Courage in the chaos

Joshua 1:9 – Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

PrayerIt is normal to slide into panic when life surprises you in negative ways, but it is not in your best interest to stay there. Panic overload leads to poor decisions, causes words to be spoken that cannot be taken back, and generally keeps a person’s life in a state of uncertainty bordering on chaos. God is present. He can find us when we can’t seem to find him. His promise is to never leave us come what may. Each day brings opportunity, and yes, challenges. The challenges that create opportunities to get closer to God – and to each other – often prove to be the events that lead to enrichment.

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Image: http://www.clipart.com

WRITE STUFF BUSINESS TIPS

February 9, 2017
10 Easy Survival Tips

Small business is a primary employer in America. Mom and Pops may be run by Mom and Pop, but most employ one or two employees – or more – depending on their needs. Small business is critical to the economy.

Small business supports local activities, pays taxes that help fund municipal services, and provides jobs. According to a 2012 Small Business Administration report small businesses account for 64 percent of net new private-sector jobs, 49.2 percent of private-sector employment, 42.9 percent of private-sector payroll, 46 percent of private-sector output and 43 percent of high-tech employment.

Interior Paper Trail - Las Vegas, NMSo, yes, small businesses are important.

What does it take to survive in the hostile environment of big box stores, online shopping, taxes and government regulation? Below are 10 tips for fighting the good fight, and winning.

  1. Be creative. Front windows and store layout are vital elements for getting customers in the door. Overall appearance sets the standard for how you are perceived.
  1. Be inviting. Swept sidewalks, clean windows and tended flower boxes (if you have them) tell a story without you ever saying a word.
  1. Stay current with business trends. It may be charming to have inventory that goes back decades but customers are more savvy than ever. Keep merchandise trendy, appealingly displayed and dust free.
  1. Be online. Whether it is a website, blog, Facebook or other media, be available to your customers online. Savvy small businesses find ways to build their clientele through e-mails and other electronic media. Strike up a conversation by posting content that will gain insight about your customers through feedback and gain their confidence in your ability to deliver.
  1. Be responsive. When a customer has a comment, complaint or suggestion, follow up. Make it a rung on the ladder of your further success.
  1. Pay attention to the bottom line. Renovate or extend your sales space or expand inventory only when you are financially prepared to do so.
  1. Promote your business. The rule of thumb for how much to spend on advertising and marketing for an established business is up to 10 percent of your annual budget. Startups should plan to spend 20 to 30 percent. These are recommendations. First you must have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish with your advertising and which methods will work for you. Just because someone says their circulation (or reach) is 50 thousand doesn’t mean 50,000 people will read or hear your message. The trick to successful advertising is to have a plan and a budget.
  1. Have a team spirit among employees. Multiple surveys have shown that workers are more engaged and productive when they feel their contributions are valued. Happy workers appreciate and rely on salary and benefits. What keeps them on the job is feeling like they are contributing to the success of the business.
  1. Trained staff. It goes beyond customer service. When new or inexperienced workers encounter unexpected problems, or are asked questions they can’t answer, the worst thing they can say is, “I don’t know.” What the customer hears is, “I don’t care enough about you to find out.” Training is work but worth the effort. And by the way, the best thing an employee can say when he or she doesn’t have an answer is, “Give me the details and I will get back to you as soon as I can.”
  1. Refer. If you don’t have what the customer is looking for, and know of another business that carries the product, refer them and provide directions. The customer will remember your community spirit of promoting others, and your sister store owner will appreciate you sending her business.

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I hope you found these tips helpful. WRITE STUFF BUSINESS TIPS will post twice monthly. Follow this blog so you don’t miss a single issue. Click on the Follow button at the top of the column on the right. If you have suggestions for future topics, please comment here or send to fsharon@msn.com. Type Write Stuff in the subject line.

Three to present at EN Forum

Entrepreneurial Network Forum, Monday, Feb. 6, 5:30 to 7 p.m., in the back room at Borracho’s. Featured presenters will be Sharon Vander Meer, Write Stuff; Mike Ulibarri, Ulibarri Farms Candy Shoppe; Sara Jo Mathews, Borracho’s Craft Booze and Brews.

Entrepreneural Network Forum

“The Entrepreneurial Network is so important for similar reasons to why it is important to have a business organization,” said EN facilitator Andrea Gottschalk, who has held that position for three years.

She functions as a one-on-one business coach where she helps a start up business or expanding business in every way possible to be successful. “I do that by listening to their individual needs and try to find answers to any questions they may have. This help may be through my own business experience. If I do not have the answer, I refer people to business experts in their field or to valuable programs that are being offered through the Regional Development Corporation.”

