Giggling with joy and waiting for Saint Nicolas

magical-1090663_1920It is 8:30 am here in Belgium where we live and I am sure that Saint Nicolas has come to our home. He is the bishop dressed in red, with a long, pointy hat, who brings presents to deserving children. He carries them on a donkey and if you put your shoes out with a carrot inside (for the donkey), you will surely receive something. If you’ve been good…

Traditionally Saint Nicolas comes on the night between the 5th and the 6th but because we have work and kindergarten, we parents spoke to him and he agreed to come a little earlier.

How could he not? My little boy is so very good and so very wonderful.

He will turn three at the end of this month and this will be the first year when he will actually be able to understand. He knows who Saint Nicolas is… sort of. He has no point of reference for the magical bishop. But he loves presents, like all kids.

Saint Nicolas has conferred with us, mom and dad, in picking the presents for our little boy. And in doing that, us parents realized that we were more full of joy, more full of wonder and the purest form of glee (with giggles on top!) at the thought of watching our little one gasp with excitement than when we ourselves used to receive those presents as children. At least it feels like it now.

Sometimes people get disappointed and say that after the magic of childhood wears off, adulthood is not nearly as shiny and wondrous. But that is not really true, is it…

Oh, the many forms that love takes…

May you have a joyous day – and filled with magic. And rest assured, if you put a carrot in your shoes, on the night of 6th December, you might just get a little magic. In fact, you can expect some magic in your shoes any time you ask for it – the saints are flexible, I have it on good authority.

Sunny skies and good feelings,

Christine

PS: We will have another round with Santa Claus. Traditionally, it was Saint Nicolas who brought presents to the children but now we have Santa too. You see? More magical opportunities! 🙂

Cover Design Contest for Self-Published Authors

In the last few months, after taking a few design courses online through http://www.coursera.com, I’ve started making my own covers for the books that I am publishing independently on Amazon (see them all here: Author’s Page for Christine Ellis on Amazon.com).

Some of the books are doing quite well and I am moderately pleased with how I’m doing.

I am currently reading a book on marketing for indie authors, by Martin Crosbie. I am getting a lot of useful information and I am happy I purchased it.

One of the resources that I found out in the book is this monthly ebook cover contest from The Book Designer: https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/08/monthly-e-book-cover-design-awards.

So without further ado, I am submitting one of my own covers – the one I like the most (so far).

This is the cover:

the-happiness-switch-1

You can see the book on Amazon.com here:

The Happiness Switch: How to Transform Anxiety, Depression and Other Negative Moods by Focusing On and Cultivating Good Feelings

I feel proud to have come this far. Only a few short months ago I was struggling heavily with procrastination and self-doubts. Now the book is out… for better or for worse, but it is out.

Let me know what you think of the cover in the comments below!

And if you would like a free review copy, those are still available. Just contact me through this site.

Sunny skies and good feelings,

Christine

10 Best-selling coloring books for adults

secret garden coloring book

The holidays are coming. You might have a bit of time off to recharge your batteries and refresh yourself after a year of work. What will you do? May I suggest coloring?

To start at the beginning…

I periodically look for interviews with successful authors on the Internet. I feel inspired by their stories and I always have something to learn. Always.

Sometimes I am very surprised by the field in which an author finds success. I would have never guessed that there is a market for that sort of thing.

One such example is Johanna Basford. She is an artist who, back in 2012 or so, came up with the idea of publishing an adult coloring book. Her publisher was skeptical but willing to try.

Much to everybody’s surprise, the book became a huge success and sparked a revolution in not only the publishing business, but also the way adults relax: with colored pencils, coloring within the lines, just like they did when they were children.

There are now thousands of coloring books for adults.

I must confess I haven’t caught the bug. I just don’t have the patience for it. I still prefer a walk in nature or a massage in order to relax. But many of my friends have taken to it like fish to sweet water. And I’m seriously considering it.

The books are gorgeous. Even without color, the drawings are exquisite. Just laying eyes on them makes you feel good. You inhale beauty.

One of these days I might just try it. For me, it also has the added bonus that I will forever associate these books with someone who stuck to their dream and did not take no for an answer.

Here is a list of 10 best-selling coloring books for adults on Amazon.com:

1.Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book by Johanna Basford

This was Johanna’s first published book. It came out in 2013 and is the most sold coloring book on Amazon. It is in their top 10 books in the whole store!

