“No Experts Needed” with author Louise Lewis

By Lauren Smith | September 10, 2007


Lauren Smith: Tell us about the experiences that led you to write this book.

Louise Lewis: It all began just minutes after being “set free” (laid off) from my advertising sales job in high tech. I was a victim of the dotcom implosion. While sitting in the San Jose, CA, airport awaiting my flight home, I began to panic over my future — “where will I find a job when everyone is getting laid off?” I toyed with the idea of just allowing myself to fall…into a deep depression. As soon as the thought crossed my mind, I received words from Spirit: “This is just a new chapter,” Spirit said. “You hold the pen, I’ll guide your hand, and together we’ll write one hell of a chapter.” With a promise to follow Spirit’s words every day, I wrote down the events of my Spirit-led journey. The events that happened, the people that Spirit had me meet all contributed to the energy of the book growing and growing. One day, I realized that I just had to share my adventure with the world.

Lauren Smith: What was the biggest lesson you learned from all of this?

Louise Lewis: Of course, to follow the words of Spirit, but that means to get quiet. Turn inward. And listen. Through this practice, I now know that my security in life lies within me, and not with a job or in another person.

Lauren Smith: Why did you decide to write a book about it?

Louise Lewis: I did not have a choice. Sounds strange, I know. But I was given the question “what is the meaning of life?” to ask me, and told to write down what came out of the adventure of asking people the question. You’ve heard it before, but I must say that the book wrote itself.

Lauren Smith: What do you hope this book will do for readers?

Louise Lewis: The moment a person just hears or reads about my book on “the meaning of life,” a wonderful seed is planted in their heart, mind and soul. From there, with a little gardening, the seed will grow and help guide the person to find meaning on their own path. Additionally, with each turn of the page, the reader is given many true-life examples of how amazing things can happen to anyone, every day of their life, if they choose to listen and follow the messages being sent them.

Lauren Smith: How did you come to communicate with “Spirit” was it something you’d
always done?

Louise Lewis: I was raised to follow the Catholic religion. Instilled early on was the belief that Spirit is always with me. Unfortunately, I was a typical kid and not apt to listen to anyone…let alone Spirit. I was about 30 years old when life served up the pressing need to ask (and answer for myself) a lot of tough questions — what is Spirit? What role does Spirit play in my life? Through this continuing process, I got better at hearing Spirit’s words. It’s not easy. It takes a lot of time. But when you’re ready to stop running into brick walls in life, you know it’s time to do the work.

Topics: Personal Growth, Spirituality | 1 Comment »

“Waking Spirit” author Shirley Cheng

By Lauren Smith | August 12, 2007


Lauren Smith: Shirley tell us about your miracle…

Shirley Cheng: My mother said that my birth itself is a miracle; she is so blessed that God gave me to her. Quite a few miracles happened in my life. I was diagnosed with severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at only eleven months old. I spent my early years in constant pain, and knocked on death’s door several times. My mother took me to China six times in a period of ten years, and by doing so, she had saved my life, for American medications offered no relief for me. She even lost custody of me twice in America after disagreeing with doctors’ recommended treatments–treatments that would have sent me to my grave. Fortunately, God helped her win both custody cases. (Now I’m an advocate of parental rights in children’s medical care–when doctors ask yes or no, parents should have the right to say no.) Owing to years of hospitalization, I received no education until the age of eleven. I started schooling in a special education class in elementary school. Having been brought up in a Chinese-speaking, single-parent family with no influence on education, I only knew my ABCs and few simple English; I knew that two plus two equals four and that three times five is fifteen. Other than that, my book knowledge was non-existent. But because of my thirst for knowledge, I devoured everything that was taught and mostly self-taught myself how to read. So after about 180 days of attendance, I mastered grade level in all areas and entered a regular sixth grade class in middle school. I’ve received many academic, art, and literary awards. I lost my eyesight at the age of seventeen, but that did not stop me from moving forward. I completed my schoolwork using strictly cassettes and tape recorders (I listened to my assignments, and recorded down my answers, including essays, on tapes for my teachers to grade). I also wrote and balanced long chemistry formulas and equations in my head without Braille (I can’t use Braille due to my arthritis). My high school average is 97 ( 3.9 GPA). But I couldn’t accumulate enough credits to graduate, so I earned my GED diploma. I took the entire GED test, including math calculations and problem solving, graphs, and an essay, in my head, and received an exceptionally high score of 3280, for which I got a special recognition award. I became an author at age twenty and completed three books within one year. With the aid of a screen reader (computer software), I do everything on my own–writing, formatting my manuscripts, publishing, website designing/maintenance, promotion, etc. I know I couldn’t have done all this without my Heavenly Father and earthly mother!

