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.

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A Classic Way of Life

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promoting-empathy-and-a-sense-of-community-4-638People are beginning to understand that wealth is not all about money. Real wealth means having good neighbors, living in a close-knit community, finding jobs whose real value is in the personal fulfillment it brings to us.

There is a new community in Devens, Massachusetts, called Emerson Green, whose goal is for it’s residents to “Come home to a connected, community-focused neighborhood that hearkens back to a simpler era – and looks ahead to a sustainable future, aimed at having it’s residents return to a classic way of life and a tight-knit community.” Something to really write “home” about if you are successful in finding such a place in this transient society.

Union Studios, national award-winning architects and co-developers for the project along with NOW Communities have designed the Emerson Green Project with the “right size” in mind. In other words, sustainable living. It has reused a plot of land  on the outskirts of Boston which used to be a military base. The homes, which have several different floor plan options, are as suitable for first-time home owners, families, professionals and empty-nesters alike.

Once the project is finished and people are well-established in their new community it would be fun to see if Emerson Green has met it’s the objectives of  providing a satisfying way of life which by design encourages social interaction. With our emigrating society, this is something more and more people are looking for because studies point to “social interaction” as a contributor to good health and longer living.

P.S. Having good resources such as an outstanding library helps to build great community. If you visit Union Studios website, take a few minutes to peruse information on the newly completed Tiverton Library project as well as other civic and residential projects the architectural firm has been involved with.

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

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.

A Real Peach of a Community

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We can never get a re-creation of community and heal our society without giving our citizens a sense of belonging.Patch Adams

What makes a great community? As an outsider, I’ve noticed things the 2014 Winner of the Coolest Small Town in America, Berlin, Maryland has in common with Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the town I’ve called home for the past seven years.These elements are what, in my opinion, helps a community to thrive.

  • Cohesion between a strong Main Street Association and the local Council on the Arts
  • People who are forward-thinkers, not afraid of change but respect the past.
  • A strong volunteer base who want to contribute to building a town that others will envy.
  • Leaders who understand the history behind the community and what makes it unique.

Berlin, Maryland “Historically Charming & Artistically Alive & Eternally Young” has been the location site of two movies, which no doubt has helped bring notariety to the community. Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere was filmed there in 1998 and contributed 27.5 million dollars to the local economy. In 2001 Berlin was transformed into a town at the turn of the century with dirt roads, period costumes and horses and carriages for the film Tuck Everlasting. Actors Sissy Spacek, Ben Kingsley and William Hurt starred in the fictional film.

Movie producers as well as the audiences were captivated by the Victorian town center, the tree-lined streets and historic homes and museums in this small town in “Chesapeake Country.”

Want to know more about what makes a great community? Read this article,  and visit the Berlin, Maryland website. Also scroll back to the two previous day’s blogs to see more pictures. Every business in Berlin is worthy of mention on All Things Fulfilling. Due to lack of space, only a small number are featured. Each makes this community a fulfilling destination that reminds us of what it was like to live in charming small town America.

If you are a baby boomer, you’ll appreciate the lyrics of this 1972 song which you’ll probably remember from the crossroads of your life. Listen in as you scroll through these images!

 

Berlin Peach grocery signed

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storefront signed

Berlin house with fan window signed

berlin grey house withflowers signed

Atlantic hotel dining room signed

store door in Berlin autogr

Street &Trees in Berlin signed

old delivery van signed

20150808_112127 Yarn shop 2 Jans signed

 Thanks to my twin sister Jan for the photo contributions to this blog. It was wonderful to have an early celebration of our birthday by painting the town together.

Yarn shop looking out Jans signed

 

Yarn shop 3 inside Jan signed

 

 

Globe Theatre signed

Join me tomorrow as I celebrate a special segment of local artists in the place I’ve resided for the past seven years. They make up in part what is unique about the town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

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.

