A Pioneer in a Field

Leave a comment

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.

 

Advertisements

Out of This World Art Launch

Leave a comment

Happy New Year, Everybody!! Today I will be sharing some very exciting news about two artists whose work I am proud to say fulfills me every day because many of their published art prints hang on the walls of my living space…

Last week as I read the blog My Life with the Masters, I thought “Jumpin’ Jupiter! This news is out of this world!”  American artists Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik have made history and literally brought science and art together when their paintings were launched into space and are now rotating the Earth at phenomenal speed.

According to the article written by Kristen Thies, “This art/science journey initially began when James Nadir, a Silicon Valley engineer who retired from Intel invited Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik to create 1.25” x 1.25” paintings to be placed into a small space capsule aboard the International Space Station.”  To read the full article, please visit My Life with the Masters.

If you are not familiar with these artists, Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik, learn more through their bios. I came to know this husband and wife team of master artists back in 1998 through the beginnings of an independent publishing venture, Stove Prairie Press, LLC. Much of my knowledge about the industry can be attributed to these pioneering artists whose work has reached new heights in this New Year! Congratulations, Richard & Nancy!!

7721d41a7464fa7d54c27b6fa3318456 (1)

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

See you back here on All Things Fulfilling on Monday, January 4th!

 

 

Tree Decorating Lifts Spirits

Leave a comment

This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in. ~  Theodore Roosevelt

Last Thursday evening I had an unexpected request from Lift Up, an inter-faith thrift store and food bank where I volunteer twice weekly. I was asked if I would help decorate for the annual “Festival of Trees” at the Tred of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs, CO. I and three other volunteers, who I rarely come in contact with each other, because of our differing schedules and duties, had a great time together!

Our tree was sponsored by the Community Food Bank at Lift Up. Ninety or ninety-five percent of the “food-themed” decorations that went on the tree were donated to the thrift store or came from recycled materials. Georgi, a very creative and energetic person had used her skills to make some of the ornamental food from plastic bags and “Mod Podge,” a crafting material. She also made the tree topper – a red chef’s hat. The tree turned out beautiful. Here are a few pictures.

Below: Georgi is here in Steamboat for a one year stint with the Colorado Episcopal Service Corps. She would make a great full-time resident of this community.  She has yet to experience a “three wire winter”  since she just arrived in town a few months ago from Pennsylvania.  (That’s what locals call winters when snow so deep it reaches the third wire on fences (in other words, it exceeds your armpits!). And it happens frequently.

Georgi

Below: A few full-time employees of Lift Up

Lynn food bank mgr

Angela case worker

Below: Four representatives for all the dedicated people who make Lift-Up the

wonderful non-profit organization that it is.

Hundreds and hundreds of volunteer service hours are donated

annually.

Lift up volunteers

LU tree with topper

As Christmas grows nearer, I will share more pictures of the beautiful Festival of Trees from the Tred of Pioneers Museum on All Things Fulfilling. They were all delightfully decorated.

I was fully thrust into the festive spirit and it continued the next day as I helped the United Methodist Women prepare for the Fall Harvest Fair. We wrapped and priced all the baked goods, jellies, jams.

Come back tomorrow to see what that shopping experience looks like. Hundreds of people come through the open doors at the United Methodist Church every year to shop for the holidays and fill their empty stomachs at lunchtime with homemade soup and bread.

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

A Soulful Batch

Leave a comment

4538922882_4b3b6a3078

 

Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian friends. I won’t be cooking a turkey for another week. I thought with the snow and colder temperatures on the upper elevations of  Colorado, today on All Things Fulfilling, I’d cook up my annual batch of Chicken Soup for the Soul.©

Instead of adding the traditional trinity into the pot ( the basics of celery, carrots and onions),  I’d make an even more complex broth based on the traits my friends bring together into the vessel of our lives – our spirits.  I’ve given my friends fictional monikers based on their personalities and their strengths. I’m  grateful each one of them because they make for a soulful pot.

