Fulfilling Things about Spring Cleaning

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“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.”~Bernard Williams

The good  news: February 25th is a special day, and it is coming up. Annually I’ve declared it as a benchmark – over the hump day of winter. Occasionally I’ve moaned and groaned about the length of winter living in the mountains but, I must confess it is a beautiful season. So far this year we’ve received just about 300 inches of snow here in the town that the locals call “The Boat.”

It’s hard to believe spring will ever come with the heaps of snow that surround me. But what’s so lovely about the next season is it arrives as “my spring of discontent.” That means I am ready to blossom, grow and step outside my boundaries which always leads to new perspectives and projects.

In a few weeks I look forward to a visit from my sonshine. He’s my mighty counselor in all things technical and digital. I have some ideas up my sleeve. Hopefully, between the two of us we can put our heads together and do a shoveling out and spring cleaning on All Things Fulfilling. I’m up for the challenge because I’ve learned with faith, all things are possible!

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

 

 

 

 

 

Balance of Power and Economy

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Before you become a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. ~ Jack Welsh

Beth Macy, author of the National Best Selling book Factory Man, held an author talk and book signing in Steamboat Springs, Colorado a few weeks ago. I attended and bought the book. It is a narrative non-fiction about Bassett Furniture Makers. The story is jam-packed with complicated family relationships, history and a whole community of people whose lives depended upon the livelihood of the textile and furniture industry in the town of Bassett, Virginia.

big_chair_little_chairAt the foundation of the story is a “full of himself” character who often strained the family dynamic with his leadership style. Add to that the exodus of industry – furniture products being manufactured overseas more cheaply, and the battle that ensued in saving an American town. What do you have? An impressive and fulfilling tale to tell.

A very well-researched book that award-winning journalist Macy writes in a compelling and “you’ve gotta hear this style.”

Business people in every industry at all eschelons of power will glean something from this story about a multi-generational family furniture dynasty.

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

Less Words Said the Better

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CD cover templit with EVVY stickerToday I’d like to tell a “Fanny story” in honor of my Dad. If you haven’t read my award-winning memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, Fanny is the stellar character in the narrative. Although, you’ll realize my parents are pretty special people too!

Here goeth the story –

Between my mother, who is rarely at a shortage for words, twin daughters who when paired together is enough to make anyone ask for some earplugs and the self-appointed boss (our beloved Fanny), my father often got over-ruled by women. Yes, it happens!

Anyway, my Dad is patriarch of the Batton clan and the family custom home building business, now five generations deep. Until his “renaissance years” he had a home office and often met with his clients at our house.

One day a couple who my father was building a home for arrived at our front door for their meeting at the appointed time. They knocked and were greeted by Fanny wearing her unique hat on her head. (You’ll have to learn more about that by reading Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.) She kindly welcomed them in and called throughout the house “Mr. Battoney, Mr. Battoney (aka Mr. Batton)….dey is a man and lady here ta see ya.”

My father came from the back end of the house. Immediately Fanny began giving my father marching orders that went something like this. “Mr. Battoney, when I gets done moppin’ dis floor I needs ya to move dis furniture back inta place. Ya’ll move along now so I can mop under yo’ feet. Den, Mr. Battoney, I needs ya to go get da ladder and change da light bub here in da foyer,” she said,  pointing up to the cathedral ceiling above her head. “Den when you is done wid dat…….” Fanny continued on as she started down the stairs to the lower level of the house to get something.

My Dad’s clients stood silently and wide-eyed looking at the woman with the strange hat on her head. When Fanny was well out of sight the woman, my father’s client, turned to my father and said “Clearly, we know who is the boss in this house. There is no question!”

“Uh-huh,” said my father in his typical less words said the better fashion. No other words were needed.

On this Father’s Day, I’d just like to tell my father that he takes the cake! He is my hero for putting up with every one of us!

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard.