Lauren Smith: Was there ever a time when you felt you couldn’t do something, when you felt your disabilities were really in control of your life?

Shirley Cheng: Obviously, I’d have to accept the fact that I am wheelchair-bound, so I am unable to walk, run, or dance, though I dance with my heart. I am unable to see with my eyes, but my heart tells me all it sees. I do have physical limitations–plenty of them–but the thing is that I find other avenues to explore so I can still love the life I live. My motto is, “Although I’m blind, I can see far and wide; even though I’m disabled, I can climb high mountains.” Do I let my disabilities stop me from living the life I love and going for the gold medals in life? You bet not! Not before, not now, not ever. Life is too important and precious; no way will I waste my life. So my answer to your question is no.

Lauren Smith: What led you to write this book?

Shirley Cheng: This may sound odd, but what first led me to write this book is actually the title. I’ve had the title “Waking Spirit” in mind for three or four years, but I had no where to use it. I was a new author back then with three books. When I was twenty-three, I decided to collect some of the writings I’ve created from the past year into a new book, and I wrote dozens of poems within two weeks. Shortly thereafter, Waking Spirit was born. So the title was a huge motivator.

Lauren Smith: What do you hope people get out of this book?

Shirley Cheng: After reading Waking Spirit, I hope people will feel blessed about living, and will appreciate life, and all that it has to offer, more. I hope people’s passion about nature wonders and animals and insects will awaken and deepen. Life is a miracle, so treasure it, value it, as much as you can!

Lauren Smith: What’s the one thing that surprised you about this publishing journey?

Shirley Cheng: How some people cannot follow the simplest directions! Well, okay, I wasn’t surprised about this since I knew this long before this publishing journey. I honestly cannot think of anything that surprised me, either good or bad.

Lauren Smith: You’re such an inspiration to others, is there someone who inspires you?

Shirley Cheng: My beloved mother Juliet Cheng is my inspiration. She is very wise and good, so she sets great examples to others on what being a good person is all about. She’s the cornerstone and light of my life; the foundation of my happiness, strength, and success, besides God, of course. She supports me in all that I do. I wouldn’t be here today if it hadn’t been for her.

Lauren Smith: What projects are you currently working on?

Shirley Cheng: I am publishing my fifth title, which is a parental rights advocacy book. I am working on my sixth title. It empowers others to empower themselves. True empowerment starts from within, and this book will act like a gentle nudge.

Lauren Smith: Besides writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

Shirley Cheng: I am a motivational speaker, so I love empowering, inspiring, and motivating others through my talks.

Lauren Smith: What is the next high mountain you’ll climb?

Shirley Cheng: The next high mountain I plan to climb is to get the eye surgery to hopefully restore my eyesight, then I hope to earn multiple science doctorates from Harvard University. I love life, so I want to learn as much as I can about life.

Lauren Smith: What advice would you like to give to others?

Shirley Cheng: Dance with your heart! When you dance with your heart, you are dancing using your heart, and you are dancing together with your heart, and as a result, you become a dancing heart yourself to lead others in your dance steps so they can dance with their hearts as well. Hopefully, the entire world can dance with their hearts by the end…

Lauren Smith: Is there anything you’d like to request from the readers of this interview?

Shirley Cheng: If you know any good eye surgeon who is both kind and skilled, please by all means let me know! If I can’t find Mr. Right, let me at least find Dr. Right! Please contact me via my site: http://www.shirleycheng.com

Thank you so much for giving me this great opportunity to share with others a bit of my life story. I’ve made it one of my life’s missions to touch as many people as I possibly can to bring humor, hope, and healing; this interview will help me fulfill my goal, for which I’m most appreciative.

