Category Archives: Special Events

Iris van Ooyen embodies “Radiant”

Going from surviving to thriving

By author Iris van Ooyen

Writing Radiant: How to Have All the Energy You Need to Live a Life You Love was something that had been in the back of my mind for a while. During the pandemic I realized the insights I had acquired over the years were much needed now—not later.

I’ve always been passionate about supporting people in having more energy and loving their life. That’s what I’ve assisted clients with for many years. 

I believe life is meant to be enjoyed. We’re here to thrive—not just get by and survive, though that’s what many people are doing for a variety of reasons.

One of those reasons is lack of energy. Another important one is lack of clarity on what you truly want and what makes your heart sing. Plus many of us have lost touch with our body and our intuition. 

That’s what happened to me when I was burnt out at the age of twenty-four. 

I was a perfectionist who took on too much responsibility because I cared so much — about my demanding marketing job, my family and how other people felt in general.

I wanted everything to work out for everyone. In fact, I was so busy taking care of everybody else, I forgot to take care of myself. Instead of sitting down to relax I cleaned the house, visited my recently widowed mother-in-law and tried to be the perfect girlfriend.

I had to take naps in the afternoon to be able to stay awake for dinner. A couple of years later I finally ended up at a naturopath who told me “You have energy for four hours per day and you do the rest on willpower.”—

Part of me was proud for sticking it out on pure will, until he finished his sentence.

—“and it is damaging your organs.’’

That was a huge wake-up call for me. I realized that even several years after my burnout I hadn’t really made the changes that were needed for me to be happy and fully alive. To thrive. 

I had been going on this treadmill of things that were expected of me and that I expected of myself. I had these dreams that when I stopped and looked at them, I realized weren’t bringing me the joy and fulfillment I had thought they would bring me. 

To the outside world I had it made. The corporate job, the brand-new house, the handsome husband. I had everything I thought I had ever wanted. And I realized none of that mattered when I wasn’t happy. When I didn’t have the energy to do what I desired, let alone enjoy life.

First, I needed to get healthy again. I had to find ways to have more energy—and I did. When I had more energy, I started looking at what I truly wanted and who I was below all the layers that I had adopted over time. As a result, I started my own business. 

I discovered I am highly sensitive and highly intuitive. Many things fell into place from those two revelations. I understood more about myself, and past decisions now made more sense. With this new perspective I realized that what I had always seen as a weakness turned out to be a result of being overstimulated. There was nothing wrong with me—I simply hadn’t learned how to support a highly sensitive person. 

This ignorance had caused many problems that could have been avoided if only I had known that I was a sensitive soul! 

That’s one of the reasons I created my free Sensitivity Quiz. Because life makes so much more sense when you know who you are and what you need. Not because you’re being difficult (because that’s what a lot of sensitive people are being told) but because your brain works in a different way!

A highly sensitive person holds on to much more detail, therefore they reach the limit of the amount of information they can absorb faster than those who are not highly sensitive. 

It was a relief to realize I wasn’t fragile or exaggerating, my brain was simply wired differently!

I want people to not have to go through the struggle and learning I went through. That’s why I mentor people and created online programs on managing your energy, embracing your sensitivity, and learning to listen to your intuition. With Radiant I’ve made the insights even more readily available for a larger crowd, in the hopes it will help people steer clear from burnout. 

My book is not just for sensitive souls—though if you are highly sensitive, you’ll probably have an even bigger need for the tools in this book.

If you fear you are nearing a burnout or simply don’t have the amount of energy and enthusiasm for life that you would like to have, then I highly recommend reading Radiant

I share many very personal experiences because I feel it helps to see the challenges others go through and understand why the tools I developed made a difference for me. With social media we can get the impression that everyone else lives a perfect life and has it all figured out while we struggle. And I wanted to show an honest story of my trials, tribulations and victories so the reader has something to relate to. It’s important not to feel alone on this journey here on earth.

Life’s too short to be miserable or exhausted. I believe that which brings you the most joy is what will bring you the most. That’s what has been guiding my choices for many years. 

And I hope you’ll give yourself permission to pursue that, too!

If you’re curious whether you’re a sensitive soul you can take the free Sensitivity Quiz here or sign up for my email tips & inspiration here

Wishing you much energy and inspiration!

AUTHOR BIO

Iris van Ooyen is the creator of the SWEET POWERTM approach to personal and career development, growth, and self-care. An MBA with a background in corporate marketing, Iris combines her extensive business experience with her renowned razor-sharp intuitive insights in order to support thousands of clients in living fuller, healthier lives. 

In addition to Radiant, Iris wrote her YA Fantasy novel Poisoned Arrow—because it was too much fun not to. Click FOLLOW on her Amazon Author Profile.

Connect with Iris:

Goodreads

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HYPERLINKS:

Sensitivity Quiz

Newsletter

Amazon Author Profile for Iris

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Bonus:

Elizabeth H. Cottrell’s stellar review of van Ooyen’s book – 

Cottrell’s “Radiant” Book Review

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Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Special Events

The Making of a Serial Note Writer

by Elizabeth H. Cottrell

I am so grateful to Karen for inviting me to be a guest on her blog. She is friend, encourager, editor, brainstormer, and occasional rear-end kicker, and my life is richer for her being in it.

