The Gospel Truth About Sainty Claus

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“Christmas my child is love in action.” ~ Dale Evans
Elf-on-the-Shelf-5In the Batton household, we didn’t need an elf on the shelf to remind us that “you better watch out, you better not pout. Santa Claus is coming to town.”

I can still hear the kinds of things the prominent character in my life story said some fifty years ago. When my twin and I and our two brothers got unruly around the holidays, here’s the kind of verbal warning we’d get:

Ya’ll better behave yo’selves right now. Sainty and dem reindeers don’t gotta mess with chillins who ain’t behavin’ and not listenin’ to dare mamas! Sainty Claus, why, he’ll pass ya’ll on by and go on over to somebody else’s house and drop off presents. He ain’t gonna wanta interrupt no come to Jesus meetin’ we gonna have in dis house if ya’ll don’t stop dat bickerin’ and a fightin!

I guess I better get Mr. Battoney, yo’ daddy, up on da roof to clean out dat chimbley ‘case ya’ll decide to straighten out and Sainty decide ta make an appearance!

Oh how I loved that lady!! And the richness in the way of life lessons she brought to our family life. If you would like to learn more about the gospel truth, according to Fanny, who was a miracle worker of sorts, it’s all inside the award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. 

Fanny with socks

And that’s all I’ve got for you today on All Things Fulfilling. See you tomorrow!


The Season of Anticipation

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As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is. ~Eric Sevareid

Did you open the first few doors on your Advent Calendar yet? We are three days into the countdown of when Christians worldwide will celebrate the birth of baby Jesus.

I am very excited because this year my husband and I will be joining our son to experience a different kind of  Christmas – unlike any we have celebrated before. Here is a little of what I am anticipating.

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As you prepare for the holidays, take time out to experience the magic of the season. It’s hard to do that when we are rushing from one activity to another. Have a fulfilling Christmas by spending less. Here is an excellent article if you are looking for a richer holiday season.

Sometime during the next few weeks before I take off to my Christmas destination, I have planned an evening of peace and calm.  I will be bundling up and strolling through our snowy town one evening when all the stores have shut down. I want to take in the window dressing in the darkness of the evening. Perhaps I’ll stop in someplace for a hot toddy.

What do you plan to do this season that is a little different than what you’ve experienced previously?

For me, it’s  going to be a long Advent season, waiting and anticipating a reunion with our son whom I have not seen in ten months. We will be sharing this season of joy with others whom I have yet to meet before!

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.

A Tapestry of Beliefs

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advent calendarOur journey has begun into the Advent season. People have different expectations about the days leading up to Christmas depending on a person’s upbringing. As a society, we have become so touchy, afraid to stand up to our own values for fear of offending others politically and spiritually when it comes to the holidays.

I believe we all come to our understandings about faith or not in different ways. In the New Year, a movie called Tapestry staring Stephen Baldwin and Burt Young is due to be released. It is one man’s story of his spiritual journey.

Although I have yet to see the movie that is now being filmed in New York City, I wonder if this film is a reflection of Baldwin’s own tale of enlightenment or discovery. He has said this about his role in the film, “After 25 years in the film business, the projects I choose now must motivate me on a creative level that inspires and elevates my sense of art and spirit.”

tapestry the movie

If you are inclined to question and seek to form your own beliefs about a higher being or the creative or spiritual world, keep your eye on this film release in 2016.

This blog is brought to you by the author of the EVVY award-winning book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.



“For Unto Us a Child is Born”

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Advent Day #24

People the world over can relate to the expectancy that comes with the arrival of a precious new came down


From our family to yours ~ Merry Christmas!

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. We hope you enjoyed the advent calendar from All Things Fulfilling. It was a grand peek between the book covers of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

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Opening the Conversation

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Advent: Day #8

Intercultural dialogue is the best guarantee of a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.” ~ Robert Alan Silverstein

For the past two years in the town where I am residing, we watched the building of a huge addition to the Holy Name Catholic Church. The construction essentially turned a relatively small church into a nearly cathedral-sized structure.

