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A homeless man strolled past me the other day as I filled up my vehicle with gas. Pushing a  shopping cart loaded with what appeared to be all his worldly possessions, the man was dirty, unshaven, and his long hair hadn’t likely seen a brush or comb in weeks. As I stood there, silently bitching about the cost of gasoline, I couldn’t help but wonder what tragedy had befallen him. Lay-off? Drug problem? Mortgage crisis? Mental health issues? The possibilities, in today’s world, seemed endless. Surely, I thought, this man had to be miserable.

Then, a funny thing happened.

He began to whistle.

Not just any whistle, but a heartfelt, Whistle While You Work kind of tune. Like he hadn’t a care in the world. Life was good. Nothing wrong.

There I stood, in Canada where I own a summer home, at five o’clock on a beautiful August morning, fed, clothed, loved and healthy, silently griping about the hundred-plus dollars it cost to fill up the beast that is my husband’s pick-up truck. Yes, I should have been the one whistling.

But I wasn’t.

And he was.

It’s all about attitude and Mr. Whistling Homeless Man could teach us all a thing or two.

© Robin Cain, 2012

http://www.robincain.com

An AWESOME blogger friend has passed on the Kreativ Blogger award to me and I’m deeply honored. When I consider her talent, I’m particularly flattered she would even think of me. Thank you, Guilie Castillo-Oriard.

Now pay attention, readers. Guilie is an amazing writer, so if you’re not following her, you’re completely missing out. From her short stories to her soon-to-be-published novel (yes, Guilie, I’m certain!), Guilie will touch your heart with her words. Trust me on this.

Here are two of her more recent publications at Fiction 365 :

Mischievous Moonlight
Faithless

So. Kreativ Blogger award.

Here is what’s involved, four hoops that I must jump through. The first, most important, is to thank my awarder and link to her (done, but in case you missed it: Guilie Castillo-Oriard.

Then I must answer these ten questions:

Ready, set, go –

What’s your favorite song?
Anyone who knows me knows the answer to this question. Well, favorite artist anyway – DAVE MATTHEWS! No brainer. Now, favorite song? Hmmm… so many from which to choose. American Baby? Sleep To Dream Her? Crash? Lover Lay Down? Nope, can’t pick just one. Kind of like walking into a Baskin Robbins. So many flavors, so little time…

What’s your favorite dessert?
Dessert, by its very name, is my favorite. Enough said.

What ticks you off?
Ah, another long list. Racism. Whiney people. Rudeness. Mean people. Being lied to. (That’s a BIG one!) Small minds. Entitlement attitudes. Pettiness. Laziness.

What do you do when you’re upset?
Really, really upset? Oh, that’s easy. I cry. My emotions reside under a very fine layer of skin, in a water-based solution. Sad, happy, upset, angry, touched? Expect me to get teary.

Which is your favorite pet?
Every pet I’ve ever had or currently own. Or even ones my friends have owned. I like animals nearly more than I like people.

Which do you prefer, black or white?
I actually much prefer shades of gray. Nothing is ever black or white, is it?

What’s your biggest fear?
Being unable to find a solution to a problem.

What’s your attitude, mostly?
I believe one’s happiness is their own responsibility, so my attitude is one of gratitude, optimism and hope.

What is perfection?
To find happiness in any given moment is perfection.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Spending money on myself.

10 random facts about myself (Drumroll, please…):

1) I have a very hard time with funerals. If it’s someone I loved dearly, I don’t want the ceremony to be my last memory. If it’s someone I knew casually, I’ll still sob harder than any relative present. It’s absolute torture for me and my presence can bring no one comfort. Too emotional, too much of a thinker, I just fall apart at the seams. I probably need some kind of therapy for this…

2) When I love someone, I love them forever. Love, by its very nature – at least in my heart – is just that kind of commitment.

3) I love my own company. Many people I know can’t stand being alone for more than a few hours. I, on the other hand, go into sensory overload after hours with more than a few people. Call me easily amused.

4) On that same note, I usually don’t mingle at parties. I pick one or two spots and stay there. I’ve discovered, by the end of the night, I’ve managed to speak to everyone who was interested and interesting. I despise small talk, so why inflict it on myself or others? Conversation should be driven by desire, not guilt or obligation.

5) I have a weakness for fine hotels and fabulous Sunday Brunches. Put the two together and I’m in nirvana.

6) I am a fanatical saver of paperwork. I have a 5-drawer filing cabinet, which, literally, contains the history of my life. In my defense, it’s saved not only my life on several occasions, but my husband’s, as well.

