Welcome, Heart-Filled Month

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Did you know yesterday was Inspire Your Heart with Art Day? Being the independent spirit that I am, I’ll celebrate it today instead. It’s a good kick-off to this heart-filled month of February.

I am inspired by artists, working in any medium, who have the DNA to toil unrelentlessly to succeed. After all, art is not just living by one’s one creativity. From my observations, the most successful artists might sum up their lives this way:

Valentines-Day-Hearts- with sues artist quote corrected #2

 

Whew! Those are some tall work boots to fill! If you are considering an art career and this statement fuels your fire, I’d say you are in it for all the right reasons! To shed realistic light on the subject -as in any career, there will be both adversity and distraction but it is all part of the fulfilling equation.

If you are in any part of the writing or publishing process, you might enjoy this blog from BookBaby.com about not letting excuses and distractions get the best of you!

That’s more than enough philosophical ponderings for today! See you tomorrow on AllThingsFulfilling.com.

Click  here for information on EVVY award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard’s publications.

 

 

Spaces of Dreams

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“What you surround yourself with should bring you peace of mind and peace of spirit.” ~ Stacy London

Over the past few days blogs have been written about books with storylines about the planetary world. People all over the universe look to the skies and dream and wonder what’s out really out there beyond our earthly existence.

There is so much beauty on this planet Earth, and I love seeing photos of places where others live and the beautiful worlds that people create for themselves.

table top garden sceneI have a friend who looks like she might live a fairytale existence, but I know she doesn’t due to some real health challenges. She surrounds herself with joy, peace, serenity and beauty using her homemaking skills. and has a very special talent for doing it.

I think she’d tell you she has done better than she expected given her diagnosis twenty plus years ago. In my opinion, her beautiful home environment has something to do with it. Her challenges are still there but she dwells more on using her creativity to make a beautiful world for herself and her family – her husband, her two sons and their wives and her grandchildren. She puts so much charm into her environment, probably so she can more easily overlook the difficult stuff.vintage bike


Today, I’d like to give a shout out to my special friend in South Carolina. I hope someday soon I can go see her because it makes me sad that so much distance separates us.

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

Exploring Space Romance

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This isn’t happily ever after. It’s so much more than that.” 
― Kiera CassThe One

I’d like to say “Good on Ya,” to Aussie Author, D.A. Hill for writing another book that despite being outside of my normal realm of reading genres, I read his publication Cerelia’s Choice engrossed from beginning to end. And I really enjoyed it too, I might add! The turns in the plot came often enough to keep me moving forward wondering what was going to happen next.

So as not to be the spoiler, I’ll refrain from giving you too much information about Hill’s first foray into an interesting genre of writing – space romance. But, I will say, “Oh, how I rooted that the chosen next ruler of the Imperial Throne could defend against the forces in the Galactic Empire so the princess could live happily ever after.”

Cerelias ChoiceYou’d almost have to expect a story about a space pirate from a person who works in the I.T. field. But what remained consistant from his previous publications, is the author’s ability to express very realistic human emotion and dialogue through the character of the lovely Crown Princess and others. Earthly sentiments expressed in an “other world environment” resulted in a fulfilling read.

Check out all of  independent publisher D.A. Hill’s novels including Newton’s Ark and Fuller’s Mine which “explore the impact of technology on human society.”

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

Movies Inspiring Kindness

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movie-heart

 

“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.

Unfinished Business for MLK

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“You will never say goodbye to the past, until you understand why the flashbacks haunt you.”Shannon L. Alder

Today on All Things Fulfilling, we’ll celebrate the birthday of one of the most influential civil rights activists of all time, Martin Luther King. His work to erase racial segregation and racial equality for all was tireless. Sadly, his unfinished business in Memphis is still a work in progress in our country.

We’ll take a trip through images to Memphis, Tennessee situated along the Mississippi River. The city’s cultural roots run deep and it’s known for his rich music heritage. Beale Street abounds with eateries of it’s famous barbeque and sounds of rhythm and blues, gospel, jazz. It’s also known as the birthplace of rock and roll.

