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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Tapestry of Beliefs

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advent calendarOur journey has begun into the Advent season. People have different expectations about the days leading up to Christmas depending on a person’s upbringing. As a society, we have become so touchy, afraid to stand up to our own values for fear of offending others politically and spiritually when it comes to the holidays.

I believe we all come to our understandings about faith or not in different ways. In the New Year, a movie called Tapestry staring Stephen Baldwin and Burt Young is due to be released. It is one man’s story of his spiritual journey.

Although I have yet to see the movie that is now being filmed in New York City, I wonder if this film is a reflection of Baldwin’s own tale of enlightenment or discovery. He has said this about his role in the film, “After 25 years in the film business, the projects I choose now must motivate me on a creative level that inspires and elevates my sense of art and spirit.”

tapestry the movie

If you are inclined to question and seek to form your own beliefs about a higher being or the creative or spiritual world, keep your eye on this film release in 2016.

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.

 

 

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.

A Window into Breck

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“Art is the window into one’s soul.” ~ Lady Bird Johnson

After yesterday’s blog, you baby boomers are probably thinking Breck refers to the old school shampoo we used when we were our teens in the 1960s. Remember using that? I thought if I used it, I’d look just like the “Breck Girl.”

No, for the next few days I will be blogging about a one day road trip I took to Breckenridge, Colorado, often referred to as “Breck.”  I found all kinds of fulfilling things to write about including a creative arts organization called BreckCreate. There is so much to tell, it can not be covered in just one blog posting.

The Breckenridge Arts District is a series of historic buildings located on an acre of land right up the hill from Main Street. It has become  an epicenter of creativity offering art classes, workshops, performance arts, exhibits and special artist-in-residence visits. I’d like to share some pictures with you of the district:

 

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Below: The Barney Ford Museum is also in the arts district. Barney Ford was a local entrepreneur who escaped slavery and became a man of extreme prosperity. For more information.

Barney ford museum

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A clan of visiting Aztec’s danced a spirit dance historically significant to their culture and the celebration of life the day I visited the town. Read more about the performance.

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indians 4 Art, culture, history and architecture holds a prominent place in the community of Breckenridge, Colorado. The scenic backdrop to the town, as it is in many Colorado communities, is stunning!

Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. I have more to share with you about BreckCreate.

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

Finding a Good Fit

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Religion is like a pair of shoes…..Find one that fits for you, but don’t make me wear your shoes.”
George Carlin

hAPPYNESS IN SOLE

Today on this Thirsty Thursday, one day of the week All Things FuIfilling is dedicated to good news, I’d like to share an architectural wonder that perhaps has greater meaning than what was intended by the firm who created it.

I was drawn to an article about this holy place since the building of churches goes way back to the first generation in the history of my family’s five generation construction business.

There is a house of worship designed and built by the architectural group, Gijs Van Vaerenbergh, in Borgloon, Belgium that takes seeing religion from different perspectives to a whole new level.

The good news is that there are many kinds of religions throughout the world. If you live in a truly free society, individuals get to select the religion that best aligns with their own principles and values, or we can opt out of being a believer of any sort.

Images in the article I’ve linked to this website tell the rest of this story. Put your Sunday shoes on, any kind will do, and take a few minutes to enter into this unique church. View the images and you will see what I mean. To learn more about the construction of the structure, visit this website.

That’s all for today! See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling. We will be sharing an upcoming educational event that is good news for independent publishers or for people who are thinking of writing their own stories of any type (faith stories, memoirs, fiction, non-fiction or creative writing through the form of poetry, song lyrics or screenwriting).

 

O’Keefe in Everyday Life

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“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.”  ― Georgia O’Keeffe

I’d always been interested in the art of Georgia O’Keefe. Any artist who paints flowers so magnificently, is alright by me!

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe, NM. The art was beautiful, as expected but, what I enjoyed seeing, through black and white photos, was the life of this woman outside of her studio. According to a short film I watched and from reading other literature, O’Keefe found much pleasure in simple tasks of daily living. Images of O’Keefe walking her dogs, hanging out the wash, sitting on the roof of her adobe house and cooking outside over an open fire all acquainted me with her on another level.

She painted much more than flowers. She lived, painted and exhibited in New York City. What a surprise! I’d always thought her entire life was spent in New Mexico. After she married Alfred Stieglitz, America’s first advocate of modern art in America, New York is where she and other modern artists began to proliferate. Her summers were spent in Lake George, NY.

From her great success as an artist,  I would never have considered that she was anything but a person who had all she needed right inside of herself from the start. But according to this quote, not so! “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.” ― Georgia O’Keeffe

I love that! And I look forward to reading more about this woman of extreme talent who had traits of self-doubt that each artist struggles with, from time to time, going about the days of fulfilling oneself in the world of art.IMG_20150221_153831_642

Above: Photo of Georgia O’Keefe taking a car ride.

IMG_20150221_154346_188Above: Replication of O’Keefe’s studio inside the Museum. The photo is the view from her studio window in NM. These are her art supplies, with a work in progress on her easel. Her studio and home in Albiquiu is also open for touring.  That has been put on my “For Another Day List.”

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Above: Non-floral O’Keefe painting.

IMG_20150221_155447_610Above:   Black Hollyhawk & Blue Larkspur (middle painting – my favorite in the Museum).

Below: The Georgia O’Keefe Museum Gift Shop has a wonderful selection of books, DVDs, notecards and other products with the “signature” Georgia O’Keefe art licensing trademark.

Georgia Okeefe books

Georgia Okeefe DVDS

See you tomorrow! We will be talking about an art form that I saw in my travels that I had never witnessed live before until my visit to Santa Fe, NM last week. It was thrilling and fun!

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

Reflections on the Creative Path

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“Your current safe boundaries were once unknown frontiers.” ~ Unknown

Today I will be reflecting on unknown frontiers. It is something I can speak to! I arrived in Steamboat Springs, Colorado some six years ago, sight unseen and took up residence not knowing what I was getting into.

Then, I made another life changing decision! I set off on a 41,000 word journey. A huge task for an inexperienced writer who had dreams of publishing a memoir.

What kept me going? A lifelong desire to tell a story of a beautiful soul who became the heartbeat of our family and who had many words of wisdom to share with others.

As it’s turned out, the unknown frontier became a safe haven in which I ended up exploring my faith like never before. I suspect I am not alone in my story. Artists through the ages have testified that through their creativity, they find their own voice and spirit.  As Maritza Burgos once said “One’s art should be the extension of oneself.”

I’m grateful I journeyed into the unknown. I found all kinds of fulfilling things in the process!

Stay tuned to All Things Fulfilling.com. What’s a new year without a little excitement?  Come back on Monday because I’m telling you now there will be something newsworthy!

heres to new beginnings

 

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