Blind Love

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God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, or sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. – unknown

Twenty-eight years ago today I had a blind date. I wasn’t quite sure what time the meeting would occur but I knew it would be after that day’s labor.

Without even seeing what I was in for, I was told by others that I would love the person I had a date with immediately no matter what. I had no doubt because I held onto lots of blind faith that God would deliver.

Son Bday

On February 25, 1988 , I became a mother.  Today, I’d like to say Happy Birthday to our Son, Marc. 

Everything I went through to risk bringing him into this world is explained in my award-winning book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected in chapter 35 called Turning it Over. It was some special year, my 35th year of celebrating my life.

Our son has brought my husband and me so much joy, and I call him my

Energizing

Sonshine!

 

Shared Experiences

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Today, I’d like to put a call out to anyone who has independently published – whether it’s a book,  film or music. Here’s the question:

If you could share one piece of advice with those who are in the process of writing and publishing independently what would it be? Post your helpful tip on this website.

 

dont stumble

The mission of this site has been to share all kinds of fulfilling things about independent publishing and this thing called “life.” Looking for more information? Use the search bar or category archives on the right-hand side of this page.

And for those who share their wisdom through a comment:

never surpress a generous thought.

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.

Life Changing Moments

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When we establish human connections within the context of shared experience we create community wherever we go.”Gina Greenlee, Postcards and Pearls:

As a follow-up to the writings of the past two days about how our life stories come together through the associations we make with others, once again I am reminded that we really are never alone. Here is how it happened:

gym uniformsI am connected with an on-line group of people who grew up in the town and area that I did. Someone posted a picture of a vault box used in gymnastics. An onslaught of postings followed of individual memories of junior high and high school gym classes during the 50’s and 60s.

Comments about the vault box echoed my sentiments exactly. Many said “taking showers in a non-private environment was so humiliating because we were at a vulnerable age when bodies were changing and teens were so sensitive about how they looked to others.” Others stated their distain for the gym uniforms because they were “dorky.” Others mentioned individual sports that they detested or were no good at. Some said “they loved gymnastics and the vault box but hated running laps on the track or in relay races.  That’s when they felt so inadequate.”

Junior high and high school gym class held such strong memories for me that I even devoted an entire chapter to it in my memoir. I had a life-changing moment in the gym in the Towsontown Junior High School, that will never be forgotten.

Do you have any moments in your life that changed the direction of your life forever? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Post a comment.

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, Sue Batton Leonard.

 

Tracing a Story

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Genealogy, n. An account of one’s descent from a man who did not particularly care to trace his own.~ Ambrose Bierce

Isn’t it interesting how others can motivate us? In yesterday’s blog I mentioned being inspired by members of our local genealogy group to begin tracing a story in my family history.

When I see the work of others, I get all fired up even when it comes to putting my energy into something I didn’t think I had much interest in. But I am beginning to get stoked up.

magnifying-glass-over-business-text-10920164One woman in our group has traced family members who came twenty-seven generations before her. She has located information about her Scottish ancestors born in the 800’s, mapping out her family tree with names, birth dates, places of death and towns of residence. A phenomenal amount of research!

Another member has compiled so much material it’s contained in a tome-sized binder. Very well organized! Now she is considering what to do with all the data, images and pedigree charts.

Others have traveled to their ancestors hometowns all over the world and taken gravestone rubbings, spoken with historians, museums and community town fathers who have helped them reveal some important facts and figures to complete their stories.

It’s sad to think how many important stories in history get lost because of people’s disinterest in keeping them alive through writing. No doubt it is easier just to live in the present.

If you have even the slightest interest in your family history, check out this website. You may come across something that could become your own version of a Gift of Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

Wear Red Tomorrow

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“Red is the first color of spring. It’s the real color of rebirth. Of beginning.” ~ Annie Condie

Are you planning on wearing red tomorrow? The American Heart Association has declared February 5th National Wear Red Day. This day is dedicated to raising awareness that “heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women, yet 80% of it is preventable.”

On the Go Red for Women website there are educational articles and resources to educate the public about the importance of children and fitness, and factors which increase chances of heart disease such as high blood pressure, smoking, inactivity and high cholesterol. The useful and free information is there for each and every one of us.

As Conway Twitty once said “listen to advice, but follow your heart.” Always listen to your body, and if it is telling you something is not right, don’t wait – go see a doctor. It could be the difference between death or life.

You can help the fight against heart disease by posting #GoRed on your Facebook page or through other social media.  Remember to #gored tomorrow, donate to the cause or fill a shopping cart at the GoRed on-line store.

Thanks for listening and tomorrow is a good a day as any to begin improving your heart health.

My award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected speaks to this issue which is close to my heart.

 

Living With the Heart of a Child

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“Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming.” ~ Joseph B Wirthlin

It’s a wonderful thing to live as an adult with the heart of a child, still full of wonder.

We’re never too old to engage in childhood activities like taking a trip down the sliding board, pumping higher and higher toward the skies on a swing, wading in the waters of a rippling stream, getting messy with finger paints or diving into an ice cream Sundae with such zeal that it ends up all over our face.

The day after Christmas my son, his gal, my husband and I walked into Michael’s Craft Store, looking for a picture frame for a photograph of the two of them they had given us for Christmas.

“Pick out a frame you are happy with,” said Marc, “it will complete the present.”

Before we were finished shopping my son said “Mom, did you see what’s at the front of the store? You might be interested. Go pick one out for yourself.”

