Tugs of Heart Strings

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tugof war Do you remember playing tug-of- war on the play ground?

The physical education teacher marked the the pavement with chalk, threw down a hefty rope and teams were chosen at the discretion of the teacher or the team captains. Then began the battle to see which team had the greatest strength and persistence and could pull the other team over the line.

A few weeks ago when I talked with Kiwanis, I read aloud a chapter from my memoir called Having Faith in Oneself. Essentially it is about Fanny’s advice to me about the feelings I had when I was left out of the crowd on the playground due to my childhood illness. Fanny is the stellar character in my memoir who was a very sage woman.

Now that I am an adult, I understand what she was hinting at in one of our heart-to- heart conversations. One day she said “Sue, there ain’t no one who don’t play tug of war in life. Sometimes we is among the lighthearted and sometimes we are wid da heavy hitters. Dem knots in da rope is what helps us to learn to hang on and to roll wid da punches.” There is a lot of truth in that! But it is more fun to play nice. Tug of War Shel Silverstein This blog brought to you by author Sue Batton Leonard. Click here for information about Sue’s memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.  

“Serving Children of the World”

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It is Tuesday, June 17.  Today I am scheduled to speak with the Kiwanis Club http://www.kiwanis.org/ of Steamboat Springs, Colorado about my new publication “Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.”

kiwanis 2The mission of Kiwanis is “serving children of the world.” I have dreams of reaching children around the world who have health issues through my story. Sick children and their parents need to hear stories of hope. My memoir will uplift many people. And a little humor has never hurt a soul so anyone can enjoy the book. As one reader said “Gift of Lifetime is indeed that…. a story of how the simplest words can have the most impact on our lives…”

There have been many studies in the medical field, in recent years, about the connection between healing and living with a positive spirit and humor. My memoir presents an example of how one person’s outcome in life was affected by having what I consider to be all the right conditions that are necessary to live a fulfilling life despite a very difficult start.

Thanks to the independent publishing industry and the ability to sell books on the internet, my book will reach readers from all over this country and places around the world who will take away from the story the message that we can learn a lot from people of all faiths, color and creed.

My greatest wishes for the book, is that parents around the world will learn of “Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected” and share the upcoming audio book with their sick children to give them hope, and a little laughter to lift their spirits.

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Thank you Kiwanis Club of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It’s great being in your company today and I am grateful I am able to share my thoughts with you!

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.Sue’s memoir See you tomorrow on http://www.allthingsfulfilling.com.

 

Lift Up Friends

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 “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ~ Marcel Proust 

Friday’s blog on All Things Fulfilling was a tribute to friendship and the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. 

I’ve had have further thoughts about the value of friends  since that blog writing. Coming together in friendship is the result of finding community with like-minded people – individuals who have joint interests, passions and beliefs in life.  In recent years I’ve made friends in service, through Kiwanis, and by volunteering once a week at an interfaith, community-run thrift store called “Lift-Up.” Being involved with arts organizations such as We Write Steamboat(a meet-up group for independent publishers), the Steamboat Writers Group , the Colorado Independent Publishers Association and  Strings Music Festival has brought me pleasure. Community involvement, with the Yampa Valley University Women has also been part of my life here in Routt County, Colorado.

It’s interesting, in a time when the news is reporting  church membership is declining, there seems to be very active participation in churches, in this town. Perhaps the remote location and natural beauty of the region make spiritual exploration important to folks. Yesterday, Reverend Tim at the UnitedMethodistChurch in Steamboat, elevated our spirits through his lenten season storytelling. Our new Director of Youth Ministry and independent musician, Taylor Anderson charmed us with  his musical skills playing the modern remix of  “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on his ukulele. Very uplifting for a day of Irish celebration. A song appropriate for so many who are grateful they can be here to retire, run location-neutral businesses or for recreational reasons.

After the service, our appetites were fulfilled with  tasty goodies baked by women with whom I volunteer at the thrift store donation center. Thank you, Jeanette, Shirley and Louise and to all the other generous people who bring in provisions for fellowship moments after the service each week. The special St. Patty’s Day confections were decorated artistically. The women poured heart and soul into their efforts, it was evident.  It is a pleasure to volunteer with these women at the donation center for the thrift store.

St Pattys Day UMCSt Pattys Day UMC3

Jeanette, Louise, Shirley and Sue (top image). We are only a few the 100+ volunteers that make Lift-Up so successful in this community.

Art Appearing on Boughs

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The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands.’  ~Robert M. Pirsig 

It is surely nearing Christmas time! When the Kiwanis Club of Steamboat begins selling their annual ornament at places around town, the holidays are drawing close. Beginning this weekend, the ornament will be available for buying. 

