Beyond a Working Life


“Pick your passion and pursue it.” Psychologists say it’s good for emotional and mental health to have hobbies. Some people love to travel, others like stamp collecting, knitting, quilting, hunting, cooking, drawing, writing, baseball card collecting. It doesn’t much matter how you like to use your spare time, hobbies contribute to a sense of personal fulfillment .

Finding and making time for our interests is sometimes a challenge. Balance is the solution and this can be tricky for people who work long hours, are raising families and growing careers. If you can incorporate what you love to do into a business, more power to you! It is the best way to feel personally satisfied and work never feels like, well, work.

living-with-passion-and-purpose-quote-maya-angelouPeople are living longer. Nowadays people retire from one career, and then start up a small business which involves their passions. They become more personally satisfied than ever because they love what they are doing, even though they are continuing to work much later in life.

If you are at a crossroads, where you’re near retirement age, but not ready to sit in a recliner and put your feet up, here is an article from Entrepreneur Magazine that gives six tips about Turning your Passion into Profit. .

If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do for a new career in your “golden years?”

Return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling, where sharing independent thoughts, words and views is all part of the business. This blog is brought to you by

Illuminate the Spirit

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Dwelling in the light, there is no occasion at all for stumbling, for all things are discovered in the light.” –George Fox

Although the holiday season is for many of us the most beautiful time of year, for many it is the most stressful time of year. There are families who once shared happy times together but, those good ole days are gone. Some people are struggling to make ends meet. For others, a description of the holidays would be a sad time, filled with feelings of being alone. In reality, finding fulfillment during the holidays, for some, is challenging. 

One of the best ways to step out of our own misery is to acknowledge it, then move ahead and help ourselves by helping others. With a giving spirit, comes fulfilling thoughts. For those who make a living creatively, a positive spirit is especially a must. When  inspiration is at a lack, it is important to remember we are in command of our own thoughts. If we get out of our self absorbed ways, and get involved in a cause or with others, the synchronicity of these actions often gives rise to creativity. After all, people who live with positive attitudes live longer and more fulfilling lives; it is a fact. If we are thinking life affirming thoughts, it is that much harder for feelings of desperation to set in. 

Yesterday morning was blustery with gale force winds, not typical for this part of Northwest Colorado. The storms of winter made me feel as if I didn’t want to go out. My spirits began to rise as I listened to the musical cd These are Special Times by Celine Dion. Remembering it was Thursday, the day our Steamboat Writers Group meets, I was warmed even further by thoughts of joining with in others who share in reading their own written word – books in progress. 

Today, I would like to congratulate one of our members of the Steamboat Writers Group.   His “Morning in San Pedro” won honorable mention in the Gemini Magazine Flash Fiction Contest. Way to go, Dee Hubbard! Good job. 

Return tomorrow on Film Friday! We will have information about an upcoming televised special about a mini-series. Join us tomorrow on

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  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.

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

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American Spirit Brings Change


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed. It is the only thing that ever has.” ~Margaret Mead

It is eye-opening to have lived on the East Coast of the United States all of my life, and then to relocate to the West. Aside from the vast change in landscape, the difference in people’s attitudes has been most interesting to absorb. In my opinion, business to business dealings among Westerners is less antagonistic. Westerners seem to have a better understanding that working collaboratively and cooperatively will bring about forward movement. In deed, the “pioneering spirit” is still alive and well in the West. 

During my tour of Frederick, Maryland I visited with a storeowner who may have explained much of the success this town has had in bringing fulfilling awards of distinction to their downtown. The storekeeper, having moved from Chattanooga, Tennessee two years ago, expressed his delight at having arrived in this town. A solid vision along with a strong Main Street Association of business owners, shopkeepers, restauranteurs, artists and other members of the community, working together rather competing against one another, along with the Chamber of Commerce and the Maryland Council on the Arts, has apparently been the secret to success. All should be commended for developing a town that has been awarded by American Style Magazine as a 2010 Top Arts Destination. 

Salvaged, just one of the retail stores I visited, is a reflection of the entire downtown area of Frederick, Maryland. In each of the shops that I browsed, the merchandise was trendy. Geared for doing business in the new millennium and artfully displayed. Even red brick warehouses filled with antiques that I had visited some twenty years prior are no longer jumbled messes. They have been attractively re-arranged. Shoppers who ordinarily are not fans of antiquated home furnishings may now see value in restoring, salvaging and reclaiming period furniture rather than letting it be dumped in landfills. 

Despite challenges that have come to retail establishments in recent years, this community appears to have weathered the battles better than many. Frederick,Maryland seems well positioned to attract tourists and other businesses in the new century. The people’s visionary spirit is driving this town in the same manner as those who led the Western expansion. 

Tomorrow, we will wrap up this blog series. Return again, so your mind can complete the picture I have drawn of a town that is thriving along the Mason-Dixon Line. The return to the values that are at the roots of our country has in part, driven success.

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Honest Assessment of DYI Publishing

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Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” ~ Thomas Jefferson 

As a follow-up to yesterday’s blog Goals and Objectives in Publishing, there are more questions that you should ask yourself before embarking on an independent publishing project. Your response to the questions may very well help you control the financial outlay and  determine the costs, too. 

For some (such as for those wanting to publish for family and friends and not wishing to commercially sell their publications) an independent publishing project can be do it yourself. Researching the steps and deciding what parts you can do yourself and what parts you need to seek professional help with, is an important task in and of its self. 

  • Are you equipped with good computer skills to tackle DIY publishing?
  • Do you have time to engage in the process?
  • Are you a self-motivated person?
  • Do you finish what you start?
  • Would you find satisfaction in learning the process? 

If you can answer “yes” to most of these questions, perhaps DIY would be for you, thus reducing your need for professional help.          E-books are one of the best options for a Do It Yourselfer! Some of the process involves choosing and using templates, thus simplifying steps and reducing costs. 

Making decisions that are right for YOUR goals and objectives will reduce some of the frustration and will cut-down on an outlay of unnecessary financial resources. Research, compare and ask yourself those very necessary questions before you start down the path to independently publishing. Talking with others about their experience regarding the right and wrong decisions they made will give you information that may help you too.

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Film Friday – 50 Greatest Indie Films

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Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work it until it’s done and done right.” —Walt Disney

Summer is quickly winding down in many parts of the country. That means more indoors time for watching movies and reading good books.

Leaders in the independent film industry are proving that big budgets and big production crews do not necessarily mean big block buster hits. There have been notable films that many people do not realize were made by the independents. A few of them are:

  • In the Company of Man
  • Lost in Translation
  • Stranger inParadise
  • The Passion of Christ 

To read the full list of the 50 Greatest Independent Films on the AMC Filmsite, please visit

Being a successful independent filmmaker (and independent publisher) means more than just a great story line. Making wise business decisions and having a budget-wise, well thought out business plan, in place, is important too. Solid strategies from concept to pre and post production, marketing and financing will result in a good final product. There are lots of helpful books on the market that can answer your questions, provide you with tips and give you some of the guidance you will need with your independent filmmaking or publishing plans. 

Not ready to start your own independent publishing or film project yet? Pick up a new book from an Indie Bound bookstore near you. Here are the top selling independently published books Or select an independent film from the IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base) Have a great weekend, everyone! 

We will return on Monday with more independent thoughts, words and views from Cornerstone Fulfillment Service, LLC.


Books Made to Order

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Economy is the method by which we prepare today to afford the improvements of tomorrow.” ~ Calvin Coolidge 

Approximately 4 or 5 years ago, I was introduced to the EBM– the Expresso Book Machine. As I stood in front of the machine, I was amazed to watch it’s speed in downloading PDF files, collating, printing, binding, trimming pages and covering a book all within 15 – 20 minutes time. Not only that, the machine had the ability to print a book in many different languages. 

When I saw the EBM in action, it was still in the testing phase. The Northshire Bookstore in Manchester,Vermont was the first retail store to acquire this print-on-demand book machine and, in fact at the time, it was only available in 5 other locations in world. 

Imagine that!  A paperbound book, made to order, in a language of your choice is now as easy as 1 -2 – 3! This option in book printing is good for publications of 200 pages or less and for very low print runs. For instance: if you need a paperbound copy of a book out of print, often it can be located through digital catalogs and printed just for you! It is also a good choice when it comes to printing a few copies of family memoirs or poetry collections. 

Test trials must have gone well! In less then a half dozen years, there are now 50 Expresso Book Machines located in public libraries, retail bookstores and University Libraries. For more information on the EBM, please visit

There can be drawbacks to print-on-demand, however. The costs of using print-on- demand can be more expensive if you are printing in larger quantities. Now many book printing companies will print less than mega quantities. Times have changed in the book manufacturing world. 