Gottschalk said there is technical assistance, market research, alternative micro loans, investments through the venture acceleration fund and much more accessible through the network. “Every business is unique,” she said. “It is my goal to help each and every client that comes to me for help in the best way possible, and to help them succeed in their own way, to the best of their abilities.”

Gottschalk said a business owner must rely on his or her own talent and experience.”I help them focus on what they are good at, encourage them to build on that in their business, and remind them to not overextend themselves. If you can talk somebody out of a very bad idea and save them from a lot of trouble, then that is a success too.”

Entrepreneurial Network forums occur about every four weeks featuring between one and three business owners talking about the goods and services they have available. The event is free and open to the public. Typically it held at the El Fidel Hotel Wolff’s Den room.

“It’s a great way to promote your business and network with other like-minded people. You get updates on what is new in town and who does what, when and where. If you need any assistance with your business please call me at my store, Unikat, 425-6113. It is a completely free service and exists in four Northern New Mexico communities: Taos, Rio Arriba, Mora and of course here in San Miguel County. It is sponsored by the RDC, Los Alamos National Laboratories and Las Vegas First Independent Business Alliance.

The forum on Feb. 6 will be at Borracho’s on Bridge Street in the back room, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Presenters will be Sharon Vander Meer, Write Stuff; Mike Ulibarri, Ulibarri Farms Candy Shoppe; and Sara Jo Mathews, Borracho’s Craft Booze and Brews.

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Disclosure: This information is presented to promote the Entrepreneurial Network Forum. In this case, I am taking part in the event and wish to thank Andrea for including me.

Q&A: Ronald Maltais, artistic director of the Castañeda Concert Series

and Emmy Grimm, co-founder of EmiArteFlamenco

flamenco

The Feb. 18 EmiArteFlamenco event will feature singers Eva Encinias and Joaquin Encinias, guitarists icardo Anglada and Mario Febres, and dancers Elena Osuna, Nevarez Encinias and La Emi. The group will also offer two free Flamenco workshops in the Plaza Hotel Ballroom at noon for children ages six through thirteen and 1 p.m. for high school students and adults.

Ronald Maltais, artistic director for the Castañeda Concert series, recently announced the next two performances, the first of which will take place on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m., in the Plaza Hotel Ballroom. The performance showcases Flamenco musicians and dancers. The third concert in the series will be on Sunday, May 7, at 3 p.m. at Ilfeld Auditorium with violinist Elizabeth Young, cellist Dana Winograd, percussionist Ralph Marquez, and Maltais at the piano.

The Feb. 18 EmiArteFlamenco event will feature singers Eva Encinias and Joaquin Encinias, guitarists icardo Anglada and Mario Febres, and dancers Elena Osuna, Nevarez Encinias and La Emi. The group will also offer two free Flamenco workshops in the Plaza Hotel Ballroom at noon for children ages six through thirteen and 1 p.m. for high school students and adults.

Ron MaltaisMaltais, previously director of music at the United World College USA, left that position to devote more time to composition, directing and performance. He has been a life-long student of the piano, beginning at the age of four. Formal lessons at age eight with noted teachers led to a love of music and a gift for envisioning the creativity and art of performance and composing. Originally from southern New Hampshire, his studies with Maurice Hoffman led to degrees taken at New England Conservatory (piano performance), and Boston University (music composition). Maltais pursued vocal training and has devoted significant time to choral directing and artistic direction. His Meditation for Viola and Strings was conducted by Lukas Foss at Boston University in 1998. Maltais’ travels have led to engagements as a musician and lecturer in several US states and in India, Turkey, South Africa and Peru. He is currently composing an opera based on the life of Camille Claudel. Maltais premiered his Star Axis Preludes for a select audience at the first Light SpectrumConcert (Dwan Light Sanctuary/ United World College USA) in April 2016.

For La Emi (Emmy Grimm), performance and teaching are the heartbeat of a life spent immersing herself in the art of Flamenco. She has had several apprenticeships under Carmela Greco and has performed in various venues throughout Spain. She has also studied with Ivan Vargas Heredia, José Galván, Gala Vivancos, Inmaculada Ortega, Yolanda Heredia, Juana Amaya, Juan Paredes, Torombo, Rocio Alcaide Ruiz, and many more influential Flamenco dancers. For three seasons she performed with the Juan Siddi Flamenco Santa Fe. In 2014, Vicente Griego and La Emi began her own company, EmiArteFlamenco with Skylight Santa Fe as its home theater. In 2016 she opened EmiArteFlamenco Academy offering classes for toddlers, children and adults. For more information about La Emi, go to www.emiarteflamenco.com.

