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.

 

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Wear Red Tomorrow

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“Red is the first color of spring. It’s the real color of rebirth. Of beginning.” ~ Annie Condie

Are you planning on wearing red tomorrow? The American Heart Association has declared February 5th National Wear Red Day. This day is dedicated to raising awareness that “heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women, yet 80% of it is preventable.”

On the Go Red for Women website there are educational articles and resources to educate the public about the importance of children and fitness, and factors which increase chances of heart disease such as high blood pressure, smoking, inactivity and high cholesterol. The useful and free information is there for each and every one of us.

As Conway Twitty once said “listen to advice, but follow your heart.” Always listen to your body, and if it is telling you something is not right, don’t wait – go see a doctor. It could be the difference between death or life.

You can help the fight against heart disease by posting #GoRed on your Facebook page or through other social media.  Remember to #gored tomorrow, donate to the cause or fill a shopping cart at the GoRed on-line store.

Thanks for listening and tomorrow is a good a day as any to begin improving your heart health.

My award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected speaks to this issue which is close to my heart.

 

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.

 

 

Living With the Heart of a Child

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“Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming.” ~ Joseph B Wirthlin

It’s a wonderful thing to live as an adult with the heart of a child, still full of wonder.

We’re never too old to engage in childhood activities like taking a trip down the sliding board, pumping higher and higher toward the skies on a swing, wading in the waters of a rippling stream, getting messy with finger paints or diving into an ice cream Sundae with such zeal that it ends up all over our face.

The day after Christmas my son, his gal, my husband and I walked into Michael’s Craft Store, looking for a picture frame for a photograph of the two of them they had given us for Christmas.

“Pick out a frame you are happy with,” said Marc, “it will complete the present.”

Before we were finished shopping my son said “Mom, did you see what’s at the front of the store? You might be interested. Go pick one out for yourself.”

“I followed his orders and have enjoyed being a child all over again – all wrapped up into something that used to bring me hours of pleasure as a child.”

According to this article from Business Insider, I am not the only one who is having fun revisiting my childhood!

coloring book2

On some of these long, dark winter evenings, coloring has been a good change of pace from reading.

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

 

Conversations about Kindness

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Kindness is just love with its workboots on. ~Author Unknown

Do you think traits such as kindness and compassion can be taught or are some people endowed with these traits from the start (innately)?

Many educators feel character education is the only way to reduce bullyng in schools.

YouAreNeverAloneFoundation.org has found a way to involve children in their program “I Matter, You Matter: Let’s Start the Conversation.”

In fact, school kids put their most pressing questions down on paper hoping to help improve their relationships with schoolmates, their families and friends. Through practicing empathy and understanding other’s points of view, the goal of this program is to advance listening and compromising skills and provide help in identifying one’s own feelings, too.events_kindmatter_overview_logo Teachers, your school can become involved, and the questionnaire that is being used in schools to begin the dialogue between children can be downloaded on-line. 

Caring coins are also available with this program, which is an easy way to pass a message from person to person. More than 176,000 of these wooden coins have been shared around the world as a part of the YANAF mission. It started at the grassroots level to inspire caring connections in our community and the greater world by providing hands on opportunities to be kind.”

If you are concerned about our future generation of children, please spread the word about this program.

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

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?