Friday, April 19, 2013

Canadian Author Dolores Ayotte

Welcome, Dolores! Is there a story behind your book, “I’m Not Perfect And It’s Okay ~ 13 Steps to a Happier Self”?

Yes…I have found that one of the most difficult things in life…for me and probably for many other people too…is to embrace our own weaknesses and shortcomings. Our basic human nature is created with faults, foibles, and frailties.  It is not to say that we don’t have many wonderful and desirable traits, but we seldom want to admit to some of the less complimentary ones, not even to ourselves.

I discovered that when I honestly acknowledge and embrace my own weaknesses, they actually have less power over me and my actions.  It’s when I refuse to admit my personal weaknesses that I actually fail at being the true Christian I desire to be.  In essence, the more aware I am of my flaws, the more able I am to control what I say and do. In doing so, it also helps me experience the essence of unconditional love, not only with others but with myself as well

It took me years to be honest and open about suffering from depression.  Depression doesn’t always fall into the same category or receive the same compassion that physical illnesses do.  Based on my experience, it is quite apparent to me that many people are still very reluctant to openly discuss that they suffer from depression because it is considered to be a form of mental illness.  I decided that it was time to “come clean” in order to help educate others in an effort to, not only help those who suffer from depression, but to better educate and inform people that are exposed to those who do. 

It has been this realization that sparked my decision to journey down the path of writing and I haven’t look back. I know in my heart it was the right way to go.

What started you on your writing journey?

I was in my late fifties when I wrote my first book. Over twenty-five years ago I attempted to write I’m Not Perfect And It’s Okay ~ Steps to a Happier Self. At that time, I had neither the experience nor the expertise to realistically offer any steps to a happier self.  My book is written in retrospect based on a proven recipe. I have incorporated each and every step into my life on a daily basis over the last several years.  Over time, I eventually figured out the steps I suggest for better life coping skills and then decided to put pen to paper and write my book. 

In the book itself, I actually explain and go into more depth as to why it took so long for me to complete. I also discuss how I came about revisiting this life long dream of mine.

 What distracts you from writing the easiest?

Although I very much enjoy writing and find it extremely therapeutic, I am now retired and so is my husband of 43 years. I have three married daughters, a ninth grandchild on the way, and an elderly mother who take up much of my time on a regular basis.  I consider this to be a positive thing as they are and have always been my first responsibilities.  God willing, I try my best to find the time to write, as well as read and review books.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

This took place so many years ago, that I’m sure many people will find it difficult to identify with…in retrospect it was more rebellious than quirky.  As students, we used to attend church services on a regular basis. In those days, the boys and girls were always segregated. In eleventh grade, at 16 years old, I started dating my husband. When we attended these church services, I always sat by his side on the all boys side of the church. That was almost fifty years ago. No one else dared to do such a thing and not one teacher or church official reprimanded me for it.  I’d have to say I was a little ahead of the times.   

Just for fun, what is your strangest habit?

I’m sure I have several; however, one of my strangest habits is that I still like to twirl my hair. I always did it as a young girl and I consider it to be a very relaxing habit which I enjoy when I’m alone.  During this time, I believe I do my “best thinking” because I am so relaxed. This little habit makes me laugh because it seems that it is a genetic thing…a couple of my young grandchildren engage in this same behavior to console themselves.  

 What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?

The pleasure I see on the faces of my grandchildren when we see each other.  Their faces reflect our love right back at us. It brings a smile to my face every time I think about them and their reaction to us.

How true!  What is your favorite season of the year?

Spring is my favorite season of the year. To me, it symbolizes “new life”. I always enjoy digging around in the garden and observing the perennials as they peek out from the soil after a long period of hibernation.  
Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?

I find that I seldom put off things I dread doing. In essence, I do the exact opposite. I usually do what I dread first in order to get it out of the way so that I can enjoy the rest of what I really like to do.
Where is your favorite place to travel or vacation in?

Mesa, Arizona is my favorite place to vacation because it is where my husband and I spend our winter months.  Last year, for the first time ever, we vacationed in Hawaii. It was incredible! 

We escape the winter in Florida. When you are with family and friends what's your favorite meal? 