The Flamenco in Las Vegas Castañeda Concert is sponsored in part by Allan Affeldt, Plaza Hotel, Las Vegas Arts Council, New Mexico Arts and generous donors. Tickets are $15 per person and available at the Las Vegas Arts Council. They can also be purchased at the Plaza Hotel and at the door on the night of the performance.

ORP: What is the greatest challenge in putting together a concert series?
Ron: There are many facets to designing and arranging a compelling concert series. Intuition usually guides me, and I am thinking about great variety in the various programs and juggling the availability of prospective performers. My mission in Las Vegas is to feature New Mexico performing artists. This season certainly achieves that goal as all of the performers reside within the state. When people attend a Flamenco performance, the venue, lighting, sound design, graphic design etc. are all critical components to achieving a spectacular result. In the May concert we will bring back a violinist and cellist; both performed at the Castañeda in Sept. 2016. This decision was partly due to the favorable comments of audience members who enjoyed their virtuosity and musicianship.

ORP: What is the most rewarding for you as an artistic director?
Ron: When I am in the audience or performing in an event I produced it is very exciting to feel the energy in the room; to see how the people attending are reacting to the program. An example is when there was a spontaneous ovation at the end of the first half of the Castañeda concert last fall. Usually ovations occur at the end of an excellent performance. I am very committed to enhancing the concert season in Las Vegas. I begin by looking at what is already happening around town and then proceed to add something different to the mix.

ORP: You’ve taught, conducted and composed music. Which do you most enjoy and why?
Ron: I made a decision to step away from a full-time position as a music director/ teacher at the United World College USA this season (after a 15 year run). This surprised many local residents who have been very loyal supporters of my concerts and overall work in the past. I see it as a way of challenging myself to return to a more intense focus on piano performance and music composition. In the May concert I will present an original work composed for a professional colleague. When you announce such a thing you must follow through. It’s a bit frightening, but in a sense you are lighting a fire under yourself! Also, the Brahms Trio which I have programmed for the May concert is quite difficult, and I am greatly enjoying the process of mastering the piano part in this work.

ORP: The next two concerts have been set. Talk about the Feb. 18 performance and what led you to select Flamenco as the art form for this event?
Ron: There is a strong Flamenco tradition in New Mexico. In some ways it is different than what you might see in Spain. I feel it is up to artistic directors to invest serious time and thought in looking for ways to promote important cultural traditions. When I first came to New Mexico I was drawn to Native American music, and through numerous visits to several Indian pueblos within our state I was amazed by what I saw and heard in the music performances and sacred dances.

ORP: What appeals to you about Flamenco?
Ron: The drama of it is compelling; sometimes subtle, but then wild and seductive. The chemistry between the dancers and musicians springs from a kind of improvisational daring. Watching Flamenco (even once) could be a life-changing experience for spectators. I remember seeing a small, excellent Flamenco ensemble in Cordoba, Spain some years ago, and the images are still engraved in my mind, along with the unforgettable sound of their music. I walked back to my inn on that balmy summer night feeling somewhat dazed.

ORP: How do dance, vocal and instrumental performances differ in presentation and preparation, or do they?
Ron: I am not a dancer, but I have observed/collaborated with dancers many times, even composed music, which colleagues then choreographed. Watching the body language of confident musical performers who are not dancers (ex. A jazz quintet) is not so different.  There are many ways to communicate, and body movement is key to this.

ORP: The objective of a concert or performance is to provide beautiful artistic expression. What are the technical or logistical aspects of putting together an event, aside from practice, practice, practice?
Ron: The greatest performers sometimes talk of states of consciousness they experience in their quest to achieve the highest possible expressive outcome. Some get there rather easily through natural talent/ intuition. After getting through the preliminary technical work of learning musical notes or learning dance steps you must find a way to take it to a different level. Of course your own gifts allow it to become personalized. Your interpretation would likely be different than any other and this is the magic we strive for. As performance artists we are actually recreating art over and over again. This is a difficult question to answer and I hope my response makes sense!

la-emiORP: Emmy, talk about your company of Flamenco artists.
Emmy: My company was founded two years ago by my Godfather, Vicente Griego and myself. This is a family company. We feel very blessed because we get to do what we love with the people we love, in the place we were born and raised.

ORP: How long have you all been working together?
Emmy: We began working with each other prior to the opening of EmiArteFlamenco. We have been working together many years.

ORP: What excites you about the art of dance?
Emmy: Flamenco is an art form that originated through the people.  It was born in the streets amongst families. It is a way to tell one’s story. It expresses everything that I go through in life, love, heart break, anxiety, joy and many more emotions.

