Little Things Mean Alot

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My husband has been glued to the news channel, following the ups and downs of the stock market, as well  being engaged in squabbles in politics. The other day, I said to him, “I refuse to get drawn into listening to too much of this. Yes, I have my opinions, but, at the end of the day, I really have zero control in what Washington and the Stock Market does. I am going to disconnect and pay attention to what  I have going in my own life that I am grateful for.” 

This week and next is what matters to me most, right now. They are full of little things that will mean a lot. On Tuesday, I ushered for a Youth and Family concert that tickled my funny bone and warmed my heart. Bill Harley, longtime commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered helped me to recollect my own days of going to school and as well as hilarious moments of parenting a child. Many of his “slice-of-life vignettes” made me realize that many things that I worried about as a child,  really didn’t quite matter at all.

Last night was a special treat, too. Volunteering my time once again brought me perks of getting to see a show that I would not have wanted to miss. Strings Music Festival Director and Conductor Andres Cardenes led a night to remember of a picture perfect program, focused on famous movie musical scores which incorporated classical music. Tunes from Fantasia, Amadeus, Psycho, Platoon, a 2011: A Space Odyssey, Titanic and the God Father brought great pleasure to my evening. 

Next week on All Things Fulfilling will be my interview of an author and actress. The back story will appear on Wednesday, August 17. On Thursday, the interview will appear on this site as well as on the author and actress’ virtual book tour. 

Join us next week as Mara and I discuss how our lives came together and what we find to be mutually important in this big wide world called Life.

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Make ‘Em Laugh, Make ‘Em Laugh

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“Laughter is the sensation of feeling good all over and showing it principally in one place.”  ~Josh Billings 

The nation and many individual states choose a deserving poet to be honored with the Poet Laureate Award each year. The Vermont Council on the Arts has just announced they will be honoring their very first Cartoonist Laureate on March 10, 2011. It is the second state, behind Alaska, to grant this kind of award. Chosen for the child-like intensity to his work, native Vermonter James Kochalka will been given the award. He is the illustrator of the comic strip American Elf and a number of graphic novels. It is not surprising that Vermont has decided to present a deserving funny-man or woman with the Cartoonist Laureate award each year. The state of Vermont has the distinction of  fulfilling the need for a Center for Cartoon Studies.

 I personally love a daily little chuckle but what I really like is to roar out loud until the tears come to my eyes and roll down my cheeks. Everyone knows that a laugh like that can sometimes hurt our bellies, but it is oh so fulfilling and worth it. The best is when I can share that kind of laughter with my twin sister. Wow – can we get going! It is often difficult to stop. Often the humor is only understood by the two of us. Others, they just don’t get it because it can be over the silliest things. In good times and in bad times, who can’t use a little laugh each and every day? It is good for our hearts. This I whole-heartedly believe! To read about a study from the University of Maryland on the health benefits of laughter, please go to

Just listening to the news each day and hearing the politicking is enough to make one laugh, no matter what your political persuasion happens to be. Democrats, Republicans and Independents, alike, often resort to child-like behaviors just to get their way. We could probably hold a debate as to whether it is even necessary to have a Cartoonist Laureate award. But there are too many debates already going on in this country, why add one more?

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Melding Recreation with Culture, Art and Religion


“Art seems to me to be above all a state of soul.”~ Marc Chagall 

Did you happen to see “Chautauque: An American Narrative” on PBS last night? I’ve been aware of this artist colony, located in Western New York, for quite sometime. However, the 60 minute documentary fulfilled my interest in wanting to know all kinds of things about this idyllic, lakeside town, their summer inhabitants and the programs offered by the Chautauque Institute that has existed since the late 1870’s. 

The Chautauque Institute has had it’s struggles over the years, but since the 1980’s a new vision for strengthening it’s programs in science, art, religion and politics has rejuvenated and elevated their institution to new levels. What began as a literary retreat back in 1878 now includes teaching programs, lecture series and live performances of theatre, opera, ballet. Studio experiences abound for painters, sculpture, fiber arts and even more. People come to immerse themselves in the intellectually and culturally stimulating programs for a week or two, or for an entire season. 

The institute’s popular morning lecture event attracts speakers such as Sandra Day O’Connor, David McCollough, Garrison Keiller and Daniel Pink. There are over 2,000 fulfilling programs in a 9 week period for those with a thirst for knowledge on the subjects of art, politics, spirituality and culture. 

Lake Chautauqua provides a setting for recreating in any way you please. Every summer, the town swells from a few hundred full-time residents to a population of 150,000 people. There are families, 5 generations deep, that return annually to enjoy the facilities and the recreation opportunities in this beautiful town and at this culturally-rich institute. For more information on the documentary film about this fulfilling summer hub of recreation, enrichment and intellectual stimulation, please visit


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