Next Generation Americans

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It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition.Henry James

Over the course my lifetime, there have been many changes to my homeland. America has been built on the diversity of its people, yet sometimes I feel as if I no longer see the values this country was built upon. I expect the conundrum between progress and tradition but, I struggle with the fact that the good ole U.S.A. is vastly different than the country of my youth.

I can’t help but look at these pictures and worry whether wearing red, white and blue and stars and stripes will someday be banned in the U.S.A. forever. After all, it seems a crime to hang an American flag on one’s own property, on American soil. What’s up with that?

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donkey and girl 4th

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Young boy (4-5) wearing red white and blue sailor hat, smiling, portrait

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What will our country look like for the next generation of American children? I’m airing just a bit of what I have been pondering this week. It’s an appropriate subject to consider on All Things Fulfilling during a month when we celebrate independence and American patriotism.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

 

Importance of Decorating Life

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If the family were a boat, it would be a canoe that makes no progress unless everyone paddles.~ Letty Cottin Pogrebin

canoe

This week we  celebrate Independence Day, so I’ve been thinking about how when I was growing up holiday traditions were a big deal. My mother made each one very special. Even on those days that were of lesser importance she often made memories by the little things she did to commemorate and celebrate life. Thank you Mom, you will always be very fondly remembered for that, not only by your children but also by your eight grandchildren.

I recently came across an article on a website called The Art of Manliness that describes why traditions are valuable to the family unit. I was happy to see such an article on a blog for men because the male population can get in on the action of helping to establish traditions too!

Dads, perhaps you can become remembered for being the “grill master”, or the one who takes the children out for Sunday drives in the country, or the one who says “Grace” at the table before meals. Perhaps you are the guy who makes pancakes on Saturday mornings so Mother can sleep in.

These little things are what children remember from their childhood and they make deep, lasting impressions. The bonds of family are established through traditions. They give us a connectedness and a sense that it’s the small things in life that are important. What can you do to show your loved ones that family ties matter?

memoriesThis blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

A Blissful Summer

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“Every summer has it’s own story.” ~ Unknown

My narrative for a blissful summer:

  • Three months of grass tickling my toes
  • Lots of in the water time (lake, ocean, pool, pond or river…doesn’t matter as long as its refreshing!)
  • Fire in the barbie. Cook-outs all summer.
  • Freshest fruits and veggies available.
  • Abundant outdoors time – No Excuses!
  • Local farmers markets, fairs, outdoor concerts, arts and cultural activities.
  • A windfall of creative ideas and energy.
  • A trip away from all things familar. Short excursions work.  Doesn’t have to be to timbuktoo!
  • Time enough to do a whole lot of nothing (“not one earthly thing,” as my Mom says).
  • Good summer reads on any platform (hardback, paperback, e-book or audio).
  • Visits to those people I don’t see often enough.
  • A little child’s play – running in the rain, jumping rope, building sandcastles, catching lightning bugs, blowing bubbles, for example.
  • Blue skies, sunshine
  • Counting my blessings….one by one and being thankful summer is here.

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vintage summer picnic

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard. For information on the award-winning book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, click here. To order Lessons of Heart & Soul, click here.

Nature’s Energy

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“For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies, for the love which from our birth, over and around us lies…..”  ~  Psalm 95:  1-6

Over the course of history many songs lyrics have been composed with words about the beauty of nature. Have you ever really thought about the impact the beautiful colors of nature have on your psyche?

This time of year I take my walk in early morning to avoid the heat of the day. Inevitably, I find myself marveling over plants that were barely out of the ground a few weeks ago that are now in full bloom, electric with color. How does that happen? Nature provides sun, warmth, moisture and all the right conditions that are needed to set the gardens in motion. Amazing!

Nearly every color is represented in the garden this time of the year. Here are just a few pictures I took on my daily walk last week.

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perennial 3 peony

When I see the real stunners of magenta, orange, yellow, indigo and purple, I ask myself “How can I not walk with gratefulness for life and boundless energy no matter what else might be happening around me?” The magnificence of nature makes me want to stand up and sing.

Summer has just begun and we have several months ahead to enjoy the brightest time of year. Enjoy getting outdoors and seeing the landscape all decked out with color.

This blog is brought to you by the author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Movies Adapted from Memoirs

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Movie-making is telling a story with the best technology at your disposal. ~ Tom Hanks

On this Film Friday, we will be looking at some of the best movies that have been adapted from memoirs.

