Christmas: Outside Looking In

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I believe your atmosphere and your surroundings create a mind state for you. ~ Theophilus London

f9ccaa0aad84c2adde61047a62449dc8I don’t like to be a slave to my living environment, but I do take a little time to try to create a place where I like to hang out.  Just a few low cost/no cost seasonally appropriate decorations make a difference. It helps me appreciate a season or holiday. I do it for myself and after it’s done, I’m glad I took the extra effort.

Psychologists say our attitudes are affected by our environment. So, no matter where you are living, even if it is in what you might consider to less than ideal, take the time to add a little sprig of holly or a pine bough or a cinnamon scented candle or put a light in the window during this holiday season. Thrift stores are often a great place to pick up embellishments for nearly next to nothing.

Last week in the dark of the evening I upped my spirits when I strolled historic downtown Main Street Steamboat with a friend and took in the window dressing. The fresh fallen snow added to the magic! Here are some images. All but a few were taken from the outside looking in.

Below: Fringe (a new store in town). I liked it very much!

Do stop in and check it out!

xmas walk - fringes

Below: F.M Light & Sons (THE place for cowboy boots!)

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Below: Kali’s Boutique (a place to get distinctive apparel)

xmas walk - consignment place

Below: Steamboat Art Company (this display was like fairytale land). I expected to see little gnomes or elves or sprites peaking out from between the pastel colored foliage!

xmas walk - art co

Below: Allen’s Clothing (There, hospitality included great treats!)

xmas walk allens

Below: Steamboat Art Company (as usual, their window displays are as lovely as their in store wares). I always get caught up in this store – so much to look at.

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Below: Steamboat Art Company

Xmas walk -art co

Below: F.M. Light and Sons (Outfittin’ the West Since 1905)

Check out their blog – A Cowboy’s Christmas Recollections

xmas walk - lights

Below: F.M. Light & Sons

Xmas walk - not sure

Below: Chrysalis Steamboat (surprisingly affordable and stylish). 

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Chrysalis 2

A Fulfilling evening experience from Winter Wonderland in Steamboat Springs, CO

Xmas courthouse

“Paper state” last week we received 44 inches of new snow and we have already  surpassed 115 inches for the season! See for yourself. Much, much more has come over the past few days.

Thanks to those who gave me permission to take photos inside their retail establishments!

Come on back tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. Then I’ll be taking a break until after Christmas.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

Illuminating the Heart

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“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” ~ Francis Bacon

Well, the run of sappy, happy Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel has begun in earnest. I’m not one for sitting in front of the television for very long, but, I do take time out to watch a few of these “appropriate for the season” movies.

20pcs-lot-Love-Tea-Light-Holder-font-b-Luminaria-b-font-Paper-Lantern-Candle-font-bThe Christmas Heart is a film that has been playing on the Hallmark Channel since 2012. It’s about a small town that veers from tradition by not lighting the town streets with luminara candles, one year. One of it’s citizens (a teenage boy) is in need of a heart transplant and the town’s people deem that festive decorating was inappropriate.

Luminarias are something that I look forward to seeing when I experience a unique kind of Christmas this year. There is a short film called The Life of a Brown Paper Bag that gives the deeper meaning and history of this Christmas tradition of the southwest. Check it out! This two minute video is worth seeing because it won “Best in Show” 2010 HSMAI Adrian Award Winner for Web Marketing.

See you back here on All Things Fulfilling tomorrow as we continue the theme on things from the heart and their delivery in paper bags.

This blog is brought to you by EVVY award-winning author, Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her publications Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Rise and Meet the Moment

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Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take many small steps. – Helmut Schmidt

I’ve had memoir writing on my mind lately since I gave a presentation on the topic on Monday. When you think about it, our whole life is comprised of stories we tell.

The internet has changed the way we tell our stories. Words and images are now so easily shared through digital platforms, such as by publishing e-books. If you know how to use social media effectively, marketing e-books is made easy.  If properly “indexed,” finding your target market is no longer like taking a shot in the dark.

To further explore my path of thinking, the other day I was looking in our kitchen cabinets for something portable to put in my backpack to stuff my mouth with. I came across a box of Blueberry Crisp Clif ® Bars that I didn’t know we even had.

Hiking ArtistI noticed the verbiage on the packaging “No. 14 Adventure Challenge ‘Embrace the Uphill’ then followed the words “Share Your Adventure #MeettheMoment.”

The point is, we all have dreams, adventures and challenges in life and careers. If you are working on an  independent publishing project and don’t know how to use digital platforms effectively to draw people who are truly qualified leads, social media can be a big time waster.

There are companies who specialize in e-commerce and e-marketing for independent publishers. “Embrace the Uphill,” as Clif ® Bar suggests. Don’t shirk away from challenges. Get help if you need it in order to finish your writing and publishing project. There is no shame in that!

