Positive Thinking Day

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Love is  a promise; fulfill it.” ~ Mother Theresa

Today is September 13th – Positive Thinking Day! Thirty-one years ago today my husband and I decided we would commit to each other in marriage and from that day forward I don’t think either of us has spent much time thinking it will not work. 

Like many couples we have had plenty of inconsequential differences and life has presented us with lots of challenges over the years, for sure! He, being the athlete with all the principles of dedication that that takes, has stayed the course. I, being the determined cuss that I am, do not give up on matters of heart and soul. 

I don’t completely understand his intense love of sports and hunting. He does not fully “get” my adoration for watching  the sunrise each and everyday. We value our time together and alone. Never the less, we have managed to work out our differences and remain steadfast and committed. 

 Our common values in life are what have kept us together for all these years and has made our married life fulfilling.  He is slightly more undeviating than me in political views, but, we are very much on the  same side of the political spectrum. Our opinions on parenting and raising a family were almost in sync and we both highly value loyalty, responsibility, doing the right thing, honesty and integrity. We are both, I would say, optimists and waste little time letting ourselves be dragged down. 

Happy Anniversary to Mo chuisle mo chroí ! I am positively, positive that my wish is to continue my fulfilling  journey through life with you. And I know you would wholeheartedly agree that the best thing that has come out of our pledge to each other is our son, who means the world to both of us.

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Feeding Minds through Film

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In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties.” ~ Henri Frederic Amiel

As predicted, the LunaFest,® on Friday night at the Bud Werner Library, www.steamboatlibrary.org had a fulfilling line-up of short films that were screened. Once I arrived at the film festival, I became aware that the LunaFest® is sponsored by LunaBars® –snack bars that are power-packed with vitamins and minerals that meet the needs of all women, and especially women on the go. “What woman is not on the go,” may I ask? 

Out of the 10 “shorts” that were shown, it is difficult to say which was my favorite. Each film had it’s own merits and an important issue that was brought to the fore. The producers and directors of the films were women from a diversity of countries and cultures. Americans, Brits, Israelis and Canadians were among the mix. The following is a list of films that were screened, and my interpretation of the issue that was highlighted in each film: 

  • The Translator – Communication between men & women.
  • Getting A Grip – Women competing in what is thought to be a man’s world.
  • Touch –  Guardian angels that appear in women’s lives.
  • Tightly Knit – Building community around common interests.
  • Top Spin – Women finding balance in their lives.
  • Thembi’s Diary – Global health issues (this film was artistically creative in how it incorporated textures and patterns with animation).
  • Mother of Many – Women’s health and parenting.
  • Irene – Adult children caring for aging parents.
  • Miracle Lady – Hope, life’s journey, enduring love
  • Love on the Line – Relationships and attraction. 

Each screenwriter, producer and director deserves to be recognized for having created a high-quality film that was chosen to be included in this festival. LunaBars®, a division of Clif Bar and Company http://bit.ly/fCXGKW is to be congratulated for their healthy alternative snack products and for the company’s vision of  raising money for breast cancer, through the power of film. This union between the corporate world and artistic expression, through filmmaking,  is an excellent example of bringing creative, effective marketing to the public and adding value to lives.

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Wanderlust

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 “After all these years…It’s better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe.” ~ Sophia Loren

Is it really half way through February? Already? It has been a very, very busy past several weeks filled with treks for this family of three. In my travels, I was accompanied by a group of writers, some from the Steamboat Writers Group http://bit.ly/gHUxik  and others from varied walks of life.  They joined me in exploring possibilities in this New Year of moving in a positive direction for:

  • personal fulfillment
  • career advancement
  • increased visibility for themselves and their businesses all through the power of e-commerce and e-marketing.

 I am pleased to report some have already begun to fulfill their dreams of writing their stories.

My husband was the most adventuresome. He trekked across 9 time zones and 18,000 miles into unknown territory and back! He was recruited to the coaching staff to lead team USA Alpine Skiers to the World University Games in Erzurum, Turkey. The athletes, six women and six men returned home to the U.S.A. with an unprecedented number of medals – 5 gold and 2 silver and lots of stories to tell of a country they had known nothing about. What a fulfilling trip for a coach who has been involved with training and educating athletes for so many years. 

The culmination of many, many months of planning led our son this week, into the atmosphere of co-hosting an international independent film festival. As Associate Director of the New Mexico International Film Festival, he was fully involved in the minutia of what he loves to do best –watch, discuss, judge and analyze independent films. There were so many logistical details to put into place in arranging a first year event. No blueprints to follow, no tried and true formulas, no maps to lead the way, only a good, hefty dose of energy and willingness to step into the unknown. I am sure he will have his share of tales to tell, too. 

 Each of us has our own interpretation of what brings personal fulfillment to our lives. How about you? Do you ever dare to strike out into territories of the unknown? It is the best way to broaden horizons and bring fulfilling experiences to our lives. What will tomorrow bring?

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Near and Dear to My Heart

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“Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” ~ Kevin Arnold 

On this Valentine’s Day, I thought I would write about a cause that is near and dear to the hearts of many. There are millions and millions of families affected by cancer each and every year. The number of books written by cancer survivors and by family members of the deceased helps us to realize that cancer directly or indirectly touches everyone’s hearts at some time in their lives. Books on this subject are helpful to others, because it brings to the forefront the enormity of the disease. Writing about cancer serves great purpose in fulfilling a need for survivors and family members to share their hurt, their physical and emotional trauma and sometimes, very happily, their triumph over the disease. By reading stories of others who have experienced the effects of this disease, it helps survivors and families realize that they are not alone.

