Returning to Familiar Place

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Each time you write something, part of you grows. You’re training your artistic muscles to find your voice.” ~ Pen Densham

Last week was busy, filled with all good things for a writer who seeks to take advantage of every opportunity to advance her knowledge about  the craft of writing and publishing.

BK Loren WSI attended an author presentation on Tuesday evening which left me hungry for more knowledge from multi-award-winning American novelist, memoirist and writing professor, BK Loren. She has been the recipient of several prestigious Pushcart Awards, the Dana award for a work in progress, the Colorado Book award and the Willa Award. She regularly teaches at the highly-touted Iowa Summer Writing Festival,  Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Chatham University and the Taos Summer Writing Conference.

BK Loren was a presenter this past summer at the annual “Day for Writers” sponsored by the Steamboat Writers Group. Last week she returned to town to spend time with creative writing students at Colorado Mountain College (Alpine Campus).

Since I am in the final revisions of my first fictional piece of writing I particularly appreciated her advice on how to advance a story through emotion, and listening to the character to determine obstacles and what actions they should take in the story. After all, Loren says “literature is the study of the human heart.” And I believe writers must craft a story that leaves an opportunity for the reader to get to know what they feel in their own hearts that attracts them to a story.

Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. I am very grateful I was able to return to a familiar place inside a creative writing class with Dr. Lindsey Royce. I had taken a course from this CMC professor a few winters ago where I learned to understand the words of Pen Densham.

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

 

Pairing Health, Humor and Children

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Were you paying attention? Sometimes it is the little things that count. Did you see the reference between the medical school mentioned on the August 25th  blog posting on www.allthingsfulfilling.com and a highly treasured author of children’s literature? Go to Celebrate Aging  and play I SPY and see if you can figure it out.

The beginnings of the creative talent of “the doctor” who has brought millions of children joy became clear to me when I read an article in the September/October 2015 issue of Yankee Magazine. Here is an article that explains it even more.

Now, there is a new generation of books from the Cat in the Hat Learning Library that teach youth the basics of healthy living. They are part of the Healthy America program for Children.

Since future generations of children will benefit from the knowledge aspiring physicians acquire through this famed health institution and its research facility, it seems only logical that the medical school carries the name of an alumni. He has brought smiles to faces of children in many countries through his 47 books. Check it out!

Cat in hat healthier America

Cat in the Hat healthier America book 2

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

World-Class Rural Virginia Artist

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The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep. ~ Paul Strand

“Gee, I thought the place would be more ostentacious than this given the artists’ reputation,” I thought as we drove up and parked outside the gallery of internationally known sculpture artists William H Turner and his son David H Turner on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake in northern Virginia. However, inside the father and son’s work was exhibited in abundance. The 4,000 square feet of gallery space made for great browsing. I didn’t realize until later that a foundry, metal shops, a wood shop, wax shop, mold room and storage in nine separate buildings were also on site. The Turner’s have the assistance of 20 skilled artisans they supervise throughout the multi-step process.

Their limited edition sculpture includes more than 400 designs. Birds of prey, game birds, deer and other American wildlife and animals seen on safari are among them. Smaller pieces include rodents, frogs, turtles, fish and other marine life. More than 100 public installations of Turner Sculpture are located on some of the finest college campuses, in aquariums, nature conservancies, zoos, museums and botanic gardens throughout the country. The father and son have even presented a piece of their art to President George Bush, Sr. at The White House.

heron signed

duck signed

rams head signed

bass fish signed

As I perused the gallery, I got a very real sense of the importance of passing along the craft of sculpture making to younger generations of Turners as well as an appreciation for other mediums of art. One display space was dedicated to cast sculptures that grandchildren had created. A large number of canvases painted by various family members hang throughout the gallery space.

children turner signed

Writing and independent publishing is just another aspect of William H Turner’s talents. His rural farm-boy voice is prevalent throughout his book Memoirs of a Farm Boy as well as in the Turner Sculpture “Tracks” newsletter. Stories such as Mrs. Chrysler and the Pickle Barrel, which is excerpted in one of the newsletters, is a charming recounting of his artist/client relationship with a wealthy woman and her appreciation of his work. His books also include East of the Chesapeake and Of An Evening.

turner books signed

For a farm boy from Virginia, born in 1935, many roads have been traveled and explored to reach the notable status that the father and son enjoy together as world class sculpture artists.  William H. Turner’s life after college began as a dentist.

Vaarious signed

pheasant signed

pelican in progress signed

It was a privilege to speak with  William H. Turner, Sr. in person and he told me that many of their sculptures are permanently exhibited at the Benson Sculpture Gardens in Loveland, Colorado.

And I was taken by great surprise when I saw the work of artist Wick Ahrens in the gallery. I was familiar with his whale sculptures, as he resided in Peru, Vermont for decades. Peru is the town right next to my thirty-year place of residence in Bondville.

boy on stilts signed

My favorite piece was from their childhood memories collection “A Boy on Stilts.” I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to  Turner Sculpture and was so very impressed with their craftsmanship and skilled artistry.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. Check in on us on Monday on All Things Fulfilling!

Thirsty Thursday: Going Dutch

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Looking at things through the eyes of people who have very different experiences and assumptions than you do can be like food for the brain,” ~ Tom McBride

I happened upon a story that I like a lot. So, on this Thirsty Thursday, a day of the week dedicated to good news, we are going to visit a story from the Netherlands. It is about a creative living arrangement for the elderly and college students.

In short, there is an eldercare facility in the Netherlands who is letting college students live free so long as they agree to one condition – they must do their part in volunteering 30 hours a month to help the elderly. All sorts of unexpected benefits come out of the arrangement for both parties.

The six college students who have entered into the agreement have found the arrangement to be fulfilling. They like being around the seniors cooking for them, doing projects and teaching them about new things to keep the seniors interested and engaged in life.

Dutch retirement humanitas2

“Perhaps,” I think, “this intergenerational partnering will be a testing ground for the college students who are considering whether a career in eldercare is what they’ll want to put their hearts and soul into in the future.”

The senior citizens benefit because they do not feel so isolated, and it keeps them feeling young having the students around.

Other countries in Europe are beginning to look at this example as a viable option to help out both generations – college students and seniors. Read the entire article.

Senior care is changing in many ways to benefit the mind, body and spirit. Thanks to research on aging, many countries are providing a better quality of life for those in the final years. That’s good news!

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

 

 

Honoring Black History Month

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Frederick Douglass taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.  ― Carl Sagan

February is Black History Month. I recently read a book about the Underground Railroad which helped me to understand more deeply about period of history when the movement to free slaves began. The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier is a departure from the historical art fiction that I’d come to know this author by. Her hugely successful book The Girl with the Pearl Earring was my first foray into Chevalier.

As with all of Chevalier’s other books, the writing is beautifully rendered and The Last Runaway did not disappoint. My journey into this period of history through Chevalier’s publication has made me want to read even more about the Underground Railroad.  As suggested by the docent at the Harriet Tubman Educational Center and Museum, A Song Unsung will be my next push into learning more about the Underground Railroad.

My interest in black history began in earnest last fall when I visited the Harriet Tubman Educational Center last in Cambridge, Maryland. Tubman was one of the most notable figures in history who was a catalyst for change in her people and in our country’s story about slavery.

underground railroad map

Celebrate Black History Month by doing some reading on the subject.

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

Advent Day #18 Setting in Story

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JSC photo

Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.” ~ Robert Kennedy

 

Photo: A setting in the story from a Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected

During such a joyful season, we must remember that for some, the holidays can be distressing, depressing and full of challenge to get through. As related in “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected” sometimes it takes a painful experience for us to grasp the true value of life or turn tragedy into triumph

On this 18th Day of Advent, this place in the photo brings me bittersweet memories. The very of best times and the very worst. It takes reading my memoir to understand why.

What a reader has said about the award-winning memoir “This is a story of trust, faith, friendship, and deep love for one another.” ~ Barbara Guelder, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist and co-author of “Social and Emotional Learning in the Classroom.http://successfulkidstoday.wordpress.com/

For more information on Sue Batton Leonard’s award-winning memoir, please visit these links.

Audio Book  http://amzn.to/1trrTl9
Paperback  http://amzn.to/1qmcEHI
e-Book  http://amzn.to/1lx7oRh

 

 

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

Fulfilling Results: Indie Publishing

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Thank you

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?” ~William A. Ward, author of Mountains of Faith

Today I’d like to recognize some very key people and organizations who helped me with various parts of publishing my award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

Although I am well versed in most steps of independent publishing, there are parts of the writing and publishing process that I relied on having other professionals to steer and assist me. Their support services were invaluable in getting the project finished.

 

Thanks to the following:

  • Steamboat Writers Group for valuable critique and feedback.
  • Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA) for education and support resources. Also for the friendships and business associates I have made through this outstanding organization.
  • We Write Steamboat members for their encouragement, support, feedback and most of all, friendships!
  • Pre-publication readers – you know who you are, thank you for your book testimonials!
  • Professional services in the Media Lab at Colorado Mountain College
  • Lindsey Royce at Colorado Mountain College for a great writing class to stir my creativity.
  • Jan McDaniel for final editing services. The final editing of dialogue was very tedious!
  • Joe McDaniel for photo restoration work
  • Joe & Jan McDaniel at bookcrafters.net for publishing my book affordably, in a timely manner and for  following  my unique publishing requests. You were delightful to work with.
  • Patti Asbury for helping me to grow professionally through public speaking
  • Karen McLane and Postnet for graphic design and printing services
  • Sound technician Brian Dow for help with audio book production
  • Terry Leonard – photography and assistance with marketing materials and book events.
  • Audio book producer –   http://www.marcrleonard.com  (aka “The Technical Dude”)
  • Technology and website support – Marc R Leonard
  • Terry Leonard and Marc R Leonard for cheering, emotional support and encouragement.
  • JDB Technology – help with computer “issues”
  • Gail Nelson – e-book designer and e-book formatting services
  • United Methodist Church for spiritual guidance and support. The United Methodist Women for hosting my wonderful book launch “party.”
  • To ALL fellow authors who networked, shared their experiences and advice.
  • All book buyers!

If there is anyone I have inadvertently left out, I apologize. Trying to remember everyone is difficult. My path has crossed with so many people throughout this four year  journey of independently publishing Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.  Thanks to everyone who gave me an encouraging word!

This blog brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For more information on her memoir, please visit this link. http://amzn.to/1t7f6Ec

No Excuses, Play On

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Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy. ~ Robert A. Heinlein

I remember thinking how lucky one of my girlfriends was because every year Mary Ellen and her sister and parents went to amusement parks  in their motor home for Christmas.

Instead, our family rented chalets and went skiing in the mountains of Vermont. How I wished our family was “normal.” In the 1950s and 1960s few Maryland families traveled great distances. I remember trying to voice my opinion of how much fun it would be to go to amusement parks more often instead of having to work so hard at learning how to ski. Skiing wasn’t easy and I nearly froze my fanny off in the process. Not to even mention toting the all gear – that was very difficult for a young child whose start was so tenuous.

Vintage ski picWhen I whined, my Dad used to tell me carrying the equipment builds muscles and the rope tow WAS an amusement park ride. “Who cares about muscles. ” I thought. For others who watched me fall off  the rope tow, it probably was amusing. Doing face plants every foot up the mountain because I didn’t have the strength to hold onto the rope, and then again as I skied back down the mountain wasn’t exactly my idea of fun!

When I went off to college in the North Country, I was never so grateful for the years my parents spent planting seeds of appreciation in me for the love of the great outdoors and teaching us kids to ski. Those skills came in handy and my enjoyment of the sport grew in gigantic proportions.

There have been other lifelong benefits that came out of my early struggles, too. As an adult I can admit “Dad and Mom knew best.” Here is an article about the health benefits of skiing.http://bit.ly/1unzjDi

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Now available in audio book, paperback and e-book. Psst…..the voice holds the real treasure!http://amzn.to/1orPIRI

A Spirited Community

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Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it…” ― Wilferd Peterson

Steamboat springs Cultural-Heritage-Banner

So much of what author Wilferd Peterson describes in his quote and in his books about living a fulfilling life can be found in the town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado and the surrounding Routt County. His words couldn’t peg this Western community of 10,000 people any better!

What a busy 4th of July weekend! What constitutes a perfect independence weekend in sunny Steamboat? All Things western, creative and American!

  • Thursday evening warm-up: A gondola ride, picnic dinner and hike on the mountain. Enhanced with a stunning sunset, I might add.
  • First Friday Artwalk
  • Deliciously drenched strawberry stained, scented hands after helping to slice 10 flats of fruit first thing in the morning on Saturday.
  • Parade on Main Street. All creatures, great and small, festooned with wearing the red, white and blue.
  • After the parade block party – Annual ice crèam and strawberry sundae fundraiser at www.umcsteamboat.org. Routt beer floats and all American hot dogs across the street at Tred of Pioneers Museum. www.tredofpioneers.org.
  • Celebration of a prestigious institute for the performing arts in Steamboat. Perry-Mansfield celebrates 100 years! www.perry-mansfield.org.
  • The next generation of Olympic hopefuls compete – summertime ski jumping on the 4th at Howelson Hill, the site of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. Www.sswsc.org.
  • A beautiful sunset with fireworks to end the 4th with dazzle and spark.
  • Free concert on Saturday evening under the stars.
  •  Art on the Mountain throughout the weekend – arts and crafts to satisfy the most discriminating tastes and interests.

This is only a small sampling of things there were to see and do over the 4th of July weekend in Steamboat. Coming up next weekend is Art in the Park and the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo. For a full list of summer/fall events here in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, please visit this website www.steamboat-chamber.com.

It’s another fulfilling summer here in da ‘Boat! Come and join us in the fun!

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Photo above: Stunning Vistas surround Steamboat!

summer steamboat 7 Perry Mansfield

 Photo Above: Perry-Mansfield celebrates 100 years of mentoring students in the performing arts. http://www.perry-mansfield.org

Steamboat Summer 4Tread-of-Pioneers-Museum

Above: Cultural Heritage Museum – Tred of Pioneers. Includes ski racing and Olympian history from Steamboat

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Hot Air Balloon Rodeo – Just one of many signature summer weekends in Steamboat

Colorado-Mountain-College Economic Development Council

Colorado Mountain College – Home of Steamboat Springs  Economic Development Council

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Historic downtown Steamboat in the other season

steamboat first friday art walk

The Arts are important year round. It’s a great community of  creatives -writers, painters, musicians, potters, photographers and multi-media artists.

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Photo Above: Steamboat has produced 88 Olympians and counting….

steamboat summer pro rodeo

Pro-Rodeo in Steamboat in Summertime

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Superb Fly Fishing in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

What a gift of a lifetime for anyone to be living and working in Steamboat! There is so much to experience.

This blog brought to you by author Sue Batton Leonard.