Into the Heart of the Story

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An angel can fly directly into the heart of the matter. ~ Unknown

Time is running out! Order the three time award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected right now for the entire family to enjoy reading together. It is available in audio book (the voice holds the real treasure!) and the e-book and can be delivered in just a few minutes. It’s  not too late to order the paperback either. It may arrive at your doorstep before Xmas if you jump right on it.

Since Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected was published, a few of the most common remarks from readers have been:

“I wanted to be part of YOUR family!” 

another reader said:

I read the story slowly, a little bit each evening, because I didn’t want it to be over!

Why? Because the truths from the stellar character, Fanny, were told in a manner that involved hilarity and unconventional wisdom. Life long lessons were taught by a human being with a limited education who knew how to go directly to the heart in every manner. Fanny’s unique translation of the gospel truth can be grasped by children.

 

Recipe for an angel

See you back here on Monday, on All Things Fulfilling! I will look forward to your company.

Storytelling To Remember

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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given… and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~ E.S.V.

The most loved Christmas story of all tells the tale of the virgin birth of baby Jesus. The Christmas story in Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected is  different, but it is an award-winning narrative. There is something in the book for everyone in the family!  The whole tale as told by EVVY award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard,  is sure to be remembered by young and old alike! It is narrated in a non-traditional way that will keep your attention.

What’s between the cover?

  • Unexpected gifts from heaven
  • Bright shining stars
  • A hilarious angel with a memorable voice
  • Blessed arrivals
  • Love of family
  • Faith’s awesome powers
  • The heart of the matter about the gift of life

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A perfect tale to share with your friends and loved ones during this Christmas season. Just as there are different versions of the Bible, some more preferred than others, the award-winning anthology of stories, a memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected is available in paperback and e-book. The real treasure, however, is in the audio book! You will be able to really connect  with the stellar character, Fanny, in the story when you hear her voice! What a memorable angel!

On Monday we will continue the interview with playright Jorge Avila!

 

 

Bringing Community Together

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bookclubWhat brings community together? Just ask the South Routt County Book Club and they will say “BOOKS!”

I  became familiar with this group of readers when I met one of it’s members at the Bud Werner Memorial Library Genealogy Club. Here is what Vanessa has to say about bringing individuals together through reading~

“The backgrounds of our participants is so varied and interesting.  There are ranch wives who have lived here for generations, several who have lived all over the world, who worked for the CIA in Paris, another has lived in South Korea, Netherlands, Argentina etc. following her husband’s work.  Many are retired, or are active in community non-profits, and they range from librarians to a psychologist to women who have never worked outside the home. Those who do work include a hair stylist who participated with her 16 year old daughter, a substitute teacher, and our current library manager. 

Our age range as stated has been between 16 and 80 something!  Our youngest started with her Mom and is now a senior in college.  We manage somehow to include all age ranges in our choices.  Book themes can be universal and appeal to every age.

We have been going since 2008 when we started with 6 members and now have twenty.  I remember holding my youngest grandaughter who was 3 weeks old at one meeting as I was babysitting for my son and daughter-in-law.

We select themes and book titles at our Jan. meeting and meet every other month with 3 selections on the current theme.  Some themes have been: War, Second Chances, Life’s Situations, Classics, Famous People, Hemingway, Memoirs, etc.  Everyone goes around and throws out titles and then we group them into a theme and try to have a contrast.

Our meeting places vary among our members.  Some for whatever reason will host at one of our libraries, however, most are at private homes.  We have a social period and food before we discuss the current books-many times the theme or books themselves will suggest the menu. We incorporate movies, pictures, and other items at our meetings. One memorable one was when we read Wild by (forget the author’s name!) and a member who had walked the Appalachian Trail shared that experience with us.

  The small (and I mean small) towns in the south part of Routt County are financially depressed yet surrounded by million dollar mansions and a small rural community around Stagecoach Lake.  The older residents are hardy, conservative, and clannish but community spirited with colorful people.There is also a large group who have moved here for the wonderful ski town atmosphere and for second homes and tend to be more liberal and richer.  Makes for an interesting clash of values though all seem to come together when needed.”

Thank you Vanessa for sharing this wealth of information about your book club and how it has brought a diverse group of people with varied interests and backgrounds together!

If you have never been a member of a book club before, put it on your list of things to do in the New Year!

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

Paper Bag Delivery

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Always remember the primary purpose of your life is living in tune with your energy pattern, find the true expression for the energy and go with the flow!”  ― Ramana Pemmaraju

So, last Wednesday I was invited out to lunch with a lady friend. I did not particularly want our time together to end. My dining companion has been a wonderful person to get to know over the past seven years. I love her spirited approach to living. At 86 years young, Nancy is moving away from Colorado to be closer to her son in California. Until now she has been a senior who has lived very independently.

She is bright, creative and her command of the English language is something I can only aspire to. She is an artist – a painter, poet, writer and a voracious learner. Despite her age, her inquisitive mind continues to ask, seek and question. I met her at church and her faith is deep.

We’ve watched Richard Schmid painting videos together, have seen the film about artist Gustav Klimt’s famous painting The Woman in Gold and other movies. We’ve had meaningful conversations traveling in the car and at various functions that we have attended together due to our common interests.