I can tell you as a published author that the feelings of accomplishment that come with having a published book far, far exceeds what having unfinished manuscript feels like. Every step, big and small, was well worth the effort in feelings of personal fulfillment.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard. For more information on her book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

 

 

Are You Tweeting with Happiness?

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what-is-emotional-intelligenceA few weeks ago as I drove 388 miles south along I-25 between Denver, Colorado and Albuquerque, New Mexico I heard a story on National Public Radio’s (NPR) All Things Considered about human behavior and social media that peeked my interest. It was a timely delivery of a story because it gave me something to ponder in my boredom.

Did you know social scientists are studying the mood of the planet through individual’s activity on Twitter?

Rises and falls in biochemicals which affect circadian rhythms may have something to do with how we feel throughout the day. Scientists say by reading an individual’s tweets, they can follow people’s mood changes throughout the day. There is a rise in positive tweets first thing in the morning and then late at night .

If the research proves to be correct, pollers and marketers will find this information valuable – “as a great way to get a pulse of what’s going on in the country,” says Scott Golder at Cornell University. Golder and his colleagues look for positive and negative words used in the tweets such as “awesome, outgoing, pleasing” or negative kinds of feelings such as “afraid, fury or fear.”

Do you think reading people’s emotions through their activity on Twitter is constructive or destructive or just a time waster? In my opinion, also tracking seasonal differences in atttitudes would make the research more credible because seasonal affective disorder has very real symptoms.

I’d like to hear from you about the validity of a study about Twitter “tweets.” Post a comment.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

Thirsty Thursday: Versatile Blogger

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Put your blog out into the world and hope that your talent will speak for itself. – Diablo Cody

Regular readers of All Things Fulfilling know that Thirsty Thursday’s focus is on good news. Usually we share stories of others who inspire us but every once in a while, the good news is our own.

versatile-bloggerToday, the good news is that I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger award. The nomination came from a fellow writer who also has the award behind her and she has passed the torch to myself and few other fellow bloggers by nominating us. That’s pretty cool.

To receive the nomination from Linda Collison is very complimentary because I have been following her writing and blogging for a number of years. I am always inspired by her work and by the creative marketing of her publications. She is a multi-award winning author and a person who lives life admirably and literally with few restraints.

Getting recognition from fellow writers and independent publishers is an honor because it means it you are on track with what you are doing!

Thank you Linda for the nomination. Do return next week to All Things Fulfilling. I will share 7 things with our readers that may not know about me.

The good news is my  common interests with Collison go beyond writing. We are both coincidentally, Baltimore natives who had never met until our lives converged at the Steamboat Springs Writers Group!

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

 

A Mothers Day Secret

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Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What’s that suppose to mean? In my heart it don’t mean a thing. ~Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987

Now that  Mother’s Day is over I can tell you what I got Mom since my  present that I was planning came much earlier than expected, thanks to the efficiency of my publishers, The Bookcrafters.

You see, I had been planned on giving my Mom the first copy of my new publication Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected as a Mothers’ Day surprise.Sue’s memoir But, someone in the family found out through the internet that my book was  available before I was ready to reveal it and spread the news to my mother. She bought a copy for herself immediately! So much for my good intentions and my secret.

Heart pillow for MomSo began my quandry. What to give Mom for Mother’s Day, instead of the book. It was solved when I stepped into Kneading Hands Therapy’s apothecary and gift shop to bring them copies of my memoir to sell. There it was, a little heart pillow, artfully decorated with a small banner that said “Write it on your heart that everyday is the best day of the year.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Perfect,” I thought, ” mom will love it.”

My mom really needs no reminder of this adage because she already has a zest for living and a unfaltering positive attitude toward life. Thankfully she has tried hard to pass on her joie de vivre to me, my siblings and her grandchildren. But, I thought, “she might like to hang the heart pillow from her bookshelves in her library or from the bedpost as a reminder to have faith, hope and find love in being alive every day on this earth even if things get more difficult with aging. She and my Dad are in their mid-eighties.”

Hope you had a great Mother’s Day, Mom. I was thinking of you and how grateful I am that you have had a long,healthy life to enjoy your four children and the grandchildren, too.

See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling.

 

 

Faith in People

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Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people” ~ Steve Jobs

Communications have evolved in so many ways since the days of TVs with rabbit ears and transistor radios. I really couldn’t explain to you how information was broadcast and received back then, or even now, with digital equipment. I just have faith in those who develop the technology to make it happen. But, I can assure you that information travels to places you never thought possible through the world-wide-web.

social mediaYou’d have to be living under a stone not to notice that the marketing, promotion and advertising landscape has changed dramatically. It has gone from “print to digital.” Using social media and e-marketing communications means that what ever is put out into the world digitally will transmit to others and will be spread in ways that we can not fathom. Sure, anyone can use it, but, you also need to know how to use it effectively, so the right “antenna” will receive it and it is not just a big time waster.

