A Pencil & A Dream!

Today is INTERNATIONAL LITERACY DAY!

Well, okay, technically it was yesterday, but I hit the publish button on this blog post a day late.

free

I’ve made a very important and personally significant decision today!

I have decided to donate a portion of every eBook I sell through my shiny new self-publishing platform Cloud Chaser Books! My paperback books will still be published by my publisher World Nouveau, but all my eBooks will, from this day forward be published by, well, me! Why would I become a self-published author when I already have a traditional publisher? Am I crazy? No.

I have a very good reason for making this monumental change.

You see, in the past few years, I have been looking for a charitable organization that I can get behind. One that I believe in wholeheartedly, and can donate to with confidence. One that directly contributes to the betterment of the human race, specifically in the area of education and literacy.

And finally, I found it!

Screen Shot 2016-09-09 at 11.26.26 AM.pngA business associate of mine has introduced me to an amazing organization called Pencils of Promise. They build schools for children in underprivileged areas around the world. They  believe every child should have access to quality education. They create schools, programs, and global communities around the common goal of education for all.

Below is a pic of just one of the 336 schools they have built as of Sept 2016. ☟

Screen Shot 2016-09-09 at 11.38.50 AM.png

What Makes Pencils of Promise so Different?


100% FOR-PURPOSE

Pencils of Promise is guided by a revolutionary “for-purpose” approach. Blending the head of a for-profit business with the heart of a humanitarian nonprofit, they rigorously measure the return on investment of every donor dollar they spend. “Joy and passion are great, but results are what we’re all about.”

100% DIRECT GIVING

Donors rarely know where their money goes, soPencils of Promise set out to change this. By covering their operational costs through private donors, events and companies, 100% of every dollar donated to PoP online goes directly into their programs to educate more children.

100% SUCCESS RATE

They don’t just build schools and move on, they monitor and evaluate every project they undertake. “Thus far, every school we’ve opened is fully operational and educating students daily.”

screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-11-32-31-am

So this is the organization I have chosen to support from now on. They build real schools, and now so do we. You and me! Because every time you buy an eBook from The LightBridge Legacy series or purchase The Saint of Carrington as a Christmas gift for an avid eBook reader, you will be helping to build a school and teach illiterate children to read… you will be giving a child a pencil, a place to learn, and a chance for a brighter future.

Let’s change the world together!

screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-11-22-06-am

If you want to know more about Pencils of Promise click the link below:

https://pencilsofpromise.org/programs/

Screen Shot 2016-09-09 at 11.24.16 AM.png screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-1-28-39-pm

How To Be The Hero Of Your Own Story – Part One

hero

Want to know the BEST ADVICE I’ve ever received as a writer AND as a human being?

Here it is:

Hero Of Story 2

Be the hero of your own story! Yes! For me that means living my life by all the same principles and doctrines I hold for my protagonists like:

  • Never giving up when the going gets tough.
  • Meeting every challenge with integrity, ingenuity, and creativity.
  • Saying yes to the adventure of life and helping the people I meet along the way as much as I can.
  • It means being fiercely loyal to my true friends, being there for them no matter what, and never giving up on them when it seems all hope is lost.
  • Using my head alongside my heart and never losing site of my dreams and goals, and always remembering why I set out on this glorious journey in the first place.
  • Being open to synchronicity, serendipity and the infinite realm of possibilities.
  • Using my intuition and trusting my gut even when everyone else thinks I’m crazy.
  • It means achieving what I set out to accomplish, but also giving myself permission to alter my course and change my mind if what I thought I set out to do turns into something else.
  • Tending to the needs of my soul, in addition to the needs of mind and body.
  • Having the courage to be who I am, even if that makes me a freak, a geek, or an alien from another planet.
  • Setting my intention to wake up every morning with gratitude and a positive attitude, and look for the good in every situation.
  • It means be brave, be strong, be honest, be compassionate, be patient …not only with others but also with myself.
  • AND it means that if I fall short in my ability to achieve any of these fine attributes on any given day, that I allow myself to be human, forgive myself for my mistakes, regroup if I need to, and then say “onward!”

Getting this advice, this grand challenge—to be the hero of my own story—had such an impact on me that I spent an entire year investigating what makes a hero, determined to uncover those distinct characteristics common to all (or at least most) of our heroes today.

