Friendship and Courage

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Friends give us the courage to lift the blinds on our hearts. To open up and show what we generally keep hidden from the rest of the world.” ~ Unknown

One day, several months after Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected was published, my phone rang. It was a surprise call from one of my childhood friends.

“How did you do that?” asked the caller.

“Do what?” I asked.

“Write all that stuff about yourself.”

“I don’t know, ” I said to my friend. “I felt the need to tell the story and share it with children who are going through tough stuff in life. Besides, I felt safe. I knew that my true friends who didn’t know about my childhood medical history, wouldn’t abandon me when they knew the facts. (And believe me – to many my story came as a surprise!) True friends don’t do that.”

GS2When I spoke with the Girl Scouts this spring we talked about the importance of  including a diversity of people in our circle of friends. “People who may be different can teach us to look at things differently,” I said.

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As the eve of the Girl Scout Campfire and Reunion approaches, can’t help but think about the song we used to most frequently sing in Girl Scouts. “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”

I look forward to making new acquaintances with others who also benefitted from the days of being a member of the Girl Scouts.

Thou Art Grateful

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Happy National Arts and Humanities Month! I believe that my life is enriched in great measure by the opportunities that I have to incorporate the arts and humanities into my lifestyle. As a blog writer for All Things Fulfilling, which focuses on arts and the humanities, I take great pleasuring in sharing information with like-minded people. Let me count just a few other activities and events related to art, culture and religion that also bring me personal fulfillment:

  • Volunteering at Strings Music Festival
  • Visiting museums
  • Worshiping in a supportive spiritual environment
  • Incorporating local artisans work to my into my home environment
  • Attending the writers groups and workshops
  • Having a wonderful community library where there is ALWAYS something of interest happening.
  • Participating in community “Art Walks” to see local artists work
  • We Write Steamboat –  networking with other independent publishers to foster success
  • Book talks and presentations
  • Taking advantage of educational opportunity to obtain more knowledge about the literary arts and other art mediums.

I am a proponent of Americans for the Arts. Involvement at the local level is a great way to show how you, too, enjoy cultural events that are available. Our world would be very different without music, art, museums, libraries, places of worship, concert halls.

Get involved and learn how art  enhances life!

The more we learn and grow and evolve as individuals, the more we will find happiness and satisfaction in relationships, work and life.”
Kristi Bowman

Revival of Past Times

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“A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away.” – Phyllis McKinley

“We are really seeing a resurgence in the fiber arts,” said Windy Karpavage as I sat in her lovely studio on remote Taylors Island of the Chesapeake several weekends ago. “I just held a week long knitting and felting class at the Dorchester Art Center in Cambridge (Maryland) and it was very well attended. The girls had so much fun and so did I as their teacher.”

There is truth behind the words of the owner of Kaire je Studio. According to an article in Contentment Health Magazine  there has been a revival of knitting and other crafts in the fiber arts industry. There is not a lack of articles to substantiate the facts.

I had gone to her studio to seek help with my knitting project. I used to be beyond a beginner in my skills but since I had taken a 27 year hiatus from one of my past hobbies, reading and following knitting instructions sometimes is a little challenging.

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Pairing Health, Humor and Children

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Were you paying attention? Sometimes it is the little things that count. Did you see the reference between the medical school mentioned on the August 25th  blog posting on www.allthingsfulfilling.com and a highly treasured author of children’s literature? Go to Celebrate Aging  and play I SPY and see if you can figure it out.

The beginnings of the creative talent of “the doctor” who has brought millions of children joy became clear to me when I read an article in the September/October 2015 issue of Yankee Magazine. Here is an article that explains it even more.

Now, there is a new generation of books from the Cat in the Hat Learning Library that teach youth the basics of healthy living. They are part of the Healthy America program for Children.

Since future generations of children will benefit from the knowledge aspiring physicians acquire through this famed health institution and its research facility, it seems only logical that the medical school carries the name of an alumni. He has brought smiles to faces of children in many countries through his 47 books. Check it out!

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Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. This blog is brought to you by the author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Good News: Young Entrepreneurs

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Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” Pamela Vaull Starr

The good news is the world still has its share of young people who have heads for business. In fact,  digital tools are facilitating entrepreneurship at a younger age than ever! Want to know how? Here is an article.

There are many youngsters who find their passion and their talents at very young ages. Whether they have a head for science, mathematics, technology or inspire others through their unique creative talents, there are ways you can to encourage your child. There are even schools which help nuture entrepreneurial spirit and innovation in children by helping them set up micro-businesses.

lightbulbHow do you raise self-motivated children? Here is an excellent article. I like many of the tips in this article but my top pick is “to give a child a rich array of experiences.” In other words, expand their world and let them know why that is important. In my opinion, too many children are not given enough opportunity to see what’s beyond their home city and state, which can be limiting. Children learn so much when they see an variety of geographical landscape, a diversity of people, different cultures and ways of living.

The five young entrepreneurs cited in this article came from families whose backgrounds included business and finance. The whizzes have learned about all facets of their business from concept to marketing and have even planned for their future educational needs. Impressive, since a number of them are not even teenagers yet.

