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WHAT THE HOLIDAYS MEAN TO ME

Typically, the “holiday season” is a slow time for my business. Most business people are focused on spending time with their families and are not yet thinking about their marketing or publicity plans for the New Year. I respect my clients’ need for time off and I appreciate having that time to myself to reflect on what the holidays really mean to me.

In previous years, I’ve felt a lot of pressure to produce gifts – not just the average gift, but really great gifts for my loved ones. That requires some time and ingenuity to shop for a specific gift with each person in mind. Fortunately, I gave up this practice a few years ago because I realized that it is much easier to ask people what they want and then get it for them. While there isn’t a “surprise factor” in the giving of the gift, there’s also no remorse or need for someone to return a gift that they didn’t really want or can’t use. By opening up the channels of communication with my family and friends, I have been able to save myself a lot of anxiety and stress and best of all, I don’t have to compete with the throngs of holiday shoppers in the parking garages or shopping malls across America.

So what do the holidays really mean to me? It comes down to a simple message: It’s about loving and appreciating the ones who are in my life – my family, friends, neighbors and clients. This is a great time to say “thank you.”

So thank you to all of my friends and business associates “out there” in the virtual world who are reading this. Thank you for sharing your expertise with me in your chosen fields and thank you for asking me to help you with mine!

I hope this next year is a good one for us all. I hope that we’ll be able to overcome any differences and be able to share a strong bond of support with our business objectives.

Be well, enjoy your life each day, and celebrate those who are in your life. I wish you a beautiful holiday and a prosperous 2017!

THE LESSONS WE LEARN AS CHILDREN STAY WITH US

lonely-childBack when I was in second grade, I found myself in an awkward position when a Special Needs girl in my class observed me handing out invitations to “selected friends” for my seventh birthday party. Her name was Mary and I’ll never forget her. Mary approached me and asked if she could come to my birthday party too.  I told her that I would have to check with my mother first. Upon hearing this, Mary began to cry. Without thinking about it further, I handed her an invitation and told her that she was welcome.

When I got home from school that day, I told my mother what I had done. I knew that I might lose some friends – some of the more “popular girls” – by asking Mary to join us. At that time, Special Needs children were mixed in with the rest of the kids in elementary school and they generally were seated way in the back of the classroom to minimize any possible disruption.

My Mom listened to me recount how bad I felt for Mary but that I was also fearful that I had possibly made a mistake by extending the invitation to her. Then she hugged me and told me that she was very proud of me for being so kind and pointed out that Mary probably never got invited to anyone’s birthday party before. In doing so, she helped me realize that compassion was more important than popularity and that what the rest of the kids thought was really not very important.

My seventh birthday party turned out to be a great success. Mary’s mother delivered her to my home and thanked me for including her, telling me with tears in her eyes that she was grateful that I “let” Mary join me. I’ll never forget the gift she presented to me – I actually still have it after all these years. It was a beautiful charm bracelet that reflected the light through a series of sparkling polished crystals. It was certainly the best gift I received that day, but the real lesson was transmitted by Mary, herself, in her happiness in just being present. She taught me how important it was to her to be treated with kindness and respect.

So when conversing with a young child, never underestimate how much they understand or the value they will place on that experience. I will never forget Mary Soulas, the classmate of mine who thanked me through her tears for inviting her to her first birthday party, ever!

Sunland-Tujunga Branch Library to Celebrate 90th Anniversary

Libraries should serve as not only an educational resource, but also as a cultural resource for the community, says Ardem Ardashes Tajerian, manager of the Sunland-Tujunga Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. And on Saturday, Decemtujunga-station-1ber 10th the S-T Library will host a celebration with music and art to celebrate its 90 year history. At 12:30 p.m., there will be a marionette show, and at 1:30, a ceremony attended by dignitaries to mark 90 years of library services. At 2:30, the 3-piece jazz band “Soul Purpose” will entertain the public and at 3 p.m., there will be a crafts event on weaving. Tajerian sums up the celebration by saying, “We are celebrating the past and looking forward to the future.”

Mr. Tajerian joined the S-T branch in June after a long history in the Van Nuys branch. His idea, in creating this event, was to embrace the history of the Sunland-Tujunga community. “The Los Angeles Public Library has been in the communities of Sunland and Tujunga for 90 years,” he says. “Originally, there were two little stations in both communities. The Sunland station was a storefront at 8412 Foothill Boulevard in Sunland while the Tujunga station was located at 7212 Valmont. In 1952, they were merged into the current location at 7771 Foothill Boulevard in Sunland. This building is the second one on the current site, built when the first needed to expand.”

For those who enjoy reading, a library card is a valuable investment. Not only can you borrow books, music, and movies but you can also access many of the L.A. Public Library’s data bases (there are 183 of them) to peruse newspapers and archives, science encyclopedias, art encyclopedias, biography encyclopedias, and databases for business and economics, careers, and even auto repair manuals. Access to the online resources is via the website: www.lapl.org.

The S-T Library now hosts a collection of 52,000 volumes of books. Over the past three years, about 104,000 visitors have enjoyed its resources each year. In addition to serving as a lending library with books, magazines and newspapers, DVDs and e-books, the branch has many online research data bases available for library patrons, including a free version of ancestry.com (accessible at the library, itself). Additionally, there are educational aids for all age groups from grade show to college, including online tutoring (available in English and Spanish for a variety of subjects), resume preparation services, computer classes, job search databases, and one to one adult literacy classes.

second-sunland-tujunga-branch“The libraries of today have changed,” notes Tajerian. “What I want to do with this celebration is let the community know that we have not only traditional library services but also many other new and exciting services.”

One of the ways the library supports itself is through book donations and purchases at its onsite book store, manned by volunteers of The Friends of S-T Branch Library. The bookstore is open most days starting at 10 a.m. and offers quality used books at bargain prices.

Tajerian hopes this outreach event helps lay the groundwork to bring in new library patrons – people who may not be aware of the resources available. “I’d really like to emphasize that this is a hub for education and culture for our community. I want people to know that the library is here for whatever educational or leisure needs they have.”

Pat Kramer, aka “Writer For Hire,” is an award-winning business, PR, marketing and ghostwriter who has had more than 1,000 articles, news stories, feature pieces and entertainment write-ups published in major business, news, medical, entertainment and trade journals. She currently focuses on writing persuasive and informational content for companies and business professionals to help them achieve specific goals.