According to an article written by Emily Temple on Flavorwire.com, it’s a delicate thing turning a memoir into a successful movie. Since film is another form of storytelling, you’d think it’d be easy but something is often lost in the translation when you move away from the first person prose of a narrative to a third person medium.

The following movies are some of the best memoir to movie adaptations. If you feel like watching a movie this weekend, perhaps watching a few of these films will give you a little insight into what a good memoir to movie adaptation looks like:

  • My Week with Marilyn
  • Motorcycle Diaries
  • The Pianist
  • Persepolis
  • The Diving Bell and Butterfly
  • October Sky
  • 127 Hours
  • An Education
  • The Boys Life
  • A Mighty Heart

To see a short summary of each of these movies, follow this link to Flavorwire.com.

outdoors movies

Have a great weekend and see you on Monday. Next week on All Things Fulfilling we will be celebrating life, independence and summer. Join us!

This blog is brought to you by award-winning memoirist, Sue Batton Leonard. Click here for information on her publications.

Once within a House & Yard

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Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action. ~ Mother Teresa

Grandmothers house 2802 Fleetwood AvenueOnce upon a time all it took was a quick glance from the sidewalk and the heart and soul of this place could be felt in an instant. An American flag flew proud and tall on a big pole in the yard. A couple of rocking chairs sat on the small front porch and small pots of flowers crowded the ledge around it. The voices of neighborhood children walking by cheerily yelled out “Hi Baba!” It was a daily occurrence. The woman who lived there was a grandmother of everyone’s dreams.

A huge tall oak tree once grew on the left side. It canopied the property as if it embraced the residents living within the bungalow-style house.  Both front and backyard were carefully and lovingly tended by a bald, kind-hearted man who was called Pop by his grandchildren. He was as equally fine and gentile as his wife.

In the backyard grew lilacs, wisteria and the hugest magnolia tree I’d ever witnessed. So tall that as a young child, I couldn’t even see up to the tippy top. The tree went on forever – all the way on up to heaven. An outdoor brick fireplace in the gorgeously landscaped backyard cooked many a hotdog! Goldfish circled the waters of a four foot cement pond.The sounds of fun and laughter could be heard frequently of a wonderful couple who especially adored the days when their four grandchildren came to visit.

Smells of fresh peach cake, “smoked neck” with potatoes and green beans, yeast rolls and other lovingly cooked food and baked goods wafted outside through the screen door of the tiny galley kitchen. The aromas settled on pots of colorful pansies and petunias and on rows of dinner plate dahlias and gladiolas that lined the perimeter of the yard.

The house still stands, but when I look at this picture, I don’t see any evidence of the life that once graced the place. The tender loving care put  into the house and the children and grandchildren who visited remains only in my memories. This place once made my heartbeat warmly every time I entered in the door.

So what’s the good news on this Thirsty Thursday?  I can still hear the voice of my Grandmother….”Susie Annie, is that you, hon? Want a nice tall glass of ice cold sweet tea? I just loaded up the candy dishes on the buffet in the dining room. Help yourself. There are nonpareils, jelly candies, butter mints, anything you want. The Chiclets are in the top drawer of the buffet on the left.”

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Click here for more information on Sue Batton Leonard’s publications.

 

Exploring Roots and Characters

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I believe that the memoir is the novel of the 21st century; it’s an amazing form that we haven’t even begun to tap…we’re just getting started figuring out what the rules are.”  ~ Susan Cheever

Have you ever considered how our lives are made up of stories? Everyone has stories to tell and some people are natural storytellers. However, sometimes getting stories down on paper is not as easy as telling them orally.

Think about family stories for a minute. Unless these rich narratives are written down and published, future generations will never know them. The characters who sprouted from the family tree will be lost.
Not to be overly-dramatic, the truth is that unless we share family stories through the form of memoir writing, in a few generations down the road we risk becoming like be a nation of adoptees who don’t know who their parents or grandparents were.

The good news is, we are living in an age where ordinary people can write and publish their stories independently. You don’t have to have a big family name behind you or sensational story to tell in order to become published. Resources are freely available for ordinary people.

Publishing a story for personal fulfillment is reward enough. But future generations will greatly appreciate knowing something about their family narrative because so many tales just get lost.

family link to the past and bridge to future

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard. Author of an award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.