ORP: When and how did you become a Flamenco dancer.
Emmy: My father, David Grimm, worked at the box office for Maria Benitez during her Summer Season of shows at what is now The Lodge at Santa Fe. My mother used to go to the shows when she was pregnant with me. I grew up going to these shows and at the age of four I began my studies with the Maria Benitez Institute for Spanish Arts.

ORP: What is the greatest challenge when putting a performance together?
Emmy: For me the greatest challenge is making the time to do all of the needed things. It is important to promote the show, but you also must make time to rehearse every day.

ORP: What is the greatest joy?
Emmy: I believe that the Lord put us all on this earth to serve our purpose. God blessed me with a love to dance. It gives me true joy to be able to do what I love and share it with my community. This show is truly exciting. We will be celebrating our love for New Mexico, as well as for the art form of Flamenco and what a better way to do it than amongst familia!

For more information about EmiArteFlamenco go to www.emiarteflamenco.com

What: Castañeda Concerts: Flamenco in Las Vegas
When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18
Where: Plaza Hotel Ballroom

Cost: $15 per person
Where to purchase tickets: Las Vegas Arts Council and online at lasvegasartscouncil.org. Tickets are also available at the Plaza Hotel. 

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La Emi Photo: Daniel Quat Photography

Made with love

Lanie's QuiltI made my first quilt. Not that I haven’t made quilts, I have, but always the tie kind. I’ve never actually made an honest to goodness quilted quilt. I’m proud of the finished product, not so much because of the perfection of the end result (it is FAR from perfect), but because I didn’t give up when I made one mistake after another. In fact, within a week of finishing it, I all but threw up my hands and said, “I’m done!”

My final setback (after countless other setbacks that will go unnamed), came when I realized I’d attached the binding in such a way that I couldn’t finish off the corners in a neat and tidy fashion. When it didn’t seem to be working the way I thought it should, I made a major mistake and trimmed one corner thinking that would solve the problem. Uh… no! I’d   made it WORSE. Imagine my surprise when I found, after checking out instructions on the Internet and two days of pulling my hair, I’d done it right all along. My mistake was how I attached the binding. I should have sewn it to the back and pulled the binding to the front. I was frustrated and began to think it was so incredibly WRONG! The temptation to give up was intense, in fact I told my husband I was going to go out and buy a baby quilt for my soon-to-be-born great niece.

Ah, right, the reason I took on this project was to make something with my own hands and heart that would reflect my love for this precious child. I couldn’t give up. No matter what, I wanted to finish it and I’m proud to say I did, and in time for the baby’s shower on Saturday.

I will go out and buy some things for my great-niece, but I hope she will grow up knowing this handmade quilt was made with love interwoven with prayers for her to be healthy, happy and passionate about life. The quirky secrets hidden within the mistakes are my prayers for her to find plenty to laugh about, even when things don’t go her way. She is coming into a family who will cherish her, and give loving support to her mom and dad.

I can’t wait to see her.

The right words…

Write Stuff Logo

You have your passion and I have mine. Allow me to put my passion for writing to work for your business or organization.

Write Stuff: (The short list of writing services)

  • Blog development and content
  • Website content
  • Ad development and design
  • Facebook post management
  • Posters
  • Rack Cards
  • Brochures
  • Press Releases / Public Relations
  • Flyers (content and design)
  • Newsletters development and design (digital Mail Chimp or for print)
  • And more…

Call for a free consultation • 505-617-0839

Five reasons to hire Write Stuff

Outstanding content on your website or blog is critical. Strong copy in advertising, e-mails and other communication is the difference between getting your message across and blending in with the crowd.

Focus your energy
You have a particular passion and talent. Whatever that is, that is what you want to do. That’s how you make your money. That’s how you want to spend your time, not writing copy for e-mails, blogs, ads, flyers, newsletters and other business communications. By hiring Write Stuff you can concentrate on the things you do fabulously.

Develop ideas

Your time is valuable. Your business relies on you. When you hire Write Stuff you stop worrying about getting your message across to your customers in a creative and consistent way and concentrate on taking care of them.

The job done right

When you have a problem with your car you take it to a reliable, professional mechanic. Car repair isn’t your thing, nor do you want it to be. You trust the mechanic to do the work that needs to be done. Turning your written communication needs over to Write Stuff assures the work will be done correctly, creatively and on time.

Target and tailor your message

You know who your customers are. How do you reach them? That’s where Write Stuff can help you by identifying strategies for reaching the people with money to spend for the products or services you offer. Target marketing isn’t a catch phrase, it’s a must for the savvy entrepreneur.

Best foot forward

Written communication is a reflection of your professionalism. The best selling point for your business is how you are perceived based on several factors, among them how you appear in print. Whether you are sending out a press release or posting a sign on your door correct spelling and grammar say a lot about your respect for your customers and attention to detail.

For information contact 505-617-0839 / e-mail fsharon@msn.com

One Roof Publishing Digest

I’m changing my website look with the idea of making it more user friendly. Not sure I succeeded. I liked the old theme that popped up with a nice display of ten recent posts with a photo. The new theme may do that, but if so, I haven’t figured it out yet. Please let me know what you think by commenting at the end of this post or by e-mailing me at fsharon@msn.com. It is a work in progress, so more changes are coming.

Following is a digest of links to recent posts you may have missed. I hope you will take time to check these out, like, comment and share.

Q&A with Ron Querry

Ron QuerryRon Querry should be an actor in a Western movie. He has the craggy good looks, air of romanticism and steely-eyed stare of a cowboy hero. He would scoff at such a description, but his tongue-in-cheek memoir tells a different story. Creative license aside, I See By My Get-Up reveals a man much inclined to finish what he starts, and one who learns by observation, intuition and application. Despite growing up in an age of disillusionment and questioning everything, Querry kept on course when it came to education and earned his Ph.D. in American Studies in 1975. He spent a few years as a professor at the University of Oklahoma, and taught at Highlands, Lake Erie College for Women, and conducted seminars on Native American Literature in Italy. Read more…

Q&A with Andrea Gottschalk

WelcomeBeing in business is a challenge and an opportunity all wrapped up in one great adventure. When you’re good at it, you share your expertise with others who are dipping a toe into the entrepreneurial waters. With more than thirty years of experience under her belt, Andrea Gottschalk of Unikat Fine Jewelry has grown her business and reached out to help others. She believes in working in concert with other business people and making the most of networking opportunities. She has an abundance of talent as a jewelry designer and creates a customer-friendly shopping experience as a business owner. Her insightful responses to the Q&A reveals a woman who enjoys what she does, and who remains grounded in the essentials of business ownership: making wise market decisions and operating within your means. Read more…

Q&A with Nancy Colalillo

nancyNancy Colalillo is one of my favorite people, fearless in the face of just about everything. Her entrepreneurial spirit brought an exciting book store to Las Vegas several years ago. After she sold that successful enterprise, she went out on a limb and opened Paper Trail, a card and gift shop. This venture has been so well received, she has now moved to a bigger space – 166 Bridge Street – and expanded her card and gift product lines. There are darling baby items, a card for every occasion, gift books, gift wrap, lots of gift ideas and plenty of new merchandise. This locally owned and operated business is a jewel of a shop. Read more…

Q&A with Michael Ulibarri

Christmas GoodiesThe Ulibarri family’s route to its new shop at 161 Bridge Street has been circuitous and – as is often the case with small businesses – not without challenges. What it has continued to have is faithful customers who love the candy they make. The store came out of a family who personifies “family first” when it comes to making decisions. Read more…

 

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One Roof Publishing is a free site. I have elected to not monetize it with annoying pop up ads. I use this site as a link to my work as a writer. If you enjoy One Roof Publishing and would like to see it continue, I will appreciate you buying my books, available online. Click on a book image to the right or go to Books on this site to order one (or all  🙂 of my titles. Your purchase will be greatly appreciated.

 

 

And yet…

Christmas Light

Our lives are brightened and emboldened by the birth of Christ
not because of who we are, but because of who he is.
He was born in a stable, hardly a place to inspire wonder.
And yet… we decorate with gold and silver, red and green. Why?
Is it to signify the light that came into the world?
I like to think so.

Christmas carols seem inappropriate in a hurting world,
and yet… the increased kindness in this season speaks
of an underlying music we can’t identify in any other way
than the Spirit alive and at work in the world,
a tune that gives hope.

We look at the Christ child full of
innocence and tranquility, just a baby, and yet…
he heralds the promise of peace on earth,
new born in the hearts of
peace-makers around the world.

We see the simple shepherds
– the first to hear the news –
and think, so what?
And yet… the message is clear: to God,
each of us is special, no matter who we are.

We hear choirs, powerful and joyful voices
telling a story that touches
any and all who listen, annoucing
Emmanuel, God with us!
Born a child who would become a Savior.

We see the wealthy magi
as they bow and give him gifts,
wisely seeing more than meets the eye.
This child touched their hearts,
as he does all who seek the Light.

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Image: clipart.com