The Season of Anticipation

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As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is. ~Eric Sevareid

Did you open the first few doors on your Advent Calendar yet? We are three days into the countdown of when Christians worldwide will celebrate the birth of baby Jesus.

I am very excited because this year my husband and I will be joining our son to experience a different kind of  Christmas – unlike any we have celebrated before. Here is a little of what I am anticipating.

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As you prepare for the holidays, take time out to experience the magic of the season. It’s hard to do that when we are rushing from one activity to another. Have a fulfilling Christmas by spending less. Here is an excellent article if you are looking for a richer holiday season.

Sometime during the next few weeks before I take off to my Christmas destination, I have planned an evening of peace and calm.  I will be bundling up and strolling through our snowy town one evening when all the stores have shut down. I want to take in the window dressing in the darkness of the evening. Perhaps I’ll stop in someplace for a hot toddy.

What do you plan to do this season that is a little different than what you’ve experienced previously?

For me, it’s  going to be a long Advent season, waiting and anticipating a reunion with our son whom I have not seen in ten months. We will be sharing this season of joy with others whom I have yet to meet before!

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 New Musical: Allegiance

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Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved and differences resolved. ~ Bernard Beckett

allegianceHave you heard about the  American story now being played out on Broadway? Allegiance is a real and important tale of the Kimura family who came to America after World War II and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Similar tales of family bonds, duty and defiance, hope, loyalty and the power of the human spirit could be told by 120,000 other Japanese-American families who fled their country in search of a new tomorrow in the United States of America.

George Takei and Tony® winner Lea Salonga star in this live theatre production. To read more about this live musical production, visit the website.

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 Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Celebrating Non-Traditionally

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We didn’t know we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun!” ~ Unknown

Is there a Thanksgiving from your past that was


more memorable than any of the others?  I have several. They were all spent at the beach with our two first cousins, Joe & Hope, rather than at home in suburban Baltimore. Of course, my mother’s brother Uncle King, who was always the life of the party was in attendance along with our aunt Dot, whose good humor matched her life partner’s. Uncle King is one of several outstanding characters in my memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

These special turkey days were back in the 1960s before Ocean City, Maryland became a year-round beach resort. The place was empty, a good reason to visit during off-season. Friends and neighbors thought we were crazy spending the holiday on a bitter cold beach rather inside sheltered around our huge fireplace in the house.

As soon as we arrived at the beach cottage our Uncle King made us gather. He started itching to play cards and we’d play so many rounds of gin rummy throughout the weekend our eyes became bleary.

Walks on the beach and building sand castles were customary. Touch football on the shore was a challenge because of the strong fall gales, and running quickly is difficult to achieve when the surface beneath your feet is soft. But to young children the ocean breezes slapping at our faces added to the adventure. We’d start a bonfire on the beach, wrap-up in blankets and sleeping bags and anything else we could find to keep us warm and outside playing.

vintage-thanksgiving-turkey-with-pilgrims-family1A few days prior to Thanksgiving Day, we and our cousins planned for the traditional “Landing of the Pilgrims on the Beach.” The live theatre experience was always requested by our parents. The re-enactment involved lots of hilarity. Our lines got mixed up or forgotten and we’d have to ad-lib and try to remember what we said the year before.

Lots of hot cocoa for the children, and more potent libations for the adults along with a bounteous feast of food graced the table all weekend. We were squeezed like sardines into the rented little cottage but that added to the family togetherness.

Today I’d like to say thanks to my parents for insisting that sometimes we do things a little differently than the traditional holiday experience. They are a large part of why being a “Batton” was so much fun!

A Holiday Challenge

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If you visited All Things Fulfilling yesterday, welcome back! We are grateful for our strong reader base that is continually growing!

Getting back to the basics has been a topic this week and today we will continue that theme. Combating the high value placed on material goods is a struggle for some families. Last night, I became aware of an initiative that might seem just right for your family. If not this year, perhaps it’s something to work towards in the future.

As you put together your holiday gift list, strive to give your loved one’s

only one of  these four things:

only-4-christmas-gifts-for-kids-something-you-want-something-you-need-something-to-wear-and-something-to-read.

 Add one more item to this list.  #5 Teach your children the value of giving to others.

Pick out one  item from these four categories and donate it from your family to another family in need in your community.  Have your children go along for the ride and drop it off at a thrift shop, a Salvation Army box, a local church, a non-profit organization or a community food kitchen. Although it may not seem like much, keep in mind that for many receiving all four items for Christmas would be beyond their wildest dreams.

Remember: People overestimate the pleasure they’ll get from having more stuff. This does not apply to new rose bushes, crayons, or yarn stashes. ~Dr. SunWolf

(P.S. Because it is wavering Wednesday, you are allowed to modify this quote with what feeds your soul!)

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.

 

 

Up the “Awe” Factor for Kids

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Your deepest roots are in nature.  No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation. ~  Charles Cook

In a world where there is tremendous focus on material things, how do we increase children’s “awe” factor about the natural world?

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Skip the frequent trips to the mall, and head to the great outdoors for fun and activities instead. Insist upon it as the parent. Teach your child to take notice of the spectrum of colors in the flames of an autumn bonfire. Next spring sit quietly with your family and listen to the crickets tone. Do it again  as spring moves into summer and as that fades into fall. You will notice there is a difference in the tones of one of nature’s creatures.

Point out the milkweed pods in a field and the fluff that blows through the air when it dries and opens. Let your child experience the difference in taste between a just-picked tomato off the vine and a refrigerated one.

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Visit the local farm to see where hens lay eggs, or to observe newborn lambs in the spring.  

Take a group of children on a hike and bring along a wildflower guide or a bird book – see how many species you can identify.

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Go on a scenic family bike ride or watch a fishing boat as it unloads the catch of the day.

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Play outside on a snowy day with your family. Watch each crystal formation land on your gloves and examine how two snowflakes are alike – just like people.

Substitute digital playmates with neighborhood friends. Host baseball games at your place or invite kids to join in for some jump rope fun.

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You may be met with rolls of the eyes and bored “uh-huhs” as you point out the beauty in nature, but with time your child will grow to appreciate the outings. As kids mature they begin to “get it” and share the wonders of the world with others who appreciate and value the same kinds of things.

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Your family will also benefit from times of special togetherness. With the holidays coming up it is a good time to start changing habits and initiating new traditions and living through the process of discovery.

There is an eye-opening documentary film that addresses children’s nature deficit disorder. The value of outdoor play for children is significant, especially in the digital age when children spend far too much time indoors.

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

Life Stories Altered

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If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders. ~Abigail Van Buren

Today’s narrative is about raising children. The other day I was in the library and picked up a copy of Psychology Today magazine and came across an article called in the October 2015 issue called Crisis U.

Long story short, the article by Hara Estroff Marano was about the “downstream consequences of kids being shielded from failure and adversity all their lives.”

“How does this happen?” You might ask.

There are a lot of psychologists, sociologists and behaviorists looking at this syndrome –  students who get great grades, yet are lacking in skills of taking care of themselves or they are developmentally delayed in their life skills. It happens due to over-involved parents or “helicopter parents.”

An expert, a dean from Sanford University recently appeared on Fox News talking about this very troubling issue facing young adults. Here is his article.

Several winters ago at Colorado Mountain College in a public speaking class, I presented a talk on Helicopter Parenting. I outlined how to  recognize the signs that indicate when parents are over-involved and the results on the behavioral patterns of young adults. I received high accolades from the teacher. She said “I fully convinced her how detrimental this is to the student.”HelicopterParentsIf you have children, I’d suggest you read these articles because a lifetime story can be altered in harmful ways when parents do not allow their children to learn age appropriate lessons (such as coping, resilience and resourcefulness) themselves. It can create a life-long dependency on parents that is unhealthy.

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.

 

 

 

Weekend Fall Craft Projects

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October is the fallen leaf, but it is also a wider horizon more clearly seen.” ~ Hal Borland

I’m posting this image today because October is Applejack Month.

df3d11b86d421ecc7280f18a26aa1c5b One of my favorite craft projects from Girl Scouts was making dried apple people. If it looks like a fun project to do in October with your children or grandchildren, here is how. 

Another of my favorite craft projects was making bookmarks by pressing colorful autumn leaves between two pieces of waxed paper and ironing it.

A few years ago, when I was helping in a children’s Sunday School class, I learned that the bookmark project can be modified but putting shavings and tiny pieces of left over crayons between two pieces of waxed paper and ironing it to create a stained glass window effect. A beautiful, quick weekend craft project!

Tasty-Kitchen-Blog-Pumpkin-Spice-Apple-CiderIn honor of Applejack Month, I’d like to share this recipe for Hot Spiced Apple Cider with you. Perhaps you can make the concoction over the weekend to sip as you decorate your home for Halloween.

What are you doing this weekend? I am going on a one day road trip so I can have a change of scenery before the snow flies. Perhaps I will find something fulfilling to write about! See you back here on Monday!

If you enjoy reading the blogs posted on this site, don’t forget to bookmark All Things Fulfilling on your computer or on the right hand side of the page you can subscribe and have each posting delivered directly to your mailbox – free of charge!

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