Advent Day #22 Open Hearts in Community

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Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” ~ Dale Evans

I’m more proud than ever to attend a church whose motto is “Open Hearts, Open Minds and Open Doors.” The Steamboat United Methodist Church reached out, extended their welcome and showed that they practice what they preach to the Jewish congregation here in Steamboat. The menorah issue was put to rest and it was lit on Tuesday December 16th on the front lawn of the United Methodist Church. The Menorah is symbolic of  “light, wisdom, and Divine inspiration” but it was also designed as creative art for our community.

This story was broadcast on CBS and in newspapers in other cities. To watch the video about what ended up being a story about love in action, please follow this link.

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2014/12/11/menorah-blocked-from-courthouse-lawn-in-steamboat-springs/

One of the best things you can teach children when they are old enough to grasp the concepts is about multi-cultural understanding. Author Sue Batton Leonard recounts her personal experience with multi-cultural love in her memoir, an anthology of stories in her book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. It has won several awards, one in the young adult category. The book is perfect for giving to “tweens’ and teens and an entire family.

Xmas image of book cover for Mailchimp newsletter

The memoir, an award-winning anthology of short stories is available in audio book (narrated by the author), paperback and e-book. Here is how to order:

Audio Book http://amzn.to/1trrTl9
Paperback http://amzn.to/1qmcEHI
e-Book http://amzn.to/1lx7oRh

Advent Day #21 Xmas Around the World

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Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. – Hamilton Wright Mabie

Last Sunday, the Steamboat United Methodist Church had an impressive holiday extravaganza – enough to put any “Scrooge” in the spirit.  Through the generosity of so many artistically talented people helping to bring it all together, an unforgettable production of Christmas around the World was brought to the second service of the day.

It was a huge accomplishment requiring too many people to name individually. The bell choir, the vocalists of the Chancel Choir and the Childrens Choir, Soprano Keri Rusthoi http://www.kerirusthoi.com and the children who were dressed as characters from the Bible, helped to tell the beautiful Christmas story from different perspectives recounting holiday traditions from around the world.

“Tweens” (ages 10 – 12) played the part of news anchors and reporters. It was as if the children from the United Methodist Church were standing in town squares broadcasting from England, the Caribbean, France, Italy, the Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Germany, thanks to the creativity of the video production teacher at Steamboat Springs High School.

But that’s not all! As the community gathered in Fellowship Hall after the service for wonderful refreshments, creches from places in the U.S. and around the World were on display for all to see and appreciate. In today’s photos I have captured images of a few of them.

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Please come back to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. The topic will continue on better understanding our world through multi-cultural learning about holiday traditions.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard,  award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. For more information about her memoir, an anthology of stories about multi-cultural love and understanding, please visit these websites.

Audio Book http://amzn.to/1trrTl9
Paperback http://amzn.to/1qmcEHI
e-Book http://amzn.to/1lx7oRh

 

 

 

 

Advent Day #20 Remembering to Give

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share your blessings

As a thank you to our readers, today I am going to share an audio chapter of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

One of the most valuable lessons in my lifetime was learning as a child that the spirit of Christmas should be extended to others. In fact, being grateful and thinking of others rather than ourselves is one of the best cures for whatever ails us.

A week ago, I volunteered a few hours helping with a United Way project here in Steamboat. I was awestruck by the charitable hearts of the people in our community. Corporations, retail establishments, individuals and churches all came together to make sure no one who needs assistance will go hungry and without a gift for Christmas.

A holiday shopping market of toys and clothing and other necessities that makes Christmas feel special was set up for families in the auditorium at Colorado Mountain College. Hundreds of volunteers helped with the effort.

Kate Nowak, Executive Director of Routt County United Way is to be commended for her efforts in leading the way in pulling it all together.

Being neighborly and remembering to give of ourselves through volunteering and other thoughtful gestures means much to those who need to be lifted up. For the giver, it can also lead to a few symptoms of the advent virus – “contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature and frequent attacks of smiling.”

In chapter 29 titled  “The Gift of Life” in the award-winning memoir by yours truly there’s a poignant holiday story that families can share together about being grateful every day of your life. Listen in here. 

Advent #19 Faithfully Confused

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Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you? ~ Fanny Brice

Fanny Moore, God Bless Her, the stellar character in the memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected faithfully attended church weekly. She reiterated many of the things her “preacher man” said about faith throughout the week at our family’s house. Often misconstrued, her literal interpretations led to priceless conversations and joyful times.

