Keep a Heart from Aging

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The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball. ~Doug Larson

Guess what I got last week? A Save the Date notification of my 45th  high school reunion. When I first read it, I thought, “Oh, there is a typo,” until I made some mental calculations. How could it be that so many years have passed?  After all, wasn’t it just last week I was a teen?

In all those years since I was a student I have only attended one college reunion. I guess it’s because I am more interested in living in the present.

 I’ve maintained some friendships in my home town as well as my college town  over the years so I haven’t let go of my schoolmates completely.

About a year and a half ago, I had a book signing  for my award-winning memoir at Ukazoo Books in Towson, Maryland, the town where I grew up. It’s the setting where most of my memoir takes place. It warmed my heart to see some faces I hadn’t seen in decades.

Sue with snowball heart close upLife has been kind to me despite very tentative beginnings and I am extremely grateful for that. I feel very young at heart and try to do all in my power to stay healthy. There are lots of theories of how to achieve that, but moderation in all things is the key, in my opinion.

An exception to the rule is allowing oneself to do kid-like things frequently. What’s good for the heart and soul is guaranteed to be good for our health, including residing since 1975 in the snowy mountains.

This article explains the benefits of getting out and enjoying some wintertime activities!

Sue with snowball heart

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

 

 

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Friendship and Courage

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Friends give us the courage to lift the blinds on our hearts. To open up and show what we generally keep hidden from the rest of the world.” ~ Unknown

One day, several months after Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected was published, my phone rang. It was a surprise call from one of my childhood friends.

“How did you do that?” asked the caller.

“Do what?” I asked.

“Write all that stuff about yourself.”

“I don’t know, ” I said to my friend. “I felt the need to tell the story and share it with children who are going through tough stuff in life. Besides, I felt safe. I knew that my true friends who didn’t know about my childhood medical history, wouldn’t abandon me when they knew the facts. (And believe me – to many my story came as a surprise!) True friends don’t do that.”

GS2When I spoke with the Girl Scouts this spring we talked about the importance of  including a diversity of people in our circle of friends. “People who may be different can teach us to look at things differently,” I said.

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As the eve of the Girl Scout Campfire and Reunion approaches, can’t help but think about the song we used to most frequently sing in Girl Scouts. “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”

I look forward to making new acquaintances with others who also benefitted from the days of being a member of the Girl Scouts.

Telling Narratives

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Memoir isn’t the summary of a life, it is a window into a life, very much like a photograph in its selective composition… its a deliberate construction. – William Zinsser

So, you’ve decided to turn your geneaology research into a publication but there are missing pieces of the puzzle. That concerns you. Don’t let it stop you. You could search till doomsday and never find what you are looking for. Move ahead…

Sometimes you have to narrate a story with only the facts as you know them. The creative part of memoir writing is what is fun! It allows you to fill in the blanks as best you can. But make sure you create missing content that falls in line with your fact gathering.

And don’t forget to add a disclaimer in your book something to the effect that  you have created a narrative based on the facts as you have them. That’s the best an author can do when resources have been exhausted.


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Next week on  Things Fulfilling we will give you some good resources to help you identify where and how to begin writing a family story.

This blog is brought to you by 2014 EVVY award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

Books on Spirituality

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Statistics indicate fewer people are church-going. The reasons for the decline runs the gamut, and it depends on who you talk to and what media you favor. What do you think is the truth of the matter?

As I was writing this blog, I saw this statement come across my social media news feed.

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It immediately lead my ticker tape of thoughts to ponder what people really value in today’s world. Are we Americans perhaps not as interested in things that lead to inner growth and development and more interested in keeping up appearances? Does valuing one have to be exclusive of the other? I don’t know, but it sure begs the question.

I’ve noticed there is a new generation of books that have sprung up regarding spirituality.  Today on All Things Fulfilling, I’d like to mention a few of them. I am not pushing any of them or their authors because I have not read these publications. I’ve posted these publications for no self-serving reason other I find their titles interesting and thought worthy.

  • Wearing God
  • Accidental Saints – Finding God in All The Wrong People
  • Searching for Sunday
  • There’s a Woman in the Pulpit
  • Saint Mazie: A Novel
  • Prayer, Write, Grow
  • Mudhouse Sabbath
  • Girl Meets God
  • The Wisdom of Stability
  • Praying in Color
  • The Sacred Year: Mapping the Soulscape of Spiritual Practice
  • Tables in the Wilderness: A Memoir of God Found, Lost & Found Again
  • Every Bitter Thing is Sweet

Do any of these titles appeal to your personal interpretation of what spirituality means to you? If so, pick up one of these titles, read it and write a review on Amazon.com or send us your thoughts through this website.  Reviews help other readers decide whether a book is worth reading. Why did it touch your heart and soul?  Authors appreciate feedback from the public!

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

 

 

 

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.

Less Words Said the Better

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CD cover templit with EVVY stickerToday I’d like to tell a “Fanny story” in honor of my Dad. If you haven’t read my award-winning memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, Fanny is the stellar character in the narrative. Although, you’ll realize my parents are pretty special people too!

Here goeth the story –

Between my mother, who is rarely at a shortage for words, twin daughters who when paired together is enough to make anyone ask for some earplugs and the self-appointed boss (our beloved Fanny), my father often got over-ruled by women. Yes, it happens!

Anyway, my Dad is patriarch of the Batton clan and the family custom home building business, now five generations deep. Until his “renaissance years” he had a home office and often met with his clients at our house.

One day a couple who my father was building a home for arrived at our front door for their meeting at the appointed time. They knocked and were greeted by Fanny wearing her unique hat on her head. (You’ll have to learn more about that by reading Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.) She kindly welcomed them in and called throughout the house “Mr. Battoney, Mr. Battoney (aka Mr. Batton)….dey is a man and lady here ta see ya.”

My father came from the back end of the house. Immediately Fanny began giving my father marching orders that went something like this. “Mr. Battoney, when I gets done moppin’ dis floor I needs ya to move dis furniture back inta place. Ya’ll move along now so I can mop under yo’ feet. Den, Mr. Battoney, I needs ya to go get da ladder and change da light bub here in da foyer,” she said,  pointing up to the cathedral ceiling above her head. “Den when you is done wid dat…….” Fanny continued on as she started down the stairs to the lower level of the house to get something.

My Dad’s clients stood silently and wide-eyed looking at the woman with the strange hat on her head. When Fanny was well out of sight the woman, my father’s client, turned to my father and said “Clearly, we know who is the boss in this house. There is no question!”

“Uh-huh,” said my father in his typical less words said the better fashion. No other words were needed.

On this Father’s Day, I’d just like to tell my father that he takes the cake! He is my hero for putting up with every one of us!

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard.

 

 

 

 

Advent Day #17 Windows on Life

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Ever feel like some days you are looking through cloudy windows and other days, the window pane looks crystal clear?

Gift attitudeof a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected gives a different perspective on the art of living. Each chapter is a little vignette about life and how we react to it. Much is about how we are wired, our upbringing, our beliefs and our experiences.

Forewarning! While reading Sue Batton Leonard’s award-winning memoir you might catch another symptom of the Advent Virus –  A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.

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Just another look at what’s inside Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. I look forward to having you return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow!

For information on the book by Sue Batton Leonard, please follow these links:

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