Good News: The Simplicity Concept

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All Things Fulfilling

simple day 2To some people, living the simple life conjures up thoughts of living out in the woods with no running water, cooking over an open fire and being entirely self-sufficient by growing one’s own crops and hunting and fishing. A bit extreme for most people in this world of modern conveniences.

The good news is there is more than one way of living a pared down lifestyle. We can chose to simplify our lives in ways that might better suit us rather than returning to the homesteading concept.

In the interest of simplifying my blog writing today, here is a link to a great article that outlines 10 ways to simplify your lifestyle. Do a little soul-searching by assessing which choice suits your interests best.

This blog is brought to you by the author of the award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons…

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Retire to the Pink Palace!

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The most valuable antiques are dear old friends.” ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

To my  twin sister and our closest girlfriends – you know who you are:

pink trailerWhen we’re real old ladies (I’m talkin’ real old – retired from retirement) instead of going to the nursing home we can fill a trailer park with these little gems and ramble around inside them wondering how we got there.

We’ll drink cherry colas or brown cows (root beer floats) all day long from the soda fountain ( spiked if you’d prefer). Or better yet, sloe gin fizzes! Let’s horde stashes of turkish taffy, jujubees, pixie sticks…pick your passion, maybe an O’Henry or two.

We’ll put on our red Wax Lips and walk around the neighborhood lookin’ all pretty, visiting from house to house. Let’s fill our mouths with pink Bazooka Joe and blow bubbles and we’ll crack our gum in public as loud as we want to.

We’ll put speakers outside the Pink Palace and blare “You’ve Got a Friend,” and “Sweet Baby James” from our record players and dance till we drop.

We’ve learned from experience it gets mighty cold in the mountains so we’d better make sure the Pink Palace is well insulated and has a woodstove. The one with the best memory among us will have to be the Creosote Captain, lest we stoke too big a flame and start a chimney fire.

Dig out your flannel Lanz night gowns, girls, and your L.L. Bean hiking boots and down vests from the hope chest. Or we can always relocate south and hang out in our bikinis- now thats the beginnings of a vintage comedy act.

What do  you say, girls? Shall we start planning now?

P.S. Happy Belated Valentines Day to you and your spouses!

Valentines 2016 with Lessons of Heart & Soul image Terrys

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.

 

 

 

 

 

A Girl’s Best Friend

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To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business and your business in your heart. ~ Thomas J. Watson

hairdressers are a girls best friend

I’ve often thought that a hairstyling salon could be the best incubator for a creative book idea. There is something that makes people open up when they sit in a chair at any beauty shop. Have you ever noticed that? What is it? People literally “let their hairdown.” I suppose because it’s pretty relaxing when you get a haircut.

Last week I had my tresses trimmed and I felt as if Valentine’s Day came early I had such nice treatment. I got a style that’s fitting for me and before I walked out the door, I was offered a sweet treat. A little round brownie decorated with pink and white icing and candy sprinkles.

Thank you,  Sharon and Lisa, at my favorite and perhaps the most affordable salon in town.

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

 

Life Changing Moments

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When we establish human connections within the context of shared experience we create community wherever we go.”Gina Greenlee, Postcards and Pearls:

As a follow-up to the writings of the past two days about how our life stories come together through the associations we make with others, once again I am reminded that we really are never alone. Here is how it happened:

gym uniformsI am connected with an on-line group of people who grew up in the town and area that I did. Someone posted a picture of a vault box used in gymnastics. An onslaught of postings followed of individual memories of junior high and high school gym classes during the 50’s and 60s.

Comments about the vault box echoed my sentiments exactly. Many said “taking showers in a non-private environment was so humiliating because we were at a vulnerable age when bodies were changing and teens were so sensitive about how they looked to others.” Others stated their distain for the gym uniforms because they were “dorky.” Others mentioned individual sports that they detested or were no good at. Some said “they loved gymnastics and the vault box but hated running laps on the track or in relay races.  That’s when they felt so inadequate.”

Junior high and high school gym class held such strong memories for me that I even devoted an entire chapter to it in my memoir. I had a life-changing moment in the gym in the Towsontown Junior High School, that will never be forgotten.

Do you have any moments in your life that changed the direction of your life forever? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Post a comment.

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

 

Keep a Heart from Aging

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The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball. ~Doug Larson

Guess what I got last week? A Save the Date notification of my 45th  high school reunion. When I first read it, I thought, “Oh, there is a typo,” until I made some mental calculations. How could it be that so many years have passed?  After all, wasn’t it just last week I was a teen?

In all those years since I was a student I have only attended one college reunion. I guess it’s because I am more interested in living in the present.

 I’ve maintained some friendships in my home town as well as my college town  over the years so I haven’t let go of my schoolmates completely.

About a year and a half ago, I had a book signing  for my award-winning memoir at Ukazoo Books in Towson, Maryland, the town where I grew up. It’s the setting where most of my memoir takes place. It warmed my heart to see some faces I hadn’t seen in decades.

Sue with snowball heart close upLife has been kind to me despite very tentative beginnings and I am extremely grateful for that. I feel very young at heart and try to do all in my power to stay healthy. There are lots of theories of how to achieve that, but moderation in all things is the key, in my opinion.

An exception to the rule is allowing oneself to do kid-like things frequently. What’s good for the heart and soul is guaranteed to be good for our health, including residing since 1975 in the snowy mountains.

This article explains the benefits of getting out and enjoying some wintertime activities!

Sue with snowball heart

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

 

 

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.

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!

 

 

Ticking Off the Bucket List

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“Better to see something once than hear about it a hundred times.” ~ Juurai Bayanjargal

Since it’s a New Year, we have been focused on new experiences this week on All Things Fulfilling. It has been said that there has been a movement away from amassing lots of material things, and replacing them with investing in unique life experiences. Experiential travel, which is said to bring increased happiness, has grown in recent years.  Perhaps living life differently, we don’t end up in our later years having big inventories of “things” to get rid of, instead our memory bank will be overflowing. Graham Hill speaks about living life edited in his TED talk. Take five minutes to listen to it!

I may not ever have the where-with-all make it to the moon in my lifetime to experience weightlessness in space, but I can now say that I have experienced it in a more contained environment here on Earth in a float pod. It’s terrific! To learn more about this adventure, read the previous two blogs – Practice the Pause and From Lightweight to Weightlessness.

heck yesWill you remove any “thing”  from your “bucket list” and replace it with a real life experience in 2016? If so, what is it? We would love to hear from you. Post your comment right here on All Things Fulfilling.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, award-winning author of ~

Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Will we see each other right here tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling?