Circle of Life

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“There are patterns which emerge in one’s life, circling and returning anew, an endless variation of a theme”  ― Jacqueline Carey

Hoola HoopOn Saturday evening, my husband and I went to a free concert at Howelson Hill in Steamboat. It was just one of several offered throughout the summer.

As I sat and listened to the band and watched the crowd, I was reminded of a 1950s fad. There were a handful of girls and grown women  hula hooping to the music! Those ladies were good! They kept the hoop spinning as it revolved around their necks and waists and then when they dropped down to their knees, in a kneeling position, they kept it going. As they stood again, they keep the hoop revolving around their ankles. Never once touching the plastic circle.

Wow- quite different than the hula hoops skills I had. And talk about a workout and being creative with a simple circle- some of the moves, I can’t even find the words to explain it!

Isn’t it funny how fads, like fashions, come and go and come back around again through the ages? Hula hoops provided many hours of fulfilling fun for me, my sister and our girlfriends.

This is just another bit of nostalgia from the gift we humans are given – a lifetime full of memories!

This blog brought to you by author Sue Batton Leonard. Her publication is now also available in audio book for your reading pleasure. Click on this link for more information on the audio book, the paperback and the e-book.http://amzn.to/1nDmKTu

Developing Talent

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“Artistic talent is a gift from God and whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation: to know that he cannot waste this talent, but must develop it.”  ~ Arthur Schoenhauer boy playing pianoSunday was such a joyful day for the family of a ten year old boy from Newport News, Virginia. He’s been visiting his grandparents in Steamboat, and found an opportunity that he didn’t expect when he arrived here – two chances to play the piano in front of an audience of a fully-packed church.

The boy is years beyond his peers in his musical abilities. To say he is “gifted” doesn’t quite cover it. Our first chance as a community to hear this youngster play the piano was Sunday, a week ago. He skillfully played “Let it Go,” from the soundtrack of Disney’s movie “Frozen.” It’s one of my current favorites.

Two days ago he returned to surprise his parents by playing Pachelbel’s – Canon on the pipe organ. While the student has been visiting,  the United Methodist Church in Steamboat has been letting this talented young artist practice on their piano in the sanctuary. His parents were not aware that he also has been allowed to try his hands, for the first time, on a pipe organ.

I got a little teary-eyed as I listened to the boy play the pipe organ so magnificently and skillfully for his young age. I couldn’t  help but think about all the young children who have undiscovered talents or not the right opportunities to develop them. In general, communities of caring people need to do better at helping children nurture their innate abilities. Whether a child’s talents lie in the Arts, Science, Communications or any other field that really holds their passions and interests,  having strong mentors is important.

The most beautiful part of this story – This child already understands the gifts that he has been given and where they have come from. Best to you always, Mason! You really impressed us.

This blog brought to you the author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, Sue Batton Leonard. Now Available in Audio: Click here for info. and also available in paperback and e-book!

Holy Humor

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“The solution often turns out more beautiful than the puzzle.” ~ Richard Dawkins

Last week, after I posted a blog called “Towson, Now and Then,” http://bit.ly/1rRHEiX  I received a comment from a blog reader who I do not know. Her comment set off a whole host of memories of an era gone by.

immaculate conception towsonConnie, the blog reader said “she and her sister attended Immaculate Conception School in Towson.” I certainly have a life time memory of the church that school was attached to.

Chris, my childhood friend, used to rope me into going to church with her after school on holy days. The first time she suggested it, oh, how I wanted out of it. I had no interest – but, I’d do anything for her. We loved spending time together.

For Chris, being a good Catholic, not going to church on a holy day was out of the question. Besides, her place of worship, the Immaculate Conception Church, was with within walking distance of our junior high school so there were no good excuses.

During that era (the 1960s) girls and women couldn’t enter a Catholic Church without something covering their heads. The first time I went to Mass with Chris, I was not aware of this policy since I wasn’t Catholic so I didn’t bring a hat. Chris had a solution, so there was no “declining her invitation.” She gave me a clean Kleenex to spread atop my head. So I wouldn’t feel foolish, she left her mantilla in her school bag and topped her brunette hair with a white Kleenex, too. Well, if that wasn’t a source of amusement and laughter for two middle school aged girls, I don’t know what was.For me, trying to hold in my giggles as I sat in the pew looking at Chris with Kleenex on top her head was nearly impossible. I don’t think I heard one word the priest said. So much for being reverent!

Years later, I entered the Immaculate Conception Church in Towson, Maryland, this time in all seriousness, as I stood up for my best friend as a bridesmaid in her wedding.

Isn’t it lovely, how we make connections with people of different faiths throughout our lifetimes? It gives us a chance to experience spirituality from different perspectives.

All churches, not just Catholic churches, have gone through many transitional times since my childhood days. If you have any stories of how your church has changed since “back then,” won’t you share them with us by posting a comment on this site.

We’d love to hear from you! This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Now available in audio book (the treasure is in the voice!), paperback and e-book.

Perfecting a Craft

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character

Becoming a published author does not mean a writer is finished learning their craft – hardly! Just like any artist, spending time honing skills is all part of being an writer.

A week from today I will be participating in A Day for Writers in Steamboat Springs. This will be the thirty-third annual event hosted by the Steamboat Writers Group. Here’s what Friday evening and Saturday activities look like:

  • Friday evening Meet & Greet and buffet dinner. Afterward is 10 Minutes of Fame. We will get to read from our published or unpublished work. Fanny (the stellar character in Gift of A Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected) will be making a guest appearance! One never knows what words of wisdom might come out of her mouth.
  • Mystery Writer Rex Burns will lead us in learning more about setting and description. Later in the day we will practice our craft by writing descriptive passages.
  • Teresa Funke will be on hand to talk about book promotion. This will be my second opportunity to listen to this highly skilled professional speaker.I look forward to it. Secondly she will give us some insight into the perspective of what book buyers are looking for. For more information on Teresa’s publications, public speaking and creativity coaching, please visit her website http://www.teresafunke.com/.

I am looking forward to a Day for Writers in Steamboat. The opportunity to attend writers conferences and workshops are a gift of a lifetime for me because I plan to continue writing.  I can’t learn enough about what readers are looking for when they sit down to read a good book. There is more to it than you can ever imagine.

After next weekend is all over, I will provide you with a recap. So look for the upcoming story on All Things Fulfilling.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard. As  narrator and author, she says of  her audio book ” Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, “the voice contains the real treasure.For info & ordering click on this link

 

 

 

 

 

Focus on Simple Pleasures

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There are few things in common between where I grew up, in Towson, Maryland and where I am residing at this moment, Steamboat Springs, Colorado except great peaches and sweet corn.

It is an unexpected gift when you live high up in the magnificent Rocky Mountains to find corn and peaches as good as what’s grown in Maryland.  The produce comes in  from Palisades, Colorado every weekend on a truck.

We are getting into the fresh from the farm season! So, although, I am living many, many miles away from all of our family – today I would like post a reminder to myself.

Peaches

And as gift for my readers on this sunny summer day – here is something you can make that is useful, healthy and delicious.It comes from http://www.OasisAdvancedWellness.com. Visit their website, there’s other fulfilling things they’ve posted for the visitors of their space on the internet.

See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling! This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. NOW AVAILABLE IN AUDIO BOOK, TOO! http://amzn.to/1rDx80a.

Peaches two

 

Dear Baltimore …

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“It’s your reaction to your adversity, not the adversity itself, that will determine how your life’s story develops.” ~ Dieter F Uchtdorf

Dear Baltimore ~ You provided me with many fulfilling memories of my years of growing up in your suburbs. If  I had to sum it up, I couldn’t have said it any better … Raised in Maryland precious No matter where you spent your childhood and adult years, each region of the country has their own interpretation of how they portray people who are native to the area. These two images struck me as stereotypical of people who come from my native soil – Baltimore!

And as Fanny, the stellar character in my memoir would have said,”If you ain’t precious, don’t worry! We all be dear, hon!” For today, that’s all I’m sayin’…..

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.Click here for info & ordering in paperback, e-book or audio Now available in audio book, for your listening pleasure. The voice holds the treasure!

Towson, Now and Then

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Friendship is…..one of those things that give value to survival.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Today I am going to take a trip down memory lane during the 1950s and 1960s  to my native stomping grounds of  Towson, Maryland (in Baltimore County) . It’s the  home of Goucher College http://www.goucher.edu/  and Towson State College (now known as Towson University)http://www.towson.edu . Johns Hopkins University http://www.jhu.edu/ and Loyola University http://www.loyola.edu/ are  just down the road in Baltimore City.

When I was a young girl, Towson Plaza, was our shopping mecca. Stores like Tuerks (Twerks, as Fanny the stellar character in my memoir called it), Reads Drugstore and The Plaza Florest were just a few of the stores located there. Of course, S.S. Kresges (aka  Kresgeree’s according to Fanny) was the “flagship store.” It anchored all the rest of the stores and really kept the shopping center active with business.

Towson Plaza

Just down the street, within walking distance was Towson Bootery, Stebbins Anderson, Finkelstein’s and Sunny Surplus – my Dad’s favorite store! The last time I went into Sunny’s was in the mid-to-late 1970s when I took my husband-to-be there. He nearly went crazy. I wonder if it’s gone out of business?

In the early nineteen-seventies, during the years I went off to college in Vermont, progress really began to take place.Commercial real estate development changed the entire look and feel of that area of town. Evidently, it’s gone through several renovations and revitalizations since then. Here’s a photo with just one of the crown jewel stores in the “Towson Plaza” area now.

towson plaza now

 

Although I visit family in Towson now and then, its been quite a while since I have been to the “Towson Plaza” area. I bet I’d have a hard time finding my way around. I’m hoping to return to the area this fall and do a book signing of “Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.”

I’ll keep you posted. It would be wonderful to see old school friends, aquaintances and people who have done business with five generations of the Batton building businesses throughout Baltimore County and beyond.   http://on.fb.me/1k1hWb5  and http://bit.ly/1u2nrdE.