Histrionics of Twins

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Life is like a moustache. It can be wonderful or terrible. But it always tickles. ~ Nora Roberts, From the Heart

Pet white mice!  “They’re so cute,” we’d say to our parents. “We want one to play with.” My sister and I nagged at our parents to let us have a domesticated mouse until finally they gave in. Did anyone else have one or more of those creatures as a kid?

Ohhh- now, that pet brings back memories to yours truly and her sister. We kept our mouse in a glass aquarium with a screen over it for a cover so it wouldn’t escape. However intruders were more the problem. More than once we were awoken in the middle of the night by loud squealing. A wild mouse that came from somewhere within our house had found it’s way into the cage. When we turned on the bedroom light to investigate all the noise, we caught the mice in action mating. You’ve never seen two little, screaming naive twins scamper into their parents’ bedroom in the middle of the night so quickly! We jumped on mom and dad’s bed with wide-eyes to apprise our parents of the situation!

Three weeks later, an unexpected development! We learned more about the facts of life, when we awoke to little, translucent pink  bodies squirming in the clear glass cage.

photo of white mouse withbackpackWho knows where the newborn babies went when they disappeared the next day. As a young child, I figured the cat clock hanging on the wall in our bedroom, that I mentioned in yesterday’s blog,  had come alive and eaten them up. After this happened twice, my parents sent the pet white mouse packing!

Would your parents have let you have a white mouse for a pet? I grew up in a bit of a crazy house. Domesticated white mice were only the start of the many animals that could be found inside and out on our family’s property - more about our zoo in my memoir.  Add a wonderful character named Fanny into the mix of the menagerie, and life was lived differently than many of our neighbors.

Oh….I can only image the stories my parents could tell about the histrionics of life with two twins.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, the author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.


Memoirs Connect People

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Kit Cat

“Each day provides it’s own gifts.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

I am very excited! Last week I reconnected with a childhood friend who I have been out of touch with since I graduated high school in 1975. That was many,many moons ago – do the math!

Out of the blue, she connected with me through my Facebook page and said “that she had learned I had published a book and had ordered “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected” for her Nook. She had questions about a few details of our childhood in trying to recall exactly when we moved down the street to our second childhood home, built by my father. When I was an newborn we lived next door to her parents. She said, “I still remember the cat clock you had in your bedroom.” Hard to believe after all these years she’d remember, with clarity, a detail like that.

Did any of you readers have a cat clock like the one in the image?  It’s still available through the Vermont Country Store! http://bit.ly/1hVqDkQ.

Mine hung in my bedroom. It  was a gift from my maternal grandparents to my twin sister and me.  They both passed away when we were very young children, and the clock is a remaining memory that I associate with my mother’s parents. I remember laying in my bed mesmerized every night watching the cat’s glowing eyes go back and forth, along with it’s swishing tail  until I drifted off into laaa laaa land.

What I have since learned from my childhood friend, Cindy, is that her sons, Brian and Jason Lyles, are involved with a publishing endeavor also. They recently published The Lego Neighborhood Book: Build a Lego Town  which gives tools to create your favorite architectural styles in homes and buildingsHow cool is that? http://bit.ly/1hd18dm 

If I hadn’t written a memoir, who knows if Cindy and I would have ever connected again throughout our lifetime! So today’s story is all about neighborhood and community connection! See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling.



Book Club Selection

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Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.” ― Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
Last summer I had the opportunity to join in with a Dorchester County Book Club as they discussed the book The Postmistress. I enjoyed being with this group of ladies immensely. Here is the blog that I wrote last summer about the experience. http://allthingsfulfilling.com/2013/06/26/book-clubs-buzz/

book clubI have been notified by this Maryland-based book club that my new publication “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected” will be their group’s June selection and the subject of their discussion. How exciting is that! They’ve asked whether the author (yours, truly!) can be present.  Of course, I’ll do all I can to be there in person. But, if the logistics don’t work out, perhaps I can Skype in and have an “author chat,” like many libraries and bookstores arrange in this day and age.http://bit.ly/1gMOBNs.

This group of ladies, no doubt, will find the cultural and historical references  familiar. Many of them were living in the vicinity of Baltimore, Maryland and in the prime of their lives raising young children when the story takes place (1950′s- 1960′s). Their discussion of my memoir, is sure to be rich with opinions. And, I am sure, the book club members will have their own fulfilling memories to contribute to the discussion.

So, that’s the good news on this Easter Monday on All Things Fulfilling. We will see what transpires on that story. I will keep you posted.

Easter: An Awakening of Spirit

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In my opinion, for many people - 

The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world. 

Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice. 

But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice. 

