Artistic Energy Abounds in Steamboat

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Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.Margaret B. Runbeck

The 5th annual All Arts Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado was this past weekend, and I was busy. On Friday afternoon I browsed booths filled with artisan wares of all kinds – jewelry, photography, sculpture, fiber arts, oil paintings, pottery and more. There was something of interest for everyone.

On Friday evening I ushered at Strings Music Festival, and I was so grateful I was able to see Love Letters. This play, by A.R. Gurney, earned finalist status for a Pulitzer Prize for drama. I adored it. It left me amazed at how two people reading a script could make an evening so engaging. Katherine Ross and Wilfred A Brimley showed their talents, as actors, by drawing me into the storyline immediately, from the first line to the last.

On Sunday morning at the UnitedMethodistChurch, an operatic singer was incorporated into the service. Although fabulous local musical talent is often showcased in our church, Elizabeth Gore-Stanley had come to town over the weekend as part of the Emerald City Opera. Her beautiful rendition of  “Blessings” aptly described the way I was feeling as I listened to her exquisite God-given voice, and thought about this place, Steamboat.

I wrapped up my weekend back at Strings Music Festival ushering.  Lyle Lovett and his big band gave a performance which did not disappoint. All talented musicians in their own right, with albums to their credit. A little bit country, a little bit Texas swing, some rhythm and blues made for a fulfilling evening. Arnold McCuller, Lovett’s sidekick (backup vocalist) was one smooth guy and you can listen to voice and song writing from his album Soon As I Get Paid on his website. http://bit.ly/13yUFog.

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As we move into midweek, this town in the northwest corner of the Rocky Mountains will continue to stay busy with tourists. The nation’s top bikers will pedal their way through Steamboat Springs on August 21 and 22nd as part of the US Pro Biking Challenge “America’s Race.” which begins in Aspen, Colorado and ends in Denver. Breathtaking altitudes (over 12,000 ft), treacherous mountain passes and spectacular scenery will bring over one million visitors to the State to witness this competition.

Come on back to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

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Putting Balance Back in Life

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“Art tends toward balance, order, judgment of relative values, the laws of growth, the economy of living – very good things for anyone to be interested in.” ~ Robert Henri

After a winter season that seems to have lasted into infinity, it as if I am looking through dirty windows. I am feeling shuttered up, listless. Creativity and inspiration? What’s that?  Funny, how the weather affects us.

Yesterday, gave me hope I was looking for – it was warm and sunny. Finally, snow only exists on upper elevations. I am so looking forward to spring and summer. This week I will set off to visit business clients in the other parts of the country. I have a lot to accomplish but, a change of scenery, alone, is bound to bring all kinds of fulfilling things to reinvigorate my spirit.

Strings Music Festival will again be at the centerpiece of my summer. I love that big name stars including Lyle Lovett this summer will come to entertain in this remote northwestern town. In the other seasons, the piled-up snow is replaced with artistic experiences, of all kinds, heaped up-high. http://bit.ly/151Hi0g .

I’m also excited about a July event – A Day for Writers, the 32nd annual, sponsored by the Steamboat Writers Group. John Calderazzo and Clay Haskell will help us explore writing from the perspective of an essayist and screenwriter. And of course, the ever-popular Five Minutes of Fame, hosted by Cesare Rosati, will give local authors an opportunity to read from their works in progress. This year, I may just have to add my voice. Although “regulars” have heard it, there are others who have not. http://on.fb.me/10LKPhM .

art towns in AmericaGet out and enjoy local arts in your community, this summer. And if your plans include travel, this book may come in handy, if you are looking to visit some arts destinations.  <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0881506419/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0881506419&linkCode=as2&tag=allthinfulf-20&linkId=CW25SELCLFUU7OPF”>The 100 Best Art Towns in America: A Guide to Galleries, Museums, Festivals, Lodging and Dining, Fourth Edition</a><img src=”http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=allthinfulf-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0881506419&#8243; width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />
by John Villani, can be ordered through e-commerce.

Travel back tomorrow to  All Things Fulfilling, where sharing independent thoughts, words and views  are all part of the business. This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Lift Up Friends

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 “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ~ Marcel Proust 

Friday’s blog on All Things Fulfilling was a tribute to friendship and the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. 

I’ve had have further thoughts about the value of friends  since that blog writing. Coming together in friendship is the result of finding community with like-minded people – individuals who have joint interests, passions and beliefs in life.  In recent years I’ve made friends in service, through Kiwanis, and by volunteering once a week at an interfaith, community-run thrift store called “Lift-Up.” Being involved with arts organizations such as We Write Steamboat(a meet-up group for independent publishers), the Steamboat Writers Group , the Colorado Independent Publishers Association and  Strings Music Festival has brought me pleasure. Community involvement, with the Yampa Valley University Women has also been part of my life here in Routt County, Colorado.

It’s interesting, in a time when the news is reporting  church membership is declining, there seems to be very active participation in churches, in this town. Perhaps the remote location and natural beauty of the region make spiritual exploration important to folks. Yesterday, Reverend Tim at the UnitedMethodistChurch in Steamboat, elevated our spirits through his lenten season storytelling. Our new Director of Youth Ministry and independent musician, Taylor Anderson charmed us with  his musical skills playing the modern remix of  “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on his ukulele. Very uplifting for a day of Irish celebration. A song appropriate for so many who are grateful they can be here to retire, run location-neutral businesses or for recreational reasons.

After the service, our appetites were fulfilled with  tasty goodies baked by women with whom I volunteer at the thrift store donation center. Thank you, Jeanette, Shirley and Louise and to all the other generous people who bring in provisions for fellowship moments after the service each week. The special St. Patty’s Day confections were decorated artistically. The women poured heart and soul into their efforts, it was evident.  It is a pleasure to volunteer with these women at the donation center for the thrift store.

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Jeanette, Louise, Shirley and Sue (top image). We are only a few the 100+ volunteers that make Lift-Up so successful in this community.

Blessings Rain Down

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“A contented mind is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in this world. ~ Joseph Addison

I had a busy and fun-filled weekend. I feel the pressure to fit in all of the summertime  activities that bring me personal fulfillment before the arrival of cool weather in NW Colorado.

Yesterday, my husband and I went paddle boarding on Steamboat Lake in north Routt County. It was fun and much easier than I would have expected. The board was big, wide and easy to balance. As I paddled out to the center of the lake, I purposely propelled myself around in a circle to take in the 360 degree views of the 10,000 ft. mountain peak surroundings. A small colony of artists have settled in the area of Hahn’s Peak, where the landscape is indeed inspiring, in its natural beauty. In a recent article, the Steamboat Pilot interviewed some of the artists living in the area and they spoke of what the area brings to their art. http://bit.ly/TwfrM0

Saturday evening, my husband and I went to a B a B y Q – a rancher’s version of a baby shower. I am so happy for the parents-to-be who are in for the gift of a lifetime in about four weeks. Parenting will change their lives in more ways than I could ever tell them.

Babies and the blessing of rain that has come, toward the end of summer, were topics  of conversation throughout the evening. As we looked out over the 200+ acres of the ranch landowner’s property, it was good to see that they are haying. Pastures, all summer, have suffered the effects of drought conditions – not good for the agricultural industry.

On Friday evening, I ushered at my last Strings Musical Festival assignment for the season. The 25th Anniversary year is almost behind us. Johnny Clegg, a musician from South Africa was terrific. The music his band played was different and multi-cultural, as was the commentary between each number. This Grammy-award nominee has spoken out against apartheid, and he considers himself a cultural ambassador which has earned him honorary degrees from Dartmouth, CUNY and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. To read more about his accomplishments, and his music, Click here

The seasons of our lives and the seasons throughout the year come with their own pleasures. An extended fall for me would be most welcomed. I find all kinds of fulfilling things in the harvest season.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected andwww.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

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 http://n.pr/qSraRp 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 http://bit.ly/qYxQ5R 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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Fabulous and Fulfilling!

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The artist does not see things as they are, but as he is.  ~Alfred Tonnelle 

Now that’s what I call a talented artist and that’s what I call making it all worthwhile! I spent a few hours of my evening, last night, volunteering as an usher at Strings in the Mountains – a beautiful venue set high in the mountains of Steamboat Springs, CO. www.stringsmusicfestival.com. We were treated to a fabulous concert of jazz trumpeter Chris Botti and his extarodinarily talented company of musicians.  

It is no mystery why Chris Botti has become such a successful artist at the young age of 47!  What a charmer he is! And so too, is his music. Three of his albums have reached #1 position on the Billboard of jazz album charts. He holds Gold and Platinum  and Grammy Awards and travels the world entertaining audiences 300 days a year. Just last week, he played to a sold out audience at Carnegie Hall and his August tour schedule includes stops in Victoria, Australia and Johannesburg, South Africa. Now that’s one busy artist!  

 Kudos to Strings in the Mountains for attracting an artist of this quality to Steamboat Springs, CO. Thanks to Mary Brown and John Tomasini for sponsoring this evening of art and entertainment.  

Can’t wait till Sunday when “Classical Meets Jazz” in a free community concert – available to all!  

For more information on jazz musician Chris Botti, and to listen to a sample of his music, please go to  http://www.chrisbotti.com.

 This  blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.