Do you have a child who is showing young talent at a very young age? If so, what are you doing to nuture it without providing performance pressure or providing too much stress by being an over-bearing helicopter parent? It is a very delicate balance.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her award-winning memoir, click here.

 

 

 

 

Art Journeys

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“Art isn’t a result; it’s a journey. The challenge of our time is to find a journey worthy of your heart and your soul.“ ~ Seth Godin

Kimball art centerNo visit to Park City, Utah is ever complete unless I look in on the exhibits at the Kimball Art CenterOver the Moon and Under the Sea, the annual Wasatch Back Student Art Show, was hung during my most recent visit a couple of weeks ago. The KAC  is an educational art space that brings in “over $14 million in economic opportunity to their community” through their largest fundraiser every summer. Assistance from foundations, grants and individual and corporate sponsors provides support for this vital art resource located in historic Park City.

YouAreHere-exhibitionYou Are Here is the upcoming exhibit at the KAC scheduled for May 29 to August 23, 2015. I particularly enjoy theme-based art exhibits because it is interesting to see the creative solutions and persepectives that each artist brings to the subject.

It never ceases to amaze me the scope of young artistic talent in this country. The other evening I attended a pot luck dinner sponsored by the Steamboat Springs Art Council in my own community of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The walls at the “Art Depot” were decked out with local students’ artwork that could rival that of the students of the Wasatch. As I sat eating and enjoying the evening program I couldn’t help but be saddened to think how few young artists pursue art as a lifetime career, when perhaps they could be missing out on their most fulfilling path in life. Fear of being a stereotypical “starving artist” or following someone else’s wishes instead of their own desires prevents many individuals from continuing along an artistic journey throughout life.

Today on AllThingsFulfilling.com I’d like to share a sampling of work from “Over the Moon and Under the Sea.” Thanks to the KAC for allowing me to take these photographs to share with our readers on All Things Fulfilling.

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KAC8Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling.com. This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected” or short stories “Lessons of Heart & Soul.”

 

Good News, Dear Margaux

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May 27, 2015

Dear Margaux,

What a pleasant surprise when I opened my mailbox last week and found that the U.S. Postal Service had delivered this notecard from you!

Girl Scout Margaux letter without last name

I am so glad you enjoyed my presentation “One Day in the Life of a Writer.” I was happy to learn that I am not the only one who wakes up in the middle of the night wanting to jump out of bed to write down ideas. It makes me feel better that you said the same thing happens to you. 

GS scribe badge I was not aware that my visit helped your troop earn your Scribe badges until I read the Girl Scout blog.

Tomorrow I am attending the  Girl Scout Fundraiser for adults at the Catamount Ranch and Club.  I am excited! I have my ticket! What a cool fundraising idea to have some of the best chefs around creating savory appetizers from sweet Girl Scout Cookies.  It will be interesting to see what the chefs will be serving up. I’d better take my camera! If your mom is coming, tell her I have saved a book for her and will bring it along incase she hasn’t yet ordered a copy.

Enjoy your outings, meetings and the friendships you have made through the Girl Scouts. I think I mentioned to your troop that I made life-long friends through scouting.

Keep on Writing! And remember the good news we shared about life “There are always flowers for those who want to see them!”

Sincerely,

Mrs. Sue Leonard (aka author Sue Batton Leonard)

Award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected 

and short stories – Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Film Friday: Freedom Writers

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To write means more than putting pretty words on a page; the act of writing is to share part of your soul.”

Most writers would tell you the reason they write is because they have to. There is something fulfilling in it that is often difficult to explain.

Whether writing a fictional story, recording past experiences in the form of a memoir, sharing information and knowledge or creating poetry, there is something freeing and fulfilling in the process.

On this film Friday, I’d like to introduce our readers to a movie that was released back in 2007 called Freedom Writers: Our Story Our Words. The movie stars Hilary Swank as a high school teacher in California. It is about the power of journal writing to help students communicate their feelings and frustrations in their lives. The power of writing is transformative to the lives of many of these inner city students.

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If you have not seen this movie, check this movie out! The Freedom Writers Foundation will also be of interest to educators.

See you back here on All Things Fulfilling on Monday! This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

Spirit Not Withstanding

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“A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition.” ~ William Arthur Ward

What’s a girl to do when she’s a bystander because she is too young to be a Junior Girl Scout? She creates her own sense of fun, and I loved it.

Look at the joy on this little girl’s face! I’m calling her the “Dazzling Earring Girl.” She went about her way finding a  creative use for the paper roses I had made and given the Girl Scouts while she was waiting for her sister to complete her craft project.

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One never knows where life will take us and “Dazzling Earring Girl” might just have the tag line “jewelry artist” under her name in the future!

You know what I like about the Girl Scouts? Please excuse my bias because I was both a Brownie and a Junior Girl Scout. In my opinion, it is an organization that endorses postive values that parents can teach their children about keeping their values straight in life.

I hope this little girl in the picture remembers to always to seek the light! The good news is on this Thirsty Thursday her joy will dazzle other people. Glad she joined us!

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her memoir and book of short stories. On Sunday, May 10th I’ll be honoring Mother’s Day on All Things Fulfilling.