Blindly Chosen, Faithfully Read

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To build up a library is to create a life. It’s never just a random collection of books. –Carlos María Domínguez

March is just around the corner. Before we leave this heart-centered month, I wanted to mention an idea that came to my attention through my favorite hangout – our local library.

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On Valentines Day, the Bud Werner Memorial Library  provided an act of kindness through their Blind Date with a Book program. They set-up their library patrons up for an enjoyable night of entertainment.

The gift was wrapped up in brown paper, tied up with string, including a clue or two to help the reader make  their date selection. The title and author’s name was hidden and the reader had to accept on blind faith that what was “between the covers” was something good.

But as on any blind date, the only way to get acquainted with a character is to learn something about them. With time we get to know whether a character is as a mystery, a hopeless romantic or ready for a wild or steamy adventure. Sweet idea!

I’d like to conclude this writing today by repeating a bumper sticker that is frequently seen here where I live. One is on my car. It says “I came for the skiing and stayed for the library.”

What an asset to have a wonderful library in any community.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wear Red Tomorrow

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“Red is the first color of spring. It’s the real color of rebirth. Of beginning.” ~ Annie Condie

Are you planning on wearing red tomorrow? The American Heart Association has declared February 5th National Wear Red Day. This day is dedicated to raising awareness that “heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women, yet 80% of it is preventable.”

On the Go Red for Women website there are educational articles and resources to educate the public about the importance of children and fitness, and factors which increase chances of heart disease such as high blood pressure, smoking, inactivity and high cholesterol. The useful and free information is there for each and every one of us.

As Conway Twitty once said “listen to advice, but follow your heart.” Always listen to your body, and if it is telling you something is not right, don’t wait – go see a doctor. It could be the difference between death or life.

You can help the fight against heart disease by posting #GoRed on your Facebook page or through other social media.  Remember to #gored tomorrow, donate to the cause or fill a shopping cart at the GoRed on-line store.

Thanks for listening and tomorrow is a good a day as any to begin improving your heart health.

My award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected speaks to this issue which is close to my heart.

 

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.

Christmas: Outside Looking In

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I believe your atmosphere and your surroundings create a mind state for you. ~ Theophilus London

f9ccaa0aad84c2adde61047a62449dc8I don’t like to be a slave to my living environment, but I do take a little time to try to create a place where I like to hang out.  Just a few low cost/no cost seasonally appropriate decorations make a difference. It helps me appreciate a season or holiday. I do it for myself and after it’s done, I’m glad I took the extra effort.

Psychologists say our attitudes are affected by our environment. So, no matter where you are living, even if it is in what you might consider to less than ideal, take the time to add a little sprig of holly or a pine bough or a cinnamon scented candle or put a light in the window during this holiday season. Thrift stores are often a great place to pick up embellishments for nearly next to nothing.

Last week in the dark of the evening I upped my spirits when I strolled historic downtown Main Street Steamboat with a friend and took in the window dressing. The fresh fallen snow added to the magic! Here are some images. All but a few were taken from the outside looking in.

Below: Fringe (a new store in town). I liked it very much!

Do stop in and check it out!

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Below: F.M Light & Sons (THE place for cowboy boots!)

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Below: Kali’s Boutique (a place to get distinctive apparel)

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Below: Steamboat Art Company (this display was like fairytale land). I expected to see little gnomes or elves or sprites peaking out from between the pastel colored foliage!

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Below: Allen’s Clothing (There, hospitality included great treats!)

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Below: Steamboat Art Company (as usual, their window displays are as lovely as their in store wares). I always get caught up in this store – so much to look at.

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Below: Steamboat Art Company

Xmas walk -art co

Below: F.M. Light and Sons (Outfittin’ the West Since 1905)

Check out their blog – A Cowboy’s Christmas Recollections

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Below: F.M. Light & Sons

Xmas walk - not sure

Below: Chrysalis Steamboat (surprisingly affordable and stylish). 

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A Fulfilling evening experience from Winter Wonderland in Steamboat Springs, CO

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“Paper state” last week we received 44 inches of new snow and we have already  surpassed 115 inches for the season! See for yourself. Much, much more has come over the past few days.

Thanks to those who gave me permission to take photos inside their retail establishments!

Come on back tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. Then I’ll be taking a break until after Christmas.

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

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.”

