Movies Inspiring Kindness

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“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.”  ― J.K. Rowling

 

Happy Film Friday, everybody! In keeping with this weeks theme of kindness on All Things Fulfilling, we will be shedding the spotlight on films with heart. Some of these movies are lesser known and you can read a short synopsis of each of them through an article listed at the end of this writing.

 

How many of these movies have you seen in your lifetime?

  • The Butter Cream Gang
  • The Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story
  • Friendships Field
  • Good Morning Miss Dove
  • Because of Winn-Dixie
  • Dear God
  • The Miracle of the Cards

This is a partial list, to see a description of each one and the full list of movies and TV shows that inspire kindness, please visit the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website.

See you back here on Monday on All Things Fulfilling.

A Secret Society of Influencers

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atomic 6 einstein

If A equals success, then the formula is: A = X + Y + Z, X is work. Y is play. Z is keep your mouth shut.” – Albert Einstein

As I strolled through the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History last week I read accounting after accounting of life in Los Alamos, New Mexico during the years when the pioneers researched and tested the origins of atomic theory. Exposure of the scientists to the general population was very limited, and they formed their own “secret society” of sorts.  Their early discoveries have opened the doors to modern day nuclear physics, medicine and quantum mechanics.  The work of Albert Einstein, Madame Marie Curie, Enrico Fermi and others have impacted our world immeasurably.

This point was driven home to me in a way that I could most relate to when I saw the pop-culture exhibit which displayed how many movies, television shows, books, childrens toys and games, and other products (even Atomic skis!) have been influenced. The captivating and educational collection of materials are nostalgic and historic. Seeing displays of science and art in one place made me realize the impact of nuclear science and medicine on our society during the formative years of my childhood. Post World War II men and women as well as  baby boomers especially will appreciate the exhibit. Here are a few images I captured of  my visit. I am sure you will recognize many of the titles and products.

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atomic7 comics

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atomic 9 movie

There was much more of interest to me in this museum than I would have ever fathomed. Here are some of the other exhibits. If you are near Albuquerque, NM do stop in to the National Museum of Atomic Science and History. The Bradbury Scientific Labratory in Los Alamos, NM the site where the first nuclear bomb testing took place is just an hour away also.

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.

As Far Away as Ever

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“Distance lends enchantment to the view.” ~ Mark Twain

Welcome back to All Things Fulfilling! I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas. Soon it will be time to ring out the old and bring in the new year.

Our family celebrated Christmas southwest style in New Mexico. It included tamales, visiting the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History (the pop-culture display was my favorite!) and the luminara festival on Christmas Eve in Old Town Albuquerque. We even experienced  a bit of our son’s world over the three day vacation by taking in a movie (Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens – what else?).

Now we have re-entered our own atmosphere of the frozen tundra of the Centennial State. While we were away we escaped the -29 degree temps which hit northwest Colorado the night after Christmas. Last night I was back in my own cozy bed and it was also a little balmier outside at -14 degrees farenheit. I still had visions of the Land of Enchantment in my head.

Below: Finally a reunion with our son, Marc. It had been a long 10 months and how I have missed seeing him!

Marc & me xmas 2015 at his place

Albq Luminarias Christmas eve resizedAbove photo: Hundreds of thousands of luminaras bedazzled Old Town Albuquerque on Christmas Eve.

The display far exceeded my expections and this one house alone had over 1200 lanterns multi-tiered all over the property. Blocks and blocks of neighborhoods were lit. We walked and walked taking in the festive atmosphere and listening to the carolers in the gazebo in Old Town Albuquerque.

albuquerque gazebo

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Above: The San Felipe de Neri Church, photo by Charles Mann. There were so many people it was

difficult to photograph it myself.

hot air ballons xmas eve Albuq.

Above: Hot air balloons on Christmas Eve all lit up. Photo credit: Terry Leonard

meghans family and ours

 Following the traditions of the Womack family, we celebrated new friends and Christmas Day with the pop of Christmas crackers, an English tradition.

marc and meghan xmas 2015

 As my grandmother used to say the moment the last Christmas gift was opened, “Well, Christmas is as far away as ever!”

Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. We will be finishing up the three part interview with playright Jorge Avila. Click here to read Part I and Part II.

On Wednesday, I’ll be sharing a few images from the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History .

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

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.

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.

 

 

Film of Redemption and Hope

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He conquers who endures.” – Persius

I remember the day in August, 2010 when I was glued to the television as I watched a compelling news story unfold. A group of  33 workers in Chile were trapped due to a mine blast. These miners put their lives in danger every single day all for the sake of bringing gold and copper out from underground into the marketplace. I watched with rapt attention as experts in the field worked around the clock to save their lives.

The 33There is now a movie based on this story called The 33. It was released in theatres on November 13. Many of the details that could not be covered in short news clips I am sure are in the cinema release. What I had forgotten until I read the review of this movie is that the men were trapped underground for 69 days. Imagine that!

The moral of this survival-against-all-odds story is to never give up. This is a good movie for families, however, I would warn against young children watching this movie. It may be too unsettling and disturbing.

To watch a movie trailer or to read reviews and more about this movie, please visit this website.

 

Have a good weekend everyone! See you on All Things Fulfilling on Monday.

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

 

Flaws in Character and Writing

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Two weeks ago Charles Shields, author of 20 histories and biographies for young adults came to the Bud Werner Memorial Library to talk about his knowledge of Harper Lee and her two publications, To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman.

Shields publications Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee and I am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee reveal a multitude of little known facts about Lee’s childhood life prior to becoming an author.

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  • She left law school and moved to New York City to become an author. However, her dreams of becoming a full-time writer were delayed because she needed to find a way to pay her expenses, so she became an airline reservationist for a period of about eight or ten years.
  • A neighbor and playmate was Truman Capote, author of In Cold Blood
  • She and Capote hauled a 12 pound Underwood typewriter up to their tree house where they’d sit for hours and write and discuss ideas for stories.
  • Upon her fathers death, Harper Lee inherited her father’s watch, which she in turn gave to Gregory Peck who played her father (Atticus) in the 1962 movie To Kill A Mockingbird.

In his book talk, Shield’s certainly provided the audience with a wealth of information about the author and her two books. To sum it up, Shields says that “Mockingbird” asks the reader for compassion, while “Watchman” asks the reader for forgiveness. I agree with this statement. It helped me to  lay aside my own profound sadness for Scout when she finds out at the end of “Watchman” her father was not the man she thought he was.

During the Q & A session one of the audience members mentioned that she was bothered by the fact that “Watchman” was released in it the same form the original manuscript was written. I personally appreciated that the publication was released “unpolished.” I hope the lady in the audience can forgive and understand perhaps why “Watchman” was released without copy editing. I believe the “raw state” of the publication adds to the historical value to the writing from a Pulitzer-prize American author whose work has certainly held up to the test of time.

Tonight I look forward to the community discussion to wrap up the One Book Steamboat series, which has received attention from the National Library Association newsletter.

Thanks once again to Bud Werner Memorial Library for a fulfilling opportunity to learn all we can about one of America’s most beloved authors.

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

Hey Boo: Best Movie Words

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Life was always waiting for the right moment to act.” ~ Paul Coelho

No one ever expected Harper Lee to publish another book. The writer’s destiny seemed to be an author of a sole publication that has sold over 5 million copies. She surprised the literary world when it was announced that a second novel was in the pipeline for publication. Fifty years after To Kill a Mockingbird was published Go Set a Watchman was released. If you haven’t read either publications, as far as I am concerned you are missing out on very important American literature. I believe “Watchman” will also become known as an American classic in coming years.

harperlee_flatLast week I attended the second in a series of community events at the Bud Werner Memorial Library geared around Lee’s publication Go Set a Watchman. The screening of the  documentary film Harper Lee: From Mockingbird to Watchman (previously titled Harper Lee:Hey Boo) was at the center of the evening. In the film, interviews of famous people in the literary and media world talk about what the classic To Kill a Mockingbird has meant to Americans who love this book.

marymurphy_creditchriscarroll_m8398After the screening, the filmmaker Mary McDonagh Murphy Skyped in to take questions from the audience at the library. I had the opportunity to ask my question. “As a filmmaker what did you learn from Harper Lee about storytelling through the production of this documentary?” Her answer included remarks that to tell the story well, it was a juggling challenge.  She had to go back and revise and edit the film to include information about the 2015 release of “Watchman” by Harper Collins. She also mentioned that more revisions to her 2015 documentary will be necessary as the full impact of “Watchman” on the literary world is made known in coming years. For more information on Murphy’s film which has also been aired on PBS, visit the filmmaker’s website.

Thursday evening, October 15, 2015 is the third event for One Book Steamboat. Charles Shields, Harper Lee’s biographer will be at the Bud Werner Memorial Library in person. He was one of the first persons to be aware of Lee’s manuscript for “Watchman” that had been locked up in a safe deposit box for decades. I look forward to his presentation.

I have never been so immersed in the full study of an author before and it has been an extremely fulfilling experience. Thanks to Jennie Lay at Bud Werner Memorial Library for programming all the surrounding events of One Book Steamboat for this community.

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

Stitching People and Yarns Together

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Art and life are not separate domains.” ~ Piet Mondrian

“What a good way to end a work week,” I thought, as I sat among a group of about 14 other knitters at Sew Steamboat. The group meets each week after work hours on Fridays. I had made a promise to myself that I was going to sit and stitch with this group once summer was over. Last Friday I joined in. Since I’ve taken a knitting hiatus over the past 27 years, I was looking for support and fellowship among fellow fiber enthusiasts in the community where I live. Others have the same objective when they join in on similar crafting groups.

It was refreshing to see a male  in the group. He is a visitor to the community from California. By the yarns he told this gentleman is a very accomplished craftsman who sheers sheep, spins the wool and then turns it into creative projects. “Kudos to this ambitious fellow,” I thought, as I listened to his stories. His daytime job is a family physician, so I guess it could be said “he stitches people and yarns together.

Here are a few pictures that I took at Sew Steamboat. The room was so light-filled, the photos did not turn out very well, but you’ll get the picture!IMG_20150918_162912_617

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Since today is Film Friday, I’d like to share information about a book to film adaptation which may be of interest to  other knitting enthusiasts.  Friday Night Knitting Club written Kate Jacobs is in stages of development. Keep your eye on this site for more information.

That’s all from All Things Fulfilling today. Have a good weekend. Enjoy the fall season. We’ve already had some snow on the upper peaks here in northwestern Colorado. Morning temps are already sometimes below freezing! Good time to knit myself a woolen scarf and socks!

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of the EVVY award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. The publication is available in audio book (the real treasure is in the voice), paperback and e-book.

Partners and Publishing

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Literacy arouses hopes, not only in society as a whole but also in the individual who is striving for fulfillment, happiness and personal benefit by learning how to read and write. ~ Unesco

HANDOUT IMAGE - Cover of Harper Lee's new book 'Go Set A Watchman'

Wow! “Am I ever fortunate to be here tonight,” I thought as I learned of the agenda for the first in a series of gatherings which revolves around “One Book Steamboat.” Harper Lee’s newly published book Go Set a Watchman was selected for an all community read.

On Wednesday evening, a community member began the presentation by dispelling some rumors about Lee’s second novel. He knows first-hand what has transpired in the publishing of the manuscript. He is part of a team of advisors looking out for the author’s interests. What he said was very different than some of the news stories. Contrary to everyone’s belief, even though Lee is 89 years old and does not hear well, her decision making abilities are rational. All communications were written to make sure Lee fully understood all implications of the publishing process. To read more about the publishing of a long awaited second book from the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, please visit this article from the Steamboat
Today newspaper and the others listed.

Wall Street Journal – How I Found the Harper Lee Manuscript

New York Times – Joe Nocera the Watchman Fraud

What Does Harper Lee Want? 

Not only has a Steamboat Springs, Colorado community member been involved with the publishing of “Watchman,” thanks to Lee’s generosity, she has donated to Partners of Routt County very special editions of her two publications for a fundraising auction to support a wonderful organization. How special is that?

The evening culminated with the screening of  the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird starring Gregory Peck. I had never seen it before, and for me the characters became even more alive and their messages hit even closer to home after having seen the role playing of the characters in the movie version.

“One Book Steamboat” continues with three more events in October which will give us an opportunity to look even closer at the work of Harper Lee (aka Nelle)! I’ll keep you posted.

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