How Heartspoken was born…
Turning 60, for me, was a bit of a watershed. I didn’t mind, really…I’ve loved every stage of my life, but there’s something about the fact that I’m closer to the end than the beginning that caused me to pull myself up by the bootstraps and ask myself what I wanted to do with the rest of my life–however long that might be–to make it really count. This contemplation led to a reinvention of myself as a “Connection Evangelist” and to Heartspoken.com. I’m on a mission to help others strengthen the connections in their lives that mean most to them. I believe anyone can learn to be a better Connector and that this skill contributes significantly to success and happiness.
I know that Connection matters every time I look in someone’s eyes and share their pain or joy; every time someone lights up when they are noticed or complimented; every time a business introduction becomes a win-win; every time I meditate on the awesomeness of Creation and my part in it; every time I stop long enough to feel the breeze, smell the fragrant spring blossoms, dig in the earth and feel Nature’s touch; every time I think about the richness that others have brought into my life. Oh yes, Connection matters.
Thinking about Connection started a chain reaction of contemplations, questions, and searching. I became convinced that being a “people person” is not a prerequisite to being effective at making meaningful connections. ANYONE who has a desire to be more intentional and awake to their potential to connect with others has touched on the power to change lives through authentic interaction. All they need is the right inspiration, information, tools, action-steps and guidance to turn desire into action.
From this insight, Heartspoken was born, a project grounded in a commitment to understanding and teaching the power of authentic connection to three things…to ourselves, to each other, and to God/Source. Since connecting with Nature provides such a rich source of inspiration and peace, I have included it as a connection category too, though for me, my connection with Nature is virtually inseparable from my connection with God.
My desire to strengthen these essential connections in my own life has led me to share what I learn with others. Heartspoken will explore its message of genuine and enlightened connectivity through our blog, courses, books, seminars and Connection Messengers1 who understand that the way to a better world and more joyful, abundant living is through the quality of the connections and relationships we make. They speak from the heart to illuminate your way.
A word about this site’s artists/artwork
Kay Ely-Pierce, artist and friend, has been a staunch cheerleader in my journey towards the launching of this site. She graciously offered me the use of some of her original paintings of hearts to use in the site as I saw fit, and the beautiful hearts incorporated into my Heartspoken banner/header are hers. A gifted and versatile artist, Kay exhibits her work at The Art Group Gallery, whose home is now the Bowman-Shannon Cultural Arts Center in Mt. Jackson, VA. I’m sure you’ll see more of her work in the future.
Lynne Crumpacker, also artist and friend, has brought my vision and writing to life in several ways. She designed the entire banner/header of this site by incorporating Kay’s hearts and conveying other parts of my project through her amazing graphic design skills. She placed the beginning of the site name in the “heart of the heart” where it belongs, and incorporated the image of handwriting in a way that wonderfully combines old fashioned values with a contemporary feel, just as I try to do in my writing. She has also worked her magic on some poetry and prayers that I’ve written to make them frame-able pieces of gift art. They’ll be in the Gifts area soon. Lynne’s artwork is displayed at the King Street Art Works in Strasburg as well as on her own website.
In the fall of 2011, I added a talented team member in the person of Karen Elliott, “The Word Shark,” an extremely capable and conscientious proofreader and editor. Karen is making me a better writer by helping me with everything from pesky dashes and dangling participles to ensuring that I say what I mean as clearly and effectively as possible. She always turns my work around quickly and she always delivers way more value than expected. I recommend her highly.
Who is Elizabeth H. Cottrell (“RiverwoodWriter”)?
Besides being Founder and Connection Evangelist of Heartspoken.com, Elizabeth is also Principal of RiverwoodWriter, LLC, a desktop publishing, freelance writing, and social media consulting business in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Widely recognized for her ability to bridge differing backgrounds and perspectives through effective communications, with a special gift for being able to articulate clearly and meaningfully, she is sought after by individuals, organizations, and businesses to lend her talents and expertise to a wide array of tasks and projects. She is contributing author to bestseller The Gratitude Book Project: Celebrating 365 Days of Gratitude which on 12/15/10 reached #1 in Amazon’s Health, Mind & Body genre in the “Success” category, edging out Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. She was also cited as one of the “101 Women Bloggers to Watch in 2011″ by the online magazine WE Magazine for Women.
