Social Entrepreneurs

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Being successful and fulfilling your life’s purpose are not at all the same thing…” ~ Rick Warren

There is an NGO that All Things Fulfilling has been following for a few years called the BOMA project: Prosperity with Dignity. The BOMA Project has lifted North Kenyan women out of poverty by giving them entrepreneurial skills so they can help them selves. If you missed our previous blogs about the mission of this organization, please visit these links.

The founder of the BOMA Project, Kathleen Colson of Dorset, Vermont has been selected as a Rainer Arnhold Fellow. This prestigious fellowship is awarded yearly and it “is offered to 16-20 social entrepreneurs around the world who have promising solutions to the biggest problems that face developing nations.” 

Kathleen Colson1Colson’s vision and spirit, along with the partnerships she has fostered has lead to educational opportunity, advocacy, economic empowerment, leadership and training for women in a part of the world where poverty is widespread.

Today, I would simply like to say Congratulations to Colson and her “team” of people who have been so successful in lifting up 28,000 women and children out of extreme poverty by helping to launch 1380 micro-enterprises in Northern Kenya. The income and savings from the businesses are used to support 23,340 children and 4,668 adults. This group is just one of many NGO’s that have had fulfilling results in helping people in impoverished countries.

To learn more about the BOMA Project’s mission and accomplishments, there are several You Tube videos on the Boma Project Channel. http://bit.ly/1cvIz2d . Check them out.

In the future, I would like to highlight social entrepreneurship here in America on All Things Fulfilling. Please send me suggestions of undiscovered, worthy candidates who have done much to empower women in the U.S.A.  but have not yet reached celebrity spotlight status.

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Fulfilling Holiday Appetites

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Something about an old-fashioned Christmas is hard to forget.” ~Hugh Downs 

Isn’t it odd how we associate certain foods with certain people? My maternal Grandmother passed away when I was a very young child, but one of my most lucid, wonderful memories of her is the chicken stew she fed me when I went to her house. It was so delicious, right out of a can, heated up.  Thoughts of the stew, makes my mouth water. And my paternal grandmother’s greatest joy in life was feeding others. Her basement pantry was large. My sister and I loved going in her cellar to see what was stocked. 

When I was a child, our neighbors found personal fulfillment in “gifting” home baked food at Christmastime. HomemadeChristmas in a jar root beer arrived each year from the family next door. Other neighbors sent cookies, date nut bread or a can of pickled beets or green beans from the garden. My mother always gave back,  something a little different each year – to surprise. This type of gift giving is fun, economical and it  “feels good” because it comes from the heart.  It is  just one way of  how we form  associations of certain foods with certain people.

Christmas has gotten so commercialized and out of control. Need some suggestions of homemade gifts to give someone? Here is a list of one hundred. Some of these gifts can be made by getting children involved in the process, providing quality time between parent and child. http://bit.ly/ZdmMqE

goulasch-with-spaetzleAt our house,  Christmas Eve dinner is a recipe that was passed along from my maternal grandmother.  “Spiced Beef” with spaetzle or egg noodles. I cook it for my husband and my son just once a year so it is special. There would be trouble in the house, if it wasn’t on the Christmas Eve table. Since cooking is not one of my passions, (although I do enjoy baking), it brings me great joy to think that a few recipes that I have fed my family over the years brings them fulfilling feelings during the holidays. It is really what Christmas is all about.

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Personal Stories: Breathings of the Heart

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Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” ~William Wordsworth 

Dear Santa, 

It has been many, many years since I have sent a letter to you in the North Pole. I want you to know I am grateful for the gifts that I have received throughout my life. I have much to be appreciative for and many of the gifts you have given me have been even grander than I could ever have dreamed. Sometimes, I don’t even realize how meaningful the gifts have been until long after they have been received. 

This year, I have a special request for Christmas. I would appreciate it if you would do what you possibly can to fulfill my gift wish list. I do understand if there are things that you can not give me, perhaps the timing is not right. I recognize you often get requests from people who should work on getting the gifts themselves. 

Several months ago, I embarked on telling my story. That’s right, I am writing a book. I have only just begun, so in order to complete my task, I need your elves to help me out. Hopefully, they will have the necessary tools and materials to help me construct what I am asking for. I will try to describe what I need, as best as I can. 

  • Perseverance and patience – bring the biggest boxes of  those items that you have!
  • Insight – I may need a shovel to go along with that. I might have to dig deep.
  • A dictionary or thesaurus to help me find the right words when I need them.
  • Some smart, independent -type publishing people. Maybe we can teach each other a thing or two. It often goes both ways.
  • A long lasting light bulb,  for internal use, to illuminate my mind. A new socket might help too.
  • Three strong signs – stop, go and proceed with caution. Send instructions along. I will  read them so I know which sign to follow before I go down the wrong path.
  • An energizer bunny to show me how to go on and on, so I can finish what I start.
  • If you give me a gift card for these things, please make sure it does not have an expiration date. I may need these things, and you, longer than I think to get this job done. 