Our club’s major fundraising campaign is selling ornaments. From the proceeds we buy gifts for needy children at Christmas time, provide funding to send children to science camp, provide “Where to Worship” brochures for people visiting the area. We can be proud of our other random acts of service in our home town, too. 

This year, a talented and nationally known artist, Jean Perry helped us in fulfilling our interest in decorating the ornaments a little differently this year. Jean gave permission to Kiwanis to use an image of her painting “Fish Creek Falls” to embellish the bauble. 

It is a fair trade! Many visitors to the area purchase the ornaments in commemoration of their trip to Steamboat. They will take them as gifts to family and friends in other States, too. The ornaments will hang on boughs of Christmas trees far beyond Steamboat Springs,Colorado and people will become acquainted with the artist’s work. Good deal! 

Kiwanis of Steamboat is grateful to painter Jean Perry for her generosity in sharing her art, so that as a Club, we can “serve children of the world.” For more information on the artist, please visit www.JeanPerryStudio.com.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Closing out a Chapter

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“The heart’s intention is the measure of all things.”-Maimonides

Today, Kiwanis International is on my mind. Perhaps because Monday is the day our Steamboat Springs chapter of the service organization meets. 

Did you know every nine minutes, a newborn from somewhere around the world dies from tetanus? This shouldn’t occur. The vaccine is available and inexpensive.($1.80 per vaccination). Kiwanis International and UNICEF have partnered to eliminate this fatal disease. 

All Kiwanians look forward to the day when fulfilling this mission is complete. This service organization has already proven a project of this scale can be successfully accomplished by the global elimination global of iodine deficiencies disorders. This new mission to eliminate neo-natal and maternal tetanus can be achieved, too. It will mean closing out a chapter of worry in the lives of mothers in far off places around the globe. Sixty one million child bearing women in 38 countries will be protected against the deadly disease of MNT. 

You can do your part by learning more about the good work of Kiwanis in local communities and around the globe. Join in and “serve the children of the world.” http://bit.ly/byhSUg.

Thanks for hearing my plea. And one more thing – Today is Halloween so be on the watch for little ghosts and goblins as they they walk down the street trick or treating. Please slow down and be alert!

Coming tomorrow, more independent thoughts, words and views from www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

I Wish Upon A Star

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Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same.” -Franz Peter Schubert 

Three years ago, when I moved to a new community, I met a woman my age and her husband and three boys at church. She and her husband were given the responsibility and honor of raising a special needs son. When we first met, she talked with  me about their family’s involvement with the Special Olympics and what their volunteer efforts have meant to their entire family. They have found such enjoyment in the athletic events, the camaraderie felt between Special Olympians and other families with special needs children. She visited our Kiwanis Club and described the mission of the Special Olympics, too. http://bit.ly/oDJ4n3.

As time has gone by our friendship has grown closer. We have had meaningful talks about her special son, and how God has endowed him with the ability to communicate with others about faith in very unique and profound ways. 

The other day, I began to think what an opportune time it is for parents, families and individuals to share stories of special needs children who are making their distinctive mark on the world. The dynamic and growing world of independent publishing provides a fulfilling platform for teaching other families about the lessons and gifts their special needs children contribute to their family’s life. 

I wish upon a star that more families everywhere will find the means and a voice to tell their stories so others will better understand the joys and challenges of raising special needs children. 

 For more information on how ordinary people are telling extraordinary stories by educating, inspiring and informing others through non-traditional books and films, there is a new 18 minute on-line webinar published by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association that discusses the basics of independent publishing. Please visit http://bit.ly/oIkV2g.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Giving Back for Children’s Sake

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Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.”               ~Anthony Robbins 

I love reading stories of people who have a deep understanding of the value of life and convey that understanding by reciprocating their gratefulness through random acts of kindness or by a creative or a uniquely meaningful approach. 

The other day the August 2011 issue of Kiwanis Magazine arrived in my Post Office Box and I began to read it. I was interested in knowing  about the Kiwanis International  Convention, which was held in Geneva, Switzerland this year. www.kiwanis.org

As I browsed the articles, I learned something about actress Jamie Lee Curtis. She was honored at the July 2011 Convention with the World Service Medal for her charitable work for children’s hospitals. She is also a best selling author of children’s books such as and “Tell Me About the Night I was Born” and “I Feel Silly: And Other Moods that Make My Day.” These books are illustrated by Laura Cornell and are geared for young children four and up. 

Philanthropy in the world of entertainment often gets drowned out in the media by the stories of those that create sensationalism of another kind. Entertainment and media “notables” partnering with organizations such as Kiwanis International for the purpose of accomplishing fulfilling missions and goals that make this world a better place inspires ordinary people to become superstars in their own right by volunteering for causes that are near and dear to their hearts.

 All around the world there is a service club and it’s members are “dedicated to improving children’s lives one community and one child at a time” they are tagged as Kiwaniians! I am very happy to be included in this group.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.