Author Narrated Easter Story

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Resurrection is a whole new way of thinking.” ~ Deepak Chopra

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEastertime has always been a memorable time of year ever since my childhood. In my memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, in Chapter 14 called Easter Traditions, I recount an Easter story that I have always held near and dear to my heart. Since it’s Easter week, I’d like to share it with you. Listen in!

If you are wondering who narrated the story, it was me, the author. The audio book won an award (2nd place in the EVVY book awards sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association.)

I hope you enjoy the retelling of this Easter story and the voice of the central character in it!

Order the full narration of  the award-winning anthology Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. It is also available in paperback and e-book.

Also available Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul.

See you back here tomorrow!

Protect and Defend Wholesome Values

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All Things Fulfilling

unity in spirti

Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved. ~ Mattie Stepanek

The mission behind All Things Fulfilling has been always been a multi-media approach to sharing information about things that make my heart zing – what fills my heart with joy and happiness. That includes information on what has become my career and passion since 1998 – independent publishing.

I seldom make strong statements on All Things Fulfilling because we don’t need another platform on which to air controversial opinions all for the sake of being heard.

This statement I am going to make is about valuing human life and it really doesn’t matter where you stand politically. We need people in this country to discover and fill open spaces in their hearts with what brings them personal fulfillment, not evil and violence.

Dr. Ben Carson recently said about the recent occurrences in Charleston, South Carolina that the

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elemental Truths

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When we read a story, we inhabit it. The covers of the book are like a roof and four walls. What is to happen next will take place within the four walls of the story. And this is possible because the story’s voice makes everything its own.”  ~ Unknown

In the Oven, a chapter in the award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected is one family’s Christmas story. The anthology shares an elemental truth about many life lessons which are shared in a unique voice. Adults and children can enjoy the memoir together.

The real treasure lies in the audio book. For your reading pleasure, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected is also available in paperback and e-book. Pictures in both of these formats greatly enhance the reading pleasure.

Here is what other readers say about Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

I enjoyed Gift of a Lifetime so much I read it three times. What a character was Fanny. So much devotion to God and the family. ~ Leonie, from Brisbane, Australia

Such a heartwarming and inspiring story. The author did an amazing job and it was a very easy read! Once I started I did not want to put it down. I will definitely pass this one on to my friends and family. ~ Pam

Fanny and her winsome ways are a must read! Can’t wait to also listen to the audio version of this inspirational book. ~ Grace

cookiesI really loved this book because it is so well written. It is personalized story of how the “help” (Fanny) had such a positive influence on the young children in the Batton family. This is a story of love and wisdom sprinkled with humor to get through adversity. ~ Carol

This blog is brought to you by EVVY award-winning author, Sue Batton Leonard. Do return to All Things Fulfilling.

 

Putting Back the Balance

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life like a bike

I love this image because it reminds me of a simple life – when tragedies such as what we just saw occur in Paris did not happen. A time when people were more caring toward their fellow man, had moral standards and pride that people worked hard toward achieving. Being a good, law-abiding citizen was something to be proud of.

Internationally things are a mess, and the only thing we can do as individuals is strive to do the right things in our own little worlds – in our families and in our neighborhoods and communities.

There is truth in the quotation “in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Physical activity is good for a healthy mind, body and spirit. But, moving constantly due to unnecessary holiday frenzy, climbing the corporate ladder or wanting to have it all and wanting it NOW can lead to burn out, stress and imbalance. Results or goal driven people have a difficult time recognizing when they are teetering, ready to crash, until its too late.

have a cuppaIt’s important to take time out for ourselves and our families. When you’ve been on a roll, it is even more difficult to lay down the law with yourself and call it day.

So, my writing today is sort and sweet. I’m going to pretend what retirement looks like for a just a few minutes, with help from this article.

Do return tomorrow on Film Friday. I will be posting some information about a  just released movie that you and your family might enjoy watching together. You may remember this story of hope as one of the most compelling news stories of 2010. I remember sitting in front of the television in rapt attention as the events of this day in history unfolded.

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

Reaching for Heaven

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“We shape our dwellings, and afterwards, our dwellings shape us.” – Winston Churchill

Building custom homes and places of faith have been projects that my family’s 100+ year old construction company has been involved with through the decades.

This fall in keeping with work of the men in the family who came before him, my youngest brother Scott soared up toward heaven to inspect the steeple at St. Johns Church in Reisterstown, Maryland in order to assess the necessary restoration project of Batton Builders. Interestingly, the church was built in 1816 and then destroyed by fire on Christmas Day and only the steeple and cornerstone of the church survived. The ediface was rebuilt in 1869.  The History of St. John’s Church, Western Run Parish from 1800-2000 by Margaret Worrall details the history of this church.

Since I wrote about the family building business in Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, today on All Things Fulfilling I thought I’d share with our readers these photos of a church restoration Batton Builders has recently been involved with. What a magnificent structure!

st johns western run

 

St Johns

 Thankfully there is no fear of heights in the family.

scottSee you tomorrow 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.