7) I hate to have my picture taken. I’m just NEVER pleased with the results. Want proof? Take a look at my driver’s license photo. Think Charlyse Theron in her MONSTER role…

8) I don’t believe inherited wealth is ever a good thing. Having never met a person whose ambition was improved by a trust, I don’t think parents passing along fortunes to their children are doing them any favors. And children who fight over parents’ estates just piss me off to no end… Entitlement is such an ugly word.

9) Don’t ever try to push my head under water. I will get inordinately angry and likely try to kill you. Don’t say your weren’t warned.

10) I rarely answer my phone. Text me, email me, leave me a message – I’ll get back to you as soon as I finish this thought. Promise.

And these are my nominees for the Kreativ Blogger award because they stand out to me for one reason or another.

In no particular order:

L.J. Sellers, one of the hardest working indie authors I know. She sets the bar for the rest of us.

Ben Shipley, truly one of the greatest wordsmiths I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. He honors me with his wisdom, insight and friendship. His encouragement ain’t bad either.

Bob Sanchez , one of my newly discovered ‘great authors’. He deserves a huge audience.

Rick Bylina, he entertains my writing group with his dry humor on nearly a daily basis, he’s a good writer and a darn good book reviewer.

Holly Michael, who has previously won this award, but deserves another shout-out for her talent and tenacity. Another great writer you might want to check out.

I expect none of you to pass this award along. My intent is to drive traffic to your site, not unduly burden you with work. Your option to keep it going – or not. If you do, here are the rules, as they were passed along to me:

— thank the awarder, link back to them
— answer the ten questions above
— share ten random facts about yourself
— pass it on to seven other bloggers (or as many as you have energy for. Don’t make me look like the only loser!)

Thank you for your attention. That is all.

P.S. No, this had nothing to do with solving all the world’s problems. …Or did it?

Solving all the world’s problems is a bit of a task, wouldn’t you say?  Therefore, today, and only today, I am going to do something a bit different. Something a little sexy…something a little naughty… just to see if you’re paying attention. I mean, who has time to read all these blogs anyway and can’t they just be fun for once?

I’m posting a condensed excerpt from my last book, When Dreams Bleed. One doesn’t have to know the entire story or even the characters. This is just meant as a tease, a little ‘sexy’ to liven up your day.  Hope you enjoy –

Warning: Contains graphic material

Upstairs packing for her red-eye flight and unable to decide on which pair of black slacks to take, she hears the doorbell ring. Not expecting anyone this time of night, she tightens the belt of her silk robe and goes to see who is at the door. Peering through the tiny peephole, she fully expects to find a stranger. But much to her surprise, it’s him.

It has been awhile since he’s come to her door like this. After having parted ways on a bad note, she came to realize their attraction and desire had become too great a strain on their individual lives. With so much at stake, she’d decided – albeit reluctantly – to give their anger some time to subside. And though she had understood the logic of it, in principle, she knew she would miss him desperately. She’d forced herself to play this game – pretending to be strong, acting like it didn’t matter – but she continually felt as if someone had stolen a part of her heart.

She makes one last adjustment to her robe, takes a deep breath before unfastening the lock and opening the door to greet him.

“Well, what brings you here, stranger?” She isn’t sure what’s expected in a situation like this. It’s been awhile since he’s come knocking at her door.

“Hi,” he says, looking part-man, part-boy, and very ill at ease. “Can I come in?”

She steps aside to let him in, detecting the smell of alcohol as he brushes past her. She begins to wonder if maybe this hasn’t all gone too far.

“Have I caught you at a bad time?” he asks, gesturing to her robe. He seems uncomfortable, a little unsteady on his feet.

“No, no, not at all. I just took a shower and was packing for my flight when I heard the door. Are you okay?”

“Yes, I just needed some company. I hope that’s okay. I know we – well, I – told you I wouldn’t do this anymore.”

“You’ve always been welcome.” She lets her admission linger between them. “What are you doing out on a night like this anyway?” 

“The streets aren’t too bad yet. I thought you might like a ride to the airport.”

She ignores his suggestion. “Can I get you something to drink? I’m having a quick glass of wine.”

“No, thanks. I’m good.”

He follows her into the kitchen where she pulls a glass from an overhead cabinet. Grabbing a bottle of wine out of the fridge, she pours herself a drink. He wants to join her – take the edge off – but he knows he can’t. He sits and simply watches. She moves around the kitchen, her nakedness scarcely concealed by her short robe, but eventually sits down on the bar stool by the counter and crosses her legs. Their slenderness and length tease his senses. He imagines them wrapped around his torso.