So I researched heroes in their myriad forms (film, books, television, comic books, and of course, some of my real life heroes as well), to chronicle the various personality traits and attributes that make up this rare breed of human.

What I found changed me. I knew if I wanted to be the hero of my own story, I had to find a way to embody these qualities and live my life in an entirely new way. The transformation is still in progress, of course, but it is a worthy adventure.

So for the next few weeks, I will be sharing what I have learned about becoming extraordinary in our everyday lives and the little changes we can render along the way that will make a big difference.

See you soon. Part Two is coming up the next week.

Elayne G. James

Author of The LightBridge Legacy Series

Paying Attention to a Simple Moment Can Bring Vast Rewards

Timeline Master2

The greatest lessons in life sometimes come from the most unexpected places. One late afternoon, on a warm spring day, I sat with a friend of mine on a cliff in Palos Verdes, gazing out at the Pacific blue. Waiting for the sun to set, we sat in silence, feeling our separate worlds merge.

O   U   T       O   F       S   T   I   L   L   N   E   S   S

Out of the stillness my friend plucked a stone from the ground, pointed to a short wooden post about twenty feet away and said, “What do you want to bet I can hit that post?” I thought for a moment, eyeing the target and decided to bet against it. He threw the rock and missed. I laughed and flashed him a victorious smile. He smiled back just as triumphantly and then picked up another rock. I looked at him and said, “Wait a minute. You didn’t tell me you were going to keep trying.”  He gave me an incredulous look. “Did you really think I was going to give up after just one shot?” I thought about that for a moment. For my friend, quitting after only one attempt was inconceivable. “Well then,” I said, “I want to change my bet.”

I knew that if he had made up his mind to keep trying until he hit the post, there was a much greater chance he would succeed. I went from being fairly sure he would fail—given the size of the rock, the distance of the target and the rigorous winds on the cliff—to being almost positive he would succeed, and all it took was knowing that he wouldn’t give up until he accomplished his goal. 

From where I sat, the odds seemed to magically change the instant he picked up that second stone, and his steadfast determination made the logistics of the situation less of a determining factor in the outcome.

This simple exchange resounded in my mind for many days after, sinking into my psyche and eventually lodging firmly in the personal constellation of experiences that inform my philosophy on life.

A      S   I   N   G   L   E       M   O   M   E   N   T  

That single moment in time has been an ongoing source of strength and courage for me throughout the years and I draw on the experience every time I face a challenge with seemingly insurmountable odds or feel my belief in my dreams slipping away. Knowing that everything changes if you simply refuse to give up changes everything. And whenever I meet someone who faces a similar challenge I tell them this story. I have had many come back to me years later to say that, simple as it is, that little story changed their lives.

If you have a dream and those around you continually remind you the odds of success are slim, just smile and pick up another stone. Eventually, if you never give up, you will hit your target and those around you will change their tune… they might even say they “knew it all along.”

 S   T   A   Y        T   H   E       C   O   U   R   S   E

We all need reminders periodically, to reaffirm our future goals and keep on track with our core life dreams, especially in these challenging times. One way to remind yourself is to go searching for what I call a Dream Stone. Find a small round stone, without too much weight—one that fits perfectly in your closed palm—perhaps down by a river or the ocean, where the water has smoothed all its edges away, and carry it in your pocket whenever you need to be reminded of how the odds change when you make a commitment to “stay the course.” Let it remind you to keep moving forward, even if it means taking only tiny steps toward your goal (every step counts no matter how small). Let it remind you to believe in yourself and know that you will persevere against any and all odds. And when you come across people who share their dreams with you and then tell you the chances of that dream coming true are slim, you might be inspired to take the stone out of your pocket and share this story.

PS: Just in case you were wondering, my friend did eventually hit the pole with a notably larger rock and 23 subsequent attempts (yes, I counted). :~}

Elayne G James — Author of The LightBridge Series [www.LightBridgeLegacy.com]

Lessons From The Hobbits

Screen Shot 2012-12-13 at 9.16.20 PM

5 THINGS HOBBITS CAN TEACH US ABOUT LIVING & ACHIEVING OUR GOALS by Elayne G. James 

We are all on a journey in this worlda journey through life. We all have dreams and goals, hopes and fears, of where that journey might lead us. We are, in this way, bound together by the road that stretches out before us, and the fires that burn bright within us. And even with our vast cultural and personal differences, we all belong to the same family; the family of humanity. Within the Tolkien paradigm, there are secret clues woven into the fabric of each story, keys; if you will, to help us succeed in life no matter where it is that we are headed.