I confess I have a morbid curiosity for what makes serial killers tick. What were they like as children? When did the seeds of their obsession begin? Who is responsible for it? 

When someone asks me, “Your book is called WHAT?” I can sense a similar curiosity for how on earth I chose this, of all things, to write about: HEARTSPOKEN: How to Write Notes that Connect, Comfort, Encourage, and Inspire. 

So, I began to wonder myself how far back those seeds of passion for note writing began, and here’s the behind-the-scenes story:

I’m sure it began with my love for getting letters in the mail when I was a girl living in rural isolation on our family’s cattle farm in Virginia in the 1950s. The combination of distance and my mother’s time spent caring for my four younger siblings made it challenging to get friends over very often, and the three younger brothers next to me in age didn’t quite fill my definition of appropriate playmates. Thankfully, my grandparents were letter writers, and to this day, decades later, I still have a stash of their letters carefully stored in my desk. One of my favorite jobs was to walk—or ride my bike—to the end of our long driveway each day and check the mailbox in hopes of finding mail.

The next signs of this peculiar passion showed up in the crook of a Mimosa tree (which we called “the powder puff tree”) in the side yard of our country home when I was probably between eight and ten years old. The next best thing to a treehouse was the large side limb of that tree which angled up at about 30 degrees and then branched again to form a natural seat where I could perch with my feet dangling. I loved climbing up and fancied I was invisible there, hiding in a secret place. When I was able to have friends over, we rigged up a basket on a rope to haul secret messages up and down from that seat. At some point, I decided I wanted to put stamps on the messages like real mail. I created perforated squares by laying a piece of paper over an old window screen and used a pencil to draw the edges of stamp-sized squares and rectangles.  We used tape or white glue to attach them to our top-secret missives.

Fast forward five decades, and this is how I tell the “conversion story” in my book:

A letter from a stranger was the lightning bolt that changed my appreciation for the potential of personal notes forever; from that day on, I saw them as a force for good in the world.

I’ve always written notes, because that’s what we were taught to do when I was growing up in the 1950s. I learned the skill from my mother and both my grandmothers. They all wrote beautiful notes. It was expected. It was good manners.

But the day I received that letter, I suddenly realized it was so much more.

The letter was from a woman devastated by the loss of her son:

“I truly appreciated the encouraging letter you sent my son’s fiancée after my son took his own life. She shared it with me, and it came during one of the most difficult and testing times of my life. I know I have read your note over 25 times; it was a lifeline which kept my spirits up.”

What on earth had I written that could have meant so much to this woman? Her son’s fiancé was a neighbor of mine and only a casual acquaintance. I only remember, upon hearing the news of this man’s tragic death, that I wanted desperately to reach out to her and let her know she was not alone. To this day, I have no idea what I wrote, but I know it came from my heart and carried a genuine desire to comfort her.

On reading the mother’s anguished missive, I remember experiencing a moment of instant clarity: a note crafted with thoughtfulness and compassion can have impact and create a ripple effect. I’ve been a believer in the power of note writing ever since. 

I never aspired to write an etiquette book or a simple “how-to” book. My book’s goal is to help you find your own voice that I know already exists nestled in your heart. Once you learn to tap into it, you will never again worry about what to say or fear you will say the wrong thing. You will realize you have a free, powerful connection tool that can be used to nourish the most important relationships in your life, both personal and professional.

“Consider the flipping of a light switch. You can’t see the electricity. You may not understand how it works. But when power starts flowing through the open wire, it is nothing short of miraculous. I want to show you how to find and flip that switch in your own note writing. Once you learn how to make your notes heartspoken, they are no longer an obligation—they’re a privilege and a joy.”

So now you know how it all started. 

If you’re at all curious, or you just want to get some of the free tips, tricks, and downloads I send to those on my email list, add your first name and email here: Heartspoken book. There’s no obligation to buy the book and you may unsubscribe at any time.

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Elizabeth’s circuitous career has taken her from published leprosy researcher to stay-at-home mother, to community activist and leader serving on nonprofit and corporate boards, to ham radio operator, to freelance writer/editor and blogger at Heartspoken.com. Above all, she is a connector and encourager whose expertise and passion for note writing is coming at just the right time to a world made keenly aware by pandemic that we humans are hardwired for connection. Click the FOLLOW button on her amazon profile: Amazon author profile.

Connect with Elizabeth: 

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Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Special Events

Blog renaissance

The author and her family, 2015, by Rick Heit Photography

 

Back in March, I posted this blog renaissance mission. I have had a few guests and have plans for more. Would you like to be included? See contact info at the end of the post.

Blog history 

Years ago, I produced week-long, special-event, promotional blog articles in collaboration with others. 

Over those years, I featured artists, writers, bloggers, other editors and proofreaders, photographers, sculptors, potters, graphic designers, jewelry makers, furniture makers, chefs, cooks, crafters, and more. 

The good feels

I felt good doing that. I am doing that again.  

