&Noble   |   |   Smashwords  |   GoodReads   |   Kobo   |   Sony   |   iTunes UK

Negative Thinking: Monstrously Easy by Sonja Lewis

Negative Thinking: Monstrously Easy
by Sonja Lewis

Where do we get such negative ideas anyhow? As children, we pick up thoughts -- be they good, bad or indifferent -- from family, friends, television, and the most influential, interesting ones stay deep within our subconscious mind, many of them negative. Hypochondria and illness, for instance, have both been linked to negative thinking, as has stress.

As adults, we should just oust the negative thinking, right? That's the idea, but it's not so easy for a number of reasons. The main one is that most negative thoughts are planted before we have the capacity to discern between good and bad. To get rid of them is a bit like weeding. Until they are really uprooted, they are annoying.

Up until several weeks ago, I considered myself to be rather positive. Most folk that know me would agree. One friend stopped short of calling me a Pollyanna, but insisted that I had an answer for everything. Another likened me to a chirpy Cameron Diaz, always smiling.

So when the results of my positive-thinking campaign, relevant to my second novel, The Blindsided Prophet, suggested that I had one foot in the negative camp, I was horrified. My research also suggested that I find it much easier to produce negative thoughts than positive ones, and also to shirk responsibility for my circumstances.
Examples: waitress is prejudiced; person is self-centred; neighbour is unpleasant; head is aching; day is miserable etc. I am not saying that there aren't prejudiced waitresses, and so on, but there are often fewer of them than I think. And I'm not the only one. Surely, a day is never miserable? Perhaps the weather, the circumstances ... but the day just is.

According to author Harry Carpenter in The Genie Within: Your Subconscious Mind, the subconscious mind, responsible for ninety-two per cent of our thinking and doing, runs our lives until we are about three years old. Then, the conscious mind, responsible for the remainder of our brain function, emerges, but does not fully develop until we are about twenty.

What does this mean? Endless problems with willpower.
Frankly, the bigger and more powerful subconscious doesn't discern between real and imagined. It just operates from deep, yet dominant thoughts, even if they are negative.The conscious mind, with its eight per cent of logical will, cannot overrule the power broker, even when the biggie is clearly wrong.  When the two are in sync, this is willpower. You are single-minded. You win. When they clash, you are double-minded. You lose. That's when negative thoughts you didn't even know you had call the shots.

Worrying, isn't it? Yet another form of negative thinking, along with doubt, fear and the rest.
There is good news, however. Negative thinking can be overwritten, but this is no small task. Carpenter says your subconscious can become your genie within, instead of your master, but this takes some doing; more on that in another blog.

In the meantime, if you ask me, the subconscious, with all of its baggage, behaves more like a monster within. Unfair? On the contrary! Anyone who has ever jumped to a conclusion, obsessed over something that has nothing to do with anything, stayed down in the dumps just because, or done something utterly regrettable knows what I am talking about.

Cute and cuddly like the Cookie Monster, the monster within can be highly deceptive; like Herman Munster, it can be friendly but thick; and like his wife, Lily, it can be rather charming; similar to Frankenstein, it can be destructive; and at other times, like the Incredible Hulk, it can be scary and make you wonder who it is, and why it became like that.

In extreme situations, the monster can be out of control. We see this in terrorism, hate crimes, and so on. But I am not dealing with extreme situations, just everyday ones, where the monster can and should be put in check ... and, preferably, replaced with the genie. Several years ago, on a trip to the US, I gave my nephew a remote-controlled toy that he launched as and when he felt like it. My sister insisted that I had created a monster. The boy seemed to think about this toy all the time, to the chagrin of the rest of us.


Kicking the Habit of Sibling Rivalry by Sonja Lewis

Kicking the Habit of Sibling Rivalry  
by Sonja Lewis

Sonja Lewis HuffPost Article:

Adult sibling rivalry is not only childish, but, also, it is unnatural.

Don't misunderstand me! I know that adult siblings have disagreements. That's par for the course, but effective, grown-up conflict resolution is in order, as it is in any relationship.

Never mind the pundits who say that sibling rivalry, regardless of age, is natural and healthy and should be accepted as a norm.  Nonsense! Picking on a sibling and falling out over major or minor issues is stressful and can cause emotional and physical health problems -- headaches, heartaches, not to mention backside aches.