“So, it’s nice to see you…here..again. Is something wrong?” She gestures for him to take a seat, but he doesn’t move.

“I’m fine. I just needed to see you.”

His forthrightness is a welcome change from the past, but she sees the tired look in his eyes, his slightly rumpled clothes and tussled hair, and wonders what he’s thinking. He doesn’t look well – like a man with too much on his plate. She longs to reach out and hold him, wishing he could extinguish the uncertainty she sees in his eyes. The memory of the unhappiness they have created for each other takes center stage in her thoughts, chasing all the “bitch” out of her, despite all she wants to say. The desire that remains between them is painful.

“Is there something you want to talk about?” Already sensing what he’ll say, she takes a long slow sip of wine and hopes it will bring some courage and some calm.

“No, I just wanted to see you. I’ve missed you.” His eyes shift to the floor, uncertain if his words are welcome. He can no longer make sense of the rules. Self-imposed rules, he knows, but rules nonetheless.

These words of his create a familiar charge for her, giving birth to another generation of his butterflies, which now flutter feverishly in the pit of her stomach.

“I’ve missed you, too, but you know that.” Their bond has now made it damn near impossible to do without the other.

“I know. I’m sorry.”

With the distance between them seemingly impossible to cross, he continues to stand a few feet away, with his hands uncomfortably stuffed in his pants pockets. He wants to take her in his arms, but awkwardly unsure of himself for the first time, he stands very still, watching her fidget with her wine glass.

“Haven’t we had enough of sorry?” Their promises to each other have yet to be kept.

“Yes, I’m sor…I mean, yes.”

They laugh, in clumsy acknowledgement of their mutual discomfort. He moves to take the seat next to hers while she tries to get the conversation going in another direction.

“They’re predicting this rain could break a record.” Suddenly aware of how silly she must sound discussing the weather, she knows neither of them has ever been good at small talk.

“I think it’s already starting to,” he says, unable to focus on the words. He wonders if she’s as uncomfortable as he is and walks over to sit by her, nudging his bar stool farther from hers before taking a seat. She smirks and rolls her eyes.

“You don’t have to be afraid of me. I don’t bite.”

“I know. I just didn’t want you to think…” Unsure how to finish the sentence, he stands again and slides his chair to a point halfway between them. “There, how’s that?”

“Okay, stop. This is silly. We’re both adults,”

He nods and they both fall silent for a time.

“Is it really alright that I’m here?” He isn’t convinced that showing up unannounced at her front door this time of night, after all this time of their playing other roles, is, in fact, something she wants.

“Yes, of course.”

Her eyes reveal what her words will not. He sees the fire that once burned between them and knows it’s still very much alive. No longer giving a damn about the consequences, he can’t do without her for a moment longer. Reaching out to take a hold of her waist, he won’t let her pull away this time. The silk of her robe feels as wonderful as he imagined. He pulls her close, trying to imprint the sweet aroma of her hair into his senses.

“Damn, I’ve missed you.”

Both of them fully understand the questions that linger between them, just as they know there are no answers. Yet they willingly and silently agree to go forward. Their desire has waited too long. She takes his hand and slowly slides it underneath the hem of her robe. She closes her eyes and leans into his touch, doing so without reservation or regret. 

He hears the sharp intake of his own breath.

His hands trace a slow deliberate path up her thighs and they find her skin to be as soft as the silk she wears. She moves to stand, allowing her robe to part, her tanned and tones body now exposed. She reaches up for his face and leans in to softly kiss him.

His arms climb inside her open robe and wrap themselves around her nakedness. As his tongue begins to explore her mouth, his hands seek the firm roundness of her backside. When he pulls her tighter, he hears her quiet seductive moan.

Sweet Jesus.

Her robe acquiesces and slides off her shoulders, falling on the floor, creating a small black pool that surrounds her bare feet. She now stands completely naked and still before him, but she doesn’t shy away as she sees him stare at her hardening rosy-pink nipples. A slow covetous expression spreads across his face and she smiles.

Now unable and unwilling to stop the appetite of her own desires, she reaches out and slowly unfastens his belt buckle. He stands very still and allows her to take charge. The painful strain of his throbbing cock against the ever-tightening fabric of his pants will not allow him to even conceive of a valid reason to stop her now.

