Meet You at the Sandbox

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All Things Fulfilling

“Play is the work of children. It’s very serious stuff.” ―Bob Keeshan

Welcome back! Hope you had fun weekend.

A few years ago when I moved to Colorado, I went to a business conference for entrepreneurs. I sat next to a very nice young woman, not many years out of college. We visited throughout the day and enjoyed each other’s company. At end of the conference, she turned to me and said, “You know, you really ought to join the young professionals networking group.”  I began laughing!

“What?” she asked, in all seriousness. “What are you laughing at?”

“Young professionals?” I asked. Not because I thought joining networking groups for professionals was a bad idea but because I was questioning her judgment of how old I was. If fact, there are great advantages to joining organizations to meet-up with other entrepreneurs and business people. http://bit.ly/1uICWXy.

“Yes,” she said, “they are a great group and…

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Retire to the Pink Palace!

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The most valuable antiques are dear old friends.” ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

To my  twin sister and our closest girlfriends – you know who you are:

pink trailerWhen we’re real old ladies (I’m talkin’ real old – retired from retirement) instead of going to the nursing home we can fill a trailer park with these little gems and ramble around inside them wondering how we got there.

We’ll drink cherry colas or brown cows (root beer floats) all day long from the soda fountain ( spiked if you’d prefer). Or better yet, sloe gin fizzes! Let’s horde stashes of turkish taffy, jujubees, pixie sticks…pick your passion, maybe an O’Henry or two.

We’ll put on our red Wax Lips and walk around the neighborhood lookin’ all pretty, visiting from house to house. Let’s fill our mouths with pink Bazooka Joe and blow bubbles and we’ll crack our gum in public as loud as we want to.

We’ll put speakers outside the Pink Palace and blare “You’ve Got a Friend,” and “Sweet Baby James” from our record players and dance till we drop.

We’ve learned from experience it gets mighty cold in the mountains so we’d better make sure the Pink Palace is well insulated and has a woodstove. The one with the best memory among us will have to be the Creosote Captain, lest we stoke too big a flame and start a chimney fire.

Dig out your flannel Lanz night gowns, girls, and your L.L. Bean hiking boots and down vests from the hope chest. Or we can always relocate south and hang out in our bikinis- now thats the beginnings of a vintage comedy act.

What do  you say, girls? Shall we start planning now?

P.S. Happy Belated Valentines Day to you and your spouses!

Valentines 2016 with Lessons of Heart & Soul image Terrys

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

 

 

 

 

A Girl’s Best Friend

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To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business and your business in your heart. ~ Thomas J. Watson

hairdressers are a girls best friend

I’ve often thought that a hairstyling salon could be the best incubator for a creative book idea. There is something that makes people open up when they sit in a chair at any beauty shop. Have you ever noticed that? What is it? People literally “let their hairdown.” I suppose because it’s pretty relaxing when you get a haircut.

Last week I had my tresses trimmed and I felt as if Valentine’s Day came early I had such nice treatment. I got a style that’s fitting for me and before I walked out the door, I was offered a sweet treat. A little round brownie decorated with pink and white icing and candy sprinkles.

Thank you,  Sharon and Lisa, at my favorite and perhaps the most affordable salon in town.

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

 

Life Changing Moments

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When we establish human connections within the context of shared experience we create community wherever we go.”Gina Greenlee, Postcards and Pearls:

As a follow-up to the writings of the past two days about how our life stories come together through the associations we make with others, once again I am reminded that we really are never alone. Here is how it happened:

gym uniformsI am connected with an on-line group of people who grew up in the town and area that I did. Someone posted a picture of a vault box used in gymnastics. An onslaught of postings followed of individual memories of junior high and high school gym classes during the 50’s and 60s.

