The Reality of Life

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“Trust life a little bit.” ~ Maya Angelou

Have we become a society that is far too difficult to please?  Sometimes I think we need to focus on being less picky about what we eat and remember how many people go to bed hungry.

I heard some statistics from a speaker from the Boys and Girls Club last Friday about the number of children who have their only nutritious meal at school or at the Boys and Girls Club. It was astounding how many kids, right here in America, want nothing more than to go to bed at night with a full stomach. It wouldn’t matter to them whether milk was whole, low fat, two percent, skim, coconut or almond, for instance. For them, just having enough to eat would be the height of living a life fulfilled.

Granted for some people with real health issues food choices are necessary and specialized diets are very important.  But, at the risk of sounding like an old fogey who repeats stories like “when I was a kid we had to walk 10 miles to school, all up hill, in blizzards, without any shoes,” I’d just like to say how persnickety we have become as a society when it comes to food. Back when I was a child there was one choice:

8ffb69d97f3da9541c022951db6a3bfc

Because our society as a whole has become so focused on every little thing we put in our mouths, we forget to be grateful that there is even food on the table. There are so many other things in life that should hold more importance, because when you come down to it –

life too short to stuff a mushroom
Would you agree or does my statement sound silly, naïve or uninformed? Maybe my attitude is just too square. It seems as if living with balance has become a foreign concept.

NO MATTER WHAT WE EAT…..

tomorrow isnt promised to anyone

dont sweat the small stuff

In whose hand is the life of everything, and the breath of all mankind? ~Job 12:10

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author, Sue Batton Leonard. For more information on the award winning memoir, an anthology of stories, please visit this website.http://amzn.to/141aW6S.

Feeding the Needy through Literacy

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Harvest Book CompetitionLast Saturday I participated in The Harvest Book Reading Contest, sponsored by  MANASPIRITS.  Since Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected won in the Young Adult Category, I was given the opportunity to read aloud from my memoir during the nationally broadcast blog talk radio show. To view the e-magazine which was published in conjunction with the contest and to read about the other finalists, please follow this link.https://flipflashpages.uniflip.com/3/97499/340894/pub/.

 

kids-readingThe purpose of this event was to “feed community literary passions while helping to feed the hungry.” I was so pleased to be included in this nationally broadcast radio show. Children’s hunger is always a good cause to support.

Proceeds went to St Mary’s Food Bank Alliance http://www.firstfoodbank.org/ which is the world’s first food bank, organized in 1967. This event alone raised enough money to fund 5,000 Thanksgiving meals for people in need.

Fueling literary passions, another mission of the Harvest Book Reading Contest, is also such a worthy cause.  It has been said that “no skill is more crucial to the future of a child, or to a democratic and prosperous society, than literacy.”

In my opinion, we need opportunities no matter how small or large, to send messages to every child in America that books are the most valued material thing they can have in their lives. Above all else. And reading is the key to all understanding.

Thank you to the folks at MANASPIRITS who organized this event. I greatly appreciated being involved with it. And congratulations to all the other category winners!

This blog is brought to you by  author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her book, which is winning awards in the young adult category, please visit this link. http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt

Building Skills for Great Futures

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The foundation of every state is the education of its youth. ~ Diogenes

Last Friday I attended our monthly meeting of the Yampa Valley University Women. We had a wonderful speaker, Lynna Broyles, from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northwest Colorado. Her program was so informative and designed to educate people about the programs of this non-profit youth development organization.

Here are the five core programs that are available for boys and girls to get involved with. They make their own choices based on their interests:

  • Character & Leadership
  • Education & Career Development
  • Health & Life Skills
  • The Arts
  • Sports, Fitness & Recreation

Some figures were cited with regards to how many children in the NW Colorado Boys and Girls Club get their only hot meals for the day at school and at the Boys and Girls Club. For me those numbers were astounding and troubling. Thankfully, all youth, regardless of their parents’ socio-economic status can be involved in the program. Scholarships are available for youth who struggle with the annual membership fee ($25/annually).

The clubs are staffed by trained youth development professionals. Many very successful business people, athletes, and prestigious people in our country got a strong foundation through Boys & Girls Clubs. Youth programs as well as literacy programs are so important to the future of children in our country. Often these programs open doors and futures to much greater things. What a gift the Boys and Girls Clubs are to so many children! http://www.bgca.org/newsevents/Pages/GFSH_PSA.aspx

leadership

Moment with childThis blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of the EVVY award-winning book Gift of A Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. For more information on the book which has also won an award in the young adult category, please follow this link.http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.

 

Helping Children Map a Future

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Here is the treasure chest of the world – the public library, or a bookstore.” ― Ben Carson, Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence

Baltimore, Maryland. The home of Johns Hopkins University, Goucher College, Towson University, and many other colleges and outstanding schools in the greater Baltimore area.

A few weeks ago, I returned to Towson, in the suburbs of Baltimore, to do a book signing at Ukazoo Books for my memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. I found out something related to literacy and education that I didn’t know existed.

Towson, the town of my native roots,  is the home of The Carson Scholars Fund. This non-profit organization awards top performing students (both academic and humanitarian) through their scholarship program (Carson Scholarships). It also provides funding to schools to build libraries where children can learn to appreciate reading and books outside of a classroom in a comforting and warm environment provided for their enjoyment.

To date, The Carson Scholars Fund, which was started in 1996 by Johns Hopkins pediatric neurosurgeon, Ben Carson and his wife Candy has awarded 6200 scholarships and provided funding to 100 libraries. The scholarships have been given to deserving students in 50 U.S. States.
Ben Carson.We are so very fortunate to have in this country, outstanding citizens who are helping children map a future for themselves. Their generosity in giving scholarship money and building resources such as libraries and institutions of higher learning is what sets our country apart and makes it “America the Beautiful.” I read this book and I  put in on my recommended reading list.

To discover more about The Carson Scholars Fund, please visit and explore this website.http://www.carsonscholars.org/dr-ben-carson/general-information.

This blog is brought to you by author Sue Batton Leonard. For more information on her EVVY award-winning memoir, an anthology of stories called Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, please visit this link. http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt

Need for Mountains of Creativity

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Entrepreneurship, inspiration, and putting faith in one’s own creativity are all the things that excite me about the world of independent publishing. It is a field that has brought vast changes (with an eye on sustainability) by doing things differently than in the past.
brainstorming

Some time ago on All Things Fulfilling, I posted a blog about a TedX talk which I think bears repeating. I believe the speaker, Chuck Scranton, had some wonderful things to say about the future of education, how to engage students in classrooms and what today’s children need so that they are prepared with skills that go beyond what students of the past have been taught. It is all about encouraging creativity and active learning.

Parents and educators, this issue is very important. So please listen in to The Immovable Mountain. https://allthingsfulfilling.com/tag/that-immovable-mountain/.

Is there something more you can do to help support your child’s mind, interests and creativity? Our country’s future depends on new industry, creative thinkers and “pioneers” working in ways that are different than the same old-same old ways of doing things. The new generation will need to work in ways that will lead America forward to new eras of discovery.

Interested in reading about more ways you can foster your child’s creativity? Here is also a good article. http://bit.ly/10dKjtG.

Today and everyday is a great day for brainstorming! Don’t forget to write down your ideas!

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her book Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, please visit this link.http://amzn.to/1te9k2F

Turning Points

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Nothing is predestined. The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings.” ~ Ralph Blum

air raidsOver the last week, I have been writing  about freedom of our country. Today’s topic concerns my own journey toward independence from what was to my life as it is today.

The first four years of my elementary school education were spent at Hampden Elementary School in Towson, Maryland. Those years held some uncomfortable times for me as a student and also uncertainties for our country. Remember air raid practices?

Overcrowded conditions in Towson and in other growing post war suburban neighborhoods led to the building of  new schools. In fifth grade I began attending Cromwell Valley Elementary School.

Cromwell is now  a magnet school. It was recently nationally recognized for it’s excellence in outstanding technology programs. http://towson.patch.com/groups/schools/p/towson-magnet-schools-earns-national-award-for-excellence.

cromwell valley elementary schoolIn retrospect, Cromwell probably holds happier memories  than Hampden Elementary. By the time I entered fifth grade, I was really getting stronger from my “pioneering” heart surgery at Johns Hopkins. A chance at new beginnings.

Two years later, when I was in seventh grade, one memorable day in the gym became a real turning point. That day is recounted in my memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, in the chapter titled Stronger than You Think.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.Sue’s memoir

Photo above:  The second of my two elementary schools.

Tugs of Heart Strings

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tugof war Do you remember playing tug-of- war on the play ground?

The physical education teacher marked the the pavement with chalk, threw down a hefty rope and teams were chosen at the discretion of the teacher or the team captains. Then began the battle to see which team had the greatest strength and persistence and could pull the other team over the line.

A few weeks ago when I talked with Kiwanis, I read aloud a chapter from my memoir called Having Faith in Oneself. Essentially it is about Fanny’s advice to me about the feelings I had when I was left out of the crowd on the playground due to my childhood illness. Fanny is the stellar character in my memoir who was a very sage woman.

Now that I am an adult, I understand what she was hinting at in one of our heart-to- heart conversations. One day she said “Sue, there ain’t no one who don’t play tug of war in life. Sometimes we is among the lighthearted and sometimes we are wid da heavy hitters. Dem knots in da rope is what helps us to learn to hang on and to roll wid da punches.” There is a lot of truth in that! But it is more fun to play nice. Tug of War Shel Silverstein This blog brought to you by author Sue Batton Leonard. Click here for information about Sue’s memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.