A Special Evening

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A woman …Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.” ~ Diane Mariechild

“How was it?” my husband asked as I walked in the door from being out for the evening.

“Lovely, simply, lovely. From the candlelit church, to the great food, to the stories read and carols we sang. It was well attended. About 50 other community ladies came to the event,” I replied. “I enjoyed all of it.”

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The “Women of Christmas” was hosted last week by the United Methodist Women of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It was a very special evening. At the center of the event were readings from a book with the same name, staring characters Elizabeth, Anna and Mary. As stories were read I reflected upon the characteristics these three admirable women carried. I’ve seen many of these like qualities in my friends and acquaintances that I have encountered throughout in my life journey.

women of christmas Elizabeth, Mary and Anna, all ladies of yore, were written about in the Bible. The author, Liz Curtis Higgs beautifully crafted stories that are relevant for women of today. Although I have heard the Christmas tale so many times over, I will now look at the story and the characters with an enlightened perspective.

As part of the evening I was so pleased to see a woman, Katherine, who is 90 years of age be recognized for her work within our church. She was given the gift of a pin with a little star sapphire, not nearly equal to her value to our community but still a beautiful gesture.

I’d like to thank the United Methodist Women for a wonderful evening. A lot of work went into the event.I am grateful I attended.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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

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

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Erik Landvik for Uncluttered Faith (spirituality/religion)

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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.

The Warmth of “Heart Bread”

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“God be thanked for books; they make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages.” ~ William Ellery Channing

On Saturday I had a book signing at Come and See Christian Books and Gifts in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. People drifted in and out throughout the day to shop and to speak with me about my award-winning publication Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

During quiet times, I took the opportunity to browse and become more acquainted with what was in store. In the children’s section I came across a book called “Making Heart-bread.” I thought it was particularly meaningful, and the concept of the tale holds value for both children and adults. It is based on a true story of what helped heal emotional scars of children who were traumatized during the World War II era.

Heart BreadBriefly, a grandmother teaches children the difference between making bread to fill the “tummy” and bread that fills the soul. Making heart-bread she says is very important because it “never runs out.” The recipe has ingredients which nourish us most in times of need. The ingredients are revealed throughout the storyline.

After having read Making Heart-bread I have feelings of warmth inside me knowing I have been given all the fundamentals of heart-bread throughout my lifetime. Heart-bread is that which is made from memories of love and spirituality.

heart-shaped-potholders-1This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her two publications Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul , please visit https://allthingsfulfilling.com/about-the-book/

See you on Monday on All Things Fulfilling.

 

Reflections on the Creative Path

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“Your current safe boundaries were once unknown frontiers.” ~ Unknown

Today I will be reflecting on unknown frontiers. It is something I can speak to! I arrived in Steamboat Springs, Colorado some six years ago, sight unseen and took up residence not knowing what I was getting into.

Then, I made another life changing decision! I set off on a 41,000 word journey. A huge task for an inexperienced writer who had dreams of publishing a memoir.

What kept me going? A lifelong desire to tell a story of a beautiful soul who became the heartbeat of our family and who had many words of wisdom to share with others.

As it’s turned out, the unknown frontier became a safe haven in which I ended up exploring my faith like never before. I suspect I am not alone in my story. Artists through the ages have testified that through their creativity, they find their own voice and spirit.  As Maritza Burgos once said “One’s art should be the extension of oneself.”

I’m grateful I journeyed into the unknown. I found all kinds of fulfilling things in the process!

Stay tuned to All Things Fulfilling.com. What’s a new year without a little excitement?  Come back on Monday because I’m telling you now there will be something newsworthy!

heres to new beginnings

 

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

Opening the Conversation

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Advent: Day #8

Intercultural dialogue is the best guarantee of a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.” ~ Robert Alan Silverstein

For the past two years in the town where I am residing, we watched the building of a huge addition to the Holy Name Catholic Church. The construction essentially turned a relatively small church into a nearly cathedral-sized structure.

On Friday evening, the entire town was invited in as the Yampa Valley Choral Society and the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra brought Handel’s Messiah alive in the community. My husband and I saw the gorgeous space and heard beautiful voices and outstanding orchestral music. The evening put me in the Christmas spirit. I am so grateful the Catholic Church opened up  this event to people of all religious affilliations and that I was able to attend it! The tickets sold out so quickly.

Throughout my lifetime I have been exposed to multi-cultural viewpoints and a diversity of religions. On this eighth day of Advent I’d like to share an image that will give insight into one of the largest influences in my childhood years which helped me to develop my thoughts and writings on spirituality.

alleluia

How To Order the award-winning memoir by Sue Batton Leonard,  Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected:
Audio Book  http://amzn.to/1trrTl9
Paperback  http://amzn.to/1qmcEHI
e-Book  http://amzn.to/1lx7oRh

 

The Gift of Time

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Thank God for his priceless gifts and miracles around the world. ~ Unknown

“Good morning, Sunshine!” I said to myself as we began down a long cornfield-lined road, with sun rays gleaming on the dried golden stalks. It was a gorgeous morning on the Chesapeake. My parents and I were headed to a landmark that harkened to us from Route 213 in Kent County, Maryland.

As we drove up to the Shrewsbury Parish Church I said, “I feel as if I could be in England. This place looks like something from a British show on PBS.” All the while, I was thinking of the Vicar of Dibley, a program that I loved that is now longer broadcast.

We walked the grounds, peaked in the windows, read ages old headstones and just enjoyed being together as parents and adult child taking in the wonders of the season and the beautiful surroundings. Before we left the grounds, the Rector Rev. Henry M. Sabetti stopped and we chatted. We talked about my new memoir and I gave him a bookmark of  Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.

Today, I’d like to share images with our readers. If you are interested in reading more about this historic church on the Eastern shores of Chesapeake Bay country, please visit this website.http://www.shrewsburyparish.org/Shrewsbury_Parish/About_Us.html.

It’s been wonderful spending time with my family while being on my East Coast book tour. That morning was just one of many treasured early lights of day that I have spent with my parents. Now I head back to the wild, wild west!

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IMG_20141028_114420_973The two gravestones above must be for all the mothers and fathers who are in this final resting place in the churchyard of Shrewsbury Parish.

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Revelations about my Mother

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“A man is a little thing while he works by and for himself, but when he gives voice to the rules of love and justice, he is godlike.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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My mother didn’t know I was going to snap this picture.  She was looking at me as I was exclaiming about the beauty of the place we had discovered in our travels on the Eastern shore of Maryland. I couldn’t help myself. She was perfectly positioned in a place where I think she’s belonged all her life. Behind the podium on an altar.

“Why is that?” you might ask. I think she missed her calling. She should have been a pastor. She has ministered to almost as many people over the course of her lifetime than any chaplain by:

  • Feeding the masses
  • Caring for the sick
  • Counseling the disheartened
  • Opening her heart,  doors and table to strangers and friends alike

My mother told me that even as a little child, she was drawn into a church. Her father drove  her on Sunday mornings and dropped her off, where she sat alone in a pew listening to the sermon. She said she loved the “peacefulness of it.”

She never pursued the life of a reverend formally. She was born 85 years ago, and back then there were few choices for women, and they didn’t do that. She fell in love with my father at the tender age of 12 and they created a beautiful life for themselves together. Their marriage has lasted 65 yrs and counting.

Mom found her own way to minister to people, including building an outstanding relationship with an African American woman, who was needy and appeared at my parent’s door one day back in the 1950s. That wonderful woman became part of our family. If you want to know more about this story, “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected” tells it. Follow this link for more information.http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.

Today, Mom I salute you! This is how I’ve seen you throughout your lifetime – leading people surrounded by tall trees in a setting  just like in these picture!

Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. More photos from the Shrewsbury Parish Church will be posted. The place was a most welcomed respite from our travels off the beaten path of the Eastern shore of Maryland.

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