Intuition and Writing

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Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next ~ Jonas Salk

A couple of weeks ago I gave an author talk  and book reading to the Bayshore Bookies in Dorchester County, Maryland. One of the book club members asked  “What’s next? Will you be doing any more writing?” Yes.

Follow-up question: What are you going to write?
Not sure yet, I’ve got lots of ideas stewing, a few characters “fleshed out”  and a lot of content already written. Now that the story I had been waiting to tell my whole life has been accomplished, my intuition will lead me to my next project and what form of literature I’ll use to tell it.

If you are a regular reader of All Things Fulfilling  you’ve probably noticed from my compulsion to blog so frequently finding things to write about is not a problem.

Finding a way to turn the brain off, is more the challenge. Any suggestions? Please don’t say go for a walk.

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This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information about her memoir,  Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, please visit this link.http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.  Available an EVVY award-winning audio book, paperback and e-book.

 

Writers Face Fears Head On

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Have you realized that today is the tomorrow you talked about yesterday?  ― Jaachynma N.E. AguThe Prince and the Pauper

Indeed, I have come to understand that! For many a year I had visions of writing and publishing our family’s story, and it has become a reality. Memoirs are important because they are not just about our immediate family. They often reflect and record a time in history, a culture or religion,  a way of being raised, and the values we pass on to the next generation.

Oh, there were times when I doubted, got discouraged or couldn’t find the right words, but I never let it stop me. Action led to fulfillment of those dreams. I made it happen!

Each time the task seemed daunting or I couldn’t find the right words or hit a road block I’d press on remembering the words of Bill Cosby “Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.”

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We published authors overcame our fears and live to tell the story of it!

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

Sue’s memoir
 

Upcoming: An Artful Gathering

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Your supposed to be using your gifts and fulfilling your dreams at every age.” ~Victoria Moran

image for blog about Kneading Hands event On May 23rd from 5-7 pm I will be one of three people who will be featured at an art reception at Kneading Hands Therapy. Kneading Hands has the distinction of being “Best of the Boat” as a leader in massage therapy. They also have a growing apothecary and retail gift shop.  http://www.kneadinghandstherapy.com/ Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected can now be purchased at Kneading Hands Therapy, so stop in anytime during their business hours or come the evening of May 23rd. I will be there and will personalize a copy of my newly released memoir just for you, if buy it. Kali Waldman, a multi-media artist whose love of art began at a young age will be present. Some of her art is abstract with unintentional messages that appear in many of her pieces which helps her to name them. Kali also enjoys photography and handbuilding with clay. For more information on her art, here is a link https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kaliart/263624433681489?ref=hl. Lori Aigner will be present to talk about the Tower Garden, an aeroponic growing system. Her information will be timely, as planting gardens here in mountain country is just around the corner. Kneading Hands Therapy will have sale items, giveaways and refreshments. Stop in! I’m excited to be included in this event because the reception involves gals who are growing their passions through business and life – so an evening of  all things fulfilling! Thank you, Ali Boehm.  I’m looking forward to the event. This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.Sue’s memoir

Fellowship of Artists

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May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” J.R.R. Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring

Yes, indeed, Christmas does come in May! Last week I had a beautiful holiday in May when I unpacked my 2nd most treasured possessions (unfortunately it was not my family that I unpacked and moved here).  But, my art that had been in storage for five years. When we moved from Vermont to Colorado we were in living in a place that really was not conducive to hanging artwork. So, except for a few choice pieces, the work remained in their boxes, that I had carefully constructed to store each piece. I learned how to build the custom boxes through observation. I had watched what the master artists from West Wind Fine Art, LLC did when they transported and sold paintings.

On May 1st we moved into a new place that showcases the art magnificently. As I carefully unpacked each and every piece it was as if I was seeing the artwork for the very first time. I had forgotten how beautiful my collection. Over the following days, my husband measured and hung the beautifully framed limited edition prints (and a few originals) to perfection. I have a good eye for placement of design, but the mathematics of getting the artwork hung just right proportional to the spaces without putting a million wrong holes in walls is tricky. Terry, thank you – it’s spot on! You have a much better perspective on that than I and it is a task that overwhelms me.

When I look at my collection, much of it came from West Wind Fine Art, LLC. It brings back wonderful memories of the time I spent working with some of the finest master painters in the world – Timothy R. Thies, Nancy Guzik and Richard Schmid. Their curator and representative, Kristen Thies, creates and orchestrates some of the most outstanding art exhibits in this country. timothy thies painting

Pastel Garden © Timothy R Thies

In 2011 Kristen traveled to the U.K. as an emissary for master artist Richard Schmid when his painting of the Manor home of Sir Walter Scott was unveiled for the Abbotsford House. She had the honor of meeting and hearing the praise about Schmid’s painting ‘from HRH Queen Elizabeth during the grand re-opening of the house and Visitors Center.

