New Distributor in Canada — Thomas Allen & Son

Thomas Allen tradeshow

We’re welcoming Thomas Allen & Son to the Amber Lotus family. They are Canada’s leading independent distributor of books, stationery, and calendars. 

Thomas Allen & Son is the oldest family-owned and operated trade book distributor in Canada, serving the industry for more than 100 years and through four generations of the Allen family.

They are the exclusive Canadian distributor for over 25 US and British book publishers and are positioned as one of the top 10 book distributors by volume in the Canadian marketplace.

Their diverse product lines include everything from dictionaries to self-help books, award-winning fiction and non-fiction, calendars, gift products, journals, stationery, and a wide range of children’s books. Their Bibliographic Data base features over 55,000 available titles and their 75,000 square foot warehouse facility stocks over 13,000 active titles at any one time.

Visit their website to learn more.


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Random Acts of Kindness Day and Week 2020

Image from the Art of Kindness 2020 wall calendar featuring illustrated quotes by Clairice Gifford. Click for more info.

Random Acts of Kindness Week, which will be observed February 16-22, 2020, is an annual opportunity to unite through kindness. Formally recognized in 1995, this seven-day celebration demonstrates that kindness is contagious. It all starts with one act — one smile, one coffee for a stranger, one favor for a friend. It’s an opportunity for participants to leave the world better than they found it and inspire others to do the same. Since inception, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation estimates that millions of individuals, celebrities, businesses, schools, and partners have participated in these weeklong celebrations. Random Acts of Kindness Day is celebrated on February 17, 2020.

Visit the foundation website to learn more about events in your area. Or you can simply make a personal commitment to practice more mindfulness during that week to create waves and waves of kindness in the world.

From the RAK Foundation website, here are some fun scientifically proven benefits of being kind:

KINDNESS IS TEACHABLE
“It’s kind of like weight training, we found that people can actually build up their compassion ‘muscle’ and respond to others’ suffering with care and a desire to help.” (Dr. Ritchie Davidson,  University of Wisconsin)

KINDNESS IS CONTAGIOUS
The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to “pay it forward.” This means one good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people!

KINDNESS INCREASES:

THE LOVE HORMONE
Witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin, occasionally referred to as the “love hormone” which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism, which is extra helpful when we’re feeling anxious or shy in a social situation.

ENERGY
“About half of participants in one study reported that they feel stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth” (Christine Carter, UC Berkeley, Greater Good Science Center)

HAPPINESS
A 2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries found that people who are altruistic — in this case, people who were generous financially, such as with charitable donations — were happiest overall.

LIFESPAN
“People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.” (Christine Carter, Author, “Raising Happiness; In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents”)

PLEASURE
According to research from Emory University, when you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed — not the giver. This phenomenon is called the “helper’s high.”

SEROTONIN
Like most medical antidepressants, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. This feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy!

KINDNESS DECREASES:

PAIN
Engaging in acts of kindness produces endorphins — the brain’s natural painkiller!

STRESS
Perpetually kind people have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and age slower than the average population!

ANXIETY
A group of highly anxious individuals performed at least six acts of kindness a week. After one month, there was a significant increase in positive moods, relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance in socially anxious individuals. (University of British Columbia Study)

DEPRESSION
Stephen Post of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that when we give of ourselves, everything from life satisfaction to self-realization and physical health is significantly improved. Mortality is delayed, depression is reduced and well-being and good fortune are increased.

BLOOD PRESSURE
Committing acts of kindness lowers blood pressure. According to Dr. David R. Hamilton, acts of kindness create emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and, therefore, oxytocin is known as a “cardioprotective” hormone. It protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.


About the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

An international nonprofit, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, believes that kindness is key to making the world a better place. This nonpolitical, nonreligious organization leads the way by reminding people that they have a choice to be kind and provides them with free tools to make kindness common in their everyday lives.


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Desktop Wallpaper Calendar — February 2020 — Free to Download

February is the second month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. As the only month to have a length of less than 30 days, February is the shortest month of the year. The month has 28 days in common years or 29 days in leap years, with the quadrennial 29th day being called the “leap day.”
Flower: Violet
Birthstone: Amethyst

Here are a few of the special days during this month:
1 – Imbolc (Pagan/Wiccan)
2 – Groundhog Day
6 – Waitangi Day (New Zealand)
10 – Tu B’Shevat (Jewish)
12 – Lincoln’s Birthday
14 – Valentine’s Day
15 – Flag Day (Canada)
15 – Nirvana Day (Buddhist)
17 – Presidents’ Day
17 – Random Acts of Kindness Day
21 – Maha Shivaratri (Hindu)
22 – Washington’s Birthday
24 – Losar (Tibetan New Year)
25 – Mardi Gras
26 – Ash Wednesday
29 – Leap Day

February Desktop Wallpaper

See download tips and system instructions below:

Mac Users: Click thumbnail image above to see a preview of the downloadable graphic. Then Ctrl+click that image and select the command “Save Image As” in the pop-up menu to save the image to your computer. Some browsers allow you to click and drag the image to your desktop. Then use your System Preferences to change the desktop.

Windows Users: Click thumbnail image above to see a preview of the downloadable graphic. Then right-click that image and select the command “Save Image As” in the pop-up menu to save the image to your computer. Some browsers allow you to click and drag the image to your desktop. Then use your Personalization Settings to change the desktop.

Note: Desktop wallpaper calendars are free for personal use only.


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One Million Trees Planted!

There is a magic machine that sucks carbon out of the air, costs very little, and builds itself. It’s called a tree. — George Monbiot

In September 2019 Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg partnered with writer and fellow activist George Monbiot to create the short film Nature Now, an impassioned call to action for people around the world to protect and restore nature and fund natural climate solutions before it’s too late. In the film, Monbiot brilliantly describes the tree as “a magic machine that sucks carbon out of the air.”

Amber Lotus Publishing has been planting these magic machines since 2008 to offset our carbon footprint and resource usage. In December 2019 we reached the milestone of planting 1,000,000 trees.

Each year, we use about 2,500 trees in manufacturing our products. In the first six years, we planted an average of 35,000 trees annually. As our business grew over the next six years, we increased our commitment and have planted an average of 111,000 trees annually—more than 45 times the number of trees used each year to make our products. While we celebrate this significant milestone for our company, we know that there is even more to be done.

That is why, beginning in 2020, Amber Lotus will commit to planting 200,000 trees every year, with the goal of planting another 1,000,000 trees by 2025.

We are awed and inspired by Greta Thunberg and all the children around the world who are demanding action on the climate crisis. We hope you are inspired, too, and will join us in rising to this climate challenge.

~ Lawson Day, Co-owner

Our tree-planting partner, Trees for the Future, is a nonprofit agroforestry resource center that helps communities across six countries in sub-Saharan Africa. For more information about the program, please visit trees.org.


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Desktop Wallpaper Calendar — January 2020 — Free to Download

January (in Latin, Ianuarius) is named after the Latin word for door (ianua), since January is the door to the year and an opening to new beginnings. The month is conventionally thought of as being named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology. It is, on average, the coldest month of the year within most of the Northern Hemisphere (where it is the second month of winter) and the warmest month of the year within most of the Southern Hemisphere (where it is the second month of summer).
Flower: Carnation
Birthstone: Garnet

Here are a few of the special days during this month:
1 – New Year’s Day
6 – Epiphany (Christian)
7 – Christmas (Orthodox Christian)
14 – Old New Year (Orthodox Christian)
16 – Religious Freedom Day
20 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
25 – Chinese New Year
26 – Australia Day (Australia)
26 – Republic Day (India)
27 – Holocaust Remembrance Day
29 – Vasant Panchami (Hindu)

See download tips and system instructions below:

Mac Users: Click thumbnail image above to see a preview of the downloadable graphic. Then Ctrl+click that image and select the command “Save Image As” in the pop-up menu to save the image to your computer. Some browsers allow you to click and drag the image to your desktop. Then use your System Preferences to change the desktop.

Windows Users: Click thumbnail image above to see a preview of the downloadable graphic. Then right-click that image and select the command “Save Image As” in the pop-up menu to save the image to your computer. Some browsers allow you to click and drag the image to your desktop. Then use your Personalization Settings to change the desktop.

Note: Desktop wallpaper calendars are free for personal use only.


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Sale — 2020 Calendars, Limited Stock

 

Gratitude in the New Year — Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier

Katie Daisy 2020 weekly planner

Image of the Katie Daisy 2019-2020 On-the-Go Planner

As we enter a new year, many of us contemplate developing new habits with the desire to enrich our lives. While some of these resolutions can be lofty goals, one simple practice of expressing gratitude or keeping a gratitude list can have a lasting impact. A weekly planner or wall calendar is a wonderful place to jot down your lists and then reflect back on them at the end of the year.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

Here’s more from the Harvard Health Publishing website:

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.

Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis:

Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts you’ve received each day.

Write a thank-you note. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person’s impact on your life. Send it, or better yet, deliver and read it in person if possible. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. Once in a while, write one to yourself.

Thank someone mentally. No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual.

Count your blessings. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it helps to pick a number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.

Pray. People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.

Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as “peace”), it is also possible to focus on what you’re grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).


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Sale — 2020 Calendars, Limited Stock

Feast of Juul — Burning the Yule Log

Image from our Celtic Mandala 2020 wall calendar featuring artwork by Jen Delyth.

The Feast of Juul was a pre-Christian festival observed in Scandinavia at the time of the Winter Solstice. Fires were lit to symbolize the heat, light, and life-giving properties of the returning sun. A Yule (or Juul) log was brought in with great ceremony and burned on the hearth in honor of the Scandinavian god, Thor. A piece of the log was kept as both a token of good luck and as kindling for the following year’s log.

In England and in many parts of Germany, France, and other European countries, the Yule log was burned until nothing but ash remained; then the ashes were collected and either strewn on the fields as fertilizer every night until Twelfth Night or kept as a charm and useful medicine. French peasants believed that if the ashes were kept under the bed, they would protect the house against thunder and lightning, as well as prevent chilblains on the heels during the winter.

The present-day custom of lighting a Yule log at Christmas is believed to have originated in the bonfires associated with the Feast of Juul.

Source: Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, 5th Ed., published by Omnigraphics


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Sale — Art for Everyone on Your List

Artist Spotlight — Meera Lee Patel: Encouraging and Insightful

We are delighted to welcome Meera Lee Patel to our family of contributing artists. Working with watercolor and ink, she is inspired by nature, human connection, and the vibrant colors of her native India. She delights in creating art that encourages the transformation of confusion and chaos into centering moments to nourish the heart, spirit, and body. Nested within lush illustrations of flowers and natural elements, hand-lettered quotes offer encouragement and comfort as a touchstone throughout the year and invite you to believe in magic.

Meera is the best-selling author and artist of two journals, Made Out of Stars and Start Where You Are, and the book My Friend Fear. She is also a featured writer and artist for Spirituality & Health magazine. Everything she creates is based on the simple principle that anything is possible. Her vibrant and thoughtful work aims to help people find beauty in daily living. Her clients include American Greetings, Estée Lauder, Food52, Free People, and Vogue India.

Visit her website to see more of her beautiful work.


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Sale — Art for Everyone on Your List