Shared Experiences

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Today, I’d like to put a call out to anyone who has independently published – whether it’s a book,  film or music. Here’s the question:

If you could share one piece of advice with those who are in the process of writing and publishing independently what would it be? Post your helpful tip on this website.

 

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The mission of this site has been to share all kinds of fulfilling things about independent publishing and this thing called “life.” Looking for more information? Use the search bar or category archives on the right-hand side of this page.

And for those who share their wisdom through a comment:

never surpress a generous thought.

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

Berlin. Maryland, that is.

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Happy Monday! Glad you are with us!

Today, we are taking an on-line road trip to  Berlin, Maryland. Join me over the next few days as we take our journey down memory lane on All Things Fulfilling. America’s Coolest Small Town is indeed “historically charming & artistically alive & eternally young.”  I love this community which is only seven miles from the natural beauty of Assateague National Seashore.

Don’t forget to turn on the modern-day record player by listening to the music from this You Tube audio as you scroll through these images. 

 

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IMG_20150728_094943_369 Bungalow Love autogra

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blacksmith restaurant signed

 

IMG_20150728_110050_772 red door autog

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I wish I could feature an individual story on every business in Berlin because they all contribute to the overall good feelings that I got when I walked the charming streets. Do return tomorrow there will be a myriad of images that will illicit memories from the past. Hopefully the pictures will stir up thoughts of only the good times in your life.

Thi blog is brought to you by the author of the three time award-winning book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Growth of Self

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You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you will discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” ~ Alan Alda

Home Sweet Home! Where everything is familiar, safe, and there are few unknowns. I found out seven years ago that you can find fulfilling things when you leave your comfort zone and strike out on new adventures. I left my home state of more than 30 years and ventured into unknown territory, by moving to a place site unseen. It was a culture shock at first for an East Coast gal to move to remote ranching/ski community in northwestern Colorado. But I’ve grown to appreciate all that it’s brought to my life. It ended up being good for the mind, body and spirit and a time of enormous personal growth.

I jumped in wholeheartedly, and did something even more risky. I independently published a book, a memoir, about my remarkable young life.

My life is far from over, and there is more to discover about myself. I suspect it will come next time I step out of my comfort zone and into something else.

Speaking of comfort – did you know there is a place called Comfort, Texas? What I found interesting is there is little information about the place on their website. Perhaps that’s by design so visitors will come see the place for themselves.

What if you flyWhen was the last time you really stepped out of your safe environment? If nothing else you might learn you are stronger than you think!

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

Good News: The Simplicity Concept

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simple day 2To some people, living the simple life conjures up thoughts of living out in the woods with no running water, cooking over an open fire and being entirely self-sufficient by growing one’s own crops and hunting and fishing. A bit extreme for most people in this world of modern conveniences.

The good news is there is more than one way of living a pared down lifestyle. We can chose to simplify our lives in ways that might better suit us rather than returning to the homesteading concept.

In the interest of simplifying my blog writing today, here is a link to a great article that outlines 10 ways to simplify your lifestyle. Do a little soul-searching by assessing which choice suits your interests best.

This blog is brought to you by the author of the award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Simply a Ray of Sunshine

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A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.” ~ Francis of Assisi

On my husband’s side of the family there has been some illness and a life was close to ending. However, things have taken a dramatic turn. I believe part of the reason that there is good news to report is because the person who stepped into the picture to deal with the situation, my husband’s first cousin, is a natural caretaker. In my mind, she’s a healing artist.  It’s what she has done all her life.  The situation could not have been handled more capably by anyone else in the family.

I’m so sorry that the task was so large that it meant uprooting her life for five months and tending to an enormous number of details.  She closed out one phase of her loved one’s life and lined up everything for new beginnings. Thankfully my husband’s cousin is detail oriented, and made sure every loose string was tied up. Thank you, Mary, for being the sunbeam. You, indeed, are God-sent.

sunshine and heartsThe course of events has made me think about how we forget to pay attention to simple everyday acts of kindness until disaster strikes. This article mentions things we can do to brighten the lives of others that perhaps many of us have never even thought of.  Check it out  because as it has been said before “life is not all about us.”

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.

Appetite for Metal Art?

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The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. – Aristotle (384-322 BC)

“Mares eat oats and goats eat oats” … and everything around them. I can’t remember the exact lyrics of the song my sister, brothers and I sang in our childhood but it went something like that.

