Film of Redemption and Hope

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He conquers who endures.” – Persius

I remember the day in August, 2010 when I was glued to the television as I watched a compelling news story unfold. A group of  33 workers in Chile were trapped due to a mine blast. These miners put their lives in danger every single day all for the sake of bringing gold and copper out from underground into the marketplace. I watched with rapt attention as experts in the field worked around the clock to save their lives.

The 33There is now a movie based on this story called The 33. It was released in theatres on November 13. Many of the details that could not be covered in short news clips I am sure are in the cinema release. What I had forgotten until I read the review of this movie is that the men were trapped underground for 69 days. Imagine that!

The moral of this survival-against-all-odds story is to never give up. This is a good movie for families, however, I would warn against young children watching this movie. It may be too unsettling and disturbing.

To watch a movie trailer or to read reviews and more about this movie, please visit this website.

 

Have a good weekend everyone! See you on All Things Fulfilling on Monday.

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

 

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Tinctures and Hues

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Innocence tinctures all things with the brightest hues.” ~Edward Counsel

Last summer my sister and I returned to our childhood community.

In our travels we discussed how things aren’t always how they seem to be. In our youthful minds two hills that were in our neighborhood, which we climbed to go to the bus stop and to visit our friends up the street, seemed to be ginourmous. Oh how they added to the burdens we beared as we headed off to school with our backpacks feeling unprepared – homework not completed, reading assignments ignored and mounting peer pressure as we matured.

As adults we saw for ourselves that the many challenges we faced were merely molehills rather then mountains. With age, everything comes into real perspective.

In my memoir, I mention childhood illness, and how fortunate I was to go through the most difficult times of my life unaware of the seriousness of my condition and my pioneering heart surgery.

For the Sake of OthersGiving children tools for resilience in life is a lifelong gift that you can bestow upon your children. Dr. John Townsend’s book, which I posted a blog about last week, talks about how entitlement for people of any age is not always the best way to go through life because we learn from our hardships. If you would like to read more about the importance of teaching children to be resilient, I’d also suggest this website.

Look forward to your return tomorrow. The importance of friendships will be our topic on All Things Fulfilling.

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.

Story of Strife and Spirit

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A father is like a lighthouse standing tall above the sea’s. When the storms of life come crashing in, the light from your father you’ll see.~ Dana Roberts Clark

Ok, so I was miffed at my brother. So mad I was ready to smack him!
At sunset he took off across the Chesapeake Bay in his boat and the engine cut out and couldn’t be restarted. Not his fault. It happens.

My upset came when he called ship to shore, and asked my nearly 90 year old parents to come tow him back to the dock. “Why,” I thought, “didn’t he call his hale and hardy younger friends and get them to help instead?” I was concerned about my folks at their ages navigating across the waters at night time. And did they really have the strength that might be needed to assist?

As usual my loyal and dependable parents jumped in their boat and took off into the dusk but not before I got their neighbors phone numbers. If they didn’t return in a reasonable amount of time, I’d turn to them for help.

The sky deepened with nightfall, and grew pitch.  Just as I began to pray that all was ok and that they were on their way back, I saw a dim light in the distance drawing nearer. Sure enough, it was my parents boat towing my brother’s powerboat behind. Perhaps I was silly to feel annoyed.

The reason I am telling this story, is it came to my mind after Sunday’s church sermon on courage and all that the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai went through when she stood up for educational freedom. Her story “I Am Malala” is compelling and inspirational.

As Reverend Tim pointed out, it’s good to read and hear stories of others strife.We learn what courage is all about.

I hope as I age I live with strong spirit like my parents do. They rarely let age be their excuse for anything and are guided by their faith that “all will be well.” And they are always dependable and loyal to their family.

If I put together the titles of all the songs we sang in the sanctuary on Sunday I believe they’d aptly sum up today’s story telling. They went like this:

“A Mighty Fortress is Our God”
“Spirit of the Living God”
“I Would Hit Him With My Shoe”
“Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past”
“Everytime I Feel the Spirit”
“This is My Song”

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Thanks for being with us today. Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

Pairing Health, Humor and Children

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Were you paying attention? Sometimes it is the little things that count. Did you see the reference between the medical school mentioned on the August 25th  blog posting on www.allthingsfulfilling.com and a highly treasured author of children’s literature? Go to Celebrate Aging  and play I SPY and see if you can figure it out.

The beginnings of the creative talent of “the doctor” who has brought millions of children joy became clear to me when I read an article in the September/October 2015 issue of Yankee Magazine. Here is an article that explains it even more.

Now, there is a new generation of books from the Cat in the Hat Learning Library that teach youth the basics of healthy living. They are part of the Healthy America program for Children.

Since future generations of children will benefit from the knowledge aspiring physicians acquire through this famed health institution and its research facility, it seems only logical that the medical school carries the name of an alumni. He has brought smiles to faces of children in many countries through his 47 books. Check it out!

Cat in hat healthier America

Cat in the Hat healthier America book 2

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Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. This blog is brought to you by the author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

Building Profound Faith

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Spirit is like the wind, in that we can’t see it but can see its effects, which are profound.” ― Jimmy Carter

My past couple of blog postings have led me to think about our society’s interpretation of what a hero is. We need more people in this world who understand that heroism is not all about Hollywood film stars, sports figures and sensational people with misplaced values. In my opinion there is truth in Jimmy Carter’s statement when he said “Human identity is no longer defined by what one does but rather by what one owns.”

Today I salute President Jimmy Carter. His story beyond his political life has always been to help others. He has carried on so admirably beyond his stint as President of the United States and his recent announcement about his health is very inspirational. We need to elevate the level of all warriors who are fighting their own medical battles along with their physicians. There is great heroism in fighting personal challenges and coming out on top simply by having the right attitude.

Last week as I sat watching medical students walk through the lobby of one of the finest teaching hospitals in the country, I couldn’t help but think of my two heroes, Dr. Helen Taussig and Dr. Alfred Blalock, both pioneers in medicine. To learn more about them, please visit  Influential People. A story of personal triumph is in the award-winning book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

It takes intellect, dedication, financial resources and years of study to become a doctor. All to save the lives of others. That’s heroism.

As Jimmy Carter faces his own personal challenges he well knows through his own admission of deep faith “With God, anything is possible.” You are in good hands, President Carter. Thank you for all you have done for others in demonstrating living with the spirit.

Jimmy Carter

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

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.