Life Stories Altered

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If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders. ~Abigail Van Buren

Today’s narrative is about raising children. The other day I was in the library and picked up a copy of Psychology Today magazine and came across an article called in the October 2015 issue called Crisis U.

Long story short, the article by Hara Estroff Marano was about the “downstream consequences of kids being shielded from failure and adversity all their lives.”

“How does this happen?” You might ask.

There are a lot of psychologists, sociologists and behaviorists looking at this syndrome –  students who get great grades, yet are lacking in skills of taking care of themselves or they are developmentally delayed in their life skills. It happens due to over-involved parents or “helicopter parents.”

An expert, a dean from Sanford University recently appeared on Fox News talking about this very troubling issue facing young adults. Here is his article.

Several winters ago at Colorado Mountain College in a public speaking class, I presented a talk on Helicopter Parenting. I outlined how to  recognize the signs that indicate when parents are over-involved and the results on the behavioral patterns of young adults. I received high accolades from the teacher. She said “I fully convinced her how detrimental this is to the student.”HelicopterParentsIf you have children, I’d suggest you read these articles because a lifetime story can be altered in harmful ways when parents do not allow their children to learn age appropriate lessons (such as coping, resilience and resourcefulness) themselves. It can create a life-long dependency on parents that is unhealthy.

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.

 

 

 

Weekend Fall Craft Projects

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October is the fallen leaf, but it is also a wider horizon more clearly seen.” ~ Hal Borland

I’m posting this image today because October is Applejack Month.

df3d11b86d421ecc7280f18a26aa1c5b One of my favorite craft projects from Girl Scouts was making dried apple people. If it looks like a fun project to do in October with your children or grandchildren, here is how. 

Another of my favorite craft projects was making bookmarks by pressing colorful autumn leaves between two pieces of waxed paper and ironing it.

A few years ago, when I was helping in a children’s Sunday School class, I learned that the bookmark project can be modified but putting shavings and tiny pieces of left over crayons between two pieces of waxed paper and ironing it to create a stained glass window effect. A beautiful, quick weekend craft project!

Tasty-Kitchen-Blog-Pumpkin-Spice-Apple-CiderIn honor of Applejack Month, I’d like to share this recipe for Hot Spiced Apple Cider with you. Perhaps you can make the concoction over the weekend to sip as you decorate your home for Halloween.

What are you doing this weekend? I am going on a one day road trip so I can have a change of scenery before the snow flies. Perhaps I will find something fulfilling to write about! See you back here on Monday!

If you enjoy reading the blogs posted on this site, don’t forget to bookmark All Things Fulfilling on your computer or on the right hand side of the page you can subscribe and have each posting delivered directly to your mailbox – free of charge!

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 of Heart & Soul.  

Friendship and Courage

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Friends give us the courage to lift the blinds on our hearts. To open up and show what we generally keep hidden from the rest of the world.” ~ Unknown

One day, several months after Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected was published, my phone rang. It was a surprise call from one of my childhood friends.

“How did you do that?” asked the caller.

“Do what?” I asked.

“Write all that stuff about yourself.”

“I don’t know, ” I said to my friend. “I felt the need to tell the story and share it with children who are going through tough stuff in life. Besides, I felt safe. I knew that my true friends who didn’t know about my childhood medical history, wouldn’t abandon me when they knew the facts. (And believe me – to many my story came as a surprise!) True friends don’t do that.”

GS2When I spoke with the Girl Scouts this spring we talked about the importance of  including a diversity of people in our circle of friends. “People who may be different can teach us to look at things differently,” I said.

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As the eve of the Girl Scout Campfire and Reunion approaches, can’t help but think about the song we used to most frequently sing in Girl Scouts. “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”

I look forward to making new acquaintances with others who also benefitted from the days of being a member of the Girl Scouts.

Gathering to Spark Memories

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Girl-Scout-Camp-Smores-Pops

 

Guess where I am going? To a Girl Scout Alumni Bonfire! Campfire Songs, skits, s’mores and an evening of remembering days of a being a member of a 100+ year old youth organization is planned in Routt County, Colorado. I immediately sent my RSVP to the affirmative. Yes! I don’t want to miss it! The event will surely spark memories of my youth.