~Henry Knox Sherrill

Easter spirit


easter bunny cake


have a happy easter for peeps sake

Looking for other meaningful Easter quotes to pass along to your loved ones this holy season? Here are some you might enjoy from http://www.findmeagift.co.uk/topics/easter-quotes.

Have a great Easter Weekend filled with All Things Fulfilling. If you missed  Monday’s post, a sample audio chapter called  “Easter Traditions” from  Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, by Sue Batton Leonard is on the About the Book page on this site.  Listen in as many times as you’d like!


Small Things Big Wonders

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All of our life is a miracle. . . . There is not a minute in the twenty-four hours that is not filled with miracles.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever noticed how the smallest things sometimes hold the biggest wonders? Consider:

  • The sudden appearance of blue-speckled robins eggs in the nest
  • An unexpected phone call from someone you were just thinking about
  • The delightful scent of a newborn baby’s head
  • A colorful rainbow after a wicked storm
  • Perfumed air from a gardenia, rose or lilac
  • The extraordinary talent of a musician, painter, dancer, writer or singer who has had no training
  • The crowing glory of the daffodils through the snow

When did you last stop, take heed and intently observe  a small thing that holds big wonders? Springtime holds an abundance of opportunity! Recharge your life by being keenly observant as the season of renewal unfolds and opens up. Deeply inhale all the goodness and find gratefulness in each daybreak and sunset.

little is much

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, the author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.  See you tomorrow on http://www.AllThingsFulfilling.com.



Sojourns in Reaching a Dream


After my book presentation on April 4 to the Yampa Valley University Women, Beverly, who is a group member and someone who was in the audience, came up to me and said “Sue, I get the feeling you have been on a real journey with this book.” “Have I ever,  Beverly, ” I replied smiling. I was thrilled that she understood the amount of work that went into it and how I was feeling, “There is no denying it,” I said.

Between writing about the publishing project throughout the process on this blog All Things Fulfilling and bringing the story alive on paper, it has been a real sojourn of sorts. It is as if I have been up in a hot air balloon looking down, and describing the publishing landscape has it has changed. I have soared as I have gone along for a ride with it.

The-Journey-Is-What-Brings-Us-Happiness-Not-The-DestinationI, like many others, was not aware when I started my memoir writing project how this would lead to enormous personal growth in so many ways that I had not anticipated. A lot of the development has come as a result of doing whatever it took to do it right, independently.

I’ve faced and recorded into words the  most poignant moments in my life, tackled my shyness about reading the manuscript out loud while having it critiqued by a whole bunch of professional writers. Then I faced the fact that I need to become someone who is comfortable with public speaking, if I really want to continue to achieve my dreams of traveling around and vocally sharing my retrospective thoughts.

I have had the great fortune of being in an environment that is very supportive of writers who helped me to achieve my mission. I would like to state my gratitude to anyone who has helped me along the way. You know who you are, and so do I. I consider each one of you as one of many “personal angels.”

My advice to anyone who is embarking on an independent publishing process – do whatever it takes to make it happen.  Don’t hold back, don’t limit yourself to what you are willing to do or not. In other words, remove all stops! And most of all seek out the help of others who can help you along the way.

What is the greatest lesson I have learned throughout the process? By maintaining faith, and being willing to open myself up to all possibilities, my dream has become a reality!

If you didn’t visit this site on Monday, it was very special day on All Things Fulfilling!  I revealed a chapter of the audio book version of  Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. It is posted permanently on About the Book Page for your listening enjoyment. Listen to it as many times as you wish so you can get a sense of the voice in the story.

It’s Baltimore Lexicon, Hon


If someone asked me to describe the people around the area where I grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, I’d have to say -

MD-Flag-croppedLoyal to their State.” In my opinion, that’s why so many Marylander’s rarely leave the state boundaries. Ocean City is the be all, end all, for family vacation spots for many Baltimoreans.

They are as loyal to “Bawlmer” as they are to their unique lexicon that they speak. It’s hard not to lapse back into it when I return to the soil of my native roots.

I may have to take some heat from my “Murlin” readers for these huge generalizations. Unless things have changed dramatically since the years of my childhood, I stand behind my opinions.

It’s ok if y’all send me a little feedback. I am only sharing what I noticed from my growing up. When I left hoskull and went off to cah-widge, I noticed a lot about y’all in Murlin. Besides, hon,we all have our own bleefs, including the Calf Licks. As long as I don’t end up going in the amblance to the hospital, a little heat from my readers won’t be harble. Bring it on, hon, bring it on.

family & love

This blog brought to you by All Things Fulfilling and the author of A Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Despite all my teasing about Maryland accents, please don’t ban me from the State of Murlin. I many want to do some book presentations! It is the setting of my publication.