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

xmas walk - lights

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.

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.”

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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

Elemental Truths

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When we read a story, we inhabit it. The covers of the book are like a roof and four walls. What is to happen next will take place within the four walls of the story. And this is possible because the story’s voice makes everything its own.”  ~ Unknown

In the Oven, a chapter in the award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected is one family’s Christmas story. The anthology shares an elemental truth about many life lessons which are shared in a unique voice. Adults and children can enjoy the memoir together.

The real treasure lies in the audio book. For your reading pleasure, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected is also available in paperback and e-book. Pictures in both of these formats greatly enhance the reading pleasure.

Here is what other readers say about Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

I enjoyed Gift of a Lifetime so much I read it three times. What a character was Fanny. So much devotion to God and the family. ~ Leonie, from Brisbane, Australia

Such a heartwarming and inspiring story. The author did an amazing job and it was a very easy read! Once I started I did not want to put it down. I will definitely pass this one on to my friends and family. ~ Pam

Fanny and her winsome ways are a must read! Can’t wait to also listen to the audio version of this inspirational book. ~ Grace

cookiesI really loved this book because it is so well written. It is personalized story of how the “help” (Fanny) had such a positive influence on the young children in the Batton family. This is a story of love and wisdom sprinkled with humor to get through adversity. ~ Carol

This blog is brought to you by EVVY award-winning author, Sue Batton Leonard. Do return to All Things Fulfilling.