She sinks to her knees and guides him into the warmth of her mouth. She grazes the tight skin of his buttocks with her fingernails and hears him groan. With very deliberate calculated strokes, she caresses the tensed muscles of his powerful thighs. She looks up at him, gently cradling him with her hands and mouth, and gazing into his lust-filled eyes, she slowly teases him with the tip of her tongue. She loves the power she now possesses.

His heart pounds and his body aches as a rush begins to build up deep within him. He lowers himself onto his knees and lays her down to float in the silky black pool of her discarded robe beside him. His eager, hungry flesh seeks the wet warmth of sustenance she now offers between her quivering thighs. It is then that they wordlessly yield to the urgency of their illicit desires.

Some things are just too hard to do without.

2010, When Dreams Bleed

Got soap?

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the little bars of soap and bottles of shampoo which don’t get used after a hotel stay?

Did you know that impoverished people around the world die every day from acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease because they have no soap? Each year more than five million lives are lost to these diseases with the majority of deaths being among children less than five years old.

This is where http://www.CleanTheWorld.org comes in. This non-profit organization distributes recycled soap products, along with appropriate educational materials, to impoverished countries and to domestic homeless shelters worldwide.

Hotels all over the world are donating millions of pounds of discarded soaps and shampoo to this organization and in the process saving landfill space and fragile groundwater sources. Who knew that a simple bar of soap could do so much?

If you’d like to read about their mission and their success, please visit http://www.cleantheworld.org and see how one company is making a difference. Information on how you can help save the world – just one bar of soap at a time – is also available.

© 2010 Robin Cain, author of WHEN DREAMS BLEED

Today’s post is supplied by guest blogger, Logan Lindabury.

Sometimes you have bad days. Even the happiest of people experience bad days. To say that any one person is happy 100% of the time would be a lie. Even someone like myself, a happiness coach, has a bad day every now and then. It’s inevitable. And you know what? It makes us better people. It teaches us new lessons. It allows us to be more prepared for the future.

Because life isn’t always easy. The journey sometimes gets bumpy. Learning from the bad days helps us better enjoy the good ones. It helps us realize how great things are. It helps us overlook the negative aspects because we know we’ve seen worse. Or know that it could be worse.

So, fear now the bad days. Be ready for them. For they will come. And sometimes, they will be consecutive. It happens. I know. I’ve been there. I’m sure you have too. And when it happens, when you get one bad day after another, you begin to get tired.

And that’s okay. So sleep. Take a nap. Do something that is out of the ordinary. Go for a drive. Play a game. Talk to your family. Read a book. Do something. Do anything that you feel will ease the situation.

I had a bad day last week. And then I decided I wasn’t going to let that bad day be remembered as a bad day. I was going to learn from it. And I did.

I spent a lot of money on an advertisement that ended up having -100% return on investment. Meaning, of the $1500 I spent, not a single penny came in from that ad. And now, I have $1500 in debt on a credit card that I’ll be paying off for many months to come. Doesn’t sound like much. But remember, I’m a full time college student paying for college myself.

Pretty bad, right? Yes. But, some good can be extracted from it. There is at least one good aspect to every situation. You just have to know how to find it. That’s what I do. I help people find the good aspects in their lives.

So, what is the good part of my situation? For starters, I am going to build my credit. And that’s great because once school is over I am going to be buying companies, a house, and many other things. Many of which I will need loans for. And what do you need to get a loan? A good credit score.

Another good aspect of my situation is that I’ve learned a lesson. Well, I’ve reaffirmed a lesson I’ve known. Be prepared for the exact opposite of what you want to happen to happen. I was hoping for at least 27 people to buy the cheapest service I offer. That would cover the $1500 debt. I really thought that would happen because the ad went out to over 130,000 people.

But it didn’t happen. And I didn’t plan for it NOT to happen. Yes, pretty stupid. But I was excited. I still am, but now I’m more excited about my business and less about the ad.

Anyway, that’s enough about me. Let’s talk about you. You may not have had the same situation as me, but you’ve had a similar one. You’ve dealt with a situation where it seems like the only option is stress. Well, I’m here to tell you that Happiness Can Help.

Happiness Can Help you deal with any situation, no matter how bad, and come out with a level of satisfaction. Sometimes even with a smile. It may take some time before you get to that point; but you will get there. I’ve been in the shoes of not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. So I get it.

But get this, changing your mindset and focusing on the positive aspect of a situation makes you someone that people look at with awe. It makes you someone people admire. Someone people want to resemble. Why? Because you can be given complete negativity and still put a true smile on your face.