Business owners (and that includes you, independent publishers) – its 2014! It’s beyond time to move out of the dark ages and begin learning something about how to promote your products and services using digital communication tactics. A company that specializes in e-commerce and e-marketing for independent publishers can help you with that.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. A company where independent thoughts, words and views are all part of the business. See you tomorrow on all things fulfilling.

e-Book Extravaganza

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Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family. ~ Kofi Annan

cipa logoOn Saturday I made the very worthwhile three hour trek into Denver from Steamboat Springs, Colorado to attend Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA) monthly meeting. The September agenda was an e-Book Extravaganza. Here are just a few things that were discussed throughout the day:

  • The e-book industry now represents 33% of book sales. How about that?
  • People like having a choice of formats, so offering books in print, as well as an e-book version is wise marketing.
  • There is still a viable market for books-in-print but there is a certain part of the reading population who are clamoring for e-books due to their convenience.
  • Surprisingly, people who are 55 years of age and over ARE BUYING e-books, contrary to what was expected. It is not just the young generation that are interested in the digital format.
  • We discussed pricing of e-books and how you can leverage your intellectual property.
  • E-books make it easy to offer samples, providing potential book buyers the  opportunity to see if they like an author they’ve never read before.
  • A big advantage to e-books – there is no printing involved, thus it removes the need for physical space of inventory.

If you are a writer who wants to get on The Fast Track to Independent Publishing, here is a short webinar that will introduce you to the basics. http://bit.ly/10cCp1Y. 

Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling, we will be discussing the next best step if you are a person who is considering independent publishing and you are in need of knowledge. I will tell you a quick but valuable story from this weekend.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com .

 

Uniting People and An Artist

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“In my opinion, the cornerstone of our country is free press – that’s the cornerstone.” ~ Milos Forman

I find it interesting, but not particularly surprising, that the NormanRockwellMuseum has been holding swearing in ceremonies for new U.S. Citizens. “At an art museum?” Some of you might be questioning.

norman-rockwell-golden-rule-do-unto-others-april-1-1961Think about Rockwell’s painting, The Golden Rule. In this image Rockwell captures people of all different faiths and nationalities, who have come to the United States seeking a better way of life. In my opinion, a swearing in ceremony among paintings that depict iconic American life is a good fit.

Personally, I hope that the original painting of The Golden Rule is front and center, next to the American flag, in the area where our newest U.S. citizens pledge their allegiance to our country. The image is a good reminder that if you work hard and conduct yourself with integrity and honesty, you can reap the benefits of our prosperous nation. But you must treat others as you want to be treated yourself – with respect and dignity. Our nation’s pioneers founded the country on these principles, and we should not be a nation of “handouts.”

If you would like to read more about the swearing in ceremonies at the NormanRockwellMuseum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, read this article.  http://bit.ly/1dVvgbO. And if you would like to order a giclee print of The Golden Rule, please visit www.art.com.  

I am proud to be an American citizen living in a country where independent thoughts, words and views can be aired on sites such as this. But, again, we must respect each others opinions and values because  “we are one nation under God” and there is “liberty and justice for all.”  We live in a place where the laws of he land must be abided by.

Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling This blog brought to you by ww.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com .

Clearing the Way

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“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Are you person who has always had an artistic calling, yet you have never pursued your passion in earnest? You are not alone. There are many people, for various reasons, who have had to travel down other career paths feeling they have not fulfilled their God-given talents.

Matt Tommey book1The book Unlocking the Heart of the Artist: Practical Guide to Fulfilling Your Creative Call as an Artist in the Kingdom speaks to this issue for the new generation of people who seek personal fulfillment as a priority in their lives. He invites others to live fully, doing what makes them happy, and to become “unstuck” by expressing themselves creatively.

The author, Matt Tommey, is a successful basket maker and art consultant from Asheville, North Carolina. His sensible messages to other artists, through his publications, helps clear the way of self-doubt by providing hope and insight to individuals who wish to thrive and become fulltime artists. His book Crafting your Brand: Simple Strategies for Cultivating a Successful Creative Career, is also a good resource for anyone who wants to pursue their calling.

A well-rounded artist, Matt Tommey,  makes a living in a combination of ways, also offering workshops on the craft of basketry. To learn more about his workshops,  how to order these publications and to see his website,  http://bit.ly/1bpQhI9 .

Do return tomorrow for Film Friday, we will be featuring a film that is soon to be released that plays well into our recent topics of writing on All Things Fulfilling. This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.