ONE • The only way to achieve your dreams is to step outside your doorto leave the safe environment of what is familiar to you and push beyond your comfort zone. Hobbits are very much comfort-seeking creatures who make every effort to avoid adversity and adventure. As it was said of Bilbo Baggins and indeed all hobbits, they were considered very respectable because they “never had any adventures or did anything unexpected.” But Bilbo does begin to act in a very unexpected way, as he is coerced by Gandolf into helping the dwarves, and he discovers in the course of his adventures that, as Gandalf says, there is “much more to him than even he realizes.”

The potential to discover that we are much more than we know, is in us all. But we must first venture outside and face the challenges of a new and unfamiliar world. Once we are free of the confines of our safe, everyday existence, we will begin to recognize courage and strength we never knew we had… and only by embracing these new-found qualities can we follow the path of our dreams and see them to fruition.

TWO • Be a loyal friend and gather loyal friends around you. Seek the companionship of like-minded individuals: those who will support your goals, believe in your dreams, and lend a hand along the way. A hobbit will tell you that true friends know when they are needed and never abandon a friend in their time of need, even when they ask you too. As Sam Gamgy said when Frodo told him he was continuing on alone; “Of course you are, and I’m going with you.”

One of the keys to a successful life and career is to create your own fellowship and remain faithful to that ideal. Gather a group of those you trust and turn to them for support and counsel in times of need. One will garner a higher respect by being vulnerable at times, exposing the less desirable sides of the self, such as fear and doubt, than if one appears to be strong and invincible. Deep inside, people can sense the inherent falsehood in the façade of invulnerability, which keeps comrades and confidants at a distance. One can only gain closeness, and in turn loyalty, through being fully human in the eyes of their friends and loved ones. Be real to your closest companions, let them see who you truly are, show that you need them, stand by them in their time of need, and your reward will be a shared deep and abiding respect.

THREE • In the pursuit of your dreams be fearless, but when fear comes, do not deny it. If you suppress your fear it will steal your strength and your faith in your path. As Boromir says to his hobbit companion, “we are all afraid, Frodo, but to let that fear drive us to destroy what hope we have…is madness!”

All of us feel fear at one time or another. It is an inevitable part of life’s journey. Hobbits teach us that in the face of fear, we can summon the reserves of courage deep within us. We can stand up to whatever frightens us. We can push past the fear and continue on our path. Know that fear is a passing emotion. It can only take hold and control you if you give it the power to alter your course. Hobbits never let fear alter their course. They will be the first to admit they are afraid, but they will never cower in the corner. Even when a hobbit does not feel brave, his actions will be brave. Fear only has the power you give it. Feel it and let it pass. Stay the course.

FOUR • Seek the counsel of those wiser than you. You are not alone on the path you have chosen, for those who have reached the places you seek, have gone before you. The journey may, at times, appear dark, but there are those who can shine a light on what is ahead of you. Find a mentor or an advisor that has achieved what you work toward. Hobbits know the value of counsel. They also know when to make their own decisions, despite the advice of their elders. Listen with an open mind, consider all points of view, but make course corrections based on what is right for you. Listen to your instincts. No one else can know what is truly best for your life and your path. Consult your own heart for direction. As every hobbit knows, it will guide you true.

FIVE • Be the hero of your own story. When a hobbit meets with obstacles in his path, he doesn’t just stop and give up, or turn around and go home. He wastes no time fretting about it or complaining; he simply gets to work on creating a solution. Go around the obstacle, under it, over it, through it. If one solution fails try another and another until something works. A hobbit never gives up and neither does a hero, nor do they let anyone or anything talk them out of their goal. If you believe with all your heart that the destination you have chosen is your destiny, don’t let anything throw you off your path for long. Detours are inevitable, yes, but temporary. Course corrections are occasionally necessary, but keep one eye on the goal, and do at least one thing every day to bring it closer, and you will get there.

Never give up. Even when things look hopeless and dark, there will come the light of day and you will persevere. When Frodo told Sam he wanted to give up, Sam answered by saying, “I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were…but in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”

Hold on to that something in your own life, and follow the hero’s path. It will see you through the darkest of times and into the light of your own dreams.