Comments about the vault box echoed my sentiments exactly. Many said “taking showers in a non-private environment was so humiliating because we were at a vulnerable age when bodies were changing and teens were so sensitive about how they looked to others.” Others stated their distain for the gym uniforms because they were “dorky.” Others mentioned individual sports that they detested or were no good at. Some said “they loved gymnastics and the vault box but hated running laps on the track or in relay races.  That’s when they felt so inadequate.”

Junior high and high school gym class held such strong memories for me that I even devoted an entire chapter to it in my memoir. I had a life-changing moment in the gym in the Towsontown Junior High School, that will never be forgotten.

Do you have any moments in your life that changed the direction of your life forever? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Post a comment.

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

 

Wear Red Tomorrow

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“Red is the first color of spring. It’s the real color of rebirth. Of beginning.” ~ Annie Condie

Are you planning on wearing red tomorrow? The American Heart Association has declared February 5th National Wear Red Day. This day is dedicated to raising awareness that “heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women, yet 80% of it is preventable.”

On the Go Red for Women website there are educational articles and resources to educate the public about the importance of children and fitness, and factors which increase chances of heart disease such as high blood pressure, smoking, inactivity and high cholesterol. The useful and free information is there for each and every one of us.

As Conway Twitty once said “listen to advice, but follow your heart.” Always listen to your body, and if it is telling you something is not right, don’t wait – go see a doctor. It could be the difference between death or life.

You can help the fight against heart disease by posting #GoRed on your Facebook page or through other social media.  Remember to #gored tomorrow, donate to the cause or fill a shopping cart at the GoRed on-line store.

Thanks for listening and tomorrow is a good a day as any to begin improving your heart health.

My award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected speaks to this issue which is close to my heart.

 

Keep a Heart from Aging

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The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball. ~Doug Larson

Guess what I got last week? A Save the Date notification of my 45th  high school reunion. When I first read it, I thought, “Oh, there is a typo,” until I made some mental calculations. How could it be that so many years have passed?  After all, wasn’t it just last week I was a teen?

In all those years since I was a student I have only attended one college reunion. I guess it’s because I am more interested in living in the present.

 I’ve maintained some friendships in my home town as well as my college town  over the years so I haven’t let go of my schoolmates completely.

About a year and a half ago, I had a book signing  for my award-winning memoir at Ukazoo Books in Towson, Maryland, the town where I grew up. It’s the setting where most of my memoir takes place. It warmed my heart to see some faces I hadn’t seen in decades.

Sue with snowball heart close upLife has been kind to me despite very tentative beginnings and I am extremely grateful for that. I feel very young at heart and try to do all in my power to stay healthy. There are lots of theories of how to achieve that, but moderation in all things is the key, in my opinion.

An exception to the rule is allowing oneself to do kid-like things frequently. What’s good for the heart and soul is guaranteed to be good for our health, including residing since 1975 in the snowy mountains.

This article explains the benefits of getting out and enjoying some wintertime activities!

Sue with snowball heart

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

 

 

Living With the Heart of a Child

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“Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming.” ~ Joseph B Wirthlin

It’s a wonderful thing to live as an adult with the heart of a child, still full of wonder.

We’re never too old to engage in childhood activities like taking a trip down the sliding board, pumping higher and higher toward the skies on a swing, wading in the waters of a rippling stream, getting messy with finger paints or diving into an ice cream Sundae with such zeal that it ends up all over our face.

The day after Christmas my son, his gal, my husband and I walked into Michael’s Craft Store, looking for a picture frame for a photograph of the two of them they had given us for Christmas.

“Pick out a frame you are happy with,” said Marc, “it will complete the present.”

Before we were finished shopping my son said “Mom, did you see what’s at the front of the store? You might be interested. Go pick one out for yourself.”

“I followed his orders and have enjoyed being a child all over again – all wrapped up into something that used to bring me hours of pleasure as a child.”

According to this article from Business Insider, I am not the only one who is having fun revisiting my childhood!

coloring book2

On some of these long, dark winter evenings, coloring has been a good change of pace from reading.

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.

