Family of Composites

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Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life! ~Albert Einstein

“She’s just like her father,” or “the apple didn’t fall far from that tree,” is often heard at every family reunion, celebration of birth or funeral.

I challenge you to find a family where all members are exactly alike. The family of man is made up of  individuals with unique characteristics  – physical, emotional and intellectual. A group of composites makes life interesting.

When our family gets together we are loud and possibly overbearing to outsiders. Having a healthy sense of humor is the best defense a newcomer can arrive with if they want to survive the experience.

Crazy woman wearing a metal colander for a helmet

I am grateful that my family and all those who came to it through marriage enjoy being with each other.  We try to avoid talking politics or dietary choices. We have “agreed to disagree” on those issues. Sometimes we successfully respect the unspoken ground rules and other times things get a little vocal. What do you expect from a bunch of fruits and nuts from the harvest of America’s people who all have their own opinions and were raised differently?

As you will learn from my memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, we’ve had many crazy times around our family table whether it was a holiday or not. The audio book holds the real treasure and you can get a better picture of what I mean when you listen to the voices.

The recounting of those family stories (from the EVVY award-winning anthology) was before our clan expanded to include my husband and our offspring and my siblings spouses and their families. Since then, there have been more lessons of heart & soul that have been learned from extended family.

 

 

 

Skits, Swaps and Songs

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We all have a place in the circle of life. Always remember who you are.” ~ Unknown

Who remembers singing rounds? I had forgotten all about that form of choral singing until I attended a Girl Scout Alumni Reunion the weekend before last. We sang many familiar campfire songs from my childhood. Skits were well done by some of the youth troops. They told stories about the G.S. founder Juliette Gordon Low and the history of the organization and cookie sales.


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I took SWAPS to trade with new friends who have found the same kind of meaningful connections through the Girl Scouts that I did many decades ago. If you have read my memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, you probably already know from my chapter about the Girl Scouts what I took to trade with others.

I’d like to share a few pictures of the SWAPS I received from new acquaintances I acquired over the course of the evening. Each troop had their own swaps that they created to give to others.

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The swaps below were made by Sharon, a friend who is a beautician and hair stylist. She is an Alumni who enjoyed being a member of the youth organization during the same era as me. She made these swaps from emery boards, gauze and a little ribbon. The paper doll heads were made from clip art. Very creative and the girls who were lucky enough to receive them were so excited!

sharons swaps

The s’mores we ate around the campfire were gooey and yummy. I left the event singing a little ditty that baby boomers will remember if you were a member of the Girl Scouts.

I’ve got something in my pocket, it belongs across my face.
I keep it very close at hand, in a most convenient place.
I’m sure you couldn’t guess it if you guessed a long, long while.
So I’ll take it out and put it on, it’s a Great Big Brownie Smile!

A little trivia: The Brownie Smile Song was written by Harriet F. Heywood of Gloucester, MA in the late 1920’s when she was working as a Brownie Girl Scout troop leader.

See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling. If you have an Eagle Eye, you will see something in tomorrow’s blog that you’ve seen in some of my blogs and in my writings. I was pleased when I saw them hanging on the walls unexpectedly in an art space in Breckenridge Colorado when I recently visited.

 

 

Weekend Fall Craft Projects

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October is the fallen leaf, but it is also a wider horizon more clearly seen.” ~ Hal Borland

I’m posting this image today because October is Applejack Month.

df3d11b86d421ecc7280f18a26aa1c5b One of my favorite craft projects from Girl Scouts was making dried apple people. If it looks like a fun project to do in October with your children or grandchildren, here is how. 

Another of my favorite craft projects was making bookmarks by pressing colorful autumn leaves between two pieces of waxed paper and ironing it.

A few years ago, when I was helping in a children’s Sunday School class, I learned that the bookmark project can be modified but putting shavings and tiny pieces of left over crayons between two pieces of waxed paper and ironing it to create a stained glass window effect. A beautiful, quick weekend craft project!

Tasty-Kitchen-Blog-Pumpkin-Spice-Apple-CiderIn honor of Applejack Month, I’d like to share this recipe for Hot Spiced Apple Cider with you. Perhaps you can make the concoction over the weekend to sip as you decorate your home for Halloween.

What are you doing this weekend? I am going on a one day road trip so I can have a change of scenery before the snow flies. Perhaps I will find something fulfilling to write about! See you back here on Monday!

If you enjoy reading the blogs posted on this site, don’t forget to bookmark All Things Fulfilling on your computer or on the right hand side of the page you can subscribe and have each posting delivered directly to your mailbox – free of charge!

This blog is brought to you by the author of the award-winning memoir 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.

 

 

Beauty Within All Generations

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The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I recently edited a chapter of a book for an writer who is involved in a collaborative effort of publishing a Christian book. She asked me whether I was working on writing any new publications of my own.

“Yes,” I said, “Actually, I have finished writing my first piece of fiction and am hoping to have it published in the near future. First I need to have it professionally edited (yes, everyone needs editors). I have a deadline for the project but as you know as a person who is involved in an independent publishing project, funds are needed up front. Not quite sure if I can get it all together. I’d put the book in the genre of women’s fiction. It’s about relationships between friends.”

friendship-66v“I like those kinds of stories. Don’t you find that your friendships with women become more important as you age? Many of my friends I have had since I was young have become even more meaningful to me than they ever were.” she asked.

“Yes, definitely,” I said, “but I like being around with people of all ages.” Great wisdom comes from our elders and also from young children. In their naïveté they have candid and truthful things to say.

Interesting how divine life is designed, isn’t it?

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 and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

 

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.

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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.

Mr. Rockwell’s Narratives

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How will I be remembered? As a technician or artist? As a humorist or a visionary? ~Norman Rockwell

Last week, my television was tuned in more than usual. I was interested in watching the Pope speak at the various different venues. It was such a privilege for the American people to have someone of his stature visit our country.
Did you see the photo op taken at the United Nations in front of the Norman Rockwell image called “Golden Rule?” The U.N. is a very appropriate place to have the image hanging because it could not be more symbolic of America’s melting pot of citizens.  On All Things Fulfilling we featured a blog about Rockwell’s “Golden Rule” back in September 2013. It was a very well read article. Go back and read it if you missed it.

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On Friday, the same day the Pope appeared at the United Nations, I came across an interesting article from the Berkshire Eagle about the Norman Rockwell Museum. Some changes are about to take place in the way that the artist’s work will be exhibited. The images will be thematically organized to better tell the story of America. It’s a terrific idea in my opinion! If ever there was an artist whose work tells a narrative, it is Mr. Rockwell’s!

The last time I visited the Rockwell collection was about 25 years ago when it was housed in an old church in Arlington, Vermont. I enjoyed seeing each of the iconic Americana images, however, the lighting and organization of the paintings did not do it justice. Now there is a beautiful structure in Stockbridge, Massachusetts housing the entire collection with a skilled curator at the helm. If you are ever in the area do not miss it! Check out the information on the museum.

This blog is brought to you by the 2014 EVVY award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories, Lessons of Heart & Soul.