Community of Blessings

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Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world… It is a sign that we don’t need a lot of money to be happy–in fact, the opposite.”
Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

Last summer I mentioned to my mother and sister the fact that the harvest season does not seem to be as decorated in the West as in the East. “Perhaps that’s because Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, the place of the landing of the Pilgrims, is geographically closer, so the season of fall is more celebrated. But, I really don’t know what it is,” I admitted.

On Sunday I arrived at the doors of my church and found it beautifully decorated for the fall season. The blessings of community and sermons of life lessons, relevant to today’s world, are always inside these church doors.

IMG_20151011_084245_836 Reflections last week from the Rev. Tim Selby included the question “And How Are the Children?”  Unfortunately in this day and age with all of the incidents in schools we can’t confidently answer “All are safely gathered in.”IMG_20151011_084455_846

By the end of the sermon each and everyone of us hoped our prayers would be heard as we sang the closing hymn “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

If you wish to hear the words of the message, keep your eye on the church website where recordings of each Sunday’s lessons are always posted.

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

Views on Entitlement

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“Finding your life’s work involves taking risks.” ~ Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Ok, so, I am a self-professed personal growth junky. It comes from my interest in human behavior. I’m entitled to be that way, I suppose, as long as I don’t spend too much time reading about life rather than living it and enjoying the results.

An author, Dr. John Townsend, recently sent me an Advance Readers Copy (ARC) of The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way to review. I was psyched when it arrived in my mailbox! Why? Because as long as I am on this Earth, there is room for more self-improvement.

The book is dedicated “To all who live life the hard way, because life works best that way.” 

Haven’t most of us experienced some of that? In my own life I know faith and hope ( basic fundamentals) have kept me moving forward and optimistic when facing challenges.

greater-the-obstacle
Hard knocks bring the biggest challenges paired with opportunity for change and a reason to prove something to ourselves.

The good news according to Dr. Townsend is none of us are exempt from a little entitlement (he refers to this as pocket entitlement). We are made that way from our Creator and there is a cure for those who suffer from more entitlement than what is considered normal.

The author, Dr. John Townsend, a leadership expert, psychologist, public speaker and NY Times best-selling author of Boundaries gives strategies that help individuals understand that the “easy way” is not the best way. It is what brings about feelings of entitlement in the first place.

I highly recommend this publication. Here is more about the author and the book.

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

 

Building Profound Faith

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Spirit is like the wind, in that we can’t see it but can see its effects, which are profound.” ― Jimmy Carter

My past couple of blog postings have led me to think about our society’s interpretation of what a hero is. We need more people in this world who understand that heroism is not all about Hollywood film stars, sports figures and sensational people with misplaced values. In my opinion there is truth in Jimmy Carter’s statement when he said “Human identity is no longer defined by what one does but rather by what one owns.”

Today I salute President Jimmy Carter. His story beyond his political life has always been to help others. He has carried on so admirably beyond his stint as President of the United States and his recent announcement about his health is very inspirational. We need to elevate the level of all warriors who are fighting their own medical battles along with their physicians. There is great heroism in fighting personal challenges and coming out on top simply by having the right attitude.

Last week as I sat watching medical students walk through the lobby of one of the finest teaching hospitals in the country, I couldn’t help but think of my two heroes, Dr. Helen Taussig and Dr. Alfred Blalock, both pioneers in medicine. To learn more about them, please visit  Influential People. A story of personal triumph is in the award-winning book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

It takes intellect, dedication, financial resources and years of study to become a doctor. All to save the lives of others. That’s heroism.

As Jimmy Carter faces his own personal challenges he well knows through his own admission of deep faith “With God, anything is possible.” You are in good hands, President Carter. Thank you for all you have done for others in demonstrating living with the spirit.

Jimmy Carter

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

Books on Spirituality

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Statistics indicate fewer people are church-going. The reasons for the decline runs the gamut, and it depends on who you talk to and what media you favor. What do you think is the truth of the matter?

As I was writing this blog, I saw this statement come across my social media news feed.

worth

It immediately lead my ticker tape of thoughts to ponder what people really value in today’s world. Are we Americans perhaps not as interested in things that lead to inner growth and development and more interested in keeping up appearances? Does valuing one have to be exclusive of the other? I don’t know, but it sure begs the question.

I’ve noticed there is a new generation of books that have sprung up regarding spirituality.  Today on All Things Fulfilling, I’d like to mention a few of them. I am not pushing any of them or their authors because I have not read these publications. I’ve posted these publications for no self-serving reason other I find their titles interesting and thought worthy.

  • Wearing God
  • Accidental Saints – Finding God in All The Wrong People
  • Searching for Sunday
  • There’s a Woman in the Pulpit
  • Saint Mazie: A Novel
  • Prayer, Write, Grow
  • Mudhouse Sabbath
  • Girl Meets God
  • The Wisdom of Stability
  • Praying in Color
  • The Sacred Year: Mapping the Soulscape of Spiritual Practice
  • Tables in the Wilderness: A Memoir of God Found, Lost & Found Again
  • Every Bitter Thing is Sweet

Do any of these titles appeal to your personal interpretation of what spirituality means to you? If so, pick up one of these titles, read it and write a review on Amazon.com or send us your thoughts through this website.  Reviews help other readers decide whether a book is worth reading. Why did it touch your heart and soul?  Authors appreciate feedback from the public!

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