I should know; I am one of seven siblings. But at the risk of causing further rivalries, I'll refrain from airing our dirty spats and focus on dispelling the belief that adult siblings have a right, a license if you will, to hurt one another.  Far from it, as such licenses should never be given in the first place; but when and if they are, they ought to expire with adulthood.

So, why do so many adult siblings fight in the first place? Of course, for the same reasons they did when they were children.

1) History in the making. Since sibling relations have been written about, conflict has been evident. Think only of the Bible's dynamic duels. Remember the well-known stories: Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve who made history with the world's first murder; the brothers of Joseph, the sibs who stopped short of killing the younger brother, the dreamer, who was their father's favourite son; and Jacob and Esau, the Bible's first twins, who rivaled over Esau's birthright as eldest son.

Also, there are lesser-known rivalries such as Isaac and Ishmael, sons of Abraham, who had different mothers; and Absalom and Amnon, sons of David, who also had different mothers. In the first instance the older Ishmael mocked and teased his younger brother and was therefore sent away to live a less privileged life; Absalom and Amnon became enemies after Amnon raped Absalom's sister, his half-sister, Tamar. Eventually, Absalom killed his brother.

History, though extreme in the stories above, suggests that siblings are somehow predisposed to rivalry. So it continues with brothers and sisters today. Although they duel in far less extreme ways for the most part, their fights appear to not only follow history but also relate to genealogy.

2) I call this the parent common denominator factor. As in the Biblical examples, children are often jealous of one another because one or both parents have a favourite or are perceived as having one anyhow. A former boss often told the story, which of course she had been told, of her older brother trying to poke her eyes out when she was a baby.

To this end, The Guardian offered adult readers the opportunity to tell their own tales. One boy had cut up his sister's prized music and gym certificates; another told his sister that she was illegitimate. Yikes!

I can't remember any moments of jealousy in childhood per se, but I do remember as a teenager thinking that I had to look out for my younger sister and follow my older one. Stuck in the middle, I thought that adulthood would spring me from this trap.

Wrong, wrong, wrong! Once a middle child, always a middle child in the eyes of parents, who innocently insist that different folks with different strokes rap to the same beat. I don't think so!

When their children grow-up, parents still find themselves at the centre of their conflicts. But in this instance, the roles are likely to be reversed with the children now acting as guardians.

According to the 2009 National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP study, some 65 million people provide care with about 66 per cent of those taking care of someone aged 50 plus. In the UK, 6.4 million people provide voluntary care. Many of them care for elderly relatives, too.

No wonder almost everyone I know is either caring for an aging parent or knows someone who is.
And interestingly enough, those with siblings find themselves arguing about care.

The US based Family Caregiver Alliance attributes the friction to:
1) Legacy of family dynamics. Hence, the Biblical examples.
2) Denial over a parent's condition.
3) And the most cited of all is unequal division of caregiving. Not surprisingly!

Tough topics for any siblings but perhaps not cause for broken or strained relationships. Many siblings often treat each other with disdain, living outside of the norms of society.

They say and do things that they would never dream of doing to others. It's the old license to hurt. Ludicrous, isn't it?

As such the sibling who has been offended is expected to forgive all too often, just as she was taught in childhood. Make no mistake about it; I'm all for forgiveness but this is a learned, practiced behaviour, not automatic. If you don't believe me, try to forgive through osmosis.

If Joseph's brothers were operating in modern times, they'd be thrown into prison and therapy for many years.

And rightly so!

Thus, modern day sibs might give bad behaviour a second thought if consequences followed. If that isn't enough, health hazards should be. Worse, I'd say for all those who continue to commit offences, that they are the ones living with heavy hearts and over active minds, both recipes for disastrous health.

Finally, my advice to the millions of adult siblings throughout the world is to kick the habit.

1) Agree to disagree.
2) Consider, respect and tolerate others and their opinions.
3) And finally do unto others, as you would have them do unto you!

Sibling rivalry is not natural nor is it a God given right and should not be accepted as a norm. Congrats to those who understand this. For everyone else, it's time to ditch the expired license or suffer the consequences. Plain and simple!

Follow Sonja Lewis on Twitter: 

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EDC Creations has created three of the best book promotions packages on the market!  We are here to create a buzz around your book, services or products!  We've captured the reader’s attention after the successful Summer Sizzler Book Tour. The feedback is amazing. We plan to keep the reader's attention and increase their buying power by bringing them awesome online presentations, radio events and books that change lives!  You are invited into our world.  The world of EDC Creations Media Group…where readers and authors meet, connect and build lasting relationships!  
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