About Rowena

Hello, my name is Ro, and I believe that it is possible for you to turn your ordinary life into an extraordinary life - to find true happiness, while remaining, selfless, mindful and compassionate towards other living beings. Here at my blog, I interview and post articles by musicians, writers, world travelers, humanitarians and other amazing individuals who are doing just that. I also share with you various anecdotes about my own totally awesome existence as a musician, composer, journalist, environmentalist, and compassionati. My hope is to connect with you, enlighten you, inspire you and lead you down the path to true happiness. Compassion is always in fashion and it starts with you loving that most important of people, yourself.

January 16, 2011


Dare to reach your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.

Norman B. Rice

Rousing Rowena is a blog about living a meaningful and happy life.   Just having the opportunity to connect with my readers and potentially lead them down the path to true happiness, rocks my world.   Naturally writing my own blog on the subject of happiness inspires me to seek out other blogs on the subject.   In that regard, I have been following the blog Simple Steps . . . Real Change for awhile now and am delighted that its author Cheryl Maloney has agreed to this interview.  Cheryl also has an e-book out entitled Simple Steps Real Change - The Book that I am going to talk about with her here.

Ro:  Hello Cheryl, and thank you so very much for allowing me to interview you for my blog.

Cheryl: Ro, Thanks for the opportunity to meet your readers. 

Ro:  For those of my readers who have not read Simple Steps…Real Change, please introduce us to your blog.

Cheryl:  Simple Steps… Real Change was created about a year ago to help people focus on the positive aspects of life.  We all experience challenges.  When we look for the lessons that come with them, then even in the darkest times, we can see the light.  Simple Steps… Real Change is about taking it one step at a time.  We leave the complexities behind and focus on the one thing that moves us in a positive direction.

Ro:  You have a tremendous passion for helping others, and it is my understanding – that  Simple Steps...Real Change was born from that passion.    I talk a lot here on Rousing Rowena about seeking out and pursuing one’s passions as being integral in achieving happiness.  When and how did you first discover your passion for helping others?

Cheryl:  I think that I’ve always had the desire for helping others.  Whether it was my years in claims wanting to help others get their lives back on track, helping others find a career that played to their strengths or just being there for another person when they just needed a hand, that has always been my true nature.  I didn’t realize however that it was my passion or my calling until I started Simple Steps… Real Change and the need became apparent. 

Ro:  Your husband Jack is your partner in Simple Steps…Real Change.  Explain what it is like working with your husband, and his contributions to the blog?

Cheryl: Jack is the visually creative mastermind behind Simple Steps.  We’ve been married for 32 years and both work from home. We’re together 24/7 and for us that works.  I bounce everything that I write off of Jack. We both see the world just a bit differently and sharing those perspectives helps us be more encompassing in our blogs, videos and other ventures.

Ro: In your e-book Simple Steps Real Change – The Book the introduction begins: One day I woke up unemployed, overqualified, under qualified, financially and emotionally drained, overweight, over fifty and clueless about dealing with any of it.   Similar realizations cause many of us to become greatly miserable, sometimes we even become depressed.  Explain to my readers what happened and how this turned out to be a blessing in disguise?

Cheryl:   I lived in a very secure world, gainfully employed for over 20 years, living in excess, a job with a title, big salary and all the trappings and the next day I was out of a job and every thing that I thought defined my life was gone.  I had to step back, way back and take a good look at my life.  At the same time Jack was diagnosed with life altering illnesses and it was a one-two punch to my security.  It was in this time, at my lowest point, that I started writing and I found my voice.  The voice that told me that I not alone in what I was experiencing and that I also needed to reach my heart and soul out to others that were having similar live changing experiences.  The blessings come in the form of the 28000+ friends that are reaching out to others to do the same thing that I did in the beginning.  The ripple effect is humbling and exhilarating all at the same time.

Ro:  It is my understanding that Simple Steps…Real Change is based on five fundamental principles.   Please tell us what those principles are and how the process works?

Cheryl:  Simple Steps… Real Change contains the five principals that you note; “Believe in Yourself,” “Trust Your Instincts,” “What You Seek You Find,” “Happiness is a Personal Choice,” and “ Your Actions Determine Your Experience”.   Simplicity is found in the Law of Attraction.   For example when you believe in yourself and you trust yourself then you have positive experiences.  If you look for the good in life that is what you will find.  You choose to be happy or miserable.  And what you focus on is what you will experience.   By focusing on the positive and seeing the lessons in the challenges even the toughest times hold hope.  My book takes the reader through real life stories, including my own, and helps them use each Simple Step in their own life’s circumstances.  In each one the direction is to focus on the positive aspects of those experiences or the lessons. 

Ro:  Please also tell us about some of the – as you describe them – potholes that one might encounter along the way.

Cheryl: Potholes are those challenges in life that can swallow you if you let them or they can be a lesson in adaption.  Jack’s illnesses are potholes in life.  We have both used them however to ground ourselves with what is important.  It doesn’t matter any more if we don’t drive the car or live in the big house…it only matters that we live each moment in the now and love each other.

Ro:  How do you overcome them?

Cheryl:  I believe that we overcome the challenges by learning from them.  There isn’t a person on this earth that leads a “charmed life.”  Some people just deal with the potholes positively.  I gather my inspiration from those who have overcome unthinkable adversity and maintained the joy in life.  I talk in my book about Campbell, a gifted young athlete, who was paralyzed by a drunk driver.  She didn’t feel sorry for herself.  She took a horrible situation and used it to help others dealing with life’s illnesses and injuries.  She was a role model to others and to her caregivers.   When we look for what we can learn from the adversity we can then use the lesson to make our journey forward better.

Ro:  As I have explained, Rousing Rowena is a blog about living a meaningful and happy life.   All of us want to be happy, none of us want to suffer.   Are there any parting words that you would like to share with my readers at this time?

Cheryl:   Regardless of what life throws at us we have a choice to suffer and be brought down by it or to learn from it and rise above it.  That doesn’t mean that the process is instantaneous.  It is not about pasting on a happy face when you come face to face with life changing events.  We have to allow ourselves time to adapt or adjust to our circumstances.  When my Dad died this year we had to get to the “new normal.”  When we take responsibility for our happiness we gain the power to live a joyful life regardless of the challenges.    

Ro:  Again, thank you very much Cheryl for this interview.   I greatly admire how you have found your passion, are pursuing it, and have turned your ordinary life into an extraordinary life!   I will continue to read your blog and look forward to connecting with you again in the future. 

Cheryl:  Ro, Thank you for the opportunity to share Simple Steps… Real Change with your readers.  I am grateful for the opportunity and thrilled to have connected to all of you!

Ro’s Notes:

You can find out more about Cheryl and Jack Maloney at Simple Steps . . . Real ChangeI recommend the e-book Simple Steps Real Change - The Book as well.   Cheryl's blog is always an excellent read and I love Jack's Positive Word Video.   In keeping with Cheryl and Jack’s passion for helping others, you can download the book for free and it even comes with some very helpful work sheets! Also on their site I found some great wallpapers with inspirational quotes that you can use as wallpaper, here is one of them:

Now go out and live your extraordinary life and know that I love you!

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