P.S. Santa, if my requests are too great, please, no switches or coal. Just send my requests further north.  Maybe we have the same boss and perhaps he can help us both out.  Next year I will be back in touch. I promise I will work real hard with what you give me. When it is done, I want you to read my story and tell others what I did with the gifts. My requests, I hope, will be beneficial and fulfilling to you, too. Everyone needs a raise in life. 

 I’ll leave a carrot for the reindeer under the tree and something for you, too. Merry Christmas and have a Jolly New Year.

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Art Appearing on Boughs

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The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands.’  ~Robert M. Pirsig 

It is surely nearing Christmas time! When the Kiwanis Club of Steamboat begins selling their annual ornament at places around town, the holidays are drawing close. Beginning this weekend, the ornament will be available for buying. 

Our club’s major fundraising campaign is selling ornaments. From the proceeds we buy gifts for needy children at Christmas time, provide funding to send children to science camp, provide “Where to Worship” brochures for people visiting the area. We can be proud of our other random acts of service in our home town, too. 

This year, a talented and nationally known artist, Jean Perry helped us in fulfilling our interest in decorating the ornaments a little differently this year. Jean gave permission to Kiwanis to use an image of her painting “Fish Creek Falls” to embellish the bauble. 

It is a fair trade! Many visitors to the area purchase the ornaments in commemoration of their trip to Steamboat. They will take them as gifts to family and friends in other States, too. The ornaments will hang on boughs of Christmas trees far beyond Steamboat Springs,Colorado and people will become acquainted with the artist’s work. Good deal! 

Kiwanis of Steamboat is grateful to painter Jean Perry for her generosity in sharing her art, so that as a Club, we can “serve children of the world.” For more information on the artist, please visit www.JeanPerryStudio.com.

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Landscapes, Seascapes and TableScapes

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Art allows us to lose ourselves and find ourselves at the same time.” ~Thomas Merton 

A mix of business and pleasure took me on the road over the past few weeks. I saw landscapes and seascapes far different than what the magnificent Northwest Mountains of Colorado have to offer! 

I like to explore all different kinds of art in Steamboat and in other towns, too. I came across a “Scape” of a different kind in the historic and artsy town of Frederick, Maryland. I visited The Little Pottery Shop and I learned about the wonderful art of Table Scapes. 

The Little Pottery Shop http://bit.ly/tdNhBT  is not only a retail establishment, but it also has a studio for creating handcrafted pottery. The artisans had teamed up with The Loft at AI, an antiques gallery next door, to showcase the displays of their pottery, both hand built and thrown on the wheel. The TableScapes were a feast for the eye! It was like browsing through the “I Spy Books.” Antique drawer knobs and other baubles were adapted for napkin rings, the table linens, glassware, chairs, candleholders, flower vases and other ornamentation all contributed to the overall visual effects. Each table beautifully carried out the theme and other accessories helped create the scene. http://bit.ly/hA0U1s

There were 12 enchanting TableScapes:

  • The EnchantedForest
  • Made in Maryland
  • Scare-tacular Table
  • A Walk inProvence
  • The Wedding to Remember
  • Christmas Memories
  • Thanksgiving Turkey Table Talk
  • Indian Treasures Table
  • A Day at the Beach
  • The Madhatter
  • Down on the Farm
  • Serving up the Stew 

No matter where people travel, in this country or worldwide, there are artists everywhere providing personally fulfilling opportunities for people to learn more about art. It’s available in rural hamlets, in cities and everywhere in between. Don’t miss out!

 Made in Maryland TableScape

 A Day at the Beach TableScape

To  see more tablescape photos, please visit http://bit.ly/hA0U1s.

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Book Selling Opportunities

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“You don’t get harmony when everybody
sings the same note
.” ~Doug Floyd

There is a misconception that once an author finishes his book, the work is done. In truth, the work has just begun. Promotion and
marketing is even more important than the writing of the narrative, if an author is to successfully sell. Even in the traditional publishing world, authors are more often being called into action to fulfill the duties of promoting and marketing their own book.

It is important that independent publishers think beyond book signing appearances at libraries and bookstores. Although those are appropriate venues for bookselling, there are many more opportunities that exist.

