A Brilliant Young Mind

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The ability to relate and to connect… lies at the very heart of any creative use of the mind, no matter in what field or discipline. — George J. Seidel

Not being able to connect with other people can be painful especially for a teenager. When it’s relationships between numbers that turn you on rather than associations with people, finding fulfilling human interactions is difficult.

Such is the storyline behind A Brilliant Young Mind, a film soon to be released on September llth and this movie is getting great reviews.

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Read the full synopsis of the movie here. 

Happy Film Friday! Have a great weekend everybody. We will be back here on All Things Fulfilling on Monday.

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

Rewards of the Business

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Ink on paper is as beautiful to me as flowers on the mountains — God composes, why shouldn’t we? ~Terri Guillemets

Good news came to a group of independent publishers last weekend at the annual EVVY book awards sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. All four of our We Write Steamboat members who were finalists came away with an award. They are as follows:

Major General Louis W Prentiss, Jr. for his book Memories of a Life in the Army (military category)

Lou Prentiss Book

Erik Landvik for Uncluttered Faith (spirituality/religion)

Eric Landvik

Jane Stein, author & Pam Duckworth, illustrator for Dear Class: Traveling Around the World with Mrs. J (juvenile non-fiction) and interior design/layout in the technical awards.

Dear Class

Merit Clark’s Killing Streak in the fiction/mystery & detective category and also 3rd place for cover design.

Steamboat author Merit Clark killing-streak-clark-2500px

That’s the good news on this Thirsty Thursday from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. In the coming weeks more EVVY award winners will be featured on All Things Fulfilling. Stay tuned!

This blog is brought to you by 2014 EVVY award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

Building Profound Faith

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Spirit is like the wind, in that we can’t see it but can see its effects, which are profound.” ― Jimmy Carter

My past couple of blog postings have led me to think about our society’s interpretation of what a hero is. We need more people in this world who understand that heroism is not all about Hollywood film stars, sports figures and sensational people with misplaced values. In my opinion there is truth in Jimmy Carter’s statement when he said “Human identity is no longer defined by what one does but rather by what one owns.”

Today I salute President Jimmy Carter. His story beyond his political life has always been to help others. He has carried on so admirably beyond his stint as President of the United States and his recent announcement about his health is very inspirational. We need to elevate the level of all warriors who are fighting their own medical battles along with their physicians. There is great heroism in fighting personal challenges and coming out on top simply by having the right attitude.

Last week as I sat watching medical students walk through the lobby of one of the finest teaching hospitals in the country, I couldn’t help but think of my two heroes, Dr. Helen Taussig and Dr. Alfred Blalock, both pioneers in medicine. To learn more about them, please visit  Influential People. A story of personal triumph is in the award-winning book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

It takes intellect, dedication, financial resources and years of study to become a doctor. All to save the lives of others. That’s heroism.

As Jimmy Carter faces his own personal challenges he well knows through his own admission of deep faith “With God, anything is possible.” You are in good hands, President Carter. Thank you for all you have done for others in demonstrating living with the spirit.

Jimmy Carter

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

Celebrate Aging

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Dartmouth Hitchcock Med CtrEvery August I feel more grateful than ever. I just upped the number of years I’ve been living on the planet. After all, as it’s been said “old age is not granted to everyone,” thus, aging is a privilege.

Two days before my birthday I had my annual echocardiogram and visit to my cardiologist. He gave me the gift of the words that I expect to hear every year – “All is well. Come back next year.”

“What have you been doing?” The doctor asked when he was finished with the consultation.

“I’ve been writing and publishing.” I replied.

“Really?”

I handed my doctor of 25+ years a surprise present – a wrapped copy of my memoir “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.” A conversation about the content of the book followed. It began like this:

“I am not sure how to put this to you tactfully… But do you know how well you’ve done?” Asked my doctor.

“Yes, I think so,” I replied. “It’s one of the reasons I wrote and published a book. I am feeling very blessed.”

“Not all children have the same kind of outcome that you have had. Major surgery in childhood can be very damaging.’

“Yes, I am aware of that. Thank God I’ve been able to tell a story that has some humor in it.”

“Great. I’ll like reading your book,” he said. “Some patients have sad, depressing stories.”

“I am so grateful mine is not one of them. That’s why I wanted to air it.”

“Well, I look forward to reading it,” he said again. “And call me if you need me, otherwise, see you next year.”

An hour previously I had been sitting in the lobby of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center waiting for my appointment. I watched the resident doctors with their credentials hanging from their necks walk through the lobby from the Geisel School of Medicine to get something to eat in the food court. As I sat I listened to a musician play upbeat music from some of the earlier eras of my life on the baby grand piano in lobby. I couldn’t help but reflect on how medicine and treatment has changed from my childhood days. We’re now in an era where research has shown the importance of healing mind, body and spirit for successful outcomes.

I couldn’t be more grateful that my parents seemed to intuitively understand a little about the power of the human spirit nearly fifty plus decades ago, when I was going through the traumas of “pioneering heart surgery.”

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For each birthday I thank my luck stars that I am here to age and celebrate. Happy Belated Birthday to my twin sister, Jan!!!

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

All for the Children

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The other day I heard a story that warrants repeating. It’s full of kindness.

My parent’s neighbor recently lost his mother who lived to a ripe old age. The son was with his mother in her final moments when she was not real lucid. A group of children were in her vision. Clearly she saw them.