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advancing the Story

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We need to look hard at the stories we create, and wrestle with them. Retell and retell them, and work with them like clay. It is in the retelling and returning that they give us their wisdom.Marni Gillard

Avila and wife MaribelLast week I sat down with author and playright Jorge Avila, a member of We Write Steamboat, to discuss the gigantic leap of success that he has just experienced. To read a short summary of his musical, please go to the blog from last Thursday.

(Photo left: Jorge Avila and his wife Maribel)

Jorge had just returned a week previously to his hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado from a very busy six months in California. His live theatre musical, adapted from his book Maricopa Men in Pink had a three day run at the Plaza de la Raza, Cultural Center for the Arts & Education on Mission Road in Los Angeles. Avila was ebullient as he answered the questions I had for him to learn more about his experience. Here is part of our discussion about going from local author to playright in a very short few years:

Sue: Jorge, when was Maricopa Men in Pink published? 

Jorge: In 2010 it was published. A short time afterward I sent it off to a friend who is a stage designer in L.A. to get his opinion. He reviewed it and gave me some feedback about adapting it for a play. I decided that my vision for the work was a live theatre musical production. So I rewrote it exactly 2 years, nine months ago in script format along with song lyrics. Caleb Encompos, a resident who helps with the music program at the Christian Center here in Steamboat, composed the music to accompany the lyrics. I approached the Chief Theatre here in town, but it didn’t seem to be the right venue. So,then we sent it off to three production companies in California. 

Sue:  So, what was the response? 

Jorge: I’d like to say that there have been few  Latino or controversial political musicals that I am aware of other than In the Heights and Hamilton and the Book of Mormon. So I was happy to even get a response and it was positive response from two of them. I chose one of the production companies that I felt best understood my vision. I was offered a small sum of money from the production company, but I took half of that because I wanted to be directly involved in the entire process, so that the final product would be what I envisioned.

So, I began over the next six months going to L.A. one week out of every month. For the next six months, Caleb Encompos and I chose vocalists and actors for the live musical production. Once we heard my lyrics put to music and saw it performed by the actors we had chosen, there were some tweeks that were made before the opening.

Sue: So, tell me about the three night run.

Jorge: The turnout was outstanding compared to what I had anticipated. I was told for an unknown author/playright, typical sales would be 60% of the seats. The first and third nights we had 95% of all tickets sold, and the middle evening 75%. Surprising, considering I read in a New York Times article that out of 318 million Americans, 58 million agreed with Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s handling of inmates in Tent City Jail in Arizona. Seventy eight million disagreed, and the whole rest of the population knew nothing about the news story.

Sue: How did that feel? To see your musical come before live audience like that?

Jorge: Surreal! I feel flattered and proud but it was very stressful. I even started up a bad habit – smoking. I hadn’t smoked in six years and I ate too much and gained a little weight.

The musical was even mentioned on National TV on Spanish stations. While we were waiting for the production to begin on opening night, I stepped outside and there were 120 people in line to get a ticket – to my show! I couldn’t believe it and I counted every one of them!

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The rest of this interview on All Things Fulfilling will be posted the week after Christmas. Do return because we will be talking about Avila’s rewards in terms of personal fulfillment which were a result of his determination, persistance and his belief that what he had was fitting for a quality live musical production that still has great potential for future audiences. We will be sharing more about his special award from the City of Los Angeles also!

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.

 

 

Illuminating the Heart

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“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” ~ Francis Bacon

Well, the run of sappy, happy Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel has begun in earnest. I’m not one for sitting in front of the television for very long, but, I do take time out to watch a few of these “appropriate for the season” movies.

20pcs-lot-Love-Tea-Light-Holder-font-b-Luminaria-b-font-Paper-Lantern-Candle-font-bThe Christmas Heart is a film that has been playing on the Hallmark Channel since 2012. It’s about a small town that veers from tradition by not lighting the town streets with luminara candles, one year. One of it’s citizens (a teenage boy) is in need of a heart transplant and the town’s people deem that festive decorating was inappropriate.

Luminarias are something that I look forward to seeing when I experience a unique kind of Christmas this year. There is a short film called The Life of a Brown Paper Bag that gives the deeper meaning and history of this Christmas tradition of the southwest. Check it out! This two minute video is worth seeing because it won “Best in Show” 2010 HSMAI Adrian Award Winner for Web Marketing.

See you back here on All Things Fulfilling tomorrow as we continue the theme on things from the heart and their delivery in paper bags.

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