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?

milkweed

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.

vintage harvest

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.

hiking

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

biking

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.

softball

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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.

kids-beach

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.  

Friendship and Courage

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Friends give us the courage to lift the blinds on our hearts. To open up and show what we generally keep hidden from the rest of the world.” ~ Unknown

One day, several months after Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected was published, my phone rang. It was a surprise call from one of my childhood friends.

“How did you do that?” asked the caller.

“Do what?” I asked.

“Write all that stuff about yourself.”

“I don’t know, ” I said to my friend. “I felt the need to tell the story and share it with children who are going through tough stuff in life. Besides, I felt safe. I knew that my true friends who didn’t know about my childhood medical history, wouldn’t abandon me when they knew the facts. (And believe me – to many my story came as a surprise!) True friends don’t do that.”

GS2When I spoke with the Girl Scouts this spring we talked about the importance of  including a diversity of people in our circle of friends. “People who may be different can teach us to look at things differently,” I said.

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As the eve of the Girl Scout Campfire and Reunion approaches, can’t help but think about the song we used to most frequently sing in Girl Scouts. “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”

I look forward to making new acquaintances with others who also benefitted from the days of being a member of the Girl Scouts.

Harvest of Life Lessons

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“For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.” –   Edwin Way Teale

Greetings! It is a fabulous fall morning. I’d like to send out an invitation for you to come to my house! Enter through the doors of my childhood through my publication Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

In my youth I was kept in stitches by a beautiful character named Fanny and my heart was sewn together too. Both were gifts that led me to live a fulfilling life. Through my memoir, I share a harvest of life lessons taught to me by my strong family.

The teapot is filled in anticipation of your coming, there are homemade ginger snaps on the table and I hope you will enjoy the inspiring words of my beloved Fanny during this fine fall season. The real treasure lies in the voice in the EVVY award-winning audio book. But if you prefer the paperback or a digital download of an e-book, those are available too!

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Happy Harvest Everybody! Do return tomorrow and on Friday I want to tell you about an event that I just received an invitation to that will take me back to my childhood days. I am very excited.

 

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!

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. 

Film Friday: Vacation

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No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell. ~ Jewish Proverb

Are you ready for the 7th remake of National Lampoon’s 1983 movie Vacation? The release date is July 29, 2015. Besides Chevy Chase, Christina Applegate and Ed Helms also star in this comedy about a family who encounters many misadventures on while on their trip to Wally World and their white water rafting adventure. Scenes were filmed at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina as well as in Atlanta, Georgia.

The father, Rusty Griswold, sets out to spend quality time with his wife and kids and recreate his own theme park vacations from his childhood but things get more complicated than that when it doesn’t go very well. The movie is in typical National Lampoon style that keep audiences in stitches.

The movie is rated R, so it is not fit for families with young children. To read more about the plot and to watch a trailer, visit this link. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1524930/.

vacation

Have a good weekend everyone. See you on All Things Fulfilling on Monday when we will be sharing about Art in the Park. The author of this blog is award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

Heart of the Stories

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“A good story should make you laugh, and a moment later break your heart.”― Chuck Palahniuk

Do you miss those days when the words commitment, pride and work ethic really meant something? Are you tired of reading news stories that are sensational and shocking because healthy relationships are missing? The good news is stories about valuing oneself and others who are different than us do exist.

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Lessons of Heart & Soul, is a collection of stories that go back to the days when things were much simpler and when kids learned and understood what decent values were all about. These ten short stories which were cut from the award-winning book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected were previously unpublished. They are bound to put a smile on your face.

If you are looking for something to make you feel good and lift your spirits, both publications will remind you of a time when life was not so complex. You’ll love Fanny the central character in the story and her pearls of wisdom. You’ll want to learn even more about her in the award-winning book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, if you haven’t already read it.

Where is the best treasure in the story? Check out the memorable voice in the audio book, narrated by the author. Prefer to read it on a different platform? Select the paperback or e-book.