Of All Things! A Mustard Seed?

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As an independent publisher, it takes faith and determination to see a project to fruition. Today, I am reposting one of my favorite older blogs about faith.

All Things Fulfilling

From a small seed a mighty trunk might grow ~ Aeschylus

The other day, a memory came to me as I stood in the line at the grocery store. I saw an elderly woman who had a beautiful silver watch on her wrist. It was unlike the kind of watch that you see in this day and age, and it reminded me of my Grandmother. Back in her day, watches were made like fine art – the work that went into crafting them was apparent.

mustard seedMy grandmother always wore a lovely watch with a little bauble that hung from it, just like in this image. What really intrigued me was the seed inside the bauble. I thought it was kind of intriguing but, I couldn’t imagine why would anyone carry around a seed hanging from their watch.

My grandmother told me it was a mustard seed but never told me of the seed’s significance…

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Sowing Creative Energy

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“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”  ~ Nelson Mandela

heart clockEver since I put my mind to the idea of spring cleaning, I’ve had trouble sleeping. There are too many possibilities before me streaming. My preliminary discussions with my mighty information technology (aka i.t.) advisor have encouraged me to move forward. With time, clarity will come. I just need to practice patience and have faith that the words, sounds and images will be united into one fulfilling space.

 I have of  plenty of concepts to sleep on which is making shut-eye elusive because I am sowing creative energy of the heart and that is stimulating!

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

 

 

 

Fulfilling Things about Spring Cleaning

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“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.”~Bernard Williams

The good  news: February 25th is a special day, and it is coming up. Annually I’ve declared it as a benchmark – over the hump day of winter. Occasionally I’ve moaned and groaned about the length of winter living in the mountains but, I must confess it is a beautiful season. So far this year we’ve received just about 300 inches of snow here in the town that the locals call “The Boat.”

It’s hard to believe spring will ever come with the heaps of snow that surround me. But what’s so lovely about the next season is it arrives as “my spring of discontent.” That means I am ready to blossom, grow and step outside my boundaries which always leads to new perspectives and projects.

In a few weeks I look forward to a visit from my sonshine. He’s my mighty counselor in all things technical and digital. I have some ideas up my sleeve. Hopefully, between the two of us we can put our heads together and do a shoveling out and spring cleaning on All Things Fulfilling. I’m up for the challenge because I’ve learned with faith, all things are possible!

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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 short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

 

 

 

 

 

Collective Gal Power

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Anytime women come together with a collective intention, it’s a powerful thing.Whether it’s sitting down making a quilt, in a kitchen preparing a meal, in a club reading the same book, or around the table playing cards, or planning a birthday party, when women come together with a collective intention, magic happens. ~ Phylicia Rashad

Last Friday after work I rode the bus into town. I heard two men talking and picked up from the conversation that their wive’s were attending a women’s group. Their husbands, apparently, were headed to one of the local pubs to sit at the bar for wings and beer.

“I just don’t get it,” one of the fellows said, “those women’s groups…. all they do is promote gossip. And they’re bad for diets. When my old lady gets home all she does is whine about how much she ate. I think those lady’s groups are all about having a space where they can complain about their kids and their husbands.”

“Really?” I thought, “That’s just plain sad. In my experience women’s groups are all about finding personal fulfillment in joint interests.”

Women who network create space where faith and hope prevail by learning from one another, sharing joys, talking about meaningful issues and by supporting each other. As a matter of fact, on Friday I learned something invaluable from a new acquaintance (I think her name is Joan) at the Sit and Stitch at Sew Steamboat. She taught me about “life lines” – a technique used in knitting, so that if you make an error, you don’t have rip all your work out and to go back to the beginning. I wondered why I hadn’t previously heard about this before? Now I’m apt to venture into knitting projects that are a little beyond my skill level since now I know there is a way to set up a safety net. If I make an error, I can still salvage the project and not have to trash it.

I can see that this knitting group at Sew Steamboat will become a valuable resource to me in the future. The owners of this shop is a collective of women. Here is the beautiful, colorful space they’ve created together. Makes a person want to sit down and take up a yarn!

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I’d like to hear from other women who find that women’s groups are their saving grace. How have they contributed to your well being? Post a comment to this blog. Maybe we can get a good conversation going right here on All Things Fulfilling.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard,  2014 EVVY award-winning 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.

Aired at the Farm, Refreshingly

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 “Feed your faith and starve your doubts.”Kenneth E. Hagin Sr.

A few weeks ago my sister-in-law, Grace, and I visited the Prigel Family Creamery http://www.prigelfamilycreamery.com/ in Glen Arm, Maryland to pick up some of their award-winning “Best of Baltimore” ice cream. The farm is located in horse country, near My Lady’s Manor, Maryland in Baltimore County, north of the city. It’s in the area of the state where the notable “steeple chases” take place every April. For those of you who are unfamiliar with that term, think fox and hound hunts. http://www.marylandsteeplechasing.com/main/mlm/datetime.htm

As we drove up to the farm, I was surprised by what I saw. A business that unabashedly shares their belief on a sign etched in stone right on the foundation of the building. You can’t miss it.