Elizabeth’s writing experience began in her combined liberal arts and science education (B.A. Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and M.S. in Human Anatomy from Tulane School of Medicine), and her first published works were co-authored scientific articles resulting from biological and biomedical research. She spent several years with research engineers writing up their research results on handicapped accessibility issues for government grantmakers. As a freelance writer, she has provided website content for clients ranging from health, family, and personal finance issues to extensive writing on home-based and small business issues in her capacity as writer and editor for the International Association of Home Business Entrepreneurs. Through her civic and nonprofit leadership positions, she has enjoyed still other varied opportunities for writing and communicating.
Elizabeth is blessed to live at the edge of a pine woods on the north fork of the Shenandoah River in Virginia with her husband, John, a retired physician. They love to walk, watch the birds, and travel to visit their grown children in Santa Fe, NM, and Austin, TX. Elizabeth serves on the board of directors of First Bank and is passionate about her work with the Shenandoah Community Foundation and the Moore Educational Trust.
What Others Say About Elizabeth:
“Elizabeth Cottrell is one of the clearest thinkers and most articulate communicators I have encountered in my career. She harnesses a superior intellect, an exceptional ability to focus on the task at hand, and a highly engaging personal style to provide value across a broad range of projects and services. Her ability to synthesize disparate information and sources and to communicate clearly and concisely to targeted audiences, both in writing and in oral presentations, makes her particularly effective as a business writer and editor. Her ability to multi-task on complex issues and her strong organizational skills and energy make her an effective and efficient manger of both projects and people. I have worked with Elizabeth in several volunteer and charitable roles. Given her background and credentials, I would not hesitate to engage her for any business-related activities in her wide field of expertise and I encourage you to do so, as well.”
–Charles Sheridan, Senior Vice President, Oracle Corporation (retired), Owner, Sheridan’s Retreat
“Elizabeth takes sophisticated technology and communicates it so that key stakeholders and constituents can easily understand it. This gift, coupled with critical wordsmithing talent, gives her a unique editorial skillset for many applications. Her involvement at board level in many organizations across a variety of sectors gives her a valuable strategic perspective to any analytic or planning challenge. Additionally, after planning, she has the energy to implement effectively.”
–Jim Herbert, Managing Partner, GlobalStrat, LLC
“I have had the pleasure of working with Elizabeth for many years. As board members at First National Corporation and First Bank I have observed her skills of open communications and insight of varied and complex issues. Elizabeth has the ability to analyze financial data, yet remain focused on the impact of decisions on individuals. Additionally, Elizabeth is very committed to serving her community through a variety of not-for-profit organizations in leadership roles. She is extremely energetic, enthusiastic and productive which makes it fun to be around her and work with her.”
–Harry Smith, President and CEO, First Bank
“Elizabeth Cottrell has been a key business associate for about eight years. She guided my efforts as a novice online newsletter editor and has been editor for my position as a staff writer with a worldwide entrepreneur service. Elizabeth has a deep knowledge of the correct rules of writing and she insists that her writers always do what is right and proper. She is consistently fair to all, listens objectively to every point of view, and is empathetic with all those around her. It has always been a pleasant experience to be associated with Elizabeth.”
–Yank Elliott, Owner, YankElliott.com
“Elizabeth handles the Page Layout for our Non-profit Association’s quarterly newsletter (24-32 pages). From the very beginning, I was impressed with her expert skills and knowledge. She is very creative during the layout of the newsletter, since no two editions are ever the same. Two years ago, I became the Editor and have worked closely with Elizabeth since then. I have only become more impressed with her skills at putting the newsletter together. She gets the job done, it’s done extremely well and it’s always done on time. She does wonders for our newsletter. Every quarter she makes me look great as the Editor. I am very proud to work with and know Elizabeth and I highly recommend her.”
–David Spanburg, Editor Cottonbaler, the newsletter of the 7th Infantry Regiment Association
DISCLAIMER about Affiliate links:
I would never recommend or affiliate with any book, program, product or website that I didn’t believe to be worthy of mention or endorsement. When I find something I think is worth sharing, I will often become an affiliate when that is available. You should assume that links to books, products, and gifts are affiliate links and know that in no instance would you be paying any more for it than you would if you went to the site directly. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or concerns. Elizabeth H. Cottrell
- See definition of “Connection Messenger” in the sidebar ↩