That’s something even you will be glad you can do, once you can do it. It’s just a matter of learning how to do it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
This article was written by Logan Lindabury. He helps people find happiness in their lives when they are having trouble doing so on their own. Do you want to enjoy your life? Do you want to find happiness no matter what happens? Then go to HappinessCanHelp.com and get started today.

Follow Logan Lindabury on Twitter: http://twitter.com/TalkToLogan
Stalk Logan Lindabury on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LoganLindabury

Some of the problems facing our world aren’t that complicated. With a little effort on everyone’s part, some things can be turned around. When you get up in the morning, consider that cup of coffee you reach for…

The Paradox Facing the Coffee Farmer Submitted by Bethany North

You may have noticed how increasingly expensive coffee is in the United States, whether it is a $4 cappuccino from Starbucks or a $12 pound bag of coffee from the grocery store. That being the case, it’s almost shocking to discover that the coffee farmer is being treated even more poorly, and some are having such a difficult time making ends meet that they are considering declaring bankruptcy.

Coffee farming is done mainly in third world countries along the equator. Many of these countries are already facing poverty, and the price and value of coffee beans has dropped significantly in the past several years. Coffee is actually the second most traded commodity in the world next to oil, and most recently, Vietnam as a coffee exporter has been pumping the market full of low quality Robusta coffee beans at a very cheap price. Most coffee lovers prefer the higher quality and gourmet Arabica coffee beans, yet they are often marked up as more expensive when sold in the United States. Since Vietnam has produced mass quantities of the lower quality Robusta coffee beans, it has significantly driven down coffee prices all over the world.

This news can be devastating for the average coffee farmer.

Of course, there is the concept of fair trade coffee, which guarantees a set wage for the coffee farmer. However, many people argue that fair trade coffee hurts the overall economic development of coffee farming communities since it omits the rule of supply and demand. The overall market price is very low for coffee right now, yet the fair trade guarantee of a set wage encourages even more people to become coffee farmers in third world countries. This guides people away from pursuing higher paying jobs to instead become coffee farmers, which results in more deforestation and more dependency upon the coffee cash crop as a nation.

Although fair trade coffee provides an excellent concept, it is still important for there to be fairness between the coffee giants in the United States and the poor coffee farmers in third world countries. There are many developing organizations out there hoping to provide this type of equality by encouraging higher standards in coffee farming to improve the value of coffee on the market. Furthermore, US coffee drinkers can do their part by purchasing from independent and local roasters, who are more prone to buy from independent coffee farmers instead of large coffee estates.

For a great selection of the Bunn home coffee maker, check out Bethany North’s website, The Coffee Bump.

Do you have an idea for solving the world’s problems? Submit your article to robin@robincain.com

Shameless self-promotion acceptable 🙂

In light of the catastrophic events which have unfolded the last many weeks in the Gulf of Mexico, one can’t help but wonder, “What on earth are we doing to our planet?” In keeping with my on-going series, Solving All The World’s Problems, author DiDi LeMay has stopped by to give us her thoughts.

What would you do to save the world? Submitted by DiDi LeMay

When I look at the world today, I think, what a tangled web we weave. Everywhere one looks, there is need of help. Be it in social justice, be in our community, be it in our environment.

Looking around me, I chose to help our environment, because if we don’t have clean air, clean water, trees, oceans and everything else our wonderful planet has to offer, what would it matter that there is social injustice or we don’t know how to communicate with each other.

We have lived a life of wasteful luxury. Using water as if there is an endless supply, using chemicals as if it doesn’t do anything to the air we breathe or creating a great big carbon footprint that stomps on nature in such a way, that it cannot help but be smothered. Where do we begin?

As a writer, I have chosen to tell an environmental story that we all can relate to. We share the earth not only with other human beings, but also with an array of beautiful animals and plants that need our help. We need to learn to co-exist and embrace the world around us. Not destroy it!

I put myself into the shoes of our fellow habitants- the animals and wondered what they thought of what we are doing to our environment. I chose to tell their story -the story of the environment through the eyes of the animals. How do they see what we humans are doing to the planet we all share?

My book, “A Winter Solstice Celebration”, even though originally written for children, has gotten the attention of adults who also get the message the animals are telling us. Let’s share!

I hope that through my writing, I do get the attention of all my fellow humans and that we all start to think about our actions and the consequences of them to the environment.

Find out more about “A Winter Solstice Celebration” at http://didilemay.com/

Anyone is welcome to submit their thoughts on my topic, Solving All The World’s Problems, by sending it to me: robin@robincain.com
Remember, shameless self-promotion is accepted at the end of the submission.