Many Beautiful Things Coming!

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Believe in the darkness what you have seen in the light. ~ Lilias Trotter

Now, here’s a movie I can really get behind. Many Beautiful Things has just been put on my Must See Movies List. And best of all, Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crowley) of Downtown Abbey fame is starring in it.

This movie is based on the life of artist Lilias Trotter and the setting is Victorian England. The storyline involves art, dreams, talent and true callings.  Wants verses desires, and conflict between lady vs. herself are all in this heart-stirring movie. All things good stories are  made of!

According to the website, this movie began premiering in national theatres February 6 -14. If it doesn’t come to your local theatre, a DVD of this movie will be released in time for International Women’s Day. Shop on the movie website for it along with these other products:  Lilia’s Trotter’s 1876 Sketchbook and 1889 Sketchbook and a children’s book Lily: The Girl Who Could See or Parables of the Cross. Why not put them all in  your shopping cart?

Here’s the trailer which will give you a little insight into this movie that looks very promising for a very fulfilling evening of entertainment!

See you tomorrow! We will see what other beautiful or good news we can dig up. This  blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Changing Moments

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When we establish human connections within the context of shared experience we create community wherever we go.”Gina Greenlee, Postcards and Pearls:

As a follow-up to the writings of the past two days about how our life stories come together through the associations we make with others, once again I am reminded that we really are never alone. Here is how it happened:

gym uniformsI am connected with an on-line group of people who grew up in the town and area that I did. Someone posted a picture of a vault box used in gymnastics. An onslaught of postings followed of individual memories of junior high and high school gym classes during the 50’s and 60s.

Comments about the vault box echoed my sentiments exactly. Many said “taking showers in a non-private environment was so humiliating because we were at a vulnerable age when bodies were changing and teens were so sensitive about how they looked to others.” Others stated their distain for the gym uniforms because they were “dorky.” Others mentioned individual sports that they detested or were no good at. Some said “they loved gymnastics and the vault box but hated running laps on the track or in relay races.  That’s when they felt so inadequate.”

Junior high and high school gym class held such strong memories for me that I even devoted an entire chapter to it in my memoir. I had a life-changing moment in the gym in the Towsontown Junior High School, that will never be forgotten.

Do you have any moments in your life that changed the direction of your life forever? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Post a comment.

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.

 

Living With the Heart of a Child

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“Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming.” ~ Joseph B Wirthlin

It’s a wonderful thing to live as an adult with the heart of a child, still full of wonder.

We’re never too old to engage in childhood activities like taking a trip down the sliding board, pumping higher and higher toward the skies on a swing, wading in the waters of a rippling stream, getting messy with finger paints or diving into an ice cream Sundae with such zeal that it ends up all over our face.

The day after Christmas my son, his gal, my husband and I walked into Michael’s Craft Store, looking for a picture frame for a photograph of the two of them they had given us for Christmas.

“Pick out a frame you are happy with,” said Marc, “it will complete the present.”

Before we were finished shopping my son said “Mom, did you see what’s at the front of the store? You might be interested. Go pick one out for yourself.”

“I followed his orders and have enjoyed being a child all over again – all wrapped up into something that used to bring me hours of pleasure as a child.”

According to this article from Business Insider, I am not the only one who is having fun revisiting my childhood!

coloring book2

On some of these long, dark winter evenings, coloring has been a good change of pace from reading.

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.

 

A Pioneer in a Field

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Shoot for the Moon

Quote by: Norman Vincent Peale

Have you read the debut novel by Amy Brill, The Movement of Stars? I just finished it and enjoyed a book club discussion of the publication with a group of United Methodist women.

Knowing so little about astronomy, when I first began reading Brill’s novel I was concerned that I may not be able to get through the astronomical details. How wrong I was. I became quickly involved in the relationship of the two main characters whose lives intersected. They seemed to have a deep understanding of one another due to parallel themes that ran throughout their lives. Both were strangers in a strange land, each deemed by their culture to be a people who should be denied to dream and excel.

As I became involved in the narrative, I  could see how necessary the astronomical details were to the heart of the story. Brill’s writing about the planetary world was written as tightly as possible to convey the story of a well-rendered fictional personality based on a real life person, Maria Mitchell. She was a pioneer in her field, the first professional woman astronomer.

I felt the author did an admirable job of crafting an historical novel and I would argue with some reviewers who said “the central character was too staid.” After all, she was a Quaker who the author aptly portrayed with the values of her culture.

5 star

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

 

A Whip Stitch Character

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The basic quality that any great story must have is a story that illustrates the human condition.” ~ William Shattner

Who is your favorite audio book narrator?

What’s that you say? “You’ve never listened to an audio book yet?”

What is you, crazy?

Audio books are on the rise and are greatly appreciated by those who are on the run. They allow for multi-tasking – while driving in the car, exercising or cooking dinner. You need not do a thing, only listen.