Topics: Personal Growth | No Comments »

An Interview with the author of “You’re Only Young Twice”

By Lauren Smith | August 11, 2007

yoytcover.jpgLauren Smith: What motivated you to write this book?

Dr. Ronda Beaman: I wrote this book because I felt, and still feel, we are looking at aging through the wrong lens, instead of being appreciative, we are appalled. Too much emphasis is on what’s happening to our skin, instead of what should be happening to our spirit!

Lauren Smith: Tell us what’s your book about and why do you think it’s important

Dr. Ronda Beaman: “You’re Only Young Twice” is a book about becoming all you were meant to be, about celebrating the original gifts given to you on the day of your birth, including joy, humor, wonder, imagination, curiosity, music, resilience, and optimism and learning, again, how to use them benefit from them and die young…as late as possible!

Lauren Smith: What do you hope your book can do for others?

Dr. Ronda Beaman: I believe “Young Twice” can re-define OLD™ and could begin a movement of appreciation and thankfulness for the gift of a long life.

Lauren Smith: Can you give us some quick tips to reawaken our spirit?

Dr. Ronda Beaman: Right now, whoever you are and wherever you are, hum! That’s right, hum! People who hum live an average of 7 years longer than non-hummers, we are all meant to march to an inner drummer and sing our own song! Also, make yourself laugh, children laugh 300 times a day, adults, maybe 3…and laughter is a good workout, it moves the intestines, makes the heart beat faster, releases endorphins and makes you fun to be around, so you’ll attract some fun friends…all of which lift your spirit and re-engage your soul!

Lauren Smith: Is there such a thing as the fountain of youth?

Dr. Ronda Beaman: I believe there is a Fountain of truth..and this is it…you are lucky to be alive. At whatever age, whatever stage, you must celebrate your turn, make it a memorable day, each day, and grow young in the things that really matter; love, kindness, and worthwhile endeavors.

Lauren Smith: Do you ever get discouraged that we live in such an “age conscious” society?

Dr. Ronda Beaman: I am human, I teach at a university, I see everyday in front of me what my skin used to look like! But I try, everyday, to teach them to see what a young spirit looks like! I think as a society we are too prone to look at the surface level of things. There is a deeper, more meaningful layer, it isn’t as easy to access, but it is more valuable. So, rather than allow myself to be discouraged by how shallow things can be, I am constantly making myself encouraged to look beyond what the media and marketers pander..age, beauty, power, and promise are all unique and self defined…the more I can share that, the more encouraging I can be to others, the more we can begin to change the face of aging in this society.

Lauren Smith: What surprised you the most about the publishing process?

Dr. Ronda Beaman: I was surprised how welcoming, hopeful, and exciting it can be if you are really telling your truth and hoping to help others, there is always a market for that and someone who will believe in you.

Lauren Smith: So where to from here? What’s next for you?

Dr. Ronda Beaman: “You’re Only Young Twice” is now in print in 4 countries, I am traveling and doing interviews and workshops around the world and so many people come up to me and say that many people need my help reminding them how to be young once! So, I am in the process of working on a book about raising children in a society that stills want them to be little adults!

Topics: Personal Growth, Spirituality | No Comments »

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search…

By Lauren Smith | June 18, 2007

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search…Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia (Paperback)
by Elizabeth Gilbert (Author)
In buying this travelogue, I bought with the intention of joining along the author’s travels and ‘virtually traveling.’ I thought what a treat in in itself. She travels to Italy, India, and Indonesia.

Italy’s stories are just laugh out loud funny and so refreshing. The tales from India show a little more thoughtfulness as she is studying at a guru’s hideaway. And Indonesia is now winding down a year of fierce self study.

However throughout the entire book, the author has quite a delightful way of self reflecting thoughts and discussing some philosophical life questions in a light and playful manner that invites you to do the same. I found myself learning so much about myself and letting it plant little life questions in my head to ponder as I slept. Almost a subtle guide to philosophical and life questions we all should think about but never are triggered.

Loved it for the lightness, laughter, and thought-provoking discussions she brings to light. I read it with tremendous wonder.

Reviewer: J. A. Miller (Atlanta, GA United States) – Amazon.com

Topics: Travel | No Comments »

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