The Orpheum Theatre is historically significant and today it plays an important role in educating children. Their belief is that “when kids find art, they find themselves.” Many celebrities have performed in this theatre whose beginnings date back to 1890, when it was then known as the Grand Opera House. In 1907 it was renamed at The Orpheum.

Memphis 57 signed

orpheum horse and carriage 2 (best one) signed

memphis 52 orpheum history of star signed

WC Hand sign at museum signed

Beale Street signed

nat d williams first black radio announ

BB King books signed

miss pollys neon sign signed

blues cafe signed

 

girl sitting on window sill signed

Tragically, Martin Luther King’s life ended on April 4, 1969 in Memphis, Tennessee during a time of racial tension and upheaval. It was a period of unrest in my own life also. I write about this time in Chapter 21 Someone to Watch Over Her in my memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

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

A Whip Stitch Character

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The basic quality that any great story must have is a story that illustrates the human condition.” ~ William Shattner

Who is your favorite audio book narrator?

What’s that you say? “You’ve never listened to an audio book yet?”

What is you, crazy?

Audio books are on the rise and are greatly appreciated by those who are on the run. They allow for multi-tasking – while driving in the car, exercising or cooking dinner. You need not do a thing, only listen.

Here’s a list of some of the favorite audio book narrators of all time. Narrators like Maya Angelou and Garrison Keillor and others are well liked because their voices are so memorable.

Valentines 2016It was a fulfilling experience narrating my own audio book because the central character, Fanny, had a dialect I could emulate so well.  It is what many readers say “drew them into the story in the first place.”

If she were here today, “she say, you oughts to put dem earplugs in yo’ ears, and listen to a story. You don’t knows what you is missin’.”

Oh, how I miss that lady who was the heart and soul of my story. She was some kind of special. One might even call her a “whip stitch.” Just thinking about her makes me smile. And she sowed my heart in more ways than one.

If you are looking for a fun, memorable experience listen to the audio book version of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected through Audible. It’s downloadable within a few minutes. Any one of the formats – the award-winning audio book, e-book or paperback makes for a great Valentines gift for yourself or for someone in your family.  After all, it is a love story from several different perspectives!

Also available are 10 short stories cut from the EVVY award-winning manuscript, Gift of a Lifetime. Lessons of Heart & Soul gives readers a humorous and touching glimpse into the love of a family, just like the first publication. .

Bringing Cheer over the Holidays

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Let’s state something up front! There is no perfect life. There just isn’t. Postings on social media might lead us to believe otherwise but, remember, we are often only seeing the good parts. During the holidays people ramp up their efforts to create images of having perfect lives and Christmases.

Everyone has struggles and things to overcome in life. But as they say, what you do with those challenges is what counts. That is why it’s important that for those who have inspirational stories to tell and feel they could write a book about it, to do so. The reason I penned a memoir in the first place was to help others who struggle with health issues understand that our attitudes profoundly affect our well-being.

I’m very proud to say that this past Christmas, thanks to the Mickey Barrows Memorial Endowed Fund which “benefits children who are confined to the hospital during the holidays,” copies of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected found their way to families through the Childrens Colorado Foundation in the Denver area. The hope for the initiative is that the book brought some smiles and cheer to faces and encouragement to teen cardiac patients who were hospitalized during the holidays. The book has won the Harvest Book Award in the young adult category and two EVVY awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association.

So, for anyone who is considering writing a narrative that will bring light and love to others, here is my message: Help others to know you are never alone.

Your story matters!

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

See you back here on Monday!

 

 

From Lightweight to Weightlessness

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You don’t realize that you are weighed down all the time by yourself, and your organs, and your head. ~ Mary Roach, author of Stiff

“How was your float?” Valerie McCarthy, Owner of  Neptune Healing & Float Spa asked as I exited the private suite that held the pod (or tank) and shower area where I had spent an hour engaging in the closest thing I have come to nirvana.

“Wonderful! I guess it is the first time I have truly experienced total weightlessness.” Think about it, even when we are trying to float in salt water of the ocean, we are fighting against the tides and body beating waves. The high concentration of epsom salt in the float pod was beyond any other buoyancy I had yet to experience. I am a lightweight, and don’t have much body mass to move around, but still taking all weight off my structure (and brain!) was something I have never known -a complete yielding for one blissful hour. I believe I may have fallen asleep for a few minutes. However, Valerie said I may have reached the theta state (that gray area when you are not sure if you are awake or asleep).

The relaxed, “putty-like” feeling continued throughout the day and that night I slept like a baby (although admittedly, I often do). Every tension of 2015 was removed while I “practiced the pause” and drifted unsinkable in the pod.

float podFloating is said to be one of the top ten wellness trends to watch in 2016 and it is even being used in athletic science. Top athletes are jumping in the pod to relieve muscle aches and pains and reduce stress to improve performance.  Floating is also said to increase creativity. Rehab facilities are including float pods for their athletes. According to an ESPN article Stephen Curry is among those elite athletes who is taking advantage of this wellness modality.

I am feeling rejuvenated and have a sense of well-being about the New Year. Bring it on 2016, bring it on!  I am ready!

I would highly recommend this experience. I can see how floating could be even more beneficial to mind/body and spirit on a regular basis.

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

Practice the Pause

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The greatest failure is the failure to try. ~William Ward

Join us today and tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling as I relate how I started my New Year by trying a new up and coming healing arts experience….

I arrived at Neptune Healing & Float Spa, knowing a little about what to expect because I had read the arrival instructions and watched their video describing the benefits.  I know myself well enough to know my biggest challenge would be surrendering fully to the experience by shutting down my mind, trusting the environment (the bouyancy of the water) and just enjoying the total experience.

neptune floatMy apprehension came from wondering whether I would be cold (although the water was said to be skin temperature) and could I float for an entire hour? I am not a person who puts my feet up very often but rather inclined to be engaged in doing something constantly. The very reason I decided to engage in the mind/body/spirit experience in the first place – to practice the pause!

My uneasiness about trusting the environment was laid to rest immediately as I climbed into the “pod” and let myself be lifted, being fully supported by the density of the salt water.

I kept the pod covering open simply because once I began floating I was much too comfortable to change positions to close it. While the room faded into darkness a few minutes after I began my float, I keep the spectrum of multi-colored lights on under the water in the pod. I also requested that the music stay on. It was bearly audible but it kept me entirely focused on enjoying the experience.

When the hour was over I couldn’t believe it. My concerns about being in the pod for one hour and being cold were ridiculous. Nothing more than a case of worrying about something before it even happens!

Tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling, I’ll tell you more about the benefits of “practicing the pause.” Floating has come into one of the top 10 wellness trends to watch for in 2016 and tomorrow we will be sharing articles that tell you why!

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

 

 

 

Out of This World Art Launch

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Happy New Year, Everybody!! Today I will be sharing some very exciting news about two artists whose work I am proud to say fulfills me every day because many of their published art prints hang on the walls of my living space…

Last week as I read the blog My Life with the Masters, I thought “Jumpin’ Jupiter! This news is out of this world!”  American artists Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik have made history and literally brought science and art together when their paintings were launched into space and are now rotating the Earth at phenomenal speed.

According to the article written by Kristen Thies, “This art/science journey initially began when James Nadir, a Silicon Valley engineer who retired from Intel invited Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik to create 1.25” x 1.25” paintings to be placed into a small space capsule aboard the International Space Station.”  To read the full article, please visit My Life with the Masters.

If you are not familiar with these artists, Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik, learn more through their bios. I came to know this husband and wife team of master artists back in 1998 through the beginnings of an independent publishing venture, Stove Prairie Press, LLC. Much of my knowledge about the industry can be attributed to these pioneering artists whose work has reached new heights in this New Year! Congratulations, Richard & Nancy!!

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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.

See you back here on All Things Fulfilling on Monday, January 4th!