Ring in the Season

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I am thinking of Christmas bells today and how they traditionally herald in the season. There are many song lyrics sung by carolers that incorporate a story of tolling bells.
When I think of bell choirs, which are a beautiful addition to any church service, I can’t help but think of my lifelong friend Marge and her husband. Their acts of love in remembrance of their child is a lovely gesture that echos year after year in my heartstrings. Jessie suffered from a heart ailment and when she passed away as a tiny infant, the family requested that donations of kindness be given toward buying bells to build a bell choir for a church.

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On Christmas and Easter and a few other times throughout the year, Marge and her husband and their two surviving children ring the hand bells at their church in memory of Jessie and all the other children who are not here to celebrate Christmas and other holidays with their families.

Today I think of all the bell choirs who bring joy to people during the holiday season ~

“A bell’s not a bell ’til you ring it – A song’s not a song ’til you sing it – Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay – Love isn’t love ’til you give it away!”
Oscar Hammerstein II

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

 

 

Simple Theme Week

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This week on All Things Fulfilling we are going to stick with one theme and see where it leads.

Simple blogging with thought provoking adages. Take a few minutes out of your day and ruminate. What do these mottos mean in the context of your life? Hopefully by weeks end, you will have reflected on ways you can simplify your life to make it more fulfilling for you and your family.

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If you missed last Fridays blog called Pounds of Love. I’d suggest you go back and read it. The story exemplifies today’s thought, and it is a story of thoughtfulness and compassion for others.

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.

Pounds of Love

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Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. ~Seneca

This is one of the best good news stories I have read in a long time about the power of women who band together to make the world a little bit better.

The heartwarming ingredients in the story include:

  • Nine compassionate women
  • A wonderful mission
  • Pounds of sweet beginnings and endings
  • 35 years of  secrecy and dedication
  • Southern soul, charm and kindness
  • Love for others and community

The end result: “Happiness Happens!”

Pound Cake  with love

Do not miss this article.  Click here and read the full story.  Check in on us tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling.

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

Once within a House & Yard

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Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action. ~ Mother Teresa

Grandmothers house 2802 Fleetwood AvenueOnce upon a time all it took was a quick glance from the sidewalk and the heart and soul of this place could be felt in an instant. An American flag flew proud and tall on a big pole in the yard. A couple of rocking chairs sat on the small front porch and small pots of flowers crowded the ledge around it. The voices of neighborhood children walking by cheerily yelled out “Hi Baba!” It was a daily occurrence. The woman who lived there was a grandmother of everyone’s dreams.

A huge tall oak tree once grew on the left side. It canopied the property as if it embraced the residents living within the bungalow-style house.  Both front and backyard were carefully and lovingly tended by a bald, kind-hearted man who was called Pop by his grandchildren. He was as equally fine and gentile as his wife.

In the backyard grew lilacs, wisteria and the hugest magnolia tree I’d ever witnessed. So tall that as a young child, I couldn’t even see up to the tippy top. The tree went on forever – all the way on up to heaven. An outdoor brick fireplace in the gorgeously landscaped backyard cooked many a hotdog! Goldfish circled the waters of a four foot cement pond.The sounds of fun and laughter could be heard frequently of a wonderful couple who especially adored the days when their four grandchildren came to visit.

Smells of fresh peach cake, “smoked neck” with potatoes and green beans, yeast rolls and other lovingly cooked food and baked goods wafted outside through the screen door of the tiny galley kitchen. The aromas settled on pots of colorful pansies and petunias and on rows of dinner plate dahlias and gladiolas that lined the perimeter of the yard.

The house still stands, but when I look at this picture, I don’t see any evidence of the life that once graced the place. The tender loving care put  into the house and the children and grandchildren who visited remains only in my memories. This place once made my heartbeat warmly every time I entered in the door.

So what’s the good news on this Thirsty Thursday?  I can still hear the voice of my Grandmother….”Susie Annie, is that you, hon? Want a nice tall glass of ice cold sweet tea? I just loaded up the candy dishes on the buffet in the dining room. Help yourself. There are nonpareils, jelly candies, butter mints, anything you want. The Chiclets are in the top drawer of the buffet on the left.”

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Click here for more information on Sue Batton Leonard’s publications.

 

Kids on First Things First

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“Let’s remember that our children’s spirit is more important than any material goods. When we do, self esteem and love blossoms and grows more beautifully than any flowers could.” ~ Jack Canfield

On this Film Friday I share with you a video of precious children. They pretend they are married as they communicate their feelings about their “spouses”, marital relationships and how to get through the rough patches. Much of what they say we adults, whether married or not, can learn something from it.

Watch how these young children come to understand about putting family first, how to compromise and how to show appreciation for their mates strengths in the relationship.

Their insight gives one hope that the institution of marriage might survive in future generations through a program called First Things First.

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.

 

 

Good Friday Travels

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Easter is God’s blessing to the world. It is his way of telling us that, love and hope, still exists in the world. ~ Unknown

Today, on Good Friday a processional walk, a spiritual reenactment, will begin at the Colosseum in Rome and end in St. Peters Square for an open-air Mass on Easter Sunday. Throngs of people make their own solemn pilgrimage following the path Jesus took as he walked and prayed The 14 Stations of the Cross.

Catholics are not the only people who seek to have a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to the holy city of Rome. Every year, thousands of tourists ask travel companies to help them plan a trip to Italy during the sacred Easter week. Many special events are held in Rome this week including classical music concerts.

If you have the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to the Papal City, remember to book your trip many months in advance, especially if you plan to visit during holy week.

Today I’d like to share a few pictures of the city of Rome during Easter week. I hope you will return to All Things Fulfilling on Monday.

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No matter where you plan to go this Easter weekend travel safely. Make it a special weekend with your family as you remember the death and resurrection of Jesus.

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

 

 

Advent Day #22 Open Hearts in Community

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Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” ~ Dale Evans

I’m more proud than ever to attend a church whose motto is “Open Hearts, Open Minds and Open Doors.” The Steamboat United Methodist Church reached out, extended their welcome and showed that they practice what they preach to the Jewish congregation here in Steamboat. The menorah issue was put to rest and it was lit on Tuesday December 16th on the front lawn of the United Methodist Church. The Menorah is symbolic of  “light, wisdom, and Divine inspiration” but it was also designed as creative art for our community.

This story was broadcast on CBS and in newspapers in other cities. To watch the video about what ended up being a story about love in action, please follow this link.

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2014/12/11/menorah-blocked-from-courthouse-lawn-in-steamboat-springs/

One of the best things you can teach children when they are old enough to grasp the concepts is about multi-cultural understanding. Author Sue Batton Leonard recounts her personal experience with multi-cultural love in her memoir, an anthology of stories in her book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. It has won several awards, one in the young adult category. The book is perfect for giving to “tweens’ and teens and an entire family.

Xmas image of book cover for Mailchimp newsletter

The memoir, an award-winning anthology of short stories is available in audio book (narrated by the author), paperback and e-book. Here is how to order:

Audio Book http://amzn.to/1trrTl9
Paperback http://amzn.to/1qmcEHI
e-Book http://amzn.to/1lx7oRh