Pounds of Love

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Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. ~Seneca

This is one of the best good news stories I have read in a long time about the power of women who band together to make the world a little bit better.

The heartwarming ingredients in the story include:

  • Nine compassionate women
  • A wonderful mission
  • Pounds of sweet beginnings and endings
  • 35 years of  secrecy and dedication
  • Southern soul, charm and kindness
  • Love for others and community

The end result: “Happiness Happens!”

Pound Cake  with love

Do not miss this article.  Click here and read the full story.  Check in on us tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling.

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

Camp Fire Songs

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I love to go a-wandering

Along the mountain track

And as I go, I love to sing

My knapsack on my back

Chorus:

Val-der-ri, val-der-ra

Val-der-ra, val-der-ha ha ha ha ha ha

Val-der-ri, val-der-ra

(My knapsack on my back)

Who remembers these words and music by Friedrich W. Möller and Antonia Ridge?

This song reminds me of a very happy time in my youth –  singing around the campfire with the Girl Scouts. First I was a Brownie, and then I “flew up” to a Junior Girl Scout. Ceremonially it made me feel as valued as becoming a debutante at a  “coming out” party. Although I had  never experienced what that was like, I imaged as a kid the feelings were similar.  I’m from an average, middle class American family with parents who had strong work ethics. They put their family, work and  community first.

If you were a Girl Scout, watch this less-than-a-minute video. I promise you will fall into repeating the words as if you just said them yesterday, even if it’s been decades.

The Girl Scouts in Steamboat Springs, Colorado are having a recruitment night tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 12). Pass the word to girls who are interested in the organization. It is happening at the United Methodist Church from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. What a great group to be involved with.

In retrospect, I guess my values haven’t changed much and I still love to go a wandering with a knapsack on my back. Val-der-ri, val-der-ra….

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author, Sue Batton Leonard. For more information on her memoir, which just won 2 EVVY book awards, visit this link.http://amzn.to/1ulyFYs

Eggs in the grass

My twin and me, atop Mt Werner in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  What a gift to spend a birthday with Jan after 30+ years of being far from each other on our special day.

Riding the Circuit

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red-door3 “Too often students are given answers to remember rather than given problems to solve.” ~ Roger Lewin

“He’s a circuit rider,” my mother declared a few weeks ago when we discussed the pastor who married my niece two years ago.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Good Lord, you don’t know what a circuit rider is?”

“A cowboy who rides bucking bronchos in the rodeo circuit?” I guessed, shrugging my shoulders and feeling rather stupid.

My mother laughed. Oh, she laughed.

“We have one of those on this tiny island. We don’t have a large enough population of people in this community to support a full timer.”

“Well, you still haven’t told me what it is.” I said.

“Go see for yourself, he’ll be up at the white church with red doors on the island on Sunday. People say he’s really good at fulfilling his duties.”

“Which one?” I asked, trying to clarify which church had the red doors and the “circuit rider.” Honestly, I didn’t know any of the three churches on TaylorsIsland on the Chesapeake were still functioning.

“Just go to the church with the open doors at a quarter to twelve, the others may be locked up.” She said quickly, like she was brushing me off. She ran out of the house to do her shopping.

“Or maybe I will just Google to see what a circuit rider is.” I thought. My mother still hadn’t given me a definition.

“Nah, what fun is that? I’ll just go see for myself,” I thought.  My mother had piqued my interest.

“I’ll go in with an open mind.” I thought. But,  a circuit rider at a church? I questioned, as images of rodeo riders came to the forefront.

“Why don’t you go with me?” I asked my mother when she returned from her food shopping.

“Where?” my mother asked.

Our mother-daughter communications were obviously not working well that day.

“To see the circuit rider.” I said yelling to her from the dining room into the kitchen.

“I might, but I see him all the time about the island.” My mother replied.

“Hmmmm……A circuit rider?”

Come on back tomorrow. I will tell you what I found that warmed my heart and how fulfilling  was to learn what a circuit rider is.

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