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.

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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!)

xmas walk lights2

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.

xmas walk - art co2

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

xmas walk - lights

Below: F.M. Light & Sons

Xmas walk - not sure

Below: Chrysalis Steamboat (surprisingly affordable and stylish). 

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Chrysalis 2

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.

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.”

mary-and-baby-jesus_l1

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Into the Heart of the Story

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An angel can fly directly into the heart of the matter. ~ Unknown

Time is running out! Order the three time award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected right now for the entire family to enjoy reading together. It is available in audio book (the voice holds the real treasure!) and the e-book and can be delivered in just a few minutes. It’s  not too late to order the paperback either. It may arrive at your doorstep before Xmas if you jump right on it.

Since Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected was published, a few of the most common remarks from readers have been:

“I wanted to be part of YOUR family!” 

another reader said:

I read the story slowly, a little bit each evening, because I didn’t want it to be over!

Why? Because the truths from the stellar character, Fanny, were told in a manner that involved hilarity and unconventional wisdom. Life long lessons were taught by a human being with a limited education who knew how to go directly to the heart in every manner. Fanny’s unique translation of the gospel truth can be grasped by children.

 

Recipe for an angel

See you back here on Monday, on All Things Fulfilling! I will look forward to your company.

Dear Santa 2015

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December, 2015

Dear Santa,

635524489837773185-write-santaI hope you haven’t had your fill of yearly letters from me yet. This December I have an even larger request. Over the past few years you’ve marvelously delivered what I’ve asked for so I hope you can
pull things off for me once more.

Three or four years ago I requested that you provide me with memories of my childhood so I could pen a memoir. Things came through very clearly.

The next year I was lagging in the motivation to finish the publication. Miraculously, persistance and determination began to show up more frequently. Thus, I accomplished my goal. Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected came into the marketplace.

Last year, as you may remember, when I read my Dear Santa letter at the Steamboat Writers Group Xmas party I asked you for two gifts – to deliver some creative ideas on fresh ways to market my memoir and ideas for a new publication. Out of a small twinkle I once saw in your eye Santa, my e-book Lessons of Heart & Soul came into being.

I’m a little concerned that I am really overstepping my limits this year. I have a larger request than ever. Regretfully for you, but fortunately for me, my love of writing keeps leading me forward which requires asking for what could be harder to fill requests every year.

Santa, I am in dire need of a new computer. I mean, the one I’ve got I can tell is nearly worn out. I am grateful that it still is hanging in there.  I can always go work in the library, if  you can not fulfill my request. After all, it’s a beautiful environment – bright, cozy warm and the technology is all there. Problem is we are limited in the number of hours we can use their computers.  There are lots of other people who need them. I understand. I’m not kidding, I really do. Sometimes I awake in the middle of the night…and you know what William Faulkner says about that – “if there’s story is in you, it’s got to come out.

This year I’ve been asked to edit a publication and I need to contribute a chapter to the book also. I could work a little more efficiently if I had a new computer.

Lastly, Santa, I need a larger spark of interest in my ancestors because I have become involved in a genealogy writers group. Although I love to write about my memories, and I have a new found love of writing fiction, my most recent foray into a story can not come from just my own opinions. I’ll need some facts to better substantiate what I intend to write about. Can you help me out with that?

I’ve been a good girl. I always work hard at whatever I am doing. I’ve gotten my work ethics from my forebearers! I am not a slacker. I try to be kind and compassionate, like you. I help others to successfully accomplish their independent publishing goals by sharing my knowledge. It’s what I love to do!

Say, I have an idea! How about one year you and Mrs. Claus write love letters to one another about the spirit of Christmas.  They will be in kept in the family archives for generations. All your little elves down the line will love it too. I’ll help you if I have the means to do so. That is… with my new computer… (Hint, hint!)

P.S. Please don’t forget to take some time out for yourself. It keeps you healthy and in the right spirit of Christmas. Love U! Sue

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.

 

 

Tree Decorating Lifts Spirits

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This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in. ~  Theodore Roosevelt

Last Thursday evening I had an unexpected request from Lift Up, an inter-faith thrift store and food bank where I volunteer twice weekly. I was asked if I would help decorate for the annual “Festival of Trees” at the Tred of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs, CO. I and three other volunteers, who I rarely come in contact with each other, because of our differing schedules and duties, had a great time together!

Our tree was sponsored by the Community Food Bank at Lift Up. Ninety or ninety-five percent of the “food-themed” decorations that went on the tree were donated to the thrift store or came from recycled materials. Georgi, a very creative and energetic person had used her skills to make some of the ornamental food from plastic bags and “Mod Podge,” a crafting material. She also made the tree topper – a red chef’s hat. The tree turned out beautiful. Here are a few pictures.

Below: Georgi is here in Steamboat for a one year stint with the Colorado Episcopal Service Corps. She would make a great full-time resident of this community.  She has yet to experience a “three wire winter”  since she just arrived in town a few months ago from Pennsylvania.  (That’s what locals call winters when snow so deep it reaches the third wire on fences (in other words, it exceeds your armpits!). And it happens frequently.

Georgi

Below: A few full-time employees of Lift Up

Lynn food bank mgr

Angela case worker

Below: Four representatives for all the dedicated people who make Lift-Up the

wonderful non-profit organization that it is.

Hundreds and hundreds of volunteer service hours are donated

annually.

Lift up volunteers

LU tree with topper

As Christmas grows nearer, I will share more pictures of the beautiful Festival of Trees from the Tred of Pioneers Museum on All Things Fulfilling. They were all delightfully decorated.

I was fully thrust into the festive spirit and it continued the next day as I helped the United Methodist Women prepare for the Fall Harvest Fair. We wrapped and priced all the baked goods, jellies, jams.

Come back tomorrow to see what that shopping experience looks like. Hundreds of people come through the open doors at the United Methodist Church every year to shop for the holidays and fill their empty stomachs at lunchtime with homemade soup and bread.

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.