Events such as The Race for Life raises awareness of the need to raise money for cancer research. Teams that participate in the annual Race for Life Relay, Nordic Style are dedicated to keeping the spirit of their loved one alive and to raising money for research. Amy’s Angels will be competing for a second year at the Trapp Family Lodge (of Sound of Music fame) www.trappfamily.com  in Stowe, Vermont, and defending their title as the top fundraising team. The Race for Life Relay, Nordic Style kicks off on March 19 and 20th, 2011. 

If you are unable to put together a team to compete in one of the Race for Life fundraising events, held across the country annually, but still wish to support cancer research or honor the spirit of a loved one that you have lost to cancer, please visit this link, and make your pledge to the American Cancer Society this Valentine’s Day. www.relayforlife/nordicstyle.org

I will be routing for the women on Amy’s Angels team come March from Steamboat Springs, CO. My friend, Amy whom I lost to breast cancer almost two years ago, is near and dear to me in spirit every day. Her legacy lies within the minds of hundreds of children that she educated, mentored and loved in her 30 years of teaching in Vermont.

 Go Amy’s Angels, go!

Melding Recreation with Culture, Art and Religion

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“Art seems to me to be above all a state of soul.”~ Marc Chagall 

Did you happen to see “Chautauque: An American Narrative” on PBS last night? I’ve been aware of this artist colony, located in Western New York, for quite sometime. However, the 60 minute documentary fulfilled my interest in wanting to know all kinds of things about this idyllic, lakeside town, their summer inhabitants and the programs offered by the Chautauque Institute that has existed since the late 1870’s. 

The Chautauque Institute has had it’s struggles over the years, but since the 1980’s a new vision for strengthening it’s programs in science, art, religion and politics has rejuvenated and elevated their institution to new levels. What began as a literary retreat back in 1878 now includes teaching programs, lecture series and live performances of theatre, opera, ballet. Studio experiences abound for painters, sculpture, fiber arts and even more. People come to immerse themselves in the intellectually and culturally stimulating programs for a week or two, or for an entire season. 

The institute’s popular morning lecture event attracts speakers such as Sandra Day O’Connor, David McCollough, Garrison Keiller and Daniel Pink. There are over 2,000 fulfilling programs in a 9 week period for those with a thirst for knowledge on the subjects of art, politics, spirituality and culture. 

Lake Chautauqua provides a setting for recreating in any way you please. Every summer, the town swells from a few hundred full-time residents to a population of 150,000 people. There are families, 5 generations deep, that return annually to enjoy the facilities and the recreation opportunities in this beautiful town and at this culturally-rich institute. For more information on the documentary film about this fulfilling summer hub of recreation, enrichment and intellectual stimulation, please visit http://bit.ly/gh9rTu.

 

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Hatched Blessings

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Faith is putting all your eggs in God’s basket, then counting your blessings before they hatch.” ~ Ramona C. Carroll 

As summer slips into fall, I have decided to look back just one more time to reflect on the blessings of the summer, my favorite season of all. Focusing on what is positive in our lives, helps us to live a life fulfilled. Ordinary occurrences can become extraordinary depending on how we view them. By concentrating on our blessings rather than our woes, we live in the present moment, enjoying life to the fullest. Some of the highlights of my summer included: 

  • Returning to childhood for one glorious day of floating down the Yampa River in a tube!
  • Witnessing our child graduate from DeSales University www.DeSales.edu  and recalling all the landmark steps in his life that came before it.
  • Participating in two fundraising events as a member of Kiwanis International. www.kiwanis.org. Knowing that Kiwanis will partner with Unicef to serve children all over the world through The Eliminate Project.
  • Learning that my husband has been invited to coach athletes at the World University Games this coming winter. What a thrill for him!
  • Eating peaches and sweet corn from Paradise, CO that rivals the summer produce I ate growing up in the state of Maryland. I didn’t think again in my life, I would find any as fine as that – but I have!
  • A return to Rocky Mountain National Park for one great day of sharing the splendorous sights with our son.
  • The opportunity to share with others, at several events, what independent publishing is all about.
  • Volunteering at Strings in the Mountains www.stringsinthemountains.org seeing some of the finest artists in the world perform right here in Steamboat Springs, CO.

It is time to say goodbye to summer and I can’t wait to see what a new season in my life has in store. I am sure it will be fulfilling, too.

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Crossing the Finish Line

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When the goal is in sight, all your physical pain disappears, and your mental determination shall carry you the rest of the way.” ~ Trey Patty 

At 6:30am, Saturday morning,  my fellow Kiwanians and I were perched by the side of the road at Rabbit Ears Pass. We were on the look out for athletes who where running in a relay race all the way from Fort Collins, CO to Steamboat Springs, CO – a 198 mile trek, over multi-mountain pass terrain!! 

Although participating in a race of athletic endurance is not something I can quite relate to – I can appreciate how each of these athletes were examples in courage and in not being stopped by the thought of defeat. Throughout my five hour stint of helping on the sidelines, I was inspired by a group of runners who despite extreme circumstances, had set personal goals, and had dreams of reaching the finish line first. 

Each of us has our own interpretation what is fulfilling, meaningful and satisfying in life. Whether you are an athlete struggling to cross the finish line, or a writer in the final stages of a book project, completing the task requires many of the same character traits.

 It takes passion, planning, motivation, enthusiasm, focus and a determined spirit to continue on despite challenges and setbacks. If you are a writer whose manuscript has been rejected through the traditional publishing world, don’t let rejection defeat you! Learn all you can about why your manuscript was rejected, take all the necessary steps to correct, rewrite, improve or enhance your writing. Don’t loose the passion for your manuscript. Use your enduring spirit to continue on. Always consider the alternative – independent publishing. That way, you can be in charge of the end result using those character traits that you already possess.

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