I live in a resort community of people who have moved here from places all over America and from different countries, so the evening will be interesting. We can compare what it was like to be a Girl Scout (there are six levels: a Daisy, a Brownie, a Junior, a Cadette or Senior  or Ambassador Girl Scout) in different hometowns across the globe. The experiences each girl had throughout her years as a member, I am sure, were varied.

The Girl Scouts was started in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low and it’s mission was universal. Here is what the founder said about her vision of the organization “My purpose……to go on with my heart and soul, devoting all my energies to Girl Scouts, and heart and hand with them, we will make our lives and the lives of the future girls happy, healthy and holy.” 

I reminisce about those wonderful days of being a Girl Scout in my memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Chapter 28 – Paper Roses is one of my favorites.

After the event is over, I’ll let you know how it went.

I am looking for suggestions of campfire songs. If you were a Girl Scout and remember the names of the songs you used to sing around the bonfire or at Girl Scout camp, please post them as a comment on All Things Fulfilling. I look forward to your input!

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

 

 

Community of Blessings

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Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world… It is a sign that we don’t need a lot of money to be happy–in fact, the opposite.”
Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

Last summer I mentioned to my mother and sister the fact that the harvest season does not seem to be as decorated in the West as in the East. “Perhaps that’s because Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, the place of the landing of the Pilgrims, is geographically closer, so the season of fall is more celebrated. But, I really don’t know what it is,” I admitted.

On Sunday I arrived at the doors of my church and found it beautifully decorated for the fall season. The blessings of community and sermons of life lessons, relevant to today’s world, are always inside these church doors.

IMG_20151011_084245_836 Reflections last week from the Rev. Tim Selby included the question “And How Are the Children?”  Unfortunately in this day and age with all of the incidents in schools we can’t confidently answer “All are safely gathered in.”IMG_20151011_084455_846

By the end of the sermon each and everyone of us hoped our prayers would be heard as we sang the closing hymn “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

If you wish to hear the words of the message, keep your eye on the church website where recordings of each Sunday’s lessons are always posted.

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

Celebrate Aging

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Dartmouth Hitchcock Med CtrEvery August I feel more grateful than ever. I just upped the number of years I’ve been living on the planet. After all, as it’s been said “old age is not granted to everyone,” thus, aging is a privilege.

Two days before my birthday I had my annual echocardiogram and visit to my cardiologist. He gave me the gift of the words that I expect to hear every year – “All is well. Come back next year.”

“What have you been doing?” The doctor asked when he was finished with the consultation.

“I’ve been writing and publishing.” I replied.

“Really?”

I handed my doctor of 25+ years a surprise present – a wrapped copy of my memoir “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.” A conversation about the content of the book followed. It began like this:

“I am not sure how to put this to you tactfully… But do you know how well you’ve done?” Asked my doctor.

“Yes, I think so,” I replied. “It’s one of the reasons I wrote and published a book. I am feeling very blessed.”

“Not all children have the same kind of outcome that you have had. Major surgery in childhood can be very damaging.’

“Yes, I am aware of that. Thank God I’ve been able to tell a story that has some humor in it.”

“Great. I’ll like reading your book,” he said. “Some patients have sad, depressing stories.”

“I am so grateful mine is not one of them. That’s why I wanted to air it.”

“Well, I look forward to reading it,” he said again. “And call me if you need me, otherwise, see you next year.”

An hour previously I had been sitting in the lobby of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center waiting for my appointment. I watched the resident doctors with their credentials hanging from their necks walk through the lobby from the Geisel School of Medicine to get something to eat in the food court. As I sat I listened to a musician play upbeat music from some of the earlier eras of my life on the baby grand piano in lobby. I couldn’t help but reflect on how medicine and treatment has changed from my childhood days. We’re now in an era where research has shown the importance of healing mind, body and spirit for successful outcomes.

I couldn’t be more grateful that my parents seemed to intuitively understand a little about the power of the human spirit nearly fifty plus decades ago, when I was going through the traumas of “pioneering heart surgery.”

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For each birthday I thank my luck stars that I am here to age and celebrate. Happy Belated Birthday to my twin sister, Jan!!!

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

Heart of the Stories

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“A good story should make you laugh, and a moment later break your heart.”― Chuck Palahniuk

Do you miss those days when the words commitment, pride and work ethic really meant something? Are you tired of reading news stories that are sensational and shocking because healthy relationships are missing? The good news is stories about valuing oneself and others who are different than us do exist.

