Links to Past, Present and Future

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My first duty is to write a gripping yarn. Second is to convey credible characters who make you feel what they feel. Only third comes the idea. ~ David Brin

Did you read Friday’s post on All Things Fulfilling about stitching yarns together? Today we are going to continue the conversation from a slightly different angle.

In my first publication, the award-winning memoir called Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, I wrote a first hand account of my memories.The facts were all there as best as I could remember from my childhood.

For years I have been told some interesting stories about a character of interest on my mother’s side of the family tree that I did not write about previously.  The tales could be full of baloney because they are a bit sketchy. I need to determine if they are fact or fiction.


In order to find out the truth of the matter I recently joined in with a genealogy group at the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs, Colorado to see if I can stitch together the vague pieces of information that I have been given my mother. If there is some truth to the matter, this figure from my heritage could prove to be a fascinating fellow.

Great resources are available at my finger tips! The Bud Werner Memorial Library (BWML) is an affiliate of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Some people find great fascination in tracing their family back many generations, I am not sure if I am up for the task. “But how will I know whether I’ll find that kind of research fulfilling or not if I don’t begin somewhere?” I ask myself.

I’ll keep you posted….

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

Keep it in the Family


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Exploring Roots and Characters

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I believe that the memoir is the novel of the 21st century; it’s an amazing form that we haven’t even begun to tap…we’re just getting started figuring out what the rules are.”  ~ Susan Cheever

Have you ever considered how our lives are made up of stories? Everyone has stories to tell and some people are natural storytellers. However, sometimes getting stories down on paper is not as easy as telling them orally.

Think about family stories for a minute. Unless these rich narratives are written down and published, future generations will never know them. The characters who sprouted from the family tree will be lost.
Not to be overly-dramatic, the truth is that unless we share family stories through the form of memoir writing, in a few generations down the road we risk becoming like be a nation of adoptees who don’t know who their parents or grandparents were.

The good news is, we are living in an age where ordinary people can write and publish their stories independently. You don’t have to have a big family name behind you or sensational story to tell in order to become published. Resources are freely available for ordinary people.

Publishing a story for personal fulfillment is reward enough. But future generations will greatly appreciate knowing something about their family narrative because so many tales just get lost.

family link to the past and bridge to future

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

Integrating Gratefulness

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Does this simple prayer sound familiar to any of our readers? It is one of several easy to remember prayers that my brothers, sister and I said around the family dinner table. If you are interested in integrating more “gratefulness” into your family life or having a conversation with your grandchildren about being appreciative, here is a good article.


We are living in an age of consumerism so teaching children to be grateful for all they’ve got is an especially important concept. The most meaningful prayers for children are those that they can relate to. The exercise of going around the table asking children what they are thankful for is a good practice. Warning: be prepared for some very endearing responses!

As we age, we see loved ones passing. We become acutely aware that taking time to be grateful for our lives and all it’s blessings is important. If you can instill this concept in children, they will live with greater purpose and meaning. Gratefulness is defined not by religion but by an individuals value of life. Have the conversation, it is never too early or too late!

prayer 3This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of the award-winning book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. For more information on the publication, please visit this link. The audio book enables families to read together as a family. It humorously and warm-heartedly gets across the concept of thanksgiving.


Histrionics of Twins

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Life is like a moustache. It can be wonderful or terrible. But it always tickles. ~ Nora Roberts, From the Heart

Pet white mice!  “They’re so cute,” we’d say to our parents. “We want one to play with.” My sister and I nagged at our parents to let us have a domesticated mouse until finally they gave in. Did anyone else have one or more of those creatures as a kid?

Ohhh- now, that pet brings back memories to yours truly and her sister. We kept our mouse in a glass aquarium with a screen over it for a cover so it wouldn’t escape. However intruders were more the problem. More than once we were awoken in the middle of the night by loud squealing. A wild mouse that came from somewhere within our house had found it’s way into the cage. When we turned on the bedroom light to investigate all the noise, we caught the mice in action mating. You’ve never seen two little, screaming naive twins scamper into their parents’ bedroom in the middle of the night so quickly! We jumped on mom and dad’s bed with wide-eyes to apprise our parents of the situation!

Three weeks later, an unexpected development! We learned more about the facts of life, when we awoke to little, translucent pink  bodies squirming in the clear glass cage.

photo of white mouse withbackpackWho knows where the newborn babies went when they disappeared the next day. As a young child, I figured the cat clock hanging on the wall in our bedroom, that I mentioned in yesterday’s blog,  had come alive and eaten them up. After this happened twice, my parents sent the pet white mouse packing!

Would your parents have let you have a white mouse for a pet? I grew up in a bit of a crazy house. Domesticated white mice were only the start of the many animals that could be found inside and out on our family’s property – more about our zoo in my memoir.  Add a wonderful character named Fanny into the mix of the menagerie, and life was lived differently than many of our neighbors.

Oh….I can only image the stories my parents could tell about the histrionics of life with two twins.

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


Believe it or Not

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 Y'all ain't gonna believe this.Being a twin, my sister and I were partners in crime. Only our silly, foolish double-trouble was more of the innocent kind.

For a child, there is nothing more fulfilling than having someone to pair up with who is also “game” for participating in childhood foolishness – I had that partner in my sister. For instance, once when we had tired of playing with our baby dolls we took up the challenge of trying to diaper two big toads that were leaping about our yard. “Kleenex and mini-sized safety pins, will work perfectly,” we thought. Yeah, I know, “Oh how silly.” An impossible task to achieve, when the toads were intent on hopping around. It kept us busy for a whole afternoon.

The stellar character my upcoming memoir “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected” caught us in action. “Lord a Mercy,” she said, “what is ya’ll doin’? Y’all leave dem leapin’ lizards ‘lone. You’ll be growing in all da wrong places if ya keeps on touchin’ dem warts on dem frowgs!” 

Ahhh…that’s only one story that was left out of my memoir. Believe it or not, I’ve got plenty more to tell.  Other tales are  coming on Mother’s Day, when “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected” is released.

If you haven’t done so already, go to our new About the Book page on All Things Fulfilling,  you can see the book cover image and read some reviews from pre-publication readers, too.

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