Holiday Books

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Happy December 1st everyone. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I recently began spending time at the Charles W. Lightner Library, a Christian Community Library. What a wonderful assortment of titles – currently 6,300 but who is counting? The number is constantly increasing as new books are acquired.

As I browse the shelves, I see so many titles perfect for family reading. The chances of the whole family being on the same page together when it comes to faith and spirituality is increased when Christian book titles are on the bookshelves of the family library.

Here are two publications which will reinforce your family’s determination to put the focus back into Christmas where it belongs. Pre-holiday reading is recommended!

  • 7 Days of Christmas: The Season of Generosity by Jen Hatmaker
  • Advent Conspiracy by Rick McKinley, Chris Seay and Greg Holder

You, too, can join in on the Advent Conspiracy. I have! I’m participating in a group discussion with the local United Methodist Church in Bel Air.

Keep your eye on AllThingsFulfilling.com.  In the New Year there will be more recommended titles because there are genres of books that can make a world of difference to individuals and family alike who want to live more fulfilling lives. Click here for one more title to add to this short list! There is a meaningful chapter about Christmas in it you will not want to miss.

Post Script:  Ever since I entered the media world as a blogger and writer ten years ago, I have taken about a two-week hiatus, through the holidays, from posting writings. This year it will be a little different. I am dedicating myself to a whole month of quietly observing the holy season and to the renewal of spirit. When the New Year rolls around, 2020!! I will be refreshed and rejuvenated.

Merry Christmas to You and to Yours.

 

She’s Got the Whole World in Her Hands

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Independent publishing has turned the whole publishing world nearly upside down because if you have the will, now there is a way! There is no longer the need to get the “green light” from a mainstream publisher to move forward with getting a book into the market place. Every tool is now available to anyone of any age to write, publish and sell through e-commerce or through any portal an author is willing to pursue. What is needed is a mature level of stick-to-it-ive-ness to accomplish such a goal.

Today, I’d like to share a story about a young girl from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. At thirteen years of age, she recently independently published her first book. I can well remember the fulfilling feelings when I birthed my debut publication which became an award-winning memoir. But, I was decades older than the girl featured in today’s story. Read more about this story of outstanding accomplishment here because it may inspire you to step up and write the story you’ve had inside of you.

God Blessed you, Mackenzie Ostrowski, with a creative spirit filled with powerful motivation and dogged perseverance to inspire others. At your youthful age, you’ve got the whole world in your hands and you’re going for it already in your young life! Good for you! Make the most of all your interests.

I can’t wait to read Mackenzie Ostrowski’s debut novel and it sounds like her success has encouraged her to write more.

Thank you to Laurie at the Heart of Steamboat United Methodist Church for sending me this story!

“Be open to God’s novelty.”

Blind Love

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God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, or sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. – unknown

Twenty-eight years ago today I had a blind date. I wasn’t quite sure what time the meeting would occur but I knew it would be after that day’s labor.

Without even seeing what I was in for, I was told by others that I would love the person I had a date with immediately no matter what. I had no doubt because I held onto lots of blind faith that God would deliver.

Son Bday

On February 25, 1988 , I became a mother.  Today, I’d like to say Happy Birthday to our Son, Marc. 

Everything I went through to risk bringing him into this world is explained in my award-winning book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected in chapter 35 called Turning it Over. It was some special year, my 35th year of celebrating my life.

Our son has brought my husband and me so much joy, and I call him my

Energizing

Sonshine!

 

Many Beautiful Things Coming!

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Believe in the darkness what you have seen in the light. ~ Lilias Trotter

Now, here’s a movie I can really get behind. Many Beautiful Things has just been put on my Must See Movies List. And best of all, Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crowley) of Downtown Abbey fame is starring in it.

This movie is based on the life of artist Lilias Trotter and the setting is Victorian England. The storyline involves art, dreams, talent and true callings.  Wants verses desires, and conflict between lady vs. herself are all in this heart-stirring movie. All things good stories are  made of!

According to the website, this movie began premiering in national theatres February 6 -14. If it doesn’t come to your local theatre, a DVD of this movie will be released in time for International Women’s Day. Shop on the movie website for it along with these other products:  Lilia’s Trotter’s 1876 Sketchbook and 1889 Sketchbook and a children’s book Lily: The Girl Who Could See or Parables of the Cross. Why not put them all in  your shopping cart?

Here’s the trailer which will give you a little insight into this movie that looks very promising for a very fulfilling evening of entertainment!

See you tomorrow! We will see what other beautiful or good news we can dig up. This  blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valentines To Heaven

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Valentines Day, 2016

Valentine To Heaven2

free valentines stationary with Fanny Valentines poem

V5 Cover revised font 4 15 15

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

Click here for information on her publications.  This e-book can be delivered within a few minutes for the cost of less than a Valentine’s Day card. And you can learn more about the character that I sent this Valentines to Heaven to through the memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

From my heart to yours, Happy Valentines Day from

http://www.allthingsfulfilling.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Living With the Heart of a Child

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“Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming.” ~ Joseph B Wirthlin

It’s a wonderful thing to live as an adult with the heart of a child, still full of wonder.

We’re never too old to engage in childhood activities like taking a trip down the sliding board, pumping higher and higher toward the skies on a swing, wading in the waters of a rippling stream, getting messy with finger paints or diving into an ice cream Sundae with such zeal that it ends up all over our face.

The day after Christmas my son, his gal, my husband and I walked into Michael’s Craft Store, looking for a picture frame for a photograph of the two of them they had given us for Christmas.

“Pick out a frame you are happy with,” said Marc, “it will complete the present.”

Before we were finished shopping my son said “Mom, did you see what’s at the front of the store? You might be interested. Go pick one out for yourself.”

“I followed his orders and have enjoyed being a child all over again – all wrapped up into something that used to bring me hours of pleasure as a child.”

According to this article from Business Insider, I am not the only one who is having fun revisiting my childhood!

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On some of these long, dark winter evenings, coloring has been a good change of pace from reading.

This blog is brought to you by the author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

 

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!

 

 

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.

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!

xmas walk - fringes

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

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

xmas walk - consignment place

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!

xmas walk - art co

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

xmas walk allens

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

Xmas courthouse

“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.