Stories in Music

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conducive-to-happiness[5]Every spring and fall the Yampa Valley Choral Society holds a community concert at the United Methodist Church in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. This past weekend a group of 41 men and women and 10 young girls presented “I’ve Been Everywhere: It‘s the Journey That Counts.”

This year, the sound of young choral voices added to the concert. Ten young girls sang a few songs taken from film scores and musical theatre productions. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head (from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) and two memorable selections from Annie – Tomorrow and It’s a Hard Knock Life (from Annie) were  included.

As usual, the arrangement of musical compositions sung by the forty-one adults were thoughtfully chosen and diverse. Spirituals included Set Me as A Seal which was paraphrased from the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament and How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place by Johannes Brahms. Words from Psalm 84 of the King James Bible were incorporated in the verses of this composition.

Karl Jenkins composition Adiemus: Songs of Sanctuary was not familiar to me, however it was sweet sounding and harmonious.  Jenkins, is a Welsh composer whose album is unintended for words, rather the voices of the chorus made instrument-like noises.

Two songs had nautical backstories to them. Over the Sea to Skye tells of Charles Stuarts escape from Scotland in 1745 via ship, along with Flora MacDonald, who traveled incognito, posing as his maid. His exile took him to France where he spent the rest of his lifetime.

Dry Your Tears, Afrika,  one of my favorite tunes of the afternoon, was taken from the 1997 movie Armistad. The story is about 53 Africans who were transported by ship from Sierra Leone to be sold as slaves. They changed their destiny when they took hold of the ship and navigated it to Long Island. The events of their journey became the subject of a Supreme Court case. If you have not seen the movie, it’s powerful.

You haven’t been anywhere unless you’ve traveled across America. Songs from past Pop Hit Charts included Homeward Bound, Surfin’ USA, I’ve Been Everywhere, and I’ll Fly Away were incorporated into the concert, as well as America from West Side Story.

I never fail to learn something from the interesting backstories of the compositions that the Yampa Valley Choral Society choses to focus the themes of their concerts around. The program notes as well as the choir Director’s commentary help tell the story of each song’s rich history and their composers.

Thank you Yampa Valley Choral Society for yet another delightful hour of music. Look forward to your fall concert.

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

A Joyous Easter Sunday

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“Find a place inside where there is joy.” ~ Joseph Campbell

I was introduced to the writings of Joseph Campbell some years back by someone who I consider to be a mentor.  Many of Campbell’s thoughts, in my opinion, perfectly reflect what all things fulfilling is really all about.

On Easter Sunday, I enjoyed the creative tasks of making a memorable Easter Sunday brunch just for the two of us empty nesters – my husband and me. We had a lovely day including an “Easter Sunday journey,” recalling memories of Easters past.

We laughed about the days when our son indulged us (his mother & father) far longer than he really needed to by continuing to look like he enjoyed searching for the Easter eggs the Easter bunny had hidden, even though he had learned of every possible secret hiding place many years prior.

For me the most meaningful part of Easter Sunday this year was all about finding that inner place where there is contentment and beauty in memories and the delicious food on the table.

Terrys photo1easter table

This blog is brought to you by the author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Good Friday Travels

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Easter is God’s blessing to the world. It is his way of telling us that, love and hope, still exists in the world. ~ Unknown

Today, on Good Friday a processional walk, a spiritual reenactment, will begin at the Colosseum in Rome and end in St. Peters Square for an open-air Mass on Easter Sunday. Throngs of people make their own solemn pilgrimage following the path Jesus took as he walked and prayed The 14 Stations of the Cross.

Catholics are not the only people who seek to have a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to the holy city of Rome. Every year, thousands of tourists ask travel companies to help them plan a trip to Italy during the sacred Easter week. Many special events are held in Rome this week including classical music concerts.

If you have the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to the Papal City, remember to book your trip many months in advance, especially if you plan to visit during holy week.

Today I’d like to share a few pictures of the city of Rome during Easter week. I hope you will return to All Things Fulfilling on Monday.

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No matter where you plan to go this Easter weekend travel safely. Make it a special weekend with your family as you remember the death and resurrection of Jesus.

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

 

 

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.

Re-Enactment of a Sacred Time

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All of spiritual practice is a matter of relationship: to ourselves, to others, to life’s situations. – Jack Kornfield

As you will come to understand when you read my memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, our parents sometimes allowed my brothers, sister and me to do things unconventionally.

Mom recently found this memorabilia in her hope chest. She had forgotten she had tucked away these writings nearly fifty years ago when my sister and brothers and I were little children.

I will leave it up to the readers imaginations as to what my sister Jan, my brother Rick and a dear neighbor named Margy and I were planning. If you wish to fully understand what we were up to, there is a poignant chapter in my memoir that goes with this program. Even though I did not have these writings before I published my memoir they were not needed for my storytelling because I so vividly remember this day and others just like it. It would have been nice however, to have been able to include these writings in my publication.

My youngest brother Scott was not mentioned in this program. But as the years went on, we planned other similar events and Scott became an active participant.

church service we wrote for around the pool page1 - right position

 

church service we wrote for around pool page2 -right position

During this week of holy celebration of Easter, I thought it would be an appropriate time to  share this treasure from my mother’s hope chest. When I read this, it warms me to the depth of my inner being. It’s a reflection of many fulfilling times that I had as a child with my siblings.

So as not to give anything away to those who haven’t read my award-winning anthology of stories yet, try to imagine in your mind where this event may have taken place. Read the book and see if you were right.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, the author of the award-winning book (an anthology) Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

 

 

 

Colored Me Beautifully

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Do you remember back when civilty and common courtesy ruled? Please understand I share this story as an example of those times, not for self-serving purposes. I mean that.

My mother recently went through her hope chest, and sent some wonderful things that she had been saving for me. I couldn’t believe what she held on to for so many years.

In 1974, when I was 19 years old, I had a car accident. It was nothing more than a small fender bender and I think my Dad paid for the damages out of his pocket they were so minimal. At the time I thought it was the biggest tragedy that had ever befallen me. Never did it occur to me that I had been through much worse than that and survived the experience.

My twin sister was in the passenger seat and there were no injuries other than to the spirit. I was beside myself. (You know how teenage girls tend to over react, right?) I felt awful I had damaged someone else’s car and my parent’s vehicle.

I couldn’t believe the kindness the man that I rammed into showed me. He offered to come home with me to help me tell my parents because I was such a wreck. My sister can testify that the man upheld his offer.

Furthermore, after it was all done and over, the wife of the man I rammed into sent this note to my parents to let him know their car had been repaired and all was well. No hard feelings.

note about my car accident when 19 correct position

(Truthfully, I don’t have any clue what I said or did to warrant the comments on this note.)

Today’s message on All Things Fulfilling is for all parents. I want to share what John Locke once said, “We are like cameleons, we take our color and our hue of our moral character, from those who are around us.” ~ John Locke

Paint a picture of people

Thank you, Mom & Dad. I am so glad I grew up in an era of old-fashioned civilty and you raised me to have a strong moral compass. According to Locke, your colors must have rubbed off on me.  I hope I always stay true to my values.

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, Sue Batton Leonard.

 

 

 

 

Learning from a Protagonist

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What is a protagonist? According to Dictionary.com, a protagonist is the leading character, hero, or heroine of a drama or other literary work.

“What characteristics then,” I’ve been asked, “does your protagonist have that makes her a leading character in your two publications, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul?

I’ll give you a little insight into Fanny,  the very special character in both books. Not only did she bring humor to an entire family,

character in story

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

Heartfelt Announcement

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When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that’s when passion is born. ~Zig Ziglar

When I was growing up, “Oh My Soul” came out of my mother’s mouth as often as I heard my dear Fanny say “Lord A Mercy.” Do you think perhaps between my mother’s plea and Fanny’s, my life was saved?  Hard to say, isn’t it? Depends if you are a believer!

I am and  I follow the words of  E.B. White who says “Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.” 

So today I take great pleasure in announcing that I’ve taken another leap of faith and my new publication called Short Stories: Lessons of Heart and Soul is available http://amzn.to/1Da5fST

I can hear my mother now, saying to my father, “Oh My Soul, she’s done it again!  She’s listened to her readers and has published more Fanny stories. Come here, Fred, you’ve got to see this on the computer ….”

Lessons of Heart V4 Cover

This time, I hope I have completely surprised my family. When I published my memoir “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected,” the release of the book got leaked a little early. No matter! Things always work out the way they are supposed to anyway!

Lessons of Heart and Soul is a limited collection of short stories cut from the original manuscript of the award-winning memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected by author Sue Batton Leonard. Readers who loved the stellar central character, Fanny, in the first publication will fall in love with her all over again.

If you are a parent who is attempting to raise children who will have their values in the right place in life, the ten stories, very appropriate for ages 12+, give a jumping off point to handling those important conversations you have been meaning to have with your children. There is nothing that helps get a conversation started better than humor – that’s inside it!

Lessons of Heart & Soul is available in e-book only.  Did you know you can give the gift of e-books to others?  http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=200555070

This year, instead of a Valentine’s card, give the gift of an e-book instead. Lessons of Heart & Soul is a perfect publication for giving to your loved ones.

Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. Video footage of my appearance on a program from GNAT-TV called Let’s Talk with Salley Gibney will be posted with important information about independent publishing and how to begin writing your own story.

 

 

 

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,

In Store for the New Year

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If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. ~Vincent Van Gogh

New Year, New Opportunities!

If you are in the Steamboat Springs, Colorado area join me on Saturday January 3rd, 2015 at Come & See Christian Books & Gifts, 675 S. Lincoln Avenue (near the Hampden Inn)  for a meet the author/book signing event from 11am to 2pm.

Come & See Christian Books & Gifts picture

Are you interested in writing and publishing a book? The author will share what helped her to write and publish her award-winning book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

There will be refreshments and treats and learn what’s in store for 2015.

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