To read more about the artists of West Wind Fine Art, LLC please visit www.westwindfineart.com. Don’t miss out on their latest video about their painting expedition to the gardens of  historic Middleton Place in Charleston, S.C. The images in the video will beautify your day, and so will the music. http://bit.ly/1jEyyCm .

Seeing my treasures hanging on the walls of my place of residence once again has been a gift that will bring me great pleasure, years beyond my Christmas in May.

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

Sue’s memoir
 

A Mothers Day Secret

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Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What’s that suppose to mean? In my heart it don’t mean a thing. ~Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987

Now that  Mother’s Day is over I can tell you what I got Mom since my  present that I was planning came much earlier than expected, thanks to the efficiency of my publishers, The Bookcrafters.

You see, I had been planned on giving my Mom the first copy of my new publication Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected as a Mothers’ Day surprise.Sue’s memoir But, someone in the family found out through the internet that my book was  available before I was ready to reveal it and spread the news to my mother. She bought a copy for herself immediately! So much for my good intentions and my secret.

Heart pillow for MomSo began my quandry. What to give Mom for Mother’s Day, instead of the book. It was solved when I stepped into Kneading Hands Therapy’s apothecary and gift shop to bring them copies of my memoir to sell. There it was, a little heart pillow, artfully decorated with a small banner that said “Write it on your heart that everyday is the best day of the year.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Perfect,” I thought, ” mom will love it.”

My mom really needs no reminder of this adage because she already has a zest for living and a unfaltering positive attitude toward life. Thankfully she has tried hard to pass on her joie de vivre to me, my siblings and her grandchildren. But, I thought, “she might like to hang the heart pillow from her bookshelves in her library or from the bedpost as a reminder to have faith, hope and find love in being alive every day on this earth even if things get more difficult with aging. She and my Dad are in their mid-eighties.”

Hope you had a great Mother’s Day, Mom. I was thinking of you and how grateful I am that you have had a long,healthy life to enjoy your four children and the grandchildren, too.

See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling.

 

 

News over the Fence

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How beautiful on the mountains are on the feet of those who bring good news.” ~ The Bible

My sister Jan had just walked in the door from work the other day when her telephone rang.
picket fence“Meet me at the fence,” her neighbor said. With urgency Jan threw down her pocketbook and ran out the back door wondering what the issue was this time. For twenty-five plus years whenever a “meet me at the fence” call came through between Jan and her neighbor, something was up. One of them had some kind of news to share with the other.

Jan stood at the fence waiting for her neighbor for a few minutes. Then watched her walk from her house across the lawn with one hand behind her back and a huge smile on her face. Jan knew from her expression it was good news, this time. Jan’s friend and her husband are police officers and sometimes she encounters difficult days, and needs to talk.

“Oh, my gosh, Jan!” her neighbor said “I can’t stop laughing. I love this book I am reading.”

“What are you reading?” Jan inquired.

The neighbor took the book from behind her back, where she was hiding it. It was a copy of “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.”

“That’s my sisters book!” Jan said, with enthusiasm and surprise.

“I know it! That’s one of the reasons why I bought it!” said her neighbor. I’ve told everyone down at the police station they’ve got to buy it. It’s a balm for the heart and the soul when things in the world are too depressing and you want to uplift the spirit.

The author thanks you, Beth,  from the mountains of Steamboat Springs, Colorado! I am happy to hear you like the book. Many publications are sold when news of a good read travels beyond fences!

This blog brought to you by author Sue Batton Leonard. Sue’s memoir Come on back to All Things Fulfilling on Monday.

 

 

 

Paper Flowers Redux

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My dear girl, you must cultivate a taste for the finer things. Civilized pleasures give meaning to life.” 

― Barbara Taylor Bradford,  Being Elizabeth

Did you read yesterday’s blog about my childhood fiasco of trying to take my little brother on a road trip? If not, check it out.

Speaking of road trips – A few weeks ago, a friend and I took a journey from Steamboat Springs, Colorado to Glenwood Springs, Colorado. We gallery hopped, window shopped and had a tasty lunch. It was a wonderful and a much needed day away for both of us just before Easter.

Not only did my friend get to return to something familiar from her past, so did I. My book, Sue’s memoirGift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected had only been published shortly before and as I entered into a fanciful women’s  clothing shop, called Confetti Design http://www.confettidesign.net. I was nearly blown away when I saw their window dressing!

glenwood springs paper flowers dressThere she stood a shapely women, a manikin, dressed in a fitting Easter outfit all made from tissue paper flowers. I couldn’t believe my eyes! My memoir has a chapter entitled Paper Roses. which recounts my fulfilling experience of learning to make and sell paper flowers as a project in  junior Girl Scouts.

I had never seen an entire frock made out of tissue paper flowers. As you can see from this image, it was gorgeous and so was the women’s clothing shop. The store had a real vibrancy to it, every color in the spectrum was represented in their high quality and creatively decorated shop. The sales clerks in it could not have been more hospitable either.