Our favorite meal with friends is anything Italian. Pizza is at the top of our list of great foods.  Mexican food is a close second for me.
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  

Of the 13 tips that I share with my readers, the one I feel is of the most spiritual value is that of learning to love yourself.  During this very difficult stage of my life I not only suffered from depression.  At that time, I could hardly bring myself to look in the mirror and love what I saw in it…my own image.  I not only felt self loathing, I felt that others could not find much to love in me either.  Thus, first and foremost, I had to relearn to love myself instead of looking at my reflection in such a negative way…that of an utter failure. Due to my illness, I could not return to my teaching career and was at a major turning point in my life. It was necessary for me to figure things out. Therefore, this book is actually being written in retrospect.  I needed to live life first and then reflect back to better describe the choices I made along the way in order to have a full and rewarding existence.

As in all recipes, some ingredients are vital to the recipe and cannot be substituted.  In my book, I feel that the first step is the most essential in order to make this recipe work.  A lot of people are unhappy with themselves.  My recipe calls for admitting this fact if it applies and it stresses learning how to be happier with whom you really are rather than what you may want to be. It doesn’t mean to say that a person cannot grow but growth stems from an honest assessment of self.  This process requires some self-examination, a dose of truth serum, and the desire to move on from this point.  This could possibly be done by incorporating some of my recommendations into daily living.  When I have off days, which most of us do, I still refer to my own book and try my best to follow my own advice.            

Can you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.   

Matthew 22:36-40 36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
The concept that God is revealing to me in this season of my life is that by learning more about myself and what caused my depression in the first place (what I refer to as getting to the root of the problem) I have found a new image of a loving and merciful God.  I discovered that when I felt the least lovable, God actually loved me with such an abundant and unconditional love which sustained me through my whole ordeal.

Although, I never lost my faith, it was necessary for me to revisit some very old teachings and learn to know God in a new and healthier way.  By going back into my past to figure things out, I was able to accomplish my goal of overcoming my childhood teachings of fear and guilt.  In doing so, I was able to embrace and enhance my own healing process.  I discovered a strange kind of strength that one finds in the depth of despair.  It is in your darkest moments when you feel the true presence of God.  He is true to His word.  Most of us know the story of Footprints in the Sand.  There is not one ounce of doubt in my mind that God is there for all of us, satisfying our every need.  All we must do is admit that need.  “That man is perfect in faith who can come to God in the utter dearth of his feelings and desires, without a glow or an aspiration, with the weight of low thoughts, failure, neglects and wandering forgetfulness and say to Him, Thou Art my Refuge.” (George MacDonald)

 Yes…without my faith, I would have been nothing but a sinking ship.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

I have four books published thus far.  I hope to publish “A Woman’s Voice ~ Inspirational Short Stories ~ Volume II” sometime in 2013.  I do not have an exact date at this time. 

Thanks for sharing with us today! 

Connect with Dolores Ayotte at:

Dolores Ayotte is giving away a copy of I'm Not Perfect And It's OkayTo be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your e-mail address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.



Dana Wilkerson Spille said...

Love to win .Thanks for the offer .
Blessings ,Dana M Spille

Susan said...

I enjoyed learning more about Dolores! I have to say that every time she posts something on FB, it's an encouragement. I can tell she would be a total sweetheart just from "knowing" her from there!
sjbraun at hotmail dot com

apple blossom said...

sounds like a wonderful book thanks for the chance to win a copy

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Dolores Ayotte said...

Thank you once again for this wonderful opportunity!

Dana, Susan & apple blossom.
Thank you for leaving a comment...good luck in the draw! And...a special thank you to you Susan for being so supportive and encouraging on FB! I appreciate it. :)

Library Lady said...

I would love to win this book for my church library.
Thanks for the opportunity to do so.
Janet E.

Cindi A said...

Thanks for the opportunity to enter the contest.


Dolores Ayotte said...

Thank you Library Lady and Cindi...I'm honored! :)

Merry said...

I'm Not Perfect and It's Okay sounds like an encouraging book. Thanks for a chance to win it.
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

B. J. Robinson said...

I've read a couple of your books and found them very encouraging and inspiring. Great spotlight! BJ

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