I get great pleasure in reading church signs that I pass by in the car because often I think many of them could have been posted by my beloved Fanny. Each comical sign in front of a church brings a warm-hearted smile to my face. I can’t help but think the signs are heaven sent, just like Fanny.

Funny church signs

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I  hope these signs have gotten you in the JOLLY christmas spirit. You’ll be warmed by Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected if you enjoy  inspirational yet humorous stories. The eloquence of Fanny Moore is not to be missed!

Celebrate the season in good cheer! But remember, please do not drink and drive!

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her memoir, please visit these links.

Audio Book  http://amzn.to/1trrTl9
Paperback  http://amzn.to/1qmcEHI
e-Book  http://amzn.to/1lx7oRh

Letter to Santa

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santaDear Santa,

As I look out through the frozen window glass I am thinking of  a letter that I had sent to the North Pole a few years ago asking for your help with a publication I was writing.

In the correspondence I asked for a few things. I requested a big box of perseverance and patience – I got that! Large enough to see myself through my memoir project.

I asked for memories of my childhood so I could incorporate them into the story. Some were clear and others, a bit distorted, like frozen window glass.

A shovel was sorely needed so I could dig deep to remember the most meaningful times in my life. The shovel appeared, held up and didn’t disappoint me.

Admittedly, I wore out the thesaurus you included in my Christmas gifts that year. I referred to it so many times to get just the right words I needed, it’s all dog eared. This year, I need the latest, greatest updated edition for my next publishing project.

That light bulb you sent me to illuminate my mind – well, it’s all burnt out. I’ll need another one of those too. I think to myself “Maybe Santa will bring it when he and his reindeers drop off the new thesaurus.”

I asked you to send smart people my way to help me with the skillsets where I was lacking. Well, they arrived when they were needed and they were just plain terrific.

 The editor was given a very difficult task with Fanny’s unique and eloquent language. But, the editor hitched up her breeches and lived up to the task.

The graphic designer for my book cover created something I was thrilled with.

 And as for the sound technician and the audio book producer, they were superb. Without them, an award-winning audio book may not have happened.

This Christmas, I’d just like to say thank you, Santa, for your all help. As I look through the frozen window glass I realize my dreams have come true. Fanny and I have even won three book awards. I can hear my beloved Fanny now.  “Lord a Mercy, I didn’t know y’alls were gonna put me in a book. Dis is more den I coulda ever expected!”

This Christmas as Fanny would have suggested, I will leave you and your reindeer champagne glasses full of “da bestest water” as a thank you.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Cheers!

Fondly, Sue Batton Leonard, author of the award-winning book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. 

P.S. Thanks to the world-wide web, Santa will receive this letter in plenty of time for Xmas.

Advent Day #18 Setting in Story

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JSC photo

Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.” ~ Robert Kennedy

 

Photo: A setting in the story from a Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected

During such a joyful season, we must remember that for some, the holidays can be distressing, depressing and full of challenge to get through. As related in “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected” sometimes it takes a painful experience for us to grasp the true value of life or turn tragedy into triumph

On this 18th Day of Advent, this place in the photo brings me bittersweet memories. The very of best times and the very worst. It takes reading my memoir to understand why.

What a reader has said about the award-winning memoir “This is a story of trust, faith, friendship, and deep love for one another.” ~ Barbara Guelder, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist and co-author of “Social and Emotional Learning in the Classroom.http://successfulkidstoday.wordpress.com/

For more information on Sue Batton Leonard’s award-winning memoir, please visit these links.

Audio Book  http://amzn.to/1trrTl9
Paperback  http://amzn.to/1qmcEHI
e-Book  http://amzn.to/1lx7oRh

 

 

Advent Day #17 Windows on Life

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Ever feel like some days you are looking through cloudy windows and other days, the window pane looks crystal clear?

Gift attitudeof a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected gives a different perspective on the art of living. Each chapter is a little vignette about life and how we react to it. Much is about how we are wired, our upbringing, our beliefs and our experiences.

Forewarning! While reading Sue Batton Leonard’s award-winning memoir you might catch another symptom of the Advent Virus –  A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.

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Just another look at what’s inside Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. I look forward to having you return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow!

For information on the book by Sue Batton Leonard, please follow these links:

Audio Book  http://amzn.to/1trrTl9
Paperback  http://amzn.to/1qmcEHI
e-Book  http://amzn.to/1lx7oRh