Balance of Power and Economy

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Before you become a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. ~ Jack Welsh

Beth Macy, author of the National Best Selling book Factory Man, held an author talk and book signing in Steamboat Springs, Colorado a few weeks ago. I attended and bought the book. It is a narrative non-fiction about Bassett Furniture Makers. The story is jam-packed with complicated family relationships, history and a whole community of people whose lives depended upon the livelihood of the textile and furniture industry in the town of Bassett, Virginia.

big_chair_little_chairAt the foundation of the story is a “full of himself” character who often strained the family dynamic with his leadership style. Add to that the exodus of industry – furniture products being manufactured overseas more cheaply, and the battle that ensued in saving an American town. What do you have? An impressive and fulfilling tale to tell.

A very well-researched book that award-winning journalist Macy writes in a compelling and “you’ve gotta hear this style.”

Business people in every industry at all eschelons of power will glean something from this story about a multi-generational family furniture dynasty.

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

Grandmothers Apron

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Nature was in her beryl apron, mixing fresher air. ~ Emily Dickinson

apron grandma at the sinkAs a follow-up to the blogs posted earlier in the week,  it sure makes a difference when individuals  have the right teachers, mentors and family support in their lives.

Although Fanny, a character in my memoir,” takes the cake,” in my story, I am very grateful for all of my family. Strong relationships are of fundamental importance. Beautiful memories I have of when all three generations gathered around the dinner table at my grandparents house. Their dining room was small and barely held all of us. What mattered was the wonderful feelings that were felt as we held hands and said grace before dinner. The food was always bountiful and lovingly prepared by my grandmother, as it has always been at my mother’s house.

When I think of my grandmother I think of her  in the kitchen, dressed in her apron. Her sweet disposition was as large as the big apron she generously filled out. Back in her day, women wouldn’t have been caught casually dressed at any time of day or night. Even when her day was spent cooking, she was outfitted in a pretty “house dress,” as she called it, with stockings, shoes with heels (never flats – I don’t think she even owned a pair) and a coating of colorful lipstick which was freshly applied several times a day. She always looked so pretty.

Today I would like to share a link to a blog that has a wonderful poem all about aprons and the magnitude of their importance. The poem reflects upon the purpose of aprons other than  utilitarian.

Last fall when I began volunteering in our church kitchen nearly every week serving community dinners, I began getting used  to wearing an apron. A borrowed one from the United Methodist Church Women. The other day I read that aprons are making a come back and there are companies who are updating the apron form with art and style! Here is a link to some cute ones from 4 Generations Studio. A good gift to put on a Christmas wish list.

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


New Found Treasures


“Treasure your relationships, not your possessions.” ~ Anthony J D’Angelo

Peeps writing to Meems in armyFamily photos are some of the greatest treasures we could ever own. Last summer, my parents gave an unexpected gift to our family by revealing some never before seen photos they had gotten out of storage. The image that really stole my heart more than any other is this image of my father writing a letter to my mother (as he did almost daily) when he was in the army. On the crude wooden desk, made with 2” X 4”s was a framed picture of the love of his life, my mother, looking right at him as he wrote the letter.

My parents were childhood friends beginning at 10 or 11 years of age. They grew up one street apart from one another. That childhood friendship developed into a love relationship that has lasted, in a marriage, for 65 years. But what transpired throughout the course of their lives and some of the things they coped with as very young adults and newly-married is part of the treasure in my own personal narrative that will be published in spring 2014.

As I look at this image of my parents, it fulfills me to know that from the union of my father (who was an only child) and my mother (who had one brother), our family has become very large. Each person added by birth or marriage is like newly found treasure – each contributing to the whole with individual interests and passions that make for beautiful gatherings. The conversations when we are all together range from custom home building and architecture, to fitness, food and fashion design, to homeopathics and neonatal nursing, to boats, marine logistics and shipping, to writing, publishing and filmmaking. (How is that for a run on sentence?) And lest I forget – we now have a student of equine medicine in training! Diverse and widespread interests all in one family. But what binds us all together, besides the caring, is the love of books and reading, first nurtured by my parents.

If you are wondering how to instill a love of reading in your children, here is an article with 11 great tips.

And all these years later, despite every life challenge and obstacle, my parents are still each other’s best friends. Isn’t that an ultimate love story?

This blog brought to you by Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling.