Archive for January, 2011

Our New 1-Minute Inspirations

January 25, 2011

What can you communicate in 60 seconds that matters?
That inspires a little?
That appeals to the eye and the ear?
That touches the heart and the soul?

These questions appear at the top of Willowgreen’s newest website: 1-Minute Inspirations.

Every Wednesday morning Jim Miller releases his latest answer to these questions—a 60-second video incorporating his writing, photography, and voice, usually formed around a quotation he has selected to bring focus to a single encouraging thought.

Jim has been known as a nature photographer, making images from the created world that help express the concepts found in his printed and audiovisual resources. Now he has enlarged the scope of his photography, including images from the human-made world along with images of people themselves.

The 1-Minute Inspirations website opened in early October. You can watch all the Inspirations, including the one just released, at willowgreeninspirations.com.

The 1-Minute Backstory:

January 25, 2011

An Interview with Jim Miller

InSight: Where did the idea for 1-Minute Inspirations come from?

Jim: Early last year I worked with focus groups to test the idea of developing short videos to support and encourage healthcare professionals in their daily work. I created three prototype videos, each between three and five minutes long, and asked people to respond to what they saw and heard.

InSight: And their feedback?

Jim: While this response was not universal, consensus seemed to be “the shorter, the better.” I commonly heard, “We healthcare professionals definitely need encouragement and inspiration but we’re so busy, we cannot take much time to view these.” I remember one man said, “These need to be really short: one minute, no longer.”

InSight: And you said?

Jim: I didn’t say anything. I nodded my head and wrote the comment in my notebook. But I thought to myself, “That’s impossible! 60 seconds to develop a meaningful, useful, inspirational thought? No way!”

InSight: So what led to your developing these Inspirations after all?

Jim: It was several weeks before I opened to the idea. One influence was the realization that most of us experience many complete one-minute messages many times a day. They’re called TV ads. If others can communicate that succinctly, why not I?

InSight: What has been your experience in creating these?

Jim: It’s hard to do! I usually begin with, or include, a quotation from the ages. Normally I write my own additional words as I expand upon the basic idea. But sometimes I don’t use any more words at all—just music and photography.

InSight: And you’re able to keep it to one minute?

Jim: I don’t count the introductory titles or the ending credits, which can account for twenty or thirty seconds. But, yes, the music I choose lasts exactly sixty seconds and that’s the timeframe I work within. Every word counts. So does every image, every dissolve between images.

InSight: Where do the ideas for your themes come from?

Jim: I wish I could tell you. Sometimes I look through my quotation files. I have tens of thousands of them, all on 4 x 6 cards, organized around hundreds of subjects. Sometimes I come across a meaningful idea in a book or magazine. Sometimes a thought jumps out when a person is talking to me. Every once in a while a thought comes from nowhere, seemingly, as I lie in bed at night or as I awaken from a dream.

InSight: Completing one a week seems like a task. Is it?

Jim: Back when I was in the ministry and had to deliver a new sermon every week, I used to say that I was surprised how many weeks of the year had Sundays in them. These days I say that I am surprised how many weeks have Wednesdays in them. But so far, three months into this experiment, I’ve not missed a deadline. When I began, I thought I could do each one in two or three hours’ time. Even now that I have developed a rhythm to this work, it still takes more like eight or ten hours on average to complete each one.

InSight: How long will you carry on?

Jim: I’ve committed myself to doing these for one full year. After that I’ll evaluate. Are they of value? Do many people use them? Am I continuing to enjoy the creative process? Somehow it will all become clear.

InSight: Can people purchase these Inspirations?

Jim: I’ve been surprised when people have asked that question. No, they’re not for sale. They’re free. But perhaps someday I’ll release them in a high quality format as a DVD. Once again, somehow it will all become clear.

eBooks Demystified:

January 25, 2011

Willowgreen’s New Venture

Electronic books or eBooks are not a recent invention. They have been in development and use for almost forty years, but their popularity has grown rapidly in recent years. This is due largely to three factors: the growth of the internet, the development of hand-held devices for reading eBooks, and promotions by publishers, booksellers, and device manufacturers.

An eBook is a digital file that can be read using software on computers. Hand-held reading devices such as the Kobo, Nook, Kindle and Sony are actually small, dedicated computers. Each has its unique look and manner of operating. These devices are handy but they aren’t a necessity. The software or application required to open and read an eBook can be installed on any computer. It is free and usually offered by the bookseller. Mobile devices such as cell phones and MP3 players like the iPod Touch can read eBooks with free software as well.

To read the ePub version of Willowgreen’s new eBooks on a Mac or PC, download Adobe Digital Editions at this LINK. To read the Kindle or Nook versions, follow the instructions that came with your device for syncing it with your computer. You can also use their free readers directly on your computer. These are downloadable from the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. PDF (Portable Document Format) documents are also eBooks. These can be read on and printed from a free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Willowgreen has released 15 of its printed titles as eBooks. You may order and download them through our website or through other eBook websites, including Amazon.com. They range in price from $3.00 to $6.25.

Our eBooks include:

The Gift of Healing Presence
One You Love Has Died (both English and Spanish versions)
One You Love Is Dying
When You Know You’re Dying
How Will I Get Through the Holidays?
The Art of Being a Healing Presence
Effective Support Groups
Helping the Bereaved Celebrate the Holidays
My Shepherd Is the Lord
The Rewarding Practice of Journal Writing
What Will Help Me? / How Can I Help?
When Mourning Dawns
When You’re Ill / When You’re the Caregiver
When a Man Faces Grief / When a Man You Know Is Grieving