 Last weekend, I attended a fall food and wine festival at the Bethesda Co-op – A Natural Foods Market in Bethesda, Maryland. http://bit.ly/nDoCoB. My niece works there and she wanted me to see where she works. As I strolled through the outside tents of food and wine sampling the goods, I came across an author, Judith Welles, selling her book. It is a regional publication called “Cabin John: Legends and Life in an Uncommon   Place. www.judithwelles.com. The book is full of mystery and history of the area known as Cabin John, along the Potomac River. The Cabin John Citizens Association Foundation (a non-profit organization) published the book. www.cabinjohn.org.

I spent time with the author discussing the book and the marketing of it. The book is finding great success in selling in several local hardware stores. As we all know, men are attracted to hardware stores like magnets. Many men are also history buffs, thus the book is finding it’s way into the hands of men through a retail environment far different than a bookstore.

This brings me to the point of how necessary it is to think beyond the bookstore when researching bookselling opportunities. In fact, artists working all kinds of mediums, can promote their work by appearing in unlikely places.

I was also introduced to a lively band of six talented women called Wicked Jezabel. They were not in a nightclub, in a bar or on a traditional stage. They were on the roof of a structure, jamming away at the Natural Foods Market Fair. They are promoting their art in non-traditional ways. www.wickedjezabel.com.

Next time you think book selling opportunities are limited, take a good look around. Sometimes doing things in non-traditional ways draws attention – that is why the independent publishing industry of books, films and music is finding great success! The industry and the artists in it are fulfilling a need for independence away from the routine.

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Routes and Roots of American History

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Art among a religious race produces relics; among a military one, trophies; among a commercial one, articles of trade.” ~ Henry Fuseli

Culture and religion has been at the root of American civilization. In Frederick, Maryland there are a wealth of attractions including roads and byways that hold great interest for visitors to this area who wish to understand the founding principles and history of our country. The National Scenic Byway, a 38 mile stretch of land from Frederick County to the Catoctin Mountains is dubbed the Hallowed Ground. Many soldiers fighting for our country’s independence lost their lives along this route.

Attractions that collectively represent the beginnings of trade, politics, culture and spirituality throughout our country’s history can be found throughout this region. To name a few:

  • The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton – dedicated to the first canonized Saint.
  • The C & O Canal (Chesapeake and Ohio) explores the history of shipping.
  • The Shifferstadt Architectural Museum highlights the finest examples of German colonial architecture.
  • The Barbara Fritchie House commemorates the author of the poem that described waving the American flag in the face of the Confederate Army.
  • Weinberg Centerof the Arts houses the original Wurlitzer pipe organ.
  • Visit the All Saint Street Neighborhood – the center of commerce and entertainment during the latter part of the 19th century for African Americans.
  • America’s replica of the famous Grotto of Lourdes in France is represented at the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of the Lourdes at Mount St. Mary’s University.
  • The John Hanson House, the Ramsey House and the Roger Brooke Taney House all hold significance in some aspect of early American history by those that occupied them or visited them.
  • Battlefields of Gettysburg and Antietam are located close by. 

We have only touched lightly on a place that the National Trust for Historic Preservation has named as a Great American Main Street community. There are so many things to see and do. The designation as a 2010 Top Arts Destination by American Style Magazine only strengthens this small city’s position as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations.

To obtain a travel packet of information on this region, visit www.fredericktourism.org. I hope some of the readers of this blogsite have the opportunity to visit this area. It was a fulfilling trip and I would like to  return again to take in more of the sites and scenes.

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Rising to the Occasion

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Life is like a book we can either study it or let it gather dust on the shelves of the world.” — Rene Godefroy

On Wednesday, we celebrated the first year anniversary of the meet-up group WIN Steamboat (Women in Networking – Steamboat) with a beautiful palette of food prepared by chef Lulu Martin of Amuse Bouche Private Chef Service. http://bit.ly/qvtK9o.  The luncheon at the Alpine Mountain Ranch Club http://bit.ly/pQEs0v  was served on the patio, alongside the trout pond. As I took in the panorama of beautiful vistas and views, I couldn’t help but reflect on the fulfilling accomplishments of individual women throughout the year. Like the trout that were rising in the pond,  the women in the group are go-getters in their own companies or in their fields of business. The relationships we have built over the course of the year have been beneficial to each of us.

A new dawning came to me as we gathered for our 1st annual celebration. That was the thought of how powerful a motivating force books play in peoples lives (not just mine). They help inspire and keep us on task in our personal, career and spiritual lives. Each woman brought a “slightly used book” that had been helpful to them in finding the will to put one foot in front of the other, each and every day despite setbacks, disappointments and new beginnings. We each came away with a “new” book to help us in our journey through life. 