Here’s a list of some of the favorite audio book narrators of all time. Narrators like Maya Angelou and Garrison Keillor and others are well liked because their voices are so memorable.

Valentines 2016It was a fulfilling experience narrating my own audio book because the central character, Fanny, had a dialect I could emulate so well.  It is what many readers say “drew them into the story in the first place.”

If she were here today, “she say, you oughts to put dem earplugs in yo’ ears, and listen to a story. You don’t knows what you is missin’.”

Oh, how I miss that lady who was the heart and soul of my story. She was some kind of special. One might even call her a “whip stitch.” Just thinking about her makes me smile. And she sowed my heart in more ways than one.

If you are looking for a fun, memorable experience listen to the audio book version of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected through Audible. It’s downloadable within a few minutes. Any one of the formats – the award-winning audio book, e-book or paperback makes for a great Valentines gift for yourself or for someone in your family.  After all, it is a love story from several different perspectives!

Also available are 10 short stories cut from the EVVY award-winning manuscript, Gift of a Lifetime. Lessons of Heart & Soul gives readers a humorous and touching glimpse into the love of a family, just like the first publication. .

Bringing Cheer over the Holidays

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Let’s state something up front! There is no perfect life. There just isn’t. Postings on social media might lead us to believe otherwise but, remember, we are often only seeing the good parts. During the holidays people ramp up their efforts to create images of having perfect lives and Christmases.

Everyone has struggles and things to overcome in life. But as they say, what you do with those challenges is what counts. That is why it’s important that for those who have inspirational stories to tell and feel they could write a book about it, to do so. The reason I penned a memoir in the first place was to help others who struggle with health issues understand that our attitudes profoundly affect our well-being.

I’m very proud to say that this past Christmas, thanks to the Mickey Barrows Memorial Endowed Fund which “benefits children who are confined to the hospital during the holidays,” copies of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected found their way to families through the Childrens Colorado Foundation in the Denver area. The hope for the initiative is that the book brought some smiles and cheer to faces and encouragement to teen cardiac patients who were hospitalized during the holidays. The book has won the Harvest Book Award in the young adult category and two EVVY awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association.

So, for anyone who is considering writing a narrative that will bring light and love to others, here is my message: Help others to know you are never alone.

Your story matters!

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

See you back here on Monday!

 

 

A Secret Society of Influencers

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atomic 6 einstein

If A equals success, then the formula is: A = X + Y + Z, X is work. Y is play. Z is keep your mouth shut.” – Albert Einstein

As I strolled through the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History last week I read accounting after accounting of life in Los Alamos, New Mexico during the years when the pioneers researched and tested the origins of atomic theory. Exposure of the scientists to the general population was very limited, and they formed their own “secret society” of sorts.  Their early discoveries have opened the doors to modern day nuclear physics, medicine and quantum mechanics.  The work of Albert Einstein, Madame Marie Curie, Enrico Fermi and others have impacted our world immeasurably.

This point was driven home to me in a way that I could most relate to when I saw the pop-culture exhibit which displayed how many movies, television shows, books, childrens toys and games, and other products (even Atomic skis!) have been influenced. The captivating and educational collection of materials are nostalgic and historic. Seeing displays of science and art in one place made me realize the impact of nuclear science and medicine on our society during the formative years of my childhood. Post World War II men and women as well as  baby boomers especially will appreciate the exhibit. Here are a few images I captured of  my visit. I am sure you will recognize many of the titles and products.

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atomic7 comics

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atomic 3

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atomic 9 movie

There was much more of interest to me in this museum than I would have ever fathomed. Here are some of the other exhibits. If you are near Albuquerque, NM do stop in to the National Museum of Atomic Science and History. The Bradbury Scientific Labratory in Los Alamos, NM the site where the first nuclear bomb testing took place is just an hour away also.

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.

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!

Preparing for the Coming

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“Every day is a fresh beginning, every morn is the world made new.” ~ Sarah Chauncey Woolsey

When our son was young, a few weeks before Christmas our neighbors, The Millers, arrived with a gift of a Christmas book or two from the infamous Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vermont. It was so very appreciated, and it was evident that a great deal of thought was put into the selection annually. It is impossible to say which book was a favorite because they were all so wonderful and some were pop-ups! The books were a gift to me too because it meant that I took time out of Christmas preparations and we spent extra time reading together.

The Legend of Befana was a book that I especially related to as a woman because Belfana spent much time readying for Christmas by sweeping and sweeping and cleaning. Here is more insight into Befana, a character in Tomie de Paola’s beloved Christmas tale.

I echo the words of Befana this time of the year. It’s “Time to Make Christmas!”Christmas sign off image prepare him room

Wishing all of our readers a Very Merry Christmas! All Things Fulfilling will resume sometime between December 28th and the New Year. 

Happy Sunday Christmas image

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

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.”

mary-and-baby-jesus_l1

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.