“I followed his orders and have enjoyed being a child all over again – all wrapped up into something that used to bring me hours of pleasure as a child.”

According to this article from Business Insider, I am not the only one who is having fun revisiting my childhood!

coloring book2

On some of these long, dark winter evenings, coloring has been a good change of pace from reading.

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

 

Spaces of Dreams

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“What you surround yourself with should bring you peace of mind and peace of spirit.” ~ Stacy London

Over the past few days blogs have been written about books with storylines about the planetary world. People all over the universe look to the skies and dream and wonder what’s out really out there beyond our earthly existence.

There is so much beauty on this planet Earth, and I love seeing photos of places where others live and the beautiful worlds that people create for themselves.

table top garden sceneI have a friend who looks like she might live a fairytale existence, but I know she doesn’t due to some real health challenges. She surrounds herself with joy, peace, serenity and beauty using her homemaking skills. and has a very special talent for doing it.

I think she’d tell you she has done better than she expected given her diagnosis twenty plus years ago. In my opinion, her beautiful home environment has something to do with it. Her challenges are still there but she dwells more on using her creativity to make a beautiful world for herself and her family – her husband, her two sons and their wives and her grandchildren. She puts so much charm into her environment, probably so she can more easily overlook the difficult stuff.vintage bike


Today, I’d like to give a shout out to my special friend in South Carolina. I hope someday soon I can go see her because it makes me sad that so much distance separates us.

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

A Pioneer in a Field

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Shoot for the Moon

Quote by: Norman Vincent Peale

Have you read the debut novel by Amy Brill, The Movement of Stars? I just finished it and enjoyed a book club discussion of the publication with a group of United Methodist women.

Knowing so little about astronomy, when I first began reading Brill’s novel I was concerned that I may not be able to get through the astronomical details. How wrong I was. I became quickly involved in the relationship of the two main characters whose lives intersected. They seemed to have a deep understanding of one another due to parallel themes that ran throughout their lives. Both were strangers in a strange land, each deemed by their culture to be a people who should be denied to dream and excel.

As I became involved in the narrative, I  could see how necessary the astronomical details were to the heart of the story. Brill’s writing about the planetary world was written as tightly as possible to convey the story of a well-rendered fictional personality based on a real life person, Maria Mitchell. She was a pioneer in her field, the first professional woman astronomer.

I felt the author did an admirable job of crafting an historical novel and I would argue with some reviewers who said “the central character was too staid.” After all, she was a Quaker who the author aptly portrayed with the values of her culture.

5 star

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.

 

Goodwill in the Workplace

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Parenting is the stewardship of the precious lives that come to you through birth, adoption or second marriages. Leadership is the stewardship of the precious lives that come to you by people walking through your door and agreeing to share their gifts with you.” ~ Bob Chapman

Any one who has read the award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected comes to know through the story that the “saving grace” who appeared at a door one day became a valued and loved part of the family.

Sure, she earned a living working as household help but she played a significant role in the fabric of a family who was richly rewarded by the human traits she brought to the workplace. Her life lessons were shared from a unique and often humourous perspective.

Everybody-Matters-coverThe other day I came across an article called The Power of Treating Employees Like Family.  I share the article with our readers today because of the insight it gives into a business story and also into the goodwill that can be nurtured between human beings through their jobs.

Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve had several employers who have treated me as family. What it a difference it makes in how your feel about your job, your co-workers, your capabilities and your willingness to go above and beyond. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to experience that in the workplace. In my opinion, in makes a difference.

This blog is brought to you by the author of the EVVY award-winning memoir, an anthology of stories Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and

short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Communications in a Different Era

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The first thing you can do is be right with yourself.  For me, that means spiritually and being right with God. ~ Condoleeza Rice

There is a store called A. Schwab Dry Goods Store in Memphis on Beale Street where history seems to have stayed still. It is filled with all kinds of merchandise from previous eras. Upstairs is a museum dedicated to old things such as old fashioned telephones, typewriters, 45 rpm records, roll top desks, vintage posters, evidence of the culture of the spiritual south, music history and more. A trip down the aisles of memory lane in Schawbs is fascinating but a bit sad because a little bit of evidence of racial segregration is upstairs among the artifacts.

crank telephone wooden with 2 bells signedI’m not so ancient that my life goes back to this kind of telephone, but I have lived through a variety of rotary dial and princess-style handsets, push button telephones, mobile phones and cell phone designs.

Do you remember picking up the phone and dialing 0 to ask a friendly operator about the weather forecast?  And for many, many years to make an out-of-state call you dialed O and asked the operator to place it for you. Sometimes you were even on a first name basis with the operator in your area.

I recently browsed a website called ClickAmericana.com and came across a 1972 poster from AT & T. On the poster it advises parents to teach their children an important skill – how to dial 0 on the telephone because “they’ll always have a friend.”dial-0-emergency-operator-oct-1972-1-620x918

 

It seems long gone are those days, but tomorrow’s story on All Things Fulfilling demonstrates there is still goodness in people and perhaps we judge too quickly. If we could listen with open hearts to neighbor and strangers alike, perhaps the divisions that have existed for generations would improve a little bit.

The truth of the matter is, America is not what it used to be, but there are lots of people who have old-fashioned caring values, you’ll see in tomorrow’s story.

character readings and weight signed

This blog is brought to you by

award-winning author, Sue Batton Leonard.

Here is information on her publications:

Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and

short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.