 

Spaces of Dreams

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“What you surround yourself with should bring you peace of mind and peace of spirit.” ~ Stacy London

Over the past few days blogs have been written about books with storylines about the planetary world. People all over the universe look to the skies and dream and wonder what’s out really out there beyond our earthly existence.

There is so much beauty on this planet Earth, and I love seeing photos of places where others live and the beautiful worlds that people create for themselves.

table top garden sceneI have a friend who looks like she might live a fairytale existence, but I know she doesn’t due to some real health challenges. She surrounds herself with joy, peace, serenity and beauty using her homemaking skills. and has a very special talent for doing it.

I think she’d tell you she has done better than she expected given her diagnosis twenty plus years ago. In my opinion, her beautiful home environment has something to do with it. Her challenges are still there but she dwells more on using her creativity to make a beautiful world for herself and her family – her husband, her two sons and their wives and her grandchildren. She puts so much charm into her environment, probably so she can more easily overlook the difficult stuff.vintage bike


Today, I’d like to give a shout out to my special friend in South Carolina. I hope someday soon I can go see her because it makes me sad that so much distance separates us.

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

Ticking Off the Bucket List

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“Better to see something once than hear about it a hundred times.” ~ Juurai Bayanjargal

Since it’s a New Year, we have been focused on new experiences this week on All Things Fulfilling. It has been said that there has been a movement away from amassing lots of material things, and replacing them with investing in unique life experiences. Experiential travel, which is said to bring increased happiness, has grown in recent years.  Perhaps living life differently, we don’t end up in our later years having big inventories of “things” to get rid of, instead our memory bank will be overflowing. Graham Hill speaks about living life edited in his TED talk. Take five minutes to listen to it!

I may not ever have the where-with-all make it to the moon in my lifetime to experience weightlessness in space, but I can now say that I have experienced it in a more contained environment here on Earth in a float pod. It’s terrific! To learn more about this adventure, read the previous two blogs – Practice the Pause and From Lightweight to Weightlessness.

heck yesWill you remove any “thing”  from your “bucket list” and replace it with a real life experience in 2016? If so, what is it? We would love to hear from you. Post your comment right here on All Things Fulfilling.

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.

Will we see each other right here tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling?

 

 

From Lightweight to Weightlessness

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You don’t realize that you are weighed down all the time by yourself, and your organs, and your head. ~ Mary Roach, author of Stiff

“How was your float?” Valerie McCarthy, Owner of  Neptune Healing & Float Spa asked as I exited the private suite that held the pod (or tank) and shower area where I had spent an hour engaging in the closest thing I have come to nirvana.

“Wonderful! I guess it is the first time I have truly experienced total weightlessness.” Think about it, even when we are trying to float in salt water of the ocean, we are fighting against the tides and body beating waves. The high concentration of epsom salt in the float pod was beyond any other buoyancy I had yet to experience. I am a lightweight, and don’t have much body mass to move around, but still taking all weight off my structure (and brain!) was something I have never known -a complete yielding for one blissful hour. I believe I may have fallen asleep for a few minutes. However, Valerie said I may have reached the theta state (that gray area when you are not sure if you are awake or asleep).

The relaxed, “putty-like” feeling continued throughout the day and that night I slept like a baby (although admittedly, I often do). Every tension of 2015 was removed while I “practiced the pause” and drifted unsinkable in the pod.

float podFloating is said to be one of the top ten wellness trends to watch in 2016 and it is even being used in athletic science. Top athletes are jumping in the pod to relieve muscle aches and pains and reduce stress to improve performance.  Floating is also said to increase creativity. Rehab facilities are including float pods for their athletes. According to an ESPN article Stephen Curry is among those elite athletes who is taking advantage of this wellness modality.

I am feeling rejuvenated and have a sense of well-being about the New Year. Bring it on 2016, bring it on!  I am ready!

I would highly recommend this experience. I can see how floating could be even more beneficial to mind/body and spirit on a regular basis.

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