Any time I can lift someone’s spirits – show their art or photos or jewelry or sculptures and share their passion with others – it gives me a warm fuzzy. 

It also helped me grow – in my perceptions and with creatives around the country and around the world.  

Resurrecting these partnerships

I would like to resurrect those special moments. Not in week-long events (man, that was a lot of work!), but with special events for anyone who has a book, artwork, or food truck launch or for creatives who simply want to share their special talents with my audience. 

All these blog features will be shared to my FB, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 

Contact me

If you are interested in a special-event feature on my blog, use the Contact Form or send an email – karenrsanderson@midco.net.

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Links to a handful of previous collaborations –  

Emmett Russell – Furniture maker and metal sculpturist – from 2015

Chris Eboch – Myths about writing for children – from 2015

Photographer Rick Heit – Interview with Rick Heit epic photographer – from 2015

Editor spotlight with Darlene Elizabeth Williams – Editor Spotlight – from 2014 

My Main Street with Minot’s Main Street Books – My Main Street – from 2013

Darlene Foster – Darlene Foster, tweens author – from 2013

Elizabeth H. Cottrell – Tools for touching hearts and lives – from 2013

Shawn MacKenzie – You are your words – from 2013

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Note – One of my greatest pleasures is when I present a guest in the best possible light. I will take more care with your blog appearance than with my own. I reserve the right to edit your submission.

Rick Heit Photography

For more info on Rick Heit Photography in Minot, ND, click here.

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Filed under Artists, Book Cover Design, Editing & Proofreading, Guest Writers & Bloggers, Illustrators & Illustrations, Kid Stuff & Children's Books, Photography, Prose & Poetry, Special Events

Are Children’s Books Just for Children?

By Darlene Foster

I write children’s books. Actually, I should correct that. I write books suitable for children. But they are books any age can read and enjoy.

            Recently I listened to an interview with Lawrence Hill, author of the award-winning novel, The Book of Negroes.He discussed his latest release, Beatrice and Croc Harry, which he describes as a story for children and adults. He mentioned there should be no separation between children’s and adults’ books. He mentioned that as authors, we should not shy away from including serious and painful issues in children’s stories as they can handle them. He also mentioned, and I agree, many adults enjoy reading from a child’s point of view.  

            As a young reader, I devoured everything in the children’s section of our small prairie library, so I started reading from the adult section. I read Gone with the Wind in three days when I was twelve years old and loved it. Obviously, some books are not suitable for children. I recall my mother hiding books like Peyton Place and Tropic of Cancer, because she knew I would read anything I could get my hands on.  

            Recently a neighbour mentioned that he was sad that his daughter was now able to read on her own, as he could no longer read all the wonderful children’s books, including my Amanda Travels series. I replied, “Why not? You can still read them on your own and then discuss them with her.”

            There are no reading police that watch out for adults reading children’s books. If there was, I’d be in jail or fined heavily as I read a lot of novels written for children. I just finished reading Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin. Although it was written over a hundred years ago and the writing might be difficult for modern day readers, it was wonderful to follow the delightful Rebecca as she adapted to her new surroundings. I re-read Anne of Green Gablesevery few years.

            Reading is how we learn and grow, at any age. Children’s books often explore themes such as identity, injustice, misunderstanding, family crisis, friendship, disappointment, and death, among other contemporary issues. Things adults confront on a daily basis.

            I am always pleased when adults read my books and comment on how much they enjoyed them. One adult reader, planning a trip to New Mexico, got ideas of things to see and do on an upcoming visit by reading Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind. I am delighted to have many wonderful reviews from adults who have read my books.

            Once on a crowded ferry from Vancouver Island to Vancouver, I sat with a family of five. Two adults and three elementary-aged boys. Each one of them was reading a different Harry Potter volume. I commented on how nice it was to see a family reading the same series together. The mother explained they purchased one complete set and share the books amongst them. She said they didn’t mind reading the series out of sequence. I can only imagine the lively discussions between the kids and the parents.

            Much can be learned by reading children’s and young adult fiction and non-fiction. When adults say they don’t understand young people today, perhaps they should read more from a young person’s point of view. Children’s books written by C.S. Lewis, E.B. White, Enid Blyton, and Kate DiCamillo, to name a few, can be life changing for readers of all ages.

            I don’t believe children’s books are just for children. I think I need to change my tag line to—I write books for everyone to enjoy!

            Because, let’s face it, we are all children at heart.


“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children

is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”― C.S. Lewis


1. Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask
2. Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting
3. Amanda in England: The Missing Novel
4. Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone
5. Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music
6. Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind
7. Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action
8. Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady

Darlene Foster’s Amazon Author Page

Darlene Foster’s Website


Darlene Foster grew up on a ranch in Alberta, Canada, where her love of reading inspired her to see the world and write stories. She is the author of the exciting Amanda Travels series featuring spunky Amanda Ross, a twelve-year-old Canadian girl who loves to travel. All ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in unique destinations. When not travelling, meeting interesting people, and collecting ideas for her books, Darlene enjoys spending time at her house in Spain with her husband and entertaining rescue dogs, Dot and Lia.

Darlene Foster

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Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Kid Stuff & Children's Books, Special Events