Out of the Deep Freeze

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 “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”– Edmund Hillary

When you live in the mountains, spring can be forever in coming. Mother Nature loves to torment and taunt with fickle weather for a long, long time.

One day it is sunny and warm, the next day we are thrust back into winter leaving us confused as what to put on for clothing in the morning. Just when you think you should leave behind the winter weight clothing and spring ahead into lighter, brighter garments, the cold temperatures return again. Makes you feel like climbing back under the covers.

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This is how I look and feel this time of year. The beginnings of growth and renewal of spirit have begun to creep over me yet, part of me is still frozen in the previous season.

Today on All Things Fulfilling, I’d like to share with you an article about 21 Things to Do This Spring to Lift your Beaten Down Spirit.

What’s the first thing I’m going to do to start ticking off the list? My husband just filled my bike tires with air. A slow, meadering bike ride through the neighborhood dreaming of when the landscape turns green with colorful flowers will do much to lift the spirit. It will also begin to build the muscles I’ve neglected all winter when my only form of exercise was walking.

See you back here tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling. This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

 

Film Friday: Outdoors Adventure

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Thanks to a posting I saw on www.cruxcollective.com I became aware of a documentary film of interest in the outdoor adventure movie category.

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Valley Uprising http://reelrocktour.com/ is a film about extreme athletes who climb to explore massive cliffs, crags, boulders and rocks in Yosemite National Park in high up places. They are a whole culture of adventurous souls who are the next generation of outdoorsmen who flock to this area and find their “religion and fulfillment” in rock climbing.

Red Bull Magazine says it’s “The best climbing film ever made.”

It won the Grand Prize at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Just one award among several others.

Worthy of attention, I am sure, although I have yet to see it.  I am putting this film on my 2015 list of films not to miss! Sounds like a nice evening of adventure from the comfort of my living room. Yet, Yosemite is on my National Park Wish List to see upclose some day.

Valley Uprising

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

visit this website http://www.allthingsfulfilling.com/about-the-book/.

Upping the Happiness Level

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A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing with him the image of a cathedral. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Did you know that there is scientific evidence that you can increase your own happiness level just by being grateful? Want to know more? Read this article. http://bit.ly/1yvpdSx.

Turns out all this talk about being thankful, is not a lot of bunk. There really are psychological and emotional benefits. Learning to appreciate the small things, rather than big things is even more important.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to start a year-long, daily list of small things that you are grateful for. The smaller the better! Why? Because that means you are paying attention to the little yet, important things in life.

My happiness quotient rises when I see things like these when I least expect it.

whiskers on a kitten

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different colored eggs

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heart shaped cloud

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hot chocolate

Doug Adams Studio Commercial Photographer,Redmond, WA

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What tiny things turn you inside out with glee when you encounter them?

As we end this week of Thanksgiving go into the next holiday of the year with your heart wide open looking for the little things that mean a lot during the Christmas season.

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

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

 

 

 

 

 

Place of Beauty and Reflection

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The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.” ― Henry Ward Beecher

Today, we will switch gears. It’s been snowing here in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and the temperatures have become winter like. They’ve dipped below zero already. Before I let go of autumn I want to share one more group of fall photos.

On the last day of my book tour on the East Coast, my sister-in-law Grace said “I want to take you over to the Cylburn Arboretum.”

“Sounds good,” I said. If you know me, you know any place that has to do with trees and flowers piques my interest!” The Cylburn Arboretum didn’t ring a bell from my days of growing up in Baltimore but I was up for one more adventure before I headed back to Northwestern Colorado.

As we drove along, we came to some very familiar turf! “Oh, my gosh, Grace!Look at that. There’s Sinai Hospital!” ,” I said. “Wow – do I ever have memories of that place!”  http://www.lifebridgehealth.org/Sinai/Sinai1.aspx. This is where I came for my pediatric check-ups after my “pioneering” heart surgery at Johns Hopkins.

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“The Cylburn is right across the street!” Grace said.

Now the largest public garden in Baltimore,  The Cylburn Mansion with it’s beautiful grounds were once owned by a Quaker businessman, Jesse Tyson, who was President of Baltimore Chrome Works (later Allied Chemical). He came from a family who made their fortune mining iron, chromium and copper. Jesse’s brother, James ran mining operations in the states of Pennyslvania, Georgia, California and Vermont. For more information, please visit this link. http://cylburn.org/about-us/history/.

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Today, The Cylburn Arboretum is also home to The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.http://bit.ly/112G6Zj. The greenhouses this time of year were filled with poinsettias along with other aquaponic plants.

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Oh, what a lovely place the Cylburn Arboretum is. Thank you, Grace. It was a delightful morning spent in such a quiet, peaceful, reflective place. It seems we are always surrounded by our big family when you and I are together! It was delightful being just with you! Even in October, the plantings and flowers at the Cylburn Arboretum were gorgeous.

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The Cylburn Arboretum was the last stop I made along the path of my East Coast book tour. How blessed I am to be alive to share my story. For more information on the award-winning memoir  “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected,” please visit this link.http://amzn.to/141aW6S. The publication is available in audio, paperback and e-book.

 

Hanging onto Childhood Memories

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Nature is the art of God ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Jan, stop!” I yelled out to my twin sister as she pedaled ahead of me on her bike.

“What for?” she yelled back to me loudly.

“I just saw something in the woods, and I want to go back. I’m wondering what it is.”

The other day my sister and I were on the way back to my parent’s house from a bike ride. We had gone to collect some pears that we had spied the day before, from the car, on a tree in a vacant lot next door to the United Methodist Church on Taylors Island, Maryland.

“What was it you saw? An animal? ” Jan asked. The remote island of Taylors Island is well-known for it’s variety of shore birds, white-tailed and sika deer, wild turkeys and bald eagles. Dorchester County Maryland  is also notable for it’s abundance of fish, crabs and oysters.http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/waters/

“I don’t know but it  was a cluster of  something pure white on the ground. That’s why I want to go back.”

“Ok, you lead the way.” Jan said. We turned our bikes around and headed back to the spot where I had seen the curiosity.

“It’s there. Through the woods, “ I said pointing. “ we’ll have to cross the ditch and hike in to it.”

We parked our bikes, which had baskets attached to them, laden with the wild pears. We had picked only fruit that had fallen from the tree because the pears hanging from the branches were too green and too far from ripening.

When I initially saw the objects of interest, I had gone through a list of things in my mind of what  I thought they could be. “Perhaps some trash, the tails of a herd of deer , who knows what. ” I thought. As we neared the white patches I had seen through the trees on the ground in the distance, I saw that they were round and nearly a foot in diameter.

“Look at that! They are  huge mushrooms.” I said, completely surprised by my findings.

“Wow! I sure wish I could show them to Rob!” Jan said. “But I don’t have my camera.” I knew Jan’s husband who has been a chef in our nation’s capital’s finest restaurants would be interested.

“Let’s pick a couple and show him,” I said. After I extracted their roots from underneath the bed of pine needles, I felt a little guilty. “Is it a crime to pick mushrooms or pears from the wild?” I asked my sister.

“Too late to think of that now,” Jan said, beginning to place the mushrooms in the bike basket.”Let’s put my jacket between the pears and the mushrooms in the bike basket in case they are poisonous.”

“Yes,” I agreed. “We shouldn’t let the pears and mushrooms touch.”

When we got back to the house we showed our unexpected treasures to our family members, and my brother-in-law looked up the mushrooms on the internet. “They’re edible!” Rob exclaimed.

“Sorry, I am not eating them.” I said, “I value my life too much. We could be wrong. Eating mushrooms from the wild is not a good idea unless you know for sure they are not poisonous.”

“I’ll stick to the pears,” Jan said. “I am not taking any chances.”

That night as I fell off to sleep I thought about our events of the day and what Tom Stoppard once said ““If you carry your childhood with you, you never grow older.” Riding bikes and exploring nature took me back to the days of my youth when my sister and I used to play in the woods and throw stones in streams and find all kinds of fulfilling things in nature to keep us busy.

Images of a few unexpected finds on our bike ride. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wild pears. They are delicious!

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That’s all for today!

This blog brought to you by the award-winning author, Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her award-winning memoir, Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected,  please visit this site. http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.

Angelic Antics

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Make yourself familiar with the angels, and behold them frequently in spirit; for without being seen, they are present with you.”    – Francis de Sales

It’s funny, I have never considered myself as a particularly creative person. I didn’t take a lot of  lessons outside of school growing up. Kids of my generation spent more time outside playing in nature rather than being shuffled to all sorts of organized sports and other extra curricular activities.

However, I did take a pastel drawing class at the YMCA one summer with my sister. It is a happy memory that stays steadfast in my mind all these decades later. Although, I didn’t have any innate talent, I found fulfillment in it.

My experience with the clarinet was another story. I’d much rather forget it and so would my parents. Their ears are still damaged from all the squeaks that came out of the instrument when I played it. Their pocketbooks became emptied having to so frequently replace reeds that both my sister and I ruined.

My twin sister and I had a different kind of creativity – we were full of ideas that were not always angelic!  Like how to “get Fanny’s goat” (Fanny is the stellar character in my memoir) and how get her involved in our childhood antics. Her creativity came from how to teach us life lessons that we’d later come to realize was about our silly, double trouble.

Thank heavens for Fanny. She was an angel for putting up with my twin and I and our two brothers. And I am  also grateful for all other angels my life~

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

Sue’s memoir

Small Things Big Wonders

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All of our life is a miracle. . . . There is not a minute in the twenty-four hours that is not filled with miracles.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever noticed how the smallest things sometimes hold the biggest wonders? Consider:

  • The sudden appearance of blue-speckled robins eggs in the nest
  • An unexpected phone call from someone you were just thinking about
  • The delightful scent of a newborn baby’s head
  • A colorful rainbow after a wicked storm
  • Perfumed air from a gardenia, rose or lilac
  • The extraordinary talent of a musician, painter, dancer, writer or singer who has had no training
  • The crowing glory of the daffodils through the snow

When did you last stop, take heed and intently observe  a small thing that holds big wonders? Springtime holds an abundance of opportunity! Recharge your life by being keenly observant as the season of renewal unfolds and opens up. Deeply inhale all the goodness and find gratefulness in each daybreak and sunset.

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This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, the author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.  See you tomorrow on http://www.AllThingsFulfilling.com.

 

 

Treasuring Art

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 “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”   ~ Chinese proverb 

At a thrift store recently I came across an art print of Thomas Moran – imagine my delight! It seemed like a God thing – the image was just sitting there waiting for someone who’d appreciate it to pick it up . I gave in to my desires and purchased it – a real deal. I am very grateful to have the Moran art print hanging on my wall. He was one of the greatest illustrator and colorists of all times.

Every evening the week before last, I had been watching Ken Burns’ documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.  http://bit.ly/182xh1NMoran’s name was mentioned as one of the top landscape painters of the 19th century who ventured west. I learned he traveled to YellowstoneNational Park from the Hudson RiverSchool in New York, in the summer of 1871, to document on canvas what others described as a place where “hell bubbled up.”

Many artists traveled westward in the early days of the founding of the U.S. National Parks and they continue to be favorite places for artists who are seeking inspiration. Artists still go to paint, photograph and write about the dramatic landscapes in these protected government lands which are far more unique than many other places across the United States. Ralph Waldo Emerson described the National Parks as places where “God is more easily found in nature than in the works of man.” 

Lots of people find personal fulfillment in poking around in thrift shops. You never know what treasures you might find. I scored!

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Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow!

Journey toward Enlightenment

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Words that enlighten the soul are more precious than jewels. ~ Hazrat Inayat Khan

“Okay…it’s 4:30 in the morning and any minute we’re off to the airport…Burlington VT to Newark, NJ then 14 hrs to Bejing, from there to Mongolia and the Gobi–the first leg of the journey has begun!” ~writes Clemma Dawsen from Sandgate, Vermont.

I doubt my friend Clemma has taken her feline. She’d be more likely to transport her horse. She’s an equestrian, and finds the same kind of fulfillment in owning an equine as the Dali Lama does in having a cat. If you missed the story about His Holiness and his feline, scroll down to yesterday’s blog.

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Clemma is part of a group that is traveling from Vermont to Tibet to learn more about personal fulfillment. This group is made up of artists of all types. She will be journaling as she travels, she is the poet/writer of the group.

I am so proud of Clemma. She is deserving of this assignment. I met her when I worked as education coordinator at the VermontStateCraftCenter “Frog Hollow.” She is one of those kinds of people you feel as if you have known forever – warm, loving and friendly. We “clicked” immediately. Although we only worked together for a relatively short time, she has never left my heart. When we met, we had a lot in common – both of us had sons, who were only children. They attended the same high school and both boys have artistic spirits. We’d share notes on teen rearing a lot.

I encourage you to follow Clemma and her fellow adventurers on the blog Triptych Journey: The Alchemy of Stories, Art and Travel. http://triptychjourney.org/  .

The group is also comprised of a project advisor (a Buddist who has more than two dozen books on spirituality to his credit), a documentary cinematographer, a photographer, and a choreographer. Their mission “is to tell compelling world stories that speak to all of us. Using multimedia arts and expression, Triptych Journey connects audiences to vulnerable people, cultures and ecology, instilling values of conservation and preservation in a rapidly changing world.”

Happy Travels to All! I can’t wait to be enlightened about what is learned from this experience that will take  these artists to far off reaches of the world.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. Come on back to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow.

Labors of Today’s Innovators

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Thou, O God, dost sell us all good things at the price of labor.” ~ Leonardo daVinci

Today, I am going to spare my labors and shift the spot light to an author who has a lot of good things to say in his books about how to think and work creatively. He has written a number of publications that contain fascinating thoughts and concepts.  For more information on Michael Gelb’s writings and workshops, please visit his website. http://michaelgelb.com/

Here are a few of Michael Gelb’s titles:

Work Like DaVinci: Gaining the Creative Advantage in Your Business and Career  Click for info & ordering

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 Mind Mapping: How to Liberate Your Natural Genius Click for info & ordering michael gelb4

 Innovate Like Edison: The Five-Step System for Breakthrough Business Success Click for info & ordering
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Body Learning: Regain your Natural Poise Click for info & ordering

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I’ll be back tomorrow with some information for parents about a contest that encourages children to use their creativity by writing a story. There are no entry fees, so every child can participate and use their God-given artistic abilities.

Happy Labor Day, everyone! Find something that fulfills your own sense of fun. I’m going for a bike ride!

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the UnexpectedClick for info & ordering Return tomorrow for more independent thoughts, words and views from All Things Fulfilling.