 

 

 

 

Good News: Young Entrepreneurs

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Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” Pamela Vaull Starr

The good news is the world still has its share of young people who have heads for business. In fact,  digital tools are facilitating entrepreneurship at a younger age than ever! Want to know how? Here is an article.

There are many youngsters who find their passion and their talents at very young ages. Whether they have a head for science, mathematics, technology or inspire others through their unique creative talents, there are ways you can to encourage your child. There are even schools which help nuture entrepreneurial spirit and innovation in children by helping them set up micro-businesses.

lightbulbHow do you raise self-motivated children? Here is an excellent article. I like many of the tips in this article but my top pick is “to give a child a rich array of experiences.” In other words, expand their world and let them know why that is important. In my opinion, too many children are not given enough opportunity to see what’s beyond their home city and state, which can be limiting. Children learn so much when they see an variety of geographical landscape, a diversity of people, different cultures and ways of living.

The five young entrepreneurs cited in this article came from families whose backgrounds included business and finance. The whizzes have learned about all facets of their business from concept to marketing and have even planned for their future educational needs. Impressive, since a number of them are not even teenagers yet.

Do you have a child who is showing young talent at a very young age? If so, what are you doing to nuture it without providing performance pressure or providing too much stress by being an over-bearing helicopter parent? It is a very delicate balance.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her award-winning memoir, click here.

 

 

 

 

Aired at the Farm, Refreshingly

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 “Feed your faith and starve your doubts.”Kenneth E. Hagin Sr.

A few weeks ago my sister-in-law, Grace, and I visited the Prigel Family Creamery http://www.prigelfamilycreamery.com/ in Glen Arm, Maryland to pick up some of their award-winning “Best of Baltimore” ice cream. The farm is located in horse country, near My Lady’s Manor, Maryland in Baltimore County, north of the city. It’s in the area of the state where the notable “steeple chases” take place every April. For those of you who are unfamiliar with that term, think fox and hound hunts. http://www.marylandsteeplechasing.com/main/mlm/datetime.htm

As we drove up to the farm, I was surprised by what I saw. A business that unabashedly shares their belief on a sign etched in stone right on the foundation of the building. You can’t miss it.

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“How refreshing is that?” I thought. So many businesses and individuals in this day and age would rather not display signs of the American values and principles that our country was founded upon – a sad state of affairs, I think, if I can be honest.

As everyone knows farming is one of the most difficult occupations there is. Hard work, unforeseeable challenges and the unrelenting task of finding ways to be a sustainable business is all part of the job. It also takes faith to be a farmer because they are constantly at the mercy of unpredictable weather!

Today during this week of gratefulness, I’d like to dedicate this blog on All Things Fulfilling to farmers and ranchers everywhere who keep us fed with fresh produce and other “fruits” of their labor and production – meat, eggs, grains, cheese, poultry, maple syrup and so much more. When we sit down to the Thanksgiving table on Thursday, let us remember where the food we eat comes from and those who produce it.

Here are a few more photos from my quick stop at Prigel’s, along the trail of my East Coast book tour, which I am so very grateful for.

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This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, which has won three awards, please visit this site.http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.

 


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Harvest Full of Blessings

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“All-cheering Plenty, with her flowing horn, Led yellow Autumn, wreath’d with nodding corn.” ~Robert Burns, poet

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“Dad… Mom… I’m home!” I yelled out, when I arrived at my parents place in Maryland along the trail of my East Coast book tour. “Let’s party!”

I hadn’t seen my parents since the publishing of my memoir back in March, and I was promised that once I got home, there’d be a celebration and reunion.

What a splendid time it was on the shores of the Chesapeake. Couldn’t have asked for more stellar weather  to celebrate being with my family, my hard work and the real star of the story, Fanny!

This day there is no need for too many words.The pictures will tell the tale of a few fun filled  days with remembering the best things about all being together under one roof. Unfortunately, not everyone was present due to work and college obligations. Some missed the party, and I would have loved to have spent the day with them also. But, I can’t help but reflect on the harvest of blessings I have in my life. Here are some of them:

Photo Below: Always the “bestest hostess” ever , my Mom! I swear the woman has hosted more family gatherings in her 85 yrs of life  than any person on the planet! IMG_20141025_103816_849

Two photos below: A beautiful fall day on the Chesapeake! Couldn’t have asked for much better!IMG_20141025_103556_906

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Above: My contribution to the party – I baked a pineapple-upside-down gingerbread cake and easy, flavorful pulled chicken sandwiches.(Thanks to http://www.mccormick.com/. A Maryland company!)  The cake was also yummy and definitely a do-over recipe. Will make again!

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Above: Me with my twin sister’s family – her two daughters and their partners. The guy and gal on each end of the picture are husband and wife architects – the Babcocks!

Below: Two great women in the kitchen – my mom and my niece Devon! She is usually at  http://www.milarepacenter.org/index.html, in their kitchen, cooking up nutritious food for one and all.

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IMG_20141025_134147_528Above: What’s a family get together without a few games? My brother-in-law, the REAL chef of the family setting up for a good wholesome Corn Hole Competition! My brother Scott and I were a champion team. We beat the pants off my twin sister and her team mate, Jay. (She’ll say I am exaggerating).

Below: The day was spiced with more family, food and discussion.

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Photo below: The patriarch and matriarch at the far end of the table – surrounded by  family (grandchildren, in-laws & significant others)

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Below photo: What’s a BBQ without ribs? My two brothers are digging into food instead of digging foundations. Thanks Scott, the ribs were melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and messy too!IMG_20141025_143533_873

Below: Jan looks like she is practicin’ to sing in the choir. Glad to see you are holding your hands like the Trapp Family singers always did in the “Sound of Music.”

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The end of a fabulous day on the Chesapeake Bay.
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I’m never at a loss for subject matters to continue a story with this family of mine that keeps on building and getting larger!

For some of us who can’t always get home for the holidays – we decided this was an early Thanksgiving! Tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling, I will show just a few more fruits of God’s creation that my sister and I discovered when we went biking and exploring in the woods together. It was just like old times.

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard and her book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.  More information will be coming later on in the week about a nationally broadcast book reading that I will be participating in soon. Thanks to blog radio! https://richerlifellc.com/Harvest_Book_Reading_2.html.

Meet You at the Sandbox

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“Play is the work of children. It’s very serious stuff.” ―Bob Keeshan

Welcome back! Hope you had fun weekend.

A few years ago when I moved to Colorado, I went to a business conference for entrepreneurs. I sat next to a very nice young woman, not many years out of college. We visited throughout the day and enjoyed each other’s company. At end of the conference, she turned to me and said, “You know, you really ought to join the young professionals networking group.”  I began laughing!

“What?” she asked, in all seriousness. “What are you laughing at?”

“Young professionals?” I asked. Not because I thought joining networking groups for professionals was a bad idea but because I was questioning her judgment of how old I was. If fact, there are great advantages to joining organizations to meet-up with other entrepreneurs and business people. http://bit.ly/1uICWXy.

“Yes,” she said, “they are a great group and you ought to be part of it.”

Captain KangarooI kept laughing and said, “I don’t think you understand how old I am. I’m not sure I can keep up with all the techies and you. I grew up with Captain Kangaroo!”

“What?” she asked. “Who is that?”

“A TV icon from the 1950s and 60s. You know,” I said, even though I knew she didn’t, “his friends were Mr. Green Jeans, and Bunny Rabbit.”

“Sorry, I don’t know who or what you are taking about,” she looked at me like I was crazy and dropped the subject.

As I left the conference and considered what she said to me, I began to feel good that even though I am a baby boomer this young professional had wanted me to play in the same sandbox!

If you even know what a sandbox is you belong in the same group as I do – the playpen for people who remember when life and child’s play was much simpler.

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This blog brought to you by author Sue Batton Leonard. For more information on her book, the memoir “Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected,” please follow this link.http://amzn.to/1pRK5Ao