I could have shopped til I dropped, but instead I behaved myself. I’m trying to be fiscally conservative so I can properly get the word out about my publication through a diverse marketing plan and that takes some bucks.

Some day soon, I will take Barbara Taylor Bradford’s advice and will return to Confetti Designs with cash in my pocket to splurge on something deserved and special just for ME – perhaps an accoutrement to an outfit for a book talk! From all appearances, the ladies in Confetti have an outstanding eye for style and design.  Maybe they will help me find just the right thing. I will be back!

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I want to remind everyone to shop around by visiting different blogs – it’s a great way to discover fascinating sites and topics through the world-wide-web. You never know what you might run into that may peak your interest. Looking for a fun fashion blog? Visit http://invisiblecrowne.blogspot.com/. See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling. 

 

A Life Lesson

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The realization of ignorance is the first act of knowing.” ~ Poet Jean Toomer

IMAG0002Just seeing the image of this car brings back memories of one of the first times it dawned on me that someone is always watching over me.

Here’s what happened that caused my reckoning. My parents had a car exactly like the one pictured. One day my twin and I and our little brother who was about four at the time, got into a little mischief.

My twin and I had decided we were taking our brother on a road trip. We were getting out of Dodge (Towson, Maryland) while our mother was otherwise occupied with our youngest brother. He was just a newborn. The three of us piled into the front seat of the sedan and began trying to move the steering wheel, pushing all kinds of  knobs and buttons. Since the car engine was off , moving the steering wheel was next to impossible! Suddenly one of us must have hit the emergency brake and released it. The car began rolling backward.

My sister and I quickly jumped out of the car and grabbed the front bumper. The car miraculously came to a stop. “We ‘re as strong as Popeye,” we both thought. We were convinced our awesome strength and determination had prevented the disasterous result of having the car roll down the drive and hit a tree with our little brother in it. (Mind you, we were nine and my twin and I were very underweight. Our strength combined was only enough to stop a flea from jumping off the carpet).

Lesson learned as a child: It’s not a bright idea to play in a car.

Retrospective lessons learned as an adult: Someone much greater than myself was looking out for the three of us. Yes, I am here to tell you there such thing as God’s protection.

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

 

 

 

 

Life Transitions

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Since I left high school in Towson, Maryland in 1971, I rarely have looked back to those teen years. In fact I have never driven by the site of the school, not even to get a glimpse to see if anything has changed and I’ve never returned for a high school reunion.

A couple of summers ago when I was in the area of where I grew up, visiting family, I did drive by my three childhood homes, all within the same neighborhood. How I was feeling was hard to grasp. I suppose it could be described as a mixture of beautiful feelings and a very quick dash of sadness that life marched forward. The melancholy feelings lasted only a few brief minutes.

Funny, isn’t it, how some people live their entire lives in one place feeling completely fulfilled and others move on. For me,  I can’t imagine having stayed for all these years in the same environment where I spent my childhood.

My husband feels the same way. He left his childhood surroundings on the northern shores of Massachusetts (north of Boston) and never looked back. I suppose we were meant for each other – Baltimore girl, Boston boy, parents to a son raised in Vermont – now living in Albuquerque, New Mexico – a transient three, aren’t we?

Its taken me a life time to learn there is truth in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quotation, “the only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”   I’ve come to many more conclusions about how life takes unexpected turns as I have written my memoir.My reckonings will give me plenty more to write about.

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Photo Above: My high school in Towson, Maryland.

Interesting fact: Swimmer Michael Phelps, holder of 22 Olympic medals, also graduated from this school about twenty-five years after me.

Photo below: Overhead view of where I grew up – moved to three different homes in the same neighborhood. My dad built all three. The first house was a small cape style house, then onto what might be described as a southern colonial farmhouse and then to a 1970’s modern-style home which is smack in the middle of this picture.

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Tomorrow’s blog is about a hard learned lesson that happened in the 2nd of my childhood homes.Sue’s memoir

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

Voice of Conscience

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For art to be relevant, artists must address the social and spiritual issues of our time. ~ Suzi Gablik

This week I’m taking time to focus on Project REGROUP. Here is what it entails:

RReviewing the future

EEnvisioning a message

GGrowing ideas for new horizons

R- Rejoicing, in new directions

OOrganizing thoughts and concepts

UUtilizing whats been started

PPraying that the voice within me steers me right

Regrouping is often associated with failure, disappointment or recovery. Many people automatically equate the word regroup with set-backs.

I look at it from a different tact – from the perspective of positive energy flow. Where do I want to place my attention next? I’ve got some ideas beginning to sprout, now I need to listen to what  my readers are saying. “How can I creatively communicate from a different level,” I ask myself.

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My  family is probably sending communications saying “Fanny, what’s Sue up to now?” to the central character of my book. With my publication, she has come into a different realm. 

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

Sue’s memoir

See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling