Yankee Doodle Day

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Happy 4th of July everybody!

Yankee Doodle DandyThankfully, PBS broadcasts our nation’s Capitol 4th of July for those who must witness it from afar. When I get home from the local fireworks, I automatically flip on the channel. If you have never been to Washington, DC, you are missing something significant. It’s a gift of a lifetime trip that every American should be privy to. The museums, statues and other landmarks are all free, so no one is left out from seeing the attractions as long as you can get there.

When 9/11 happened, the USA rallied and we Americans showed our support for one another by decorating our homeland. It’s a shame many of the flags, banners and other signs of patriotism have since disappeared. They are  good reminders of the freedoms we enjoy and are worth, literally and figuratively, fighting for.

And, why do we save our patriotic songs for Independence Day? In my opinion, they ought to be sung more often! Here are 100 patriotic favorites.   How many do you recognize? Many of the tunes tell the tale of our country’s heritage, and it is important that all generations of Americans know the most famous anthems.

Have a Yankee Doodle Dandy kind of day! On Monday on All Things Fulfilling, I will share reflections of my 4th of July celebrations from Ski Town, U.S.A.

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.

 

Grounded, Even at Sea

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“Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Taylor Batton 1Something completely different was planned for today’s blog but I just got wind of some  developing news, so I’ve changed my story!

On February 14, 2013, two years ago, I posted a blog called Songs, Taylor Made. The first time I featured young musician, songwriter and vocal artist, Taylor Batton on All Things Fulfilling, he was a student at Maine Maritime Academy. He has since graduated and he’s now navigating waters in places around the world piloting tremendous seafaring vessels – tugboats and such.

Batton uses his times of solitude to come to understand himself better and the world around him. His thoughts are used to create narratives through his music. As he says of his nautical life “You get a really strong sense of loneliness. At the same time, you feel a really strong and strange power. All of that kind of ties into how I go about writing the music. I just try and capture that feeling. ” Listen In.

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I’m so proud of this young man. Taylor Batton recently signed with Goldship Records of Bristol, TN and his first full length album will soon be released.

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His journey has not always been easy. Yet he’s stared down adversity  and has attained each one of his goals,  all the while keeping his eye on what he’s been passionate about (maritime life and music) and not given up.

I look forward to learning more about the release of your new record label and the company who has signed you, Taylor. Hearty Congratulations!

This blog is penned by the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Dedication of a Student

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There are only two options regarding commitment; you’re either in or you’re out. Theres no such thing in life as in between. ~ Pat Riley 

Tanner Visnick

Several evenings last week my husband and I were occupied with “art events” and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. On Tuesday, we attended the senior voice recital of  a student named Tanner Visnick. My husband knew  Tanner only through his athletic abilities, and was astounded by his musical talents.  Tanner is also a telemark skier who is good enough to compete with the Europeans at a high level, and he is only a high school senior.

The musical compositions he chose for the evening included classical (sung in his native language as well as German and Italian) and show tunes. A mix of the serious and entertaining, his diversity of interests in music was showcased. Ave Maria, Bella Notte and An die Musik were a few of the classical tunes that he handled with great finesse. Then onto some musical theatre tunes such as Mr Cellophane (from Chicago), On the Street Where You Live (from My Fair Lady), Empty Chairs at Empty Tables (from Les Miserables), Ending with “Thankful,” which has been performed and recorded by Josh Groban on one of his many albums.

Tanner’s commitment and dedication to academics, sport and music has been admirable. Surprisingly, Tanner has his sites set on science as his major field of study next year. Thus, the “The Scientist” was included in the line up of compositions.

I hope when he goes on to college, he’s not finished with his telemark skiing and his music. He’s put too much work into it. But something tells me he will able to continue to handle almost anything that comes his way. He already at a young age, understands the commitment it takes to excel in any field.

Tanner Visnick.pjg

Photo compliments of Jeannie Visnick

Come on back to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. We will digging up more young artistic talent when I tell you about the second senior recital I attended last week that was held at the United Methodist Church http://bit.ly/1kd4g61, presented by the Houston Music Studiohttp://bit.ly/1tY5Yxo .

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.Sue’s memoir

Ringing and Singing

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Sing with passion. Work with laughter. Love with heart. ‘Cause that’s all that matter in the end.” ~ Kris Kristofferson

nostalgic carollersI stepped into a local shop a few days after Thanksgiving and holiday tunes rang out. It stirred up memories of my childhood going from house to house Christmas caroling. People rarely carol anymore. According to an article in Time Magazine, a professor of popular culture at Syracuse University, Bob Thompson says caroling has seen a decline since the 1960s. http://ti.me/1bEe9IG

Hearing Christmas songs in the stores always puts a bug in my ear that it is clearly time to get out the holiday CDs and enjoy them. I never tire of the same old tunes. I’m endlessly delighted by the melodies. The Yule season passes all too quickly, and then it is time to put the Christmas CDs away until next year.

Today I thought I’d see what’s being sold on the internet marketplace for new holiday releases.

Here are a few CD suggestions. I bet you can’t go wrong with selecting any one of them. Each one would make for a fulfilling holiday listening experience:

  • Wrapped in Red – Kelly Clarkson
  • A Mary Christmas – Mary J Blige
  • Christmas Voices  – Celtic Thunder
  • Sending you a Little Christmas – Johnny Mathis
  • Hope for All the World – Craig & Dean Phillips
  • Angels Sing: Christmas in Ireland      – Libera
  • Christmas in my Heart – Gretchen Wilson
  • Christmas Spirit – David Arkenstone

If you are at a loss for an affordable gift-giving idea, a Christmas music is always greatly appreciated and it will be enjoyed for many years. CD’s are great stocking stuffers, too!

It Came Upon Midnight Clear, that glorious song of old…..”

Film Friday: Grace Unplugged

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 “In the rhythm of life, sometimes we find ourselves out of tune.” ~ Azgraybebly Josland

grace unpluggedLet’s start the morning with a little movie trivia on this Film Friday. Alabama is the setting for Grace Unplugged, a new movie that will be released in theatres on October 4, 2013. Parts of this movie depended on a lot of extras, however, the producers found that Saturday filming made it difficult to recruit the people needed. Why? People were unusually disinterested – it seemed they didn’t care about getting their “mugs” in the shooting of a movie for cinema. That’s because the movie was filmed during football season in a state where the sport is King.

So, what is Grace Unplugged all about? A young musician who has found her audience yet outside of her community of fans, she is undiscovered. In her desire to become a top recording star Grace rejects everything she has ever known and moves to Hollywood in search for stardom. Are there elements in her previous life that will help keep her grounded?

The name of the Director, Brad Silverman, may be familiar from his other movies “No Greater Love” and It Really Happened: The Flight of Apollo 11 (TV documentary short).

Put this film produced by Lionsgate on your list for fulfilling fall movie viewing.

Click here for info & ordering Grace Unplugged
Have a good weekend, everybody.

Return on Monday to All Things Fulfilling. This blog brought to you by author Sue Batton LeonardClick for info on Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com . The space where independent thoughts, words and views are all part of the business.

Artistic Energy Abounds in Steamboat

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Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.Margaret B. Runbeck

The 5th annual All Arts Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado was this past weekend, and I was busy. On Friday afternoon I browsed booths filled with artisan wares of all kinds – jewelry, photography, sculpture, fiber arts, oil paintings, pottery and more. There was something of interest for everyone.

On Friday evening I ushered at Strings Music Festival, and I was so grateful I was able to see Love Letters. This play, by A.R. Gurney, earned finalist status for a Pulitzer Prize for drama. I adored it. It left me amazed at how two people reading a script could make an evening so engaging. Katherine Ross and Wilfred A Brimley showed their talents, as actors, by drawing me into the storyline immediately, from the first line to the last.

On Sunday morning at the UnitedMethodistChurch, an operatic singer was incorporated into the service. Although fabulous local musical talent is often showcased in our church, Elizabeth Gore-Stanley had come to town over the weekend as part of the Emerald City Opera. Her beautiful rendition of  “Blessings” aptly described the way I was feeling as I listened to her exquisite God-given voice, and thought about this place, Steamboat.

I wrapped up my weekend back at Strings Music Festival ushering.  Lyle Lovett and his big band gave a performance which did not disappoint. All talented musicians in their own right, with albums to their credit. A little bit country, a little bit Texas swing, some rhythm and blues made for a fulfilling evening. Arnold McCuller, Lovett’s sidekick (backup vocalist) was one smooth guy and you can listen to voice and song writing from his album Soon As I Get Paid on his website. http://bit.ly/13yUFog.

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As we move into midweek, this town in the northwest corner of the Rocky Mountains will continue to stay busy with tourists. The nation’s top bikers will pedal their way through Steamboat Springs on August 21 and 22nd as part of the US Pro Biking Challenge “America’s Race.” which begins in Aspen, Colorado and ends in Denver. Breathtaking altitudes (over 12,000 ft), treacherous mountain passes and spectacular scenery will bring over one million visitors to the State to witness this competition.

Come on back to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Clearing the Way

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“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Are you person who has always had an artistic calling, yet you have never pursued your passion in earnest? You are not alone. There are many people, for various reasons, who have had to travel down other career paths feeling they have not fulfilled their God-given talents.

Matt Tommey book1The book Unlocking the Heart of the Artist: Practical Guide to Fulfilling Your Creative Call as an Artist in the Kingdom speaks to this issue for the new generation of people who seek personal fulfillment as a priority in their lives. He invites others to live fully, doing what makes them happy, and to become “unstuck” by expressing themselves creatively.

The author, Matt Tommey, is a successful basket maker and art consultant from Asheville, North Carolina. His sensible messages to other artists, through his publications, helps clear the way of self-doubt by providing hope and insight to individuals who wish to thrive and become fulltime artists. His book Crafting your Brand: Simple Strategies for Cultivating a Successful Creative Career, is also a good resource for anyone who wants to pursue their calling.

A well-rounded artist, Matt Tommey,  makes a living in a combination of ways, also offering workshops on the craft of basketry. To learn more about his workshops,  how to order these publications and to see his website,  http://bit.ly/1bpQhI9 .

Do return tomorrow for Film Friday, we will be featuring a film that is soon to be released that plays well into our recent topics of writing on All Things Fulfilling. This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.