  • Humorous Henrietta – Life is a bowl of cherries to this friend, no matter how she is feeling. She brings you along for a comedic ride.
  • Worldly Wanda – She invites everyone she meets to open their eyes to the world at large. Helps others to see what exposure to different cultures brings to living more “internationally.”
  • Creative Cadence – She finds ways to say things that makes you really “get it” even if it is a bit different in communications style.
  • Sustainable Salley – Not much is required from this friend because she is very resourceful. All she asks is that you treat everyone with kindness and dignity.
  • Mothering Matilda – taking care of others is what this friend does best. It’s instinctual.
  • Negative Nalani – You know if she’s silent, it’s God’s will speaking.
  • Sensible Shannon- She’s old and wise beyond her years. Rational speaking is her specialty.
  • Corrective Cassandra – When she tells you something you better listen and listen good. Uh – huh!

Loyal friends are never more important than when you are in hot water or if feel like you are being scalded.  They also are valuable when you feel like having a bubbly good time.

On this Canadian Thanksgiving Day remember the words of H.A. Ironside “We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.”

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

 

 

 

 

Community of Blessings

2 Comments

Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world… It is a sign that we don’t need a lot of money to be happy–in fact, the opposite.”
Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

Last summer I mentioned to my mother and sister the fact that the harvest season does not seem to be as decorated in the West as in the East. “Perhaps that’s because Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, the place of the landing of the Pilgrims, is geographically closer, so the season of fall is more celebrated. But, I really don’t know what it is,” I admitted.

On Sunday I arrived at the doors of my church and found it beautifully decorated for the fall season. The blessings of community and sermons of life lessons, relevant to today’s world, are always inside these church doors.

IMG_20151011_084245_836 Reflections last week from the Rev. Tim Selby included the question “And How Are the Children?”  Unfortunately in this day and age with all of the incidents in schools we can’t confidently answer “All are safely gathered in.”IMG_20151011_084455_846

By the end of the sermon each and everyone of us hoped our prayers would be heard as we sang the closing hymn “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

If you wish to hear the words of the message, keep your eye on the church website where recordings of each Sunday’s lessons are always posted.

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

Cultivating Interests

1 Comment

The only real fire to cultivate is the fire inside of you. Nothing external will cultivate it.

Sitting and reading a book of history has never been my cup of tea. But visiting the space where history took place is a different story. It brings an historical era alive.

This summer I revisited a place that I never tire of -Ladew Gardens in “hunt country” of Monkton, Maryland. Home to the first American to create garden rooms, Henry S. Ladew,( 1887 – 1976) his creative garden spirit is still alive. To read more about the life of Henry S Ladew and his stunning gardens, see this publication.

Beautiful topiaries, strategically-placed antique garden hardscape,beautiful ponds and fountains make the place a real sanctuary for gardeners and non-gardeners alike who have a fine appreciation of beautiful spaces in nature. New to the property since my last visit is a butterfly pavilion which is manned by volunteers who explain the process from caterpillar to  chrysalis to hatching of butterflies and their purpose in nature. To read more about this natural phenomenon, visit this article.

IMG_20150908_120524_462

 

The Garden Cafe, Ladew’s residence, art studio and library are open to the public. The spaces are where educational, scientific and cultural pursuits flourish for the public benefit. On Sept 27th at 10pm CNN will feature a story about these historic gardens on Mike Rowe’s show called “Dirty Jobs.”IMG_20150908_114020_578

As a garden enthusiast, my visit to Ladew was as fulfilling as the first time I walked the 22 acres of grounds.

IMG_20150908_113427_260This blog is brought to you by the EVVY award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

Nature’s Energy

Leave a comment

“For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies, for the love which from our birth, over and around us lies…..”  ~  Psalm 95:  1-6

Over the course of history many songs lyrics have been composed with words about the beauty of nature. Have you ever really thought about the impact the beautiful colors of nature have on your psyche?

This time of year I take my walk in early morning to avoid the heat of the day. Inevitably, I find myself marveling over plants that were barely out of the ground a few weeks ago that are now in full bloom, electric with color. How does that happen? Nature provides sun, warmth, moisture and all the right conditions that are needed to set the gardens in motion. Amazing!

Nearly every color is represented in the garden this time of the year. Here are just a few pictures I took on my daily walk last week.

pernennial 6 lupine

perennial2

perennial 3 peony

When I see the real stunners of magenta, orange, yellow, indigo and purple, I ask myself “How can I not walk with gratefulness for life and boundless energy no matter what else might be happening around me?” The magnificence of nature makes me want to stand up and sing.

Summer has just begun and we have several months ahead to enjoy the brightest time of year. Enjoy getting outdoors and seeing the landscape all decked out with color.

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.