Rock Solid Performance

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“Come on Dad! We’re going rock climbing!” My husband looked at my son and didn’t argue. He is always up for an athletic adventure.

“I’m coming too!” I said.

It was the day after Christmas. My son and his gal wanted to treat my husband to a new experience. Off we went to Stone Age Climbing Gym. After the three got suited up with harnesses, rope, chalk bags, belay and rappeling equipment we four stood looking straight up at the wall my husband was about to tackle. As he began his ascent, the man on belay (my son) yelled out instructions. “Go, Dad, go!” Terry look another step up.

“You are doing well!” Marc said with a grin on his face, after his father began to progress further. “Are you weary?”

“A little, mostly my forearms,” my husband yelled down.

“Then let go! I have you,” our son yelled out. I sat behind him on a bench watching my husband dangle from the rope, forty feet up in the air. In order to take a load off his legs, arms and hands he had to surrender himself from the challenge for a few minutes.  After a short break, Terry continued climbing.

“Reach higher, you are almost to the top!” Marc yelled up about 20 minutes later.

Marc turned to me and said “Mom, I’m really impressed. Dad is doing as well on his first attempt as young guys my age. There seems to be no fear of heights or falling!” It was interesting to see the role reversal between father and son. My husband has spent a lifetime coaching athletes.

Terry’s first attempt at a rock climbing experience was a great success. When I asked him if he’d like to repeat it, he said, “Only if I am with Marc.  There is a level of trust and faith in others involved in it.”

“I could see that,” I said, as I thought about my husband dangling from the rope only anchored by my son.

terry rock climbing

Trust

Come on back tomorrow, I will be sharing my own new adventure into the New Year. I’m a little apprehensive because I am not quite sure what to expect from myself. But, I’m entering this new experience with a positive outlook.

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.

 

 

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The Afterglow of Success

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Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” -Francis of Assisi

The last of a three part blog about author/playright Jorge Avila will be featured on All Things Fulfilling today. Before Christmas I interviewed Avila about his newfound sucess as a playright. To read the beginning of the interview, please go to from Local Author to Playright and Advancing the Story.

Sue: So what does it feel like now that you have stepped away from all the excitement of seeing your musical played out on stage?

Jorge: There is a little bit of sadness and a let down because it is easy to get carried  away with all that goes with on in the world of L.A.  But we aren’t done yet. My vision for this musical is even more than that.  I have been offered a huge opportunity at the end of September and the first two weeks in October. The production will return to California as part of at the Hispanic Heritage Festival. For four weeks, in four different districts, I am told that 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 people will attend the festival annually. Do you believe that?

Sue: And I understand you received special recognition during the three day run of the musical. What night was that?

Jorge: On the  middle night of the performance, I and the director and musical composer, Caleb Encampos, were each given certificates of award from the City of Los Angeles for work in advancing the arts. It was very exciting.

Avilas certificate from City of LA

Avia 3

Sue: What can you attribute to the success that you have had with Maricopa Men in Pink?

Jorge: It was a long five years but I never stopped believing that I had a quality product and it was a matter of getting it into the right venue or environment.

Sue: What’s on the docket for the future? 

Jorge: I have two more musicals I am working on and a book but, I would like to do something more with the local high school here in Steamboat. They did a Powerpoint presentation about my book’s storyline with the English as a Second Language (ESL) students. I’d like to put together some sort of workshop. We will see, I’ll have to put more thought into that. And I’d like to take the musical to Chicago. That’s where I’d  really like to see it.

Sue: You have been in a whirlwind for six months or more. Perhaps with a little time off, your visions will become more clear. Now that you have stepped away into a quieter environment, here in Steamboat, you can ponder it.

Before Jorge and I said our goodbyes  I told him how he is a shining example for other independent publishers to press on and not to give up. Although he mentioned feeling a little let down now that things were over, I saw a huge afterglow of success on his face and in his exuberant voice.

Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow when we begin the countdown till the New Year! We will be fulfilling 2016 with new possibilities and opportunity!

Up the “Awe” Factor for Kids

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Your deepest roots are in nature.  No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation. ~  Charles Cook

In a world where there is tremendous focus on material things, how do we increase children’s “awe” factor about the natural world?

milkweed

Skip the frequent trips to the mall, and head to the great outdoors for fun and activities instead. Insist upon it as the parent. Teach your child to take notice of the spectrum of colors in the flames of an autumn bonfire. Next spring sit quietly with your family and listen to the crickets tone. Do it again  as spring moves into summer and as that fades into fall. You will notice there is a difference in the tones of one of nature’s creatures.

Point out the milkweed pods in a field and the fluff that blows through the air when it dries and opens. Let your child experience the difference in taste between a just-picked tomato off the vine and a refrigerated one.

vintage harvest

Visit the local farm to see where hens lay eggs, or to observe newborn lambs in the spring.  

Take a group of children on a hike and bring along a wildflower guide or a bird book – see how many species you can identify.

hiking

Go on a scenic family bike ride or watch a fishing boat as it unloads the catch of the day.

biking

Play outside on a snowy day with your family. Watch each crystal formation land on your gloves and examine how two snowflakes are alike – just like people.