When I saw these billy goat lawn sculptures at Art in the Park, they caught my attention. They’re reminiscent of Hanratty, one of the childhood pets in our family’s menagerie.

A very creative artist took the lyrics to the song literally and created these metal sculptures from found items. The guts of the animal reflects exactly what goats are known for “trash eating.” Garden tools, tin cans, children’s metal toys, hubcabs and more are incorporated into these fun to look at garden ornaments.

I laughed when I saw them. A short time later when I returned to the display to show my husband, several had been sold. A good indication that others appreciated the humor and ideas of the artist in designing this craft.

Do you have treasure in your basement or attic that you could reuse to make something special? Even if it it’s just for yourself you can have fun creating. Art is therapeutic and a good way to cure whatever is ailing inside of you.

An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision. ~ James McNeill Whistler

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

Bubble Gum, Bobby Socks, Malt Shops

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The best things in life comes in threes like friends, dreams and memories.” ~ Mencius

It’s Friday! Let’s have a little more fun thinking of the past.

Yesterday’s blog motivated me to dig up some more nostalgia that I hope you baby boomers will enjoy. I don’t know about you but, when I think bobby socks, I automatically think bubble gum. Who among you remembers these lyrics?

Does your chewing gum loose it’s flavor on the bedpost over night?

Does your mother say to spit it out, and you swallow it in spite?

For those baby boomers who are considering writing memoirs and are having troubles getting started, I am giving you a few writing prompts in today’s blog. Here’s your homework over the weekend. Chose one of them and jot down your thoughts.

bubble gum and bobbie socks

I know, you don’t like homework and I can hear y’all whining now “What a drag! The teacher gave us a heap of homework over the weekend. I was going to go down to the malt shop for a frappe and hang out. Then to the sock hop. Now I’ll have to stay home and write!

Well, here is a little homework help. If the picture and lyrics weren’t enough to stir your memories, perhaps this video will.

Have a great weekend everybody. This weekend shake a leg and get your own T-W-E-E-T, T-W-E-E-T thing going.  See you right back here on All Things Fulfilling on Monday!

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

Nature’s Energy

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“For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies, for the love which from our birth, over and around us lies…..”  ~  Psalm 95:  1-6

Over the course of history many songs lyrics have been composed with words about the beauty of nature. Have you ever really thought about the impact the beautiful colors of nature have on your psyche?

This time of year I take my walk in early morning to avoid the heat of the day. Inevitably, I find myself marveling over plants that were barely out of the ground a few weeks ago that are now in full bloom, electric with color. How does that happen? Nature provides sun, warmth, moisture and all the right conditions that are needed to set the gardens in motion. Amazing!

Nearly every color is represented in the garden this time of the year. Here are just a few pictures I took on my daily walk last week.

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perennial 3 peony

When I see the real stunners of magenta, orange, yellow, indigo and purple, I ask myself “How can I not walk with gratefulness for life and boundless energy no matter what else might be happening around me?” The magnificence of nature makes me want to stand up and sing.

Summer has just begun and we have several months ahead to enjoy the brightest time of year. Enjoy getting outdoors and seeing the landscape all decked out with color.

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.

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.

 

Tred Carefully

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Since I was young, I have always known this: Life damages us, every one. We can’t escape that damage. But now, I am also learning this: We can be mended. We mend each other.”Veronica Roth

A few weeks ago  I did a presentation on memoir writing. On Thursday I look forward to a similar presentation when I’ll talking with a geneology group at the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Throughout my various book tours and presentations, I’ve had numerous people say to me that if they wrote their life story it would be filled with people who have taken advantage of them or made their lives difficult for one reason or another. Thus,  I am very aware of the need to mention “that sadly not everyone’s life story is happy and some people write for cathartic reasons.”

words have power“Something to think about,” I say, “is to share your experiences in a way that helps other people.”

The typical response is “I hadn’t thought about that approach, I just was thinking of voicing my anger.”

If you have had an unpleasant childhood or difficult life experiences, memoir writing is a great way to rise above it. Your readers will be looking for something they can relate to and learn from. Give them your story of challenge to triumph. Everyone likes to hold onto stories of champions and hope.

Here is a good article about why it is beneficial to read memoirs. http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/eight-benefits-of-reading-memoirs/.

Things to keep in mind as you go forward with your memoir writing.

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