Weigh your choices very carefully. If this is your first attempt at self publishing or as a first time independent publisher, sometimes it is better to test your market first. Ordering through print-on-demand will allow you to establish how quickly the book is selling. Overprinting could result in high inventory storage fees. Save  dollars by making wise choices when you print your books.

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Just Sayin’……

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Patience and fortitude conquer all things.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

My clients are located in different parts of the country, and I am forever trying to figure out what time it is in different time zones. My husband even printed out a map that outlines the State boundaries for Eastern Time zone, Central Time zone, Mountain Time and Pacific to help me figure it out. The problem is I don’t always have the “cheat sheet” at hand. Sometimes I am calling clients from out of the office on a remote phone. 

A few weeks ago, an author friend of mine taught me a new way of telling time. My husband has decided my friend’s way of telling time makes good common sense.

I contend that Mary’s way of tracking time is good for her, but maybe not for me. Suppose I am in a city like New York?  After all, New Yorkers are on a New York minute, smack dab in the heart of miles and miles of pavement. It just will not work! 

My husband said he doesn’t care what I think.   (How’s that for compassion?) He says ” I should just use Mary’s test of time. He’s gotten tired of sorting out for me what hour it is across mountains and plains and in places like Hawaii, Iowa, Florida, Minnesota, Texas or California.” Now when I ask him what time it is, all he says is “It’s time to make HAY!” What is that supposed to mean? That’s just forecasting. That’s not fulfilling my need to know the accurate time! 

Help me out here folks, we have a royal battle going – all over time telling. My husband thinks he’s clever. I think NOT. He’s  really trying  to lose track of  real time to escape from what takes doing some work!  Next time he asks ME what time it is, I’ll say it is “half past a freckle.”  How’s that?

I’m going to contact Mary! Perhaps she has some other kind of  forecasting cheat sheet

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Little Things Mean Alot

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My husband has been glued to the news channel, following the ups and downs of the stock market, as well  being engaged in squabbles in politics. The other day, I said to him, “I refuse to get drawn into listening to too much of this. Yes, I have my opinions, but, at the end of the day, I really have zero control in what Washington and the Stock Market does. I am going to disconnect and pay attention to what  I have going in my own life that I am grateful for.” 

This week and next is what matters to me most, right now. They are full of little things that will mean a lot. On Tuesday, I ushered for a Youth and Family concert that tickled my funny bone and warmed my heart. Bill Harley, longtime commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered helped me to recollect my own days of going to school and as well as hilarious moments of parenting a child. Many of his “slice-of-life vignettes” made me realize that many things that I worried about as a child,  really didn’t quite matter at all.

Last night was a special treat, too. Volunteering my time once again brought me perks of getting to see a show that I would not have wanted to miss. Strings Music Festival Director and Conductor Andres Cardenes led a night to remember of a picture perfect program, focused on famous movie musical scores which incorporated classical music. Tunes from Fantasia, Amadeus, Psycho, Platoon, a 2011: A Space Odyssey, Titanic and the God Father brought great pleasure to my evening. 

Next week on All Things Fulfilling will be my interview of an author and actress. The back story will appear on Wednesday, August 17. On Thursday, the interview will appear on this site as well as on the author and actress’ virtual book tour. 

Join us next week as Mara and I discuss how our lives came together and what we find to be mutually important in this big wide world called Life.

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Begin the Buzz

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“Gossip is just news running ahead of itself in a red satin dress.”  ~ Liz Smith 

Have you ever noticed that we hear about movies from Hollywood, long before they hit the movie screens? Smart marketing tactics! 

Independent publishers, you can become stars too by beginning the buzz before, not after, your books arrive from the printers or before your cds and DVDs have been duplicated.

E-marketing is the very best way to get the word out in advance of the release of a product. You can begin spreading a broadcast of information, far and wide. Every independent publisher should begin creating a community of fans and followers prior to the book, music or film’s release. 

Not only that, you can begin taking pre-sales, too.  Years ago, wise early pioneers of independent publishing began accepting pre-orders by keeping advance sale lists of customers on legal pads before the product even arrived. Today’s pre-ordering can be made available on-line, through websites and shopping carts. 

Just think how satisfying it will be that once the publication arrives from the printer or from the cd/DVD duplication company, you can begin fulfilling orders immediately and ship the products right back out the door! With good planning and advance e-marketing you can begin realizing your ROI without delay! 

It’s never too early to start pollinating your market!  Need help? There are companies that specialize in e-commerce and e-marketing for independent publishers. 

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