Substitute digital playmates with neighborhood friends. Host baseball games at your place or invite kids to join in for some jump rope fun.

softball

kids-jumping-rope

You may be met with rolls of the eyes and bored “uh-huhs” as you point out the beauty in nature, but with time your child will grow to appreciate the outings. As kids mature they begin to “get it” and share the wonders of the world with others who appreciate and value the same kinds of things.

kids-beach

Your family will also benefit from times of special togetherness. With the holidays coming up it is a good time to start changing habits and initiating new traditions and living through the process of discovery.

There is an eye-opening documentary film that addresses children’s nature deficit disorder. The value of outdoor play for children is significant, especially in the digital age when children spend far too much time indoors.

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

Reflections of Parents

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Yesterday, November 8th, was National Parents as Teachers Day.

food-for-thought-lectures-to-nourish-your-mind-86132072Children often take on their parents values, political views, styles of communication, the way they treat others and view the world. It helps to remember that you are raising a future adult rather than a child. “He or she is just a child” is an idea that some parents find hard to give up as their child grows. Before you realize it your child becomes a teen.  If you’ve never asked them to take on responsibilities it will be reflected when the teenage years begin.

The other day I read a statement that really made an impression on me, it said “If your child can use a cellphone, he or she can run a washing machine.” I’d like to add to that –  and set the table, load the dishwasher, feed the pets, take out the trash. A child no matter what age can contribute to the everyday responsibilities of a household.

If there are values or behaviors that  you’d LOVE  to see come back and haunt you, instill and teach those things to your children. Thoughtful parenting takes work. Just a little food for thought.

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.

 

Discussing Eggs and Life

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“Mom,” my 27 year old son said to me during my visit in February, “What kind of eggs do you buy at the grocery store?”

“I don’t know,” I said, “whatever is the least expensive. Usually store brand.”

“You know, I’ve gotten to be an egg snob.”

“You have?”I asked with an element of surprise in my voice. “So, why have you become an egg snob?”

“Eggs aren’t all the same, you know.”

Yes, being a fraternal twin I am aware of that, I thought. But instead I responded, “I’ve bought brown eggs when they are running a special, and I can honestly say, I have noticed a difference. But,” I continued, “I try not to sweat the small stuff in life. That’s why I don’t read every label. Sometimes you have to trust life and ask yourself  is the brand of food I buy really going to significantly change the outcome of my life? I mean, you could drive yourself crazy making decisions like that at the grocery store. I have not been kept on this earth all these years, as healthy as I have been, because God wanted me to spend my time agonizing over every food choice at the grocery store. I’d like to think HIS plans for me were different than that.”

Our egg and life discussion continued a little longer about the pro’s and con’s of evaluating every single item that we put in our stomachs, and whether that is a healthy way to live or not.  When my son and I have thought provoking talks it brings me great happiness because it feels like it draws us closer to understanding one another.

Ok, so, now  two months later I know what the lengthy egg discussion was REALLY all about. My son was using his acumen to get my opinion on something because he was trying decide whether he liked an idea or not.

Guess what? We are back to chicken talk. My son and his gal, a nutritionist, have decided to engage in their own “urban living” chicken project so they can have fresh eggs on their side of the neighborhood.

meghan and chicks April 2015 CROPPED

Do you know what this means? I have become the grandmother of two chickens – what an interesting thought.

Charley Brown on worrying

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

Night Life in NM

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Wherever you travel to, appreciate the culture and beauty of the place.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

El Faro, Santa FeEl Farol, (meaning warmth & light),  a restaurant in the heart of Canyon Road, an arts district of Santa Fe, is the home to lively evening entertainment and dining. We sat “ring side” and watched Flamenco dancing while enjoying tapas (small plates) of hot & cold food last weekend. The Lomo de Cerdo pork loin with idiazabal cheese and port figs sauce was outstanding. The Tortilla Espanola (traditional spanish potato and onion omelette) and the Aguacate (flash fried avocado with mixed vegetables and lime yogurt) was tasty, too.

It was my first experience of seeing a live performance of flamenco – a form of Spanish folk music and dance. Fast paced, dramatic, and highly entertaining, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

This form of dance is taught in Albuquerque at the National Institute of Flamenco as well as at the National Institute for Spanish Arts in Santa Fe. Flamenco is an art form which needs to be promoted and protected as part of history and culture.

Here are a few photos of flamenco dancers. Costumes, rhythmic handclapping, and boisterous vocal encouragement from group members added to the entire experience.

flamenco santa fe

flamenco santa fe2

flamenco santa fe 3Ta-ta, for now!  Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. 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.

Film Friday: Room to Breathe

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Did you know they are teaching mindfulness in schools? Today on Film Friday, I’d like to feature a multi award-winning documentary film about this subject.

Room to Breathe is currently being screened in select places across the country and both students and teachers are participating.

The purpose of the movie: is to educate others about the value of mindfulness, which means “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

The potential value: better educational experiences for students and a changed, less stressful atmosphere for teachers.

Sounds like a movement towards a better world to me!

Room-to-Breathe-Screenshot-copy

I am going to take a “breather” on All Things Fulfilling until Monday. Over the weekend I will “find rest …because creativity needs a place to breathe.”

March will be arriving over the weekend. Early next week I’ll be sharing some of my last weeks fresh air travels to NM .

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