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Lessons of Heart & Soul, is a collection of stories that go back to the days when things were much simpler and when kids learned and understood what decent values were all about. These ten short stories which were cut from the award-winning book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected were previously unpublished. They are bound to put a smile on your face.

If you are looking for something to make you feel good and lift your spirits, both publications will remind you of a time when life was not so complex. You’ll love Fanny the central character in the story and her pearls of wisdom. You’ll want to learn even more about her in the award-winning book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, if you haven’t already read it.

Where is the best treasure in the story? Check out the memorable voice in the audio book, narrated by the author. Prefer to read it on a different platform? Select the paperback or e-book.

All it Takes is a Picture

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Isn’t it funny how all it takes is a picture to stir memories up?

Highlights for Children Puzzle

I am posting this blog especially for my mother this morning on All Things Fulfilling, I hope she sees it.

Mom,

Do you remember the hours you and I sat in doctor’s waiting rooms looking at Highlight’s for Children Magazine passing the time away waiting for my cardiology appointments. When I came across this image, I thought of you. Now that I am a mother, I can relate just a little to what you went through with a critically sick child. I am sure as you waited with me, your anxiety was by far much greater than mine, even though I was the patient.

Anyway, Mom, those days of Johns Hopkins, Sinai  and all the other doctors we visited are long past us. Thankfully I came out on the all better side. I know you don’t need any reminders of those days because they are etched in your mind forever. But this image reminded me of how we found something fulfilling in even the tough stuff. We enjoyed being together and solved these kinds of puzzles. It was our alone time. You probably thought it didn’t mean much to me but it did. So much so that seeing this image stirred all the memories up some six decades later. Thanks for being by my side and I look forward to a visit with you and Dad soon! Can’t believe it has been a year since I’ve seen you! Love, Sue

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

 

 

Protect and Defend Wholesome Values

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unity in spirti

 

Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved. ~ Mattie Stepanek

 

The mission behind All Things Fulfilling has always been a multi-media approach to sharing information about things that make my heart zing – what fills my heart with joy and happiness. That includes information on what has become my career and passion since 1998 – independent publishing.

I seldom make strong statements on All Things Fulfilling because we don’t need another platform on which to air controversial opinions all for the sake of being heard.

This statement I am going to make is about valuing human life and it really doesn’t matter where you stand politically. We need people in this country to discover and fill open spaces in their hearts with what brings them personal fulfillment, not evil and violence.

Dr. Ben Carson recently said about the recent occurrences in Charleston, South Carolina that the “heart of the matter is the heart.”   In my opinion, he was referring to what’s missing in the lives of the American people.

No matter where I find myself on the political spectrum, I can’t argue with Dr. Carson’s statement. The fact is we need more stories of people living by good, wholesome virtues. We can restore faith in one another by sharing stories that show the decency of the American people and how America’s fine character helped us to become a powerhouse nation.

Division is ugly. We need to get back to our roots and to a United States that our service men and women are proud and willing to protect and defend.

That’s enough about what we need. What can you give of yourself to help unify people?

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

Good News: Young Entrepreneurs

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Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” Pamela Vaull Starr

The good news is the world still has its share of young people who have heads for business. In fact,  digital tools are facilitating entrepreneurship at a younger age than ever! Want to know how? Here is an article.

There are many youngsters who find their passion and their talents at very young ages. Whether they have a head for science, mathematics, technology or inspire others through their unique creative talents, there are ways you can to encourage your child. There are even schools which help nuture entrepreneurial spirit and innovation in children by helping them set up micro-businesses.

lightbulbHow do you raise self-motivated children? Here is an excellent article. I like many of the tips in this article but my top pick is “to give a child a rich array of experiences.” In other words, expand their world and let them know why that is important. In my opinion, too many children are not given enough opportunity to see what’s beyond their home city and state, which can be limiting. Children learn so much when they see an variety of geographical landscape, a diversity of people, different cultures and ways of living.

The five young entrepreneurs cited in this article came from families whose backgrounds included business and finance. The whizzes have learned about all facets of their business from concept to marketing and have even planned for their future educational needs. Impressive, since a number of them are not even teenagers yet.

Do you have a child who is showing young talent at a very young age? If so, what are you doing to nuture it without providing performance pressure or providing too much stress by being an over-bearing helicopter parent? It is a very delicate balance.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her award-winning memoir, click here.