Upon her death, there was $200 dollars in her account that the son pondered what to do with. He remembered his mom’s final moments of seeing children and decided to give the money to his cousin who is a pastor to use for Vacation Bible School. He requested that the funds be used to “buy the kids all the ice cream they could possibly eat.”

One day my parent’s saw a school bus go by their house. “Unusual,” they said to each other. No kids lived on their street. It stopped at the head of their neighbor’s driveway and children boisterously filed off the bus and headed down the long driveway towards his house.

ice creamThe children had come to surprise and thank the good soul who had given the funds on his mother’s behalf to insure the kids had a fulfilling day at Vacation Bible School. They presented the donor with a big thank you card they’d made themselves.

Moral of the story: “No beauty shines brighter than a good heart.” ~ Unknown

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.

World-Class Rural Virginia Artist

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The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep. ~ Paul Strand

“Gee, I thought the place would be more ostentacious than this given the artists’ reputation,” I thought as we drove up and parked outside the gallery of internationally known sculpture artists William H Turner and his son David H Turner on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake in northern Virginia. However, inside the father and son’s work was exhibited in abundance. The 4,000 square feet of gallery space made for great browsing. I didn’t realize until later that a foundry, metal shops, a wood shop, wax shop, mold room and storage in nine separate buildings were also on site. The Turner’s have the assistance of 20 skilled artisans they supervise throughout the multi-step process.

Their limited edition sculpture includes more than 400 designs. Birds of prey, game birds, deer and other American wildlife and animals seen on safari are among them. Smaller pieces include rodents, frogs, turtles, fish and other marine life. More than 100 public installations of Turner Sculpture are located on some of the finest college campuses, in aquariums, nature conservancies, zoos, museums and botanic gardens throughout the country. The father and son have even presented a piece of their art to President George Bush, Sr. at The White House.

heron signed

duck signed

rams head signed

bass fish signed

As I perused the gallery, I got a very real sense of the importance of passing along the craft of sculpture making to younger generations of Turners as well as an appreciation for other mediums of art. One display space was dedicated to cast sculptures that grandchildren had created. A large number of canvases painted by various family members hang throughout the gallery space.

children turner signed

Writing and independent publishing is just another aspect of William H Turner’s talents. His rural farm-boy voice is prevalent throughout his book Memoirs of a Farm Boy as well as in the Turner Sculpture “Tracks” newsletter. Stories such as Mrs. Chrysler and the Pickle Barrel, which is excerpted in one of the newsletters, is a charming recounting of his artist/client relationship with a wealthy woman and her appreciation of his work. His books also include East of the Chesapeake and Of An Evening.

turner books signed

For a farm boy from Virginia, born in 1935, many roads have been traveled and explored to reach the notable status that the father and son enjoy together as world class sculpture artists.  William H. Turner’s life after college began as a dentist.

Vaarious signed

pheasant signed

pelican in progress signed

It was a privilege to speak with  William H. Turner, Sr. in person and he told me that many of their sculptures are permanently exhibited at the Benson Sculpture Gardens in Loveland, Colorado.

And I was taken by great surprise when I saw the work of artist Wick Ahrens in the gallery. I was familiar with his whale sculptures, as he resided in Peru, Vermont for decades. Peru is the town right next to my thirty-year place of residence in Bondville.

boy on stilts signed

My favorite piece was from their childhood memories collection “A Boy on Stilts.” I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to  Turner Sculpture and was so very impressed with their craftsmanship and skilled artistry.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. Check in on us on Monday on All Things Fulfilling!

Fostering Joy Through Publishing

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We can not accomplish all we need to without working together.” ~ Bill Richardson

I wish you could really know the joy I am feeling right now. Last week I found out that four authors in our We Write Steamboat networking group are finalists for five awards in the annual EVVY book contest sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association.

The group was formed in 2011 with a mission of “fostering independent publishing success.” Since then Steamboat authors have been well-represented each year as finalists and award winners. As the founder of the group, I couldn’t be more proud of what we have accomplished in bringing recognition to this community of writers.

Here is the list of Steamboat’s 2015 EVVY award finalists.

celebrate the author

Major General Louis W Prentiss, Jr. for his book Memories of a Life in the Army (military category)

Lou Prentiss Book

Merit Clark’s Killing Streak in the fiction/mystery & detective category and also finalist for cover design

Steamboat author Merit Clark killing-streak-clark-2500px

Erik Landvik for Uncluttered Faith (spirituality/religion)

Eric Landvik

Jane Stein author & Pam Duckworth, illustrator for Dear Class: Traveling Around the World with Mrs. J (juvenile non-fiction)

Dear Class

What a gift it has been to live and work among a community of independent publishers. I must also give recognition to the Steamboat Writers Group. Their expertise and knowledge with regards to critiquing works in progress is very valuable and that is why for thirty-plus years the group has held together.

It’s a joyful time for all of the independent publishers who are finalists in the EVVY competition. Good luck to everyone! All Things Fulfilling will be posting more information about the 2015 EVVY award-winning authors in coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Tomorrow I will be featuring an artist whose life calling has gone from farm boy in Virginia to dentist to author/independent publisher and internationally acclaimed scultpure artist. Now there’s a story!

This blog is brought to you by two time  2014 EVVY award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.