 

2. Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book by Johanna Basford

The runner up is also signed by Johanna Basford. She is insanely talented and her drawings are amazing. No wonder she is so successful!

 

3. Creative Haven Creative Cats Coloring Book (Creative Haven Coloring Books) by Marjorie Sarnat

Our friends the cats are a very strong presence. These beautiful felines wear clothes and patterns that are so harmonious and pleasing to the eye that you will want to frame your best drawings. This book is at number fourteen in “Books” on Amazon.

4. Balance (Angie’s Extreme Stress Menders Volume 1) by Angie Grace

This book’s title suggests it is for people who feel very stressed. Extremely so, in fact. The drawings are very intricate and applying color here requires a level of attention to detail that will certainly drive anything else out of your mind. Isn’t that the definition of meditation?

5. Dover Creative Haven Art Nouveau Animal Designs Coloring Book (Creative Haven Coloring Books) by Marty Noble

Art Nouveau designs and drawings seem to be very popular too. Especially when combined with animal themes.

6. Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Animal Designs by Blue Star Coloring

At nr. 5 in “Books”, these stress relieving animals beam brightly.

 

7. Unicorns Are Jerks: a coloring book exposing the cold, hard, sparkly truth by Theo Nicole Lorenz

This one looks particularly appealing to me because it seems really funny. Unicorns? Jerks? This already makes me smile.

8. Adult Coloring Books: A Coloring Book for Adults Featuring Mandalas and Henna Inspired Flowers, Animals, and Paisley Patterns by Adult Coloring Books

I love mandalas and Henna flowers. I find them very soothing.

 

9. Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure and Coloring Book by Johanna Basford

Johanna is making another appearance. It’s no wonder. This book swallows you up in an ocean adventure.

10. The Calm Coloring Book (Chartwell Coloring Books) by Patience Coster

This is my personal favorite. If I had to pick just one book, I’d pick this one. With its nature patterns and gentle themes, I’m sure it would put me in a great, calm, quietly happy mood.

Happy coloring!

C.M.

Lazy Apple Pie and the Productive Past

Lazy Apple Pie FLazy is a good thing. So is apple pie.  I felt amused looking at this design I did a couple of years ago for an online course. Also, it felt good to look at it, remember it and realize that I was doing way more things than I now remember. Productive, yes. I was. Even though most of the time I think I should be doing more.

Satisfaction down to the fingertips

trimmed fingernailsBefore I had my son I used to feel satisfied if I had a good meal, or saw a good movie or were on the right side of an argument. I also used to take profound satisfaction in watching synchronicities show up. Now I feel the same profound satisfaction (if not more…) when I manage to cut my 2 y.o.’s fingernails. I have to show him a movie to make him sit still. Even so, he thrashes and pulls at times and scares me with a sudden gesture… I’m always afraid of cutting a whole finger. The whole ordeal takes about 10 minutes (fingers and toes) at the end of which I feel I have lived that day well on this Earth. Full of love. And profoundly satisfied, down to the fingertips.

Feeling blessed and savoring water

IMG_3035I’ve had a very long day. It was good but I’m exhausted. Also, I don’t like rushing around but that’s what I had to do. An hour before midnight I took a shower and it took a lot of energy to do this simple thing. The warm water was delicious though and I felt refreshed, relaxed and blessed for having this available to me whenever I want. I don’t know why I thought of this but it occurred to me that not too long ago we had to carry buckets to take a bath and running water was unheard of. What a blessing, then, to have it. And what a blessing water is in general.

C.M.

Savoring

Welcome to my blog. It’s a blog about good feelings. And feeling good. Every day I will pick a good vibe and write something about it. After all, everything we do is that so we get to feel a certain way. It really is all about the feelings.

So in thinking this morning about what I wanted to say today, it occurred to me that when I talk about savoring something, there is no particular feeling that describes the experience. I can savor chocolate and I may feel tickled on the inside. I feel profound relaxation when I savor a good massage. But what do I feel when I savor my life? When I am at the end of a perfect day… or maybe even a troubled day, that didn’t start so well, but finished brilliantly. To say that I feel satisfied is an understatement. I could use the word “jubilant” but then that doesn’t quite cover it when I listen to my son softly snoring in his crib. But I do savor that too.

Here’s to savoring – whatever it is, for it surely is good.

C.M.