What book did I bring to swap with another person? An independently published book, of course! The title is “Waiting for Jack” by author Kristen Moeller. http://bit.ly/bUy3pu.  It is a book about “seizing the moment” for success in life. Although, I had mixed emotions about passing it on, it meant that I had made a promise to remember the principles set forth in the book. 

The donator of the book that I received said “she realized that I had been in business for quite sometime, as has she, but she has referred to the book, Secrets of Self Employment: Surviving and Thriving on the Ups and Downs of Being Your Own Boss, time and time again.” It will help me to continue to assess my strengths and weaknesses and it will provide fresh perspectives on taking adversities in stride. 

Each of us has had fulfilling personal and career growth over the past year. The size of the group has grown as well. Never underestimate the importance of networking in the business world. Each person brings to the group individual talents and knowledge that we can share with others. We are all richer in spirit when we pool our strengths.  We owe a big thank you to Kate Z http://www.katezphoto.com for bringing this group together last year.

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Conspiring Through Smell A Vision

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A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.” ~ Bernard Meltzer 

I have found myself caught up in the middle of a conspiracy, and it is me who is being conspired against. I know just who the little schemer is and how she is plotting to draw me in. The little manipulator is Darien Gee, and she is using word tactics of smell a vision to get me involved! 

You see, I never have been one who really likes to cook but, I did have many fulfilling moments of baking back in my days of raising a child. In fact, my son’s friends knew where to get the booty when their sweet tooth cried out for a fix. I was the rare Mom who made home baked goods. When I knew I’d have a houseful of kids, I’d jump into action and make something tasty. When the teen years rolled around, it was a good way to keep tabs on the adolescents, they’d frequently check in to see what was to eat. 

Ever since I became an empty nester and moved to a high altitude environment, where baking is more challenging, my cache of homemade creations has suffered. Author Darien Gee, the little conniver, is trying to lay a guilt trip on me through her book Friendship Bread. Have you read it? 

The magical powers of Amish Friendship Bread is the basis of the book. The wicked descriptions of warm yeast, cinnamon and sweet has made me want to try my hand at a batch. There are real consequences to jumping in because there is no way you can make just one loaf. The bread grows prolifically until before you know it, you are: 

  • Talking to your neighbors
  • Building community through food
  • Giving strangers more than just a passing glance
  • Strategically positioning yourself with groups
  • Building friendships based on commonalities and love 

I’ve peeked ahead in the book, and the recipe is there for the moment when Darien Gee is finished with brainwashing me into baking a pan. http://bit.ly/n50wn.  She is half-way done and I’m already beginning to execute my plan…. For starters there’s the Yampa Valley University Women, my fellow Kiwanians, the guys and gals at SHe Writes Steamboat, the Steamboat Writers Group and Lift Up Routt County (they can always use donations of food). 

I could put Strings in the Mountains on my list. Perhaps they would welcome a starter of something other than Steamboat fare for their own cookbooks. Then, lest I forget, there are always the kind and welcoming women of the United Methodist Church, although they can already abundantly cook! Then there is that other new meet-up group in town. What is it called? Ignite Steamboat? 

We will see, Darien Gee….with the way the recipe works, just getting people started might be the key. Perhaps then I can get out of the kitchen and just spend time creating other fulfilling things. 

Come on back tomorrow…. I promise the blog will not be so long!

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Character Analysis

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Everyone tries to define this thing called Character. It’s not hard. Character is doing whats right, when nobody is looking” ~Unknown

Yesterday’s blog Gardens Heaven Scent made me think back to a time some years ago when I would hold annual perennial plant swaps in my gardens in Vermont. I’d get out my best china and linen, make fancy finger foods and entertain with a beautiful garden party. I’d invite the gals over to nosh. Some would come dressed in their durable gardening clothes, and others would arrive in their floppy garden hats and finery, appropriate for a high-noon English tea.

What fun we used to have!  Ironically, many of the attendees were book enthusiasts, too. Sharing opinions and thoughts of “characters in the garden” came easily and it was all part of the fulfilling day. We’d discuss:

  • What the reaction of others was to the overall scene.
  • Which personalities had conflicts with their neighbors
  • How figures underwent change through seasons.
  • Which characters ran around spreading their seeds
  • Star performers vs. minor role players.
  • Which cast of characters maintained their uprightness no matter what
  • Weaknesses and strengths in bit players.
  • What elements contributed to the fate of individual players
  • Villains vs. heroes

Gardeners never run out of things to talk about. Swapping talk of the trade is as fulfilling as the act of gardening itself.

As I write this blog, I am about to head off to discuss another of my passions –  growing the garden of independent publishing. Our meet-up group She Writes Steamboat is helping others who want to grow books . We are having a garden party of sorts. Before I go, I’ll leave you with some food for thought. http://bit.ly/oIkV2g