I wanted to give her a little parting gift, made from the heart  because I have so enjoyed our friendship. I delivered it to her when we had lunch together.bag

I wrote a little ditty and enclosed it in the package.It went like this:

The wind doth blow in San Francisco, you know

When you are feeling pale as heck,

Wrap these colors around your neck,

Then go out and take a short mosey

and you will feel more rosy.

I hope what I made from my heart to give to Nancy will be passed along to someone else when it’s life with her is finished. In a few weeks she will be moving along to her next destination in her life journey. But she will not be forgotten. My life has been enriched for having known her.

Here is what was inside the package.

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Look forward to seeing you tomorrow 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 Lessons of Heart & Soul.

A New Musical: Allegiance

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Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved and differences resolved. ~ Bernard Beckett

allegianceHave you heard about the  American story now being played out on Broadway? Allegiance is a real and important tale of the Kimura family who came to America after World War II and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Similar tales of family bonds, duty and defiance, hope, loyalty and the power of the human spirit could be told by 120,000 other Japanese-American families who fled their country in search of a new tomorrow in the United States of America.

George Takei and Tony® winner Lea Salonga star in this live theatre production. To read more about this live musical production, visit the website.

See you tomorrow 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 Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Architecture in “Breck”

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Color in certain places has the great value of  making the outlines and structural planes seem more energetic.” ~ Antoni Gaudi

That having been said, I’d like to extend the tour today of BreckCreate, a mountain community in Colorado where the arts is alive. Such is life in many towns in this State where creativity is much appreciated.

In the center of historic downtown, the Blue River Restoration Project is very visible. It is right outside the door of the Breckenridge Welcome Center. This article describes the project. Here are a few pictures.

Riverwalk sign

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me in breck

At the River Walk Project – right outside the Breckenridge Visitors Center.

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You can get the picture from a few of the historical homes that are now retail establishments or restaurants what “Breck” is like. Fun to stroll the streets and take in the structures. Coming from a family of builders, that is what fulfills me when I visit a new place.

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architect4While I was on my day trip to Breckenridge I came across some surprise things that related to books and publishing. Come back tomorrow and I will tell you all about it.

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, Sue Batton Leonard.

Skits, Swaps and Songs

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We all have a place in the circle of life. Always remember who you are.” ~ Unknown

Who remembers singing rounds? I had forgotten all about that form of choral singing until I attended a Girl Scout Alumni Reunion the weekend before last. We sang many familiar campfire songs from my childhood. Skits were well done by some of the youth troops. They told stories about the G.S. founder Juliette Gordon Low and the history of the organization and cookie sales.


GS Sign in

I took SWAPS to trade with new friends who have found the same kind of meaningful connections through the Girl Scouts that I did many decades ago. If you have read my memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, you probably already know from my chapter about the Girl Scouts what I took to trade with others.

I’d like to share a few pictures of the SWAPS I received from new acquaintances I acquired over the course of the evening. Each troop had their own swaps that they created to give to others.

GS Swaps

The swaps below were made by Sharon, a friend who is a beautician and hair stylist. She is an Alumni who enjoyed being a member of the youth organization during the same era as me. She made these swaps from emery boards, gauze and a little ribbon. The paper doll heads were made from clip art. Very creative and the girls who were lucky enough to receive them were so excited!

sharons swaps

The s’mores we ate around the campfire were gooey and yummy. I left the event singing a little ditty that baby boomers will remember if you were a member of the Girl Scouts.

I’ve got something in my pocket, it belongs across my face.
I keep it very close at hand, in a most convenient place.
I’m sure you couldn’t guess it if you guessed a long, long while.
So I’ll take it out and put it on, it’s a Great Big Brownie Smile!

A little trivia: The Brownie Smile Song was written by Harriet F. Heywood of Gloucester, MA in the late 1920’s when she was working as a Brownie Girl Scout troop leader.

See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling. If you have an Eagle Eye, you will see something in tomorrow’s blog that you’ve seen in some of my blogs and in my writings. I was pleased when I saw them hanging on the walls unexpectedly in an art space in Breckenridge Colorado when I recently visited.

 

 

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.

Community-Wide Reading

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Communication leads to community that is, to understanding….. mutual valuing.” – Rollo May

If this is your first visit to All Things Fulfilling, Welcome!

The heartbeat of this blog space is about the arts and humanities.   Many blog postings are literary in nature – about books, independent publishing, writing and other culturally fulfilling things that enrich our lives. Take a few minutes to browse the list of categories on the right-hand side of the page.

Fortunately, I am living in a place where literacy is well-supported. The pulse of the arts can be felt though community-wide offerings and events sponsored by the Bud Werner Memorial Library, the Steamboat Arts Council and at Colorado Mountain College. There is always something of interest happening in  town. It is easy to design a fulfilling life when your interests align with the community where you reside.

Last Wednesday night I attended the first in a series of events that revolve around one very special book that was recently published. It is being talked about by many people in many communities. Tomorrow the focus will be on “One Book Steamboat.” Do return!IMG_20150917_071739_991

This blog is brought to you by EVVY award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her publications.