Tinctures and Hues

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Innocence tinctures all things with the brightest hues.” ~Edward Counsel

Last summer my sister and I returned to our childhood community.

In our travels we discussed how things aren’t always how they seem to be. In our youthful minds two hills that were in our neighborhood, which we climbed to go to the bus stop and to visit our friends up the street, seemed to be ginourmous. Oh how they added to the burdens we beared as we headed off to school with our backpacks feeling unprepared – homework not completed, reading assignments ignored and mounting peer pressure as we matured.

As adults we saw for ourselves that the many challenges we faced were merely molehills rather then mountains. With age, everything comes into real perspective.

In my memoir, I mention childhood illness, and how fortunate I was to go through the most difficult times of my life unaware of the seriousness of my condition and my pioneering heart surgery.

For the Sake of OthersGiving children tools for resilience in life is a lifelong gift that you can bestow upon your children. Dr. John Townsend’s book, which I posted a blog about last week, talks about how entitlement for people of any age is not always the best way to go through life because we learn from our hardships. If you would like to read more about the importance of teaching children to be resilient, I’d also suggest this website.

Look forward to your return tomorrow. The importance of friendships will be our topic on All Things Fulfilling.

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

 

 

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Celebrate Aging

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Dartmouth Hitchcock Med CtrEvery August I feel more grateful than ever. I just upped the number of years I’ve been living on the planet. After all, as it’s been said “old age is not granted to everyone,” thus, aging is a privilege.

Two days before my birthday I had my annual echocardiogram and visit to my cardiologist. He gave me the gift of the words that I expect to hear every year – “All is well. Come back next year.”

“What have you been doing?” The doctor asked when he was finished with the consultation.

“I’ve been writing and publishing.” I replied.

“Really?”

I handed my doctor of 25+ years a surprise present – a wrapped copy of my memoir “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.” A conversation about the content of the book followed. It began like this:

“I am not sure how to put this to you tactfully… But do you know how well you’ve done?” Asked my doctor.

“Yes, I think so,” I replied. “It’s one of the reasons I wrote and published a book. I am feeling very blessed.”

“Not all children have the same kind of outcome that you have had. Major surgery in childhood can be very damaging.’

“Yes, I am aware of that. Thank God I’ve been able to tell a story that has some humor in it.”

“Great. I’ll like reading your book,” he said. “Some patients have sad, depressing stories.”

“I am so grateful mine is not one of them. That’s why I wanted to air it.”

“Well, I look forward to reading it,” he said again. “And call me if you need me, otherwise, see you next year.”

An hour previously I had been sitting in the lobby of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center waiting for my appointment. I watched the resident doctors with their credentials hanging from their necks walk through the lobby from the Geisel School of Medicine to get something to eat in the food court. As I sat I listened to a musician play upbeat music from some of the earlier eras of my life on the baby grand piano in lobby. I couldn’t help but reflect on how medicine and treatment has changed from my childhood days. We’re now in an era where research has shown the importance of healing mind, body and spirit for successful outcomes.

I couldn’t be more grateful that my parents seemed to intuitively understand a little about the power of the human spirit nearly fifty plus decades ago, when I was going through the traumas of “pioneering heart surgery.”

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For each birthday I thank my luck stars that I am here to age and celebrate. Happy Belated Birthday to my twin sister, Jan!!!

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

Tis the Advent Season

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Tis the Advent Season! Advent means “the coming of the greatest gift of all, the birth of Jesus.”

Traditions in many households include the use of an Advent Calendar to mark the days leading up to Christmas. Typically, these calendars, which date back to the mid-19th century, include paper doors that open up to reveal an image, a piece of chocolate or other little token or a Bible verse. Some advent calendars have become more creative and are not just made of paper. Want to know more about the history of the advent calendar? Please visit this link. http://www.gotquestions.org/advent-calendar.html.

On All Things Fulfilling, we have created our own form of an advent calendar. Each day from now until Christmas we will be giving you a little gift from the award-winning anthology Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Each day will be like opening a door on an advent calendar – a glimpse inside the book cover.

We have a little catching up to do, since today is the 4th of December. Here marks the beginning!
Day #1 Opening the Cover

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Twins….one very weak and one very strong. What will become of the little one?
Day #2

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Enter into the story two “pioneers” in pediatric heart surgery. A valuable gift.
Day #3

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After a brush with death for the little one, another “saving grace” arrives at a door.

Advent Door Day #4   Friendship or Foe? Which brings lessons that build skills of survival for a lifetime?

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For more information the memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, which has won 3 book awards,  please visit these links:

How To Order:
Audio Book  http://amzn.to/1trrTl9
Paperback  http://amzn.to/1qmcEHI
e-Book  http://amzn.to/1lx7oRh
This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard.

Naively Speaking

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It is well for the heart to be naive, and the mind not to be.” ~ Anatole France

tonsils removedI remember feeling slighted. It seemed like all the kids in the neighborhood had their tonsils and adenoids removed except me.  As a child, it didn’t matter to me that I had lived through pioneering heart surgery, I still wished I could get my tonsils out like many of my buddies.

Apparently, according to this article, twice as many tonsillectomies were performed in the 1950s and 1960s as today. http://seattletimes.com/html/health/2015264059_med10.html.

To a kid, getting tonsils and adenoids removed  meant eating ice cream! And lots of it! Ice cream was one of the few foods that I really adored when I was growing up. And to go to the soda fountain counter at S.S. Kresges or Reads Drugstore for a scoop in an ice cold silver dish with a doily between the dish and a small saucer was a special treat.

Remember the litttle plastic cups of ice cream with the wooden spoons? They reminded me of tongue depressors the doctors used. And then there were the ice-cream pop-ups.

 

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vintage doctors kit

In my memoir I share both a child’s perspective of my “operation” at Johns Hopkins and  my adult insight into why perhaps I fared so well.

This blog brought to you by author Sue Batton Leonard. Her memoir, “an anthology of short stories,” is a  two-time award winner in the Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY Book Awards. For information and ordering, please follow this link.

Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected is available in audio book (that holds the real treasure), paperback and e-book.

 

Chiggers at Vespers

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“Oh, no!” I said out loud to myself, as I finally read my mothers e-mail correspondence from last weekend. My sister has the chiggers.

“Wow, does that ever bring back memories,” I thought. The first time I ever  heard of the chiggers was when my parents sent us twins off to overnight church camp in Virginia. Camp Glenkirk holds many fond memories for me. I recall my mother’s anxiety as she and my dad drove off leaving us girls in someone else’s hands for a week. It was the first time I was away overnight from my parents since my “pioneering” heart surgery.

Although I didn’t completely understand the magnitude of that turning point in my life, I know it was a step toward independence from the watchful eye of my parents. I don’t recall my uneasiness, only that of my mother’s. My anchor, my rock, my twin sister was by my side. And when there were certain strenuous camp activities that I was unable to participate in, my sister sat on the sidelines with me. She never left me behind. What a loyal sister! quotesonprayer

What I  also remember is when we went to evening vespers (evening group prayer), I prayed saying, “Lord a Mercy,” (mimicking Fanny, the stellar character in my memoir), “please don’t let me get the chiggers!” I’d heard from other campers that they itch something awful.God knows, there were plenty of them in the backwoods of  Virginia but, I managed to stay free – I guess someone greater than myself was watching out for me.

Jan – I hope you get rid of those chiggers real quick! Find something to sooth the itch! Be still and know that it is just the chiggers driving you crazy!

Today’s blog is brought to you by author Sue Batton Leonard and that was just another childhood memory  not included in my publication Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.