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“How refreshing is that?” I thought. So many businesses and individuals in this day and age would rather not display signs of the American values and principles that our country was founded upon – a sad state of affairs, I think, if I can be honest.

As everyone knows farming is one of the most difficult occupations there is. Hard work, unforeseeable challenges and the unrelenting task of finding ways to be a sustainable business is all part of the job. It also takes faith to be a farmer because they are constantly at the mercy of unpredictable weather!

Today during this week of gratefulness, I’d like to dedicate this blog on All Things Fulfilling to farmers and ranchers everywhere who keep us fed with fresh produce and other “fruits” of their labor and production – meat, eggs, grains, cheese, poultry, maple syrup and so much more. When we sit down to the Thanksgiving table on Thursday, let us remember where the food we eat comes from and those who produce it.

Here are a few more photos from my quick stop at Prigel’s, along the trail of my East Coast book tour, which I am so very grateful for.

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This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, which has won three awards, please visit this site.http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.

 


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Old Fashioned as Mother’s Love

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Rejecting things because they are old-fashioned would rule out the sun and the moon — and a mother’s love.” ~ Unknown

Lately, I have been reflecting on how people have different values. For instance, faith means something different to each one of us, and we all come to our faith (or not) through our own life circumstances. Here are some images that reflect an era when family, faith and community was at the forefront of American life.

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Wake up America

Things have indeed changed since my childhood and life has gotten more complex – perhaps by our own choices or maybe because our American values in this day and age are different. It is disheartening that the U.S.A. has fallen through the ranks as no longer being one of the happiest places in the world to live. Interested in what countries occupy the top spaces? Here is an article from USA Today for you to read. http://usat.ly/1CWtnUH.

Could it be that that returning to old fashioned values of strong family, community and spiritual relationships might help us find whatever is lacking?

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I would love to hear our reader’s opinions. Do you think life is less fulfilling than it used to be? Would you like to see our country return to our good old fashioned values and become more harmonious with our country’s founding principles? If so, what are you looking for in your life? Post your comment on this site.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. For more information on the memoir, an anthology of stories, available in audio book, paperback and e-book,  please visit this link. http://amzn.to/141aW6S.

 

Need for Mountains of Creativity

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Entrepreneurship, inspiration, and putting faith in one’s own creativity are all the things that excite me about the world of independent publishing. It is a field that has brought vast changes (with an eye on sustainability) by doing things differently than in the past.
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Some time ago on All Things Fulfilling, I posted a blog about a TedX talk which I think bears repeating. I believe the speaker, Chuck Scranton, had some wonderful things to say about the future of education, how to engage students in classrooms and what today’s children need so that they are prepared with skills that go beyond what students of the past have been taught. It is all about encouraging creativity and active learning.

Parents and educators, this issue is very important. So please listen in to The Immovable Mountain. https://allthingsfulfilling.com/tag/that-immovable-mountain/.

Is there something more you can do to help support your child’s mind, interests and creativity? Our country’s future depends on new industry, creative thinkers and “pioneers” working in ways that are different than the same old-same old ways of doing things. The new generation will need to work in ways that will lead America forward to new eras of discovery.

Interested in reading about more ways you can foster your child’s creativity? Here is also a good article. http://bit.ly/10dKjtG.

Today and everyday is a great day for brainstorming! Don’t forget to write down your ideas!

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her book Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, please visit this link.http://amzn.to/1te9k2F

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.

Twistin’ Twiggy

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What will they think of me must be put aside for bliss.”Joseph Campbell

Twiggy-4When British supermodel Twiggy burst onto the international  fashion and style scene in the 1970s, it made me feel much better as a teenager. http://www.twiggylawson.co.uk/. After all, I reasoned, Twiggy had skinny, skinny legs like me, and she had a short pixie hair cut, like mine, too. It may have been my own twisted way of rationalizing that not having long flowing locks and shapely legs like all the others girls in school was ok. The only time I did have long tresses was in my senior high school picture. I caved into peer pressure and let my hair grow out.

It can be hard when you are a child and you feel different than the others, and even worse when you become a teenager. Wanting to “fit in” is important. I feel as if I was fortunate compared to kids today, I think the times were gentler and although there was peer pressure, it wasn’t quite as intense as it is in today’s world.

One of the reasons that I published my memoir is to help children who are struggling with childhood illness. Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected is a story of hope for kids and their parents. Click here for information on Sue’s memoir. The message I wish to share with sick children is that no matter what they are going through it does not have to be their entire life story. With faith, positive attitudes and medical experts, things can take unexpected turns resulting in great health, happiness and fulfillment.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July. I am going to celebrate my many years of good health by posting a blog of iconic American images that make me smile!  The pictures hearten the spirit for all Americans who love and believe in our country. Enjoy a  patriotic visual experience from All Things Fulfilling.

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