On Friday evening, the entire town was invited in as the Yampa Valley Choral Society and the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra brought Handel’s Messiah alive in the community. My husband and I saw the gorgeous space and heard beautiful voices and outstanding orchestral music. The evening put me in the Christmas spirit. I am so grateful the Catholic Church opened up  this event to people of all religious affilliations and that I was able to attend it! The tickets sold out so quickly.

Throughout my lifetime I have been exposed to multi-cultural viewpoints and a diversity of religions. On this eighth day of Advent I’d like to share an image that will give insight into one of the largest influences in my childhood years which helped me to develop my thoughts and writings on spirituality.


How To Order the award-winning memoir by Sue Batton Leonard,  Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected:
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Phased by the Moon

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Aim for the moon. If you miss, you might hit a star.” ~ W. Clement Stone

I’ve been tossing and turning for the past few nights, thinking it was anticipation of the holiday season and my preparations for it. I don’t suffer from sleep disorders except when there is a full moon. My circadian rhythm gets thrown off. This is the last full moon of the year 2013, called The Long Night’s Moon and it leads to the coming of the Winter Solstice (on Saturday, December 21).

Appropriate to the lunar cycle, let’s take a look at movies about the moon on this Film Friday. If you follow this link, there’s a list of 25 films that have celestial themes.

I look forward to the coming of the Winter Soltice on Saturday! My husband will be on his way back from his travels. He’s been coaching ski racing at the World University Games in Italy.

Our son will be arriving along with his gal, a delightful guest to have over Christmas. It’s seems like it’s been a moon’s age since I’ve seen him but it’s actually been 7 full moon cycles. They’ll find fresh perspectives by taking a break from their work. There are all kinds of fulfilling things to do in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. They’ll be over the moon, skiing their hearts out.

Next week my blogging will be little less frequent so I can enjoy this precious time with my family. We’ll be all tucked in under one roof for the holidays. How sweet that will be.


Do return on Monday, to the blog of A space where independent thoughts, words and views are all part of the business.


Simply Nutty Holidays

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Its a gift to be simple, Its a gift to be free,
Its the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
Will be in the valley of love and delight.
~ Elder Joseph

Does anyone roast chestnuts anymore? My Dad used to roast chestnuts for us kids over an open fire every year in our big stone fireplace. That’s just one fulfilling nostalgic Christmas memory from my childhood.  I am sure he thought it didn’t mean a thing to us, but I remember it vividly – the earthy, nutty flavor sprinkled with just a tad of salt. I liked sitting fireside, watching the flames flick and flicker as he tossed the nuts around in the pan to keep them from burning. I haven’t had roasted chestnuts since.

A few years ago, I saw chestnuts in the store during the Xmas holidays, and I got all excited. I bought some and brought them home, I thinking I’d give it a go by roasting them in the oven. They were such a disappointment. The nuts, I realized, once I got them home were old, dried and shriveled up even before I popped them in the oven. Into the trash they went. “So much for that,” I thought.

chestnuts roasting on open fireIsn’t it strange how small memories from childhood stick with us? Christmas doesn’t always have to be about extravagant giving. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. “It’s the thought that counts.”  Put extra time into other kinds of gift giving such as creating unique, memorable gift wrapping, setting a beautiful table, cooking food that you delight in having only occasionally. Rather than insanely rushing around trying to do too much, spend sacred time with your friends or family. It will mean so much. It’s difficult to enjoy the Christmas season, that comes just once a year, if life is too harried.


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Film Friday: The Christmas Candle

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I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. ~ CHARLES DICKENS, A Christmas Carol

Miracles. Do you believe in them? I do, wholeheartedly!

christmas candlejpgA movie is making its debut in time for Christmas about the godsends of good fortune that arrive in the small town of Gladbury, England every twenty-five years. The movie adaptation of Max Lucado’s novel, The Christmas Candle is from the film production company of AMC Castle Rock.

Hans Matheson stars as the Reverend David, the pastor of the village in the Cotswalds where the inspirational movie takes place. Samantha Barks, an actress in Les Miserables plays the Reverend’s dubious friend.

Some reviewers say “If you like Downtown Abbey you will like this movie.” Ok, then! I’m all in – I adore Downtown Abbey and can not wait for Season 4 to begin. Like the PBS series Downton Abbey, the era of this inspirational movie takes place in Victorian England in the 1800s.  Click for info & ordering The Christmas Candle

home for ChristmasU.K. singing sensation Susan Boyle makes her feature film debut in The Christmas Candle. Her song “Miracle Hymn” written specifically for the movie is included on her new album. Boyle blast onto the music scene in 2009 when she appeared on Britain’s Got Talent. To read more about her newly released Christmas album “Home for Christmas,” .Click here for Susan Boyles cds.

Many people in this day in age would argue that our culture seems bent on “taking the Christ out of Christmas.” I applaud AMC Castle Rock for bringing this inspirationally fulfilling holiday movie to the silver screens this season. Keep a watch-out for it. It may be coming to your community soon.

This blog brought to you by Look forward to visiting with you on Monday on All Things Fulfilling.

Expectancy and Hope Worldwide

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 “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ” ~Norman Vincent Peale  

Diversity in culture makes our world so interesting. Christmas unites children around the globe in emotions of expectancy and hope, awaiting a visit from Santa or St. Nick. In Belgium and France, Pere Noel is revered. Kerstmann comes to the Netherlands and Weihnachtsmann(Christmas Man) comes to Germany. In the United Kingdom children await the arrival of Father Christmas and Grandfather Frost (Ded Moroz) comes to Russia. 

This day before Christmas Eve, I would like to share some beautiful faces of children awaiting Christmas  around the globe. Worldwide, some children’s  dreams are fulfilled, thanks to generous people and organizations such as Operation Shoebox. To read more about the organization Samaritan’s Purse, please follow this link.

Return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling for one more message for Christmas Eve.children and christmasIs he here yet?

chinese child closing eyes No peaking!

ethiopian children with crosses

Children in Ethopia, faithfully awaiting the story of Christmas 



Operation Shoebox, organized by Samaritan’s Purse delivers smiles to children all over the globe

scandanavian children

Scandanavian Children in native garb ready to celebrate

beautiful african american boy

Beaming all things beautiful

canadian children

No doubt about their heritage


In Peru, children as sweet as the lambs they hold.

africa child waving

Merry Christmas and blessings to you, too! 

 guatemala children

Sisters from Guatamala herald in Christmas together

 chinese children as santa

Appropriately dressed and waiting

 children learning

The Gift of Education

 child praying

Hands together in hope, faith and grace

worshipping the animals

Worshipping the Animals

santa lucia

Children – the light of the world.

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Sleighbells…Are you Listening, Booksellers?


I decided to take a trip yesterday, through the powers of my intuition, into the fulfilling world of publishing! What my intuition told me is that some print shops all over America are busier at work this year. How can they not be? Non-traditional publishing grew a whooping 181% from 2008 to 2009, according to Bowker trend, my intuition tells me, has risen again this year. Wish I knew for sure. But, only Bowker will be able to tell me, after they have tallied their reports at the end of the year. It’s just one of those things! 

Do you know what this could mean for the holidays? Santa may have a lot more stops this year – picking up books at companies that offer POD (print on demand) and short run printing. My intuition tells me the machines are cranking. More than ever, people want books (and films, too) that inspire, educate, inform and amuse that are not run of the mill. 

When Santa makes his rounds, my intuition tells me the sleigh bells will be ringing a lot louder this year, in support for the non-traditional publishing industry. If the trend in independent publishing stayed on the up and up again in 2010, is it what may be  keeping the publishing industry afloat? 

Hope Jolly Old St. Nick, has a stash of inspirational stories set aside for me this year. Ah well… if they sell out before Santa arrives at my door, they can easily be reprinted! No longer does the publisher need to print by the 10’s of thousands. That’s the beauty of independent publishing!

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